Saturday, January 18, 2020

It's not as if he's wrong

From Vox Popoli:

The truth is that many of the U.S. military's leaders and senior officials are losers, dopes, and babies. Just look at their track record. They're fortunate that Trump isn't as ruthless as Stalin, who would have had them all shot for their obvious inability to complete their missions, if not treason:
The president reportedly called Afghanistan a “loser war,” and told his military leaders: “You’re all losers... You don’t know how to win anymore... I want to win... We don’t win any wars anymore... We spend $7 trillion, everybody else got the oil and we’re not winning anymore.” It’s reported that Trump was so angry at this point that he wasn’t breathing properly.

In his most incendiary comment, Trump—a man who, remember, managed to get out of military duty in Vietnam due to a supposed bone-spur problem—is said to have told the assembled forces, “I wouldn’t go to war with you people... You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

The comment reportedly left the room dumbfounded. Tillerson was “visibly seething,” and decided to speak up. The secretary of state said, “No, that’s just wrong... Mr. President, you’re totally wrong. None of that is true.” When the meeting ended soon afterward, Tillerson reportedly stood with a small group of confidants and said, “He’s a fucking moron.”

One senior official summed up the meeting: “We needed to change how he thinks about this, to course correct... They were dismayed and in shock when not only did it not have the intended effect, but he dug in his heels and pushed it even further on the spectrum, further solidifying his views.”
For all the feigned indignation of the Washington Post writers, the fact is that the god-emperor was absolutely right and is still absolutely right about the ineptitude of the U.S. military leadership. Notice the wildly inappropriate attitude of the senior official - almost certainly Deep State - who clearly believes that his views, and the views of his colleagues, take precedence over the views of the American people and their duly-elected President of the United States.

Julius Caesar won the Gallic War in eight years. The Allies won World War II in six years. This pathetic collection of inept, corrupt, and mediocre perfumed princes haven't been able to defeat anyone since 1950. Except, of course, Grenada.

At this point, I don't like the new U.S. Space Force's odds against the space invaders. Or even the asteroids, for that matter.


Notes You Never Hear: The Metaphysical Loneliness of George Harrison

Notes You Never Hear: The Metaphysical Loneliness of George Harrison
Of all the impossible-to-recreate sounds made by the Beatles, George Harrison’s lead guitar might be the most elusive. Jayson Greene teases out its haunting essence with the help of a few Harrison acolytes, including his son Dhani.
Photo © Harrison Family
Recently, Dhani Harrison was rehearsing “Let It Down”, from All Things Must Pass, when a member of his band told him he was playing his own father’s song wrong. “I was doing my own solo, not the one in the song, and he couldn't take it,” Dhani laughs. “And he was right! I was fudging the chords a bit. I sighed and said, ‘OK then, let's go back and figure it out.’”
Of all the impossible-to-recreate sounds made by the Beatles—Ringo’s drum fills, Paul’s bass lines—George Harrison’s lead guitar might be the most elusive. Even his own son has spent most of his life struggling to grasp its essence. “For most of my early life, I tried not to learn my father’s music,” Dhani says dryly. He’s joking, at least partly: He has spent years preserving, protecting, and archiving his father’s legacy, and he knows every note, down to which guitar played it. In September, he oversaw the remastering and reissuing of Harrison’s first six solo records, which were recently released on Capitol as The Apple Years: 1968-1975.
So if you are looking for someone to explain the near-mystical quality of George Harrison’s guitar playing—or at least grapple poetically with its spirit—Dhani is your best bet. “My father once said to me, ‘I play the notes you never hear,’” he remembers. “He focused on touch and control partly because he never thought he was any good, really. He knew he was good at smaller things: not hitting any off notes, not making strings buzz, not playing anything that would jar you. ‘Everyone else has played all the other bullshit,’ he would say. ‘I just play what's left.’”

I just play what's left. There probably isn’t a more self-effacing way to describe it. But Harrison’s playing, both in the Beatles and in his solo work, has always sounded this way, like whatever resounding truth remained after all else was exhausted; it is an inner music. Like a chess master who stares motionless at the board while the pieces move in his mind, Harrison’s hardest work always happened before he began playing, as he painstakingly arranged and rearranged chord shapes: In her foreword to his memoir I, Me, Mine, Olivia Harrison fondly remembers her husband writing at home, one ear cocked to the side, endlessly working and reworking chord formations.

“He looked very hard for the notes that were most suggestive of the whole,” Dhani says, offering something close to a defining philosophy behind that rounded, softly glowing tone. There is something almost metaphysical about its loneliness. His lead guitar was never a “lead” in a traditional sense; it is just one voice in an imaginary choir. His lilting solo on “Something” is both foreground—you can sing every note of it—and background, as misty and distant as the orchestra behind it. You could never imagine reaching out and touching it.

Maybe it’s due to this remoteness that his style has quietly resisted cliché or aging out of fashion.  Bands that would never cite rock-god contemporaries like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page regularly namecheck him as an influence. “His chords were sometimes more a cluster of notes that, to my ears, are beautifully dissonant,” says Weezer guitarist Brian Bell, who recently took part in a massive benefit concert called George Fest. Like all Harrison acolytes, Bell’s appreciation zooms in on granular moments. “The turnaround lick over the last chord in the chorus of the Beatles’ ‘Help’ functions on many levels,” he explains. “It’s such an innovative use of the open G and B strings ringing out, while a minor 3rd shape chromatically descends below it.”
“He mixed playing chords and single-note runs similar to a jazz player,” agrees Matt Mondanile, guitarist for Real Estate. Mondanile is a similarly unshowy player, someone who seems to convey the meaning of every note he plays so completely that you occasionally forget to notice him. He hones in on the way Harrison’s lead lines wind around lead vocals. “I do that all the time,” he says. “On ‘Fake Blues’, ‘Beach Comber’, ‘Green Aisles’—basically any time an arpeggio floats around the melody, I'm playing Harrison,” he laughs.

When I ask Dhani which of his father’s guitar lines linger with him today, he points instantly to the opening of “I'd Have You Anytime” from All Things Must Pass. (“I think that's the Les Paul from ‘Gently Weeps’,” he muses.) Talking about the part, he uses the word “riff,” but it sits wrong—a “riff” is generally flashy, hard-angled, designed to snag your attention. The line on “I'd Have You Anytime”, with its hesitant dips and quavers and sudden, weightless leaps, rarely rises above a murmur. Like a lot of Harrison’s most lyrical playing, it feels more like a product of breath than hands.
This is not an accident. “When my dad was growing up, a lot of the pop music he loved had all these horn parts—Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis,” notes Dhani. “A lot of the great solos that he heard growing up were actually played on horns, and you can hear some of that turn up in his playing. As he got better and better, you started to hear less fret noise, and there was almost this laser-light quality to his sound—the pick disappeared.”
It is this liquid quality that is hardest to pinpoint. The tone evokes a zither, a clarinet—something more delicate, nuanced, and lyrical than an electric guitar. His style was so careful it was nearly self-annihilating—appropriate for someone so concerned with Eastern concepts of self. He was, after all, the Beatle who famously sat with Ravi Shankar and attempted to master the sitar, and although he failed to become a professional (or even passable) player—"I should have started at least [15] years earlier,” he lamented in I, Me, Mine—the study led him to new possibilities on the guitar neck. The precise string-bending on “My Sweet Lord”—that famous swan-necked swoop of a melody—would have been impossible if he hadn’t sat for three years, trying to master the “diri diri da ra da” of Shankar’s exercises. “As far as writing strange melodies and also rhythmically it was the best assistance I could have had,” he wrote.

I ask Dhani how he knows, within seconds, if a player has been directly influenced by his father. “There’s two ways,” he answers. “Not to sound like an asshole, but there’s the cheap, easy imitation, and then there’s the person who is genuinely influenced. Anyone can try and replicate that slide sound; I’ve heard it in records before and just thought, ‘God, we have to sue those guys.’ But then you’ll hear someone like Blake Mills, or—and this is a bit of an off-the-wall one—Josh Homme. I don't know if he’d be offended by my saying that”—he laughs—“but I mean it as the highest compliment.”
Ultimately, it is a kind of restraint, a way of seeing, that distinguishes Harrison’s playing. His ear was drawn to the smallest possible units of motion, his “quiet Beatle” stillness allowing for a heightened form of listening. “I’m really quite simple,” Harrison told Derek Taylor in I, Me, Mine. “I plant flowers and watch them grow...I stay at home and watch the river flow.” He was mocked, sometimes, for the self-seriousness of these statements, but this attention radiates from the center of his music. “It’s not suppression, it’s just discipline,” says Dhani. “He’s the reason no one can really cover the Beatles faithfully. The songs and the harmonies are one thing, and you can kind of work those out, but at some point there’s going to be a George Harrison solo, and that solo is usually perfect. So what do you do? If you start changing it, thinking you’re going to do something better, it’s not going to work out for you. It's hard to go in and start replacing things in those songs, because that’s the way that they are.”

Overtones is a column by Jayson Greene that examines how certain sounds linger in our minds and lives.

NSA discovers security flaw in Microsoft Windows operating system

Unsealed warrant details plot to smuggle Racine products to Iranian military


Federal search warrants unsealed Thursday shed additional light on the plot by a Turkish man to smuggle U.S.-made products from Wisconsin to Iran to boost the country's maritime military readiness.
Known for its marine products, Twin Disc, a Racine company, touts its ability to "put horsepower to work." According to federal court records, the company is the exclusive maker of the ASD14 Arneson Surface Drive, which has been described as one of the most efficient marine propulsion systems in the world.
It is that product which was the focus of the scheme to get the drives from the United States to Iran for the purpose of boosting the power of a high-speed missile attack boat in the Iranian Navy, the court records show.
Resit Tavan, a Turkish national, was the person who tried to carry out the task, which U.S. official said put national security at risk.
The search warrants show Tavan tried to send multiple drives to a Turkish front company which had been described by U.S. agencies as "supporting illicit Iranian actors."
Federal investigators managed to get their hands on invoices and emails to foil the plot.
"We are directly procuring the Arnesons from America," one email message said according to the documents. "Consequently, in their view, they will perceive that the project has never been realized."
Agents arrested Tavan in Romania in 2017 and extradited him to Wisconsin late that year.
He eventually pleaded guilty to speed up his deportation to Turkey.
When Tavan was sentenced, federal officials said at the time, a co-defendant, Fulya Kalafatoglu Oguzturk, who was also a Turkish citizen, was at large as a fugitive.
A spokesperson for the United States Attorney's Office in Milwaukee did not immediately respond to questions on Oguzturk's whereabouts.

18-year-old Racine man fatally beat dog, police say

From Fox6Now:

RACINE — An 18-year-old Racine man has been charged with fatally beating a dog. Investigators say the suspect, Zen Price IV, changed his story twice.
Zen Price
According to a criminal complaint, Racine police officers were sent to investigate the death of a pit bull near Erie and Yout Streets in Racine. The owner found the dog dead around 6 a.m. on Jan. 16 — the complaint states the dog was acting normally as late as 10 p.m. the night before.
The owner described the dog as very athletic, active and eager and that the dog was “particularly frisky” the night before being found dead. In a December incident, the owner told police that Price gave the dog a “whooping” as discipline.
The complaint states that Price initially had no explanation for the dog’s injuries. He told authorities that he had injured his hand after punching a wall, distraught over the dog’s death. He also told authorities that he loved the dog like his own and would not hurt it.
When informed that he was being charged, the complaint states that Price changed his story. He then told investigators that, while walking the dog, it was attacked by raccoons; he said he may have kicked the dog in the process of stopping the attack.
Later, Price changed his story again. He told investigators that the dog encountered a stray while on a walk. The two dogs began fighting, and he tried punching the dogs apart.
A veterinarian examined the dog’s injuries and described them as “constituting tremendous trauma, obtained in a short period of time with evidence of fresh bruising.” The veterinarian also observed evidence of blunt force trauma to the dog’s ribs and believed there was evidence of fluid in the abdomen. The examination did not reveal any signs of fighting or bite wounds from another dog. The complaint states that the veterinarian could not determine the exact cause of injury — not ruling out the possibility of being hit by a car.
Investigators observed bruising to the dog’s left and right sides near the stomach, bruising and red marks to the dog’s throat and bruising near the dog’s hind leg. The complaint also states that investigators observed swelling to Price’s wrist, the back his hand and between his knuckles  — an injury, authorities say, is commonly known as “boxer’s fracture”.
Price is due back in court Jan. 22 for his preliminary hearing.


Oak Creek man, alleged member of neo-Nazi group 'The Base,' charged with vandalizing Racine synagogue

From JSOnline:

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The federal courthouse in Milwaukee. (Photo: Journal Sentinel file photo)

A 22-year-old Oak Creek man charged with vandalizing a Racine synagogue was arrested Friday as part of a nationwide investigation into The Base, a neo-Nazi, racially motivated extremist group, federal prosecutors announced Friday.    
Yousef O. Barasneh spray-painted swastikas and anti-Semitic words on Beth Israel Sinai Congregation in Racine last September and plotted other acts of vandalism against minority residents with the hate group, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Court records indicate he was arrested Friday, but not that he had appeared in court. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said it could not provide a booking photo, and Barasneh did not appear as a current inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail.
The FBI has been investigating the group for months and found it active in Wisconsin.
In June, recruitment flyers for the group were posted at Marquette University. The next month, the group had an armed training session in northern Wisconsin and posted photos to social media, court records say.
And the day before the Racine synagogue was vandalized, a synagogue in Michigan was tagged with similar racist graffiti.
According to court records:
One of the group's ringleaders became an informant and gave investigators details over the past several months. The documents in Barasneh's case do not name the person but note he has been federally charged in another state for his role.
The man admitted he directed the group to vandalize minority-owned properties, calling it “Operation Kristallnacht," a reference to Nazi Germany and the night Jewish homes, hospitals and other properties were ransacked and destroyed.
The man told investigators he said: "If there’s a window that wants to be broken, don’t be shy.”
He said a man known as Josef or Joseph in the group's chat room later sent a message with a news article about the Racine synagogue vandalism and claimed credit for the damage.

The informant said he never met Barasneh in person.

Foxconn soon worth $522 million, but local officials develop scenario if the project goes south

From JSOnline:

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Work is done on structures at Foxconn Technology Group's planned flat-screen manufacturing complex in Mount Pleasant on Nov. 6, 2019. (Photo: Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Local officials estimate Foxconn Technology Group’s massive development in southeastern Wisconsin will be worth more than $500 million in the next year or so, but they have quietly put together a what-if scenario in case the project doesn’t meet expectations.
A calculation by a team working with Mount Pleasant suggested Foxconn’s planned facility could be valued at many times more than the assessments of other manufacturing sites in Wisconsin.
The team, which included consultant Ehlers Inc., estimated Foxconn’s project and other developments in a Mount Pleasant tax incremental financing district would soon be worth $522 million. That’s about 37% of the $1.4 billion value the district is supposed to achieve by 2023.
The team's views on the project were included in a four-page outline released Friday by Racine County under the state’s open records law. The outline was produced for a September meeting on the project involving officials from the county, Mount Pleasant and the state Department of Administration.
The outline was focused on the state of the financing district and not the broader incentive package worth up to $3 billion the state has offered the Taiwanese tech giant. The state incentives are based on how much Foxconn spends on the project and how many jobs it creates.
The outline expressed skepticism Foxconn would hire as many people as it has repeatedly claimed it would. It has a yearly set of job goals, with an ultimate total of 13,000.
The outline said hitting the job numbers “seems unlikely at present.”
A spokeswoman for Foxconn did not immediately respond to questions about the consultant's review of the project.

Authorities: Racine County man forced emergency landing for being unruly passenger on flight

From TMJ4:

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO — A flight from Los Angeles heading to Chicago had to be diverted to Albuquerque, New Mexico because of an unruly passenger from Racine County.

Court documents say Mason Alioto, of Wind Lake, was arrested and removed from the plane.

While being restrained by police, Alioto cursed and used homophobic slurs as passengers looked on.

As he passed by the passenger with the camera, he used one more homophobic slur and spat before exiting the plane.

Never Gonna Let You Go

Joe Walsh - The Confessor

R.I.P gary moore , best guitar solo ever probably

I Robot (extended) - The Alan Parsons Project

10cc - I m Not In Love

The US Space Force Just Swore In Its First "Chief Of Space Operations"

From ZeroHedge:

This week, Air Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond was sworn in as the chief of Space Operations for the new United States Space Force. While it was initially reported as somewhat of a joke when Donald Trump first announced it, the U.S. Space Force is a very real thing and is now the seventh military branch of the Pentagon.
On Tuesday, Raymond was sworn in by Vice President Pence at his ceremonial office.

It is President Trump’s belief that the United States must remain as dominant in space as we are on land and sea and the air. And your charge is to see to that mission with the United States Space Force,” Pence said during the ceremony.
Raymond responded by saying, “Mr. Vice President, we have our marching orders and we are moving out. We do not want a conflict to begin or extend into space, we want to deter that conflict from happening. The best way I know how to do that is to do so from a position of strength.
The Space Force will be comprised of roughly 16,000 officers and other personnel from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Command. In fact Raymond is himself a commander of both the Air Force Space Command and the U.S. Space Command, possibly signaling that these agencies will be working very closely and consisting of many of the same members.
In addition to the personnel from other agencies the Space Force was granted $40 million through the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Trump is expected to hold a meeting with Pentagon officials this week to discuss uniform and logo details for the new agency. The meeting will include Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, and the new chief of Space Operations Jay Raymond.
The Trump administration is also planning on sending a legislative proposal to Congress for the fiscal year of 2021 which would create National Guard and Reserve units for the Space Force. The proposal also seeks to consolidate other space-related organizations in the government under the Space Force banner including the Space Development Agency.

Open Blog - Weekend

Kind of reminds me of downtown Racine.

Friday, January 17, 2020

'Giddy-up', said TSA agent pulling Native woman's braids

Tara Houska (right) protesting in Washington DC alongside actor Joaquin Phoenix

The US airports security agency has apologised to a Native American activist after an inspector pulled her hair and said "giddy-up".
Tara Houska was travelling through the Minneapolis, Minnesota, airport when the incident took place during a security screening.
"My hair is part of my spirit. I am a Native woman," she wrote on Twitter, adding that she was "humiliated".
"My braids are not reins," she tweeted to her more than 30,000 followers.
Ms Houska, a prominent activist and lawyer, was returning from a climate march in Washington DC, where she protested alongside celebrities Jane Fonda and Joaquin Phoenix.