Okay, anyone who reads this blog, which is admittedly a very small number, knows how much I disliked The Force Awakens, which I called a snide parody of Star Wars.
What follows is a reaction piece and not a proper review.
I liked Rogue One very much better than The Force Awakens. It did not suffer the glaring continuity problems of FA. The legacy characters were not prominent enough to raise questions of motivation and continuity as with Han and Leia. I laughed, I cried, I twisted my beard in suspense. I did not facepalm. All unlike FA.
Great special effects, of course. Tons of easter eggs for the fans, with not only many call-forwards to Star Wars (which I refuse to retrocall to ‘A New Hope’) but also a few nice callbacks to Rebels and The Clone Wars animated series. And for aficionados of the Old Republic games and books, there was the heroic role played by the 4,000-year-old design of the hammerhead corvette.
So now to some things I found problematic.
The story is essentially a coming of age story for the protagonist, Jyn Erso. Her name is suggestive of Jan Ors, the Rebel agent in the game Dark Forces. The black clad Death Troopers seem to owe their design to Dark Forces also, but this is due to them both being based on Ralph McQuarrie’s designs for the original Star Wars.
I didn’t feel like they sold the relationship between Jyn and Saw Guerrera. He was a cipher. How did he come from Onderon to Jedha? Why was he huffing on that tube like Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet? We don’t find out. And his and Jyn’s reactions to one another seems flat and unconvincing. Very underplayed by the actors. And why, having found him at last, does Jyn just leave him there to die? They could probably throw him in a Bacta tank and fix him up. Or at least get him a better respirator.
Also what’s Jedha? Could they not use Ilum, or Ossus, or Tython, or Dantooine, or Utapau, or some other place where kyber crystals came from the old expanded universe continuity? And why make a demonstration of destroying their own facility and kyber crystal mines? Missed opportunity there.
The whole thing for the Sith of ‘only two they are’ and ‘the last of the Jedi will you be’ are such straightjackets they should just be decannonized or treated as inaccurate or things which are true ‘from a certain point of view.’
Here we have a blind guy who uses the force to see, Chirrut Îmwe. He fights hand-to-hand better than Obi-Wan or Anakin, and has mad aiming skills and never misses and always crits with his bowcaster. But he’s ‘not a Jedi’ he’s a Guardian of the Whylls. Another mythology gag for the fans btw.
I heard a page at the Rebel Base, Massassi Temple (an old Rakata temple, btw) on Yavin IV, for “General Syndulla.” And there was a ship which looked like the Ghost in the Rebel fleet. This raises hopes that maybe someday the Ghost crew from Rebels will cross over into the live action continuity. However, Disney seems to have an aversion for Ahsoka Tano’s character and essentially ordered her killed off in Rebels. Though Filoni and company more like put her on the bus. Ahsoka is so not a Disney princess. She’s austere in her adult appearance, she never needs rescuing even as Anakin’s padewan, and she has no Prince Charming, she is very much a loner. In many ways the good counterpart of Darth Vader as his former apprentice who experienced much of what he did, but came to a different conclusion. But since Rebels spent a season establishing that she was one of the founders of the rebellion along with Bail Organa, it would be weird for her to fall out of continuity in the movies. Of course where was she in Episodes 3-7?
I thought it was odd that the Rebellion fleet commander was a Mon Calamari, but not Admiral Ackbar, but some other dude. I mean, when they found out the planetary shield was up, he could have shouted, “it’s a trap!” which would have got a big laugh.
Anyway, thank goodness the Rebellion *had* a fleet, and not just a few wings of fighters as is ridiculously in FA.
I was okay with the “everybody died” theme, it is canon that many good people died to get us this information. That’s so very not Disney, except for the Disney offscreen deaths for a few of the more marketable characters who might be called back.
Anyway, Rogue One is very enjoyable. It looks and feels like a Star Wars movie, *the* Star Wars movie, and that can only be a good thing.
Five stars. Highly recommended.
Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy
It is quite amazing and disturbing the way Clinton’s spin doctors and the neoliberal press have spun the story of Clinton’s illegal basement email server into a tale of “Russia is attacking the United States” with no accountability for Clinton for the shocking lack of computer security at State.
Why were emails not encrypted with PGP so if they were hacked or leaked there would still be an additional layer of protection?
Why were they using passwords instead of dual key encryption with passphrases and two or more factor authentication for access?
Why did she set up an insecure server at home and redirect her official emails to it? A server that reportedly did not support DKIM, so that to communicate with it, DKIM had to be turned off at State as well?
Why in the world when folks at State received phishing emails, and checked with their IT folks, they were told yes go ahead and click on them and put in your password?
Where was their intrusion detection system? Did nobody notice hey all of our emails are being downloaded to a compromised machine in Germany?
Why was TLS reportedly not set up correctly on HC’s basement server when it was set up?
Why was a server configuration program, probably cpanel, left open to the outside world on HC’s server? Given that it was set up by a moonlighting guy from State’s IT, Brian Pagliano, was this also true of severs at State?
Was tripwire running on any of these servers so folks could say hey there’s weird changes happening on our servers that shouldn’t ever happen such as log files getting smaller?
When Pagliano detected that Clinton’s home server had been breached and shut it down, why the fuck did they start it up again. Why was it not shut down for good at this point?
And where is the accountability for Clinton? All we are hearing is Putin, Putin, Putin.
I can’t categorically say that State, the DNC, Clinton’s email would not have been hacked if I was in charge, because there is no such thing as perfect security. But none of the specific things I mentioned above would have happened, that’s for sure.
Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy
I saw an allegation today that “Assange is openly working with Russia.”
How is Assange openly working with Russia? It isn’t open if it is happening. And how is he going to manage a covert and undetectable channel of communications when GCHQ is on him like flies on a shitwagon?
The FBI or *cough* US Homeland Security I could see letting something get by them. If you read the nytimes article today about the alleged DNC email hacks you can see FBI knew the server was compromised, talked to a low level contractor on the phone who thought they were just trolls and did pretty much nothing. I’ll bet dollars to donuts it was an ip based phone system using SIP and the dumbass FBI thought that was a good enough and secure way to convey this urgent information when all they had to do was walk a half a mile.
But GCHQ I don’t expect to see that. I don’t see how Assange has a covert channel of communications. Now perhaps they just let him go and watch. But also this ignores the dead drop system by which documents are submitted and vetted and pre-distributed by wikileaks. It is pretty clever and would really want an inside person to break it. Ideally a bunch of inside people because stuff gets split up among multiple people until enough folks have it to form a deadman if the material for publication is intercepted. Point being nobody and certainly not Assange ever sees, talks to, or meets or even exchanges email with the leaker. It is done by good old anonymous physical mail and dead drops. And nothing of that is going to go to Assange in his modern day Elba. Classic tradecraft.
It is true that Assange appeared a number of times on RT. But I had the impression there was little love lost there. That doesn’t prove that Russia was directly sending material to Assange. I don’t see how they could maintain a covert channel of communications in Assange’s current situation and that just is not how Wikileaks works.
It is kind of pathetic that wikileaks tradecraft is so much better than the counterintelligence at FBI. What the hell are we paying for?
Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy
Is there a smoking gun proving that the GRU, Russian Army General Staff Intelligence, hacked the DNC email? And what about Hillary’s illegal server at home?
A smoking gun would be we traced this connection back to GRU Headquarters *and* could prove that *only* they got into the DNC and/or HC’s illegal basement server. Or if there was human intelligence to confirm. That still doesn’t rule out an inside whistleblower such as Seth Rich or a Snowden type at State. Let’s ask Brian Pagliano about that possibility, for instance. He took the fifth before Congress.
What we have heard suggested so far is, we saw a connection from a compromised machine in Germany which we think was used last year by a group we think is associated with GRU, and some linguistic patterns in messages which indicate a Russian speaker may have written them.
The first is suggestive but not proof. If a machine was open for years, it might have more than one group using it. If you will run SNORT and ACID, you will see people/things scanning you for weakness every day, all the time. Lingustic patterns proves pretty much nothing. Also “A Russian speaker did it” is a lot different than “GRU did it and was the source of the leaks.”
The other side of it is that if Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear are in fact GRU assets, and they did hack the DNC email, and we have only Crowdstrike (a private company employed by the DNC)’s word on this, it doesn’t prove that GRU was the source of the leaks.
What about Hillary Clinton’s illegal homebrew basement server?
Michael Lazar Lehel, a Romanian who has been in US custody since April 2016, claimed he had hacked Hillary’s illegal mail server:
Lehel was convicted of hacking email of a number of prominent figures including two former Presidents and a number of other officials and former officials, including Clinton crony Sid Blumenthal. Lehel was the first source of the information that Clinton had an illegal offsite server, but that doesn’t prove he actually got in. He might have just read the header on some of Clinton’s exchanges with Blumenthal, for instance.
Lehel said Clinton’s server was, “like an open orchid on the Internet” and that “it was easy … easy for me, for everybody.”
Mike Hayden former CIA Director and former NSA director said, “I would lose all respect for a whole bunch of foreign intelligence agencies if they weren’t sitting back, paging through the emails,” with regards to Clinton’s server.
Clinton reportedly had warnings from staff at State that there was evidence that her home server had been breached and it was temporarily shut down due to this.
Some analysis I have read suggests that TLS was incorrectly configured when the server was set up. That plus the really secret and hard to guess what it is name of “clintonemail.com” plus the geographic location in Chappaqua, New York in Clinton’s basement, plus that they left a server configuration program (CPANEL?) open to the outside world, was basically sending out an invitation to every bad actor in the world, of “House party at Hillary’s! Secret clandestine stuff free for the taking.”
My suspicion is that GRU probably hacked Clinton’s server and the DNC and probably so did at least a half dozen other state actors plus God knows how many private individuals.
Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy
There’s people who are blind, and then those that just can’t see.
Today I was taking the T (metro) to Harvard Square from Davis Square.
I was waiting for the next subway. about 30 feet away from me I could see a man shuffling his feet in tiny steps, looking disoriented this way and that, like Brownian motion, and saying in a soft voice, “Excuse me. Excuse me.” He had dark black sunglasses on. Overcoat, dark pants, flannel shirt I think. I looked at him and saw, he is blind. He got disoriented. He’s shuffling because he’s afraid of falling onto the tracks and the third rail and getting fried.
All the people near him ignored him. It was like they could neither see nor hear him.
I got up and walked over towards him. I said to him from the middle of the platform in a loud voice,
Do you need some help sir?
Soft voice. Yes.
Walking towards him.
Loud voice. What’s the problem?
I walk over to him.
I need to find the escalator.
Take my arm. Its right over here.
We walk arm-in-arm to the escalator.
Soft voice. Thank you. thank you. thank you.
It’s nothing, you would do the same for me. You can’t see it but I’m walking with a cane. You’re at Davis at the bottom of the up escalator. Do you know how to get out from here? His hand to the moving escalator railing.
Yes, yes. thank you. thank you.
I could not see his eyes but there were tears in his voice.
god bless you sir. merry christmas.
soft voice. merry christmas.
I walked back to the people who pretended not to see him, not to hear him.
I said in my not indoor voice, that man you ignored? That man asking for help? that was a BLIND MAN who needed help to get to the stairs. How do you feel?
Looking away, clutching pocketbooks.
I refrained from saying what was in my heart, which was a lecture about the Good Samaritan, because it wouldn’t be right to bully them and it isn’t right to call attention to one’s own “good deeds” which weren’t good or exceptional in any sane world, but merely human.
God how much longer must I carry these people. Some times I feel that I can’t stand it. Give me strength to go on.
God bless us all, every one.
Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy