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:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. QOTD: The Political Scapegoat


“In order to see yourself and your group as all good, you have to project the evil you are unable to acknowledge in yourself onto an external entity: some other group, the ones not like us. The stronger the cognitive dissonance, the more intense will be the projection. The other becomes the embodiment of evil. This then gives rise to the pathology of victimhood and is the ultimate source of scapegoating: ‘It wasn’t us, it was them.’ From this flowed rivers of blood of human sacrifice throughout the ages. They still do today.” — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Covenant and Conversation

In this book, Rabbi Sacks explains how the meaning of “scapegoat” has come to mean precisely its opposite. In ancient times, two identical male goats were selected: one was to be sacrificed to G-d, the other was taken by the High Priest who took the sins of the Jewish people and placed them on the second goat, which was then sent into the desert to Azazel, where the goat would plunge to its death.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. What Just Happened in the Rose Garden?


Earlier today, President Trump commented about a planned infrastructure meeting that he just left with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer. This was followed by Pelosi and Schumer describing how the President left the meeting without the discussion on infrastructure even taking place. They were ready to present a 35-page plan and said the President just shut it down. They went on to describe how he “ran away” from the meeting.

Apparently, the President asked them to stop the constant harassment and re-investigation (of the Mueller Report) and threats of impeachment (of which there is no basis) so they can sit down and work together amicably. Is this unreasonable? Is it not insane to constantly backstab, threaten, and investigate, then expect to come into a meeting all smiles and get anything done? Would the meeting on infrastructure have gone well, had the Democrats accepted the two years of investigation that cost us, the American taxpayers, $35 to 40 million (and I think we’re still counting) several weeks ago when it was released?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Why Did Communism Fail?


This answer to “why did Communism fail?” was given by Radu Nachita, who had an inside view. He writes about his childhood in communist Romania in an article on [emphasis mine]:

Centrally planned and state-owned economies did not collapse in 1989 when the Berlin Wall was finally “torn down.” Actually, the failure of this economic system started in 1961 when the wall was built by the communist regimes to trap their own populations inside the “workers’ paradise.” The failure was already obvious in the eyes of people who endured it—far earlier than was acknowledged by Western academics or public opinion.


Contributor Created with Sketch. On Ben Carson and Oreos


Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson isn’t having a good week if you’re reading news coverage in the progressive and mainstream press. First, this reporting from The Root,

During a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Tuesday morning, Carson was asked by Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), about disparities in REO rates. According to USA Today, “an REO, or ‘real estate owned,’ refers to a kind of property owned by a lender, like a bank, after a foreclosure.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. “Sucker-ifying” America


The great moral hazard of socialism and similar (involuntary) wealth distribution schemes is that eventually, people who resist taking other people’s wealth view themselves as “suckers”. Nobody wants to be a sucker, a chump.

What stimulated this thought was a post by Ann Althouse regarding the gift billionaire, Robert F. Smith, is making to the graduating class of Morehouse College. Ann’s comment was:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Where is the Outrage of Federal Judges on the FISA Court?


Lying to a Court is the ne plus ultra of contempt of court. It is defined as follows:

“(1) Misbehavior of any person in its presence or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice; (2) Misbehavior of any of its officers in their official transactions; (3) Disobedience or resistance to its lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Almost This Day in History: Powel Crosley Said Let There Be Light – May 24, 1935

Crosley Field May 24, 1935 First major league night game

On May 24, 1935, almost 84 years ago, the first major league baseball game was played at night under the lights at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a big enough deal that President Roosevelt got involved in the event pressing a gold telegraph key in the White House which switched on a signal lamp 500 miles away at Crosley Field thus notifying Reds general manager Larry MacPhail to flip a switch to illuminate the playing field with 632 recently installed floodlights. The first night game was on.


On this episode of Acton Line, Jordan Ballor and Tyler Groenendal break down the last season of Game of Thrones, discussing positive and negative aspects of the show as well as lessons to be gleaned, such as the role of government and the danger of power. Afterwards, Caroline Roberts speaks with Li Ma, senior fellow at the Henry Institute, about Ma’s book The Chinese Exodus. Ma explains how the current economic system in China drives agricultural workers to the city, setting them on a path for family disintegration, poverty and alienation from community.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Waiting Is Hard


There’s a scene in Amazing Grace — the William Wilberforce biopic — where Wilberforce meets with fellow abolitionist radical Thomas Clarkson. They’ve just had another in a long run of defeats in Parliament on their bills to abolish the slave trade. It’s around 1794 — Clarkson has devoted his life to the abolition of the slave trade. He’s been doing it longer than Wilberforce has, though Wilberforce is the leader of the cause in government. He has finally received a bit of good news: the Revolutionary Government in France has abolished slavery. In England, the public is incensed at France for the revolution — England has been at war with France for over a year. Because of the war — because abolition is now associated with the French Revolution — the cause has stalled out. Explicitly, the Scottish MPs only favor gradual abolition because they fear the spread of the revolution.

“Here we have only defeat. Across the Channel, they bring me nothing but good news. Changes,” he says.


She was one of only two women to sign the Israel’s Declaration of Independence. She served as Israel’s first ambassador to the Soviet Union, as labor minister, foreign minister, head of the Israeli Labor Party, and the Jewish state’s only female prime minister. After Israel was hit with a surprise attack on Yom Kippur of 1973, she was a rock for the nation. Golda Meir was Israel’s lioness, the mother of her country.

In Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, Francine Klagsbrun tells the story of Golda Meir’s remarkable life—from her childhood in Milwaukee to her time on a kibbutz to her ascent to Israel’s highest office. Klagsbrun shows how Meir’s plainspoken appeals and shrewd political instincts allowed her to build relationships throughout the world, and she takes a look at the darkest moment in Meir’s premiership—the Yom Kippur War—and what, if anything, the prime minister could have done to prevent it.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Mummy’s the Word


Grauballe ManThe Grauballe Man

As if he had been poured
in tar, he lies
on a pillow of turf
and seems to weep


The Tati/James Charles fallout makes Lyndsey & Emily stop and ask—why are we giving influencers so much attention—and power?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Weak and Revealing Rhetoric of the Pro-Abortion Side


I hate clicking on a title like “Abortion is Morally Good,” especially on my first-born’s birthday. But I thought I should. We won’t sway public opinion unless we’re willing to engage the reasoning on the other side. So I clicked, but as far as reasoning goes, I found this article remarkably weak. It’s so weak that I can’t help feeling a little sorry for its author. She reminds me of “Baghdad Bob,” convincing only those who desperately want and need to be convinced. “We are not afraid at all! We will triumph! Pay no attention to those coalition tanks massing on the horizon.”

It goes without saying that to be persuasive, you have to be in reality. You have to come to grips with facts and counter the arguments and witness of your opponents. If all you’ve got to offer is euphemism and caricature, you may manage to rally your demoralized troops for a little rearguard action, but you won’t prevail.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


A breeze softly blows across the plaza, as if the souls of those who perished are passing by. The white marble sarcophagus displays the Greek figures representing Peace, Victory, and Valor, reminding us that warfare ultimately strives to achieve all of them.

Several years ago we had the opportunity to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw the changing of the guard. The uniformed relief commander appeared and announced that those present remain silent and standing; in some ways, the stated request seemed redundant, as people seemed to be called to do both out of a solemn respect. When we were there, I was struck by the silence and stillness, as the sentinels slowly and gracefully moved through this timeless ritual. We seemed to walk with them, as their actions demonstrated their deep respect for the fallen and for their families.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Time’s a-wasting


While doing some research for a snarky remark I wanted to make (yes, I research my snark) I came across a website called “Bingeclock.” It’s sole raison d’être is to tell you how much time you’re about to waste – or have wasted – watching the entire run of a television or film series. (Pro tip: If you only have six weeks to live, don’t try catching up on Gunsmoke.)

Now, we’re all good at wasting time. Some of us make a living at making others waste their time. When you waste time watching me work, I guess there’s some productivity going on, after all, it is putting food on my table. It also means that I can rationalize my own waste. Because I am in the sports television business the three hours I spend watching baseball 200 days out of the year is really, you know, just professional research.


Contributor Created with Sketch. How Is This Tech Cold War with China Supposed to Work, Exactly?


Let’s assume the Trump White House blacklisting of Huawei in effect marks the beginning of a full-fledged Tech Cold War between America and China, complete with a Digital Iron Curtain. The full metaphor. How then does the conflict end in an American victory? And what does that even look like? Have the tech cold warriors, both within the White House and externally, given serious thought to any of this?

We know how the more comprehensive Cold War 1.0 concluded, with the dissolution of the Soviet Empire in 1991. It was a collapse that some predicted was inevitable. But at the time many others thought the scenario so unlikely as to be unworthy of speculation. The whole idea of 1970s detente was based on the perceived durability of the USSR. And this view held nearly to the very end. For example: The 1984 film “2010: The Year We Make Contact” was a sequel to the 1968 Stanley Kubrick-directed film “2001: A Space Odyssey” and concerns a joint US-USSR deep space mission.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Federal Conviction System


Over the years, Ricochet’s members who practice law have occasionally mollified our common predilection for lawyer jokes by providing examples of honest-to-goodness Justice in action. At the local levels, at least, American judicial systems seem to work now and then; even if other first-hand experiences among Ricochetti have been downright depressing.

Would anyone care to defend the federal criminal justice system? Mark Steyn has written many times that US courts at the national level boast a conviction rate that would impress brutal third-world dictators.


We have finally reached the end of the Game of Thrones saga, ie; A Song of Ice and Fire. James and Toby break down the final episode and give some thoughts on the series as well.

Editor’s Note: This is obviously the last episode of the ThronesCast podcast, but we are thrilled to announce that Toby and James will be continuing on with a new show called London Calling that will attempt to explain British and European politics for American audiences. Should be fun! Look for it in about two weeks (at the most).


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Resolved: LOTR More Realistic Than GOT


This post contains some spoiler from the finale of Game of Thrones and assumes some knowledge on the part of the reader of Games of Thrones and Lord of the Rings

Dany and Drogon

When talking about fantasy series it is a hard thing to talk about which was more realistic. There are a lot of ways to take the “realism” of a fantasy series, having admitted that let us look at the ways that Games of Thrones (GOT) is often said to be more realistic than Lord of the Rings (LOTR) and see which is actually more realistic.


What is the proper balance between Congressional oversight and Executive privilege? As it becomes clear that Congress is not satisfied with the Mueller Report on its face, and it will seek to conduct follow-up inquiries on its own, it has requested an unredacted copy of the Mueller Report, and its supporting documentation, and several witnesses who were interviewed during the investigation, including the former White House Counsel.

Historically, Congress and the Executive have resolved their differences on disclosure requirements and moved forward, without significant resort to the Judiciary. What will and should be the role of the courts in any upcoming litigation? Could a final court ruling enhance rather than limit the power of the Executive? These and other questions will be discussed by our experts.