Contributor Created with Sketch. Friday Food and Drink Post: For The Gift I Have Received, I Am Truly Thankful


File:World War I veteran Joseph Ambrose, 86, at the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982.jpgThis Monday, May 27, is the nation’s officially designated Memorial Day. My mother-in-law never called it anything but Decoration Day, and never celebrated it on any day other than May 30 in any given year.

The day has an interesting history, and yet its essence today is simple and can be distilled as follows: Let us remember, in all the ways we can, those members of the United States Armed Forces who’ve given their all, so that we may live in peace and freedom. One of the ways we do that, in context and with love and appreciation in our hearts, is to enjoy the day with our family and friends. We may attend community and church events. Often, we picnic and have fun. Sometimes we mourn a personal and private loss. But always, we remember and are thankful.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Deceiving, Deception, Dishonor


“Houston, we have a problem.” Fateful words that for persons, like me — part of the generation whose youth was spent in the race to the Moon — are the embodiment of grievous danger. And that danger is within our system of laws.

America runs on trust. Ours is a “high trust” society. We contract. We self-report our income for tax purposes. Although admonished to “drive defensively” we rely on our fellow citizens to act in predictable ways that follow the rules or a pretty close approximation thereto.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Antipodes of Ricochet


We Ricochet people are not a monolithic bloc. No, no, gentle reader. Outsiders might think we’re just a bunch of old white guys, but we’re actually a mix of disparate individuals, with views that are strewn all over the socio-political landscape.

Unfortunately, we’re diverse in ideas, and that means little to nothing to the race and gender-obsessed scribblers who work for The NY Times and the rest of the MSM. For them, diversity is based almost entirely on the skin color, which comes three simple hues these days: white, brown, and black. But those three colors, according to the Times, now come in twenty or so genders, including alexigender, a gender that is fluid among the various genders, although the individual can’t tell what those genders are. (Yes, that’s real. I Googled it.) You cis-gendered people may need to stop here for a moment while you think on that.


Is it treason to criticize the president? If so, Mona and Jay are in big trouble. They also take swipes at Beto, Mayor Pete, farm subsidies, and more, while pausing to appreciate a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment. They end on a bittersweet note — this is the last regularly scheduled Need to Know.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Other People Are Human Too: An Idea Whose Time Has Come


Did you ever get an idea that you couldn’t really see being expressed anywhere, that you thought needed expressing? An idea that struck you as so fundamental and yet had sort of become blurred and faded to the point where it was forgotten. I’ve had such an idea bouncing around in my head for quite a while now, and it has really been starting to bug me, to the point where there’s nothing else for it but to say, ‘Full speed ahead, and damn the torpedoes!’ Here goes nothing:

Abstractions are ruining the world. By abstractions, I mean ideas that all meaning and substance has been taken away from but that are put forward as if they are real reflections of people or of things we experience. Most of the stories put forward in movies and sitcoms today are of this kind, from where people have gotten ideas about “love” and romance and how they’re supposed to live their lives. Most of what gets put forward in newspapers and on TV, likewise. We live, lost and confused, amid a cloud of things that exist only as ideas.


A special solo edition of the podcast — it’s just me going through the latest in the Trump-Russia investigation, and, more important, the investigation of the Trump-Russia investigation. What to look for after the president’s declassification order, plus a little-discussed reason why pressure is building for Democrats to impeach.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Think Globally, Act Locally


A classic leftist slogan, and not even the most harmful. (Not sure which is, but ‘my body, my choice’ springs to mind.) Still, it leads to obvious problems. Let’s try a test syllogism, shall we?

  1. Think Globally: The Kulaks are robbing the Soviet State blind.
  2. That guy Jerry is a Kulak.
  3. Act Locally: Excuse me while I find a short length of rope.

There are three problems with that syllogism. One, the initial premise is just wrong. The Soviet state can rob itself blind, thank you very much. Two, it doesn’t follow that even though Jerry is a Kulak he’s one of the ones causing trouble. And three, what are you doing hanging around with a Kulak to begin with? Do you want to get sent to the camps?


This week on America’s Most Trusted Podcast®, we kick off with some home grown commentary about the ongoing Pelosi-Trump drama. Then, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s White House correspondent extraordinaire Deb Saunders joins for an extended and more detailed chat on the same topic. Later, Dr. Bill McClay stops by to discuss his new book, Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story  which is all about the way history textbooks weirdly seem to only promote one point of view (guess which one). We close with a bit of talk about why Florida may be America’s greatest state and the what the hosts are doing for the three day weekend.

Music from this week’s show: Land of Hope and Dreams by Bruce Springsteen 


American is known as the great melting pot. But what if we aren’t melting anymore? What if we are just staying separate? Our expert today, Mike Gonzalez, explains what patriotic assimilation is, why it’s the bond that allows America to be a nation of immigrants, and how everything falls apart with out it.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Code Talkers


We are between Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. The first is a minor holiday intended to honor those serving in our military. The second is a major federal holiday and is intended to commemorate our honored war dead. A recent conversation with a younger veteran led to talk of his grandfathers’ service in World War II, and that in turn led to a broader reflection on a seldom remembered or only partially understood group of Americans in the two world wars.

The younger veteran’s Hopi grandfather was a tank mechanic. His Navaho grandfather was a code talker in the Marine Corps. As we talked, I mentioned recently learning of the original WWI code talkers, a small team of Choctaw Indians in the American Expeditionary Forces. The Native American veteran replied that there were Hopi and other tribes also used as code talkers in WWII. It is just that the Navajos were the largest group and became the center of historical attention.


Contributor Created with Sketch. What Is the Government’s Role in Public Health?


After my post earlier this week, communications staffers with Senator McConnell’s office reached out with some more information about the bill to raise the smoking and vaping age to 21.

I wanted to first share some of that information about why McConnell is taking this bipartisan step (along with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). In a story in the Kentucky media, McConnell explains some of his justification,


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Julian Assange Is About to Become a Journalist


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen in a police van, after he was arrested by British police, in London, Britain April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been indicted on 17 counts of violating the US Espionage Act, the same act his co-conspirator, Bradley “Call me Chelsea” Manning was convicted of breaking. But in the history of the Act, no third party has ever been successfully tried and convicted. The 52 were either anarchists directly plotting to overthrow the US government or persons who sold or made available American secrets to hostile powers.

Progressives cheered Assange’s arrest in April because they believe him to be an agent of Donald Trump’s, the man who helped disseminate the Hillary Clinton/DNC emails that the mainstream press worked so hard to gloss over. Mrs. Clinton herself chimed in, “The bottom line is he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it’s been charged.” Their mantra has been “Julian Assange is no journalist!” so he is undeserving of First Amendment protection. This is actually been a point of agreement among Progressives and Conservatives. Both National Review and Commentary ran editorials to this effect.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Trump Grants Barr Authority to Declassify Any 2016 Campaign Surveillance Documents


That puckering sound you heard Thursday night was from many nervous politicos, bureaucrats, and lobbyists in the Beltway. President Trump has just given Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of his 2016 campaign. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released the following statement:

Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election. The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Russell Kirk’s Favorite Loincloth, or The Conservative Novelist Adapts


“Different times demand different actions. Had I been born in Ancient Egypt I may well have advocated for change, even radical change. But modern times require shoring up the Old Moral Order.”– Russell Kirk

If you can, for just a moment pull your mind from Pharaoh Kirkses II and his sartorial choices, and contemplate his point. When asked to consider the conservative novelist, we normally choose from a set cast of characters; Evelyn Waugh, J.R.R. Tolkien, Allen Drury, G.K. Chesterton, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. They represent the bulwark, the voice that stands loudly astride history yelling stop and portrays old values and mores with humanity and passion. Rarely do we stop to consider the novelist that finds those values buried beneath the deep layers of their own modernity, and by showing only faint glimmers argues for their modified return. Two novelists separated by birth and an ocean, Ma Jian and Walker Percy, provide powerful examples of the adapted conservative novelist and his worth.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Why America’s Social Media Firms Aren’t ‘Parasites’


It’s hard to be a big tech company these days without somebody rooting for your demise. But some cases are a bit more understandable than others. Like this one: “Bannon says killing Huawei more important than trade deal with China.” I mean, I get it. Former Trump White House adviser and nationalist Steve Bannon wants America to launch and win a Tech Cold War against China. Taking an ax to what might be its most important tech company, a key player in the global 5G rollout, might be a big step forward in such a plan.

But it’s not Americans wanting to shut down just Chinese tech companies. Sometimes it’s Americans going after American firms. “Maybe we’d be better off if Facebook disappeared,” writes Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, in an op-ed for USA Today. And his problem isn’t just with the social media giant run by Mark Zuckerberg. According to Hawley, Twitter and Instagram, though oddly not YouTube, are also “best understood as a parasite on productive investment, on meaningful relationships, on a healthy society,” He claims they’ve created an “addiction economy” based on extracting and selling data gleaned from uninformed users. The first sentence of the piece: “Social media consumers are getting wise to the joke that when the product is free, they’re the ones being sold.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Congress/Judiciary to POTUS: What Bill of Rights?


Two Obama-appointed judges have upheld the “most invasive Congressional subpoenas for private financial information in American history.” The judges refused to grant a stay for appeal, so banks have turned over to the US Congress financial records of private citizen Donald Trump (and, by extension, his family) before he became President. Democrats have made a power play that boggles the mind in its violation of some of the most basic freedoms granted US citizens in the Bill of Rights.

Attorney Robert Barnes penned a good brief, cogent summary of how and why the judges’ decisions were wrong. Barnes notes that Congress’ investigative subpoena power in the past has been “so sparingly employed,” the Supreme Court had “few cases” to review its use for most of our history (Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178, 193 [1957]). There’s some strong language in previous decisions, however, which comes down heavily on the side of upholding citizens’ rights in face of Congressional subpoena power that stood out to me:


Contributor Created with Sketch. What’s Missing from Trump’s China Policy


The Dow plunged 450 points on the opening bell May 6 in response to this presidential tweet: “The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No! The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday.” Economists eye this brinkmanship fearfully. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch’s global research team, among many others, has warned that a trade war could cause a global recession. Desmond Lachman of AEI notes that there are splash back effects of imposing harsh tariffs. They may succeed in weakening China, but “Any marked slowing in the Chinese economy is bound to have spillover effects on those economies with strong trade links to that country.”

Among those countries with “strong trade links” to China would be ours. Lachman is warning that Trump’s policies may be undermining the strong economy, and that this should worry him looking at 2020. But before we get there, spare a moment to savor the irony of what Trump’s policies have so far achieved on one of his favorite 2016 hobbyhorses — the trade deficit. In 2016, the goods and services trade deficit with China stood at $309 billion (which Trump frequently exaggerated to $500 billion). As of March, 2019, the trade deficit with China was $379 billion — a 23 percent increase.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. AOC Was Wrong, We Actually Have Only 5 Years Left


According to this article from 2004 (Read it and save it before it gets memory-holed), “Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.”

Note the use of the very important word “could.” The of this auxiliary verb in the subjunctive mood is essential to all climate catastrophe articles. “Climate Change Could Cause Octopuses to Go Blind” (Well, at least Braille won’t be a problem for them) “Climate change could bring bubonic plague back to Los Angeles” (Ah, silver linings.) “Climate Change Could Destroy Doomsday Vault (Well, what good is it, then?) You could even create a kind of “Climate Change Article Mad Libs” for these headlines. Climate Change Could Cause [PLURAL NOUN] to [VERB] [OBJECT NOUN] [ADVERB]. e.g. “Climate Change Could Cause AL GORE’S CHILDREN to EAT BOOGERS RAPIDLY.” But I digress. 


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. May Quote of the Day: “I don’t mean government money, everyone steals that,” (Brothers Karamazov)


Dmitri shows up and appears half-insane to Pyotr Ilyitch.

By the way, Pyotr Ilyitch, I wanted to ask you: have you ever stolen anything in your life?”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. By Any Means Necessary


In 1964 Malcolm X called for the advancement of civil rights “by any means necessary.” Unfortunately for the Left this means essentially blaming men, whites, conservatives, Christians, the U.S., almost all all history and just about anything but the recognition of their own failure to earn a greater sense of equality in our complex culture.

Instead they simply adopt some moral high-ground as the essence of their value and they parlay this imagined high-ground into real power as they use it to bully others to get in line with their agenda.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. A New Format for Presidential Debates


I posted a draft of this on Ricochet three years ago. This version appeared in American Thinker. I’m posting it again because it’s still pertinent.

There has been widespread dissatisfaction with previous presidential debates between the Republican and Democratic candidates. In 2012, Candy Crowley stated shortly before the second debate that she would not abide by the contract she signed. She then interfered in the debate on the side of Obama. In 2008, the vice presidential debate moderator, Gwen Ifill, was completing a biography of Obama. One can easily surmise that financial considerations alone gave her a bias favoring Joe Biden. Clearly, her book had the potential to sell more copies if Obama won the presidency. One may ask why the Republicans didn’t insist that these biased moderators be removed. This tacit agreement to participate in a process that was biased against them may partially explain why they lost both races.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Are Baby Showers Problematic?


I wonder when the tradition of baby showers and related anticipatory beliefs and actions will come under attack. The notion that there is already a “baby” in existence (and here we will overlook the implications of the notion saying it is a “boy” or “girl” before the entity is conscious and able to select its sexual identity) ought to be a problem for the logically consistent pro-choicer.

The controlling rubric is “choice” but if many pregnant persons “choose” to believe that there is a rights-infused person-like entity in the womb then that creates a cognitive state in which incipient personhood is assumed to be inherent and not merely a reflection of the womb owner’s choice at the present time. If such an offensive cognitive error were to be widely shared (and it is) then that creates adverse social perceptions of abortion which in turn establishes a political climate that threatens the right to choose. Therefore, pregnant individuals who fall into the patriarchal cultural trap of referring to the uterine entity as a “baby” threaten the right to choose.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: “Gentlemen, Start Your Bloomin’ Engines!”


Well, here we are just a few days from the start of this year’s Indianapolis 500, and the delivery of the famous exhortation to begin. From 1977 to 2017, the phrase was amended to include “Ladies” as well, if there was one or more competing. Such a rational response in this day and age that it almost boggles the mind. However, in 2017 political correctness and inclusivity caught up with Indy, and the phrase is now an anodyne “Drivers, start your engines!” I have no idea what they’ll do when the first self-driving car muscles itself into the pole position. No doubt their highly-paid consultants and lawyers will think of something.

But since it seems that the actual wording of the phrase is fluid and can be altered at will, and because this is May:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Socialism as Religion


Years ago, I got into a discussion about the “tragedy of the commons” (that is, the overexploitation of unowned resources) with a socialist. I cited the fact that elephant herds were growing in African nations in which tribes could own the herds, while they were shrinking in nations that did not allow ownership. Elephants often destroy crops, so tribes have little incentive to protect them and every incentive to kill them. If they own the elephants, however, and can use them as a resource, the incentives change.

The socialist’s response was that he would rather elephants go extinct than such majestic creatures be owned by anyone. He didn’t respond when I suggested that elephants might have a different take on the issue.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Flashback: Media ❤ Avenatti


Today, the news broke that Michael Avenatti — paragon of decency, justice, and personal probity — has been indicted for ripping off a porn star. Federal prosecutors in New York charged the bald barrister with defrauding Stormy Daniels via wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Although Avenatti is on the outs now, some of us remember him as the darling of CNN and MSNBC’s green rooms. He was lauded as a potential presidential candidate and the man most likely to take down Donald Trump. To ensure all that adulation didn’t disappear down the memory hole, our friends at the Free Beacon created the video montage below: