This is the week we learned that there is a reason we’ll miss Jen Psaki at the White House (plus a shout out to the forgotten Dee Dee Myers, who looks pretty good in retrospect); that the Anthony Scaramucci duration-in-office scale remains useful for marking the tenure in office of Nina Jankowitz (who nonetheless lasted longer than CNN+); that the Defense Production Act can apparently solve our baby formula shortage by ordering Northrup Grumman to make it; that the Roman Catholic hierarchy still has some spine left when it comes to pro-abortion politicians like Nancy Pelosi; that the left and the media (but we repeat ourselves) have no shame when it comes to exploiting a mass shooting; and that as far as monkeypox goes, we’ll wait for something really scary.

And as for the under-the-radar boomlet for Hillary to run again in 2024 after Biden gets pushed aside, well not so fast. The Durham investigation just might finally rid us of her.

There are so many things that seem . . . wrong about the 2020 election, and now comes the new documentary film “2000 Mules” offering some visually compelling circumstantial evidence, along with a few examples of direct testimony of voting misbehavior in nursing homes and other locales. A lot of readers and listeners have been asking about the film, so Lucretia and both took it in this week, and try to give an overview what conclusions are possible and which suspicions lack a solid foundation.

Before examining the evidence presented in the film we review the “macro” indicators that the 2020 presidential election is a distinct outlier in many ways that would make any reasonable person suspicious that it was a normal election. And right there is the nub of the problem: so many states changed their election laws under the cover of COVID—often illegally, but the judiciary was either in on the fix (at the state level) or refused to review the matter (on the federal level). Thus it makes it difficult or impossible to prove that the ballots seen being deposited in scattered drop boxes were necessarily illegal ballots, or that they were enough to account for Biden’s margin of victory (at least in Pennsylvania). Even if every ballot cast was narrowly speaking legal, our election laws need to be tightened up, as indeed is happening in many states. (I’ll suggest we emulate France, which has no early voting, no vote-by-mail, and absentee voting under very strict and limited conditions. Funny how Francophile liberals never charge France with “vote suppression.)

Big, big news this week! And even if we’re a few days behind, fashionable lateness is sort of our style. To ensure thoughtful novelty, we’re joined by legal scholar Adam White, who is able to channel his Iowa everyman to take us through intricate legalese and manages to put it in plain English. He evaluates precedents, the new political questions, and the litigation to come.

The gang (including Ricochet substitute extraordinaire Steve Hayward, filling in for hooky-playing Peter) talk JD Vance’s win in Ohio and ponder the Trump endorsement test, and  James stumps the guys with a Q about epoch-ending innovation. Let him know your thoughts in the comments.

Owing partly to travel schedules that prevent our normal and proper Friday evening happy hour to debrief the week, combined with the shocking leak of the prospective Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs case, we decided to declare a special mid-week happy hour with Scott and John joining in the libations, along with a special guest, the noted Whisky-McRibb pairing expert, John Yoo, coming to us from outside his favorite squash court in San Francisco—all recorded before a live audience on Zoom (and thank you to everyone who tuned in).

We begin by revisiting several predictions we made about the Dobbs case in our podcast of December 10, where we not only nailed the dynamic of the likely decision based on how the oral argument went, but also discussed the probability that the opinion would leak, in an unprecedented attempt to blow up trust and public esteem for the Supreme Court. In fact, as the show notes for that episode record:

We also speculate on whether there might actually be leaks from somewhere inside the Court ahead of the decision—something that rarely or never happens—because the liberal justices are desperate to do anything to derail an overturning of Roe (which, Steve argued to John, is the “McRibb sandwich of modern jurisprudence: a compressed confection of offal cuts slathered with sauce to disguise its true awfulness”).

This is the week the world was introduced to the O’Brien of the 21st century, Ms. Nina Jankowicz, aka the “Mary Poppins of disinformation” (her own term), who is going to lead the Biden Administration’s new Ministry of Truth in the Department of Homeland Security—the very same government agency that leftists once despised because it might be able to spy on our library books because of the Patriot Act. Good times, good times!

This was also the week we discovered that Joe Biden can’t say “kleptocracy,” though that is admittedly a difficult word for any Democrat since it hits so close to home. It’s almost like it’s kryptonite for the left.

Reading the tea leaves, Steve sees signs of a plan coming together to oust Ron Klain from the White House after the November mid-term election, and blame him for President Biden’s poor performance.

We still can’t help but wonder what happened to California; and today’s guest has not only been writing about it for years, but is running for governor in hopes of administering a cure. Michael Shellenberger is confident he can take on Gavin Newsom and restore the Golden State to health. (Visit here to donate to his campaign!) He talks about his vision, the growing support he’s receiving, and the big victory for eco-modernists at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant.

Then Steven Hayward, who’s filling in for Peter, switches from host to the guest chair to talk about his new biography, M. Stanton Evans: Conservative Wit, Apostle of Freedom. The guys also talk about the 70s, and the movies that inspired a lotta lunacy.

Now that my biography of M. Stanton Evans is out, time to go back and take in Stan in his own words in podcast form. A previous podcast featured several of Stan’s greatest comedy chops, so this one highlights some of his serious work.

I decided to highlight here just four aspects of many that draw chiefly from one of his enduring books that everyone should have on their shelf of indispensable books: The Theme Is Freedom.

In the first segment here from a speech in the 1980s, Stan lays out his critique of the “standard liberal history” of Western Civilization which he thinks too many conservatives (especially neoconservatives) have bought into.

Jordan Peterson took the intellectual world by storm in 2016, bursting on the scene in a way not seen by a non-leftist thinker since Allan Bloom in the late 1980s. His idiosyncratic mix of Jungian psychology, existential philosophy, and common-sense self-help advice (also lobsters!) as expressed in his best-seller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, is hard to sort out at times.

Glenn Ellmers, one of our favorite recent authors (who also got a long notice from Thomas Byrne Edsall’s latest New York Times column this week), took a deep dive into “the Jordan Peterson phenomenon” in the Claremont Review of Books back in 2018, having attended one of Peterson’s live appearances in Washington DC. Above all, we marvel at how Peterson cooly flummoxes his critics and media interlocutors, as in the justly notorious TV interview with the obtuse Cathy Newman in Britain in 2018.

The title says it all, yes? Not quite. It doesn’t tell you that everybody’s favorite Peter Robinson is off to Israel, and will therefore be filled in by everybody’s favorite Steve Hayward. And it also fails to tell you that the indefatigably cheery John Yoo is our guest!

The hosts pick John’s brain on everything from the trouble in the Mouse House, to slipping mandates, and on to a sure-to-be controversial SCOTUS decision set for June.

Suddenly energy security and geopolitical risk is on everyone’s mind again, so we decided to consult a true expert on the subject—Terry Hallmark of the University of Houston. He currently teaches  ancient, medieval and early modern political philosophy, American political thought, American foreign policy and energy studies in the Honors College at the U. of H, but in a prior life was an international political risk analyst for the oil and gas industry. He’s the person you wanted to talk to in order to know whether your executives or oil rig workers would be kidnapped in Freedonia, and by whom. His annual survey, “Country Petroleum Risk Environment Index,” ranked over 125 countries for their political risk.

I am wondering if the United States is a high-risk country for oil and gas development, given the hostility to the sector from the left. Sure enough, one of Terry’s old reports points out:

First, we are pleased to appoint Lance Izumi, a previous guest on this show, to be the official whisky master of the 3WHH, even though he doesn’t drink whisky (or anything else for that matter), because anyone who can pull off this look deserves the recognition.  And we’ll have him back soon to talk about the latest on K-12 education. (Notice Laphraoig front and center in his lineup—a point for Team Steve.)

Meanwhile, as promised—or was it threatened?—last week, Lucretia and Steve head back to the seminar room this week to demonstrate how the left is lying about Critical Race Theory by the underhanded means of simply quoting what they say it’s all about.

From there we have a spirited disagreement about the meaning and usefulness of Max Weber’s famous 1919 lecture “Politics as a Vocation,” which Steve has recorded a not-yet-released long podcast with the young guns at The New Thinkery (stand by for updates). Steve thinks that despite Weber’s defects, the lecture has some merits, and when you know some of the backstory of how Weber came to give the lecture amidst the chaos and revolutionary violence of the immediate post-World War I scene in Munich, it takes on an additional poignancy.

Steve and Lucretia intended to head back into the seminar room in this episode, with a treatment of Critical Race Theory (because why should the 1619 Project get all the love?), and some reflections on the puzzle presented by the head-scratching fact that Bill Clinton claims that Max Weber’s famous 1919 lecture “Politics as a Vocation” is his favorite “book” about political life.  But we never got to either topic!

We got diverted by a couple of late-breaking headlines about the collapse of the federal government’s cases against the plotters of ludicrous Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping scheme, and simultaneous acquittal of one of the January 6 detainees. Not to mention the no good, very bad week that several colleges and universities are having just now, starting with Oberlin College, which looks like will have to pay up $33 million to Gibson’s Bakery for indulging campus insanity. More of this please!

Historian Richard Samuelson turned up for Friday evening happy hour this week, with 14-year-old Oban in hand, to kick around this week’s less-than-neat headlines. Is it merely a coincidence that Jen Psaki chose April Fools’ Day to have the news come out that she’s going to join MSNBC? Irony is truly dead.

Meanwhile, on the great existential question of the week—”Team Smith” or “Team Rock”—Lucretia disdains either choice, while affirming the general principle that “violence is always the answer.” Steve offers up that “King Richard,” the film for which Will Smith won his best actor Oscar, is in some small ways a conservative film, though it suffers the typical over-exaggeration of all sports movies, so it gets no better than a C.

It would be easier at this point to start a list that names of everything that is not caused or tainted by racism, because it is becoming absurd. The latest from Nikole Hannah-Jones is that tipping is a legacy of slavery. No, she really said this, on Twitter last week:

Is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson an originalist? Of course not. In no possible universe will we get a Justice Jackson who turns out to be a closet moderate or even conservative. The last Democratic Supreme Court pick who moved to the right was Byron White, appointed by President Kennedy. But for some reason she felt compelled to say this in her confirmation hearing:

“I believe that the Constitution is fixed in its meaning. . . I believe that it’s appropriate to look at the original intent, original public meaning, of the words when one is trying to assess because, again, that’s a limitation on my authority to import my own policy.”

Freshly resupplied with Laphraoig and Glen Livet, Lucretia assumes hosting duties this week to examine—and cross-examine—Steve about his new biography M. Stanton Evans: Conservative Wit, Apostle of Freedom, which comes out officially on Monday.

Lucretia walks Steve through how he came to know Evans (41 years ago now!), and why he think Evans is “the perfect conservative,” both in theoretical and practical terms.

In addition to his legacy as a tutor for a generation of young journalists and writers whose ranks include Ann Coulter, Greg Gutfeld, John Fund (and Steve!), Evans was instrumental in several key turning points in the conservative movement in the 1960s and 1970s (such as providing desperate life support to Reagan’s faltering campaign in 1976), as well as writing The Sharon Statement, the founding document of Young Americans for Freedom.

Prof. Charles Kesler, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and author, most recently, of The Crisis of the Two Constitutions, recently visited Berkeley to give a lecture on his book, and sit down with John Yoo and me to discuss what we’re calling the “Claremont Question,” which is really just a headline for several controversies.

The largest is the “Trump question” and the character of nationalism and populism generally, but we also discuss the controversies over the 2020 election, January 6, and the role of our friend and Claremont colleague John Eastman, who is being dragged through the mud by the vengeful left.

Lucretia and Steve review the week’s news, and conclude that there’s a gathering storm of doom for the left. First, the incompetence of the Biden Administration from top to bottom is impossible to disguise effectively much longer. The attempt to blame inflation on Putin (because they can’t blame it on Trump after claiming for so long that it was merely a “transitory” supply chain issue) is destined to fail, and the infelicity of his pronouncements on the Ukraine crisis are surely unnerving our allies in Europe. (And that’s before he sent Kah-maaaallla over to underscore the shallowness of the administration.) Just wait till the recession hits in a few months. Steve lays out a few scenarios about how and why the coming recession may be one of the most unique and difficult to remedy in our history. Even Jimmy Carter belatedly figured out inflation in 1979, but the Biden crew seem imperious to experience.

Beyond the White House, there are scenes of a leftist crackup taking shape. Just as the left greeted the news of Asians defecting to the Republican Party as a sign that Asians had bought into “white supremacy,” the evidence that Hispanics are defecting from Democrats to the Republican Party in growing numbers has prompted the predictable response: Hispanics are becoming “white nationalists.” Seriously: Axios says so.

The Ukraine crisis isn’t going away, and with recriminations on all sides making the rounds here at home, it seemed propitious to check in with Michael Anton, who, among other things, served on the National Security Council in two administrations. To say Michael is not happy with the state of play here at home is an understatement, and Lucretia and I fully join in.

It doesn’t take long for us to wander on to other territory, settling on the terminal confusion and weakness of the Republican Party establishment. But what else is new?

A common theme making the rounds is that Vladimir Putin must be crazy or has badly miscalculated his interests, and therefore is extremely dangerous. In fact the problem may be much worse than that. Putin is not merely a tyrant as understood by the classics (though not modern political science or theorists of international relations, who no longer recognize tyranny as a distinct political phenomenon); he has thrown in with a quasi-religious view of the purpose and destiny of a “slavic” Russia that perhaps makes Russia more dangerous than the old Soviet Union in some ways. Its hatred of America now extends beyond “oppressive capitalism” to the liberal idea itself.

These are some of the themes worked out several years ago by Waller Newell, professor of political science and philosophy at Carlton University in Canada, and author of several books on the subject, including Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice, and Terror Tyranny: A New Interpretation; and the forthcoming Tyranny and Revolution: Rousseau to Heidegger. (And if you haven’t time for a book, take in his short Tablet article from a few days ago, “Vladimir Putin, Tyrant.”)