Civil Asset Forfeiture

Jim Campbell's

Comment by Jim Campbell

February 28th, 2019

Police around the country have routinely been able to cease cars, home, monies for minor infractions of the law.

No indictments, no trial, you look guilty so your personal property now belongs to us, is going to come to a screaming halt. (Source)

In Texas, a public fight has broken out over a strategy used to fight drug crime:

Has been quietly reining in the police and forbidding this practice which in essence turns the police into rogue agents determining on their whims, whose assets are seized and whose aren’t.

I suggest that police departments who liberally applied this practice in the past were breaking the law.

Civil asset forfeiture, which lets police officers seize property from suspected criminals. Opposition to the tactic is uniting two groups who don’t usually get along: lawbreakers, and conservative politicians.

VICE News Tonight correspondent Roberto Ferdman goes…

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PT Boats – August 1945

Pacific Paratrooper

In mid August, 30 squadrons of PT’s were in commission.  Nineteen were in the 7th Fleet.

Admiral Kinkaid could not foresee a need for patrol boats around Japan and Korea, so The 7th Fleet boats became the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Philippine Sea Frontier.  The shooting was over but there were still jobs where they could be useful.

25-26 August – at Morotai, 16 PT’s under Lt.Comdr. T.R. Stansbury and Gen. Johnson got underway for a rendezvous with the commanders of the Japanese forces on Halmahera.  The Japanese commanding general was not there. That was unacceptable.

The following day, BGen. Warren McNaught went with 6 PT boats and this time Lt.Gen. Ishii and Capt. Fujita, IJN commander were waiting.  The boats carried them to the 93rd Div. headquarters on Morotai.  It was here that they surrendered 37,000 troops, 4,000 Japanese civilians and a very large quantity of equipment.  This was…

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Beetle Bailey & The Real Sgt. Snorkel

H/T War History OnLine.

I have always been a big Beetle Bailey fan.

I have heard bits and pieces of the Bettle Bailey story.

As Paul Harvey used to say “Now You KnowThe Rest Of The Story.’

Griffin solemnly explained her father never realized he was the inspiration for the character that became Sgt. Snorkel.

A rather portly and occasionally grouchy Sgt. Orville P. Snorkel has, for decades, tried to instill some discipline into the easygoing Beetle Bailey.

Few realize that the relationship revealed in the comic strip between Beetle and Sarge is a direct reflection of the association between the strip’s creator, Mort Walker, and a sergeant he encountered in St. Louis during World War II.

Octavian N. Savu was born in 1914 in Indiana to parents who immigrated to the United States from Romania. At a very young age, the family moved to St. Joseph, Missouri, where Savu grew into adulthood.

“His mom took him to school when he was very young and when the teacher asked him what his name was, he said ‘Tavie,’” explained Savu’s oldest daughter, Rena Griffin. “The teacher thought he said ‘Tommie’ and that was his name ever since—Tom or Tommie.”

According to his obituary, Savu went on to pursue post-high school education at St. Joseph Junior College, Park College, and the University of Missouri.

In 1935, the 21-year-old decided to embark upon what would become a decade-long military journey by enlisting in the U.S. Army at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, receiving an assignment to the 17th Infantry.

Fort Leavenworth United States Army facility

Five years into his enlistment, he married his fiancee, Margo. He quickly ascended through the enlisted ranks and, in the early 1940s, became an instructor with the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

During his time there, he provided training to the students in first-aid, combat tactics, marksmanship, and map reading.

In 1943, Washington University in St. Louis became Savu’s next assignment, where he oversaw soldiers in the school’s Army Specialized Training Program.

The program was renamed the Engineering, Science, and Management War Training program. It ran from 1943-1945, offering 12-week courses to active duty service members with a focus in such fields as foreign language and engineering.

It was while he was at Washington University that Sgt. Savu met Mort Walker of Kansas City, a World War II draftee who would later memorialize him through a widely syndicated comic strip.

Octavian Savu is pictured in front of McMillan Hall at Washington University in St. Louis during WWII. It was here that he met cartoonist Mort Walker and unknowingly became the inspiration for a character in the Beetle Bailey comic strip. Courtesy of Rena Griffin

“Sgt. Snorkel comes from real life, too,” wrote Mort Walker in his 1975 book Backstage at the Strips.

Although occasionally a firm disciplinarian, Walker noted in a 2017 interview, “I remember there was a time that the sergeant wrote all of us [soldiers] a poem titled My Boys and placed it on each of our pillows. That’s when we realized that this man had a heart and we weren’t mad at him anymore.”

Walker, who was already a recognized artist prior to his induction in the U.S. Army, drew a caricature of Octavian Savu before the two parted ways in St. Louis in 1944, not realizing at the time that his former sergeant would inspire a beloved cartoon character a few years later.

Discharge papers reveal that Savu, who achieved the rank of first sergeant, was deployed overseas from April to August 1945, serving as an administrative sergeant with the 14th Reinforcement Depot in Thionville, France.

“I know that my father had a service-connected disability and came home from France early,” said Griffin. “He had cardiovascular disease and was later diagnosed with diabetes.”

Discharged for reasons of disability on September 21, 1945, with a little more than ten years of military service, Savu and his wife eventually relocated to Colorado after adopting Griffin and her younger sister.

“We lived in Denver at first and later moved to Aurora,” Griffin explained. “My father found a job as a financial systems specialist with the Air Force Accounting and Finance Center.”

Griffin recalls that, when she and her sister were very young, her father had a heart attack. After that, he took up gardening and grew “the most beautiful roses and lawn in the neighborhood.” She added that he remained active in the community and served as commander of his local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

In the years following his discharge from the U.S. Army, Mort Walker perpetuated the legacy of his former sergeant, Octavian Savu, through his character of Sgt. Orville Snorkel. Courtesy of Mort Walker

In April 1968, Savu loaded the family in a car and headed east to visit the community of his youth. During the trip, he showed his children the home in which he grew up in St. Joseph as well as the schools he had attended. He then took his family north to visit a family friend in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

“On the way back to Denver, we stopped at a hotel in Omaha,” said Griffin. “My dad had his third heart attack and died in that hotel. I was fourteen at the time, and my sister was eleven.” With a somber pause, she added, “He had taken great pleasure in showing us all of those places and really loved Missouri.”

The 54-year-old Savu was laid to rest with full military honors in the Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

Although Mort Walker drew a caricature of her father while they were stationed together in St. Louis during World War II, Griffin solemnly explained her father never realized he was the inspiration for the character that became Sgt. Snorkel.

“He never said anything about it, and I don’t believe he communicated with Mort Walker before he passed away in 1968,” Griffin said. (Mort Walker himself passed away on January 28, 2018.) “My sister and I didn’t even know about the connection between dad and Beetle Bailey until recently.”

 

She acknowledges her father possessed many of the bold characteristics portrayed in the Beetle Bailey comic strip even though some may have been exaggerated for comedic effect, but Griffin affirms the real Sgt. Savu was a man full of character and compassion.

“While he was tough, he was fair, and I think that’s why his troops loved him so much,” she said. “He was my mentor as well as my father, and some of my best memories are of him.”

Jeremy P. Ämick writes on behalf of the Silver Star Families of America.

From The Horses Mouth-Secret Codes in Equestrian Statues

H/T War History OnLine.

I have heard these urban legends about statues of horse and riders.

General Philip Sheridan Memorial – Rienzi.JPG

Indeed, General Sheridan was wounded during the Civil War, but did not die in battle

The depiction of wartime heroes, royalty, and similar important figures in the form of equestrian statues dates back to the sixth century BC. The Rampin Rider statue from ancient Greece is the oldest known piece of equestrian statuary in the West

The symbolism of equestrian statues is a rather interesting subject, with some people opining that the depiction of the horse’s feet gives a hint about the rider’s fate.

Particularly in the United States, the urban legend goes thus:

  1. If the horse has one hoof in the air, then the rider was wounded in battle—and may have died later from the wounds.
  2. If the horse has both hooves in the air, then the rider was killed in battle.
  3. If the horse has all hooves on the ground, then the rider survived all battles uninjured and later died of natural causes.
The Rampin Rider.Kouros’ Head to horse, Acropolis’ museum, Athens. Photo: Roccuz CC BY-SA 2.5

This intriguing deduction has over the years been popularized by many a tourist guidebook, the most popular of which is the 1987 book Hands on Chicago written by Mark Frazel and Kenan Heise. A paragraph of this book says:

“At Sheridan Road and Belmont Avenue, the statue of [General] Sheridan beckons troops to battle. The horse General Sheridan rides is named Winchester…Winchester’s raised leg symbolizes his rider was wounded in battle (the legs of [General] Grant’s horse are on the ground, meaning he was not wounded).”

So is this idea, in all its glamour, just a myth? Or is it fact?

Civil War General Philip Sheridan statue in Albany NY.              Photo: Kenneth C. Zirkel CC BY-SA 4.0

It should first be noted that the idea of a tradition of signaling the fates of riders in the hooves of their horses has been debunked by the U.S. Army Center for Military History. If the words alone of the historians of the U.S. Army are not enough, perhaps a walk through Washington D.C. would suffice to confirm what they say.

Washington D.C. is the city with the largest collection of equestrian statues in the world. Among this vast collection of horses and riders, only about 7 out of 29 that were analyzed have been found to conform to the myth.

Statue of General Philip Sheridan. Washington.

Moreover, there are cases in which multiple statues of the same person are contradictory. Take General Philip H. Sheridan for example: an equestrian statue of General Sheridan in Washington D.C. depicts the horse to be standing on all four hooves. Two other statues in Chicago and New York show the horse to be raising one hoof.

Indeed, General Sheridan was wounded during the Civil War, but did not die in battle. So if the tradition holds true, the horse should have one hoof in the air, like the statues in New York and Chicago. But the one in Washington D.C. goes against the tradition.

Another notable statue in Washington D.C. is that of General Andrew Jackson, in Lafayette Park. This equestrian statue is the oldest statue in Washington D.C. The horse in this fine piece has both forelegs in the air. However, Jackson died of tuberculosis and heart failure, not in battle.

General Andrew Jackson.Photo: AgnosticPreachersKid CC BY-SA 3.0

There have also been cases in which one sculptor made several equestrian statues without following the tradition. One such case involves the famous Irish sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Sometimes his statues follow the tradition, sometimes they don’t.

This suggests that the posture of the horses in each statue would merely be dependent on the choices and skills of the sculptors, and conformity with any supposed tradition could be dismissed as simple coincidence.

Perhaps a confirmation of the myth can be found in the equestrian statues erected in memory of the Battle of Gettysburg that took place during the American Civil War. If we consider only the statues that commemorate Gettysburg, the majority of them do conform to the tradition.

However, with even just one statue going against the tradition, claims of secret messages should be taken with a pinch of salt. And there is one Gettysburg statue that fails to adhere to the tradition: that of Lieutenant General James Longstreet. The highly controversial but talented Longstreet was not wounded at Gettysburg. However, the horse in his equestrian statue has one hoof in the air.

Lieutenant General James Longstreet. Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania.Photo: Ken Lund CC BY-SA 2.0

The same principle can also be said of equestrian statues in Europe in general: If such a tradition exists, there should be some widespread consistency to it. Some non-American examples of statues that ignore the tradition include those of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Emperor Constantine, and King Louis XIV.

Aurelius’ statue has one hoof in the air, but there is no record of him ever being wounded in battle.

Constantine’s statue has his horse rampant—with both legs in the air. However, it is a well-known fact that he did not die in battle.

King Louis XIV also has a statue with his horse rampant. Contrary to what the equestrian statue tradition would say, King Louis XIV died of gangrene, and not in battle.

With all this, it is safe to say that the tradition does not hold up to scrutiny.

Admittedly, it would have been quite fascinating if such a tradition were proven to be true. However, because there is no strong proof of its credibility, it remains what it has always been: a myth.

Texas Dem Introduces Mandatory Reporting Bill In State House

H/T Bearing Arms.

There is absolutely zero common sense in this mandatory reporting bill.

How will this bill stop straw purchases?

Remember when “victim blaming” was a bad thing?

Supposedly it still is, but only on some things. It seems that teaching that a woman should be responsible for her safety is “blaming the victim” for not stopping a rape–even though no one is saying or even believing that–but it’s perfectly fine to try to penalize the victim for having their guns stolen.

A bill in Texas, of all places, seeks to criminalize people who have their guns stolen and don’t immediately report it to authorities.

A bill introduced this legislative session seeks to make it a crime to fail to report a lost or stolen gun to law enforcement authorities.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez said it’s a law that doesn’t exist and needs to be on the books.

“We know when guns are stolen or lost, a crime will be committed with that weapon,” he said.

House Bill 1207 would require a gun owner whose weapon is lost or stolen to report it to authorities within five days of first realizing the weapon is gone. Failure to do so would mean the person would face a Class C misdemeanor and the loss of their eligibility for a license to carry for five years.

Rodriguez thinks the law would cut back on “straw purchases,” which are a federal crime.

“The ‘straw purchase’ is me giving (a gun) to someone that really shouldn’t be allowed to have one,” Rodriguez said.

He thinks it’s a commonsense bill that should make it through the floor.

Rodriguez wouldn’t know common sense if it slapped him in the face.

First, let’s look at the problem. You’re supposed to report it within five days of noticing the gun is gone. Show of hands, how many of you take daily attendance of your firearms?

So how are prosecutors going to prove when I realized the gun was gone?

Second, prove it was still my gun. “Nope. Sold that one a year ago. Don’t remember who to.” This is Texas we’re talking about here. There aren’t universal background checks in place.

In other words, the only people who will be prosecuted by this are honest people. Sorry, but that doesn’t seem remotely right, especially since they’re a victim here.

Clearly, this is meant to try and combat all the canoe accidents gun owners are always talking about having.

Seriously, let’s talk about the straw purchase aspect of this for a moment, because that one may look to the outsider as legitimate. The problem is that few people go out and buy a gun through a straw buy, then use it right away and get caught. They get caught much later, at which point the straw buyers say, “Money got tight a month or so later, so I sold it.”

It’s too easy to beat, for one thing. For another, even if you close that avenue up, you’re not actually going to deprive criminals of guns. They’ll get it from somewhere else

“That’s not an argument against the law!” someone will say, and I get where they’re coming from. In and of itself, it’s not a valid argument.

But the problem is that it’s part of an overall argument that not only will it not stop the bad guys, but it’ll also hurt the good guys who have done nothing wrong.

This is nothing more than legislative victim blaming, and it needs to crash and burn.

Booker on American Dream: United States Is Not ‘Top Country’ to Be Born Today

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

So, Comrade Booker, can you name one place better to be born in today?

Is Cuba better? Is Venezuela better? Maybe North Korea?

Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) questioned the veracity of the American Dream on Tuesday, saying the United States is not necessarily “the top country” to be born today.

Booker appeared on the “Pitchfork Economics” podcast with co-hosts Nick Hanauer and David Goldstein to discuss multiple issues, including the economy and poverty rates.

The senator contrasted the conditions in America today with those in the 1930s, a time known as “the Great Depression,” when his father was born.

“Even if you were a black guy like my dad and you were going to pick a country to be born in, the United States would be at the top of your list because we were expanding middle class at a rate that was creating opportunity,” Booker said.

Booker, who announced earlier this month he was running for president, went on to say that for those born on planet Earth today, the United States is not necessarily the best place to live because of one’s ability to get out of poverty.

“The United States of America is not gonna be, necessarily if you’re just looking to get out of poverty, that’s your only metric, this is not necessarily the top country if you’re going to be born poor to get out. And that’s actually an assault on the very idea of the American dream,” Booker said.

“I think we need to be the party of reclaiming the dream,” he continued. “We need to be the party of reimagining what this nation– to create great pathways  of prosperity and this is just one of those bills that my team and I are sitting down and thinking, “Okay. How is this being rigged? How are the rules changed? How can we address those changes?'”