By John Ruberry

Last night I ended another binge-watching venture, this time it was Ozark, a Netflix original series starring Jason Bateman. Season one, consisting of ten episodes, was released in July and Ozark has already been renewed for a second run.

Marty Byrde (Bateman) is a financial planner who makes a deal with the devil, actually a Mexican drug cartel, to launder its cash. So, Byrde quietly toils away and the cartel graciously thanks him for his efforts and all is well?

Uh, no.

Byrde and his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) are the typical smug Chicago area couple who I interact with regularly. Wendy is proud of her political activism, she even worked on Barack Obama’s state Senate campaigns, although it’s difficult to say why she was needed as Obama ran unopposed in all three of his Democratic primary races and the district he represented was far more Democratic than Wyoming is Republican. Perhaps Wendy was the scoundrel behind knocking all of Obama’s primary opponents off of the ballot. If so, it fits her character. Interestingly, there is an early scene of Marty inspecting office space Chicago’s Trump Tower.

Bryde’s handler, Camino Del Rio (Esai Morales), discovers $8 million in cartel cash is missing. After Byrde’s co-workers are well, liquidated, in an act of desperation Byrde convinces “Del” that Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, which has “more coastline than the state of California,” is a far better place than Chicago to launder his dirty money because it’s not crawling with federal agents.

So seemingly quicker than it takes me to check out of a hotel room the Byrdes and their children, 15-year-old Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) do a reverse-Beverly Hillbillies and relocate to the Lake of the Ozarks, one of several places in America known as a Redneck Riviera.

The Byrdes nearly immediately confront a family of small-time criminals, the Langmores, who live in–wait for it–run-down trailers. They are raising two bobcats. Just inside the door of one of the trailers is a a poster of a topless woman.

And like Brewster in the several Brewster’s Millions movies, Marty finds that quickly spending millions, or laundering it, is harder than he thought it would be, particularly in the rural location he chose. An even greater challenge for the Byrdes is a mysterious family of big-time criminals we meet later on. For comic relief, mostly, is the dying old man who lives in their basement–he is convinced Obama is a Muslim.

Even before the move the Byrde’s marriage is on the rocks–and the tension of a disintegrating family operating an illegal enterprise is reminiscent of Breaking Bad. The graphic violence is reminiscent of Sons of Anarchy. And while no genitalia is shown, the sex scenes are also quite graphic. So this family drama is by no means appropriate family viewing. Jason Bateman has come along way since his NBC sitcom Silver Spoons.

Blogger outside Chicago’s Trump Tower

I don’t expect there to be a tourist boom to Lake of the Ozarks because of the show, as the redneck cliches and the rampant lawlessness of Ozark will serve as a definite buzz-kill for travel-minded families. The Northwoods region’s vacation dollars are secure. Although outside of a few scenes in downtown Chicago, most of the show is filmed in a reservoir area in northern Georgia. And some of the Chicago scenes are laughably wrong–where do all of these hills come from? And there are no hills in Morris, Illinois either–a wonderful town I’ve visited many times, by the way. Here’s another inconsistency: The Byrdes’ suburban home was in Naperville. So why does their Honda Odyssey have an expensive Chicago vehicle sticker? An astute financial planner wouldn’t waste $136 on a useless decal.

Yes, I’ll be back for the next season. By then end of that one Ozark may have shed the shadow of Breaking Bad.

John Ruberry regularly blogs in the Chicago area at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Barack Obama’s Model United Nations style foreign policy of be-nice-to-rogue-nations-and-they’ll-be-nice-to-you is a failure.

Five years ago Syria’s thug president, Bashar al-Assad, crossed Barack Obama’s red line by using chemical weapons against his own people.

Obama did not retaliate.

Last Tuesday the brute crossed that red line–and on Thursday President Donald J. Trump fired 59 cruise missiles at the Syrian base from where those chemical weapons were launched. This happened the day after an emergency session of the UN Security Council called in response to this cruel attack predictably achieved nothing.

The spoiled fat boy who savagely rules the starving nation of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, keeps firing missiles in tests, those weapons violate numerous United Nations resolutions. For years the rogue state has been building a nuclear weapons program, one that can possibly be used to attack the United States.

Trump is responding to the aggressiveness of the Norks by dispatching an aircraft carrier to Korean waters. He’s reportedly considering deploying nuclear missiles in South Korea.

Obama did nothing of consequence in regards to the North Korean threat.

Trump understands the lessons of the playground that Obama and his fellow leftists never learned. Bullies only back down when confronted with force, or a credible threat of force. For bullies weakness is an opportunity to be exploited. The historical examples of strongmen attacking their own people and more powerful nations plundering weaker ones are so plentiful that I won’t insult the intelligence of my readers by listing them. And if you need examples, then you are too far gone, my friend.

There is some good news–America’s eight-year long vacation from reality is over.

Oh, is there any hope for the UN? No. Add me to the list of people who believe that the United States and other freedom-loving nations, such as Great Britain, Australia, Taiwan, Japan, and lets say Chile, need to band together and form a League of Democracies.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

President Obama’s dreadful policies toward Russia allowed Vladimir Putin to regard the United States as an impotent power.

The misguided approach started at the beginning of Obama’s regime. For example, he surreptitiously sent a letter to the Russians just after taking office, offering to cancel plans to install a missile defense site in Poland and corresponding radar in the Czech Republic.

According to The National Review, these systems would have provided a layer of protection for the United States and its allies from Iranian long-range missiles. All Russia had to do for Obama to cancel the plans was to agree to help pressure Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program.

This exchange started the road down the ill-advised treaty with Iran and showed Russia the weakness of Obama because he couldn’t force the Islamic Republic to do his will.

The Obama administration ended up canceling the missile-defense system, and the United States to this day remains ill-equipped to combat Iranian ballistic missiles.

Obama also negotiated a new arms control treaty with the Russians even though Putin and the gang were violating the previous one. It took constant congressional pressure to get Obama to admit that Russia had been disregarding the previous agreement since he took office.

Fast forward to Obama’s statement on an open microphone telling then–Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to pass along a message to then–Prime Minister Putin. “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space…. This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility,” Obama said.

In other words, Obama promised to do a lot more than anyone in the current administration has.

Obama’s response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in March 2014 and Moscow’s subsequent support of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine was economic sanctions. Although the measures had an impact on the Russian economy, they were seen as woefully inadequate.

Finally, the United States has become so irrelevant in Syria and Russia so important that the Obama administration didn’t even get an invitation to the last conference to discuss the civil war.

Only after all these signs of weakness did Russian hacking occur. But it wasn’t just the DNC. Russian entities hacked private companies, Nasdaq and banks, as well as government agencies, including the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon. The Obama administration apparently was incapable of mounting any significant defense against the hacking.

An investigation into Obama’s dreadful record of dealing with Russia might be useful before looking at anything else.

 

Christopher Harper teaches media law.
The Terracotta Warriors from the creation of China
The Terracotta Warriors from the third century B.C. underscore the longstanding power of China. (Photo by Chris Harper)

For the United States to have an effective policy with China, Americans have to stop buying iPhones. Or Apple has to move some of its production facilities from China. And a whole lot more.

The trade imbalance between the two countries is so out of whack, amounting to a deficit of more than $300 billion a year for the United States, that the American government cannot put any significant pressure on China. Moreover, the Beijing government owns more than 7 percent of the U.S. debt. China has a lot of leverage.

Sanctions and tariffs usually don’t work. It would help if Apple would move its production plants from China to South Korea, for example, but educating consumers about the implications of buying Chinese products might also work.

After visiting and teaching in China during the past two years, I offer a few insights:

–President Xi Jinping is the most powerful, politically savvy and intelligent leader in recent history.
–The pivot toward Asia under the Obama administration has been laughable, including alliances with some dreadful regimes in Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines.
–China’s so-called “belt-and-road” program to build infrastructure from mainland Asia to Europe has been a resounding success despite U.S. naysayers. For more about the economic plan, see https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/asia/china-s-infrastructure-play
–The presidential election has made the United States a laughingstock among Chinese.

President Obama’s recent Asian excursion underlines how poorly the United States is doing. The Chinese made him disembark from the back of the plane. The government restricted his access to the media, and officials got into a shouting match with his aides. The president then got dissed by the government of Laos and the Philippines.

These incidents don’t bode well for any resolution to China’s desire to control economic and military sway over the South China Sea—an issue that does matter. That route controls access to billions of dollars in fishing, minerals and petroleum for a range of Asian countries.

The most recent U.S. policy has been to confront Chinese vessels—an approach that is likely to heighten tensions rather than lessen them.

Neither presidential candidate offers much hope in dealing effectively with China. Clinton is likely to continue gunboat diplomacy, while Trump wants tariffs against Chinese products. These inept approaches are troubling because China is the leading competitor of the United States for the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of the rest of the world.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

 

 

 

 

by baldilocksbaldilocks

American rule of law is almost extinct, but it isn’t as if no one tried to warn the others. I wrote the following in November of last year and this post wasn’t the first of its type.

Personally, I don’t think any warning will be heeded until something YUGE happens.

But, until then…Normalcy Bias.


Any questions?

At his departing press conference at the G20 on November 17, 2015, Obama made the bold declaration that he’s “not interested in . . . posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or ‘America winning.'”

Any questions?

Any questions?

Anyone who still thinks that this president has the country’s best interest at heart is delusional.

A while back, I read as someone asked how it is that black pastors still support President Obama–noted supporter of abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and various other things which are considered sinful under Christian doctrine. My response: “These pastors love their race/skin color more than they love Christ.”

And many white supporters of Barack Obama are similarly blinded. Barack Obama-love is a lazy method of absolving themselves of white guilt. And it is a sneakier form of racial pride than the type I pointed to in the previous paragraph. These white supporters can still point to that support whenever black persons wield the racism club. (I don’t think it will exempt white persons from the Knockout Game, though.)

White Obama apologists love their imagined absolution more that they love freedom.

But what about the rest of us? What will we do as this president keeps pushing, and pushing, and pushing to kill the Great Satan?

Duh.


July 9, 2016: Any questions?

Any questions?

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game (click on left sidebar image), was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

Bicentennial logoBy John Ruberry

Tomorrow, July 4, 2016, will be the 240th anniversary of America’s independence. Which means in ten years the United States will be 250 years old, one-quarter of a millennium.

I’m old enough to remember America’s bicentennial, and while there was some feeling of bicentennial overkill–CBS TV’s daily Bicentennial Minutes aired for over two years–the USA’s 200th birthday was a welcome respite from the bleak 1970s, a decade that was plagued by war, riots, racial conflict, a moribund economy, and a feeling that America’s best days were behind it. Kinda like right now.

Eight years of Ronald Reagan righted the ship.

How is the planning for the American sestercentennial coming along? Well, it’s almost non-existent. I found a Facebook group, a website, and a few articles on the ‘net here and there, but as of now it’s a non-event.

Contrast that situation with 1966, ten years before the USA’s 200th annivesary Congress created the Bicentennial Commission.

Hopefully things will move quicker once Barack Obama is out of office. Obama has never been a flag-waving patriot. He famously explained to a reporter in 2007 that his reason for not wearing a US flag pin on his lapel was because it didn’t represent “true patriotism.” All of the other 2008 presidential candidates wore those pins.

This year Bernie Sanders didn’t.

Bicentennial mural in Tampico, IL, where Reagan was born
Bicentennial mural in Tampico, IL in 2011, where Ronald Reagan was born

Obama’s base of support, and Sanders’ too, is the far-left; many of these leftists believe that America is strong only because it stole the land and its resources. These radicals speak of an AmeriKKKan Empire that is ruining the world and that the United States is a country that needs to be brought down to size. Oh, isn’t America the nation that saved Europe three times in the last century? You remember, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Thank you, Ronald Reagan for that last one.

And America also rescued Asia in World War II.

Even if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency this fall–I certainly hope she doesn’t–she likely won’t govern as an anti-American leftist. To some extent the America-hating radicals will be justifiably marginalized.

The sestercentennial is coming. Let freedom ring!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

 

In Aug 1945 a 23 year old carpenter was sitting on board a ship in the Pacific when he discovered to his delight that there would be no invasion of the Japanese Mainland and neither he nor his fellows would have to risk their lives to support an invasion.

Despite the lure of a promised promotion his bride to be’s insistence caused him to leave the navy, get married, raise 5 children and run several bars and restaurants until his death in 1987. His bride would outlive him by 25 years dying in december of 2012.

That man was my Father

Today there are 33 people between the ages of 68 & 6 who are direct descendants of this man. One of his grandchildren got married last week and at least three more are in their 20’s unmarried (including my two sons).

This week Barack Obama talked of the dead of Hiroshima with words of regret over the Atomic Bombs that killed them.

However without those bombs dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki it’s very likely those 33 Americans Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Agnostics and atheists would not exist.

And they would not be alone, it is expected that the invasion of Japan would have cost at least 100,000 Americans or more not to mention the wounded and crippled.

At 33 descendants each that’s over 3 million americans who might not be here today?

And we aren’t even counting the number of Japanese who would have been killed in said invasion, or the number of Japanese & Chinese and Russians who would have died as the Soviets drove south into China and Korea while the fight for Japan continued on to the bitter end.

I would say that it’s a disgrace that the president of the United States doesn’t understand this, but I suspect that the man who presided over Benghazi objection to the prospect of dead Americans is not what one might have expected from the White House in the past.

But frankly leftists wishing Americans dead is nothing new.

Closing thought: If the WW 2 generation was not in their 90’s would there be any chance in hell that this event would have taken place?

Toilet and trash canBy John Ruberry

Below, courtesy of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, is more proof that there is a Monty Python bit for every occasion, even when the characters are living in the first century AD.

Stan: I want to be a woman. From now on I want you all to call me Loretta.
Reg: What!?
Stan: It’s my right as a man.
Judith: Why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
Stan: I want to have babies.
Reg: You want to have babies?!?!?!
Stan: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.
Reg: But you can’t have babies.
Stan: Don’t you oppress me.
Reg: I’m not oppressing you, Stan — you haven’t got a womb. Where’s the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?

Stan/Loretta, presumably has male genitalia. That makes him a man. Another character in that scene, Judith, has female genitalia. She’s a woman. We know that for sure because we later see what the Pythons call her “naughty bits” in the funniest nude scene in the history of cinema.

Liberals, led by their chieftain Barack Obama, side with the Stan/Lorettas of the world, they believe that a person’s gender–biological logic be damned–is whatever they want it to be.

Society somehow survived having separate male and female public bathrooms all of these years. But about a decade ago men-who-think-they-are-women and women-who-think-they-are-men began to demand access to the washrooms and locker rooms that don’t match their body parts.

The Battle of the Bathroom has reached into public schools.

And now Barack Obama’s Justice Department  wants to strong-arm government schools into allowing confused youths–yes, I know what I’m writing–who believe they are a different gender, access to opposite sex washrooms and locker rooms.

What if the schools want to keep their private facilities the way they’ve been for decades?

Federal funding could be shut off–and there will be an open-door policy for peeping toms and rapists in public female bathrooms.

Hope and change baby, especially for the miniscule percentage of the population–0.3 percent, according to the New York Times–that identify as transgendered. I And I suspect that figure is too high.

In his final year of office Barack Obama is putting his final touches on his legacy. To me Obama is the Bathroom President. It’s how I will remember him. His legacy is set in porcelain.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

USA-UK flagsBy John Ruberry

Colonel Ahmed: “Not the President of America, sir. The President of Earth.” Doctor Who, Death in Heaven.

Not content with “fundamentally transforming” America, Barack Obama is in Europe right now causing mischief. During a joint press conference with German Prime Minister Angela Merkel that concluded a few hours ago Obama praised her open borders policy on Syrian migrants, declaring that she “is on the right side of history on this.”

Meanwhile, fueled largely by opposition to increased immigration from the Middle East, far-right political parties are gaining strength in Europe.

While Obama was in Great Britain last week the conservative-leaning Telegraph published his op-ed where he urged the UK to reject isolationism and vote “No” on June’s referendum, dubbed “Brexit,” which will decide if Britain will remain in the European Union. Later he threatened Britons by placing their nation “at the back of the queue” in regards to any trade deals with the United States.

Michigan state police car
Why does Michigan need a state police force?

Obama is an internationalist rather than a standard American politician. He favors a much stronger United Nations, and while a senator he sponsored a bill that would impose a tax on Americans to fight poverty in other countries. Obama’s view of sovereign nations is likely that they should be administrative units along the lines of counties in US states. Not that Obama cares much for local units of American government. His administration has initiated a creeping federalization of local police departments. All of this assists in explaining Obama’s hostility to Brexit.

Look for Obama to push internationalization of governments after he leaves the White House. Of course if that push succeeds the UN will need a proper leader, not a glorified clerk like the general secretary position.

I’m sure Obama has someone in mind. Someone with a Kenyan father and a Kansas mother who grew up in multi-racial Hawaii would be perfect, he likely believes.

Obama has always viewed himself as larger than the American presidency.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

illinois signBy John Ruberry

You can once and for all drop any lingering belief you may possess that Barack Obama is a bi-partisan unifier. A Chicago Democrat in the Illinois House who believed in compromising is now a lame duck because of our leftist president.

Illinois has been locked in a budget battle for nine months. The primary combatants are Republican political newcomer Bruce Rauner, the first Land of Lincoln governor to win a majority of voters since 2002, and House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has led the lower chamber in Springfield for 30 of the last 32 years. He’s also chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. His daughter, Lisa, has been the state’s attorney general since 2003.

If there is a poster child for the problems of America’s fifth-largest state–a declining population, deficit spending, woefully underfunded public pensions–it’s Michael Madigan, who has been a member of the Illinois House since 1971.

Last month President Barack Obama, whose first public office was as an Illinois state senator, spoke to the General Assembly where he hailed the graces of compromise and working across the aisle with the opposition.

“Where I’ve got an opportunity to find some common ground, that doesn’t make me a sellout to my own party,” Obama said that day, after which Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) stood and cheered.

“We’ll talk later, Dunkin,” Obama quickly replied and then continued his speech.

And so Obama talked.

Dunkin is the type of politician Obama who was able to “find some common ground” with Governor Rauner. Madigan’s gerrymandering talents created super-majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly–with not a vote to spare. But Dunkin defied Boss Madigan several times by preventing several overrides of several Rauner vetoes.

Madigan responded predictably by directing funding to the campaign of his primary opponent, Juliana Stratton. She also received Obama’s endorsement and the president–and here’s  the”We’ll talk later” part–appeared in a Stratton radio spot and narrated a TV ad for her.

Shouldn’t Obama be focused on defeating ISIS, tackling the federal deficit, and creating jobs? No, he has better things to do, it seems, such as sticking his nose in a state legislature race that means nothing to a family of four in, let’s say Ohio, that is struggling to get by.

Television advertisements in the expensive Chicago TV market are unheard of in state representative races.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Republican interests contributed heavily to Dunkin’s campaign.

Last Tuesday was primary day in Illinois–and Stratton easily bested Dunkin. The Democratic Machine defeated the compromiser.

Obama is a fraud. He should be ashamed of himself but of course he isn’t.

John Ruberry regularly blogs and Marathon Pundit. He’s a life long resident of ILL-inois.