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March of the Michaels

Michael Maiello and I interview each other once a month, on the dot, in order to get our own thoughts across on geopolitics, religion, economics, love, hate and Star Wars. Did I mention Star Wars? This edition comes in the aftermath of the finale of the show Star Wars: Rebels' finale, where both Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader made appearances.

Questions for Michael Maiello

** I remember you doubting that Ahsoka Tano would return. Here she was - visibly ten years older. I heard in an interview that she's going to be using a white lightsaber, a neutral color since the jedi are no more. Her return also came with the first animated Darth Vader we've seen since the 1980s. Do you think we'll see a confrontation between the two? It seems unavoidable given what clone wars was like. What do you think that will be like? **

Happy to have been wrong about Ahsoka.  I was too cynical and guessed that Disney would erase the prequel era from history.  They are not so short-sighted.  If Disney truly uses Ahsoka to bridge the gap between the fallen Republic and A New Hope, then I am happy.  The problem is... it can't end well.  Darth Vader hunts down and kills all the Jedi, save for his son and Yoda.  He even kills Obi-Wan. 

Darth Vader is the ultimate Star Wars badass.  Always was.  It might be flashy to throw around force lightning or to have a double bladed light saber, but Darth Vader can choke you to death, with a thought, on the phone.  He is so strong with the Force that he can text you and... you're dead.  That's what being Vader is all about.

You see where I'm going.  The Inquisitor was a buffoon.  Vader is Vader.  He has to kill Tano and she has to know who he is before it happens.  So, if they do it right, Tano showing up is a sad thing.
 
** Are there expanded universe characters you'd like to see? Even though the show takes place before the original trilogy, I would love to see characters from shadows of the Empire like Prince Xizor. We saw Dengar fleshed out in Clone Wars, which was way more far fetched so why not? **
 
I don't know the extended universe well but I will vote for Admiral Thrawn.  The Empire needs more than one military genius who can combat Jedi who is not Force sensitive.  Characters like Thrawn make the Jedi and the Rebellion interesting.  One of the weaknesses in Star Wars is that the Empire seems incompetent.  Storm Troopers can't shoot with any accuracy.  They get beaten by Ewoks.  The Death Star can be destroyed with one shot.  
 
The only victory we ever see the Empire win decisively was at Hoth and that went so badly that Vader had to kill two generals via Snapchat.  The Empire needs a military genius like Thrawn so we can believe it is a threat.  Sorry but the Inquisitor and Agent Callous were not doing it for me.  They are bumbling bad guys.  Darth Maul and Savage Oppress -- those are villains we can fear! Thrawn could be one of those and not Force sensitive, which is a plus.  You shouldn't need the Force to be fearful.
 
** What do you think of the Netanyahu/Obama administration clash? I have pretty radical views on the intention of current Israeli leadership and I personally think it's progress if we've reached a point where we can openly criticize the leaders of that country. **
 
Israel will never be an issue you can discuss like any other.  Part of its function is to remind the world of the cataclysmic results of unchecked anti-semitism.  If we could apply that lesson to other groups, we'd be far better off.  Netanyahu. however, has crossed into Rudy Giuliani territory where he not only lies to America's Congress and feuds with President Obama out in the open, but is at odds with his own intelligence people on Iran. He's destroying his credibility.  I hope the world takes notice.
 
** A personal question, if you don't mind - you have a successful marriage. I have stumbled greatly in that department. What is the secret to your success?**
 
I married a tolerant woman!  That's not really a joke.  Natasha generally assumes that even when I screw up, I did it with the best intentions.  However, you know our relationship through the pictures on the Facebook.  Be careful of that.  On Facebook, people tend to be happy, in love and on the best vacations all the time.  In life we work, sweat and fight over stupid things.  Social media can make it hard to measure ourselves.  Your friends aren't always on vacation, just that nobody posts shots of their cubicles.
 
Question for Michael Powell-Deschamps
 
1) What do you make of Kanan?  I notice that he's not really the leader, Hera is.  She seems to keep secrets even from him.
 
I'm not sure how much I like the new characters and I was really happy to see Ahsoka back. The Clone Wars characters tied to the universe a little better, in my view - a lot of these new ones don't really look like SW characters we've seen before.
 
Nevertheless, they have developed him a bit and I like his place as "the last Jedi" even though we see quite a few others including Ahsoka. The relationship he has with Bail Organa is especially going to prove interesting.

 
2) From what we're getting about the Abrams movie, it doesn't seem like the Empire was done after Return of the Jedi.  What do you think the Star Wars universe looks like after the death of Palpatine?

I read Heir to the Empire last year and the Empire after Palpatine, in the books, seems a lot like the Trade Federation in the prequels - governing the Outer Rims and sort of terrorizing the central Republic. You mentioned the prequels maybe being ignored by Disney but the Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith were successful enough that I think some dynamics may continue on. The prequels introduced dynamics to the Star Wars universe that were much more developed than those in the original trilogy.
 
3) Europe seems to have a choice -- Make Greece pay up to make a point or move on and grow the euro zone economies.  Where do you see this going?

I don't know a whole lot about Greece but I have followed the growth of Golden Dawn a bit. They also elected a left wing government recently. I think both of those are signs of unrest. I'm not sure they're quite in the position to keep their own things in order yet.

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Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

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Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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