As the president spends his final days in office embattled, progressives in Congress, Silicon Valley, and the incoming administration seize on the opportunity to mount new offensives against the Right. Will conservative populism survive the onslaught? Victor Davis Hanson explores that question and others in the newest installment of The Classicist.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Surviving a Siege Mentality

 

Much of the country feels we are going through a civil war; it just hasn’t been formally declared yet, although many of us have said that the last four years have felt like a war. The current environment is so detrimental to our country that I fear for our wellbeing, mentally and physically.

If you ask the people whose homes and businesses have been destroyed, they would likely tell you how devastated they feel. Their entire lives may have been invested in starting their businesses. Sacrifices were made, economically and relationally. They thought they were in a great country, where they could thrive and reap the benefits of a free society. And then in one vicious attack, it was all taken away. Their hopes and dreams were tossed onto the ash heap. And if it felt like a war, they had no one to protect them, and often couldn’t protect themselves. Now they are trapped in a nightmare with little relief.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Your Opinion on Impeachment

 

I’d like to gauge the extent of support for, or opposition to, impeachment among the Ricochetti. Here’s what I ask you to do: I’m going to set forth two questions, and if you’re interested in participating, I ask that you answer them in the comments. This will work better if you refrain from commenting or arguing, and simply state your answers.

The two questions are:

As we post this podcast, the US has vaccinated about 2 percent of its population, Canada is at 0.5 percent, France is at 0.001 percent, and Israel? 20 percent. By the end of this week, Israel will have vaccinated two-thirds of its population over 60 years old and most of the country’s medical staff, at which point they will all be called back for their second vaccination.

According to international studies, Israel’s healthcare system has been ranked among the most efficient in the world. And due to big data and AI, the Israeli health system is certainly one of the most digitally advanced.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Fortress DC: ‘Your Papers, Please’

 

I have lived and worked in the DC metro area for more than 50 years. I have seen or joined numerous large demonstrations prompted by civil rights, the Vietnam War, abortion, and/or the Tea Party. I recall the 1968 riots after the assassination of MLK and saw the aftermath of the more recent Floyd rioting.

With the exception of the 1968 Riots, I have never seen such a comprehensive response by authorities as is currently underway in anticipation of the Biden inauguration. Never this far in advance for anything. Downtown streets are closed and every Metro train station within a 100-block area is to be closed a full week in advance of the event. Downtown is almost empty and (mostly unmarked) cars with flashing lights are blocking the single lane entrance to the affected roads each with large concrete barriers. There are now actually more police on the street on K Street than civilian pedestrians.

Yesterday, our office needed a service call for the A/C in the computer server room. (We are aberrant–we almost never close and we show up despite weather, riots, fascism, and/or pandemics and the existence of Zoom and Teams.) To arrange that visit, we needed to email a service request in writing so the company could print it out to be shown to the police to prove the tech has a valid reason for entering the cordoned zone. His truck was still banned so he had to park outside the zone and come on foot carrying tools and testing equipment. He was permitted to do that even though he fit the new dangerous profile: a working-class white guy in work boots and jeans–with tools.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Marsh v. Alabama: Amazon, Google, Apple, and Twitter

 

Does ownership convey complete dominion?

The First Amendment does not apply to private parties, only the State, therefore a private business can prohibit speech with impunity. That’s the familiar argument. What is not so familiar is that that’s not the law of the land. We do respect the rule of law don’t we? Most everyone in America just spent the last week thumping their chests and proclaiming utmost respect for the rule of law. OK, then. Let’s follow the existing law. In a direct conflict between property rights and the rights protected by the First Amendment, the applicable law is contained in the 1946 Supreme Court case of Marsh v. Alabama. Spoiler alert – the First Amendment wins.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. GA State Senators Who Wanted to Investigate Fraud Stripped of Committee Assignments

 

Source: The Tennessee Star

ATLANTA, Georgia – Two Georgia state senators who said they wanted to fight for the state’s election integrity after the November 2020 presidential election learned Tuesday they will not chair committees that they previously presided over.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Silicon Valley vs. Free Speech

 

Suddenly, free speech is in serious trouble.

Six years ago, CEO Jack Dorsey could proclaim “Twitter stands for freedom of expression. We stand for speaking truth to power.“ Last week, Dorsey and other big tech titans unleashed a massive speech suppression initiative, based on the notion that not only President Trump, but also anyone who supported him, including conservatives and Republicans en masse, must be silenced in the interest of public safety.

The silencing was comprehensive and ruthless. Recently increased censorship in social media had all been directed to the right. Then Facebook and Twitter joined in a permanent ban of the president. It was necessary to silence the President of the United States, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, because his claims of voter fraud were false and it would be dangerous to allow him to keep making them.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Ты куда?”: Where has Russia’s Brain Gone? (Borscht Report #6)

 

The утечка мозгов/brain drain has been a concern for Russia since the 1990s, when the collapse of the USSR and the resulting political and economic chaos pushed those with sufficient means and desire to escape to do just that. All told, about 2.5 million Russians of various ethnic and economic backgrounds left the country between 1989 and 1999, heading predominantly for the US, Israel, and the EU, especially Germany. Despite the massive gains which the Russian economy saw in the first decade of the 21st century, a further 1.6-2 million people have fled the country since 2000. It would be easy to posit that this is mostly the result of economic issues in the country brought about by Western sanctions and the fall in hydrocarbon prices, or a lack of high paying jobs for skilled people. And these are issues, but a more interesting, and telling, one is at play when we parse the data before and after 2012. 

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Living in the Hate of the Common People, continued

 

In late December, I posted Living in the Hate of the Common People, which was inspired by the comment of an anti-Brexit Brit who said “I think we need to find a way to stop the working class from voting altogether” and also “Idiots and racists shouldn’t be able to ruin the lives of people who do well in life by voting for things they don’t understand. The problem in this country boils down to low information morons having the ability to vote.” I cited other examples of the same kind of thinking.

Yesterday, it was reported (by Veritas) that a lawyer employed by PBS had resigned after being caught saying things like it was “great” that coronavirus cases were spiking in red states because they might infect Trump voters and suggested that Republican voters should have their children put in re-education camps.

Donald Trump is now the only president ever impeached twice. Yes, that says a lot about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s, and the Democratic Party’s, obsessive quest to remove him from office. But the impeachment is also the result of a disastrous turn in Trump’s presidency since the November 3 election. The turn was so consequential that it makes sense to divide Trump’s term into the time before November 3, 2020, and then what happened after. With the notable exception of the COVID vaccine, everything Trump did after the election has led to catastrophe for himself, the Republican Party, and the nation. And it all stemmed from one decision: Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Is Loyalty a Meaningless Word?

 

Does anyone care about loyalty anymore? Loyalty to principles, country, people and institutions seems to be disappearing, or its meaning has been manipulated to meet a multitude of agendas. And along with all the other cultural disruptions, the state of loyalty is endangered.

We used to believe that loyalty to principles was a significant commitment. It’s not that we couldn’t examine, evaluate or discuss all principles, but we pursued activities to better understand them, to learn how our principles interfaced with the principles of others, or even how we might act to uphold them. We were both proud of and humbled by the principles we held, and looked for opportunities to realize them in our lives. And yet many have embraced a loyalty of convenience—they’ll put their chips where they can get the most power and leverage. There is moral relativism as well, where everyone gets to decide for him or herself what matters and what is sacred.

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I have been an active poster and commenter on Ricochet since the beginning; way back when Peter came down the mountain with the Code of Conduct and Rob was still scribbling graffiti on the side of NRO cruise ships.

The concept and the membership really haven’t changed much. Contributors come and go. Ever more podcasts elbow each other for a place in the spotlight. We have more options on the site now, like groups and private messages. We have more meetups. Ne’er-do-wells are still sacrificed to the PIT.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Love This Fence Outside the Capitol

 

This fence is my photo of the week. Thanks to Architectus for the photo. Unfortunately, it should have been in place on January 5th outside the Capitol building. This fence would have prevented the launching of a thousand posts, media punditry, and stupid comments from Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer. The impeachment word would have disappeared, as well as hundreds of thousands of comments.

One woman and one Capitol police officer might still be alive if this fence had been in place on January 5th. We wouldn’t have been subjected to videos of violent morons trashing the interior of the Capitol. We wouldn’t have had to listen to morons that were silent for months on violence in American cities that were subjected to mostly peaceful protests. There were a lot of rioters that got their Christmas shoplifting done in those summer months.

The King of Stuff suffers déjà vu as the House of Representatives impeaches President Trump again. Jon takes on Pelosi’s gambit, McConnell’s refusal, and Big Tech’s cancel campaign. Oh, and shortwave radio. Subscribe to the King of Stuff Spotify playlist featuring picks from Jon and his guests. This week, Jon selects “Carousels” by Doves.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Trump’s Bitter Denouement

 

As this essay is written, it is certain that President Donald J. Trump will be out of office by noon on January 20. What is not certain is the manner of his departure. He may leave earlier by resignation, under the complex provisions of the 25th Amendment, or by impeachment followed by trial. Much depends on the interpretation given to the tumultuous events of January 6. The proposed articles of impeachment are likely to stress that Trump incited riots, insurrections, or worse.

It is here that we need to inject a note of caution. Proof of those powerful charges is a complex issue because of the causal question of the relationship between what Trump said to his supporters and the indisputable acts of violence that took place at the Capitol. The physical movements, motivations, and timing of many individuals must be examined closely, which means that it is impossible to allow for adequate preparation of defense during the next nine days. There are still further questions of exactly who did what inside the Capitol, in light of the manifest shortcomings of the Capitol police. Their lack of preparedness and, at times, seeming acquiescence to the crowds outside likely amplified the negative consequences of Trump’s actions.

One can be deeply critical of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the Electoral College and still acknowledge that the fundamental protections of procedural due process apply with special urgency to disfavored and despised individuals. Contrary to a growing narrative, there are also reasons to question whether his conduct amounts to either an insurrection or a coup. There is simply no time for adequate consideration of articles of impeachment, let alone for conviction after trial.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It Ain’t Necessarily So

 

Capital buildingI do not know what really happened in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 . . . and neither do you. First reports are seldom conclusive, often confused, sometimes flat wrong. We live in an environment where people have learned to spin and twist every institution and form of media, seeking to shape our society through our ever more intrusive politics. Not only is history written by the victors, so is the entire current narrative, especially as supposed conservatives have joined the left in enabled a handful of billionaires to use the commanding communications high ground to silence and even drive out of business any effective dissent.

I first heard that Trump supporters had stormed Congress and someone was shot. Then I heard the shot was fired not by a “bitter clinger” with a gun but by a Capitol Police officer. Then I heard Congressman Louie Gohmert call the Sean Hannity radio show. He reported that he was on the phone with the Capital Police the evening of January 5, and was told they had intelligence that Antifa was showing up on January 6 wearing pro-Trump gear. Perhaps so. This too ain’t necessarily so.

Before all this, as I sipped my morning cup of coffee, I listened to Mike Rowe’s latest The Way I Heard It podcast episode, released on January 5. “Episode 181: Off by Roughly Two Trillion” was a thoughtful reflection of uncertainty in our world, occasioned by repeated errors or possibly learning across media, academics, politics, science, and medicine. Take a listen, if you will:

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It was a challenge for many of my co-workers to get to the office today. The DC Metropolitan Police have cordoned off more streets and created a much wider security zone than they did for the Antifa/BLM rioting. And this will be in effect until at least Inauguration Day on the 21st. Apparently, the MAGA hordes are deemed to be a far greater threat than invariably violent leftist “demonstrators.” This operant risk assessment seems way out of proportion (the Capitol Hill fiasco notwithstanding) but our rulers see things differently.

The silly caricature of Trump-as-Hitler — and his 70 million voters as dangerous radical haters, barely worthy of citizenship, and certainly not worthy of participating in public discourse — is now not just a Twitter meme but has mutated into an article of faith among well-placed persons.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. GOP: Who Do You Trust?

 

For those whose main concerns are centered around Liberty and the Constitution, the GOP is to be used but never trusted. That has been true for a long time now and has been soaking in to the grass roots at least for a decade while the party’s political class moved deeper into a comfortable denial. Now it is fully visible to all who will see. That political class (and those who imagine themselves to be among them) have always preferred optics over substance as long as they could claim a share of the power.

The “leadership” of the GOP has been tone-deaf to the sense of betrayal they cultivated among those they have taken advantage of for so long. Those “grass roots” deplorables have looked to the GOP as the only vehicle to turn the tide of growing anti-constitutional authoritarianism and centralization for decades now, rejecting calls for a third party. Third party platforms are risky at best and the GOP kept promising, secure that there was nowhere else to turn. They promised but never really intended to rock that boat very much.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Rep. Jim Jordan Seeks to Oust Rep. Liz Cheney from Leadership

 

According to this Politico article, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan plans to move to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her position as the House Republican Conference Chair. Cheney previously announced her support for the impeachment of President Trump. According to the same article, the top two Republicans in the House — Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise — oppose impeachment.

This strikes me as a proper response to Cheney’s action. As I have posted previously, I find the calls for Trump’s impeachment to be a deranged overreaction. It is very disappointing to see some erstwhile conservatives and Republicans supporting such an action.