Scanlyze

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

Thoughts on policy toward North Korea

So the UN has put even more stringent sanctions on North Korea. I don’t see where that is going to force North Korea into abandoning its nuclear and ICBM arsenal and development. At best the sanctions slow the nuclear program by limiting access to hard currency.

Maybe, maybe, a more adept US administration could persuade North Korea into joining the Test Ban Treaty. They could commit first to no atmospheric testing, which would essentially cost them nothing since they haven’t been conducting atmospheric tests. However, more competent administrations have tried and failed to contain North Korea using negotiated agreements.

Absent a US-Russian-Chinese agreement to go in and denuclearize North Korea by force, the US has to accept that North Korea is a nuclear state and has no intention of denuclearizing, ever.

North Korea looks at states like Ukraine and Libya which did denuclearize, and later saw their governments overthrown by US-backed coups, and this doesn’t look like a good scenario to them.

Engaging in a florid war of words with the North Koreans, with insults like “Little Rocket Man,” is a spectacularly bad and unwise strategy. They are on the paranoid side of insecure, so we should be as stolid and predictable and imperturbable as possible. Enduring a million “dotards” is better than enduring a single nuclear strike on the US or its allies.

China is most concerned with a break-up of NK with loose nukes and a huge refugee crisis on their borders, and that would be a horrible situation. The US needs to not squeeze NK so hard that it collapses into warlords or a Mad Max-like anarchy.

The best option I can present is make the best of a bad situation. Treat them like Pakistan, more or less. If the US simply refuses to give NK a seat in the club of nuclear powers, it loses all chances of NK ever adhering to customary law, and it invites NK to make some kind of demonstration, which could go hideously wrong in a number of ways.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

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23 December, 2017 Posted by | diplomacy, news, North Korea, scanlyze, war | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Thoughts on the Last Jedi

==SPOILERS AHEAD!!!==

This is my reaction after just having seen The Last Jedi at the theater. If you haven’t seen the film then stop reading because spoilers and also I’m making reference to events in the film without explaining them to the point of view of someone who hasn’t seen the film.

Well, long story short, or perhaps I should say, long story excessively long, a big disappointment.

Going in to the film, I wanted to know who is Rey? Who is Snoke? What happened to Ahsoka, Kanan, and Space Aladdin aka Ezra? What is in the ancient books of the Jedi? How does Leia die (hopefully heroically)? Why is it time for the Jedi to end?

Are those crystal wolf things Loth-Wolves? Did Han survive his Disney death in the shaft?

And most of all, I wanted to see Luke kick some ass. And smarmy emo Adam Driver handed his.

Well if you were looking forward to any of those things, rest assured, none of those things are in this movie. None of them. For this manufactured committee-made story-line the awesome Clone Wars and Rebels and their bespoke characters were/are being terminated, why?

Kathleen Kennedy, you’re no George Lucas or Dave Filoni. And Rian Johnson, you’re no Lawrence Kasdan. Looking forward to the last half of the last season of Rebels, otherwise, I think that Kennedy, Abrams &co have just about driven this franchise over the shark as has happened to poor old Star Trek. Did anyone say “spore drive?”

Anyway, the Force went back to sleep, and nobody cared. There was zero audience interaction at the packed theatre. When I saw Thor Ragnarök and Rogue 1 at the same venue (AMD 12 Assembly Row Somerville, MA USA) , the crowd was very engaged, laughing, snarking cheering, and crying in the case of Rogue 1. Not so here, more’s the pity. 3 of 5 stars.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

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15 December, 2017 Posted by | movie, review, saga, samurai, scanlyze, Star Wars, The Last Jedi | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What happens to Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka in season 4 of Star Wars Rebels?

What happens to Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka in season 4 of Star Wars Rebels?

==possible spoilers==

This article assumes the reader is familiar with Star Wars Rebels. If not, you can catch up on any unfamiliar people at wookiepedia or tvtropes.

So what happens to the “Cowboy Jedi” Kanan Jarus and his padewan, Ezra Bridger?

We now know that Hera and Chopper and possibly/probably clone trooper Capt. Rex survive and participate in the battle on Yavin 4 in Star Wars (the original movie). Do Kanan and Ezra die? Go into exile? Turn to the dark side?

Let’s take it in turn.

My guess is that yes, Kanan will die. I think the tragedy of that is being set up with his interactions with Hera Syndulla, particularly their almost-kiss in Rebels Season 4, Ep 3 “The Occupation

There’s no way that Kanan would voluntarily be separated from Hera again. The last time that happened, they lost Ahsoka and Kanan lost his sight. Therefore, there’s almost no way that Kanan would have not been at the battle of Yavin 4. And as the only known surviving member of the old Jedi Order except for Obi-Wan and Yoda, surely he would have been notable and a commander in the Rebel Army in Rogue One and Star Wars. So have to think there is a good possibility he gets a tearjerking heroic death and Hera soldiers on without him.

In the alternative, since Kanan is in many ways an expy of the bitter, dissolute, but then redeemed, blind ponytailed Jedi Master Rahm Kota from the non-canon game The Force Unleashed, maybe Kanan was on Yavin 4 and had his own “hero of another story” arc as Kota did and the cell in Rogue One did.

Ezra is more complicated. With his flirtation with the dark side, certainly I could see him going that way, although I kind of doubt he is Snoke. He could go back to being a street rat and live underground like Kanan used to after order 66. He might die with Kanan, or on his own, heroically, although it would be fairly brutal to kill off the teenage point of view character on an (allegedly) kids cartoon show.

What about Anakin Skywalker’s former Padewan, Ahsoka Tano? You can see a lot of my previous speculation here.

I’m going to put forward my own, I wouldn’t even call it a theory or speculation, but a story I like going forward. There’s one new piece of canon information which is pretty amazing which I want to introduce here. There was another Jedi Master who survived Order 66 besides Yoda, Obi-Wan, and, until she was captured and executed, Master Luminara.

According to Darth Vader #6, Master “Madame” Jocasta Nu, the Coruscant Jedi Temple chief librarian, survived Order 66. And she spent the years after compiling holograms she had saved or recovered. Was this preparation for refounding the Jedi Order? Or perhaps preparing a “time capsule” for a future time?

In the latter case, perhaps Madame Nu’s archive provided part of the basis either for Luke’s failed New Jedi Order, which Kylo Ren corrupted/destroyed, or perhaps his new, “Dai Bendu” or “Je’daii” grey, not-Jedi order which succeeds it.

Or, perhaps, just as with the Temple of the Whills and Ahch-To, and the abandoned Jedi Temple on Lothal, there is another temple on some place such as Dantooine, Dathomir, Ilum, or Tython to which Madame Nu, Ahsoka, Kanan, Ezra and whatever “children of the force” they can salvage form a hidden order unknown to Luke and the Skywalker and Solo clans (at least, yet.) That is what I would do if I were them in ep 7,8 era, get the heck out of Dodge and lay low for a few hundred or thousand years.

So here’s to Madame Nu and hoping she avoids Darth Vader! Because if a non-force-powered Clawdite could take her down in Clone Wars, I don’t give much for her chances against Darth Vader at an even more ancient age in the time of the classic movies or ep 7,8,9 era.

What do you think?

May the Force be with you!

Star-Wars-Darth-Vader-6-Jedi-Archivist-Jocasta-Nu
Jocasta Nu

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

scanlyze1

4 November, 2017 Posted by | Ahsoka Tano, Clone Wars, Jedi, Jocasta Nu, Kanan Jarus, movie, Rebels, scanlyze, Star Wars, The Force | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thor and Hulk’s Big Adventure

I saw the premiere of Thor:Ragnarok tonight at the IMAX theater at Assembly Row in Somerville, MA, USA tonight. Some initial thoughts.

==spoilers==
==also, I’m assuming you have seen the movie or already know the basic plot==

The 2 hours plus seemed like an hour, so it definitely did not drag. And some people remained in their seats even after the second stinger at the end of the credits, so they might still have been processing their queue due to information overload.

Kudos to Disney and Marvel for letting hundreds of millions ride on such a strange film by such a strange director. I will definitely go see Waititi’s other films now!

The film is almost a montage and somewhat defies conventional analysis but here goes.

Plot. Yeah there is a plot, two in fact. An “A” plot which is an abbreviated retelling of the Planet Hulk story and a “B” plot which is the eponymous Ragnarok, the Norse Twilight of the Gods.

The Planet Hulk story takes up the majority of the time, but it seems curiously pointless as the story’s climax and epilogue of how Sakaar was liberated and ruled by Hulk has fallen out. Similarly, Miek, who provides the comic relief and had a nice character arc, here is voiceless and kind of a pointless CGI creature/bug/person/thing.

The “B’ plot, such as it is, amounts to “evil throne usurper sibling syndrome” so that’s mostly predictable, though there are some nice aversions.

The characterization is accomplished through physical comedy, the budding bromance of Hulk and Thor, and by some pretty wonderful and loose acting by everyone except Anthony Hopkins, who seems like he was stuffed and reanimated for his bit.

The Sakaar setting is a Jack Kirby delight and includes shoutouts to everything from 2001 to Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Asgard is rather boring and CGI-ish but serviceable.

Looking back at my first reaction piece to the first trailer, I got most things right, so pat on the back for me. Thor Ragnarok Teaser Trailer Looks like Big Fun

Where I think this movie works is as a comedic deconstruction of the Thor movies, cartoon movies and movie tropes in general. There’s a lot of trope aversions and one extremely meta scene near the beginning. The acting is really delightful and in a way it reminds me of District Nine in the brave way the script got trashed and replaced with some very funny improvised bits.

Given the way the stock characters from the comics are manipulated for satirical and humorous effect, this film might be termed a “superhero comedy of manners.”

I’d say don’t get your hopes up too high, and maybe be a little loose and relaxed before you go, and it will be a fun time. 4/5 stars.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

scanlyze1

3 November, 2017 Posted by | comedy, movie, scanlyze, Thor, Waititi | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For the public good

I’m not all that enthralled by the notion of the nation-state. As an expression of an ethnic group and all that implies, it is an anachronism which should eventually join the divine right of kings on the scrapheap of history.

However, such states are here, they exist, so, what should they do? What is proper policy for a nation state?

The public good. That is what the nation-state must serve. Not just some utilitarian idea of the greatest good for the greatest number, though that’s part of it. The aspirations of the nation state should be to in some real and tangible sense, make things better in a lasting and sustainable manner for all people and for the earth, as stewards.

The psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” proposed a hierarchy of needs from the most basic humans needs to the more advanced, which depend upon the forgoing.

Maslow’s hierarchy is: physiological needs, safety needs, social belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

So a good government, first and foremost, must see to the physiological well-being of the people. This means housing, clothing, health care and energy.

Second, safety. This means public safety, environmental and workplace regulation in the public interest, and defense. Actual defense, not occupying other countries or using force to implement regime change.

Third, social belonging. If you are going to have a just nation, then there must be a true sense of “one people.” Including everyone. Also, open borders and acceptance of refugees and migrants with open arms.

Esteem, treat everyone as of value and of worth. Let them make their own choices.

And self-actualization. The key to this is free education, and also a robust economy welcoming to co-ops and startups with strong protections insuring transparency and interdicting monopoly power. Regulation of “natural monopolies” through common carrier, public interest, and environmental legislation. Self-management and workplace democracy, with unions playing a key role in the transition from industrial capitalism to post-industrial social democracy.

So yes, nation-states, do those things. The people have spoken. :p

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

scanlyze1

30 September, 2017 Posted by | government, Maslow, nation, nation-state, politics, scanlyze | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment