Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Democrats matrix

Last Saturday morning, I went for a nice long run in South Florida and pondered the presidential primary contests. It appears that the GOP is down to three fellas. But it was the Democrat duel that made me think the most. I wondered how Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders was causing such an uproar in the Democratic primary. After all, what he is proposing with this “Democratic Socialism” has never found lasting success anywhere in the world, unless you appreciate equality of outcomes.

Then it hit me: the message Sanders is delivering reminded me of the 90’s movie “The Matrix.” The basic premise of the film correlates to the governing philosophy of which Sanders promotes. In the film, humans have been overtaken by the “machines” and are being used as energy sources since their prior energy source – the sun – has been lost. The machines create a perfect, computer-generated world for their human batteries to reside in – the Matrix.

However, there are humans who have escaped the Matrix and live in the “real world,” where life is imperfect and tough. It is a world all about survival, where they are constantly hunted by the machines. Even within the Matrix, there are agents who police the computer generated world making sure there are no disruptions – they can take on any form.

My favorite scene was when the character Morpheus asks the lead character Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, to take a red pill or a blue pill. "You take the blue pill, the story ends,” says Morpheus. “You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."

The idea of progressive socialism is our world’s Matrix. It is a utopian world that promises all that one would desire. It is based upon a belief that one can have as many “free” things as they wish. These “free” things are guaranteed by the “machines” of progressive socialism, who believe they can create this world that does not exist. Just as the Matrix’s machines needed humans plugged in as their energy source, progressive socialists need to collectively drain the energy of individuals to make their schemes work.

When one is plugged into the matrix of progressive socialism, you do not exist for yourself. Your energy is usurped for the collective existence of the machines, and in exchange you are rewarded with the fantasy life of the Matrix.

Then come along those who have been “unplugged” from the matrix; conservatives who seek to, as Morpheus stated, free other minds. Conservatives come along and confront those plugged in with the seminal question, blue pill or red pill. How very interesting that in American politics that blue is associated with the Democrat party and red with the Republican party. If you take the blue pill you can stay in the fantasy world of the Matrix…but the red pill will free your mind, and you will see how deep the rabbit hole goes. The red pill represents freedom and liberty, allowing the individual to separate from the collective. However, the real world is not one of fantasy and pleasure; it is about survival, working hard, and evading the sentinels – the hunter machines, the liberal progressive media.

That is what it is like as the conservative today, and especially a minority conservative. The agents seek to prevent you from freeing more minds from the Matrix. They cannot allow you to educate and inform and have people taking the red pill and escaping their grip.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Sony Computer Entertainment headquarters in California now

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a mantra that seemingly holds little meaning at Sony; it's just decided to undertake the most dramatic reshuffle of its videogame business since the 1990s right in the midst of stellar sales of its most successful home console yet. Business units will be rearranged and merged, organisation trees pruned and spliced, and most dramatically of all, the PlayStation business' headquarters will shift from Tokyo to California. News of the changes has, understandably, been mostly shrouded in that special version of the English language spoken only by corporate PR people (a dialect uniquely horrible and utterly meaningless), which has left many of the company's customers and even its partners wondering exactly what it all means.
In some senses, this is just tidying up. The separation between Sony Network Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment was a well-intentioned one at the outset; there was a future vision which imagined that network services, like the PlayStation Store and PlayStation Now, would eventually be something much, much larger than the PlayStation console itself. The idea was that Sony Network Entertainment would end up being a business unit that worked not only with SCE but with every other aspect of Sony's business, underwriting the future success of the company as a whole. That future might still come to pass, but things haven't played out as originally anticipated, partially because the company's grand plans for network services have been undermined by the success of rivals and partially because PlayStation has done far better than expected. As a consequence, Sony Network Entertainment presently mostly provides services for PlayStation consoles; it makes perfect sense for it to be brought together with the PlayStation itself. Optimistically, one can hope that removing this paper screen in the corporate structure will also help to fix some of the lingering problems with Sony's network systems, which are all-too-often an unreliable negative counterpoint to its otherwise impressive hardware and software.

"one can hope that removing this paper screen in the corporate structure will also help to fix some of the lingering problems with Sony's network systems"
Rather more dramatic is the move from Tokyo to California - and the rather less widely reported change to the company's global management structure, which will seemingly see the European, US and Asian divisions of Sony Interactive Entertainment (the new merged entity) sharing a single top-level management team. It's not clear whether this will have any impact on the actual independence of the regional teams - SCEE and SCEA always had quite a surprising degree of autonomy - but a structural change like this is usually designed to reflect an intended outcome, and in this case it's not unreasonable to expect that the regions will be working more closely together after the changes take effect.
What of that move to California, though? Isn't PlayStation, like Sony itself, quite intrinsically a Japanese brand? Aren't many of the values and qualities of the console and its software that actually appeal to consumers down to the fact that it's a Japanese creation? I've seen those arguments and plenty of others shoot back and forth over the Internet in the days since the announcement; and I have to confess, I have a little sympathy. In the eras of the PlayStation and PS2 in particular, the Japanese roots of the consoles were a major selling point; the systems became a window on to a world that was fascinatingly different, culturally and creatively, and I don't think it's unfair to say that much of the subsequent success of Japanese pop culture overseas owes a debt to the gateway drug of PlayStation. If the whole thing is now going to be based in California, is it going to lose that cultural value somehow?
" In the eras of the PlayStation and PS2 in particular, the Japanese roots of the consoles were a major selling point; the systems became a window on to a world that was fascinatingly different"
Well, no; I think fearing that PlayStation's identity will be lost in this move is a consequence of misunderstanding what PlayStation's identity has actually been all along. Sure, the Japanese origins of the console were a big and important part of its DNA, but if anything, the appeal of PlayStation since the early years has been founded in Sony's willingness to entrust the keys to the kingdom to its overseas offices. That exhibited itself in software development - WipEout being a key title for the first PlayStation is an early example of a tradition that went on to deliver pillars of support to the platform from overseas developers, from God of War to Uncharted to Killzone and plenty of others besides. It went further than that, though; Sony Computer Entertainment divisions outside Japan were trusted to develop key technologies and services that would come to define the future of the platform, and key staff from those overseas divisions became a part of decision-making processes at Sony in a way that has very rarely, if ever, been the case at PlayStation's rivals.
That's what leaves PlayStation in the situation it's in today - with one of the most impressively multi-national core teams you could hope to put together to run a platform business. From Sony boss Kaz Hirai on down, top executives on the PlayStation side of Sony speak fluent English and have extensive overseas experience; while people like SCE (soon to be SIE) boss Andrew House and PlayStation architect Mark Cerny have come to the company from overseas divisions, risen to enormously important positions and work seemingly seamlessly with the Japanese organisation. That might not seem like any great shakes in some regards, but in the context of a Japanese business, it's a big deal; it's indicative of a willingness on Sony's part to really embrace the idea of being an international business, not just a Japanese company that does some business overseas. That's the DNA of PlayStation, more than anything else, and it seems eminently unlikely that that's going to change with the move of headquarters to California. It's not like Japan Studio, the actual source of most of Sony's interesting Japanese titles, is going anywhere, and if Sony's commitment to Japanese game development wasn't clear, consider the enormous amount of cash rustled up, upsetting every damn budget in the company in the process, to ensure Hideo Kojima was on board after leaving Konami.
"at the moment only about one in every 18 PS4 units sold is being sold in Japan"
There will, of course, be changes; an organisational shift like this is expensive and messy, and Sony wouldn't be bothering to do it if it didn't want to see some changes. One can easily guess at one of the catalysts for the move; the Japanese market is less and less relevant to the home console business with every passing year, and at the moment only about one in every 18 PS4 units sold is being sold in Japan. In contrast, Vita does reasonably well in Japan, but is an irrelevance everywhere else in the world. It's not hard to see the argument that putting so much of the decision-making capacity for PlayStation in the heart of a market that no longer buys home consoles has the potential to warp perceptions and force errors. The creativity and imagination of Japanese developers is essential to PlayStation; the country's business environment and consumer market, by contrast, seems like an active impediment to Sony's success. Far better to put Sony's videogame business overseas, where it'll be in the same environment as Sony Pictures and Sony Music - the media arms of the company with which it arguably has far more in common than the remaining Japan-based divisions.
Plenty of analysts are spending plenty of time teasing out Sony's new structure and organisational chart to try to understand what will happen to PlayStation in future; the bottom line of what I'm trying to say here i that we shouldn't expect very much change in the short to medium term, at least not of the kind that will be remotely apparent to consumers. The firm may, to some degree, be ignoring exhortations not to fix what isn't broken; but it will also be keenly aware that PS4 is a goose that keeps laying golden eggs, and won't be waving any knives in its vicinity where possible (unlike the ones presently being brandished at me by the Metaphor Mixing Police). We can expect no major changes of course for Sony's console strategy in the next year or two; if there's to be real fall-out from this change, it will be in planning for the longer term, as the new management team tackle the question of what PS4's success means for the future of the once-presumed-dead console business.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

anime has a R rating

I think people in Japan (and in many other countries including in Europe, other parts of Asia and even in Central/South America, etc) are far more open about animation and media.

Many of the problems seem to be aimed at America and in some ways, British culture. Where there seems to be these concepts that when you reach a certain age, you 'throw away childish things' and 'become a man'. Which can be seen all over, including being perpetuated in many 'cartoons' aimed right at kids as well. The typical story of a boy who 'wants to be a man'. So what does he do? He goes out and throws away all his toys, straps on some token of 'manhood' (from a sword to a three piece suit) and goes out and acts like what he thinks a man is.

We can all remember this stereotype in shows like Hey Arnold!, Rocco's Modern Life, Fairly OddParents, Spongebob Squarepants, Chowder, Gumball and heck, even Disney movies. The problem is, while those shows and movies are obviously parodying the message and pointing out that these things AREN'T what being a man is all about....many kids actually get the opposite message. And watch all these cartoons thinking that being a man IS about throwing away all your toys, going to work, getting married and ignoring everything about your past.

Western media as a whole doesn't help. Hollywood is pushing this concept all the time with commercials, prime time dramas/sit comes, sports, even political commentaries on CNN and MSNBC are constantly talking about 'getting our kids off the cartoons and games and into the adult world', as if these things are evil and we should have never even had contact with them in the first place. American media is pretty much assaulting adults with an image that if you want to be an adult, there's only one option. Throw away everything 'childish' and watch all the CSI, Survivor and CNN like everyone else. The irony of these types of things being 'for adults' while something like Spongebob or Batman: TAS should be obvious, but many don't see it.

Even things like comic books are still looked down upon. The fact that they aren't even considered 'acceptable' until they have a live action remake speaks volumes about how American (and some other western) audiences view animation and comics vs live action works. A terrible live action version of Deadpool starring Keanu Reeves would still sell better in the box office than the absolute best animated Deadpool movie that could be made. Not based on any objective quality, but simply because it was live action. And that's the sad state of America's bias against animation....

The only exception is 3D animation. But that's honestly because the studios put hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising behind each movie. And make the money back in DVD/BD sales. The instant those movies stop making that money (like 2D did with Pocahontas, Mulan and Titan AE), studios will stop supporting 3D animation as well.

I know this sounds like a rant, but I'm seriously feeling like the American media industry is stagnating and has been getting worse the last 15 years or so. Endless crime drama clones, reality shows, copying British concepts and remakes of old movie concepts. And they've even resorted to copying anime (The Matrix, Speed Racer, Astro Boy, Speed, Almost Human, etc) while claiming animation and anime is an inferior medium. I honestly feel like there needs to be a major barrier of ignorance taken down so the American audience can just know more than what Hollywood is allowing to be shown to them.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Many Christians are convinced that being “political,” or even voting, somehow violates their religious faith. They think Christians should be ”in the world, but not of it” abstaining from earthly messes like government and instead keep their eyes on the sky, patiently awaiting Christ’s return that will fix everything. Lucky for us, the Founders, virtually all of whom were Christians steeped in the Bible since school days, never bought that view, or they wouldn’t have started the revolution against King George that gave us our great nation. And we would all be British. Four times in the Declaration of Independence the Christian God is credited as author of the values and rights on which America was founded and his protection invoked. It is way past time to rise up and revive those values. This election, Christians who are sick and tired of government’s chokehold, sick and tired of God’s man-woman marriage being mocked and branded homophobic, sick and tired of the moral rot in which our society is wallowing, must come out and vote against it. The only way to stop the relentless zombie march of the God-challenged secularists against believers is by voting for leaders from school board to president who pledge to tirelessly defend the original Christian morals of this country and have actually done so, not merely waved their mom’s Bible from a staged rally. Everywhere, an all-powerful “culture” and arrogant government are shredding the Bible as well as the Constitution. The immorality that God warns us against rampages across the society from a young woman seen by millions mimicking sex onstage, to the vile woman-hating lyrics of the songs our kids constantly have plugged into their ears, to the celebration of aberrant “marriage” that the Supreme Court declares normal, overturning the will of millions in 30-plus states. After the Supreme Court justices trashed God’s law, the White House--in gleeful party mode--lit up the rainbow colors of the same-sex marriage lobby, deliberately insulting the faithful in this Christian-majority nation. Humans created by God in his own image are reduced to body parts and a non-profit that pretends to be a woman’s health provider dismembers babies in the womb for profit. And this outrage is funded by we the taxpayers. Television is a slaughterhouse of rape, mutilation, murder and dissection of human beings as if they were so much hamburger. The victims are nearly all women. The most-searched topic on the Internet is pornography which horrifically abuses women, men, and even young children while destroying marriages and families. “Sex education” starting in grade school is convincing our kids that the same-sex affection so typical in the pre-teen years means they will be homosexuals for life, while gays are really only 3 or 4 percent of the population. Our citizens are increasingly addicted to drugs and other peoples’ money. Fully half of the population takes government support in the form of housing, food stamps, or other types of welfare. Half of the population also pays no federal income tax. The socialist worldview – taking from those who earn their income by working, and giving to those who don’t – is a page ripped from the fevered Communist brain of Karl Marx who in 1875 decreed, “from each according to his ability; to each according to his need.” Now, after over 140 years of disastrous failures that have killed about 120 million of their own people (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.) this lethal atrocity is being resuscitated like the living dead. Our nation has always provided the truly needy a generous safety net as it should, but in the last seven years the safety net has morphed into a feather bed. The “social gospel” preached by liberals actually contradicts the real Gospel. The Apostle Paul warned, “… if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work…such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” 2 Thess. 3:10-12. God knew what great human satisfaction comes from work, and so he gifted us each with talents and abilities so we would find fulfillment using our God-given skills. But the idea of “income redistribution” in the name of “equality” defies God’s plan for earning our own way. Taking from others is really a government-driven form of stealing, forbidden by the Bible’s Eighth Commandment. Its evil twin, coveting whatever your neighbor has, is banned by the Tenth Commandment yet promoted by this government as class warfare. Our 20 trillion dollar debt is an even more deeply troubling form of theft, stealing from our own children and grandchildren. This is why the big-government juggernaut is a hugely destructive immoral force that must be defeated. It steals our children’s futures, and even takes possession of our bodies, erasing our freedom to make our own medical decisions. It hunts down Christian dissenters from its perverse orthodoxy, compassionate groups like Little Sisters of the poor, or a Christian cake baker who declines to participate in a same-sex wedding; even pastors who refuse to marry “couples” of identical gender. In these and hundreds of other ways, it denies us as Christians the “free exercise “of our religion promised in the First Amendment. When evangelical Christians vote, they overwhelmingly vote Republican because the GOP’s freedom ideology is more aligned with their belief system than the Democrats. And those who don’t vote are, by their absence, unwittingly voting for the other side. It’s been estimated that about four million Christians who had voted for George Bush stayed home in 2014 rather than support Romney. Significantly, according to the Census Bureau, of the 220 million eligible voters (registered and not registered) nearly 60 percent didn’t vote. If even half of those 132 million voted for leaders with Christian values (and 70 to 75 percent of citizens proclaim they’re Christians) that would mean 66 million new Christian voters! Such an outpouring would dramatically change our wayward nation into one that again reveres and practices the moral principles that God has set for us. Evangelist Franklin Graham, who leads Samaritan’s Purse, the charity helping desperate Christians and non-Christians alike world-wide, says, “If we turn our nation back to God, I believe that God will help us fix the problems that we face.” Accordingly he is visiting each state with his Decision America prayer rally. “I’m going to every state to challenge Christians to live out their faith at home, in public and at the ballot box – and I will share the Gospel,” he says. “I want the evangelical Christians, the Bible-believing Christians to stand up and vote.” Although as Christians we know God is in control, our faith can’t be an excuse not to vote. Would our God want us to idly watch as the nation he so favored is demolished, or would he want us to choose leaders who uphold the standards he has put so lovingly in place for us?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Disneyland for adults

Many people of mature years are amazed at how many young people have voted for Senator Bernie Sanders, and are enthusiastic about the socialism he preaches. Many of those older people have lived long enough to have seen socialism fail, time and again, in countries around the world. Venezuela, with all its rich oil resources, is currently on the verge of economic collapse, after its heady fling with socialism. But, most of the young have missed all that, and their dumbed-down education is far more likely to present the inspiring rhetoric of socialism than to present its dismal track record. Socialism is in fact a wonderful vision -- a world of the imagination far better than any place anywhere in the real world, at any time over the thousands of years of recorded history. Even many conservatives would probably prefer to live in such a world, if they thought it was possible. Who would not want to live in a world where college was free, along with many other things, and where government protected us from the shocks of life and guaranteed our happiness? It would be Disneyland for adults! Free college of course has an appeal to the young, especially those who have never studied economics. But college cannot possibly be free. It would not be free even if there was no such thing as money. Consider the costs of just one professor teaching just one course. He or she has probably spent more than 20 years being educated, from kindergarten to the Ph.D., before ending up standing in front of a class and trying to convey some of the knowledge picked up in all those years. That means being fed, clothed and housed all those years, along with other expenses. All the people who grew the food, manufactured the clothing and built the housing used by this one professor, for at least two decades, had to be compensated for their efforts, or those efforts would not continue. And of course someone has to produce food, clothing and shelter for all the students in this one course, as well as books, computers and other requirements or amenities. Add up all these costs -- and multiply by a hundred or so -- and you have a rough idea of what going to college costs. Whether these costs are paid by using money in a capitalist economy or by some other mechanism in a feudal economy, a socialist economy, or whatever, there are heavy costs to pay. Moreover, under any economic system, those costs are either going to be paid or there are not going to be any colleges. Money is just an artificial device for getting real things done. Those young people who understand this, whether clearly or vaguely, are not likely to be deterred from wanting socialism. Because what they really want is for somebody else to pay for their decision to go to college. A market economy is one in which whoever makes a decision is the one who pays for that decision. It forces people to be sure that what they want to do is really worth what it is going to cost. Even the existing subsidies of college have led many people to go to college who have very little interest in, or benefit from, going to college, except for enjoying the social scene while postponing adult responsibilities for a few years. Whether judging by test results, by number of hours per week devoted to studying or by on-campus interviews, it is clear that today's college students learn a lot less than college students once did. If college becomes "free," even more people can attend college without bothering to become educated and without acquiring re any economically meaningful skills. More fundamentally, making all sorts of other things "free" means more of those things being wasted as well. Even worse, it means putting more and more of the decisions that shape our lives into the hands of politicians and bureaucrats who control the purse strings. Obamacare has given us a foretaste of what that means in reality, despite how wonderful it may sound in political rhetoric. Worst of all, government giveaways polarize society into segments, each trying to get what it wants at somebody else's expense, creating mutual bitterness that can tear a society apart. Some seem to blithely assume that "the rich" can be taxed to pay for what they want -- as if "the rich" don't see what is coming and take their wealth elsewhere.