Blogger at the home of a Forgotten Man

By John Ruberry

Donald J. Trump’s presidential honeymoon with the media lasted sixteen minutes, which was, not coincidentally, the length of his inauguration address.

Since then, the media, with a few exceptions, has been relentlessly attacking the president, and by media, I’ll use the definition Rush Limbaugh gave this morning to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, which is ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.

I’ll add one more–a big one, CNN, sometimes called the Clinton News Network.

The media is striking back with an assault on the presidency not seen since the height of the Watergate scandal.

And Donald Trump is fighting them–and the media can’t ascertain why much of the public, their public, is siding with the president.

Because conservatives don’t like cheaters.

Among the damning revelations from the John Podesta emails hacked by WikiLeaks was clear evidence of collusion by some of these allegedly neutral outlets during the 2016 presidential campaign, most notoriously when CNN analyst Donna Brazile twice supplied a planned question to the Hillary Clinton campaign prior to a CNN-hosted debate with Bernie Sanders.

Viewers of those two CNN debates were cheated by CNN, which employed Brazile, as they rightly expected the Clinton-Sanders matchups to be, let’s use a popular term from the time when several Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw the 1919 World Series, “on the square.” Sure, Brazile, was fired, but only after she was caught the second time feeding a debate question to the Clinton machine. That says a lot. Oh, where did Brazile learn of these questions? Did they come from a low-level CNN staffer?

Liberals, with the possible exception of the most ardent members of the growing socialist wing of the Democratic Party, dismissed Brazile’s cheating as just the way the game is played, which is not how White Sox fans greeted news of the 1919 fix broke a year later.

Before there was fake news there was a fake World Series.

Here is my conservative-or-liberal litmus test: If you were angry–or still are angry–about media collusion with the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, they you are a conservative. If you are not, they you’re a liberal. It’s that easy.

Which explains why the media, again using the definition I gave earlier, is astounded that Trump not only attacks them millions of Americans are cheering him on.

After dutifully reporting on media collusion immediately after it was revealed, the media promptly ignored the scandal–their scandal–which is not the case with Russian interference, and yes, alleged hacking of the election by Russia of the presidential election, whatever that entails. It probably entails nothing. WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, repeatedly insists that Russia was not the source of the hacked Podesta emails.

Okay, you skeptics out there, you are probably thinking to yourselves that I am citing only two examples of CNN collusion, and that done by an analyst, not a reporter.

Still still for a moment. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper, both of them anchors, the latter is the network’s Washington correspondent, were caught colluding by WikiLeaks. Other colluders captured in the WikiLeaks net were the New York Times and CNBC’s John Harwood, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, Glenn Thrush, then of Politico and now of the New York Times, and Brent Budowsky of The Hill.

When Trump said on the stump “the system is rigged,” the colluders proved him right.

The Forgotten Man and the Forgotten Woman, that is, the people who play by the rules and try to make an honest living under increasingly daunting odds, elected Trump, despite the rigging.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

And the cheating media still can’t figure out why most Americans despise them.

You Democratic cynics are probably still thinking, “Everyone does it.” No they don’t. Very few media outlets are conservative ones, so the opportunity simply isn’t there for Republicans to collude. The only instance of GOP collusion in a presidential campaign I can recall is George Will’s vague self-described “inappropriate” role in the 1980 Debategate micro-scandal.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

This is the 3rd and last of three guest posts I did for Ladd Ehlinger’s site back in late 2011.  I’m reprinting them here (With Ladd’s permission) because I think the election of Donald Trump is a significant event in the culture wars and these posts (and the follow ups that I intend to write) serve to explain what happened to our friends on the left who are still pulling out their hair over the events of November.  While Ladd’s old blog isn’t there you can find the original piece via the wayback machine.

“In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”-

William F. Buckley Jr. Up from Liberalism.

One of the most important aspects of the culture wars as fought via cinema is the concept of challenging the status quo with subtlety. One might make a statement with The Crying Game and be assured of critical acclaim, but in order to effect change to society in general, one has to be able to influence those who would not be caught dead watching that kind of movie. To win your case, you need to play on the other person’s field.

Oh, God is an interesting example of this. It is the last movie you would think of as part of a culture war fight and if you did, you would consider it a conservative movie.

Jerry Landers (John Denver) is an assistant Manager at a supermarket who gets a typewritten note announcing he has an interview with God. He laughs it off until the note he threw away keeps turning up. When he finds it during a visit by his district manager (David Ogden Stiers) under a leaf of romaine lettuce, he visits the interview location on the note. There he finds an empty room on the 27th floor of a building with only 17 floors and a voice on an intercom saying it is God. He tries to dismiss it, but finds the message repeated on his broken radio. After his wife (Teri Garr) notes he has not actually seen God, God (George Burns) visits in person while he is in the shower telling him he’s been chosen to deliver the message that he exists and everything in the world can work out, it’s all up to us.

When rejected by the LA Times religious reporter, (George Furth) God reappears and at Jerry’s request performs a small miracle by making it rain inside his car. Still wet, he returns at once to the Times, and they run a small story on the subject. He wife tries to deflect attention, but eventually it’s picked up by a local paper, then an ABC affiliate. When warned by a company executive, Mr. Summers, (William Daniels) to keep his mouth shut. he continues on, finally appearing on the Dinah Shore show. That draws all kind of cranks and fanatics to his house and creates a lot of trouble for him.

A telegram from the local university asking him to appear before a board of religious experts to hear about his claim seems like a chance to save his job. The panel, which represents Jewish, Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Protestant clergy, including a loud televangelist, Reverend Williams, (Paul Sorvino) finds insufficient evidence but as a control measure give him 50 questions (written in Aramaic) that they ask God to answer.

Landers agrees and is locked in his hotel room with no outside communication. God shows up as a busboy bringing Ketchup and remarking that $11 is a lot for a steak. He answers the questions and when finished tells Jerry to give them to Reverend Williams saying: “You take these answers and give them to Reverend big mouth and you say that tell him God says he’s a phony and also tell him if he wants to get rich, fine, tell him to sell earth shoes, but personally tell him I’d like him to shut up.”

The Reverend is delighted at the prospect that God sent Jerry to him, until he repeats what God said on a microphone. The scene immediately shifts to a courtroom where Williams’ attorney (Ralph Bellamy) demands damages. Jerry refuses both the Judge’s (Barnard Hughes) suggestion for council and his wife’s entreaties to apologize.

When he presents his case, Jerry calls God to the stand. When he doesn’t immediately appear, Jerry argues that there was a hesitation in the room. A possibility that God would appear exists, and he claims it is the benefit of the doubt he deserves. As the judge considers contempt charges, God appears, taking the stand.

He rebukes the Reverend’s Lawyer, noting that nobody had a problem believing in the devil after “that movie” (The Exorcist). He confirms all Jerry has said and offers a miracle to prove who he is by making a deck of cards appear and disappear, and finally making himself vanish during an exchange with the judge and those in the courtroom.

The tape recording, however, didn’t record God’s voice nor does the stenotype machine show any of his words. The judge rules given their common experience it’s understandable that he would consider his actions divinely commanded and drops the slander charge, but rules due to the lack of evidence that God did not appear in the courtroom.

Jerry loses his job, and on the drive home God tells him he did a good job saying “There are other cities and other supermarkets”. When Jerry asks if sometimes they can just talk God replies: “You talk I’ll listen,” and walks away into the sunset, disappearing.

It’s a feel good movie all around. The performances are excellent, John Denver is totally believable as Jerry Landers, helped by a good performance by Teri Garr as his wife and a cast chock full of some of the best character actors out there from William Daniels, to Jeff Corey and Ralph Bellamy. Add two actors who were yet to have their greatest impact–Paul Sorvino and David Ogden Stiers, punctuated of course by George Burns, who carries off the role with perfect timing and style. What’s there not to like about this movie? You have a nice conservative message about an unbeliever who hears the word of God and follows it, an affirmation of the importance of following God’s word no matter what, and the message that following God is not without cost.

If you look deeper, however, you will find some interesting messages hidden delivered with such skill that you might miss it, if you didn’t look.

First let’s contrast the “believers” and the “unbelievers”. At the very start, we have Landers established as a good man who gently corrects his staff and is too honest to “oil his cukes,” as the district rep. suggests to make the cucumber display more appealing to the eye. He opposition is a myriad of believers, from his wife “I believe in God, I just don’t think he exists” skeptical religious editors, a CEO who resents him speaking to God, a set of religious nuts, and finally a classic stereotype televangelist with sheep-like followers who doesn’t even believe in God when he sees him. Jerry has “the strength that comes from knowing” but none of them that have not seen are willing to believe. The message: “believers” are either nuts or phonies and so are you unless you’ve seen it for yourself.

The other believers are the religious panel and they are passed over. Other than Rev. Williams, we don’t see the rest of the panel’s reaction to the questions answered in Aramaic. It’s as if they don’t exist, because of course their reaction would not produce the cynicism required for the movie’s climax and would more likely be: “My Lord and my God.”

Let’s look at “God” in this film. In the very first encounter we establish a God “makes mistakes”, in his first physical appearance he proclaims that “shame” is wrong. He is not all knowing “I haven’t a clue” and his reaction to prayer is “I can’t help hearing.” It could as easily be: “Why are you bothering me?”

Now that we’ve abolished the concept of God as understood for centuries, what does he think about right and wrong? He objects to “killing”, pollution and making money in his name, but that’s about it. Take a look at the answer to the big question of the movie:

“Is Jesus Christ the son of God? Jesus was my son, Buddha was my son, Mohammad, Moses You the man who said there was no room at the inn was my son and so is the one who charges $11 dollars for a steak in this one.”

Now, I wouldn’t expect Carl Reiner to give an endorsement to Christianity, but note what he does. All religions are equal, all are valid, there is no “truth”, none of that “Thou shalt have no other Gods but me” stuff. The generic answers given by the “God” in this movie could be, and is given by new age gurus of today who makes the same kind of money that the Reverend Williams does.

No truth, no worship, you don’t need prayer, just know I’m here but I really don’t matter and have nothing to do about it, so unless you are the ’69 Mets, the last miracle God in the movie says he did, don’t bother asking. It’s so simple, the message of Oh, God becomes: “People don’t really don’t need a God”, but that message is delivered in a way so subtle and so discreet that unless someone points it out you can’t see yourself absorbing it.

St. Peter’s Church, New York, NY

Please do not be misled by the dishonest anti-Christian media or by urban legends about New Yorkers and New York’s Catholics; see for yourself who these people really are and what they do…

The Roman Catholic Parish of St Peter has a history of nearly a quarter of a millennium in Lower Manhattan and is home to the Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton; Mother Seton is our first American-born Catholic Saint. Saint Peter’s Church is the oldest parish in New York City. This is a true American Roman Catholic Church, that pre-dates the American Revolution, and its community is truly a reflection of what it really means to be New Yorkers.

Here is their Mission:

We are the Roman Catholic parish of St. Peter’s – Our Lady of the Rosary, encompassing
St. Peter’s Church, Our Lady of the Rosary (the Seton Shrine) and St. Joseph’s Chapel
(The Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero).

We are the first Catholic parish in New York State (est. 1785) but our legacy in Lower Manhattan pre-dates the American Revolution. The parish has served as a safe haven both in the past for needy immigrants and more recently for victims and rescue personnel in the wake of 9/11, without regard to religion. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Venerable Pierre Toussaint, who performed many works of charity in this parish, inspire us to a tradition of service to the residents, the many people who work in the area, and the multitude of visitors who come from around the world. We strive to serve our neighborhood in that spirit, with welcome and compassion for all because we are all children of God.

The Church is located just a street away from The World Trade Center, which was attacked by islamic terrorists on February 26, 1993, and, again on September 11, 2001. Via the St. Peter’s website, here is their story about what happened on both occasions:

  • “Prior to September 11th we were accustomed to look at the Twin Towers as the symbol of America’s strength and power in the world of trade, commerce and finance.  But as those buildings turned to dust before our eyes, we came to look to each other to see where our true strength and power lie.  Our true strength was in all those acts of compassion, those deeds of generosity and self-sacrifice that were performed that day and in the days, weeks and months afterward.”    

    – Fr Kevin Madigan

     

    WE WILL NEVER FORGET

    The World Trade Center cast a shadow over the Church of St Peter’s, a street away.  The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 profoundly affected our parish and without a doubt made us stronger and more connected.  Here is an account of how we opened our home and hearts at our three places of worship and how faith helped to resurrect downtown in New York City after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

    ST PETER’S CHURCH AND 9/11 TIMELINE

    At 8:45am, the impact of the first plane hit the first World Trade Center and shook St Peter’s Church with a violence that caused the parish secretary, Patricia Ruggiero, to scream.  She ran outside and took a look at the enormous gash surrounded by flames and billowing smoke. Rushing back inside she called out to the pastor, Reverend Kevin Madigan, that the plane had hit the building.  Fr Madigan looked out the window and saw the almost instantaneous response of fire engines and ambulances, and he hurried out to find out where the wounded were. At 9:03am, Fr Madigan was speaking with the police when the second plane crashed into the South Tower. Debris blew everywhere from the second impact; many larger pieces were on fire.
    “I remember seeing a wheel of the plane fly over my head”, Fr Madigan told American Catholic Magazine.

    Fr Madigan rushed back to St. Peter’s to make sure the staff got to safety and then returned to the street.  He met the Assistant Fire Chaplain and started walking southbound on Church Street when the South Tower began to collapse at 9:59am. Thinking quickly, Fr Madigan led the assistant chaplain down into the nearby subway station where they took temporary shelter with transit police officers and emerged safely after some of the dust had settled.

    When Fr Madigan returned to St Peter’s, he found out the landing gear of one of the airplanes had pierced the roof.

    STAGING GROUND FOR 9/11 RESCUE AND RECOVERY

    Roman Catholics were the most represented faith group of those lost in the attacks.  The parish can’t be certain of all the members of the parish who were lost, since many don’t register but we do know that a lector at St Peter’s and a parishioner at the mission of St Joseph’s Chapel were killed on that day.  After 9/11 far fewer were coming to weekday morning and lunch hour Masses because the roughly 50,000 workers in the towers had to work in new locations

    During these operations, Fr Madigan celebrated Mass, heard Confession and provided pastoral care to rescue workers and those allowed to enter the area.  The church was open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the workers until the end of October 2001 when martial law was lifted and workers returned to work downtown.

    The doors of St Peter’s stayed open to America’s heroes, and the church transformed into a relief supply station. “We were the first place they were bringing all the emergency equipment. Everything was in disarray,” Fr Kevin Madigan stated. “Supplies were piled six feet high all over the pews, bandages, gas masks, boots, hoses and cans of food for the workers and the volunteers, many of whom were sleeping in the pews on bedrolls.”

    FATHER MYCHAL JUDGE

    Father Mychal Judge OFM, the beloved chaplain of the New York Fire Department, was early to the scene of the disaster, giving absolution and prayers for the wounded and dying.  Late that morning, he was in the North Tower lobby surrounded by rescue workers when the South Tower collapsed.  The force of the building falling on itself blew cement dust and debris at speeds estimated to be 100mph. The impact of the implosion was so violent that parts of the compromised North Tower building fell.  Obscured by the cloud of dust, it was only after the incident that the men nearby saw that Fr Judge had been struck down and killed.  Fr Kevin M. Smith, another fire chaplain from Patchogue, NY blessed the body on curb.  Eventually his body was carried by two firemen, an FDNY medical technician, a police lieutenant and a civilian bystander into St. Peter’s and laid in front of the altar.  Fr Fussner, a priest at St. Peter’s Church noticed that Fr. Judge’s neck was swollen and appeared to be broken.  Resting on the marble, Fr Judge’s body was covered in a white cloth with a fresh stole from sacristy on top and his chaplain’s badge and helmet resting on his chest.  Fr Fussner added that the firemen pulled two of the candles close to either side of his body and a Franciscan friar later pointed out that the resulting pose resembled a bas-relief sculpture of Christ immediately behind the body.  At around 2pm, two Franciscan friars from Fr Judge’s residence carried his body to a fire station across from his residence.

    Fr. Mychal gave the following sermon at a Mass for New York City Firefighters at Engine 73, Ladder 42, Bronx, NY on September 10, 2001:

    You do what God has called you to do. You get on that ring, you go out and do the job. No matter how big the call, no matter how small, you have no idea of what God is calling you to, but God needs you. He needs me. He needs all of us. God needs us to keep supporting each other, to be kind to each other, to love each other.
    We love this job, we all do. What a blessing it is! It’s a difficult, difficult job, but God calls you to do it, and indeed, He gives you a love for it so that a difficult job will be well done.
    Isn’t God wonderful?! Isn’t He good to you, to each one of you, and to me? Turn to God each day — put your faith, your trust, your hope and your life in His hands. He’ll take care of you, and you’ll have a good life. And this firehouse will be a great blessing to this neighborhood and to this city. Amen.

    WORLD TRADE CENTER CROSS

    Two days after the 9-11 attacks, Ground Zero looked and felt like hell on earth.  The ground was scorched, the air held the odor of incinerated building material and felt heavy with the weight of thousands of departed souls.  Long shadows of autumn sun and lights erected to illuminate the wreckage gave the area an amber glow.  Police, firemen, first responders and many volunteers began to search the rubble for a few survivors and scarce remains.  Many of the men who flocked to the site to volunteer were experienced hands that knew how to cut steel and move rubble so the search could continue and the area cleared.

    (Frank Sileccia found the World Trade Center Cross)
    A volunteer construction worker named Frank Silecchia discovered the cross in a carved out area of the pile in the lower core of Building 6.  There he spotted a cross made of steel standing upright.  Fused to one side of the cross was large piece of melted metal that resembled a rumpled cloth which brought to mind the cross and shroud of resurrected Christ.  Frank Silecchia fell to his knees as did many who came to see it later.  Firefighter John Picarello described what he saw in a story published by Christian Broadcast News: “Just the way the sun shone down…it looked like an amphitheater with benches.”  Believers and non-believers came and bowed their heads or knelt.  Many of them came back again and again over the course of eight months to reflect, worship and hope.  Mayor Giuliani remarked that the cross, “kept a lot of people going”, especially those directly involved in the recovery efforts.
    Ten days after the cross was found, Frank Silecchia took Fr Brian Jordan, OFM, a Franciscan priest, to see what he thought was a revelation:  that God had not abandoned us.  Fr Jordan saw it as a sign.  Some time later the men were concerned that in the reconstruction efforts the cross might be taken away to a storage facility or destroyed, so Fr Jordan contacted the mayor’s office.  Mayor Rudolph Giuliani replied quickly that, ‘we will keep that cross as a reminder of God’s love for all of us’.
    Fr Jordan then reached out to Fr Madigan who agreed to host the cross. In October 2006, a group of about 150 workers from the site, relatives of those killed in the attack and onlookers watched over as volunteer workers labored to move the 6,000-lb steel cross three streets and set it down outdoors on the side of the Church at Barclay and Church streets.  People from all over the world and all faiths came to see the cross.  In 2011, the relic, borne of the terrible events of 9-11, was lifted by a crane, loaded onto a truck and taken to its current location at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

    TRIBUTE CROSS

    On August 11, 2011, a new custom cross was installed to stand in the same place on the side of St. Peter’s.  The modern sculpture commissioned by the Archdiocese of New York, was made by artist Jon Krawczyk.  Crafted in Malibu, California, the cross was transported through sixteen states to reach New York.  On the journey, many stopped the artist to inquire about the cross and share a moment of reflection over the events of 9-11.  The “Tribute Cross”, as it is now called, represents the resurrection of the neighborhood.

    ST JOSEPH’S CHAPEL BECAME A FEMA COMMAND STATION

    On September 11, the cloud of dust and ash from the imploding World Trade Center towers also engulfed St Joseph’s Chapel. During the week of the disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated the chapel as a command station.  The Chapel and its furnishings were a great help to the rescue effort and even altar cloths were used as temporary bandages.  Following the rescue operations, the chapel became a temporary sanctuary where construction workers, police offers and firefighters could come to eat, email their families, talk with spiritual counselors and rest from the physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting work at Ground Zero.  The priests of St. Joseph’s continued to celebrate Mass in a gym nearby..

    After opening her arms to so many, the chapel interior suffered extensive damage.  The pulpit, pews and chairs, which were moved outside, were destroyed in a rainstorm.   After a degree of normalcy resumed in the downtown Battery Park City neighborhood, the idea for a Catholic Memorial was brought up in discussions about the need for a renovation. The initial thought was to express the journey of grief and healing the parish had taken as a faith community.  But as we clarified our vision through discussion and prayer, we determined to create a memorial that would respond in a broader way to the event from a Catholic perspective.  The memorial also affirmed our belief that life is stronger than death and love is stronger than hate.

    Fundraising commenced and the Mission of St Joseph’s Chapel received the support of Cardinal Edward M. Egan and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.  In a letter, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani wrote, “St Joseph’s Chapel in Battery Park City is creating a Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero to honor those who were lost, and pay tribute to those who responded with such heroism and bravery in the face of mortal danger.”  (Read full letters written by Cardinal Egan, Mayor Giuliani and Fr Madigan.)

    Fr Madigan and a committee of parish leaders commissioned artwork to honor the heroes of 9/11 for “their bravery, sacrifice and love.”  (Details about Catholic Memorial artwork.)

    In May 2005, Cardinal Edward M. Egan held a ceremony to bless the refurbished St Joseph’s Chapel.  Cardinal Egan remarked that, “the memorial affirms the presence of God in a place that has tested the faith of many.”   The completed Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero honors those who died, those who performed heroic and selfless acts on that day, and all of us who survived to bear witness.  The memorial compliments the 9-11 National Memorial and gives visitors an opportunity for prayer and reflection in a quiet sanctuary.


    OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY REACHES OUT TO BRETHREN

    After September 11, 2001, Our Lady of the Rosary held a memorial service for the sixty-seven British and twenty-four Canadian citizens who died in the World Trade Center attack. The church kept its doors open and, for seven Sundays, hosted the services of Trinity Episcopal Church. Trinity had to shut its doors until they were assured the historic building was structurally sound.  Two months later when Trinity held a ceremony at their reopening, they thanked
    Fr Peter Meehan, the pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary and Seton Shrine, for the generosity.

    THE FIRST ATTACK IN 1993

    February 26, 1993, a truck loaded with bombs, parked in a public garage below the North Tower of the World Trade Center and exploded.  Terrorists set of the powerful homemade bomb by way of a twenty-foot fuse.  The blast killed six innocent civilians.  The bomb was powerful enough to create a 200 by 100 foot hole in the building.  Approximately a thousand office workers suffered smoke inhalation injuries.  One hundred and twenty four of those injured were rescue personnel.  Seventeen kindergarteners were trapped when the electrical power line was knocked out and one woman in labor was airlifted out of the area to a hospital.

    The terrorists intended for the North Tower to come crashing down and topple the South Tower. Seven men have been convicted for their role in the attack but only six have been caught.

    Many have forgotten the first truck bombing of the World Trade Center in the wake of 9/11.  A son of a victim in the attacks, Stephen Knapp Jr., is quoted in the New York Times:  “It started on Feb. 26, it played out on 9/11, and it is still going on now.”

    Our Parish has not forgotten.  Every February, the families and friends of people who died and those who were injured, hold a memorial Mass at St. Peter’s Church.


  • This account of what transpired on September 11, 2001 and in the aftermath of the attacks has been prepared by parish volunteers.  The research and fact checking continues and will soon include further quotes from our clergy.

May God continue to bless St. Peter’s Church, parish, and people, and may the Good Lord forever bless New York, America, and you as well.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla of the Resistance at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals – including Siberian Husky Dalmatian Lab Puppies and their parents. Zilla is a proud New Yorker and a parishioner of Saint Denis Church in New York’s Hudson Valley

See also by Zilla at DaTechGuyBlog:

Remembering Saint Scholastica

The words come filtered through digital inkwells; cyberspace cries begging to be heard over the daily din. A tireless worker at keeping the music alive placing her husband in hospice care, his battle with cancer reduced to weary surrender. A friend waiting for his mother to come out of surgery, her diabetes demanding yet another amputation. A contemporary Christian music pioneer huddled with her dementia-laden mother in a friend’s apartment, praying that the panicked repair work on a crumbling spillway holds so they will have a home to return to should the evacuation order be lifted. At such time the Psalmist’s words burn with renewed meaning:

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

Out of pain, joy; out of loss, magic. My father passed away one morning while tending to the shrubbery in front of his house. Before my mother joined him several years later, she unfailingly told of how that morning, as her and my father’s parish priest gave him Last Rites, the largest and most beautiful butterfly she saw in her life gently alighted on my father, rested for a moment, then flew away. Coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps also a sign of the promised new life through transformation in Christ.

The world is replete with social media popoff pissants, fleck and spittle-stained keyboard weariers (SWIDT) on both side of the political divide slavishly serving this week’s website while selfishly sloughing off this lifetime’s marriage. As said before, their mantra is cry outrage! and let slip the tweets of butthurt. The watchword of this generation is peace, but there is naught but self-promotion.

How long will we neglect what matters in favor of trivial pursuits? How long will vapid political prattle supersede fundamental caring and sharing? It is true that knowledge is power; information is vital. We need to be informed and alert. We need even more to offer the outstretched hand. Without this, without love, we are nothing. And all we do is nothing.

Back in December we reprinted my post from Ladd Ehlinger’s site on the movie Captains Courageous from 1937 as an appropriate repost with the election of Donald Trump because the posts in this series:

serve to explain what happened to our friends on the left who are still pulling out their hair over the events of November

If you look at that movie it’s the image of the Kindergarden of Eden I described yesterday.

At first the Captain (Lionel Barrymore) is willing to let Harvey’s attitude go and offers to make him part of the crew beside his son Dan (Mickey Rooney). He refuses to work, he starts ranting about sending the entire crew to jail unless they take him to New York, disrupting the ship.

Remind you of any group of people protesting in the streets lately? Remind you of an entire generation of children who will have what they want when they want it from their $600 iPhones to the latest video games? Our film instructor is torn seeing a mirror and not liking the reflection, and that’s where one of the pivotal moments in the film takes place.

Captain Troop, with the good of the ship and the livelihood of the entire crew to worry about, notes he can’t risk months of fishing on a boy’s yarn. When Harvey still rants Troop finally concludes: “I guess there’s nothing left for it.” He rears back and gives Harvey a slap that knocks him flat.

Now I want to remind you I wrote those words in >December of 2011 at the time when Obama’s power was still at its height and the idea of Donald Trump being president was about as remote as the odds of a kid falling in the ocean being picked up by a fisherman before he drowns.

Yet here we are six years later and not only is the left still screaming but Donald Trump is smacking them by simply enforcing the law:

There’s evidence raids and/or detentions are occurring, as reports pop up throughout the country in at least eight states (California, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Kansas, New York, Virginia, South and North Carolina.) ICE insists the raids are targeted and nothing new and denies social media reports that checkpoints were set up in communities. In California, ICE now says it rounded up 160 people, targeting those with felony records or who are fugitives and called reports of widespread raids “irresponsible” and false, The Orange County Register reported. The newspaper labeled the ICE actions in California a “surge.” In George and the Carolinas, ICE picked up 200 people, reported NBC News.

Some of the scenes are growing intense, with protests in California, New York, Texas, and Arizona. In at least one case, the Mesa deportation, the person detained had a deportation order that dated to the President Obama administration.

And they’re it’s getting worse:

immigrant rights activists and Democrats are raising concerns this weekend about recent immigration enforcement actions — though immigration officials maintain that only routine actions targeting criminals were underway.

Fear is running high among immigrant communities since President Donald Trump’s inauguration — and after the recent publicized deportation of an undocumented Arizona mother of two after a routine visit with immigration officials, reports have been spreading of Immigration and Customs Enforcement stepping up its actions nationwide.

And think of the people who are being picked up.

He said the operations targeted convicted criminals, gang members, individuals who re-entered the country after being deported and individuals who had final removal orders from immigration judges.

Those arrested included a citizen of El Salvador with a criminal conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and self-admitted MS-13 gang member; a citizen of Jamaica with a criminal conviction for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11; a citizen of Mexico with a criminal convicted for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11.

More than 680 people were arrested in the raids across the country, officials say. Of those arrested, 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.

Because nothing is going to win the American people over to the left’s point of view like freaking out over the deportation of people convicted of serious crimes.

Of course in Captains Courageous when Harvey gets knocked down by the Captain it begins the moment where he finally figures out what’s important in life and begins to grow, I really question if the left is capable of this.

But I’m a catholic and know that with God all things are possible

Even the left growing up.

Chicago’s South Side last autumn

By John Ruberry

Position wanted: Starting quarterback.

A dismal National Football League season will end tonight when between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots meet in the Super Bowl in Houston, after of course our national anthem is performed.

Oh, Da Tech Guy himself, a Patriots fan, may not agree of my “dismal” assessment. His team is in the Super Bowl, not mine, the Chicago Bears.

The Star Spangled Banner has been one of the major NFL stories this season, much to the chagrin to league brass because San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the anthem, which of course is performed before every game. A few members from roughly one-third of the other NFL teams followed his unpatriotic lead, along with some college and high school athletes. Kaepernick’s beef with the anthem is that he believes America stands for racial prejudice and police brutality, which are ideas you’ll find in the playbook of Black Lives Matters radicals, not the 49ers. Kaepernick, who is black but was raised by white parents, is a millionaire. Although NFL rules prohibit him from making it official until next month, Kaepernick will be a free agent next month, an ESPN reporter reported Friday. The timing is curious–I suspect that two days before the Super Bowl was chosen because of hyping of the game itself, and the revealing of the new NFL Hall of Fame inductees on Saturday, would bury the Kaepernick self-firing, as his anti-anthem, and yes, anti-America protests have been an embarrassment to the league.

TV ratings were down eight percent for the 2016 season, more so earlier on as the Kaepernick story was festering. While some liberal journalists chose to ignore the Kaepernick factor when reporting the ratings decline, pointing out that concerns over concussions, the lack of NFL star power, particularly in the first four weeks of the season when Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was under suspension because of Deflategate, and viewers being more interested in the raucous presidential election were the real cause, an early October poll by Rasmussen found that nearly one-third of Americans said they’d be less likely to watch an NFL contest because of the anthem protests.

Soon the bidding war will begin for Kaepernick. Or maybe not. While he did take the 49ers to the Super Bowl four years ago, he performed poorly during his last two seasons; in 2016 Kaepernick was 1-10 as starter. I only watched him play once on television in ’16, on a snowy day against another rotten team, the Chicago Bears, Kaepernick completed just one pass out of five attempts with four yards gained. He was sacked five times.

The 49ers signed Kaepernick to win football games–not to be a radical.  The other 31 NFL teams will be looking to sign a winner as quarterback, not someone who gets sacked more times than the yards he passed for. Oh, some team will sign him, only because of his Super Bowl pedigree. But can Kaepernick survive training camp roster cuts?

NFL: Your long Colin Kaepernick nightmare may soon be over.

On a personal note, I will be rooting for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. I usually line up behind the NFC champion, but because Tom Brady is under attack by leftists for not backing out of his friendship with President Donald Trump, I am part of the Patriots Nation today. Go Pats!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Society has a curious love/hate relationship with pop culture. It hurls bile and snark at some, while tongue-bathing others, all in an effort to seem disaffected and elite while simultaneously craving acceptance by the Kool Kidz. It seeks a mythical connection with the latest bands and the hottest hands, an association minus genuine attachment. Those considered unworthy are summarily dismissed, ignored save when someone uncool dies so the insults can once more be recited before being laid to rest alongside the recently departed.

Example? Sure. John Wetton and Beyoncé.

Wetton died the other day at age 69 from cancer. Nearly simultaneously, Beyoncé announced she is pregnant with twins. The media went front page ape for the latter. Wetton? Hey, let’s dust off an insulting concert review of his band Asia when it was riding high in the early ’80s!

This comes as no surprise to those possessing any awareness of pop culture. Wetton, throughout his career, pursued creativity, be it in full-blown progressive rock such as his ’70s output with King Crimson and U.K., or Asia’s more concise, melodically focused work. Beyoncé? Although not naming her directly, Joe Walsh precisely nails her “artistry:”

Beyoncé’s career will fade with her looks as she is replaced with the next generation’s pop princess. John Wetton’s genuine artistry will live on in the hearts and minds of his fans, the true believers who will hand down his work to that portion of the next generation blessed with predecessors who caught the vision.

Don’t follow sheep. Seek the vision.

As a longtime reporter and journalism educator, I am ashamed of my profession as a result of the bias of the media toward the new immigration policies.

From the coverage, you couldn’t believe that 57 percent of those polled agree with the temporary ban on immigrants from seven countries, according to Rasmussen Reports. Only 33 percent oppose Trump’s executive order, while 10 percent are undecided.

The news media are in a full-tilt smackdown of Trump’s policies, underlining the administration’s notion that journalists are indeed the opposition.

For example, a CNN “news” report compares the executive order to the Alien and Seditions Acts, the Japanese internment camps and McCarthyism.

I address the following to the senior correspondent, Stephen Collinson, who apparently knows little about history, and others who have picked up the meme:

–Only a handful of people were not allowed into the United States.
–Green card holders are not affected.
–The ban is temporary for between 90 and 120 days.

The Alien and Sedition Acts existed during the presidency of John Adams. They allowed the government to toss people out of the country. More important, the main complaint about the acts was the ability to close down newspapers run by Adams’ opponents.

More than 100,000 Japanese and other aliens were interned during World War II by that champion of the Democrats: FDR.

While I do not condone Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s tactics, Soviet records confirmed that massive incidents of espionage occurred in the United States, including the placement of Russian spies into U.S. government positions.

An ABC journalist posted his personal views on Facebook about the terrible stuff that was happening while he was covering the immigration story at JFK. He did not respond to my question about whether he was a reporter or an advocate.

But there’s more. Philly.com, the host for the newspapers in Philadelphia, described the protestors at the local airport as a huge crowd. There were 200 people!

CNN’s sob stories start with a woman whose friend can’t make it to a wedding and goes downhill from there.

The Huffington Post had a column calling for the president’s impeachment. Seriously?

Hundreds of lawyers reportedly descended on airports to “help” people who were stuck in immigration, according to The Washington Post. The number of lawyers would greatly outnumber those who had temporary problems. As of this writing, no one was being held in immigration in the United States.

And, if you missed it, people were protesting against Uber for taking advantage of the immigration changes. That’s right, boys and girls, all of those immigrants who drive for Uber were not properly showing their solidarity with their comrades. That one is really hard to get my head around.

Having had the opportunity to travel to more than 60 countries during my lifetime, I have experienced the trials and tribulations of immigration laws throughout the world.

Egypt and Iraq expelled me for my reporting in those countries. Iran officials detained me during the hostage crisis because I was an American. My team faced expulsion in Ethiopia for leaving our hotel without a government guide. I was interrogated in France because immigration officials thought I was carrying explosive material in my luggage.

When I taught in Russia and Poland, I had to go through an elaborate visa process. I violated the immigration policies of Italy and the United Kingdom when I taught there because I stayed on a tourist visa.

For the past three years, I have taught in China. I needed to have an official letter from the university in order to obtain a visa.

I don’t begrudge any of these countries for the actions they took, although the Egyptians and Iraqis may have been a bit extreme. A nation has an obligation to protect its citizens from economic and political threats.

Having worked in the Arab world for nearly a decade, I think it would be difficult for anyone to call me an Islamophobe. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is there a right for foreigners to come to the United States as anything other than guests.

Despite the kerfuffle by hand-wringing demonstrators, few people were actually affected by the temporary–yes, that’s temporary–immigration policies. Homeland Security officials said that about 100 people who were already in transit to the United States when the order was signed were denied access; less than 200 were stopped before boarding planes heading to America.

If I heard a country had changed its policies, I don’t think I would get on a plane until I consulted with the embassy. Moreover, I probably would have used my visa on or about Jan. 19.

Finally, I recall when Jimmy Carter banned Iranians from traveling to the United States in 1979. Few people demonstrated against him or called him a racist. But he was a Democrat. That apparently makes all the difference.

The hysteria and the hyperbole really have to stop. But that’s probably not going to happen in a media world run amok.


Christopher Harper worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times. He teaches journalism.

By John Ruberry

Last week via Twitter President Donald Trump issued a warning: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!”

Local media was puzzled and irked as to what Trump meant by “the feds.” Does that mean the US Army? Short of widespread rioting breaking out in Chicago, that’s not likely to happen. Perhaps Trump means to dispatch FBI and DEA agents, or officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. But the federal government already has staff from those crime fighting agencies assisting the Chicago Police in fighting its murder epidemic.

Unless there is an ongoing investigation, I don’t believe the feds are looking for the evil pony at the bottom of the manure pile–Chicago politicians and their connections to street gangs.

Street gang temple,
Chicago’s South Side

Elected officials in Chicago constantly decry gun violence. But while firearms are the symptom, the disease is gang warfare. By all accounts the great majority of murders in Chicago are gang-related. Members of the Progressive Caucus on Chicago’s City Council regularly condemn “gun violence,” as do the other aldermen on the council. As for the former, like all leftists, they conspire like a chess player to advance their causes, in this instance, this means a ban on all handguns in Chicago, if not all firearms. As for the rest of the aldermen, perhaps they are cautious in condemning gang violence because some of them have ties to these criminal enterprises that are hollowing out Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods.

Six years ago Chicago Magazine, in a story about those street gang-pol connections, interviewed Hal Baskin, a former gang member who was defeated in his effort to join the City Council, about a meeting between aldermanic candidates and gang-bangers, or perhaps, according to the magazine, ex-gang bangers.

The gang representatives were interested in electing aldermen sympathetic to their interests and those of their impoverished wards. As for the politicians, says Baskin, their interests essentially boiled down to getting elected or reelected. “All of [the political hopefuls] were aware of who they were meeting with,” he says. “They didn’t care. All they wanted to do was get the support.”

Baskin declined to name names, but Chicago has learned, through other sources at the meetings, the identities of some of the participants. They include: Aldermen Howard Brookins Jr. (21st Ward), Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Willie Cochran (20th), and Freddrenna Lyle (6th). Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) attended a meeting; upon realizing that the participants had close gang ties, she objected but stayed. Also attending were candidates who would go on to win their races, including Michael Chandler (24th) and Roderick Sawyer (6th). Darcel Beavers, the former 7th Ward alderman who would wind up losing her race, and Patricia Horton, a commissioner with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District who lost her bid for city clerk, also met with the group.

Cochran campaign sign in Englewood

Late last year one of those underhanded aldermen, Willie Cochran, was indicted for a series of alleged financial crimes, including stealing from his ward’s charity. Part of Cochran’s ward covers the notorious Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, one of the most violent parts of “Chiraq.” And by violence of course I mean street gang violence.

Okay, I’m not an attorney, but Chicago Magazine provided us a list of names that at the very least makes them, in my opinion, persons of interest.

Jesse Jackson in Chicago in 2012

Roughly once every 18 months a member of Chicago’s City Council is sentenced to prison, the most recent of which was Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th). Her father-in-law is the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose half-brother, Noah Robinson, enjoyed long time connections to the El Rukn gang, which, under a different name, remains one of Chicago’s largest and most vicious street gangs. Robinson is serving a life sentence for narcotics crimes, racketeering, and murder-for-hire.

As for Jesse Jackson, in 1984, during his first campaign for the presidency, he publicly lauded the El Rukns for their efforts in voter registration. The year prior the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization paid the gang over $10,000 to work as poll watchers for the failed campaign of incumbent Chicago mayor Jane Bryne. At that time the party was led by Edward “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak, then the 10th Ward alderman, who–this will sound familiar–was indicted late last year. Now a Republican, Vrdolyak is already an ex-con.

Shameful.

What can the Chicago Police do about gangs and their politician pals?

According to that Chicago Magazine article, not a heck of a lot.

Two police sources—a former gang investigator and a veteran detective—bluntly acknowledge that even if the police know of dubious dealings between an alderman and a gang leader or drug dealer, there is little, if anything, they can do, thanks to what they say is the department’s unofficial rule: Stay away from public officials. “We can’t arrest aldermen,” says the gang investigator, “unless they’re doing something obvious to endanger someone. We’re told to stand down.” The detective concurs: “It’s the unwritten rule. There’s a two-tier justice system here.”

That paragraph alone explains why Trump’s “feds,” or perhaps different feds, are needed in America’s third-largest city.

And the criminality apparently goes past shootings, as Chicago Magazine again tells us.

Beyond providing protection from police—the gangs’ number one request—public officials can help in other ways. Gang leaders, particularly the most powerful, are usually looking to build on the riches they already have. Knowing an alderman or a state legislator—or even a congressman—can help. Traditionally, aldermen have almost total say over what gets built and what sorts of businesses open in their wards. They also have considerable sway over city contracts, which can mean tens of thousands to millions of dollars for gang-owned businesses.

Chicago needs Trump’s feds.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Or maybe the president only needs to send an accountant. It was a member of that profession, Frank J. Wilson of the US Treasury Department, who put together the evidence to convict Al Capone of tax evasion.

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Chicago area resident, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

As recent posts have detailed, conservative new media has not lost the culture war. It has utterly failed to do so little as bother showing up for the battle. We have seen how CNM refuses to publicly acknowledge Christ, and how it is utterly unaware of legendary artists in its own midst. This week, we showcase a contemporary artist you should know. But don’t.

Mark Scudder resides in upper New York. He writes and records his music himself, unfettered by commercial considerations. Not that Scudder is undeserving of public attention, as one listen to an in-progress track from his upcoming reSolution project amply attests:

So how come you’ve never heard of him before?

Simple. He sucks at playing the game.

To be a recognized artist within conservative new media requires much the same approach as being a recognized artist within today’s Christian music scene. Unless you stick with R&B (repetitious and boring), you’ll never get anywhere. Don’t challenge. Don’t confront. Don’t show the slightest variation from either yet another rewrite of “God Bless the U.S.A.” or calling liberals poopyheads. And for heaven’s sake suck up to the high rollers long and hard. Maybe then you’ll get some digital ink spilled on your behalf. Maybe.

In recent correspondence Scudder commented, “The culture hasn’t changed for the better one bit, by the way. Yes we prevented Hillary from becoming President, but I’m starting to wonder if we haven’t just made ourselves more marginalized, because the channels that give voice to the celebrities we won’t boycott are just going to amp it up now that Trump is in the White House.” He added, “There is no more comprehension of the need for mainstreamable content among our peers than the day I started complaining about it.” Dour, but deadly accurate.

Do yourself and the world a favor. Actively support independent conservative artists such as Mark Scudder, whose music is available on Bandcamp, iTunes, and elsewhere. Rather than kvetch about the Madonnas and Bruce Springsteens of this world, be a proactive responder by spending your entertainment dollars differently. Buy quality music from artists such as Scudder and Richie Furay. Treat yourself. Cut off pop culture’s allowance. It doesn’t need you. Real art does. And you need it too.