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December 13, 2015

Sunday Morning Book Thread 12-13-2015: Barbarians At Our Gates [OregonMuse]

The-Library-Of-Alexandria - 550.jpg
Artist's Rendition Of The Great Library at Alexandria, Egypt.

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. And when I type up the book thread, my pinkies remain elevated the whole time, that's how classy it is.

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

–Haruki Murakami

A Jihadi Under Every Bed

I'm having a conversation with one of my friends exploring the various aspects of this whole 'moderate Muslim' thing, and it's not easy. For example, I had read somewhere awhile back that, post 9/11, the authorities were getting good intel and tips from U.S. Muslims, reporting things they had heard at mosque and suspicious characters who showed up there, which led to the thwarting of a number of terrorist attacks.

But now comes former FBI counterterrorism agent John Guandolo who says no, that's actually not true.

In fact, we didn't get squat:

...[I]f one looks at the “major Islamic organizations, the major Islamic centers in the United States,” they have “condemned all of the counter-terrorism policies and they’ve gotten the government to kowtow to them, to turn only to them for advice.”

“And what advice do they give them?” Guandolo asked. “That Islam doesn’t stand for this and that everything you’re doing is the reason for what happened—9/11 is your fault because of your policies.”

It is Guandolo's contention that the "vast majority" of U.S. mosques and Islamic centers are a part of a much larger jihadi network. For example:

[T]he San Bernardino terrorists attended the Islamic Center of Riverside, which he said was a “a Muslim Brotherhood Center...

...there are over 2,200 Islamic Centers and mosques in America and the “vast majority of them are a part of this network — they’re hostile.”

...“over 75%” of these centers, based on their property records, are a part of the “Muslim Brotherhood network” since they are “owned by the North American Islamic Trust, which is the bank for the Muslim Brotherhood here.”

Guandolo doesn't much like the Muslim Brotherhood. He contends that the MB is an organization that supports and promotes Islamic terrorism. In fact, he has written a book about it, Raising a Jihadi Generation: Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in America

As this Handbook makes clear, the Muslim Brotherhood has operatives in our federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, our military, but, most importantly, advising our senior leadership in our national security apparatus...Once the control the Muslim Brotherhood has within the U.S. government's decision-making process is understood, it becomes clear America faces an insurgency inside our homeland, which requires a very different response, especially from local law enforcement.

This is just like the Cold War only with jihadi scum instead of rat bastard commies. And just like the FDR administration was lousy with de facto commies and actual Soviet spies, the Obama administration has welcomed in a raft of jihadi enablers and sympathizers whose goal it is to transform America. Hey, transforming America is what Obama wants, too. So no wonder he doesn't seem to have a problem with them. He's sympatico with them in his hatred for America, so there's a lot of common ground there.

As ace observed earlier this week:

The Red-Black coalition is of course real: both communism and islamism are violent, indecent revolutionary movements, and both fixate their hatred on everything decent and truly progressive of the West.

They are allies in fact.

And speaking of ISIS, you could do a lot worse than read The Complete Infidel's Guide to ISIS by Robert Spencer. Most of the 1-star reviews on Amazon start out by saying Spencer is racist, and degenerate into gibbering spasms of hatred. What's even funnier is that none of them actually address anything specific that Spencer wrote in his book.

I'm probably not going to read it, though, because all it will do is make me mad and spike my blood pressure. My doctor hates it when that happens. But if any of you morons or 'ettes happen to be suffering from low blood pressure, this should help: Obama and Islam (Updated and Revised) also by Robert Spencer. I mention this particular book of Spencer's out of the many he has written chiefly because of the disgusting cover photo -- it's the one of our Slacker-in-Chief bowing in obeisance to a couple of sleazebag jihadi-enabling Saudi royals. (Did previous presidents feel the need to suck up to the bloated Saudi oil ticks like that?) And it's not just a polite little courtesy bow, either; that's some seriously submissive body language he's got going on there. Which should tell you all you need to know about how Obama views America.

About That Alexandria Library

It must have been quite a place:

The Royal Library of Alexandria or Ancient Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It was dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC, with collections of works, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens. The library was part of a larger research institution called the Musaeum of Alexandria, where many of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world studied.

And the much ballyhooed burning of the Alexandria library didn't happen all at once:

There is a mythology of the burning of the Library at Alexandria, but the library may in truth have suffered several fires or other acts of destruction over many years. Possible occasions for the complete or partial destruction of the Library of Alexandria include a fire set by Julius Caesar in 48 BC, an attack by Aurelian in the AD 270s, and the decree of Coptic Pope Theophilus in AD 391.

And this article argues that the Great Library at Alexandria was destroyed mostly by budget cuts, not fire.

What I would like to know is, what kind of system did the Alexandria librarians use to organize and catalog the thousands of scrolls that were stored there? Also, what was the fine you had to pay for overdue scrolls?

The True Truthiness of Alex Haley

I call your attention to the NY Times review of the new Alex Haley biography by Robert J. Norrell, Alex Haley: And the Books That Changed a Nation as a good example of liberals covering for one of their own.

Haley had money woes...and bad work habits. He broke deadlines and contracts with a shrug, and signed agreements to write books he did not deliver. His wiliness took amusing turns. At one point, when his editor begged for a finished manuscript of “Roots,” Haley gave her 750 typed pages — a few dozen of polished prose at the front and back, with 700 pages of notes in between. He had once promised to finish the book in 1965; the final manuscript was delivered late in 1975.

So, in other words, the author of the bestseller-and-made-into-a-TV-movie Roots was a lazy, dishonest, irresponsible bum whose slovenly habits make Obama look like a workaholic. But rather than just admitting this, Norrell puts a positive spin on it by describing it as "wiliness" which we're supposed to think is "amusing". Although I would guess that those to whom Haley owed money (or a manuscript) most likely did not find such "wiliness" at all "amusing", and probably called it by names less charitable. But the lesson here is that being a liberal means never having to say you're sorry, and someone else will always pick up the check.

And then there's Haley's characteristic crappy research, and tenuous (at best) commitment to the truth compared to which his egregious plagiarism paled in significance:

Far more damaging were the journalists and historians who emerged to poke gaping holes in his research, both in Africa and in the United States...Some historians stood by Haley. But the Harvard historian Oscar Handlin spoke for others when he commented, “A fraud’s a fraud.” Haley’s own agent called him “a literary Kim Philby.”...He seems to have made up a great deal of the book nearly wholesale.

Ouch. Kim Philby was not just some misguided liberal, he was an out-and-out traitor, which makes the comparison with him quite damning. So the whole Alex Haley 'Roots' enterprise was fraudulent from A to Z., yet the reviewer just mentions it en passant and moves on. One wonders if he would maintain such a carefully neutral, non-judgmental tone if this were a biography of say, Sarah Palin or perhaps Donald Trump.

And finally the frantic spinning reaches its glorious conclusion:

[Haley] wrote to a critic who was hard on him, “I was just trying to give my people a myth to live by.”...Mr. Norrell adds, “The power of ‘Roots’ ultimately lay not in its adherence to historical fact but in its being a new story of blacks’ past that included African origins.”

And there it is, ladies and gents! The "fake but accurate" meme once again gets pressed into service to support a liberal cause. They never, ever seem to get tired of using it.

One final comment:

When the nearly 3,000-page “Norton Anthology of African-American Literature” was published in 1996, no excerpt from “Roots” appeared in it, a decision Mr. Norrell calls “shortsighted.” He wonders aloud if Haley’s punishments fit his crimes.

I don't think it's "shortsighted" at all. I think the Norton editors made the right call. They evidently realize, even if Mr. Norrell does not, that African-Americans, who have historically been on the short end of the stick in many ways, are not going to be helped by feeding them more lies and bullshit.

A Moron Book Giveaway

Moron author Christopher Taylor is doing a book giveaway through Goodreads. It started on the 11th and will continue until 12-20. There are two winners that will be selected at random from the entries, who will receive a signed and personalized print copy of his second novel Old Habits.

A fortune in lost gems. A man on the run from his brothers. A dread secret in Castle Dornica. Stoce grew up alone on the tough streets of Farport to become an exceptional street thief, but nothing in his life has prepared him for this. Hired for a simple theft, Stoce is now on the run from The Brotherhood. Stalked by deadly assassins in a strange land, Stoce must face an archmage, soldiers, and a host of guards to find the gems he lost. But what treacherous plot is unfolding in the castle he searches, and how does the annoyingly noble paladin Judic fit into this conspiracy?

Here's the Goodreads link to sign up.

Moron Recommendations

This one is from Mary Poppins' Practically Perfect Piercing:

BTW, have I ever mentioned Frederic Morton's book A Nervous Splendor? It's about Vienna in the 1880s, during the short life of Crown Prince Rudolf, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. But it also delves into the other fascinating people alive at the time, Freud and Klimt, just to name two.

I think Morton invests Rudolf with too much promise (he all but says that, had Rudolf not killed himself in 1889, WWI would have never happened), but it's a good book just the same for a cold, wintry day.

The book MP4 is referring to is A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889 by Frederic Morton. From the Amazon reviews:

Concentrating on just ten months of Viennese history between July, 1888, and May, 1889, Morton...pulls together all the threads, cultural, political, social, and more, and ties them all together in a neat bow, yet reads like a novel. It furnishes us with a window into every level of the new thinking of which Vienna was the hub. We get to see the origin and development of what eventually became our own reality. Every art form, painting, music, architecture, literature, etc., with a dose of psychology added for good measure...We see the beginning of the attitude that was to culminate in the atrocities against Jews during WWII...and a direction in architecture that is still visible not only Vienna, but Prague, Budapest, and New York, just to mention a few.

So apparently the modern world was born in Vienna.

What I'm Reading

Ugh. I almost couldn't finish The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders because true crime author Anthony Flacco's account of Gordon Stewart Northcott, a psychopath who kidnapped, raped and murdered young boys during a two year span back in the 1920s was too horrific. One of the more disturbing aspects of this story is that he forced his 13-year-old nephew to assist him in his crimes -- in between bouts of raping and abusing him -- and threatened to kill him if he didn't cooperate.

These murders form part of the background to the movie Changeling, directed by Clint Eastwood.

The death toll will never be known, but it may be as high as 20. The subsequent trial brought so much negative publicity to the little town of Wineville that the citizens afterwards voted to change the name, and so nowadays it's known as Mira Loma.

The good news at the end of this gruesome story is: (1) the nephew, Sanford Clark, survived his ordeal and went on to live a normal life. In many or most instances, abused boys grow up to be psychopathic abusers themselves, but Clark miraculously escaped this fate. He found steady work, married, became a decorated WWII vet, and found ways to deal with recurring episodes of what we now know as PTSD. And also (2) they hung the evil bastard murdering uncle. Back in those days, the state of California had the cojones to do things like that.

I think the real hero of this story is Jessie Clark, Sanford's sister, who realized something was not quite right from the get-go about her mother sending him off to live on a remote chicken ranch with her uncle. Northcutt had the psychopath's ability to fool people with a blizzard of lies and fake smiles and when she finally managed to arrange to visit the chicken ranch to check on her brother, she was not fooled in the slightest by Northcutt's BS. This was a welcome relief from the relentless progress of evil that had been the book's narrative up to that point.

Director Eastwood observes:

"And you wonder: How the hell did this guy go on to be a loving father and grandfather? How did he bury all that crap? That's a story in itself."

It certainly is, and The Road Out of Hell does a good job telling it. Although it's not one for the faint of heart.


Don't forget the AoSHQ reading group on Goodreads. It's meant to support horde writers and to talk about the great books that come up on the book thread. It's called AoSHQ Moron Horde and the link to it is here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/175335-aoshq-moron-horde.


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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