Defiance in the Philippines


Lt. William Frederick “Bill” Harris was an officer with the China Marine, the elite 4th Marine Regiment stationed in Shanghai, China, prior to World War II to protect American citizens. In the summer of 1941, with war clouds gathering, Harris and the 4th Marine were withdrawn from China to the presumably safer Philippines.

“Valor: The Astonishing World War II Saga of One Man’s Defiance and Indomitable Spirit,” by Dan Hampton, shows how illusory that presumption was. Japan invaded the Philippines in December 1941. The 4th Marine ended up defending the American Philippines, first in Bataan and later as part of the garrison at Corregidor, the island fortress guarding passage into Manila Bay.

Harris led a platoon during the siege, commanding a company after Japan landed on Corregidor in May 1942. The overwhelmed and outnumbered Americans were forced to surrender. Although Harris was taken prisoner, he refused to quit. With two fellow officer friends he escaped, swimming eight hours in the shark-infested channel between Corregidor and Bataan to reach freedom.

Betrayed Again


Just when I started to believe that the Republicans in Congress might actually be ready to act boldly, they have betrayed us again. It’s difficult for me to determine whether I am angrier with the Democrats for proposing this deceitful bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, or with the Republicans for lining up behind them. This Act further damages and weakens our religious liberties, in particular our support of traditional marriage, and it reminds us that the Progressive Left will never stop infringing on our rights and freedoms.

So what’s the big deal? A dozen Republicans have decided that they want to cozy up to the Democrats, or are too lazy or foolish to study the real intentions of the bill, or simply don’t care:

The Decline and Fall of Tyrannies


While watching Andor and Cars of the People, I have been noodling on how large bureaucratic tyrannies fail. Because fail, they do. The Stasi and KGB and other deeply invasive and evil regimes had countless ways to torture and dominate the populace, but they also eventually fell apart and collapsed. And in the lessons of those failures, I think there are some pointers for how our very own Deep State can be undermined and destroyed.

We find ourselves in a regime that has enough “Gotcha!” laws to ensure that none of us is safe. Others have pointed out that the average American professional commits three felonies a day. Crime Squad!

Jehovah’s Witness Went a Little Too Far


We have all received the Jehovah’s Witness knock at the door. The timing is usually perfect with dropping a glass of milk or sitting down to eat. They have every right to practice their religion as they see fit. If spreading the Word is part of their faith, I am okay with that too, in a general sense.

My driveway is ¼ mile. It is obscure by design. In the driveway of a farmhouse there is a delivery box with my house number. I want to make it easy for drivers, especially Amazon, to deliver their parcels. Next to the delivery box, there is a path into the woods. It is thick and overgrown for a reason. It then opens to a big field. Through the field and back into the woods, you would find my house at the end.

I built the house three years ago on the farm I grew up on here in central Massachusetts. It is as far back as I could possibly build, and I am surrounded by hundreds of acres of conservation land. A great deal of that is swamp.

I Like the Hard Life!


The last few years of the American populist movement and the great reveal provided by the threat posed to the established order by our last President have given me a new perspective on the life I have experienced and the days I have left.

Some parts of my early life, including the years of my marriage with my wife rearing our three children, were hard. But the rewards associated with successful achievement of goals were spectacular.

Quote of the Day: Gratitude


“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” — Doris Day

Yes, Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, but it is still worth considering its message: giving thanks for what we have; being grateful.  It is also worth considering gratitude’s flip side: ingratitude, which mostly comes out in the form of complaint.

Right to Healthcare


In the last election, a majority of voters in Oregon chose to add a right to affordable healthcare to the state constitution, the first state in the nation to do so. It is short and simple:

SECTION 47. (1) It is the obligation of the state to ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right.

Welcome to the Limited Edition Ricochet Christmas Music Fight Club!


Ladies and gentlemen, your kind attention, please! Thanksgiving just happened, and it’s time for Christmas music! (Unless you started the day after Halloween like I did.)

I request your assistance in a modest contribution to Ricochet camaraderie and Christmas joy: a Ricochet fight club over Christmas music!  Like the Ricochet Movie Fight Club of happy memory and the Ricochet Dueling Book Club, the Ricochet Christmas Music Fight Club is a place for fighting to the death over who has the best answer to a selected question of the week.  I plan to post the RCMFC around Friday or Saturday each week until Christmas.  Whoever’s answer gets the most likes wins!  The winner of the first four fights will select the question for the next week.

The Tactics of Tit-for-Tat


Simply put, the tactics of Tit-for-Tat are: We will do to you what you have done to us — plus extra as punishment.”

It is not surprising that with the House of Representatives in GOP control starting this next year, a number of conversations are going on regarding what should be the main priorities of the incoming party. Committees will be staffed and pursue largely legislative and investigative activities. In both of these areas, the Democratic Party has turned to unconventional methods, to put it lightly.

Zombie Reagan Has My Vote


Imagine how pathetic the GOPe would be without pressure from Reagan supporters, not to mention Trump supporters. Would they even consider fighting the Left? On anything?

There is a lot of opposition to “Zombie Reaganism” by much of the GOPe and some of our brethren in the MAGA movement.

The GOPe folks talk about Reagan a lot but are adamantly opposed to his governing philosophies.

President Biden Continues to Demonstrate Ignorance and a Failure to Think


On Thanksgiving Day, President Biden again pushed his demand that citizens be deprived of the ability to purchase any semiautomatic firearm. But he went further than he had before by declaring that semiautomatic firearms have “no social redeeming value.”

“The idea — the idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick,” Biden continued. “It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers.”

A Tiger Can Change Its Stripes


Every time someone on Ricochet says what a nice or kind person I am, I’m taken aback. After all the years of being an angry and defensive person, not all the time but a lot of the time, I’m still surprised that people like me. Whenever I mention my surprised reaction to the gracious people who’ve known me for a while on Ricochet, they don’t believe me, or are skeptical about my past turmoil. So I decided to share the changes I went through over the years to persuade you that I really was a quite different person, but maybe more important, people can change who they are, right to the core, if they are determined to do it.

Since I don’t intend to write a tome (or expect you to read one), I’m going to focus on three key times in my life that transformed my perspective about myself and my relationship to others.

Before Woke, There Was Bella


I’m a big believer in the adage, “you are what you consume.” It’s why I’ve only read some things about Saul Alinsky and have avoided reading his oft-cited book, Rules for Radicals. I’m not reading any book dedicated to “the very first radical,” Lucifer (despite what Snopes says about said dedication being “mostly false” — look at an image of the text and judge for yourself).

Now I’m reading about Bella Dodd and her communist infiltration of the Catholic church into seminaries and the education establishment on the pages of CRISIS Magazine in the article, The Roots of Woke: The Devil and Bella Dodd.

Thanksgiving Movies: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles


Ready for another Tocquevillian reflection on America through cinema–after yesterday’s Avalon? Over at the Acton Institute, I have an essay on the best John Hughes movie, the one about adults.

Thanksgiving is a distinctively American holiday, unlike Christmas, & yet we have very few popular movies about it. Maybe this is a good thing—it’s a family affair, not necessarily a public spectacle. But it might be a bad thing—there’s something about giving thanks that we don’t quite grasp & it might be that nobody feels up to the task of letting us know. Certainly, back when presidents called for a day of thanksgiving through public proclamations, it was supposed to bring the nation together, & when’s the last time America came together?

Thanks and Giving


Put together, these two words sum up our United States holiday of Thanksgiving. It sets us apart from some countries, ideologies, and regimes.  It has a history that some may try to distort.

Our forefathers tell a different version. As a child, we dressed up as Indians and Pilgrims in grade school. We had to learn how America came to be, as we ate candy corn and made cutouts of turkeys using our hands.  Thanksgiving meant something and still does.

Kevin McCarthy Finally Shows Boldness


To be clear, I am not a big fan of Kevin McCarthy, who is currently the House Minority Leader. Whenever I see him interviewed, he expresses himself with enthusiasm, but I’m not quite convinced that he means it. Maybe that’s my problem and not his.

But it appears that there’s a good chance he may be the next Speaker of the House, although that outcome is not set in stone. So, while McCarthy declares he will remove three Democratic committee members from House committees (which is not as easy as you’d think), he’s not a shoo-in for the Speaker position. All in all, Rep. McCarthy may be out over his skis. Let me say upfront, however, that I still hope he does win the Speaker’s job, and that he outrages some Democrats by removing their members from committees.

Let’s look at the position of Speaker first. The following convoluted description explains why he might not win the Speaker role:

A Memory


A recent posting about “homeless” being replaced by “houseless” and its comments brought back a memory.

I was sitting at the kitchen table with my aunt, Raffaela, the “General Pershing” of the large, extended family with whom I had grown up, and her sister-in-law, Anna. My aunt was describing her experience with her grown children.

A Better Approach to Elections


Our elections are an embarrassing third-world mess.

On top of that, there’s no mechanism to test or improve the accuracy of elections. Nobody’s even talking about improving them.  And every change that gets implemented makes the system more susceptible to fraud.  (Like that wasn’t the whole point.)

The Silicon Valley entrepreneur in me sees every problem as a business opportunity.  I’ve posted twice before about a potential voting machine startup company, first as an application for blockchain technology, and second as a voting system that uses software technology to verify accuracy.

To Those Who are Alone on Thanksgiving Day


You may be a person who embraces solitude and quiet. But there are days that are intended to be spent with others. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always cooperate with our hopes and dreams. And you may have found yourself seemingly alone.

If you are not with others today, please know that you are not alone. At least Ricochet is one place, a community, that has room for everyone, on good days and bad; on ordinary days and special occasions. And no matter where we are physically, we are all united in spirit, in the belief that we can be there for each other, even if we are not present.

President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1864


It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

The king flies solo this week to discuss the recent shootings and the predictable media narrative about each. Jon also shares his thoughts on talking politics around the Thanksgiving table and outlines the history of this uniquely American holiday.

Subscribe to the King of Stuff Spotify playlist featuring picks from the show. This week, Jon recommends “Gratitude” by the Beastie Boys.

Code Talker: ‘I’m No Hero’


The other day my son and I went to Powell’s Books. They have six stores in the Portland Metro area. Fortunately, they have one of those stores in Washington County.

Powell’s downtown Portland store takes up a city block. Four stories and 77,000 square feet of new and used books.