Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The New York-Based Slave Trade


One of history’s curious episodes was a rise in transatlantic slave trading based in the United States in 1850 that continued through 1863. It occurred despite the abolition of the slave trade by Great Britain in 1807. The United States followed in 1808, with a long decline in illegal slave trading by US ships between 1808 and 1850.

“The Last Slave Ships: New York and the End of the Middle Passage,” by John Harris, tells the story of this resurgence in the slave trade, including the reasons behind it.

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Having now reviewed everything I can find on what the President actually said at the protest in D.C., I can state with confidence that he did not cross a line into legally actionable speech. The bar set for classifying speech as criminal is pretty high, and the President did not even come close to meeting it.

Try to set aside what you think about President Trump. That’s a stretch goal for a lot of us, but let’s stretch: consider, for just a moment, that there might be an issue here that’s bigger than the President himself, and that could have repercussions that go far beyond January of 2021.

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I want to respond to something that I’m encountering in various forums, this idea that the President incited the mob to violence.

I can find nothing in the President’s various comments that can plausibly be interpreted as a call to violence. Impassioned speech, unsubstantiated claims of fraud and victory, and an enthusiastic rallying of his supporters, I can find all of those things. But at no point does he call upon the people assembled to commit criminal acts.

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Let me lay out my assumptions right up front, before making the point I want to make.

  1. The President didn’t incite violence. His comments were within the boundaries of appropriate political discourse, whether or not he was correct in the views he expressed about the election. (In fact, I’m sure he was partially, though not wholly, correct.)
  2. I categorically condemn mob violence, and this instance is no exception: everyone who broke the law should be charged, tried, and, if convicted, punished. Whatever the motives of the lawbreakers (and I don’t know who they are or why they did what they did), I reject any claim they might have to legitimacy in their actions. Lock them up.

There. I hope that’s sufficiently clear. Now here’s the point of this post.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 3-2-1 GUN IT, and push together


The trip home from the office is a straight shot south, a long broad road laid out long ago. At the creek I turn and follow the parkway, a winding path that connects the lakes, wanders down to the falls that empty in to the Mighty Miss. I pass under the freeway, thread my way along the parkway past a house I almost bought in 1997, under the great bridge that vaulted the chasm and brought suburban development to the fields beyond the city’s boundaries. The last leg is a winding climb up the hill to my house, and I like it in the winter: the snow adds some treachery. A man can have some fun with the turns, letting the tail of your car play wide before you snap it back.

At the bottom of the street was an Amazon delivery truck. Stuck. That was obvious. It was pointed the wrong way, moored in a snowbank at an odd angle. You do the thing you know you have to do: stop, hit the blinkers, get out, help. 

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Deep State Normal: FDA edition


distillery hand sanitizerThe FDA appeared to be forced off of its normal politics position. This banal evil institution sought to act on behalf of big corporations and the global elite uniparty in Washington DC by crippling small businesses, driving them out of competition with the big corporations. The pretense was a fee to be assessed for “over-the-counter (OTC) monograph drug” alcohol production. The alcohol was not turned into profitable booze by small distilleries. It was turned into supposedly life-saving hand sanitizer, which has almost no profit margin, if any. The fee was published and then suspended, for 2020, a day or two later. This was no mistake. Rather, it was the administrative state reasserting itself and then temporarily feigning magnanimity.

The salaried bureaucratic denizens on the surface of the Swamp, highly paid by American taxpayers at the point of federal government guns, at best did not consider the enormous human cost. After all, these forgotten Americans, from entry-level worker hauling sacks of grain, to entrepreneur owners operating with the thinnest net of credit and personal assets, are the deplorable creatures who must be broken to make a new omelet in the Great (Socialist) Reset. Crushing small businesses and their employees is entirely beneficial to normal Capital Hill politics and the RepubliCan’t Party’s paymasters.

This is why the globalist left’s Democratic Party fought for and got what it wanted in the latest federal appropriations monstrosities, while the con men and women of the RepubliCan’t party ensured that repeal of Section 230 was kept out of the must-pass bills. The rogues’ gallery, from the “Freedom Caucus” to Ted Cruz, all are on board with allowing Mitch and the California loser party leader to remain in their “leadership” positions while the enemies of our constitutional republic, Alphabet (Google/YouTube), Facebook, and Twitter, are kept in power to ensure the wrong kind of Republican is never again able to win the presidency or the Senate majority.

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What we can say with certainty about the incoming government is that the values it brings into office are antithetical to our own. We know that: it’s a matter of public record, and we understand the fact of it even if we may be unsure of the magnitude of our disagreement. The incoming administration and the new Democrat-controlled Senate will wish to transform the country in ways we loathe. This much is certain.

Beyond that, we don’t really know very much. Systems composed of people are complex, responding, and adapting in ways that are hard, often impossible, to predict. Sometimes a single individual, event, or virus can shift the entire political equation in unforeseen ways. We just don’t know; those who speak with certitude about the future demonstrate a lack of wisdom proportionate to their confidence in the predictions they make.

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I support the rule of law, and never more than in a Presidential transition. I reject whatever violence is occurring right now.

The law was abused and broken in states that couldn’t bother themselves to manage their most important civic responsibility in a competent way. I have little doubt that, in many instances, they set us up for failure, knowing that the resulting chaos would serve one side well.

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As the train wreck of 2020 steams full speed into what we have every reason to expect will be the train wreck of 2021, I’ve been thinking about how I want to apply my limited time and energy in the new year. There are certainly plenty of issues that warrant attention. After all, no problems that dogged us last year have been solved; none has even grown smaller, and a brand new set of problems is scheduled to take office in just a couple of weeks, promising a tsunami of bad judgment and its inevitable consequences.

I’ve resolved to do my best to focus most of my attention on one issue, something I consider to be of paramount importance; more important even than our foolish panic over COVID, or the frankly idiotic trans movement, or the viciousness of Antifa and hateful dishonesty of BLM, or the barely concealed self-loathing of climate catastrophism.

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The more obvious explanation from any outside analysis is that there seems to be a move less intended to improve men than to neuter them, to turn any and all of their virtues around on them and turn them instead into self-doubting, self-loathing objects of pity. It looks, in a word, like some type of revenge.

– Douglas Murray, The Madness of Crowds

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What Follows Coming Apart? Revolution?


The center isn’t holding—if there still is a center. Now approximately 39 percent of Americans believe the election was rigged. The belief is held by 67 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of Democrats, and 31 percent of Independents.

Peter Navarro, assistant to the president, director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and national Defense Production Act policy coordinator, has produced a 35-page report assessing the fairness and integrity of the election. The findings are distressing to believers in democracy and the American tradition of fair elections. The report examines six dimensions of alleged election irregularities in six key states, usefully compiling in one place the truly massive evidence we’re constantly being told doesn’t exist.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How Washington Can Boost American Entrepreneurship


Entrepreneurs play a critical role in the American economy. The new businesses they launch provide new goods and services. They also provide existing goods and services more efficiently, forcing incumbents to do a better job through competition. And while most media attention seems devoted to potentially high-impact technology startups, regular “mom and pop” businesses can be important mechanisms for upward mobility. We want a dynamic economy where labor and capital can be employed as productively as possible. Entrepreneurship plays a big role in making that happen.

It remains to be seen how entrepreneurs navigate the post-pandemic economy. But before the coronavirus outbreak, there were several disturbing long-term trends about America’s startup superpower. Among them: New businesses have become a smaller share of all companies than they used to be, as well as their share of total employment. These trends are illustrated in “Federal Policies in Response to Declining Entrepreneurship,” a new Congressional Budget Office report on the subject:

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We know the country is in trouble. Our tendency is to point to movements, campaigns and organizations for our present circumstances. And yet, sadly, we must look at human nature, our lives in the 21st century, to realize how we’ve arrived at this moment. Most of us could not have imagined the advancement of accusations of racism, the teaching of socialism, the totalitarian lockdowns and the corruption of culture. On reflection, however, I think I can see how we arrived here.

As human beings, we are mostly averse to change; others have said that it’s not the change that disturbs us, but the potential outcomes. But first, we must acknowledge that change is even occurring. And for the last several years, we either didn’t notice the changes, discounted their importance or simply tried to ignore them. We saw the impending changes as happening outside our own lives, happening to others, and we chose not to pay attention to them. Or we flicked them away like annoying flies, disturbing our peace of mind or the predictable course of our lives. We didn’t realize that those flies that we were trying to ignore were actually tsunamis-in-waiting.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Question for Ricochetti Who Speak Hebrew


Representative Emanuel Cleaver ended his Congressional prayer by saying “Amen and awomen.”

Amen comes from the ancient Hebrew “āmán,” which means “so be it.” So, just for grins, what does “awoman” mean in ancient Hebrew? It could sound like the phrase “your mother is a tortoise, ” “my hovercraft is full of eels,” or something equally silly. It would be fun to find out.

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Jamie stood outside the door of the conference room. He knew the group had already been waiting 15 minutes for him, but they were accustomed to his tardiness. The time had arrived to make the big announcement and he was fully prepared. Whether they were ready or not, they’d have to step up.

He opened the door and walked in. The conference room was modest in size, and the table where all six board members sat was full. Everyone was there. He smiled inwardly as he quickly reviewed their roles. They thought they were there to represent gay, lesbian, black, Hispanic, feminist and trans communities; the only reason they were actually there was because they were rich. He cleared his throat and stood at his end of the table.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Fighting On Despite Desperate Odds


Why do men fight, and why are willing they willing to continue to fight to the last man, preferring death to surrender? T. E. Lawrence’s said men go to war “because the women were watching.” According to Michael Walsh, in his new book, Lawrence’s answer holds more truth than irony. Men fight for their families.

“Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All is Lost,” by Michael Walsh, investigates the last man phenomena. It explores why men fight, and why they are willing to continue fighting even when they know they will lose.

Walsh examines history through the lens of combat, starting with the Ancient Greek Battle of Thermopylae and continuing through the Marine retreat from the Chosin Reservoir in the Twentieth Century. In thirteen chapters he explores sixteen last-stand battles. Some, including Thermopylae, Masada, and the Alamo, the defenders lost and dying almost to the last man. In others, like Rorke’s Drift and the Battle of Pavlov’s House at Stalingrad, defenders triumphed against terrible odds.

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The song most associated with the (western) New Year is a Scottish tune with lyrics coming from Scottish folk roots. The words, as we know them, come from Robert Burns. The poet claimed he had found the words, yet he most likely wrote a significant portion himself, riffing on older sources. Here, then are a series of recordings, from the dawn of voice recording to this year, so that we do not forget the old times in the rush of the new.

The earliest recording I found was from 1910, performed by Frank C. Stanley:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. George Washington vs. Washington DC’s Debt


Our nation’s founders were keenly aware of the habits of mind necessary to self-governance. Public thrift was considered essential to prosperity and stability. They knew from reading history that financial insolvency was a primary destroyer of great civilizations.

George Washington among others warned against “ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves are to bear.”

They would see everything they feared most unfolding now in 21st-century America, capped by the financial disaster we have created out of a viral pandemic. We have so far added over $4 trillion in Covid spending, all of it paid for by our fantasy credit card.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QoTD: Like a Barefoot Dash Across Fiery Coals


You don’t have to be certain you’re transgender in order to go on hormones. In fact, Kaylee adds, going on hormones is ‘probably the best way to actually tell if you’re trans anyways.’

You might have heard that testosterone comes with bad side effects— but you’ll rarely hear them mentioned here. YouTube and Insta gurus are about fun, and increased risks of various cancers and prophylactic hysterectomy are certainly not that. The most common side effect of testosterone that gurus talk about is the one that burnishes their trans bona fides: pain. The pain is acknowledged—even conveyed with relish. Like a barefoot dash across fiery coals, braving the agony of an intra-muscular injection proves you’ve moved beyond playing dress-up. You really are ‘trans.’ And you’re not messing around.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump Honors 850th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket


President Trump signed a necessarily lengthy yet eloquent proclamation on an event from 850 years ago that is sadly just as likely today. That event was the murder of Thomas Becket by political elite supporters of the ruling regime, led by King Henry II, in England. Becket was murdered for not sufficiently subordinating the church to his society’s ruling secular elite preferences. The document he first signed, then withdrew his assent from was called the “Constitutions of Clarendon.” After the assassination, Henry II revised the two most offensive articles, in negotiation with Pope Alexander III. 850 years ago, on December 29, 1170, Henry’s knights entered the Canterbury cathedral and murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket.

The pastor of the Brighton Oratory makes the stakes of the conflict clear [emphasis added]:

The actions of the Pope in this conflict make clear what all of history teaches: the lives of the Church’s Saints themselves comprise the history of the world. The humility of Thomas had prompted him, after a moment of weakness he had manifested in a difficult situation, to judge himself unfit for his office and offer his resignation as Archbishop. The Pope did not hesitate a moment in refusing his resignation. He judged with apostolic wisdom that if Thomas should be deprived of his rank for having opposed the unjust pretensions of the English royalty, no bishop would ever dare oppose the impingements of iniquity on the Church’s rights, and the Spouse of Christ would be no longer sustained by marble columns, but by reeds bending in the wind.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Doing Harm by Doing Nothing


Doctors are supposed to be known for their commitment to “do no harm.” But is it possible to do harm by refusing to act?

Our medical community is not helping its patients to deal with the pandemic of fear and disease. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the very treatment which could save lives is being ignored, due to the timidity of doctors and hospitals:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A New York State of Language


New Yawk English. You know it when you hear it. It is unique and serves as a cultural marker.

“You Talkin’ To Me? The Unruly History of New York English,” By E. J. White tells the story of New York English. It is as much about why New Yorkers talk the way they do as about how they talk.

A study of New York linguistics, told by someone who is a linguistics expert, it is not a dry, scholarly tome. Rather it is as lively as Brooklynese, told with Bugs Bunny insouciance and Archie Bunker confidence. The book opens up with a study of New Yorkers’ favorite obscenity. More than a term describing human reproduction, New Yorkers use it as an endearment, a qualifier, and an expression of respect. (Only in New York.)