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Doug Smith: Don’t fall for road bond’s empty promises at a steep cost

26 Sep

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Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and social editor

 

Sep 24, 2017

 

This is in response to Delegate Eric Nelson’s recent guest column in support of the upcoming road bond issue.

I have a few issues with Delegate Nelson’s points. He notes that West Virginia gave the legislature to the GOP in 2014. What he calls a mandate I would instead call hope. So, alas! I was sorely disappointed to see this fledgling GOP majority scurry to roll over to Governor Justice’s desire to massively increase taxes and fees.

So when he says “(we) gave the citizens the opportunity to vote on a new, ambitious program that will create thousands of new jobs here in our state,” my first thought was to check and see if my wallet was still there. My second thought was that promise of creating thousands of jobs here in our state sounds eerily like Barack Obama’s “shovel ready jobs” which were “not as shovel ready as we had hoped.”

You will forgive me if I don’t particularly trust yet another politician promising “tens of thousands of jobs” if only I’ll reward his generosity in giving me the opportunity to vote to let him spend a bunch of my money.

What about the cost, he asks? Not to worry!

“(We) took steps to raise additional revenue for our State Road Fund. in June, the Legislature passed $130 million in additional annual revenue from gas taxes and other fees for our roads.

“These additional funds are dedicated to repay the $1.6 billion bond issue. The bond will be fully supported by leveraging these annual revenue flows over 25 years. These funds will produce more than $3.2 billion over the life of the bond – more than enough to cover repayment.”

Well! Awfully arrogant of you fellas to do that and then come to the voters. If I wanted a tax-and-spend legislature, I’d become a Democrat.

The delegate asked whether we should pay as we go with the money, or take on a massive debt and do it all now. Pay as you go, just like the rest of us who cannot pick someone’s pocket to pay for our spending.

The more important point is that I don’t believe you when you say that this bond will never raise additional taxes. Sixty years ago, the turnpike was going be paid off in 30 years and the tolls removed, yet part of that package you passed was Senate Bill 1003, which keeps the tolls, yet again, and allows the toll authority to increase them.

Son of a gun!

You know, there is nothing more permanent than a temporary government program.

There is a basic principle in economics that no politician ever seems to understand. If you want more of something, make it less costly. If you want less of something, make it costlier. Raising tax rates is no guarantee of raising revenues.

“Politicians, like diapers, need to be changed regularly. And for the same reason,” quipped Mark Twain.

Consider whether you want to fertilize your gardens with political promises at a cost of $1.6 billion. And, a dollar to a doughnut, there will be more taxes out there somewhere.

 

Doug Smith is Free State Patriot’s history and social editor. He resides in Ceredo, WV.

 

Doug Smith: When is a liberal not a liberal

21 Aug

This is the first part of a series on the history and evolution of liberalism in America.

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Doug Smith: Free State Patriot history and society editor

August 21, 2017

 

 

Well, the flippant answer is 1900.  But a more reasoned answer must ask first, what is liberalism? As happens so often, the word has been hijacked.  Orwell warned of this practice. Up is down. Truth is a lie. War is peace. 2 plus 2 equals 5, Winston Smith.

Words are important. Meaning is important. If we permit people to undermine meaning, they can mask actions and intentions. If I like chocolate all my life, and suddenly we call it butterscotch, we make a lie of my frame of reference.

The father of classical liberalism is widely considered to be John Locke. He believed that people were equal and had the right to defend their life, health, liberty, or possessions. That phrase was condensed into Jefferson’s “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Declaration of Independence. He believed that individuals had the right to own their property and goods based upon their own labor to produce them.

Classical liberalism, as opposed to what passes for liberalism after Woodrow Wilson, is in favor of private property rights and a free economy, guarantees of freedoms codified into law in the Constitution. From Wilson forward, the term Liberal came to mean something it is not.  The modern “liberal “is more the egalitarian of the French revolution; emphasizing state control of property, markets, and equalization of outcomes by government picking winners and losers.  We have seen that where this is practiced, the only winners are those in government power, and private citizens, who find they have no rights that the government does not choose to give them, see those rights decreasing as the power of the state increases. The losers are the folks waiting in line in Moscow for bread, the millions murdered because they had no wall to protect them from the psychotic whims of Stalin.

This is the dangerous fantasy put forth by Wilson’s ” Living Document” view of the Constitution. Rather than an agreed wall between the individual and the state, the Wilson New liberals see it as a fluid contract, subject to the perceived notions of those currently in power as to the needs of the people.

Imagine if you signed a contract to buy a house for a certain sum. 5 years into the contract, the governor decided that all homes should cost 20% more, and now, regardless of the agreement you had made, you were forced to borrow additional money and send it to the seller. With, of course, a taxed sop to the government. Or suppose you were the seller, and he decided that you had sold your house for too much, and you had to borrow money and refund it to the buyer, years after the fact.

You wouldn’t like it so much.  That wall of iron words took years, and much effort to get the agreement of enough citizens and states to ratify it and enter a contract.  The idea that the contract is living and can change with time would make it useless, and meaningless. It could come to mean anything at any time.  Recognizing how hard it was to ratify, and that future citizens may, indeed wish to alter it, Madison and the framers included specific steps to do so, and made it as difficult to alter as to pass initially. They protected the individual from the whim of a government official, or a vocal minority, or a small but insistent majority. If you wish to change this contract, you must persuade a decisive majority that the change is beneficial.

Our government as a rule of law, not lawyers, or nobles, or kings, affords that protection to all our citizens.  The liberal judge who looks between the lines and finds things we must do as a government undermines those protections for every citizen.

So then, the classical liberal, as the term was used for over 200 years, places its trust and support of the individual’s rights to property, self-determination, and personal liberty and responsibility. The citizen, in the view of a classical liberal, resides in the state, not under the state.

The egalitarian, or “social” liberal, has a very different world view indeed. Next article, we shall lift the veil of the Wilsonian “liberal” and look at the iron hammer lurking there to supplant the iron words of the Constitution he so disdains.

 

Doug Smith: “The Patriot’s Credo” A declaration birthed from freedom

12 Aug

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Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and social editor

 

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“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

 

“The Patriot’s Credo”

By Doug Smith

 

I believe that a man ought to:

Always do his best.

Tell the truth or be silent.

Earn his own way, and keep the fruits of his labor

Never abandon women or children dependent on him

Be kind and courteous to those weaker than him.

Learn all he can, all the time.

Know the history of his people, and his nation, and his world.

 

I believe that people:

Have the capacity to be decent and responsible, but are not angels. Some cure polio: some build Auschwitz.

Are mostly decent, hardworking, law abiding, and desire peace with their neighbors.

Should defend his family, his neighbors, and his country against harm from those who do not.

Are either cantankerous, independent cusses who want to make their own way and be left alone, or weak spirited desiring to be ruled and cared for.

There are those like George Washington who will reluctantly lead the former,  and far too many who will gleefully rule the latter.

 

I believe that government:

Is made up of people not angels, so must be held in check

Is governing people, not angels, so must have sufficient power.

Requires constant attention and effort from those governed.

Exists to protect the rights and property of the people.

Produces nothing, owns nothing, and is a thief unless it serves the people.

Is about protecting the Constitutional rights of its citizens, not supplying their needs.

 

I believe that America:

Is the greatest nation in history

Has done more to extend liberty to more people than any nation in history.

Has greater opportunity for people to better themselves than any nation in history.

For all its faults, is far and away the best place to live in history.

Is worth defending.

Is worthy of pride.

Can be better.

Can fail, if we don’t preserve her.

 

These things I believe. Being a man, and not an angel, I admit to sometimes, far too often, falling short of those things I believe as ideals. But these beliefs form the basis for which I strive.

 

 

 

 

Doug Smith: A “Better Deal” with whom?

26 Jul

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Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and society editor

July 26, 2017

 

 

So, the Democrats, party of the New Deal, The Great Society, All this and World War, too, have decided to solve their problem (nobody votes for them anymore) with a “Better Deal”.

Hmm. Really?

Well, I have not written a book about deals, nor have a stayed in a Holiday Inn Express recently, but I have made and observed a few deals in the past 60 years and offer some observations and lessons learned.

  1. Who you make a deal with matters. I have made business deals with people I had reason to mistrust, but a desire to trust; an alcoholic, a thief, a chronic liar. (not all the same person!) Those deals have, predictably, gone south.
  2. Examine your motivation. I made those bad deals because they promised a lot that I wanted. I wanted those things badly, for reasons of my own, but they were a little too good to be true. In perfect hindsight, I should have passed.
  3. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Trust your gut.
  4. Deals offered by Democrats have a poor track record. (The 7 years of broken promises by my own party, the GOP, is a subject for another time.)Wilson ran on a strong anti-war platform: “Too Proud to Fight. “, “He Kept us out of the War” (WW1, if you were wondering.)  He was inaugurated Jan, 100 years ago, for his second term. And in April, he went to Congress to launch the US into WW1.

    Reagan made a deal with the Democrats in 1983 for $ 1 of tax increases for every $ 3 in spending reductions. So, the Dems promised, and sent him a budget including the tax increases, which he signed. Reagan noted in his memoirs, and I note now, 34 years later, that we are still waiting for any Democrats, anywhere, at any time, to ever reduce spending on anything.

    Bush 41 made a deal with Ted Kennedy that he, Bush, would break his “Read my Lips, No New Taxes” pledge, in exchange for which Democrats would lower spending a commensurate amount. (Note that at that time, they still had not come through on those promised to Reagan, Bush’s predecessor.)  As noted, we are still waiting on those spending decreases.

    Since I have written at length about it, I won’t belabor the point too much, but Barack Obama s shovel ready jobs, which he laughed off, are still not done or filled, the 2500 a year savings never happened, we cannot keep our Doctors or plans, and whatever else it may have done, the “Affordable Care Act did not make Health Care either more affordable, or more available. Indeed, it had nothing whatsoever to do with “Care” but a great deal to do with “Insurance. “(Also, worth noting that the Insurance companies heartily signed on to a deal with a Dem that promised to assure them that 350 million people, under force of law, would be customers. And how did that work out for them?)

  5. Which brings us to a lesson learned by observations: if you make a deal with someone who does not keep their word with others, don’t expect them to keep their deal with you.
  6. Deals made with other people’s money are easy for the deal maker, (the Dems), enticing for the beneficiaries (their voters), brutal for the people whose money they spend (Me. You, if you pay taxes.) and once again, too good to be true. (See 3, above. See also Detroit, Illinois, black youth unemployment, minimum wage workers in Seattle.
  7. There is no real wealth, other than the fruits of labor. That is what we work and do. We assign an arbitrary value to gold and diamonds, yet if I were to lock you in a room with all the gold and diamonds you wanted, and nothing else, you would starve. You could not build a car with it, except if you used it to build a factory, buy raw materials, and hire workers. The Gross Domestic Product, the yardstick of the wealth of a nation, is not about the number of zeros at the Federal Reserve, (on the ledger, not the people. Yea, I know, cheap shot.) It is about the goods and services we produce, and the value that potential buyers assign to them, and are willing to pay, in their own valuta, time, or work to obtain them.Only in the Garden of Eden was all that a man and woman needed available to reach out and take. Only in the Garden of Eden was sex available, commanded, and totally without consequence, all the time. Only in the Garden of Eden was there no need to work, and produce.

There, and in the yearning for that which was lost, which comes to be expressed in the Utopian fantasies from Plato to Marx to Wilson to Obama.  And time and again, throughout history, there have been those who try to overturn the natural order, and operate on Eden Standard Time, the way we wish things were, instead of the way they are.  Every attempt has been met with failure, and disaster, and misery.

So, the Democrats’ promises are based on the Utopian ideal: we can replant the abundance of Eden and make it grow, we can go back to how it was, and make it happen again, just put us in charge.

And they reject the promises attached to the Eden story, because they contain unpleasant realities they wish to reject: By the sweat of your brow will you eat bread, until you return to the dust, for of dust you were made, and to dust you shall return.

To accept that means to accept that men will not be perfect, that we are subject to a higher power, and that we must obey certain rules.  Progressives, notably Democrats, do not want any rules but their own, and certainly not those rules.

But that pronouncement is not all bad. You Shall eat bread, by the sweat of your brow.  Not such a terrible thing. You no longer get the Eden deal, because you broke that one. But you do get this one: You won’t go hungry, but you must work for it now. But the Democrats keep trying to establish the Eden Deal, and, failing the power to do so, find it to fail over and over.

Tragically, the lesson they learn is not that it won’t work, which is has not for millennia. No, they come away saying, if we do the same thing over and over, we will eventually get a different result.

Einstein called that insanity.  So, it is. And so, is making a deal with the Democrats, whether you are a President or a voter.

 

 

 

Doug Smith: Trump haters don’t need any help from the right

16 Jul

It’s time to shorten the learning curve of this presidency

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Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and social editor

July, 7, 2017

 

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So what to make of Trump Jr s meeting with a shady Russian, associated with the Obama administration, and banned from entry, but granted a waiver to enter, in time for the meeting, by an Obama buddy in NY District Court.

Well, the knee jerk reaction is to defend his move because

  1. Hillary , Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Obama himself all did far worse with Russians, in a way that truly did damage the interests of the United States. ( all true)
  2. The Democrats never cared about any of it, or even acts of true treason when it was one of theirs, and cared not a whit that the Russians were trying to toss stink bombs into our political process, as long as they thought the Hillary would win. ( again, true)
  3. The whole Russia narrative has been nothing more than an attempt by the Democrats to roadblock Trump’s agenda, and if possible, remove him from office. ( also true)
  4. Character assassination is all they have, because they have been losing elections so badly for so long, and this is their only chance to maybe, maybe, pick up control of one House of Congress in 2018 and keep Obama s damage going, and blame it on the GOP. ( reasonable conclusion)
  5. The longer they keep this nonsense up, the less the chances that the GOP will repeal Obamacare, cut taxes, or pass any meaningful legislation. ( again, true)
  6. After 8 years of Obama, we have a break coming, and for better or worse, our break is Trump.

All these things are true, and make conservatives, myself included, tend to jump to defense of Trump, perceiving the attacks on him to be attacks on us, and on our desires for positive change in the country. The perception is correct.

The conclusion is not.

Sean Hannity has spent months, incorrectly, defending former Submariner Christian Saucier, who is serving a year in prison for taking pictures of classified areas of his Nuclear Submarine. Hannity’s defense is that Hillary did far worse and got away with it, thus Saucier should get away with it as well.

That is a very slippery slope. And Hannity, who I agree with on many things, is dead wrong on this.

As a Submariner, I do not want to send the message to any sailor that security no longer matters because of Hillary. Nor do I want to send a message that fooling around with the help is OK now because Slick Willy. If we choose the Clintons as the arbiters of our future morality, we are doomed. And damned.

If I had been on ET1 Saucier’s Court Martial, I would have voted to convict him, strip him of all rank, and send him to prison. He was old enough to know better, and he violated a major rule of security. Our standards on Submarines are not dictated by the Clintons. We are better than that. That is why we come home alive.

Donald Trump Jr showed an appalling lack of common sense. A seasoned politico would have sensed a set up ( which it seems that it was. ) The people he dealt with were unsavory, the information offered was not necessary ( everyone knew what Hillary is) , and appearances matter.

Now. Was it illegal? Clearly, not. Was it unethical? Again, no. He did not ask anyone to steal or reveal Hillary s dirty laundry. He was intrigued to hear what it was.

Was it a stupid, boneheaded move?

To quote Sarah Palin, You betcha.

He took a risk for no gain, and in a stupid 15 minute sit down, gave ammunition to the enemies of his Dad to keep stirring the commode a while longer. He contributed to another day or 3 of delay in important legislation.  He showed himself to be a neophyte, which we knew. POTUS is also a neophyte, who needs to surround himself with seasoned people who can help him avoid such minefields.

Then, of course, like father like son, they have a tendency to dance around the truth and make things sound better for themselves. Even an innocent exchange can be suspect when people wonder how many more shoes must drop.

There are 3 ways to handle such information.

  1. No comment. Mr. President, will you PLEASE for God s sake learn that phrase.
  2. The truth, but only as much as necessary.
  3. Lies and evasions.

The Trumps often choose 3, even when it is not necessary. And they tend to dribble out the truth.  That is a bad habit which they must break. When your positions and assertions and message are constantly shifting, one never knows when the Real Donald Trump answer is out there. Just as Democrats found themselves passionately defending Bill Clinton right up to the point that he admitted a lie, Republicans have found themselves defending a Trump position, only to find that he has changed course on a dime and left them to fall on their faces.

Somebody needs to oversee messaging from the White House. Someone with a big stick, and freedom to beat anyone over the head with it. Is a lot of the invective thrown at Trump undeserved and frustrating? You betcha.  Could he reduce unforced errors with better message discipline? Dang right.

So, what about Trump Jr and his meeting with Boris and Natasha?

It was not illegal. In terms of ethics, it was certainly far cleaner than Hillary s work with the Ukrainians to find or manufacture damaging stories about Trump. In the former, he was coming to see what was offered, in bad faith as it turns out, that could help. In the latter, Hillary was actively seeking and paying for help to get or manufacture, as they did, a story.  Stay away from the sausage factory, it will spoil your appetite.

What is was, and remains, is a stupid, rookie mistake. He should have run that by a senior political operative before answering. But there were none. The allure of the outsider campaign meant that everyone was a rookie, and they were likely to fall into some traps. Well, he did. Now we know the formula to move on past it, as demonstrated by Hillary. “I made a mistake. In retrospect, it was a dumb move and I would not do it again. “

Will it be enough for the Left? Well of course not. The only thing that would be enough for the Left is for the entire administration to resign, and for Congress to appoint Hillary as POTUS. (Be careful what you wish for.) Of course, that is not going to happen.

For the Trumps, perhaps a few lessons might be learned.

  1. Be careful about hiring family. Just because you love and trust them does not mean they are right for the job, and firing them is tougher than with a stranger.
  2. Fighting back is all well and good. Better yet, is avoiding traps. There are plenty of people with experience in the political arena in which you are swimming willing to advise you. The ones you have are not serving you well. Find one who will, and stop doing stupid stuff, and get your people confirmed, and get your agenda passed.
  3. If it seems too good to be true, it is. Don’t be gullible.
  4. And from an old Cold Warrior, a cursory reading of history would tell you this: Don’t trust the Russians.

The establishment in DC, the press, and the Dems are not going to ever love the Trumps, or conservatives. And they will damage or destroy President Trump if they can.

 

President Trump and his son, and other advisers, should stop helping them.

Doug Smith: Retrospection provides purpose in affirming the presidency.

6 Jul

 

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Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and social editor

7.6.2017

Donald Trump on the phone in his car

 

Donald J Trump is the President of the United States.

I am not a big Trump fan. My first article about him concluded he is something of an ass. I have altered that opinion only in this: he is a complex ass. Anecdotal evidence shows impulses of compassion and generosity I had not witnessed. Of course, impulse is the key word with President Trump.

So, I wish 2016 had turned out differently. I wish Ted Cruz had run stronger.  I wish Marco Rubio had not forever sullied himself to conservatives by his sell out to the Washington insider crowd in the Gang of Eight on Immigration. I wish that the GOP leadership had not been breaking promises for 2 decades to the point that their own base rebelled and created 1st the Tea Party, then the year of the Insurgent. I wish that we had not had 17 GOP egos so inflated they could all convince themselves they had a shot at the White House. I wish the Democrat Party of JFK and Scoop Jackson had not declined to the point that it elected a radical, considered a Socialist, and given its soul to Clinton Inc.

But if wishes were horses, beggars should ride.

The Dems have done what they have done. The GOP, having made meaningless gestures while having no stomach for a real fight for the base, and having run the entire New England Patriots as their 2016 primary field, found the air was let out of the campaign, and ripe for the taking for a media savvy guy. (Yes, I know, that is a real groaner!)

It is what it is.

Donald J Trump is the President of the United States.

I’ll pause here while progressives reading this tape their skulls back together.

So, not my first choice, but most adamantly my choice over HRC, President Trump is the guy in charge.

But not, it seems for the Democrats. I had thought that the Bush Gore debacle of 2000 was a fluke. I had hoped that after enough years to realize that, yes, Bush Did win the Presidency, thin but fair and square, and after all the recounts and court cases and even recounts by the NY Times, turned out to be the legitimate winner, they would quietly slink off and think about how to win elections.

That turned out not to be the case.

Bush derangement syndrome continues unabated. Hillary Inc operates on the Vito Corleone principle “Ask your friends, they’ll tell you I know how to repay a favor. “Hillary just needs a little favor. The Presidency. Bernie’s folks were shocked that the rules were ignored to get him out of the picture in favor of Dona Hillary. They should not have been. They should have asked Susan McDougal just how much one is supposed to give so that the Clintons can get that to which they feel entitled.

Sadly and dangerously, BDS has not healed, but metastasized. We briefly went through the Get Bernie phase, and right on into Trump Removal Disorder. TRD began about 9 pm on November 8, 2016.

The transformation has been disturbing. They have become Gollum. ( We hates it forever, Precious. Thief! Baggins!)

Oh! Give that to us, Deagle, my love.

Why?

Because we wants it. (That did not end well, for Deagle: he was murdered for the Precious.

The point is, we may draw one simple analogy from the tales of Middle Earth to the present day Left: intense desire for power, coupled with a maddening hatred of any who would take it from you, in any way, or in any degree, leads to madness.

To this day, there are those on the Left who will maintain that Gore was robbed by SCOTUS in 2000: and Bush was never a “legitimate” POTUS. (This despite vast evidence showing this was most emphatically not the case.)  This delusion, or madness, permitted them to manufacture and believe any sort of slander or falsehood about GWB: The Air National Guard falsehood, blood for oil, Bush Lied People Died, Valerie Plame, 9/11 was a Bush family inside job. All demonstrably false, all believed to this day by portions of the deranged, maddened Left.  In their madness, their hatred of Bush permitted them to justify undercutting the country for the “greater good” of putting power back in their hands.

There were, and are, legitimate criticisms of Bush. He was a big government, big spending, progressive Republican. For those like me, on the conservative Right, these were a corruption of what the party of Reagan was supposed to be about.

So, kudos on the war, criticism on the spending.

My other, remaining criticism of Bush was his decision to remain above the fray, and not hit back at his detractors, even the ones who were blatantly lying.  That permitted Bush Derangement Syndrome to continue, and grow, from an aberrant emotional disorder, easily treatable, into the full scale, widespread, psychosis that it is today.

Which brings me, as inevitably as tofu curdling on a liberal’s countertop, back to Trump. If Bush chose to suffer in silence at the criticisms, deserved or not, of his detractors, Trump has found the polar opposite position. On the one hand, bravo! Don’t let liars and slanderers get away with it any more. Hit back, hard and often.

On the other hand, please get a handler to put a filter on your mouth and tweets. Make sure you are correct before you speak. Don’t give them ammunition to use.

However, Donald J Trump is the President of the United States. I have little doubt that Progressives who read this will need some Alka Seltzer. But it is a fact. Hillary did what she does: she lost. Dramatically. Repeatedly. It might be time to reexamine some operating principles, if you want to win again.

But…

Donald J Trump is the President of the United States. And to make it worse for the Left, you do not get to impeach him because you don’t like him. You don’t get to invoke the 25th Amendment because he lacks manners.  The easy rejoinder to that attempt must be that one of your own, in fact the father of your movement, Woodrow Wilson, was not removed after a severe, debilitating stroke, with left Edith Wilson as de facto President, so a little case of Twitter Tourette’s will not suffice.

The comparisons to Andrew Jackson abound. The crude, uncouth outsider, with flashy, notable success, who is willing to call the Right Honorable Gentleman a Dirty Scoundrel has a certain appeal at any time. 

After many years of elitist condescending to the plebes, broken promises, and an increased misery index, a Jackson or a Trump are perhaps inevitable.

They make for good copy, but not, perhaps, for good governance. Still, there is something to be said for the high fever, causing the folks to lance the boil that has made them sick. So, running the risk once more of analogy, Progressivism, Big Government, all the Leftist bent toward controlling the power and the wealth of a nation: they are the ever-growing boil in the flesh of the Republic.

Trump, or perhaps not simply Trump, but the 2016 “Year of the Insurgents”, these are the high fever.

The inflamed rhetoric, and the violence of the Leftist groups in the streets, well these are the red and painful boil that is increasingly hard to ignore.

But the cure is, as it has always been, to lance the boil and drain the pus.

Needling them with Twitter does not seem to be the way. When a deranged man attempted to shoot Andrew Jackson, the President beat him with his cane until the attacker was subdued by Davy Crockett. 

Perhaps a cane and a coonskin cap would be more effective than a cell phone?

Doug Smith: Remember Gettysburg, our Republic, on our Independence Day

4 Jul

 

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Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot History and Social editor

7.4.2017

 

What began as skirmishers in the pre-dawn from Buford s Federal Cavalry and Heth’s Confederate Infantry has grown into a meeting engagement involving 3 Union Corps. General John Reynolds of I Corps has been killed. 2 Union Corps have retreated through the town of Gettysburg to the high ground of Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill, with orders to fortify.

Confederate General Jubal Early arrives on the field and is ordered by Lee to attack the Union flank ” if practicable”. He declines.
Both decisions were to prove seminal for a battle in which Union forces retreated, but held the all-important high ground.

Midnight

 It is quiet now at Gettysburg. The cries of the wounded cut across the heavy air, hot from the July sun, coppery smelling from the blood.

Exhausted men chew hardtack and curl up to sleep, or peer over their breastworks for movement in the night. The heat and the flies do their grisly work on the dead, men and horses alike. Tens of thousands move up in the night to join the battle with the coming of the dawn.

As they smell the odor of battle, gunpowder, decay, blood, intestines, fear sweat, and hear the crackle of fires, and the occasional scream from the relentless work of the surgeon’s saw, they wonder if they turned off the road and marched into hell in the darkness.

Tens of thousands settled for an uneasy night, grimly resolved not to flinch away from the horrors that would come with the sun of July 2, 1863.

Meade arrives to take command. He determines to stay and fight from the high ground held by his Army.

So, the first day of battle ended, but the worst lay ahead.

It was night at Gettysburg.

Day 2.

  4 pm. After a long day of march and delay, Longstreet attacks the Union flanks.
Col Strong Vincent of NY places Col Joshua Chamberlain ‘s 20th Maine at the far left of the Union line with orders to ” hold at all costs.” Both men knew if the 20th retreated, Longstreet’s Alabamans would roll up into the rear of the Union lines. It could sway the entire battle. It could sway the entire war.

The 386 men of the 20th began a desperate 3-hour battle that would test their resolve to its limit, and burn Little Round Top into the consciousness of the nation forever. Of the 386, 38 died, 91 were wounded, 5 missing, and every shot was fired from their muskets.

Still unwilling to yield, Chamberlain orders the regiment to fix bayonets and charge downhill into the attackers.

The 20th held.

The 20th prevailed.

And as the 20th, thus the Republic.

Day 3

 Pickett s command of some 15,000 men were ordered by Lee to assault the Union center on Cemetery Ridge. For the 3rd time now, Alabama on the Left, Texas on the Right, and now Virginia up the center, Lee orders his men to assault fortified high ground.

About 3 pm, Longstreet, who had argued unsuccessfully against the attack, reluctantly gave the go ahead to Pickett to send in his men at Lee ‘s insistence. They would go in across nearly a mile of open field, against entrenched infantry and artillery.

Union artillery fired directly into their ranks. Infantry flanked and fired from multiple directions. Only a few hundred, out of 12,000 reached the Union barricades. They were all promptly killed or taken prisoner. Over 7,000 men were killed or wounded, effectively destroying Pickett ‘s Virginia Regiment.

Demoralized and badly beaten, the Army of Northern Virginia retreated to lick their wounds.

The Battle of Gettysburg was over. Lee had been beaten decisively. Unknown to him, or to Meade, Vicksburg had fallen, and Grant had taken control of the Mississippi, and cut the Confederacy in half.

Meade had won, but in caution or timidity, did not send his exhausted Army of the Potomac to pursue and finish Lee. He would not recover from that decision, and would soon find himself subordinate the Lt Gen U.S Grant.

On Independence Day, 1863, the Civil War still raged. But the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Only the butcher s bill.

 

 

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