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Quote of the Day: Gen. Grant at Ft. Donelson

 

This quote is taken from Ron Chernow’s excellent biography. Gen. Grant’s men took Ft. Henry easily in February 1862. The fort was poorly constructed and was nearly inundated by rising river waters. He then marched to Ft. Donelson. Its loss cost the South 12,000 surrendered men and opened the Cumberland River to Union penetration. The top two Confederate commanders (Floyd and Pillow) fled leaving Gen Buckner to surrender. Buckner had helped Grant when he was down on his luck in the 1850s. However, Grant demanded unconditional surrender which Buckner reluctantly accepted.

After their greetings, Grant asked [Buckner] why Pillow had fled. “Well, he thought you would rather have hold of him than of any other man in the Southern Confederacy.” “Oh no,” Grant smirked. “If I had got him I’d have let him go again; he will do us more good commanding you fellows.” Grant and Buckner, both veterans who remembered Pillow from Mexico, shared a good laugh at this caustic remark.

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Timbs v. Indiana: A First, Tentative Step Towards the Elimination of Civil Asset Forfeiture?

 

SCOTUS today announced its decision in Timbs v. Indiana. It is good, but not great news. All nine justices agreed that the prohibition on excessive fines found in the Eighth Amendment applied to state civil forfeiture actions. The unanimity is particularly nice to see and the result is a step in the right direction. Gorsuch and Thomas wrote separately to make the true — but at this time, pedantic — point that the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th Amendment rather than the oxymoronic “substantive due process” doctrine should be the vehicle for incorporation.

The case stopped short, however, of banning civil asset forfeitures. It remanded for further proceedings — presumably on the question of the excessiveness of the forfeiture involved in the case.

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Speaking of Overreach in the Executive Branch …

 

There are several conversations going on about the declaration of a national emergency by President Trump last week. Many folks are in high dudgeon about this executive “overreach.” Many Congressfolk, who heretofore have talked about and around, and ultimately did nothing about the border crisis for decades, are outraged that a President would act. ‘I mean, yeah sure it is a crisis or an emergency, but it is up to the legislature to solve, not the President. Haaaruuumppfff!’ Quite embarrassing for them, in light of the fact they have done squat about it legislatively for over 18 years now.

But, I digress. Let’s examine another executive branch action that has clearly overreached. And likely illegally.

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Some Random Musings on the Smollett Case

 

Attending a Catholic elementary school and being taught by nuns provided two educations. One was the classical three R’s — actually four R’s if you include religion. The other education was in behavior. One day, a boy in third grade decided he would throw a tantrum. A real tantrum, throwing himself on the floor next to his desk, and screaming. Sister Mary (not her real name) left the room and came back with two more nuns and a pail of water. The water was poured onto the boy and he was marched off to the office. His mother received a phone call informing her that she needed to bring another uniform to school for her son.

I learned two lessons that day. The first was to take throwing a tantrum before the end of the school year off my to-do list. The second was that I would not be rewarded for throwing a tantrum by being sent home before the end of the school day.

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Of Kings, Presidents, and the Abdication of Congressional Power

 

I’ve been a member of Ricochet for several years but never had sufficient reason to believe my political opinions were worth sharing here. Alas, I’m still not convinced of the value of my own views, but I am sure that my teenaged son has thought out many of his own quite well. Here’s an essay he wrote a few months ago (when he was still 16) that he has authorized me to share with you all. Enjoy!


C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead.” This was originally meant as a British criticism of American society, but the modern political climate has proven him wrong: we have given ourselves a king to honor, namely in the form of whoever holds the office of President of the United States.

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How Do You Make That Hose?

 

http://hbd-ther.knowledge4you.ca/wp-content/uploads/industrial-hose_product-image.pngYou likely use things made with the help of my maternal grandfather’s patent every day. From cars to jet airliners, from garden hoses to welding torches, reinforced hose is used. You need an inner layer that stands up to whatever flows through the hose, you need a reinforcing layer to keep the hose from bulging and bursting under pressure, and you need an outer coating to protect the hose from the external environment. So, how do you make that? Therein lies a tale.

F. Merrill Galloway was my maternal grandfather. Born in 1908, he went home at 95. He worked his entire adult life until the Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA) or mini-strokes ended his ability to work in his late 80s. He worked with both his hands and his mind, from his garden, to clocks, to rebuilding a violin from broken pieces in a cigar box. Then there was the work that paid the bills and in which he took enormous pride.

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ISIS Mother Pleads to Return—to Alabama

 

We knew this would happen. All the men and women who were excited about fighting for ISIS wanted to be involved with the ISIS cause and they went to fight in Syria. And now one of them wants to come home with her child.

Hoda Muthana went to Syria in 2014; she was one of 1,500 foreign women and the only American staying in a Kurdish-run refugee camp. She was married three times and widowed twice. And now she has an 18-month old son. She is asking to return to the United States.

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Responding to Conservative Critics of Trump using the National Emergency Law on 1976

 

I saw this article two days ago and I think it is spot on. I have some quotes, but please, read the whole thing. (All quotes from this article except the table on how Reagan, too, shredded the Constitution by using the 1976 law)

Now come all the great Washington “conservatives” lambasting President Trump for threatening to declare a “national emergency” so he can finally build the promised southern border wall that got him elected president.

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How Will the Left React to This Latest from Trump?

 
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The Most Disturbing Part of the Jussie Smollett Story

 

Today President Trump’s son, Donald Jr., tweeted something I was planning on writing on tonight:

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The Farcical “Green New Deal”

 

The dominant source of energy for the foreseeable future for both the United States and the world will be fossil fuels, chiefly in the form of oil, natural gas, and coal. Throughout the world, many groups will push hard for massive subsidies to wind and solar energy. Yet, that attempt, no matter how bold, will fail to shift the overall balance of energy production toward green sources. The fatal drawback of wind and solar is their lack of storability. Solar works when the sun shines. Wind works when breezes blow. Both often provide energy when it is not needed and fail to provide it when required. Any legal diktat that puts these renewable sources first will only produce a prolonged economic dislocation. Pie-in-the-sky proposals like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which stipulates 100 percent of energy needs be supplied by “clean, renewable, and zero emissions” sources, should be dead on arrival.

The major challenge of sound energy policy today is to find ways to make the production of fossil fuels both cheaper and safer. Fortunately, private-sector innovation has paid off handsomely such that the total social cost of fossil fuels has trended sharply downward and shows every indication of continuing to do so. The point is especially true with fracking, which has been driven by large cumulative improvements at every stage of the production process. Since 1950, carbon dioxide emissions have increased over fivefold, but, as policy analyst Marlo Lewis has demonstrated, it is difficult to link these emissions to any negative global consequences. After all, over the same period of time, there have been massive increases in life expectancy, crop yields, and wealth. In my view, the current scientific record offers no support for the claim that increases in CO2 emissions pose an immediate, let alone existential, threat. Indeed, global temperatures have declined 0.56 degrees Celsius between 2016 and 2018 for the largest two-year drop in the past century—a trend that has gone largely unremarked upon in the press.

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Firearms Background Checks

 

I decided to a little more research into the failure of finding a felony conviction for the Aurora, IL shooter. When his employment was terminated, he shot 10 people. Five employees were killed, and five police officers were wounded.

In spite of his felony conviction in the mid-1990s for aggravated assault in Mississippi, he managed to obtain a Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) card in January 2014. He submitted his name and birthdate, but he checked the box stating he had not been convicted of a felony.

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ACF Critic Series #20: Interviewing Titus

 

Here’s a strange new podcast–our own @FlaggTaylor interviewed me for a change. He got me to spill the beans about the American Cinema Foundation, its past and its projects now that I run it. Also, how I learned about American cinema in post-Communist Eastern Europe, how I became a film critic, how I became a writer for American audiences, and assorted other matters about our podcasts, college lecturing, and educational ideas. Listen and share, friends!

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Uncommon Knowledge: Reagan And John Paul II — The Partnership That Changed The World

 

Did President Reagan and Pope John Paul II have a secret alliance or simply an aligned foreign policy strategy that helped end the Cold War? Former attorney general to President Reagan Edwin Meese III answers these questions and more in this episode of Uncommon Knowledge.

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The Problem with No Name

 

Confused about what is going on in France? You should be.

Fortunately, former Ricochet editor @claire has made an ambitious and, in my view, largely successful attempt to clarify the who, what, when, where, why and how dare you of the Yellow Vest Revolution and has published the article in The American Interest, I strongly recommend reading it.

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Pattern recognition

 

One wonders how many Democrat voters are starting to notice a pattern here. Surely some of them are starting to notice that their party’s causes are based on fantasies and make-believe, just like the economic policies of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or the job applications of Elizabeth Warren, or the evidence for the Trump-Russia collusion, or Hillary’s email server, or John Kerry’s military service, or whatever.

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Good News: Here Comes Gen Z

 

I have been seeing this trend through my own child and her friends who are Gen Z. Extremely practical, level-headed, hard-working youngsters who scoff at political correctness. They aren’t ‘conservative’ in the classic sense, but they lean in that direction, mainly because they’ve seen through the absurdity of today’s leftist ideals and attempts at radical social reform.

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Who’s Right: AOC or de Blasio?

 

Amazon has announced that they are not going to locate one of the headquarters in NYC due to political blowback on the deal NY and NYC cut to attract Amazon there. The deal was priced at $3 Billion in Amazon’s favor. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) opposed the deal stating that that money should be distributed to the poor of NYC instead. Mayor de Blasio says “What money?!”

So what was the deal? It appears it was a fairly typical “redevelopment” project whereby a city (and/or state) offers a variety of things: spending money on infrastructure to make the place more useful to the expected developer, waiving certain regulations that add cost to the private developers, and exempting or reducing future taxes on the developer that would ordinarily be levied. Of these elements only infrastructure spending involves actual cash in the possession of government. And even then, the only cash that could alternatively be distributed to the poor would be any infrastructure expense that would be customizable for a particular developer as opposed to infrastructure needed to make the area usable for any economic activity.

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Tinker – Tailor – Soldier – Spy

 

Have you ever felt on that rare occasion that watching a movie before reading the book was helpful? No? Have you ever read a book by John Le Carre?

First, there’s that British humor and language, like ‘bob’, instead of meaning @kentforrester‘ s dog, it means moolah, money. It dives from there into the deep, dark, dangerous cavern of espionage. I love spy stories, especially non-fiction. I have several Robert Baer books, and others from the cold war to the present time. Yet I’ve noticed Le Carre books everywhere lately, library sales, book store discount tables and movies popping up. I try reading them and my brain starts to whirl. In “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. the reviews warn “this is not for the quick action reader”. He slowly builds the characters to where they become personal, and then methodically unfolds the plot, shifting from present to past and back again (from that quirky British perspective). A third of the way through I shelved it, frustrated. Then the movie was on last night…

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Felon-in-Chief

 

For more than two years, we have discussed whether or not Donald Trump is fit to be President. Little attention has been paid to the same question regarding Hillary Clinton. (No, this is not another defense of Trump’s election.)

Clinton’s preferred policies, methods, and plans for power are beside the point. My concern is more fundamental. Democrats ran an unprosecuted felon for the highest office in the land — and that proposal went unchallenged.

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Quote of the Day: Socialism

 

“Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.” – Ronald Reagan

The problem with socialism is it requires perfect people to work. That is why it works in heaven. Of course, if people are perfect, as Reagan observed, socialism is unnecessary. And if people are not perfect in a place where socialism is implemented? Well, Reagan had the answer to that, as well. Perhaps it is no accident that the United States’s most flawed politicians are the most ardent socialists in the United States.

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