By John Ruberry

“But… but maybe he’s only a little crazy like painters or composers or… or some of those men in Washington.”
Julian Shellhammer, Macy’s toy department head in Miracle on 34th Street.

“On 24 March 1943, Päts was sent to forced treatment in psychoneurotic hospitals first in Kazan, then in Chistopol in Tatar ASSR. His forced psychiatric hospitalization was justified by his ‘persistent claiming of being the president of Estonia.'”
Wikipedia biography of Konstantin Päts, the Estonian president who was deposed by the Red Army.

“I mean, psychiatry: it’s the latest religion. We decide what’s right and wrong. We decide who’s crazy or not.”
Dr. Kathryn Railly in Twelve Monkeys.

Last month during a two-day long private meeting with over a dozen members of Congress–all Democrats save one Republican senator–Dr. Bandy X. Lee, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Yale, said of President Trump, “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.”

Lee is the editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, a book where 27 mental health professionals–meaning, I assume, as professionals that they earn their living in that field–rant about the “dangerousness” of the 45th president.

Two days ago The Atlantic’s Elaine Godfrey reported that Lee says there are Washington DC-based shrinks and legal organization who are willing–and no, this is not from a 24 script–to work to commit Trump against his will if White House staff issues troubling reports about him.

President Trump meet Konstantin Päts.

Lee has also warned that Trump could lead to the extinction of the human race.

Trump Derangement Syndrome has reached a disturbing low, but no doubt the last. (Oh, I can make that diagnosis because I am not a mental health professional and TDS is not a clinical term.) Some people, with as many degrees slapped on them as you’ll find ads on hockey rink boards. just can’t accept the fact that Donald J. Trump is president. Are Lee and her cohorts intelligent? In a way, yes. On the other hand there is documentary about the fall of Enron entitled The Smartest Guys in the Room.

Ah, but there is some good news. The American Psychiatric Association reaffirmed its 1973 condemnation of what it calls “armchair psychiatry.”

From an APA press release:

Today, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reiterates its continued and unwavering commitment to the ethical principle known as “The Goldwater Rule.” We at the APA call for an end to psychiatrists providing professional opinions in the media about public figures whom they have not examined, whether it be on cable news appearances, books, or in social media. Armchair psychiatry or the use of psychiatry as a political tool is the misuse of psychiatry and is unacceptable and unethical.

The Goldwater Rule, as Alan Dershowitz points out in the Washington Examiner–Dersh voted for Hillary Clinton by the way–goes back to the 1964 presidential election when a magazine, based on interviews with 1,100 psychiatrists, deemed that the Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater, was unstable and therefore mentally unfit to serve as president. None of these smartest guys in the room had examined the Arizona senator, who served in the upper chamber with distinction for two decades after his landslide defeat, nor had they even met him.

The winner in that presidential election and the man Dershowitz voted for, Lyndon B. Johnson, got us entangled in the Vietnam War which led to the deaths of 58,000 Americans.

Blogger at Chicago’s Trump Tower

The “experts” were wrong.

The Trump-is-crazy meme will probably fade away soon, but not completely, I fear. But the left will proceed with more plots to remove Trump from office, which so far have included the Hamilton Electors (before he was sworn-in), Russia, emoluments, tax returns, and of course Russia.

Here is my non-professional mental health advice for those of all you Trump Derangement Sufferers: Deal with the strong likelihood that Trump will be president for the next three years–and probably seven. Presidents who run for reelection usually win. Accept it and find a way to get on with your lives, without watching CNN or MSBNC during every waking hour. I cannot promise happiness, no one can. But I suspect you will be less miserable.

Oh, by the way, Trump is not crazy. Not even a little bit.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Season four of the post First World War-set British gangster drama Peaky Blinders returned to Netflix ten days ago. It aired last month on the BBC.

Read my review of the first three seasons here.

For the uninitiated, the show is about, yes, the Peaky Blinders; who are named for the razor blades sewn into their flat caps which they use to attack their foes, that is when they are not shooting them. They are a Gypsy organized crime family headed by Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). In 1919 Shelby Family Limited is a nothing more than a bookmaking operation based in the grimy Small Heath neighborhood of Birmingham. When season four begins at Christmas in 1925 the Peaky Blinders operation has expanded into London and it has extensive legitimate business holdings.

Hyman Roth told Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part Two, “We’re bigger than U.S. Steel.” Tommy has no such line Peaky Blinders, but it would be credible if he did.

The next paragraph is worthy of a spoiler alert if you haven’t watched the first three seasons.

Season three was a mixed bag for me as the Russian caper that dominated it was a road to storyline-nowhere. That season ended with a bang as Tommy rats out the rest of the Shelby family–and season four picks up from there. And that’s not the only season three hangover. New York mafioso Luca Changretta (Adrien Brody) is seeking vengeance for the murder by the Peaky Blinders of his father and brother. Brody’s performance ranks among his best work. As Changretta, there are traces of Robert De Niro as Vito Corleone accented with the psychoses of Joe Pescsi in Goodfellas.

The 1920s weren’t roaring in Great Britain–the economy struggled and communism gained a foothold within the political sphere. An attractive young communist woman. Jessie Eden (Charlie Murphy), is stirring up trouble in the Shelby factories. Hmm, I wonder where that is heading? Tommy clearly hasn’t forgotten his gambling business roots–he hedges his bets in the struggle by also scheming with the 1st Baron Stamfordham, the king’s private secretary.

To fight Changretta Tommy hires another Gypsy, Aberama Gold (Aidan Gillen), whose reputation for evil even unsettles the other Peaky Blinders. Yes, Gillen is Littlefinger from Game of Thrones.  Gold and Tommy hatch a boxing match caper involving Jewish mobster Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy).

There is much bloodshed much betrayal. But Tommy perseveres and like a snake slithering up a flagpole, he keeps climbing despite the odds against him in class-obsessed Great Britain.

Will Tommy fall? If he does, we’ll have to wait until at least until season five to find out.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

I was out of town in July when Detroit, the movie about the destructive 1967 riot and a police attack on a small group of guests at the Algiers Motel, hit the theaters. Directed by Kathryrn Bigelow, who is best known for Zero Dark Thirty and the Academy Award-winning The Hurt Locker, is again teamed with scriptwriter Mark Boal. It stars John Borega, renowned for his role in the Star Wars reboot, as a torn African-American, who despite good intentions gets pulled into the carnage and the aftermath of the upheaval.

But by the time I got back home and found the time to see Detroit it was gone from theaters. Even before the Harvey Weinstein-ignited sex scandals, 2017 was an annus horribilis for Hollywood. Yes, Wonder Woman and Beauty and the Beast were tremendous hits, there were many notable flops, and among them was Detroit. That’s a pity because it is a masterful piece of filmmaking.

Last night I watched it by way of OnDemand on Xfinity.

The 1967 Detroit Riot is the demarcation line in history for that city, just as the Potato Famine is for Ireland and the defeat of the Armada is for Spain. It’s the Motor City’s before-and-after moment. “Ah, but that was before the riot,” or “riots,” sometimes the plural form is used, is something all Detroiters of a certain age say. Prior to the riot Detroit was America’s fifth-largest city, but now, for the first time since 1850, Detroit is not among America’s twenty-most populous cities. In 1950 Detroit was America’s most prosperous municipality, now it is one of its poorest. True, Detroit’s problems were evident in the 1950s and early 1960s, but at the time the few people paying attention to such things viewed that period as a rough patch or perhaps nothing more than a modest transitional period.

Fox Theatre one month ago

The world premiere of Detroit took place at the Fox Theatre two days after the 50th anniversary of the start of the riot, the old movie palace is the setting of one of the scenes in the movie. The film begins with an undermanned police raid of a black-run speakeasy–called a “blind pig” in Detroit–that quickly turns into a widespread tumult of looting, arson, and death. Archival news footage shows the devestation followed by a clip of Governor George Romney, Mitt’s father, announcing that the Michigan National Guard has been called out. By the end of the five-day riot Michigan state troopers and federal troops had been dispatched to Detroit as well.

Among the riot scenes is one with now-disgraced US Rep. John Conyers (Laz Alonso) urging a crowd for calm–they ignore him. Five months ago Conyers was still a civil rights icon. Now Conyers is shunned.

But most of the movie is centered on police tormenting suspects and witnesses at the Algiers, the reputed site of a sniper attack. After a performance by the Dramatics–who later gained fame for the hit “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get,” one of the group’s members, Larry Reid (Algee Smith), along with his personal assistant, take refuge at the Algiers, which is located just outside of the Virginia Park neighborhood, the heart of the riot zone. For a while it seems that despite the haze of the smoke from the arson fires and the constant sirens, the Algiers is the smart choice to have a party while Detroit burns. That is until an evil Detroit police officer, Philip Krauss (Will Poulter), his two racist partners, troops from the National Guard, and Melvin Dismukes (Borega), a security guard, storm the Algiers in search of a sniper, who we know is Carl Cooper (Jason Mitchell), who simply but recklessly fired a track and field starting pistol. What follows is a series of intense torture-filled series of interrogations. Two young white prostitutes, one of them is portrayed by Hannah Murphy, who plays Gilly in Game of Thrones, are among those brutalized.

“I’m just gonna assume you’re all criminals,” Krauss tells them. One of those “criminals” is Robert Greene (Anthony Mackie), a Vietnam veteran who came to Detroit like hundreds of thousand of others before him–he is simply looking for work. Don’t forget, the blind pig raid busted up a party welcoming two other Vietnam vets home. Krauss denigrates Greene, says he “probably just drove a supply truck” while serving and accuses of him of being the pimp for the prostitutes.

Later Krauss asks the women, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves, having sex with n*ggers?” The other prostitute replies, “It’s 1967, a**hole.” But the mixing of blacks and whites was still a problem for many 50 years ago.

Blogger at the site of where the riot started

Finally and tragically the Algiers incident ends but the legal ramifications please few. Conyers appears again. And one of the characters finds deliverance.

Like Zero Dark Thirty, the feeling of Detroit is claustrophobic, which of course is intentional. The lighting isn’t perfect, that approach undoubtedly was chosen to enmesh Bigelow’s scenes with the archive footage.

Understandably Detroit is still coming to terms with the ’67 riot. I visited Virginia Park last month, while there are still many abandoned homes–this is Detroit after all–there are some new ones too. The site of the long-ago razed blind pig and the neighboring stores where the riot broke out is now a park–albeit one that no children were playing in. To be fair it was a chilly autumn afternoon. In July a Michigan historical marker was erected at that site. On the flipside, sandwiched between New Center and the mansions of Boston-Edison, where Henry Ford, Ty Cobb, Joe Louis, and Berry Gordy once lived, Virginia Park’s future appears bright. Deliverance may be coming there soon too.

Besides Xfinity OnDemand, Detroit is also available on DVD. The trailer is viewable here.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

If you know a millennial who craves communism, then I suggest that you sit that person down to watch the documentary Karl Marx City by Petra Epperlein and her husband, Michael Tucker, which was released last year. Epperlein was born in 1966 in Karl-Marx-Stadt, East Germany, which is now, as it was before, the city of Chemnitz.

And as it is was when she was a child, the most noticeable feature of her hometown is the giant bust of Karl Marx, which looks over the dwindling population of Chemnitz. Its bulk makes it too expensive to remove from its perch on the former Karl-Marx-Street.

The Marx monument is the ideal metaphor for the former East Germany. Just as Big Brother is always watching in George Orwell’s 1984, the Ministry for State Security, colloquially known as the Stasi, was watching too. Cameras were seemingly in every public space, as were Stasi agents and informants. In a nation of 17 million people, there were an astounding 90,000 Stasi agents aided by 200,000 informants. In contrast, the FBI employs a paltry 35,000.

What was the Stasi looking for? Everything. Just grab whatever information that can be found and use it for a case later. Because not only was everyone a suspect in this worker’s paradise, everyone was probably guilty. And if they weren’t guilty they likely would be soon.

Early in Karl Marx City Eppelein tells us that her father, 57, committed suicide in 1999 after washing his company car and burning his personal papers. Afterwards her family discovers cryptic typed letters anonymously mailed to her father that accused him of being a Stasi informant.

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

Shot in black and white, perfect grim communist hues, Epperlein, looking similar to Liv Ullmann’s mute character in Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, in a bit of twisted humor wanders the decrepit and mostly empty streets of the former Karl Marx namesake town holding a massive boom microphone and wearing vintage headphones while we listen to her voiceovers–in contrast to the clandestine recording done by the Stasi.

Epperlein visits the Stasi archives in Chemnitz and Berlin where we see file after file on multiple floors. She’s looking for her father’s file, but we learn that the German Democratic Republic didn’t organize its files in the manner that Google stores information on mainframes where we can instantly retrieve volumes of information on just about anything. Instead there’s something here, there’s something there.

We see a grainy Stasi film of a couple walking on sidewalk. The man picks up an object. Then he puts it down. Why did he do that? Another man picks it up. The object turns out to be a knife. He keeps it. Why?

Epperlein tracks down a childhood friend who was a true-believer in communism. Now she worships trees. Her father, a retired Stasi agent, recounts his regular break-ins at apartments. What was his most common discovery? Handwritten schedules of West German TV shows and small bags containing a tooth brush and other personal hygiene items, just in case the occupants are arrested–or forced to escape to the West.

Many political prisoners were indeed locked up for subversion. Many ended up in the West, but rather than this being an innocent Cold War liberation, we learn they were sold by the workers’ paradise for ransom to the West for much needed hard currency.

The suicide of Epperlein’s father was hardly an anomaly, taking one’s own life in the GDR was common after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Recently Chemnitz had the lowest birthrate of any city in the world.

One of the experts interviewed for the film scorns the Oscar-winning film, The Lives of Others. While Oskar Schindler of Schindler’s List was real, there was no Stasi hero fighting back against oppression.

Near the end we learn the truth about Epperlein’s father.

Karl Marx City is available on Netflix and on Amazon.

John Ruberry, whose wife was born in the Soviet Union, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Last week I had some time off from work and I did what few people do. Before sunrise I left home and drove to Detroit for a pleasure visit.

It was my second trip to the Motor City. My first Da Tech Guy account, from 2015, is here.

What follows is a progress report with a grade.

First of all, is Detroit back? Well, if you are like most visitors and you don’t venture beyond downtown, Midtown, Greektown, New Center, or its three casinos, you’ll say, “Yep, Detroit is a thriving city, it’s back.”

But most of the the neighborhoods, Corktown, Palmer Woods, and Sherwood Forest are exceptions, are either rundown and decrepit, or near-apocalyptic wastelands, such as Brightmoor. And as for Palmer Woods, just three blocks from its southeast corner, near where I parked my car to snap a picture of a feral dog–90 minutes later a store manager was murdered during an armed robbery.

But even in its rough patches–actually most of Detroit is one expansive rough patch–there are noticeable improvements.

The abandoned GM Fisher Body 21 plant

Two years ago I was able to walk into vacated schools and factories with only a nagging guilt about trespassing preventing me from entering. That didn’t work, I walked in anyway. Harry B. Hutchins Elementary School, where I spent an hour taking photographs in 2015, is fenced off now. The Packard plant, the world’s largest abandoned factory, has a small but aggressive security presence. I wandered around there undisturbed for hours during my previous visit. Fisher Body 21, an old General Motors factory, is a glaring eyesore at the intersection of the Edsel Ford and Chrysler freeways. While I was able to stroll into that one, the windows in the stairwells must be bricked-off. The stairways are now as unlit as a cave beneath the dark side of the moon. Only a fool, or someone wearing a miner’s hat with a supply of back-up batteries, would climb them now.

So for urban explorers such as myself, Detroit is no longer a free-range video, photography, and souvenir collection zone.

Two years ago no one with authority appeared to give a damn. I credit the attitude change to Detroit’s reform mayor, Democrat Mike Duggan–who lives in Palmer Woods by the way. Duggan was elected four months after the Motor City’s bankruptcy in 2013. Earlier this month Duggan, who is white, overwhelmingly defeated Coleman Young II, the son of Detroit’s first black mayor. The elder Young’s 20-year tenure can best be deemed as controversial. The former communist utilized race-based politics and dog whistle words–city (black) versus suburbs (white)–which kept him in office but drove businesses and of course jobs out of Detroit. He was the steward of the city’s descent. While the white population is growing for the first time since 1950, Detroit remains a super-majority African-American city. Yet Detroit voters rejected the younger Young’s own dog whistle call to “Take Back the Motherland.” Good for them.

While there still are vacant buildings downtown, two of the most obvious ones that I noticed during my first visit, the 38-story Book Tower and the former Wayne County Building, are being rehabbed. Both were seen in the premature Detroit-is-back Chrysler Super Bowl ad with Eminem from 2011. A mile up Woodward Avenue to the northwest is the gleaning new Little Caesars Arena, the new stadium for the Red Wings and the Pistons. Detroit’s NBA team has returned to the Motor City after a nearly three-decade absence. Across the street from the arena are the luxurious Woodward Square Apartments. With Ford Field, the home of the Lions, and Comerica Park, where the Tigers play, as well as some theaters and other new or rehabilitated apartments, the result is the new District Detroit, an entertainment and residential area that rivals any in the United States.

Alley in Delray

So there is a lot of good going on in Detroit.

As for the bad, let’s discuss those forsaken areas, and it goes beyond the crumbling and abandoned housing stock and the crime. Most pedestrians in “the other Detroit” walk on the streets, because the sidewalks are for the most part crumbing. Some are overgrown with weeds. Nearly all alleys are impassable. Even large trees can be found growing in some. Keep in mind that in 1950 not only was Detroit America’s fifth largest city but it enjoyed the highest standard of living of any city in the world. Municipal alley garbage pick-up ended decades ago and many garages of otherwise well kept-up homes are collapsing. Why maintain a garage when you can’t access it from your alley? And besides, there are plenty of vacant lots, with a bit of elbow grease, that can be converted into grassy parking lots. Rubbish can be found everywhere. Illegal dumping–much of it done by suburbanites–is a serious problem in Detroit. Side streets have many potholes and even more cracks. On the other hand, Duggan has made good on his promise to install more street lights.

Urban prairie in Brightmoor

And that post-apocalyptic neighborhood of Brightmoor? A few sections that were once packed with residents have devolved into the kind of emptiness that you expect to see from a country road, a phenomenon known as an urban prairie.

Critics from the left will lash out at me as I take measure of Detroit’s unpleasant underside and yell, “What about racism?” Yes, for decades Detroit’s blacks suffered from institutional racism. So did black Atlantans. The year after Detroit elected Coleman Young, Atlanta, whose blacks endured Jim Crow laws, followed suit and elected its first black mayor. Atlanta became the city that was “too busy to hate.” In 1996 Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics, which is something pre-Young Detroit unsuccessfully bid on an unprecedented nine times.

Back to the good: Most Detroiters are generally friendly people, strangers say “hello” to each other. That’s a commendable behavior I’ve never seen in any big city.

Sidewalk in Petosky-Otsego

Back to the bad: Detroiters are the rudest and most reckless drivers I’ve encountered outside of New York City. And remember, Detroit’s streets are in terrible shape, so such road effrontery is especially hazardous.

Detroit is not “back.” but it is coming back. But some unfinished business remains that could send the onetime Arsenal of Democracy back in the wrong direction. While the deadly 1967 riot and the contraction of the Big Three auto makers, as well as fiscal malfeasance, corruption, and numbing levels of crime are largely responsible for Detroit’s demise, the municipal income tax, a commuter tax, and loads of burdensome regulations also played a role. Those taxes, largely idiosyncratic to Detroit among big cities, still remain, along with those regs. And Detroit’s property tax system, according to the Detroit News, is “fundamentally flawed” and was “particularly devastating in the cycle of decline and renewal Detroit has undergone.”

“New Detroit” has emerged from the starting block but the Motor City is wearing ankle weights.

My grade for the city is “incomplete.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Manhunt: Unabomber, is an engrossing eight-episode Discovery Channel mini-series, which is also available on Netflix, that dramatizes the search for the man dubbed the Unabomber by the FBI, Ted Kaczynski.

Sam Worthington, best known for his starring role in Avatar, stars as James “Fitz” Fitzgerald, the FBI profiler and linguist who connects what became known as the Unabomber Manifesto to writings by serial bomber turned into the FBI by Kaczynski’s brother, James.

The Unabomber’s attack spree began with the explosion of a device that caused minor injuries in 1978 at Northwestern University and ended the fatal attack with a much more sophisticated bomb that killed a timber industry lobbyist in California in 1995. Two other people were murdered by Kaczynski’s bombs, several more were permanently maimed.

Shortly after the murder of he lobbyist, in what the still-unidentified Kaczynski later dismissed as a prank, he threatened to blow up a jet airliner. Ten months later Kaczynski was arrested in his primitive cabin Montana after a search warrant was issued that was based largely on the FBI’s linguistic analysis. Inside the cabin loads of incriminating evidence was discovered, including a bomb ready to be mailed.

FBI sketch of the Unabomber

Paul Bettany portrays the former mathematics professor in an appropriately enigmatic fashion. Is Kaczynski, who is serving six life sentences at the “Supermax” prison in Colorado, an evil man? Or is he a deeply troubled genius trying to find the elusive balance between creativity and madness, in a manner reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh’s struggles?

Manhunt explores Kaczynski’s youth in the blue collar southwest Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park. A social misfit, Kaczynski was double-promoted in elementary school but, as his Manhunt character says, “I was still the smartest one in my class.” Entering Harvard at 16, Kaczynski was mentally tortured in cruel experiments conducted by psychiatrist Henry Murray (Brian d’Arcy in the series). In this statue-razing era, I say if there is one of Murray standing somewhere, tear it down now.

Kaczynski gets into the head of Fitzgerald in his many jailhouse interviews with him. But there’s a problem here. This is a dramatization of the Unabom story–there were no meetings between the two. Here’s another: the linguistics professor with whom the married Fitz has a soft romance with in the series, was in real life a man.

Abandoned rail line north of Chicago

On the other hand, Kaczynski gets into the heads of viewers, or at least this one. My degree of separation with the Unabomber is three. A friend of mine who lives in Lombard, Illinois, where Kaczynski’s parents moved to around 1970, used to have coffee at the home of his parents. “A nice and sweet old couple,” she told me. They never mentioned anything about their sons to her. Just a couple of blocks from the Kaczynski’s modest frame house in Lombard is the Illinois Prairie Path, which was constructed in the late 1960s, it was the first trail in America created from an abandoned rail line. After the terrorist’s arrest and conviction, I mused while running on the Prairie Path that perhaps he was inspired by the pastoralization of the old Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railway. Perhaps post-industrial society was that not far away, Kaczynski may have reasoned. He lived with his parents in Lombard for a while in the 1970s.

“The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race” is the opening sentence in the Unabomber Manifesto. A few paragraphs later he adds, “We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system.”

Bettany’s Unabomber is a bit too sympathetic of a portrayal for me. Missing are the cold-blooded journal entries recounting his bombings, including one described as “excellent.” In another recounting, Kaczynski expressed “no regret” that his last murder victim was not his intended target.

“People with advanced degrees aren’t as smart as they think they are,” Kaczynski mockingly wrote to one of his victims who was severely wounded by one of his bombs. “If you’d had any brains you would have realized that there are a lot of people out there who resent bitterly the way technonerds like you are changing the world and you wouldn’t have been dumb enough to open an unexpected package from an unknown source.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit and he is a native of Chicago’s southwest suburbs.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.

Winston Churchill March 5th 1946 (photo via the Historical times)

There still seem to be some including in media, who can’t seem grasp the concept that despite their name, their proclaimed opposition to Nazis and their violent confrontations with the equally vile David Duke crowd ANTIFA is nothing but a bunch of violent leftist thugs.

So that being the case I’d like to thank the Russian Federation for giving the perfect analogy for this situation (via hot air and twitter)

They fleshed out their objection in a facebook post that said in part:

There are various ways to deal with inconvenient historical facts. You can take them on the chin or ignore them. Sadly, the latter is what the Polish authorities have been doing recently. You see, politicians in Warsaw continue to deny the Soviet Union’s participation in Poland’s liberation from fascism and the restoration of Polish independence, after the Second World War.

This argument would have some weight if it wasn’t for two simple facts:

The Russian Invasion of Poland in Sept 1939.

While Hitler was invading Poland from the west officially kicking off World War 2 in Europe, the Soviet Union was invading from the west in accordance with their nations pact with Hitler. Ed Morrissey explains:

Soviet troops invaded Poland from the east after Nazi troops had invaded from the west. That pact not only sealed Poland’s fate for decades, but also that of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and that of Finland for a much shorter period. Had the Soviets not signed that pact, World War II might never have happened at all

Six years before the famous photos of US troops shaking hands with their Russian allies as their armies met in Germany coming from opposite directions, Russian Troops where shaking hands with German Troops as their armies met in Poland after diving up the country between themselves.

It wasn’t until June 1941 when Hitler attacked west turning on the Soviets that the Russian people and the Soviet government joined the “Down with Hitler” and “Down with Nazis” team.

The Coming of the Iron Curtain.

After the US and British forces drove the Germans out of France, Holland, Belgium and Italy and Caused them to pull out of Greece, Denmark and Norway those countries had their independence restored, and government of their people’s own choosing put back in place. Even in the western part of Germany and Berlin, popular democracy was restored and people were free to live as they choose.

Meanwhile not only did the Soviets retake and keep Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that the Nazis had grabbed on their way east they occupied Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech and Slovak republics) set up puppet governments and ruled with an iron hand and crushing popular movements for self government in Hungary and Czechoslovakia from 1945 till the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The Soviet Union did the Nazis out of Poland but it was the efforts of St. Pope John Paul II, Lech Walessa and the Reagan Administration that finally led to the actual liberation of Poland over 40 years after the last Nazi solder had retreated.

So what does this history teach us? It reminds us of two critical facts

The Soviets and the Nazis were rivals both trying to expand evil empires that brought slaughter and oppression to those who they ruled.

That you can be the most effective Nazi killers of all time (as the Soviets were) but still be no good rotten bastards who should be condemned, confronted and contained for the sake of humanity and freedom.

That in a nutshell is the reality here in America when it comes to ANTIFA.

No amount of anti Nazi rhetoric on behalf of ANTIFA makes the anything other than a bunch of masked thugs no better than the Nazis or White Supremacists who they rivals of and the only reason why they are portrayed otherwise is the same reason why the crimes of Communists like the Soviets get short shift in media and academia is because they share the same leftist ideology.


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Hitler’s Benz

by baldilocks

File this under “things I wish I had said.” A Facebook friend who wishes to remain anonymous has a few suggestions for those who wish to uproot racism and anything that racists have produced.

Just remember, folks, Daimler-Mercedes-Benz built German war machines and Mercedes-Benz designed and built Hitler’s car. Certainly hope you’re not sporting one of those racist deathmobiles as a sign of your affluence.

*****

If you’re black, I certainly hope you don’t work for or own a Volkswagen.

How soon we forget.

The colossal extent of slave labour used by modern-day German blue-chip companies to get rich during the Third Reich has been laid bare by the nation’s top business magazine.

WirtschaftsWoche has published a league table illustrating the Nazi past of top German firms like Bosch, Mercedes, Deutsche Bank, VW and many others, which involved the use of almost 300,000 slaves.

The league table follows revelations earlier that Audi, which was known as Auto Union during the Nazi period, was a big exploiter of concentration camp supplied slave labor, using 20,000 concentration camp inmates in its factories.

Many of the companies listed by WirtschaftsWoche have already had internal reckonings with their Nazi past.

In 2011, the dynasty behind the BMW luxury car marker admitted, after decades of silence, to using slave labour, taking over Jewish firms and doing business with the highest echelons of the Nazi party during World War Two.

Gabriele Quandt, whose grandfather Guenther employed an estimated 50,000 forced labourers in his arms factories, producing ammunition, rifles, artillery and U-boat batteries, said it was ‘wrong’ for the family to ignore this chapter of its history.

But BMW were not the only German firm to profit from the sudden influx of slave labour.

Slave labor. I know a a number of SJWs who drive Benzes and BMWs; and even more drive the People’s Car aka Volkswagen.

But if some want to purge the USA of anything with racist origins, I’d say that they should start with themselves.

Benzes and Beamers are too expensive to maintain, but I’ll take a VW off your hands.

Just trying to help.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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Ever since the nomination of President Trump the media began to recycle those tired old clichés.  I’m sure you know the ones I’m talking about.  The most often recited claims are that all those on the political right are Fascists and those same people are all bigots.   Neither of those claims is remotely true but that does not stop the media from spreading them.

A thorough analysis of the first claim will prove it to be factually and historically flawed.  At the historical root of this claim is a tiny bit of truth.  Dating back to before the French Revolution, members of the Fascist party did sit on the right side of parliaments in Europe while the Socialists sat on the left side.  This artificial model, based on seating arrangements alone, is the historical basis for this claim. There is no commonality between the political philosophies of the European Fascists and the political philosophies of the right-wing political movements that exist in the United States.  The framers of the Constitution created their own model to describe the political spectrum, one that is based entirely on fundamental truths about the nature of government.  Using this model, which has been called the founders model, you can accurately place any form of government or political philosophy on the political spectrum based on its actual characteristics.  W. Cleon Skousen discussed the founders’ model in great detail in his masterpiece “The 5000 Year Leap.”

The founders’ model measures the size and scope of government for any given philosophy.  On the absolute right of this model is no government.  What results with no government is anarchy because people are not perfect; some injure others and interfere with the fights of others.  A certain level of government is needed to prevent this from happening.  On the left is an all powerful totalitarian government where no freedom exists.

The first constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation, created a government that was too far to the right.  This government was too limited and anarchy resulted.  The framers of the Constitution sought to correct this by creating a government a bit more to the left.  The government created by the US Constitution was powerful enough to prevent anarchy but limited enough to prevent it from interfering with the rights of individual citizens.  The fundamental characteristics of this government were: all government power rested with the people, a small and limited government of enumerated powers, a clearly spelled out written constitution, government power distributed between many levels, a free market economy, maximum freedom, and a focus placed entirely on individual rights.    The philosophy fully embraced by the framers of the Constitution when they wrote the Constitution is Classic Liberalism, which is the opposite of Modern Liberalism.  Classic Liberalism and the Constitution are to the right of center on the founders’ modem.

Right leaning Libertarians are the closest modern equivalent to classic liberals.  Conservativism is more to the left on the founders’ model because that philosophy wants the federal government to intrude more when it comes to social issues.  This move to the left results in a government large enough to move the needle just to the right of center.  Conservatives believe in individual rights, a constitutionally limited government, and free markets.  They however try to use the federal government to ban those practices that they find morally unacceptable.

Here is how Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines Fascism.  As you can see Fascism is primarily characterized by a strong totalitarian central government, collective rather than individual rights, and a market that is not free at all.  Fascism in near the absolute left of the founders’ model.  Unlike Fascists, Conservatives believe in free speech so they do not silence those they disagree with.  Also conservatives do not focus on race.  Conservative favorites include Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Allen West, and so many other African Americans,

Socialism and Communism are both farther towards the absolute left of the founders’ model.  They feature more totalitarian government, more collectivism, and less freedom.  Modern Liberalism and Progressivism have a lot in common with Fascism, Socialism, and Communism.  Liberalism and Progressivism both feature much larger and oppressive government, less freedom, collective rights rather than individual rights, and a much less free market economy.  Also these philosophies focus extensively on race with identity politics.

Intolerance and bigotry are not the exclusive domain of the political right unfortunately the media continuously makes that claim.  Intolerance and bigotry are tragic human failings that encompass the entire political spectrum.  Because the political left believes in much larger governments intolerant and bigoted people on left can do more harm.  Hitler was a fascist therefore he was a left winger.  The Nazi Party was the National Socialist German Workers Party, sounds very left wing to me.

All hate groups such as the Klu Klux Klan and neo Nazis are labeled right wing but are they?  Democrats formed the Klan during reconstruction.  Most Klan members are Democrats.  The Southern, slave holding States were controlled by Democrats along with the Southern states during Segregation.  As I stated earlier Nazis were on the political left.  The Neo-Nazis advocate for the same National Socialism therefore they are also on the left. This article shares my assessment.

The Tea Party, which is the most right wing of all political movements based on its political philosophy, was vilified right from the start as a mob of racists and bigots.  There was never any proof of these accusations.  There were racist signs seen at Tea Party rallies but these racist signs made up roughly 3 percent of all Tea party signs, that is according to the a New York Times survey.

We must correct these incorrect statements whenever possible.

Marshall Rooster Cogburn: …you can forget about your duty.
Eula Goodnight: Your own General Lee thought it was the most beautiful word in the English language.
Marshall Rooster Cogburn: What the devil do you know of General Lee?
Eula Goodnight: That he was a christian gentleman who was soundly whipped in the field by Yankees!

Rooster Cogburn 1975

As a general rule I’m opposed to playing games with history and reality. History is what it is and a lot of trouble happens when you try to fiddle with it for the sake of an agenda. That basis also is sufficient to oppose removing the confederate monuments in the south, much better, in my opinion to put up other monuments near and/or with them and explain how and why these folks thought what they thought, why they choose to fight and what the general condition of both American and world culture was so people understand how a nation’s decision to kick the slavery can down the road for 60 years led to a destructive Civil War. And given our current situation lessons on how to avoid such a war might be a pretty good idea.

But there is one more point that I think overrides all of these considerations in my mind and should be taken into account by all those self righteous virtue signaling folk trying to use this to raise their own political profile by playing the “triggered” card.

There were hundreds of thousands of Union causalities in the civil war. According to the US Parks service over 340,000 died (over 110K in battle). Furthermore another 275,000 were wounded meaning tens of thousands of US soldiers spent the rest of their lives maimed because of the various generals honored by those statues and the troops who served under them.

Yet not only didn’t those Union Soldiers begrudge the south honoring those who tried to kill them or succeeded in crippling them, but the elected representatives of the Union survivors not only felt no need to force the removal of said monuments but were perfectly happy to vote honors in those directions even though:

  1. The southern states never at any time held a congressional majority
  2. The Union vets and their children were a significant voting block that drove elections nationally for decades.
  3. After the Civil war no southerner occupied the White House until every single Civil War Vet from both sides was dead and said southerner (LBJ) only became president due to Kennedy’s assassination.

Why didn’t they care? I suspect it was because they understood that the south had lost the war and lost it big time.

Again turning to park service numbers out of a population of 5.5 non slaves the south suffered over 483,000 casualties, nearly a tenth of the entire population. Over 194,000 confederate soldiers came home wounded and when they did come home they found cities destroyed, their countryside practically picked clean by the armies that had slaughtered and maimed their military age population and found that their wealth had been drained faster than a sink unclogged by liquid plumber.

The Union vets and their children were wise enough to understand that no monument even if carved of the best marble or stone whether in a city square or on the side of a mountain could change the fact that the south in general and the southern armies in particular were thoroughly and utterly defeated.

To my mind if the children of those union soldiers, not to mention the men themselves who were targeted for death and destruction by the subjects of those figures depicted in those statues, weren’t offended enough by them to force their removal how much less of a claim do we have generations later to be so offended that those monuments must go?

Let em keep their rocks.

Update: A pretty good counter argument here