Logan statue, centerpiece of many 1968 DNC protests

By John Ruberry

There are cries on both sides of the political aisle for a return to civility.

When did it go away?

It happened fifty years ago in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention.

The left killed civility.

The documentary Best of Enemies, available on Netflix, centers on ten debates broadcast on ABC during the 1968 Republican and  Democratic conventions between left-wing author Gore Vidal and National Review founder William F. Buckley, whose remaking of the conservative movement resulted in the election of Ronald Reagan at president twelve years later.

Buckley and Vidal’s feud went back years earlier and continued until their deaths.. Both men had polished mid-Atlantic accents and were masters of grammar. Debate moderator Howard K. Smith called them “two craftsmen” of language as he introduced the duo at their first debate during the GOP convention in Miami Beach.

There the similarities ended. Buckley was a devout Catholic and Vidal was a hedonist.

Over the course of the debates the rancor metastasized. By the final debate the hatred between the two men–yes, they really despised each other–was evident. When Smith brought up a protest in Chicago’s Grant Park and queried Vidal if it was “a provocative act to try to raise the Vietcong flag in the park in the film we just saw,” name calling followed. Vidal told Buckley that he was a “crypto Nazi” which led the usually genteel Buckley to respond angrily, “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddam face, and you’ll stay plastered.” It was very likely the first time “queer” was uttered on television when it referred to homosexuality.

The Chicago Police of course, on live television in front of millions of viewers, including myself, beat many of the protesters with billy clubs in front of the convention headquarters hotel. The chaos ironically helped elect Republican Richard Nixon president. What a report later called a “police riot” of course occurred at the Democrats’ convention and Chicago’s mayor, Richard J. Daley, was one of the most powerful Democrats in America.

The night after the riot, Daley explained on CBS, very late in the evening when few people were watching, that the cops’ tempers were inflamed because they were pelted with bottles and bags filled with feces and urine.

How uncivil is that?

Antifa, the enforcement wing of the leftist movement, utilizes feces and urine attacks at their protests.

A couple of years later in an incident recalled in leftist Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” guidebook, there was a protest of lawyers inside the Chicago federal court building during the Chicago Seven trial. The Seven were alleged conspirators who were being tried, quite unfairly it turned out, for disrupting the 1968 convention. The courthouse protest was put to bed by a federal judge, William Campbell, which compelled one of the assembled lawyers to shout, “Fck you Campbell!” Alinsky didn’t scold the sole heckler, instead he admonished the other attorneys for not starting a “fck you Campbell” chant.

Antifa loves four-letter word chants. As do many other left-wingers.

Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis was about Alinsky. And a Chicago Alinkskyite organization gave Barack Obama his first political job.

In spite of, or probably because of the insults, the Vidal-Buckley debates were a huge hit for little-watched ABC News. As Best of Enemies points out, CBS’ still relatively new 60 Minutes quickly utilized the format with its Point-Counterpoint segment between a liberal and conservative, which was hilariously parodied on Saturday Night Live. Of course SNL’s writers gave the nasty punchline to Aykroyd’s conservative alter ego, “Jane, you ignorant slut.”

As for the shout-shows on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, they also can look to the Vidal-Buckley debates for their genesis.

As for Donald Trump, sure he’s a crude man. But he is simply fighting back.

And where were the obscene chants when the Tea Party movement was at its peak? When have Trump supporters tossed urine and feces at their opponents?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

While “the betters” on the Sunday talk shows were praising John McCain, who died from brain cancer Saturday, Mrs. Marathon Pundit turned to me and asked, “Why isn’t anyone talking about the number of houses he owned?”

The TV talking heads weren’t.

In his laudatory statement about the Arizona senator’s passing, of course Barack Obama didn’t bring up the houses. But in 2008, when a Politico reporter asked the Arizona senator how many houses he owned, and in a awkward manner, McCain replied that he didn’t know. He suggested that the reporter check with his staff.

Watch Obama–the pertinent section begins at 1:38–mock McCain for being an out-of-touch elitist over the houses gaffe.

The correct number was eight, if you include the homes owned by McCain’s wife.

Obama’s campaign used the McCain houses remark in television ad. Which, in one of the McCain campaign’s better moments, led a spokesperson to retort, “Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses?”

Obama still owns that mansion, purchased with guidance from Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko. And he now owns a second mansion, this one with–wait for it–a wall, in Washington.

McCain was tortured by his North Vietnamese jailers during his five years as a prisoner of war. Those injuries made it very difficult for him to type and use a computer. Which led the Obama campaign to run this sneering ad against McCain:

CNN didn’t begin its piling-on against prominent Republicans with the rise of Donald Trump, its Jeanne Moos sardonically reported on the McCain computer kerfuffle during the ’08 campaign.

When asked a town hall in 2008 about a George W. Bush statement that American troops might be serving in Iraq for 50 years, McCain musingly replied that they could there for “maybe 100.”

Let’s add some context here. Over seven decades after the defeat of the Axis powers there still are American troops stationed in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Only extremists from both sides of the political aisle are calling for their removal.

Obama pounced on McCain for the 100-years remark. “Instead of offering an exit strategy for Iraq” Obama said a month later, “he’s offering us a 100-year occupation.”

A lie.

McCain never spoke of an “occupation.” Obama pulled out our troops from Iraq in late 2011 and bragged about it in during his reelection campaign. Three years later ISIS seized nearly one-third of Iraq. Then Obama dispatched combat troops to Iraq again. About 5,000 of them remain.

Obama, as he is about so many other things, was wrong about Iraq.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The teaching of history in high school has become so appalling that few students arrive at a university with any coherent understanding of the past.

As an example, I’ve been asked to be on a panel for my college’s students who are too young to know much about 9/11.

Think about that. Somehow college students don’t know enough about 9/11, an event that occurred less than 20 years ago that has shaped the United States so distinctly.

With a lack of understanding about recent historical events, it is not surprising that students don’t know much older history. And what the students know is mostly tripe. Somehow 9/11 was OUR fault. Saddam Hussein wasn’t such a bad guy. We stole America from its true owners and should pay reparations for slavery.

But there’s more. The College Board, a nonprofit organization that runs the SAT and Advanced Placement program, announced that it was revising the world history course it has offered since 2002.

After many complaints, the organization added 250 years to the front end of the course, making the new class cover the 13th century through to the present day.

Here’s what students will learn in the additional material:

–The founding of the Mali Empire in 1235
–The death of Sundiata Keita in 1260
–The life of Mansa Musa (1280-1337)
–Swahili cities of the 14th century
–Zimbabwe in the 15th century

And wait for it: The beginning of the European slave trade in 1441.

All of these areas of history may be worthwhile to examine, but I don’t think they belong in an introductory world history course.

But there’s even more. One of the suggested areas of study is to imagine if Christopher Columbus were a woman named Christine.

The study guideline suggests an area of discussion includes the societal interpreations of menstruation in European and Native American culture. I’m not kidding.

Here it is: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-world-history/classroom-resources/voyages-christine-columbus

In a companion syllabus, the rest of the course, which is supposed to be at the college level, provides information on the following:

–Global Interactions (c. 1450 to c. 1750)

That would be creating imperial empires that subjugate humans throughout the world. Now I’m kidding, but it’s probably close to the truth.

–Industrialization and Global Integration (c. 1750 to c. 1900)

That would be dehumanizing workers and expanding empires to subjugate the poor.

–Accelerating Global Change and Realignments (c. 1900 to the Present)

I think this probably means a lot of bad things happened unless you were part of the one-percenters.

You really can’t make this stuff up! But I guess a lot of high school history teachers do.

Here’s Sam Cooke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4GLAKEjU4w

 

By John Ruberry

Since Donald J. Trump’s upset win in 2016 over Hillary Clinton–who after the election the left-wing media belatedly informed us was a flawed candidate–we’ve been bombarded with story after story that the president is either colluding with Russia or is weak in dealing with it.

But the Democrats have a decades-long history of failure involving Russia and the Soviet Union, which is something Mark Levin reminded me last week, as the media spewed venom after Trump’s summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin last week.

Here are some of those fiascos.

At the Yalta Conference in 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt, historically the most popular president among Democrats, signed over most of the eastern Europe to the Soviet Union, including Poland. It was the invasion of that nation by the Nazis that led France and Great Britain to declare war on Germany.

Graffiti in Latvia

While campaigning for a full presidential term in 1948 Truman said, “I got very well acquainted with Joe Stalin, and I like old Joe! He is a decent fellow. But Joe is a prisoner of the Politburo.”

Many Democrats still celebrate the memories of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who gave away atomic bomb secrets to the USSR. They were executed for treason in 1953. Alger Hiss, a State Department official, was convicted of perjury three years earlier. Many Dems revere his memory too. After opening up Soviet archives in the 1990s, it was discovered that indeed all three were Soviet agents, and yes, traitors.

“He savaged me.” is what John F. Kennedy said of Nikita Khrushchev after a two-day summit in 1961. The Soviet leader judged JFK as weak, two months later the communists began building the Berlin Wall. The following year the Soviets commenced building a missile base in Cuba, which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which nearly started a nuclear war.

Amazingly, the Democrats’ “Lion of the Senate,” JFK’s brother Ted Kennedy, hadn’t learned his lesson after being thumped in the Democratic primaries at the hands of incumbent president Jimmy Carter in 1980. The peanut farmer was trounced in a landslide in the general election later that year. Yet Kennedy was considering challenging Reagan in 1984. His plan was to–wait for it–collude! Teddy would aid Soviet leader Yuri Andropov in confronting Reagan–and the leader of the Evil Empire would assist Kennedy in facing off against the Gipper.

Barack Obama’s feckless response to the Syrian Civil War allowed Russia to gain a foothold in that troubled nation. After Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad crossed Obama’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons, Obama did nothing.

Shortly after becoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton presented a “reset” button to Russian counterpart, signifying a new start to relations between our countries.

Bonus round:

The Democrats’ favorite newspaper is the New York Times. Its Moscow correspondent in the 1920s and 1930s, Walter Duranty, received a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Stalin’s USSR. But not only did Duranty fail to report on the famine in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s, he claimed such stories about it were untrue. But Duranty knew that as many as 10 million people starved to death during the famine, which as a direct result of Stalin’s barbaric policies. The proliferation of fake news is not a recent development.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. His wife was born in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic.

By John Ruberry

Little Marathon Pundit and I were on vacation earlier this month and our travels brought us to Wisconsin and Michigan. On our final day of that trip we visited the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, just six days prior to the 105th anniversary of the birth of the 38th president.

Of the presidents of my lifetime, Gerald Ford is the obvious choice for the “Most Likely to be Forgotten Award.” That’s partly understandable. His 29 months in office was the shortest term of any president who didn’t die in office. And Ford was the closest thing to a “regular guy” to live in the White House. The media loved Ford for that–delighting on him toasting his own English muffins in the White House kitchen. They loved Ford–yes, he was a Republican–until he pardoned his predecessor, Richard M. Nixon, one month after being sworn in to office.

Immediately Ford became a buffoon and a dope. He now was the media’s enemy and ordinary instances were blown out of proportion. He stumbled and fell from the steps of Air Force One. Have you ever had a misstep on a set of stairs? He sliced a few golf balls into crowds–those onlookers would not have been there if he was still House Minority Leader. Ford was an accomplished skier, but do you know what? Skiers fall. And so did he. Chevy Chase’s impersonations of him on Saturday Night Live portrayed him as dimwitted and yes, a man who could barely remain on his feet.

But Ford was arguably the greatest presidential athlete. He was an All-American football center for the University of Michigan. He was offered contracts by the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. Until very late into his long life Ford regularly swam laps, Ford had an outdoor pool built on the White House grounds to replace the indoor one that Nixon converted into a press room so he could remain in shape.

Ford “the dummy” graduated in the top third of his class at Yale law school.

In short, because of the Nixon pardon, Ford was bombarded by, not fake news, but a fake perception from the media.

The museum of course looks back at Ford’s improbable rise from being abandoned by his father two weeks after his birth to becoming an Eagle Scout and a star athlete. After college and law school Ford returned to his hometown of Grand Rapids to practice law. After Pearl Harbor Ford joined the Navy. Shortly after marrying Betty Bloomer in 1948, Ford won his first election as congressman of Michigan’s 5th district. By the mid-1960s Ford was the House minority leader.

The film about Ford’s life, “A Time To Heal,” plays there.

As the Watergate scandal raged. Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew, pleaded no contest to tax evasion and resigned. Nixon, under the provisions of the recently enacted 25th Amendment to the Constitution, nominated Ford as Agnew’s replacement, which Congress approved. Thus Ford became the first vice president–and the only president–not elected by the American people.

“I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots,” Ford said in his brief inaugural address, “and so I ask you to confirm me as your president with your prayers.” And alluding to Watergate, he added, “Our long national nightmare is over.”

But Ford was president during an unusually eventful 29 months, which the museum documents. What transpired included: His controversial choice of liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller as his vice president, rampant inflation and the brutal l974-75 recession, the Mayaguez incident, the fall of South Vietnam, a summit meeting with Leonid Brezhnev, his signing of the Helsinki Accords, two assassination attempts–within a month, a general gloom of the American psyche, and his defeat by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election after a hard-fought primary battle with Ronald Reagan.

Quite a bit of bad stuff, to be sure. But the American Bicentennial was celebrated in 1976.

Oh yeah, Ford pardoned Nixon.

Blogger with Ford

The current special exhibit at the museum is centered on his wife, Betty Ford, the centennial of her birth was in April. Her life was a momentous one too. Unlike her recent predecessors as First Lady, Betty was outspoken. Six weeks after moving into the White House she underwent a mastectomy–which brought much needed attention to breast cancer. Two years after her husband’s electoral defeat she was treated for alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers. Rather than hiding in shame, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center, America’s best-known substance abuse treatment center.

Yesterday during the Gerald Ford birthday celebration at the museum a statute of Betty was unveiled.

Jerry and Betty Ford–two Americans who had two remarkable lives.

If you are anywhere near Grand Rapids, a visit to the Ford museum is worth your time.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

“It [the Thames River] had borne all the ships whose names are like jewels flashing in the night of time, from the Golden Hind returning with her round flanks full of treasure, to be visited by the Queen’s Highness and thus pass out of the gigantic tale, to the Erebus and Terror, bound on other conquests—and that never returned.”
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.

Last Monday I completed watching AMC’s ten-episode masterful series, The Terror, a telling, with many needed embellishments to fill in the missing details, of John Franklin’s Lost Expedition of 1845-1848.

The voyage was a British Navy attempt to navigate an ice-free route through the Canadian Arctic, the Northwest Passage, an envisioned shortcut to China, that to this day, is a rarely navigable by large ships. The expedition was led by Sir John Franklin, who was also the captain of the Erebus. Francis Crozier captained the Terror. The ships were last seen between Greenland and Baffin Island in 1845. After wintering off of Beechey Island, where three crew members died, the ships became trapped in the following year, it’s believed they never sailed again. Franklin died in 1847, and the last communication from the expedition, a note left in a cairn on King William Island, reported that an astounding 24 men died before the ships were abandoned in 1848. The crew of the ship totaled 134 when it departed the Thames. Only a few bodies and some bones–some of which betray evidence of cannibalism–and a smattering artifacts were discovered after an exhaustive series of rescue missions. Over the following decades it was ascertained that the men may have been debilitated, both physically and mentally, by lead poisoning from shoddily soldered cans of food.

There were no survivors.

That’s the essence of what is known of the expedition.

The Terror series, based on a novel by Dan Simmons, imaginatively fills in the details of what might have happened to the crew.

Franklin (Ciarán Hinds) ignores the advice of Crozier (Jared Harris) and they get stuck, well you already know that part of the story. The ships are menaced by a mysterious creature, Tuunbaq, which appears to be a polar bear. An Eskimo woman (Nive Nielsen) becomes their only human connection to the Arctic, of which Crozier says, “This place wants us dead.”

True, very true.

About Tuunbaq: Is it real, or an elaborate exaggeration where Inuit legend melds with lead-poisoned induced dementia?

The most compelling character is a young petty officer, Cornelius Hickey (Adam Nagaitis), who in a role reminiscent of George Segal’s in the Japanese prisoner of war movie, King Rat, uses the catastrophe to recreate himself as a leader. As so often happens, when order collapses cunning operators such as Hickey move in. Something bad becomes something worse.

Of course they don’t realize it right away, but the crew of the Franklin Expedition are imprisoned just as the inmates in King Rat were.

Crozier finally decides to abandon the ships–and the crew embarks on an 800-mile journey by foot to a remote mainland Canadian outpost–pulling many of their belongings, including unneeded books, in lifeboats refashioned as sleds.

The situation becomes dreadful for them as the series gets even better.

The Terror was filmed in Hungary, superbly done CGI replicates the ice-bound ships and the rocky terrain of Beechey and King William islands. If you perform a Google image search of these forlorn islands, you’ll swear the series was filmed on location.

Paul Ready’s portrayal of surgeon Harry Goodsir, who remains kindly even while he gently declines the request of a dying man that he not perform an autopsy on him, is also praiseworthy.

I enjoyed the series, although I have to call out an overdone flogging scene that devolved into sadomasochistic torture.

Then again, like Conrad’s steamboat in his novella, the Terror and the Erebus sailed “into the heart of an immense darkness.”

AMC is still showing The Terror and it’s available where I live on Xfinity On Demand.

This show is not for the squeamish.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Lang’s Skokie office in 2006

Illinois cannot cope with the present, let alone with the future, so it’s fighting a symbolic battle from the past.

Here’s a little history lesson: In 1972 Congress submitted the Equal Rights Amendment to the state legislatures, which read:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

There was a rush of states falling over year other to ratify would have been the 27th Amendment before the seven-year deadline for passage, which in an unprecedented move, was extended by Congress for an additional three years. Thirty-five states–nearly all of them did so in the first year after congressional passage–ratified the ERA. Then opposition, led by conservative firebrand Phyliss Schlafly, who ironically lived in Illinois at the time, focused on such concerns that in an ERA America, women would be eligible for a military draft and gender-specific bathrooms would be abolished.

Blogger with Schlafly in 2006

Illinois did not ratify the ERA.

Three states, in a move never tested in a federal court, later rescinded their ratifications. No states ratified the ERA during the extension period and the Equal Rights Amendment died in 1982, three states–or six–short of what was needed to be enacted.

Or did the ERA really die?

Last year, thirty-five years after the deadline expired, Nevada ratified the ERA. And last month the Illinois state Senate voted to do the same. In the House, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who nominally represents me in the lower chamber, is the sponsor for the ERA there. It’s a pet cause of Lang, a consummate left-wing political hack. He’s the House deputy majority leader, in reality, he’s the head waiter for House Speaker for Life Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), who Reuters says is “the man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois.” Where is Lang’s pension fix? Illinois has one of the worst-funded public-worker pension systems of the fifty states. Its credit rating is the lowest of any state ever. Why? Pensions of course. And those generous retirement plans are in reality deferred compensation in exchange for public-sector union support of the Democratic Party. Yes, a couple of Republican governors, Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar, are also partly culpable. Illinois’ pension bomb, both at the state and local level, and the tax hikes to attempt to pay down that debt, are a millstone for the state and the reason the Prairie State is suffering from declining population.

Other than more tax increases, Lang has no solution to solve the pension crisis. And yes, he’s definitely part of the problem as Lang has been a state legislator since 1987.

What to do?

If you’re Lang, you create a distraction with a nostalgic, for the left that is, flavor. Ratify the ERA. The Democratic nominee for governor, JB Pritzker, is on board.

Of course Congress could vote to pass, with identical wording, a new Equal Rights Amendment. Lang can just call his pal US Rep. Jan Schakowsky, his (and yes, my) representative in the US House. She’s an even bigger leftist than he is. Then the states can have another go-around. That’s what the our nation’s founders would want.

On the other hand, passing an constitutional amendment is very difficult to do. In 229 years it’s only been accomplished 27 times. But the US Constitution has in reality been amended thousands of times–by the courts. Same-sex marriage was legalized in such a manner, as was abortion.

Other than making women eligible for a military draft, what would the ERA do?

Ruins of a LaSalle, Illinois bridge

But that’s not the point. Liberals are obsessed with symbolism.

After the 9/11 attacks author Tom Clancy expressed this notion better, telling Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, “The political left is, you know, they deal in symbols rather than reality.”

The ERA is a symbol.

“The general difference between conservatives and liberals is liberals like pretty pictures and conservatives like to build bridges that people can drive across,” Clancy continued. “And conservatives are indeed conservative because if the bridge falls down, people die. Where as the liberals figure, oh, we can always build a nice memorial to them and make people forget it happened and it was our fault. They’re very good at making people forget it was their fault, all right.”

The ultimate blame for Illinois’ pension debacle and the resulting people-drain lies with the left.

And Illinois is a collapsed bridge.

Will passing the ERA make Illinoisans feel better?

John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Illinoisan, who, with a 401(k) plan, is funding his own retirement. He regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Hayden: [stopping his horse and drawing a pistol] Good night Mr. Breen
John Breen: You mean I can go?
Hayden: Anytime
John Breen: [looking at the armed men around behind him] What makes you think I will?
Hayden: Because that way you’ve got a chance, a small one, but a chance
John Breen: [griping reigns of his horse] Well never let it be said I didn’t take it

The Fighting Kentuckian 1949

On May 10 1941 Rudolf Hess flew solo to England to propose peace between England and the Third Reich. It had been a plan he had been working on since Sept of 1940, running short of fuel he had to bail out and was captured the next day making the case for peace between the British Empire and the Third Reich.

From Sept 1940 to May 1941 England had been standing alone against the Undefeated Reich, Italy and Japan, their army and not recovered from the loss of their equipment at Dunkirk. The Battle of the Atlantic against the U-Boat fleet was still very much in doubt and the prospect for help was not good. The non-aggression pact between Russia and Germany was still in force and the American public was not inclined to enter another war in Europe and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which would change their minds was still seven months away.

It’s a good thing for the world that Britain in 1941 was not run by the folks at Alder Ray Hospital in charge of Alfie Evans, the people at the NHS, the Judges in charge of his appeal, or the British Government of today that let it happen. For those folks and those on social media who have steadfastly defended them, the idea of costly fighting on with the odds against them would have had no appeal when you had a no cost alternative that guaranteed their existing empire.

Much easier to keep what they had and give up the freedom of France, Holland, Belgium, Poland, Norway and Poland. then take the long shot risks for the sake of their freedom.

The world is very lucky that the half American Winston Churchill was in charge at the time and was able to lead and inspire his people to fight on.

Alas for Alfie Evans that Churchillian “never say die” attitude while expressed by thousands of Americans online and in person was not present in the British Government in general or in the NHS in particular. A single hour of Winston and Alfie Evans would have been in Italy weeks ago given food and water with a chance, however small, for survival.

How incredible is it that the we have the spectacle of a German Doctor saying that this decision would be unthinkable in modern day Germany

A leading German pediatrician is saying that the way the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is dealing with disabled toddler Alfie Evans and his parents would never happen in his country given its history with the Nazi regime.

“We have learned in Germany because of our history, that there are things that you do not do with severely disabled patients,” Professor Nikolaus Haas, head of the Child Cardiology and Pediatric Intensive Medicine Unit at Munich University Hospital, told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper in an April 26 article.

“Our ethical understanding in Germany is different, I mean – thank God. The [hospital’s] logic that it is better for the child to die than that someone else looks at it, and even to sue [for that] in court, this is an unimaginable behavior for me,” he said.

Alas this is not unimaginable this is reality. Alfie Evans is dead, a bit shy of his 2nd birthday and the risk to the NHS and it’s defenders posed by his continued survival has died with him, ironically the same week that the newest son of British Royalty was named.

I regret to say Alfie Evans is not the first British Child to die this way and it’s unlikely he will be the last British child dead after his parents pleas for the chance to save are denied by the British NHS and courts.

I can’t imagine The Few who risked all against enormous odds to save Britain nor their leader who made the fight rather than giving up would have approved. would

via wikipedia commons

“First we must cross the river,” Benito was saying.  “Do you believe me now when I tell you that you must not attempt to swim it, or even get wet from it, or must you try that too?”

“What happens if I just dive in?”

“Then you will be as you were in the bottle.  Aware and unable to move.  but it will be very cold, and very uncomfortable, and you will be there for all eternity knowing that you put yourself there.”

Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle Inferno  1976

A long time ago there was a country called Rhodesia. It was the breadbasket of southern Africa however it was ruled by a white minority government. This was an injustice.

That government was eventually replaced by a black majority government under Robert Mugabe rightly allowing proper self-rule. It was renamed Zimbabwe and started on a new chapter in its history

Unfortunately after a while it became clear that Mr. Mugabe was more qualified as a revolutionary than as a leader and while his ruling parties cronies did well the people did not. In order to try to retain electoral popularity started targeting white own farms which produced most of the country’s food. Many farmers left to avoid persecution which eventually led to the government confiscating property owned by white farmers and dishing it out to others who did not have experience in large-scale farming in the name of righting past wrongs.

Unfortunately this not only led to economic calamity but it led to food shortages as Zimbabwe which was once a net food exporter suddenly could not feed itself. After two decades it’s actually reached the point where the country is considering giving land back to this farmers in order to keep itself fed:

Among remaining farmers who have been recommended for a reprieve of Mr Mugabe’s edict that whites can no longer own land in Zimbabwe is Elizabeth Mitchell, a poultry farmer who produces 100,000 day-old chicks each week.

Her farm, Barquest, which lies around 160 miles south of Harare in Masvingo Province, had been allocated by the government to Walter Mzembi, the tourism minister, but he recently retreated after the provincial leadership backed her request to stay.

Shuvai Mahofa, Masvingo’s Provincial Affairs Minister, has recommended five more white farmers be issued with 99-year leases because their operations were, she said, of “strategic economic importance”.

Decades later the country has still not recovered.

Yet today South Africa is poised to follow in their footsteps:

South Africa‘s parliament has passed a motion that could lead to the seizure of land from white farmers without paying them compensation.

Passed by an overwhelming majority of 241 votes to 83 votes against, the proposal to amend Section 25 of the constitution would allow expropriation of land without any financial recompense.

It was put forward by the radical left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, whose leader Julius Malema told the country’s parliament: “We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land.”

And the attacks on farmers have already begun, in fact they’ve been ongoing:

White farmers in South Africa claim they are being targeted in a series of brutal attacks over land that are being overlooked by police and implicitly encouraged by the country’s parliament.

Activist groups promoting the rights of white people in the country claim there have been 90 recorded attacks in 2018 so far, with one farmer murdered every five days on average.

There is no official data supporting the idea that white farmers are more likely to be victims of attacks in South Africa, and the government strongly denies white people are being deliberately targeted and says farm murders are part of South Africa’s wider violent crime problem.

But the sheer brutality of the reported attacks – and the growing anger of a community in South Africa that believes it is being persecuted – are increasingly raising concerns.

and others aren’t all that subtle about it:

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, who recently declared his party was “cutting the throat of whiteness”, denied white farmers were being killed. “We don’t know violence, we know negotiations,” Malema told a packed Human Rights Day rally in Mpumalanga Stadium on Wednesday.

“And we are very robust in our engagement sometimes. A racist country like Australia says: ‘The white farmers are being killed in South Africa.’ We are not killing them. Now Australia says: ‘Malema, EFF want to kill white farmers, they must come to Australia.’

“If they want to go, they must go. They must leave the keys to their tractors because we want to work the land, they must leave the keys to their houses because we want to stay in those houses. They must leave everything they did not come here with in South Africa and go to Australia.”

Why is South Africa not learning the lessons of Zimbabwe? Well I talked about the reasons 5 years ago at the time of Nelson Mandela’s death:

Without question the removal of the evil Apartheid laws was a positive good and franchise being extended to all citizens is simple justice. A People must have the right to govern themselves and a government that doesn’t reflect the consent of the governed is unjust.

What is not axiomatic is that a popularly elected government will govern well.

The people have freely chosen to elect The African National Congress for 20 years by landslide majorities. That party has failed to stem unemployment, has seen life expectancy drop by nearly a decade during their rule and been a haven for murder and rape.

Some have already sounded the warning alarms on this course of action:

If the South African government seizes private property for free, someone somewhere within the economy will have to pay, whether directly through loss in current and future on farm job opportunities as well as export revenues, or through protracted economic decline that will erode the purchasing power of money, losses in pensions and savings, and deindustrialisation that will destroy future economic growth and off-farm job opportunities for the current generation.

And have spoken basic truths aloud:

Mr Broad said an “even bigger humanitarian crisis”, like a food shortage, could emerge if the situation escalated.

“The great lesson from Zimbabwe is when you value your farmers, you have food on the supermarket shelves,” he said.

If the goal was a prosperous and well fed South Africa that advice and example from history would be noted but for Marxists and Socialists the goals are not a prosperous and well fed South Africa but a South Africa governed by prosperous and well fed Marxist Socialists.

And when such people fail to govern well, as they invariably do, a scapegoat is required to pacify the people and the farmers of South Africa have been elected, and if such a decision leads to economic disaster and famine among the people, as long as that result doesn’t affect the ruling parties, they will shrug it off and proclaim any who question their decision as racists.

The saddest thing about what is going to happen is that unlike Mugabe in Zimbabwe where he ruled with an iron fist and brought this disaster down upon his land South Africa had Mandela who choose not to be a dictator and left an actual democracy allowing the people to freely choose their own path and yet they have chosen the same path as Mugabe.

Democracies and Republics always get the Government’s they deserve, I had hoped that after decades of oppression by a minority and bad government by the majority South Africans might have decided they deserved better.


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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

Illinois flag with its bicentennial counterpart

By John Ruberry

In honor of Illinois’ bicentennial, Kerry Lester of the Daily Herald compiled a list of Illinois’ best-known leaders. There is some good in it–Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, and some bad. Ethel Kennedy? Robert F. Kennedy’s widow was born in Chicago but grew up in Connecticut. And besides, her contributions don’t amount to very much.

Illinois has a well-deserved reputation for corruption. So I have put together my own list, the 14 Worst Leaders from Illinois.

My “hall of shame” by no means exonerates anyone not named.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

She is one of two people on both lists. Clinton is a former first lady, US senator, US secretary of state, and of course, the first major party presidential nominee. She was born in Chicago and grew up in suburban Park Ridge. Smoke, but as of yet, no fire has engulfed HRC’s public career. Clinton was implicated, but never charged in the Whitewater Scandal. Two years after her Whitewater billing records from the Rose Law Firm were subpoenaed, they mysteriously appeared in the White House living quarters. While secretary of state under Barack Obama, she used a home-brewed private email server. Her handling of those emails was deemed “extremely careless” two years ago by FBI director James Comey. After our consulate in Benghazi was overrun by terrorists in 2012, leading to the death of our ambassador to Libya as well as three other Americans, Clinton spread the lie that a YouTube video inspired the barbarians

I could go on and on about Clinton, but I have other names on my naughty list.

Richard M. Daley

Chicago’s mayor from 1989-2011, Daley’s father, Richard J who was mayor for nearly as long., had a strong background in public finance which allowed Chicago to escape the fiscal problems cities such as those New York and Cleveland suffered in the 1970s. Richie Daley inherited his dad’s name but not his financial acumen. Chicago’s public pensions are the worst-funded of any major city in the country. Property tax increases signed into law to right the ship by his successor, Rahm Emanuel, are probably just buying time; besides, the tax hikes are likely a key reason why Chicago is the only major city with a declining population.

Len Small

After two Democrats it’s time for our first Republican. Lennington “Len” Small of Kankakee was governor of Illinois from 1921-1929. While governor he was indicted for embezzling money during his time as state treasurer. He was found not guilty, but eight of the jurors on his trial later received state jobs. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

George Ryan

Another Kankakee GOPer, Ryan got in trouble for his scandalous eight years as Illinois secretary of state. Under Ryan, who once was speaker of the state House, the SoS office was enmeshed in a driver’s licenses for bribes scandal. Elected governor in 1998, after his one-term in that post Ryan was convicted of corruption involving perjury and bribery. His scandal was one of the few political ones that involved fatalities. On Election Day in 1994–Ryan was re-elected secretary of state that day–a truck driver who obtained his license by bribery caused an accident where six children from Chicago were killed.

Paul Powell

Like Ryan, Powell served as speaker of the state House before his election as secretary of state. His personal motto was “There’s only one thing worse than a defeated politician, and that’s a broke one.” Illinoisans who needed their license plates renewed were instructed to make their checks out to “Paul Powell.” What could go wrong? Powell died in office in 1970. The executor of his estate discovered over $800,000 in cash in the Springfield hotel suite where the southern Illinois self-servant lived, including some stuffed in a shoebox. His tombstone reads “Here lies a lifelong Democrat.”

Official House portrait of Hastert

Dennis Hastert

Before his election to Congress in 1986, Hastert, a Republican, was a teacher and a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School. He later became speaker of that House. But at Yorkville he was a serial child molester. He was sent to prison not over those assaults, but for lying to federal officials about banking activity involving payments to one of his victims.

Jesse Jackson

He’s on that other list too. Jesse Jackson, the “poverty pimp” civil rights leader, has done little if anything to alleviate the problems of the people he claims to represent, Chicago’s minority poor. His half-brother, Noah Robinson, is serving a life sentence for racketeering and murder-for-hire. Jackson utilized his then-powerful Rainbow/PUSH organization to elect his son, Jesse Jr, to Congress and his daughter-in-law, Junior’s wife, as a Chicago alderman. Both went to prison over misuse of campaign funds.

Illinois & Michigan Canal at LaSalle, IL

Joel Matteson

We have to go to the pre-Civil War era for Matteson. The Illinois & Michigan Canal is the reason Chicago is the Midwest’s great city, not Milwaukee or St. Louis. But the canal faced enormous financial difficulties before its completion in 1848. Scrip was utilized by Illinois to fund the canal but in 1859 it was discovered that Matteson, a Democrat who was governor from 1853-1857, converted some of that scrip for personal use. Matteson was investigated but never charged in the case.

Antoin “Tony” Rezko

An immigrant from Syria, Rezko essentially was a collector of Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama and Governor Rod Blagojevich. Rezko engineered the mysterious land deal that made Obama’s purchase of his South Side Chicago mansion affordable. But his role as a fixer for Governor Rod Blagojevich earned him a trip to prison.

Rod Blagojevich

The most recent Illinois governor to be sentenced to prison, the Chicago Democrat attempted to sell the Senate seat of Barack Obama to the highest bidder. He essentially transformed the governor’s office into a vast pay-to-play operation. He’s still a federal inmate. Outside of the corruption, Blago was a still terrible governor. Illinois’ precarious financial situation grew much worse during his six years in Springfield, lowlighted by a two-year long pension payment holiday. State House Speaker Michael Madigan–another speaker!–played a large role in that debacle. We’ll be learning more about Madigan a little later. As for Blagojevich, amazingly he is the only Illinois governor to be impeached and removed from office.

William Hale Thompson

Blogger where the 1967 Detroit riot began

Chicago’s last Republican mayor, Thompson served two stints in office–from 1915-1923 and from 1927-1931. Thompson let Al Capone and other gangsters run wild during Prohibition. After the death of “Big Bill” in 1944, nearly $2 million in cash was found not in a shoebox, nor in Al Capone’s vault,  but in a safe deposit box.

Otto Kerner

You might have heard his name in the news lately as Kerner, a Democratic governor from 1961-1968, served as the chairman of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, better known as the Kerner Commission, which explored the causes of the 1967 urban riots. It was released 50 years ago last month. But in 1961 Kerner received a bribe of race track stock, which only came to light after the woman who paid him off him listed that expenditure on her federal income tax return because she viewed it as a legitimate business expense. Who can blame her for that opinion of Illinois? By the time the bribe was revealed Kerner was serving as a federal appeals judge. Facing certain impeachment, he resigned. Kerner was released from prison early for health reasons and died in disgrace shortly afterwards.

Carol Moseley Braun

Capitalizing on anger over the testimony of Anita Hill against Judge Clarence Thomas over reputed sexual harassment during his US Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Braun went from being Cook County Recorder of Deeds to the US Senate in 1992, becoming the first African-American woman to serve in the upper chamber. Even before her election, scandal percolated for Braun over allegations that she and her campaign manager, Kgosie Matthews, who was also her fiancée, diverted campaign funds for personal use. The Chicago Democrat blew off her Senate orientation meetings and instead took a nearly month-long vacation in South Africa with Matthews. What followed was a mind-bogging and ethically challenged six years in the Senate. Matthews was a citizen of South Africa–foreign meddling anyone?–and he was also at one time a paid lobbyist for Nigeria, which was then run by a murderous dictator, Sani Abacha. Over the objections of the Congressional Black Caucus, Braun visited Abacha while she was a senator.

During the ’92 campaign, it came to light three years earlier that inheritance money belonging to her mother, a nursing home patient, was split between Braun and two siblings, instead of being used to reimburse Medicaid. Once the scam became public Braun promptly paid Medicaid $15,000.

Matthews was later accused of sexual harassment of female campaign workers. Braun was elected during what was then called “the Year of the Woman.”

Braun and Matthews–he later left the country–were never charged with crimes.

Michael Madigan

Like Richard M. Daley, Madigan has modeled his public life on that of Richie’s dad, the first Mayor Daley. But like the son, Madigan, who has been speaker of the state House for 33 of the last 35 years, the Boss of Illinois is inept in regards to government finance, which is why last year Reuters declared him “the man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois.”  Madigan, yet another Chicagoan, is also the chairman of the state Democratic Party. The “speaker for life” runs the House with an iron fist and his gerrymandering abuse is an insult to democracy. He’s the poster child for the admonition, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs from Illinois at Marathon Pundit.