Month: February 2017

Seriously, Are There ANY Ukrainian Nationalists without a Nazi Family Background?

Exclusive: Canada’s fiercely anti-Russian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland says her Ukrainian grandfather struggled “to return freedom and democracy to Ukraine,” but she leaves out that he was a Nazi propagandist justifying the slaughter of Jews, writes Arina Tsukanova.It really says all you need to know.


So, it appears Freeland’s grandfather – rather than being a helpless victim – was given a prestigious job to spread Nazi propaganda, praising Hitler from a publishing house stolen from Jews and given to Ukrainians who shared the values of Nazism.

Among other things, as editor of the Polish newspaper Nowy Dziennik, he lauded the Babi Yar massacre of Kiev’s Jews:

The Nov. 6, 1941 issue of Krakivski Visti ecstatically describes how much better Kiev is without Jews. “There is not a single one left in Kiev today, while there were 350,000 under the Bolsheviks,” the newspaper wrote, gloating that the Jews “got their comeuppance.”

That “comeuppance” refers to the mass shooting of Kiev’s Jewish population at Babi Yar. In just two days, Sept. 29-30, 1941, a total of 33,771 people were murdered, a figure that does not include children younger than three years old. There were more shootings in October, and by early November, Krakivski Visti was enthusing over a city where the Jewish population had “disappeared” making Kiev “beautiful, glorious.” Chomiak’s editorials also described a Poland “iinfected by Jews.”

It should be noted that my awareness of the history of Ukrainian nationalism going back hundreds of years, might influence my positions on the current conflict in the Ukraine.

On the other hand, it appears that Freeland would Steve Bannon’s kind of foreign minister.

Not Enough Alcohol

I am not watching Donald Trump’s speech.

There is not enough alcohol for me to watch him speak ……… In my house.

There is not enough alcohol for me to watch him speak ……… In my Owings Mills.

There is not enough alcohol for me to watch him speak ……… In Maryland.

There is not enough alcohol for me to watch him speak ……… In the United States.

There is not enough alcohol for me to watch him speak ……… In the world.

There is not enough alcohol for me to watch him speak ……… In the cosmos.

It Appears that I Still Have the Capacity for Outrage

Every now and then, I wonder if I have become so pessimistic, and so cynical that I can no longer be outraged by what is going on.

And then I read this report that Donald Trump and an aide are suggesting that liberals are calling in bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers and Schools while desecrating Jewish graves because it makes for good politics:

President Trump suggested on Tuesday that the recent spate of anti-Semitic bomb threats and cemetery vandalism could be politically coordinated attacks to “make people look bad” — an apparent suggestion that his opponents could be behind them.
Continue reading the main story

Speaking at the White House to attorneys general from around the country, Mr. Trump was asked by Josh Shapiro, the attorney general of Pennsylvania, about the wave of attacks and how the federal government could work with state governments to confront the violence.

“First, he said the acts were reprehensible,” Mr. Shapiro, a Democrat who was elected to the post in November, said while recounting Mr. Trump’s response. “Second he said: ‘And you’ve got to be careful, it could be the reverse. This could be the reverse, trying to make people look bad.’ ”

The comments echoed the Twitter post of an adviser, Anthony Scaramucci, who suggested that Democrats were behind threats to Jewish community centers.

It’s not yet clear who the #JCC offenders are. Don’t forget @TheDemocrats effort to incite violence at Trump rallies

— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) February 28, 2017

Seriously, I need to go live in a f%$#ing cave.

Just shoot me now.

Something Else the F-35 Needs

A new wing:

The head of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) says the outer wings of 32 carrier-based C-models need to be replaced to carry the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder, the aircraft’s primary dogfighting weapon.

The U.S. Navy variant experienced an undisclosed amount of oscillation or turbulence during flight trials with the AIM-9X in December 2015, and Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan says aircraft already delivered need to be retrofitted with strengthened wings.

“It was discovered the outer, folding portion of the wing has inadequate structural strength to support the loads induced by pylons with AIM-9X missiles during maneuvers that cause buffet,” Bogdan says in written testimony to Congress on Feb. 16.

Engineers have already produced an enhanced outer wing design, which is now undergoing flight testing. The issue has impacted the timeline for fielding AIM-9X, which is being rolled out for the Navy in Block 3F. “Once the new design is verified to provide the require strength, the fix will be implemented in production and retrofitted to existing aircraft by swapping existing outer wings with the redesigned ones,” Bogdan writes.

The AIM-9X is the heat-seeking sidekick to the Raytheon AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missile. Without it, the F-35 would be incapable of high off-boresight shots at close range. Because of a seven-year schedule delay, the fifth-generation fighter will carry air superiority missiles that are one generation behind its legacy counterparts, which are already carrying the newest AIM-9X Block II and AIM-120D.

It can’t dogfight, it can’t use the current generation of missiles, 2 of the 3 variants do not carry a gun, the software is a mess of spaghetti, it cannot hit moving targets, and it costs an arm and a leg and several toes.

This deal is getting better and better.

Today in Bad Defense Procurement………

We see the US Air Force, back for another star turn in what seems to be a never ending story, as their network upgrades have doubled in cost:

A critical network upgrade the U.S. Air Force will need to conduct air operations, and counterterrorism and humanitarian missions is more than three years overdue and has doubled in price, according to a report submitted to Congress last week.

Northrop Grumman Corp. is developing the so-called Air Operations Center Weapon System, or AOC 10.2, whose costs have surged from the original $374 million to $745 million, Bloomberg News’ Tony Capaccio first reported this week. The upgraded system in total could eventually climb to $3 billion, according to the report.

Officials now have three years to decide whether they will “fully deploy” the system — a decision originally planned for last July, the report stated.

The technology is designed to enhance battlefield command and control in part by converting “raw data into actionable information that is used to direct battlefield activities,” according to a press release from Northrop.

The Falls Church, Virginia-based company, working with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is under contract to develop “a secure, streamlined computing environment for legacy and stove-piped systems,” the release states.

In addition to winning the award for f%$#ing the taxpayer, the USAF and Northrop Grumman look set to be major competitors in the next bullsh%$ bingo competition.


Flamethrower Drone Used to Burn Debris Off Power Lines:

Another Thing That the Mistake Jet Cannot Do

It appears that after years of development, and billions of dollars, the F-35 cannot hit a moving target:

Despite being among the most technologically advanced low-observable warplanes on the planet, the Lockheed Martin F-35 has one significant shortcoming. The Joint Strike Fighter cannot strike moving ground targets using the targeting system and weapons loadout delivered in its final combat Lightning II configuration, Block 3F.

The challenge is the F-35 is currently unable to lead a target with its laser designator to compensate for movement. This means the aircraft is limited to striking fixed or slow-moving objects  such as the surface-to-air missiles it has proven so skilled at destroying in Red Flag exercises.


The F-35 has already entered service with the U.S. Marine Corps (F-35B Block 2B) and Air Force (F-35A Block 3i), equipped with the laser-guided 500-lb. Raytheon/Lockheed GBU-12 Paveway II and GPS/IMU-guided 2,000- and 1,000-lb. Boeing GBU-31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). Block 3F will add the 1,000-lb. Raytheon AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (F-35C), 250-lb. Boeing GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bomb Increment 1 (F-35A), and the United Kingdom’s 500-lb. Raytheon UK Paveway IV (F-35B).

Those weapons can take out fixed or stationary targets, but not fast-movers such as tanks, trucks or mobile command posts. They would have some utility against relocatable, slow-moving targets if the F-35 had a lead-laser capability, which comes standard in modern targeting pods fielded on legacy, nonstealthy combat fighters and bombers. Weapons capable of automatically adjusting for so-called Kentucky windage without lead-laser correction will not arrive on the F-35 until the early 2020s as part of the Block 4 follow-on modernization program, under the existing plan.

This has fiasco written all over it.

The Democratic Party Leadership Has a Message for the Base

As one wit so trenchantly noted, “The progressives needed to receive some kind of gesture. And they have received one: an enormous middle finger.”

Another poerson called this, “a suicide note,” for the party.

Keith Ellison lost the race for head of the DNC to Tom Perez:

The Democratic National Committee was bracing for a backlash if Thomas Perez won its chairmanship, and it got one. In the AmericasMart meeting room where Perez defeated Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), nine protesters from Democracy Rising carried out the protest — chants of “party of the people, not big money” as Perez and outgoing interim DNC chair Donna Brazile gritted their teeth. Writers on the left, including Nathan J. Robinson, Matt Bruenig and Corey Robin, were quick to ask whether the Democratic establishment had a death wish.

The answer is not that the Democratic Party Establishment has a death wish, but rather that they were following the Iron Law of Organizations Institutions, which states that power WITHIN an organization will be pursued at the even at the expense of the power OF that organization.

In another calculated f%$# you directed at the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, the DNC also voted down a ban on corporate and lobbyist donations, becase they just had to twist the f%$#ing knife.

The best summary of what happened is this:

Before this gets turned into another thing where the establishment Democrats posture as the reasonable adults victimized by the assaults of those left-wing baddies, let’s just be very clear about what happened here. It was the establishment wing that decided to recruit and then stand up a candidate in order to fight an internal battle against the left faction of the party. It was the establishment wing that then dumped massive piles of opposition research on one of their own party members. And it was the establishment wing that did all of this in the shadow of Trump, sowing disunity in order to contest a position whose leadership they insist does not really matter.

It should be noted that in terms of publicly stated positions, there was not a whole lot of difference between Perez and Ellison, but there is one that was VERY important, though it is sort of inside baseball.

Specifically, Perez expressly eschewed putting some distance between the DNC and the multi-million dollar consultants strip mining the party:

The DNC is going through an existential crisis, being at its weakest state since 1920.  This is not the Democrats’ first existential crisis, though. In 2005 the DNC members were at war with national consultants who they claimed were sucking up the resources of the party. It was that year when Vermont Governor Howard Dean won and enacted his 50 state strategy. But it came with a fight over resources, contracts and state funding. And while the 2017 DNC elections have been billed as the Bernie vs. Hillary or the progressives vs. establishment fight, it is actually the 2005 fight over funding, on steroids.

It’s become a common statement over the past few months: The Democrats have raised more money than ever and lost more seats than ever (1,000+ seats nationwide since 2009). They had an elaborate convention, beautifully crafted marketing, what was praised as the most sophisticated data operation to date and teams of veteran campaign strategists working in what was supposed to be the easiest Presidential race in recent history. But around 9:45pm ET on Nov 8, it was clear that the house of cards was on the verge of collapse. And that by the next day, the DNC would have to not just answer how they lost the Presidency and so many other races, but: Where did all that money go?

Former Chair Candidate, NH State Chairman Ray Buckley broke the news during the Phoenix DNC forum that as an executive member he had never seen the budget — and that most leaders at the DNC, as well as all of the members, had no idea where the record amount of money raised was being spent. When the DNC Chair candidates debated over whether the party should accept lobbyist money (which was banned under Obama’s administration), Buckley stated “the question should not be about whether we need the lobbyist money, but rather where we’ve spent all this money we’ve raised.”


Several DNC members have privately disclosed that they received calls on behalf of Tom Perez from Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, a partner of Precision Strategies and former Executive Director of the DNC when the OFA was housed within it. Dillon is also a Co-Chair of the upcoming Unity Commission, forged out of the 2016 rules committee. The goal of the Unity commission is to set the DNC’s new rules.

Members have repeatedly discussed the frustration with the conflicts of interests within the Democratic party. For Dillon — whose firm received $571,573 from HFA and $593,397 from the DNC, totaling almost $1.2 million — having a seat as a co-chair of the DNC’s rules committee, raises red flags.

One DNC member voting for Mayor Pete Buttigieg stated, “When a firm with a large contract with the DNC co-chairs the new rules committee and makes calls on behalf of a DNC candidate, you can’t help but wonder whether Perez’s interests lie with the DNC members or if he’s cut a deal to keep the contract with Precision.”


Today, it is openly acknowledged by many members that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were running an operation together. In fact, it doesn’t take much research beyond FEC filings to see that six of the top major consulting firms had simultaneous contracts with the DNC and HRC — collectively earning over $335 million since 2015. (This does not include SuperPACs.)

One firm, GMMB earned $236.3 million from HFA and $5.3 from the DNC in 2016. Joel Benenson, a pollster and strategist who frequents cable news, collected $4.1m from HFA while simultaneously earning $3.3 million from the DNC. Perkins Coie law firm collected $3.8 million from the DNC, $481,979 from the Convention fund and $1.8 million from HFA in 2016.

And, it would be irresponsible of me to not note that by a simple glimpse of FEC filings, former Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and some of her senior staffers remained on payroll with the DNC until December, well past she resigned on July 25, 2016.

What does this all mean? The DNC, which lacks an open budget, has been allocating dozens multi-million dollar contracts without accountability from its members and leadership. The money, of course, did not go into state parties and organizing, and the majority of members I’ve interviewed expresses resentment and frustration.

But as we approach the DNC vote on Saturday, the question over conflicts of interests remaining in the party, is a priority. When I asked Sec. Tom Perez during an interview whether he’d ban conflicts of interests, he answered “The people I talk to want to build a Democratic party that works for everyone…. We have a big tent in the Democratic party.” Secretary Perez, a civil rights attorney surely knows that conflicts of interests would be alarming when presented in a court room. How can a party that condemns Trump’s vast conflicts continue to allow those with millions of dollars in consulting contracts with the national party be in leadership positions at the DNC and/or be voting members. Who controls whom?


At a time when the Democratic party is hemorrhaging members nationally and experienced eight years of crushing losses, many are questioning how a few consulting firms could continue their lobbying for national contracts. Some answer: just raise more money to send to the states. But it’s not just that these national contracts are expensive, it’s that the consultants’ track records are horrifying.

(emphasis mine)

Corrupt AND incompetent is a toxic brew, and I’m depressed enough to consider going to a Democratic Socialists of America meeting.

When They First Discussed Drone Deliveries, I Thought of This

It looks like UPS will working on drones that deploy from delivery trucks to speed up the process.

When people first started looking at drone deliveries, this sort of deployment immediately occurred to me.

It’s called Horsefly

‘s a way to deal with the limited range of battery range and line of sight, and potential safety issues decrease with the shorter deployment range:

Of the myriad possible uses for small unmanned aircraft, the one that has captured and held public attention is package delivery. This has more potential to bring drones into everyday life than any other near-term use.

But how near term? The vision of package-toting drones crisscrossing neighborhoods delivering online purchases to doorsteps, or shuttling between offices in cities carrying urgent mail, must first overcome technical, regulatory and acceptance hurdles.


Now package delivery giant UPS has demonstrated how a truck-launched UAV could help its drivers, particularly in rural areas where its distinctive brown “parcel cars” must travel miles between deliveries. By avoiding some of the challenges of urban and residential operations, the truck-based approach could make drone deliveries a reality sooner.

A Feb. 20 demo in Lithia, Florida, was conducted with Workhorse Group, a manufacturer of hybrid-electric delivery vans that is developing the HorseFly truck-launched UAV. The company, which is building a fleet of 325 electric trucks for UPS, began flight testing its delivery drone with the University of Cincinnati in 2014.

These sort of half steps make a lot more sense than the full up warehouse to drone delivery envisioned by Amazon, if just from a regulatory perspective.

Whirling death machines in the sky may not be quite as amenable to ignoring existing law and regulations as has been gypsy cab operations. (Uber)


Have Paint singing solo in 4 part harmony about movie villains:

Quote of the Day

Or perhaps the better solution is to follow an age-old piece of advice that company bosses never seem to grasp: don’t treat your employees like sh%$.

The Register

The legal claim is that the now former Sysop is claiming that he was specifically authorized to muck about with the network, and so he cannot be charged with unauthorized access.

The back story is he was hired by a friend, and then the company treated his friend very poorly:

Things went well for two years until, out of the blue, the company’s founders fired Cain. Cain suspected the reason for his firing was the founders were looking to sell the company – something they have done repeatedly in the past as serial entrepreneurs – and didn’t want to have to give Cain his cut as the first employee. At the same time they fired Cain – on a Thursday – Thomas was offered a bonus to stay on and take over his friend’s job.

It’s fair to say that Cain was just a tad irritated. And he called Thomas to tell him the news and that he would be suing for wrongful dismissal. And that’s when ClickMotive started having trouble with its IT systems.


That Sunday, Thomas deleted remotely stored backups and turned off the automated backup system. He made some changes to VPN authentication that basically locked everybody out, and turned off the automatic restart. He deleted internal IT wiki pages, removed users from a mailing list, deactivated the company’s pager notification system, and a number of other things that basically created a huge mess that the company spent the whole of Monday sorting out (it turned out there were local copies of the deleted backups).

I’m not sure if Thomas’ case will be reversed on appeal, I kind of doubt it, and I am not sure that I would want it to be overturned, I think that it is implicit in any working relationship that you don’t sabotage your employers.

That being said, the owners of the ClickMove should be subject to what I call a “2 brick vasectomy”.


Samurai Jack is coming back for a limited series:

Quote of the Day

Let me just say at the outset that I will read any story anywhere that contains the phrase, “once stabbed a guy in the head with a broken margarita glass.” (It’s like Raymond Chandler rewritten by Carl Hiassen.)

Charlie Pierce on the rather colorful history of white supremacist, bar brawler, mobbed up stock scammer, CIA informant,  and Trump staffer Felix Sater.

I have to disagree with Charlie Pierce on this:  Carl Hiassen would not write this, it’s simply too fantastic and unbelievable, even for Hiassen.

Heck, this is too weird for Kafka.