An Unfair Swipe at the Federalist Society


It looks as if the next presidential election—less than a year away—will feature a rerun between two road-tested candidates: President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump, who at present seem, with all their evident flaws, to push other candidates aside. Not only does Trump lead in the run-up to the Republican primary, but, contrary to many expectations, he seems to have edged into the lead against Biden for the general election.

It is no surprise that columns in the New York Times seek to bolster Democratic fortunes. A recent heartfelt op-ed in the Times by three veteran Trump opponents—George Conway, J. Michael Luttig, and Barbara Comstockseeks to bolster Democratic fortunes. They insist that re-electing the former president could undermine the Constitution, the rule of law, the independence of the courts, and much else besides. They offer no specifics to document these claims, and maintain a conspicuous silence about any activities of the Biden administration that arguably flout these very principles, such as its overgenerous use of executive orders on such matters as student loan forgiveness and the use of fossil fuels, which undermine the separation of powers; as well as the attacks on conservative Supreme Court justices, coupled with dangerous suggestions by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who has denounced a Code of Conduct recently released by the Supreme Court. Whitehouse proposes: “My ethics bill would create a transparent process for complaints and allow a panel of chief judges from the lower courts to investigate and make recommendations based on those complaints.” But, as the Wall Street Journal noted editorially, this move would inspire an endless array of public complaints, many generated by Whitehouse’s loyalists, to be investigated under uncertain procedures that clearly amount to the politicization of the judiciary and an assault on the independence of the Supreme Court. Just how would those justices operate, knowing that their legal decisions are subject to the review by the judges whose work they are supposed to review? And to whom are these recommendations made, and for what purpose?

The most bizarre claim in the Times op-ed is to point an accusing finger at the Federalist Society (with whom I have worked closely since its inception over forty years ago), as derelict in failing to control the asserted dangerous activities of any planned Trump administration. The charge wholly misunderstands the role that the society has played as an incubator of conservative and libertarian lawyers—who, for all their differences on such key long-standing issues as judicial review and the protection of speech and property rights, will never be mistaken for the progressive rivals.

Only the ‘Best’


In 2016, Donald Trump promised to “only hire the best people.” By 2018, he was openly trashing most of them. What Trump demands is absolute personal loyalty. Not to the office, not to the country, but to him.

When Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds endorsed fellow governor Ron DeSantis, Trump issued a statement that said, “Two extremely disloyal people getting together is, however, a very beautiful thing to watch.” Kneel before Zod, peasants.

The Aftermath in Dublin


I won’t do a long-form tonight as I am writing on my phone. Instead, I will keep it to ten points, as by now most people know the score. I want to thank everyone on Ricochet for their prayers and comments relating to my country. Here is a brief summary of the aftermath:

1. Two Irish citizens remain in hospital. The woman who responded and defended the children in her care, a creche worker is still in critical condition. As is one of the children stabbed brutally in the neck (so I am told). The other two innocent patients have been set free from hospital.

2. The outrage and disgust at this allegedly mass murder attempt is felt still by many Irish people. However, the government and the media here are deliberately not focusing on this. There has been an almost deliberate attempt to focus on the riots, that you would not know three children and an adult were stabbed.

Biden and the Democrats Are About to Abandon Israel


We knew weeks ago that Biden’s support of Israel, no matter how resolute it sounded, was not on solid ground. He is being battered by his staff, the overall Administration, and now Congress, trying to get him to tie the hands of the Israelis in their efforts to defeat Hamas. Naturally, everyone couches their recommendations in “humanitarian concerns”; I think, instead that all these protests are determined to ensure that Israel loses the war.

Let’s review the strong words that Biden used at the beginning:

‘Sometimes, the First Duty of Intelligent Men Is the Restatement of the Obvious’


The title above is a quote from George Orwell, of course. Chesterton said something similar:  “Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things.” It’s important to remind ourselves of what makes Western Civilization so great, of course. But there are other reasons for their emphasis on the obvious. As Orwell explains: “So much of left-wing thought is kind of like playing with fire by those who don’t even know that fire is hot.

So many leftists from Western countries passionately promote ideas that would quickly destroy the culture that has given them such wonderful lives. Everyone from Bernie Sanders to Greta Thunberg to Barack Obama to John Lennon to Pete Buttigieg to Susan Rice to David Hogg to Anderson Cooper to AOC to Mark Zuckerberg to Elizabeth Warren to all the rest of them. They each have their own pet causes, but they band together in agreement on issues that would destroy their ability to promote their own pet causes. Or even live their lives. It’s remarkable.

Republicans can talk policy specifics at times, but they should focus on the restatement of the obvious. Those basic concepts that support Western culture. They should point out the destructive impact of Democrat policies on the culture that has given us all such wonderful lives. Any question that any reporter asks should be diverted into a simple explanation of obvious things. Over and over and over again.

Does the First Amendment Protect ‘Effective’ Speech?


There is an article in the Free Press by Ilya Shapiro titled “Where Free Speech Ends and Lawbreaking Begins.” Shapiro does a good job of discussing what is generally known — that speech rights don’t include assault and intimidation. And certainly we are seeing a lot of this thuggery on campuses and elsewhere.

But, the question occurred to me: why, if people generally understand this distinction between freedom of speech and assault and intimidation, do we have these incidents by people who are not otherwise criminal so easily crossing the line? It occurs to me that there are a couple of explanations: (1) the obvious “mob” mentality that can happen when your speech activity is done in a group, but also (2) the incremental pressure to be more “effective” in achieving the goals of your speech. And it is this latter one that I want to examine.

Quote of the Day: Enormous Blessings


“I think it’s an enormous blessing to be the child of an immigrant who fled oppression, because you realize how fragile liberty is and how easily it can be taken away.” – Ted Cruz

“I was so horrifically bad at tennis” — Ted Cruz

I like Ted Cruz a lot, and have grown to like him even more in the last few years. He doesn’t mince words, and is brutal and fearless when he challenges people who are either seeking appointments or testifying about their corporate actions. He’s also very articulate, has a deep understanding of the Constitution, and a great sense of humor.

Mr. Obvious Has a Question on Hamas Leadership


I’d like to pose a rather obvious question on the topic of how the US conducts itself with regard to Hamas in the current Hamas-Israel conflict. Why doesn’t the USA flex its alleged “superpower” status and simply capture the top leadership of Hamas in Qatar? After all, isn’t Hamas an official terrorist organization according to US policy?

Multiple reports seem to verify the fact that Hamas’s top leadership lives in luxury in Qatar. These top Hamas leaders essentially have no skin in the game and can direct terrorist operations with immunity while sitting on at least $11 billion in far away Qatar. One might observe they are not in physical danger of the conflict and likely worry little about their comfort, much less their safety. If the US was a serious power, that would not be the case.

Can the Centre Hold?


I’m speaking in a Yeatsian, rather than a political, sense:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity–W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

I’ve already mentioned the disgraceful performance of Sky News’s Kay Burley, who decided to put her spin on the question of proportionate equivalence with the following “question” for Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy:

Flip the Script


Here’s the pitch: mid-budget political thriller, set in the very near future. Clashing mobs of demonstrators are rioting outside the White House. The president’s approval ratings are being hammered by a concerted campaign to undermine him, and his controversial peace treaty with Russia. In televised hearings, top military officers in glittering dress uniforms denounce the new policy, stepping over the line of insubordination right into sedition.

One lone, loyal colonel discovers that rogue elements within the government are poised within days to take physical control of all networked communications in the United States. The president will be deposed. It will take incredible courage—and luck—to stop them. I bet you’ve already caught on to what I’m describing: the plot of Seven Days in May, 1963, a crisp, well-made Hollywood thriller loved by well-meaning progressives in its day. But now…flip that script!

The Mystery of the Flying Flaming Bentley


There was a bit of excitement at the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge on November 22. A speeding car caught a good bit of air and exploded. Security camera footage was released showing the vehicle going airborne but the explosion was off camera. Widespread initial reaction was that it had been a terrorist attack. Governor Kathy Hochul said the car was “basically incinerated” in the crash.

It wasn’t long before the terrorism angle was walked back. The occupants had been an older couple who weren’t suspicious, and the car was a new Bentley Flying Spur, costing ~ $300K. It wasn’t what one would expect for a terrorist attack. Mechanical failure, specifically a stuck accelerator, has been speculated.

My Life Story, or Am I the One Who Is Out of Touch?


Many years ago Mitchell and Webb did a comedy sketch as two German officers in WWII where one asks, “Are we the baddies?” There they are with the Death’s Head symbols on their hats and coffee mugs suspecting that something could be amiss with the side they’ve chosen.

I just received an e-mail from a politician with the subject line of, “My Life Story.” Now, this is a politician from another state for whom I cannot vote for anything, unless he has decided to run for a lower office. (Those who know the Constitution know what I mean here.) Even if I could vote for him, what possible reason could he have for thinking that I want to know anything about him or his life story? I don’t care about his life story. I care about his voting record and what he is doing behind the scenes with legislation in the cloak room. Do people actually open these sorts of campaign e-mails?

I Am


My religious life could broadly be interpreted as me being a Big Event Christian™. You know, that guy that shows up for all the major events such as Christmas, Easter, weddings and funerals? That’s me.

I believe in the tenets of Christianity but at the same time view myself as so fallen that I have resigned myself to the knowledge that judgment day will not be pretty. (After that will probably really suck but let’s not get too depressing, shall we?)

Arleigh Burke Destroyers


There are ships and boats in the Navy. Ships are carriers and destroyers. Boats are submarines and small patrol boats. The Daily Aviation website has an interesting video about the Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers and more.

There are ships and boats deployed at the present time in the Med and off the coast of Yemen and the Straits of Hormuz. Aircraft carriers, destroyers, fast attack submarines, and one Ohio Class submarine.

You Don’t Have to Be a Hero


As we watch the foolish protestors in our own streets, and compare it to the dangers that the Israel Defense Forces face every day; as we watch the mindless hatred spouted about Israel and also American Jews, and compare it to the support Israel has received from France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand; it is encouraging to know that many countries and citizens publicly state their support of Israel and condemnation of Hamas.

But here at home, we have massive problems: our education system, the military, the economy, the liturgy of climate change, the damage caused by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) rules, the transgender farce, emergence of anti-Semitism, and many other attacks on our values and ways of life. Many of us feel helpless to do much of anything against these forces. But I believe, slowly but surely, at least in some areas, the tide is beginning to turn. I’m seeing pushback on DEI:

As of July 2023, 40 bills have been introduced in 22 states that would place restrictions on DEI initiatives at public colleges, according to data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

America’s Useless Protest Generation Glom Onto New Cause: Pro-Hamas


As if America didn’t already have enough problems with its perpetually disgruntled, hypersensitive, disgustingly ungrateful, gender-confused, useless, unemployable, Marxist zombies who come out of the woodwork at the drop of a hat to fill the streets in order to rage at any and everything under the sun . . . As if that wasn’t enough and as if the rest of us hadn’t already had it up to here with their never-ending complaints and bullcrap . . .

And now, we are expected to endure even more as they take over our cities and angrily, and often violently, demonstrate on the side of the worst evil most of us have ever heard of? That would be Hamas, the inhuman monsters who committed acts of such sadistic cruelty against innocent Jews that it defies comprehension. And our streets are filled with these zombies raging against Jewry, spewing slogans about “Palestine,” and supporting the monsters who slaughtered over a thousand Israelis.

Electronic Fraud in the 2020 Election: More Likely than Not


Cheating in elections is as old as–well, as old as elections. Cheating in elections using paper is as old as the use of paper in elections.  Are we supposed to just assume that cheating in elections using computers is going to be much younger than the use of computers in elections?

I have now come to believe that it is more likely than not that there was electronic cheating in the 2020 election, but this is a defeasible conclusion — meaning that my reasons for thinking this could easily be refuted.

Hamas Delenda Est


From an article appropriately entitled The Gathering Storm wirtten a few days after October 7:

The world is beginning to look a lot like the 1930s, when Japan attacked and overran much of China, and Nazi Germany and its then-ally the Soviet Union attacked and overran Poland and the Baltic States.

Five Tips for Interpreting Amazon Reviews


I’m back once again to help you navigate the confusing world of Amazon reviews.  My hope is that following these five tips will save you several hours of scrolling and clicking for just the right product, as well as an extra UPS trip to send back a crummy product.

Tip 1: Consider any average rating below 4.5 stars to be a yellow flag.  Yes, 4 out of 5 stars looks pretty good when you’re scrolling. But if you keep in mind that there often seems to be a disproportionate number of five-star reviews under any product, due both to possible systemic corruption and to buyers’ seeming reluctance to shave their enthusiasm down to three or four stars, you’ll realize the one- and two-star reviews may have figured prominently in the final count. Just a quick scan through the reviews, and you’ll quickly notice if you have to wade through a big batch of noisy, unhappy customers before you get to the glowing comments.

This week Ann interviews New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters on his new book, Insurgency: How the Republicans Lost their Party and Got Everything They Ever Wanted.

Specifically, we zero in on the Fox News Channel – Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit and the discovery process that showed that what FNC stars were saying on-air hardly matched what they were saying to each other in private.

Show links:

Arkady Renko, Secret Service. White House Detail


Arkady Renko marched into the Oval with the somber ceremony usually reserved for duty at a memorial service. And while one might assume that his demeanor was out of respect for the victims in the murder case that he had been assigned, it was actually more for the death of something else. Four political idealists had been murdered in this, the city of his nation’s capital. Their identities ripped away by a savage smear campaign. Their names obliterated, hidden as if covered by a blanket of thick snow. And Renko, Renko had been summoned to the Oval to report on the progress of his investigation.

But what was there really to say when it is always best never to say too much? Speaking and acting carefully were survival habits for the politically aware. Many citizens knew enough to speak only clandestinely and to log into social media only under a pseudonym. The smarter ones knew to use a VPN as well. The really smart ones took the batteries out of their phones until such time that they actually needed to make a call. Still, all of them, including Renko, knew that the knock at the door could come at anytime.