Review: The Chestnut Man

By John Ruberry

Late last month a Nordic noir six-episode series, The Chestnut Man, a Danish production began streaming on Netflix. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Søren Sveistrup. It’s an ideal autumn offering on many levels. The Chestnut Man is set in Denmark in October with fall colors at their peak. Halloween–the celebration of it has been spreading in Europe–plays a part in the story, and oh yeah, it’s a compelling crime drama centered on a serial killer who leaves stick chestnut figures, chestnut men, at the scene of each murder. Just as the carving of pumpkins is an old tradition in North America the building of chestnut men is similar a tradition in Scandinavia.

Naia Thulin (Danica Curcic) is a police detective and a single mother whose work keeps her away from her daughter, Le (Liva Forsberg), so the girl spends more time with her quasi-grandfather, Aksel (Anders Hove). By the way Hove was a regular on the ABC soap opera General Hospital.

Thulin is assigned a new partner, Mark Hess (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard). Their first investigation is a chestnut man murder. Hess has a troubled past–he was recently fired from his job in the Hague. The chestnut man case is quickly tied to the disappearance of the daughter of a politician, Rosa Hartung (Iben Dorner), who is the minister of social affairs. Her position puts in charge of foster care and child custody cases.

Obviously I don’t want to give up much of the plot because it will introduce spoilers. Let’s just say viewers will be confronted with twists and turns in the story line. The scars of unhappy childhoods figure in to the plot as well.

I also recently watched two other new Netflix series that I believe any level-headed person should avoid. 

Brand New Cherry Flavor is set in Hollywood in the 1990s and centers on a young Brazilian director (Rosa Salazar) who sees her first movie project stolen by a scumbag Hollywood producer. (Aren’t they all scumbags?) Inexplicably the director consistently barfs up large-eared kittens. Except for the negative portrayal of Hollywood I detested this series. And with a couple of exceptions I hated the characters. Even the kittens disturbed me. And there is a disgusting sex scene I won’t even describe here.

You can judge a book–and a TV series–by its cover. The Netflix graphic promoting Midnight Mass is centered on a main character, a Catholic priest, who has a sinister look on his face. The plot driver of this series is that priest (Hamish Linklater), a mysterious young pastor who arrives at an island parish that serves a tiny fishing community. Let’s just say Midnight Mass has about the same amount of respect for the Catholic Church as The Da Vinci Code, only with tons of gore and blood thrown into the mess. Although to be honest I did enjoy Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code book. The movie? Not so much.

The island’s sheriff, a Muslim, Rahul Kohli, is quite good in Midnight Mass however.

In Midnight Mass the cinematography is beautiful–but The Chestnut Man has that and so much more–I believe you’ll enjoy that series.

The Chestnut Man is rated TV-MA as it contains graphic violence and crime scene photos, foul language, sex, and brief nudity. It is available streaming on Netflix in English, English with subtitles, Danish with subtitles, Spanish, as well as simplified and traditional Chinese. There are bits of dialogue in The Chestnut Man in English and German–with subtitles. I watched it in Danish.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The answer to Durbin’s favorite question for SCOTUS nominees is in: Merrick Garland favors restricting personal freedoms

Blogger with Durbin in Chicago in 2019

By John Ruberry

When Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland in the final year of his presidency to replace Antonin Scalia on the US Supreme Court he was hailed by some as a moderate. 

Well “Moderate Merrick,” if he ever existed, is gone. 

Garland’s nomination was never acted upon by the US Senate, which was then in Republican control, and President Trump nominated Neal Gorsuch for the Scalia seat–and the Senate went on to confirm Gorsuch.

Had Garland faced the Senate he might have been asked this question from Sen. Dick Durbin, who is from Garland’s home state of Illinois, “Will you restrict the personal freedoms we enjoy as Americans or will you expand them?” Durbin posed that query to John Roberts during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings sixteen years ago and he has asked the same question, as did his predecessor, Paul Simon, during confirmation hearings for other SCOTUS nominees. 

Well we have the answer to the question that Durbin never asked Garland. Joe Biden’s attorney general favors restricting personal freedoms.

Last week, citing unnamed threats against unnamed school board members, Garland in a memorandum declared, “I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum.”

In short, Garland is unleashing the FBI against parents who have spoken out against hateful and bigoted Critical Race Theory offal that is being rammed down the throats of their children. Do you want someone like Agent Petty from Ozark showing up at your front door? Clearly Garland is plotting to separate parents from their children. After all, leftists from Karl Marx on have viewed parents as an obstacle to pursuing their goal of a perfect society, which of course is a totalitarian state where the elites, who of course are so much wiser than everyone else, guide the rabble. Yes the rabble. You know, people like me and you, part of a multi-million member conglomeration similar to Ozark’s redneck Langmore clan. That’s how our leftist “betters” see us.

Last month at a Virginia gubernatorial candidate debate, the Democrat nominee, longtime Clintonista Terry McAuliffe, let loose this surprising bit of candidness, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

I believe parents should have the defining voice in school curricula—as do undoubtedly most Americans. 

In his farewell address in 1989 Ronald Reagan said, “And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” And that is as it always should be.

But in his first inauguration speech as California governor the Gipper warned, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction.”

We now have an attorney general–and a White House administration–that favors restricting freedom.

Don’t look for Durbin to call them out on it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Arson, climate change, and wildfires

Blogger at Denali National Park

By John Ruberry

Is it a wildfire if an arsonist sets it?

It’s been a brutal season for wildfires in the west. Climate change of course is usually blamed for these fires but what about arson?

The Fawn Fire in northern California, which has burned about 13 square miles, is fully contained after two weeks of destruction. It has destroyed 185 buildings.

How did it start?

A former San Francisco Bay Area yoga teacher, Alexandra Souverneva who claims to be a shaman on her LinkedIn page, is accused of accidentally starting it while trying to boil water to remove bear urine from it. But a California newspaper says that Souverneva may be connected to other fires.

Gary Maynard, a former college professor, is being held without bail for allegedly setting several fires near the Dixie Fire in northern California. He is not accused of starting the Dixie Fire, but the cause of that blaze, which is still undetermined, may have been caused by Pacific Gas and Electric equipment. 

This year, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, over 100 people have been accused of wildland arson.

Conditions are very dry in California–it is suffering from drought conditions. If an arsonist attempts to start a fire in one of the forest preserves near where I live in Morton Grove, Illinois, it will likely be a slow burn, as we’ve had a wet summer here. In California the results will be horribly different. 

If you haven’t heard about arson as the cause of wildfires it’s probably because the mainstream media, to protect another of its narratives, in this case that climate change is an existential threat to humanity, is minimizing arson’s role in wildfires. 

But CNN sees the arson angle of wildfires as a serious enough of a threat to that narrative that it published an article in August debunking it. 

Arson-caused wildfires is something to keep your eye on.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Biden will visit a troubled Chicago on Wednesday

Blogger in front of an abandoned Chicago building

By John Ruberry

On Wednesday Joe Biden is expected to visit Chicago, a city where he won over eighty-percent of the vote and he prevailed in all of the city’s 50 wards.

Which makes today a good time to ask, “How are things going in Chicago?”

Not well. 

Chicago is on pace to suffer from more murders than any year since 1996, when 796 people were slain. Last year 774 people were murdered–but just 509 in 2019.

Rioting (excuse me liberals, I meant to say “civil unrest”) and looting hit Chicago in two waves in 2020. North Michigan Avenue, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, a significant cash cow for the city, was hit especially hard. The new year got off to a bad start when the flagship store of the ritzy Water Tower mall on the Mag Mile, Macy’s, announced it was leaving. The Gap pulled out in late 2020. This summer Disney announced it was leaving North Michigan Avenue as well as shuttering its other Illinois stores

Last week in her budget address the city’s embattled mayor, Lori Lightfoot, proposed aggressive spending fueled by a one-time injection of federal COVID-19 funds. Gimmick spending is a recent and unfortunate Chicago tradition. In 2008 Mayor Richard M. Daley, who inherited none of the financial smarts of his father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, sold the rights for all of the city parking meters for 75-years for $1.15 billion. Nearly all of the cash from that deal was spent in just two years. Thirteen years earlier the younger Daley sold the rights to the Chicago Skyway for $1.7 billion–that money was similarly squandered. Ten years later the Skyway rights were re-sold for $2.8 billion–and taxpayers collected none of that windfall.

Also part of the Lightfoot’s budget proposal is the monumentally stupid idea to send $500 to 5,000 random families, likely a starter plan for Chicago guaranteeing a universal income. Who would be paying for that? Since the cash comes from COVID-19 relief funds it will be American taxpayers. Don’t blame me because I voted for Donald Trump.

Meanwhile Chicago’s public worker pension plans remain the worst funded in America. Because of that alone Chicago is bankrupt-in-name-only. 

Redistricting of Chicago’s 50 wards is coming soon and that will ignite a firestorm. African-American leaders expect to keep their majority in 18 of those wards even though the black population decreased by nearly 10 percent between 2010 and 2020 according to the US Census. The white population increased slightly and the Hispanic and Asian populations went up by a bit more. Surprising everyone is that overall Chicago’s population increased by almost two percent between the most recent Census counts.

Meanwhile Chicago’s streets are in terrible shape and drivers have to struggle with seemingly omnipresent red-light cameras. Lightfoot has added a new twist to Chicago motorists’ misery. Drivers captured by cameras going just six miles over the speed limit are being fined. Of course that’s not as horrible as being carjacked. In 2019, according to Hey Jackass, there were 603 carjackings in the city, last year that number soared to 1,396. So far in 2021 there have been 1,070 carjackings in Chicago. As with shootings, the arrest rate for Chicago carjackings is abysmally low.

Don’t expect the largely compliant mainstream media, even if Biden takes questions during his Chicago visit, to query the president on Chicago’s myriad of problems. 

UPDATE September 28: Yesterday former alderman Ricardo Muñoz of the 22nd Ward pleaded guilty to corruption charges. According to the Chicago Sun-Times he admitted to “wire fraud and money laundering, admitting he took nearly $38,000 from the Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus to pay for personal expenses like skydiving and a relative’s college tuition.”

Since 1973 over thirty current or former Chicago aldermen have served time in federal prison. Don’t forget there are just 50 members of the Chicago City Council. Three current members, Ed Burke, Carrie Austin, and Patrick Daley Thompson are under indictment. That last one is a nephew of Richard M. Daley.

2nd UPDATE: He’s not coming to Chicago after all. Biden will stay in DC to peddle his infrastructure boondoggle.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

There will be no Biden reset

By John Ruberry

After a summer of failures, including the resurgence of COVID-19, horrid job numbers, the crisis at the southern border, rampant urban crime, and our humiliating exit from Afghanistan, there was hope within the Biden White House, cheered on by the compliant media, that a reset was due with the new season.

But over this weekend, which isn’t over yet as of this writing, things got worse. In a flashback to the Obama years, the Pentagon chose Friday afternoon–a Friday news dump–to reveal not only that the August drone strike in Afghanistan didn’t slay any ISIS-K terrorists, but the bombing killed an aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children. Also that afternoon France recalled its ambassador to the USA after the Biden administration, behind France’s back, announced a deal with Great Britain to sell nuclear submarines to Australia. But France already had a deal, now cancelled, with the Aussies. If you ever worked as a salesperson and saw a sleazy co-worker swipe a lucrative sale from you, then you know that feeling of betrayal.

Also on Friday, in a story that is largely being ignored by the national media except for Fox News, a Third World-style shanty town, with thousands of illegal immigrant inhabitants, was discovered on the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas.

There will be no reset for Joe Biden and his administration. That’s because, as I’ve written at DTG over these last few weeks, it is very likely that the president is suffering from cognitive decline. There are people in their seventies and eighties who still have nimble minds. Biden, who turns 79 later this year, is not one of them. Age-related cognitive decline is not reversible. And with crisis after crisis emerging, it’s becoming clear that no one is in charge at the White House, even though, as John Kass remarked, Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, is openly referred to as “President Klain.”

I get it. Sometimes calamity after calamity happens. Lyndon B. Johnson suffered an entire year, 1968, like that. And LBJ of course decided not to run for a second full-term as president that year.

But some of Biden’s debacles were preventable, such as his abandoning Donald J. Trump’s remain-in-Mexico policy regarding migrants, which led to the crisis at the southern border. No one, outside of military contractors, wanted our military involvement in Afghanistan to indefinitely continue. But Biden promised our withdrawal from Afghanistan wouldn’t look like our departure from South Vietnam. Well, Biden was right on that vow–our exit from Afghanistan was worse than that.

The administration’s response to COVID-19, once seen as a strong point for Biden, is also a problem for him. Last week a poll revealed that for the first time a majority of Americans don’t approve of the way Biden is handling fighting the virus. 

So far Biden has gotten a pass for gasoline prices being 40-percent more than they were one year ago when that mean Tweeter with the orange hair was president. Escaping blame for Americans paying more at the pump can’t last forever. for Biden. As temperatures cool urban crime will decline but it will bounce back, as it always does, in the spring. That will give Biden and the Democrats another headache in 2022. Look for Republicans running for House and Senate seats to use crime fears as a central theme in their television commercials, as they did with great success last year. Despite denials the Democrats are the party of “Defund the Police.” Biden has gotten a pass for inflation for now. But his reckless policy of printing money will likely create even more inflation.

What else?

I’ve mentioned this quote before but it needs to be repeated.

Barack Obama reportedly once said of his vice president, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up.” And that was before Biden’s cognitive decline set in.

I don’t like quoting myself, but I really think my Tweet of mine from last month hit the nail on Biden’s head.

“If I just awakened from a 10-year long coma and I saw what a mess America finds itself in now I would come to one quick conclusion. Somehow Joe Biden became president.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Cognitive decline: the mainstream media is still protecting Biden

By John Ruberry

After the collapse of the government of Afghanistan last month mainstream media reporters remembered for a little while that they were supposed to be journalists instead of propagandists and protectors of the Democratic Party.

They criticized President Joe Biden for the Afghan debacle, which was easily the worst foreign policy disaster since the fall of Saigon in 1975. It may have been the worse than that, as no one expected the Viet Cong to attack America. 

But those catcalls from the media only went so far. No one, outside of conservatives, has addressed the metaphorical crazy grandpa in the basement–Joe Biden’s clear cognitive decline. 

Okay, let’s get something out of the way. I am not a doctor and I have never met Joe Biden. But even two years ago, as he announced his run for the presidency, it was clear, to phrase it as Mark Levin did, that “the spin was off of his fastball.” Of course Biden, always a mediocrity, never had much of a fastball. 

And of course to prevent a Bernie Sanders Democratic nomination and a likely Donald Trump victory, US Rep. James Clyburn led the rush to annoint Biden as their only hope to defeat Trump. And Biden campaigned, sort of, for the presidency from what Sean Hannity called “his basement bunker.” 

Greg Ganske, an MD and former Republican member of Congress, knows Biden, In an op-ed for the Des Moines Register, he decried Biden’s mental decline.

It’s gotten worse since the election. In a CNN interview, he opined, “Um, you know there’s a, uh, during World War II, uh you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing, that uh, you know, was totally different, than a, than the, he called it, you know, the WWII, he had the War Production Board.” In March he forgot the name of his Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, at a White House event, calling the Pentagon chief “the guy who runs that outfit over there.”

I am not alone in seeing a difference in President Biden. Mike McCormick, who worked 15 years as a White House stenographer and with Biden from 2011 to 2017, has said, “He’s lost a step and he doesn’t seem to have the mental acuity he had four years ago. He doesn’t have the energy, he doesn’t have the pace of his speaking. He’s a different guy. He read that Democratic National Committee speech verbatim — it’s not Joe Biden anymore.”

John Kass, the former Chicago Tribune lead columnist, calls Biden “President Meat Puppet.” 

During the 2020 presidential campaign while watching Biden, well, sort of campaign on television, I was reminded of a Star Trek episode centered on the doomed and flawed John Gill, Captain Kirk’s former history professor, who creates a Nazi government because that fascist nation was, in Gill’s opinion, “the most effecient state Earth ever knew.” Not true, I need to add, although oddly enough Spock agreed. 

The Enterprise’s power trio watch in horror and pity as Gill, a puppet of the evil Melakon, addresses his planet in a televised address by announcing an attack on the scapegoat planet Zeon. “Captain, the speech follows no logical pattern,” says Spock. “Random sentences strung together,” Kirk adds. “He looks drugged, Jim,” observes Dr. McCoy, “Almost in a cataleptic state.”

“They’ve kept what’s left of him as a figurehead,” Kirk says. 

Last year Lou Aguilar of the American Spectator noticed the similarities between Biden and Gill in 2020. So did Victor Davis Hanson for American Greatness last month. But these men are conservatives.

Now I am not claiming Biden is a fascist. Calm down, leftists. He is not. Biden is a confused and tired old man–but only conservative pundits are noticing that. Are we smarter than liberals? Well yes, of course we are, but it seems at the very list our “betters,” the liberal elite that is, are looking the other way in regards to the president’s mental status. Or perhaps the liberal media is purposely hiding Biden’s cognitive decline, as seems to be the case with George Stephanopoulos, who allowed a portion of his most recent interview with the president to end up on the cutting room floor as he confused key details of his late son Beau’s military service. I suspect the latter scenario is the case.

Dr. Ronny Jackson is now a Republican congressman. He was the White House physician during the Trump presidency. Two months ago he called on Biden to take a cognitive test and for the results of it to be made public. Three years ago Jackson said he administered one to Trump and he reported that “45” answered every question correctly.

Here’s the problem the mainstream media faces. Biden will continue to have good days and bad days–but as I’ve observed with relatives of mine suffering from cognitive decline, the good days always become fewer. 

Oh, how many more times will Biden be hours late for a press conference? Why always so late?

Eventually Biden’s slipping mental state will be too obvious for even the liberal media to ignore. And when they finally do notice–it’s up to us to remind them that conservatives blew the whistle on Biden first. 

Perhaps at that time, in an act for redemption, the lefty talking heads and writers can reveal who the power is behind the Biden the Figurehead.

Kass has an idea, “Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, is now openly referred to as President Klain.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The history of old and feeble men as head of state is a tragic one

Paul von Hindenburg

By John Ruberry

As president of the United States we have a man in the White House who has moved well-beyond his autumn years. That man of course is Joe Biden, who even when he was at his best was simply a mediocrity. 

Other men–no women that I can recall–who were just too old or sick to perform their duties have been heads of government. I’ll get to them in a bit. But the story usually ends bad for those countries. Sometimes, such as with the Soviet Union, that nation ceases to exist.

But back to Biden.

Much was said–but not on the Democratic protector networks CNN and MSNBC–about Joe Biden falsely claiming during a video conference last week with some Jewish leaders that he visited a Pittsburgh synagogue shortly after a deadly mass shooting in 2018. 

He did not. Biden merely called that synagogue’s rabbi the following year.

But as is often the case with Sleepy Joe, the story gets worse. In an attempt to bond with the participants on the call, Biden spoke of his daughter, who is married to a Jewish man, while–gasp!–off of the teleprompter. 

Imagine Superman after being buried in Kryponite–times 1000.

“There’s a psalm based – there’s a hymn – my favorite hymn in the Catholic Church based on a psalm, and it’s – it’s a psalm that talks about life. And – and so, I – I asked if that psalm – that hymn in the Catholic Church.

Biden then unsteadily recalled some lyrics but then he couldn’t remember the name of that song–or psalm–or hymn. Or whatever.

And then Great Grandpa rambled further into incoherence. 

You know the thing.

And they played – and I’m – my mind is going blank now.

What’s the song that is played where everybody is on the chair? 

Everybody, you know – what – what – I can’t remember it. 

Anyway. And that’s the song that was played. So, you know, I don’t know what the hell is going on here.

Yeah, Biden said, “So, you know, I don’t know what the hell is going on here.” And after exclaiming, “And I’m – my mind is going blank now.

You don’t believe it? Click here for the video.

I’ve heard enough. Biden has to go, and yes, that means Kamala Harris will be president. But I’ll take my chances–even though I may eat these words–with a cackling leftist over a faded mind in a frail body. Conservatives, even non-religious ones, believe in conversion. Although converting Harris into a moderate is the best outcome I can imagine. And yes, that’s a big stretch in the hope department. 

Back to the USSR:

In the last years of his life Leonid Brezhnev was clearly physically unwell. Since Soviet leaders didn’t do press conferences or give impromptu speeches, we don’t know about his mental health. His doctors, who probably are all dead now, didn’t talk. Brezhnev died in 1982, he was replaced by Yuri Andropov, who spent half of his 15 months as Soviet leader living in a hospital while he was being treated for kidney disease. Andropov’s successor, Konstantin Chernenko, a mediocrity like Biden, albeit without the jocularity or the gaffes, barely made it past a year in the Kremlin before dying of emphysema and heart disease. 

C’mon man! Who chooses a man suffering from emphysema to lead a government?

In 1985, the healthy Mikhail Gorbachev, took over. But the rot had set in and the USSR collapsed six years later. 

Here are some other sad examples of ill men in power. Paul von Hindenburg, a German World War I hero, wanted to retire after his term of office as president of Germany was winding down in the early 1930s. He was 84. But after Hindenburg ascertained that “the Bohemian corporal,” Adolf Hitler, would be elected as his successor, he ran again and defeated Hitler in a runoff race. A year later Hindenburg appointed Hitler as chancellor. You know the rest of the tragedy. Some historians believe Hindenburg, who died of lung cancer in 1934, was senile late in his life. 

His titles varied but another World War I hero, Philippe Pétain, was the head of government of Vichy France. Pétain was 84–the same age as Hindenburg when he was reelected–when he took control of the Nazi puppet state. After the Nazi defeat Pétain was diagnosed as senile, which today is not considered a medical term. But was Pétain senile earlier? 

There’s a tragic example in American history of a man who was too ill to serve. As he was running for his fourth term as president in 1944, those close to Franklin D. Roosevelt knew he was a sick man and strongly suspected he would die before his next term in office expired. That is why Democrat leaders pressured FDR into dumping his leftist vice president, Henry A. Wallace, for someone more centrist. Good for them! Harry S. Truman was chosen.

Roosevelt died three months after his fourth inauguration at the relatively youthful age of 63. But not before getting swindled into condemning most of eastern Europe to communist totalitarianism for over four decades at the Yalta conference by a healthy Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin. While no Americans were left behind millions of Poles were. Remember, Britain and France declared war on Germany to save Poland from tyranny.

It was an ailing Brezhnev who made the disastrous decision to invade Afghanistan.

Joe Biden never should have run for president in 2020. And those close to him, such as his wife, should have said convinced him to ride out the rest of his life as a has-been.

Biden needs to resign. Or the 25th Amendment must be utilized to remove him from office. 

And why am I the only person wondering if Biden’s doctor, Kevin C. O’Connor, who is now the White House physician, was being honest when he said in 2019 that Biden is “a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.” 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The incomplete list of people to blame for the Biden debacle

By John Ruberry

Seven months in and it’s already fair to call the Biden presidency a debacle. Our humiliation in Afghanistan tops Biden’s list of failures. Yes, John F. Kennedy botched the Bay of Pigs invasion and helplessly saw the Berlin Wall built during his first seven months in the White House, but to paraphrase what Sen. Lloyd Bensten said of Dan Quayle, Biden is no JFK. And Kennedy, while we’ve learned years later that he was not a healthy man, showed no signs of cognitive decline during his brief presidency. JFK was 46 when he was assassinated. Biden turns 79 later this year.

The old proverb, “Success has many friends but failure is an orphan” is true to the extent that people prefer to sweep failure under the rug. Lee Iacocca, the legendary automotive CEO, remarked in his autobiography that there were plenty of people eager to take credit for the success of the Ford Mustang. But not for the flop of the Edsel car a few years earlier. 

As a civic duty I’m going to point out those deserving people and groups to blame for Biden, our White House Edsel, being elected president. And there are many.

Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor. The White House physician is also Biden’s personal doctor. In late 2019, as he released Biden’s medical records, O’Connor said, “Vice President Biden is a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State, and Commander in Chief.” Wow. Biden wasn’t “vigorous” two years ago. And just how healthy is Biden?

Do you care to update your comments, O’Connor? And please, doctor, don’t hide behind patient confidentiality laws. Biden is responsible for the safety and well-being of 330 million Americans.

Jill Biden. Someonse else nailed Jill’s role in this tragedy on the head last week and I’ll hand things over to her. “Who are the people responsible for putting someone this incompetent and frankly this mentally frail in this position. …I’m sorry, as a political spouse, I can’t help but look at Jill Biden,” Fox News’ Rachel Campos-Duffy, who is married to a former congressman, said last week. “No one knew better his state of mind than Dr. Jill Biden. And if you ask me the most patriotic thing Jill Biden could have done was tell her husband, to love her husband, and not let him run in the mental state that he is in. I think she failed the country as well.”

US Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). After lackluster performances in the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary it appeared that Joe Biden’s third presidential run would end up like the others, along the lines of a batter being dealt a three pitch strike-out. But to prevent a Bernie Sanders nomination–and a Trump reelecton–Clyburn gave Biden a strong endorsement shortly before the South Carolina primary. Biden won the primary and essentially coasted to the Democratic nomination, while conducting his campaign, to use Sean Hannity’s favorite phrase, from his “basement bunker” in Delaware.

Senior Biden campaign officials. I’m sure they knew all about Sleepy Joe’s mental state.

The media. I excoriated the mainstream media’s role in elevating Biden in a post here last week. I suspect reporters knew–and still know–that Biden is a weak old man. But they chose to keep it to themselves. And because the person they loathe, President Donald J. Trump, absolutely could not be reelected, they had to cover up, or at least obscure, Sleepy Joe’s many weaknesses.

Never Trump Republicans. Perhaps the GOP Trump haters belong at the top of this list. Are you happy now?

Biden voters. On WIND-AM Radio last week, co-host Amy Jacobson observed that many Biden voters approached last fall’s election as if it was a student council race. Trump was that mean bully and rude Tweeter and he just had to go. He just had too, you know! And besides Trump wasn’t “cool.” As Barack Obama famously and correctly said, “Elections have consequences.” In high school if you elect the wrong people to the student council it might mean that films you don’t like are screened on Campus Movie Night. The stakes regarding elections to the most powerful office in the world are immeasurably higher.

Barack Obama. Sometime in 2019 Obama should have convincingly told Biden, “C’mon man, you’re too old and to feeble to be president.” Or maybe Biden was unqualified to be president even before his cognitive decline set in. “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up,” Obama supposedly said about his vice president

Joe Biden. Surely in his more lucent moments Biden must realize that whatever mojo he had as a politician, other than name recognition, was gone. And even when he was at the peak of his skills, Biden was simply a mediocrity.

I’m certain I’ve left many worthy people of shame and blame in this list. Feel free to add others who come to mind in the comments section.

Update 8:00pm EDT:

I can’t believe I forgot the 50 former intelligence officials who made the false claim that the Hunter Biden laptop discovery appeared to be a disinformation campaign put forth by Russia. These “experts,” swamp rats really, either had no clue if that claim was true or they were lying.

The propagandists that we call the mainstream media utilized this denial as justification for not reporting on the Hunter haptop scandal.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

What does the White House staff and the media know about Biden’s cognitive decline?

Connie Mack in 1938. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

By John Ruberry

The United States’ worst week in my lifetime was the prior one. 9/11 was a horrific tragedy but after that attack Americans were united in a way, albeit briefly, that it probably hasn’t been since World War II and sadly, we probably won’t see such unity again.

While our leaving South Vietnam in 1975 after years of fighting there was a major blow to our psyche–the South Vietnamese military still hung on for over two years after America’s combat role ended. 

Afghanistan fell to our enemy, the Taliban, last week, nearly a month before President Joe Biden’s withdrawal date, September 11–which was later changed to August 31. Americans, friendly Afghans, and our allies who want to leave Afghanistan are unable get to the Kabul Airport. And people at the airport are being killed by the Taliban.

The Soviet puppet state in Afghanistan managed to maintain power for three years after the USSR returned home.

The situation in Afghanistan is so awful that the mainstream media, CNN and the New York Times for instance, have slowly turned again Biden. They’re not as hostile as they were with Donald J. Trump. but it’s a start. I suspect they are holding Biden accountable only to protect what remaining credibility they have with the ten-percent of Americans who whole-heartedly believe their spin and lies.  

When Biden began his third presidential run two years ago something was very evident. Let’s just say the spin was off of his fastball, that it appeared that “Good ole Joe” wasn’t “all there” anymore, even as he squinted at his teleprompter reading remarks written by someone else. 

I’ll be returning to baseball a bit later.

Last week Biden, or more likely the president’s protectors among his family and this staff, chose the most sympathetic interviewer they know, former Bill Clinton senior staffer–and donor to the tainted Clinton Foundation–ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, to give the president the opportunity to explain why the Afghanistan defeat is not a debacle.

Notice that I didn’t call Stephanopoulos a journalist.

Even Biden’s dwindling number of apologists admit the ABC interview went poorly for him..

But the worst part of the ABC interview ended up on the cutting room floor, as Tucker Carlson pointed out on his show. When Stephanopolous questioned the chaotic nature of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden replied.

Look, that’s like askin’ my deceased son Beau, who spent six months in Kosovo and a year in Iraq as a Navy captain and then major– I mean, as an Army major. And, you know, I’m sure h– he had regrets comin’ out of Afganista– I mean, out of Iraq.

Amazing. Biden can’t immediately keep straight where his son served and with which branch. Beau Biden never served in Kosovo or Afghanistan. And Beau was in the Army. Not the Navy. Had Trump expressed such confusion some Democratic blowhard, probably Sen. Chuck Schumer, would be calling for the president to take a mental acuity test and suggest enacting the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. 

What else is on the cutting room floor of other Biden interviews, both as a candidate running from inside his “basement bunker” or as president? As a resident of the White House there isn’t much Biden material to work with. Since being sworn in as president Biden conducted only nine sit-down interviews. At the same point in their presidencies Barack Obama had done 113 and Trump 50. Someone is afraid of the media, a media that until this month was quite friendly to Biden.

In the sad later years of Connie Mack’s unprecedented 50-year tenure as manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, he often couldn’t remember the names of his current players but he’d call for substitutions with players who hadn’t played for the A’s in decades. Imagine Chicago White Sox manager Tony LaRussa, who used to manage the Athletics, calling for pinch hitting Jose Abreu with Mark McGwire.

Are there moments like that with Biden? Does the media know? Do they have videotape of it? Stephanopolous of course has the recording of Biden confusing his son’s miltary service. What about prior Stephanopolous interviews of Biden? Those should be made public in their entirety immediately by ABC News.

Mack owned the Athletics so firing him was problematic–but he was eventually forced out by his sons in 1950 when he was 87.

If we have not just a confused but also a senile man as president then removing him from office is the duty of Congress. And the rest of media, if they have evidence of Biden’s cognitive decline, then they need to cough it up now.

And that goes for Biden’s staff as well. When Mack made his non-sensical calls as manager of the Athletics, his coaches would calmly overrule “the Grand Old Man of Baseball.” Is Biden’s staff stepping in and overruling their old man?

Who is in charge? Or as Chris Wallace this morning asked of Biden’s secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, “Does the president not know what’s going on?” Note how Blinken doesn’t answer Wallace’s question in this clip.

Mack ran the Athletics into the ground after many great years at the helm, leading his team to nine American League pennants. Biden never had any great years. Mack’s A’s were just a baseball team. America of course is so much more–not just here at home but to the rest of the world.

Afghanistan is not the only failure of the Biden presidency. There is the border crisis and his inconsistent policy on COVID-19. Are these flops the work of a man who is mentally adrift?

And has Biden’s open borders policy with Mexico made the COVID resurgence worse? Failure seems to be piling upon failure–and we are just seven months into Biden’s term.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Review: Katla

By John Ruberry

This summer Netflix debuted the Icelandic series Katla. The actual Katla is a subglacial volcano, which last erupted in 1918. 

Whereas for the series, which is centered on the village of Vík, Katla erupted one year earlier, forcing the evacuation of most of the town, save for some essential workers and their families.

Then a Swedish woman covered in ash, Gunhild (Aliette Opheim), not seen in Vík for twenty years, appears mysteriously, having not aged at all.

Others then emerge in the same manner.

To explain the setting and mood of the Katla, I need to make a diversion. Stick with me. Although this bit is quite fascinating.

According to Icelandic folklore much of the country, particularly rocks and boulders, are inhabited by the huldufólk, the hidden people. 

Iceland is unique. In the fifth episode of his long running podcast Lore, “Under Construction,” host Aaron Mahnke describes the island nation this way: “Now you have to understand something about Iceland, much of the region is a vast expanse of sparse grass and large volcanic rock formations,” adding, “the ground boils with geysers and springs and the sky seems to be eternally gray and cloudy.”

Nature is particularly harsh in Iceland. Earthquakes are common, it has a chilly subpolar oceanic climate, long winter nights, and of course there are those volcanoes, nearly thirty of them are active. 

The use of folklore is a common method to explain the world and with so much of Iceland being a seemingly blank canvas–the “vast expanse of sparse grass” that Mahnke described, as well as its unpredictable volcanoes, it is understandable that folklore’s roots are deep there.

Mahnke in his podcast mentions a couple of road projects in Iceland–one just six years ago–that were altered to assuage fears that the huldufólk would not be disturbed. Click here to find other projects that were changed for the sake of the huldufólk.

In a 1998 survey slightly more than half of Icelanders said they believe in the hidden people. In the minds of many Icelanders the huldufólk are quite real. They are certainly part of the psyche of this Nordic nation.

Huldufólk take on many incantations within Icelandic folklore, among these are as changelings.

Katla is an eight-episode series that is the work of Sigurjón Kjartansson and Baltasar Kormákur. The duo was also responsible for the series Trapped, Kormákur directed the movie Everest.

It appears Kormákur and Kjartansson’s primary audience for Katla is Icelanders and other Scandanavians. The former and probably the latter have a basic understanding of the huldufólk, whereas the primary audience of this blog does not. Hence my diversion because the huldufólk legends aren’t discussed at all in Katla except briefly midway in the series, but that part is featured in the Netflix trailer.

After the emergence of the young Gunhild, the “other” one–twenty years older of course–is discovered in Sweden. Next to come from the ash is Ása (Íris Tanja Flygenring), whose return puzzles her sister Gríma (Guðrún Eyfjörð), a rescue worker in an unhappy marriage with a dairy farmer, Kjartan (Baltasar Breki Samper). Ása and Gríma find themselves entangled in the complicated life of Gunhild and an old relationship of his.

In Katla we also find a deeply religious man, police chief Gísli (Þorsteinn Bachmann) and a scientist Darri (Björn Thors), whose lives are dramatically altered by the new arrivals. 

Katla is part science fiction and part psychological drama. It’s worth your time. 

The show’s directors make the most of the stark scenery–the cinematography is breathtaking. And the acting is compelling.

Katla is rated TV-MA for violence, scenes of suicide, brief nudity, and strong language. It is available in English, in Icelandic with subtitles, and in English with subtitles. I recommend watching the Icelandic with subtitles version, as there are passages in English and Swedish–and that method of viewing fills out the storyline a little better.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.