Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Justice Long Delayed: Sentencing in Brian Terry’s Murder

 

On December 14, 2010, Brian Terry was murdered. Barack Obama and his willing accomplice Attorney General Eric Holder put the gun in the killer’s hand. They did so for the real purpose of subverting the Second Amendment, creating such ugly facts on the ground in Mexico that they could jam through federal gun bans. The facts on the ground ended up boomeranging in the Arizona desert, and the cover-up was on. Wednesday, 8 January 2020, in a courtroom in Arizona, the sixth man was sentenced in the murder of Brian Terry. The Arizona Republic has the story:

U.S. District Court Judge David Bury sentenced Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes to life in prison. U.S. prosecutors accused him of being part of a five-men “rip crew” that robbed smugglers once they crossed the Arizona-Mexico border.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Cultural Sites Are No Crime

 

It should not be surprising that even commenters on Fox News would miss the obvious. President Trump tweeted about having 52 targets to match the 52 American hostages seized and held by the Khomeinist regime at its founding. He included the word “cultural” to describe at least one of the targets. Why is no one seeing the obvious here?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Winter of Discontent Prolonged for Dictators?

 

The pattern of precision strikes this past year against ISIS leaders, the IRGC Quds Force commander, and one or more senior proxy militia commanders not only has put the Khomeinist regime on notice but also serves as a useful object lesson to Little Rocket Man, Kim III. Notice that the promised “Christmas surprise” never arrived through the full 12 days of Christmas. Whatever Kim’s calculations, the American military just reminded him, and everyone else, that there is nowhere the eagle’s talons can’t strike.

Chris Wallace asked Secretary Pompeo if impeachment trial talk was weakening the president’s hand in foreign policy. Pompeo’ deadpan answer: “You should ask Soleimani.” Kim has enjoyed a family tradition of acting the mad dog and getting thrown nice meaty bones time after time. Suddenly he has an opponent who gets showmanship and high-pressure negotiations. And the man just had a senior official in the old axis of evil snuffed out, an official all had believed untouchable; off-limits as the game was being played.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: We Left the Playground Long Ago

 

“Intelligent people tend to talk about the facts. They don’t sit around and call each other names. That’s what you can find on a third-grade playground.” –Ben Carson

Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, seemed to have everything working against him when he was growing up. In spite of having poverty as an excuse to fail, his mother demanded that he read and study. As most of us know, he became a world-renowned neurosurgeon. Eventually, he became well-known in Conservative circles and was selected to serve as a cabinet secretary by Donald Trump.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Message to Iran

 

If I had my druthers, the U.S. would deliver the following message to Iran, and would back it up with corresponding kinetic engagement:

Dear People of Iran,

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. California Wrecks Its Gig-Economy

 

The economic law of unintended consequences should serve as a cautionary note for anyone wishing to enact lofty, far-reaching social legislation. The intended purpose of such legislation is typically laudable: It is often to protect disadvantaged groups unable to fend for themselves against potential exploiters. But such legislation backfires by ignoring its unintended consequences. No legislative initiative in the realm of economic and social relationships can advance the position of a protected class unless it also imposes costs on the groups with which it does business. Stressing the intended consequences ignores the countermeasures to which other groups will resort to minimize the impact of the legislation. In the end, by shrinking the economic pie, both sides are left worse off.

This proposition is particularly relevant in labor contracting, where the language of exploitation is never far from the lips of today’s most aggressive reformers. Exhibit A is the fighting words of Lorena Gonzalez, a progressive Democratic assemblywoman from the San Diego area who, in September 2019, led the successful drive for the passage of Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). That legislation is now reshaping the California economy for the worse by forcing the reclassification of many independent contractors as employees.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. When We Retreat from Progress: Nuclear Power Edition

 

Nuclear Power PlantThere’s a special word — such an important word — right in the final paragraph of the new NBER working paper “The Private and External Costs of Germany’s Nuclear Phase-Out” by Stephen Jarvis, Olivier Deschenes, and Akshaya Jha: “Trade-off.”

Yup, trade-offs exist. And their reality is something that policy activists tend to ignore, but policymakers must eventually confront. No such thing as a free lunch. No something for nothing. Here’s the nuclear power trade-off identified by those researchers:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Don’t Forget the Strong Horse

 

When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse. When people of the world look upon the confusion and atheism of the West, they see that Islam is the strong horse.

These were the words of Osama bin Laden; they were prescient after 2001 and are still relevant today. In all the discussions about killing General Suleimani of Iran’s Quds Force, the focus has been on challenging Trump’s authority to have him killed and the possible reaction by Iran to the strike. Left out of the discussion is an understanding of the Arab and Islamist mentality and how we should take that into account now and in the future.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How to Decide When Blowing Someone Up Is the Right Thing to Do

 

It isn’t always obvious.

Of course, a priori (that’s Latin for “before we know better”), we probably want to assume that blowing someone up is not the right thing to do. This position has among its many advantages the virtue of complying with Rabbi Hillel’s famous statement of the Golden Rule: “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to another.” Most of us would consider being blown up to be “hateful” (I don’t think that’s too strong a word), so we should advocate the blowing up of others only sparingly. That just seems like good sense to me.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Creative Destruction, the American Way

 

The Republicans have been “over the target” for three years, led by President Donald Trump, and that’s a great outcome. Their efforts have been hit and miss (such as not getting a healthcare bill and immigration bills passed). But it’s been clear for a while that the Democrats’ hysterical and irrational behavior is an indicator that the swamp is being drained, bit by bit.

For many of us, watching this slow, chaotic process unfold is unnerving. So much can happen while policies, traditions, and plans are being disassembled. Yet this slow-motion unfolding, when studied carefully, is encouraging for the future.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What I Love About Ricochet: No $exting

 

@blueyeti promised us in Ricochet’s recent Focus Group that “We also do not sell your email addresses or anything else to third parties even though we get asked about it on a regular basis.” As testimony to how good Yeti’s promise is, let me share what happened right after I subscribed to some other well-known right-wing outlet (which shall remain nameless) just this fall. I’ve been a Ricochet member for years. And for years, the partisan demands on my money have been negligible. Few emails, no texts. Life was good. Then, I signed up at that other right-wing outlet:

Now random politicians won’t stop $exting me. You know what I’m talking about. $exting. Those endless texts demanding money, burning up your phone faster than you can block them. Various personas claiming to be “Newt” or “Mitch” or “Scalise” take credit for sending them, though it’s hard to imagine the sender as anyone other than some pitiable peon of a staffer or intern, unhappily grinding out the wheedling that’s below everyone else’s pay grade.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lebanon? Wasn’t This About Iraq? A Brief Note to the Perplexed.

 

I thought it noteworthy that an unnamed Pentagon source claims that “an Army brigade” has been put on alert for Lebanon:

Around 5,200 American troops are based in Iraq to train Iraqi forces and help in the fight against Islamic State group militants. Defense officials who discussed the new troop movements spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a decision not yet announced by the Pentagon. A Pentagon official who was not authorized to be identified said the U.S. also had placed an Army brigade on alert to fly into Lebanon to protect the American Embassy. U.S. embassies also issued a security alert for Americans in Bahrain, Kuwait and Nigeria.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Winter Turning to Summer of Discontent?

 

There is a useful fiction that “politics stops at the water’s edge,” but that has always been only a fiction. So, we should not be surprised that politics drive divergent responses to the death of a terrorist mastermind, an actual general, with a real uniform, in the “terror war.” At the same time, we should be cautioned by the contrast between the opening lines of Richard III and the end. It was not just a rapid change of political weather, but also of the seasons, as winter turned to summer only to turn back to winter for the house of York.

Remember that the line after “now is the winter of our discontent” is “made glorious summer by this sun of York.” At the time, the Duke of Lancaster and the supporters of his house, might have said, “now is the summer of our repose made gloomy winter by this storm from York.” So it has always been with political power. “Can’t we all get along?” Not when there are even the smallest stakes (see Henry Kissinger’s (?) snark about academic internal politics).

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Journalism: The Obama Era vs. the Trump Era

 

CNN reports that “President Trump dined on ice cream as news of the air strike broke.”

Meanwhile, we still don’t know what President Obama was enjoying for dinner as our Ambassador and aides died in Benghazi.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Republicans: Let’s Get This Show on the Road!

 

We have entered a new year. I, for one, want to start with a fresh outlook, regardless of my tendency to assume the worst when it comes to politics. I think that breaking through the stand-off regarding the impeachment of Donald Trump could start a tidal shift in the power of the Republicans. I’m calling out Mitch McConnell to disregard any demands by the Democrats, rally the Republicans, and get this show on the road!

In a previous post, I explained some of the requirements, or lack of them, for impeachment. The articles of impeachment have essentially been delivered (by public announcement); the trial can proceed whether Pelosi appoints Managers or not; and there do not have to be witnesses. These points make up the crux of the stalemate:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Christmas Present for Hezbollah? [UPDATE: 1 January 2020]

 

Secretary of State Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Esper announced on December 29 that F-15E Strike Eagles bombed several Khomenist Iranian regime proxy force sites in Iraq and Syria. This apparently followed repeated provocations, attacks on Iraqi government forces where there were also U.S. forces in the vicinity. Such attacks would be intended to push U.S. forces into more and more protective isolation or withdrawal from the region, ceding regional influence to the Iranian ayatollahs.

The airstrikes back the increasing campaign of economic and diplomatic pressure, which is squeezing the thugocracy as the population increasingly shows unrest and discontent with the regime.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QotD: How the years ran away…the best is yet to come

 

Yesterday when I was young
The taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue
I teased at life as if it were a foolish game
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame
The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned
I always built, alas, on weak and shifting sand
I lived by night and shunned the naked light of day
And only now I see how the years ran away

Charles Aznavour (1966)

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Prospective Fact Check on Monsey Machete Attack

 

There has already been plenty of finger pointing over the attempted massacre of a group of Orthodox Jewish men in Monsey, New York. The FBI is now on the case. Whatever explanations are offered up, by whatever source, check them against the map and what we have been told about the location of the attack and the attacker’s life.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Syd and Neil

 

Two obits today that made me sigh.

Syd Mead, who defined the optimistic look of the consumer-friendly techno-future. (Blade Runner as well, but that’s another story.) Atom-powered chrome-trimmed hoverers in a perfect California – he reinterpreted the soul of the auto for an era we hoped we’d see.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Finnish Treat on the Seventh Day of Christmas

 

Just for the joy of it, I give you singing police. Further, if the official Finnish police YouTube channel, Poliisitube, says Santa Claus is real, it must be so! Police singing in the snow:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: Books, Books, Books

 

As a solitary child, books were my best friends. I loved their friendship because they were quiet, fascinating, non-judgmental, and, as companions, they were always available. So I decided to honor my memories of my childhood books.

Money was tight in our household, so except for a tiny allowance, I rarely asked for spending money. To keep my reading habit alive, my mother would take us weekly to the Garden Grove Library, in those days a tiny building with a charming children’s book section. We were allowed to check out seven books at a time, which I easily finished before the week was out. At the library, I discovered that many books were written in series. Thus, I began my love affair with L. Frank Baum’s Oz books (which I wrote about here a couple of years ago). As an adult, I have only a fragmented recollection of the stories (although I remember many of the characters); instead, I loved the artist of many of the later books, John R. Neill, and have a small collection of those books.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Does Someone Have to Die?

 

I’ve been reaching a point where I dislike beating the drum about anti-Semitism. But the recent crimes in New York City and the denials that have accompanied them have convinced me that I can’t beat that drum enough. The media is reluctantly covering the story of the latest attacks on Jews in New York:

In Rockland County last night, during a Chanukah celebration at a synagogue a man stormed in with a machete and stabbed at least five victims, who were taken to the hospital. This is the latest in a string of antisemitic attacks in the New York City area, coming in the wake of the tragic killing of four people during an attack on a Jewish grocery store in Jersey City.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. But His Tweets

 

Via Twitter, a list of Trump accomplishments. 

Let me channel the dead-enders: It’s not like he was doing the LBJ routine in the cloakroom, twisting arms. It’s not like he was calling in Congresspeople to request a bill increasing funding for AIDS and Historically Black colleges. He signed what was put before him. A Rubio administration would have done the same.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ‘Veni, Vici, Visa’

 

The above roguish little line is attributed to Jan Barrett who playfully translated it into, “We came, we saw, we went shopping.” And of course, in my current line of work, that is exactly what we hope you will do. We have a great many enticements, of course, from lines of credit, to tantalizing price reductions, to a staff of professional sales associates who pride themselves on going the extra mile to make sure your experience exceeds your greatest expectations.

To that end, there is little we won’t do (including to ourselves) to help you. Of course, going the extra one or two hundred thousand miles doesn’t come without cost. The toll it takes on sales associates, who increasingly look and feel like the walking dead as the holiday season progresses, is very real. And it isn’t just the physical toll, though being on one’s feet and dealing with the general public for nine or ten hours a day, through extended store hours, for weeks on end, certainly exacts a high price in terms of aches and pains and muscle cramps. But it’s the mental toll that is perhaps even more grueling.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Three Important Hanukkah Messages

 

Two messages by President Trump, and one exceptional video message from Prime Minister Johnson, set the right tone for the two nations’ recognition of a minority faith that has been under increasing assault. President Trump, having earlier held an annual Hanukkah reception, at which he signed a significant executive order to combat universities increasingly open anti-Semitism, published a warm presidential message on Hanukkah 2019. Yet, this year, it was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Chanukah message that cut to the heart of the history and current problems in the United Kingdom. In the context of Labour being rejected by the British people, in significant part due to the exceptionally nasty piece of work leading that party, Jeremy Corbyn, PM Johnston spoke strongly and plainly about the right of British Jews to be both, publicly, without fear of harassment or worse.

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