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The Quote of the Day is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. You don’t have to be intelligent, pithy, or eloquent yourself. You can share a written passage that you find interesting, or even something from a favorite movie. You can present the naked quote, or add your thoughts on how […]

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Everything is Neutral – Until we Use It


In a simplistic view of the world, everything can be classified on some kind of line, using one metric or another. What reasonable person would disagree that it is better to be beautiful than ugly, better to be smart than stupid?

Call me unreasonable. Because the very same logic that suggests that beautiful trumps ugly leads us toward the conclusion that some lives are more valuable or precious than others.

You Have to Go to the Table to Walk Away from the Table


Some may be disappointed or dismissive of Trump’s diplomacy because no deal was reached in Vietnam with NK’s Kim. I have learned over the years that “real Presidents” don’t show up at summits without something having already been cooked by their team. But I think this is different.

Kim is a dictator who reportedly is mercurial and deadly. No one on his team wants to risk their neck floating trial balloons. A common tactic in negotiations with subordinate personnel is to reach tentative agreements and then see if you can “sell it to the boss.” This gives subordinates some leverage in peer negotiations (they don’t reject things, they just can’t “sell” things), but also permits discussion of options that might not be immediately presentable to the boss. That is not a tactic that will work in Kim’s world since none of his subordinates will do the slightest thing that they have the littlest niggle about even as a trial balloon lest they are treated to a high-caliber death.

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The other day I put up a post about my experience in the Soviet Union and compared that to what Bernie Sanders had to say after his trip to the USSR. In the comments someone mentioned that Sanders said we had too many choices in America, something that you do not see when central planners […]

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Trump’s Fatal Attraction


The good news is that the Trump/Kim summit in Hanoi did not result in a deal – because any deal would be nothing but a scam perpetrated by Kim Jung Un. Selling the same rug repeatedly is a North Korean specialty. The Kim dynasty inked agreements to denuclearize in 1985, 1992, 1994, 2005, 2007, and 2012. You’ve seen the results. Pyongyang violated every one, and marched inexorably toward nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology. It’s bad enough to confront the prospect of a nuclear-armed North Korea, it would be worse to, in effect, subsidize it, which is all that was on offer.

Why would Kim give up his nukes? To get American aid to improve his economy? Fantasy. He runs a prison state that actually exports slaves to countries like China, Kuwait, and Qatar. His goal is not to develop the economy, but to remain firmly in power and to conquer South Korea. He saw what happened to Muamar Qaddafi when he gave up his nuclear program, and to Saddam Hussein who only pretended to be working on one.

That much must be obvious to Trump’s advisors, if not to Mr. Trump himself, who seemed so eager for a deal that he announced before the Hanoi summit that the US was dropping the demand for a full accounting of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. If that sounds precisely like what President Obama did vis a vis Iran, it should.

The Art of No Deal


While I was disappointed there was no breakthrough deal made with North Korea Wednesday night, I quickly realized that this may have been the best political outcome for Trump.

Unless the agreement was iron-clad and unrealistically conciliatory from North Korea, there would have been mixed reviews, based on party lines, of course. Depending on how nitpicky the anti-Trumpers wanted to be, the takeaway wouldn’t have moved the political scales much.

Then the Old Lady Whispered, “Young Man, You’re Whistling a Dirty Tune”


That was the punchline to one of my grandpa’s favorite jokes. And it seems the perfect lede for this bit of breaking news from the great state of Tennessee:

A homeowner’s association (HOA) in Tennessee threatened to fine a resident $100 after her car left a phallic-shaped image in the condo’s parking lot following a light dusting of snow, a report said Tuesday.

Kathryn, the home owner in question, not unreasonably asked for documentation of this outrage, and learned the following:

A Solution to India’s Vastu Problem: Move Kashmir to Kanyakumari


Some years ago, I landed in Bangalore on my way to Delhi (where my parents lived) from Australia. It had been about five years since I had been home and, in the meantime, the country had started to open up. The changes were immediately apparent. I was able to rent a rather plush taxi to pay a visit to my cousin during my six-hour layover (our taxis didn’t use to be plush) and as I sat back and marveled at Bangalore Bengaluru (unrecognizable) a private radio station (private! unheard of!) called Radio Mirchi was playing. I’ll never forget what one of the announcers said (heavy South Indian accent):

The situation in the nation is sooooo bad because our country’s Vastu needs to be corrected. I propose that we take Kaaaashmir, and put it at Kanyakumari, and Kanyakumari and place it in Kaaaashmir. Whadoyousay?!

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Microsoft has made mixed reality less awkward. That was the major takeaway from my time with HoloLens 2, its new $3,500 headset aimed not at you (or me), but at businesses. It’s not only because the headset is so much more comfortable, (though that can take a lot of the credit). Microsoft has also doubled […]

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Wile E. Coyote Democrats, President Trump, and a Dangerous World


In case you missed it, two nuclear-armed nations, India and Pakistan, just had an aerial skirmish with bombs dropped and planes shot down. Also, a failed socialist state in our own hemisphere is on the edge of complete lawlessness, as the dictator, Maduro, shut down the last border crossing to stop relief supplies flowing to Venezuelans. Meanwhile, President Trump is practicing tough but patient nuclear diplomacy with Kim Jong-un, the third-generation hereditary North Korean dictator, and tough but patient trade negotiations with President Xi Jinping, the strongest Chinese Communist leader since Chairman Mao, while meeting in a tough, smaller rival to China, Vietnam.

So, naturally, the House Democrats, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi 1.2, held their first big show hearing with a man convicted of lying to Congress. It went as well as President Trump could have wished. These same geniuses thought having House Democratic women wear white at the State of the Union was a brilliant move, only to be completely owned by a smiling President Trump. Who, again, is the political neophyte?

The congressional Republicans have continued to demonstrate their lack of fitness to govern, helping the Democrats stay in the game. Yet, the Democrats are moving so far left and behaving so foolishly that we should all be investing in Acme stock. Indeed, the only better investment than Acme stock may be proposition bets with British betting houses on President Trump to win reelection in 2020.

Lovin’ My Crazy Marine Son


My eldest son Michael, a corporal in the Marine Reserves, will begin an active-duty deployment next week. I am thankful that the danger level is low, as it is a humanitarian mission in Latin America (no, not Venezuela, thank the Lord). He’ll probably get a promotion to sergeant within the first month or so, and he was dutifully completing a few online computer courses over the weekend that he calculates will fulfill the final requirement.

As he’s going to be out of town for six months or more, he got out of his apartment lease and needed a place to store his meager worldly possessions. He proposed to build a small storage shed in our back yard, and my wife and I agreed. On Sunday, I helped him unload the boxed shed kit from his truck and advised him to stash the concrete bags out of the rain. Yes, it was raining in Tucson.

Is PM Trudeau Toast? A Very Canadian Scandal


On Wednesday, there were two major bouts of testimony involving the future fate of a major leader of a G7 country. The one I am going to talk to you about is the one involving the corruption and incompetence of the Liberal Leader of Canada. Over the course of the last month, the Liberal government has gone into freefall due to the breaking accusation that the then-Attorney General of Canada was bullied and directly influenced by partisan political considerations in order to bail out a well-connected and well-known company after it illegally bribed the government of Libya for contracts.

To translate into American: Imagine if the President had sent his Chief of Staff to tell the AG to drop charges against Halliburton after Halliburton was caught bribing Libya.

Where to begin… On January 14, there was a mini-shuffle within cabinet due to the departure of a senior minister’s retirement from parliament. At that time the AG Jody Wilson-Reybould was removed from her position and given a lesser portfolio of Veterans Affairs. At that time this piece appeared in the Globe and Mail criticizing the demotion.

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Their dear older daughter is hospitalized with a complex medical problem. Please hold this dear family in your hearts and prayers. From my heart, thank you. Update:) She’s home. See Western Chauvinist’s comment about her status.  Thanks, dear friends, for your prayers and caring.  It means more than I can say. Preview Open

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I’m No Shakespeare


I’m not being falsely modest. But I’m not a writer like Shakespeare, never expect to be, never want to be. The reason: I can only be who I am.

For a long time, I refused to call myself a writer. I wrote well as a student. As an independent consultant, I wrote articles for professional publications and used them as marketing pieces for my business. I even wrote a book. But I never felt comfortable calling myself a writer, never mind an “author.”