Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Former World Chess Champion Tal

 

Tal was an exuberant person. He was closer to a bohemian than a dissident in the Soviet Union. He became world champion by defeating Botvinnik in 1960. He was known for his wild attacking style. One game had to be moved to a private room because the crowd was so amazed by Tal’s slashing attack that they refused to be quiet.

In the mid 1980s, an Englishman who was working towards the grandmaster title was playing at the same tournament had this encounter. After Rogers drew an endgame minus 2 pawns v Viktor Garikov, Ian and his wife Cathy were joined in the lift by Tal, who asked how the adjourned game had gone. On being told, Tal cracked up with laughter…

“Soviet champion!..2 pawns up!..Only a draw!!

He was known for his hypnotic stare during games.


GM Pal Benko wore sunglasses when he played Tal in the 1959 candidates match.

Tal plays future world champion Spassky in speed chess.

Here are two more casual pictures.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Do You Donate?

 

It has been a while since I really thought about this, but since I am home with nothing better to do at the moment, I started thinking. How many of us donate to our political choices? When I get really fired up about a candidate, I have been known to donate. Recently, though, I can’t say that I have felt any compelling reason to donate.

I came across this site: WinRed.

Just for fun, I thought I would look across my own state and see how many BIPOC (that’s newspeak for non-white people) were running as Republicans who could have donations contributed via this website. I found quite a few, more than I thought I would, if I’m being honest. More than that, many of them are women. Women veterans.

Well, howdy!

Have you looked at ways to help your party of choice in elections, either through direct donations or by this website? If so, do you like to help people in other races or just your own locality?

I’m actually kind of excited at the idea of having more diverse people up front in the GOP’s view, particularly since many of them are women and veterans.

On the downside, I’m loath to donate via the general Committee because I feel like they regularly misuse my money and then harass me for more in two years.

What do you think? Direct donations? Huge websites? Donating to individuals in your area or doing some strategic donating on a national level? As for me, I just give money to people I like, regardless of where they are.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Does Rejecting Collectivism Make Me an ‘-ist’ or a ‘-phobe?’

 

I don’t believe:

  • All women simply because they’re women nor will I vote for a woman merely because she’s a woman. Why does that make me sexist?
  • Skin pigmentation makes all white people oppressors or all people of color oppressed. Why does that make me racist?
  • All Muslims want peaceful coexistence. Why does that make me an Islamophobe?
  • All corporations are evil. Why does that make me a corporatist?
  • All rich people stole or inherited their wealth, nor do I believe that all poor people were exploited. Why does that make me an elitist?

Why does treating people as individuals rather than as if they are nothing more than cookie-cutter representatives of some socio-economic group make me an “-ist” or a “-phobe?”

Kelly and MK discuss Kelly’s jump into the deep end of farm-to-table living off her own farm. Her challenge to live off the fruits of her labor and her land (documented @realbestlife on all social media!) for an entire year began Aug 1, and there has been fun and pain and great recipes and cute animal videos already! Let’s get into her feels during this giant adjustment, and feel good about the fact that all of us can still drink coffee!

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Don’t Replace the NRA, Reform It

 

New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the National Rifle Association, seeking to dissolve it over multiple incidences of fraud and mismanagement.

And the thing is, her case is pretty strong, in my opinion. Really, really strong. Wayne LaPierre has been the effective head of the NRA for decades now, and his … questionable financial decisions appear to have been made without the knowledge of the Board of Directors, who should (should) have oversight on such matters. This quote in particular jumped out at me:

Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period.

Let’s look at the number in context. The NRA is not the only nationwide gun rights organization. There is also the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), which specializes in targeted legal cases to advance the right to keep and bear arms, the Gun Owners Of America (GOA), which claims to be the only “no compromise” gun group out there, and also the Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA). They all do good work. The Second Amendment Foundation in particular created the legal strategy which won both DC v. Heller and Macdonald v. Chicago, two pivotal cases for American gun owners.

But as noted firearms trainer Claude Werner pointed out on Facebook, the resources all three of those organizations have at their disposal pales in comparison to what the NRA can bring to the table.

NRA Funding

The (literal) bottom line is, if the NRA were to go away tomorrow, America’s gun owners would be in a world of hurt. The $64 million dollars the NRA is accused of mismanaging is over six times the combined annual budget of all three of these groups. We may not like the shenanigans of the current leadership of the NRA, but no one has the clout of the NRA when it comes being able to shape the future of gun rights in America.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The federal lobbying and GOTV efforts of the NRA-ILA will actually be the easiest things for another organization to replicate. Where in NRA really shines (and where they get their victories) is on the state level, lobbying against restrictions on gun owners and similar efforts. Those functions will be harder, much harder for another group to accomplish. I am NOT a fan of the deal Marion Hammer has with the NRA, but she is the one who is knocking on the doors of the state government in Tallahassee, not any other state-level group. On top of this is the training branch of the NRA. Most states specifically state than an NRA class is one of the preferred options obtaining a concealed carry permit, and many states have hunter safety courses that run on NRA content. Lose those two things, and you lose American gun culture.

Reform the leadership of the NRA. Remove the current leadership. Put some teeth into the Board of Directors, and let them perform the oversight role they are meant to perform. As I said before, I don’t want my right to self-defense tied to just one political party, and I especially don’t want it tied to just one President. Let the NRA return to its roots as an advocate for ALL American gun owners, especially the millions of Americans who have bought their first gun this year. Make the NRA all about the safe ownership and use of guns, and the votes will follow.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Costs and Benefits

 

“Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions – and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.” – Thomas Sowell

As a nod towards Dr. Bastiat (@drbastiat) and his post “A Brief Excursion into Hero Worship,” I thought it fitting to provide some Sowell food with today’s quote of the day. Rummaging through my collection of unused Thomas Sowell quotes, I decided this one best fits the events of 2020, since so many are driven by the government’s pursuit of benefits at whatever cost, however large.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Ricochet Replay: A Night with John Yoo

 

For those of you who couldn’t make our live broadcast, we present A Night with John Yoo.

John spends an hour+ with Ricochet Editor Emeritus Troy Senik to talk about his new book, “Defender in Chief,” to reminisce about clerking on the Supreme Court and his time in the Bush 43 Administration and legacy as “the torture memo lawyer.”

John also takes a wide range of questions from the Ricochet membership.

 

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Wayne’s World Is Crumbling

 

I didn’t write about this yesterday because I was angry and I rarely write well when my emotions get the best of me. I am a Patriot Benefactor Life member of the NRA. I have voted for responsible candidates in every NRA election. I have never voted for Wayne LaPierre. I care about the organization and its mission.

Yet, in spite of that, if what the NY AG has alleged is true, a platoon of Wayne LaPierre cronies have been elected to the Board and continue to help him pillage membership funds on behalf of himself and his family. That’s money that suckers like me contributed. So, yeah, I guess I’m still a little angry even today. Nothing has been proved at this point. All of this is allegation. I leave it for those interested to find the facts and make a determination for themselves. While I do not know if any of this is true, the opinions below are based on the possibility that it may be.

Now, I have no quarrel with the New York AG taking Wayne to task for what he’s allegedly done. I have not seen the evidence. I have not seen the receipts. I can’t imagine that a state Attorney General would make claims it could not back up in court (unlike, for example, the Mueller team with General Flynn). Some, or even a large part of the lawsuit may be smoke and mirrors.

If the smoke proves to be from a fire, and the mirrors turn out to be a true reflection of the leadership of the NRA, then I have no quarrel with her taking on LaPierre and his alleged co-conspirators who have allegedly defrauded the membership. I have no quarrel with her investigation demonstrating that the NRA Board of Directors is little more than a bunch of chained and costumed characters in an S&M bondage flick. But let’s remember, they defrauded the membership, not the state of New York, and the membership is not perpetrator, they’re the victim. What the NY AG proposes is, in fact, just shooting everyone.

Reviewing the allegations, I’m very troubled by what is there. I’m mostly troubled by the alleged lack of oversight of a compliant Board. I once got fired from a board because I questioned the CEO. I would rather be fired than be labeled compliant. I would never want to be a current NRA board member. I don’t know how you could look any other NRA member in the eye if this is true.

The truth is the truth. The people who have occupied the board positions – many of them including Hollywood stars – are fully to blame for the debacle that the NRA faces in its lawsuit. They’ve been sitting in the living room, smelling the smoke, feeling the heat increase, seeing the flames, and fighting this fire with a water pistol while a rebel faction in the organization has been arguing that it’s time to bring out the two-inch lines and put the damned fire out. The NRA board – and everyone on it – should be writing a letter of apology to the membership that ends with the words “therefore, I resign.”

The NRA’s countersuit, which I have not yet read, sounds like pretty weak sauce to me. I do think they have a point with regard to the First Amendment. But the remainder of it seems contrived to ignore the facts in the AG’s lawsuit. Keep in mind, I love the NRA. It truly is the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, founded in 1871. It’s the NRA leadership I abhor.

Several years ago, a true American patriot, Lt. Col. Oliver North, tried to force Wayne LaPierre out. He didn’t do that because he needed a job. He had one. He did it because he cared about the organization. But instead of listening to a stand-up guy, the board backed Wayne, meaning, from my point of view, that they approved of Wayne’s wasteful and selfish consumption of resources as well as his strident but frankly ineffective leadership. Wayne removed Chris Cox, who was one of the most effective and articulate voices on the NRA payroll. Then, because he perceived it to be a threat to his “leadership” (it was telling the truth about the NRA and its leadership) he canceled NRA TV. People who had put a lot of time, effort, and energy into the project, Like Dana Loesch, were de-platformed in an attempt to cling to the reins of power for a few more years.

The picture that emerged, again, solely from my opinionated viewpoint, is that of a tin-pot dictator trying desperately to stay in power. Every month I get NRA publications, and while the quality of the writing of the technical articles in Shooting Illustrated and American Rifleman are good, the editorial content is simply more re-written crap from the last five years.

Democrats are bad

The government’s coming for your guns.

Send us your money and we’ll fight for you.

Wash, rinse, repeat. I’m sure if you did a computer comparison article to article of the last 20 columns by Wayne, you’d find the same hackneyed phrases and overused adjectives in each of them. When you bang the drum to lead the march, you have to make sure you’re in step with the marchers. Wayne’s been out of step for a really long time. And he can’t play the drums, either.

Most of my fellow life members care deeply about the organization and at the annual meeting every year we vote. We vote our ballots before the meeting, and we vote at the meeting to ensure that we can get a decent board. But the structure of the NRA, that was set up when a bunch of gun-control losers tried to take control, prevents our votes from counting and ensures the election of pro-Wayne board members. Marion Hammer, one of the past presidents of the NRA is on record saying “the NRA is not looking for new leadership. We have an outstanding, super-qualified, selfless, dedicated Second Amendment-to-the-bone Leader. And that is not likely to change until way off in the distant future.” Pay no attention to the fact that payments to Marion were flagged in the lawsuit itself.

Sadly, it’s the size of the NRA Board that is one of the major problems with the organization. There are 76 board members. A board that large cannot be effective at management. There would never be a board meeting where all 76 members could actually contribute something without the meeting taking days, if not weeks. Whoever thought 76 members on the board was a good idea is either an idiot or someone who wanted to take the organization over and install a flock of sheep. In order to be nominated, a person has to either get a nomination from the official nominating committee of the board (making it self-perpetuating) or run a campaign outside the NRA to gather signatures and petition for a board seat. Because so few of the members understand the voting system, and how their votes are counted, the board-approved members tend to get elected (or re-elected) time and again. And if they’re nominated by the board, you can bet they’ll be loyal to LaPierre.

Because there are 76 board members, only about a third are elected in any given year, and because of the way the votes are tallied and collected, change is difficult to orchestrate. If you have 40 people running, and you can vote for 20 of them, then if you vote for any of the board-nominated candidates (for example, Tom Selleck, whom I respect) because of his name recognition, your vote makes his election likely, but it dilutes its effectiveness generally because only the top vote-getters are elected. Thus, the only want to force change is to vote only for those who are petition nominated and loyal to the Second Amendment. For the past several years I have voted only for petition-driven candidates because they have a desire to effect change, and change is sorely needed. But every year the board members elected are a bunch of current leadership sycophants who do not have the interest of the organization at heart. They have only the interest of Wayne Lapierre at heart.

All that said, what the New York AG is trying to do is blame the passengers in the back of the bus for the driver’s ridiculously bad driving. Most of my fellow life members paid real money for the privilege to claim NRA life membership. Now the NY AG wants to not only change the driver, it wants to impound the bus and steal our wheels. That’s not going to fly.

There are so many defenses to this lawsuit that what it amounts to is a political stunt in an election year. It is a virtue-signaling news release cloaked as litigation. It attempts to intrude on protected First Amendment rights of free association. Its intent is solely to suppress the message of the NRA. While the leadership may stink, the message does not. We need greater respect for the Second Amendment, not less. Simply put this is the New York AG trying to bankrupt an association that does nothing but advocate for the rights of gun owners (while, sadly, simultaneously lining the pockets of its leadership).

If I were representing my fellow life members I would move to intervene and try to force change in several ways. I would file a third-party petition against the leadership, demand that a Court of equity order the restructuring of the NRA to a 12-person board, with the Chairman chosen from a slate of candidates nominated solely by life members and prohibiting the nomination of anyone who has served on the board in the last 30 years. I would order a complete restructuring of the bylaws to make the organization more accountable to the membership, and insist upon regular audits by outside auditors. I would cap the salary of the CEO at $100,000 per year, and cap any expense account at a yearly max of $25,000. I would allow reasonable mileage expenses, but I would restrict hotel and per-diem expenses to the amount allowed for federal employees. The parts of the organization that provided value and made money would be revitalized, and those that sucked out resources would be closed.

Those reforms, or ones much like them, are needed to make the organization accountable. The Board, sadly, is the first thing that has to go. Anyone who tells you otherwise has something to gain from their relationship with LaPierre.

Political game-playing aside, the AG’s lawsuit should not succeed on the merits. The entire organization and its members are not to blame for LaPierre’s alleged self-dealing. Only those who actively planned, carried out, aided, or abetted that alleged pillaging are responsible. I’m looking at the board. It needs to be held accountable, and the entire board should resign along with LaPierre. Hopefully, the lawsuit will be seen for what it is. But hopefully, it can also be used to drive some much-needed change in an organization desperately in need of it.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Marie’s Quilt Flag

 

After three months of quilting, my wife Marie just finished this quilt of the American flag. We’re going to use it as a wall hanging inside, a flag for special days outside. Marie took two flags, put batting in between, and then quilted a pattern down the 13 stripes and then quilted around the 50 stars. She had to align the two sides perfectly, so she spent a lot of time pinning the two sides together before she could quilt even a small section.

My camera angle makes the flag look much larger than it is. It’s a normal-sized flag, 32” by 56”, a typical size for hanging outside one’s house. Marie is actually eight inches taller than the flag.

Same flag with side lighting to emphasize the quilting.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Karen Bought a Printer and a Roll of Duct Tape

 

Walking around the block where I was never within 20 feet of another human being, I started reading some brightly colored signs that had been hung all over the place with little strips of duct tape. Each read “Wear a mask in public, and expose those who don’t online. Public photography is legal. Shame is legal. #2DUMB2LIVE.”

These gave me pause as they reminded me greatly of the “Neighborhood Watch” signs I saw all over the place when I was studying one summer in Cuba. (The “revolution” must be guarded, you see. It’s important for “comrades” to police each other.)

Is this where we are as a country? We should shame our neighbors over disagreements about public policy? When did we decide it was okay to bully our fellow citizens? To call them “dumb” for walking alone without a mask in the sunshine?

Perhaps I was wrong to do it, but I decided if it’s legal to tape a random opinion onto a public lamppost, it must also be legal to respond in kind by taking that opinion down.

Don’t worry though.

I threw away all the paper I touched, as I am firmly against littering, which I am certain is illegal.

Anyway, if you see a picture of a crazy looking woman in an Edgar Allan Poe t-shirt with bits of brightly colored trash clutched in one hand, a dog’s leash clutched in the other, I suppose that’s me being “shamed” online, but don’t let me know because I don’t use free social media where these sorts of things are posted. (What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?)

Note to the Karen with her brightly colored paper and duct tape: If people are going into a business in the city where these signs were posted, people are currently mandated by law to wear a mask, so people wear masks without any public shaming. (Mostly, they are polite and want to help the local businesses stay in business.)

The mandate was put in place because this is a current “hot spot” where there is some ongoing COVID growth, though not exponential growth. (To be exact, in this county of 470,313 people, there have been 42 deaths as of 11 a.m. on August 7 with an average of one death every day for the last month. According to the county’s health department, a full half of these people, though valued members of the community, were 75+ years old.)

Also, you were very industrious with your duct tape, more industrious than I am. Despite my half-hearted efforts at resistance, you have plenty of signs still hanging around all over the place to scold other people. I hope you’re feeling proud of yourself. #sillytotalitarian

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #25: Tom Harmon

 

This week’s podcast in memory of Peter Lawler is a conversation on education, higher education, elites, and the drama of our times. Tom Harmon’s a friend and a wonderful professor and we talk about everything of concern to conservatives now–what’s wrong with America’s cognitive elites, the new ruling class, how come it’s got such a powerful effect on conservative and Republican elites, too, how we might help conservatives who opt for homeschooling and classical schools, and what it takes to defend the American way of life.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/acf-pomocon-25-tom-harmon/id1302805257?i=1000487525139

Known as the “Trusted Voice of Israel” David Rubin was Mayor of Shiloh, Israel, and Author of multiple books including his latest TRUMP AND THE JEWS. David appears as a frequent commentator on Fox News, Newsmax TV, and many other television and radio shows, while his articles have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, Israel National News, and numerous other publications. https://www.davidrubinisrael.com/ David shares his and Israel’s perspective on Antifa, BLM, Biden, Beirut, Lebanon, Iran, Portland, Bibi Netanyahu’s snap election(!), Trump2020 and the Left’s growing antisemitism.

Please Support #WhiskeyPolitics at http://paypal.me/mywhiskeypolitics. Cheers!

Please subscribe to Whiskey Politics on YouTubeThe Ricochet Audio Network and your favorite podcast application including SpotifyTuneInGooglePlayStitcher, and Apple Podcast where your 5-star rating will be greatly appreciated!

Find us at DaveSussman.com, Dave on Twitter, Whiskey Politics on FacebookInstagramClouthub and Mewe, Dave Sussman Show on FacebookMaven.ioRange Broadcasting and our newest platform http://TheIndependent.io.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Brief Excursion into Hero Worship

 

It’s strange that conservatives don’t believe in heroes. You would think that our focus on preserving that which is good in humanity would turn our gaze toward those who have come before. But it is progressives that claim that one reason for the lack of success among certain groups is due to a lack of role models. Not me. I grew up as an aspiring athlete. I had a weight bench in my bedroom during junior high. All I did was work out. All I wanted was to be a great athlete. My father was a great athlete, but I didn’t even know. Partially because I didn’t care, and partially because he never felt the need to point that out to me. All I knew was that I was going to be a great athlete. I admired the tough guys – Pete Rose, Mike Ditka, etc. These were not necessarily nice people. I admired their accomplishments, but I had no desire to model my life after theirs. I don’t believe in heroes.

My parents are without question the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met. But the most extraordinary person I’ve never met is Thomas Sowell. I consider him to be one of the greatest thinkers of the past couple hundred years. And one of the great men of the past couple hundred years. And he’s an American citizen. And nearly all American students have never heard of him. This is extraordinary. Allow me just one brief essay on one of my very few heroes.

Mr. Sowell was born in Gastonia, NC in 1930. His father died before he was born. His mother was a maid who already had four children, and sent her various children off to be raised by various family members. Mr. Sowell’s parents died at ages 29 and 31. He discovered much later in life that he was an orphan, never having known his parents. Mr. Sowell’s great aunt and her two daughters raised him in Harlem, NY. He was the first in his family to study beyond the sixth grade, but dropped out of high school at age 17 to work to support his family. He was a great athlete, and tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948, but did not make the team. Some say racism may have played a role in that decision. Mr. Sowell points out that he would have made the team if he was a better baseball player.

A conflict of visions, if you will.

His winding road led him from odd jobs in Harlem, to the Marine Corps in Korea, to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard, earn a master’s from Columbia, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (where he studied under Milton Friedman).

He was the first to describe what he called “Einstein Syndrome.” His son learned to speak late but had remarkable skills with math and abstract reasoning. Mr. Sowell did the research, found similar kids all over the country, and pointed out that they did not have Asperger’s Syndrome, but rather a previously poorly understood condition. Einstein was presumed to has Asperger’s as a child, and Mr. Sowell has demonstrated that this was not the case. Physicians of the day simply did not understand what they were seeing.

I have this syndrome (but not Mr. Einstein’s skill in theoretical physics), and Mr. Sowell’s writing on this topic was the first of his books that I read, on the recommendation of a psychiatrist friend of mine. I did not enjoy the book (his descriptions of those with this syndrome hit too close to home for me), but my wife did enjoy the book, and kept looking over the book at me and nodding her head, grunting, “Mm-hmm…” I enjoyed her reading of the book even less than I enjoyed reading it myself.

Thank you very much, Mr. Sowell.

His book, “Conflict of Visions” is the most brilliant book I have ever read. Anything which can compete with Machiavelli’s “The Prince” or Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is an extraordinary work. And it was written by an American, in 1987. And no American student has ever heard of it. This is extraordinary.

Let me say that again. This is absolutely extraordinary.

Mr. Sowell has also written around 60 books and innumerable newspaper columns. Every time I read something of his, I learn something. Every single time. A debt for which I am eternally grateful.

I think one reason that he is not acknowledged as a great philosopher is that he writes in language that anyone can understand. He takes complex topics and makes them sound simple. Which simplistic people mistake for simplistic thinking. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a sign of genius.

It is the simplistic thinkers that take complex topics and make them sound even more complex. They conceal their simplistic thinking with complex language, which conceals their lack of understanding. Mr. Sowell reveals his profound understanding with his simplistic language. He has no need to conceal his meaning. Quite the contrary.

Such a blatant frontal attack on the absurdities of modern academia will not be suffered by our clown princes of the day.

He cannot be debated, so he will be ignored. This offends me.

America has produced some extraordinary individuals, most of whom, we ignore. Everyone has heard of Mickey Mantle, and Barack Obama, and Michael Jordan, and lots of other American heroes. But we ignore many of the true greats. Those who will be studied hundreds of years from now, we ignore now. I suppose this is just the way it is. But it is hard for me to accept.

Mr. Sowell recently turned 90 years old, and just published a book about the American educational system that is nearly 600 pages long, and has a bibliography that is longer than any book Mr. Obama had written for him.

Please, Mr. Sowell, hang in there. You are more important than you are willing to accept. And most certainly more important than Americans are willing to accept. There are those who ignore you, because they prefer not to consider anything contrary to how they’ve been indoctrinated in the very educational system you criticize. But there are others.

Others like me. Most of us are not important, like Mr. Obama or Mr. Jordan. But for what it’s worth, you are appreciated. By lots and lots of little people. Some day your work will be studied in the halls of academia. But for now, you are studied by lots and lots of little people. Lots and lots and lots of little people.

Little people like me.

Thank you, Mr. Sowell. I don’t believe in hero worship. We are all flawed, and I try to find my own road. I’m never disappointed by my heroes, because I don’t believe in heroes.

But, for what it’s worth, you’re my hero.

Last week, Rob Long and Peter Robinson found themselves in a disagreement about –not kidding– The Crusades. Well, one of the great things about having a very popular podcast is that you can get just about anyone to show up and adjudicate any dispute or question one might have. It’s basically like having Wikipedia on call. But more about that in a moment. Up first, independent journalist Michael Tracey had a radical idea: there was a lot of talk about the riots in the mainstream media, but almost no reporting on the aftermath and the human cost of the unrest. So he got in his car and did it himself. His story is very much worth your time, as is this conversation with him (thanks to Ricochet member @concretevol for the suggestion!). Then, as mentioned, we tracked down Professor Thomas Madden, aka the world’s foremost authority on The Crusades to determine who got it right. You’ll have to tune in to get the results. Also, @bossmongo wins the coveted LPoW badge this week, and are movie theaters history? We discuss.

Music from this week’s show: Ourselves To Know by Warren Zevon

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Win When You Win

 

I’ve never bought into the belief that capitalism creates winners and losers. I’m no genius but, thanks to capitalism, I benefit by others who are. I’m not Thomas Edison, but his light bulbs mean that my day doesn’t end when the sun goes down. I’m not Henry Ford but I’ve got a couple of cars to get me where I need to go. I’m not Bill Gates, but I’m using Word to write this. I’m not Steve Jobs, but I can read news and books and make phone calls on my iPhone. When an entrepreneur wins in the marketplace, I win.

Yes, the next innovation could cost me my job. But in a free market, as long as any needs or desires exist, jobs exist to meet those needs and desires. Government is the only thing that keeps me from finding a new job. Minimum wage laws, employee mandates, hiring quotas, occupational licensing, monopoly grants all artificially limit my employment opportunities.

And the business cycle? That should be renamed the inflationary boom and bust cycle – yet another government-created lose-lose scenario.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were a Thoughtful Racist

 

I got to wondering. What would a thoughtful, intelligent, devious racist do? What kind of policies and positions would he take?

A thoughtful racist:

  • Would support BLM, as the ultimate result is going to be much more death and destruction in the Black community. Removing the police from black communities, defunding them, and restricting their ability to enforce the law is going to have a severe negative impact on blacks.
  • Would be a supporter of Planned Parenthood and abortion. Blacks currently abort ½ of all their children. Racists going back to Margaret Sanger have supported the idea.
  • Would support any dysfunctional black culture that glorifies, crime, drugs, violence, and promiscuity and denigrates black women.
  • Would support ideas such as this:

that make those traits that are most likely to make someone a success in society “ White” and anathema to blacks.

  • Would support the apartheid in our schools with segregated classes, dormitories, graduations in our schools.
  • Would support Black dependence on government.
  • Would work to destroy Black families and encourage those Black women who don’t abort to have their children out of marriage.
  • A thoughtful racist would support a political culture that would try to maximize all the above.

So, who are the real racists in our society? And where do they find a political home?

None of those things seem remotely Conservative to me.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Joe Biden is Just a Senile Old Bigot and Racist.

 

Joe Biden’s latest bigoted and racist remark no doubt resulted in numerous facepalms by his handlers who have valiantly tried to keep the doddering, senile candidate on message. Unlike some of Biden’s more incoherent mumbling, strange, tangential, and meandering remarks on a whole host of topics, Biden’s latest pronouncement was delivered emphatically and clearly:

“Unlike the African-American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things.”

There is a startling similarity of this remark to Biden’s comment about then-2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama, specifically, that Obama was:

“… the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean.”

It’s unclear why Biden holds the African-American community in such low regard or thinks that they can’t think rationally or independently or that they somehow have poorer personal hygiene than other racial and ethnic groups but it is notable that at about the time Biden spouted this latest gem, President Trump and Vice-President Pence were swearing in Air Force General Charles “CQ” Brown as the first African-American leader of a military branch in the nation’s history. One hopes, of course, that General Brown passes Joe Biden’s standards for articulate speech, intelligence, and personal hygiene.

If this was an isolated incident, the obvious bigotry of Biden’s latest remark might be dismissed or forgiven even as Biden apologists and news anchors may begin to characterize the remark as an example of misspeaking by the often confused candidate. Unfortunately for the Biden campaign, this is just the latest addition to a long list of bigoted and racist remarks that have belittled not only blacks in America but Indians and other racial and ethnic groups.

Whether this latest Biden remark belittling African-Americans gets any significant media coverage remains to be seen. If it does, it is likely to further erode his support in the African-American community and may transition more votes to Donald Trump.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “You say you want a revolution”: Incels, Ideology, and Charles Murray

 

For those that are unaware, Incel is a portmanteau of “involuntary celibate,” and encompasses men who fit just what that description implies, but also a range of other behaviors and opinions. The term was originally coined by a female Canadian university student as a reference, and the name for an online support group, to people of both genders that struggled to garner romantic relationships. Incels today are almost all men and are quite far afield of the original version of that term. In addition to their virginity, they have a developed system of thought on women, society, and romantic life. 

To put it bluntly, the vast majority of Incels consider women non-human. The kindest might deign to mark them as animals, or human-like creatures, hence the common use of the term “foid” (female humanoid). In their minds, women are incapable of love, loyalty, selflessness, real strength, or rational thought; they live to engage in casual relationships with high-status men (“chads”), and when they are inevitably made worthless anatomically and physically by this, spend the rest of their lives with desperate low-status men who provide them with money while they have children born of countless extramarital affairs. But maybe women who chose not to follow this path are slightly more highly regarded? No. Not even a little. Unmarried women are unimaginably selfish evildoers who live to lead on an endless stream of innocent men, and those that chose not to have children deserve instant death because they haven’t fulfilled the one purpose that women have in the world as breeding sows. 

Educated women, career women, and the vast majority of women over the age of 18 are given to similar contempt. The first two groups because they had nothing to do with their own success, which was earned solely from their bodies and looks, and the third because all women over that age (often much younger) are regarded as “used up”, having already had hundreds of partners. Simply put, their “femoids” have no intelligence except cunning, no worth except as objects, and no reason to exist outside of the biological imperative. In keeping with this lovely and totally rational system of thought, female survivors of sexual assault are the lowest of the low, and in incels terms not only deserved what happened to them but enjoyed it, labeling it a violation only when it happened at the hands of an unattractive man. 

“Soyciety”* perpetuates this state of affairs, and helps to keep Incels, as well as their MGTOW, red pill*, and black pill* brethren, down. Incel history posits that until the early 20th century, men had been in absolute control of every civilization that ever existed, and that the West made a mistake in granting women wider rights and equal status with men. Societies like Saudi Arabia, where women are treated as property and have little to no say in everything from government to their own personal lives, are the ideal from which the West has strayed, and will eventually overtake the West. Men are second class citizens and should unite to rise up and take back their traditional rights in order to put history back to rights, consigning universal suffrage and consent laws, among many other things, to the past. They are enthused to use concentration camps (which would double as breeding centers) and widespread sexual assault as weapons in carrying out that revolution, which would be easily won when all men realized the truth of their ideas, and because women are so inferior in physical strength and intelligence. 

Naturally, there is also a healthy amount of racism mixed into Incel beliefs. Most buy into the standard “Jews run the world, Rothschilds are hiding under my bed and stopping me from getting women, using capitalism to enslave me” line. They also have a deep obsession with height, skin color, race characteristics, and canthal tilt; women are hypergamous (always seek to marry those of a higher genetic and social position) and thus Incels are denied their “looksmatch”, as is almost any man under 6” who doesn’t look like he just stepped out of a Harlequin romance novel. It should also be noted that their ratings of women are wild, with most supermodels falling into the 5-6 range on a 10 scale, in large part because they either don’t look like 2-D Japanese anime girls or because they lack the features that make men attractive (height, strong jaw, etc). 

Of course, in a society like this, especially when women are beings of such evil, Incels are incapable of having romantic lives. Some try to blend in as socially normal, while others run to the other extreme, becoming NEETs (not in education or training) who take up residence in their parents’ basements and/or live off of government benefits. Few have hobbies beyond viewing adult material, video games, “blackpill” philosophy, and spending hours on Incel and related forums (many of which encourage pedophilia and the grooming of younger female relatives, hence they are often hosted on servers outside the US). They occasionally report on their interactions with females in the real world, largely adding up to detailed first-person narratives about a history of anti-social, abusive, and sometimes all-out criminal behavior. A few, both in the US and abroad, have committed large scale violence, like school shootings, and estimates put their numbers anywhere from the thousands to the hundreds of thousands.

What causes this phenomenon? Incels have received a lot of press, even internationally, in the last few years, and the majority of those detailed reports hit the nail on the head; untreated mental illness, closeted homosexuality, poor family relationships, and/or simple malignancy are the main ones. But I would like to posit another, which is both economic and philosophical. Charles Murray, in Coming Apart, argued that men in “Fishtowns”, areas of low economic development with poor social cohesion or community formation, were vastly more likely to turn to drugs, crime, dependency, and suicide than counterparts from higher economic statuses with more coherent communities. I think Incels fit into this, but not in a neat, tidy way.

Some percentage of them, in addition to the other issues listed above, do choose to become Incels because of the impact of the factors Murray explored, in the same way, that their counterparts might choose drugs. Bad backgrounds will always have an impact. However, some measures of incels come from “Belmont” rather than “Fishtown” and have a variety of options presented to them in life, a pretty great amount of privilege in some cases. And I think their anger, and Incel status, flows from a sense of entitlement. Life has not been perfect since childhood and when they see others of the same background, and even worse ones, flourishing, rather than seeking to find the font of their romantic (and other) issues, they shift blame. Many tales are told in Incel forums of young men dropping out of high school and college because all was not as they expected; women didn’t throw themselves at them, courses were challenging (although all “foids” will obviously pass because of their sex), and social lives took effort. In essence, they absorbed and idealized a warped picture of 1950s America (one which conveniently cut out a lot of the casual racism and some women’s dependency on drugs as the post-war society demanded that they give up jobs which had given their lives purpose), and feel that they deserve a white picket fence, three kids, a dog, and a loving wife. Society, romantic norms, and evil women like me, who chose careers over marriage with kids (and engage in male pursuits like boxing and higher education), are the root of their problems and must be eliminated in order to re-establish paradise. 

I’ll end this on a slightly preachy note. If you have a child, grandchild, or friend that you think might be falling into an ideology like this, please reach out to them. Communities like those centered around Incel ideology are borderline cults, and they do as much damage to their members as their members seek to do to women at large. Some men get out, but other men end up ruining their lives (and others’) in pursuit of fulfilling Incel thought, and any time that can be prevented from happening is a wonderful thing. 

* “Soyciety” = Present-day society, which has been robbed of ‘manly’ virtue by allowing women equal rights and status to men. The soy moniker is based on the argument that soy introduces high amounts of estrogen to the body, and Soyciety also sometimes encompasses the argument that elites are using chemical means to ‘feminize’ society through chlorinated drinking water, vaccines, etc.

*”Red Pill” = “The incel red pill can be explained by the 80/20 rule, which says that 80% of women desire just 20% of men. This means that the vast majority of men will never be desirable and consequentially will never find sexual fulfillment and happiness.”

*”Black Pill” = “The Red Pill’s nihilistic cousin. The idea behind “redpilling” is that men recognise that the world is unfair and stacked against them in favour of women. From there, they can game the system by becoming an “alpha” male, going to the gym, treating women poorly, and so on. The black pill rejects this, saying that there can be no personal solutions to systemic problems, and that the world was, is and always will be stacked against men who are “genetically inferior”, and that women are inherently wired to prefer men with particular kinds of facial features, bone structure, and body type.”

Heartland’s Donald Kendal, Justin Haskins, and Jim Lakely are joined by Isaac Orr in episode 255 of the In The Tank Podcast. Much debate has taken place over how the country should respond to the continuing Coronavirus outbreak. Countries around the world have used different strategies to varying success. The ITT crew takes a look at a new Heritage Foundation report that analyses approaches of 10 countries around the world. In addition, they dissect an fluff-piece article from the Washington Post about the Chinese Communist Party.

Opening Chit Chat

Fox News – ‘Kindergarten Cop’ screening canceled in Oregon, compared to ‘Gone with the Wind’
https://www.foxnews.com/us/kindergarten-cop-screening-canceled-police-brutality

 

COVID-19 and CHINA

Heritage Foundation – A Comparative Analysis of Policy Approaches to COVID-19 Around the World, with Recommendations for U.S. Lawmakers
https://www.heritage.org/public-health/report/comparative-analysis-policy-approaches-covid-19-around-the-world

Stopping Socialism – Powerful Democratic Senator Defends Chinese Communist Party, Attempts to Block COVID-19 Lawsuits
https://stoppingsocialism.com/2020/08/feinstein-defends-china-communist-party/?fbclid=IwAR1P9rmDYFUQutoS1yFQ8V9QClvAr4eaeB4iZEsKBGhE9qpWlxl64vGtm-A

Washington Post – Trump views China’s Communist Party as a threat. Young Chinese see it as a ticket to a better future.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/trump-views-chinas-communist-party-as-a-threat-young-chinese-see-it-as-a-ticket-to-a-better-future/2020/08/03/6a950c0a-c803-11ea-a825-8722004e4150_story.html

(Non-paywall story on Fox News – https://www.foxnews.com/media/washington-post-feature-communst-china-morally-bankrupt)

[Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free on iTunes at this link.]

Control of the Senate is up for grabs; can Republicans hold on? Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales provides a comprehensive rundown of all the key races and where the overall picture stands on this week’s episode. Newsmax’s John Gizzi also talks about what it’s like to cover the Trump White House and where he think the president should go this month to recover his standing. Another edition of “Primary Night in America” runs down the key contests on the ballot next Tuesday, and Ad of the Week explains why candidates can say things in their ads which would never make it on the air in other contexts.

Let’s face it: our chances of surviving this year aren’t great. So former co-host Stephen Miller returns early for our annual Best 5 Albums list! Stephen is a contributor to Spectator USA, hosts the Versus Media podcast, and follow him on Twitter.

All the songs featured on this episode are included on a special Spotify playlist.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Give Me Relativism or Give Me Death

 

Relativism, the creed of today’s academy, claims that no objective ranking can be imposed on different beliefs or “truths” in any given domain. We cannot, for example, say that the ideas contained in Tolstoy’s novel, War and Peace, are in any way better than those contained in a “bodice-ripper” paperback romance. Nor can we claim that one culture is superior to another. Presumably, there is also nothing to choose between a college Civil Engineering textbook and the instructions that come with an Erector set. In short, there is no absolute capital “T” truth. Small “T” truths exist, but they are valid only within the context of the observer’s frame of reference – that is, limited to the observer’s culture, era, sex, race, etc.

But what is a relativist do when faced with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? According to Darwin, those organisms that best adapt to their environments survive while those that don’t adapt or adapt less well die out. The information encoded in the former’s DNA has proven to be objectively better than that coded in the latter’s, and better in a very fundamental sense – survival. Nature is the ultimate domain-spanning judge.

The relativist would reply that this holds true only within the context of a given environment. Frogs well-adapted to survive in the tropics quickly die in Siberia. Fair enough. But how, then, to explain homo sapiens? Human beings survive by adapting their environments to themselves rather than by adapting themselves to their environments. Instead of growing thick fur, we fashion clothes. In place of sharp teeth or claws, we make tools and weapons. Instead of sharp eyes, we create telescopes and microscopes. In other words, human beings transcend their environment rather than being either constrained or defined by it.

The ability to survive in any environment is objectively better than the ability to survive in only one if, for no other reason, that environments change. Earth’s climate endlessly cycles through ice ages and warming periods. Land once underwater emerges, dry land becomes submerged.

Global markets play nature’s role in the economy. Goods and services that “survive” are better – as judged by hundreds of millions of consumers – than those that don’t. So, we can objectively say that using a spreadsheet application on a PC is better than counting on fingers and toes, antibiotics outperform a witch doctor’s dance, and painless dentistry is far superior to the alternatives.

Relativists are certain to disagree, but it’s safe to assume that they will write their erudite, scathing, and unanswerable rebuttals on a laptop rather than using styluses to impress their thoughts into wet clay tablets. We can also safely assume that, should they come down with a serious infection, they’ll prefer penicillin to death.

In other words, relativists don’t really believe their claims, or – at the very least – they don’t act as if their beliefs are true. Could it be that their beliefs are true all the same? Sure. But if to survive, you must act as if your beliefs are false, what purpose do those beliefs serve?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Complexities of Birth Control Pills

 

As one who has spent much of his life trying to take complicated things and make them simple, I am often struck by the gift that some people seem to have for taking simple things and making them complicated. Take birth control pills, for example.

You would think this would not be a complicated matter. “Ok, Suzi, take one pill per day. Um…that’s about it.” But you would be amazed at how many different ways I’ve seen people goof this up. I have often heard the same line, “Hey doc, those pills you gave me didn’t work. I’m pregnant.” I’ve learned that after I hear that sentence, I’m likely to hear one doozy of a story afterward. For example:

Staci: “Hey doc, those pills you gave me didn’t work. I’m pregnant.”

Dr. Bastiat: “Um, ok, did you take one pill every day?

Staci: “Of course I did! Do you think I’m stupid? I took one every single day that I had sex.”

Dr. Bastiat: “Ah.”

Staci: “My boyfriend drives a truck, and is gone for a week or two at a time. But as soon as he got home, I’d start taking a pill every day. I never missed one.”

Dr. Bastiat: “Did you ever wonder why there were 28 pills in a four-week pack?”

Staci: “Huh?”

I thought to myself, “I could practice medicine for the rest of my life, and I’ll never hear anything more stupid than that.” Over the years, I’ve learned not to say things like that. As it turns out, stupidity is a competitive sport:

Kaci: “Hey doc, those pills you gave me didn’t work. I’m pregnant.”

Dr. Bastiat: “Um, ok, did you take one pill every day?”

Kaci: “Well, no, they made me sick. So I gave them to my boyfriend.”

Dr. Bastiat: “Ah.”

By this point, it was taking me longer and longer for me to instruct women on how to take birth control pills. Most of them looked at me like I was stupid as I said, “You – you personally – take exactly one pill. Every day. Regardless of your plans for that day. Or that evening. Every single day. One pill.” But my instructions got longer and longer as my patients displayed their creativity (if not their intelligence) by finding new and fascinating ways to screw this up:

Maci: “Hey doc, those pills you gave me didn’t work. I’m pregnant.”

Dr. Bastiat: “Um, ok, did you take one pill every day?”

Maci: “Of course I did! Do you think I’m stupid?”

Dr. Bastiat: “One pill.”

Maci: “Right.”

Dr. Bastiat: “Every day.”

Maci: “Of course.”

Dr. Bastiat: “With a glass of water.”

Maci: “Huh?”

Dr. Bastiat: “You swallow the pill with a glass of water.”

Maci: [looks horrified and offended] “I don’t do it like THAT!

So after I engaged in extensive and awkward questioning of Maci’s intelligence and my career choices, I finally realized that Maci had been inserting the pills where she had sex, and she was extremely offended that I was suggesting that she engaged in oral sex. She’s not that kind of girl.

You might think that practicing medicine is pretty boring. And on a good day, you’re mostly right. But my patients keep it interesting. Every once in a while, one of them will take my boring, simple day and turn it into something much more complicated than I thought it was. I’ve had patients who can’t read who I’ve trained to use insulin pumps, and after some work, they’ve become really good at it. And then, I have some who can’t figure out birth control pills.

I’ve learned to go with the flow. Rather than respond with, “You did what?!” now I just sit back in my chair, look up at the ceiling, and think to myself, “Hmm… I don’t think I’ve heard that one before…”

And as the years go by, my instructions for patients get longer and longer, and more and more involved. They call this practicing medicine.

After years of experience, now I can even sense when my day is about to become more complicated. For example, I start paying attention when I hear those dreaded words, “Hey doc, those pills you gave me didn’t work. I’m pregnant.”

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Supposedly Fun Thing I Wish I Would Like to Do Again

 

A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. So reads the bumper sticker on the late ’90s F-150. Someone is headed out for some fun on the lake. I wish I were that guy.

But I don’t.

In my mind’s eye, a young boy has dropped a line into a quiet pool on Dinkey Creek. He sees the flash of color as the rainbow trout in the clear depths darts under a rock. He waits, attaches a salmon egg to a hook, and slowly drops it into the water near the rock. Waits while the trout waits. Waits while the other boys and girls from the summer school field trip walk by, ask, laugh, mock, and move on. Waits until he outwaits the fish, and returns to camp in triumph.

A younger boy, with his dad this time, fishes for bluegill (panfish) in a pond somewhere he now can’t remember. What he later remembers from this outing is a decent size fish swallowing the hook all the way into its intestines, so that when it is reeled in, the body of the panfish slips from its guts into the water, leaving the boy to stare in disappointment at the slimy, sun-silvered spaghetti on his hook. Fishing is funny.

Next, the grown man is in a boat, fishing with a men’s group on desolate Fort Peck Lake. Walleye and Northern Pike, the one feisty and the very heaven for flavor; the other dangerous and good enough prepared fresh, fill the boat’s ice chest. The sun is hot. The beer and the breeze make him forget that he’ll pay for the day with sunburn tomorrow. But what the hell. This is nice.

You’d think, for the memories, that guy would like to fish, that he would seek it out. But the truth is he’d rather not. He hasn’t the patience or the time (he tells himself). He’d rather read The Compleat Angler or The Contemplative Man’s Recreation than contemplate with a fly pole. He’s even had the opportunity to paddlefish with treble hooks and beach poles on the Yellowstone. He’d rather see them swim with their vacuum-cleaner mouths wide open at the exhibit in Shedd Aquarium.

A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. The problem is that it’s not a binary choice. There are many other things to do, fun to be had in other ways, delights and delectations all along the way. Weird Al’s “I’ll be Mellow when I’m Dead” pops into his head.

He wishes he would like to fish again.

And he hates A River Runs through It.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Did Derek Chauvin Kill George Floyd?

 

If there is one thing that we all know, it is that, on 25 May, Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department killed George Floyd. This is what the newspapers say, and this is what we are told on television news. The only thing that seems to be in question is whether Chauvin is guilty of second- or third-degree murder.

Ordinarily, in the past, journalists took care to distinguish allegations from facts, but not in this case. They stuck to their claim that Chauvin had killed Floyd even when the medical examiner of Hennepin County issued a preliminary coroner’s report indicating that the latter had died of “cardiopulmonary arrest” – which is to say, a heart attack – and not asphyxiation; that he suffered “arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease”; that he was at the time of death hopped up on fentanyl; and that he had recently used methamphetamines. On National Review Online, on 4 June, the LAPD veteran who writes under the name of Jack Dunphy pointed out the obvious implications, but no one in the mainstream media bothered to note that drugs of this sort can cause shortness of breath and cardiac arrest and that Floyd may have died of a drug overdose.

We now know more – thanks to a fuller coroner’s report and thanks to footage from the body cams worn by two of the officers involved in Floyd’s arrest. We know that he had consumed more than twice the dose of fentanyl apt to be fatal, and we know that he had the Wuhan coronavirus. We also know that Floyd, who was 6’ 4” and weighed in at 220 pounds, resisted arrest; that the four officers involved had a difficult time subduing him; that they recognized that he was hopped up on something; and that they called an ambulance and urged that it come as quickly as possible. On 3 August, John Hinderaker laid out the evidence on the website Powerline. But, to date, no one in the mainstream media has addressed the implications.

There is no reason to think Chauvin guilty of second or third-degree murder. Indeed, there is every reason to suspect that he is not in any way legally or morally responsible for George Floyd’s death. It is, moreover, possible that he and his colleagues did everything by the book. Eventually, if and when there is a trial, we may learn the whole story. In the meantime, I doubt that we can expect any help from America’s professional journalists.