Since our plans to hide away forever at a remote Minnesotan lake house were dashed – on account of James not having one for us – we decided instead to jump on into the mucky swamp that’s swallowed up our institutions. At least we have Eli Lake (who, as you’ll hear, knows everybody) to tour us through the law enforcement agencies who’ve undermined their standing with the public in order to get the guy who they blame for undermining the public’s trust in them…

Also, the hosts chat some about the former rep from Wyoming; a Florida judge who hopes to stop Gov. DeSantis from stopping the woke; Lileks is seeing a resurgence of masking; plus, Rob had lunch with Viktor Orbán!

We Can Never Go Back


“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

I was driving on the old road the other day when I passed the turnoff leading to the house my husband grew up in. It was an older mid-century home, expanded on the footprint of the original farmhouse, surrounded on all sides by old, leafy oaks and ash; a few birch and fir trees obscured the driveway creating a curtain concealing it from the noisy main road beyond. It was a house full of life — until it wasn’t. It sat empty for a while, long enough to erode what man so foolishly thinks can withstand the hands of nature. Developers eventually tore it down. And most of the trees. The empty lot was the monstrosity that preceded the garish monstrosity that was eventually built.

The Burial of a Young Mother


Last October, Mary Teller delivered a baby boy. She and her husband, Jack, named him Grady Augustine. They eagerly introduced him to his 3-year-old sister, Siena Luz. Nine months later, Mary Teller succumbed to an aggressive lymphoma and was buried in the rich earth within sight of the Shenandoah River and the Blue Ridge Mountains in her native Virginia.

Her painful but joy-filled struggle from diagnosis to passing and then burial and beyond had a profound effect on hundreds of people, maybe thousands, maybe more.

I did not know Mary Teller, but I know her mom, dad, and brothers, and so we went along to the wake, the funeral, a massive party, and then followed the internment from afar.

The lights are going out in Europe


And Germany has been the bellwether.  Back in the early 2000s, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party made the momentous decision to begin the energy transition from “fossil fuels” to “renewables” as quickly as they could.  The scare-quotes around both terms are on purpose, because fossil fuels are not fossils (who is to say that the geologic processes which created oil and gas are not still working on Earth?), and renewables are not either green, clean, or necessarily renewable.

Europeans decided decades ago that the entire world needs to immediately change from reliable oil, natural gas, and nuclear power; to intermittent, unreliable wind, solar, and geothermal power.  Germany has been the fastest to make this transition, and most of the rest of Europe has been following.  Many European countries shut down their nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.  When I read about the changes going on in Europe, I said to myself, “Europeans, prepare to freeze in the dark this winter.”

To Have Heroes, You Must Have Villains

Liz Cheney’s martyrdom is catnip for a dwindling number of Republicans who, unable to recognize what time it is, prioritize performative virtue in politics. These people–nearly all suburban, moderate, establishment Republicans employed as conservative columnists–seek their reflection in the politicians they support, because their heroes’ supposedly superior virtue reflects back on them.

Should We Move On from 2020?


Move Along GIF - Move Along Stormtrooper - Discover & Share GIFsSome of us are still talking about the 2020 election.  Some people dare to think–brace yourselves, now–that the election was not entirely ok.  Some of them might even dare to think that certain illegalities might have flipped swing states.  (Gasp!)  Some people even think that the election was rigged or stolen.  (Double gasp!)

But why don’t we just move on?  Why are so many Republicans voting for candidates who think the 2020 election was stolen?  Why do we keep trying to relitigate 2020?  Allow me to explain.

No one I know of is trying to relitigate 2020.  Maybe I’ve missed something, but this looks to me like a misunderstanding–perhaps a cavil, a canard, or a straw man.  All we’re trying to do is: (1) know what happened and (2) reform, as needed, our elections.

I choose my friends carefully. Or, at least, I thought I did.


I’m friends with everybody. I’m even friends with people that I don’t like all that much, if that makes any sense. I like people, in general.  Or at least, I accept them as they are.  And as you might imagine, a person as flawed as I am tends to be very tolerant of the flaws of others. However, despite having lots of friends, I have very few close friends. The type of people that I could call at any time of the day or night, and say, “I have a problem,” and that person would put down the phone and come to my house immediately.  Friends like that are rare.  For me, at least.

“Tom” is one of my closest friends.  We’ve known each other for over 20 years.  We’ve built barns and decks together.  We’ve done electrical work and plumbing together.  We’ve run duct work, worked on cars, welded trailers together, and done I don’t even know what else together.  We’ve also sat around a lot of campfires and drank a lot of beer together.  And bourbon.  And moonshine (that Tom made himself – great stuff).  Tom is a hard-working man of faith and integrity, and I trust him implicitly.  He was always great with my kids, and was a true asset to our little community in the mountains of East Tennessee.  Anyone that had a problem could just call Tom.  He could fix anything, and was happy to help anyone.  And he could always call me to come help fix whatever it was.  We understand each other.

A friend called me one day and told me that Tom’s house had been raided by the police.  They took his computer etc, saying that he had been downloading child pornography.  They told him that they would analyze his files, and would be back to arrest him in a few months.  I told my friend that the police were out of their freaking minds.  My friend said no, he had inside information, and it was true.  I hung up on him.  Bull crap.  Obviously.  Sheesh.  That was a few months ago, and I haven’t spoken to my friend since then.

Please, no more Woodstocks


Watching a rather horrifying documentary on Netflix about Woodstock 99. The imdb reviews are scornful: it wasn’t that bad and they’re blaming men for it! Well, I don’t know who else you’re going to blame; you don’t see a seething mass of drunken shirtless women screaming WHOOO at the camera or trying to tear down the festival infrastructure because Limp Bizkit riled them up. 

I don’t remember any cultural impact of the even, aside from eye-rolling at trying to reprise the “Woodstock Spirit” of swaying to hippie sounds or tripping to Hendrix while you stink worse than you’ve ever stunk before, and totter off to a nearby copse to squat out whatever you ate the day before. The whole mystique is lost on me. It seems like the original was a nightmare of bad hygiene and music of varying qualities, subsequently regarded as a utopian moment for the high holy Boomer movement. I have an allergic reaction to all that stuff. 

Black Nationalism


Racial identity has been a priority for black Americans since the end of the civil rights movement. According to a recent Pew Report, 74 percent of black adults regard being black as either extremely important (52 percent) or very important (22 percent) to their identity. By comparison, 15 percent of white adults see race as central to their identity. Pride in one’s racial or ethnic identity can be a good thing. But American black identity has come to be too narrowly defined by—and dependent on—consciousness of racial victimization.

As a black man, I can report that defining ourselves as racial victims serves no good purpose. It encourages a negative self-image and an unduly mistrustful account of American society. If blacks have not reached socioeconomic parity with whites, this fact is treated as proof of “systemic racism.” This ­diagnosis precludes a more nuanced assessment, which would consider marriage rates, family structures, educational aspirations, and other cultural factors. With their talk of systemic racism, black activists and white allies may imagine they are promoting justice and black uplift. In truth, they are exacerbating an identity crisis.

The Betrayal of the ‘Inflation Reduction’ Act


Manchin and Sinema had a chance to go down in history as heroes. They courageously withstood withering criticism to save the republic from trillions of dollars of inflation–fanning intergenerational theft.

But finally they fell for the oldest trick in the book – the “dad can I have a pony” swindle, traditionally practiced by clever youngsters who were willing to settle for a puppy in the first place. Exhausted by the mental energy required to resist intraparty pressure and not wanting to be responsible for poor election outcomes, they caved.

The King welcomes Alvino-Mario Fantini, Editor-in-Chief of The European Conservative, Europe’s premier conservative English-language quarterly journal of philosophy, politics, and the arts. His work has appeared in such publications as The American Spectator, Crisis, The New Criterion, Far Eastern Economic Review, Catholic World Report, The American Conservative, and The Wall Street Journal. Mario serves on the board of the Center for European Renewal, and is a member of the Philadelphia Society, Mont Pelerin Society, and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques.

We talk about the conservative renewal in places like Hungary and Poland, the future of the right in Europe, and the differences between European and American conservatism. Subscribe to the King of Stuff Spotify playlist featuring picks from the show. This week, Jon recommends “Radio Free Europe,” by R.E.M.

The Left’s Eternal Attack


When the USSR collapsed 30 years ago, it never occurred to anybody that the next major assault on constitutional democracy and western culture would be led by the world’s richest people.  Communism was ever the plaything of unhappy middle-class intellectuals. The concern for the workers was usually eyewash and the appearance of compassion was an artifact of the hatred for the status quo, itself the presumed root of all injustice.

But who would have guessed that after the stunning political triumph accompanied by decades of unimagined wealth creation, many if not most of the most favored beneficiaries of that victory would turn against their own cultural and legal heritage that has bestowed so much good on so many?  Not just a few spoiled heiresses and party boys seeking action and meaning by joining The Revolution but the movers and shakers are themselves lining up against the existing order.  Not just to make more money in the time-honored tradition of corruption, money, and power but a concerted effort to undo the entire culture and political order.

Most people will do almost anything to avoid being embarrassed, why is why, as Rob Long explains, embarrassment is the key to making something truly funny. But there’s a difference between personal mortification — “someone saw my nudes on my phone” — and professional humiliation — “I did a stupid thing in a meeting.” The latter can be used effectively as a way to build morale on a writing staff, or it can be deployed more nefariously to cause someone to leave the business entirely. Also, Rob cautions his listeners against committing the most ignominious act of self-humiliation: complimenting a show <em>not</em> on the network you are working with. Oops.

Quote of the Day: Calling Out Fellow Republicans


Gov. Ron DeSantis calls out his own party–

‘If they get majorities in the Congress, I’m sick of them talking,’ he said during the ‘Victory Dinner’ event as dessert was being served. ‘I’m sick of them telling us what they’re going to do. I’m sick of them going on cable and doing this, and prattling. In Florida we don’t just talk, we do,’ he added.

When you contemplate the changes that might actually happen in Congress after the November elections, do you think anything will be different? I think Gov. DeSantis is in the ideal position to lecture Republicans in Congress on actually doing something. He’s repeatedly demonstrated taking action: defying the federal government to assist Floridians regarding the pandemic, protecting our children from early gender training, to the corruption of our school curricula; preventing banks from discriminating against customers who might not fit their criteria for “woke” corporations. He doesn’t just speak out; he initiates legislation and takes the continual onslaught of criticism.

All This and the ‘Blue Screen of Death’


It is clear that the “Inflation Reduction Act” isn’t. I just read an article in Bloomberg News that Bill Gates had a large part in convincing Sen. Manchin (D-WV) to support what is now called the “Climate Bill.” One of the galling quotes (from Gates) is:

“The Inflation Reduction Act’s passage through Congress is nothing short of extraordinary.” He continued: “This $369 billion investment will spark innovation, drive job creation, and reduce energy prices and emissions. It sets a clear example of what serious climate action looks like.”

Allow Me to Cheer You Up


Well, not me personally, of course.  I’ve been having some problems seeing the bright side of things here recently.  But JP Sears posted a video yesterday which I found fascinating.  I know that many Ricochetti don’t often watch linked videos (Ricochetti such as your humble scribe, for example), but I assure you that this is worth 13 minutes of your time.  Mr. Sears is known for his oddball video spoofs which usually contain a few brilliant insights hidden beneath the goofy presentation.  But this is a serious video, in which he explains how he came to believe that evil actually exists.

That doesn’t sound all that cheerful, but he also explains why he thinks that good is very likely to win over evil, and what each of us can do personally to help achieve this victory.  He acknowledges that he is not a philosopher or a Biblical scholar, but just briefly explains how he arrived at these conclusions.  I find it interesting not because he’s shed new light on human nature (and he doesn’t claim to do so), but I find it interesting because I strongly suspect that he is not the only one thinking along these lines today.  And I suspect that his message resonates with a growing proportion of the population.  Check it out:

We Need More Whistleblowers


Identifying the truth from the Biden administration is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s probably even harder than that. Members of the administration, including Joe Biden, have no reservations about lying, mischaracterizing, and distorting information. Whatever information they give to the public is all for a good cause: increasing the power and influence of the Progressive Left. Truth is irrelevant; persuasion is the ultimate victory.

But lately, we may be seeing some employees of the government who aren’t as convinced as they once were that the cause is the priority. We’ve seen an increase of whistleblowers, calling out the Biden Administration, including their co-workers, supervisors and managers. Is it possible that employees are beginning to realize that there are benefits that are gained by reporting those who are deceiving the American public? Have they suddenly developed a conscience? Has the environment become more receptive to whistleblowers, who might finally have had enough of the collusion with bad actors? There are probably a number of factors at play, but I thought it would be worthwhile to learn why these people are coming forward, and determine if we can encourage more people to speak out.

One of the most recent whistleblower complaints was made to Senator Charles Grassley regarding the Hunter Biden case:

Liz Cheney and the Death of the “Expert”


Let me begin by congratulating Harriet Hageman for her victory yesterday. I hope she wins in November and represents Wyoming and America well during her tenure in Congress.

The best thing to come out of our two years with COVID is a general and growing skepticism of “experts.” We’ve been lied to, ineptly led, treated like children, ignored, censored, and told what’s good for us by people who think they know better than we do what’s good for us.

Alaska’s Primary Debacle


Since a number of Alaskans are confused about this year’s primary, I suspect most of you are as well. Here’s a little clarification:

  1. This is an open primary which means political parties have nothing to do with it. Everyone who paid money to be on the ballot is on the same ballot. The top four vote-getters (regardless of political affiliation) will move on to the general election in November. There were ten choices for Governor, perhaps just as many for senate. The congressional seat was also included in this open primary format and the top four candidates (including Sarah Palin) will be going at it again in November. So Lisa Murkowski winning tonight doesn’t mean she’s the Republican nominee, it just means she gets to move on along with the other Republican nominee(s).
  2. There was also a separate “special” election on the other side of the ballot to temporarily replace Don Young’s vacant House seat. The winner of this will be a House member for three months until the general election decides the permanent replacement. Don’t ask me why they did it this way; it’s stupid…and expensive, just like everything the suits in Juneau do.
  3. The “special” election – that is to say, “special” like the guy nobody wants to get into a conversation with on the bus- is ranked choice. That means that if nobody gets a majority of the votes, the machines get to do some algebra to decide a winner based on people’s second, third, and fourth votes. It’s a system designed for fraud and there are some very overpriced nerds probably programming in that result as we speak.

Liz Cheney is the Real Threat to our Republic


I write in response to a post today by Gary Robbins, “The Great Task”: Liz Cheney’s Closing Campaign Ad.  I think that I have something to say about this that should be addressed in a post, not a comment.  I hope you won’t mind.

In the comments to his post, Gary challenged us to take the time to listen to this 141 second campaign ad.  Gary, my friend, I did so.  I am actually appalled by what Cheney said.  Here is the full text of her comments (from this transcription at Cheney’s campaign website).  The highlights are mine:

A Mighty Fine Rant


Ranty Amy Curtis gets her rant on. And it’s barn-burner…

Every single member of the Washington Generals of Punditry has betrayed every principle they claimed to have. On abortion. On taxes. On foreign policy. Every last one. And why? Because hating Trump is more important and lucrative than those principles. They have literally endorsed Democrats — including the barley sentient vegetable currently occupying the Oval Office — because of their unhinged hatred of Trump. And his voters.