Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Sanctity of Life: A March and a Proclamation

 

Every January since 1974, tens of thousands have come together in Washington, DC, for the March for Life. This year, the march will be held on Friday, January 24. It will be reliably unreported and unreliably reported upon, as it always has been.

Some years, the president is hostile and sometimes sympathetic, on the surface, for electoral reasons at least. Since 2017, President Trump has been clearly sympathetic for both the transactional reason of electoral support and as a matter of personal conviction that seems to map fairly closely with where the American center has come: a revulsion with ghoulish late-term procedures. We first saw that in his fiery answer in the final 2016 presidential debate (at 17:46).

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Corporate Social ‘Wokeness’

 

The global debate over climate change entered into a new and more dangerous stage this past week. Two American corporate icons, Microsoft and BlackRock, have committed themselves to resisting what they perceive as the unacceptable risks of global warming. Microsoft has announced that it will be “carbon negative by 2030,” and that by 2050 it will have removed from the environment all of its carbon emissions dating back to its founding. It has also pledged one billion dollars to a climate innovation fund to deal with global warming—peanuts for a firm with over $125 billion in annual revenues.

Not to be outdone, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with over $7 trillion in assets under management, has proudly declared through its Chairman and CEO Larry Fink that it will “place sustainability at the center of our investment approach, including: making sustainability integral to portfolio construction and risk management; existing investments that present a high sustainability-related risk, such as thermal coal producers; launching new investment products that screen for fossil fuels. . . .”

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. MLK, the City of St. Augustine, and Racism

 

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I was reminded of the trips we have made to St. Augustine, FL.

When tourists go to St. Augustine, many focus on the local fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, the candy factory, or listen to commentary about the countries that fought for control of Florida. On one of our trips, however, we located a quiet part of town, a neighborhood of discreet older homes with nicely trimmed lawns. These homes are a testament to the resilience of, and commitment to, the City of St. Augustine by the black community:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. We the People Are Failing Our Government

 

Airplanes fly because the people who design them understand physics. They know how pressure changes as air flows over a curved surface. They understand lift and drag, and how force and mass relate to each other to determine acceleration. They’re experts in the science of materials, in finite element analysis, in instrumentation and control systems and combustion and ten thousand other arcane details of science and design and manufacture.

None of this means that they get it right every time, as Boeing’s recent travails remind us. But they get it right often enough to make air travel the safest means of transportation.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. We Are the Resistance!

 

Have you noticed lately the number of journalists who are regularly using the term “the Resistance” when they refer to the members of the Left? Do you realize how they have subtly been indoctrinated to use the term resistance and they are unintentionally legitimizing the work of the Left? The word resistance has been co-opted by the Left, and it’s time that we not only hold them to account, but we should consider embracing the term for the political Right.

Resistance movements describe groups that formed to resist armies that were invading and destroying legitimate countries:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Delingpod: Crazy Like a Fox

 
Laurence Fox on this week’s “Question Time.” (BBC)

Laurence Fox is my new favourite actor – and after you’ve listened to our podcast chat he’ll be yours too.

A scion of the great Fox dynasty (Dad James starred opposite Mick Jagger in Performance; Uncle Edward was in Day of the Jackal; cousins Emilia and Freddie continue the tradition), Laurence is himself a fine actor (most recently he played Lord Palmerston in Victoria; he was also DS Hathaway for nine seasons of Lewis). But where he really stands out is as an outspoken crusader against politically correct culture: he doesn’t buy ‘white privilege’; he doesn’t believe all white people are racists; he thinks #MeToo is overdone; he doesn’t believe in quota casting. For some of us, these maybe normal sensible views. Coming from an actor, though, they are brave indeed.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge: The Impeachment Handbook With John Yoo & Richard Epstein

 

 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Winter in Florida

 

Okay, so we don’t have much of a winter in Florida. Today the temperatures will rise into the 80s. The palm trees float in the breeze; many trees still have their leaves; the grass is a bright emerald green. Many people come to Florida because they are escaping the dreary, cold and snowy environs they live in the rest of the year.

But except for having to drive in snowy weather (like the blizzard I wrote about in another post), I search desperately for signs that the seasons are changing and that winter has arrived. Earlier in the fall of 2019, there was that first morning when the crisp morning air told me that change had arrived. Yes, it was subtle, but I insisted in honoring its message. Some of the trees here actually do change color and shed their leaves in an effort to rest and draw back for a few months. I find myself wanting to draw in just a bit myself, and to respect the passage of time.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Nikki Loves America

 

Ambassador Nikki Haley believes America is the greatest country in the world, and she’ll tell you why. She thinks well of our society and people, while being clear that she has seen and experienced real racism and sexism and that socialism is making a troubling resurgence in popularity. In her account of her time in the Trump administration, Amb. Haley raises concerns, which she raised publicly while in office, about the arrogance of mere appointed officials, carrying no independent constitutional authority or accountability, while contending that the real Donald J. Trump is always willing to listen and respects respectful, professional, direct expressions of disagreement. Nikki Haley puts this all together in a slim, readable volume: With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace.

The title comes from a small but significant moment in the former South Carolina governor’s tenure as United States ambassador to the United Nations. She had gone out on a national show and spoken the last known administration position on new Russia sanctions. However, President Trump made a different decision when the staffed recommendation came to him, before Amb. Haley’s media appearance.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Prince Harry the Timid

 

I never dreamed I’d post something about this. As much as I love our cousins across the pond, and as much as I appreciate their tenacious clinging to their quaint and fusty old ways, petulant drama surrounding “the royals” strikes me as about the most boring subject imaginable. This will be my only comment on the matter, I’m sure.

The fetching American princess is getting a lot of heat right now, and I want to put in a word in her defense. [Disclaimer: I wouldn’t recognize her if I saw her, but I understand she’s quite lovely.]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Let’s Stop Pretending Bernie Sanders Wants to Duplicate Scandinavia

 

Bernie Sanders supporters are quick to make clear that their guy doesn’t want to turn America into Cuba or Venezuela or the old Soviet Union. By “democratic socialism,” the US senator from Vermont means Scandinavia, more or less. And what’s wrong with that? The Nordic nations are pretty nice. Even President Trump has conceded that Norway produces a quality immigrant.

But does Sanders really want to import Scandinavian “socialism?” He brags that his universal health-care plan eliminates patient cost-sharing. But Scandinavia has it. Sanders wants to raise a lot of revenue through heavy taxes on business and investment. Scandinavia doesn’t. Sanders has a big problem with billionaires. Scandinavia doesn’t. Indeed, as I have written, “The egalitarian Nordic nations have as many billionaires, relatively, as the US and more concentrated wealth, at least as measured by the share of wealth controlled by the top 10 percent.”

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Warren and the Burden of Motherhood

 

Fifteen years ago, in her book Where’s Mom?: The High Calling of Wives and Mothers, Dorothy Kelley Patterson asked this pointed question: “Is being someone’s wife and another’s mother really worth the investment of a life?”

With that question, Patterson gets to the heart of what many mothers struggle with today. We live in a culture where motherhood alone isn’t treated as a respectable enough career in and of itself. A woman must also have a college education and then use that education to build a successful career outside of the home. Home life and motherhood are just a part of her life, additions to what really matters.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. January 1977: George Lucas in Winter

 

Christmas 1976 rolled over into New Year’s Day and the Bicentennial year was over. A Democrat was about to take over the White House, always a happy event in Hollywood. As January began, the town went back to work, crafting 1977’s most hotly anticipated hits: A Bridge Too Far, with Sean Connery, Robert Redford, and Ryan O’Neal; a new James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me; The Deep, from the author of Jaws; and a pair of highly touted dramas celebrating the viewpoints of women, Julia and The Turning Point. Woody Allen and Burt Reynolds also had movies on the way.

Everybody was poised to get rich or richer during the upcoming summer gold rush. But 20th Century Fox started the new year with a costly hangover. They’d spent two years backing a dubious novelty, the American Graffiti guy’s quirky tribute to the forgotten world of Flash Gordon serials, rumored to be something about a gorilla who flies a spaceship and a mystical force called “The Power.” From the screening rooms, word was filtering out: Star Wars was likely to be a loser—dull, confusing and corny, despite a couple of great special effects shots. The rough version was a mess and an unbreakable release date, May 25, was breathing down their necks. Thank God, Lucas stepped up and took charge of fixing it.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Time to Reset the Doomsday Clock of ‘Late Capitalism’

 

The famous Doomsday Clock — it’s a key visual motif in the Watchmen graphic novel and television miniseries — was created by Manhattan Project scientists as a metaphor to suggest how close mankind might be to global catastrophe, originally atomic war. And over the subsequent seven decades, it seems like we’ve typically been pretty close to disaster. The clock was set at seven minutes to midnight in 1947, and it’s averaged between five and six for more than 20 years. Midnight always looms.

Similarly, so does the end of capitalism. It’s always quite late, apparently. The sun is always setting. German economist Werner Sombart coined the phrase in the early 20th century, and European socialists popularized it during the Great Depression when it probably seemed about 30 seconds to midnight for capitalism. But things were darkest before the dawn. Capitalism survived, flourished, and spread across the globe. And even small doses generated near wondrous improvement.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Make Your Life Matter

 

“Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.” — Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel, the brilliant writer and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, never lost his will to fight for truth. In part, he wrote to inspire people to embrace their lives, since he knew only too well how short and fragile life could be.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Basia and the Squirrel: Scruton’s Tale of Eros Transubstantiated

 

“The apostolic church is a church of the heart. When you steal from it you steal the heart. Hence the theft is easy, and amends are long and hard.” A strange way to sum up a story of erotic love. Nonetheless, it was Scruton’s way, as he described, in the second half of his essay, Stealing from Churches, the thwarted love affair that taught him a “narrative of transubstantiation” transmuting body into soul. In truth, the love affair wasn’t thwarted at all, but one that fulfilled its purpose, a purpose his stubborn young beloved, Basia (pronounced “Basha”), saw more clearly than he did.

Scruton had organized a subversive summer school for the Catholic University in Poland, bringing together Polish and English philosophy students to resist communism. Under the codename “Squirrel” (in Polish “Wiewiorka”, for his red hair) and tailed by at least one jug-eared agent, Scruton had stumbled into more James-Bond mystique than most ginger-haired philosophy dons could hope for. It would be almost cliche, then, for an exotic young thing to throw herself at him. Wry-smiling, stunning Basia was no cliche, though. Or rather, if she were, it would be the cliche in a kind of story too little told these days to count as cliche anymore.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Conservatives and Gender Nonsense Tolerance

 

The whole gender identity movement, the so-called “trans” thing, the idea that sex is not biologically determined, the idea that it’s really more complicated than two overlapping bell curves of masculine and feminine traits — all of that seems pretty absurd to me. It also seems important, in that it’s the first time we Americans have been told that we have to profess belief in something patently absurd or face censure in the workplace and society — and possible prosecution in New York City.

I comment on it more often than something as ridiculous as the “trans” movement would seem to deserve. I usually comment about it on Facebook, rather than here, because I assume most people here are broadly in agreement that the whole thing is silly.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Will the Truth Make Any Difference?

 

For many months I have been trying to be patient, objective and optimistic about the future of our country. I’ve tried to collect as much information as I can to balance the outrageous actions of the FBI and DOJ over the last three years with the efforts that are in progress to get to the truth. The latest report of the FISC appointing David Kris to review the FBI’s changes to their surveillance process reflects the near impossibility of the truth making any difference.

We have seen every level of government, House representatives and department heads complicit in one of the most devastating abuses of power ever seen in government. We also know that John Durham may be our last hope to identify the illegal and unethical activities that have dominated the attacks against the office of the President. But will the truth make any difference?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Attorney General Barr Speaks Uncomfortable Truths: Terrorism

 

It is refreshing to have the head of federal law enforcement clearly speak uncomfortable truths that are politically indelicate. Our good friends, the Saudis, sent us a group of their best and brightest with pro-jihadist, anti-American feelings strong enough to overcome any discretion in their social media habits. At the same time, the killer acted without the clear support of the other students, and the Saudi government recalled all the questionable officers, to be dealt with in their own military justice system.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Fight for Free Speech Against Orwellian Tactics on College Campuses

 

Intimidation still reigns at many college campuses against students who “frighten others” through their speech. This “problem” is just another way of saying that conservative students are being threatened with punishment if they make statements that the students on the Left see as offensive. I’m all for fighting against the efforts to squelch free speech. But I wonder if some of these efforts are always helpful.

A fairly new organization, Speech First, is championing students’ rights to free speech. Speech First, in part, explains their goals:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The NEPA Stranglehold

 

This month marks the 50-year anniversary of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which, when passed, was hailed as one of the key building blocks of the modern environmental movement. When speaking about NEPA recently, President Donald Trump denounced the law. Because of NEPA, many of “America’s most critical infrastructure projects have been tied up and bogged down by an outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process.” The “endless delays” generated by this ongoing “regulatory nightmare,” he went on, snatch jobs from “our nation’s incredible workers,” who are unable “to build new roads, bridges, tunnels [and] highways bigger, better [and] faster.” He then offered a suite of regulatory reforms for NEPA that “will reduce traffic in our cities, connect our rural communities, and get Americans where they need to go more quickly and more safely.”

His Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) just published in the Federal Register a detailed and lengthy report that proposes a mix of substantive and procedural reforms to break the logjam. What is most notable about Trump’s proposed reforms is that they are all incremental. They try to tweak through regulation a broken statute instead of working to replace it with a sounder remedial structure, which is the only way to fix the current unsatisfactory status quo.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump’s Sins

 

Because I try to be reasonably self-consistent, I occasionally find myself wondering about the apparent inconsistencies in the way I felt about President Obama and the way I feel about President Trump. In particular, I ask myself why I’m willing to give the latter a pass on so much with which I really don’t approve while being much less lenient with the former.

I wanted to know about the terrorists and bigots in Obama’s past, about his affiliations with socialists, about his speeches to anti-Semitic groups, etc., because I thought that Obama himself was motivated, at least in part, by animus toward the country I love. I have always believed that he thought America is too big for her britches, a country in need of being taken down a notch, too proud and too self-confident — a country that must atone for her sins. I think his past associations hinted at that, and I think he often governed with those motives in mind.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Students in Tehran

 

If there’s one thing about Iran you were told was impossible, by both conservatives and liberals, it’s this:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Sir Roger Scruton 1944-2020

 
Sir Roger Scruton

Philosopher, scholar, academic, and perhaps the most articulate conservative of our time, Sir Roger Scruton died this morning, a victim of cancer.

Conservatism, he held, means, above all, protecting what we hold dear—it means conserving. This view made Scruton a champion of freedom (during the Cold War, he smuggled books into Eastern Europe, assisting the Czech freedom movement in particular). It also made him a champion of beauty (read his work on the glories of European architecture), tradition (although never a believer, he admired the Church of England’s music and liturgy), and a patriot of a the most impressive kind (a proponent of Brexit, he devoted much of his final years to explaining, calmly, that centuries of development had given Britain a distinctive character, including a distinctive form of self-government, that was well worth withdrawing from the European Union to preserve).

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Everything Trump Touches Dies’

 

ETTD. You’ve seen it here and undoubtedly encountered it elsewhere. Everything Trump Touches Dies.

The great thing about slogans is that they’re catchy, memorable, and spare you the heavy lifting of actually thinking critically about things. “Bush Lied, People Died” is a classic. “No Blood for Oil” is another, as are “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” Repeat them often enough and the ideas for which they’re lazy shorthand seem self-evidently true, and such simplicity is comforting in a disturbingly complicated and nuanced world.

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