04.25.15

Presidential Healing Salve

Posted in Bombing Moe, Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror at 12:28 pm by George Smith

From the New York Times:

He praised the intelligence professionals for their work even as he reflected on the costs. “This self-reflection, this willingness to examine ourselves, to make corrections, to do better, that’s part of what makes us Americans,” Mr. Obama told them. “It’s part of what sets us apart from other nations. It’s part of what keeps us not only safe but also strong and free.”


Leon E. Panetta, who served Mr. Obama as C.I.A. director and then as defense secretary, said the president was especially engaged in counterterrorism operations and wanted regular briefings, always asking about civilian casualties. “You hit some of these targets, and you get a lot of people in a shot, and what you wind up doing is asking yourself, ‘Is every one of those guys you get a bad guy?’ ” Mr. Panetta said.

I bet. Bad guys. Always with the good guys and bad guys thing.

“We came, we saw, he died,” Hillary Clinton joked about Mo Ghaddafi after B-2 bomber strikes took out the rivets holding his military together.

Now Libya is a failed state with a local chapter of ISIS. But we bombed the paupers and got the bad guy.

04.24.15

Line up the Pro Lickspittles

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Shoeshine, War On Terror at 3:30 pm by George Smith

“Mistakes happen, says William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism” on the drone strike that killed two humanitarian aid workers, one American and one Italian, in Pakistan.

That’s a quote from the BBC, courtesy of one of many scholars flacks for the forever wars devoted to dropping bombs on the poor people of the world. “Even if you’re up close and personal, it can be difficult,” Banks adds. It’s difficult to tell the “bad guys from the good guys.”

This is what passes for pithy comment, scholarship and critical thinking from the American academy on our many wars in 2015. That’s because the American system virtually wiped out everyone who wasn’t attached to the payroll of the Department of Defense or the national security infrastructure after 9/11. Experts on the matter, you see, are only necessary as fonts of simple-minded justifications, suitable for public consumption, for whatever it is the war machine is doing around the world.

What does Syracuse know about national security and terrorism? Nothing. Its “institute” didn’t exist until 2003.

A visit to its homepage (laugh at it’s unintentionally hilarious acronym) shows it to be almost all middle-aged and older white guys. Like most of these things, funded and fertilized by national security money, it’s a dumping ground for lawyers, military men from the wars still wearing their uniforms for their bio pictures, and lower and middle tier officials from the Pentagon. Plus, they can’t even hire someone to keep their web links working correctly.

“At times mistakes occur because of poor judgment,” continues the BBC. (No link, I won’t do it.)

Then the Beeb White House reporter digs up still another lawyer from the University of Houston to furnish yet one more upper class servant-of-the-military to white-mansplain how it is the war on terror is fought. For the one times ten to the sixth power time.

“There was ‘faulty intelligence,’ says Jordan Paust, an international law professor at University of Houston.” But the target site appeared to be “lawful … despite the unintended deaths,” he tells the Beeb.

“Someone’s got to make a choice …. That’s not necessarily a war crime.”

Faulty intelligence. Hard time telling the “bad guys from the good guys.” Even if you’re up close and personal it’s difficult.

A sack of potatoes could have thought this stuff up.

Do the war flacks passed off as scholars know how bad they sound? Certainly some of them do. But that’s why they’re paid. We need people to convincingly pretend they’re serious and thoughtful so that the news doesn’t veer dangerously into discussions of systematic callousness, inequities, blood and long-term consequences.

And there’s nothing that can be done about it. Except write something supercilious on a blog, something no one will like or share because … why, exactly?

Well, what to like? There’s no appropriate social media reaction widget.


The New York Times editorial board gets to the Bombs of Hope and Renewal matter:

The Obama administration has helped the Saudis with intelligence and tactical advice and by deploying warships off the Yemeni coast. Now it is wisely urging them to end the bombing. The White House seems to have realized that the Saudis appear to have no credible strategy for achieving their political goals, or even managing their intervention.

Seems baldly disingenuous, does it not? There are smart people at the New York Times. When they say “the Saudis appear to have no credible strategy” they certainly know it’s a strategy cooked up and targeted by the US Africa Command after it was surprised by the eruption of revolution. (Google US Africa Command and “stability operations” for a bleak laugh.)

“The deployment of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier and other warships to the Arabian Sea this week was intended [to help the war effort], writes the Times. “American officials said they were prepared to intercept a nine-ship Iranian convoy headed for Yemen and believed to be carrying weapons for the rebels. Fortunately, the Iranian vessels turned around, avoiding a possible confrontation.”

Yes, an entire nuclear carrier surface action group is needed off one of the poorest countries in the world, just in case.

Perhaps the President or the Times ought to concede that letting Special Operations Command and the East Africa Air Pirates drone crew give Yemen the business for a few years hasn’t done the world any humanitarian favors.

Yemen has almost always teetered close to being a failed state. In 2013, the country’s electrical production was 850 megawatts, down by almost half of what it was the year before.

By contrast, the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena consumed 962 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2012 for residential use alone. Pasadena, by itself, it’s probably safe to say, has indescribably more electrical production capacity at its disposal than the entire country of Yemen.

Yemen, then, is patently one of the worst off places in the world, it’s deteriorating electrical production capacity only one measure of its very weak and fragile structure.

The US government, or its military, surely cannot say with any straight face (although they may try), that unleashing a vigorous anti-terror campaign upon the country did not significantly contribute to its current terrible condition.


More national security servant whitemansplaining on assassination campaigns in the poors regions:

“Core Al Qaeda is a rump of its former self,” said an American counterterrorism official, in an assessment echoed by several European and Pakistani officials.

The Pakistanis estimate that Al Qaeda has lost 40 loyalists, of all ranks, to American drone strikes in the past six months – a higher toll than other sources have tracked but indicative of a broader trend. Now, they say, Qaeda commanders are moving back to the relative safety, and isolation, of locations they once fled, like the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, and Sudan.

Yet militancy experts caution that it is too early to sound the death knell for Al Qaeda’s leaders, for whom patience and adaptability are hallmarks, and who, despite the adversity, remain the principal jihadist militants focused on attacking the West.

“People always want to know when the job will be finished,” said Michael Semple, a militancy expert at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. “I don’t think we can talk about that. They’re on the back foot, rather than being eliminated.”

The job will not be finished. That would mean the need for so many facile “militancy experts” might come into question.

Militancy experts. Say it again. Sounds delicate, like something for which you have to have brains.

Is there a metric, a “militancy quotient,” used to measure countries we’re working over because terrorists? What’s the quotient of Yemen? Pakistan? Iraq-Syria-Libya?

The newspaper does sort of glumly concede al Qaeda men are has-beens next to ISIS, though.


“A Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s [Barack Obama's] embrace of drones, partly on humanitarian grounds, is sure to increase their legitimacy as instruments of war in the future,” reads the New Yorker. “But how can Obama’s choice be squared with the accumulating record of mistakes?”

In 2014, Camp Lemmonair in Djibouti (or US Africa Command’s home) was the launching pad for 16 drone sorties a day, most of them into Yemen.

Mark Fiore on Death & Destruction, Inc.

04.22.15

Decisive bombs of Renewal and Hope!

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle at 2:43 pm by George Smith

You will appreciate the perverse twisting of language employed in the US military’s proxy war in one of the most desperate places on the planet. Naming a bombing campaign Operation Renewal and Hope is something that could only spring from the secretive US Africa Command, running America’s many special operations and Predator assassination strikes against Yemen out of a base in Djibouti. Only freedom-haters and the patently insane could find fault with the claim that bombs, made in America, generate renewal and hope wherever they are dropped on poor people in the world.

From the New York Times, yesterday, a story on how international condemnation had caused a halt to the Saudi bombing campaign against the Houthis in Yemen.

For years, Yemen has been the prime target of US Special Forces operations and drone bombings run out of Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti. Eventually, giving the country the treatment in the hunt for terrorists set off a civil war.

So the US’s toady in Yemen was overthrown when a tribe called the Houthi took over the capital. The Houthis continued their assault and now control most of this very poor country.

Subsequently, we have used the Saudis and a couple other little slimy US-equipped militaries from the southern side of the Persian Gulf to crank up bombing campaigns.

“Why, would one say, are we obviously behind it?” is the question.

Because the Saudi air force, trained by Americans, flies American-made planes, drops American-made bombs and is aimed using American targeting.

The NYT reports:

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that it was halting a nearly month-old bombing campaign against a rebel group in neighboring Yemen that has touched off a devastating humanitarian crisis and threatened to ignite a broader regional conflict.

The announcement followed what American officials said was pressure applied by the Obama administration for the Saudis and other Sunni Arab nations to end the airstrikes. The bombing campaign, which has received logistical and intelligence support from the United States, has drawn intense criticism for causing civilian deaths …

When asked why the bombing campaign had been momentarily stopped an anonymous American official told the newspaper: “Too much collateral damage.”

Civilians, as it were.

The operation is called “Decisive Storm,” informed the newspaper.
It sure sounds familiar, something an American military command would come up with. I bet they almost broke their arms patting themselves on the back over the coinage.

Yemen’s “health services had collapsed,” added the newspaper helpfully.

The bombing halt seemed to have lasted not even 24 hours.

Because today:

Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes Wednesday in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz, hours after Saudi officials had announced they were ending a nearly monthlong military operation against the Houthi rebel group in order to focus on a “political process.”


It was unclear whether the new strikes represented a resumption of the original operation under a different name — the Saudis are now calling it “Renewal of Hope” — but there was little evidence of change in the nature of the combat on Wednesday.

Personally, which do you prefer? Operation Decisive Storm? Or “Renewal of Hope” for a bombing campaign built, trained, engineered and guided by the US Africa Command.

Who knew 2000-lb. bombs, made in America, were filled with so much compassion?


A made-in-America guided bomb of renewal and hope smashed this building in Sana plus some of the neighborhood, probably crushing people under the rubble.


Another rhetorical question that arises: How do the New York Times reporters cover these stories without becoming physically sick?

The Song remains the Same

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 1:06 pm by George Smith

Every week, the words are the same, and so the song is, too:

[The GOP's political message] is divorced from coherent policy. Take the central issue of inequality. Republicans like to say that the problem is disparity of opportunity, not disparity of wealth. But the two are increasingly one and the same, with federal budgets and inheritances playing a major role in both.

The Republican budget plans, for instance, obviously tilt the economic playing field in favor of the wealthy by cutting tax credits for the poor while leaving intact tax breaks for the wealthy.

From the Klassic Rock bigot:

Do you believe in the death tax? You know, stealing from families that have worked hard all their lives and created hard-earned savings, then thieves like you actually think you have the right to snatch it away from them.


If you truly want to know if a person is good or bad, simply ask them if they believe in the death tax. If they do, then they admit that they are thieves and reside solidly in the liability column of America. Case closed.


Until everybody does indeed earn and pay their fair share and we eliminate the legal thievery of the anti-American death tax, America will never be the best that we can be. The current system is actually bribing people to not produce.

From economist Dean Baker:

It’s repeal the estate tax season, which means we are hearing all sorts of nonsense about how the tax forces people to sell their family farm or business. It should be self-evident that this is nonsense since no one owes a penny of tax on an estate worth less than $5.4 million …

But if you still think that families are losing their farms because of the tax, then it’s worth going back to an old NYT story by David Cay Johnston. Johnston called the American Farm Bureau, a major lobbyist against the tax, and asked to be put in contact with someone who had lost their farm due to the estate tax. The Farm Bureau could not produce a single family anywhere in the country who had lost their farm as a result of the tax.

In short, families do not lose farms or businesses due to the estate tax. They lose them because the next generation doesn’t feel like operating them. This is just one more story that politicians tell in order to justify reducing taxes on the very wealthy.

And from me. Sing it! I demand it. Are you people crazy? We got a hit single here! It should easily be over 1,000 plays (wow!) by now!

Hang around and notice Youtube’s autoplay feature lines up Atlas Shrugged, Part III, for your enjoyment.

I watched it. It recommends home schooling because public schools are crap. John Galt is tortured by the American president for not sharing his machine that makes electricity out of air. But he is freed by the libertarian rich people’s resistance movement, escapes and wins in the end. Dagny Taggart shoots an unarmed guard because he can’t decide to obey her fast enough. And Dagny and Francisco D’Anconia rejoice and hug on the waterfront on the news that her bridge has collapsed, presumably killing thousands!

‘Effin great stuff.


On Ted Nugent at the NRA’s annual convention in Nashville:

The NRA exists so that regular freedom-loving Americans can carry guns to protect themselves. We all can’t be liberal elitists with our own armed security team, I was told. But while the NRA raged on about those liberal elitists with their own private security, the NRA VIPs were given armed security. Ted Nugent’s booth had three uniformed Metro Nashville Police officers standing guard, while multiple plain-clothed security guards stood closer to Nugent.

Nugent wasn’t the only VIP with security details. As I walked around the convention center, there were many with their own phalanx.

Nugent used his speech at the convention to talk about shooting Harry Reid.

Livin’ in America furnishes so many inspiring stories about how being a public disgrace is virtuous, your head will explode.

04.16.15

Hated in WhiteManistan, inspiration to target the working poor

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism at 3:06 pm by George Smith

In 2013, Fox News and the American lunatic right put a world-class hating on southern California surfer and foodstamp recipient Jason Greenslate. And through 2014 they made him the poster boy inspiration for a subset of Republican Party cruelty laws targeting the working poor.

Jason Greenslate’s sins? Two, both fairly minor. First, being foolish enough to let Fox News into his life. (He wanted publicity for his heavy metal band). And, second, using the occasion to buy lobster and sushi with his EBT card. Which probably took a decent-sized hit in one buy for that month.

During the years of Barack Obama red state legislatures have moved relentlessly to craft allegedly legal attacks on those they despise. This includes the poor, non-whites, Muslims, gays, Hispanics and, generally speaking, everyone not-deemed to be wealthy white purity Christian Republican. It’s a tribe of nihilistic obsessions and hatreds.

The psychology is the need to rain punishments down on the impure and sinful, the execution of petty revenges, usually rationalized as being for the purposes of building character, the preservation of the cash of hard-working Americans who resent parasites, or something a white American Jesus would prescribe.

This has resulted in, among many other things, a rolling progression of red state laws, often in direct contravention to federal administrative rules, to oversee what the working poor can and cannot buy with foodstamps.

I mentioned the inspirational power of Fox News, which turned southern California surfer Jason Greenslate into a demon, when he was merely a goof.

Today I went back to the current news food to see citations for Jason Greenslate.

The GOP’s drive in Missouri to curb alleged posh buying of steak and lobster is currently stalled but the potential reasoning behind it is explained by one person.

And the reasoning is Jason Greenslate and Fox:

Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin (R) introduced HB 813 in February with zero co-sponsors. The bill has not been referred to a committee, no hearing has been scheduled and there are no plans to take it up before the Missouri House of Representatives adjourns for the year in May.

And yet HB 813 is one of the most notorious pieces of legislation in America right now …

Brattin’s one-page bill would prohibit Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients from using their benefits to buy “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood, or steak.”

“I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards,” Brattin told The Washington Post, referring to the electronic benefit transfer cards used to distribute SNAP benefit …


There’s at least one big obstacle to Brattin’s bill, aside from its apparent lack of support in the Missouri legislature. Try as they might, states aren’t allowed by federal law to make up new restrictions on who can get SNAP benefits or what they can buy. If Missouri tried to implement Brattin’s legislation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would probably threaten to take away the administrative funding the state uses to run the program. That’s what happened last year in Georgia, where lawmakers almost incorporated a drug test into the state’s SNAP requirements before Gov. Nathan Deal (R) backed down.


“Maybe it’s because there’s been so much attention to that surfer dude and other things like that on the Web,” [the representative of a Missouri anti-poverty advocacy group] said, referring to Jason Greenslate, a lobster-loving food stamp recipient from San Diego whom Fox News profiled in 2013.

From Media Matters:

Fox News’ campaign of misinformation surrounding food assistance programs may be continuing to influence GOP legislation, as lawmakers in both Missouri and Kansas consider measures addressing “fake problems” within their state’s benefit programs.

Republican lawmakers in Kansas recently introduced legislation restricting where recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly known as “welfare”) can spend their money and what they can buy. The bill would limit the daily spending allowance to $25 and ban recipients from using benefits at psychics and tattoo parlors…

Fox News has spent years denigrating food assistance programs and recipients, with its campaign coming to a head in August 2013 when the network aired a misleading special titled, “The Great Food Stamp Binge.” Their shoddy report focused on Jason Greenslate, “a blissfully jobless California surfer” …


In an April 7 article for the Daily Beast, Eleanor Clift wrote that the only evidence to back up claims of fraud used to justify food stamp and welfare restrictions in Kansas and Missouri is the “widely broadcast Fox News interview two years ago when a brash young food stamp recipient boasted about buying lobster and sushi with his government assistance.”

In 2015 you can’t find anything about what Jason Greenslate has been up to since Fox News assassinated his character. Every search on his name is dominated by the hate campaign Fox brought down on him.

By using this search term, Jason Greenslate -Fox, you can uncover his band’s website and his Twitter account. Both went dead in 2013, turned to virtual stone by the Gorgon stare of Fox and the American right in social media.

Greenslate was run off the web by the success of Fox News’ and the America right wing’s campaign to portray him as a leeching monster before a significant portion of the electorate. Before Greenslate disappeared from the record, he gamely said he thought he shouldn’t be used as an example to discredit the system and punish others getting the benefit.

It’s the political right at the state level and its closed media at its worst. It crucified one foolish man and makes use of the distortions that arose from act to forge legislation attacking the working poor.

What happened to Greenslate? We know what’s being done to foodstamp recipients in red states. But you’d have to dig to find out the former, or maybe ask Jon Ronson.


If you search current news for examples of foodstamp fraud, the information that is returned has nothing to do with poor people buying food the GOP thinks ought to be off limits.

Instead, the fraud is usually centered around schemes in which a variety of businessmen/criminals rip off the foodstamp benefit for hard cash in their establishments by preying upon the poor.

04.15.15

Enjoy this fine song for Income Tax Day!

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 9:58 am by George Smith

It’s Wishful Thinking Day, as it has been for the last eight in our country where nothing changes, ever, except for the piles built up by the wealthy and corporate America.

Senator Bernie Sanders has written The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act of 2015, introduced by Jan Schakowski in the Senate.

“Cuts to programs that help Americans get ahead and stay ahead have been significant, while tax breaks have been handed out like candy to captains of industry and the behemoth corporations they run … It’s time that we end that skewed system,” she said in a press release.

Nice rhetoric, but the news buried it. This year, timely outraged squawking about corporate wealth, the oligarchy and legal tax evasion is so last year!

The New York Times, on the other hand, made a grand gesture, inviting an editorial bemoaning all the regular citizens who don’t pay their taxes.

Seriously!

Their lede:

IN 2006, according to an estimate by the United States Treasury Department, Americans underpaid their taxes by about $450 billion. For that year, that’s roughly equal to Pentagon spending, and more than the gross domestic products of Sweden and Switzerland.

A good chunk of the missing tax revenues comes from underreporting income, or tax evasion.

Oh, Jesus H. Christ on a pointed stick!

“Some people are hard up and can’t afford to pay their taxes,” they admit, a bit sullenly.

But the authors have an answer: Public shaming!

“We believe that shaming policies are an effective tool and should be part of the effort to make citizens pay their fair share,” they conclude.

Great stuff, so much better than the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act! And it’s written by someone from Microsoft Research.

Why, that’s just another great inside joke, in and of itself!

In the meantime, enjoy and share, share, share this great song for Income Tax Day.

And remember to sing along:

“Woe, the rich man’s burden to pay too much tax! The poor don’t pay enough! They spend it all on liquor! And if we stopped it all right now we’d get rich a whole lot quicker!”


And this, just in e-mail from Senator Sanders:

“On April 15, the income tax deadline for most Americans, Bernie introduced a bill to stop corporations from avoiding their fair share of taxes by stashing profits in the Cayman islands, Bermuda and other tax havens. He spoke at a Capitol news conference in front of a photo of the notorious Ugland House, the Cayman Islands office that is the registered address of more than 18,000 companies. Yes. There are supposedly 18,000 companies doing business in one small building. Needless to say, it’s all a scam to avoid paying taxes to the U.S. government.”

And what will be done tomorrow? Nothing. But not because he didn’t try.

Woe, the rich man’s burden to pay too much tax; going to leave to Grand Cayman if he don’t get it back.

04.14.15

Wrestling with the problems of WhiteManistan

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism, WhiteManistan at 4:31 pm by George Smith

And still losing, mostly.

The New York Times continues the beat, that of which the identity cannot be specifically named:

On April 3, Colbert King, a Washington Post columnist summarized a series of actions by Republicans attacking the president’s authority in areas that most Americans thought had been settled by the Civil War. Arizona legislators, for example, have been working on a bill that “prohibits this state or any of its political subdivisions from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with an executive order issued by the president of the United States that has not been affirmed by a vote of Congress and signed into law as prescribed by the United States Constitution.”

The bill sounds an awful lot like John C. Calhoun’s secessionist screed of 1828, the South Carolina Exposition and Protest. Laurie Roberts of The Arizona Republic wrote that it was just “one of a series of kooky measures aimed at declaring our independence from federal gun laws, from the Affordable Care Act, from the Environmental Protection Agency, from the Department of Justice, from Barack Obama.”


If this insurrection is driven by something other than a blend of ideological extremism and personal animosity, it is not clear what that might be.

Not clear what it might be. Savor that one. What a buncha jokers.


And from the state of Idaho:

Fear is never the right reason to make law, or in this case, to unmake it. Yet fear – decidedly unfounded according to agency staff and legal experts including Idaho’s Attorney General and lawyer-legislator Rep. Luke Malek – is driving the Legislature’s undoing of state participation in a multi-state (and occasionally, multinational) system which protects children, especially children in low-income families.

While unrelated to the bill in question, the fearful utterance of one word – “sharia” – in a key committee caused reason to fly out the Capitol window. Assurances from officials who work with, and more fully understand, the Health and Welfare laws in question failed to revive the bill, which among other things is necessary for Idaho to continue to collect child support from certain less-than-willing noncustodial parents, necessary to follow them out of state if they’ve moved.

Single parent having a tough time making ends meet? Too bad. That support and other aid you depended on may soon be effectively uncollectable. All because certain lawmakers are ignorant about both Idaho’s law, and sharia, and imagine a connection between them.

Population of Idaho: 1.63 million. Population of Los Angeles County: somewhat north of 10 million.


WhiteManistan’s taste for cruelty laws targeting the unfortunate, the weak and the allegedly undesirable continues apace.

If you follow the first link, you see that legislator’s in red states are still simmering over Fox News’ coverage of Jason Greenslate of southern California, who was occasionally using his EBT card to buy lobster on special at the local market.

The blog mentioned him here last year.

Because Greenslate lives in the hated California, specifically San Diego, the Republican Party cannot have its revenge upon him.

And there’s nothing that motivates them more than being thwarted, a fact everyone is being taught the hard way.

So in not being able to strangle Jason Greenslate out in nemesis California, they’ve done the next best thing. They’ve turned their rage over the food stamp program into legislation that claws only the people they can get at — those living in the states where they control the legislatures and governors offices.

04.12.15

A vintage Hiwatt rig

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll at 8:52 pm by George Smith

Here are some more pics from my restored Hiwatt DR504, taken at a session on Saturday.

It furnishes a loud, precise and high fidelity sound. My friend whimsically says it does a “clean distortion.”

In stark contrast with the latest e-mail adverts for guitar gear landing in my in inbox — 100 classic guitar amps digitally mimicked in hybrid computer power amps, slaved to a control panel on your iPhone and connected through Bluetooth — it’s simple, direct and old school.

One might say it restricts your choices in a good way.

Play or go home. Don’t twiddle. Everything is there: warm cleans, big jangle, chopping rock n roll rhythm, roaring rave-up into feedback. All of it at the twist of a volume knob on a one-pickup guitar.

Here’s the front end.

At then center, a Nick Greer Black Fuzz. There’s only one way to set it. It’s volume knob, on the left, on full. And the pedal is, generally, left on.

By rolling the volume knob back on the guitar, the fuzz/distortion cleans up into the front end of the Hiwatt. It allows you to transition from a clean warm sound with a little grit, to a chiming rhythm and then to hard rock fury.

To the right is an Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 booster. When the fuzz is off it’s used to kick up the gain into a mild distortion on the Hiwatt.

And on the left is a cheap Danelectro Fish and Chips EQ that pushes up the signal at 800Hz while pulling everything above that down. It’s used to focus the Greer fuzz and add a bit more oomph for thickening as well as lead runs. It works great kicked for arpeggios and some rhythm lines. And by attenuating the highs when on it opens a bigger sonic space for vocals and the high end of the drum kit.

Stomping the LPB on when both fuzz and the EQ are already active pushes the Hiwatt into controllable feedback.

It’s a fairly simply setup and how many Hiwatts were used, with some variations, during the late Sixties and Seventies.

Pete Townshend, the most famous Hiwatt user, employed a set-all-the-way-on fuzz tones (a Univox Superfuzz) for many years. In 1979 he switched to an MXR compressor.

His philosophy was to match his guitar to the amplifier, adding that a Hiwatt made even a relatively simple guitar sound great. It helped to be able to play like him, too, one supposes.


Many years ago I wrote briefly about my Greer Black Fuzz here. This was at the beginning of the American-made artisan guitar pedal boom. Today, everyone makes a fuzz. The market is plagued by glut.

Eight years later, I’m still using it. Nick Greer and his designs are still in business. On his homepage he maintains his work carries a lifetime guarantee. I believe it!

Over the years the look of his pedals has changed quite a bit. The hand-painted lettering, while still practiced, has taken a bit of a back seat to a more uptown and modern approach in graphic design.

Regardless, his Black Fuzz is a great circuit. While I do not avoid digital processing for the guitar, there’s no way hundreds of choices, computing power, emulation or smartphone interfaces can do better in this matter.

With Greer’s Black Fuzz, you turn it all the way up. It’s a silicon transistor fuzz that hews more to the distortion side than brittle buzz but the distinction is moot if you play in the style of late-Sixties or early Seventies hard rock. The volume control on the guitar controls the amount of hair the fuzz gives you. Rolling it down cleans up the circuit while retaining brightness and a pleasant slight compression.

I also have Greer’s Razor Burn Fuzz, now about five years old and of similar hand-painted anti-style. It’s a higher gain unit described as a bit of a cross between an old Fuzz Face and a Tone Bender Fuzz. It runs as a hybrid circuit of two transistors, silicon and germanium.

It has more gain than the Black Fuzz. One might say it’s more greased while delivering a greater degree of the old school hairiness. But in the context of my rig it plays virtually the same role.

On Saturday, I started the session with it and pulled it out for the Black Fuzz because it was noisier in the warm weather here, edging into pulling in a radio station. In truth, sometimes that has its uses and I like it.


And here is the story of the Hiwatt DR504.


Recordings in Pasadena from Loud Folk Live. Rock.

04.08.15

No libtards in the bunkers for the last supper

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism, WhiteManistan at 2:28 pm by George Smith

The American fringe is regularly mainstream. It’s one of many very noticeable national character flaws, not a virtue, since the fringe, when referred to here, is all the property of the political right.

Viral, ugh, attention has been given to a handful of America’s estimated three million “Doomsday Preppers” through publicity granted to photographer Henry Hargreaves’ display of what they’ll be eating in the bug-out shack or bunker.

Quote, from the Daily Mail (feel free to Google other news sites, it’s all over), doesn’t really deliver the truth on the prepper demographic:

[Hargreaves] confesses that he expected the series to be more dramatic than the final results he captured, and admits that the preppers might be on to something.

‘Initially I expected this to be a rather sensational series but as I spoke to some of the subjects I actually was surprised by the brilliance in their approach.

‘They have been able to stand back and see the whole food system from afar and realize in any kind of disaster the food distribution chain is the first thing to break and they don’t want to be left vulnerable, if and when it does.’

Brilliance.

A word that’s hard to use in description of a photo showing the need for insulin shots after the country is destroyed by “tornadoes.” ONe of Hargreaves’ subjects is a diabetic.

Once in a diabetic coma, or the foot gangrenous due to complications in the extremities, it’s an unforgiving world.

In brief interviews Hargreaves has told viewers of the basic sense of the preppers and the humanizing aspects of the photos.

They’re not all kooks. That’s the message. Is a bowl of crickets and mealworms humanizing?

The lead picture in the Mail’s story, not the one linked in this post, is the Armageddon Supper of Wayne Martin of Texas.

Part of his repast — two cans of gourmet cat food. Why?

When the others from the cities, or just plain bad people try to steal your stuff, they’ll presumably leave your cat food behind.

I’ve fed my cats the stuff advertised as gourmet over the past decades. It still looked like regular cat mush grub to me. However, they always went for it with great relish.

But that reasoning takes us right to the heart of the prepper, formerly “survivalist,” psychology.

It’s predominantly white, Christian and fascist authoritarian, armed to the teeth and convinced the downfall of American civilization will be brought on by a handful of catastrophes, most prominently an attack by electromagnetic pulse.

For the Mail’s pictures, Hargreaves’ coterie oddly has this gone missing. And that’s conspicuous by omission.

If you’re a regular reader, or even an occasional viewer of reality television on preppers, you also know the group looks at the potential end of civilization as a ritual of purification.

The virtuous will survive. Those not so will be cleansed from the country in the end times struggle.

When the unprepared, the non-white, atheist, Democratic, lazy parasites and takers come boiling into the countryside, they’ll be met with armed force.

It takes about five minutes on Google to find prepper pages on the matter, even complicated discussion rationalizing how the Bible, or Jesus, sanctions the deadly force of the gun.

And like any activity linked to politics and the character of the right, it has become an industry, one furnishing everything from keepsakes to any hardware, ammo, or fortification preparations needed.

Parcels of land off-the-grid, hard to find, high in the mountains, possibly near good lakes, away from the contaminating hordes.

It even has it’s own special kind of romance fiction: Thousands of dreadful vanity-published pamphlets and novels of the coming catastrophe and subsequent purification and survival after the fall.


There might have been a testing attack on Washington, DC’s electrical grid. Did you miss it?

Note:

Whether or not the power outage in Washington was caused by an attack of some sort, homeland security expert Peter Vincent Pry tells Newsmax TV that it shows there is vulnerability.

The power outage was the result of an explosion at a power plant in Maryland, which affected the electricity at the White House, the Capitol, local museums, train stations, and suburbs as well as the University of Maryland …

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the Department of Homeland Security hasn’t linked the outage “to terrorism or anything like that.”

Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, told J.D. Hayworth and Miranda Khan on “America’s Forum” on Wednesday that “even though the official explanation is that this was a mechanical failure — this small explosion — I’m not sure I trust that,” adding that “the electric power industry has a long history of concealing actual attacks on our electric grid.”


Preppers — from the archives.

Hail to the Kook — an eminence grise of American doom

04.06.15

Why no Burning of Atlanta re-enactment?

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 4:18 pm by George Smith

It’s not hard to figure out.

Civil War re-enactment stories have peppered the nation’s newspapers, particularly this last weekend. All were in advance of the 150th anniversary of the Lee’s surrender to Grant on April 9 — this Thursday — at Appomattox.

The pieces are virtually alike. They deal with white men (”graybeards, they’re called) gently re-enacting elements of battles, almost all of them in the South where the majority of the war was waged. It’s family entertainment and a draw in tourism.

Dressed up in period piece uniforms and equipped with precise replicas of the guns and implements of the time, it’s an expensive proposition for the individuals involved.

There’s a melancholia shot through it. First, that the actors are now predominantly old men. There’s no great enthusiasm among the young to refill their ranks. That is some indication of progress.

The melancholia is also present in the very nature of how the battles are play-staged. None of the newspaper articles state what one can read of the reality of them in authoritative histories of the Civil War.

Both sides are honored, as if the Civil War was a clash between two armies of good men, both fighting for noble, if different causes. All the result of some tragic national misunderstanding, the nature of which cannot be mentioned without risk of ruining things.

Therefore, there is no re-enactment of the burning of Atlanta, described last year by the New York Times here.

There was, instead, a re-enactment of the Battle of Cheatham Hill — one of the last holding tactical victories for the Confederates in Sherman’s advance on Atlanta.

I’ve argued, sometimes whimsically, sometimes not, that the Confederacy won the Civil War.

The appeal of the ways of Dixie spread throughout the country where its old philosophies are still fueling culture wars, virulent hatred of the first black president, the worship of capital, the right to chain and depress labor so it can be stolen, somehow always equated with freedom, the resentment-filled campaigns over states rights and sovereignty and the marginalization and caging of enemies through predatory legislation.

The bed rock of the Republican Party, a party for those inclined to neo-Confederacy.

And it’s broadly acknowledged, the American dilemma for which no one has an adequate answer.

Yesterday in a sad editorial piece by columnist Leonard Pitts, marked at Pine View Farm, yesterday.

“Name the issue — immigration, race, abortion, education, criminal justice — and law and custom in Dixie have long stood stubbornly apart from the rest of the country,” wrote Pitts, in a good summation.

This, today, followed by a New Republic piece, unintentionally farcical, suggesting Lee’s surrender be made a national holiday, along with other measures designed to render illegitimate the South’s continued veneration of its Civil War soldiers.

Reconstruction was foiled and the United States could never do what it and the Allies would virtually a century later on the global stage when the costs in human lives and treasure were, by orders of magnitude, much greater.

Germany was de-Nazified and rebuilt. And Army General Douglas MacArthur reconstructed Japan, removing its worship of warlordism and instituting land reform to break up a system dependent on rich owners served by tenant farmers. Emperor Hirohito was not tried as a war criminal. But he was made a figurehead, his status as a deity expunged.

The thought experiment is an obvious one: Construct an alternate history in which the states of the Confederacy went through a similar process. Not one in which an entire mythology built on the imaginary nobility of a lost cause took root, slavery was repackaged through re-branding and immoral legal installations with the cooperation of southern money and industry in the need to maintain a labor force in poverty, of no social status, presumed inferiority and living in fear with no recourse.

Which brings the post to a small parcel of trivial reality on the alleged lessons to be learned from it all.

Here, a review of a new book on the war, from a newspaper in Montgomery, Alabama:

The Civil War is the lynch pin of the region’s history and self-image, and its memory runs like a river through the century and a half since it ended in the spring of 1865. Americans from other parts of this nation often wonder why its memory is so alive here. Historians have written countless books about every aspect of the conflict, but we still struggle to understand it …

His great grandfather, who was born shortly before the war and remembered it and its aftermath, told him stories as a boy that he could not forget. Their theme was the heroism and honor of white Southerners and the hardships they faced after the conflict.

How many of us growing up in the South have heard such stories and continue to remember them? I suppose most of us.

Gaillard only began to seriously question what he had heard and read growing up in the context of the civil rights era.

What the review actually means to say is anyone’s guess. And there’s no “struggle” among legitimate historians in understanding the Civil War.

“Horror and honor, the South sought to resolve that conflict in the years after the Civil War by emphasizing honor and heroism — not horror,” it reads. It resolved the conflict through a lot of other means, too, all of them well-documented, leading up to many of the problems we have now.

There’s not a single use of the word African-American or slave in the entire piece. The civil rights movement, yes. But the cause of it, gone missing.

Consider also, recent common use of the phrase, “War of Northern Aggression:”

A small ceremony is scheduled for April 18.

The event is called “Confederate Memorial Day,” but Edmondson said the event is not to honor the time the men served with the Confederacy, but what they did after the war …

The memorial day comes at a time that many lawmakers in Texas are starting to question the state’s romanticism as a member of the 13 states that broke away from the Union to form their own nation, though it was never recognized by foreign countries. The Civil War — or the “War of Northern Aggression” in the South — lasted from 1861 until 1865 and is considered the deadliest war in American history. — the Odessa American


“We have a big division in the country today, but at least we don’t have any states that have seceded yet,” [Franklin County Republican Carl Bearden] said.

He added that “it was generally known as the Civil War. Depending on which side you were on it was also known as the war of Northern aggression.”

While these were tough times, Lincoln stood on principle, Bearden noted.

Lincoln said America will never be destroyed from the outside, but from within, Bearden said, adding, “If you look at what’s happening today that’s what’s going on.”

Liberties and freedoms are slowly slipping away and people should be very scared about what is happening in Washington, especially in the White House, he said. — The Missourian


I married into a family that has generational roots in Gainesville. They go back long before the War of Northern Aggression. — The Gainesville (Georgia) Times


At a cemetery in Sparta, Tennessee, where the allegiance to the Confederacy is still very strong and they refer to the War of Northern Aggression, we attend a ceremony to honor General Dibbell who is buried there, and hear from fifth graders, in Civil War era uniforms, who were given the task of learning the biography of a Civil War figure.


[Nathan Bedford Forrest]: Soldier and social club member. — The NY Daily News

The link goes to a letter and it worth the quick travel, if only to see the picture and caption, the “social club” being the ku Klux Klan.


The U.S. government had functioned without an income tax for more than 100 years, except during the time of the War of Northern Aggression, when Abraham Lincoln passed an unconstitutional tax on income to fund his war machine. — Personal Liberty


It has been 150 years since the end of the Civil War. Some Southerners prefer to call it “The War Between the States” or “The War of Northern Aggression.” Many of our brave Southern ancestors fought for what seems to be a lost cause now, some even died for that cause. You may disagree with me but I believe that they fought and died for the right to have slavery, even though many had none …

I understand that some people believe the Civil War was fought over “States’ Rights” only, if so then it was over a state’s right to maintain the unholy institution of slavery. There was nothing noble, honorable or glorious about the institution of slavery. — Lynchburg (Virginia) News & Advance

Bravo.


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