Sunday, July 27, 2014

Central Banking: Janet Yellen on Monetary Policy and Mechanical Formulae, How Much Predictability Is Too Much Predictability?



Is Janet Yellen's response as straight forward as it should be? Is that rabbit hole shallow or deep enough to peek into?

I can only assume what the underlying repercussions are to even entertain the thought of submitting the exercise of monetary policy decision making to the rigidity of formulas. Machines can't be qualified, no way, can they add numbers (*sarcasm*)?! *(Side note, I have recently discovered that up to this day and age, there is still truth to how Filipinos can lack the sarcasm gene and I think poor literary exposure warrants the use of the *sarcasm* mark to help our disabled and unfortunate countrymen)

I suppose the synthesis of data to give the optimal decision on whether to raise, cut, or hold key interest rates can be delegated to some evil Skynet that will in term dictate the economic tone of the environment which citizens will have to deal with. (*s*) The possibility, however, if put on the table for consideration posits many questions in my mind, to be honest.

What are the underlying arguments for using mathematical formulas to set central bank interest rates versus using human discretion on empirical data instead? What is the impact of predictability to the inherent nature of financial markets vis-a-vis risk-taking and return-searching? 

When Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said, "...this procedure would 'essentially undermine central bank independence in the conduct of monetary policy,'" what did it really mean to her?

When central banks monitor price stability and ensure moderate inflation rates, how can "shock value" (surprise factor -> actual decision is not equal to expectations/forecasts) influence monetary policy efficacy when compared to smoothened yield curve predictability? 

Does this dis-empower central bank relevance, importance, and influence among financial market players and, ultimately, the economy? How about the relevance of economists and financial market analysts who spend time refining models to predict central bank decisions?

In view of the Theory of Speculation (Louis Bachelier, 1900), is it still possible to make money if everyone (buy side or sell side) knows what's going to happen to an asset/interest rate in a given point
in time in the future? 

As the chicken or egg argument would go, are rate movements influenced by what the central bank broadcasts to market participants or are rates determined by what market participants do (put their money where their mouth is through financial markets) in anticipating/speculating what a central bank will do with interest rates?

Central banking has always been quite the balancing act, even despite the official principle of apolitical professional practice (1951 Accord), 

lest each central bank ends up destroying its own economy ala-Zimbabwe by letting populist politicians order central bankers around regarding monetary policy. 

In my opinion, somewhere between the lines of Yellen's testimony, the exercise or even the idea of risk-taking in itself is an essential component to ensuring market liquidity. In my mind, this idea is already trudging on the anthropomorphic reliance of financial markets to human emotions of decision makers - philosophically, psychologically, and/or sociologically intertwined with hope/greed and despair/fear as facilitated by the never ending churning of commerce and "efficient" allocation of money (value) to where decision makers think are the "optimal" or "best" choices. Interestingly, buyers entering and sellers exiting positions obviously have deviating beliefs, which precisely goes back to my whole argument of what "risk taking" means in the exercise of investments among market professionals and financial market practitioners, whether this is out of genuine necessity to play a
crucial role in society or merely some self-important/self-justifying designation to (high paying? *shoulder shrug*) jobs that can be done better by mathematical equations executed by machines/computers in most cases anyway.

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2014. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Disposable Internet Comments: The Odd Exercise of Forum Lurking with Temporal Assertions and Opinions

All the Captain Obvious-es as well as the other types of Internet citizens out there indeed have a lot of things to say. Looking at the very exercise of freedom of speech and expression online, does reveal some rather overwhelming ironies given the reality we have on hand. Even as I type and as you read this, there are probably already a billion ideas being put on text out there through the virtual platform we know as the Internet, at this very minute. It's the proverbial equivalent of an existentialist exercise - asserting a sentient being's existence: the capability to discern, analyze, and synthesize ideas, the will to put order, structure, and logic to these subjective concepts, and the choice to put the conclusions, assertions, products, and by-products out there for the world to know (whether consciously or unconsciously, whether intentionally sought after or fortuitously crossed upon by wandering eyes, ears, and/or minds.) There is no scarcity of content on the Internet, from the absurd to the genuinely relevant.

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For the sheer volume of ideas collectively pumped out by humanity online, it does seem quite strange that from a myopic perspective, there is some sense of insignificance and triviality to what online citizens do when they type their insights on a block of space on the Internet. Considering the statistical chances of actually finding an agreeable audience to a categorical point of view owned by one person in order to build upon fundamental ideas (not to mention if the feedback mechanism in a site would ever be utilized at all given the innumerable opinions and comments being posted non-stop by other people per second resulting to older posts getting buried deep anyway), why even say your piece on a subject matter at all? Who even bothers to scroll or read back anyway, right? Well, as any active Internet citizen has observed or even practiced, it doesn't matter. Most of us will put our insights, jokes, rants, and opinions out there in any case. It just feels right to put it out there.

It feels like saying something in your old homeroom classroom at school, but not quite like it with so many strangers merely passing by. It does seem to be an exercise in futility if a person were looking to influence the mindset of 2 or 3 people (at the very least) though an angry rant, a serious opinion, or a well meant jest. In any case, looking at the feeds on Twitter, Facebook, the Yahoo comments community, product/TV/movie review sites and communities, and even the old school BB communities, people speak out their minds anyway, whether they think someone will be paying attention on the other side or not. I suppose it's therapeutic in many ways, to vent out or say one's piece (just because).

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Collectively, if given time to look at and analyze, trends and occurring themes help us create an understanding of the current or generally popular mindset of humanity (those who are capable of going online at least, obviously). Well I for one know that people are aware that there are Internet citizens who love to inflame emotions and rile-up anger with their insights (trolls), I know most people hate or make fun of idiots, most people love to laugh at blatantly obvious acts of idiocy, the hipster movement is real, left wing people usually hate right wing people's guts and vice versa, overtly religious people are irritating, snooty atheists can be irritating, rich obnoxious douche bags  can be aholes, intellectual elitists can be aholes, girls commenting on sports sections are usually worth ignoring, there are a lot of old school people who like to reminisce and live in nostalgia while lingering in sections they know are crowded by younger people, Anon users (anonymous/unregistered users) will say their piece "bravely", but are usually worthless because they know a lot of people (the registered users) will disagree, people like to thumb up funny posts and comments, racists are out there but reverse racism is what's in while reverse-reverse-racism is the future! All of these are of course already filtered observations because there are certain types of categories, sections, and articles that I prefer reading. Stamp collecting articles are definitely not among them.


It would be productive to learn more about the online stereotypes. Interestingly, Googling about it has made me realize that sociologists need to do a better job of categorizing this new virtual society we have that's thriving online. Just like Enterprise-Risk Management, the standards are poorly set and defined and we end up with a hodge-podge of ideas that are ambiguously lingering around an air space but not quite there. I'd prefer that you readers personally read them on the original websites they were found on:

Just remember, the virtual realm has an ecosystem of its own. Like a jungle to explore, you'll encounter different types of people during text-based engagements and discussions. It's worth knowing if you should stick your hand out or if you should pull it back, especially if you've established a long-term Internet identity (your handle/nickname, is generally the same in most communities and you're uniquely known by most of these community members).

In view of this trend by online users of commenting on things/posts/pictures/videos/news, come hell or high water, even if, most likely, no one will be paying attention anyway, it should be noted that since last year, Twitter has become the preferred social networking platform for teenagers (who are obviously the future consumers of the world):

The reasons had been enumerated and it seems like adults are "siphoning" the cool factor and are just too present on Facebook. Although, as part of the "adult" crowd, I would have to disagree with the younger users considering our generation (hipster mode on) has been active in online communities since the mid 1990's during the dial-up era. So we have essentially called dibs on this virtual world. Although, any generation can pretty much carve up a virtual space all for their own.

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Meanwhile, I have noticed that with so many "Liked" pages on my Facebook account, I have essentially profiled myself on a granular level that Facebook pretty much knows and can derive what my Interests are. Yes, Zuckerberg, has effectively monetized my identity. While, staying connected with friends is still the primary use of platforms like Facebook, I can't deny that FB has become my own customized newspaper already. Even the ads/company pages I come across on my timeline are tempting enough to Like and I'm pretty much updated on things that other people would rather choose to ignore, which actually goes the other way too. Nope, still not digging stamp collecting.

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2014. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: The WHY Conspiracy Theories

Just more than a month ago I posted a blog entry on how intrigued I was with the "crowd-sourced problem-solving" phenomenon that people around the world were collaboratively engaging in via the Internet and traditional media. Certainly, it was a "faith-in-humanity-restored" moment in my eyes, as people all over offered all sorts of input into the investigation and speculation of how everything could have unfolded with the mysterious disappearance of Flight MH370.

Well, it's almost two months now and the blackbox pings that were apparently detected on the Indian Ocean have yet to genuinely reveal their usefulness, and even authenticity, as searchers had begun to use underwater drones to look for wreckage on the ocean floor. It would have really been a fantastic buzzer-beater moment, considering the fact that these pings were detected coincidentally at the supposed end of the battery life of what were powering the black boxes of the plane.

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In any case, the HOWS of this unfortunate incident have undoubtedly been thoroughly explored and speculated on for weeks by the media and by mostly everyone who can pen thoughts on paper or online, with much of the globally-exposed citizens of the world wondering what could have happened; it's more so something that might occasionally cross the minds of frequent flyers when they board a plane.

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While certainly, this update is by no means any more extensive or expansive an addendum to the exploration of what's already obviously Google-able out there, frankly, the goosebumps I got from what I stumbled upon through Youtube urged me to throw the ideas out there further to those who would also stumble upon my blog. Consider them as speculations, conspiracies or unprovable yet genuine facts, they say sometimes, stories can be so strange and farfetched that they might indeed be true.

The REAL Reason Flight 370 Disappeared

Youtube - Western Journalism Channel 

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Anonymous - Rothschilds & Malaysian Airlines MH370 Connection

Youtube - Dual Gamma Channel 

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Of course, this blog wasn't and still isn't really meant for conspiracy theories, there are thousands of sites out there that will indulge the curious ones further than what can be fed from my posts, but this field of discussion is merely (albeit unavoidably, in my mind) tangential to my activities in analyzing what is seen or experienced out there in our world.

Perhaps the most appropriate posts that I've already made in previous years can establish the premise, the mindset, and understanding of the context we are subjected to given these conspiracy theories:

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Okay, as a momentary sidetrack, in my quest to look for visual content for this post, I stumbled upon this picture and had to post an awesome movie poster of the Puppet Master (Toulon and his puppets, yeah!) franchise. Very awesome films by Full Moon Features btw, together with Trancers! Yep, there are still old B-Films out there worth watching.

The danger with selective journalism [AND EVEN COVERT OPS EVENTS THAT WELL MEANING JOURNALISTS ARE UNABLE TO EXPLORE AND VERIFY, DUE TO SECRECY AND OPAQUENESS OF FACTS] and the muddling of facts is that the truth is transformed into a half-truth. A half-truth not only sells itself as the absolute truth, but you can never tell which part is the truth and which is fabricated. Half-truths have gradients, which can be pretty hard and messy to sort out. A lie can be held as the absolute truth to everyone who knows it and if it happens that it is found out to be erroneous/false, then it will be dismissed entirely - 1's or 0's, true or false, black or white. 

In the end, the perception is transformed and aligned accordingly to how the orchestrator wants the scenarios and facts to be seen by people. 

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As what Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke once said (by writer Kyle Higgins and editor Rachel Gluckstern of DC Comics), "But the world has changed and there are no longer 'kingdoms' worth serving. Except one. It controls everything. It drives and motivates nearly every person on the planet. In the modern era, it's the greatest 'kingdom' of them all. Money. And in a world controlled by economic currency, where money is so important to so many people, the greatest respect for a what someone is willing to pay him."

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It's a frightening thought to think that there is no authentic freedom in a seemingly well oiled socio-political and economic framework (in my mind, I have characterized the current paradigm as the free-market democratic capitalist regime of price and relevance, and you, the reader, might have something different in mind). While, it is acceptable to think that everyone's life is inextricably subjected to the Churn, the idea that some among us, hamsters, in the hamster wheel system have accumulated so much power, influence, and faculties that these have practically allowed them to live outside the glass terrarium looking in, like gods, is extremely and overwhelmingly frightening indeed, and not even farfetched or ridiculous to not give credence to at all. It is after all the relativity of presence and control of the environment, we may all have swords, but someone out there has the sharpest all to himself.

It seems in the cloak and dagger arena, where almost anyone could be expendable pawns or collateral damage or innocent bystanders who would never know what hit them, merely victims of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, to the grander schemes of those who wield the most power, influence, facilities, faculties, and resources, whether in the formal economy or the shadow world, curiosity could kill the cat, along with other inquisitive animals daring to go further down that deep dark rabbit hole.

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All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2014. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Efficacy of Abstractions and Semantics and the Translated Manifestation of Kilobyte Noise

So I was having this heated debate with my mom a few weeks ago regarding the Catholic concept of transubstantiation and the perceived belief by outsiders of the Christian Roman Catholic religion that it is in fact a ritualistic commemoration of cannibalism (of Jesus Christ's body and blood) mainly due to how we ourselves (the Roman Catholics) interpret or misinterpret the idea.

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Now, a quick Google search on such an issue is obviously something anyone can do, but since this is my blog entry after all, I'll try to dissect it concisely through the context of my own understanding.

We can probably start off by skimming through a question posited on Yahoo Answers:

As already pointed out, transubstantiation isn't a literal means of turning unleavened bread and wine into human flesh and blood, although what really prompted the discussion a few weeks back was how my mother pointed out that all her priest-friends explained it to be indeed a ritual intended to turn the host and the wine into Jesus' flesh and blood in essence, since it is obviously scientifically impossible to make it taste like human jerky protein and vampire juice. In fact, Wikipedia re-affirms this belief and it is indeed Catholic doctrine that the bread and wine is intended or meant to become Jesus' flesh and blood when transubstantiated. The problem, however, is how this concept is disseminated to the lay members of the Church. Misinterpretations are abound.

I found it to be a half-baked principle taught by clergymen themselves, although they have obviously taken more theological classes than I have. I think the whole point of the concept is lost on the myopic view of how people should interpret the process of transubstantiation itself, while totally ignoring the big picture implications of the ritual. To be honest, the metaphysical aspect of transforming bread and wine into human (or divine) flesh and blood and then pointing out that it isn't literal but merely figurative is already a moot point to argue about. Yes, it is entirely about the transformation of the essence, but unfortunately, it still feels and seems like an endorsement for cannibalism if people insist that it is still about attaining a transformation of edible food into human flesh and blood.

While the principles had undergone scrutiny and debate for centuries, as I've mentioned, the academic rigor through which the doctrines are subjected to in the interest of bridging the gap between high level philosophy and theology of the learned clergy (especially then, when the academia was heavily concentrated in the Church's institutions) and the "simpleton's understanding" possessed by the layman, creates a transparent glass bridge that has often been crossed with the inevitable misunderstanding of the concepts.

I am obviously in no position to even challenge what centuries-old principles have conveyed to the recipients of the idea. It is what it is. And it's fine as it is, no harm done. The premises, arguments, and conclusions are already out there for a reader to ingest. 

I personally, however, consider it (while discarding the pointless debate regarding transformation in essence and literal intentions) a figurative gateway offered by Jesus to a higher plane of reality (in the line of science fiction novellas, whoopty do, bring out the tin foil hats) and the ritual itself is a gateway to access the Divine, even as it is merely a fleeting moment of belief in the mind of the participant, at the very least.

Now, this interpretation of mine is obviously wrapped in the context and archetypal mythos asserted by books, TV shows, and movies that imply the existence of alternate dimensions, realities, and higher planes of existence, from DC Comics Animated shows and movies, Rick & Morty, Ben 10, Adventure Time, TV shows like Doctor Who, Fringe, Sliders, Star Trek, and literary Universes like that of Stephen King's Dark Tower. I am absolutely amazed that the concepts and ideas of alternate realities and dimensions can be conveyed to young children already at this day and age. To think that adult lay people centuries ago (or even decades ago) would've considered the subject matter as absolute insanity and crazy-talk, just goes to show how far our civilization's understanding of the Universe has come.

Stephen King's Linchpin of Reality - The Dark Tower
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And so we arrive at the meat of this entry blog. Even as information and opinion dissemination is accelerated multiple-fold through the Internet, do ideas truly instantaneously translate to any actual observable and tangible act? Well, Turkish politicians thought so or *ahem* feared so.

A few weeks ago, the Turkish government blocked Twitter access (eventually Youtube, too) and justified the policy by claiming how social media "fueled anti-government rhetoric":

As I've partially elaborated before in my entry The Diffusion of Liberty, Humanity Online , people who are online and have access to the vast amounts of information, context, and information that the Internet offers are probably and more likely to be the more enlightened members of our global society, if they are for authentic multicultural and multinational integration. The anti-government rhetoric that Turkish government officials fear is merely digital noise that may or may not translate to any physical revolution. Who's to say that certain statements are backed-up by a million voices? It's as harmless as an accidental eavesdrop on small talk that genuinely free human beings are entitled to. In my view, the threat is real only if it authentically manifests on an empirical plane, anything on the Internet is merely an academic invitation to believe in an idea or ideas. Moreover, any nefarious ideas, concepts, or justifications are obviously traceable and open for the free world to scrutinize, because obviously, in a society of order, most people value justice, peace, and structure. There has to be logic behind an idea before it translates to anything actionable or anything that's worth rallying around to. If something is "bad", then righteous people are obviously going to move against it. If something is "good", then righteous people are obviously going to support it. The keyword we rely on here is the righteousness of the participant, which as a point of discussion is something for moralists and ethicists to discuss separately all together.

In view of The Illusion of Cyberspace Perception , the concern is understandable. Beliefs and perceptions are molded by how things are presented, but as far as words and statements are thrown around, all readers/recipients of the message are supposed to be free to scrutinize what is presented to them. Truly free people are not zombies or drones who are easily manipulated on a whim just because someone said this or that. Truly free people are exactly what they are, free to think for themselves, but they can't subject any ideas, truths, half-truths, and lies to their thought process if they are restricted or starved from what their fellow citizens have to say. It's extremely naive to think that news bureaus, news websites, and blogs will be consistently feeding the authentic truth without twisting certain truths or transforming certain facts into half-truths or turn them into ambiguous ideas that mold definitive interpretations by readers as merely a toss-up. Words are powerful, but the efficacy is merely as strong as how much the recipient/reader believes what he's read: 

I, for one, am merely speculating that the blocking of Youtube was a conspiracy. Make it seem that national interest was jeopardized due to the medium, but disregard the basic fact that it wasn't of Youtube's own volition, but by some "irresponsible" individual or political nemesis who surprisingly was part of a "super secret confidential meeting regarding national security and Syria". Then they should have obviously identified who it was and castigated the guy then and there, but obviously pounced at Youtube instead.

And as Internet liberties are seemingly curtailed, I have only to conclude that this over-reaction against the channels of freedom provided for by the Internet is comparably pathetic to a childish reaction to an Internet Tough Guy's threats. That's right. The people in the Turkish Government are obviously unaware that abstract posturings and words on the Internet mean nothing unless they are genuinely true as threats:

Internet Tough Guy (ITG) (also known as “E-Thug”) is a pejorative term used to refer to an online commenter who threatens physical violence against other posters when confronted with criticism or trolling. Often found on message boards and blogs, typical actions of an ITG involve boasting about their physical strength and degrading critics with insults.

Someone who constantly talks about how bad and "hardcore" they are over the connected phone lines called the internet. These people usually frequent chat rooms and online forums for the sole purpose of shit talking and gloating to complete strangers to fill the void in their life, something that dosen't impress someone in the REAL WORLD. They also like to troll areas in chat and forums that contain such topics as: Martial Arts, Boxing, Fighting, Excercise, Weight Lifting, Wrestling etc. so they can compete with other lifeless internet whores for the sole purpose of determining who is the biggest nerd of them all. These people talk about how much ass they kick and how they could take on the world single handedly, when in reality, quiver at such ideas of someone who dosen't like them finding them in their parents basement where they thought they were safe. Internet Tough Guys should be regarded as the lowest form of life on Earth. 99% of the time they are liars, who will make completely bogus claims of being 7 feet tall, 400 pounds of pure muscle, and bench 700. Often they have bullshit stories to accompany such shitty claims like "I've wrestled a bear and a lion at the same time, and I kicked both of their asses with ease!" or "I'm a pro boxer who beat Mike Tyson in a backyard brawl with no gloves!" They often reply with sayings such as "fuck you", "i'll kick you ass", "your luckee that i cant get you", and the ever popular "where do you live and ill beat you ass". All threats by Internet Tough Guys should be promply backed up with "Try it with a nerd who buys into your tough guy bullshit".

muscleman1596732: i bet joo wont say that to my face!
muscleman1596732: ill kick your ass where do you live!!
muscleman1596732: i can take teh world on!!11
muscleman1596732: i kicked tysons ass and i no i can kick yers!!!111

by Joe August 30, 2004

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The definition and example above of course is merely a depiction of the concept. I'm not even saying that whatever the Turkish opposition feels they should be putting up in the Internet are lies and fabricated concerns. The point is, you can't react on whatever is put online on a whim. It is simply ridiculous. Jumping the gun only puts you in a bad light, whether making yourself look guilty or fearful of the truth (even if something is a lie).

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2014. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Conspiracy Theories Galore

Even at this day and age, given radar and satellite surveillance capabilities, it seems like technology has a long way to go and it's still possible to lose track of something as technologically loaded as a Boeing 777. Notwithstanding the fact that the Earth is covered by approximately 70% of water, maybe a wreckage can be found eventually beneath the waves. This is of course if we assume that the plane indeed crashed.

The slow trickle of information from the authorities themselves have eventually given everyone online a free hand in presenting theories and conjectures as to not only the fate of Flight MH370, but also the circumstances that have surrounded and influenced these suggested conclusions. Now, I don't think there's anything malicious about the exercise, especially if everyone is recognizing these suggestions as mere off-hand theories for the curious and creative. This activity of connecting the dots has always been a hobby for a lot of people, as a jigsaw puzzle of information, that doesn't necessarily have to look like a canine if the person sees a flower and not a dog.

It's a sailboat.

It is inevitable after all for people to try to make sense of what they are observing, that's the scientific method in itself and I suppose it extends to people's needs as third party observers (and not necessarily the victims) to find the answers and the truth, instead of ignoring something that somehow affects them (even if indirectly) as well. I mean, I'd be interested to know what went down inside that plane, especially if the event (or phenomenon) can be likely duplicated in a separate incident (whether the explanation is extremely simple or ridiculously farfetched).

I intended to list down my findings of the most popular conspiracy theories before indulging with my own, but with so many people blasting away with their ideas online (from the silly to the morbid) via blogs, articles, comments sections, bulletin boards, Facebook, Twitter, among so many online gateways, I thought it best to just put the URL's instead and have everyone sift through them (and digest them to their liking). These are just some, and there are obviously numerous sites out there carrying the conspiracy theories:

And so here's mine (which is somehow inspired by some theories already suggested by others):

Weaponized 777 + Obama visiting Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in April, ruh roh

CNN said one pilot had this theory that the plane, if it were hijacked, flew behind another airliner's slipstream to evade detection. In any case, the ability of the pilot to avoid detection already provides them a confirmation that they can deliver an explosive payload without much trouble of interception, especially if the rogue aircraft will cruise with a commercial airliner's paint-job.

It was also suggested that the reason they flew 45,000 feet up before descending to 23,000 feet was to asphyxiate the passengers, silence them (and probably eventually dispose of the corpses). A scuffle in the cockpit wasn't being ruled out either as to why there were changes to the cruising altitude.

Then what we have is a pilot-able missile, just load it with explosives and you're good to go, any target within its fuel range is reachable for one big suicide run.

As to the motive, analysts early on dismissed terrorism since no one was claiming responsibility, but had eventually given in to the idea that there might be something nefarious behind the plane's disappearance, as facts and information eventually trickled in. Terrorism, after all, is meant to sow fear among a populace. It might be possible after all that there is a bigger blueprint to this plane heist and that the coup de grĂ¢ce to the motive has yet to unfold before someone claims "glorious victory" and credit to the deed.

As to the motive, it should be noted that Obama is scheduled to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in April and he is obviously a high profile target that all terrorists consider as the white whale trophy for all terrorists. A weaponized 777 is pretty much unstoppable. There won't be any US fighter jets in the immediate vicinity to shoot down a "hostile 777" (ha, never thought I'd put those two together!), and it'll probably evade radar like it had, if it's headed towards a target.

In any case, I'm hoping that this theory of mine is debunked. In a month's time or less, we'll find out, but it seems to me that no matter what the true scenario is, it can't be denied that the loss of the people in Flight MH370 is a tragedy that we are all too eager and anxious to find the explanations to.

Without any facts to lean on, these are mere online chatter, chasing ghosts. It's a phenomenon in itself in my opinion that could easily be considered unproductive mumbling that's just adding to the noise and confusion. In any case, as long as the mystery hasn't completely taken shape, it's a free-for-all that maybe (rudely) can be made for wagering. So which theory is the most plausible and which will eventually turn out to be the correct one given the limited facts? No matter what, it sure will be comforting to find an answer to the mystery of Flight MH370.

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2014. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Crimean Specimen

As a history buff, I couldn't help but find traces if not evidence of what is apparently a lingering 20th-century Russian political mindset of intervention under the principled justifications of being the Big Slav Brother to the Soviet region. This belief is practically what carried Russian foreign policy through World Wars I and II, perhaps too conveniently in an ironic twist in my view of what appears to be right-wing zeal amid the backdrop of left-wing glory that was the USSR.

As Putin had put it in a 2005 speech,

the fall of the USSR was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century. 

Perhaps, and I really am merely speculating, there lies the appeal among the Russian people as well, if not of the Slavic race, that strength begets respect in all aspects of society.

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Well, at least it seems the Kremlin, if not Putin's, publicist thinks so.

While it might be difficult to outright assume that this mindset of affinity to strength is inherent in the culture, I suppose a peek at how their society's history had shaped their psyche (before and through the Khazars, the Mongols, the Tzars) might give us some insights:

Given the political crisis that had taken hold of Ukraine, it was an absolutely convenient and opportune time for Russia to take the reins of the situation, in what seems to me to be a military circumvention to the threat of a political quagmire, if not already a usurpation of Russian influence on Ukraine.

Of course in the orchestration of these decisions, it would help to put context into what we are seeing:

And so it seems the Big Slav Brother has come to rescue its people, ethnic-Russians who in my view are conveniently embedded in a region that's rife with potential intervention given the former USSR's territorial expanse. It's a goldmine, I think, for somebody like Putin who romanticizes about the glory days of the Soviet Union.

It's extremely interesting to note, that there has been a Ukrainization happening to counter the centuries old Russification of Ukraine's people, which to me, again only bolsters my view that Russian interests have been embedded all over through the injection of "Russians" or the assimilation of people OR communities into becoming Russians through Russification, as a convenient way to justify political and even military maneuvers in the region as deemed fit by the Kremlin.

Crimea,, has seen its share of change in governance through the centuries. It is of course in the context of the current times that I find it interesting to see that,

According to the 2001 Ukrainian population census 58% of the population of Crimea are ethnic Russians and 24% are ethnic Ukrainians.[9] The region has the highest proportion of Muslims in Ukraine.[11]

The majority are of Russian ethnicity and there are Muslims there as well. If the Crimean region eventually gets assimilated by Russia, how comfortable would the people there be? As there are Chechen separatists, does it follow that it is inevitable to contend with Crimean separatists as well?

In any case, the events that have been unfolding are merely a prime example, a specimen, for principles that I've given weight to under an economic regime in the structure of Capitalism. I've already posed some questions in this regard in my entry,

Albeit, regarding the US and questions on what it would do (WWUSAD), the idea is similar and fairly applicable to those who are capable of doing so. Is militarism really an acceptable solution in an era where free trade, financial markets, and money should be dictating what is acceptable to people, across borders and among those who wield power (i.e., the money moved around by money managers, hedge funds, traders, people with savings who want to earn more money) on behalf of humanity? Well, in ways though, the impact has already been apparent, the Russian Central Bank just raised its key interest rate by 150 basis points and the Russian stock market plunged following the recent developments.

Economically influential nations have deemed Russia's military ventures as outright wrong and have thus voiced their intentions of  imposing non-military sanctions by way of financial markets.

It is, after all, as I've mentioned in my entry, The Churn, a system that has been established to promote the "humane" distribution and allocation of "scarce" resources to those who are deserving of such resources. Such is the hamster wheel that most of the global economies with humane civilizations have submitted themselves to. It is in this regard that Russia's boldness to use military presence and force poses an undesirable act that goes against what is generally acceptable to human civilization, especially today, as we live the information and financial market age.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed Russia's excuses regarding its "moral obligations" to do something to "protect" ethnic Russians in Crimea and Ukraine as merely a witch hunt, if I may so put it, as the Kremlin looks to establish a pretext that will give the convenient backdrop and justification to its invasion.

"It is clear that Russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further," he said. "Russia has talked about Russian-speaking ordinary citizens that are under siege. They are not. And in fact this government has acted remarkably responsibly."

I suppose since we're discussing something that's already in the context of conspiracy theories, there might be no one more familiar with the idea of fabricating (as theorized by some historians) "moral obligations" than the U.S., especially when looking back at the events and circumstances that surrounded the Lusitania (for World War I) and Pearl Harbor (for World War II). These are of course in hindsight, and as the world has moved on, there are certainly varying factors to consider in rallying people to ideals that are acceptable, humane, and morally upright, despite the irony of crying for a cause and movement to arms and war.

And as Ukraine appropriately reacts,

it will be interesting how things will end and how the wounds will be mended. Will Russia step back and contemplate on its decisions and will the world ever forget that there was once a USSR that once held a glorious threat, an existence, that had always kept the believers of democratic capitalism on the edge of their seats.

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2014. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.