CTU NATO Shirt
CTU member at 2012 Occupy rally

By John Ruberry

Whether it’s Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter or a teachers union, leftist protesters who block streets and disrupt private businesses claim they are the spiritual descendants of Martin Luther King and the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Many of the members of these groups–and there is some overlap–wish they had been a part of the Civil Rights movement so it’s understandable that they try to connect their causes with the legacy MLK.

When I complained on Twitter earlier this month about a February 3 Chicago Teachers Union rally–which they almost certainly didn’t bother applying a permit for–ruining an evening rush hour in downtown Chicago by blocking streets, a Twitter leftist of course defended in a reply to my Tweet that protest was a natural outgrowth of King’s use of civil disobedience in the 1960s and earlier.

I replied that these 21st century civil disobedience demonstrations are different because unlike blacks sitting at all-white lunch counters and Rosa Parks refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white man in 1955 as a protest against Jim Crow laws, CTU members, as well as Black Lives Matter and the Occupy activists, can vote provided they are old enough and they are United States citizens and, in some states, not convicted felons. The civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama didn’t have a permit in 1965; had they applied for one of course it would have been denied by the racist government authorities. And the blacks who lived in Selma then, despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act the year before, faced enormous obstacles if they wanted the register to vote. And before then, they couldn’t even do that.

“Throwing the bums out” via the ballot box wasn’t on option.

The Rosa Parks bus
The Rosa Parks bus

Sixteen CTU protesters were arrested during that protest. They were sitting on the floor and chanting inside of a Bank of America branch, they earned the union’s ire by loaning money at a high rate to the insolvent Chicago Public Schools. The chanters were trespassing and they deserved getting busted.

Not only can these teachers can vote, but they have lobbyists in Illinois’ state capital promoting their interests. And they have a political action committee.

One more thing, Chicago Teachers Union: Stop ruining rush hours. Unlike free speech, there is no constitutional right to block traffic. You’re teachers–you should know that.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Packard
Packard plant, Detroit

By John Ruberry

Two months after I returned from my urban exploration trip to Detroit David Maraniss’ Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story was published.

For me the timing couldn’t have been better, As I drove west to my home in the Chicago area I mused, “What in the hell went wrong with Detroit?”

Maraniss, who was born in Detroit, is the author of biographies of Bill Clinton, Vince Lombardi, and Barack Obama. More on the Obama book later.

After seeing Chrysler’s two-minute long Super Bowl commercial for the 200c that featured the Motor City that aired five years ago, Maraniss wondered the same thing I did and decided to write a Detroit book.

Rather than focusing on the deadly 1967 riots that hastened white flight and the exit of thousands of businesses, Maraniss zooms in on a period where Detroit seemed poised to join New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles as an American Great City: the fall of 1962 through the spring of 1964. Detroit’s Big Three were building cars than ever. The city’s long unfulfilled goal of hosting the Summer Olympics finally seemed within reach. Liberal Democrat Jerome Cavanaugh, Detroit’s version of John F. Kennedy, was forward-thinking on civil rights, as was Michigan’s Republican governor, George Romney. Motown Records was enjoying its first taste of national exposure–with greater glory yet to come. The Reverend C.L. Franklin, father of Aretha Franklin, organized a Civil Rights march led by Martin Luther King; and MLK was warmly greeted at the airport by Cavanaugh’s pick for police commissioner, another liberal, George Clifton Edwards, Jr. The president of the United Auto Workers, Walter Reuther, was a prominent supporter of civil rights too.

Downtown Detroit from inside the abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant
Downtown Detroit from inside the abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant

The foundation seemed solid for what was then American’s fifth-most populous city. But there were noticeable cracks. Shortly before the International Olympic Committee vote on its choice for host city of the 1968 summer games, an open housing bill in the Detroit Common Council was overwhelmingly defeated, which led supporters of that bill to appeal to IOC members to deny Detroit the games. Local black nationalist Albert Cleage was gaining support and Malcom X spoke at a Detroit church where he condemned King’s call for non-violence in his Message to the Grass Roots address, where the few whites in the audience were forced to sit in their own section. Edwards’ push to pivot the Detroit Police Department away from its racist legacy was meeting resistance from rank-and-file cops and the DPD brass.

Interestingly, Maraniss intersperses excerpts from letters from white racists to Cavanaugh and Romney several times in Once in a Great City. He also includes a quote from  Rush Limbaugh II about where he lived “prided itself that it never allowed a Negro to live in it and no Negro lived there permanently.”

What the heck does Rush Limbaugh’s father have to do with Detroit? Nothing. However, in his Obama biography Maraniss points out many inconsistencies–or should I say lies?–within the future president’s Dreams from My Father memoir. Rather than being happy about the unexpected publicity about the book from the conservative radio host and others, Maraniss responded in anger to those attacks on a president that he supports. Which explains the author’s end-around attack on the younger Limbaugh. Such pettiness has no place in a serious book.

Michigan Bungalows in Grixdale Farms
Michigan Bungalows in Grixdale Farms

Something else happened in 1962 in Detroit that would hasten its demise, which Maraniss mentions only twice. Three months before the timeline of this book begins, Detroit’s municipal and commuter income taxes went into effect. Those are good reasons not to live or work in such a place.

Near the end of the book President Lyndon B. Johnson, after departing from Air Force One in Detroit on his way to the University of Michigan to give what became known as his Great Society Speech, offered remarks that seem comical today. “Prosperity in America must begin here in Detroit,” he told cheering crowds brought in for the occasion. “You folks in Detroit put American citizens on wheels, you have the American economy on the move. Unemployment in Detroit is down, profits are up, wages are good, and there is no problem too tough or too challenging for us to solve.”

But for LBJ Big Government was the solution to every problem. The Model Cities program, which Cavanaugh bought into big-time, was perhaps one of the biggest debacles of the Great Society.

Despite its flaws I heartily recommend this book. Because another city–Chicago perhaps, which also recently bid on an Olympics–may be the next Detroit.

Or perhaps your city is next.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Bill Ayers at at 2012 Occupy Chicago rally
Bill Ayers at a 2012
Occupy Chicago rally

By John Ruberry

In David Horowitz’ pamphlet Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution, the onetime leftist remarked, “An SDS radical once wrote, ‘the issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.’  In other words, the cause-whether inner city blacks or women–is never the real cause, but only an occasion to advance the real cause, which is the accumulation of power to make the revolution.”

Now the cause is police killing of blacks, but in reality the protests about the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner betray the longtime anti-police sentiments of the Left since the 1960s. But that is a subject for another blog post. Today I’m going to talk about the issue. 

The emergence of the New Left, which was kickstarted by the aforementioned Students for a Democratic Society, which Bill Ayers was a member of,  was part of the upheaval of the late 1960s.  The New Left eschewed the mainstream liberalism of Hubert Humphrey and the George Meany-led labor movement and its anti-communist bent. The Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and Women’s Liberation were the issues then. In the 1970s, the New Left’s call for action were the Watergate scandal  and the environment–in the 1980s it was the No Nukes and the Nuclear disarmament causes, in the ’90s and the 2000s, the Middle East wars were the issue.

In 2011, the openly leftist Occupy Wall Street movement emerged. Not surprisingly, it collapsed.

During this time span, I’m not sure when, but let’s say it was in 2000, through attrition, death mainly, the New Left supplanted the Old Left. It is they and liberal Generation Xers and Millenials who have followed them that are the driving force in the contemporary Democratic Party as well as the labor movement. Their true views, which I imagine they share with at most twenty percent of the electorate, are masked. But their goal is still the revolution. ObamaCare, a private-public mutation that represents the worst of both worlds, is nothing but a gateway to what the libs euphemistically call “single-payer health care,” that is, socialized medicine.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

When twenty percent of the economy is under government control, the rest of it will appear to the Left as low-hanging fruit.

But for now, the Left is looking to bolster its ranks by building up anti-police protests.

Until the next issue that won’t really be the issue comes along.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

There is a lot of talk about how the 60’s was the summer of love and all the great stuff that came from it. Virginia Ironside had a different memory:

To be honest, I mainly remember the 60s as an endless round of miserable promiscuity, a time when often it seemed easier and, believe it or not, more polite, to sleep with a man than to chuck him out of your flat. I recall a complete stranger once slipping into bed beside me when I was staying in an all-male household in Oxford, and feeling so baffled about what the right thing was to do that I let him have sex with me; I remember being got drunk by a grossly fat tabloid newspaper journalist and taken back to a flat belonging to a friend of his to which he had a key, being subjected to what would now be described as rape, and still thinking it was my fault for accepting so much wine. I remember going out to dinner with a young lawyer who inveigled me back to his flat saying he’d got to pick something up before he could take me home, and then suggested we have sex. ‘Oh no,’ I said feebly. ‘I’m too tired.’ ‘Oh, go on,’ he replied. ‘It’ll only take a couple of minutes.’ So I did.

You mean to say that all of that bit about fornication in Christianity and waiting till marriage although religious might have a non religious benefit? Who woulda thunk it. And who would have ever thought that if you give men, who naturally want sex, particular young men no reason for restraint they will show none. Her conclusion:

After a decade of sleeping around pretty indiscriminately, girls of the 60s eventually became fairly jaded about sex. It took me years to discover that continual sex with different partners is, with very few exceptions, joyless, uncomfortable and humiliating, and it’s only now I’m older that I’ve discovered that one of the ingredients of a good sex life is, at the very least, a grain of affection between the two partners involved.

In the rush to reject traditional Christianity a lot of people did a lot of damage to themselves. My advice, find a nice young man who goes to Church and warn your daughters of making it too easy. People tend to rise to the level of expectations that you set for them so let’s make the exceptions high.