Review: Season 5 of Peaky Blinders

By John Ruberry

Earlier this month Season 5 of Peaky Blinders arrived on Netflix. If you haven’t heard of the BBC show, it centers on a Gypsy organized crime gang from Birmingham, England.

The Peaky Blinders are named for the razor blades the actual hoodlums,-they were an 1890s gang–wore in their flat caps.

The television Peaky Blinders, who usually refer to themselves as the Shelby Company, Ltd., are led by Thomas “Tommy” Shelby (Cillian Murphy), a World War I veteran. The first season takes place in 1919, Season 5 begins in the auspicious year of 1929.

Tommy, at the end of Season 4, is elected to Parliament as a member of the Labour Party.

A new season of course brings a new primary villain, this time it’s Sir Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), a minor member of the British nobility who also sits in the House of Commons. If you are American, it’s likely that you’ve never heard of Mosley, but he’s one of the most notorious figures of 20th century Great Britain. He didn’t go as far as Benedict Arnold did during the American Revolution, but had the Nazis defeated Britain in World War II, it’s probable that Mosley would have been prime minister—with Edward VIII restored to the throne. A 2005 poll of British historians determined that Mosley was the Worst Briton of the 20th century. Jack the Ripper took the title for the 19th. Mosley not surprisingly was a virulent anti-Semite.

Sir Oswald pursues Tommy as an ally while Winston Churchill (Neil Maskew) does the same. Maskew is the third actor to portray Churchill in this series. What’s up with that?

The Black Tuesday Wall Street Crash puts pressure on the rest of the Blinders, particularly Michael Gray (Finn Cole), who in the first episode of the season awakens from a stupor in Detroit to learn that the Shelby Company money he invested in America has evaporated. He wants a bigger say in the family business, as does his American wife (Anya Taylor-Joy). The family matriarch, Polly Gray (Helen McCrory), Michael’s mother, continues to struggle to keep the family from tearing itself apart, and their battles now directly effect her lover, Aberama Gold (Aidan Gillen). Tommy’s older brother, Arthur, continues to battle his “animal inside me.” While Tommy and Mosley, politically speaking, court each other, the Peaky Blinders face a new foe, the Billy Boys, a Scottish Protestant gang, who joyously sing their fight song, which is based on the melody of “Marching Through Georgia.” The Billy Boys hate Gypsies and Catholics–the Shelbys are both.

Peaky Blinders has always played loose with history. Lighten up, though, it’s fiction!

On the other hand…

As 1929 winds down, Mosely announces the formation of a new political party, the British Union of Fascists. But after leaving Labour, the real Mosley first formed another new party, called, well, the New Party. After that came his fascist party. I bring this up because in his introductory speech as leader of the BUF, Mosley, complaining about Indian competition forcing the closing of British textile mills, sounds a bit like Donald Trump, with a dash of UK Independence Party founder Nigel Farage thrown in. I’m not a fan of historical parallels with the present, particularly when it comes to individuals. And I get it, many people believe in “Orange Man Bad.” But sheesh, can TV scriptwriters give us a break from that for once?

I see Season 5, quality wise, as a step back for Peaky Blinders, but better than the Russian sinkhole two seasons back. But a Season 6 apparently is in the works, and maybe even a seventh. And perhaps we will see a couple of other men portray Churchill. The 1930s offers many plotlines as the world marches again to war. Still, even a below-par Peaky Blinders is worth your time.

Peaky Blinders is rated MA. It contains graphic violence, drug use, and overt sexual activity.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Tlaib makes a bigoted statement and gets a pass, Blackhawks announcer gets pilloried for innocent remark

Blogger on the left, as broadcast on WGN-TV Chicago during a Blackhawks game in Nashville in 2018

By John Ruberry

Oh, the things the left gets away with…

Unless you are consumer of conservative media, or news sources from Detroit–I’m both of those things—you probably missed a piece of awful offal from US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), a member of “the Squad.”

If you live in the Chicago area, as I do, you probably heard about the “racially insensitive” comments made by longtime Chicago Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley during a preseason game against a German team.

Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, was touring Detroit’s Real Time Crime center, which utilizes facial recognition technology to identify criminal suspects. Tlaib has her issues with facial recognition forensics, She Tweeted in August, “@detroitpolice You should probably rethink this whole facial recognition bulls**t.”

In a tour last Tuesday of the center with Detroit’s police chief, James Craig, one that the Detroit News described as “tense,” the freshman congresswoman told Craig that only blacks should be employed as facial recognition analysists at the center. Yep. She said that. Her actual comments were, “Analysts need to be African Americans, not people that are not. I think non-African Americans think African Americans all look the same.”

Wow.

Craig, who is black, took the high ground by replying, “I trust people who are trained, regardless of race; regardless of gender. It’s about the training.”

Of course it is.

Craig later condemned Tlaib’s remarks. “If I had made a similar comment people would be outraged,” he told Detroit’s ABC affiliate, “they would be calling for my resignation.”

CNN.com covered the Tlaib facial recognition comments, as did Fox News, but the national media otherwise ignored her obnoxious remarks, although a Washington Post technology writer covered some practical issues with facial recognition in response to what she said.

In short, Tlaib got a pass because she is woke. She’s also a Democratic Socialist.

Not so Pat Foley, the television voice of the Chicago Blackhawks. I don’t know Foley’s politics. Perhaps he’s apolitical. But Foley, who is white, is not woke. He has not spoken of the glories of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. He does not make large contributions to left-wing organizations. He has not apologized for his “white privilege.”

Oh, what did Foley say that got the left so upset? During that ‘Hawks preseason game against Eisbären Berlin, while opposing forward Austin Ortega handled the puck, Foley said, “Ortega, who sounds like he ought to be a shortstop.”

Yep, that’s it. A Chicago Tribune writer deemed Foley’s quip “racially insensitive.” The Blackhawks, in their apology stopped short of that, calling what he said only “insensitive.” Sports Illustrated covered the kerfuffle.

The Blackhawks in that statement noted that Foley, a recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award by the Hockey Hall of Fame, apologized to the Berlin team.

What appears to have ignited the controversy was a Tweet from an Hispanic hockey fan, Ghostchant, who distorted Foley’s words. “‘Ortega, sounds like he should be a shortstop’ instead of hockey.” Yep, “instead of hockey.”

But there is something else. Foley didn’t say “instead of hockey.” The Tweeter, who, if he has a sense of honor would place himself into his personal penalty box for a spell, added those words.

Here’s the entire Tweet along that “insensitive” comment from Foley.

In this split-second-glance-at-my-smartphone world, it’s easy to see why Ghostchant’s dishonest Tweet went viral. Many people look, get outraged, then re-Tweet or post on Facebook, without digging into the veracity of information on that puny screen, or, as I suspect in this instance, bothering to play the accompanying video clip.

Foley’s reputation has taken an undeserved dirty hit.

Tlaib, on the other hand, just keeps going.

What happened to Foley reminds me of a comment made by Nixon White House thug, Charles Colson, who later redeemed himself post-prison. “Anyone who opposes us, we’ll destroy,” he said, “as a matter of fact, anyone who doesn’t support us, we’ll destroy.”

That’s today’s left. Destroy first. Ask questions later. If at all.

There’s a lesson here. If you are a prominent person, unless you are deemed woke, you cannot comment on race or ethnicity, according to the rules of the high priests of the left.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Feds setting up a massive corruption net in Chicago area

Blogger post-race in McCook, Illinois in June

By John Ruberry

One thing hasn’t changed since the outage here at Da Tech Guy. Corruption in Illinois is rampant.

As I noted in this space, on the third day of 2019, Chicago’s most powerful alderman, Ed Burke, who has been in office for 50 years, was named in a criminal complaint centered on an extortion complaint from a fast food restaurant in his ward. In May, Burke was indicted on 14 corruption charges. Burke’s wife, Anne, sits on the Illinois Supreme Court. More on that later.

Around the time of the Burke indictment, the FBI raided the homes of Michael Zalewski, a former Chicago alderman, Kevin Quinn, the brother of another Chicago alderman, and Mike McClain, a lobbyist. All of them are close allies of Michael Madigan, Illinois House speaker for 34 of the last 36 years and the chairman of the state Democratic Party. Quinn’s brother represents the 13th Ward in Chicago’s City Council, where Madigan serves as Democratic committeeman.

Last Tuesday federal agents raided the suburban Chicago and Springfield offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero). Half of his district is covered by Madigan’s House district. But the feds weren’t done last week. On Thursday they raided the village halls of McCook and Lyons, which are in Sandoval’s district. An insurance agency owned by the family of the mayor of Lyons was also raided. The mayor of McCook, a Democrat, is also a Cook County commissioner.

Clearly the federal government is on to something in Madigan’s geographic base, the Southwest Side of Chicago and its southwestern suburbs. Of course Madigan’s fierce grip reaches all the way to the Ohio River. However, Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor, urges caution in jumping to conclusions in linking these raids to Boss Madigan’s activities.

In other Illinois corruption news, in June federal agents raided the ward office of Chicago alderman Carrie Austin. And last month state Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), a distant cousin of state Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), was indicted on embezzlement charges.

Let me get back to Burke, or rather, the alderman’s wife, Anne. Earlier this month Anne was elevated to chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Only in Illinois.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.