Posted by: New Class Traitor | September 29, 2016

End of an era: Shimon Peres (1923-2016)

The Times has a mostly fair-minded obituary. Peres may not technically have been one of Israel’s Founding Fathers (the way Ben-Gurion and Begin were), but he was the last living representative of “the founder generation” of Israeli politics. A protégé of David Ben-Gurion’s, he started his career in the final years of the Mandate as the person in charge of arms acquisition for the Haganah, and continued to act in that capacity after the founding of the state and the Haganah’s transformation from the pre-state militia  into the IDF.  In 1952 he was appointed deputy director general of the Ministry of Defense, becoming director-general (and de facto minister) in 1953 at the age of 30. He has been a mainstay of the Israeli political landscape for over six decades, ending with his term as  President (a mostly ceremonial position) from mid-2007 until mid-2014.

There is a Hebrew saying, acharei mot kedoshim (after their death, saints) — a pun on the titles of two consecutive Torah readings, acharei mot (Leviticus 16-18) and kedoshim. (Leviticus 19-20). “Do not speak ill of the dead,” if you like. I am however reminded of Oliver Cromwell, who told a painter to paint his portrait, “warts and all”. Paradoxically, because Peres was too great a man to need hagiography.

In his early career, Peres — a close associate of Ben-Gurion —made tremendous contributions to the Israeli defense establishment and the security of the State. The Israel air force, RAFAE”L (Hebrew letter word for reshut le-pituach emtza’ei lechima, Weapon Systems Development Authority), Israel’s alleged nuclear deterrent… all came about during Peres’s tenure there. In 1959 he was first elected to the Knesset on the Mapai (mifleget poalei eretz Israel, Party of the Workers of the Land of Israel) ticket, and became Deputy Defense Minister (again, de facto minister, as Ben-Gurion officially held the portfolio himself).

In 1965, Peres, Ben-Gurion, and Moshe Dayan, and Peres broke away from Mapai as  a new ticket Rafi (reshimat poalei Israel, Israel Workers List). After the Six-Day War, Mapai and Rafi merged into ha-Maarach (the [Labor] Alignment), and Peres joined the cabinet first as Immigrant Absorption Minister, then as Postmaster General and Information Minister. An intense rivalry with Yitzhak Rabin (Chief of Staff during the Six-Day War, later ambassador to the US) started with their competition for the Defense portfolio. After the Yom Kippur War and the resignation of Golda Meir, Rabin became Prime Minister and Peres Minister of Defense. Ironically, Peres was then the more hawkish of the two, fostering settlements in the disputed territories on the one hand and green-lighting the daring Entebbe Rescue on the other hand.

Peres never fared well at elections: an old Israeli joke was that “he could run against himself and still lose”. He always felt more in his element in the boardroom and carrying out diplomacy (sometimes incognito) with the high and mighty than on the campaign trail. He succeeded Rabin as party leader following the latter’s forced resignation over a (by today’s standard picayune) financial peccadillo: he had maintained a US bank account from his days as ambassador, which had about $2,000 in it. (The law prohibiting Israelis from maintaining foreign bank accounts would later rightly be wiped off the books.) Peres’s triumph was brief: the general election put Menachem Begin’s Likud in power, and consigned the Labor Alignment to the opposition for the first time in history.

Peres had another shining moment after Begin’s “I cannot go on” (eineini yachol `od) resignation following the Lebanon War (and the demise of his wife, to whom he was deeply attached). In the following National Unity Government, Peres and the Likud finance minister Yitzhak Moda`i put a stop to the hyperinflation that was devastating the country. Under the coalition agreement, Peres started out as PM and Begin’s successor Yitzhak Shamir as Foreign Minister: after two years, the two men traded posts. Peres engaged in ample “behind the scenes” diplomacy in that era — something at which he excelled.

Following another narrow loss at the polls, the national unity coalition was continued, now with Shamir as PM all the way through. A failed scheme by Peres to topple the government in favor of a coalition of the left wing with fervently religious parties entered the Israeli political lexicon as ha-targil ha-masriach (“the stinky maneuver”, a term coined by Rabin).

After Rabin led Labor to victory in the 1992 elections, Peres became Foreign Minister in the cabinet of his rival — the two men established a surprisingly good working relationship until Rabin’s assassination. Here his main legacy became the Oslo Agreements — which must have “seemed a good idea at the time” but would become ashes in the mouths of so many of us.

Peres’s party was widely expected to win the election in the wave of sympathy and mourning following the Rabin assassination. True to form, he lost again, and Netanyahu became PM for the first time. Former Chief of Staff Ehud Barak replaced Peres at the helm of Labor and led it to victory in the polls, but left Peres on the sideline as Minister of Economic Cooperation.

Following the collapse of the Camp David Talks and the outbreak of the Second Intifada, Barak lost a direct election for Prime Minister to Ariel Sharon. Peres brought Labor into the coalition, thus forming another national unity government and holding the Foreign Ministry once again.

His record as foreign minister was mixed. While his personal diplomatic skills are undisputed, FM insiders have told me he devoted little attention to the ministry’s hasbara (“explanation”, PR) activities: he was quoted as saying that a good policy sells itself, while a bad policy cannot be sold. (It is fitting that my interlocutor, who generally is opposed to Netanyahu’s policies and favored those of Peres, acknowledged Netanyahu’s running of the ministry was much more effective.)

 

 

When Sharon founded a new centrist “Kadima” party and pursued a policy of unilateral disengagement, Peres followed him to Kadima and became his ally. After Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke, Peres became deputy PM under Sharon’s successor Olmert.

He had earlier run for the post of President (the largely ceremonial head of state of Israel), but lost to Moshe Katzav in the Knesset vote. When Katzav was forced to resign, and eventually imprisoned, in a sexual harassment scandal, Peres ran again and won. His tenure as President restored dignity and prestige to the office, friend and foe agreeing he was perfect for the position.

Throughout it all, Peres remained a workaholic with an extraordinary drive, an insatiable intellectual curiosity, and an energy level that belied his age. The view that Peres would either die with his boots on, or shortly after finally having to retire, was widely shared.

On a personal note: Across his triumphs and failures, and the many decades of his career, the one feature that stands out to me is his fascination with science and technology. Even just a couple of years ago, he could still be relied upon to hold forth to philanthropists, VC types, and foreign dignitaries on nanotech, renewable energy, virtual reality, you name it.

Some loved him, some hated him, many of us did both at one time or another. The prophet of the New Middle East, the ‘indefatigable schemer’ (as Rabin called him in his memoirs), the arms master of early Israel, the father of our nuclear program,… he was all that and more. A man larger than life. Once there was a giant. May his memory be blessed.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | September 28, 2016

It’s the CLFA September Booknado!

New releases and a couple of $0.99 bargains by fellow CLFA authors

Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance

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Raging across a darkened land, the CLFA Booknado rips out stale, lefty establishment fiction by the roots and blasts in the new, the positive, and the bargain-priced! Batten down the hatches; the long-suppressed winds of culture change are blowing free in a whirlwind of fresh air!

Click on the book image to read more & shop:

NEW RELEASES

  The Sacred Stars (The Shadow Space Chronicles Book 4) by Kal Spriggs
Ensign Alannis Giovanni must confront alien foes and enemies from her past to save the lives of her shipmates and unravel a mystery ten thousand years in the making.

  Woe for a Faerie: Keepers of New York (Book One) by B. Brumley
One choice changed my world…

  Torchship Pilot by Karl K. Gallagher
When war breaks out, a freighter crew has to do missions a warship can’t do.

  A Moon of Their Own by Dwight R. Decker
Trapped in an orbiting…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | September 18, 2016

Kindle Countdown Deal, “On Different Strings” until Sunday

On Different Strings  and several other books are on Kindle Countdown Deal, starting today, at $0.99. Wednesday Afternoon, it will go up to $1.99 until the end of Saturday, when price will revert to $2.99.

Basic RGB

Bookhorde.org called it a “Genre-busting love story” 

On Different Strings is a book that is hard to pigeon-hole. It is love story that challenges preconceptions and leaves the reader questioning common wisdom. It is also a bit of a suspense thriller. And there is an element of Kafka.[…]

This is the Amazon blurb:
Guitar virtuoso Amy Ziegler ekes out a precarious living as a teaching assistant in the Mays College music department. One day a mysterious older student shows up: Ian Keenan, an engineering professor and closet songwriter. Opposites attract, and music is the language of the spirit.

Each is passionate about music, and each has been deeply wounded in love. Thus a weird yet wonderful friendship grows between the reserved English academic and the outgoing small-town Texan girl who grew up in poverty. Each secretly starts yearning for more, but the world has other ideas. Soon they become caught in a maelstrom between rivals, exes, their own pasts, activists, and campus bureaucrats. Will the rapids tear them apart, or will love and sanity prevail?

Posted by: New Class Traitor | September 17, 2016

An Embarrassment of Books- Freerange Oyster

A bumper crop of books at FreeRangeOyster’s book promo, run regularly at Sarah Hoyt’s place.

According To Hoyt

An Embarrassment of Books – Freerange Oyster

Welcome back, Huns and Hoydens, to another fabulous weekend Promo Post! I’ve been inundated with submissions this week, mostly new names and faces. Behold, Hoyt’s Horde expands! We hope all of you newcomers will stick around: the Horde of Huns is a fun crowd, and we always like having fresh mea- er, new blo- that is, we like to meet new people. With the influx there’s quite a variety in this week’s selection, so whatever your taste it seems likely you’ll find something. What a great time to be a reader!

Since we’ve got so many new folks, a bit of housekeeping. For a book to be included, I need a link to its Amazon page. If you have it listed elsewhere (see Mary’s new collection below for an example) then send me a link to each of those pages. Links are all…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | September 15, 2016

Genre fiction, or: why a love story isn’t the same as a romance

Two very different book bloggers almost simultaneously sent me assessments of On Different Strings (KindlePaperback). They agreed on one thing if pretty much nothing else: it is not a romance. Or as one put it “It’s a love story, not a romance: there’s a difference[…] I know it when I see it.”

Then it dawned on me: it’s a small-r romantic novel but not a big-R Romance, similar to the difference between a small-l libertarian and a big-L Libertarian, or between small-c conservative and big-C Conservative. (In other words, between generally subscribing to certain principles of a movement and being a card-carrying member.) Or, permit me a musical metaphor, between rock music with richer harmony and several rhythm or mood  changes, and (genre) progressive rock. Or between mainstream rock with more aggressive guitars and flashy soloing, and (genre) metal.

ODS centers around a budding relationship between two at first oddly matched people, their developing love, and the conflicts with their environment that ensue. That fulfills a necessary condition for a genre romance, but not a sufficient one — genre romance readers expect certain “boxes” to be ticked. Moreover, a microcosmos of subgenres exist, each with their own conventions. (I am reminded of the proliferating subgenres of heavy metal music and the arguments between their respective fans ;)) Romance Writers of America defines the major subgenres here, while  the RomanceWiki has a much more fine-grained list. http://www.romancewiki.com/Romance_Sub-Genres

Going through the latter, I find ODS has some elements of several:

  • a suspense subplot, which is not central enough to qualify as romantic suspense;
  • a contemporary setting (a present-day college campus), but without the explicit (and repeated) sex scenes that have become the norm in contemporary romance;
  • some cultural and social observations as one might find in a mainstream romance (which is a different subgenre from contemporary romance, little did I know)
  • some inspirational elements, but a poor fit for Christian romance or the copycat Orthodox Jewish version;
  • strong musical elements, but not a genre rock’n roll romance;

The only romancewiki.com category it truly fits would seem to be novel with strong romantic elements. Indeed, “Genre-busting love story” was the title of a recent review.

Now if I had decided from the outset to conceive this as a general fiction book with strong romantic elements, rather than billing this as a big-R Romance novel, then I might have wished to plane away some of the courtship material earlier in the book, and have gotten a tighter work overall.

Conversely, if I had from the outset decided on a category big-R Romance and not naively misunderstood how this differs from a love story, I might have had to sacrifice some subplots in favor of expanding the romantic bits, and elaborating on some aspects of the developing relationship that are presently underplayed. For instance: Ian, the engineering professor, had musical aspirations of his own — which is how he initially met his guitar tutor Amy, after all. Our cyber and real-life friends include many such mixed artistic-professional couples, and generally they make the same pact as Ian and Amy (sometimes with the genders reversed): Ian focuses on continuing to be a solid provider and sacrifices his own artistic aspirations, so Amy can fully focus on developing her music. However: this aspect is implied more than spelled out — and a genre romance reader would expect this aspect to be elaborated upon, yea even belabored.

And thus we live and learn…

Posted by: New Class Traitor | September 15, 2016

In honor of Battle of Britain Day

 

The above is a montage of aerial combat scenes from the movie “Battle of Britain“, set to the Iron Maiden song “Aces High” (lyrics). Churchill’s immortal words form the intro.

Also in observance of the day, here is an interesting documentary on the Polish RAF squadron during the Battle of Britain.

“The few, the proud…”

 

 

Posted by: New Class Traitor | September 14, 2016

BookHorde review of On Different Strings: “Genre-busting love story”

 

Bookhorde.org just published this review of On Different Strings (Kindle; Paperback):

Genre-busting love story

On Different Strings is a book that is hard to pigeon-hole. It is love story that challenges preconceptions and leaves the reader questioning common wisdom. It is also a bit of a suspense thriller. And there is an element of Kafka.  […]

 

Go and read the full review here.

https://www.amazon.com/Countdown-Valkyrie-JULY-ASSASSINATE-HITLER-ebook/dp/B00DN5U49Q/

This book is an underrated gem. I’ve read quite a few tomes on the history of the anti-Nazi underground in Germany, starting (back in my teens) with Hans-Bernd Gisevius‘s inside story “To the bitter end”, a book as entertaining as it is self-serving. Peter Hoffmann at McGill University has written more scholarly treatments, but this volume, at less than $5 in eBook, offers a concise and very readable one-book summary.

The title tried to create a tie-in with the movie “Valkyrie” (on which Hoffmann worked as a historical consultant). Readers looking for a lot of material on the July 20 Plot (a.k.a. Operation Valkyrie) and its leader Col. Claus Schenk, Count von Stauffenberg, will not be disappointed. Yet many of the earlier plots are covered in some detail. Allow me a brief summary of some that really stood out.

In the lead-up to the Czechoslovak adventure, a number of senior army officers around the ousted Chief of the General Staff, Ludwig Beck, and Abwehr second-in-command Col. Hans Oster had planned a putsch, as they expected a major debacle in a battle against the fairly well-armed Czech Army, especially if the French intervened on their side. The cravenness of the Chamberlain and Daladier governments led to Czechoslovakia falling in Nazi hands without a shot being fired, albeit in two installments: Sudetenland at first, the rump state second. This unexpected success gave Hitler (y”sh) a boost and took the wind out of the sails of the would-be putschists.

On Nov. 9, 1939, just minutes after the Führer had prematurely left the Munich beer hall where he had delivered a speech on the anniversary of his abortive 1923 coup, a powerful bomb went off, killing over a dozen people and wounding many others. The bomb maker was a journeyman and clock maker named Georg Elser, a lone wolf (with clear signs of being “on the spectrum”) who had patiently hollowed out a space in a pillar behind the speaker’s rostrum and concealed a bomb with redundant detonator clocks of his own design and construction.  (The explosives were pilfered at a quarry where he had taken on a job for that purpose.) Elser was caught while trying to cross the border into Switzerland: he was interrogated for years, as the Gestapo could not believe he had acted alone and kept looking to pin the operation on British intelligence. In fact, SD-spy master Walter Schellenberg, posing as an anti-Nazi Wehrmacht officer, managed to entrap two British MI6 operatives , thus ensuring Whitehall would never want anything further to so with anti-Nazi conspirators in the Wehrmacht.

Elser, who was shot near the end of the war as the Allies were approaching, acted out of left-wing political convictions. The French-speaking Swiss Maurice Bavaud, on the other hand, was a devout Catholic who sincerely believed Hitler was the Antichrist and that killing him was his religious duty. He attempted to shoot him during a commemoration parade in Munich but was, ironically, prevented from getting a clear shot at the target by the arms of other spectators suddenly going up in the Nazi salute. He was caught while trying to get a free ride on a train to Paris, confessed, and was guillotined in 1941.

Two men actually planned suicide bombings. Cavalry captain Rudolf Baron von Gersdorff  had been recruited, shortly after the invasion of the USSR, into the conspirator cell around Henning von Tresckow and his adjutant Fabian von Schlabrendorff at Army Group Center headquarters. The most revolting part of Gersdorff’s duties was coordination between the army and the  SS Einsatzgruppen (mass murder squads) operating in their rear: while there is no evidence he was an eyewitness, he must have been aware of what they were doing. On March 21, 1943, Gersdorff was to give the Führer himself a tour of captured Soviet weaponry at the old Berlin armory. He arrived with a bomb in his pockets — captured British plastique explosives, with a 10-minute ‘time pencil’ detonator. The tour was scheduled to last 30 minutes: Gersdorff primed his detonator, thinking within 10 minutes he and his target would be blown into the next world. Alas, Hitler rushed through the exhibit in a few minutes, leaving Gersdorff with a bomb about to go off, but no target. He rushed into a restroom and managed to yank out the time pencil just before the acid had eaten through. Gersdorff survived the war to later found a voluntary ambulance and emergency relief service, the Johanniter Unfall-Hilfe (St.-John’s Accident Assistance), under the auspices of the Lutheran branch of the Knights Hospitaler — the Johanniterorden, in which his family had been very active and he himself was an Honorary Commander.

Another would-be suicide bomber was Capt. Axel Baron von dem Bussche. He joined the underground after witnessing the machine-gunning of the Jews of Dubno — he even wanted to strip out of his uniform and join the victims. Being over two meters tall with poster-boy “Aryan”  looks, he was to model the new Army uniform and greatcoat design for the Führer — and planned to hide a suicide charge in it, this time with a five-second detonator taken from a hand grenade. His plan was to embrace his target and blow them both up. As fate would have it, the train on which the consignment of uniforms ‘traveled’ was destroyed in an Allied air raid, and the event called off. von dem Bussche returned to the front shortly after, was severely wounded in battle (he lost one leg) and spent the remainder of the war in hospitals and convalescence. He survived the war to later become a senior official in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany.

Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin (son of another conspirator, and related to both Field Marshal Paul-Ewald von Kleist and the 19th-Century Romantic poet and playwright Heinrich von Kleist) was to make a third suicide bombing attempt, but the Führer canceled his appearance at the last minute.

Yet another noteworthy plot was actually shown briefly at the beginning of the movie Valkyrie. A bomb with a time pencil was hidden inside a case ostensibly holding two large bottles of Cointreau liqueur, which was given to one of Hitler’s adjutants, Lt. Col. Brandt — who traveled with the Führer on board of the latter’s personal FW 200 “Condor” plane — to take with him to Berlin for handing over to Gen. Helmuth Stieff who had supposedly won a bet for this liqueur. Alas, the cold during the flight appears to have caused the detonator to malfunction, and the bomb did not explode. Fabian von Schlabrendorff flew out to Stieff  the next day to go retrieve the infernal device. (Brandt would later succumb to his injuries from the July 20 bombing.)

(Cinematographic note: In the movie, Junkers JU 52 passenger/transport planes — airworthy specimens of which still exist — were shown instead of the Condor, as well as of the Heinkel 111 on which Stauffenberg actually flew to Berlin.)

As one can see from all the “von”, “Graf” (Count), and “Freiherr” (Baron), many of the military plotters were scions of noble families with long military traditions. Yet I was not quite aware, until reading the book, of several of the linchpins in the plot being related by blood or marriage. For example: Col. Henning von Tresckow, the center of conspiracies at Army Group Center, was a first cousin of his adjutant and co-conspirator Fabian von Schlabrendorff (who survived the war thanks to a miracle, see below);  Col. Cäsar von Hofacker, at the center of the Paris cell, was a first cousin of Stauffenberg; while the Protestant theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the brother-in-law of Hans von Dohnanyi, one of the main conspirators at the Abwehr (as Military Intelligence was called). A number were devout Christians, either Lutheran (Tresckow, von dem Bussche, Bonhoeffer), or Catholic (most notably Stauffenberg himself). [The book does not point out that quite a few were knights in the Johanniterorden — not such Gersdorff as described above, but also von dem Bussche, Kleist, and others.]

Motivations are shown in the book to be varied. Most of the officers initially approved, enthusiastically or grudgingly, of the new regime. Some turned against it after the first foreign adventures (e.g., the deposed Army Chief of Staff, Colonel-General Wilhelm Beck), or in the wake of the railroading of Field Marshal von Blomberg and Col.-Gen. Baron von Fritschopponents of the invasion plans who had been ousted on trumped-up morals charges. Others joined the underground after witnessing atrocities (e.g., von dem Bussche), yet others after seeing myriad comrades die due to Hitler’s grandiose and ever more dilettantish, delusional, and disastrous military decision making. Sure, there were also some ordinary malcontents, such as Berlin police chief Wolf Count von Helldorf who had been passed over for promotion. And yet others, who at first had approved of the war of expansion, wanted to “save what could still be saved” when the tide of war had decisively turned against Nazi Germany. Yet at the other extreme, the linchpin of the Army Group Center conspirator cell, Col. Henning von Tresckow, explicitly stated that an attempt on Hitler must be made on moral grounds even if it were hopeless: “Then, just as G-d would have spared Sodom for the sake of ten righteous men, He will spare Germany.”

Much ink has flowed about the July 20 plot, which is covered here in great detail. Without rehashing the story, it is worth emphasizing that this was not a mere assassination plot but a comprehensive takeover plan with three components: (a) the assassination itself; (b) the installation of a new government representing all Weimar-era democratic parties as well as the military; (c) a plan for subduing the SS and Party leadership and asserting military control over the capital and other nerve centers — under cover of a contingency plan named Unternehmen Walküre [Operation Valkyrie] for deployment of the Ersatzheer (Reserve Army) against an uprising by the myriad foreign forced laborers in Germany. Part (c) was only implemented thoroughly and efficiently in Paris: in Berlin itself, desultory planning and indecisive leadership led to disastrous results, such as radio stations remaining under the control of the loyalists. Alas, the decisive, practically-minded, and seemingly utterly fearless Stauffenberg could not be in more than one place at a time.

The author addresses the question why none of the attempts succeeded. He points to the near-miss of the Elser bomb, as well as the successful assassination of “the Butcher of Prague” Heydrich (y”sh) in 1942, as factors that led to (a) a drastic reduction in public appearances of Hitler; (b) ever more elaborate security measures, with physical access increasingly being limited to only the most trusted parties (Stauffenberg, as the chief of staff of the Reserve Army, was invited at situation conferences at Führer Headquarters); and (c) the Führer deliberately introducing an element of unpredictability in his schedule, showing up early or late for events, or canceling appearances at the last minute.

Sudden access interdictions forestalled, for instance, the March 11, 1944 attempt of Capt. Eberhard von Breitenbuch. An aide to Field Marshal Ernst Busch at the time, he was to accompany his boss at a briefing for the Führer at the Berghof. He would of course have to hand over his service weapon before entry, but had concealed a pistol elsewhere on his person, with which he planned to shoot Hitler. Alas, the SS guards had been ordered, earlier that day, no longer to allow aides into the conference room. Unlike many, Stauffenberg had fairly frequent access — he was the Chief of Staff of the Ersatzheer (Reserve/Replacement Army), subject to insistent queries as to how he proposed backfilling the mounting losses on especially the Eastern Front. (At the time of Valkyrie, Operation Bagration, a.k.a. the Destruction of Army Group Center, was in full swing.)

It surely did not help matters that the concept of operational security apparently was  unknown to some of the  key plotters, most notoriously to civilians such as the prime minister-designate, deposed Leipzig mayor Carl Goerdeler. But also some military men such as Stauffenberg’s own adjutant, Lieutenant von Haeften, were maddeningly loose-lipped, making one wonder just how many of them were under Gestapo surveillance.

My personal theory is that SS chief Himmler (y”sh) knew of the plot, but allowed it to proceed, hoping to either become the next Führer in the event of success, or to greatly strengthen the position of the “loyal” SS against the Wehrmacht in the event of failure.

Some anecdotes fall into the “unlike reality, fiction must make sense” category. Let me single out three. (1) The revised Valkyrie plan was typed up by Mrs. von Tresckow and Gen. Olbricht’s secretary at the Bendlerblock, named Margarethe von Oven. Both ladies wore gloves while typing and handling the documents, to avoid leaving fingerprints. Ms. von Oven was arrested and held for two weeks, then released. (2) While recovering from his war injuries in North Africa (including the loss of his right hand, his left eye, and two fingers on his left hand), Stauffenberg refused morphine and preferred to endure excruciating pain rather than run the risk of becoming addicted. The “Valkyrie” director reportedly struck that passage from the script as “nobody will believe this”. (3) On the very day that Fabian von Schlabrendorff’s show trial before the Volksgericht kangaroo court was to take place — which almost certainly would have ended with an agonizing execution by no-drop hanging the same day — an Allied air raid struck the building, and “hanging judge” Roland Freisler was killed on the spot when the ceiling collapsed under a direct hit. When the case came to court again under Freisler’s successor, the Allies were approaching, and the judge acquitted Schlabrendorff on a peculiar technicality — his confession had been obtained under torture, and was therefore technically invalid even under the Third Reich’s perverted legal code. Upon his ‘acquittal’, Schlabrendorff was immediately taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, then moved ever further South until his group of ‘prominent prisoners’ — which was to be executed by their SS guards in the event of imminent capture or escape — was rescued by a regular army group under Wichard von Albensleven, who then handed them over to the approaching Americans. Schlabrendorff eventually became a Supreme Court judge in the Federal German Republic.

The book is well-edited: once or twice I had a “fact checker asleep at the wheel” moment, such as the reference to a “Brigadier-General” — a nonexistent rank in the Wehrmacht, where the table of ranks jumped straight from Oberst (full colonel) to Generalmajor, with an additional rank of Generaloberst (“Colonel-General”) sandwiched between General and Field Marshal. Such lapses are, however, thin on the ground.

All in all, if you are only going to read one book about the German anti-Hitler resistance, this would be an excellent choice.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | August 22, 2016

CLFA Book Bomb! August 22 & 23

The 2nd CLFA Book Bomb, August 22-23, featuring books by fellow CLFA authors. Check these books out: they cover many genres, and you are sure to find something that is up your alley!

Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance

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Yeah, yeah, we know … CLFA has been sort of vacation-y for the past few weeks. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been up to anything at all. Behold – the August Book Bomb!

Please consider purchasing a title from the following list for your next read, and support conservative-libertarian fiction! As always, click on the picture to read more and shop:

  Freedom/Hate by Kyle Andrews
Everything they say on the news is a lie. To question that lie is a crime.

  A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller by Declan Finn
Sometimes, history can be murder.

  Reservations by Richard Paolinelli
Death stalks the Reservation.

   Farside by Patrick Chiles
A missing spacecraft, a cryptic message, and a fearsome secret hiding in plain sight.

  The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel (A Book of Unexpected Enlightenment 2) by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Before coming to Roanoke Academy, Rachel Griffin…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | August 17, 2016

CSIRO Censoring Their Own Climate Research

CSIRO ([Australian] Central Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) “memory-holed” their own research report showing that atmospheric CO2 increases contributed to greening of desert areas. When called on the memory-holing, they restored it.
Scientists are human, and no human foible is alien to them. Still, I am embarrassed, or more properly speaking “vicariously ashamed”, that fellow scientists see fit to behave thus.

Climatism

The only way to get our society to truly change is to
frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe
.”
– emeritus professor Daniel Botkin

We’ve got to ride this global warming issue.
Even if the theory of global warming is wrong,
we will be doing the right thing in terms of
economic and environmental policy.

– Timothy Wirth,
President of the UN Foundation

•••

csiro-4

Pic source : JoanneNova.com.au

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is the federal government agency for scientific research in Australia. It was founded in 1926 originally as the Advisory Council of Science and Industry.

In the field of climate science, the CSIRO has historically leant towards the alarmist side of the climate debate. One example shows the CSIRO using sea level rise figures far in excess of even the IPCC.

The Australian reports:

In its 2012 report…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | July 18, 2016

CLFA Book Bomb! July 18 & 19

Looking for beach/vacation/downtime reads? The first CLFA Book Bomb features 19 books from fellow Conservative and Libertarian Fiction Alliance authors, 18 fiction and one nonfiction. Genres run the gamut: YA, historical fiction, thriller, offbeat detective fiction, science fiction, fantasy, dystopia, urban fantasy, romance with a twist (that’s me!), satire… You’re sure to find one or more books that are up your alley!

[blockquote from the original]

CLFA is happy to announce that we will now be featuring book bombs, where we focus attention on lesser-known fiction authors who deserve to be better known. For the next two days (Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19), please consider purchasing one or more of the books on this list. (Come on … You know you need a couple good reads for your vacation!) If your friend asks for a good book recommendation, send them a link to this page. If you think pop culture should better represent the voices of conservatives and libertarians, please help spread the word.

Let’s give these authors a boost! Click on the book picture to read more and buy:

  The Notice (Storms of Transformation series book 2)* by Daniella Bova
A young Catholic couple’s family is ripped apart as their unborn child becomes a target in transformed America.

  Honor at Stake (Love at First Bite book 1)* by Declan Finn
One’s a bloodthirsty monster, the other is a vampire.
Welcome to New York City, where Vampires Burn.

  Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine
Geeks and outcasts fight an oppressive regime in near-future America.

  Iron Chamber of Memory by John C. Wright
On an island time has forgotten, a man remembers a lost love, a lost soul, and an eternal evil.

  The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin by L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright
Fringe meets Narnia at Hogwarts.

  Her Brother’s Keeper* by Mike Kupari
Military Scifi

 By the Hands of Men, Book One: The Old World by Roy M. Griffis
The first book in the “By the Hands of Men” historical fiction series, an epic globe-spanning saga of love, honor, and redemption.

  The Gods Defense (Laws of Magic book 1) by Amie Gibbons
In a world where the gods and magic have returned, enforcing justice just got a lot more hazardous!

  Portals of Infinity: Kaiju by John Van Stry
Fantasy–Myths & Legends

  Beyond the Mist (The Chara Series book 1) by Ben Zwycky
A man with nothing – no memories, resources, or even solid ground to stand on – rediscovers life, civilization, and himself (with a foreword by John C. Wright).

  Echo of the High Kings (The Eoriel Saga book 1) by Kal Spriggs
In a world of vengeful spirits and dark gods, a handful stand against the darkness.

  On Different Strings: A Musical Romance by Nitay Arbel
Penniless Texan guitar goddess teaches British engineering professor. Hearts beat in harmony. The world has other ideas.

  Fight for Liberty: Book Three in the Liberty Trilogy by Theresa Linden
YA Dystopia

  Van Ripplewink: You Can’t Go Home Again by Paul Clayton
Literary YA mashup

  Amy Lynn: The Lady of Castle Dunn (Amy Lynn book 3)* by Jack July
Americana action thriller

  The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama by Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan
Non fiction: politics

  The Devil’s Dictum* by Frederick Heimbach
Alternate history satire

  The Good Fight by Justin Robinson
Toronto is a crowded place. Plenty of eyes and ears all around. Plenty of chances to be overheard. Be careful what you say…

  The Violet Crow: A Bruno X. Psychic Detective Mystery* by Michael Sheldon
Psychic detective Bruno X fights crime in the Philly suburbs using kabbalah and recycled borsht belt routines.

*Finalist in the CLFA Book of the Year 2015 contest.

NOTE: ConservativeLibertarianFictionAlliance.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
CLFA statement: Amazon has long been a pioneer in the independent publishing industry and, in our opinion, is primarily responsible for the egalitarian revolution in fiction publishing. Thanks to CreateSpace, KDP, and other initiatives, Amazon has unbiasedly brought countless stories with conservative and/or libertarian worldview to the reading public. CLFA links primarily to Amazon when recommending purchases. And if you click one of our links and buy, CLFA receives a small advertising fee, which we will invest in growing this website and organization. Thank you.

Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance

CLFA_BookBomb_graphic

CLFA is happy to announce that we will now be featuring book bombs, where we focus attention on lesser-known fiction authors who deserve to be better known. For the next two days (Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19), please consider purchasing one or more of the books on this list. (Come on … You know you need a couple good reads for your vacation!) If your friend asks for a good book recommendation, send them a link to this page. If you think pop culture should better represent the voices of conservatives and libertarians, please help spread the word.

Let’s give these authors a boost! Click on the book picture to read more and buy:

  The Notice (Storms of Transformation series book 2)* by Daniella Bova
A young Catholic couple’s family is ripped apart as their unborn child becomes a target in transformed America.

  Honor at Stake (Love…

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I thought for a while that the long-awaited “Worst President In History” was going to be released in 2030 or so as an 18-volume box set, but here it is. The Kindle edition is briefly on preorder for just $0.99! Pay this steal price now and get the eBook automatically delivered on July 2!

The Worst President in History

A couple of days ago the eBook of The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama was made available for pre-orders on Amazon.com for a special low price of 99 cents.

It has been an exciting couple of days, and we’ve seen lots pre-orders being made, and, as a result, some impressive rankings on Amazon. We broke into the top 5,000 ebooks overall, and had some impressive rankings in various book categories as well, particularly in the Biographies of US Presidents category:

preorder

Not only did we make it into the top four for that category, our book was the number one “Hot New Release” for the category!

hotnewrelease

Both the eBook and the paperback will be available for sale in July. So, if you’re waiting for the paperback, sign up here to be alerted when you can get a copy. If you’re a Kindle owner, we…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | June 24, 2016

Nine Key Takeaways from Brexit

“Keep calm and head for the exits”.

International Liberty

What an amazing vote. The people of the United Kingdom defied the supposed experts, rejected a fear-based campaign by advocates of the status quo, and declared their independence from the European Union.

Here are some takeaway thoughts on this startling development.

1. The UK has voted to leave a sinking ship. Because of unfavorable demographics and a dirigiste economic model, the European Union has a very grim future.

2. Brexit is a vote against centralization, bureaucratization, and harmonization. It also is a victory for more growth, though the amount of additional long-run growth will depend on whether the UK government seizes the opportunity for lower taxes, less red tape, and a smaller burden of government.

3. President Obama once again fired blanks. Whether it was his failed attempt early in his presidency to get the Olympic Games in Chicago or his feckless attempt in his final year to…

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Good morning y’all: my debut novel, On Different Strings, is still on $0.99 promotion on Kindle through the Fathers Day weekend, then I’ll take it back to $2.99. And yes, it has crossover appeal with nods to several non-romance genres, and was written with both male and female readers in mind. Highlights from two reviews:

[…]I’m not usually a big fan of the Romance genre. This book is just different… I knew I would give this story a very high rating, because I realized how badly I wanted the[ protagonists] to succeed, though it seemed impossible.[…]

[…]An interesting twist on the classic May-November romance and both lead characters are wonderful. The main [antagonist] comes across as both believable and sympathetic… This book is a great example of how you can write a scorching romantic story without explicit sex.[…]

Try it, you might like it 🙂

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http://www.amazon.com//dp/B01GRYYIYQ

Posted by: New Class Traitor | June 18, 2016

Yet another Jetset Climate Conference – in San Diego

I will know it’s serious when they start holding global warming conferences by video rather than by jet travel…

Watts Up With That?

Green Pass Nobody seems to mind, if a “Green” clocks up a lot of air miles.

Guest Essay by Eric Worrall

These things are proliferating, going viral somehow – the American Association for the Advancement of Science just hosted an international climate conference in San Diego.

Geophysicist Peter Ward, who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey for nearly three decades, discussed warming global temperatures during his Wednesday session.

“There’s a very interesting correlation between warming and volcanism at the end of the last ice age,” Ward said.

He said the past two years of record warmth can be attributed to more than greenhouse gases. Ward blames ozone depletion caused by the Bardarbunga volcano eruption in Iceland in September 2014.

“It was the biggest flow of basalt that’s been observed since 1783,” Ward said. “Now that’s good news, because if it’s Baroarbunga that’s causing the warming, next year we can expect it to…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | June 10, 2016

On Different Strings now on sale for $0.99 on Amazon

Introductory release promotion at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GRYYIYQ

Posted by: New Class Traitor | June 9, 2016

Debut novel, “On Different Strings”

My debut novel, “On Different Strings”, was just released on Amazon. The eBook is available for $2.99 (Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read it for free), while a paperback version will be released soon.

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Amazon summary:

Guitar virtuoso Amy Ziegler ekes out a precarious living as a teaching assistant in the Mays College music department. One day a mysterious older student shows up: Ian Keenan, an engineering professor and closet songwriter. Opposites attract, and music is the language of the spirit.

Each is passionate about music, and each has been deeply wounded in love. Thus a weird yet wonderful friendship grows between the reserved English academic and the outgoing small-town Texan girl who grew up in poverty. Each secretly starts yearning for more, but the world has other ideas. Soon they become caught in a maelstrom between rivals, exes, their own pasts, activists, and campus bureaucrats. Will the rapids tear them apart, or will love and sanity prevail?

Multi-genre author extraordinary Sarah A. Hoyt and her “huns and hoydens” have a lot to answer for, as it was they who first gave me the courage to try my hand at fiction. The good people at the CLFA were also very generous with practical tips and valuable insights.

I greatly enjoyed learning the mechanics of storytelling “on the job” through writing this topsy-turvy student-teacher romance, then polishing it with the kind assistance of two excellent editors and a beta reader. If you love music and/or are familiar with academia, you may enjoy reading it. Note that no Kindle device is required: Kindle book reader apps exist for all major mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile), as well as for both Windows and Macintosh. The browser-based Kindle Cloud Reader is available as a last resort.

 

Posted by: New Class Traitor | May 21, 2016

Sabbath musical delight: Morgaua Quartet playing prog-rock classics

Via the BabyBlaueSeiten (a German-language progressive rock reviews site), I stumbled upon an unexpectedly pleasant surprise.

The Morgaua [String] Quartet (homepage in Japanese) is the chamber music side project of four top-tier Japanese orchestral musicians:

  • Eiji Arai (1st violin) is the concertmaster of the Tokyo Philharmonic
  • Tetsuo Tozawa (2nd violin) is the concertmaster of the (competing) Tokyo City Philharmonic
  • Hisashi Ono (viola) is the principal violist of the NHK Symphony Orchestra
  • Ryochi Fujimori (cello) is the principal cellist of the same orchestra

They started out recording Shostakovich’s string quartets for Denon (=Japanese Columbia) Records, and have recorded other classical music. Recently, they have recorded two albums of their own arrangements for string quartet of several progressive rock classics. Here is a YouTube video of one of their live concerts.

The setlist:

  1. “Dancing with the moonlit knight” by Genesis
  2. “Money” by Pink Floyd
  3. “And you and I” by Yes
  4. “In the court of the crimson king” by King Crimson
  5. “Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression” by ELP (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer)
  6. “21st Century schizoid man” by King Crimson

And here comes, as an encore, my favorite King Crimson tune, the edgy “Red””

Enjoy!

/Kudos to Mrs. NCT for language assistance

 

Posted by: New Class Traitor | May 19, 2016

The Suicide of Venezuela

Behold the hideous face of “end-stage socialism”.

Joel D. Hirst's Blog

I never expected to witness the slow suicide of a country, a civilization. I suppose nobody does.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing epic about it. We who have the privilege of travel often look down in satisfaction at the ruins of ancient Greece; the Parthenon lit up in blues and greens. The acropolis. The Colosseum in Rome. We walk through the dusty streets of Timbuktu and gaze in wonder at the old mud mosques as we reflect on when these places had energy and purpose. They are not sad musings, for those of us who are tourists. Time has polished over the disaster. Now all that is left are great old buildings that tell a story of when things were remarkable – not of how they quietly fell away. “There was no reason, not really,” we tell each other as we disembark our air-conditioned buses. “These things just happen…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | May 13, 2016

There’s editing, and then there’s editing

[Updated]
With my first novel, “On Different Strings”, in the final stages, I got to deal with a few editors. It appears to be imperative that all parties understand exactly what is expected and agreed upon.

While they go by different names, by and large there appear to be four basic types of editing (maybe five, if “fact-checking” is considered separately). For short stories and other short-form works, an editor may perform all of these at once: for long-form works, especially novels, separation becomes a necessity.

Developmental editing [as described, e.g., here] focuses not so much on your text as on the substance: the story line, the world building, the characters… Is the world building credible? Are the characters believable and do they have enough depth? Are the plot and subplots compelling? How about the general structure of the novel — does it “grab” the reader, or do things only start happening after it is too late and the reader has already tuned out? And so forth…

In terms of “readers”, an “alpha reader” might focus on many of the same aspects as a developmental editor.

Stylistic editing [as advertised, e.g., here] focuses on the style, as the name says. Does each main character have a distinctive voice (and one that credibly matches their background) — or does it all sound as one glop? In a third-person novel, does the narrator have his/her own voice? Is the vocabulary too simplistic, too recondite, or about right for the target audience? Are sentences too long and complex to read smoothly — or, at the other extreme, are sentences so short and choppy that the book acquires a “See Spot Run!” quality?

The stylistic editor tries to address all of these issues. At the same time, (s)he needs to balance this against leaving authors their own voice. Not surprisingly, this is the most difficult and time-consuming type of editing, best left to experienced professionals  — and therefore also the most expensive type.

Sometimes a stylistic editor may rewrite a statement for clarity or style — and change its meaning in the process. In many cases this happens because the original was too vague or ambiguous. If the editor insists on turning statements into their opposites simply because the plain meaning is unpalatable to him/her, there is only one answer — find another editor.

Copy editing [e.g., here] focuses more on the mechanics: ensuring correct spelling, grammar, usage, punctuation. It may also extend to flagging words or constructions repeated in close proximity, and proposing synonyms or alternatives.

Copy editing also deals with the many aspects of usage, capitalization, punctuation,… where there is more than one authoritative answer. Oxford commas, yes or no? Punctuation tucked (common in the US) or untucked (more common outside the US)? Capitalization after a colon? “5 AM” or “five o’clock”? All these issues can be argued either way, as long as the answer is applied consistently throughout the manuscript. Typically, editors work to a specific style guide: mine worked to the Chicago Manual of Style, a.k.a., CMS. Organizations may have their own style book that an editor working for them is expected to follow.

The often-heard term “line editing” appears to correspond to a combination of copy editing and (light to medium) stylistic editing.

Finally, “proofing” or proofreading is limited to catching typos, punctuation errors, formatting errors, repeated or missing words, and perhaps the most blatant malapropisms (misused words). This is the cheapest form of editing. It is best not left only to the author, as one’s brain ‘knows’ what it intended to write and corrects the typos read ‘on the fly’. Another pair of eyes will catch issues you didn’t — it had better be a proofreader than a book buyer with a spelling bee in his bonnet😉

Fact-checking may enter the equation during both developmental and stylistic editing (or line editing) — or it may be performed by a different person altogether. My editor did do a fair amount of fact-checking on matters he was familiar with, but obviously nobody can be expected to be a maven on everything — so one turns to enthusiasts for guns, planes, medieval armor,… or whatever the specific matter at hand might be. Online forums are a great resource for this sort of thing. (This extends to regional social customs, as I learned first-hand :))

What about multiple rounds of editing? Sarah Hoyt appears to belong to  the “one and done” school of thought: for a professional writer, it indeed makes more financial sense to release a “good enough” novel and start writing the next, than to polish endlessly and generate zero income while doing so. In contrast, first-time novel writers — especially those blessed with well-paying day jobs — have an incentive to both put their best foot forward in their debut novel and ‘learn on the job’ as much as possible.

That being said, it appears that a second or third round of proofreading can never hurt. A second round of stylistic editing, however, runs the risk of the second editor undoing much of the work of the first and otherwise clashing with it — thus generating “a horse designed by a committee” in the process. (Unless, of course,the rare scenario pertains that the two editors are used to tag-teaming.) Copy-editing, in the narrow sense of the word. probably lies somewhere in the middle.

Perhaps the best way to distinguish between different editing levels is in terms of resolution.

  • Proofreading typically corrects at the character level — misspellings, misplaced or missing punctuation marks, runaway formatting tags.
  • Copy editing typically corrects at the word level — malapropisms (misused words), solecisms (grammatical abuses), inconsistent verb tenses, run-on sentences, missing verbs,… The main ‘nonlocal’ goal it may try to achieve is grammatical consistency for those issues where there is more than one ‘correct’ answer: typically this is achieved by working to a specific style manual.
  • Stylistic editing typically works at the sentence to paragraph level, trying to achieve a consistent tone, and creating (or honing) distinctive voices for characters and for the third-person narrator, if any.
  • Finally, developmental editing works at the ‘global’ or structural level, and does not typically descend to details of the actual writing. Its goals are a compelling and believable plot, realistic characters,… in other words, for genre fiction: a good yarn.

Summing up: It is essential, when somebody is contracted for a type of editing, that both sides agree beforehand what type of editing is to be performed, and what the “boundaries” are. For example, as I learned the hard way: if you engage somebody with a sharp eye but no prior editing experience for an additional proofreading run of your work — and then (s)he starts performing unsolicited stylistic editing on top of an earlier stylistic edit… there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth on both sides.

Disclaimer: I have no business relationship with indiebooklauncher other than as a satisfied client.

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