“The Medici” by Paul Strathern

I’ve just finished Paul Strathern’s book on the Medici family, “The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance.”

I greatly enjoyed it. The folks at Goodreads liked it in the way I did while there’s a small, tough crowd at Barnes & Noble that think it’s too simple.

Admittedly it is not a high-scholar book but to do that with the Medici family, from their humble medieval beginnings to their demise in the early 18th century, would require a voluminous book.

The book therefore, I feel, is a success as a decent meal that can whet the appetite to learn more about select Medici.

This especially helpful in learning about the “Medici Popes,” and the difference between the two Medici queens of France — Catherine and Marie.

Strathern also does a good job in tying the Medici into the times they lived in — the Renaissance, Florence’s turbulent history, the Reformation and the rise of science.

He might spend a little too much time discussing the physical looks and infirmities of the various Medici and, I think, his diversion into a lengthy discussion of Galileo, while interesting and informative, is a distraction.

Having said that, if you’ve heard the name and vaguely know something about Lorenzo the Magnificent but the rest of the family is merely a name, this book would be a recommended read. If you know who the Medici are and can name the Medici Popes (Leo X and Clement VII) then you might pass.

Two interesting things I learned was the Medici roots of opera and that Marie de Medici, as queen of France, should be considered the mother of French cuisine.

Corrections: On page 90 there’s a reference to Muslim armies conquering “Turkey and now threatened Constantinople itself.” The reference should probably be to “Byzantium” rather than “Turkey.”

A correction should be made on page 323 where in a blizzard of Clement VII and Charles V references are made, one is made of Charles VII. That should be Charles V.

American Caesar: Hillary Clinton?

American Caesar” was the nickname given to Gen. Douglas MacArthur by William Manchester in a famous biography of that name. It was written back when “Caesar” was still seen as a compliment, at least to a military man.

I recently saw a comment on a blog that Hillary Clinton needs to win the presidency if only to stay out of jail.

This made me think of the original Caesar.

During Caesar’s time the old Roman republic was riven with corruption (e.g. cronyism and nepotism), high taxes for the people who made money, unending and expanding subsidies for those who didn’t pay taxes, bounteous promises of “free stuff” for the masses, and more, including an early version of lawfare. Sound familiar?

Caesar’s enemies were threatening to try him as soon as they could — he was shielded from prosecution so long as he was consul in Gaul. The charges were questionable and minor, especially for those times. The whole point of the lawfare was to bankrupt and destroy Caesar.

Caesar had a high level of pride and would not brook any threats to himself. So he weighed the republic versus his own security and chose himself. The fall of the Roman republic followed.

While the analogy isn’t perfect, this might be a lesson to consider.

Does anyone doubt that Hillary Clinton would destroy this republic in her ambition for the presidency?

Bill Clinton didn’t have the decency to resign. Why would anyone think Hillary will step aside or step down if elected?

Taxing the Fizz Out of Us

Perhaps you’ve heard on the news about one of the latest bright ideas from our wise, Ivy League-educated governing mandarins — a tax on sodas.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg popularized the idea a couple of years ago and now the idea seems to be spreading to other locales. It might even be on the ballot in a couple of cities.

The one I heard about was a one cent tax on a soda (or “soda pop” as we said when we were young). It didn’t specify what size this soda was but the news reporter said it was being enacted to combat the “obesity epidemic.” This would categorize this tax as an old-fashioned sin tax.

So, a one cent tax is going to somehow discourage people from drinking sodas.

Seriously?

Think about that for a moment.

Now, draw an imaginary circle of say five miles from where you live. You’ll probably know half-a-dozen grocery stores within that range. If you are a soda purchaser you’ll know immediately that the price variance within those half-dozen stores can be 25 cents or more. Between sales and specials it can balloon even more. The difference between brand name and store brand can be almost 50%.

A one cent tax?

That will have the same affect as blowing against a stiff breeze. None at all.

And the people behind the tax know this. I should say, the cynical power-hungry fascist liberals behind this know that.

The tax isn’t about curbing behavior or even raising money (that’s a side-benefit) but it’s about control.

First the tax will seem low. Then it will be raised. It will be continuously raised to the point where it begins to somewhat affect sales, wherein it will settle.

Likely soda companies will push to get waivers or carve outs — adding in a certain percentage of a sugar substitute or dropping the sugar level to possibly avoid the tax or some of it. Of course they’ll be able to do this because they’ll be pumping large amounts of campaign dollars into politicians’ campaigns — mostly Democrats because they are the ones pushing the tax campaigns and they are the ones running the cities and counties where most of these taxes are enacted.

The large corporations making most of the sodas — notable Coca-Cola and Pepsi — will also be donating tons of money to “civic” projects (almost always run by Democrat cronies) in those locales in what are really passive bribes. There might even be replays of activities like Jesse Jackson’s famous shakedown of Coca-Cola wherein Jackson’s brother suddenly became a new distributor with a very lucrative and exclusive Chicago market segment. Cha-ching!

Anyone not playing along will find themselves under investigation by various authorities, have permits or whatnot denied by those same authorities and be under attack by media entities and Democrat activists and their auxiliaries such as unions and NGO/nonprofits.

And this is how businesses are captured and turned into tools for Democrats.

Museum of Neosegregationism

You might have caught the story about Clarence Thomas, a sitting Supreme Court Justice, somehow not being included in any exhibits at the newly-opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Oh, no doubt you heard about the museum, the MSM and our cultural leaders couldn’t stop talking about it but the exclusion of Justice Thomas, well, that somehow didn’t make the news.

Surprise!

Not really.

The surprising thing is that so many conservatives thought that a museum created solely for politically correct reasons would actually treat conservatives (especially one as villified as Thomas is) with equality or respect.

Paul Mirengoff’s naive piece in Power Line  is typical of these.

The museum was never going to be anything other than a playpen for leftists; an employment and legitimizing program for left-wing black scholars and their guilt-ridden white sycophants; a tool for grievance- and guilt-mongering; a hive of endless Zinn-like anti-American and racist propaganda.

It’s also part of the continuing decline of the Smithsonian Institution into little more than just another once-great American organization degraded and drafted into service of the left.

Mirengoff, et al, when you set up museums for politically correct reasons, why are you surprised that political correctness reigns?

How could you possibly think that a museum based on skin color and whose design from day one was controlled by liberals and whose raison d’etre followed liberal historical memes was going to be anything less than a liberal hellhole.

Have you been under a rock for the last five decades?

It never ceases to amaze me how some conservatives still don’t understand that we are in a war. It’s like in the movie “United 93,” when it dawns on the FAA’s Ben Sliney that “We’re at war with somebody” as he watches planes smash into buildings. He shut the flight system down until it can be determined who’s attacking.

What’s so hard to understand here?

Like the shockingly underwhelming National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of African American History and Culture was created exclusively for political reasons — to placate or fulfill the demands of the neosegregationist movement. It was never designed for actual real scholarship. There’s already a Smithsonian (National Museum of American History) for that.

When I was a kid we had it beaten into our heads that Plessy v Ferguson, the core of “separate but equal,” was a bad, terrible, horrible, grotesque… decision. Yet somehow we’ve circled back to it and it’s not the white majority of the country dictating the separation of the races.

Is There Nothing the Kochs Can’t Do?

As a prime example of just how deranged the modern liberal movement is, check out this recent story — “Did the Koch Brothers Just Kill the Film and TV Business in Florida?

Is there nothing the Koch Brothers can’t do? (Or can’t be blamed for?) They even get blamed for being against tax breaks for the rich! (Assuming that they were actually behind any of this, which they weren’t beyond providing a lot of initial funding for a deregulation/taxpayer watchdog group many years ago and supporting like-minded politicians.)

Wait, a minute, according to smart people like Hillary Clinton, tax breaks for the rich have no trickle down effects. They only benefit the rich. But the union goons in the article talk about all the little who were helped by these tax breaks… I’m confused.

The article, clearly coordinated with the Democratic Party, liberal groups and unions, tries to argue several contradictory points — the tax incentives are small yet vast creating employment for thousands; very few projects actually used them yet without them all filming dries up instantly; and if there are no incentives no one would have any reason to film in Florida yet the incentives aren’t why people are coming to film in Florida.

Not surprisingly, the Florida legislature’s decision that giving taxpayer money to wealthy filmmakers (or betting on less-than-wealthy filmmakers) is a bad use of that money, is portrayed as a terrible idea. And it is implied that every Florida legislator that voted that way is a puppet of the Kochs and their group. They were incapable of making that decision otherwise.

So why are the Kochs doing this? The article doesn’t venture any theory beyond implying the Kochs are bad. It doesn’t even try to make a hypertenuous attempt to nebulously connect them to the film & TV industry.

Deadline just provided nothing more than Democratic Party propaganda. It’s just another tool of the party and no longer a legitimate journalistic venture. Treat it as hostile.

A Trump Gift

I just came from checking in on my Yahoo! Sports fantasy hockey team. Whenever you log out of your fantasy team you are dumped onto Yahoo!’s news page. It has for months done nothing more on the political front than run anti-Trump stories. I have yet to see a positive story or anything negative on Hillary Clinton.

That’s not an accident.

Sadly, this is typical of every major news outlet (with the exception of Fox News and it has been drifting leftward lately).

If nothing else, Donald Trump needs to be congratulated for wiping away any doubt (if there had remained) that the American news media is nothing more than a propaganda arm and disinformation agent for the Democratic Party.

I’ll not catalog their calumny beyond noting that if a Republican candidate had Hillary Clinton’s record of incompetence and criminality they’d have been destroyed long ago. Clinton makes Nixon and Harding look like choirboys. Her email server and the compromising of American secrets, American institutions and employees under her may be unmatched in history. The failure of the media to even do the basic in reporting is unforgivable.

So what to do?

I doubt the media will reform itself. Liberals do not hire conservatives or anyone that isn’t going to toe the line and swear fealty to gods of liberalism. And increasingly the corporate suites are packed with liberals — many now out of the closet and unafraid to use their companies as weapons of mass destruction against their American enemies and in servitude to international socialism.

One thing that can be done is to boycott what you can. After the hockey season I expect I’ll abandon Yahoo! completely. Does anyone know a good fantasy sports website? I have to admit that Yahoo! did fantasy sports well.

I make it a point to avoid linking to MSM (e.g. major networks, Washington Post, et al) stories in the blog. I encourage other bloggers to do the same. It’ll cut down on the click numbers for them.

Don’t buy their papers. I doubt sending letters to the editors mean anything any longer. I think they just dismiss the writers as racists, Nazis, bigots, etc.

Avoid the big TV networks and their programming.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m now boycotting the NFL, NBA and NCAA. I haven’t slipped yet and supposedly ratings for the NFL are down.

I’m learning and enjoying hockey and catching the last of the baseball season. I’m watching golf more and David Feherty is clearly a conservative but politics are basically left out of these sports and no one seems impelled to let the viewers know how hip, cool or progressive they are.

The liberal media corporations (and their sports allies) need to feel the consequences of their actions.

How Propaganda Is Masked as “News”

Despite an avalanche of damning Wikileaks releases chronicling the crimes and cynicism of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton campaign, the American news media, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Socialism International DBA the Democratic Party, chooses to focus monomaniacally on the petty foibles of Donald Trump.

Witness WTOP radio, the top news station in Washington, D.C. and America, Tuesday morning. Plenty of dirt on Hillary — news that her State Dept., in the form of flunkee Patrick Kennedy, pressured the FBI to change the classifications of some of the emails recovered from Hillary Clinton’s illegal email server. Kennedy even offered some horse trades to the FBI if they covered for Hillary. The FBI, to its credit, refused.

There was also news that Hillary’s security detail at State hated her and had unusually high turnover and that she refused their instructions, choosing to do her own thing and often putting the detail into awkward positions.

So, lots of great news material? Not for WTOP. Somewhere Donald Trump looked cross-eyed at someone and the public needs to know about it!

They then did a story about “Broadway” Bill Clinton. Barely audible, and sounding tired and weak, Clinton attacked Trump in front of a pack of uber-wealthy Hillary supporters. No cutting analysis was offered by the anchors.

Then there was NBC cutting Billy Bush loose. And just in case you didn’t know, Billy Bush was on a tape saying naughty things with Donald Trump!

This is WTOP’s news priorities. They do this diversionary dance basically everyday.

When finally confronting the new allegations, WTOP downplayed them as “Donald Trump claims.”

Ignoring the fact that the origin of the news was not Trump, this was amateur hour. To add to the insult, WTOP didn’t bother to have an actual reporter report the news but rather just read a few lines of copy and then accepted the Clinton campaign’s simple dismissal as nothing worth worrying about.

After a break their decent national security correspondent J.J. Green took on the story. You could tell his heart wasn’t in it as he outlined the new revelations and then summarized the State Dept.’s and the FBI’s spokesmen’s utterly lame denials. The State gentleman apparently told reporters that the accusations that Hillary’s security detail hated her, etc., weren’t actual transcriptions and probably had been “garbled.”

Now if this had been a Republican, this would have set off alarm bells, complete man-the-battle-stations claxons for every news organization. Whistleblowers used to be treated as oracles by Washington-based reporters but now, when it’s a Democrat, they might as well be a lonely wind out in the desert.

No wonder so many in Washington seem unaware of what went down with Clinton, WTOP isn’t reporting anything. (Note, Howard Dean and the searing Washington elite partisan cynicism he displays here is one of the things that is giving rise to Trump.)