20 January, 2018

Star Wars, Episode VII - The Force Awakens -VS- Rogue One, A Star Wars Story

Let me preface this post by saying that I am a Star Wars purist.  I detest the heavy-handed editing George Lucas applied to the "specialized" and "remastered" editions of the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V & VI).  Special effects are no longer special if they appear in every frame and, of course, Han shot first.  No true fan will ever believe otherwise.  It is what defines him as a scoundrel and creates a character who is destined for reconciliation.

I have recently had the [ahem] "privilege" of finally watching both of the new[er] Star Wars films, Episode VII (The Force Awakens) and "Rogue One, a Star Wars Story".  Canonically-speaking, Rogue one is a fine film.  It takes a few liberties being removed from both the original trilogy and, arguably, some of the most horrid films ever released, the prequels.  Those liberties, however, are not significant departures from the story we all know and love, and each piece seems to feed us to the very beginning sequence of "Episode IV - A New Hope".  We experience characters entrenched in desperation as the Imperial threat looms and expands, and we are introduced to the first key players in the original saga's opening.

Episode VII, however, is a complete and utter s**tfest.  Aside from the handful of known and established elements (Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker) the film makes no effort to develop any of the other characters, even the main villain who (spoiler alert) turns out to be the son of Han and Leia, is a powerful Jedi, and has become evil for some reason.

I spent a full two hours in sheer WTF mode.  Nothing makes sense.  Somehow in the span of 30 years Han and Leia have had a kid who became an evil jedi, the former Empire has been reinvented under the "First Order" and some malevolent being known only as the "Supreme Leader", constructed a planet-sized weapon which just happens to have the controls for its deflector shields located in a broom closet instead of in the same room with all of the other important computer things, and Luke Skywalker has disappeared.

Some kid from (surprise!) another desert planet has the force flowing through her.  A former stormtrooper has a conscience and also knows how to not only use a light saber, but wields it effectively the very first time he holds it in battle, despite having never seen one, nor even knowing what it is.  Somehow Luke's ORIGINAL light saber (the one he got from Kenobi in IV and lost when his hand was cut off over Bespin) has found its way to the lair of a 1000 y.o. barkeep on the other side of the galaxy.

It is pure JJ Abrams dreck.  The dialogue is clunky and forced.  There are explosions in pretty much every scene. Remember, this is the same guy who made Bumblebee a Camaro.  He has no respect for canon.  Episode VII watches like a fan fiction written by someone who learned about Star Wars by watching The Ewoks on Saturday morning cartoons.

I want to follow the story, but there are more plot holes than in a block of swiss cheese.  Episode VIII is already out and I just cannot fathom where this rambling, incoherent storyline is going to take us next.  One thing is for sure, there will be lots of explosions and lots of unexplainable subtext.  Thank God for FireTV.

27 January, 2015

Sons of Liberty

I have been watching "Sons of Liberty" on the "history" channel the past two days (finale is tonight) and the more I watch, the more I inspect and reflect on the grievances, hardships, and general indecent treatment of colonists by agents of the crown, the more I draw parallels to today's U.S. government with all of its taxes and levies and fines and appropriated executive authority.

If our ancestors - well, MY ANCESTORS - were here today, witnessing the ever-increasing scope of government influence and interference both at home and abroad, to the point where small business, any business not intimately connected with/to a favorable public official, office, or agency, was paying up to half of its revenue in taxes alone (we have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world), they would be meeting right now in Philadelphia preparing a document which would, for the sake of all free men, submit and surrender their personal fortunes and freedoms to dissolve or abjure their status as "citizens of the crown".

Read the Declaration of Independence.  Dissect the accompanying list of grievances and tell me there are not similarities - or worse - among the burdens of the common man under the yoke of today's "progressive" oppression.

This country has survived long beyond the limits of any reasonable expectation nearly solely on the merit of the dogged determination of insiders, charlatans, petty tyrants, and the might of the world's most well-equipped and funded military power.  So, too, was it in 1776 with England.  The most powerful navy ever assembled.  The most well-trained and equipped army of the Napoleonic era.  One of the furthest-reaching and omnipresent empires in the history of the world.

Defeated by a bunch of rabble-rousers with hand-me-down muskets, a few brilliant minds and, ultimately, the support of the French Armada.

The British Empire was, at the time, one of the most "free" empires in all of history.  As a constitutional monarchy there were rules and laws and certain rights which were enjoyed by all - so long as the crown was held sacrosanct and paid due tribute.  Taxes on goods were not nearly what we pay on them today, and yet those taxes were enough to incite riots, boycotts, bloodshed.  A free people should not be paying tribute to any king, elected or otherwise.  There is no middle ground - taxes are slavery. To pay a tax on property already owned, over and over again (real estate, personal property, etc) is fiendish and immoral.  To support such a scheme, lest it be strictly due to compulsion, is also immoral.

Yes, I said it.  If you agree that paying taxes is your "civil duty" then you are a reprobate.  "Render unto Caesar", if you will, is the only reason to defer to the will of the state over the will of God.  We are captive by the laws of man, but only so long as we are willing to suffer them.  The state knows that I am no good to my family dead or in jail.  I also know this.  So I oblige their theft of my personal wealth as a consequence of loving and living in my home Virginia.

But, as per H.L. Mencken, every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.  My boiling point has long-since passed, yet my instinct for self-preservation has prohibited me from doing anything brash or foolish.  It took several YEARS before the colonials could be convinced to enough men that the reign of King George should end, at least on this continent.  They did not want to unseat him, merely to be free of him and his ilk.

And that is my only desire for Virginia.  I wish to be free of Washington D.C.  I wish to be availed of the despotism which demands apportionment of MY EARNINGS to wage war on my neighbors for smoking a plant or against foreign nationals half a world away whose only "crime" is defending themselves from american "exceptionalism" (read: colonial conquest).

I make no secret of my feelings for the elected officials, their pettiness, their insincerity.  The U.S. military is but a tool of foreign policy, and the increasingly-militarized municipal police departments are but the same tool deployed at home.  Whenever you decide that you have had enough - seek me out.  Bring 500,000 of your closest friends and let's change the world.

18 July, 2014

The Great American Experiment

For anyone who is familiar with or proficient in the process commonly known as the "scientific method" it should be painfully obvious that "America", as an experiment, like the centuries'-long quest to discover the "northwest passage", has proven that the American experiment cannot succeed and has, in fact, made things worse for all involved.

The scientific method requires several steps/iterations to establish proof of a theory, idea, or concept.  The American experiment has not followed the scientific method appropriately, as data has been changed to fit a desired result, rather than the result being allowed to stand on its own.  Let us examine the scientific method and compare the component parts of the American experiment against it.
  1. Ask a Question:  "Can America survive as a Constitutional republic?"

    Arguably America is one of the youngest "nations" (I use the term loosely in this context) in the world.  For a mere 238 years we have existed out of the foundry of nations wrought through a war for independence from the mother country.

  2. Do Background Research.

    I have no doubt that the founders reviewed many civilisations and systems of government before putting pen to paper and wresting sovereignty from the individual and vesting it in the state, for they did not desire to strip ALL power from the citizen, only place that which was necessary to preserve and protect the interests of the community at large.
  3. Construct a Hypothesis.

    What might the hypothesis have been?  Let us build a system of government which is defined by limited centralised power to be tempered by the individual states and, at the last, by the citizen members their very selves.  How long might we expect such a system to survive, on its own and without substantial manipulation by external political forces?
  4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment.

    Here's your experiment.  America.  13 member colonies voluntarily agreeing to watch out for each other and engage in fair trade between themselves and foreign interests alike.  Sounds like a great deal.  A common monetary system, minimal taxes to maintain only the bare bones of a colonial/continental defense.  Laws which generally favor the individual over the state.  And so forth and so on.
  5. Analyze Your Data.

    Here's where things get tricky.  The books have been cooked.  The data has been skewed.  Wars and rumors of wars.  Things done in the name of the "public good" have been indemnified against reproach and the ideals of the men who originally wrote down the words have been scrubbed in favor of an agenda which seeks only itself.
  6. Draw a Conclusion.

    Well, what conclusion should we draw?  The republic has survived a mere 238 years and survived (though not for lack of trying) a major schism, two world wars, and countless other military entanglements that would never have been if we had just minded our own business.  And why?  Because our leaders have changed the rules to suit them as we've gone along.  And as the central authority has commandeered more power and disenfranchised more of the citizenry, we pull further and further from the intended result - an experiment.
  7. Communicate Your Result.

    The result?  The result is an increasingly overbearing, tyrannical, interfering government who, rather than allowing the experiment to run its course naturally, has conspired to inculcate fealty through force of law.  When the laws of men no longer leave men with the authority to make their own moral, economic, and political decisions, then the laws of men have ceased to function in the interest of the citizen and function only in the interest of the state.
This is EXACTLY why our founders railed against the crown in 1776 and Southern patriots objected to in 1861.  In this author's opinion they were both right, for those reasons and many others too numerous to address here.

Leading up to 1776, King George's governors were taxing colonial interests at exorbitant rates and spending that tax money not on improving infrastructure/commerce in the colonies, but passing it on to the King's coffers back in England.  Leading up to 1861 the federal government was taxing Southern planters at exorbitant rates and spending that tax money not on improving infrastructure in the South, but passing it on to their northern industrial friends.

Presently in America the federal government collects well over 50% of an individual's income through various tax schemes - real estate, personal property, sales, payroll, social security, medicare, etc - and spends it not on improving the lives of the people from whom it is harvested, but instead spends it waging endless wars, supported millions of individuals who, for one reason or another, cannot or WILL NOT support themselves, and sending it to foreign countries who have evinced nothing but hatred and resentment towards us for generations.

This has got to stop.  The experiment has failed.  Ask a new question: "Can WE survive as a Constitutional republic?"

My research is done for me every day and my hypothesis is a resounding "No."  No, we cannot survive.  I am mentally and spiritually prepared for a new experiment.  Are you?

14 July, 2014

Return the Flags, Sir

On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the president of Washington & Lee University capitulated to a band of anti-white, anti-Southern professional race-baiters who branded themselves "The Committee" and decided to have the symbols of our Southern heritage removed from the hallowed ground on which General Robert E. Lee has been interred.  The flags of our ancestors have festooned his final resting place for generations uncontested - until recently when a group of BLACK pre-law students decided that his memory, his honour and heritage, is offensive to them.

I wrote Mr. Kenneth Ruscio a letter explaining my opinion on the matter and how his decision to accommodate ONLY the oblivious and deceptive opinions of a few rabble-rousers was unconscionable and only served to tarnish the legacy of the late General, as well as that of our first President, General George Washington.

Below please find the full text of my letter, followed by the school's "reply" which amounts to nothing short of an insult by its brevity and lack of meaningful substance.  To wit:

Mr. Ruscio:

I am sure you have been beset by any number of individuals and groups regarding this "controversial" issue.  I, like many of my fellow Virginians are disappointed, ashamed, even outraged by your capitulation to a group of negro pre-law students calling themselves "The Committee" who presented that the presence of the flags of my ancestors amounted to an insult.  As is often the case with issues of this nature, only the side of the disenfranchised has been rationally explored.

I can tell you with some clarity and conviction that few, if any of the more than two dozen of my Virginia ancestors, tracing back to 1720 and earlier, owned any slaves, yet they fought with honour for the Commonwealth against the federal invasion.  Many of them lost their lives or livelihoods defending the state which I call home.

Perhaps that doesn't mean anything to you.  I do not know where you are from, but men much wiser than you or myself consider both General Washington (with whom my ancestors also fought) and General Lee are and always have been held in the highest regard as honest and honourable men.  Washington owned slaves.  Lee did not.  It is imperative if we are to survive as a people that men such as yourself resist the socio-political correctness of these always complaining people.  You have given them now their inch and I expect you will see them have a go at the mile in due time.

To remove the flags of our fathers from the FINAL RESTING PLACE of the revered commander of our armies is a disgrace to his memory and that of hundreds of thousands who promised everything they had to prevent this country from falling to the regime of Lincoln.  Make no mistake, sir.  I do not believe we are better off as a union, but that is a discussion for another time and venue.  This discussion is about my heritage, my legacy, and the heritage and legacy of thousands of others just like me all over Virginia and the South.  We believe in what these symbols stood for, and slavery is nowhere on that list.  So a bunch of self-righteous, professional victims believe the flags of the South represent slavery.  So what?  Slavery existed for hundreds of years prior to that on this continent and it still exists in one form or another on the continent many of the complainers claim as their "homeland".

I would certainly suggest that if they suggest their lives would be enriched by a country whose own heritage is erased and replaced with theirs, they should travel to Zimbabwe or Niger or Chad and report back to us on how "bad" things are here in Virginia.

What you have done, Mr. Ruscio, is thumbed your nose at every patriot who fought under those flags.  You have extended not an olive branch, but your middle finger to the wives who wept and the sons who died for them.  Slavery?  Do you honestly think the average infantry or cavalryman riding with Lee and Jackson owned slaves?  They did not.  That is documented in numerous census both before and after the war.

I suggest that the flags be returned to their place of honour and you instead instruct those misinformed youth of the folly of their ways.  Perhaps they could choose another, more suitable venue to continue their educations?  I would recommend Norfolk State or Hampton University, where their racially-motivated hatred towards Southerners and Southern symbols would be more appropriately welcomed.

Furthermore, the Lee Chapel is a burial ground.  What right do you - does ANYONE - have to remove items from it?  Numerous acts of Congress passed between 1900 and 1958 establish equal rights and recognition of service, as well as ordain that it be unlawful to disturb or vandalize a gravesite.  I would argue that this falls into that category and by removing these flags against the wishes of the family and COMPATRIOTS of Mr. Lee, you have disturbed and vandalized his final rest.

Return the flags, sir.  Do the right thing.

Kindest regards,
Xxxxxx X. Xxx
Virginia Beach, VA
Their response?
Mr. Xxx,
Thank you for your email and interest in Washington and Lee.

I want to make sure you have had the opportunity to read the history of the flags in Lee Chapel located at:


Take care,

Elizabeth Knapp
Senior Assistant to the President
Director of the Johnson Program
Professor of Geology
Washington and Lee University
I highly recommend that ANYONE who cares even a little about their heritage or who has ANY hope for a chance at a future for our people to stand up to these petty instigators.  They have been given their token inch and I suspect they will use it to go next for a mile.

Oh Captain, My Captain

When contemplating the Bible and your relationship with God, consider the time in which it was written.

In the time of Jesus Christ and for nearly 1,900 of the 2,000 years which have followed, the most common method of transporting goods and people over great distance was done by ship - a method in many ways still true today.

It is commonplace to hear people speak of "turning it over to God", to "Let go and let God", or any number of other similar sounding personal responsibility-dodging clich├ęs.  God gave man free will in the very beginning and almost immediately man showed God why this was a bad idea.  In any number of 12-Step programs one will hear the common refrain that in order to conquer ones addiction, one must be willing to abandon the concept of self-will.

What it does NOT say is that there are times when self-will is appropriate, even necessary, for survival.  God did not give us the authority - the dominion over this world - and the ability to reason in order for us to watch all of creation evolve around us independent of our influence.

How I like to examine the idea of "willpower" is not as the shiny new sports car which God wants to drive while you sit in the passenger seat fiddling with knobs and flipping the sun visor up and down.  I suggest that willpower is as a ship at sea.  God is the wind.  I have complete control over which direction I want to steer.  I can chart any course I want.  But if I want to get somewhere I have to learn how to read the wind and I have to use it to actually GO anywhere.  With God as the wind, He is directing me with His will, it is up to me to steer in the direction which takes advantage of it.  If I choose to steer a course contrary to the direction the wind is blowing, I will move slowly, if at all.  And in doing so, I will become more and more frustrated as I fight with the rigging, the helm, and even with myself to do that which is against God's will.

Why make it so hard on yourself?  Give in to God's WILL.  He is not telling you what decisions to make, He is SHOWING you the proper course.  Your responsibility is in deciding to heed His advice.