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Saturday, July 05, 2014

Mass Effect 3 -> Mass Effect The Next Generation (or whatever)

The Mass Effect Trilogy was the journey of one Commander John/Jane Shepard.  Cdr. Shepard rose from a line officer to a Command officer and finally culminated in pan galactic war hero with unlimited authority and above any law.  Its a lot of exceptions to make for any man but for the story to succeed it worked.  He/She was basically an interstellar Delta-Force^³.

Well as a result of his or her choices we get three basic flavors of ending to this 'volume' for lack of a better term.

Flavor 1: Destruction - Reapers and Geth go bye bye...oh and so does EDI.
Consequence - Depending on war assets and whether or not you made the illlusive man kill himself...Shepard survives.  The reapers are destroyed and anything made up of their technology is at best majorly disrupted (presumably including the Keepers in the Citadel as well as the Citadel itself...now dead in orbit over the Earth).  The Mass Effect Relays are majorly damaged and teh galaxy is ravaged by the war with merely pieces of their fleets left over.

The industrial and damage to quality of life across these interstellar empires is massive.  This cycle may have been the least ready for an onslaught like this and only survived due to luck in finding what others had left behind.  The Protheans of the previous cycle had probably dealt a lot more damage to the Reapers than even Shepard could imagine...yet they kept on coming.  The empires of this era were comparatively new on the proverbial block.

The Reapers would have had precious little trouble if it wasn't for the MacGuffin that is the Crucible.  Not even the remnants of their creators (the Leviathan) were really much of a threat.

So to me this is the worst possible ending in terms of the amount of time it takes to recover.  However it gives the galaxy the largest chance to start completely anew.  It is a clean slate.  future protagonists will have to deal with an overall stunted technological and industrial/commercial base (logically) and whatever the main plot goal is...will be the most difficult to achieve.  However there will be some rewards in terms of flexibility for choices one would surmise.

As to the Quarian question - They might not matter.  If the player chose to side with legion...then do destruction...both Geth and Quarians are endangered species if not outright extinct by the time we pick up the first chapter of the next volume.  At best the Quarians are left trapped in the Sol System far from Rannoch...which at this point would be a long way from being rebuilt.

Shepards survival or death isn't terribly meaningful except to Liara..who may still be alive and a Matron by the time the new volume picks up.  If he survived there maybe one or two of his daughters out there to be encountered or if not encountered then at least you might hear about their own exploits.

Flavor 2:  Control - Quarians and Geth can survive in this one together or you can pick one or the other.  Here Shepard is now the Deus Ex Machina.  He replaces the Starchild and the Reapers become a super pan galactic protector rather than a machine of harvesting.

Consequences - The Mass relays are likely rapidly rebuilt and technological development continues onward.  Galactic travel likely resumes in as short as a generation or two thanks to Reaper assistance.  In game terms...maybe the new protagonist will hear the ghostly voice of =Shepard exclaiming that this store is his favorite on the citadel.  Perhaps the Reapers will deliver unexpected aid to the protagonist as a result of Shepard's benevolence and desire to protect the galaxy from whatever the latest threat is.

On the down side we may have an orwellian sort of state here where nothing is beyond the reach of the reapers.  A soft tyranny of sorts.  the brutality of the reapers will be unquestioned but largely hidden from all but those in power for the various stellar governments.  The mere threat of war will result in the Reapers stepping in as a police force to prevent or  stop instability.  Peace at all costs.

The overall plot wouldn't change but news reports and attitudes would be darker.  The Reapers would be anti-heroic.  Shepard is in control...isn't he?  That would be a neat C-plot to explore.

Flavor C - The Good Ending - Synthesis.  The Reapers...though partially organic before are now sentient and connected to the web of life.  They have empathy and individuality.  Individuals are now connected through their shared techno-organic Gestalt and have access to all of the knowledge that came before.

As the ending states...everyone is free to rebuild and flourish like never before.  The Reapers are galactic citizens and not oppressors or caretakers.  The state of technology would be highest here...perhaps with a new generation of Mass Relays...or a better form of travel that eliminates the need for them entirely.  Ships and people can now move freely about the Galaxy.  This ending REQUIRES many things.  It requires Shepard to have deleted the Geth who rebelled.  It requires Shepard to have stood down the Quarian fleet while allowing legion to sacrifice himself for the good of his entire people and it requires the quarians to have some to a peace with the Geth.

EDI lives.  The Normandy flies off.  Perhaps it reapirs itself now that it is at least partly composed of organic components.  The Krogan even flourish...rebuilding Tuchanka in the images of the ancients.  They have learned from their mistakes and have likely expanded their space beyond Tuchanka and potentially have a seat on the Council...taking their place finally as a legitimate power.  The Reapers after helping to repair likely retreated to dark space continuing a higher mission of protection of their Galactic Wards.  They might even have a council representative.

The protagonist here will have an extreme advantage compared to other endings with possibly a better starting condition.   N7 at this point should be a pan galactic designation...not one limited to those from Earth.  It should be on-par if not replacing the SPECTRE status (regardless of ending).  The difference here is that there will be more cooperation than in the destruction ending between powers...easier diplomatic solutions.  Control would force cooperation out of fear of the wrath of shepard.  Destruction...well the galaxy should be only *just* recovering in the slightest at his point.

Entire worlds will be cratered and scarred...in fact this would likely be the first Generation to really go back to the stars from the Destruction ending.  I for one can't imagine that ever being the best ending.  However it would have one thing in common with the synthesis ending and that is a different method of FTL travel not dependent on Reaper based Mass Relays.

Well here's to hoping we pick up on the Dark Energy story line here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Movie Review: The Numbers Station

Premise:  Hardboiled but troubled CIA field agent is assigned to manage a small CIA shortwave radio broadcast station and must pull it together when things go awry.

The Actors: John Cusak, Malin Ackerman and Liam Cunningham (Sir Davos on Game of Thrones).
The Characters (respectively): Emerson Kent, Katherine, Grey.

Katherine is the rather wide-eyed civilian broadcaster who is somewhat in denial about what she does and fantasizes about the missions she is handing out.

Emerson is still shaken from Grey murdering an innocent girl to close the loose ends on a previous assignment (one of the numbers from a station like the one he is now manning).  Grey is promoted and gets him this job as a favor...and also so the agency simply doesn't off his former partner (he knows too much).

Cut to the bunker: They are leaving their 2 day shift for a weekend off and we are introduced to their shift alternates who are basically nothing more than red-shirts.  There is not enough time to develop their characters other than that they are both young though obviously the man is older in this case and through Emerson's eyes we see that they are in a relationship.  Though natural one can see disapproval in Emerson's eyes.

So we get some more of his mental anguish and drinking in a short cut-scene (thank the editor gods for that).  Then moving on he picks her up at the train station as usual.  They arrive at the bunker and see their alternate's transportation is still there...which at this point shouldn't be unmanned.  Then the attack begins and we go through a series of stages including investigation and they find out that even their emergency hardline is compromised.  Eventually our protagonists succeed, and not only are all of the antagonists dead (save one technically) but Emerson reveals that Katherine saved Grey's life.  Grey still wanted to kill her up until this reveal and gives them 10 days to disappear.


Movie Characteristics:

Location: Suffolk England @ WW2 US Army Base - Retrofitted Radio Bunker
Cinematography:  Good use of lighting for the mood and setting.  Dramatic rather than functional.  Adds to the stress of the situation.  The steady rather than shaky cam

Character development:  Emerson basically grows a backbone.  As for whether or not he's developed feelings for Katherine...it could be mostly a father-daughter relationship in his mind but he does care for her.  Grey is nearly a perfect sociopath, but he still values loyalty and since Emerson is loyal (though broken) he rewards that.  He knows how to manipulate and to what extent he can get away with emotional control.  Emerson would have been too much of a problem if he'd refused to let Katherine walk.

Katherine makes the heroine mistake of leaving the secured room at one point to make the broadcasts stopping the assassinations of CIA and other intelligence officials.  She gets a bullet as a reward but lives thanks to Emerson's persistence and timely crashing into a hospital parking lot (he was also shot by the final villain on the way out...jacking his car).

The movie is decent, though the suspense is a bit light.  The shady underbelly of the intelligence world only glimpsed rather than confronted.  But the veteran character's animosity towards his own people begins to show.  The psychologist examining him at the beginning says that "We're not sociopaths".  Obviously she is cajoling him.  A sociopath would have been fine with their activities and the protagonist isn't any longer.  He is detached...but not that distant.  He has a code; grown-ups have had their time and crossing with him is their last mistake.  Kids to him are off-limits or at least should be.  The CIA in this movie obviously feels that not only are domestic black bag operations acceptable but that its ok to murder innocent children to cover up an op's existence.

It is heavy handed but a movie like this has a screen play fit for future TV adaptation.  The Numbers Station has a great premise to build either a limited run mini-series or single season show on...or a longer multi-season (3-5 seasons).

I'd re-imagine it this way:
Post movie consequences - fallout from the destruction of this radio base leads to the upending of a conspiracy internally where a few low level CIA officials have been fired and disappeared...a new radio station opens in a different part of England (where of course our protagonists will be stationed...but for the pilot we have a cold open on a similar incident taking place...setting off another round of assassinations.)

This time Grey bites the dust.   The series will actually follow 2x sets of protagonists each getting an episode or half episode of time.  Some will run concurrently and others will be in serial.  The opening and closing credits will tell another story via a silent movie like method.  Putting together the credits from across a season will tell a story that is its own that could be self-contained or connect events otherwise only alluded to during the regular season.

Moving forward - post cold open and post credits we are introduced to our first new sets of protagonists.  This will be done with a similar psychologist interviewing them after previous assignments that have all taken a toll (for the 2 station chiefs).  For the civilians...like in the movie they will either be college drop-outs or hired straight out of college.  Complete civilians with minimal skills though they may have been to the farm for cursory training as analysts (replete with basic survival skills).

Each shift won't meet until the third episode during shift change.  Episode 2 will follow them on initial move-in and simple assignment broadcasting.  Episode 2 will show the second shift team doing prep-work and at the end of the show it will be a quick scene showing them being followed and chronicled by someone(s).

As the season draws on another station could be shown to be hit in a cold open by unknown people.  However life for our protagonists goes on fairly normal though they may notice being followed or something else.  One shift will be more open and another more coy.  Eventually they will leave messages for each other.  And following that...they will be attacked separately (but will persevere) and then they will be sharing ciphers.

They will work separately on pieces of the puzzle. And only get a peek at the conspiracy.  The conspiracy will take a bigger stage in season 2 as some episodes will focus more on that aspect.  Even here however the full extent won't be revealed with only 3-5 of the episodes having this as central.  The two teams will be growing closer but hiding it from their superiors.  This will keep them safe for the moment though more attempts on their station will be attempted.

Season 3 will kick off with a 2 part 2 hour show.  The first part will be much like the film with a siege of the installation with the second part being the relief but deepening of the conspiracy.  Their superiors will praise them for defending the installation without a compromise like we have seen happen in other places...but its a gambit...the team is split up...new stations for each pair with 3rd and 4th set added.  The 3rd and 4th set are conspirators.  conspiracy fun time!  As each original team watches the news in their off hours they see important people being assassinated world wide including congressmen and at least one important cabinet member.  Things are getting worse.  Season 3 will end with the death of the President...killed by his own secret service detail.

Season 4 kicks off with a presidential funeral, but then cuts back to the more hum-drum life of broadcasting numbers.  The conspiracy teams return and the assassinations stop.  The new President (VP whoever) is in power and things calm down.  Each *protagonist* team begins to put pieces together.  Each antagonist team begins to suspect that part of the jig is up.  Season 4 will concentrate on protagonist teams building allies in their off hours rather than on the numbers.  More action here a-la covert affairs with cross channel-tunnel action in Paris as well as England and Scotland.  Season 4 will end with each protagonist team blowing up their stations and going rogue for season 5..the final season each team with half a cipher...fighting to get to each other.

Season 5:  The cipher if united and used will lay out the final stages for a series of assassinations bringing unwanted people to power.  If the protagonists fail...WW3 will start.  If they succeed the USA will be rocked to the core and perhaps start another revolution.  Scenes of Tea Party protests and Snowden protests will be shown as well as Occupy and WTO protests for stock footage.  Police brutality clips and others will be used as filler.

This season will let the viewers vote on either a failure ending or a success at the end of each episode.  There will be no credits for this season like in past seasons.  Only a quick abbreviated credits black screen at the end.  The ending itself will take the form of a 21 minute credit sequence that is entirely silent.

DVD or special digital download will include the alternate ending. as well as bonus footage...commentary on every episode by each director, the executive producer and at least one star of that episode.  Behind the scenes gag reels and *making of* will be included.  Special options will be the actual dialogue from the silent scenes that was recorded but left out.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Net Runner - The Reality

Many of us nerds have either played or at least heard of the game Net-Runner.  This is part of the Cyberpunk genre of games and literature.  A great deal of this comes from watching the pace of technology accelerate and also combining it with the political perceptions of the late 1970's and early 1980's in a critical and dystopian manner.

The reality is that we do live in a crapsack world governed mainly by well capitalized interests and corrupt government officials acting mostly in cooperation if not outright coordination/collusion.

  • LIBOR rate rigging
  • FOREX (foreign currency exchange) Rigging
  • Gold and Silver (really all metals) market rigging - nevermind the aluminum cartel
That is all just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what a crapsack world we really live in.  We all buy the sausage, but few of us are aware of how it is made and how many dirty hands touch it before it reaches our collective mouths.

On to the actual point of things!
Technology is advancing rapidly though asymmetrically.  Intel is busy pushing the next generation of connectivity alongside Google.  Intel's SD-card sized computer is in the works, though the current generation uses an Atom processor rather than a Quark processor.  This is done mostly for performance reasons, but leaves it bulkier than the original design called for.
 
The above picture is a reference design to show where things are headed soon.  It has wireless connectivity, runs a linux OS, and is a developer board.  This means that it is for the use of others to make applicable to our lives.  Chips like this can be fitted into any number of items from shoes and other apparel to making an extremely efficient distributed computer system embedded in a soldier's body armor, part of a police uniform or even helping you and your friends create a "personal-LAN".

Imagine integrating these connectivity devices with other wearables like google glass and using an encrypted connection and some VPN software having your own private communications system all hands free.

what you have here is the beginnings of the Star Trek Next Generation comm badge at the very least.  It would be able to provide GPS coordinates, link up and have its power augmented/supplemented by other devices, used as part of a personal ID system that replaces credit/debit cards and passports and driver ID's.

this little device could replace all of your miscellaneous identification and payment devices.  You won't need it implanted a la mark of satan..simply having it as part of a wrist watch device would be enough.  Cover it in an OLED screen and you have a functional watch tied to the system clock that updates via the nuclear clock over your now permanent internet connection.

The internet is also about to become free - as satellites are about to be launched in the next few years to broadcast internet connectivity world wide.  At first connection speeds may be slow and latency high.  But over time we will have a dick-tracy video/ radio watch.

The internet of things will quite literally let us perform miracles.

Back on to what it can do for soldiers.
  • Provide a local network for communications that is short range and encrypted
  • Use other wearable devices to give soldiers enhanced situation awareness (expanded spectral vision)
  • Act as an emergency homing beacon in a compact and rugged form factor
Soldiers now with computerized systems on their armor basically have laptops on their backs or equipment that is still bulky.  A small distributed network however can be placed all around the solider's uniform so that even if one part is disabled the rest will function even if slightly degraded.

Police forces can benefit from the same things and so can individuals.  wearable safety devices while out hiking powered not my batteries but the energy of one's own movements.  GPS devices that never fail because they are powered the same way.  No one ever needs to be lost again.  These small units could monitor in real time a person's blood sugar level if they are diabetic giving a real time read-out on your watch of both actual and average over time.  Oxygen levels for people with COPD and a whole host of other conditions can be monitored.

This is only the beginning.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Gaming Generation

My Generation - tentatively called "Millenials" of which I am one  of the earlier born members is the generation that is the first to grow up with the internet in a relatively modern format.  Additionally computer games in my generation finally  became more than moving dots and dashes around and more than letters and numbers.

Fully realized 3-D rendered and hardware acceleration became normal very quickly and soon the human need for social interaction would merge.  Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, EVE Online and even  games on Facebook and other platforms emerged.  Mobile gaming is finally becoming mainstream as our communications devices now have the gaming power of yesteryear's laptop computers.

Socially we are more interconnected than ever before.  Our devices are portals to each other.  Some see it as a distancing, or a filter and in some cases these analysts are correct.  Anonymity lets many individuals act in manners that are otherwise not permissible in social situations.  Other times the technology, such as integrated webcams on laptops, tablets and phones allows for intimate connections across vast distances.

Past generations wrote letters on paper and parchment.  Now we write on electrons and magnetic bits.  Past generations would use a complicated cipher to encode their writings, now we have 512 bit encryption available publicly.  There is something still intimate about a handwritten letter, but email is widely regarded as formal enough for almost any message as long as the formatting is thoughtful.

We used to have naughty deguerreotypes and now we sext each other instantly be it picture or video, or even broadcast it for all to see in a rather shameless manner.

Communication is instant world wide and I for one couldn't be happier.  I can speak with people in Russia, Denmark, Iceland and Singapore all at the same time and in real time with no cost beyond paying for access to the world wide web.  Aside from the fact that this would indicate a possible demise of legacy telecom systems in the future, the larger point is that we now have the ability to communicate as individuals with one another without the filter of a government in between.

Aside from picking and choosing what government you live under one discovers that a man is a man anywhere in the world and we have far more in common than governments would have us think.  We enjoy and have passions for the same things and have the same wishes for our families.  It is odd to think that we are somehow in opposition rather than engaged in cooperation.  But here we are.

My generation is certainly not one that is enamored with world peace, nor despite accusations to the contrary, so full of hubris that we think we can attain it.  However we are the first generation with the infrastructure for such an achievement.  Soon a company will be launching into orbit a constellation of micro-satellites that will broadcast internet access world wide.  It will not matter if you are sailing in the middle of the most desolate (of humans) ocean on earth, nor hiking a trail in Afghanistan, nor even in Antarctica.  Soon borders will mean even less.  What I do fear is that governments will jealously guard and attempt to clamp down out of insecurity.  Instead of freeing their citizens to interact, make contracts and engage socially the national governments will instead create more barriers to entry and try to keep us closed off from one another.

What good is a government that gives up social control?  Why it is the best government that one could have.  A freer people will never have existed on earth than is possible at this moment.  But world-wide we see restrictions.  Turkey closing down Twitter and youtube access is just a public example.  The Great Firewall of China is another.  The NSA's bulk monitoring of citizens online and mobile activities in and out of the United States is one of the most egregious.  And yet instead of backing down when challenged, those forces of authority double down and accuse critics of promoting the enemies of the state.  Hyperbole is ratcheted up and we see the militarization of police with MRAPs and an ever increasing number of SWAT teams and federal grants to support this.  Rights are restricted and the government talks seriously for the first time about licensing journalism and restricting the rights of the press and free speech.

My generation has the ability to choose what road we go down.  We will either go on the road to freedom, or on the road to serfdom.

Game On.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Officer Training Required

A more and more common sight:

Here is the issue:

The officer initiates contact
The subject of the contact indicates that she is not in violation and is in-fact the appropriate distance
The officer instigates by insisting that she move farther back (creating a situation where none existed)
The officer, seeing that this is going nowhere escalates further (under color of law) - demanding identification
The subject knowing her rights refuses based on the grounds that there was no reason for contact with the officer in the first place (illegal stop).
The officer arrests the subject and uses broad charges to justify harassment and abuse.

Result?

Subject injured despite there being no resisting arrest charge (possible excessive use of force)
Subject files lawsuit against the department
department reflexively denies
department still investigates (CYA: Cover Your Ass) just in-case their knee-jerk reaction is wrong.

There are many incidents like this and the list is growing day by day.  There are several reasons why police behave in this manner and it is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Police Officers/LEO's are a tribe much like the marines, or special forces; they are an insular group and everyone else is a potential threat.  This is why the California officers were so freaked out about Dorner.  He was one of them and then he became a threat from the inside.   The American people are the enemy and our cities and rural areas are now widely regarded as battlefields.

Police Officers lack proper training:  Here in my own state very few police officers know that a carry concealed permit also allows for open carry.  As a result the legal advice to residents was to not carry open.  This is wrong.  You do not tell citizens to not engage in a legal activity because you are too lazy to train officers and their superiors on the law.

Federal Funds/Militarization of Police: Bad.

America is becoming a battlefield and our police forces are increasingly populated with mentally ill veterans and sociopaths who engage in manipulative power trips under the color of law and the guise of protecting people.  Comply citizen, or get beaten like the chattel you are.

The Continuing Snowden Revelations

ITS A CONSPIRACY!

No really...it is.  But before digging in to the latest of the continuing reveals of exactly how far our intelligence services are overstepping their constitutional bounds let us take a travel back in time...not all that far to 2010.  This Article can be viewed for context but the main crux of it is from a paper Cass Sunstein (President Obama's Head of Information and Regulatory Affairs...a fairly Kafkaesque-esque position if you ask me) wrote with a Harvard Professor, Adrian Vermuele, dealing with how government should respond to citizens distrust of government.  The entire paper is publicly available HERE for you to read.

I refuse to take things out of context and Cassie here makes it quite easy to contextualize his statist attitude.  His wife by the way is Samantha Power.  She is a former journalist turned think tank fellow, turned Obama campaign advisor, turned State Department official.  She published her own statist paper/thesis dealing with a concept she called "The Right to Protect".  This entails using NATO/US/UN forces to intervene in 'humanitarian' crisis around the world based on the assumption that since we have a large military that we should use it for the benefit (as we see said benefit) to promote an open society/democracy/self-determination.  Of course this open society thing is funded by George Soros and the Tides Foundation at large.

Much of this is interconnected via think-tanks and the continuous cycle from Academia to think-Tank to Govt feeding cycle.  It is an intellectual version of the military industrial complex...rather it is the intellectual-industrial-complex. An interesting PDF can be found HERE on the number of think tanks in the USA.  Make of it what you will.  All of this dissembling may seem scattered but that is only because to explore the material in depth would require several books and leads down a rabbit hole so deep and twisting only the most dauntless of scholars or journalists would dare go down.

All one has to do to see the think tanks and though- shapers psychological warfare techniques are in operation is to wait for a significant event to occur and the security experts pop out of the woodwork.  Some of them are CIA/NSA/ Private contractor plants and the rest are shills for the administration (whoever is in power).  Their job is to deflect, discredit and destroy the opposition.  No different than what Cass Sunstein advocates in his paper.  One of the many symptoms of Cass Sunstein's cognitive infiltration strategy that is easily visible takes place in the many commentary sections of online publications.  There is always some racist bait or sexist or something there designed to take an illogical position aligned to the side that needs to be discredited before momentum is gained.

It is clever but diabolical.  And so far reaching that few would believe it...until documents came out saying that it is exactly what happens.  But 'tin foil hat' ITS A CONSPIRACY.  Well technically it is exactly that.  It is a concentrated group of people plotting to use their power against the larger group and influence them without their knowledge towards a goal that the concentrated group considers appropriate or beneficial...to their own selves and likely to the exclusion of others.

It is a thesis...turned actual plan. And it is the very definition of Kafkaesque.  The machine is being designed to grind liberty into dust.  A Semblance of Liberty

Born to fight, and we're born to flee
Doomed to live on ecstasy
Born to lie, and we're born to cheat
Look in the mirror, who do you see?

Born to flee, and we're born to fight
Without your mask, you're terrified
Don't hide your personality
That's who you are, your identity

If the virtues of tomorrow
Cause the greed of today
We won't have a future
Nor liberty

Born to breathe, and we're born to pursue
That's all we are supposed to do
The semblance of our liberty
Is nothing more than slavery

Born to flee, and we're born to fight
Is it failure that's our delight?
Born to cheat, and we're born to lie
Look at yourself, have you lost your mind?

If the virtues of tomorrow
Cause the greed of today
We won't have a future
And no more liberty

If the virtues of tomorrow
Set the need on the way
We won't have a future nor liberty

Private vice leads to public virtue

[Laughs!]

Raised to think that we are free
Living in our caves
Being slaves

We lost control of our lives
At the mercy of the waves
Massive waves

Blind to see what's going on
Conditioned as we are
And we are

We lost control of our greed
But now we face it all
Face our fall

Keeping all that we've created
And consuming all that's possible
Reaching deep into temptation
Nothing can stop us

Guarantee our hard-earned profits
Multiplied ten-fold if possible
Reaching out for new redemption
Nothing avails our needs

My opponent won't rule out raising taxes.
But I will, and The Congress will push me to raise taxes and I'll say no.
And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again, and I'll say to them:
Read my lips
[George H. W. Bush]

If the virtues of tomorrow
Set the need on the way
We never had a future anyway
We had no future 'till today

Time and tide
Will not wait for anyone
Consider the lyrics and reflect.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whats really going on in The Ukraine

The protests in The Ukraine have been growing over time and most of us simply put it in the back of our minds.  The U.S. State Department however has put some interesting attention on it in the past few weeks driving the conflict forward.

First it is important to understand The Ukraine in a historical and Geographic sense.

The nation's name literally means 'Border' which is why it is called THE Ukraine.  There are two major groups in the country.  Those in the western third are Ukranian speaking and generally have closer ties to the E.U. community and the eastern third is Russian speaking with close ties to Moscow.  This should be no surprise.  Most people forget the Ukraine used to be a part of the Iron Curtain only two decades ago.  that is only a single generation.  So what is happening is partly based on historical ethnic/nationalist sentiment.

The other part is political and economical.  Politically Russia wants to keep close ties to the Ukraine to stop the increasing encroachment of the NATO alliance (which was formed to counter Soviet power and now Russian influence during the Cold War...which ostensibly is still on-going if you ask me).  The EU, where a vast majority of the member countries are NATO members or at least allies, is pushing for closer ties to the Ukraine and the current government in the Ukraine is resisting...preferring Moscow.

The Russian Federation is doing everything it can economically to buy support including massive natural gas price reductions for the Ukraine.  On the other side the EU/USA/NATO alliance is supporting the 'activists'/'protesters' at least on the diplomatic side including a senior official passing out cookies to them.  that in and of itself is hilarious because US diplomats are often referred to as cookie pushers from Harvard.  Of course Vicky here manages to avoid the Harvard part of the stereotype...but it isn't a subversion of the trope...more of a parallel where its might as well be the same thing.  Of course her part in the Benghazi cover-up and now showing up in the middle of the Ukraine-near-civil war makes one at least quirk an eyebrow at how one woman can keep popping up in areas at appear to be rapidly de-stabilizing.

At the same time Barack 'The Rock' Hussein Obama is warning the Ukrainian Govt (legitimately elected btw) to not use force against the so-called protesters.  My question would be...or else what?   Obviously it is a veiled threat of sanctions in the least and an armed intervention at worst under the guise of 'humanitarian assistance' or some such drivel.

So the answer to the question as to why this is happening is generally represented by Russian antipathy towards NATO and vice versa.  There are more specific reasons that entail trans-national corporate interests and EU expansion desires.  However it should be noted that there is likely a great deal of support for the protesters via operators from various intelligence agencies...or at least the assets that are distanced from the handlers that pass them messages and directives.

The protests have gone from chanting to gasoline bomb throwing, armory assaulting nigh-on-civil-war in the space of a couple weeks.  All of this is despite the government showing considerably more restraint than any in the United States would given similar levels of violence.  The only way that the government could be characterized as aggressive would be saying that...since it didn't simply give in to the mob of protesters...that alone is an aggressive act and...well you get the escalation almost purely one sided that we have today.

Its fun to watch from a distance...like a supernova.

Update:  Speaking of George Soros and his open society initiative...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Oh look a thinly veiled hit piece by Dana Milbank!

HERE

Step 1) Open with a false premise
Step 2) Offer a meaningless fact
Step 3) Brief Narrative
Step 4) Jealous projection of authors own ego upon his target
Step 5) Profit?