Thank You For Your Service Movie was a deeply emotional experience!

Thank You For Your Service movie poster.

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

The movie “Thank You For Your Service” was more than a movie for me, it was a deeply moving experience that everyone should watch, especially if you have a loved one who served in the Global War on Terror.

I was in Iraq, for 15 months. I often feel like I was a well-armed, well-trained, well-paid tourist. My logistics job didn’t allow me to go out on patrols every day, though I would very much have wanted to. My brigade was in Iraq for so long because we were extended for the surge. We had more consecutive days in combat than any other unit, so I get it. I watched them load flag-draped coffins of ice with human remains on to aircraft, more than once. Having said that, I never saw anyone die, and I never fired a shot; my job did not require it.

When I heard about this movie, of course, I wanted to see it. I hoped that it was not some cheesy make a buck off the war movie that got everything wrong. I hoped there would be action. It was not that kind of a film. Instead, the story centered on one squad of soldiers and their squad leader on one or two days fighting in Iraq. Staff Sergeant Adam Schumann is on patrol in his convoy in a bustling city somewhere in central Iraq. This is about 2007-time frame, the same time I was there. The patrol goes terribly wrong, and there are casualties.

The movie fast-forwards to the soldiers’ arrival at their home base of Fort Riley, Kansas. From the combat patches worn by the soldiers, it can be guessed that they belong to the Big Red One, 1st Infantry Division. The soldiers are greeted by loved ones as they get off the plane, and then they attempt to re-integrate back into their regular lives. This story is poignant and sad as the soldiers fight their own battles at home, often alone without support. It is extremely aggravating to watch. Bring tissues, or just do what I did and wipe your nose on your spouse’s sleeve. What is especially maddening is that when the soldiers find that they do need help, they are often offered only roadblocks in the form of uncaring leadership, administrative buffoons, pride, laziness, greed, etc. One side note. I worked with many people who work for the VA, who care deeply about soldiers and want to help. So what I am about to say is not for them. Close your ears. If you are working for the VA and you don’t give a fuck about soldiers, only your big fat salary and bennies then you can go fuck off somewhere else. Heroes need to help heroes. You don’t have to have been a soldier, but you do have to give a fuck. Go find some other government cubicle to hide in, you worthless fucks.

Offended? Don’t care. Moving on.

This movie dramatically shows for the viewer the kind of internal struggle many of our soldiers go through, and when I say soldier, I mean everyone who has served, Airmen, Marines, Sailors, Coasties, everybody. Suicide, mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, paranoia, grief and survivor’s guilt, it all hits you in the gut with this movie. I won’t ruin the plot further, just go see it, and be prepared to cry.

But it isn’t enough to just go to a movie and have a good cry. This movie is a call to action. Based on the book of the same name by Pulitzer Prize winner David Finkel, it is the directing debut of Jason Hall. Brilliant acting by lead actors Miles Teller as Schumann and Haley Bennett as his loving wife Saskia. Comedian Amy Schumer has a dramatic supporting role as a grieving widow. Good job to all. Their storytelling is more than just entertainment, they do great service for soldiers who have seen action and are now struggling.

As I said before, it isn’t enough to watch a movie and cathartic cry, this show is a call to action. The VA failures are not just the failures of big government bureaucracy; it is the failure of us all because we don’t care enough to fix it. When is the last time you’ve called up the VA and asked them for a report on how they are serving the soldier? When have you called your local representative? If the answer is no, I have to ask why not? What is stopping you? Do it tomorrow, won’t you? See this movie tomorrow and then go call someone and get them to see it.

Traumatic stress disorder is no joke. We’ve been at this global war for 16 years, and there is no sigh of let up. We lost four special operators in Niger last week. I wonder if mainstream America will ever come to realize that the problem of global terrorism is not going away and that the problem with the VA and with soldier mental and physical health is not going away. Would you want your children to suffer?

I can’t say enough about this movie, but I have to wrap up. Rotten Tomatoes gives this movie a giant golden tomato, which is good for them. We agree for once. I guess a blind monkey can find a banana in the jungle, because they are often wrong. Good for them for getting it right for once.

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What About the Girl, McFarlane?

Seth McFarlane and the cast of Fox comedy Star Trek Spoof, The Orville

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

Seth McFarlane is a funny man, and his new comedy Star Trek spoof, The Orville, is off to a great start. In episode three they tackle the very serious topic of same-sex relationships while plowing into the controversy of child sex reassignment. Funny! Are they going to address the controversial topic of sexual assault on an employee by a boss or supervisor next? Are they going to be able to make that funny?

I’m a fan of Star Trek, and I actually liked the first episodes of The Orville, but episode three “About A Girl” has left me scratching my head. This is in light of the new allegations of sexual assault and harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who is a strong ally of the Clintons and Obamas.

In the episode, same-sex partners have a child, they laid an egg apparently, and it came out a girl. Not a problem under normal circumstances, but the species these two lovebirds belong to is predominantly only male. Females are frowned upon, only appearing once every 75 years or so, and are marginalized in their society. Babies born female are taken immediately to the doctor’s office and have their gender reassigned to the male. There is only one problem. The Orville is a Union ship and the doctor won’t perform the surgery for ethical reasons.

A ship is dispatched at the parents’ request from the homeworld and the baby girl is to go to that ship to have the surgery. Only Captain Ed, McFarlane’s character, is none too happy to release the child. He is duty-bound to “protect” the child, even though the culture of this child dictates that this surgery must be done. The Union officers intervein and there is a trial to determine whether or not the surgery should go forth. One of the parents, the second officer of the ship, actually has a change of heart and is willing to accept the child and not go through with the change.

All of this is terribly funny and sad at the same time. It makes one wonder about the priorities of Hollywood. They are willing to advance the topic of child transgender surgery, but are they willing to also go boldly into the realm of condemning sexual harassment of an employee by a boss? We doubt it.

We love Star Trek, we love this new series, but we wonder at the ever-changing morals of Hollywood and its writers. McFarlane himself is said to have written the script for this episode, and Brannon Braga, a Star Trek favorite who has directed many episodes, directed this one. Star Trek has always tackled tricky topics within the premise of their shows. Will they be reflexive enough to look at themselves in the mirror and talk about the topics within their own industry?

Apparently, the sexual deviance of Harvey Weinstein has been an inside secret in Hollywood for a long time. McFarlane jokes about it in a Hollywood award ceremony three years ago. You have to do more than make jokes, Seth, you have to take action. Your new wants to empower women. Great. How about talking about the real issue of sexual violence and harassment in the workplace! Try to make that funny! Just try!

In the real world, child transgender reassignment is not a laughing matter. Many of us are not opposed to same-sex unions as long as couples keep their relations to themselves. We libertarians don’t want to interfere with what happens in your bedroom. But what happens when same-sex parents try to change the gender of their adopted child? Is that abuse? We think it is. We doubt Hollywood agrees with us.

Will they agree that it is wrong for a rich, famous producer to sexually abuse women who want to work in the TV and film, using his power as a gatekeeper in the industry to get his way? Gauging the response of Hollywood to date, we doubt that the actors, filmmakers, producers, and writers will have much to say about how villains like Weinstein who take advantage of the young female stars they claim they want to empower.

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The Tale of Two Snipers

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

 

Abu Tahseen, stalking ISIS in the Iraqi desert with a homemade weapon that looks like a Star Wars prop. The Silver Sniper, 63, was killed in Northern Iraq this week fighting terrorists.

A 63-year old veteran sniper has died in the service of his country, drawing interesting parallels between another sniper who in a single act of incomprehensible rage killed 59 of his fellow countrymen at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. This is a tale of two snipers.

 

His name was Abu Tahseen, and he’s not a household name here in the United States, but he should be. He was known by his various nicknames: The Silver Sniper, the Sheik of Snipers, and Hawkeye. A veteran of five wars over many decades, the man was feared by his enemies, and his enemies, the latest ones, were the dreaded fighters of ISIS who ran rampages across Iraq and the Middle East causing fear and suffering wherever they went. Tahseen was not afraid of them and indeed, is credited with killing 341 of the vile terrorist, blasting them into oblivion with his bolt-action .50-caliber BMB sniper rifle. Tahseen is on record in video bragging that when his bullets struck their mark, the victim would be blasted backwards a meter or more by the sheer force of the impacting round.

 

Now ISIS has made a mess of the Middle East, has threatened everyone who doesn’t adhere to their extreme ideology, but The Silver Sniper, a devout Muslim, was not intimidated and was dedicated to destroying them, one at a time. On average, he is said to have sent four of those vile murders to their maker every day, and no one was safe within a mile of his rifle.

 

Sadly this hero has passed away, martyred in one last battle to free his country in the battle for the northern Iraqi city of Hawija. Terrorists have claimed credit for taking Tahseen down, but a blind monkey sometimes finds a banana in the jungle on occasion. Hopefully, others will rise to the occasion and fill the gap that Tahseen has left.

 

Songs should be sung of this hero. A blockbuster movie needs to be made, with a novelized tie-in. I look forward to that. In the meantime, read Taryn Tarrant-Cornish’s great article in Express here, and find out more about this remarkable man who stalked the desert with a homemade weapon that looked like it was a prop for the latest Star Wars movie.

 

Here in the United States the 24/7 news cycle knows nearly nothing about this great man, but is preoccupied with another gunman, I hesitate to call him a sniper, Stephan Paddock, 64. Paddock as you may have heard, occupied a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas and using several weapons modified to shoot near-fully automatic, rained deadly bullets onto unsuspecting concertgoers below. No motive has been found on why this wealthy gambler who made his money in real estate would do this horrible thing. He is not brave, or noble. He was a coward and died a coward’s death. When rough men armed with guns came to stop his horrible onslaught, he turned his gun on himself rather than be captured or killed by men braver than himself.

 

What is interesting about these two men, as different as night is from day, is their shared similarities. Both are senior citizens, both are known for what they did with a gun. But there the similarities end. Tahseen was a hero. At 63, when he should have been enjoying retirement, he went to the aid of his country, like Cincinnatus of Rome, he served when his country called and died the hero.

 

Paddock meanwhile had the kind of life many in this country only dream. He worked as a postal worker, an accountant, he worked for the IRS at one point, and he made his money in real estate. His father was a famous bank robber who at one point was on the FBI’s most wanted list, which might explain this man’s mental disconnect. He was a fixture at the hotels and casinos, spending large sums of cash at the tables. Then, inexplicably, this crazy decided he had had enough of the good life and without any other obvious motive, destroyed the lives of 59 innocent people and wounded over 500 more. Political and media pundits blame the guns and lax gun laws for this man’s actions, but we ask that we look at the man, not the tool.

 

Let’s compare and contrast these two men for a moment. Tahseen, a veteran with decades of experience, was a skilled rifleman. With his bolt-action .50 BMG he killed 341 people, animals really, in defense of his nation. Paddock tried to do as much, only his victims didn’t deserve it, had no idea it was coming, and were like fish in a barrel in his senseless onslaught, unable to shoot back or defend themselves in any way. We can see that in the hands of two very different men, a gun, a tool, can have very different results.

 

We recommend that Muslims, indeed anyone who admires skill and bravery, carve the name of Abu Tahseen on concrete and stonewalls in memorial of his bravery and achievements to liberate his countryman. For Paddock, list him on an historical footnote, and then immediately forget him, but don’t you dare forget his innocent victims!

Watch a recent interview with Tahseen below.

Here is a video showing the Silver Sniper’s accomplishments.

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Licensed Clinical Social Worker Mike Arieta offers context in the Las Vegas Shooting

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

Following the horrible events of the mass shooting at Las Vegas Nevada, we turn to Licensed Clinical Social Worker Mike Arieta who is a longtime friend to offer some context. 

The following audio podcast is part one of our conversation covering such issues as mental health and gun rights. Mike is the founder of New Path Counseling in Apple Vally Minnesota. 

Stay tuned for part two of our conversation with Mike Arieta.

Mike talks at length about gun control on his own blog. We’ve included an excerpt of that blog below.

 

Mike Arieta is an Independent Clinical Social Worker (M.S.W., LICSW, LCSW), Mike holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Mike has also completed the PACC certificate for Permanency and Adoption Competency through the University of Minnesota. Mike is the creator of New Path Counseling.

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Thoughts on the Las Vegas shooting from a sheepdog perspective

The Author trains at First Army Trainer-Mentor Academy at Camp Shelby, MS.

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

I was watching the horrible coverage this week of the Las Vegas shooting and I have a few thoughts on it. First, watch this video of the aftermath of the shooting as a concert-goer attempts to do medical aid to his fellows who have been injured. Fair warning: it is very graphic!

As you can see, it’s pretty horrific. I’m not sure this kid, bless his heart, has had any medical training, but he tries to help anyway. It occurs to me that he has two choices; he can film the aftermath so that journalists and law enforcement, along with the rest of us, can see the what happened, or he can render aid to his neighbors. This kid attempts to do both and it doesn’t appear to be going too well. 

Notice how the kid attempts to take a pulse using his full hand, including his thumb, on both sides of a victim’s neck. I don’t recommend that. I think that illustrates the need for civilians to do more training in CPR and basic first aid from here on in. It seems that society now is plagued with these incidents of terrorism, natural disasters and crime, that going forward it would seem prudent and necessary to undergo training. The Red Cross would be a sure bet to have classes available for CPR and first aid. I’ve also included a link to the Army’s combat lifesaver’s training manual for your review. It has a lot of good tips on triage and first aid in traumatic situations. Remember, when bullets are flying it is not time to render aid, it is time to take cover. Render aid when it is safe to do so. 

http://www.me.ngb.army.mil/units/rti/resources/IS0871_Edition_C_ALMS.pdf

Below is a video further illustrating my thoughts on this issue. It seems that in the new normal, it is time for more people to transform from sheep into sheepdogs, because there are way too many wolves out there. If you don’t understand the reference, read “On Killing” by Dave Grossman. 

https://www.amazon.com/Killing-Psychological-Cost-Learning-Society/dp/0316040932

Here is an article from LTC Grossman explaining the differences between sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves. A coworker was asking me the other day, “why are you so interested in guns? I have the utmost respect for you, but I don’t understand it. Especially after all that is happened.” The reasoning is simple: I am a sheepdog, and you are a sheep. Read:

http://www.gleamingedge.com/mirrors/onsheepwolvesandsheepdogs.html

I would add that doctors, nurses, and medical workers of all kinds who would normally be categorized as sheep are transformed into sheepdogs when they are on the job. They don’t carry guns into battle. They have other tools at their disposal and run into the action when others would run the other way. Rita, to answer your question, I am a sheepdog, and occasionally, so are you. 

So here are my recommendations: if you have the capacity, train with guns and get a carry conceal license if it is in your wheelhouse to do so. If not, get some basic medical training so that, God forbid, if a crisis happens you can provide aid and comfort to people around you when they are suffering, Then you too can be a sheepdog. 

 

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Blame the Idiot, not the Gun!

A bump fire stock like the one used in the Las Vegas shooting. 

 
By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

The City of Las Vegas and the whole United States is reeling today three days after the horrible shooting in which 58 people died and over 500 were injured. As investigators try to piece together why this happened politicians are quick to jump to the default conclusion to blame the gun and not the idiot with the gun.

Hours after the shooting was reported, former presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for increased gun control legislation. The evening comedians likewise jumped on the band wagon to call for something, anything to be done and vilifying anyone who would oppose it.

But really, what, if anything, can more gun laws do to prevent something like this from happening in the future? As has been pointed out previously, terrorists who want to cause destruction have wreaked havoc without using a gun. Timothy LaVeigh comes to mind, who used a box truck and fertilizer to kill hundreds.

Early reports say that the shooter used two bump fire stocks on his gun that convert semi-auto weapons into firing full auto. There is speculation that that device will now be under scrutiny for banning in the future due to the damage it caused. Reason Magazine published a great article yesterday describing what a bump fire stock looks like and how it functions. You can look at the full article here, including a video demonstration.

Jacob Sullum of Reason explains that the bump stock seems to sacrifice accuracy for speed, vastly increasing the number of bullets sprayed from the gun. It makes the gun hard to control and is considered a novelty used by gun enthusiasts rather than really increasing the lethality of the firearm.

Sullum writes, “Assuming that (Stephan) Paddock (the shooter) used the bump stocks police found, did they make the number of deaths higher than it otherwise would have been? Not necessarily, since bump stocks sacrifice accuracy for speed; the jostling required by the technique makes the rifle harder to aim, especially at long distances. According to the Wikipedia entry on bump stocks, they “greatly degrade the accuracy of the firearm, due to the necessary jerking of the weapon, which makes viable aiming impossible,” and “the inaccuracy renders the practice uncommon.”

Sullum eloquently points out that other shootings that did not use this feature have proven extremely deadly as well, while not as deadly as the Las Vegas shooting. But in Vegas, the lethality was most likely aided by the shooters tactical position on the 32nd floor rather than any accessory he may have used.

At the end of the day, this tragedy was caused by a madman with an axe to grind. An evil heart made this happen, not an inanimate object. Those guns didn’t jump off the shelves into this man’s hands. He methodically planned this atrocity, collecting guns and ammo over a long period of time. He reconned his target and chose his firing position with care. This coward was perfectly fine with killing innocent people who were unable to fight back, but when a fire team of officers came knocking on his door, he decided to check out rather than face them.

So instead of blaming the gun, we should blame the idiot. And then we should forget him. We should all be ready to help the victims and their families as they deal with the tragedy. It will be a long time before they get back to a sense of normalcy, indeed, they may never fully be the same. Americans should not be punished by a reduction of their rights because of the evil acts of one idiot.

For further reading: 

http://tribunist.com/news/images-leaked-of-las-vegas-shooters-guns-none-are-fully-automatic/?utm_source=BP

http://reason.com/blog/2017/10/03/did-bump-stocks-make-the-las-vegas-shoot

http://reason.com/archives/2017/10/03/automatic-weapons-are-already-heavily-re

 

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Star Trek Discovery Launch is a Go!

Star Trek Discovery successfully launches on CBS All Access

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

Star Trek Discovery for what it is worth has had an OK start in its two first episodes of the first season. Time will tell if the series is worth paying $6 for monthly streaming access.

Set in an era 50 years before the era of James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, Bones McCoy, Chief Scott and all the rest, it is a turbulent era where the rules of the United Federation of Planets is not quite set in stone. Being the latest of the Star Trek endeavors, the technology, and feel of the series looks to the future rather than the past. That is because there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Times have changed, and technology has changed with it. Do you really want to go back to those trite early scripts and laughable sets of the 1960s?

The new series introduces us to a number of great characters, gets us to like and identify with them a little, then starts messing with our heads. For me it was like reading We Were Soldiers Once and Young for the first time, when the author introduces us to likable characters and then kills them off. Too obscure a reference, Game of Thrones then. A likable captain Philippa Georgiou is killed off in episode two, oh, spoiler alert, and her first officer Michael Burnham is sentenced to life in prison.

Oh, but magically she gets whisked off to the USS Discovery where she is employed by the controversial Captain Gabriel Lorca, where presumably the series kicks off into high gear. I love Jason Isaacs as an actor and he is evidentially going to play Lorca. I’m totally stoked for this fact. I have great hope for this series, I’ve been a big fan of Star Trek all my life and I want to go on watching the series and am emotionally invested in it.

Having said that, the cast has not shied away from controversy on the political spectrum and it’s necessary to talk about in this blog. Amidst the controversy of American sports professionals taking a knee at games while the National Anthem is played, the Discovery crew decided to take a photo of them taking a knee as well. It makes sense from a certain perspective. Star Trek has always been about diversity, and actors who sign up for series like this are well aware of the complexities of race relations in this country, which are very very bad. All of us who grew up watching the series know the political history of the show. Actress Nichelle Nichols, an African American, had a prominent role in the first series and was thinking of leaving, but stayed on because noted Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. asked her to stay on as a role model for others. Since then, the cast and crew have always shown us that diversity is an important factor in a great and adventurous future.

That being said, I’m ok for now that the cast took a knee. To me, they are protesting the horrible treatment of African Americans in this country, which continues to be bad. But in my mind, it is different than when sports heroes do it in the midst of the National Anthem. The National Anthem and our flag represent all that is good about America and what we aspire to be, not unlike the dream of the Federation, it represents the hope that a diverse people can be great in achieving common goals. By kneeling during the Anthem, to me it is like we are burning our national symbol and with it our hopes for shared achievement and diversity. I can’t see the flag disrespected any more than I could the principles of a United Federation.

I’ll give the crew of Discovery the benefit of the doubt for now. But the real issue seems to be not just solidarity with oppressed peoples, but with a firm hatred for Donald Trump and what he represents. This I’m sort of baffled by as well, but you can see it in the national media and in the way many people in Hollywood treat our president. Ten years ago you wouldn’t know that Trump was a racist. He helped minorities out and he got recognition from current civil rights leaders for what he achieved for African-Americans. Immediately after putting an R behind his name and running for president, trouncing a horribly lackluster candidate, Hillary Clinton, suddenly The Donald is Adolf Hitler. That is a hugely unfair characterization in my estimation. So far there is no genocide of brown people, there is no destruction of the US economy, the economy is doing better if anyone bothers to look at the numbers, and the status quo seems to be maintained such as it is.

Some might feel that Trump is unnecessarily jingoistic in his responses to Iran and North Korea, but it is previous administrations that have put us in this situation, not The Donald. It was Barack Obama who gave billions of our tax dollars in cash to a rogue state that wants nothing less than the annihilation of the Israeli state, followed by the destruction of the big Satan, America. It was previous democrat administrations that gave a green light to North Korea to develop nuclear strength, and it is the reason the mighty midget is now threatening his neighbors and us with nuclear destruction. The Donald is not trying to start a war, he is trying to deal with Kim Jung Un and the mullahs of Iran in the only language that they understand, force!

I have an analogy that the crew of Discovery and Star Trek fans will be sure to appreciate. In the first two episodes of Discovery, Michael Burnham and her captain are faced with an incredibly violent and war-like adversary, the Klingons. The Klingons only understand one thing, war. It is their code and creed. Captain Georgiou, like all Star Fleet captains, wants to be an explorer, not a warrior. They see the risk, but instead of preparing a defense, they try a stance of appeasement. Of course, as predicted, that goes horribly wrong, it sends the wrong message to the enemy and it launches Star Fleet in a horribly destructive war that will cost many lives. If they had listened to Burnham, and given the Klingons the “Vulcan Hello”, things would have worked out quite a bit differently.

Now it is up to Lorca, a captain who doesn’t quite follow the rules, to deal with the Klingons, ultimately defeat them or fight them to a draw, so that the Federation can eventually get back their original goal and mission, peaceful exploration of space and interaction to the wonderful and strange new worlds and people therein.

Now here is where the analogy meets reality, and I doubt that liberals in Hollywood will like it, but they ought to hear it from a fan. Donald Trump is Captain Gabriel Lorca and Michael Burnham is his Secretary of Defense, Gen. Mathis. Ouch. Really? Yes really. The appeasers playing Captain Georgiou, bless her heart, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, take your pick of the weak spine democrat in office. They created a horrible mess with an enemy that cannot be reasoned with and now the Donald, aka Lorca has to roll up his sleeves and get down to business before the Klingons, aka North Korea and Iran nuke us all to death.

It’s kind of like when Jean-Luc Picard went up against the Borg. We thought everyone was going to die, but one guy with the guts to stick his neck out was able to win the day, at very great cost. Picard is Trump. Someone should remind Whoopie Goldberg of The View of her Star Trek roots. Her character Guinan was a popular character on The Next Generation series and was an able advisor to Picard. I would love to hear her take on this blog. She hates Trump.

Sucks but there it is. You are welcome, Hollywood.

As I have said, I love the Star Trek series, and I have high hopes that this series will carry on the noble tradition. I’m sure they have some great stories to tell. We will see if they deliver on their promises.

For Further reading, check out what Jason Isaac has to say about his new role, his castmates and “taking a knee” here.

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/star-trek-discovery-postmortem-jason-isaacs-fan-theories-taking-knee-013012506.html

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