Beat ‘Em While They’re Down


New Yorkers have possibly suffered more pain and loss than any city in the country with the crisis of COVID-19. Although the situation has improved, the remaining fears and questions perpetuate the emotional impact of the virus. But there are those who choose to make sure that New Yorkers and Americans are beaten down even more before they can begin their recovery.

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum has decided to cancel the “Tribute in Lights” conducted to remember and honor those who died on 9/11 in the Twin Towers, their families, and those who were present that day. Their excuse was that they had health and safety concerns:

Due to impacts of COVID-19, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and Michael Ahern Production Services (MAPS) made the very difficult decision to not move forward with Tribute in Light this year. This year’s cancellation stems from health and safety concerns and underscores the far-reaching consequences of the global health crisis. As the pandemic continues to surge throughout the country, it was necessary to consider the health and safety of the nearly 40 stagehands who work in close proximity to produce Tribute in Light. For multiple weeks in August and September, crew members work hours-long shifts at Battery Parking Garage to prepare for the production on the night of September 11. The facilities and the complex installation which requires stagehands to work closely together do not align with recommended COVID-19 health and safety precautions.

VJ Day


My dad survived the war in the Pacific. He enlisted at 17 years of age, and completed Submarine School shortly before his 18th birthday. He was in combat off the coast of Japan as an 18-year-old submariner.

The United States Navy Submarine Service lost 52 submarines, 374 officers and 3,131 enlisted men during World War II. These personnel losses represented 16% of the officer and 13% of the enlisted operational personnel. This loss rate was the highest among men and ships of any U.S. Navy unit.

School Is in Session


School started in our bigger district yesterday — it starts in the smaller district next week. Parents and kids are thrilled. Our county deputies and police officers welcomed kids to the local schools.

If you recall my earlier conversation, several political entities tried to stop schools from opening but the governor and attorney general came down on the side of local school boards making their own decisions. I hope things only get better from here. As of yesterday, we have no documented active cases of COVID in our county.

‘The Crisis’


I re-posted this Twitter thread on my Facebook page which was a description of some correspondence the author had recently received about the state of cities across the nation with all the recent unrest. My comment accompanying the Facebook post was “Rather depressing thread.” A well-meaning friend replied:

Jess, you should avoid depressing threads. I have read more good books — mostly history — in 2020 than in any previous year (retirement helps, but it’s not the sole cause). I also avoid MSM outlets like the plague, at least for national news. Good for my mental health!”

Patriotic Americans Need to Boycott Professional Sports


Several days ago I posted “Professional Sports: Purveyors of Cultural Marxism.” It was about the need for patriotic Americans to boycott professional sports since they’re all on board with the lie of “systemic racism” and trying to shove it down our throats. Well, you can scratch soccer and golf off your list too.

Here’s an article about soccer players taking a knee, getting booed by the few fans who were there and the cluelessness of one of the players who was absolutely baffled by why the fans would do that. The player, Reggie Cannon, put it this way: “We had someone chanting U.S.A., but they don’t understand what kneeling means . . . . They can’t see the reason. They think we’re the ignorant ones. It’s incredibly frustrating. I’m sorry to have this tone, but you have to call it for what it is.”

Quote of the Day: Families Have Failed Their Children


Civilization hangs suspended from generation to generation, by the gossamer strand of memory. If only one cohort of mothers and fathers fails to convey to its children what it has learned from its parents, then the great chain of learning and wisdom snaps. If the guardians of human knowledge stumble only one time, in their fall collapses the whole edifice of knowledge and understanding. —Jacob Neusner

Many of us lament where we are socially, culturally, politically, and religiously in this country. Unfortunately, there are few things we can point to with great love and pride, without having others dispute our findings and attack our stands. For those who feel the losses of our present moment, we want to know why we have reached this place in time. How did we fail so terribly? How did we fall so low? And more urgently, what are we to do about it?

Land of Confusion with… Arahant


Heya… Sidekick Nod here. We’ve got a delightful little Zoom conversation with Mr. Arahant for you today.

Arahant is actually Charles L. Weatherford, author of the Hidden Angels series of alternate history science fiction books. So you’ll want to check those out.

Lessee, what are we talking about today? You get a taste of Charles’ storytelling skills, free-form as it were, reactions to the recent Biden/Harris news, and vice presidents in general, and the country’s first Indian vice president (!!!), environmentalism, and something about forgetting to close the door on a submarine.

Xi the Nuclear Dumpster Fire of a Leader in Trouble?

Xi Jinping
Xi in a group with his friends and allies

Just when I was settling comfortably into a worldview where the Party General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party could behave in a massively destructive fashion to everyone at home and abroad without the slightest concern for consequences like Chinese emperors of old. The emperor was the rule by which all was to be measures. If he sneezed, China sneezed. Proudly. Harmoniously.

The T-shirt


“A woman does not have to be modest in order to be respected.”

This is a quote from a T-shirt worn by an otherwise scantily clad female model in a magazine.

Fox News Commentator (and Ricochet alum) Mollie Hemingway took a break from the hectic pace of events to sit down with our own Dave Carter for a fairly comprehensive survey of the political and cultural landscape today. The conversation ranges from Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris for his Vice Presidential candidate, to the media’s mischaracterization of the riots and carnage in major cities across the country. Along the way, Mollie and Dave discuss the general reluctance of politicians and commentators to honestly address the “root causes” of much of the crime, death, and destruction that afflicts inner city life across the nation (their conclusions may surprise you). Dave laments the media’s apparent role as the public relations arm of the DNC, at which point Mollie takes a different view. How different? You’ll have to listen in for that one.

Then Dave talks with Ricochet Charter Member Duane Oyen, who has been with us since before this site launched. Duane has some thoughts on the state of politics today, the Never Trump phenomenon, and various distinctions and divisions on the Right. “But when Duane weighs in on the things that unite us all,” writes Dave, “he sounds as wise as Solomon.” If you like discussions of policy, political philosophy, and a dose of history, this is the podcast for you. you.

We’ve got a new VP candidate, we’ve got Mark Simon (right hand man to Hong Kong freedom fighter Jimmy Lai), we’ve got historian Tevi Troy on political conventions (or the lack of them) and using songs for political rallies, we’ve got a warning on Blazing Saddles and we’ve got a Lileks Post of the Week (courtesy of Ricochet member Sage Wolkenfeld) about the importance of dressing well. That’s a pretty full show. What do you have for us?

Music from this week’s show: Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top

Icon, Part 15: The Dormition of the Theotokos


When Christ our God wanted to take to Himself his own Mother [to be] with him, then three days before, through an angel, He informer [her] of her departure from Earth. “[It is] time,” he said, “to bring my Mother to me. So do not be disturbed about this but accept the word with joy for you will receive eternal life.” And through [her] desire about departing to Sion, she went up to the Mountain of Olives to pray with sincerity in [her] usual way…⁠1 (St. Andrew of Crete, 8th Century)

On August 15 in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate the final Great Feast of the liturgical year, which began on September 1, and whose first Great Feast was the Nativity of the Theotokos,⁠2 with Falling Asleep of the Most Holy Theotokos. This is more commonly called The Dormition of Mary, since “dormition” is a Latin-derived word that means “the falling asleep.” In Greek this is called “Koimesis.”⁠3 In the Roman Catholic Church this same day is observed as “The Assumption of Mary,” and frankly quite a lot of Orthodox may refer to the feast by the same name. There are subtle differences in the meanings and theology between Assumption and Dormition, but these are fairly minor.

The Dormition, as the last of the Great Feasts, is also the last of the Marian feasts, during which we commemorated not only her Nativity (her birth) but her Presentation at the Temple,⁠4 and the greatest of all her feasts, the Annunciation.⁠5 We have also been with her at Jesus’s Nativity⁠6 (Christmas), Jesus’s own Presentation at the Temple (Candlemass),⁠7 His Crucifixion,⁠8 and his Ascension,⁠9 as well as at Pentecost.⁠10 Mary is the mother of the Church. Jesus, on the cross, put her in the care of the apostle John, and tradition tells us that John cared for her to the end of her days. And while Luke may not have written an account of her death, many believe that the personal touches and remarks of Mary in Luke’s gospel may have been directly due to Luke know her. It is fitting that we honor her death.

Dysfunction Spreads Like a Virus


Adam Smith’s formula for prosperity, “peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice,” is within human competence to deliver. As government expands its scope beyond its competence and as politics creeps into more and more facets of life, our society becomes more contentious and more dysfunctional. People and organizations are forced to lobby government out of self-defense and factions work to subvert government’s coercive power to advance their own ideas and interests through force. Truth becomes the first victim in this war of subversion.

We’ve seen this in the political battle over the coronavirus. In a pandemic, information saves lives, but disinformation has become the rule as the parties seek to spin the crisis for political advantage. The efficacy of masks, social distancing, medical treatments, and vaccines is determined by political affiliation rather than by medical science.

COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests have turned race and racism into hot topics in both the United States and China. Throughout the pandemic, President Trump has been condemned as a racist for labeling the coronavirus “Kung Flu,” “China virus,” and “Wuhan virus.”

Meanwhile, protestors and rioters throughout the country—from New York to Minneapolis to Portland—have been violently assailing America as one big racist enterprise for the past two plus months. China has eagerly fanned this narrative to deflect criticisms of its human rights abuses.

Operation Legend and Middle East Peace at Trump Speed


President TrumpOn Wednesday, July 23, 2020, President Trump hosted the grieving mother of LeGend Taliferro at the White House. In Charron Powell’s presence, on camera, Attorney General Barr promised to deliver justice for her slain 4-year-old son, LeGend. Today, August 13, 2020, Attorney General Barr announced the arrest of a suspect in LeGend Taliferro’s murder.

Barr is making federal law enforcement work at Trump speed to stem the bleeding on our cities’ streets. Just after Biden offered a leftist elite woman with just the right level of melanin and ancestry, President Trump delivered real justice for an African-American child and his heartbroken mother. And Trump’s administration delivered this on the same day as this supposed chaotic, supposedly inferior administration delivered peace in the Middle East between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Both of these accomplishments come the day after Secretary of State Pompeo spoke in Prague, rallying Europeans against the present danger of the Chinese Communist Party’s malign influence in Europe. Elections have very real consequences.

Here is what Attorney General Barr promised late last month for Operation LeGend:

Trump Negotiates Historic Israel-UAE Peace Deal


President Trump achieved a diplomatic milestone Thursday, leading the United Arab Emirates and Israel to establish a full normalization of relations. This is more bad news for the Iranian regime as well as the dead-end supporters of Obama’s nuclear deal.

“The historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region,” according to a joint statement, “and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region.”

To achieve the deal, Israel will suspend annexing parts of the West Bank and will instead focus on improving ties throughout the Middle East.

Does Techno-Optimism Have a Place in US politics?


The Alphabet Inc. campus, also known as Googleplex, Mountain View, CA.
Nuclear war theorist Herman Kahn provided at least partial inspiration for film director Stanley Kubrick’s maniacal Dr. Strangelove. (The character’s accent, at least, was likely based on that of German emigres Henry Kissinger or Wehrner Von Braun.) Kubrick had read Kahn’s 1960 treatise “On Thermonuclear War” and met with him several times when planning the 1964 black comedy. That unforgettable cinematic depiction and interpretation of Khan-ism — a nuclear conflict between the US and USSR was not “unthinkable” — if not necessarily the man himself, helped cement Kahn’s historical reputation as a dangerous Cold Warrior.

But the 1970s detente era saw the second act of Kahn’s career, that of a futurist. At the very time the professional long-term forecasting industry was taking a pessimistic turn fueled by environmental catastrophism, this thinker of dark, unthinkable thoughts stood out as a sunny purveyor of techno-capitalist optimism. Rather than a few minutes before nuclear midnight, dawn was always just breaking in a world of abundance led by a recharged Reaganite America, a view he distilled in his 1983 book, “The Coming Boom.” (Liberals were dismissive and, it turns out, wrong. The period from 1983 through 2007 has been called The Long Boom because of its strong and steady economic growth. It was also the period that saw the rise of Silicon Valley as the nation’s and world’s tech core.)

Get Children Back in School – Now


The COVID school shutdown is a disaster for America’s schoolchildren, especially the young and the poor. America’s undereducated students have had a permanent hole blasted into their educational experience, creating a gap that will never be filled.

It didn’t have to be. It didn’t happen because of the virus or even our perverse reaction to it. The educational shutdown isn’t necessary for the health of our children. It is the result of the selfish intransigence of the teachers’ unions and Democrats ceaselessly searching for ways to make Trump look bad.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with the CDC, advises against the school closure. They note that shutting down schools “places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality.” Children’s health overall, including COVID, is improved by being in school.

The Moderating Effects of Ideology


Our founding fathers did not seek independence from their English overlords because they viewed themselves as radicals intent on destroying an unjust system of English oppression. No, our founding fathers viewed themselves as Englishmen, who were not being treated as true Englishmen, with property rights, a say in their governance, a system of laws and not men, and other English principles going back to the Magna Carta. And they had a point.

Martin Luther King Jr. was not a radical seeking to destroy an unjust system of American oppressive culture. No, he viewed American blacks as an important part of American culture, who were not being treated as the true American citizens that they are. And he had a point.

Modern American conservatives do not see themselves as radicals who seek to destroy the increasing control of leftism over centralized control structures in American government. No, they admire the American system of government, and seek only to return it to its underlying principles. And they have a point.

The Progressives’ Barbed Hook


As I contemplated drafting this post I was put in mind of the Creedence Clearwater song title “Bad Moon Rising.” How else to viscerally convey what’s coming our way — no matter what?

I see the bad moon a-rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightning
I see bad times today

Mask Policies Handicap the Deaf


Mask policies handicap the deaf. Many deaf people read lips. You can’t read lips if they are behind a piece of cloth. I have been thinking about this lately because I had a double-ear infection. My ears were all stuffed up, and my hearing was down to less than 20% of normal. Being temporarily hearing-impaired can lead to some real adventures, but being such in the age of COVID Security Theater makes it even more interesting. I find that I can read lips. I was using that to understand what my wife was saying quite a bit while my ears were stuffed up, but when we went out somewhere, it became impossible.

I had a meeting at church dealing with the phone system. The board member I was dealing with is a woman with a very soft voice. Try to maintain six-feet of social distancing while trying to hear what such a person is saying as she is muffled behind a mask. It did not work out well.