A Thousand Words

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Now here is an image that is truly remarkable in what it tells us about the United States of America. It depicts the first ever African-American presidential couple in the process of their being succeeded to the Oval Office by the first ever private businessman and his wife, a Slovenian former nude model. And these persons are not merely posing for a photographer at some shallow celebrity gala. They are in the process of peaceful succession to the highest office in their country and the most powerful leadership post anywhere on Earth. And there hasn’t been a single observer, amidst the raw sewage that passes for journalism these days, who has cared to remark on the sheer monumentality of the meaning frozen in this image.

The Great Wall of America​​

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I just had some thoughts on how President Donald Trump might build his proposed ‘Great Wall’ along the U.S.-Mexican Border…

  • Modelled on the voter registration ‘Freedom Rides’ of the 1960s (and mobilised by a vast social media effort), President Trump’s new ‘Freedom Riders’ would consist of millions of American volunteers who journeyed from every state in their country down to the U.S.-Mexican border, set up camp along its entire length and helped to build the ‘Great Wall of America’ under the supervision of construction experts
  • Fuelled with a Woodstock-like festive spirit, each of the participants in this effort would have their names permanently engraved in the section of wall to whose construction they had contributed in a manner similar to the names of fallen soldiers etched on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.
  • Non-participants in its construction could also have their names engraved on the wall by paying a fee that would help to defray some of its construction costs
  • Upon completion President Trump’s ‘Great Wall of America’ would take its place alongside sacred national monuments like Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial and the Statue of Liberty (as well as the world’s great attractions like the Giza Pyramid, the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower and Stonehenge) as a tourist attraction in its own right and not just some mundane ‘security barrier’
  • This epic national effort would infuse the participants with the same festive sense of purpose which fuelled the voter registration drives of the 1960s and could actually help to bring people together

You’re welcome.

Can Justice Create Jobs?

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Could President Donald Trump Grant African-Americans Reparations For Slavery – And Make The Europeans Pay For It? And could this prove to be one of his biggest job creators?

While it’s recognised that the United States Treasury has insufficient funds with which to pay African-Americans the trillions of dollars they are owed in legal damages for the atrocities they endured during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, there is little to prevent the incoming Trump Administration from providing such reparations as are due in the form of a tax exemption for all African-American slave descendants for a period of 40 years or so – and redress any budget deficit through the imposition of a tariff on US imports from every nation that was a party to this barbarous human traffic (such as France, Portugal, Britain, Spain, the Netherlands and others).

Such an innovative reparatory measure – let’s call it the ‘U.S. Redemption Act’ and term any multilateral pact with the aforementioned countries the ‘Atlantic Redemption Agreement’ – could become the Trump Administration’s legislative successor to President Ronald Reagan’s commendable Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (which granted an official apology along with reparations payments to the Japanese-American victims of WWII-era internment) and would likely encounter far less resistance than previous compensatory proposals which envisaged hefty cheque awards to slavery’s plaintiffs.

Furthermore, this revolutionary endeavour could potentially boost economic growth by providing African-Americans with additional disposable income that would likely be ploughed back into the U.S. economy through the purchase of domestic-made goods, thus fuelling America’s manufacturing sector and helping to create new American jobs – a key Trump campaign promise. In this way reparations for slavery could end up making as significant a contribution to the growth of the U.S. economy as that made by slave labour itself.

The ‘Redemption Act’ and its associated ‘Atlantic Agreement’ would represent significant gestures of atonement for the horrors inflicted by the trade in African slaves and would likely do more to bridge America’s racial divides than anything hitherto undertaken since the Republic’s founding. And, for his efforts, President Trump could earn recognition as the most significant occupant of the White House since Abraham Lincoln.

And what could be a more fitting event at which to announce this historic initiative than on the occasion of President Trump’s 2017 inauguration?

The Death of General Organa?

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“So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side then perhaps SHE will…” – Darth Vader, ROTJ (1983)

If (as I previously theorised after watching The Force Awakens) General Organa is the real villain of the new Star Wars trilogy – and whose identity as the Morgan le Fay-like enchantress and evil puppet-master of the Galaxy was set to be revealed either in Episode VIII or IX – the tragic and untimely death of actress Carrie Fisher could have seismic implications for the trajectory of the new saga’s entire storyline – and for Disney’s bottom line. It may have also created an exciting new possibility for the development of her character which could transform the significance of the recently-released Star Wars standalone film, Rogue One.

Since Princess Leia (as well as Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin) appears in Rogue as a CGI character, what if that “CGI-ness” (for want of a better term) were somehow incorporated into her character to become an integral part of who she is? This would allow for the development of a Palpatine/Sidious-like duality to her role and would permit Lucasfilm to avoid having to cut Organa scenes (as has been reported) or undertake expensive re-shoots for either Episodes VIII or IX.

It would also mean that the decision to feature Leia and Tarkin as CGI characters in Rogue wasn’t necessitated by mere technical considerations but that their CGI incarnations in that film were integral to who they both are in the Expanded Universe and key to the roles they may yet play in their respective galactic futures.

By retaining Princess Leia/General Organa in the storyline and making these two incarnations of her character into a Palpatine/Sidious-like ‘alter ego’ in which the Princess/General is continually interchanging between her fleshly and CGI personae, the entire Star Wars universe could be potentially transformed and create new possibilities for the development of other iconic characters through the rest of the saga.

In this way, not only does Disney (and its Lucasfilm unit) save (and make) money but they introduce new elements into the narrative that help it endure for future generations.