A tad on the Ukraine Crisis

April 9, 2014 (San Diego) Secretary of State John Kerry called on the Russians to stop the destabilization of the Eastern Ukraine. This was after a speech by Vladimir Putin calling Kiev the Mother City of all Russia. Now this is a problem if you know anything of the ancient history of the region. Kiev is considered by Russians to be the mother of Russian culture and precedes Moscow in year of foundation. It was more than just a nice turn of phrase.

This is why you are now hearing NATO issue threats about escalating the crisis, and why everybody is looking for an offramp. None, I suspect at least in the West, wants a war in the heart of Europe. At this point I am not so sure about Russia though. It does look to me that Putin wants to recreate the Russian Empire. He once said that dissolving the USSR was a historic mistake. He called it a “tragedy.”

Now if you are in the arena, trying to deal with this, you are facing a serious problem. And that is how to stop what increasingly looks like an aggressive stance from a regional power? There is also the fact that NATO is truly not ready to face the Russians if it came down to that. Ten years of war have degraded those capabilities and our pivot to the Pacific looks like an opportunity for Russia to assert it’s place.

Now, I have read bloggers apply the same hammer to this situation that it is applied to all, and that is shock doctrine. I wish it was the case, and it fully applied. Per usual things are far more complex than just the evil west, or the evil Russians, trying to take over a region. There are echoes, long distant historic echoes, at play here. Suffice it to say, it is starting to look increasingly like a new cold war might develop and the US will have to rethink that pivot to the pacific.

Yes, there are some elements of Shock Doctrine, but it is far from the ONLY explanation. Only using that, ignores the shades of gray and historic echoes that in this particular case go all the way to about 500 C.E. It also ignores the very strong nationalist feelings that are developing in both East of the Oder and West of the Oder, and that are mutually exclusive. So we might still see a war in the heart of Europe.

Some from Occupy San Diego

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This is from November 17, 2011. This was over the Clairemont Bridge and I-5. It demanded that we take care of our infrastructure. There were no arrests on this. Though it was tense for a few minutes. 

 

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This was a nice demonstration\ March on November 15. It was, like many others, asking for social justice and for the police to respect the rights of demonstrators. 

The Pacific Century and San Diego

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Council Members Mark Kersey and Marti Emerald listening to testimony.

March 26, 2014 (San Diego) There are times that you go to a hearing for one thing, and encounter something that is far more important in the long term view. That was the case Monday. The Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee heard testimony regarding the future economy of San Diego.  This came from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Council This is not small stuff. This is major stuff, that will affect all of us within a generation or less. After all, the plan is looking forwards to 2020. So that is near term But the economic changes will last far beyond a generation.

While six years might not sound like much, six years is what might very well determine the pivot from the Atlantic Economies to the Pacific Economies, and how well our region does within that pivot. In fact, exports are seen as an important factor in that pivot. (And why we all should pay attention to trade agreements)

So there are aspects to this that are understood by policy makers, but not by most San Diegans. The priorities are as follows:

Driving an increase in exports: This is critical and according to the Brookings Institution it is a driver in the economic recovery post crash in 100 cities in the United States.  San Diego is now seen as one of those 100 core regions.

Attracting Global investment: This is self explanatory but we do need to get international companies, such as ESET, to set up shop in San Diego. We have many assets for this, including research institutions, a research corridor and quite frankly a border with another country, and the Tijuana region is seen as part of this mega development region. Of course, we have the weather too.

Addressing the identity of the City: Leave political scandals to the side, the city is seen outside of San Diego as a conservative, sleepy little military town, and a good tourist destination. It is far from sleepy. conservative is in the eye of the beholder, and I would argue the city itself is quite liberal now, and military, well yeah, we are a strategic port for the Navy. But we are much more than that. We have world class research institutions. Most people do not think this is the case, but for instance Scripps Oceanographic Institute and Woods hole are of national importance. And then there are the many universities and private companies were basic research being done.

We also have incubators for new businesses, and one of the things that were addressed in testimony was how to make those incubators look beyond the San Diego Region, and the United States. We also have trade delegations now, and we are looking to open markets, So the question is connecting those businesses to those opportunities abroad. It is truly globalization. Oh and if you want to fly direct to either London or Tokyo, now you can. Those routes are part of the plan.

One particular statistic was quite astounding. Only 4% of San Diego based businesses export. That means 96% of businesses are not even exploring that market beyond our borders.  This is one thing they intend to change.

Who are the partners in this effort? I mean apart of the city of San Diego?

JP Morgan Chase

The Brookings Institution

The US Department of Commerce

UC San Diego: School of International Relations and Pacific Studies

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

The Unified Port of San Diego

Biocom

The Tijuana Economic Development Center

Of course the San Diego Economic Development Center

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

Connect

And finally the World Trade Center San Diego.

This list is missing important actors in the region. Among them are the County of San Diego, which should be an obvious participant but it is not. Cities outside of San Diego are absent as well. Not just the East County Communities, that tend to have a very local view of things, but also cities like Escondido that want to create a high tech corridor.

So we continue to see a split between the largest stake holder community in the region, that be San Diego City, and the rest of the County. If the City is correct, we are talking of a pivot that will determine our future economy and economic health of the San Diego Region. It will also continue to increase the divisions in the county, and I will add, the resentments.

It is time to develop a global view and become a participant, otherwise those communities will be left behind.

Oh and yes, raising the minimum wage is critical for our economy as well, but this story was mostly ignored by the media. And this will also determine the future society in this city. What it looks like is a well educated core, with the support of a service economy. Politically this will also make it a far more liberal city.

But as they say, sometimes you go for one thing, and you encounter something that is far more bigger picture. This was one of those times.

 

The Fire Season has started

Some will be stuck to scanners, and some of us will be reporting on wildand fires. So here is just a handy introduction to this.

Some things that occur to me, when reporting on fires. So will try to get them out of my mind and explain them, also post them at both here and my blog.

The first is understanding fire speak:

RoS (rate of Spread): This is how fast a fire header is moving. Slow speed is good, no spread is better. But if you hear things like rapid spread, that is a far more dangerous fire condition. If you hear forward spread has stopped, that is even better.

Strike Teams and Structure Protection: Many a times having those dispatched is very much standard, not because a fire is this close to structures, but because a fire has the potential to do so, therefore the Incident Commander will deploy these assets ahead of their actual need. Fire units like to be ahead of potential needs, and not behind the power curve.

So while strike teams are a maybe it is getting more serious, it does not translate to actually dangerous to structures all the time.

Hand crews, self explanatory, and boy those people work extremely hard to remove fuel physically.

Air Assets come in two flavors, fixed wing, usually the bomber with a spotter, and rotary craft, aka helicopters.

Fire commanders will deploy an EMS unit for crew recovery at smaller fires. They basically make sure that Fire Personnel rehydrate and are ok before they go back on duty. Fighting fires is extremely physical At larger incidents not only is there a base camp tent. but line medics are deployed with fire fighters.

Fuels.

Life Flashy fuels: You know things like grasses. They tend to burn fast, but tend to burn at colder temperatures, therefore, while they will generate a lot of smoke, they tend to be more flash than fury. You still do not want to be in the middle of it.

Medium fuels: These are like the sound reads, heavier fuels, think manzanita groves that are NOT that thick. They will be hotter, and at times, unless the wind is wicked, they will go slower.

Heavy Fuels: Thinks like tree groves, and Arrundo, they tend to burn hot, and they are not easy to put out.

Fuels do grow back, so as they get thicker with the growth the nature will change.

Another aspect you need to know, if you listen to scanners, is that there is more to a fire than just this. Why I always look at a 7.5 minute Topo Map of the area. Fires are topography and fuel dependent. as well as winds, and how dry the fuel is. There is a lot more to firefighting than just this. Fires can change direction radically as well, if the wind and fuel humidity is just right. They can literally explode under the right conditions. Why even a command post at 5 miles from an actual fire header is not precisely the safest to be.

In very much larger incidents fires make their own weather, and in canyons air circulation is very much erratic. So these are the things to know when you listen to the pesky scanner. There is more, but this is a good introduction.

Why Mr. Martin Taints reputations, (and why I walked away from a page)

Well, after some of the non drama yesterday, and getting threats from Mr. Martin, I decided to fully look into his background. And let me tell you something, drama does follow him, because he generates that drama. So anyway, we will start with the death threats and other threats. Mr. Martin has delivered threats to people he does not like. Jeremy Gibbs had to point this out to an author of a blog post on freaknamoics, that made the mistake of quoting Mr. Martin as an expert. Mathew Phillips removed Mr. Martin’s references in his article after this was pointed to him, in the midst of a much longer post.

What followed were a slew of threatening emails and facebook messages from both Mr. Martin and his brother, Brian Martin. In these messages, my life was threatened in no uncertain terms.

The poster also went into just how untrained and unprepared Mr. Martin is for meteorology. and how much he creative borrows from true professionals.

Mr. Martin is so infamous on the internets that he has been banned from multiple sites, that do weather prediction as a hobby. It is so bad that private messages from Mr. Martin are known as pure harassment.

It is so bad that Martin has become the butt of many a jokes, but not in a good way. Mr Martin has become a joke and many of the people on the internet in the know use him as shorthand for bull prediction.

For example. a poster at the Weather Forums posted this about one of Martin’s predictions, that likely never came to be.

Kevin Martin is calling for severe thunderstorms this evening in Western Oregon.  YOU CAN’T SAY YOU WEREN’T WARNED!!!! :lol::lol::lol:

He has indeed been banned from multiple forums, and has had accounts cancelled at You Tube, for stealing copyrighted material and other things such as harassment.

His fight with Professionals:

It is striking that Mr. Martin does have an axe to grind with professional. It is to the point that he claims they cannot do any prediction for Southern California Weather, since they do not live in the area. That is a fair point. that is until you realize that Mr. Martin, who does indeed live in California, has a few other services that are all scam sites.

Among them are:

Ohio Weather Authority Com, no will not give him a hot link, but this leaves us wondering, how come a man who lives in California can predict weather in the fair state of Ohio According to Martin you cannot do it if you do not live in the area. In fact, this is a requirement.

The Weather Space com, again no hot link, it is a commercial site. This site is really cute. He is actually making predictions for Atlanta, the HOME of the Weather Channel, a reputable commercial site. Mr. Martin claims that they cannot do a decent job in the West Coast since they are not physically on the ground, but he is actually doing weather prediction for Atlanta, from California? Now that is funny.

He has also sued Facebook, according to this story on the Banning Beaumont Patch, where they quote him as saying the following:

“Since this account was attached to paying them for advertising in the past, it will be grounds for a lawsuit. Since the personal account was attached to 759 friends I may never get back, it will be grounds for a lawsuit. And for me having a disability … It is grounds for a lawsuit for discrimination. All business pages are unpublished, but NOT gone … meaning they can return if we win this battle.  And we will win it one way or the other.

“Facebook will be handed a lawsuit if the last of the talks do not work. We are sending everything we can over as we speak, including hate pages about me, hate sites, and libel.  This was all created online due to jealous/envious weather idiots, which is why I DO NOT associate with them nor care to be.”

Now you are probably getting an idea.

Education:

This gentleman has zero training in meteorology, with his school ending in High School. While I admit that there are people out there who are gifted, and can do things without formal education, he does none of the sort. He actually takes a little from here, and a ted from there. This in fact a common criticism across many platforms.

HAARP and Chemtrails:

Suffice it to say you are really doing something really wrong, when you piss off the people who believe in Chemtrails. The fine folks at Above Top Secret have pointed out that the gentleman in question trolls the HAARP believers for both profit and fun.

Godlike Prodcutions refers to him as their former weatherman. And that is just the top of the proverbial iceberg.

Fire bugs and Mr. Kevin Martin

The Press Enterprise reports this about the Yucaipa fires:

San Bernardino County prosecutors have charged a Yucaipa teenager accused of setting about a dozen fires with 10 counts of arson and will go before a judge later this month to determine if he should be tried as an adult, officials said Friday.

But a Corona meteorologist defended the boy, saying he was at the scene of the fires to take photos for his weather Web site.

The 16-year-old was arrested last week after he was seen leaving the area of the 347-acre Crafton Fire in Yucaipa on his bicycle. Sheriff’s investigators have said they suspect him of setting 12 to 14 fires in the

region, including the 860-acre Pendleton Fire in Yucaipa and the 1,159-acre Oak Glen Fire, both of which started in late August.

Later in the story we find this gem:

Kevin Martin, who runs a weather Web site and is an acquaintance of the suspect, said authorities have the wrong guy.

So this is why I chose to walk away from a site that now hosts this man. And I will add. after I got threatened by Mr. Martin, I started digging even more. There is a lot more out on the web on Mr. Martin. This is just scratching the surface. But some of it, I will actually say this in the defense of Mr. Martin, is shall we say in the realm of personal attacks. Some of the sites that are critical of him, are crossing some lines in my mind.

I took a course many years ago in Historical Method. So I do not exactly remember the exact words. But my instructor, a man at the dusk of his career as a professional historian, said this about sources. And I paraphrase. Not all sources are created equal. 

I will add one last thing, what that site I walked away from is looking for is information. They are to be applauded on that. But when information comes from a person that has this reputation among professionals, I would walk away. Why I chose to do so, as any association with Mr. Martin leads to clear reputation taint.

Oh and this is just one side of the duo. His brother Brian is just as unpleasant, and I am sure I can dig out information. Suffice it to say  he is also a HS graduate with no formal education.

Oh and in case anybody is really curious. No it was not that hot in the Lagunas today. In fact, it was in the 60s. Tomorrow though. as the NWS has predicted, it is going to be hotter.

This is the first link to the first article I wrote on this. I suppose the two of them have quite a bit of work proving that Mr. Martin should not be trusted with anything approaching weather prediction. And with this I think we can put this little unpleasantness behind us.

And this is the kind of escalation… that could lead to miscalculations

According to multiple sources, this one is from the Sydney Morning Herald, Russia has test fired an ICBM.

The press conference this morning was pretty much rattling of sabers, historic rights, and protection of minorities. It is not quite Living Ground, it is more like 19th century Empire, but 1938 will be better understood by most people.

This though, is far more serious. It might even raise the posture of multiple armed forces across multiple nations If the objective of Vladimir Putin (one celebrated I am sure by our own military industrial complex) is to restart the cold war, he is doing a damned good job of it.

Here is the relevant quote, that is sending chills down my back.

The Strategic Rocket Forces launched an RS-12M Topol missile from the southerly Astrakhan region near the Caspian Sea and the dummy warhead hit its target at a proving ground in Kazakhstan, the state-run news agency RIA cited Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov as saying.

It should send chills down yours as well. These kind of games and escalations have not happened since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in my mind since the Summer of 1914. Personally trying to live blog this is next to impossible so I will just follow most of this, but this is a very dangerous escalation in my mind. Nor is it accidental.

Oh and by treaty we did get notification, but…

And a little history as well

This is the Eastern Front as the Germans invaded East. See any similarities with the geography at play here? It is not surprising that Putin wants the Crimea, warm water ports energy. It is the same reason the German planners wanted the Crimea. This is not irrational. This is a well fought over piece of land.

The specifics are different today than they were in 1941. Though when analysts go, but this is Czechoslovakia in 1938 I cringe. The reason for that cringing? I know that WW II is the absolutely last good war. Hey we won. I also know that this is not Living Space. This is much older than Living Space. This goes back to the Russification policies started under Peter and Catherine the Great.

No, this is not the 1930s, but it has historic echoes.

Now I have a lot of reading to do to catch up with the recent history of the area. After all my graduate course in Russian history is a tad old, and a while ago. There was still a USSR in place. For the record Putin is pining for the old times USSR, and the 19th century called.

But yes, a lot of this is geography. And if you want to understand fully what is going on, look at a map. It will not disappoint. In fact, a few maps are in order, a political map, a physical map and a resource map. Those are the minimum. A few maps of WW I and WW II, and the Crimean War will also help. And that means I have a lot of that to do myself.

Let’s just hope we do not have historic miscalculations though, or we might be facing another European ground war, and due to interlocking alliances, we are not going to stay out of it. Not just that, our national interest will force our leaders to join up. We the people have no say. And how serious this is? Well, everybody is starting to play the propaganda game and leaving actual straight news reporting. That is not a good sign.