On the most recent edition of the Ricochet Podcast, former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy was our guest to discuss the Michael Flynn case. In the course of that conversation, Andy mentioned to Rob that perhaps it might be valuable to have a longer, in depth conversation about the details of the case then was possible in a single guest segment on the Ricochet Podcast. As we are never one to let an opportunity to let a great guest give us more time go to waste, here is that conversation.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Corruption


I just finished Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite by Peter Schweizer. I would recommend it highly, but only in chunks of no more than a chapter at a time. Your blood pressure won’t take any more.

Each chapter focuses on a different politician: Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Eric Garcetti. The author has already treated the Clintons in a separate book — Clinton Cash.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Beauty Goes Beast-mode


The opening moments of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s second press conference called to mind a dominant mixed martial arts fighter taking down her opponent in the very first exchange of a championship bout. Since the UFC rules provide for championship fights of 5 five minute rounds, it was fitting that McEnany closed out the briefing in just under 25 minutes. I thought of women’s featherweight and bantamweight champion Amanda “Lioness” Nunes, but then thought that, in terms of style, Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko was a better analogy.

What on earth am I talking about? Mixed martial arts have become just that, taking successful techniques from all unarmed “pure” combat sports. You may recall that an Olympic judoka, Ronda Rousey, established women’s place in the UFC. You may not know that she was ultimately driven out of the sport by effective strikers, ultimately dispatched to big time wrastlin’ by Amanda Nunes’ devastating combination of punches and Brazilian jujitsu takedown and grappling defense.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Merry May Is Mary’s Month


Here at Toad Hall we love to celebrate in the month of May by hosting a Crowning for Our Lady. This traditional Catholic devotion involves making a crown of flowers for a statue of Mary and placing them on her head, accompanied with prayers and singing. As a child, I participated with my school. As a homeschooling mom, I’ve hosted or at least organized somewhere on the order of ten to fifteen May crownings.

Yesterday it was so beautiful, if chilly, here in New York that I called up my parents and invited them over to pray, sing and share some fellowship and lemon cake with us. 


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 114: COVID-19 Bill Kristol’s Fevered Dream


One of the most fearful aspects of COVID-19 is whether it could really deliver the presidency into the hands of Nancy Pelosi. This isn’t as farfetched as I truly wish it to be; both the President and the Vice President at ages 73 and 60 respectively are in an age range at higher risk. Both men’s vitality is evident so even if infected would not in and of itself trigger Bill Kristol’s fantasy. And this is just Kristol’s latest ploy. Earlier he was fantasizing about the 25th Amendment removal of Trump:


On February 6, 2020, the Gray Center hosted a public policy conference on “Bureaucracy and Presidential Administration: Expertise and Accountability in Constitutional Government.” The conference was inspired in part by James Q. Wilson’s book, Bureaucracy, and Elena Kagan’s article, “Presidential Administration.” The panel sessions centered around new papers the Gray Center helped to incubate on the history of civil service; on presidential power; on bureaucracy; and on several other important questions of expertise and accountability. Keynote remarks on “The Need for Professionalism” were given by Jonathan Rauch, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The first panel examined the bureaucracy, the presidency, and the origins of federal civil service. It focused on a new paper titled, “From Merit to Expertise and Back: The Evolution of the U.S. Civil Service System,” by Joseph Postell of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He was joined in discussion by Claremont McKenna College’s Andrew E. Busch and Virginia Tech’s Brian J. Cook. The panel was moderated by Melanie Marlowe of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The paper and video are available at: https://administrativestate.gmu.edu/events/bureaucracy-and-presidential-administration/.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Nation of Sheep?


Ronald Reagan warned us back in 1964 about following the dictates of a small political elite in a faraway capital. He warned us about socialized medicine. He warned us about the massive size and power of the federal government. And he warned us about taking a step into a thousand years of darkness. But that was so long ago and real history is not taught in schools anymore. Americans got distracted. Americans became spoiled and complacent. Too many Americans have come to believe that a small political elite does know better and can care for them better than they can care for themselves.

Allow me to propose a thought experiment: Based on what we’ve all witnessed in the last few months, is there a state in the Union, given a public health or climate crisis, that couldn’t flip into a nascent totalitarian police state? Texas and South Dakota, generally, and for the time being have been saner until the day that they turn blue. But more regrettably and more generally, governors, mayors, city councils, boards of supervisors, and leaders in law enforcement, no matter the political affiliation, have shown that they are more than willing to ignore the Constitution and stifle basic freedoms that Americans once took for granted. And based on what? Solid science? Or poorly done science and faulty computer models that pointed to panic scenarios?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mighty Mueller Has Struck Out But the Fabulous Fauci is the New Woke Wonder


Remember the way the left was about Mueller: He was almost like a religious leader. If you touch Mueller you will pay for it, they bellowed and threatened. So they kept their precious Mueller and his investigation until, finally, it was time for Mueller to produce. The Mighty Mueller struck out and there was no joy in Wokeville.

However, idiot hope springs eternal in the hearts of the goofy woke. Once again they have found a champion. The Fabulous Fauci has been telling Trump phony horror stories from day one and the MSM keeps the myth alive. Everybody in the entire world, even without the intelligence services of six different countries, confirm it knows that China lied in an incredibly dangerous fashion. For six weeks they knew of the danger but continued to tell the world that COVID-19 wasn’t transmissible from human to human. This lie alone, backed by China’s kept WHO, was inexcusable. This lie alone was an act of war. If you still cling to the fantasy that the Chinese didn’t know, a second fact should end that fantasy. China restricted travel to and from Wuhan for the rest of China but they allowed flights to and from Wuhan to the rest of the world! Guilty as charged.


With states beginning to reopen and politics beginning to heat up, it feels like we’re in the eye of the storm – past the covid-19 hammer and preparing for the election maelstrom to come. CNN political analyst Harry Enten joins the Horse Race to help us make sense of this moment, while White House correspondent Debra Saunders gives us a behind the scenes look at covering Trump during the pandemic. All this and a look at how politicians use humor in their ads to make their points in Ad of the Week – only on the Horse Race!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Ricochet COVID Symposium: Housecleaning Business In Freefall


[Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of contributions from our members and friends about the hidden costs of the COVID crisis. You can read more about our symposium and how to contribute here. The following is a submission by the woman whose crew cleaned our Editor Bethany Mandel’s house before she moved in in April.]

COVID-19 has been a disaster not only for my personal life but also for my business. When I first started to hear about the pandemic on the news I did not imagine that it would have such a negative effect on our economy, health, and personal relationships.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Judge May Be an Ass: Clarifying That ‘If?’


It seems like forever ago but just four days ago over at the Flynn and the FBI post:

philo: For the record, the way this went down leaves me wondering if the judge would have done the right thing if the game was allowed to play out. Given what we’ve seen from the greater judiciary in the Age of Trump, that certainly remains a very big “if.”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lost … and Bonkers


This story from Wired is about the behavior of people who get lost in the woods, and features a search that the Maine Warden Service conducted, at great cost in time, treasure, and heartache, over many, many fruitless months. Middle-aged retired nurse and Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Gerry Largay’s body was ultimately found, accidentally and fortuitously, by a forest surveyor.

As you might imagine, it was an appalling ordeal for Mrs. Largay’s family and a big deal and painful failure for the searchers. That failure is painful and feels personal.


Everyone is here and the guys have a long discussion about the Michael Flynn case and the dropping of charges by the Justice Department. It’s a mess and even those critical of Trump and Flynn are not thrilled with how this played out, including the co-hosts.

The Democrats want to see Trump’s financial documents. Trump refused and now the Supreme Court will make the decision. Is it legitimate or nothing but a means to embarrass Trump?


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why End the Shutdown?


I can think of four pretty straightforward arguments in favor of ending the mandated shutdown. The first three will fall on deaf ears for those of the “even one death is too many” way of thinking: it’s fundamentally un-American to take away the people’s rights without an overwhelming and existential justification; the US economy and critical infrastructure are being wrecked, with serious long-term consequences that will likely exceed the cost of the disease itself; and the shutdown is likely shifting unavoidable illness a bit into the future at an enormous and largely avoidable cost.

A fourth argument for ending the shutdown might gain some traction with our friends on the left. At the very least, it’s likely to be harder to answer with the usual you’re-putting-money-before-lives accusation.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Michael Flynn’s Political Enemies


An unfortunate if longstanding political brawl intensified last week. The Department of Justice, acting under Attorney General William Barr, filed a motion (the Barr Report) in the Federal District Court for Washington DC asking that the criminal charges brought by Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office against Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI be dropped “with prejudice,” which means the case cannot be brought again by any future—read Democratic—administration. The original guilty plea was secured on December 1, 2017. This was over ten months after two FBI agents interviewed Flynn on January 24, 2017, concerning conversations he had with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, before Donald Trump was inaugurated as President.

Liberal commentators have rushed to denounce the decision as purely political, but they present a weak case against Barr’s motion to set aside the guilty plea, which they argue is yet the latest chapter in the Trump coverup that began with Barr’s criticism of the Mueller report of March 2019.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Ricochet COVID Symposium: An ‘Essential’-Eyed View


“Migrant Mother” by Dorothea Lange.
I’m an hourly worker at a neighborhood pet supplies store. I never considered myself an “essential” worker. That was a term I used to refer to my paternal grandfather who, as a railroad engineer during World War II, was prohibited from joining the military. March 25 was the day Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced a statewide “stay-at-home” order. It was the day I learned I was an “essential worker” in COVID America.

In the days after the initial lockdown order, the chaos was almost overwhelming. What the run on toilet paper was to the grocery stores, dog and cat food was to my store. People were panic buying cartloads of food. Bags were gone as fast as they were stocked. The initial emergency state proclamation was for two weeks. For the most part, people were understanding, but nervous. Two weeks was do-able. Inundated with news reports about the dire situation in New York City was enough to sacrifice daily routines and a paycheck or two to prevent a similar catastrophe here. But then…we weren’t another New York City. Minnesotans held their breath, pensively, for another two-week extension. Thankfully the projected 75,000 deaths never materialized. But still, the call for sacrifice rang loud and clear.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Health, Privacy, and Shin Bet Surveillance


Israel is re-opening the economy, and the world is watching our success story against COVID-19. Many parameters probably played a role in reducing the health impact of the virus. Still, it seems that closing the borders early and the outstanding behavior of the population are the main factors. The overwhelming majority of Israelis agreed to make drastic changes to save lives. This behavior isn’t unusual, Israelis live permanently in a state of emergency, almost instinctively, we come together in solidarity and unity at times of danger. But, the citizens also dictated the end of the strict lockdowns when the economic and emotional cost became unbearable. As days passed, and the virus felt less devastating than previously thought citizens demanded an end of the restrictions, leaving no choice to our government than to relax the most coercive legislation.

However, there is a tool that our government used during this crisis: military-grade surveillance on private citizens, and even as we return to our “normal” life, this monitoring persists. The use of such surveillance was defended as a tool for saving lives through contact tracing of the infection. It turns out that this system, operated by the Shin Bet, only helped reveal a minuscule number of cases. Despite those poor results, we are still under full surveillance even after the containment of the virus and return to “normal” activities. Detailed information about every single aspect of our life is being watched and stored by government agencies. They know who we meet, how long we spend with our friends, where we shop, where we walk. They trace every action we take during the day. It’s often described as one of the most intrusive surveillance systems in the world and with the exception of China, no other countries have deployed such monitoring in their fight against COVID-19.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Murders That Matter


It is interesting to note which deaths that are considered meaningful and diagnostic of the state America according to our betters. The latest Meaningful Death is the killing of Ahmad Arbery in Georgia by two room-temperature IQ vigilantes who thought they had caught a burglar (officially, an innocent jogger who just happened to trespass a bit). Oddly enough, none of the other thousands of other murders in America so far this year have been quite as diagnostic of the racist nightmare that is the Trump Era.

In the same year that a Hispanic white man shot Trayvon Martin, there were over 14,000 murders in the US, about half of them African Americans and over 90 percent of those killed by other African Americans. (African-Americans make up about 13 percent of the US.) Few of those other murders had significance for the Narrative.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. PA Secretary of Health Removed Her Mom from Nursing Home


While state officials and bureaucrats were moving COVID+ patients into nursing homes, introducing the virus to the population at most risk for complications and death, what were they doing with their loved ones? This is a question we should start asking. We know where the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health has her mom: out of a nursing home and into a hotel. Buried in the last line of this story on the Pennsylvania government’s growing nursing home death toll, we read:

Levine was asked by a reporter Tuesday about her mother being moved out of a long-term care facility, Levine said she was allowing the wishes of her 95-year-old mother to move from a personal care home to a hotel.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Thomas Hobbes, Greta Thunberg, and me


Our founding fathers knew exactly what they were doing when they began the Declaration of Independence with, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”

Our founding fathers were horrified by the results throughout history of “The Divine Right of Kings,” which stated that kings had been chosen by God, and thus had enormous power over other men. Even atheist pacifists like Thomas Hobbes tended to support such things, in fear of the results of unbridled human nature, because they knew humans, and they shared the dim view of human nature expressed by The Bible, Shakespeare, and modern conservatives. So while kings claimed to derive their power from God, Americans claimed that individual rights had been granted to each human being by God, and thus government could only secure those rights which had already been granted by a higher power. That’s a pretty solid argument for the limitation of government power. Until we decide that we are God.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 53 Transcripts: How The Story Is Invented


I’ve now waded through 34 of the 53 transcripts. Still no evidence of collusion or conspiracy. For my prior post go here.

We’ve often talked at Ricochet about how the media and progressive echo chamber works and its power in the public imagination. Reading the transcripts provides yet another example. The interview of Evelyn Farkas (June 26, 2017) has already made news, at least in non-progressive circles (it appears to have been blacked out elsewhere). Ms. Farkas is a Democrat, a long-time national security policy person and a staff member of Senate Armed Service Committee and Deputy Asst Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia during the Obama Administration, and is now running for Congress in New York. Like so many Obama refugees she became a commentator, in her case, on MSNBC. In March 2017, she made headlines by urging all her former colleagues to get out all the information they had, even if classified, on Russian election interference and implied she had evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign.


While everyone else is holding their graduation ceremonies on Zoom, professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo are still hard at work in the faculty lounge. On this installment: Is the end of the Michael Flynn case justice served or justice denied? Should sexual assault cases be tried on college campuses? Can the government stick the landing on the end of coronavirus lockdowns? Does the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Bridgegate convictions mean a free-for-all on government corruption? And is President Trump about to dodge a bullet on his tax returns? All that plus Epstein and a small child stare out a window, Yoo explores the black market in haircuts, and we finally get to the bottom of the Supreme Court’s mid-oral arguments toilet flush.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 113: COVID-19 We’re All in Exactly What, Together?


The screengrab is from the Rt:Effective Reproduction website. I featured it before in Day 104: COVID-19 It’s Over, But How Do You Convince People That It’s Over?. That was a week ago and if you go to the site and click on older graphs you can see (at least according to their methodology) things are moving in the right direction.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Veracity Dies in Darkness at the Washington Post


According to the Johns Hopkins data (here), reported COVID-19 deaths have been generally declining in the US. Here is my graph showing daily reported deaths, and the seven-day moving average, from April 1 to the present:


Dave Rubin, host of The Rubin Report and author of the New York Times bestseller Don’t Burn This Book, joins Dave Sussman to discuss why Dave almost let his career end just as he was getting started – fake news, the media and journalism today – responding to his former colleagues at the Young Turks and those who call him a nazi, does he have a favorite guest, and much more in this wide-ranging interview. Find Dave Rubin on Twitter.