FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN: But first here’s my take. The actions of the pro-Russian forces, who it appears shot down a civilian airliner, might seem at first glance to be crude and unsophisticated. But in one sense they’re on the cutting edge. They represent something we see all around us these days — the democratization of violence.
Let me explain. For most of history, the side with the bigger army usually won a conflict. Over the past few decades a different pattern has been emerging, the power of asymmetrical warfare. Look at the pro-Russian separatists or Hamas or Hezbollah or the insurgents in Afghanistan or Iraq, and you will see attacks that are cheap compared with the massive response then launched by traditional armies.
In Moises Naim’s excellent book, “The End of Power,” he calculates that for every dollar that al Qaeda spent planning and executing the 9/11 attacks the United States spent $7 million countering it or coping with the losses. That’s a ratio of $1 million to $7 million. Staggering, indeed. That is why Naim says never in the field of human conflict has so few had the potential to do so much to so many at so little cost.
Naim cites scholar Ivan Arreguin-Toft who looked at asymmetrical conflicts in history and found that while 150 years ago the weaker party would win only about 12 percent of such wars. In the last 50 years it has prevailed 55 percent of the time.
But let’s be clear about the current crisis in Ukraine. This is not really a story about a band of rebels who are up against the Ukrainian government. It is about little Ukraine up against Russia, a country that spends 35 times what Ukraine does on its armed forces. The Russian effort to turn this into an asymmetrical conflict by using special forces, rebels, and perhaps even mercenaries is a conscious strategy to take advantage of the power of asymmetry.
Moscow is seeking to destabilize Ukraine at low cost and perhaps most important with the ability to deny its involvement. The best way to counter Russia’s strategy is to deny that advantage that it seeks. The world must make clear that it recognizes that Russia has had a conscious deliberate centrally directed policy to destabilize Ukraine and to do so has sent into the battlefield heavy weapons including anti-aircraft weapons.
This is not a case where terrorists are operating without an address or a home base. It’s called the Kremlin. If they were in the West to hold Russia responsible for its actions in eastern Ukraine, insist that the government of Ukraine, which Russia claims to recognize, be allowed to take control of all regions of its country and help the democratically elected leaders in Kiev, Mr. Putin’s strategy of causing chaos on the cheap will not work.
After all, despite Russia’s huge defense budget, despite its massive size, despite a U.N. veto, it is now watching its neighbor, historically part of Russia, move irretrievably from its grasp and why? Because Russia has provoked the most important force in the modern world. Nationalism.
Ukrainian public sentiment and sentiment in Eastern Europe and perhaps beyond has become deeply anti-Russian. That’s an intangible force but one that has proved to be very powerful in modern history. In that sense it is the Kremlin that is on the wrong side of asymmetrical warfare.
I had a good time seeing music last night. I got out at 6:30 and was psyched to see Alpenglow at 8:30. I had noticed that Justin Gonyea‘s new band, Doom Service was making its debut at 242 Main, I thought at 7. I walked into my house at 6:47 and was on my way walking downtown at 6:55. I thought I might miss a couple of songs, but was wrong about the start time, which seemed to be the theme of the evening. I hung out for a bit, and after a while, they started to play. They began with a building instrumental, and moved into a groove somewhere between indie rock and punk. The sound and structure of many of the songs sounded like they would be at home on the soundtrack to Mallrats. The four-piece band had two guitars, drums and a low slung bass. Everyone but the drummer sang, but the volume was cranked and the instruments overwhelmed the vocals for the whole show. I caught a lot of it, but couldn’t hear much of it clearly. The energy was good but the playing was pretty loose at the start. I was a little worried but listened and tried to find the groove. They chatted with the audience for a bit, after the first couple of songs, then lit into another that sounded like they tightened up. They played a couple more and announced they had two left. They really locked in for both, and if I had not been worried about time, I would have been saddened that they did not play more.
On the last note I was out the door. A quick time check said 8:15, so I headed to Signal Kitchen. They were not open yet, so I found a quick drink and entered at 8:30. In retrospect, I easily could have gone back to Twofourtwo Main, and caught another band, but erred on the side of caution, not knowing when the band opening for Alpenglow would go on. Inside, the room slowly filled, and the 30 neatly arranged chairs were moved to the audience’s whim. I chatted with a co-worker and her friend for a bit, and soon enough Paper Castles took the stage. They played as a trio with Padraic Reagan, on bass, so Wren had to play a lot of rhythm guitar, instead of the lead and effects that he usually does. The music was slow and gentle and moved along in its own way, occasionally slipping into an easily hummable section that you will have in your head for the next few weeks. A couple of songs had a nice build, and early in the set Wren played some killer slide with a wrench. The show was not long, maybe 30 minutes or so, and at the end they let Wren loose and played some fun rock and roll.
After a short set break, they started the movie projector and then started to play. The show was billed as GLACIER: A Collaboration between Alpenglow and VT filmmaker John Douglas. A movie screen filled part of the top center stage. The film from the ;70;s, was shot on 16mm and was a ton of time jumping cuts showing a journey through the west and across a glacier. The images were entirely human and stunningly breathtaking. The band played with a quiet powerful grace. The soaring vocals took the lead and a variety of instruments filled he room. They played rock that ranged from gentle and quiet, to flexing some muscle. Instead of having the violin and banjo lead the songs they wandered into, they slipped their slowly articulated notes into the flow of the songs. I didn’t recognize anything, and just listened, with feet and ears. The audience was quiet for the first couple of songs, then started to chat a bit. In the third song,, the intense images of daredevils traversing the ice, enchanted the audience, and it was quiet for the rest of the show. Some people sat in the front and many stood in the back. The audience thinned a little when the film finished, but most stayed as the band kept enchanting with each following song. Late in the set, the opening strains of Solitude brought an audible jolt from the audience. They played a killer version of it, and called it a night. A heavily demanded audience request brought them out for a glorious version of Catskills After the last magnificently gentle note rang out, I took the long walk home.
Imagine That — I’m Still Anti-War.
July 16 2014
Most of us have heard John Lennon sing
“You may say I’m a dreamer,… but I’m not the only one.”
And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable. And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy? Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page.
Currently, I’m full of hope. That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe. To see flags of so many different nations, and to have these huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay. When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other.
That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon. Call me naïve. I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.
The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war. War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.
With all the global achievements in modern technology, enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the human genome, land rovers on Mars etc., do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?
We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.
I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.
“I hope someday you’ll join us,…”
Won’t you listen to what the man said.
— Eddie Vedder
Jon Stewart “I didn’t realize the level of despotism of Obama was so great. I’m convinced. Let’s rid ourselves of the tyrant.”
Rep Randy Weber (R-TX) July 15, 2014 “We do need to do this, methodically and correctly, and do it the right way. So I don’t think it’s practical that we impeach him right now, but he definitely deserves it.”
Stewart “Wait, what the huh? … Are you American Randy Weber of not? Patrick Henry didn’t say give me liberty, or if not now it’s fine, I understand, we’re busy. Come on. Don’t tell me you can’t squeeze one little tyrant impeachment into your busy schedule of not passing laws. What’s really going on here?”
Dick Cheney July 15, 2014 “I think that gets to be a bit of a distraction, just like the impeachment of Bill Clinton did.”
Rep John Duncan (R-TN) July 15, 2014 “Nothing would fire up the base of the Democrats more than an impeachment action…It would turn off some of the independents who are right now leaning our way.”
Stewart “And all that is really how you know all this talk of tyranny is BS. Because, when your main concern about deposing a tyrant is how it will effect your party’s chances in the upcoming mid-term elections, that’s not tyranny.”
I just got back from my local music radio show on internet only Wbkm Dot Org. I started slow, the let it rock.
Song before: Early Morning Dreams – Pete Townshend
From our – why is the mic light not lit up?
1.) Under Bright Stars – Alice Austin
From our small city to the great big world, these are the sounds of Burlington. Sorry about the mic mishap. That was a brand new song from Alice! Let’s keep going with another great singer songwriter.
2.) Ordinary Day – Milton Busker
3.) Liar – Maryse Smith
4.) Afterlife – Hana Zara
About a year ago I saw Hana for the first time at The Precipice: A Vermont Music Festival. She blew me away and I’ve gone back to see her as many times as I could. Nice song with lots of great changes from Maryse. I just saw this next band playing in the Intervale, and they had to be a bit mellow, because of the kids.
Songs like that are why I want to play Ninja Jane all the way through. Songs like that kept me going back to see Zola again and again. Great new song from Swale. I cant’ wait to get the album and play the title song. They played a great show last Friday at Radio Bean. Great song from Particles. If you live in America, go see them, they are probably playing somewhere near you. Great song from Joe Adler. He’s done such a great job booking Radio Bean and the Precipice, and I’m so psyched for this years edition of the festival. He’s also a big supporter of And The Kids. They will play a rocking show tomorrow at Radio Bean.
I just heard that Jane Boxall joined Black Rabbit. I’m going to play one of her solo marimba songs, then her old band Doll Fight, then a Black Rabbit song, so you can guess what it will sound like.
10.) Pyramid – Jane Boxall
11.) Morning Again – Doll Fight!
12.) Carnage – Black Rabbit
13.) Shut Up – Gorgon
Gorgon played a killer show at The Monkey House on Monday. They rose from the ashes of Doll Fight! I hope you can imagine how Jane will sound in Black Rabbit. Hey, it’s summer. Let’s go to the beach. Jane plays on this one too.
14.) Beach Song – Ray Fork
15.) I Wanna Be A Lifeguard – Blotto
16.) Catskills – Alpenglow
That song makes me think of driving up Route 9N on a sunny day. They are playing a free show at Signal Kitchen on Saturday. Blotto used to play in town a long time ago. I hope you enjoyed checking out the music of our town. Let’s do it again next week, shall we?
It was hard watching the news on satellite today. There has been an enormous loss of life and it’s about time we started to understand that we’re all the same,
Song after: Credo – Fish
Wolf Blitzer July 9, 2014 “This huge immigration crisis.”
Reporter July 5, 2014 “60 to 80 thousand children without parents expected to cross illegally this year.”
Reporter June 22, 2014 “overwhelming US facilities.”
Reporter “There aren’t enough beds, bathrooms, or food.”
Jon Stewart “You’ve got to blame Obama’s immigration policy for this one. You don’t want migrant children? You don’t put up these billboards. (Billboard shows picture of Obama and says ‘Now entering the United States of America – The country with the most candy’). Yea, that’s right. Or, a border length ball pit, it’s not smart. It’s not a smart move. But, you know what? These children are fleeing terrible crime and violence in their home countries seeking embrace in the open and caring arms of mother America. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Protester in Murrieta, CA July 7th. “Go back to Mexico! Yea! Get out of here!”
Stewart “OK, that wasn’t the Statue of Liberty. And, technically actually many are from Central America, your Honduras, your El Salvador, and of course, as Jesus said I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Another protester “Jesus would not break the law.”
Stewart “You mean radical destroyer of the status quo Jesus? Barging into temples, overthrowing tables Jesus, breaking the law was kind of his thing….Look, it’s a difficult humanitarian crisis, but it aint Normandy.”
I had a great time seeing music, and more, at The Monkey House tonight. I’ve loved Doll Fight for a while and since their disbanding, I’ve been aching to see Gorgon, who rose from the ashes. I got out of work at 8 and they were set to go on at 8:30, so the game was on. It was a long day at work of taking orders and solving problems. When given the chance to bring the call center numbers into balance, I was singing The Church Band song that went, I Had A feeling I had Failed. I took a few more orders and solved a few more problems, then, when the hours were over, took the walk to Winooski.
I got in, got a drink and soon enough, Gorgon hit the stage. The music was glorious punk, with enough changes to be riveting. The vocal was intensely screamed and the whole stage exuded power. A few songs in, singer/bass player Kelly Riel said the pollen in the air made it tough to sing that way, but she sang it all that way, anyway. They played 30 minutes, or so, and were wonderful for every note. I had a hard time keeping up for several of the songs, which only makes me want to see them more and more.
After their set, I found a seat in the window and listened to the street, and the cooling night air, but after a bit, it was time for Glamazons. Their show was a mix of tap dancing, burlesque, and freak show. Reggie was the hostess and captivated the reasonably large audience with a quick wit and intense stunts. She did a thing with a Tesla coil, with Eerie, who touched the coil and lit up a light bulb. Kristin joined in, holding Eyrie’s hand, and lit up a florescent bulb, not unlike the one Peter Gabriel used to use with Genesis. Kristin did a couple of very cool tap dances, really, with the second one to ’20′s music, dressed in flapper style. She had one of the cool moves of the evening, dancing up to an audience member, grabbing their hand, slowly moving it to her ass, then twirling and slapping the audience member. Eyrie had a couple of sensuous strips, and the second one had a stuffed Cthulhu, a Ouija board, and went to the tune, Spooky. Reggie walked and laid on glass, laid on barb wire, and had some serious fireplay going on. Gene Simmons, eat your hear out. The show was tense, at times, really, walking up a step stool of sword blades, and was always magnificent. It was a spectacle of performers performing their hearts out. It was dangerous, fun, risky and risque. It completely knocked me out of my work life, and lit up my mind. And, that was just after the first Gorgon song. What a night!!
Phil Yates and the Affiliates and The Mountain Says No at The Monkey House and And The Kids at Radio Bean June 20, 2014
I just got back from a great night of music. At 8:35 I took the walk to The Monkey House and arrived just before 9. After a short wait, Phil Yates and the Affiliates played a great set of new and old music. It seemed like half the songs were from Oh So Sour and half were new. I really liked the whole show, but the new songs really stood out. The song about Bernadette was really solid, and the closer, Little French Earthquakes, rocked hard. I always have fun when they play
I thought Pooloop would be on second, but they were on third. The Mountain Says No took the stage with the title song, and played a killer heavy rock set. There are some songs that are becoming favorites and some that are very new, but they are in that place where they are creating and playing some very exciting music. They mellowed things out a bit with 3000, a cheery tale about carnage in the woods, but mostly kept it rocking. Statistic soared and closer, Bomb, rocked wonderfully hard. Their hour long set was complete bliss
Pooloop are cool, but it’s hard to come on after such a heavy band. I settled up, and took the long walk home. I stopped in briefly,, but knew And The Kids were playing at Radio Bean soon, so I headed back out. I arrived for the end of the last song by Bella’s Bartok, then settled in for the wait. It was a reasonably quick turnover and the girls let loose a killer dancey rock sound. They opened with Neighbors, which is light and airy then lit in with the rock. The drums were furious, the keys bouncy and bright, and the guitar was strong and surging. They played a killer version of Wiser, and from there I just got lost in the show. They played a long time and I enjoyed every note. They got a heavily requested encore and played a cover I did not know, and that was that. I slipped out the door and took the, shorter than earlier, walk home in a happy, peaceful state.
I had been working a lot through the busy spring, and needed a day off, so I took off Friday as my floating holiday for working Memorial day. I thought it would be a good day to check out some of the jazz that was blanketing Burlington. I headed out in the early evening and ended up at Nectar’s. I caught a band called Greenbush playing in their window. With guitar, bass and drums, the trio sounded nice and smooth. I appreciated most of their music, but a couple of songs lit me up a little. The musicianship was solid, but the style was a bit out of my comfort zone. After a few songs, I headed up to the top block of Church St.
Josh Panda and the Hot Dammed were playing some funky, countryish rock and roll. With Steve Hadeka on drums, and Lowell Thompson on guitar, (I missed the bass and keyboard player’s names) so the musicianship was through the roof. The band were solid and played a few standards. I appreciated the rock feel, but after a few songs, the density of the crowd became a bit much. I thought that Radio Bean always have great bands, so I headed over.
I walked in and Elsa Nilsson and her band were playing. Her flute playing was strong and gentle at the same time. The band were ultra smooth and the music sounded like some of my favorite middle sections of great prog rock songs. I listened, fully enchanted, until the last note, then headed to see a singer that I love.
I walked to the Daily Planet as Anna Pardenik and a keyboard player were on the super small stage in the bar room. There were a lot of people chatting and eating dinner and it was hard to find a place to just stand and listen. The volume was low and she was asked to turn it down even more. I loved the power in her voice as she sang some jazz standards. I eventually found a seat a few feet from the stage, but the sound of people talking behind me, almost completely drowned her out. I really liked what I heard, but when the set break came, I headed out the door.
I swung by the 1/2 Lounge to see if I could catch some of the Glass Project, but no one was on the stage. Feeling full of music, I took that long happy walk home.
I had a good time seeing Marco Benevento at Radio Bean as part of Jazzfest. I really liked his piano playing with the local Floyd cover band, Dark Side of the Mountain, so I thought I should push my musical comfort zone, and check out his show. I got out of work at 7 and the show was set for 11. I hung out for a bit and headed to Radio Bean around 10. The previous band had left the stage, so I settled in and waited. The Frank Zappa through the PA was fun but when it got close to the time, Lee Anderson took the stage, to celebrate the birthday of Walt Whitman, with a reading of his works. I love when he does that and was happily enthralled. While Lee read, Marco was getting his stage set behind him. When Lee finished the last poem, he had us sing Happy Birthday to Walt. Marco joined in on piano, and that was pretty fun. When the last note faded, Joe Adler kicked everyone out, so we could get in line, and give out tickets, or be checked off the list, and head back in. It’s rare to have a ticked show at the Bean, so that was the only practical way to do it.
It was just after midnight when Marco began. The first part was just him on piano. The first song had a classical theme and variation, along with a rock keyboard and was pretty cool. The second song stretched out a bit and had an almost Kitaro feel. A more accessible sing along piece followed, and the packed room was having a great time. I was out of my comfort zone, musically speaking, but his playing was tremendous, and I really enjoyed myself. Around an hour into the show he brought out guest bassist Mike Gordon. The first song was OK, but the next one was a long dance groove. The music did not grab me and the number of hours in the day had turned against me. I knew there was some fun stuff ahead, but I could not keep my eyes open any longer. I slipped out the door and headed for home. It was not one of those shows where I was in heaven for every note, but was one where I walked away with a deep respect for the artist at the piano.