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I’m a veteran. (Yes, yes, I know you want to thank me for my service. Never mind. I was a supply clerk, for goodness sake. I got a paper cut once (hurt like the dickens), but I never got within a thousand miles of a battlefield. In fact. I only scored Marksman on the rifle […]

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National Review is not only the birthplace of the Never Trump movement, but also the “Reagan, Never Again” Reform Conservative movement. National Review without William F. Buckley isn’t National Review. I don’t blame NR for publishing its famous “Against Trump” issue. They thought, with good reason, that Trump would push the Republican Party to further […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mon Cher, We Will Never Be Second: Phillipe de Rothschild’s Wine Bottles and the Beauty of Capitalism

 

Wine is an art in France. And a business. Considering its dual nature, perhaps there was no one better to revolutionize both aspects of the French wine industry than a Rothschild. One from a family that has been entwined for centuries in Europe’s money and its art, as patrons and creators.

Nowadays, to the extent that he is remembered at all in the Anglophone world, Baron Philippe de Rothschild is remembered as a race car driver or the husband of style icon Pauline. However, the Baron was also a poet, film and theatre producer, playwright, translator, and vigneron of almost unparalleled success.

Château Mouton Rothschild, a wine estate located in Pauillac, southwestern France, has been in the Rothschild family since 1853, when it was purchased by Nathaniel de Rothschild and renamed from Château Brane-Mouton. Nathaniel was actually an English, not a French, Rothschild, though he spent the majority of his life residing and working in the country with the French branch of the family, and Phillipe believed that this is why the vineyard was denied Premier Cru status despite meeting the price standard. (The Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 was based on each château’s trade price and reputation, which at the time was closely related to the quality of the wine that it produced. Even in the face of significant criticism, the classification list remains in force today). Despite Nathaniel’s love of it, Château Mouton Rothschild little interested James Mayer de Rothschild, the heir, or his son Henri.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Politics of Impeachment: Watching High Stakes Poker

 

Normal Americans not consumed with politics may understandably be confused about what’s happening with the impeachment of now-former President Donald Trump. Allow me to share with you the political machinations likely driving what is, or is not, transpiring.

First, the January 6th breach of the Capitol by a hundred or so extremists opened a political opportunity for Democrats – not just to blame President Trump for “inciting” violence, but to drive a wedge between establishment Republicans and Trump supporters. They rightly figured that House and Senate Republicans, among others, would recoil at the violence and damage done to the Capitol.

They were correct. And they responded with a hurried, even “emergency” impeachment of President Trump. No hearings, no investigation, no Judiciary Committee vote, no due process of any kind. And it passed on a largely party-line vote, with 10 Republicans joining in. Establishment Republicans, including reputed New York Times “conservative” columnist Bret Stephens, praised House Conference Lynn Cheney and 9 of her colleagues for their “courage.”

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How a Country Abandoned Law and Liberty, and Became a Threat to Humanity

 

How does an advanced and civilized nation turn into a pack of hunting hounds directed against humans? Sebastian Haffner addresses the question in his memoir, titled Defying Hitler, which describes his own experiences and observations from early childhood until his departure from Germany in 1939. It is an important document–not only for the light it sheds on this particular and dreadful era in history, but also for its more general analysis of the factors leading to totalitarianism and of life under a totalitarian state. It is also a very personal and human book, with vivid portraits of Haffner’s parents, his friends, and the women he loved. Because of its importance and the fact that it is relatively little-read in the United States (I picked up my copy at the Gatwick airport), I’m reviewing it here at considerable length.

The title (probably not chosen by the author himself) is perhaps unfortunate. Haffner was not a member of an organization dedicated to overthrowing the Nazi state, along the lines of a Hans Oster or a Sophie Scholl. His defiance, rather, was on a personal level–keeping his mind free of Nazi ideology, avoiding participation in Nazi crimes, and helping victims of the regime where possible. Even this level of defiance required considerable courage–more than most people are capable of. As Haffner summarizes life under a totalitarian regime:

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Widow at Windsor

 

Oh, holy cow. It’s January 22. Exactly 120 years ago today that Queen Victoria popped her clogs breathed her last.

I don’t know why the recency of that date surprises me so much. Perhaps because so many members of my family whom I remember were alive on that date. Great Granny, who was born four years after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and who died when I was 14, was 32. She was a fearsome old bat, a product of the Victorian age, and could have given the Dowager Countess a run for her money any day of the week. I was born only 53 years after Victoria died. And now I’m 66, 13 years past the midpoint of the arc. One grandpa was eight when Victoria died, the other was 25. One granny was three, the other was 23.

I never could cotton much to the recent Victoria series on Masterpiece. Perhaps that’s because the portrayal of the Queen as a sweet young thing was a bit unsettling. For those of us who think of our beloved dumpy, plump, female British monarchs (Victoria, Elizabeth I, etc.) as grey-haired old hags, Judi Dench is our girl–although, let’s be clear, Dame Judi was, in the early days (and I remember the early days), quite a “babe.” But even the presence of one of the men regularly voted “the sexiest actor alive,” Rufus Sewell, couldn’t rescue that series for me. (I did, however, love, love, love, Dame Judi and the irreverent Scottish comic Billy Connolly in Mrs. Brown, a sweet little film about the widowed Victoria’s predilection for what I’ll just call “inappropriate relationships.”) Let’s move on.

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Tonight: “Mr. District Attorney!” Loosely based on former New York City prosecutor and District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey whose tough-on-crime exploits, like the successful prosecution of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, propelled him to the Governor’s Mansion in Albany. From there, it was on to the White House after his stunning 1948 upset of incumbent Harry S. […]

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There are several things I am thinking about this memo. Bank of America is pledging to make a large sum of money available to minorities, as a method of coping with COVID restrictions and what not. I was reading this information when a friend called, almost in tears. She is not a minority, but a […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Abuse and Misuse of the National Guard

 

I’ve concluded the use of the National Guard to occupy Washington DC for the inaugural ceremonies was an abuse of military power, and ought to be condemned. The fact that dozens of state governors (link) agreed to this abuse is all the more concerning.

Responding to and quelling riots are the responsibility of civilian law enforcement. In those situations where civilian law enforcement is overwhelmed, available military units may provide the necessary strength to restore order. Usually such military units are from the National Guard, the reserve component auxiliaries of the Regular US Army. In extreme cases, active duty Regular Army troops may also be employed to restore civil order.

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I had a peripatetic childhood, and by the time I finished high school I’d attended well over a dozen schools on three different continents, with time off for good behavior during a glorious year (in about third grade) where there wasn’t a school anywhere in sight. My mother, who was largely disinterested in her parenting […]

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Last week we tackled the best movies about historical figures. Spoiler alert: Jesus wins, He always wins. Sisyphus was quick to dial in on that fact and thus earned the right to ask: What is the best movie about the Cold War?The Rules: Post your answer as a comment. Make it clear that this is […]

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During his entire life. About his wife’s death. About his sons. About his plagiarism. About his role in the deceitful attack on General Michael Flynn. About his civil rights record. The Washington Times elaborates … link Preview Open

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If its okay, I would like to rant about a mundane topic, which is bad traffic. I got triggered big time – or “Big League” (and its NOT “Bigly”!! Grrrr!) about an local article that went “Oregon one of the worst states to drive in, new study shows”. Yes beautiful Oregon. And believe or not, […]

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