The Liberal Love Affair with Communists and Dictators

030413-sports-dennis-rodman-visits-north-korea-Kim-Jong-Un-powerIn response to Ricochet member Mark’s post about the failure of President Obama’s Cuba policyTitus Techera, who is Romanian, left a comment that too few people born and raised in Western democracies will fully understand:

I was a bouncing baby boy when the communist tyrant was assassinated. I’m not sure it would have happened without Reagan and his foreign policy. Maybe the USSR was bound to collapse. But when? I am assured by the free-market devotees that it was born dead. What an attitude … So many people were cursed to live that death. My young miss told me the other day about how Americans go as tourists to Cuba, then go online and complain about the amenities. … We had a strange moment, again. Will no one understand what fate awaited us? Into what fate our parents were born? I’m not expecting world peace, but ridding Cuba of its communist tyrants is long overdue, and a permanent sign of American shame, of the cowardice of Kennedy and his followers.

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HWX: Tuesday Night Live in New Hampshire

Membesr onlyTune in to Ricochet tomorrow for live coverage of the New Hampshire primary results. The award winning HWX podcasters will be on air at Ricochet, streaming starting live at 7 pm (eastern)/6 pm (central). It’s a Ricochet members only event that’s sure to please.

Along with immediate, carpet bombing-like comprehensive coverage of all developments in the Granite State, the live podcast will include:

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A New Podcast Week Begins!

Where all things are made clear:

“The Super Bowl is over and in the end a seasoned professional was able to wipe the grin off the face of an arrogant upstart… no, wait, that was the Republican debate… The Super Bowl was the one where an evil witch and a blithering crazy man battled it out to see which one could do more damage to America… no… that was Poison Ivy and Scarecrow in the Arkham Knight video game… Arkham Knight was the one where the poisonous female and the vengeful madman tried to leave destruction and havoc in their wake…. No, wait, that was the Democratic debate… So which one was the Super Bowl?”

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New Hampshire Primary

Voter Shaming in New Hampshire from “Public Policy Matters”

voter shaming public policy mattersToday in New Hampshire voters, including my wife, are receiving a letter from “New Hampshire State Voting Program.” To the right is a scanned image of the letter. I can confirm that at least some of the other names on the list are those of our neighbors and other people in town. However, several of the addresses do not exist in our town, but are from other towns in New Hampshire, and not close towns, either. The voting record for my wife is accurate, although we were not New Hampshire residents in November, 2012.

The letter is topped with a seal that makes the letter look quasi-official. However, “Paid for by Public Policy Matters” is written at the bottom of the letter, making it clear this not an official document. There is no state-run “New Hampshire State Voter Program.”

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The Most Consequential Development of the Primary Season

socialism-sharing

No, not the Trump phenomenon, which I regard as the re-emergence of the Perot-Buchanan voter, though that’s certainly important. But long-term, that won’t be as big a turning point in American politics as what I’m talking about: the embrace of socialism by millennials. We’re the future, and we’ve fallen in love with what we imagine Sweden is like. Some of us will be voting this way for decades to come.

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The Milt Rosenberg ShowEp. 159: Reclaiming Conversation with Sherry Turkle

Dr. Sherry Turkle is a renowned professor who has written extensively on how technology affects the way that humans communicate. You have no doubt experienced how communication has changed as you look around and see people not looking at each other, but rather at their phones. So just how has technology changed human interaction? Is it destroying it? Enhancing it? Or is it just making it different?

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age is Turkle’s latest in a thirty year career of studying how the digital age is changing the way we talk, work, live and love.

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How to Explain Bernie and Hillary

usa-election-democratsAny casual observer whose views had not been warped by a half-century of media puffery might look upon the two Democratic front-runners with a combination of astonishment and fright. Naturally, the first question that leaps from one’s mind is, how did a wispy-haired fossil straight from Marx Brothers’ central casting, spouting socialist shibboleths at a grammar school level ever make it so far in American politics? This obviously leads to the next question about his competition, a cackling political shrew who smiles with “one hundred percent certainty” that her running as the country’s first unindicted felon will not be interrupted by something as inconvenient as an FBI investigation. Who set this all up, for crying out loud? The public relations adjunct to that famous law firm, Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe? With due apologies to Larry, Moe, and Curly—very intelligent and talented men, by the way—the question remains, how did this all come about?

Of course, the first answer finds its roots in progressive policy goals and requires pulling the curtain aside from all the presidential “deals” that fed on Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal a century ago, plus delving into the works of a host of pundits, professors, and fellow travelers on the political left. We should also not forget glancing at such luminaries as Henry Wallace, dubbed by one writer as “the closest the Soviet Union ever came to actually choosing a president of the United States,” as well as Mr. Hope and Change himself, who arguably came much closer than Wallace on this score, though with different overseas supporters. In other words, Sanders and Hillary Clinton may be regarded as progeny from a long line of progressives-socialists who have labored to transform America into a European-style welfare state, contorting the Constitution in the process, along with everything else that made America free, prosperous, and exceptional among the nations of the world.

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Clintons Return to Form

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Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

And so it begins. For those of you too young to remember — and can we pause, just for a moment, to catch our collective breath when we remember that a 30-year-old voter in America today was born in 1986, was only ten when Bill Clinton was re-elected? I mean, good Lord! — so, again, for those many of you too young to remember the Clinton Era, let me point your attention to the following scoop, from today’s Politico:

Hillary and Bill Clinton are so dissatisfied with their campaign’s messaging and digital operations they are considering staffing and strategy changes after what’s expected to be a loss in Tuesday’s primary here, according to a half-dozen people with direct knowledge of the situation.

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The Bookmonger with John J. MillerEp. 66: America the Generous

Philanthropy is a $360 billion business. It’s also an example of American exceptionalism, says Karl Zinsmeister, author of The Almanac of American Philanthropy, a big book (more than 1300 pages), just published by the Philanthropy Roundtable.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Zinsmeister explains why Americans give more than people in other countries, whether small donors can make big differences, and why private philanthropy is essential to freedom.

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Three Martini LunchThree Martini Lunch 2/8/16

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review discuss Hillary’s tanking polls among women and the insulting response from Clinton surrogates Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem.

They also slam ABC’s Martha Raddatz for pestering candidates to commit to preemptive strikes against North Korea without full intelligence briefings. And they’re disgusted at Republicans for suddenly embracing the idea of making women register for Selective Service and be eligible for the military draft if the draft is reinstated.

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GLoP Culture with Goldberg, Long, and PodhoretzEp. 50: GLoP Live in Manchester: Wood Shampoo

Last Saturday night at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire, about 400 faithful GLoP fans gathered to hear Jonah Goldberg, Rob Long, and John Podhoretz riff on that night’s Republican debate, both before and after. Thanks to all who made the journey and to those who listened in live. P.S.for those more visually inclined, there is video of the event here, courtesy of the Granite Grok blog. 

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IBM’s Watson for President? Leftists Won’t Let Die Their Dream of Central Planning

12935316785_3c84677c83_z_watson-e1454948381118There’s now a website, Twitter account, and Facebook page devoted to “advocacy of the artificial intelligence known as Watson to run for President of the United States of America.”

I mean, I get it. Wouldn’t it be great if our politicians could dispassionately review the evidence and pick which ideas and policies are best? And since humans can’t do that so well, obviously, maybe machine intelligence could. From the site:

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From the Editors’ Desk: Friends and Enemies In Syria

220px-Flag_of_the_Al-Nusra_Front.svgFrom the Daily Beast:

U.S. strikes against the self-proclaimed Islamic State have had an unintended beneficiary: al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has exploited the strikes and gained strength, and that has created a growing rift within U.S. national security circles about where the coalition should aim its strikes. Some American intelligence and defense officials and counterterrorism experts are worried that the intense focus on defeating ISIS has blinded the U.S. to the resurgence of al Qaeda, whose growing potency has become more apparent as ISIS becomes weaker.

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The Definition of a Humorless Scold

Taking a time out from yesterday’s sports holy day, I had to point out that our friends at NARAL dutifully used their tweet to let us know which Super Bowl commercials were acceptable to enjoy (along with tips on how to enjoy them). They obviously long for a regime where they’d perform this function in an official, government-sanctioned capacity backed by force of law but, until then, they can practice. Here’s the commercial that earned their ire:

NARAL’s response:

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High Road to Hell

shutterstock_116560858We frequently tell those who fail to recognize the importance of defending ourselves against radical Islam that “you may not be at war with radical Islam, but radical Islam is at war with you.” Yet many of us refuse to acknowledge a truth just as important but perhaps even more urgent: You may not be in a political war with the radical Left, but the radical Left is in a political war with you.

I openly concede that we have opponents who merely disagree with us on policy and fight us with ethical restraint, but almost none of them are in charge. Instead, the Democratic Party’s leadership and its supporting leftist organizations fall almost entirely under the direction of those who see us not as mere political opponents, but enemies. Whether or not you support gay marriage, if you pose any effective resistance to their overall agenda, you will be vilified. They care less about you being an actual racist than if you can be portrayed as one. It doesn’t matter if the GOP nominates Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, or drafts Jon Huntsman to run for president: the nominee will be torn apart and have his character assassinated with every underhanded tactic and rhetorical smear the media can possibly get away with. And yet, our response is much like the Left’s pathetic hopes to defeat Islamism by demonstrating how virtuous we are in comparison.

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Manchester Debriefing

“No plan survives contact with reality” is usually meant as a warning but — every so often — things go wildly better than one has any right to expect. Such was the case at the pre-party meet-up for the NR/Ricochet event in Manchester last Saturday, where the tables we selected ended up being directly in the line of sight of MSNBC’s cameras. With a little maneuvering, we got my laptop into the ideal position:

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Does Marco Rubio Know What He’s Doing?

Maybe saying Marco Rubio is clueless is a little harsh, but the most recent did debate did confirm a lot of my fears about him, even if his chief critic was blatantly hypocritical.

The issue of readiness to be the president came up, leading to an exchange between Marco Rubio and Chris Christie in which Christie intimated that Rubio is just a Republican version of Obama. But what really sunk Rubio was his endless repetition of the same talking point. He even responded to Christie pointing that out by repeating the same canned lines again. I imagine it must have been very painful to strong Rubio fans. But pretending it doesn’t bring a serious flaw to light won’t make that flaw vanish.

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The ABC Republican Debate

I’m sure all of you have been wondering, “Where is the review of the Republican debate by Valiuth? Is he okay? What could possibly keep him from putting it up in a timely manner?” Well, dread not, my Ricochet compatriots, I am indeed fine, but alas I was busy living life rather than listening to our candidates square off before the New Hampshire primary.

In previous reviews, I’ve made it a point to write them without listening to official punditry first so as to keep my impressions clear of their influence. This time, though, I had to listen to the talking heads first. I’ll try to give you my own independent impressions.

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India, Intellectual Property, and Innovation

Article72Our conversation about Martin Shkreli and Indian pharmaceuticals reminded me that I’ve been having a mental debate with myself for a while. Where better to air my confusion than Ricochet?

As I argued, the case for importing generic medications from India is open-and-shut. I strongly suspect our failure to permit this is more owed to pharma-company rent-seeking and protectionism than to concern for public safety. American consumers are discerning enough to make their own decisions about whether they trust drugs from overseas. If we allowed them to come into the country, rigorous and trustworthy private mechanisms for inspecting overseas drug manufacturing facilities would quickly emerge, just as they have for awarding Michelin stars to restaurants around the world.

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Back in the Soup: Cancer Again

Almost exactly one month ago, I noticed thrice in one day that there was bright red blood in my urine. At my wife’s suggestion, I mentioned it to my physician the following Wednesday, and one week to the day after the appearance of the blood (which did not recur), I had a CT-Scan, and the radiologist at the Hillsdale Hospital noticed a nodule on the wall in my bladder.

Having been down a similar road back in 2012, I got on the phone, and the wheels began to turn. This past Friday, at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Piyush K. Agarwal conducted a transureth resesection, removed the tumor, which was located on the right lateral wall of my bladder whence it extended onto my right ureteral orifice, and resected down to the muscle and fat of the bladder. Here is what the tumor looked like before it was removed:Zoomed in Picture of Right Lateral Wall Tumor

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NYT: Is It Wrong to Watch Football?

19524079-mmmainIn the hype leading up to Super Bowl 50, many journalists are asking whether football should be watched at all. The Cleveland Plain Dealer offered the headline “Football and its unavoidable violence is becoming a moral dilemma,” while USA Today and the CBC ran two different stories sharing the title “Is it immoral to watch the Super Bowl?”

The New York Times held a colloquy on the issue, inviting two former NFL players and two laypeople to answer the question, “how can fans enjoy watching a game that helps ruin players’ lives?” I’m quick to dismiss elitist sniffery at the simple joys of blue-collar entertainment, be it the proliferation of chain restaurants or the love of shoot-’em-up movies, but the Gray Lady’s coverage was more balanced that I had expected. Below are brief excerpts of each argument.

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What the Heck Happened to Marco?

Rubio-1000x600“There is no way to sugarcoat Marco Rubio’s serious blunder at last night’s debate,” writes our own Mona Charen; the Boston Herald ran the headline, “Under fire, Marco Rubio crashes and burns”; and FiveThirtyEight begins its story on the debate with this:

We…endorse the conventional wisdom, for a change. Like most other people covering the event, we thought that Marco Rubio had a really bad night….

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Do You Live in a Real Neighborhood?

I’d never lived in a real neighborhood before I moved to Florida. Even living with my family of birth in CA, and living with my husband in CA, MA, and CO, we barely knew our neighbors and pretty much lived isolated lives. We found friendship elsewhere.

I recall reading Robert D. Putnam’s book about the splintering of the American community. I knew it was true back then, and I think it’s even truer now. Social media tries to make up for it, but there is nothing that matches person-to-person contact (as many of you who’ve attended Ricochet meet-ups know).

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