You have seen many a spy movie or TV show, but the days of fake names and fancy disguises may be behind us because of our digital footprints. Jenna McLaughlin, National security and investigations reporter for Yahoo News, joins Carol Roth to talk about the future of spying and the tremendous piece she recently co-authored for Yahoo News, ‘Shattered’: Inside the secret battle to save America’s undercover spies in the digital age.

Jenna, who is an award-winning investigative journalist focused on national security, technology, and foreign affairs, helps to break down everything from the types of tech that have compromised the use of human intelligence in spying to what it means for CIA recruitment and even implications for your own privacy.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Snapshot: The Kodak Brownie

Advertisement for Kodak Model No 1 (1888)
George Eastman circa 1890

No man did more to bring photography to ordinary people than did George Eastman (1854-1932). Eastman, who had two sisters, was born into a successful family on a small farm in upstate New York. When his father’s health began to fail the family moved to Rochester, NY. His father would die in 1862 when young George was eight and his mother was forced to take in boarders in order to make ends meet.

Among those boarders would be the Henry Strong family. Strong would become and remain a life-long friend and business partner of Eastman (he served as president of Eastman Kodak from its inception until his death in 1919). As for George, he would begin working full time at age 14 as an office boy (his workweek was 10 hours per day, six days per week at $3 per week). Eastman was a smart and diligent young man who was steadily advancing in the work world.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Essence of Conservatism from Sir Roger Scruton


I’m not part of the Quote of the Day group, so I hope I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes by posting this, but when I got this in my feed this morning I knew it had to be disseminated.

“Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. This is especially true of the good things that come to us as collective assets: peace, freedom, law, civility, public spirit, the security of property and family life, in all of which we depend on the cooperation of others while having no means singlehandedly to obtain it. In respect of such things, the work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation slow, laborious and dull. That is one of the lessons of the twentieth century. It is also one reason why conservatives suffer such a disadvantage when it comes to public opinion. Their position is true but boring, that of their opponents exciting but false.” — Sir Roger Scruton 


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Time to Reset the Doomsday Clock of ‘Late Capitalism’


The famous Doomsday Clock — it’s a key visual motif in the Watchmen graphic novel and television miniseries — was created by Manhattan Project scientists as a metaphor to suggest how close mankind might be to global catastrophe, originally atomic war. And over the subsequent seven decades, it seems like we’ve typically been pretty close to disaster. The clock was set at seven minutes to midnight in 1947, and it’s averaged between five and six for more than 20 years. Midnight always looms.

Similarly, so does the end of capitalism. It’s always quite late, apparently. The sun is always setting. German economist Werner Sombart coined the phrase in the early 20th century, and European socialists popularized it during the Great Depression when it probably seemed about 30 seconds to midnight for capitalism. But things were darkest before the dawn. Capitalism survived, flourished, and spread across the globe. And even small doses generated near wondrous improvement.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 10): The Many-Sundered Heart


Nessa-Cthoney’s long golden-green hair went flying back in the storm winds, as flames that had nothing to do with the torches flickering nearby glowed in her eyes like burning embers.

Lightning flashed and glinted over the Death’s Head pin in the witch doctress’s hand as it hovered over the ragged-trousered voodoo doll of the man known as Nemo.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. USA! Four More Years!


Massive cheers erupted for President Trump and Melania as they arrived on the field at the Clemson vs. LSU College Football Game in New Orleans. Unfurling the American flag and the beautiful rendition of the National Anthem brought more cheers. No one taking a knee here!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Make Your Life Matter


“Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.” — Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel, the brilliant writer and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, never lost his will to fight for truth. In part, he wrote to inspire people to embrace their lives, since he knew only too well how short and fragile life could be.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Border Disputes and Gas Fields in the Eastern Mediterranean


A quick update for y’all. A lot of natural gas has been discovered under the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Just this month, Israel has started production in the fields it claims. These fields should meet 100 percent of the needs of Israel, plus allow for exports. Another fr*cking miracle! Israel has been cooperating with Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt and the plan was to export to Europe via undersea pipeline through waters claimed by Greece south of Crete.


Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced their decision to step back from their roles as “senior” members of the British royal family. The Royal family was blindsided by the decision, as they were given little notice, and now it’s raising questions about the future of the British monarchy and how it impacts British politics at large. My guest today is Tom Rogan, he’s a commentary writer with the Washington Examiner, as well as our resident Brit. On today’s show, we’re going to discuss Harry and Meghan’s announcement, why it’s such a big deal, and how it impacts Brexit as well as the future of the United Kingdom. “Hashing it Out” is a podcast hosted by Siraj Hashmi, Washington Examiner’s commentary video editor and writer. Each episode includes a political guest to offer historical context of the news and politics of the day and insight into how we got to where we are. If you want to find the deeper meaning behind current events, then “Hashing it Out” is the podcast for you.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Basia and the Squirrel: Scruton’s Tale of Eros Transubstantiated


“The apostolic church is a church of the heart. When you steal from it you steal the heart. Hence the theft is easy, and amends are long and hard.” A strange way to sum up a story of erotic love. Nonetheless, it was Scruton’s way, as he described, in the second half of his essay, Stealing from Churches, the thwarted love affair that taught him a “narrative of transubstantiation” transmuting body into soul. In truth, the love affair wasn’t thwarted at all, but one that fulfilled its purpose, a purpose his stubborn young beloved, Basia (pronounced “Basha”), saw more clearly than he did.

Scruton had organized a subversive summer school for the Catholic University in Poland, bringing together Polish and English philosophy students to resist communism. Under the codename “Squirrel” (in Polish “Wiewiorka”, for his red hair) and tailed by at least one jug-eared agent, Scruton had stumbled into more James-Bond mystique than most ginger-haired philosophy dons could hope for. It would be almost cliche, then, for an exotic young thing to throw herself at him. Wry-smiling, stunning Basia was no cliche, though. Or rather, if she were, it would be the cliche in a kind of story too little told these days to count as cliche anymore.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: From the Last of the Red-Hot Mamas


“Once you start carrying your own suitcase, paying your own bills, running your own show, you’ve done something to yourself that makes you one of those women men like to call ‘a pal’ and ‘a good sport,’ the kind of woman they tell their troubles to. But you’ve cut yourself off from the orchids and the diamond bracelets, except those you buy yourself.” — Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker was one of the most popular entertainers of the first half of the 20th century. She was born in what is now Ukraine, on January 13, 1886, to a Jewish family who emigrated to Boston shortly after her birth, and which eventually settled in Hartford, CT, where her parents ran a restaurant.


Congresswoman Elise Stefanik recently emerged as a rising star of the GOP for her role in the Trump impeachment hearings. She has long been on the national stage, though, having become the youngest ever Congresswoman when elected at the age of 30 in 2014. Congresswoman Stefanik joined us this week to discuss impeachment, how Republicans can appeal to younger Americans, the GOP’s approach to environmentalism, and more.

Elise Stefanik represents New York’s 21st congressional district. An Albany-native, she earned a BA in Government from Harvard University in 2006.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Conservatives and Gender Nonsense Tolerance


The whole gender identity movement, the so-called “trans” thing, the idea that sex is not biologically determined, the idea that it’s really more complicated than two overlapping bell curves of masculine and feminine traits — all of that seems pretty absurd to me. It also seems important, in that it’s the first time we Americans have been told that we have to profess belief in something patently absurd or face censure in the workplace and society — and possible prosecution in New York City.

I comment on it more often than something as ridiculous as the “trans” movement would seem to deserve. I usually comment about it on Facebook, rather than here, because I assume most people here are broadly in agreement that the whole thing is silly.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Will the Truth Make Any Difference?


For many months I have been trying to be patient, objective and optimistic about the future of our country. I’ve tried to collect as much information as I can to balance the outrageous actions of the FBI and DOJ over the last three years with the efforts that are in progress to get to the truth. The latest report of the FISC appointing David Kris to review the FBI’s changes to their surveillance process reflects the near impossibility of the truth making any difference.

We have seen every level of government, House representatives and department heads complicit in one of the most devastating abuses of power ever seen in government. We also know that John Durham may be our last hope to identify the illegal and unethical activities that have dominated the attacks against the office of the President. But will the truth make any difference?


35 years ago, in January 1985, Secretary of State George Shultz met with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and the President held a press conference to report to the American people. It’s a long conference, so we’ll break it in half in this podcast. You’ll hear Helen Thomas ask him about his Strategic Defense Initiative and US Soviet Arms Agreements. Let’s listen.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Attorney General Barr Speaks Uncomfortable Truths: Terrorism


It is refreshing to have the head of federal law enforcement clearly speak uncomfortable truths that are politically indelicate. Our good friends, the Saudis, sent us a group of their best and brightest with pro-jihadist, anti-American feelings strong enough to overcome any discretion in their social media habits. At the same time, the killer acted without the clear support of the other students, and the Saudi government recalled all the questionable officers, to be dealt with in their own military justice system.


Kevin McLaughlin and Matt Whitlock of the NRSC sit down with Thom Tillis to talk about BBQ, Carolina sports, his dog Mitch, veterans, and play “Who You Would Rather Have in the Senate.”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Good on Trump: Iran


I have a long history of knocking Trump. However, I want to pause for a minute and praise him for Iran. Trump has greatly exceeded my expectations and even my wilder hopes.

First, an American contractor is killed in Iraq.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Fight for Free Speech Against Orwellian Tactics on College Campuses


Intimidation still reigns at many college campuses against students who “frighten others” through their speech. This “problem” is just another way of saying that conservative students are being threatened with punishment if they make statements that the students on the Left see as offensive. I’m all for fighting against the efforts to squelch free speech. But I wonder if some of these efforts are always helpful.

A fairly new organization, Speech First, is championing students’ rights to free speech. Speech First, in part, explains their goals:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The NEPA Stranglehold


This month marks the 50-year anniversary of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which, when passed, was hailed as one of the key building blocks of the modern environmental movement. When speaking about NEPA recently, President Donald Trump denounced the law. Because of NEPA, many of “America’s most critical infrastructure projects have been tied up and bogged down by an outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process.” The “endless delays” generated by this ongoing “regulatory nightmare,” he went on, snatch jobs from “our nation’s incredible workers,” who are unable “to build new roads, bridges, tunnels [and] highways bigger, better [and] faster.” He then offered a suite of regulatory reforms for NEPA that “will reduce traffic in our cities, connect our rural communities, and get Americans where they need to go more quickly and more safely.”

His Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) just published in the Federal Register a detailed and lengthy report that proposes a mix of substantive and procedural reforms to break the logjam. What is most notable about Trump’s proposed reforms is that they are all incremental. They try to tweak through regulation a broken statute instead of working to replace it with a sounder remedial structure, which is the only way to fix the current unsatisfactory status quo.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Australia: Selling the Narrative


The famous dictum of Rahm Emanuel never to let a crisis go to waste is being applied with full force using the Australian wildfires. Much of the world now tacitly believes this ancient seasonal event is the result of climate change. The doctrinaire leftist Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) is leading the charge. In the US, NPR and the rest of the hive are dutifully selling the same narrative. Some facts they will ignore as inconvenient:

  • Australia has suffered wildfires every dry season since before recorded history. Aboriginal peoples used controlled burning both to prevent larger fires and to keep an optimal distribution of open grassland, scrub brush and forest for hunting. That practice (which was highly precise) goes back centuries, maybe millennia, through periods of relative cold and relative warming. The notion that modern greenies who oppose all controlled burning are somehow more in tune with nature than the aborigines is simply stupid and probably also racist and Eurocentric.
  • The worst Australian wildfire season in modern times was 1974, which was colder and wetter year than average. The amount of land affected was 10-20 times the current wildfire damage.
  • There is no trend toward greater frequency and extent of Australian wildfires (unless one cherry-picks data and starts counting in 1975 — even then it is a very weak trend).
  • There is no drying trend in Australia as predicted by the sacred Climate Models. There is instead a steady increase in average precipitation over the last 100 years.
  • Globally, the frequency of and land affected by wildfires is declining, which should not be the case if there were a correlation with climate change.

In order to sell the climate change narrative, ABC has gone to some lengths to crush discussion of any causes other than climate change. For example, we are not allowed to consider that the failure to take preventive measures (i.e., firebreaks, brush removal, controlled burning) is ever a contributing factor. This ABC story of protestors successfully blocking preventive measures in Nowa Nowa this year has since been conveniently deleted. (For reference, Nowa Nowa is about 10 miles west of Wombat Creek, if that helps. That area was hammered by fires — maybe they should have done more prevention.)


On January 11, Taiwan held its seventh consecutive election for President and ninth national election for its Legislative Yuan. It is an event certain to have an impact on its security and prosperity, its role in the world, on US-Taiwan relations, and cross-straits relations. Please join The Heritage Foundation and Global Taiwan Institute to assess the election results.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Pot – Weed – Marijuana – Cannabis


That is what is emblazoned on a mailing that we received prior to Christmas. The words are huge and white, followed by “It doesn’t matter what you call it, MAKE IT LEGAL. Immediate action required – send your personalized petition and mail it back today – free!” I looked at my “personalized petition” and it contained the voter’s information printed on the three-fold flyer, of both my husband and I, including our full address, and our voter registration numbers. All we had to do was sign it and pop in the mail, no postage needed! It came from “Make It Legal Florida” in Tallahassee.

It then states that the “form” if mailed, will become a “public record” upon its filing with the Supervisor of Elections, because apparently, it is a planned Amendment. The amendment is titled “Adult Use of Marijuana,” and gives a ballot summary. The big glossy, colored flyer gives some incentives. They are as follows:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump’s Sins


Because I try to be reasonably self-consistent, I occasionally find myself wondering about the apparent inconsistencies in the way I felt about President Obama and the way I feel about President Trump. In particular, I ask myself why I’m willing to give the latter a pass on so much with which I really don’t approve while being much less lenient with the former.

I wanted to know about the terrorists and bigots in Obama’s past, about his affiliations with socialists, about his speeches to anti-Semitic groups, etc., because I thought that Obama himself was motivated, at least in part, by animus toward the country I love. I have always believed that he thought America is too big for her britches, a country in need of being taken down a notch, too proud and too self-confident — a country that must atone for her sins. I think his past associations hinted at that, and I think he often governed with those motives in mind.


This week on the United Kingdom’s Fastest Growing and Most Trusted Podcast®, James and Toby discuss (what else?) the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s ‘conscious uncoupling” from the Royal Family and speculate about the source of Meghan’s power over Harry.

Then it’s on to the lack of diversity in the Oscar and BAFTA nominations, their fair-weather Brexit friends and the untimely death of Sir Roger Scruton. (Links to Toby and James’ written tributes can be found here.)