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November 24, 2019

Sunday Morning Book Thread 11-24-2019

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National Library, Israel

Good morning to all you 'rons, 'ettes, lurkers, and lurkettes, wine moms, frat bros, crétins sans pantalon (who are technically breaking the rules), rapscallions, blackguards, miscreants, and assorted ne'er-do-wells. Welcome once again to the stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, a weekly compendium of reviews, observations, snark, witty repartee, hilarious bon mots, and a continuing conversation on books, reading, spending way too much money on books, writing books, and publishing books by escaped oafs and oafettes who follow words with their fingers and whose lips move as they read. Unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Even if it's, these pants, which I offer to you all in the spirit of Thanksgiving. The only thing missing is a little gravy. And maybe some cranberry sauce.

Pic Note:

Israel is moving her national library to a new home across from the Knesset and Israel Museum. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2020, so what you're looking at in the photo is just the architect's drawing and doesn't exist -- yet:

Designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, the new, six-story, 45,000-square-meter structure — which will include 400 underground parking spaces — will be an inviting, low-slung structure with a three-level reading room and a full-sized auditorium that opens to an outer garden and a separate children’s space...

The library’s mission is to hold copies of all materials published in Israel, in any language, as well as anything published about Israel, the Land of Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people and any material published in Hebrew or in any languages spoken in the Jewish Diaspora.

Also, the impeachment hearings made me feel this way. Kind of like this:

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A carefully preserved, 11th century Old Testament, part of the National Library of Israel's collection


27 I'm reading "The Plot Against the President" by Lee Smith. Good points: Absolutely riveting, full of information that I did not know (and it is really the only story I have been absorbed with for the past two years). One example - the "insurance policy" is actually some FBI operation that we as yet know nothing about. Reads like a thriller.

Bad points: If the coup plotters are not brought to justice, I'm ready to take up arms.

Really the most important book you can read this year. And I'd also recommend a very special SMBT focused on 3 books: Ball of Collusion by Andrew McCarthy, Resistance (At All Costs) by Kim Strassel, and this Lee Smith book.
br<>It's a coup, and the same group that failed with Russia are working the exact same playbook with Ukraine.

Posted by: motionview at November 10, 2019 09:13 AM (pYQR/)

I agree that a roundup of these books is a good idea. It's good to know that there's a lot of pushback on the TDS-laden narratives being pushed by the Democrat/progessive/media complex.

The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History by investigative journalists Lee Smith covered a couple of Sundays ago. Clinton goon/henchman Sid Blumenthal threatened to sue because he claimed it was 'defamatory'. Anyway, Lee Smith's book

...tells the story of how Congressman Devin Nunes uncovered the operation to bring down the commander-in-chief. While popular opinion holds that Russia subverted democratic processes during the 2016 elections, the real damage was done not by Moscow or any other foreign actor. Rather, this was a slow-moving coup engineered by a coterie of the American elite, the "deep state," targeting not only the president, but also the rest of the country. The plot officially began July 31, 2016 with the counterintelligence investigation that the FBI opened to probe Russian infiltration of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. But the bureau never followed any Russians. In fact, it was an operation to sabotage Trump, the candidate, then president-elect, and finally the presidency. The conspirators included political operatives, law enforcement and intelligence officials, and the press.

Also, Andrew McCarthy's Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency, which explains how

The real collusion in the 2016 election was not between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. It was between the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration.

The media–Democrat “collusion narrative,” which paints Donald Trump as cat’s paw of Russia, is a studiously crafted illusion.

Despite Clinton’s commanding lead in the polls, hyper-partisan intelligence officials decided they needed an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency. Thus was born the collusion narrative, built on an anonymously sourced “dossier,” secretly underwritten by the Clinton campaign and compiled by a former British spy. Though acknowledged to be “salacious and unverified” at the FBI’s highest level, the dossier was used to build a counterintelligence investigation against Trump’s campaign.

Another moron, I forget who, mentioned a few weeks back that one of McCarthy's problems is that he can never seem to see any wrongdoing by the FBI. I remember when James Comey came forward and said 'yeah, Hillary broke the law right and left, but we're not going to recommend prosecution because we can't prove intent' and McCarthy was one of the first ones out of the box proclaiming that Comey was a tower of integrity and his puzzlement at his actions. I wonder what he thinks about Comey now that he's demonstrated that he's basically a lying sh*tweasel. But McCarthy's problematic judgment in this one area wouldn't necessarily mean that this book isn't worth reading.

Next up, one that wasn't on motionview's list, but worthy of mention: Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History

In Witch Hunt, Gregg Jarrett uncovers the bureaucratic malfeasance and malicious politicization of our country’s justice system. The law was weaponized for partisan purposes. Even though it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign that collected and disseminated a trove of lies about Trump from a former British spy and Russian operatives, Democrats and the media spun this into a claim that Trump was working for the Russians.

Senior officials at the FBI, blinded by their political bias and hatred of Trump, went after the wrong person. At the DOJ, the deputy attorney general discussed secretly recording the president and recruiting members of the cabinet to depose Trump. Those behind the Witch Hunt have either been fired or resigned. Many of them are now under investigation for abuse of power. But what about the pundits who concocted wild narratives in real time on television, or the newspapers which covered the fact that rumors were being investigated without investigating the facts themselves?

Jarrett is also the author of the earlier bestseller The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump

The third book mentioned by motionview is Resistance (At All Costs): How Trump Haters Are Breaking America by Kimberly Strassel, who argues that

...the all-out "Resistance" has become dangerously reckless in its obstruction of President Trump.

Among the most consistent and aggressive criticisms of Donald Trump is that he is a threat to American democracy -- a human wrecking ball demolishing our most basic values and institutions. Resistance (At All Costs) makes the opposite case -- that it is Trump's critics, in their zeal to oppose the president, who are undermining our foundations.

From the FBI's unprecedented counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, to bureaucratic sabotage, to media partisanship, to the drive-by character assassination of Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the president's foes have thrown aside norms, due process and the rule of law.

Resistance (At All Costs) shows that the reaction to Trump will prove far more consequential and damaging to our nation long-term than Trump's time in office.

And I don't think that progressives understand the damage they've caused. They've turned the mainstream media into a laughingstock, trusted by nobody and derided by all. The Kavanaugh hearings and the impeachment farce reveals the clown show congress, whom no one can take seriously. Worse, it shows how much they've weaponized the federal government, as if they'll never be out of power and the tools they've built for the destruction of others can't ever be used against them.

Just for fun, here is Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us. From his guest appearance on The Henhouse View earlier this week, it is obviously he's inherited his father's combative spirit and ability to identifty and reject whatever progressive narrative they demand he accept:

In Triggered, Donald Trump, Jr. will expose all the tricks that the left uses to smear conservatives and push them out of the public square, from online "shadow banning" to fake accusations of "hate speech."

[He writes] about the importance of fighting back and standing up for what you believe in. From his childhood summers in Communist Czechoslovakia that began his political thought process, to working on construction sites with his father, to the major achievements of President Trump's administration, Donald Trump, Jr. spares no details and delivers a book that focuses on success and perseverance, and proves offense is the best defense.

This is what has always bugged me about RINOs like Romney and McCain, and, for the most part, George W. Bush: they seem to not be bothered by their tacit acceptance of the progressive nonsense in order to achieve some sort of common understanding ("reaching across the aisle") or furtherance of the conversation, while the progressives aren't doing any kind of compromising whatsoever. So, step by step, inch by inch, we're being dragged inexorably leftward. Don Jr. and his pop both seem to have an instinctive understanding that by accepting the left's framing of the issues, you've already lost. Or, perhaps, President has an instinctive understanding of this, while Don Jr. has brought it up to the conscious level. He's actually self-aware about this, and knows what he's doing. Which, I think ultimately makes him a more dangerous adversary than his old man.

Who Dis:

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Last Sunday's 'Who Dis' was the Grand Moff Tarkin himself, Peter Cushing. He's reading Creepy magazine. Anyone else remember Creepy magazine? It was the kind of comic book that parents complained about.

On Boggies

Boggies are an unattractive but annoying people whose numbers have decreased rather precipitously since the bottom fell out of the fairy-tale market. Slow and sullen, and yet dull, they prefer to lead simple lives of pastoral squalor...As for the boggies of the Sty, with whom we are chiefly concerned, they are unusually drab, dressing in shiny gray suits with narrow lapels, alpine hats, and string ties. They wear no shoes, and they walk on a pair of hairy blunt instruments which can only be called feet because of the position they occupy at the end of their legs...They love to eat and drink, play mumblety-peg with dim-witted quadrupeds, and tell off-color dwarf jokes. They give dull parties and cheap presents, and they enjoy the same general regard and esteem as a dead otter...It is plain that boggies are relatives of ours, standing somewhere along the evolutionary line that leads from rats to wolverines and eventually to Italians, but what our exact relationship is cannot be told.

There were a number of quotes in the comments in last week's thread from the Harvard Lampoon's hilarious parody Bored of the Rings. I first read this classic back in the 70s and there is a laugh on almost every page. I'm thinking of putting up a quote from BOTR for the next few weeks. There's just a ton of material. I can pick a page at random and they'll be something laugh-out-loud funny I can use.

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Moron Recommendations

36 I just finished a really fun book: _The Book of Swindles_, by Zhang Yingyu (translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk). It was written around the time of the Jamestown colony, and it's a compendium of con games and dodges in Ming China.

Some of the cons are familiar favorites, like the classic "drop the pigeon" scam. Others depend on Chinese culture to work: pretending to be the servant of the official in charge of grading civil service exams, in order to get bribes from candidates.

And some of them are flat-out crazy: having your daughter seduce a young aristocrat so your descendants can hijack his ancestors' spiritual power. Or Daoist monks using magic to appear to people in dreams and thereby sucker them into being friends so they can rob them.

Highly recommended.

Posted by: Trimegistus at November 17, 2019 09:13 AM (b3VIz)

The Amazon blurb elucidates:

The Book of Swindles, compiled by an obscure writer from southern China, presents a fascinating tableau of criminal ingenuity. The flourishing economy of the late Ming period created overnight fortunes for merchants—and gave rise to a host of smooth operators, charlatans, forgers, and imposters seeking to siphon off some of the new wealth... Each story comes with commentary by the author, Zhang Yingyu, who expounds a moral lesson while also speaking as a connoisseur of the swindle. This volume, which contains annotated translations of just over half of the eighty-odd stories in Zhang's original collection, provides a wealth of detail on social life during the late Ming and offers words of warning for a world in peril.

This really does sound like a fascinating look into another time and another culture. The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection is available on Kindle for $14.49. Also paperback for $25.00.


89 Reading Neil Postman's Entertaining Ourselves to Death, which has been on my reading list since I was young.

It's really quite good. The first half is dedicated to the exploration of the effects the medium used for information transmission in a society has on that society as a whole and the mental habits and reasoning practices of its constituent members. The impact of the spoken word, the written word and of the image are explored, and the utility of memory and the way community is construed and truth perceived as a consequence is described and evidenced.

Postman is a liberal, and it comes through at times, but he is a true professor, and his analyis and thoughts are clear and useful and mostly true. He does have a luddite strain which comes through much more strongly in his lectures than his book.

Highly recommended. Goes far beyond an analysis of television to an exploration of how we conceive and organize thought and orient to the world.

Posted by: .87c at November 17, 2019 09:41 AM (TDP3i)
Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs—it has taken on even greater significance. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining control of our media, so that they can serve our highest goals.

Postman may be a liberal, but this book was written back when liberals produced works of actual scholarship, rather than just parroting the latest woke fads.

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business is on Kindle for $13.99.


Would you volunteer for Auschwitz? I mean, would you leave your wife and family and get yourself arrested by the Nazis specifically for the purpose of getting sent there, not really knowing what was in there, for intelligence gathering, sabotage, and possibly leading a prison revolt?

Meet Polish patriot Witold Pilecki:

To uncover the fate of the thousands being interred at a mysterious Nazi camp on the border of the Reich, a thirty-nine-year-old Polish resistance fighter named Witold Pilecki volunteered for an audacious mission: assume a fake identity, intentionally get captured and sent to the new camp, and then report back to the underground on what had happened to his compatriots there. But gathering information was not his only task: he was to execute an attack from inside—where the Germans would least expect it.

Over the next two and half years, Pilecki forged an underground army within Auschwitz that sabotaged facilities, assassinated Nazi informants and officers, and gathered evidence of terrifying abuse and mass murder. But as he pieced together the horrifying truth that the camp was to become the epicenter of Nazi plans to exterminate Europe’s Jews, Pilecki realized he would have to risk his men, his life, and his family to warn the West before all was lost. To do so, meant attempting the impossible—an escape from Auschwitz itself.

Pileki's story is told in the book The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz.

Spoilers: He managed to survive Auschwitz, and live to see the end of WWII. But then the commies showed up:

Witold was among those arrested by the secret police of the Communist government, and was charged with treason on May 12th, 1947. He was tortured, interrogated, and isolated. The last time he saw his wife Maria was when he was put on his show trial on March 3rd, 1948. He told her, “Auschwitz was just a game compared to this.”

So the commies murdered him on May 25th, 1948.

The world is not going to be set right until people realize that, as bad as nazis are, commies are actually worse.


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Books By Morons

A lurking 'ette author emailed me earlier this week:

I have a new [novel] out, Simple Service. It's a science fiction tale of a lost colony world and the start of a new series, Martha's Sons. The titles are taken from the Kipling poem, The Sons of Martha.

This is the blurb she sent me, which is also what you'll read on Amazon:

A lost starship. A lost colony.

Two factions. One expendable son.

When the colony’s governor requisitions the colonists’ personal weapons, Peter Dawe’s father sets him a simple task. Get their weapon back.

But the Marss have all the technology, and Peter, a second generation colonist, the youngest of ten, the expendable son, must contend with the guard, palace politics, and his biggest problem of all, Simon, his brother.

Simple Service (Martha's Sons Book 1) is available on Kindle for $2.99.

That poem by Kiping she referenced, The Sons of Martha, is an interesting take on the 'Mary vs. Martha' account in Luke 10:38-42.

You can check out Laura's other science fiction novels on her Amazon page, including the sequel to Simple Service, Long in the Land.


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, insults, threats, ugly pants pics and moron library submissions 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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posted by OregonMuse at 08:55 AM

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