Hit the snooze bar--NBD.
Friday, February 26, 2021
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
They are happy to engage in cost-free virtue signalling about the America of the 70s and 80s but won't risk a guilty look when it comes to atrocities happening right now.
Piss off, Devil Mouse.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Building upon the review of Mine Were of Trouble, I would like to offer a list of books to help cradle English speakers get a grip on the War in Spain.
I am compelled to offer three framing comments at the beginning.
1. First, works about the War--even in English--are inevitably politicized. The War inspires strong passions in the Western world to this very day, and the historians who write about it are no exception. Even the act of toning down one's reactions and trying to assess the facts objectively, in a comparative framework with other ideological conflicts, is subject to accusations of bias. One is accused of (or lauded for) being pro-Republican or pro-Nationalist, pushing a narrative. And readers can be sucked in as well.
The necessity for the reader is to recognize the historian's biases and his own and to engage in periodic reality checks.
For example: is the author presenting one side's atrocities in a different light than the other's? Pro-Republic authors frequently have a tic in this respect. This is best seen in what I call "the church caught fire and the priest died" pro-Republic depictions of the Loyalist pogroms of 1936.
Thousands of Catholics--laity, clergy and religious--were targeted and slaughtered by Republican forces in the wake of the rising of the generals.
In a grand irony, this butchery turned the officer corps' rising into a Catholic crusade. The initial proclamations of the Generals explicitly spoke of restoring order to the Republic and respecting its institutions, including the separation of church and state. And there really is no evidence that such were insincere.
The massacre of the Faithful changed all of that, with Catholics of every class and region under Nationalist control becoming fiercely pro-Nationalist and swelling the ranks and resources of the Generals' forces. This forced the Generals to change their tone fairly quickly: by autumn of 1936 the Crusade for Catholic Spain was on.
The slaughter is acknowledged by Republic-favoring historians, but it is often described in the passive voice, occurring as opposed to directed--spasmodic, spontaneous and unforeseeable--definitely not the systematic killing of Nationalist firing squads.
Um...no. The Republic threw open the arsenals to anti-religious fanatics and what followed was entirely foreseeable. Anti-religious rages had been blazing, albeit at a much lower level, for months before the War. What did they expect when they handed the militias military weaponry and the color of law?
It is true that members of the Republican leadership tried--sometimes successfully--to intervene to save people, and eventually the pogrom wound down. But this was due as much to the flight of Catholics to Nationalist territory and the sending of the fanatical militias to the front lines to do some actual fighting against people who could shoot back as to policy.
Bottom line: watch how each side is depicted for similar actions. Because pro-Nationalists get their passive voice on as well.
2. Secondly, have a note pad handy. It is taken me years to get the names of the various personages straight. When you first run across someone who appears to be a major personage, write down his or her name and political affiliation. Gil Robles was not Calvo Sotelo--that took me a while, for some reason.
And do the same for the major factions. Because, you see, there is usually a very unhelpful Spanish acronym, or a puzzling adjective before an otherwise understandable noun, which describes the welter of contending organizations.
Trust me: you do not want to confuse the CEDA with the CNT, the PSOE for the PCE or POUM, or the Alphonsine monarchists with the Carlist ones, etc.
3. Learn Spanish.
At least the pronunciation--you are much less likely to sound like an idiota. Canada and Cañada are...different places after all. But getting at least a tentative grip on the language will help you see the mindsets better, too.
With those advisories in hand, on to the recommendations:
1. Hugh Thomas' one volume history. Still the gold standard. First published in 1961, and considered fair enough by the censors to be published and sold in Franco's Spain. Genuinely even-handed, even if it focuses more on the Republic. Which is actually fair enough in and of itself: the dysfunction of that half of Spain necessitates more words.
2. The Victorious Counterrevolution by Michael Seidman. Absolutely essential. It could also be entitled "How the Nationalists Won." A searching evaluation of the factors that led the Spanish "Right" to win their civil war when similar forces in Russia and China lost theirs.
Bottom line: no bleed-out from a previous war (World Wars I and II, respectively), better logistics, better use of resources, much less corruption and infighting. Nationalist soldiers ate well and civilians had a functional currency which meant they managed to do the same. Foreign assistance was not as decisive as pro-Republic historiography suggests--the Nationalists just did better with theirs than the Republic did. Alas for Spain, the regime would founder economically after the War and only start to get its legs underneath it with American aid and the abandoning of quasi-fascist demands for autarky.
3. Martin Blinkhorn's history of the Carlists in the Second Republic and the War. At least you will understand how one of the major members of the Nationalist coalition thought and fought.
4. Franco and Hitler by Stanley Payne. Payne is the dean of American historians on all things Spanish, but the Civil War is his specialty.
Payne is often accused of being pro-Nationalist--and to be fair, he is a friend of Franco's daughter, Carmen. But he is also a consistent puncturer of pro-Franco mythology created by the regime, not least of which were their attempts to retcon Spain's relationship with Germany during the Civil War and World War II. Contrary to Cold War mythmaking, Franco wanted to join WW2 on the side of the Axis. But neither side could get past this negotiation stalemate: Spain had not recovered from the Civil War and needed resources before it would commit to a declaration of war, and Germany wanted Spain to commit to a declaration of war before it would send resources. The most Payne will concede to the regime is that it had a very distorted understanding of Nazi war aims and Hitler's plans, looking through the outdated experience of German aid in the civil war. It did not understand what Hitler's completed new order would mean, and how small a place was planned for Spain within it. Spain's escape from destruction in World War II was mostly lucky, owing more to Barbarossa consuming Germany's focus--and eventually its armies--than it did to cannily fending off Germany's overtures. Though there were definitely pro-Allied elements in Spain who helped.
5. Finally, a novel: General Escobar's War. A fictionalized account of the devoutly-Catholic General Antonio Escobar Huertas's actions during the Civil War, it is genuinely moving. Escobar stayed with the Republic despite his brother and youngest son going over to the Nationalists, and he was executed by the victors in 1940. It created quite a stir when it was published in 1982, as it does not spare either side.
I have more suggestions, but the above should occupy you for a while.
It cites me, so you know it's good.
Humor aside, it is exhaustively-researched and well-worth a read. It also prompts questions about the relaxation of abstinence and fasting requirements before the 21st council. Tolle, lege.
Monday, February 22, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
The newly-elected district attorney for Los Angeles County continues to impress.
Now, he has instructed his prosecutors to remove the sentencing enhancements for a murdering child molester.
The DA for nearby Orange County has correctly deduced that that is morally reprehensible, and is wresting the case back from the anthropomorphic sack of offal next door.
And Gascon's policies have created some fascinating-but-predictable incentives for already-incarcerated violent felons, but I will leave that to the reader to discover.
Thursday, February 18, 2021
As another commenter has pointed out, this is probably a feature of the secret agreement, not a violation.
The Sinofascist homage to Hitler's "German Christianity" kicks into high gear--with the Party straight up ordaining all the schismatic leadership--without reference to the Chair.
Say what you will about Judas, at least he was compensated for selling out his Brother.
Hat-tip to Don for the unsurprising find.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
No, I haven't returned to Facebook. Life without regular "social" media has been salutary.
Work is getting a little less insane, and a
functional snowblower helped us get through winter's mightiest swipe of the season yesterday.
The second half of the Peter Kemp book review will be up no later than tomorrow--it's another long one, as is my verbose wont. And it has a few pictures, which may be interesting to those who like their blog posts illustrated.
Hope all is well at your end, patient readers.
Friday, February 12, 2021
When last seen, the "Shining" actress was the subject of an exploitative Dr. Phil episode, which revealed she has mental health issues.
But while she still has some, she's also not nearly as far gone as that episode suggested. And she has a supportive small Texas community and caring fans who are looking out for her.
What's clear is that Duvall came to Austin later that year to shoot a small part in The Underneath, a Steven Soderbergh crime drama. She was having financial issues at the time but is vague about what led to them. "It's not just owning something that makes money," she says. "You have to also control it. You have to make sure it's a good deal." She figured she'd do the film then head to Houston "because my mother said she might be able to help me. She said, 'You know, you do so many things, why don't … you do some art?' And I kept thinking, 'Yeah, Joni Mitchell gets $40,000 a painting. I might as well try.' " The paintings never materialized, but Duvall never left Texas. For the next two decades, she fell completely off the map.
That is until 2016, when she was contacted by a Dr. Phil producer. She grows visibly distressed at the mention of McGraw's name. "I found out the kind of person he is the hard way," Duvall says. "My mother didn't like him, either. A lot of people, like Dan, said, 'You shouldn't have done that, Shelley.' " (She had submitted to the interview without Gilroy's knowledge.) After the broadcast and ensuing backlash, McGraw made repeated attempts at contacting Duvall: "He started calling my mother. She told him, 'Don't call my daughter anymore.' But he started calling my mother all the time trying to get her to let me talk to him again."
(A spokesperson for the Dr. Phil show replies: "We view every Dr. Phil episode, including Miss Duvall and her struggle with mental illness, as an opportunity to share relatable, useful information and perspective with our audiences. We don't attach the stigma associated with mental illness which many do. With no one else offering help, our goal was to document the struggle and bring amazing resources to change her trajectory as we have for so many over 19 years. Unfortunately, she declined our initial offer for inpatient treatment that would have included full physical and mental evaluations, giving her a chance to privately manage her challenges. After many months of follow-up, in collaboration with her mother, she ultimately refused assistance. We were of course very disappointed, but those offers for help remain open today.")
In 2018, Duvall was paid a visit by Ryan Obermeyer, an artist from nearby Austin who grew up with Faerie Tale Theatre and was concerned for her welfare. "I brought a postcard of one of my paintings with my phone number on it and left it with Dan," says Obermeyer, 39. "She called me 10 minutes later saying she'd love a visit." That led to regular lunches and an unlikely friendship. Duvall had amassed from her career a collection of memorabilia — Kubrick had gifted her the "July 4th Ball — 1921" photo that serves as The Shining's closing shot — most of which has gone missing. Obermeyer suspects she failed to pay the rent on a storage locker and the contents were sold at auction. He found some of Duvall's personal letters on eBay and bought them back for her. He also tries his best to connect Duvall to old friends. For example, in 2019, he facilitated a surprise FaceTime call with Paul Reubens, who played Pinocchio on Faerie Tale Theatre, for Duvall's 70th birthday. To commemorate that milestone, Obermeyer also threw her a party at her favorite restaurant, Red Lobster, and invited a handful of her most die-hard fans. "One guy even came from Australia," he says. "We had a 'Faerie Tale' cake."
Thursday, February 11, 2021
The Anglo-American system of law does not permit victims to be prosecutor, judge or jury members.
Here, they are playing all three roles.
Watching the prosudgjurors incite themselves yesterday crystallized it for me.
And it crystallized that we have been a post-legal society for a while, too.
Yes, executive immunity kept it from being a federal court matter.
But this isn't any better.
It's all good, I'm sure.
"[Traditionalism] must not be a kind of crow lurking in the crevices of feudal keeps, disposed to damn every scientific discovery and condemn all the marvels of industry, a kind of romantic poet who, bowed down with present-day reality and a nostalgia for the past, turns tearful eyes toward bygone centuries."
Friday, February 05, 2021
It has digital bars--but they're built by "private enterprise," so it's perfectly Constitutional.
Behold, your electronic purchases are being sifted and referred to the FBI--and Lord only knows where else in our Permanent Patriot Act America.
And we're good with it, because convenience.
I'll let Andre Gregory explain it:
Update: While hip-hop isn't, to use the modern parlance "my jam," Tom MacDonald has some insights as well:
They gave us tiny screens, we think we're free 'cause we can't see the cage
Thursday, February 04, 2021
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth...
Amazon skimmed away the tip wages of some of its Flex drivers for three years.
The company is worth billions upon billions--but stripped away $61.7 million in tips.
In late 2016, the FTC alleges, Amazon shifted from paying drivers the promised rate of $18–25 per hour plus the full amount of customer tips to paying drivers a lower hourly rate, a shift that it did not disclose to drivers. Amazon used the customer tips to make up the difference between the new lower hourly rate and the promised rate. This resulted in drivers’ being shorted more than $61.7 million in tips.
The FTC alleges that the company then intentionally failed to notify drivers of the changes to its pay plan and even took steps to make the changes obscure to drivers, with one employee reporting to colleagues that Amazon “did not want to communicate any pricing changes to [drivers], so we are only ‘reacting’ to any questions.” After making the change, the company continued to promise drivers and customers that 100 percent of tips would be passed through to drivers.
Amazon received hundreds of complaints from drivers after enacting the change, as drivers became suspicious when their overall earnings decreased. Drivers who complained received form e-mails falsely claiming that Amazon was continuing to pay drivers 100 percent of tips. Internally, Amazon employees referred to the company’s handling of the change and driver complaints about it as an “Amazon reputation tinderbox” and “a huge PR risk to Amazon.”
A pittance for a conglomerate awash in cash, thanks to the pandemic.
Down with the oligarchs.
Hat-tip to Don for the find.
Posting will still be light over the next week plus, but some small stuff will get posted.
Enjoy some sardines, or something. My youngest two thought the tinned fish was palatable enough last week.
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