Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Trump's Base is Bolstering G.O.P. Before the Midterms

From Ronald Brownstein, at CNN, "Beating Republicans in November will be harder than Democrats thought":

(CNN) It's become a numbing Washington ritual. Donald Trump shatters a traditional boundary on the exercise of presidential power. Or he uses inflammatory language that stirs racial animosities. Or he's hit by new revelations in the overlapping investigations into his campaign's contacts with foreign governments in 2016 and his own tangled financial and personal affairs before the presidency.

As each of these bombshells detonate, sometimes within hours of each other, congressional Republican leaders then react with little more than a shrug. Even more important, the vast majority of the Republican electoral coalition increasingly responds the same way.

All of these dynamics played out multiple times this past week. Trump shattered boundaries by openly demanding the Department of Justice investigate the ongoing special counsel examination of his campaign and by privately pressuring the US Postal Service to raise rates on Amazon, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post, which Trump considers an enemy. He used George Wallace-like language in describing members of the MS-13 gang as "animals." And he faced the startling revelation that during the 2016 campaign his son Donald Trump Jr., who had earlier convened with Russians offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton, also met with emissaries of Middle Eastern governments offering to help in the election.

After all that, Republicans responded this week with the sort of silence usually expected from the crowd at the 18th hole of a golf tournament.

The Trump paradox

The elimination of any distance between Trump and the conventional Republican interests that controlled the party before him has happened so incrementally it can be difficult to discern from day to day. But it remains one of the central political dynamics of 2018. Over the long term, Trump's success at stamping his polarizing brand on the GOP remains a huge electoral gamble for the party because it risks alienating the young, well-educated and diverse groups growing, rather than shrinking, in the electorate.

But in the near-term, the GOP's choice to ally so unequivocally with such a unique president may have the paradoxical effect of producing a much more conventional midterm election than seemed possible earlier this year. And that means for Democrats to secure the gains they seek in November, they will need to overcome the typical challenges they face in a midterm election far more than they expected even only a few months ago.

In both 2010 and 2014, the two midterm elections under Barack Obama, Democrats suffered huge losses. Each time the party faced similar problems. The biggest was a collapse in turnout among young voters, and a smaller, but still significant, decline among minorities. In both 2010 and 2014, the share of the vote cast by young adults 18-29, a strongly Democratic-leaning group, was fully six percentage points lower than in the presidential race just two years earlier, according to exit polls...

Robert Tombs, The English and Their History


At Amazon, Robert Tombs, The English and Their History.

Bizarre Police Pursuit (VIDEO)

Really bizarre.

At CBS News 2 Los Angeles, "Bizarre Police Pursuit From O.C. to I.E. Ends With Driver Fleeing on Foot, Passenger Jumping Into Unwitting Couple's Car":

JURUPA VALLEY (CBSLA) — A driver was placed in police custody Monday afternoon after taking police on a three-hour, high-speed pursuit from Anaheim to Riverside County, heading into oncoming traffic at times, with one of his passengers making a bizarre attempt to flee in a different vehicle.

The pursuit began shortly after noon when an Anaheim police officer determined a dark Toyota Camry had a stolen license plate, City News Service reported.

The vehicle got on the eastbound 91 Freeway, reaching up to 100 miles per hour. The driver got onto the El Cajon Pass in Riverside County before turning back towards Riverside proper.

Police twice attempted PIT maneuvers on surface streets with no success.

The male driver ended up in the Jurupa Valley, where police said he changed his shirt, exited the car and ran into a parking lot adjoining an industrial building.

A female passenger then exited the vehicle and got into another dark sedan that happened to be coming out of the parking lot.

A freelance photographer who was covering the pursuit recorded the moment he warned the driver of the second vehicle to stop. “No, that’s not us,” a confused woman in the front passenger seat told the stringer. “I don’t know who she is,” the male driver can be heard saying.

The woman from the first vehicle then jumped out of the back seat...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Bikini Babe Gets Knocked Out During Car Wash

I saw this on Twitter, but not the whole thing.

She fell flat on her face and was out cold.

Via Drunken Stepfather, "Bikini Babe – Knocked the Fuck Out During Car Wash."

Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization

At Amazon, Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe.

Shop Today

At Amazon, Today's Deals. New deals. Every day. Shop our Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals and more daily deals and limited-time sales.

And especially, Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump.

Also, Craftsman 270pc Mechanics Tool Set with 3-Drawer Chest 12133.

More, Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife with Genuine Leather Sheath - TOP SELLER.

BONUS: Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History.

Democrats' Push to Remove Trump May Lead to Midterm Disaster

Well, that's for sure.

From Jeffrey Toobin, at the New Yorker, "Will the Fervor to Impeach Donald Trump Start a Democratic Civil War?"

Martha McSally's DACA Flip

This is good, from Caitlin Huey-Burns, at RCP, "McSally's DACA Flip Lays Bare AZ Senate Race Dynamics."

Jennifer Delacruz's Monday Forecast

More cool overcast weather. It's not too bad, actually.

Here's the lovely Ms. Jennifer, for ABC News 10 San Diego:

Progressives Don't Leave Home Without It

The "Black Card," from Candace Owens, Communications Director for Turning Point USA, for Prager University:

Jaron Lanier, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

Out May 29th, at Amazon, Jaron Lanier, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.

Social Media as Social Disease.

From Instapundit, at USA Today, "People learned to survive disease, we can handle Twitter."

Leftist Lies and Slanders Are Slippery Slope

From Kurt Schlichter, at Town Hall, "Liberal Lies and Slanders Are a Slippery Slope to Trouble."

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Jennifer Delacruz's Overcast Weather

It's classic June gloom, and it's not even June!

Here's the lovely Ms. Jennifer, for ABC News 10 San Diego:

Douglas Murray: Europe is Committing Suicide (VIDEO)

I actually laughed out loud watching this video.

Don't get me wrong: It's a fantastic clip. But Murray's like the Vincent Price of political commentary. I wonder if he tries to be so droll and sarcastic. It's great!

And don't miss his book, at Amazon, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam.

Kaya Jones

She's a sweetie.

Justine Ezarik AirPods

She's a clean wench.

Texas School Shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis Murdered Girl Who Turned Down His Advances

It's horrible.

At LAT, "Texas school shooter killed girl who turned down his advances and embarrassed him in class, her mother says":

As he heard the gunshots approaching down the hall Friday morning, Santa Fe High School student Abel San Miguel, 15, hid with a few classmates in the art class storage closet.

He wasn't sure if he was going to survive. Through the door, he could see the barrel of a shotgun. Then the shooter began shooting through the door, killing at least one student inside, and grazing Abel's back.

When the shooter left the room briefly, Abel and others left the closet and tried to barricade the door. But the shooter pushed it open, spotted a student he knew, and with anger said, "Surprise!" before shooting the student in the chest.

"I'm still trying to process everything," Abel said in an interview.

As more details emerged about the shooting that left 10 people dead and 13 injured at the Houston-area school, the student who authorities said confessed to the attack was being held in isolation Saturday as officials identified the victims.

The family of the 17-year-old suspect, junior Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is "as shocked and confused as anyone else by these events that occurred," according to a statement released to the media.

"We are gratified by the public comments made by other Santa Fe High School students that show Dimitri as we know him: a smart, quiet, sweet boy," the family statement said. "While we remain mostly in the dark about the specifics of yesterday's tragedy, what we have learned from media reports seems incompatible with the boy we love."

One of Pagourtzis' classmates who died in the attack, Shana Fisher, "had 4 months of problems from this boy," her mother, Sadie Rodriguez, wrote in a private message to the Los Angeles Times on Facebook. "He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no."

Pagourtzis continued to get more aggressive, and she finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, Rodriguez said. "A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn't like," she wrote. "Shana being the first one." Rodriguez didn't say how she knew her daughter was the first victim.

The gunman repeatedly taunted students during the attack, according to another harrowing account posted to Facebook by one survivor's mother.

After scrambling to escape the shooter's blasts in the art room, Isabelle Van Ness, covered in dust from rounds hitting her classroom walls, could hear the shooter in a next-door classroom yelling, "Woo hoo!" while shooting, according to her mother, Deedra Van Ness.

"The gunman then comes back into their room and they hear him saying … are you dead? Then more shots are fired," Deedra Van Ness wrote. "By this time, cell phones all over the classroom are ringing and he's taunting the kids in the closet asking them … do you think it's for you? do you want to come answer it? Then he proceeds to fire more bullets into the closet and tries to get in."

Police arrived within 10 minutes later as Isabelle hid among the bodies of her classmates, and she could hear the shooter reloading after an "exchange" with police, her mother wrote.

Soon after, the shooter surrendered. "She and her friends had been in the same room with the gunman the ENTIRE TIME," her mother wrote. "As the media announces the names of the confirmed dead, Isabelle falls apart. ... She had prayed that her friends lying around the school were just injured and the confirmation of their deaths was crushing."

The dead included two teachers, Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, along with Shana Fisher and seven of her classmates: Kimberly Vaughan, Angelique Ramirez, Christian Riley Garcia, Jared Black, Christopher Jake Stone, Aaron Kyle McLeod and Sabika Sheikh, an exchange student from Pakistan.

Two bombs that Pagourtzis allegedly brought to the school Friday were "intended to be IEDs," improvised explosive devices, but turned out to be "nonfunctional," Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said Saturday.

Pagourtzis, a football player who had allegedly posted images of guns and a T-shirt with the words "Born to kill" on social media in the weeks before the shooting, is being held without bond while facing charges of capital murder and aggravated assault on a public servant.

His schoolmates were allowed to return to parts of the school Saturday to retrieve their abandoned belongings...

Kristin Cavallari Beach Bikini in Tulum




Saturday, May 19, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Robert Tombs, The English and Their History

At Amazon, Robert Tombs, The English and Their History.

Crossfire Hurricane: Obama's F.B.I. Spied on Trump Campaign

It's "bigger than Watergate," but it's not this administration that's in trouble; it's the previous one.

Here's the big story at WaPo, "'Bigger than Watergate': Trump joins push by allies to expose role of an FBI source."

And also, from yesterday at NYT, "A Secret Mission, a Code Name and Anxiety: Inside the Early Days of the F.B.I.'s Trump Investigation." (Also at Memeorandum.)

Still more, from Mollie Hemingway, at the Federalist, "10 Key Takeaways From the New York Times’ Error-Ridden Defense of FBI Spying on Trump Campaign." Still more, at NRO, "Spinning a Crossfire Hurricane: The Times on the FBI’s Trump Investigation."

And most of all, see Kim Strassel, at WSJ, "Was Trump’s Campaign ‘Set Up’?":
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes appeared on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, where he provided a potentially explosive hint at what’s driving his demand to see documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Trump-Russia probe. “If the campaign was somehow set up,” he told the hosts, “I think that would be a problem.”

Or an understatement. Mr. Nunes is still getting stiff-armed by the Justice Department over his subpoena, but this week his efforts did force the stunning admission that the FBI had indeed spied on the Trump campaign. This came in the form of a Thursday New York Times apologia in which government “officials” acknowledged that the bureau had used “at least one” human “informant” to spy on both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The Times slipped this mind-bending fact into the middle of an otherwise glowing profile of the noble bureau—and dismissed it as no big deal.

But there’s more to be revealed here, and Mr. Nunes’s “set up” comment points in a certain direction. Getting to the conclusion requires thinking more broadly about events beyond the FBI’s actions.

Think of the 2016 Trump-Russia narrative as two parallel strands—one politics, one law enforcement. The political side involves the actions of Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign and Obama officials—all of whom were focused on destroying Donald Trump. The law-enforcement strand involves the FBI—and what methods and evidence it used in its Trump investigation. At some point these strands intersected—and one crucial question is how early that happened...
Keep reading.

Chantelle Connelly on the Beach

At Taxi Driver, "Chantelle Connelly Nip Slip on the Beach."

Thursday, May 17, 2018

'I know who I want to take me home...'

It's "Closing Time" from Semisonic, a "1990s anthem," says one of the commenters at the video.

This was on during my morning drive-time on Tuesday, but the playlist's not available on TuneGenie, apparently.

At 93.1 Jack F.M. Los Angeles:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Shop Today

Thanks for your support everybody. As always, my associate's commissions fuel my book reading addiction.

Thanks again!

At Amazon, Today's Deals. New deals. Every day. Shop our Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals and more daily deals and limited-time sales.

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Also, from Professor Michael Curtis, Should Israel Exist? : A Sovereign Nation Under Attack by the International Community (Kindle Edition).

And from Caroline Glick, The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.

Still more, Joshua Muravchik, Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel.

More, from Martin Gilbert, Israel: A History.

Plus, Giulio Meotti, A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism.

BONUS: REEBOW GEAR: Tactical Sling Bag Pack Military Rover Shoulder Sling Backpack Small.

Petra Nemcova on the Cannes Red Carpet

At Taxi Driver, "Petra Nemcova Upskirt on the Cannes Red Carpet."


Why Trump Is a President Like No Other

Conrad Black is out with a new biography of the president, Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.

VDH reviews, at American Greatness:

Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, on Laura Ingraham's (VIDEO)

At Fox News:

Matt Walsh, The Unholy Trinity


At Amazon, Matt Walsh, The Unholy Trinity: Blocking the Left's Assault on Life, Marriage, and Gender.

Resistance Candidates Win Tuesday Primaries

Well, this oughta help clarify things heading into November. At a time when national Democrats want centrists to win, radical leftists are starting to sweep up.

At the Hill, and below at 538.

Tom Wolfe, 1931-2018

What a guy!

Dead at 88.

At NYT, and from Kyle Smith below:

Tamara de Lempicka Google Doodle

I don't normally comment on Google Doodles, but this woman is striking, and I love Art Deco.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Robert Spencer, The History of Jihad


At Amazon, Robert Spencer, available in August, The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Katie Hopkins, Rude

Out last week.

At Amazon, Katie Hopkins, Rude.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Yanis Varoufakis, Talking to My Daughter About the Economy

At Amazon, Yanis Varoufakis, Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: or, How Capitalism Works - and How It Fails.

And a great book review, at L.A.T., "Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis makes capital comprehensible":
One of the more compelling arguments in the book is his explanation of experiential values — a walk on the beach, a dinner with friends — versus exchange values, a commodity that can be sold. "A dive, a sunset, a joke: all can have an enormous amount of experiential value and no exchange value whatsoever." Varoufakis warns, "Anything without a price, anything that can't be sold, tends to be considered worthless, whereas anything with a price, it is thought, will be desirable." Of course, Facebook and other social media outlets have found a way to monetize our family photos, our vacations and our private lives. Now a dive, a sunset, a joke has an exchange value. Does the monetization of everything erode our humanity? "Our market societies manufacture fantastic machines and incredible wealth, astounding poverty and mountainous debts, but at the same time they manufacture the desires and behaviors required in us for its perpetuation." This is where he gets at what's meaningful about human existence and how the economy affects us all.

The economy touches every aspect of our lives and yet we typically leave it to bankers, financiers and economists. Varoufakis sees that as a mistake. "Leaving the economy to experts is the equivalent of those who lived in the Middle Ages entrusting their welfare to the theologians, the cardinals and the Spanish inquisition. It is a terrible idea."

And what about that anger I mentioned at the beginning of this piece? Almost all of the problems enraging people on both sides, Varoufakis says, stem from income inequality, corporate greed and other issues that are deeply embedded in the economy and the perpetuation of the status quo. If we're going to direct our anger toward solving problems, then this book is a good place to start. As Varoufakis says in the prologue, "Ensuring that everyone is allowed to talk authoritatively about the economy is a prerequisite for a good society and a precondition for an authentic democracy."

That authentic democracy is what he's pushing for. He isn't advocating for socialism or the destruction of capitalism. As he says, it doesn't matter which system you use: "All systems of domination work by enveloping us in their narrative and superstitions in such a way that we cannot see beyond them." What he is suggesting is that we take a step back, allowing some distance and humor into our thinking, and channel our anger into creating a market society that is more humane and more equitable, so that the few don't enjoy the wealth of the world at the expense of the many.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Long After Civil War, Spain Searches for Its Fallen

This is pretty fascinating.

At LAT, "Inside the Valley of the Fallen, a search for two brothers killed in the Spanish Civil War":

In the decades since Francisco Franco's death, the Spanish dictator's colossal Valley of the Fallen mausoleum has stood untouched in the rolling countryside outside Madrid, guarded by a towering cross.

Run as an abbey by Benedictine monks on a site owned by the state, Franco's monument has survived Spain's transition to democracy, socialist governments and a host of experts pressing to remove the generalissimo's body and turn the mausoleum into a modern museum for a democratic era.

Above all, the site has remained beyond the reach of families hoping to retrieve the remains of relatives they never wanted buried there alongside the dictator and the bodies of more than 33,000 victims of the brutal civil war he started.

Until now.

Late last month, the first beams of light illuminated the vaults that hold the dead as a team of structural engineering experts entered an ossuary in search of the bodies of two men — Manuel Lapeña, a leftist union leader and father of four, and his brother Antonio. Both were executed by Franco's forces in Aragon during the first days of the civil war in the summer of 1936.

"It is a place beyond the bounds of democracy," said Eduardo Ranz, the lawyer who represents the Lapeña family and others attempting to claim the remains of eight other men buried in the crypt of the Valley of the Fallen's basilica.

"There is no other monument in the world like it, celebrating the victory of one group from the same nationality over another," Ranz said. "The victors stole the very identity of the defeated."

The mausoleum was built in part by political prisoners in the decades after the 1939 civil war victory of the general's Nationalist faction. Over the years, thousands of war dead — Nationalists and Republicans alike — were unearthed from graves across Spain and interred, often anonymously, in the basilica, an apparent attempt to bring the nation together.

Only a third of the 33,847 dead who rest with Franco in his mausoleum are named on their tombs. The rest are stacked in ossuaries inside vaults that have deteriorated over the decades. Identifying the remains is a daunting task, and the relatives' best hope now rests on a report being prepared by the state institution National Heritage after last month's exploration, in which the viability of identifying and safely removing remains will be assessed.

Whatever the answer, relatives such as Purificacion Lapeña, the granddaughter of the executed unionist, are determined to keep fighting, spurred on by a 2016 civil court ruling that ordered the Lapeña brothers to be exhumed.

Like others, Purificacion Lapeña is driven by the fear that time is running out for people such as her 94-year-old father, Manuel Lapeña, who wants to bury his father alongside his mother in Zaragoza, their hometown in Spain's northeast. As it stands, Manuel Lapeña said his father is "interred alongside his killer, Franco, the greatest criminal."

In 2011, a commission of experts recommended to Spain's parliament that Franco's remains be removed and the Valley of the Fallen be transformed into a depoliticized memorial site. But the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ignored the recommendations and derailed the previous, socialist administration's efforts to allow relatives to dig up more than 100,000 Republican victims of Spain's civil war-era repression from mass graves dotted around the country. The church too has shown resistance to freeing the dead. The Benedictine abbot in charge of the basilica opposed the court ruling ordering the search for the Lapeña brothers' remains...

French Fashion Model Chloé Nicolas

At Editorials Fashion Trends, "Chloé Nicolas by Guillaume Gaubert."

She's on Instagram.

Dana Loesch: The U.S. Keeps Winning Under Trump Administration's Foreign Policy (VIDEO)

This is great. It's all great. Democrats are not great, of course, and they're hating it.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 'Rookie of the Year' Alexis Ren (VIDEO)

She's amazing.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Did the F.B.I. Spy on Donald Trump's Presidential Campaign?

From the inimitable Kim Strassel, at WSJ, "About That FBI ‘Source’: Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?":
The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it agreed to brief House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign...

And at Instapundit, "WALL STREET JOURNAL: About That FBI ‘Source:’ Did the Bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?":
I don’t think the FBI is being straight. I’m speculating, of course, but I think it’s going to turn out that they were spying on Trump from surprisingly early on, and that they didn’t expect him to win, and that when he did win, the Russian “collusion” thing was hyped up as a smokescreen.
Keep reading.

ICYMI: Salena Zito and Brad Todd, The Great Revolt


At Amazon, Salena Zito and Brad Todd, The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics.

AnnaLynne McCord on Twitter

Here's the headline at Drunken Stepfather, "ANNA LYNNE MCCORD PUSSY PRINT OF THE DAY."

And on Twitter:

Blake Lively Out for Coffee in New York City

At the Nip Slip, "Blake Lively Braless While Getting Coffee!"

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Stunning Diana Georgie

At Maxim:

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature Cancelled Amid Sexual Assault Scandal

At Foreign Policy, "The Nobel Scandal Has Become a Swedish Foreign-Policy Crisis":

STOCKHOLM — The crisis in the Swedish Academy, which started last November with sexual assault allegations against the husband of an Academy member and culminated last Friday in the cancellation of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, has been described in Swedish media as “the cultural conflict of the century.” But some Swedes are concerned that it may be more than that — namely, a national diplomatic crisis.

As the scandal deepened over the past few weeks, Swedish policymakers have fretted about how it might affect one of the pillars of the country’s international policy: its positive and progressive reputation. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has already admitted to the national media that the Nobel affair has had diplomatic consequences. “This is absolutely not good for [Sweden’s] reputation,” he said last week. “That’s why it’s so important that the Academy now relentlessly continues to work to restore confidence.”

The Nobel scandal has amplified an existing theme of the national debate in the run-up to Sweden’s September general election: Sverigebilden, which translates as “the image of Sweden,” but normally implies a positive image. Lofven and his Social Democrat-led government had already been emphasizing the need to cultivate Sverigebilden, and it has been the subject of numerous op-eds and TV and radio debates in recent months.

Sverigebilden might seem like a superficial aspect of politics, but the Swedish government has made it anything but. Paulina Neuding, editor in chief of the Swedish online magazine Kvartal, describes it as a form of “domestic foreign policy.” On the one hand, communication around Sverigebilden is part of Sweden’s so-called nation branding, which is directed at outsiders, including the tourists and investors who support the Swedish economy. On the other hand, it’s also about shaping the conversation and media reporting about Sweden at home. As negative images of Sweden spread abroad following the 2015 refugee crisis, and the apparent challenges the country was having integrating its new arrivals, the Swedish government made it a priority to engage in what Neuding refers to as “image management” aimed at foreign audiences.

Neuding cites a fact sheet in English published in February last year on the government’s website in response to the dissemination of what it called sometimes “simplistic and occasionally inaccurate information about Sweden and Swedish migration policy.” Around the same time, the Swedish Institute — a public agency that promotes Sweden around the world — launched a social media campaign, using the hashtag #factcheck. The Swedish Institute posted videos on Sweden.se — “Sweden’s official account on Twitter” — contesting claims that Swedish police had lost control over the country’s immigrant-dense suburbs, that Sweden is the “rape capital of the world,” and that the Swedish system had collapsed after the country took in a record number of migrants in 2015.

“Sweden’s strong consensus culture has meant that the government’s narrative has been supported by the political opposition as well as by much of Swedish media and other sections of the establishment,” Neuding adds. The struggle over Sverigebilden has thus revealed its dark side. Anyone who attempts to highlight shortcomings of Swedish domestic policy is easily deemed unpatriotic and risks ending up ostracized. “Your name gets associated with ‘illegitimate opinions’ by polite society,” Neuding says.

The crisis in the Swedish Academy, however, has been an exception. The government has put the blame on the Academy for tarnishing its own, and by extension the country’s, reputation, rather than on the Swedish media reporting on the scandal. Swedish news outlets, for their part, have even been translating their reporting to English in hopes of getting cited in the international press. Swedes are also discussing the question of how the scandal affects the country’s image, but that hasn’t been treated as a reason not to report on the affair.

Neuding believes that’s because the Swedish Academy crisis is generally perceived as being about an elite, male-dominated institution getting its comeuppance over allegations of sexual abuse and financial crimes — which is entirely consistent with an image of Sweden that many progressive Swedes, who already viewed their country’s elite institutions as potentially tyrannous patriarchies, are comfortable with. (The Swedish Academy is a private arts institution — a rare thing in Sweden, where much of the art world relies on state funding — founded in 1786 by King Gustaf III to advance the Swedish language and literature; since 1901, it has awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.) In that view, it’s the Swedish Academy itself that’s the threat to Sverigebilden, not the critical reporting about it.

Some Swedes see the whole affair as an opportunity...

Actress Patricia Contreras at Cannes 2018 Film Festival

At Drunken Stepfather, "Patricia Contreras Nip Slip of the Day."

Hailey Clauson Tries Out Roller Skating During Her Photo Shoot in the Bahamas (VIDEO)

She's an adorable sweetie.

Robert Service, The Last of the Tsars

At Amazon, Robert Service, The Last of the Tsars: Nicholas II and the Russia Revolution.

Lindsay Shepherd Bids Goodbye to the Left (VIDEO)

She's a good lady.

I don't think riding public transportation because you don't have a car automatically puts on on the left, but other than that, this is a very thoughtful vlog.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Danielle Gersh's Warm Weather Forecast

It's going to be a beautiful day.

Here's the lovely Ms. Danielle, for CBS News 2 Los Angeles:

Today's Deals

At Amazon, Gold Box Deals.

And especially, 1000 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheets Queen 4 Piece Sheet Set White Solid.

More, Kaufman Sales 4 Pc Pack Stripe Beach Towel by Ben Kaufman Sales.

And, Riedel SST (SEE, SMELL, TASTE) Pinot Noir Wine Glass, Set of 2.

Here, Yamaha RX-V383BL 5.1-Channel 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Bluetooth.

More here, BLACK+DECKER 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, Black, CM1160B.

Plus, Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans - Highest Quality Gourmet - Whole Bean Coffee - Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans, 32oz.

BONUS: Catherine Merridale, Lenin on the Train.

'Feminist' Men

There's really no such thing as "feminist" men, as feminism's an ideology out to destroy the male patriarchy. No man can escape condemnation.

In any case, it's Jill Filipovic, at NYT:

Demi Lovato of the Day

At Drunken Stepfather, "DEMI LOVATO TITS OF THE DAY."

The Intellectual Dark Web

An excellent piece, from Bari Weiss.

Read the whole thing.

Vita Sidorkina in Bikini Swim Adventure (VIDEO)


At Sports Illustrated Swimsuit:

Yuri Slezkine, The House of Government


This book looks is absolutely amazing!

At Amazon, Yuri Slezkine, The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution.

Victor Sebestyen, Lenin


At Amazon, Victor Sebestyen, Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror.

A. James McAdams

At Amazon, A. James McAdams, Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party.

Stephen Kotkin, Stalin

This is volume two of Kotkin's magisterial biography.

At Amazon, Stephen Kotkin, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941.

Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Putin

From Professor Michael Curtis, at the New English Review:
Are the Tsars out tonight? High in the sky the Tsars climb. For policy makers in Washington it is useful to compare two individuals who have risen in the Russian sky. On May  7, 2018 the 65 year old Vladimir V. Putin was sworn in as President of Russia for another six year term, his fourth term of office, having been elected with 77% of the vote.  He was not crowned Tsar in a relatively low key ceremomy that was attended by about 6,000 including sundry personalities, Gerhard Schroeder, former German Chancellor and critic of sanctions against Russia, Steven Seagal, Hollywood black belt in aikido and citizen of Russia since November 2016, and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill who gave Putin an 18th century icon. After the inauguration ceremony the secular Putin attended a prayer service at the Cathedral of the Annunciation.

 Vladimir Putin has been in power, as president or as prime minister since the last day of 1999. According to polls conducted by the independent Moscow Levanda Center in 2017, his popularity remains high, partly because there is no obvious alternative, no candidate from political parties, or social organizations, or trade unions, who can be regarded as a possible alternative.

Yet, Putin is not the most renowned or revered Russian. A poll in June 2017 on which Russian was the national symbol and biggest hero revealed that Joseph Stalin was the "most outstanding person in history." Stalin got 38% approval, while Putin tied with writer Alexander Pushkin at 34%. Stalin, probably seen as the hero of World War II rather than a cruel ruler, was even much more favorably regarded than Lenin, Bolshevik founder of the Soviet Union.

For the U.S. and indeed the rest of the democratic world a vital question is raised. Can Putin be seen as the heir of Stalin and the continuator of his policies? First, how to define Stalinism? Was it a perversion of the Bolshevism launched by Lenin, or was it the Revolution betrayed, or was it the embodiment of historic Russian nationalism using palatable language?

The showing recently of the black comedy film The Death of Stalin is a reminder of the crimes, the power struggles, counter plots, cult of personality, rewriting of history, the shifting truths in the Soviet Union. Central to most of that regime is the story of Stalin's reign of terror, a "total river of blood" in Leon Trotsky's words, during which more than 1.6 million party officials, military officers, intelligence agents, were murdered on fake charges of treason. In one year 1937-38, more than 700,000 were executed and millions of others were exiled or imprisoned.

It is arguable whether Stalin's brutality towards Ukraine 1932-3 can be called Holodomor, the deliberate attempt at genocide, the death of  millions, some estimates go as high as seven million, of Ukrainians on ethnic grounds, and the elimination of the Ukraininan independence movement, or whether the catastophe was an act of nature, a  genuine result of crop failure. Either way, it was a state engineered mass murder of the peasantry. It was part of Stalin's emphasis on the collectivization of agriculture. Every action of Stalin, other than the maintenance of his own power, was subordinated to "socialism in one country" and thus to a near permanent state of emergency. For Stalin, the Soviet Union was encircled by external enemies, and therefore a massive security organization was vital.

But Stalin's paranoia embodied internal enemies for which the main instruments were the political police and the Gulag system of forced labor camps...

Monday, May 7, 2018

NRA Darling Sensation 'Alpha Addy'

At the Los Angeles Times, "She's a YouTube sensation and NRA darling: Meet 9-year-old sharpshooter 'Alpha Addy'":

The gap-toothed 9-year-old girl walked the floor of her first National Rifle Assn. convention, her blond ponytail bobbing above earrings fashioned from bullet casings.

When Addysson "Addy" Soltau arrived at the Smith & Wesson booth, she gravitated to a sleek silver .22 semiautomatic Victory pistol, a James Bond-style gun with a silencer attached. It was just out of reach. So her godfather lifted it from the wall and handed it to the girl, who gripped and sighted along the gun like a pro. She already shoots an M&P 15-22 rifle hanging nearby.

"That's actually your next gun," her godfather, Johnny Campos, said of the pistol. Addy gaped, overjoyed.

"Alpha Addy" became a YouTube sensation and NRA darling after she started shooting three years ago, one of many competitive girl shooters who buck not only gun culture stereotypes, but the youth-driven gun control movement that sprung up after the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., this year.

The NRA doesn't track the number of young female shooters, a spokesman said, but as the number of women with guns has grown, they are inspiring their daughters. The National Shooting Sports Foundation says there's been a 77% increase in female gun ownership since 2005, with 5.4 million women participating in target shooting.

All of the youth celebrities at this weekend's annual NRA convention in Dallas, which was expected to draw more than 80,000 people, were female. Keystone Sporting Arms, which sold the Crickett and Chipmunk starter rifles at the convention under the banner "Never too young to understand freedom," sells as many pink and turquoise guns as the traditional colors, staff said. On Sunday, families with children flocked to the Dallas convention center for NRA Youth Day.

Many who stopped at the JM4 Tactical booth where Addy was greeting fans Sunday were parents and girl shooters who recognized her from her videos. A video of her rapidly reloading at home has more than 30 million views; she has 14,000 Facebook followers, 5,600 on Instagram and nearly 300 subscribers on YouTube, where the lead video shows her target shooting to the tune of Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball."

Addy was inspired by 17-year-old Katelyn Francis, a female competitive shooter she saw featured on NRATV while her godfather was babysitting her in San Antonio. Then she found the YouTube channel of Faith and Jenna Collier, sisters in nearby Austin who were about her age, and asked if she could shoot too.

Campos, 28, a retired Marine, agreed to coach her.

"She had never been around firearms. I didn't own any. Her parents didn't. This all started because she showed an interest," he said.

Addy's parents, who work at an education company, had their doubts.
Keep reading.

Random Girl Emily Seller

At Drunken Stepfather, "EMILY SELLER BUSH OF THE DAY":
Emily Seller is some random girl showing her bush on the internet. We looked for her social media, and found nothing, but we didn’t look too hard, and I find it very hard to believe that someone going out there and putting her bush on the internet doesn’t have social media…unless she’s just so fucking hipster, she’s moved to Detroit hipster, to be an artist hipster and deleted her social media as some hipster statement, and has got herself a flip phone with no data plan….because that’s the way hipsters do it if they can’t find a long enough string to use the old can and string form of communication you know at least one unicycle riding weirdo with a waxed moustache out there uses as the only way to contact him…

Today's Shopping

At Amazon, Today's Deals.

And especially, Anne Klein Women's AK/1362RGRG Rose Gold-Tone Diamond-Accented Bracelet Watch, and Anne Klein Women's AK/1931SVTT Diamond-Accented Dial Two-Tone Bracelet Watch.

More, 1/2 Carat 14K White Gold Round Cut Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring (0.5 Carat K-L Color I2 Clarity).

Also, Kenmore 50043 25 Cu. Ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator with Water and Ice Dispenser in Stainless Steel, includes delivery and hookup.

Here, Yamaha RX-V383BL 5.1-Channel 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Bluetooth.

More here, BLACK+DECKER 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, Black, CM1160B.

Plus, Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans - Highest Quality Gourmet - Whole Bean Coffee - Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans, 32oz.

BONUS: Michael Kazin, The Populist Persuasion: An American History.

Salena Zito and Brad Todd on Fox & Friends (VIDEO)

Their new book is out tomorrow, The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics.

President Trump gave them a huge shout-out on Twitter as well!

Tetyana Veryovkina Beach Photo Shoot

At Taxi Driver, "Tetyana Veryovkina Topless on a Beach Photoshoot."

Also at the Fappening, "Tetyana Veryovkina Sexy."

San Diego Charter School Depicts President Trump's Severed Head on a Pike

Just imagine the hysterical outrage had it been President Obama's severed head on a pike. (*Eye-roll*.)

At Breitbart:

Political Scientist Richard Ned Lebow Won’t Apologize for Lingerie Joke

At the Chronicle of Higher Education, "He Makes a Joke. She Isn't Laughing: ‘Lingerie’ Comment in Elevator Leads to Uproar Among Scholars."

This is really too much. And good for him, Professor Lebow isn't backing down.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Today's Deals

At Amazon, Today's Deals. New deals. Every day. Shop our Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals and more daily deals and limited-time sales.

And especially, Philips Sonicare Healthy White Electric Toothbrush.

Also, ILIFE V3s Pro Robotic Vacuum, Newer Version of V3s, Pet Hair Care, Powerful Suction Tangle-free, Slim Design, Auto Charge, Daily Planning, Good For Hard Floor and Low Pile Carpet.

More, Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner, 1986.

Plus, Craftsman 6 Drawer Heavy Duty Top Tool Chest, All Steel Construction & Smooth Glide Drawers, and Craftsman 450-Piece Mechanic's Tool Set.

Still more, SONGMICS 9 Cube DIY Storage Shelves Open Bookshelf Closet Organizer Rack Cabinet Black ULSN45BK.

Also, LG 65UJ6300-65 Super UHD 4K HDR Smart LED TV (2017 Model) w/Accessories Bundle Includes, SurgePro 6-Outlet Surge Adapter with Night Light, 2 x 6ft. HDMI Cable & Screen Cleaner For LED TVs.

BONUS: David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.

The Totalitarian Transgender Menace

There's not a bit of hyperbole in the blog post at the Other McCain. These she-male "transgender women" are menacing thugs and very dangerous actors.

Robert Stacy McCain is always exhorting folks to wake the hell up, and I've gotta say, time is of the essence.

Read the whole thing at the link, "Transgender Supremacy: Understanding the Ideology of a Totalitarian Menace."

Natasha Oakley Spicy Margarita Time (PHOTOS)

On Twitter: