Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Comments on Stephens article in NYT on Democratic Party issue positions

Comments on Stephens article in NYT on Democratic Party issue positions

The practical facts about immigration is that criminalizing it doesn’t stop it.

What it does is present the United States with a conundrum; imprison, intern and/or deport tens of millions of people, many or most of whom have American citizens in their immediate families, or see the rule of law trampled through non-enforcement of an unenforceable & morally reprehensible law.

The alternative to withdrawing from Afghanistan is to keep US forces there forever. How is that in US interests? The US attempt at nation building has been such a notable failure that the US has seen fit to exclude its own puppet government from the peace negotiations.

How is a state of permanent, unwinnable war preferable to peace?

The authorization for use of military force in Afghanistan was premised on the constitutional article regarding letters of marque & reprisal, an anti-pirate clause. Well, the Al Queda “pirates” have been defeated and UBL is long gone. And so should the US be from Afghanistan.

How is it that Mr. Stevens apparently believes that free, taxpayer-supported public education for all is economically unsustainable in the US, though countries such as Germany & Sweden apparently find a way to accomplish this. How bout less spending on permanent wars & dominance of the entire world through economic & military interventions?

Regarding health care, once again, how is it that Stevens believes that the US can’t do what Europe and Canada can in providing free, quality healthcare for all?

reference: Democrats Are Not Up To Their Historic Responsibility Defeating Trumpism means abandoning the politics of extremes.

1 August, 2019 Posted by | Bret Stephens, Iraq, media, news, peace, politics, scanlyze, USA, war | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on #DeleteFacebook

I realize that by deleting Facebook I am risking something real and valuable to me–my extraordinary Facebook friends. Facebook has been the main way I keep in touch with my extended family. I have rediscovered many friends from college, from high school, and gradeschool.

As an INTP type introvert, it has always been a challenge for me to meet new people and let them into my private sphere. Facebook has provided me with a mechanism to connect with wonderful artists, intellectuals, craftspeople, musicians, writers, journalists, political figures, and it has been a privilege to know you all there.

When Facebook did an analysis a couple of years ago of the average degrees of separation between people on their network, Sheryl Sandberg’s was 3.2, Zuck’s was 2.7, and mine was 2.2. I could reach out to a friend of a friend of a friend and reach potentially something like a billion people.

But by exposing this network to unprincipled and frankly just evil people like the Mercers, Steve Bannon, the aptly self-named Doctor Spectre, Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica and their parent company, “Strategic Communication Laboratories Group,” and ultimately Zuckerberg and Facebook itself, I feel that I have betrayed the very people I so cherish.

No more. After April 2 I am shutting down my Facebook account.

Don’t continue to be an enabler for evil greedy people as I did for so long. It is time, now.

#DeleteFacebook

Copyright © 2018 Henry Edward Hardy

scanlyze1

24 March, 2018 Posted by | #DeleteFacebook, degrees of separation, don't be what you hate, Facebook, media, scanlyze, social media | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Donald Trump

Trump is fundamentally a student of his father’s, with advanced lessons from Roy Cohn. He’s learned the New York way of schmoozing, exaggerating, telling people what he thinks they want to hear, being very slippery and blatantly lying seemingly about even things there’s no reason to lie about, in order to show disrespect to people he wants to hurt. From Cohn, a strategy mix of intimidation, implicit blackmail, clandestine forbidden sex, hard partying, international intrigue, seduction, and hard-nosed threats.

And that’s worked remarkably, even unbelievably well for Trump.

Until now. The Presidency is not a real estate empire or a mafia family. The nomenklatura, or institutional bureaucracy or what Erdogan and Trump like to call “The Deep State” are notoriously entranched and hard to control. A far more proficient sociopathic President, Richard Nixon, found this out to his dismay, as did Bill Clinton to a degree. Though the latter, by his Elmer Gantry/Huey Long talents, survived.

Bill Clinton and LBJ were extroverted people persons and were great at gladhandling/manhandling people to get what they wanted from Congress and the bureaucracy. Obama, an introvert, was less successful.

But Trump as President of the USA is disastrous. He is not unintelligent within certain parameters, but his judgment seems to be impaired much of the time, he seems to have limited medium term recall which he covers for by lying and his credibility with the apparatus is less than zero. Calling them out by name to insult them doesn’t help either. And backstabbing the NRA live on TV? That was in a way delightful but at the same time I have to go whaaat is thaaat? I can’t think of a worse thing he could have done politically to undermine his base and get a lot of heavily armed people very nervous and defensive than by publicly suggesting that arms should be seized from US citizens by law enforcement. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.” I mean he actually said those words quote unquote. Is this a will to self-destruction like Hitler in his bunker? The entire world hopes not! Is it all a theatre of the absurd he simply does. not. care? Is he an agent provocateur dancing to the tune of Putin’s “chef?”

I don’t know.

But we are all going to find out.

Interesting times.

Copyright © 2018 Henry Edward Hardy
scanlyze1

2 March, 2018 Posted by | corruption, crime, House Un-American Activities Committee, manufacturing consent, media, Orwell, politics, President, propaganda, Roy Cohn, scanlyze, security, seduction, sex, sociopathy, Trump, USA | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Universal Appeal of Black Panther

This is a reaction piece, not a full review. It will be most sensible to those who have seen the film, but only low spoilers due to some things just should not be spoiled.

I went to Black Panther determined to write an objective review. This isn’t one. Within a few minutes of the film’s start, I had tears on my eyes, and when King T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) returned home to Wakanda, they just started streaming down my cheeks.

The sets, costumes, and city are a great example of “show, don’t tell.” Though there is plenty of exposition of the nature of “as you know” or flashbacks and visions as well.

I have read a lot of reviews saying how this is a black movie, and it is, through and through. But it is more than that. Black Panther pulls you in and I felt like this was my family, my people, my African nation as it should have been without colonization and neocolonialism. This isn’t the world as it is, but in some sense, a vision of the world as it could be.

The fictional nation of Wakanda, being the most technologically advanced nation on Earth, shares many of the dilemmas which the US faced when it was technologically advanced compared with other nations. “If we allow in immigrants, they will bring their problems with them,” as one character tells King T’Challa. Similarly there are issues of arms exports and bringing justice through superior firepower. An interesting and thought-provoking mirror.

Erik “Killmonger” Stevens is certainly the best of the Marvel villains, an area where they have been notably weak in characterization and motivation in the past. A Shakespearean family drama ensues. As well as Killmonger and T’Challa acting as proxies for the African diaspora v. mother Africa.

It’s funny how critics run in packs. I’m curious why the neoliberals aren’t screaming about cultural appropriation because this movie is all about that.

Wakanda is supposedly in East Africa more or less where real life Rwanda and Burundi are today. But people speak isiXhosa, a South African language. And the hairstyles, fashions, and architecture and textiles are a mishmash from all over the continent. All overlaid on what is now retro-futurism dating back 50 years to Jack Kirby’s illustrations for the comic.

Of course, Wakanda doesn’t exist in the real world, and more’s the pity. So they had to use inspirations from somewhere. And everything is so beautiful and awe-inspiring that I guess every reviewer in the world is giving them a pass on this and I’m no exception. Of course I tend to be a “world citizen” and “all one people” person so I am prone to want to encourage people to learn and use and do the best of everything, and to make it their own anyway. But that’s another story.

Wakanda is kind of a Pan-Africa melting pot and hodepodge in the way it is portrayed, even though it is presented as severely isolationist. The backstory for this in the comics is that the Rift Valley where Wakanda is situated is the Ur-seat of all human civilization, and African civilizations in particular.

Very strong cast. Chadwick Boseman seems to be channeling a young Nelson Mandela in his regal bearing as a newly-crowned king, his accent, his cadence, and his badassness (Mandala was a hereditary prince of his tribe, and a boxer as well as a lawyer before he was imprisoned on charges of murder and terrorism.) His nemesis, Killmonger, played by Michal Jordan is a Shakespearean anti-hero who almost steals the movie.

There are many strong and independent female characters. Notable is Leticia Wright as T’Challa’s snarky younger sister and master of Wakanda’s vibranium-based technology, Shuri. Danai Gurira as Okoye, general of Wakanda’s Royal Guard, the Dora Milaje, is ferocious as the guardian of the throne. And Angela Bassett brings a regal presence to the role of Queen Mother Ramonda.

There were a couple moments which were immersion breaking for me. One early one which I will spoil involves CIA operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) interrogating South African arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis, having great fun chewing all the carpet in sight in his own skin instead of mo-cap), who replies with questions of his own. I suddenly realized I was watching a game of riddles between Bilbo (Freeman) and Gollum (Serkis). As a meta-callout this is amusing but also distracting for me. The second weakness is some rather sloppy CGI which would frankly be better served with Wuxia-style wirework or even simply cutting those few seconds.

The third act suffers from too much action, falling into the typical problem where every Marvel movie has a setpiece battle where they try to top all the previous movies. Not up to the standards of Civil War, but special bonus points for (spoilers) armored rhinos! Remote piloted space ships! Personal force-shields and sonic blaster vibranium spears! Heel-Face Turn and The Cavalry. All in one rather chaotic battle. The narrative and characterization is somewhat lost in the festival of badassness which ensues. But this is a genre standard and the movie can be praised for opening so many new avenues it can be forgiven for the rather predictable final battles. I’d say more but big spoilers there.

Overall, a most lovely movie which will stand the test of time, better than I expected after reading 30+ positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and a rollicking good time. The movie seems too short at 2:14 so I am looking forward to a director’s cut and one hopes, one or more sequels, including perhaps a spinoff for some of the interesting secondary characters. Wakanda Forever!

5 of 5 stars. Bring a friend so you don’t talk your Lyft driver’s ear off as I did on the way home. :)

Copyright © 2018 Henry Edward Hardy

scanlyze1

16 February, 2018 Posted by | Andy Serkis, Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, media, Michael Jordan, scanlyze, Wakanda | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vote for Hillary Clinton to continue these Bush-Obama policies

Vote for Hillary Clinton to continue these Bush-Obama policies:

Eternal, undeclared, illegal, aggressive war. In Libya, Syria, Iraq, Mali, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Nigeria, Philippines, Honduras, and Yemen. Universal surveillance. General Warrants. Secret courts. National Security Letters. Endless imprisonment without trial or charge. Effective abolition of the writ of habeas corpus, notwithstanding that it is in the US Constitution Article I, Section 9. Black sites. Rendition. Special Ops death squads. Assassination of US citizens without trial or charge. Including juveniles. Robot bombs sent to assassinate more than 2,000 civilians so far in neutral countries with which we are not at war. Mercantilist trade policies such as TTIP, TPP, NAFTA. Okay, Hillary was for TPP and helped write it, until she was suddenly against it a few months ago. Fracking. Bailing out Wall Sreet, AIG to the tune of $318 thousand million dollars, then also bailing out big banks like Citi, who were already re-insured by AIG. But Obama could not find $20 billion to bail out Detroit’s pension funds, nor $60 million for public works to replace all the lead pipes in Flint.

Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy

30 March, 2016 Posted by | election, eternal war, hypocrisy, media, politics, scanlyze, US, USA, war | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments