By John Ruberry

“So you’ll be paying yourself to build a railroad with government subsidies.” Sen. Jordan Crane to Thomas “Doc” Durant.

“These are exciting times. You and I are opening the way for the greatest nation the world has ever seen.” Major Augustus Bendix to Cullen Bohannon.

“See him driving those golden nails
that hold together the silver bars
That one day’s gonna take us to the stars
cos he’s the man who built America.”
Horslips, from their song, The Man Who Built America.

“A new chapter of American greatness is now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our nation. And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp. What we are witnessing today is the renewal of the American spirit.” President Donald J. Trump to Congress last week.

Last week I completed my latest binge-watching endeavor, Hell on Wheels, an AMC show that ran from 2011-2016 that is available on Netflix and on Amazon.

The building of the American transcontinental is the driving force of the plot of this series–the Union Pacific heading west from Omaha and the Central Pacific heading east from Sacramento.

The transcontinental railroad exemplified America at its best–getting the job done 16 years before Canada and 36 years before Russia. It also exemplified America at its worst. Racism and corruption–the Crédit Mobilier outrage was one of our nation’s worst political scandals and it forever tainted this monumental achievement.

The Civil War purged America of slavery, the nation was no longer “a house divided against itself,” but in 1865 the United States was in a way like an uncompleted jigsaw puzzle, the east and west coasts, the easy part, were settled but much of the middle–the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, still needed to be filled in.

Hell on Wheel’s main character is Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a former slaveholder and Confederate cavalry officer who travels to Nebraska Territory to hunt down Union soldiers who murdered his wife and son in Mississippi. Despite that ruthlessness–make that because of that ruthlessness–Union Pacific president Thomas “Doc” Durant (Colm Meaney) takes him under his wing, although their relationship is mostly turbulent throughout the run of the series.

Bohannon isn’t the only character scarred by the turmoil of mid-19th century America. Elam Ferguson (Common) and Psalms Jackson (Dohn Norwood) are freedmen who quickly learn that freedom from slavery doesn’t mean equality. The Reverend Nathaniel Cole (Tom Noonan) and his daughter Ruth (Kasha Kropinski), suffer from pangs of guilt remaining from Bleeding Kansas. The Rev. Cole’s most prominent convert to Christianity, Joseph Black Moon (Eddie Spears), is estranged from his father, a Cheyenne chief. The most compelling character on the show, Thor “The Swede” Gunderson (Christopher Heyerdahl), is a Norwegian immigrant and former Union army quartermaster–a man who says he is good with numbers, but after his barbaric incarceration at the notorious Andersonville prisoner of war camp, he ascertained that “I had to control people like I control numbers and I learned to practice a sort of immoral mathematics.”

The Swede is Hell On Wheels’ principal villain and if there is ever a Villains Hall Of Fame built, then he belongs as a charter member.

Another intriguing HoW character is Irish immigrant Mickey McGuinnes (Phil Burke), who like Durant, finds a way to make himself a success after starting with nothing. One of his workers is a tattooed former prostitute and a Jack Mormon, Eva (Robin McLeavy). She was captured by Indians after her family’s wagon train was waylaid.

The final season of Hell on Wheels brings in the storyline of the Central Pacific. Movie posters for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly boasted, “For three men the Civil War wasn’t hell. It was practice!” The Chinese laborers on the Central Pacific can be forgiven for having a similar dismissive view of our Civil War, which killed 600,000 Americans. Emotional scars from the Taiping Rebellion plague many of the Chinese characters. That conflict, which was actually a civil war between Imperial China and a man claiming to be the brother of Jesus Christ, probably killed 20-30 million people–after the famine deaths are added in. Some estimates bring the death total as high as 100 million. If that last figure is correct, then the Taiping Rebellion was the deadliest war ever.

Life is cheap in both the Union Pacific and Central Pacific camps–both are served by brothels, although opium is offered at the latter instead of whiskey.

Durant was a real person, although his portrayal in Hell on Wheels is largely fictional. Other historical figures appearing include Wyoming’s territorial governor John Campbell (Jack Weber), President Ulysses S. Grant (Victor Slezak), and Brigham Young (Gregg Henry). Eva’s character was based on an actual woman, as was the man in the show who survived a scalping. He carries his scalp in a bottle of alcohol–and offers paid listeners a recounting of his ordeal. The phrase “Hell on Wheels” is a real one in this context, it’s what the tent cities that followed the construction of the Union Pacific were called.

Blogger walking the rails

In the penultimate HoW episode, there is a prescient moment as black and Chinese workers rush to finish the road in 1869. Above them you see the moon. One hundred years later, yes, in 1969, “the greatest nation the world has ever seen” reached the moon. No country has repeated that feat or even attempted it.

Yes, American exceptionalism is real.

If you enjoy westerns, you’ll find Hell on Wheels worth your while. But if you are looking for romance–then look elsewhere. Mount is a fine actor but love encounters are not his long suit. And what was the point of his sex scene on top of a table with fused nitroglycerine on it?

As with most westerns, the cinematography is first-rate–with Alberta filling in capably for Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, and California. It would be better if movies about America would be filmed here, but that’s another subject for another time.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Taken aback, Longstreet at last saw what the trouble was. Bragg was miffed because his design for herding the blue coats into McLemore’s Cove had gone astray…In other words, if he could not win in just the way he wanted, he did not care about winning at all, or anyhow he wanted no personal share in such a victory

Shelby Foote The Civil War A Narrative Fredericksburg to Meridian p 744

If there has been one constant in the story of the rise of the alternate media it’s that the mainstream media outlets have been biased against conservatism and have served as defacto media arm of leftists in general and the Democrat party in particular.

The MSM’s unwillingness to report honestly burying stories unfavorable to liberal memes like

while pushing and defending thin or false stories to advance said memes

is what made folks like Matt Drudge, Instapundit and me  what we are today.

In fact the bias of the left is so bad that not only does Newsbusters document it daily but their annual dinner highlighting journalism worst abuses of the year is practically the nerd prom of the right.

So I’m slightly surprised when I see tweets like this upset at some of the POTUS’ tweets about press ethics or lack thereof


Matt used to be at Newsbusters concerned by things like this

The irony is palatable particularly given this

and this

and of course this

I understand that some of my fellow conservatives don’t like or trust Donald Trump but this doesn’t require pity for the dishonest media. I’d say Iowahawk puts it very well as always in two tweets

Personally I don’t understand the frustration of any conservative, even one who hates Trump over all this. Consider this lament from the Baltimore Sun

Trump lashed out at BuzzFeed in his press conference today, calling it a “failing pile of garbage.” He also refused to take a question from a CNN correspondent Jim Acosta.

“I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump told Acosta. “You are fake news.”

I wish he had saved all his wrath for BuzzFeed, which clearly deserves it.

Thanks to BuzzFeed, all of us in the press are diminished.

or the Sight of reports on CNN cutting and running from Buzzfeed:

CNN distances itself from BuzzFeed, says Trump is using the website ‘to deflect from CNN’s reporting’

or the joy of Chuck Todd suddenly deciding that Buzzfeed isn’t a great news source:

and NBC undermining CNN

Less than 18 months ago every conservative I know would have given their eye teeth to discredit the dishonest and dishonorable MSM and break their power. Now that it’s happening because of Trump some conservatives are suddenly worried about this kind of thing.

Let me remind everyone that there is an easy way for the MSM to stop bleeding it’s credibility by acting like a bunch of Democrats with bylines:

Stop acting like a bunch of Democrats with bylines!


That’s it, do who what when where and why, confirm your stories and make sure you have at least one or two people with a different ideological bent who can see the bias you can’t before you publish and you’ll be fine but I suspect for the left that’s too high a price to pay for credibility.

As for me I suggest rather than bemoaning Trump I suggest sitting back and enjoying the MSM crashing and burning around me.

Closing Thought, as I recall part of the phony Buzzfeed story was a suggestion that Donald Trump has an affinity for some sexual practices that some might find deviant.

Can anyone really any time in the last 8 years when any critique, let alone condemnation of deviant sexual practices did not elicit a cry of Bigot from places like Buzzfeed why did they consider the idea, false that it was, that Trump enjoyed such practices a cause for celebration and loudly condemn anyone who said otherwise?


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trump-for-america-bw-and-colorBy John Ruberry

I haven’t read all of the thousands of John Podesta emails hacked by Wikileaks–has anyone yet?–but what I have read they betray a Democratic Party obsessed with two things: Money and power.

Liberal writer Thomas Frank, in his second great (gasp!) Guardian column in less than a week, accurately portrays the modern Democratic Party:

Let us start with the Democrats. Were you to draw a Venn diagram of the three groups whose interaction defines the modern-day Democratic party – liberals, meritocrats and plutocrats – the space where they intersect would be an island seven miles off the coast of Massachusetts called Martha’s Vineyard.

I’m going to drive the point home by reminding you that John F. Kennedy Jr, who was a liberal, meritocrat, and a plutocrat, was flying to Martha’s Vineyard to attend a cousin’s wedding when the airplane he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic. The Vineyard is Barack Obama’s favorite vacation spot–he’s been there seven times while president. Martha’s Vineyard the playground of the Democrat elitists. Bill and Hillary Clinton have vacationed there several times. In August her campaign held a $100,000-per-couple fundraiser on the island, just days after a devastating flood struck Louisiana.

In those Podesta emails, I haven’t so far found any mention of blacks, unless it’s about the black vote, the group that Democrats claim to champion more than anyone. But other than voting en masse for the Democrats and celebrity campaign appearances by people like Jay-Z, African-Americans otherwise aren’t much use for the Democrats.

Blue collar workers, a section of the electoral pie that has been shrinking for decades, appear to be missing from the Podesta emails too. They are also absent from Martha’s Vineyard, from what I hear, unless they are modern George Wilsons from The Great Gatsby, dutifully repairing plutocrats’ Teslas. The working class, once the biggest chunk of the FDR coalition, is heading towards the Republican Party. Perhaps a majority of them are inside the GOP tent already. And you won’t find what Michael Moore calls “the forgotten working stiff” on any vacation, because the leftist flamethrower pointed out last month his stiff hasn’t “had a real vacation in years.”

Some blacks besides the First Family “holiday” on the Vineyard, but in a 2009 article in New York magazine, Touré dismissed them as African-Americans who are “the only ones,” such as the only black in the room, neighborhood, or workplace.

“No man is an island entire of itself,” John Donne wrote nearly 400 years ago, “every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Unless of course you are a member of the Democrat elite. An island accessible only by boats and airplanes is a fitting hangout for them.

Which leaves “the leftover people” for the Republicans. Sure, the elitists will blame the decline in unionization of the blue collar work force as why the leftovers have fallen behind.

Maybe.

Also discovered in Podesta’s WikiLeaks cache was an email from Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who advised the Clinton campaign to choose a city outside of Washington for its headquarters because they would be better positioned to hire “low paid permanent employees.” And just what wage does Schmidt view as low paid? Is it less than the $15 minimum wage that Democrats call for?

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Oh, if Schmidt really believes every verse in the Democratic mantra, then why isn’t Google unionized?

So, no, the Democratic Party isn’t the champion of “the little guy” anymore, just as Martha’s Vineyard isn’t a vacation destination for blacks living in Boston’s impoverished Dorchester neighborhood. Ironically it’s a billionaire from Manhattan who, at least this autumn, has made “the little guy” feel at home within the Republican Party.

John Ruberry, whose closest brush with Martha’s Vineyard has been South Boston, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

trump-for-america-bw-and-color

By John Ruberry

“I’m not an actor, I’m a movie star!”
Peter O’Toole’s Alan Swann character in My Favorite Year.

A couple of writers I usually agree with, the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass and Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, the latter unsuccessfully  ran for Congress six years ago in the Illinois district where I live, are predicting a Hillary Clinton win in Monday’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.

Kass and Pollak acknowledge Clinton’s extensive debate skills, she was a victorious US Senate candidate in 2000 and 2006 and Clinton came very close to winning the Democratic nomination in 2008. The latter contest had numerous debates, including some one-on-one contests between Hillary and Barack Obama. Donald Trump has never participated in a one-on-one debate.

But Americans have heard this song before. While Kass acknowledges the 1960 John F. Kennedy–Richard M. Nixon debates set the standard for future matchups being about style over substance; Nixon was the more experienced debater, but Kennedy, still the most telegenic president in American history, emerged the victor. Nixon won the substance battle–the comparatively few radio listeners to the debate agreed–but the Age of Television began over a decade earlier.

joel-pollak-marathon-pundit
Blogger Ruberry with Joel Pollak in 2012

And what is largely overlooked from the first Kennedy-Nixon debate, which coincidentally was held 56 years to the day ahead of Monday’s faceoff, is that Nixon had some minor health issues on debate day–a knee injury suffered on the campaign trail and a subsequent infection earlier that month led to the Republican being hospitalized. Then Nixon contracted the flu. His rotten luck continued when the GOPer banged that same knee on a car door as he was entering the debate studio. Even in black-and-white, Kennedy looked tan and fit during that first debate, although his bronze skin tone, rare among those of Irish descent, was probably because he was suffering from Addison’s disease. Nixon looked pale. He was sweating, and it appeared that he needed a shave.

The better debater–and ironically the healthier man, lost the initial and of course most important of the 1960 debates. Nixon had to wait eight more years to win the presidency.

Trump, at age 70, is the Energizer bunny of the 2016 presidential campaign. The brash teetotaler clearly has the stamina to last 90 minutes standing on the debate stage.  But three times this month Clinton, age 68, had public bouts of unhealthiness that were captured on video–a four-minute long coughing fit, a collapse as her legs uncontrollably wobbled, and a Marty Feldman-wild eyes moment.

Can Clinton endure 90 minutes on her feet with no commercial breaks? Or bathroom or coughing breaks? While waiting for an opposing quarterback to throw an interception is generally not the best tactic of a successful NFL game plan, it certainly works well for the opponents of the Chicago Bears since Jay Cutler became their QB.

As for the Age of Television, and its cousin internet video, Trump is the master here. The billionaire real estate businessman hosted his popular Apprentice franchise for 11 years on NBC. Clinton, after nearly 40 years in public life, even on her increasingly few good days, still seems uncomfortable in front of TV cameras. Just as Nixon was, ironically. I mean this as a compliment: Trump is not a politician, he’s a TV star.  A skilled negotiator, Trump knows that if you get inside an opponents head, you’ve hobbled that person. Can Clinton debate the Trump on stage and the one in her head simultaneously?

Yes, Hillary can talk about details of police better than Trump. Will that matter?

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Sure Trump can blow it for himself by meandering into an insult rant during the debate, or worse, he could offer a cruel quip if (or when?) Clinton shows another sign of ill health, which would probably result in voters sympathizing with the Democratic nominee.

Moving beyond Kennedy-Nixon, in 1980, Ronald Reagan–an actor by the way–appeared far more presidential than the policy wonk incumbent, Jimmy Carter. In 2000,  Al Gore’s imperiousness mixed with too much wonkishness gave voters the impression that he had been running for president since 1969.

Come to think of it, Hillary Clinton has been positioning herself for a presidential run since then too. You could not say that about George W. Bush in 2000. And of course you can’t say that about Donald Trump either.

Not that Trump is dumb, he isn’t. But people don’t like smartass know-it-alls.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I love that Question. What a good guy. Who are you?

Donald Trump to DaTechGuy Aug 19th 2016

Part of an occasional election series on the things Trump does that conservatives should celebrate:

Apparently Donald Trump held a press conference while I was asleep and it was everything a conservative could dream of:

“I”m going to continue to attack the press,” he added. “I find the press to be dishonest. I find the political press to be extremely dishonest.”

Well they are. Just ask Katie Couric, Dan Rather, Brian Williams, Scott “Holocaust Denier” Pelley, Face the Nation host John Dickerson who advised Obama in 2013 to ‘Destroy the GOP,’ etc., etc.

All of which is why, “If this news conference turns into a press-driven referendum on how the press is doing,” Ari Fleischer tweets, “Trump will have won the day.”

The Press? Dishonest? I haven’t seen someone so shocked since Captain Renault found gambling at Rick’s Cafe American!

But even funnier is the NYT explaining to their readers why they can’t help but cover him:

But the New York Times headline: “Television Networks Struggle to Provide Equal Airtime in the Era of Trump.” Oh, yes. Five pages this baby prints out. And the New York Times has another story: “Hillary Clinton Struggles to Find Footing in Unusual Race.” This is also related.

They’ve got two stories here on how the Times is actually apologizing to its readers for being unable to balance coverage in favor of Hillary. If Trump were any other Republican, they would have practically destroyed him by now and they’d be worried about rehabbing Hillary’s image and building her up. But she’s so unexciting, she’s so dull, she’s so scandal ridden, they’ve got nothing to work with. All they can do is try to destroy Trump, but they don’t know how. Because they didn’t make Trump, they can’t destroy Trump.

That’s why Trump can do things like this:

“I’m not looking for credit [for the donations] but what I don’t want is when I raise millions of dollars, have people say — like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC,” Trump said, pointing toward ABC News reporter Tom Llamas. “He’s a sleaze in my book.”

Llamas asked why Trump called him a sleaze.

“You’re a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well,” said Trump.

The point is that people KNOW what he’s saying about the press is true, that’s really good but that because of ratings they media don’t dare not report this, that the best.

If you’re a conservative and aren’t enjoying Trump taking down the press there’s something wrong with you.



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the latest in our series of posts noting the bright side of Donald Trump’s nomination for president for unhappy conservatives.

Today’s piece comes from the Morning Joe via the Washington Free Beacon:

MSNBC’s Morning Joe panel had a lengthy discussion Monday about the “uncomfortable” facts of Bill Clinton’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the known pedophile billionaire whose jet Clinton flew on dozens of times.

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has been unafraid to level attacks against the Clintons for the former president’s past of sexual misconduct, calling him fair game. Fox News reported last week that Clinton flew on Epstein’s jet, the crudely named “Lolita Express,” far more than previously known in the last decade.

Panelist Donny Deutsch guessed that Trump would have no problem counter-punching with the Epstein connection whenever he was hit for his own behavior with women, as he was last weekend in a piece in the New York Times.

“Here’s the tennis game,” Deutsch said. “Donald Trump kissed a woman in a bathing suit. Trump hits back: Tell me about the president’s relationship with a guy named Jeffrey Epstein. That’s your tennis match.”

Now this story isn’t all that new, in fact I wrote about it two years ago and my own post was derivative of Stacy McCain’s that preceded it.

and you also might wonder why this piece goes under the “Always Look on the Bright Side of Trump” category, well take a look at the video

and two things become immediately clear.

Everybody at the Table knows who Jeffery Epstein is, and what the story is

Nobody at the table wanted to talk about it

Joe Scarborough notes he has been hearing about this for a year and a half but the fact that the viewers of MSNBC are just hearing about it now goes to something I wrote about this story in April 2014

If there is one thing the media that loves to play the War on Women® card doesn’t want to touch it’s a story about people using their own private island to get laid that involves Bill Clinton.

What could the media do if this story involving the former father of the year? They would call it old news, not relevant, dirty tricks from a salacious lawsuit that doesn’t even involve him and an attack on Hillary that crosses the line. In fact the left will deploy a plethora of adjectives to discourage further discussion of this story from antiquated to zany, but there is one adjective that could not come out of their mouth to dismiss this story:

Unbelievable

The last few years have proven that the left can convince a low information voter of a lot of things, but even the full power of the mainstream media and the strongest zealots from the War on Women® brigade would not be able to convince the American public that Bill Clinton would have no interest or business on a private island where orgies took place.

That’s why you didn’t see this story in the news last month and why as the case moves forward you’ll not see it covered period.

 

It’s very clear that the MSM has been sitting on this stuff for almost two years and had no intention of ever talking about it, and it even clearer that if the GOP voters had elected any other nominee MSNBC’s Morning Joe would have happily kept their viewers in ignorance.

But Donald Trump nomination throws those rules out the windows.  He’s willing to do what Stacy McCain & I Couldn’t do and what Mitt Romney and John  McCain wouldn’t do, force a story like this onto the national stage.

Mind you Trump hasn’t even bothered to say a word about Epstein yet and the table does its best to spin this in a different direction, but the very fact that Trump is who is forced MSNBC to deal with the story even if most of dealing with it was talking about Trump’s willingness to go there.

Take a look at the set of dejected faces on that video, remember those faces are being broadcast on MSNBC to liberal viewers who would never do a web search of the words “Jeffery Epstein + Bill Clinton”

Donald Trump did that and if you’re a conservative it’s a joy to behold.

Closing thought: They mentioned the word “enabler” used in the context of Hillary, would it not that word be better applied to the press who has known about these stories but have kept silent to protect their hero?

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♫ When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best…
And…

…always look on the bright side
of life…
(Whistle)

Always look on the light side
of life… ♫

Monty Python Life of Brian 1979

In keeping with the optimistic “Always look at the bright side of life” theme of my very first post here back in Nov of 2008, when the Obama administration was just a few weeks old and I didn’t know my days as a mostly anonymous but comfortable member of the middle class with no debt and money put away were about to be consumed by eight years of his misrule, begin an occasional 2016 election year feature called: Always look on the bright side of Trump where we highlight stories that highlight the bright side of Donald Trump being the standard-bearer of the GOP.

Today’s highlight comes from Gateway Pundit who notes that in an appearance on Good Morning America Mr. Trump reminds the audience of some facts that his interviewer George Stephanopoulos would like his audience to ignore: (emphasis mine)

During the interview Stephanopoulos asked Trump to release his tax returns. That’s when Trump snapped back, “It’s none of your business.”

When George continued to push Trump on his reluctance to release the documents so Democrats could scour the pages for possible hit pieces, Trump fired back:

George Stephanopoulos: You said you’d release your tax returns when Hillary has turned over all of the emails in her possession.

Donald Trump: She didn’t turn them over. There are plenty missing. I read yesterday where there are a lot of emails missing. I know she’s a good friend of yours and I know that you worked for her and you didn’t reveal it but you know she did not turn over her emails. There are a lot of emails missing.

Stephanopoulos: There are emails from her staffers missing. She turned over all of her emails.

Trump: There are emails missing all over the place.

Can you picture Mitt Romney doing that? Or John McCain?

Furthermore bloggers like me can point to Stephanopoulos past as a Clinton damage control hack till we’re blue in the face and it will not only never be noticed by the good folks watching GMA but if we ever did it on air we’d never see the light of day again.

Donald Trump however has a much broader reach so not only will the folks watching GMA pay attention but because he brings so much of an audience Stephanopoulos and ABC will bring him back over and over again.

and I hope Trump mentions it every time they do.

Cue the music

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