Monday, September 12, 2011

Is Obama a The Mittani Wannabe?

In the world of Eve Online's New Eden, one of the most influential players is Alexander Gianturco, better known as The Mittani (his character name) or Mittens.  Before becoming the CEO of Goonswarm Federation, New Eden's largest alliance and then chairman of the 6th Council of Stellar Management, The Mittani was best known as the director of the Goonswarm Intelligence Agency.  In that capacity, he ran many covert operations, the most successful of which brought down the storied Band of Brothers alliance and thrust him, and Eve Online, into the spotlight of the mainstream media.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I read a column by David Ignatius in The Washington Post stating that President Obama is more comfortable in the secret world of intelligence and covert operations than operating in the corridors of power in Washington D.C. 

Do we really want a spymaster as the leader of the free world?  Well, I wouldn't mind if President Obama can handle the traditional duties of the presidency competently.  But Mr. Ignatius argues that is not the case.
"What this president dislikes — and does poorly — is political bargaining. He’s as bad a dealmaker as, let’s say, George Smiley would be. If the rote political parts of his job sometimes seem uninteresting to him, maybe that’s because they seem trivial compared to the secret activities that he directs each morning. If only economic policy could be executed as coolly and cleanly as a Predator shot."

Wonderful.  We have an amateur spy in charge of the country.  I'd rather he became an amateur economist.  Austrian school, if I had my way.
"Obama has devoured intelligence from the day he took office: He stepped up the pace of Predator drone attacks over Pakistan starting in 2009. He approved the bold raid on Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2. Before major speeches, such as the famous Cairo address in April 2009, he has even sought advice from intelligence analysts.

"The president played the spymaster role last week, after a 'credible threat' surfaced of an al-Qaeda car-bomb plot against New York and Washington. He tasked the intelligence agencies to pulse all their sources, and decided on a quick, broad release of the information to law enforcement agencies around the country, so they could join in the dragnet. Obama sent Vice President Biden out as front man on the Friday morning breakfast-television shows.

"Obama is the commander in chief as covert operator. The flag-waving 'mission accomplished' speeches of his predecessor aren’t Obama’s thing; even his public reaction to the death of bin Laden was relatively subdued. Watching Obama, the reticent, elusive man whose dual identity is chronicled in 'Dreams From My Father,' you can’t help wondering if he has an affinity for the secret world. He is opaque, sometimes maddeningly so, in the way of an intelligence agent."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Krugman - A Very Eve Statement

A couple of weeks ago, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman made the statement on a CNN show that seemed a little bit wacky.  Okay, still seems.  I'm providing the video so you can tell for yourself.

The part that reminds me of Eve Online isn't the mention of space aliens.  No, it is the reason space aliens are mentioned.

KRUGMAN: If we discovered that, you know, space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren't any aliens, we'd be better –

ROGOFF: And we need Orson Welles, is what you're saying.

KRUGMAN: No, there was a "Twilight Zone" episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time, we don't need it, we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.
Krugman is actually talking about lying and manufacturing a crisis to get the public to agree to unpopular decisions.  Deceipt is something players in Eve know all too well.

Friday, September 2, 2011

An Introduction

Welcome to From New Eden To Earth.  I'm starting this new blog because I really want to keep my gaming blog, The Nosy Gamer, away from U.S. politics unless the subject specifically impacts the online gaming industry.  Lately I have had troubles with this since the real world is beginning to closely resemble New Eden, the virtual world I call my home away from home.

New Eden is the name of the world created by the Icelandic company Crowd Control Productions (CCP) in their science fiction massively multi-player role playing game Eve Online.  These modern day space Vikings have a dream to turn their game into the ultimate sci-fi space simulator.  Although they have hit a rough patch with their player base lately, they are succeeding.  That's the problem.

Why is CCP succeeding a problem?  Because New Eden is a dark and dangerous place.  That is fine for a place I spend a few hours a week, but a problem when the real world starts taking on the same characteristics.  So instead of ranting and raving on my gaming blog, I'll just point out some amusing (or maybe some not so amusing) similarities between my virtual world and the real one.

I would like to point out that drawing parallels between virtual worlds and the real world is not new.  A whole area of academic study has grown up on the topic.  For examples of deep thought on the subject, visit Terra Nova.  But the mainstream media, or at least the BBC, has also covered the antics of Eve players.  From the dissolution of the Band of Brothers to interviewing CCP's in-game economist, actions within the game have made the news.  So why not go all the way and explore how much this "sci-fi" simulation reflects what we see in the real world?