Information on the Adam Toledo killing that the mainstream media is overlooking

By John Ruberry

If you receive your news only from mainstream media outlets then you probably don’t know that Adam Toledo, a thirteen-year-old Chicago seventh-grader, was likely a member of the Latin Kings gang, a criminial organization whose reach is worldwide.

Toledo was killed in a police shooting at 2:30am on March 29, It was a Monday, which is what my parents called “a school night.” That night the young teen was with a 21-year-old, Ruben Roman, who was on probation for gun crimes

Chicago’s former police superintendant, Garry McCarthy, places the blame on Toledo’s death on street gangs, not the cop shot who shot him. “They have the ‘shorties’ who they give the gun to,” McCarthy told WBBM-AM. Toledo apparently was one of those “shorties.” Youngsters such as Toledo, if caught, usually end up in the more lenient juvenile court system, although with Kim Foxx as Cook County’s prosector, the adult courts are quite lenient too.

Police officers were responding to a reports of gunfire in the Southwest Side Little Village neighborhood when they found Roman, who was quickly taken into custody, and Toledo, who ran. In a just-released police bodycam video, which is difficult to watch and contains profanity, it appears that about a second before he was fatally wounded, Toledo dropped his gun. 

There have been scattered local media reports about Toledo’s reputed membership in the Latin Kings. A British newspaper, News Corp’s The Sun, has been quite direct. Of the national media that has spoken up, left-leaning “fact-checking” site Snopes classifies such speculation as “Research in progress.”  But for the most part the big-time national media hasn’t reported about Toledo and his apparent Latin Kings ties.

To be fair the Chicago Sun-Times reported a few days after the shooting, “Chicago police leaders warned their cops that factions of the Latin Kings planned to retaliate following the fatal police shooting of a 13-year-old. Gang members were instructed to ‘shoot at unmarked Chicago police vehicles,’ CPD warned.”

The national mainstream media clearly has another of their narratives to protect, in regards to this one, it’s that racist police officers are indiscrimanetly shooting members of the minority community, particularly young ones. Meanwhile, the Hey Jackass! site says as of today, 165 people have been shot to death in Chicago so far this year–and 759 others have been wounded. Of those killed in 2021, again according to Hey Jackass, over 90 percent of the victims were minorites. And finally, yet again according to the same source, there have been only eight police shootings in Chicago so far this year–three of them fatal. 

Some people are unfairly blaming Toledo’s parents for his death. Good people sometimes raise kids who end up bad. Toledo was reporting missing by his mother on March 26, three days before his death, but he returned home the next day.

At 13 there was plenty of time for Toledo to turn his life around. 

The Chicago Teachers Union, which for months has stubbornyl blocked school re-openings despite the fact that children are the least harmed age group by COVID-19, said in a statement, “Adam Toledo was loved. He was one of ours.” While students have been truant since the first schools took in kids, remote learning leads to even more of it. Chicago’s elementary schools only opened, part time, for in-class learning a few weeks before Toledo’s killing. The high schools re-open in a similar fashion only tomorrow.  In February, the Centers for Disease Control, declared with safeguards, it was safe to re-open schools, even without vaccination.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

School lockdowns lead to urban carjacking spike

By John Ruberry

The COVID-19 school lockdown continues in America’s biggest cities, despite clear evidence that children are unlikely to become seriously ill from that virus.

One unintended consquence of the closing of public schools to all but remote learning is more crime–and especially more carjackings. 

It is no longer just conservative media calling attention to the link to the school lockdowns and carjackings in big cities. Although CBS was artful in its report in a story last week. “Investigators say the trend is driven by 12 to 15 year olds with time on their hands during the pandemic,” CBS News said. These kids have more time on their hands because their schooling consists of Zoom instruction something CBS omitted in its story.

Last month a 66-year-old UberEats driver, Mohammad Anwar, a Pakistani immigrant, died while clinging to his vehicle in Washington DC after being tased in a carjacking by two girls, a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old. A bystander took video of the crime–which has gone viral. 

“You know, idle minds are the devil’s playground. And a lot of these kids, they’ve been idle for a year and a half now without going to school. And that’s been a big problem,” Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo told Fox News last week.

In that CBS story referenced earlier it was also reported, “The number of carjackings has exploded during the pandemic. Carjackings have increased by more than 100% in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. They are up more than 343% in Washington, D.C.”

Let’s look at Chicago. The pusillanimous nature of the local media creates an opening for straightforward sources. One of those news sites is Hey Jackass! and it reports the raw numbers of carjackings. Well sort of. Stick with me on this one. In 2019 there were 603 reported carjackings and 1,396 last year. So far in 2021 there have been 404. But here’s the kicker. “Carjacking data comes directly from the CPD’s own data set,” Hey Jackass! warns, “so add 20% to obtain the true number.” 

There’s a lot of speculation about why carjackers commit their crimes. Thrill is probably one of them, but also often vehicles are carjacked to aid other crimes. Perhaps it’s a mix of the two. Just last night, another great local crime site, CWB Chicago, told us of a 55-year-old woman who was pushed to the ground inside a Target parking lot as her Audi was carjacked. The criminals drove away with her car and the one they arrived in, a Kia, which was likely carjacked near the University of Chicago a couple of hours prior. Percentage-wise since 2017 the arrest rate for Chicago carjackings has been in the single digits, according to Hey Jackass!

On April 19 Chicago’s public high schools are scheduled to re-open, although how that occurs varies from school to school. Of course the recalcitrant Chicago Teachers Union, citing new COVID-19 numbers, is opposed.

Mental health among students has suffered during the lockdown

Once the school lockdowns end–and I believe they will one day–don’t expect the carjackers to give up their horrible hobby. 

Businesses in Chicago, already suffering from 13 months of lockdowns, rioting, and looting, are receiving another hit. Suburbanites, for good reason, are afraid to travel to the city. And the carjackings occur in all neighborhoods, rich, poor, and in between.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Satire: Mafia Families and the Priests that Serve them deride Vatican’s Continued Stance against Murder, Theft & Prostitution

Members of the Cosa Nostra were united in their disappointment that the Vatican has not changed their stance concerning the sinfulness of murder, theft and prostitution.

“It’s a real cultural problem.” said a spokesman for the Bocce crime family. “Don Giuseppe was saying just the other day that the church’s stance unfairly stigmatizes people whose culture, tradition and inclination. has steered them in this direction for centuries.”

“It’s a terrible disappointment.” said Fr. Mel A Stophilies of Angel of Light Parish and the unofficial chaplain to the Polenta family. “Why just the other day Dona Polenta was talking about how Pope Francis’ attacks on the mafia had affected her 14 year old grandson who has dreamed of entering the family business since he was five and has just started his career as a runner: ‘Does the Vatican understand what his can do to a 14 year old just staring in the rackets? It can destroy him'”

At the business of Dino and Luigi Vercotti they echoed this statement noting that on the local level their priest have been more supportive.

“At our parish they have been much more caring toward the women in our business just trying to make a living.” Said Dino Vercotti in between answering calls for appointments, “In fact our parish priest Fr. Heretic has been using a more compassionate translation of scripture where Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery in John 9:11: ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now that’s not sin any more.’ It’s really made both our girls and their customers feel better about themselves.”

In Philadelphia some locals still expressed hope that the Vatican will see the light on these things.

“If the church is going to be part of the world and not hated they need to change with the times and recognize that the acceptance of things like adultery, theft and the occasional murder (as long as it doesn’t cross the wrong racial lines) is where society is.” said Fr. Morty Sine “After all if they took those lessons to heart have spent hours filling in and delivering ballots in the wee hours after election day? If they hadn’t done that Rome would not have been able to celebrate the election of only the 2nd Catholic president of the United States.”

“After all one man’s sin is another’s way of life.” said Fr Terr. I know our parish has greatly benefited from the support we have given the local families and I’m sure eventually the Church will see the advantages of such an arrangement.

Review: Season One of Tribes of Europa

By John Ruberry

I guess I’m in an arts and culture mood of late so I’m reviewing my latest Netflix binge-watching adventure, Tribes of Europa, a six-episode series about a dystopian Europe centered on the former Germany in 2074. 

In December of 2029 the world’s power-grid fails–the cause of which is never explained, but it could be because of a cyberwar gone too far, along the lines of the biological warfare that precedes the Charlton Heston classic, The Omega Man.

Europe has devolved well past the European Union or even the nation-states that the borders of which–for the most part–have been resilient since the end of World War II. Microstate tribes have replaced the old order. One of those tribes is the Origines (rhymes with aborigines), a peaceful group of several dozen hunter-gatherers, wearing, presumably, scavenged clothes from before society’s collapse. Their community is destroyed after a B-1 type aircraft, belonging to the technologically advanced Atlantians, crashes near their village.

Three young Origine siblings, Liv (Henriette Confurius), Elja (David Ali Rashed), and Kiano (Emilio Sakraya), along with their father Jakob (Benjamin Sadler), are forced to scatter, the siblings carve three storylines, much like what the children of Ned Stark did in Game of Thrones. Yes, this show is derivative. Much of the mood and tone recalls another German series, the time-travel show Dark. The producers of that series also are behind this one. And there is a bit of the Star Wars franchise in Tribes of Europa. Moses (Oliver Masucci) is a fast-talking salvage merchant who is constantly trying to keep one step ahead of a powerful lender. Who does that remind you of? Moses takes Elja under his wing. Masucci is a gifted actor, he portyayed the brooding Ulrich in Dark, a cruel but ultimately tragic character, as well as Hitler in the comedy Look Who’s Back

Moses is only interested, at least initially, in Elja, the youngest of the Origine siblings, because he found an Atlantian cube, which, must like the Ring of Power in the Lord of the Rings, is sought after by other tribes, particularly the Crows. And in the early episodes, like the Ring, we are unsure of exactly what powers the cube possesses. As for the Crows, they are barbarians who party in discos and participate in gladiator duels.

Yes, there is a bit of The Hunger Games in Tribes of Europa.

Liv falls in the the Crimson Army, which is led by General Cameron (James Faulkner). He’s the actor who portayed the stern Randyll Tarly in Game of Thrones. One of the Crimson Army’s goals is to seize the former Berlin, Brahtok, the Crow capital, where Kiano and Jakob are being held.

Cameron dreams of bringing back the old Europe. Liv asks the general, “Do you really think you can pull it off, unite the continent?” Cameron replies, “The European idea will never die.” According to numerous media sources the idea for Tribes of Europa came to show creator Philip Koch after the Brexit vote in 2016.

The German in Tribes of Europa is dubbed for Netflix. But in a key revelation, English is still the lingua franca in post-collapse Europe.

There are just six episodes in the first season and as this one ends with three cliffhangers, I imagine a second season of Tribes of Europa is planned. If there is I’ll tune in.

Netlix rates Tribes of Europa as TV-MA for graphic violence, foul language, nudity, and very uncomfortable sexual situations. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Well-deserved pushback against Chicago Monuments Project underway

Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It is one of Chicago monuments “under review.”

By John Ruberry 

Last week in my DTG post I wrote about the Chicago Monuments Project, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s response to last summer’s riot surrounding the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park south of downtown.

The committee for the project earlier this month identified 41 monuments, mostly statues but also plaques, reliefs, and one painting. Five of the monuments are statues of Abraham Lincoln. Yes, that guy, the one who led the Union during the Civil War, which led to ending slavery in America. Illinois is the Land of Lincoln, that slogan has been emblazoned on every Illinois license plate for decades. His face is on all standard Illinois license plates. On every Illinois driver’s license and state ID card is Lincoln’s countenance–and automobile titles too.

Other monuments “under review” by the project include statues of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Leif Erikson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, several pieces honoring Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, and works featuring anonymous Native Americans. 

But don’t worry! Really! In a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed published last week–on Washington’s birthday–three of the project’s members assured us:

Various accounts, especially on social media, have inaccurately described this project as an effort to tear it all down. This could not be further from the truth. It is a discussion.

I don’t believe them. The “discussion,” in my opinion, is a first step to, yes, “tear it all down.” Liberals work by way of incrementalism. Many left-wing politicians, probably most, want to ban private ownership of guns. They can’t express that sentiment because of the predictable outrage–and it could mean that they’ll be voted out of office. So they start with the easier targets, such as bans on semi-automatic rifles. If they succeed they’ll move on to other firearms, ending with the banning the type of handgun Mrs. Marathon Pundit purchased this year.

So the Chicago Monuments Project is beginning with “a discussion.” Without pushback that discussion very well may devolve into moving statues in the wee hours, which is what happened to two Christopher Columbus statues, including the one at the center of the riot, into storage. Both of those statues of the Italian Navigator are on the project’s “under review” status. 

It’s not just social media users and conservative news sources that have objected to the Chicago Monuments Project. In a Chicago Tribune op-ed, Lincoln biographers Sidney Blumenthal and Harold Holzer wrote, “The Orwellian idea of removing Lincoln from Chicago would be as vain as an attempt to erase the history of Chicago itself.”

The editoral board of the Chicago Tribune–paid subscription required–favors keeping the Lincoln stautes.

Lori Lightfoot even weighed in, “But let’s be clear, we’re in the Land of Lincoln, and that’s not going to change.”

But I’d like to explain to you that the other monuments are also worth keeping. Benjamin Franklin owned two slaves but he freed them and he later became an abolititionist. Ulysses S. Grant, when he was under tremendous financial hardship, freed the only slave he owned. Grant of course was the commander of all Union armies in the Civil War. George Washington’s slaves were freed after the death of Martha Washington. Yes, Washington is the Father of our Nation.

Other than being white, I can’t astertain why Marquette and Jolliet, or Leif Erikson, are “under review” in Chicago.

The source of the rage against Lincoln likely comes from his approving the hanging of 38 Dakota warriors in 1862. But Abe commuted 264 Dakota War executions. There were atrocities in that conflict committed by both sides. Here’s what a Norwegian immigrant described in a letter at that time, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society:

The Indians have begun attacking the farmers. They have already killed a great many people, and many are mutilated in the cruelest manner. Tomahawks and knives have already claimed many victims. Children, less able to defend themselves, are usually burned alive or hanged in the trees, and destruction moves from house to house.

If the Chicago Monuments Project is about education, then it probably means that Lightfoot sorely needs one. “In time, our team will determine there are no monuments to African Americans in this city,” Lightfoot said last summer while announcing what has become the Chicago Monuments Project. “There are no monuments to women. There are no monuments that reflect the contributions of people in the city of Chicago who contributed to the greatness of this city.”

But in her namesake park on the South Side stands a Gwendolyn Brooks statue. Brooks was the first African-American to serve as Illinois’ Poet Laureate. A couple miles north of that statue is the beautiful Victory Monument, which honors a World War I African American regiment, and a bit north of that one is the Monument to the Great Northern Migration. I believe each of these are on city of Chicago or Chicago Park District property.

Does Chicago need more monuments featuring women and minorities? Absolutely. It can also benefit with a Ronald Reagan statue. The Gipper is the only president who was born in Illinois and the first to live in Chicago, although the apartment where he lived as a child was razed by the University of Chicago in 2013.

Click here to view the monuments in question. To express your comments about the Chicago Monuments Project please click here. Please be courteous. And if you Tweet this blog post–please do!–use the #ChicagoMonuments hashtag.

Make your voice heard. They’ve begun to listen.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.


Lincoln statues under attack in the largest city in the Land of Lincoln

Lincoln: The Man in 2008

By John Ruberry

On Wednesday, in response to the summer riot in Chicago that nearly toppled a Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park last month–it and another Columbus statue have been since placed in storage–Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago Monument Project revealed 41 monuments that “have been identified for public discussion.” 

The project’s web site cautions, in bold print no less, “No decisions have been made about the following monuments.”

Yeah, right. BS! Imagine that you work at a company where the annual reviews are conducted each December. But in June you are informed that you’ll soon have a mid-year review but then are told, “Don’t worry, nothing is wrong.” At that point a wise person will begin the process of résumé updating. 

The statues, reliefs, and plaques include monuments honoring four presidents, several memorials recalling the first Europeans to visit Chicago, Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette, as well as generals, a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and many public art pieces with Native American themes. And yes of course those two Columbus statues. Oh, if you are one of those people who believe Leif Ericsson was the real European discoverer of America don’t be smug. He’s on Lightfoot commission’s list too.

This not a list of shame. It’s a tragic shame that there is such a list.

Five of the 41 monuments are Abraham Lincoln statues–and there are five Lincoln statues in Chicago. Hmm. Widely considered by liberals and conservatives as the greatest American president, the Great Emancipator’s presence in Illinois is profound and inescapable. “Land of Lincoln” is emblazoned on every Illinois license plate as is Honest Abe’s visage. 

I live on Lincoln Avenue in a Chicago suburb–that street winds its way south into Chicago and Lincoln Park, where you’ll encounter what Andrew Ferguson in his book Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America says is “what is generally thought to be the greatest Lincoln statue of the nineteenth century, a towering figure by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.” That makes this statue, generally referred to as Lincoln Standing although its formal name is Lincoln: The Man, a masterpiece. Yep, a masterpiece. So much so that it has been recast several times, and those Lincoln: The Man reproductions can be found in Parque Lincoln in Mexico City, Parliament Square in London, Forest Lawn Cemetery–Hollywood Hills, and the Lincoln Tomb in Springfield. Earlier this month Little Marathon Pundit and I visited the Detroit Institute of Arts, where we found one of the many miniatures of Lincoln: The Man

Of course back in Chicago the original artistic triumph is “under public discussion.” In Grant Park sits another targeted Saint-Gaudens work, Abraham Lincoln: Head of State.

Also troubling is the aforementioned Marquette and Jolliet memorials on this list. Jolliet, while crossing the Chicago Portage in what is now southwestern suburban Cook County, noted that it would be an excellent location for a canal, one that would connect the watersheds of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Lincoln, while a member of the Illinois legislature, was a proponent of the Illinois-Michigan Canal, which opened 17 decades after the Marquette-Jolliet expedition. While that canal very well may have been built without either men, if it hadn’t, Chicago may have ended up like many other small cities on Lake Michigan, like Sheboygan, Wisconin. (Oh, I’ve been there–it’s a lovely place by the way.)

George Washington has two “nominations” from the Chicago Monuments Project, including his horseback statue in his namesake park. McKinley Park’s statue of William McKinley is in peril too. Does that mean their park names will be next? While Grant Park doesn’t have a Ulysses S. Grant statue–Lincoln Park does. He has a nomination too, as do his fellow union generals Phil Sheridan, on Sheridan Road no less, and John Logan, whose statue stands in Grant Park.  

Lori Lightfoot is a failed mayor in a city that is in clear decline. Failed mayor? She’s up for reelection in a little more than two years and already there is speculation as to who her opponents will be. Since I declared Chicago a city in decline last summer its retail cash cow, North Michigan Avenue, has been hit by the announment of two closings, a massive Gap store and Macy’s at Water Tower Place. Chicago’s streets are potholed disasters, there are omnipresent red-light cameras to contend with, the murder rate is soaring, as are the number of car jackings. Taxes are oppresive, and its financial millstone, the worst-funded municipal pension progam in the nation, has never been properly addressed. Oh, this appears to be a little thing but graffiti is no longer routinely cleaned up along Chicago’s expressways. The proliferation of kudzu-like graffiti foreshadowed New York City’s descent in the 1970s.

Instead Lightfoot zooms in on statues and monuments to pander to her leftist base. 

The ultimate responsibility for this real-life dystopia of course goes to Chicago’s misguided voters. What was it that H.L Mencken said of democracy? Ah yes, here it is, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

Chicago voters are a special kind of common people it seems

That being said there has been surprisingly little anger here in the Chicago area about these possible monument removals, as coverage has been modest and a major snowstorm earlier last week, on top of another one, had people focused on more immediate needs. 

But that needs to change. Click here on the Chicago Monuments Project web site to offer your thoughts. As always, please be polite–but be firm too. The form asks for a ZIP code. A Chicago one will make you more acceptable to those reading the replies; choose any 606 ZIP code between 60601 and 60661. Just saying.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. He has visited Lincoln’s birthplace, his Springfield home, Ford’s Theatre, and the Peterson House, where our 16th president passed away.

Detroit’s stillborn revival

By John Ruberry

I hit the road last week–to a regular stop for me–Detroit–my fourth visit there. Coincidentally last Monday, when I arrived, was the first day that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lifting of Michigan’s ban on indoor dining, replaced by low-capacity dining, took effect.

Yet central Detroit was still nearly void of people last week.

During my first visit, in 2015, while I noticed a fair amount of bustle on the streets and sidewalks downtown, I also walked past empty skyscrapers. On my next trip, two years later, most of those same buildings were occupied or being rehabbed. And the city’s light rail line, the QLine, an expensive and impressive showpiece, had just opened. As I noted at the time on my own blog, these trolley cars ironically echo Detroit’s monorail, the People Mover, the 1980s Stalinist boondoggle championed by Coleman Young, the five-term mayor of Detroit who may have been a closet communist. Both the QLine and the People Mover serve only the downtown area. They look stunning though.

Also in 2017 Little Caesars Arena opened in the adjacent Midown part of the city. It brought the Detroit’s NBA team, the Pistons, back to the city for the first time in nearly four decades. The NHL team, the Red Wings, made the short jump from downtown’s Joe Louis Arena to Little Caesars too. Since the early 2000s the NFL entry, the Lions, and its MLB team, the Tigers, have been playing downtown. Which made the many gamedays in central Detroit a magnet for hungry and thirsty people with fat wallets. Now the teams play in front of no fans.

Quicken Loans has been based in Detroit since 2009 and is now America’s largest mortgage lender. While Detroit is still the Motor City it is the Mortgage City now too.

But meanwhile in the neighborhoods the decline of Detroit continued. For urban explorers like myself, that is, people who photograph or shoot videos of abandoned homes, factories, offices, churches—am I leaving anything out?–oh yeah, schools, there is no shortage of material to work with.

Things looked even better for Detroit when I spent a day there in 2019.

Then COVID-19 hit. Whitmer’s statewide lockdowns have been among the nation’s most restrictive. As I witnessed in Chicago last year, the streets were also eerily empty in Detroit in 2020 according to media reports, such as this one from AP in October:

Downtown Detroit was returning to its roots as a vibrant city center, motoring away from its past as the model of urban ruin. 

Then the pandemic showed up, emptying once-bustling streets and forcing many office workers to flee to their suburban homes.

And if you work for Quicken and its Rocket Mortgage wing, many of your job responsibilities, perhaps all of them, can be done from a suburban home, as Quicken performs most of its transactions online.

But lets say you need to come downtown for your annual review. What else is there to do? On Day 1 of the partial-lifting of the indoor dining lockdown, it looked to me that about half of the restaurants there were still closed. Most retail outlets were shuttered. And all of the shops and eateries were closed at the Little Caesars Arena, where I hoped to buy a hockey souvenir for Mrs. Marathon Pundit. But of course there is always Amazon to fall back on for that. Oh, Kid Rock’s Made In Detroit restaurant at Little Caesars closed last spring, although that departure had nothing to do with COVID.

So in downtown Detroit last week you still had to struggle to find a place to eat. Yes, there were a few of those ludicrous tents outside some eateries–by the way temperatures were in the 30s all last week during our visit.

Story continues below photograph.

Diners last Monday in downtown Detroit

Part of the allure of big-city centers has been the array of shopping and cultural choices offfered. That’s mostly gone now in Detroit. Sure, New York, Chicago and other large cities are facing similar challenges under COVID lockdowns, but many of their eateries and shops have been operating for decades. And yes, such businesses usually have narrow profit margins but being a going concern for many years means there will be an established customer base that might remember you a few years later. What if you are a Detroit boutique that has been open only for a couple of years?

The QLine and the People Mover haven’t run since last spring. There aren’t a lot of people in downtown Detroit to well, move. Buses are still running, however.

Back to those cultural choices: The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of America’s premier art museums. I wanted to attend Wednesday but the DIA was sold out that day. I was able to purchase tickets, online of course, for myself and my traveling companion the following day for one of the available time slots. And do you know what? Outside of employees there couldn’t have been more than 50 people inside the sprawling museum when we were there. I’m confident that Wednesday’s “sold out” day wasn’t much different. On the positive side I was able to stand and stare in front of the DIA’s four Vincent van Gogh paintings as long as I wished–there was no one to push me aside and tell me, “You’re done, now it’s my turn.” Yes, we were forced to wear masks and we had our temperature taken at the museum’s entrance. Precautions were taken.

My companion visited Dearborn’s Henry Ford museum on Tuesday–a fabulous place that I experiended in 2015–and it was nearly empty too, I was told. 

The Motown Musuem in New Center remains closed, it re-opens February 18. Man, oh man, we really wanted to see that place.

Will COVID-19 and Michigan’s lockdowns kill Detroit’s revival?

Many people have their life savings and their mortages invested in small businesses that have been closed for months in Detroit and other large cities.

The dominos will start falling.  Which is something most Detroiters know a lot about.

Meanwhile in Florida, life and business continues, with masks, but without the lockdowns. The Florida COVID death rate is lower than that of Michigan.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Bottom Line: I’m Still With Trump Because He Was With Me

This looks so familar

I remember the day after the Billy Bush tape dropped when all started running away, people falling for the MSM meme, on that day I wrote a post titled: I double down and re-endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States.

Now as more facts come out and it looks more and more like a lot of what is being said about events in DC from the media is false and people seeking power and position are reacting to ingratiate themselves with the new administration and with the democrat/left/tech fascists’ who demand silence or else, contrary to all that America stand for but consistant with their Communist paymasters.

Thus the time has come one again to say it aloud:

I’m with Trump.

I’m with Trump because he was with me. He improved the economy, he fought for life, he fought for Israel, brought peace to the middle east, made us energy self sufficient and fought for what was right. Yeah he was loud and carried himself with braggadocio but he literally took the wish list of conservatives like myself that republicans have promised for decades and took it seriously doing his best to fill it. You have to go back to President James Knox Polk to find a President who has come close to doing all that he promised.

It’s also personal for me. I was and still am a Ted Cruz guy. I would support Cruz in a heartbeat for president. I came to Trump reluctantly as the only alternative to Clinton.

After 8 years of Obama from which I had fallen from a good high paying job with excellent benefits usually working from home on the day he was elected to a 3rd shift temp job with no benefits making less that half of what I was making before the election. I had very little to lose by voting Trump

After four years of Trump I’m still underemployed but I’m at a full time job with excellent benefits and while I’m only at 65% of the rate I was making when Obama was elected I’m trending up.

Meanwhile both my sons, one college educated one not have during the Trump years gotten good paying jobs with excellent benefits and even my wife pay situation has improved.

I’m not alone in this:

In fact, his presidency saw something extraordinary, even if it was all but invisible from the country’s globalized cities: the first egalitarian boom since well back into the twentieth century. In 2019, the last non-Covid year, he presided over an average 3.7 percent unemployment rate and 4.7 percent wage growth among the lowest quartile of earners. All income brackets increased their take. That had happened in the last three Obama years, too. The difference is that in the Obama part of the boom, the income of the top decile rose by 20 percent, with tiny gains for other groups. In the Trump economy, the distribution was different. Net worth of the top 10 percent rose only marginally, while that of all other groups vaulted ahead. In 2019, the share of overall earnings going to the bottom 90 percent of earners rose for the first time in a decade.

As Glenn Reynolds put it at the time “Democrats have a plan to fix that“.

That President Trump did this is remarkable. That he did this with all of DC all of Hollywood, all of Academia and all of media trying to destroy him makes it nothing short of incredible.

In short Donald Trump has earned my support and my loyalty & he’s going to get it.

Does that mean I’ll be supporting him in 2024? That depends. If there is a primary then I’ll see who is there and decide at that time. After all I was a Santorum man in 2012 but I went with Cruz, not because I didn’t like Santorum but because I thought Ted was a better choice. Cruz remains the only person who is guaranteed to get my support ahead of Trump if he runs anyone else I’ll have to judge at the time, but if President Trump is the GOP nominee I’ll have no problem supporting him and if the GOP nominates a Romney or a Romney lite and Trump goes 3rd party, then he’ll almost certainly get my support as well.

So I’m with Trump, I remain with Trump and if it means some people stop reading or some people have bad things to say about me or I face retaliation, so be it.

I expect nothing but trouble for this, both from individuals and from the incoming administration, in fact despite being a minor blogger with a small following I expect retaliation for expressing these views in public.

But I was born into an America where speech was still free and people were unafraid to speak their minds and I’m too old and too Christian to marry myself to a life of lies and fear.

You don’t have to be with Trump if you don’t want to. It’s a free country and as far as I’m concerned people have the right to be wrong, but as for me I’m with Trump

If you don’t like it, tough.

Where did the Capitol protest anger come from? What to do about it?

Kenosha, Wisconsin, after what CNN deemed “a fiery but mostly peaceful protests.”

By John Ruberry

Wednesday was a dark day in American history. Most of the blame for the riot at the US Capitol deservedly goes to the hooligans, about 1,500 of them, who broke through blockades and defied law enforcement and entered the Capitol building–the first such mass hostile group to do so since British forces marched in during the War of 1812 before setting it ablaze.

Many of the thugs who illegally entered the Capitol have been arrested and they deserve, if found guilty, to face the full brunt of the law.

This was not, as the media deemed last year’s many instances of “unrest” in American cities, “a mostly peaceful protest.”

President Donald J. Trump is by no means blameless. He should have conceded his loss to Joe Biden weeks ago. I support Trump’s fight for free and fair elections. But even in states where the vote count was the most questionable, Pennsylvania and Georgia, had their electoral votes magically gone to the president, Trump still would have lost. And while I disagree with the mainstream media blowhards and Democratic politicians who said Trump incited the crowd to riot, he gave some of the protesters hope. Normally hope is a good thing to spread but he gave some people the belief that their protest might have compelled Congress to ignore the Electoral College and keep Trump in the White House. That was never going to happen.

On Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show Thursday night he asked that we look at why the protesters–not just the rioters–attended the rally. They were angry.

Why?

In November a Rasmussen poll found that 75 percent of Republican voters believed the presidential election was stolen. Even many Democrats agreed. As for myself I don’t believe the election was stolen. My view is that the weak standards with mail-in voting, put in place on a widespread basis for the first time in many states because of the COVID-19 epidemic, has something to do with that. Mail-in voting, without safeguards, makes such crimes as voting twice or more, dead people voting, and voting in a jurisdiction when you live someplace else more likely. 

While elections need to continue to be run at the state level Congress should, if such a thing is possible, have an open mind in regards to exploring new nationwide election standards, such as what was done after the Florida recount debacle of 2000. Banning ballot harvesting is a good place to start, as well as replacing early voting, that is “election season,” with–and this is an idea that comes from the liberals–making the day of a general election a work holiday. And photo ID should be required for voting too.

If millions of Americans don’t have faith in the election process then democracy rests on a flimsy leaf.

Now let’s look at the mainstream media and Big Tech. I’ll be brief only for the sake of not overwhelming you. I could bring up dozens of examples of media bias but I won’t for now.

For over four years most of the media flogged a dead horse of a story in Russian collusion. There was no Trump-Russia collusion. Zero. Robert Mueller’s exhaustive investigation found none. That didn’t stop the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC from hawking it, not so subtly, as the way to oust Trump from power for nearly four years nearly every day.

Meanwhile the Hunter Biden laptop story was minimized by that same mainstream media during the 2020 campaign. The younger Biden’s alleged influence peddling activities are not a nothing-burger. And Facebook and Twitter for a while blocked the posting the New York Post story about the deeply troubling news that the former vice president’s son might be compromised by foreign governments, including our greatest rival, China. Twitter, in a preview of 2021’s ongoing purge of conservatives that includes Trump, from the microblogging platform, locked the Post out of its account for nearly two weeks. Free press anyone? The suppression worked. Many people I spoke with, folks who only get their news from Facebook, never heard about the Hunter laptop scandal until I told them about it. 

Mission accomplished. 

After the election Hunter Biden revealed that he has been under federal investigation for two years. He says its for tax reasons but Hunter does not come across to me as a man who can be trusted.

Not a nothing-burger.

Trump’s core base of supporters are voracious consumers of news–and yes, to be fair of course some of their news stories come from Facebook and Twitter, unless of course they’ve been purged from those sites. And the double-standard of most of the media on those two stories seethes the Trump base.

After the riot the media continued its dismissive attitude of Trump supporters. 

Anderson Cooper of CNN, a scion of the Vanderbilt family that got filthy rich during the Gilded Age, said of the protesters after the riot. “And they’re going to go back to the Olive Garden and to the Holiday Inn they’re staying at, or the Garden Marriott, and they’re going to have some drinks and talk about the great day they had in Washington … They stood up for nothing other than mayhem.”

Clearly Cooper dines at what he deems are better restaurants than the Olive Garden. And he can afford to stay at the finest hotels, places that are beyond my financial reach. And yes, I’ve stayed at those hotels Cooper denigrated. I’ve eaten at the Olive Garden a few times.

Another cruel irony of the mainstream media coverage of the Capitol riot is that they deemed it one, while they went to great pains to call the many urban riots of 2020–which occurred almost exclusively in Democrat-run cities–anything but that. While storming the Capitol is clearly a much different dimension than looting and arson, and yes, a very disturbing one, the hypocrisy of the media is apparent to a 10-year-old. 

More than ever we need new media. If you agree with my post, especially if you dine at the Olive Garden, stop seething. Start your own blog. WordPress and Blogger.com are good places to start. Even if you have just ten readers a day–my own blog has many more than that in case you are wondering–you will be making a difference. Besides, much of the mainstream media, particularly daily newspapers, are endangered species. Warren Buffett, no conservative, expects only a few of them to survive and he made that prediction before the COVID-19 outbreak that has devastated their ad revenue. Those papers, for the most part, take their lead in reporting news from the aforementioned Washington Post and the New York Times. It’s where they learn not to use words like “riot” unless it involves conservatives. They invent terms like “mostly peaceful” or sugarcoat the carnage by saying it is “unrest.” Those last two newspapers aren’t going anyhere but we can fight back with reality. An army of mosquitoes can make a difference.

There’s a void coming. Fill it. Bite back.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Update (DTG) I put something like this in as a comment but figured it belonged as a post update as this has gotten instalanched. (Thanks Ed)

John is one one my original magnificent seven bloggers/ He produces quality work and I’m proud to have him here.

I believe he is completely wrong about the election not being stolen, both math, the actions of the left and common sense in my opinion scream it to be the case, but he has the right to his opinion and I respect that he comes by it honestly and have no problem with him expressing it here.

If anyone has problem with him expressing that opinion on my site and want him off for having & expressing it, well that’s too bad.

This isn’t twitter and my name’s not Jack

Not Judging The Media / Social Elite Who Fear Henry Hill’s Fate

Apathy in the face of tyranny turns out not to be a German or Russian characteristic. I just never thought it could happen in America.

Denis Prager

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’

Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;

Jesus Christ, Matthew 23:29-31

In the sermon on the Mount one of the hardest but most important charges Christ give is this:

Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.

Now this command refers to the state of one’s soul and in accompanied by the injunction in the Our Father (also known as the Lord’s Prayer) to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Or to put it simply, if you want to be forgiven, forgive.

This came to mind as I finished my piece on courage and freedom being the exception and not the norm and it got me thinking about something.

There was a time I had thoughts of being able to earn a living as a blogger commentator perhaps even breaking into media. I had one local Fox appearance, a NY Post Op Ed. Had been credentialed press for several events, the tip jar was rocking and things were on the rise.

All of it seemed to crash and at once, it took years to get me back to where I am today and I recognized that I’d likely never be able to much more than I am today. That’s fine, I’ve done things and seen things that most people in their lifetime have not and it’s been a great thing to share my thoughts with you who have kept the bills paid around here with perhaps a little extra to spare each year.

But what if I had made it, broken into media with a good paying gig or as I considered back in my twenties, gotten into government and perhaps even as far as congress. What if I was in the place those in the state legislagtures, or the courts or the congress or the media are today when the axe is falling down and the choice is being made?

Robert Ingersoll once said of Abe Lincoln:

“If you want to find out what a man is to the bottom, give him power. Any man can stand adversity — only a great man can stand prosperity. It is the glory of Abraham Lincoln that he never abused power only on the side of mercy.”

There are a lot of folks in media who are making six figures or more, who have comfortable lives, who have children who have a chance to live in comfort because of their jobs.

There are a lot of folks in politics who are making good money, who have the potential to make a lot more when they leave, who have the chance to see that they and theirs are comfortable for the rest of their days.

There are a lot of folks in entertainment and academia who are in the same boat. They are comfortable, they are honored, they are given deference.

And for every one of those people who have made it there are hundreds perhaps thousands of those who are striving for that brass ring.

Now comes the day of testing. They are being told that unless they play ball, unless they tow the line giving exactly the message that is desired by the deep state all of those things are going to be taken from them, and any secrets they have will be exposed. They will go from having the potential for anything they want at any time to being at best a regular nobody or at worst a criminal to be punished.

Cue Henry Hill

It’s the last line in that speech that says it all.

I’d like to think that given the choice of doing the right thing or protecting my prerogatives and my family’s prerogatives I like to think that the way I was raised and the way I raised my children and that I could do this and my family would be willing to endure the loss of income, of position, prestige and the scorn of those around me, but thanks to a merciful God to whom I daily ask “Lead me not into temptation” I don’t have that choice, or to put it another way, all I’m risking by speaking the truth is to remain the average working still that I am while being online by people who don’t know me and will never meet me and perhaps treated in a condescending way by some folks I know.

I’m likely old enough and grounded enough to handle that.

But would I with money in the bank, a bigger mortgage than I have now, with kids going to expensive schools and a chance for them to be set for life, would I have the courage and character to risk all that for the truth to face the fate of Henry Hill who ended his speech saying:

Henry Hill: I’m an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my live like a snook.

Good Fellas 1993

Would my faith and trust in God be enough if I had that much to lose? Remember there’s a reason why Christ said how hard it was for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

That’s why I’m going to do my best not to judge those who did not come through on any level. I suspect many of them in their own minds and hearts are already judging themselves because cowardice is as C. S. Lewis said:

Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful – horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember

So instead I will try to take to heart these words from Our Lord:

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy

Matthew 5:7

As a person who needs God’s mercy may I take that command to heart