Archive | May 2014

The Coffee Break. 28th May 2014.

According to an article from the CBC, Canada and the Turks and Caicos Islands have ruled out a merger, but they hint that it may still be in the books far later down the line. Now to summarize the article in order to save time and space (and because you dear readers can check out the story in the link at the end of this article): the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands visits Canada and while he did not ask to join Canada on behalf of the Turks and Caicos, any future discussion on the possible addition of the Turks and Caicos Islands to the Dominion of Canada far into the distant future should not be ruled out entirely. The article then goes into some key points regarding absorbing a foreign territory into the Canadian state such as the issue with the three provinces, and issues that can arise concerning the constitution and other related affairs.

Turks and Caicos map

Right well the comments section on CBC are a mess as always: people blaming politicians, pro-annexation individuals pointing out some benefits, people disagreeing and pointing out the disadvantages and so forth. What I want to do however is touch on one key issue that the Canadian government will have to overcome should – if it occurred – Canada absorb the island chain.

Starting things off; the Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory located in the Lucayan Archipelago, part of the larger Antilles according to Wikipedia. These Caribbean islands rest south by southeast of The Bahamas, and east by northeast of Cuba, with Haiti and the Dominican Republic directly south of the small island territory. Being and island territory by nature, the key issue the Canadian government will have to deal with if they were to accept a offer of joining from the premier of the Turks and Caicos is defence – on top of a possible flight of refugees seeking Canadian refugee status by landing on the newly acquired territory not so far from home.

Starting things off would be the Royal Canadian Navy: 33 ships total is our fleet, and yet we have only 15 operational. Should an island territory become part of Canada our navy will have an even greater task of providing defence and security for these islands, on top of their already massive mandate of protecting Canadian shores which includes a massive swathe of northern waters. The cost for the navy would be at least two frigates with six to eight patrol vessels for the security of the area. Cost of maintaining a patrol squadron too much for the Canadian government? Shrink that squadron down to one frigate and six patrol vessels similar to the ones being procured for our northern operations.

Could the Canadian government afford to operate a naval presence in the region to protect territorial sovereignty? That is the first question out of the list: the next is ground forces. A regular force battalion raised and permanently stationed in the Turks and Caicos could prove costly for the Canadian government, and seeing as it would be very difficult to conduct military training with the unit on an annual basis, a regular force battalion might be out of the question. Thus it falls to the Turks and Caicos Islands to form army reserve units to defend their home – funded and supplied by the Canadian government of course. The type of reserve units would be one infantry battalion, one artillery/coastal artillery battalion, one air defence battalion, and one logistics unit to provide the previous three battalions with food, ammo and weapons. Should having multiple units prove unsustainable however, then a single infantry company will have to suffice for internal security.

Now with regards to policing of the island territory, the local police forces can simply be carried over from their previous status as an overseas territory; yet we have not factored in one key aspect – the citizen’s decision. Should some of the 30,000 residents of the Turks and Caicos wish to remain British Overseas citizens, they will have to move to another part of the Caribbean in order to continue with their status. This could in turn create some difficult scenarios in that the people are forced to leave behind their homes, livelihoods and so forth in order to retain their documentation – the choice is theirs.

Government offices and so forth can be established by absorbing the current structure over there, which brings us back to our initial question: what will Canada do for the defence of those islands? Our current fleet will prove insufficient, and an army division stationed on the island would be difficult to maintain – even for army reserve units. There is not enough land for a full air force base and with a limited fighter craft fleet we cannot spare the jets: in other words the islands will only get a small squadron of light warships with an army reserve unit as their first and only line of defence against foreign aggression, and for internal security in an event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Now Canada is not a nation which goes about pissing off other countries on a whim, but certainly the defence of the islands would be an important consideration to look into yes? Should these people and their government choose to join Canada they will have to be protected. Difficult questions best left unanswered as the territory belongs to the United Kingdom, and any – per se – “transfer” of territorial authority could have some unseen consequences sooner or later. For now however it is all just talk; let us hope it stays that way, otherwise these questions will have to be answered and fast.

Yet one final thing to note before finishing this article for the day: Canada has suggested a union with the Turks and Caicos before in the past. Back in 1917 Prime Minister Borden suggested this idea, with another attempt by an NDP member of Parliament Max Saltsman through a Private Member’s Bill which was rejected by the House of Commons. Judging from the historical events present, this sort of talk is not something new: definitely in the future Canadians will be reading more of this as history continues to visit us again and again. The link to the full article is located below this paragraph. Thanks everyone for reading, and I will catch you next time.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/stow-that-dream-of-retiring-in-the-turks-and-caicos-for-now-1.2655837

The Coffee Break: 27 May 2014

Hello folks;

 

Posted on CBC earlier today is an article which talks about a report done by Tom Quiggin, a court expert on terrorism and member of the Terrorism and Security Experts of Canada, titled “The Muslim Brotherhood in North America.” According to CBC the report details how and why the Canadian government should probe the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in Canada, citing that their aim is to establish front organizations to eventually aid them in gaining political power.

According to Quiggins these front groups and affiliated groups must be probed for any signs of extremist activity, citing the need to monitor so-called charities and similar organizations who have been noted to: “repeatedly circumvent and break Canadian regulations and laws,” (CBC, 2014). The report finally suggests co-operation or information sharing with British authorities investigating the group and holding its own inquiry.

Alright well any group which decides to use the title “charity” to gain political power and undermine the Canadian government and her allies is unacceptable. The fact that this so-called “Brotherhood” aims to establish political power and undermine society in Canada and the US is already cause enough for a certain degree of concern. This report may be called a knee-jerk reaction, but understand that there are a lot of groups out there – Neo-Nazis, Anarchists, etc – who wish to see the order and peace enjoyed by millions in both countries brought down and either replaced with a radical system where their own ideology is the only ideology present, or just tear everything down completely and hope the sky will keep them safe. Being an expert in his field this report was not submitted lightly, therefore authorities should – if they have not already – begin work on observing and monitoring the Brotherhood’s activities.

Using the words “peace,” and “tolerance” does not mean they get a free pass in regards to observation and rule enforcement. Charities are not play-things for extremists to use whenever they want. Here is hoping that the Canadian government is working towards investigation and co-operation with our British counterparts. Like the commander from Ender’s Game the movie once said: “when the war is over, we can have the luxury of debating the morality of what we do.” The link to this story is located below: thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you next time.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/muslim-brotherhood-activities-need-to-be-probed-in-canada-report-says-1.2654636

Sergeant Blisk – Titanfall

Well it has been a while since this blog has reviewed a character; let us kick things off with Sergeant Blisk from the video game Titanfall. Encountered when you first enter the IMC campaign (after completing the Militia Campaign) Sergeant Blisk is a South African – judging from his accent and from the game description – private military contractor who is the field commander of the IMC forces alongside Vice-Admiral Marcus Graves and an AI robot designated Spyglass. Blisk is the no-nonsense character who is always thinking of the long run, and also thinking of how to improve his employer’s foothold in the frontier systems.

Sergeant Blisk

Blisk originally wanted to take on the IMC contract in order to earn enough money to retire to a tropical paradise. However after seeing the money that was paid to him and his comrades alongside the state of the art hardware that the IMC equips their soldiers, Blisk has since decided to continue his employment with the IMC forces on the frontier. While there is not much background story to the characters in Titanfall, what is available through the dialogue during missions and in the loading sequences is enough to give a first impressions of a particular character.

Blisk is a soldier who always keeps his mind focused on the task at hand, and is utterly dedicated to the IMC in a manner which leads him to conduct operations with no hesitation – a sharp contrast from his superior Vice-Admiral Graves. Now before continuing the following will contain spoilers to the Titanfall “story” so if you wish to skip this portion just scroll down past this paragraph. Alright so back to Graves; the man eventually switches sides after his former comrade commits suicide in an effort to stall IMC reinforcements from the core worlds. After that – what is essentially a – final battle for a key refueling port, Graves is shown in both the IMC and Militia campaigns to be on the side of the Militia as they assault a robotics factory. Blisk is promoted to Commander, with the robot AI Spyglass promoted to Vice-Admiral – a rather strange choice but one has to guess that the IMC did so with the best intentions.

Spyglass

Now what is most interesting about Blisk is that he is willing to get the job done no matter the cost to either the enemy, or to civilian lives. The line Blisk uses when Graves asks him about civilians on-board Militia cruisers is: “Today’s civilians are tomorrow’s Militia, sir. What do you want me to do, wait?” Thus sergeant Blisk is a respectable figure in that he is able to answer a rather tough question that plagues conventional military operations like the one in Afghanistan: who is civilian and who is an enemy? Indeed the enemy knows NATOs rules of engagement, and uses the “civilian” tag to hide, resupply, and stage raids against NATO forces. When it comes to war on the frontier, one has to assume that Blisk is used to fighting wannabe civilians turned hardcore Militia, as the planets the IMC strikes could very well be filled with Milita sympathizers, whereas planets with no sympathizers will rarely warrant the IMC battlegroup’s attention in the first place – local garrisons are enough to keep order and peace.

Blisk is indeed an interesting character, and one has to hope that in a future installment of the Titanfall series – if there is to be a series – that Blisk makes a return and is given more background alongside the other characters still alive in the conflict. Titanfall needs a singleplayer section alongside a strong multiplayer, and if the developers wish to stay competitive they would be wise to include a story arc for players to play around with and further enhance their experience. Thanks for reading folks, and I will see you next time.

Coffee Break. 22 May 2014.

Hello folks and welcome back to the Coffee Break for the 22nd of May 2014. Today’s article is from Gamasutra.com and it talks about how the game of chess was once subject to the all so familiar moral panic – a topic that also once engulfed video games, and to an extent still does today. The writer of the article – which I will post at the end of this coffee break – talks about how chess back in 1859 in the US was deemed as a time waster, and that it captured young peoples’ minds and kept them from doing more productive things in life. Indeed the words used were (and this is direct from the article, and not the original article from 1859): “No young man who designs to be useful in the world can prosecute it [chess] without danger to his best interests,” (Gamasutra.com, 2014).

ChessSet

Moral panic is a phenomenon that occurs when the public suddenly becomes troubled by a new trend, or in the case of the article, technology. When video games first appeared on the market, some parents voiced concerns over their children’s new found hobby. Indeed there were some movements to curtail the spread of video games, all of which were just part of a “wave” – per se – that occurred due to a lack of familiarity with technology. Like our ancestors before, older generations will always criticize the younger generations: the example to be used will be military basic training.

New recruits today are sometimes touted as being “too soft,” which also occurred in 1998 when some Royal Navy sailors were asked the same question. Funny thing was – and this information was from Jingle’s youtube channel – when the sailors saw the time of when the quote was taken, they were shocked to say the least. Some background before going forward: Jingles the youtuber – his channel titled the Bohemian Eagle – had served in the Royal Navy before retiring and starting his own youtube channel. Now when his fellow crew members were asked this question they all replied in the same manner as anyone would in their shoes: however the quote they were shocked to see was taken from an NCO in the 1930s. Yes folks, back in the 1930s soldiers still called recruits “soft.” These supposed “soft” soldiers went on to fight in World War 2, Korea, the Suez crisis, and various other operations British Forces were engaged in. The fact of the matter is if soldiers today are “soft” how do you expect them to do their job well? Come on now people they have just recently finished in Afghanistan and without a doubt they did an excellent job in carrying out their mission to the best of their ability.

Halo_4_Cover_Art

Older generations will always criticize the younger generations, and history can tell us this fact if you look hard enough: whether or not they are right to criticize younger generations is on a case-by-case basis. Coming back to the article from Gamasutra.com, yes indeed it is no surprise that the game of chess was once subject to moral panic: these waves happen, and like the author of the article says: “it is exactly that, a wave.”

Moral of the story is look into the phenomenon and do some homework before going into panic mode and demanding radical steps to be taken: after all if we truly stand for individual liberty and freedom of choice, then we must act accordingly. The full article is located below: thank you all for reading, and I will see you next time.

 

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/218359/Chess_trumps_Mortal_Kombat_as_the_first_game_to_incite_moral_panic.php

War Thunder Ground Forces.

Hello folks;

 

Those of you who followed my writing in the past would be pleased to hear that War Thunder Ground Forces is now live thanks to update 1.41. Earlier in the week (Monday 19 May 2014) I had a look at the War Thunder website and I was rewarded with this wonderful news! Indeed it has been nearly a year since the last update on this blog regarding War Thunder Ground Forces, and now it has finally been released; my prayers have been answered – thank you God-Emperor of mankind, your devouted servant is forever grateful (humor intended).

Jokes and a rather odd taste in language aside the Ground Forces module is quite impressive to say the least. Thus far I have only been practicing through the test driving section, but thus far the game does its part in giving a more realistic simulation of the vehicles than previous titles available. Whenever you come to a sudden halt the tank will rock, and until it stabilizes out you cannot get an accurate shot at the enemy vehicle. Piloting the German StuG during my “test run” the vehicle handled exactly as I expected a world war 2 vehicle to handle: there was a gear change sequence (though I play with simplified controls so I did not have to change gears manually), the vehicle can turn but it can also swing violently and end up going from a 90 degree turn to a 180 degree turn if you hold down either the ‘A’ key or the ‘D’ key too long (in other words fish-tailing), and finally the gun itself fires with that oh-so-good ‘thump’ as the anti-tank round flies through the air towards the enemy unit.

Thus far there are only two countries available for Ground Forces: Germany and the Soviet Union. However their vehicle trees are quite extensive, and yes people, you can pilot an AA gun platform: in case some of you out there felt scared to take on the big boys and wanted to pick the “ducks” out from the sky (humor intended).

Chances are there will be more posts related to War Thunder Ground Forces in the coming weeks and onwards: this game just re-entered my radar, and it does not show signs of leaving any time soon. Thanks for reading everyone, and I will see you next time.

WarThunder_ground forces

Worth your time or not?

Elite daily is an online “news” website that is operated by a number of young writers who all share the title of “Mellenial.” The site itself is advertisement heavy so be aware that your computer may drop in performance while browsing on the site, especially with a few tabs open. Now the reason why it warrants attention now is due to the fact that the website seems to be giving off some rather strange readings. Starting off here is the idea that it represents the entirety of Generation Y: my generation.

Let us be realistic here, any site that claims to be the voice of a generation probably harbours some sort of ideology, and Elite Daily is no different. Looking on their site, it would appear to cater towards those who are the very definition of a Mellenial: very tech savvy, curious of the world, and very good at opening their mouths before letting their brain kick in and save them from embarrassment. Sure their upbeat attitude towards life may be a welcome change at times, but their idealistic tendencies do not help with people looking to ground themselves in reality. One such example is the articles that go on and on about traveling: “book the ticket and go, NOW,” it would say, “now is better than later,” it would rumble on. Ever wonder how traveling occurs? Well dear readers it requires money, time, and energy to be able to accomplish the objectives.

Those articles paint traveling as the single most amazing experience one can – well – experience in their lifetime. However they fail to mention just how dangerous it can be when you are traveling alone and to parts of the world that is – shall we say – “less than kind” to outsiders. Even worse (and not to sound sexist) if you are alone and of the female gender, you can be a potential target as other parts of the world may not share the Western (keyword: Western) views of gender equality and so forth. While it is a crying shame that women are not respected in other parts of the world as in the West (though we are not entirely free of gender bias, and other regions do have their own variant of gender equality) such is the reality; which brings me to my next criticism of the site.

How wonderful it would be if words did in fact “move mountains” like these children say it does. Funny how articles come forth claiming: “now is the time to end this or end that,” yet does not actually take action, rather pushes it off to someone else. Newsflash kids: not everyone will accept your “ideas” and run with them. Some cultures will not budge no matter how much you cry wolf and demand change, all the while stomping your feet like the little toddlers that you are. Many of the cultures in the world – especially in the eastern world – are not so friendly to western ideas viewing them as corrupting, dangerous, or just strange in a non-hostile manner and not suitable for consumption. Saying that things like child marriages and gender equality must happen now, is like going out and ordering someone to “just get a job,” or going out into the desert and yelling: “just rain!” The world will move when it is ready to move, and not because you demand it to move. Other cultures may view your actions of demanding this and ordering them to do that as a violation of their cultural rights. Remember that unless every single nation is under the same banner, same language, and same belief system, things will not suddenly change and harmonize like you say it would. There are differences in the world: deal with it.

frustration

One has to guess that the key thing to note from this dissection of the site is that the writers are probably still learning how to “write,” and thus may not know about the sensitive nature of some of their topics. Indeed it is true that their articles focus on the whole concept of: “me first, everything else second,” but to be fair they are still young and inexperienced. Think about it, politicians, soldiers, and public sector workers are middle-aged, with only a small percentage around their mid twenties. The rest of the young adult population is busy doing other things, and focusing less on public service and so forth. The older folks – Generation Y included – may have developed a sense of responsibility and duty through either their life experience, or because they have a family to look after – parents, or their own “little monsters.” The “duty” mentality really is a unique trait, and one that only those who think about it and live by it can truly understand. Sure anyone can be brought into the service of a country, but would they do so knowing it is for a greater cause, or would they do it because they were told?

Perhaps I am being too harsh on these kids, after all they are exactly that: kids. Yet for a website that claims to be the voice of an entire generation, they must know that there are consequences to their actions. Ultimately I will continue to criticize the website and glance at it just like someone glances at a tabloid magazine while at the checkout line in the supermarket. They will continue to write their “articles” and “news” stories, as they always have. Both of us will continue to do what we do because in the end it may just boil down to this: we do it because we want to do it. Thank you for reading, and I will see you next time.

The Royal Homecoming: Prince Charles’ visit to Canada.

Hello folks;

 

Normally I let the Monarchist League of Canada do the heavy lifting, but this time around I figure it was time to do a bit of work in promoting the homecoming of the royals. Specifically I will voice my support for the monarchy, and why I think it is crucial that the royals do this sort of work on top of monitoring their charities and so forth: let us begin shall we?

There is no doubt that I have a great attachment to the monarchy in Canada. Watching the political parties attack one another and so forth can become sickening at times, and indeed having a head of state such as her majesty queen Elizabeth the second who represents non-partisanship is comforting to say the least. When push comes to shove, I want my head of state to be both representative of all Canadians, and to be non-partisan; contrast that to – say – a president who is “technically” supposed to represent all of the citizens of a given country, but in reality only represents a small group of voters who placed him in office.

Yes I can hear the argument now regarding gender and so forth: the countries to which the monarch resides as the head of state have voted to allow a female heir to the throne to succeed, tossing out the old practice of males first. Therefore if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a female instead of their current baby Prince George, then she would inherit the throne after her father’s death. Gender is no longer an issue when it comes to the monarchy – it does evolve.

Now I will not spend the entire post ranting on how the monarchy benefits all Canadians and such; for that I will direct you to the Monarchist League of Canada’s website for further information (located at the end of this article). What I will do however is talk a little bit on why the Royal Homecoming is important to us Canadians.

When it comes to strengthening ties, it often falls to the individual to step up to the plate and do the hard work in keeping relations strong. Indeed the Monarchist League can only do so much before a visit from one of the royal family members is required to further build ties and improve relations. Prince Charles’ visit will not only give Canadians a sense of pride when seeing their future head of state, but also help Charles build and strengthen his ties to Canada as a whole. Unknown to most of the public, the prince does operate a large number of charities (which I will not list here for sake of space and time) that affects a large number of Canadians across the country. The prince does not spend a lot of time sitting around day dreaming, but rather he is always on the move making sure his charities are functioning and in proper care.

Prince Charles currently is not as popular as his son, the Duke of Cambridge – also known as Prince William – but he is next in line for the throne, regardless of public opinion. Whether the governments of Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and various other Commonwealth Realms decide otherwise is for them to decide. However for now it is Prince Charles that will be the next heir to the throne with his son second in line (though I may be mistaken on that so do not quote me). Indeed Charles must maintain popular support for this so that his family may continue to act as the “constitutional fire extinguisher” and as a symbol of our heritage and connection with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the other Commonwealth Realms. While not as well publicized as Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee visit, this will certainly be an important step in ensuring the survival of our monarchy here in Canada.

 

Welcome home your majesty, and god preserve you.

 

Monarchist League of Canada front page

http://www.monarchist.ca/

 

Myths about the Monarchy

http://www.monarchist.ca/en/myths