Corporations need to stay out of politics–or how my father got fired for wearing a JFK button at work

Image courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library

By John Ruberry

In 1960, shortly before I was born, my father briefly worked for the Quaker Oats Company. Sixty years ago many large companies and corporations had ethnic identities. For instance the first episode of Mad Men, coincidentally set in 1960, contains a plotline centered around the decision of a Jewish business owner to change advertising agencies and hire one that wasn’t “Jewish.” 

Big firms also had politial identities.

Quaker Oats was a Republican company. R. Douglas Stuart was the longtime CEO of the company when my dad worked there. In Stuart’s Wikipedia entry, and that of his son, it’s stated that they were “active in the Republican Party.” The younger Stuart also served as CEO of Quaker Oats.

My dad was hired by the Chicago-based company as a junior executive, an in-house farm club concept from that era.

It was a great time to be an Irish Catholic Democrat in 1960 and my dad was able to proudly check all three boxes. John F. Kennedy, who potrayed himself as a devout Catholic, was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Unlike the doomed Al Smith, the first Catholic nominee for president of a major party, Kennedy’s chances for moving into the White House looked promising. But JFK’s Republican opponent, Richard M. Nixon, was the slight favorite early in the campaign. Kennedy, people like my father reasoned, needed every bit of assistance to nudge him over the goal line. So my dad placed a Kennedy poster in the front window of our Chicago bungalow and he wore a Kennedy campaign button everywhere he went.

Including at Quaker Oats. 

But my dad was a probationary hire–there was a three month period before a final decision was made on whether he would stay on. He didn’t make it–he was told at the end of those three months that he “wasn’t a fit for the Quaker Oats culture.”

Years later, after my father’s passing, I met a woman who worked closely with my father at Quaker Oats there and she confimed this story as it had exactly been told to me. She added that my dad was “a real blast” and a “breath of fresh air at that stuffy place.”

Later in the 1960s attitudes changed. Major corporations became less ethnic. One large company after another stopped being WASP, Jewish, or Catholic. The hiring doors for all positions were opened to minorities. And of course those were all good things. Politics was de-emphasized in the business world too.

But politics didn’t vanish from corporate America. Another legacy from the 1960s is that big corporations began envisioning themselves as being responsible for more than providing products and services and making money, explaining in annual reports and countless press releases that they had a “responsibility to the community” and the like. And over time, colleges and universities, even their business schools, drifted even further to the left. So did the political leanings of their graduates. A decade or so ago poltics made a roaring comeback in the boardroom and elsewhere in corporate America.

When there is a political controversy–such as the hasty anger about the new Georgia voting laws–which most people who hate them only do so because they saw Twitter comments or headlines on their smart phones that claim that Georgia has returned to the Jim Crow era–CEOs naturally, such as Delta Airlines’ CEO Ed Bastian, fall in line and echo the opinion of the left. Oh, the fear of a left-wing boycott is part of their rationale too. Coca-Cola, aka Woka-Cola, which went full-woke earlier this year, has also declared its opposition to the Georgia election law. And not just them.

Corporate politicking needs to end because it is an accessory to the dangerous dividing of America. The last time I bought airline tickets I needed to get someplace–and get flown home. That’s it. I don’t need the airline’s politics, I have my own already, thank you. The same goes if I need a beverage or anything else. Ed Bastian and Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey need to shut up and stick to keeping flights somewhat on time and ensuring beverages are tasty and safe. They need to avoid subjects they know little about.

The majority of Americans, when they learn more about the Georgia bill, will likely see these reforms as reasonable. For instance already most states have voter ID laws, including Biden’s home state of Delaware. And signature verification as the sole tool to determine if a ballot mailed in was completed by that voter, isn’t a strong enough security measure, at least I think so.

Elections need to be free and fair. 

Did Quincey and Bastian cave to the left on Georgia only because they read an MSNBC or Daily Beast headline? 

I am also compelled to address the bad decision by Major League Baseball to move the 2021 All-Star Game, and the MLB Draft, out of Atlanta. Two days prior, while being interviewed by woke ESPN, President Joe Biden said he supported taking away that game from the Braves. MLB needs to stay out of politics too. Had MLB done a bit of research on the subject it would have learned that the woke Washington Post rated a key Biden claim about the law with Four Pinocchios

Instead of a leftist boycott now Delta, Coke, and MLB face boycotts from the right–and the loudest call comes from former President Donald Trump. Remember him? He received the votes of 75 million Americans five months ago.

My message to corporate America: Keep out of politics and stick to your products and services. It’s good for your business and best for America. And it’s great for your employees.

Oh, my dad learned his lesson. He never wore a political campaign button again. He enjoyed a happy and properous career at other places. After Chappaquidick my father was done with the Kennedy family. After Jimmy Carter’s election he was done with the Democrats.

Quaker Oats was acquired by Pepsico, Coca-Cola’s rival, in 2001.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

GOP senators knock down walls of Biden’s Potemkin Village at the border

By John Ruberry

One of Joe Biden’s first acts as president was to end construction of the wall at the southern border, a project heartily championed by Donald Trump.

Instead a different kind of wall has replaced it.

The Trump of the late 18th-century, in regards to what we now call fake news, was Catherine the Great of Russia. Historical gossip has it that Catherine was killed as a horse was lowered on to her for carnal purposes. Not true, as is the milder version of her demise that claims she died of her wounds after her bulk–she indeed was quite heavy– forced the collapse of the outhouse she was using. 

A stroke is what killed the empress of Russia.

Besides the urban legend about the horse, Catherine is best-known for the term “Potemkin Village.” Her governor in southern Russia–and her onetime lover–Grigory Potemkin, supposedly built facades of prosperous villages that hid the reality behind the proto-Hollywood sets. One of abject poverty that Catherine otherwise would see as she toured Potemkin’s region.

Most modern historians believe that these Potemkin Villages were either a myth or a gross exaggeration.

What is not a myth is that the Biden-Harris administration is attempting to hide a crisis at the southern border. Not with wooden facades, yet there is a metaphorical Potemkin Village there. Those figurative walls were knocked down Friday when a group of Republican senators, led by Texans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, visited a detention facility in Donna, Texas, one that Cruz said was built for 250 people but is now holding 4,000

Cruz brought his smartphone as you can see.

Joe Biden promised transparency as president. That’s not happening at the migrant facilities at the border, where the media is banned. “What is occurring here at the border is heartbreaking and it’s a tragedy,” Cruz said shortly after his visit. “It is striking that not a single one of these cameras is allowed in the Donna facility. We requested media to come inside and the Biden administration denied us.” 

A day earlier during his only press conference as president Biden was pressured, gently of course, about when the media would be allowed at the migrant facilities. He unsteadily answered, “This is being set up and you’ll have full access to everything once we get this thing moving.” Translation: The situation at these camps will embarrass the Biden-Harris administration and as soon as we clean it up–or we are able to hide the worst scenes at these facilities–we’ll let reporters in.

For now, as Kevin Bacon laughingly said during the riot at the end of the movie Animal House, “All is well.”

Expect four more years–whether Joe Biden or Kamala Harris is in charge–of such opaqueness. The lapdog media–which only bares its teeth when a Republican is president–will guarantee it. They are the contributing architects to the Biden-Harris Potemkin Village at the southern border–and others that are likely to come.

All will be well.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The leader of the American Gerontocracy trips and falls

By John Ruberry

Unless you tuned in at the right time and you get your news only from MSNBC or CNN you probably didn’t know that President Joe Biden, while climbing the stairs up to Air Force One, fell not once, not twice–but three times. Apparently he was not injured.

Biden, 78, is the oldest man to serve as US president. How old? The prior oldest commander-in-chief, Ronald Reagan was 77 years-old when he completed his second term. 

Biden has been president for 60 days–he has gone longer than any president without holding a press conference since Calvin Coolidge. But Biden will end that silence by holding an afternoon presser on Thursday. 

Many conservative commentators have made a similar observation. Joe Biden’s fastball, if he ever had one, has lost its spin. Biden’s tightly controlled appearances have gone beyond gaffes. In one appearance he clearly forgot the name of his Defense secretary and where he worked, referring to him as “the guy who runs that outfit over there.” Oh, his name is Lloyd Austin, “that outfit” is the US military and “over there” is the Pentagon.

What else?

He referred to his vice president as “President Harris.” Was Biden dropping a hint?

In Texas while discussing relief from the winter storm there Biden uttered, “What am I doing here?” He also botched the some names of dignitaries at that appearance.

An unsure Biden during a video feed said, “I’m happy to take questions if that’s what I’m supposed to do, Nance [Nancy Pelosi], whatever you want me to do.” But then the White House abruptly cut off that feed.

While Biden has been president for a brief time, I’m not cherry-picking these embarrasments. They have one thing in common. All occurred in the last four weeks.

Everyone knows of an elderly relative who one day just didn’t mentally have it anymore. There’s an unsteadiness in speech, in steps of too, the eyes aren’t focused, names are forgotten, or they are confused with others.

That’s Biden. 

It gets worse for America. Lots of other people in government leadership are really old. There’s speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who turns 81 this week, House majority whip James Clyburn, the kingmaker who arguably paved the way for Biden winning the Democratic nomination, is 80, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is 70, his second-in-command, Dick Durbin, is 76, and Treasury secretary Janet Yellen is 74. Ah, but liberals cry out as they do about so many other political discussions. “What about Trump?”

Well, what about him?

True, until Biden’s win Trump was the oldest person elected to the presidency. But Trump regularly engaged the media in impromptu question-and-answer sessions. His energetic campaign rallies usually lasted more than an hour–where he spoke without notes–or a teleprompter.

Contrast Trump with Biden, with his shoulders slumped, squinting into a teleprompter as he struggles through his speeches. Yes, medical technology and healthier living habits have allowed people to live longer than ever. Age was a major issue for Reagan, who was 68 when he won his first presidential election in 1980 as it was for him four years later. But science–which of course we must follow at all times–has had less success battling cognitive decline and dementia.

Being old should not be a disqualifier to be president. Konrad Adenauer, 74, became chancellor of West Germany in 1949, a key reason he was chosen is that he was seen as a transitional leader for the new nation because of his age. But he served capably until he was 87. In 2003, German television viewers selected Adenauer as the greatest German of all time.

Coincidentally last spring, when he had clinched the Democratic nomination, Biden declared himself a “transition” candidate. Sorry, Joe, but you are no Konrad Adenauer. 

Biden is the head of state of the American Gerontocracy. That’s not a good thing.

In the 1970s and early 1980s the Soviet politburo was dominated by old men. After the long-ailing Leonid Brezhnev died in 1981, he was succeeded by Yuri Andropov, then Konstantin Chernenko, two sick old men. Finally a vigorous and relatively young Mikhail Gorbachev took the helm at the Kremlin in 1985. But by 1991 the Soviet Union was no more.

Back to Germany.

Paul von Hindenburg, a World War I hero, wanted to retire as president of Germany in 1932. He reluctantly ran for reelection after being warned that if he didn’t to so then Adolf Hitler would win the presidency. Hindenburg prevailed, but the next year he appointed Hitler as chancellor. Hindenburg died in 1934 at the age of 86; historians disagree whether he suffered from cognitive decline late in his life.

Hold on! I’m not saying, or even hinting, that because of Biden and the Gerontacracy that the United States faces imminent dissolution or a dictatorship. American democracy is still very robust. But a weaker America is already here. Whether by choice, inacation, or by incompetence, our southern border is no longer secure. At last week’s disastrous summit with China in Anchorage, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was lectured by our adversary over our human rights record. Yep, this is the same China that has concentration camps for Uyghurs and is stifling democracy in Hong Kong. Biden’s sole legislative achievement, the $1.9 billion stimulus, may bring back 1970s-style inflation. As I wrote last week there are winners and losers with inflation. The latter won’t keep quiet. 

Biden is already the weakest American president since Jimmy Carter, who was just 56 when he left office. Yes, age isn’t everything.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was an ill man in the last year of his life. Shortly before his death he was duped by Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference, eastern Europe was gift-wrapped for the communists.

A weaker America means a more unstable world. 

Right now the symbol of America to the rest of the world is a frail Biden falling on a set of stairs.

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.

Republicans might need 53 percent of the vote to win elections

By John Ruberry

A post by Da Tech Guy himself last week got me thinking about Chicago’s legendary newspaper columnist Mike Rokyo. Yes, he was another of the greats in journalism who didn’t have a college degree. For most of his life Royko was a steadfast liberal, but his blue collar roots made him suspicious, for good reason I’d like to add, of left-wingers. Yet Royko was a harsh critic of the Boss of Chicago, the first Mayor Richard Daley, as well as the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, better known as the Chicago Machine. Still, Rokyo understood why rank-and-file Chicagoans kept the Machine in power.

I’ll return to Royko in a bit.

The January 6 protest in Washington will forever be remembered as the Capitol Riot because of the 1,000 or so hooligans and loons who stormed the Capitol building. But the great majority of the protesters didn’t riot and they had valid reasons to question the vote count, and yes, to also be angry about those results.

News reports of the fraud allegations regarding the November election are typically partisan. The mainstream media calls claims of vote fraud “baseless,” conservative media, Newsmax for instance, is more forceful

President Joe Biden, before he went on his unprecedented flurry of executive orders pushing far-left causes such as cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline and banning new oil and gas leases on federal lands, was calling for healing. 

A good start for healing would be a bipartisan congressional committee investigating 2020 vote fraud allegations, such as dead people voting, abuse of mail-in voting, and the like. Here’s are few more: Were ballots in Georgia tallied after party observers left? Why were votes counted at Detroit’s TCF Center after people were told to depart and the windows of the building covered? Were election integrity standards sacrificed every place else to protect voters from COVID-19?

There may be plausible reasons for what occured in Georgia and Detroit and other places, such as Arizona, where some are crying foul. 

Maybe the 2020 vote count was quite accurate.

Or perhaps not. 

What’s the harm in finding out? After all the Democrats and a special prosecutor spent three years investigating Donald Trump’s “collusion” with Russia. They might have been better off tracking down post-death Elvis Presley sightings. It’d be worth a laugh at least to see crazy California Democratic congressman Adam Schiff analyzing the lyrics of Mojo Nixon’s novelty tune “Elvis Is Everywhere.” He’d wonder, “Did Elvis really build Stonehenge?”

Because there are only a few weeks for investigators to look into vote fraud charges before a winner is sworn in after an election, having an honest and secure ballot count is crucial. Scandals take a long time to be exposed. It took ten months for Watergate to break wide open and Richard M. Nixon, no relation to Mojo Nixon by the way, didn’t resign the presidency until two years after the Watergate break-in.

We’re not off to a good start with the 117th Congress. HR 1, which means that it is the first bill proposed the the new Congress, will broaden the use of mail-in voting and the vile practice of ballot harvesting if made law.

The latest snowstorm here in the Chicago area is winding down as I write this post which gets me thinking of Royko and the devastating winter of 1979. After Daley’s death in 1976 the Chicago City Council chose Michael Bilandic, the alderman in Daley’s ward, as his successor. It’s generally believed Bilandic was selected to be a placeholder for Richard M. Daley, the Boss’s son, who would then run in 1983. It’s a long story worth telling but not now, but Richie Daley would finally become mayor in 1989, serving until 2011, while destroying Chicago’s finances.

Bilandic, on Chicago standards, was a decent and hardworking man, whose character flaw was that he assumed everyone else was too. Snow removal after a major January snowstorm that came after a couple of smaller ones was not handled well by Bilandic, who was lied to and misled by other city officials when they told him everything was fine. Meanwhile Jane Byrne, a minor player at City Hall who was fired by Bilandic, challenged the incumbent in what was seen as a longshot bid in that year’s Democratic primary. Her initial core support was the Democrats’ progressive wing, then known as the Lakefront Liberals. Rage over the botched response in digging the city out of the snow gave Byrne her opportunity to pull off an upset and she ran with it.

I remember a Chicago Sun-Times Royko column from that year where he wrote somthing along the lines that Byrne wouldn’t beat Bilandic if she captured 50 percent of the vote plus one. Or if she collected 51 or 52 percent. Her magic percentage, Royko reasoned, was 53 percent. 

Really?

That’s because of vote thefts by the Machine, Royko surmised, amounted to three percent of the total each election. Four decades ago crooked Democratic tactics were different. Non-existent people were registered in vacant lots, roving bands of homeless people, which in mock Latin Rokyo labeled hobo floto voto, voted multiple times, and the seeds of ballot harvesting could be found, particularly in nursing homes, even then. Oh, dead people voted. An effective yet dishonest Chicago precinct captain kept a close eye on who passed away in the neighborhood. And when Election Day came–there wasn’t an “Election Season” like now–thousands of Lazurus voters exercised their franchise.

In short, Chicagoans, even those who supported the Machine, didn’t see election results as fair. Ironically back then it was the liberals who were calling for election integrity in Chcago.

Imagine a football game where the NFL commissioner is a Chicago Bears fan. And at kickoff Da Bears have a 7-0 lead. And the referees are Bears backers too.

Byrne won that primary and prevailed in the general election over a hapless Republican, but the Machine, with some new faces in power, had the last laugh over the Lakefront Liberals as she set herself up as a new Boss. Royko eventually called her “Mayor Bossy.” 

Back to the present. 

Has America reached the point where the Democrats, because of mail-in voting, ballot dropboxes, and ballot harveting, possess that three-percent advantage in elections? Let’s throw in non-citizens and illegal aliens voting. Will Republicans need 53 percent of the vote to win? 55 percent?

If HR 1 becomes law will we ever have another Republican president? Will the system perpetuate the permanent Democratic majority that the leftists dream of?

And if tens of millions of Americans don’t trust the results of elections our republic is in peril. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The Trump cadaver synod

By John Ruberry

Okay, I admit, the headline is provocative, and absolutely click-baity. But stay with me here. In two weeks the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump will begin. Presidents of course can be impeached by the House and removed from office for committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

There’s just one obvious problem here. On Wednesday Joe Biden was sworn in as Trump’s successor.

Last year on his Cabinet of Curiousities podcast Aaron Mahnke spoke of a “particularly dark and corrupt moment in the church’s past,” the Catholic church that is. That moment was the trial of Pope Formosus in 897.

The Holy Father was accused of a grab bag of crimes, including perjury, seeking to be the bishop of more than one jurisdiction, and coveting the papacy. Because he was unable to speak in his defense, a deacon was appointed for that task. Formosus was found guilty, he had three middle fingers cut off–the fingers used for blessings–and buried in an obscure cemetery not befitting the Bishop of Rome. His body was quickly exhumed and then dumped in the Tiber River.

If the prior paragraph doesn’t make complete sense it’s because Formosus, after a five-year papacy, died in 896. His successor was pope for just two weeks, the next pope was Stephen VI, an enemy of Formosus. He called for what historians label the cadaver synod. Stephen ordered the first exhumation of Formosus. His corpse was then dressed in papal robes, propped on a chair, and the conviction process began as there was certainly no doubt of the verdict, despite an earthquake during the trial that might have elicited a few doubts among Vatican officials.

Just as the guilty verdict of Formosus was set twelve centuries ago, so was the House of Representatives’ vote to impeach Trump a second time, just one week before the end of his term. Trump’s chances for an acquittal in the Senate are much better. In essence, the second impeachment process against Trump is his cadaver synod. It’s about making a political statement and playing to the base.

The justifications for the second impeachment from Democrats vary, but the primary goal seems to be preventing the former president from seeking another term in 2024. Another reason for impeaching and removing Trump from office, now moot, was that he possessed the nuclear strike codes. After the first Trump impeachment, House speaker Nancy Pelosi, knowing that the odds of the Senate voting to convict Trump were remote, called the lower chamber’s vote “an impeachment that will last forever.” Presumably this will be a second impeachment that will last forever. Oh, and it’s a splendid way for Pelosi and the Democrats to tar the Republican brand.

A third run for the White House, in my opinion, is unlikely for Trump. The former president will be 78 in 2024; yes, that is the same age as Biden, who is clearly an old 78. Three years is a long time for people in their 70s. And in the last 100 years no president who was defeated in a reelection attempt has tried to regain the White House. Only one, Gerald Ford, has seriously considered it. And Trump, again in my opinion, damaged his brand in the last weeks of his presidency by his slowness to condede defeat, his hostile phone call to the Georgia secretary of state asking him to change the election results there, and the riot at the Capitol–which by the way the president did not incite. And the riot, the destructive work of about 1,000 conspirary theorists and other screwballs, was not an insurrection. While Trump is a clearly a unique politician, political moods change. In 1980 Americans weren’t clamoring for Gerald Ford–they wanted Ronald Reagan.

The Trump cadaver synod is a two-minute hate for Democrat politicians and a way, perhaps for the final time, to fill their campaign funds in the name of Trump, and a hate that is being cheered on by the anti-Trump media, who will soon see a drop in readers and viewers now that their enemy is out of office.

In other words Impeachment Part Two is a waste of time.

As for Formosus, his body was recovered by a monk and buried–for the last time–in St Peter’s Basilica. His accuser, Stephen VI, was pope for little more than a year. After the cadaver synod Stephen was imprisoned and then strangled to death.

As for voters, a much more civil revenge will be to return the GOP to majorities in both houses of Congress.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The Best Advice I’ve Heard on the Subject

Grant is not going to retreat

Robert E. Lee May 7th 1864

One of the reasons for studying history is the perspective it gives, the experience of others, which is one of the reasons why the left has done it’s best to substitute propaganda for history to keep people from that prospective.

A lot of people are wondering what to do next, I have a longer post on the subject already written but I want to remind you of a the perspective of a man in a bigger immediate crisis.

On May 5th 1864 US Grant and Robert E. Lee fought their 1st major engagement against each other in the Battle of the Wilderness which took place on the old Charlottesville battlefield, the site of Lee’s greatest victory.

On the second day of the battle as report after report of disasters came in Grant had finally had enough saying:

Oh I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command and try to think of what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.

emphasis in original

Grant understood that he had superior numbers and that what was needed most of all was determination. He had over 17,000 casualties vs the rebels 11,000 and more than 50% more men killed outright, but when the day was done instead of retreating as every other commander who had preceded him had done in the face of a drubbing he continued south where he would face Lee in in battle after battle. More than half of his army would fall during these battles.

Over and over people had derided Grant for the losses in his fights and called for his removal but Lincoln knew the math and kept stuck with Grant till eventually the cork was in the bottle and Lee was under siege.

There are many naysayers who say give up and surrender, this is the worst possible advice there is. The pressure needs to be kept up because this remains the time when they are weakest they will be.

Don’t give the left a moment to catch their breath.

Review: The Liberator on Netflix

By John Ruberry

By John Ruberry

Lost among the fallout after the presidential election was the debut of a compelling four-episode on Netflix, The Liberator. It tells of exploits of the leadership of Felix Sparks (Bradley James), who eventually reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, of the 3rd Battalion of the 157th Infantry Regiment in the European theater of World War II. Yes, for the most part, this is a true story.

The series which began streaming on Veterans Day, is animated and it uses the new technique of Trioscope, which combines live action and computer and manually created images. The series is based on Alex Kershaw’s book The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau. It’s a huge improvement over rotoscoping, most famously, or notoriously used in the first feature film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, which was directed by Ralph Bakshi. The animation is grainy with a touch of sepia, the latter hue of course is common in films set in first half of the 20th century.

For the most part, The Liberator avoids hackneyed plotlines and characters of many World War II projects, other then sepia. There is no “Guy From Brooklyn” in it. But here is a soldier from Chicago, who of course is a Cubs fan. Fact: real and fictional characters from in television and movies are never White Sox fans, unless, as in Field Of Dreams, the South Siders are central to the plot. Oh well, to be fair it was the Cubs, not the White Sox, who played in the World Series in 1945.

When Lieutenant Sparks arrives at Fort Sill in Oklahoma shortly before America’s entry into World War II, he’s given command of “Company J,” which consists of soldiers locked up in the stockade. These ragtag men are a mix of Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and cowboys. 

It’s a tough command, “The Indians and the Mexicans don’t like each other very much,” a jail guard tells Sparks. “And they hate us more.”

But Sparks is looking for fighters, not divisiveness. He and molds them–even though the Native Americans and Mexicans can’t enter a bar off base in Oklahoma. In Italy a captured member of the Thunderbirds is confronted with this irony by a German officer. 

During its two years in Europe, in addition to the invasion of Sicily and the liberation of Dachau, but also the invasion of southern France, as well as the Battle of the Vosges near the German border, and finally fighting in Bavaria, the 157th Infantry Regiment encountered over 500 days of combat. Sure there are arguments and spats among the soldiers. People never always get along. But the soldiers form an effective fighting unit. 

The German troops are treated relatively sympathetically in The Liberator, but only up to a point as the Thunderbirds later of course liberate Dachau.

The supporting cast is superb, particulary the performance of Martin Sensmeier as Sergeant Samuel Coldfoot and Jose Miguel Vasquez as Corporal Able Gomez, two composite characters.

Originally The Liberator was intended as a live action miniseries for A&E Studios for the History Channel but filming such a project in so many disparate locales, the plains of Oklahoma, Italy, the Mediterranean coast, the Vosges, and Bavaria, proved financially impossible. Not so much with animation. Which is why The Liberator is probably on the cusp of what we’ll see soon on the big and small screens. And the use of animation in war dramas will spare us motion picture embarrasments such as the desert combat scenes in the 1965 box office flop The Battle Of The Bulge.

The Liberator is currently streaming on Netflix. It is rated TV-MA, although despite depictions of battlefield wounds and the frequent use of profanity–in English and Spanish no less–I’m unsure why. Oh, some people smoke cigarettes in it too. I’m mean c’mon. This is the 1940s!

Tune in and start watching. You’ll be glad for it. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Biden and Harris never gave voters an answer on court packing

By John Ruberry

Election Season is almost over–Election Day of course is on Tuesday.

Amy Coney Barrett is now America’s newest US Supreme Court justice, there is a solid 6-3, or mostly solid, conservative majority on the nation’s highest court.

Here’s something to think about now that November is here: we never got a solid answer on whether Joe Biden and Kamala Harris favors packing the Court with liberals.

Harris was particularly shameful in discussing court packing, claiming the Donald Trump has been doing that for the last four years. That’s a lie. Harris is hoping that enough uneducated voters fall for her pack of crap explanation that filling judicial vacancies, one seat for one seat, is court packing.

Court packing as a strategy goes back to Franklin Roosevelt’s second term. Frustrated by Supreme Court rulings against parts of his New Deal, FDR proposed adding seats to the Court. The Supreme Court has been fixed at nine seats since 1869.

Last month Harris and Biden hemmed and hawed over court packing and the subject was brought to them by by local reporters, not the elite media. Finally Biden said we’d get our answer on court packing after the election.

This is leadership?

Last week, in a 60 Minutes interview, Biden said if elected he would for a commission whose focus would be on “how to reform the court system.”

Meanwhile the next day far-left member of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in a Tweet phrased her opinion, “Expand the court.”

To my knowledge no one has publicly asked Biden or Harris if they support packing the US Senate with two more states, Puerto Rico and the the District of Columbia.

Both states are heavily Democratic.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.