Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Europe’s Tech Entrepreneurs to America: ‘Don’t Be Like Europe’


Just because you dislike capitalism here, doesn’t mean you necessarily dislike capitalism everywhere. Have a problem with the American way of doing things? Well, there are other options. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, favors an “accountable capitalism” based on the German model of corporate governance and trade policy. Critics of Big Tech point to the more aggressive EU on issues such as competition and privacy. And, of course, Scandinavia remains the go-to example for politicians arguing for more expansive social welfare policy.

But Europe’s various flavors of capitalism have an unpleasant aftertaste in at least one major way. As a new McKinsey Global Institute analysis finds, “Europe is falling behind in growing sectors as well as in areas of innovation such as genomics, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence, where it is being outpaced by the United States and China.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Justice for Warriors


The military used to be one of the most highly respected organizations of our federal government. Over time, however, it has suffered from the criticism of a Progressive society. Barack Obama made some of the most drastic changes to the military and in so doing exacerbated the negative perceptions of society toward the military:

A curious thing happened in the second half of the Obama era: The commander-in-chief began viewing the military less as an entity designed to destroy enemies but a tool with which to achieve progressive goals. Warriors were turned into social-justice warriors. Men and women with risible-to-nonexistent military records were made heads of the services. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus (who had logged all of two years’ service as a junior officer) named ships after Cesar Chavez and Harvey Milk.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Unconstitutional Medicare-for-All


Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare-for-All (MfA) proposal, which calls for $20.5 trillion in new taxes on everyone but the middle class (ahem), has generated fierce political controversy that threatens to upend the Democratic presidential primary. Economic critiques of her MfA program on the left and the right are a dime a dozen. Yet surprisingly, there has been a stunning silence on the possible constitutional challenges that could be raised against the program. But because other variations of the MfA program may yet be introduced, including one by Senator Bernie Sanders, it is better to think through these issues in advance.

In general, there are two kinds of constitutional objections that that can be raised against any federal program—those based on claims that the program violates federalism, and those concerned with the protection of religious and economic liberties. Dealing with these various issues depends critically on one’s basic approach to constitutional interpretation—whether one adopts a New Deal jurisprudence or a classical liberal one. Under the earlier classical liberal view, all government action was viewed with suspicion. The dominant attitude sought to slow down adventurous legislation. Speaking generally, statutes that strengthened common law interest in property and contract were favored.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Alabama versus the Swamp


Consider this very instructive side-by-side, two weeks apart:



Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. RAF Cadet Memorial Service: 10 November 2019 [Updated Photos]


The town of Mesa, Arizona, hosted the annual Royal Air Force Cadet memorial service at 1045, Sunday 10 November 2019 in the center of the Mesa Cemetery. There 23 cadets died far from home, learning to fly before going to Canada to train in their warbirds.

The Caledonian Society of Arizona provided the bagpipes. The Commemorative Air Force of Arizona conducted flyovers in the basic (Stearman biplanes) and advanced trainers (T-6) used in World War II. A firing detail of seven American Legion members rendered a 21-gun salute in three volleys. British Last Post was played, on a British military bugle, followed by the U.S. version on U.S. military standard bugle. A Boy Scout troop handed out programs, British standard poppies (much larger and sturdier than the VFW “Buddy Poppy”), and cups of water (the temperature under mostly sunny skies heading into the 80s.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Bombshells are Repeatedly Busts: Republicans Need to Take Charge of the Narrative


The unfolding of the impeachment saga sounds like a very poorly written detective story, where the Left already knows who committed the crime. But the Democrats are still trying to re-write a story that the public will swallow. It’s not going well.

This story required dozens, maybe hundreds, of bureaucrats, who were delighted to be led along in the Trump impeachment story. It’s not difficult to understand why those who have been interviewed are so angry (since Trump violates everything about their Leftist agenda), but their determination to indulge in lies and distortions is revolting and even bewildering. They have decided to be “strung along” and assist in the writing of the detective story because they hate the supposed perpetrator.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Forgotten Service


This month, we are reflecting on service of all sorts. This weekend marks the auspicious dates of Veterans/Remembrance Day, Global Victims of Communism Day, the fall of the Berlin Wall (effectively ending the Cold War), and the Marine Corps birthday. Let us turn, then to reflect on largely forgotten service, by Buffalo Soldiers, the frozen chosen, Polar Bears, and “the man who would be khan.” Each of us can look around our own communities and circles to refresh memories of those who served with honor.

Buffalo Soldiers:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Honoring Our Veterans but Losing the Education Battle


View original artwork here.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: Cowgirl Band Serves Others


They came tumbling into the building pape and plastic bags strewn along the hallway, guitars under their arms, and energy to spare; they were close to the same ages as the patients they would be entertaining. I didn’t realize at the time that they were going where I was going, to the Memory Unit. I was going for my weekly visit to see my hospice patient whom I’d been seeing for several months; they were going to entertain the patients with their musical act.

As musicians and singers go, they were not the most talented bunch. But they made up for their lack of skills with enthusiasm and joy. They were dressed in cowboy hats and boots. They’d brought colorful Halloween leis for every person in attendance. They weren’t always sure of the words of their songs, or the chords they intended to play on their two guitars, so they had small poster boards filled with the lyrics to help them along the way.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump to Attend New York City Veterans Day Parade


The Secretary of Veterans Affairs announced on Friday that President Trump would be the first president in United States history to attend the New York City Veterans Day parade on Monday. This will be the centennial of the annual commemorations on this date, starting as Armistice Day, then changing during World War II to Veterans Day in the US, and Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth. New York City reportedly hosts the largest Veterans Day parade in the country.

It will be interesting to see if the left shows up to disrupt with their usual violent street theater. Do the mayor and governor have to show up and make nice? It would be nice to just look forward to great pictures and video of the parade participants and appreciative crowds focused on honoring our veterans.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Unbelievable Night the Berlin Wall Fell


Two scenes from the end of the Cold War:

Scene one: On June 12, 1987, President Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate rising behind him, to challenge to the leader of the Soviet Union. “General Secretary Gorbachev,” the president said, “if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Three Presidential Actions Not Much Noted


Thursday, November 7, 2019, brought three significant actions by President Trump: two Proclamations and one award ceremony. They all addressed service, freedom, and gratitude.

Presidential Message on the National Day for the Victims of Communism, 2019


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Attack the Cartels: Why Now?


The attack on the families from La Mora community was horrific; no one would argue otherwise. The reasons for the attack are still unclear. These people were US citizens who left the Mormon Church to escape the ban on polygamy passed in 1885; although many who moved to Mexico identify as Mormons, they aren’t affiliated with the Mormon Church. (Not all of them practice polygamy these days.)

You can go here for more background on the families. The church website had the following quotation:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Power of Economic Freedom, in Pictures and Words


What happens when societies reject economic freedom? Perhaps the most vivid illustration of that outcome is the famous photo of the two Koreas at night. This natural experiment shows the democratic capitalist South as a bright hub of progress and prosperity, the totalitarian communist North a dark nightmare of poverty and wasted human potential. A less dramatic, though still illustrative, photo is the above viral Twitter pic of San Francisco from the air, giving needed context to that city’s housing crisis and its restrictions on building high-density dwellings.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Tales from Arizona: Massive Fraud, Mass Grave, Massacre


No, this is not a tale from the 1800s, although you might find some themes and players in common with the excellent account of Henry Lafayette Dodge’s service. These three stories all broke since early October. First we learned of an Arizona native, from an old family, engaged in massive immigration and adoption fraud. Then we learned of a mass grave near a Mexican coastal town, long regarded by middle class Arizonans as their beach home community, nicknamed “Rocky Point.” Finally, while mulling over these two stories, Arizona and a neighboring Mexican state became national news with the shocking slaughter of nine women and children on a Mexican highway, almost certainly at the hands of an identifiable cartel. All of these stories are tied to the enormous wealth of the American nation, enabling appetites unrestrained by moral sentiments.

Massive Fraud Centered in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Critic Series #36: LA Confidential


Terry Teachout and I discussed L.A. Confidential, the last famous neo-noir, and yet another story about the origins of Los Angeles and the modern America defined by glamour. We have a reversal of the noir here–the femme fatale helps redeem rather than damn protagonists who were corrupt before they came to make a serious moral decision. Curtis Hanson’s movie makes for a revision of heroism away from noir’s tragic destiny toward American drama, where happy ends are possible, in limited ways, for some of the people who deserve them. It’s in that sense even better than the rather gloomier James Ellroy novel it’s based on!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. America’s Chronic Productivity Problem Returns, at Least for Now


The American economy hasn’t generated decent productivity growth since 2005 (not counting the Financial Crisis-skewed years of 2009 and 2010). Indeed, if you’re going to talk about how American capitalism is “broken” or dysfunctional, you should really lead with productivity rather than the “problem” of having too many super-entrepreneur billionaires. If living standards are going to rise anywhere near as fast in the future as in the past, greater innovation-driven productivity growth will be indispensable.

So it was really encouraging to see sharply faster productivity growth in the first half of 2019, 3.5 percent annualized in Q1 and 2.5 percent in Q2. Also encouraging: multifactor productivity — the part of productivity growth accounted for by technological progress rather than better-trained workers or more buildings and software — rose by 1.0 percent in 2018, the strongest gain since the current expansion began in 2010.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Medicare Shakedown


View original artwork here.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Cost of ‘Medicare for All’ Isn’t Just Taxpayers’ Dollars — It’s Also Jobs and Income


“Medicare for All” plans, such as those proposed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, qualify as “big structural change,” to use Warren’s phrase. The elimination of private health insurance in favor of “free” government health coverage is certainly change that’s big and structural. Same goes for all the tax increases and the payment of much lower rates to physicians and hospitals.

But those are the known big structural changes, or BSCs — at least the ones mentioned in candidate plans. But what about other BSCs that may be less obvious? Would, say, overriding drug patents affect the type of early-stage development done by biotech firms and funded by venture capital? Undercutting that innovation mechanism would qualify as a BSC.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Warrencare


Elizabeth Warren recently rolled out her new “Medicare-for-All” plan with the strong claim that “Health Care Is A Basic Human Right.” She then backed up that claim with a story about how, when she was in middle school, her father had a heart attack and their health care expenditures nearly cost her family its home. From those two observations, she has crafted her massive entitlement system which will, when the dust settles, collapse. It will fail as individuals become unable to receive timely health care, and it will exacerbate the dislocations that plagued the Warren family. Why? Because her two points represent the worst way to think about health care, both on the revenue side and on the expenditure side.

On the first point, the stirring claim that health care is a “right” obscures all references to correlative duties. Under classical legal thought, a right to health care referred to the ability of a person to take his own money and spend it on health care with whatever health care providers that he chose. The correlative duties on the rest of the world were not to fund his care but to stand aside and let those contracts go forward as the parties chose. As in all areas of human endeavors, voluntary transactions normally generate gains for both sides. In health care markets, families and individuals are often unsure what contracts to make or why. But their best cure is to hire agents who can fill their knowledge gap, whether as personal advisors, employers, cooperatives, or religious or social groups.


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I loved “Hunt for Red October,” the first Jack Ryan movie. Alec Baldwin is a fine actor who filled the role nicely, and it had Sean Connery as the best Scottish-accented Soviet sub commander, and also Fred Thompson who smoked cigarettes and said things with flat dismay. A great movie. The subsequent movies had Indiana Jones as Jack Ryan, right? Were there others? Doesn’t quite matter – the character isn’t rooted in a particular actor, and doesn’t have many attributes aside from “CIA data dude who can also shoot people in the head if need be.” Amazon made a Jack Ryan series a few years ago, starring Jim from “The Office” and Bunk from “The Wire,” and it was pretty good: the Islamist terrorist was the bad guy, not a front for a shadowy group of businessmen fronted by Jon Voight, as happened all the time in “24.”

This new season is taking some flak for its rearrangement of reality: it’s set in Venezuela, which is run by a sleek, manicured dude named Nicholas who is . . . a nationalist! Heavy right-wing vibes. His domestic political opponent is . . . a Social Justice candidate! The young kids who are opposed to the government are described by one exasperated character as “leftists.” In other words: Bizarro World. 


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Bearly Heroic Service


Yes, you’ve driven me to bear posting, again. This is the story of a heroic bear, Wojtek (VOY-tek), who helped beat the Axis powers in Italy. He joined a unit of Free Poles, served with them through the war, and retired with honor to the Edinburgh Zoo, where he lived out his days. His death in 1963 was reported on radio and in the newspapers. His likeness became part of his unit’s official badge.

Wojtek was born in what is now northern Iran, and was orphaned when another group of orphans adopted him into their den. The other group of orphans, so to speak, were Polish soldiers who were released from Soviet Russian prison camps, the Siberian gulags. These men made their way south across the Caspian Sea and down into Persia/Iran, then effectively controlled by the Soviets and British, who had invaded from the north and south on the pretext of securing the oil fields and supply lines.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Pregnant Woman Turns Weapon of War on Home Invaders


ConstitutionWhy do you need an AR-style rifle?

  1. None of your [Constitutionally protected NSFW language] business.
  2. To stop an invasion…of our homes. God made men but Colt made an eight-months pregnant woman equal to two men armed with pistols.

“They came in heavily hooded and masked. As soon as they had got the back door opened, they had a pistol on me and was grabbing my 11-year-old daughter,” [Jeromy King] said….


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Quiz Show” at 25: The ’50s on Trial


If you weren’t even alive back then, you’ve probably seen the black-and-white footage, some of the best-known images of early television. Two men stand isolated under the hot lights, answering questions, trying not to show the pressure. The graceful, elegant one from New England is the scion of one of America’s most famous families; the other one, a decent but unattractive man, a hard-working “grind” who rose from the lower middle class, is the smarter of the two, but he’s already sweating, feeling hopelessly outclassed. A trick question has caught him—he’s not allowed to give the correct answer! His anger rises; but he dutifully, bitterly keeps his mouth shut. He plays along for what he thinks is the good of the system, even if it means his defeat. But enough about the Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960.

There’s an overlooked twist of history here, and we’ll get back to it at the end of our story. “Quiz Show” (1994) takes you back to the adolescence of American television. The film is based on the real-life scandal that engulfed the big-money quiz shows in 1959.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Half Right News


The Jim Bohannon Show included a short bit of news on a woman who had bought a Utah ghost town, in which this artist is now the only resident. Looking up Eileen Muza and the town of Cisco yielded a story that, like the radio show segment, was obviously incomplete, or should have been so. See if you can spot the problem in the Denver Post/AP story:

Eileen Muza is the sole resident of Cisco, Utah, a scattering of old buildings in the high desert 30 miles west of the Colorado line, KUTV reports. The town was created in the 1880s as a fill-station for a railroad, but died off when Interstate 70 was built a few miles north.