Friday, August 18, 2017

Peter H. Merkl and Leonard Weinberg.

At Amazon, Encounters With the Contemporary Radical Right.

President Trump Puts 'Shrinking Base' Before 'National Healing'

There's so much to question about this report at the Los Angeles Times. Is Trump's base really "shrinking"? It wasn't particularly big in the first place, at around 40 percent. And why are we having a "national healing" over Charlottesville? It's not that different from the police massacres in New York and Dallas, where BLM supporters hunted down to policeman for execution. It's the national double standard that we live with today, and it's what's dividing the country. That, and the Obama administration's 8-year campaign of race grievance-mongering.

At LAT, "Trump shuns healing gestures, redoubling support for Confederate memorials and slamming fellow Republicans":
President Trump, increasingly isolated, appears caught in a cycle of anger and provocation as he pushes wider the nation’s longstanding racial and cultural divide to solidify his dwindling base of populist political support.

The latest examples came Thursday: Trump further inflamed the incendiary debate over the nation’s Confederate memorials, saying American culture was “being ripped apart” by their removal; lashed out at some perceived Senate enemies; and repeated a religiously offensive myth about an American general using bullets bathed in pigs’ blood to kill Muslim terrorists.

His fusillade came throughout the day on Twitter even as critics, including in Trump’s party, implored him to instead try to unite the nation. As the restive president ostensibly vacationed at his golf club in New Jersey, his unnerved aides were left to deal with the fallout from his tweets and verbal blasts in the days since Saturday, when white separatists provoked deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va.

For Trump, the challenge of governing has grown ever more daunting since he took office in January without the usual bounce of popularity for a new president. As his support has declined, he has relied more on his most ardent supporters, who generally are white, older, nonurban and deeply conservative.

Yet by his efforts to please the hard-right activists, the president is pushing mainstream supporters further away. Polls show his job approval rating below 40%, sometimes dipping into the low 30s, and they suggest his core support — the people who say they will never abandon him — amounts to about 1 in 4 Americans.

That base, together with some more moderate voters who hoped Trump would use his impulsiveness and business instincts to shake up Washington, allowed him to eke out a narrow electoral college victory against an unpopular Hillary Clinton. But governing has been a struggle, diminishing Trump’s leverage over congressional Republicans the more they fear his unpopularity will imperil their majorities.

Trump struck back hard with his Twitter finger Thursday from early morning on, all but endorsing the Republican opponent of Jeff Flake, a GOP senator from Arizona who has criticized him, and assailing local efforts to remove monuments to Confederate heroes.

After news broke of a terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain, the president repeated a dubious myth he previously invoked on the campaign trail, to much criticism, about a general who used bullets coated in pigs’ blood to execute insurgents in the Philippines in the early 20th century​; to followers of Islam, pigs are impure.

“Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” Trump tweeted. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”

Trump’s quick condemnation of the Barcelona carnage as a terrorist attack, and his suggestion that Muslims were at fault, came before Spanish authorities had released conclusive information. As such, Trump’s rapid response contrasted with his slowness in calling out the white supremacists in Charlottesville — blame he rescinded on Tuesday, when he said “both sides” were culpable for violence there — and contradicted his claim in that instance that he only comments on such incidents after all the facts are known.

Trump still has not called the fatal attack in Charlottesville, in which a car driven by an alleged white supremacist plowed into a crowd, an act of terrorism...
Still more (FWIW).

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BONUS: Neal Stephenson, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel.

Diarmaid MacCulloch, All Things Made New

At Amazon, Diarmaid MacCulloch, All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy.

Christopher Kelly, The End of Empire

At Amazon, Christopher Kelly, The End of Empire: Attila the Hun & the Fall of Rome.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Guy de la Bédoyère, Praetorian


This one looks particularly exciting!

At Amazon, Guy de la Bédoyère, Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard.

Victor Davis Hanson, A War Like No Other

Victor Davis Hanson, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

Cullen Murphy, Are We Rome?

This is something I've obviously been thinking about, although clearly the U.S. is a vastly more powerful empire (if we're an "empire") than Rome ever was.

But still, it's what comes to mind sometimes.

At Amazon, Cullen Murphy, Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America.

#FakeNews CNN: There'll Be Questions About Whether Barcelona Attack Was 'Copycat' of #Charlottesville

This is so stupid.

Islamic State called for "truck attacks" and any attacks deploying civilian-use weapons of mass destruction. Wolf Blitzer knows this. He's just parroting left-wing talking points, which is sad, since I've respected the guy.

Watch, at Free Beacon, "CNN: There Will Be Questions About Whether Barcelona Attack Was ‘Copycat’ of Charlottesville."

This Week's Cover at the 'New Yorker'

Okay. That's it.

I'm out for the rest of the day. You'll get books, babe, and weather reports today, and then maybe back to politics tomorrow.

Our society's gone insane.

Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

Readers will find Neal Stephenson an interesting change of pace. According to Wikipedia, "His novels have been categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, postcyberpunk, and baroque."

Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

I don't see copies of Thomas Pynchon's books when I'm out shopping at used bookstores. But he's regularly cited in jacket blurbs and his stuff comes up on Amazon, in the "what others bought" prompts, and so forth. In any case, I'll keep looking while I'm out and about.

Meanwhile, at Amazon, Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow.

Gigi Hadid for Vogue Korea: September 2017

I didn't even now there was a Vogue Korea. I checked it on Twitter and it was all in Korean, so it figures.

Still, this is one of the hottest Vogue covers I've seen.

At London's Daily Mail, "Playing with fire! Gigi Hadid flashes toned torso in red turtleneck and black she graces TWO covers of Vogue Korea."

'For marginalized communities, the power of expression is impoverished for reasons that have little to do with the First Amendment...'

Terrible. Disgusting. Reprehensible.

I saw folks retweeting this New York Times piece this morning. It's from K-Sue Park, who's a "Critical Race Studies Fellow at UCLA School of Law for 2017-2019," of course.

See, "The A.C.L.U. Needs to Rethink Free Speech." (Safe link.)

Althouse comments:
Contextual... creative... holistic... these are the subtleties that grease the way to the end of constitutional rights.

Thanks to the ACLU for standing up for free speech where it counts — when the speaker is hated.

You can donate to the ACLU here.
Click through to hit that donate button at Althouse.

ICYMI: Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire

My earlier entry is here.

And at Amazon, Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae.

Australia Senator Wears Full Burka in Parliament

At Disneyland last week I saw a woman going around the park in a full burka, specifically with the niqab, the facial veil the covers everything except the eyes. And I'm thinking, did she have to take that off to get her picture taken? You see, when you buy your park ticket now, they scan the barcode on the ticket and take your picture. So, when you leave the park or come back in, or cross over from California Adventures to the old Disneyland, they scan the barcode and your picture pops up on the handheld device. It's really awesome technology. I noticed some of the staff don't even look at the picture, but then another (older gentleman) scanned our tickets and was very carefully looking at the mug shots.

I think it's great!

But, then there's the question? Did the lady have to take off her niqab? My wife said they just probably took the photo with the niqab on, but then anyone could put on that niqab and use her ticket to get into the park, which defeats the purpose of the technology.

In any case, this piece, at NYT, got me thinking:

Norman Mailer, The Executioner's Song

While out yesterday I visited a used bookstore in Sherman Oaks and picked up a cheap paperback copy of Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings. Well, my niece started high school yesterday, and after my sister and I picked her up, the two of them had to run into Staples for some school supplies. I waited out in the car. Wouldn't you know it, they ran into another mom from the community, and they were shooting the bull inside the store for like a half-an-hour. I'm like wtf is taking so long? Meanwhile, I'm in the car reading this novel. I didn't think I was going to start in on another book so soon, but what can you do? And it turns out Mailer's an interesting writer.

So, I'll look for a cheap copy of this one as well, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. At Amazon, Norman Mailer, The Executioner's Song.

Andrew Wheatcroft, The Enemy at the Gate

At Amazon, Andrew Wheatcroft, The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for Europe.

#Antifa is the Resurgence of Anti-War Movement, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter

From Brandon Darby, at Breitbart.

That is it. That is exactly it.

Barcelona Truck Jihad Massacre: At Least 13 Slaughtered (VIDEO)


Those white supremacists are spreading everywhere, and fast!

At Pamela, "Jihad Slaughter in Barcelona: AT LEAST 13 DEAD, dozens injured as van RAMS into crowd outside kosher restaurant."

Also, at Telegraph U.K., "Live: Barcelona terror attack: van crashes into crowd at La Rambla, killing 'at least 13'."

The suspect, who's in custody, posted (then Facebook removed) as "an anti-Semitic video alleging a global Jewish conspiracy." (Here and here.)

And at CNN, FWIW:

G.J. Meyer, The Tudors

G.J. Meyer, The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Danielle Gersh's Sunny and Warm Forecast

I spent the day with my younger sister in Studio City, hence blogging's been light. Of course, I'm not into political blogging that much right now, anyway, since everything's so stupid.

It was a nice visit, in any case. I need to spend more time up that way. There's more used book stores, for one thing, and I want to go to the Reagan Library. (I'd spend the night at my sister's and head up to Simi Valley early in the morning.) And that's not to mention all the art museums up there as well. Maybe next summer?

More later.

Meanwhile, here's the lovely Ms. Danielle with the local weather. It's been quite mild. Normally late August and September's the hottest time of the year.

At CBS News 2 Los Angeles:

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BONUS: Stephen Dando-Collins, Mark Antony's Heroes: How the Third Gallica Legion Saved an Apostle and Created an Emperor.

Adrian Goldsworthy, In the Name of Rome


At Amazon, Adrian Goldsworthy, In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire.

The Real Race War

From David Horowitz, at FrontPage Magazine:
The tragedy in Charlottesville could have been an occasion to stop and consider how the tolerance for politically correct violence and politically correct hatred is leading the nation towards civil war. Instead the media and the political left have turned this incident into the biggest fake news story of the summer, transforming its real lessons into a morality play that justifies war against the political right, and against white people generally.

The organizers of the “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville were repellent racists. But they came to defend a historic monument honoring a complex man and cause, and not to attack it or presumably anyone else. They applied for a permit and were denied. They re-applied successfully in a petition supported by the local ACLU. If they had come to precipitate violence, why would they have gone to the tedious trouble of applying for a permit? Who knows what – if anything – would have happened if that had been the end of the story and no one had showed up to oppose them.

What “Unite the Right” actually demonstrated was that the assortment of neo-Nazis, pro-Confederates and assorted yahoos gathered under the banner of the “Alt-Right” is actually a negligible group. This was a national show of strength that actually attracted all of 500 people. Compare that to the tens of the thousands who can readily be marshalled by two violent groups of the left – Black Lives Matter and Antifa – and you get an idea of how marginal “white supremacists” are to America’s political and cultural life.

Yet “white supremacy” and its evils became the centerpiece of all the fake news reporting on the event, including all the ludicrous attacks on the president for not condemning enough a bogeyman the whole nation condemns, and that no one but a risible fringe supports. Talk about virtue signaling! Omitted from the media coverage were the other forces at work in precipitating the battle of Emancipation Park, specifically Black Lives Matter and Antifa, two violent leftwing groups with racial agendas who came to squelch the demonstration in defense of the monument.

Unlike the Unite the Right demonstrators, the leftist groups did not apply for permits, which would have been denied since there was another demonstration scheduled for that park on that day. But why should they have applied for a permit, since the havoc they had previously wreaked in Ferguson, Berkeley, Sacramento, Portland and other cities, was accomplished without permits, while their criminality was presented by the media as “protests,” and their rioting went completely unpunished.

In short, there were two demonstrations in Charlottesville - a legal protest by “Unite the Right” and an illegal protest by the vigilantes of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Who started the fight is really immaterial. Both sides were prepared for violence because these conflicts are already a pattern of our deteriorating civic life. Once the two sides had gathered in the same place, the violence was totally predictable. Two parties, two culpabilities; but except for the initial statement of President Trump, condemning both sides, only one party has been held accountable, and that happens to be the one that was in the park legally.

What is taking place in the media accounts and political commentaries on this event is an effort by the left to turn the mayhem in Charlottesville into a template for their war against a mythical enemy – “white supremacy” – which is really a war on white people generally. The ideology that drives the left and divides our country is “identity politics” – the idea that the world consists of two groups – “people of color” who are guiltless and oppressed, and white people who are guilty and oppressors. This is the real race war. Its noxious themes inform the mindless, hysterical hatred for President Trump, and the equally mindless support for racist mobs like Black Lives Matter and Antifa. It is a war from which no good can come. But it won’t be stopped unless enough people have the courage to stand up and name it for what it is.

Stephen Dando-Collins, Legions of Rome


At Amazon, Stephen Dando-Collins, Legions of Rome: The Definitive History of Every Imperial Roman Legion.

Barry Strauss, The Spartacus War


This one's apparently "the first popular history of the [Spartacus] revolt in English."

I'm enjoying Spartacus immensely, so this looks excellent.

At Amazon, Barry Strauss, The Spartacus War.

Ronald Syme, The Roman Revolution


At Amazon, Ronald Syme, The Roman Revolution.

Mary Beard, SPQR


At Amazon, Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.

Charles Krauthammer Slams President Trump's Tuesday Press Conference as 'Moral Disgrace' (VIDEO)

I actually saw the headline at Free Beacon first, "Krauthammer Spars With Ingraham on Trump’s Presser: It ‘Was a Moral Disgrace’."

But I had to watch it for myself, and Fox News posted the full exchange to YouTube. I get it. Trump's supposed to rise above. He's supposed to be "presidential" and non-equivocating. And I love Charles Krauthammer too. I really do. But on this one, Laura Ingraham's got a better pulse on the politics. She's especially correct that no matter what Trump said he was going to be pilloried by his opponents, people who hate him on both the right and left. It's pretty riveting.

From last night:

PREVIOUSLY: "President Trump Criticizes 'Alt-Left' Groups in #Charlottesville (VIDEO)."