Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Politicization of Prosecutions


The latest kerfuffle over the sentence that Roger Stone should receive is a symptom of a much larger problem: the subjective standards of punishment and indictments. The issue speaks to a much larger problem in the entire justice system. For some time now, we have been at the mercy of subjective law enforcement.

As a police officer, I never asked anyone I arrested who they voted for, or the political party they had selected on their voter registration card. Their motivation was not my main concern for a crime that was committed. My only concern was this: did the elements of the law that met the definition of a specific crime had been committed?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How Do Democrats Message Success?


One of the daily newsletters that appears in my inbox is from Politico. I can’t recall reading anything there that wasn’t already on Ricochet, but that could be just a poor memory. On the other hand, they definitely don’t see things the same way I do.

This morning I read something that made me chuckle, because after a very long time they came to this:


It may be the winter session in the faculty lounge, but things are heating up as professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo clash on a number of today’s topics. On the docket: Was Mitt Romney justified in his impeachment vote? Is President Trump wrong to override the Justice Department on the Roger Stone case? Can states punish members of the Electoral College for defying the will of the voters? Can state and local governments resist the feds’ efforts to curb illegal immigration? And do the sign-stealing Houston Astros have to pay up for ruining a pitcher’s career? All that plus the gang weighs in on Korean cinema, back tattoos, and one of the professors (shouldn’t it be obvious?) getting shushed on a film set.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Politics of Privilege


Most of the problems that young progressives complain about are a product of one thing: They have never experienced actual hardship. It’s easy to get worked up about Donald Trump when you’ve never experienced a President you didn’t vote for; most of them have little memory of life before Barack Obama. It’s even easier to get worked up over President Trump when you’ve never experienced an actual dictator or fascist.

I thought of this manifestation of privilege with two tweets over the course of the week. The first, from the University of Virginia:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Democrats in Crisis: Rabid Minority Makes the Calls


As Mark Steyn pointed out years ago, in normal times, majorities matter. But in times of crisis, you don’t need a majority: you just need to care more. In crisis, passion and commitment always beats the silent majority.

This beautifully describes why the Democrats are off the rails. Most Democrats are not radical revolutionaries or socialists or believe that it is impossible to be pro-life and still a Democrat. But the current crisis has driven the entire party far to the left, so much so that Bernie and his Gulag supporters are now leading the field. They care more, so they can win – even though socialists are clearly not the bulk of the Dem-demographic.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New Online Course on US History from Hillsdale


As I know many of our colleagues are devotees of that premier institution of higher education Hillsdale College, and in the probably unlikely event that those of us who love that College and everything it stands for may not already know this, I would like to share the good news that it is now offering a new course, based on Wilfred McKay’s new text, on the actual, not the product of Marxists like Howard Zinn, history of America.

Here is the course description:


The Democratic race plunged into more confusion and dysfunction after New Hampshire as Joe Biden summoned his pony soldier army and “Senator Next Door” Amy Klobuchar is finally making fetch happen. Longtime progressive political analyst Ruy Teixeira deconstructs the Democratic race while Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb does a deep dive into the Grand Canyon State. All this plus the Ad of the Week, only on the Horse Race!


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New Hampshire Primaries by the Numbers


With about 97% precincts are reporting on the New Hampshire primaries, Sanders is the winner, with Buttigieg a close second, and Klobuchar a surprisingly strong third. Here is my quick analysis of the numbers on the Democratic side. I’ll include an approximate projection of total votes, where relevant, assuming no surprises among the roughly 3% of precincts that have not yet reported.

1. Turnout is up


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Heart Is Still Aching


Twenty-five years ago, I was invited by a rabbi whom I’d interviewed for a book I was writing, to give a talk to a group of student rabbis and cantors. The students were attending a college in L.A. for their training, and I was invited to speak to them because I was a Jew who had essentially left my religion behind and became a Zen Buddhist. The rabbi who invited me thought I could shed some light on the reasons Jews were abandoning Judaism.

At the end of my talk (where I basically told my own story), we opened the floor for questions. Most people were kind and curious and, of course, disappointed that I wasn’t actively engaged in Judaism. I thought I’d made my own situation clear by explaining that I’d never connected with my heritage in a deep way and found that Zen fulfilled many of my hopes for a spiritual life.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Is a Decadent America a Technologically Stagnant America?


Has America been technologically stagnant for a half-century? That’s apparently one of the main arguments found in New York Times columnist and AEI visiting fellow Ross Douthat’s upcoming book, The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success.

Now, I haven’t read this book. But it was just reviewed by entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who quotes the following passage, I assume accurately: “Over the last two generations,” Douthat writes, “the only truly radical change has taken place in the devices we use for communication and entertainment, so that a single one of the nineteenth century’s great inventions [running water] still looms larger in our every­day existence than most of what we think of as technological breakthroughs nowadays.”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Joe Biden’s Amazing Consistency


There’s an amazing sentence in a Steven Hayward post on Powerline today: “In 32 years of running for president, Joe Biden still has yet to win a single primary contest.” I find this incredible. What kind of person keeps trying, over and over again, and failing very publicly, over and over again? Wouldn’t he get tired of losing at some point? What kind of person does that? For 32 years?

To me, that moves beyond ambition, into the realm of delusion. Many politicians suffer from an inflated sense of self-importance. But Biden stands out, even in that crowd. He has always struck me as someone who has a few too many birds on his antenna. But he may have more profound issues than being a bit goofy. Thirty-two years with no wins. I’m not sure what the word for that is. That’s, um, just amazing.


Say what you want about our intrepid podcasters but they are real stand up guys. For Toby, he’s fresh from his smash debut as a stand up comic, for James… well, he’s lucky just to be standing up, having spent the last couple of days battling what he’s sure is some Chinese bioweapon disease.

As for the rest of the show there’s Boris Johnson’s transformation from licentious hero to finger-wagging scold, the UK’s new Internet regulator, and the BBC’s strangely impressive suicide strategy. And of course the Oscars… Have you oppressed a cow today?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dr. Strangelove Redux: The Bernie Edition


Slim PickensThe Democrats have unleashed a nuclear bomb meant to destroy their Public Enemy Number 1, Trump, but instead realized – possibly too late — that the plan is backfiring. Bernie Sanders was given free rein to energize the base for a turnout centered on defeating, as he put it following the New Hampshire primary, “the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.”

But after eight years of building a coalition around former President Obama then ceding ground to the democratic socialists to counter Trump, does the Democrat establishment run the risk of blowing up its own party because of the mad ravings of a far-left radical?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Progressives Deny Progress


Dennis Prager has been saying for as long as I’ve been listening: Movements don’t close shop when they’ve achieved their original aims; they radicalize.

It’s certainly true of feminism, which went from winning the vote for women, to burning bras in the streets, to bitter hatred of men, to the NFL Halftime Porn Show “empowering” women to . . . pole dance for a national audience including children? I think I’ll pass on the new empowerment if it requires pornographic sexual objectification or defines womanhood as being more like men. Like coaching an NFL team? Seriously 49ers? Turn in your man-cards.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Asia #5: Parasite


Friends, here’s my conversation with Peter Paik on the big Oscar winner, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite. We talk about the movie as a story of the conflict between liberalism and Korea’s older ways. We try to explain the new social and economic situation in South Korea, but also Bong’s interest in character study that reveals virtues and vices that reverse the judgments implied in the class analysis liberalism usually offers. This is not a story about wicked rich people, or systemic inequality, vs. innocent or virtuous poor people. It’s about the desire for self-mastery and the desire for comfort, or the difference between absorbing suffering and fleeing anxiety.


Alexandra DeSanctis, Staff Writer at National Review and Visiting Fellow at Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Mary Margaret Olohan, Social Issues Reporter at The Daily Caller News Foundation, return to “Life, Liberty, and Law” with Tom Shakely and Noah Brandt to talk on the Women’s March, the March for Life, the State of the Union, and the role of abortion and human life issues in the Democratic presidential primaries.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Contrarian Crows: Harvey Weinstein


I just want to point out that I defended the slime ball Harvey Weinstein back in 2017.

1: Water flows downhill. Every time. In any system where there are powerful men and supplicative women, water will flow downhill. No amount of moralizing or preaching changes that one whit. 


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Does God Want Us to Support Or Oppose Donald Trump?


Although I am confident that God agrees with me on just about every issue, I am very reluctant to offer that as persuasive evidence of the rightness of whatever profundity I happen to be offering at any given moment. It would be great if eternal salvation were determined only by the depth and sophistication of one’s political opinions but nothing worthwhile is ever that simple. Worse, declarations of one’s own piety and righteousness invariably lead to the discovery of hypocrisy on a significant scale.

Christians do not get much in the way of partisan guidance from the New Testament. The closest we get is the cryptic lesson from that time when some snarky MSM-type jerkweed thought he could trap Jesus into expressing a controversial opinion. Jesus would either have to back the nationalist struggle against Roman rule and get in big trouble with the authorities or go squish and endorse Rome and thus alienate many of his followers. Here is the version in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 20:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Sanders Wins NH; Buttigieg, Klobuchar Close Behind


Brooklyn Bolshevik Bernie Sanders rallies a New Hampshire crowd with his popular “Liquidate the Kulaks” speech.
With 98 percent of the vote in, Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner of the New Hampshire primary. Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar are close behind Sanders, with the latter greatly outperforming her polls headed into election day.

Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden have been stuck in the single digits most of the night, a brutal showing for both. All the other candidates have less than 4 percent of the vote. Latest results are listed below the fold.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Rent Control Laws Are Unconstitutional


New York City recently implemented its far-reaching Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. That law enacted extensive amendments, all plaintiff protective, to New York’s 1969 Rent Stabilization Law (RSL). The Act imposes the RSL throughout the state. It also reverses the state’s earlier position on Luxury Decontrol for High Income Tenants. Formerly, when a tenant earned over $200,000 per year and paid a rent of at least $2,700 per month, the unit was decontrolled to allow the landlord the benefit of market rate rents. But under the new law, well-heeled tenants can continue to pay at most 15 percent of their gross rent on city housing.

The new act also sharply limits rent increases when landlords make improvements on a tenant’s premises. The older system allowed increases of up to 6 percent per annum, but the newer rules cap that figure at 2 percent, which makes it highly unlikely that a landlord can recover the costs of those improvements (assuming these are still made) over their useful life.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. About Writing Styles


I am not an overly educated man. Most of my studies were in computers and other sciences. I don’t have a solid academic background in literature or writing specifically, nor philosophy. But I am a smart man, despite what @arahant may have you believe. So I consider things that I am sure people have considered many times before me, and even have official words to describe. Such as certain styles of writing. Forgive my ignorance of terms as I describe three styles I’ve noticed, one of which I absolutely detest.

Third Person: Most novels I read are written in third person. It’s some person who is narrating a story. Like if your grampa was telling you a tall tale. Here’s an example:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Jussie Delayed Is Jussie Denied


“This is MAGA Country!” inner-city white supremacists shouted at “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett as they put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him. It happened in the wee hours of the morning, in the middle of a polar vortex, in the noted GOP stronghold of Chicago. The poor actor (I mean rich celebrity) could only defend himself with half-frozen Subway foot-long.

Everyone with more than three brain cells thought the story was nonsense, especially if they had spent any time in Chicago. Everyone but our betters in the national media and Hollywood, that is, who were duped from the jump. Local journalists doggedly revealed the truth and the story quickly collapsed. Today, Jussie faced the consequences:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The World According to Thiel


Peter Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal and Palantir; early investor in Facebook, LinkedIn, and SpaceX; and the founder of the Thiel Fellowship, which encourages young people to drop out of college to start their own businesses, is interviewed live on stage in front of the members of the Mont Pelerin Society. This wide-ranging conversation covers globalization, the continuing and ever-growing threat from China and what the United States can and can’t do it about, what the rise of Bernie Sanders means for the future of US capitalism, the “derangement” (Thiel’s phrase) of Silicon Valley in the last decade, the scourge of political correctness on campuses and in society at large, and why Thiel thinks we should rethink the doctrine of American exceptionalism.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Rossum’s Universal Robots


“Robots of the world! The power of man has fallen! A new world has arisen: the Rule of the Robots!” — Karel Čapek

Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti (Rossum’s Universal Robots), a once-popular 100-year old play by Czech writer Karel Čapek, made its television debut on the BBC, 82 years ago today, on February 11, 1938. It was the first televised science-fiction program in world history, introducing a wider audience to the term in the play’s title, one which has endured with increasing significance in the English language ever since: “robot.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New Hampshire Primary Day 2020


The First-in-the-Nation primary in New Hampshire kicked off to light snowfall this morning. I spent an hour in Wolfeboro holding a Trump sign and lost count of the number of thumbs up I got after about 30 seconds. The only other sign holders there were for Buttigieg, the picture of me below was taken by one of them in a quid pro quo arrangement (I took a picture of them in exchange).