Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Inspector General Horowitz’s FBI FISA Abuse Report


Read the FISA Abuse report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz yourself here rather than relying on talking heads to tell you what’s in it. And remember, none of the pundits or so-called experts on TV currently confidently telling you what’s in the report have had time to read its 476 pages yet.

Update: U.S. Attorney John Durham rebased the following statement:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Danger of Making Ruthlessness Seem Reasonable


I use a lot of dangerous drugs. Well, not me personally, but on my patients. Of course, I use dangerous drugs only when the disease I’m treating is more dangerous than the drug. In diseases that are not life-threatening, naturally I avoid dangerous drugs and try to stick with safer therapies. Chemotherapy drugs can save your life, but they can also have significant side effects. Side effects that you would not tolerate if you were treating a sinus infection. But if you have cancer, and you’re trying to avoid dying, it may make sense to take a chance on side effects – even very serious side effects. In truly desperate circumstances, there are few actions one would not consider, no matter how drastic.

That’s what always bothered me about the great leftist / progressive / socialist leaders of the 20th century: Hitler, Lenin, Mao, Stalin, and so on. They saw a problem and took drastic measures to fix it. When I consider the horrifyingly drastic measures they took, I wonder, “What possible problem did they see that warranted such drastic actions? Who on earth could have possibly thought that was a good idea?” Even for those who lack sympathy for others, killing millions of people is no small thing. They claimed that they were trying to save or improve their countries for their citizens. Which some considered to be an adequate reason. Think about that. And then, think about Greta Thunberg.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Vroom! Vroom!


I used to ride motorcycles way back when (an expression which translates to “Damn, I’m old.”). I started riding when I was 14, always on borrowed machines. I bought my first motorcycle for $200, a used Honda CB-160. I rode that thing for a couple of years, then sold it—for $200.

In college, I sold my car and bought two motorcycles—a Honda CB-450, and a Honda XL-125. I rode those for a couple of years until I started dating a gal who refused to ride (makes dating tough, but she had a car). Unfortunately, both bikes got stolen. I ended up buying a car, then broke up with the girlfriend.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. December 8: Super Luis Saves the Day


The light switch stopped working in my bathroom, right before Thanksgiving. Luis, my super, was off to visit family for the holiday so I rigged up some ad hoc lighting and asked if he could come by the next week to see what the problem was.

Turns out, the problem was my previous super, Carlos, who had “repaired” the same switch about 20 years ago with equal parts electrical tape and hope, both of which had now melted into a molten rubbery substance that had fused all the ancient, shorted-out wiring in my wall together.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This Week’s Book Review – The Best of Jerry Pournelle


I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: ‘5 Star’ by Michael Henry


In a good mystery, whatever the medium, the audience should not be able to tell very early on what really happened. It should be a journey of discovery for the audience as it is for the characters of the mystery. I was recently at a play which was a form of Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction wherein at the end, it turns out that Doctor John Watson is the real hero, but prefers to keep a low profile behind Holmes. It was hardly the first time I have encountered such a twist in Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction, but it was fairly well done. In this case, the writer was a little too cute in winking at the audience as he puts dialog into Holmes’ mouth about how writers can never be trusted.

I had been summoned to report for jury duty for yesterday. For those who have never been through the process, bringing a good book is always in order. Usually there is quite a bit of waiting time before selection. What is more appropriate than a mystery/legal thriller to read while awaiting empaneling or dismissal? I brought along Michael Henry’s latest Willie Mitchell Banks novel, 5 Star. To quote from a description of the book from the author’s Website:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Thank You, Ricochet!


A few weeks back I wrote a somewhat-snarky post on Health Fads. Lots of people shared my skepticism – but not a few of you shared your results on Keto/Atkins. I shared the post with my family, and one of my sons decided to try it. In solidarity, I joined him. And then, so did another son.

Results have been impressive and positive. I never would have tried the diet without your input – thank you!


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. There Is Hope


I will be the first to admit, I easily become very gloom and doom when looking at the state of our nation, especially when I talk about Millennials and Generation Z. I know young people get a bad rep – and to be fair – they deserve it. Seeing as I am technically on the older end of these self-described “woke” generations apparently wiser than their forebears, I can call it as I see it.

They are the first generations since our nation’s inception to protest for their rights to be taken away, who see kneeling during the anthem as a productive avenue for change, and are so emotionally weak they utilize university-sponsored coloring pages, cry-ins, and safe spaces to protect them from words they don’t like.


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


“To say that the CIA and the KGB engage in similar practices is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around.” – William F. Buckley

The left is very invested in false equivalences nowadays. We have seen example after example in the impeachment hearings over the last weeks. Context matters, and the motivations for actions also matter. As Buckley illustrates an action that is generally unacceptable – pushing old ladies around – may become justifiable in the context of a situation.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mini-Meetup in Aiken


I must be getting old, because I forgot to write this up before Thanksgiving.

I had a Mini-Meetup in Aiken with @drbastiat and his dad. He was on his way to round up daughters from college for Thanksgiving, and was passing through. It only lasted about forty minutes, but we had some coffee at a local McDonald’s as we chatted.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #9: Henry Olsen on 2020


Here’s my new podcast with Henry Olsen on democratic phenomena–vast increases in turnout in recent elections, which we expect will shock people in 2020, parties and administrations that cannot get a hold of their coalitions, much less represent them, and the entire shifting political landscape.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Targets of Another Saudi Taking Flight Training in America


So another young, educated, privileged Saudi man, here all nice and legal, has attempted to commit mass murder for terrorist reasons. Oh, the authorities are mouthing the usual cautions about letting the FBI get to the bottom of it, and you may believe they are diligently working to uncover or bury the truth as you will. But, the American people already have all the evidence needed to come to a reasonable conclusion. What we might not get is the fuller picture, the full target set. For that, let us turn to a parallel development.

In 1946, the United States establishing a School of the Americas, to fundamentally transform our hemisphere through the very long-term growth of professional militaries in Latin America. As the left recognized this program’s effectiveness, they organized to begin smearing our military and this program as a “School for Dictators.” The left lost this long fight, as the Colombian military became a real, capable, professional force instead of a goon squad trying to outdo communist thuggery, always a losing gambit.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Movie Aspect Ratios, Audience Immersion, and Eggs


I have the Blu-ray of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and had been watching the film on Turner Classic Movies as I puttered around on the computer this morning. My brothers and I originally saw the film when it was first released on a curved Cinerama screen at one of the Century domed theaters in San Jose, CA (adjacent to the Winchester Mystery House). It’s the same Cinerama theater that my brothers and I watched John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix when it was first released.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Breaking: Extinction Rebellion Is Pathetic


The scene is K Street, NW Washington DC around 11 a.m. Friday by McPherson Square. This massive protest by Extinction Rebellion was staged to bring the World Bank to its knees and stop the financing of the ongoing capitalist plot to kill the earth.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Day That Will Live in Infamy?



This is from the first typed draft of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address to Congress on December 8, 1941.* The day before, Imperial Japan had launched a devastating massive air raid with the aim of crippling the US Pacific Fleet. It failed in its objective only because the lower status ships, the carriers, were out on maneuvers while the American national security establishment’s consensus opinion highest status ships (battleships) were floating at anchor.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A New ‘Cannonball Run’ Record from New York to LA, Averaging 103 mph


The Cannonball Run’s record was broken by over an hour recently. The total time was 27 hours, 25 minutes and 7 seconds. They averaged 103 mph. What a great article! I recommend it highly.

For 2,825.3 miles, the trio dodged highway patrol officers, avoided roadside deer and roared through 13 states in 27 hours and 25 minutes. They crushed the previous record by nearly an hour and a half.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Jury Duty Report


In late October I received a summons to appear for jury duty on December 6. This is old hat for me. Apparently, I am one of the lucky ones. This was my fifth summons for jury duty. One of the ladies there stated her age and said it was her first time. Her stated age was three years’ higher than my own. One of the judges came in to speak with us while we were waiting. The highest number she had ever heard of was a lady in her eighties who had been summoned six times.

The Process

If you have not been summoned to jury duty, or not been summoned lately, the process works something like this. You may receive a jury qualification questionaire. These days, such is filled out online. This may be a new thing or limited to some courts. I do not remember having filled one out before this current go-round. I received the summons to participate in the questionaire last summer.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Corrupt Politicians Drawn to Corrupt Country? Ukraine an Attractive Nuisance?


Reportedly, Ukraine has been one of the most corrupt countries on the face of the Earth. This is likely not a matter of some sort of defective national character, but rather a consequence of their geography and the past century of politics. Today, Putin, Democrats, and the US Deep State leverage Ukraine’s vulnerability to their own ends.

Anne Applebaum has done the real research and written the hard truths to power about evil perpetrated by the Soviet Union, including in Ukraine. Consider this MacClean’s interview of Applebaum on publication of her latest book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 62 Years Ago: Vanguard TV-3 Blows Up (Flopnik)


In 1955, there was a competition between the three armed services for the right to launch the first American satellite during the International Geophysical Year (actually 18 months 7/57-12/58). The Naval Research Lab won. As some of you know, my father co-wrote the proposal. He worked on the Minitrack system and designed the small test satellites.

On October 2, 1957, a memo went out that there would be no more paid overtime. Two days later, Sputnik 1 was launched and the memo was ignored. Sputnik’s signal was at 20 and 40 MHz whereas the IGY specified 108 MHz. That night, Dad called his assistant Marty Votaw and told him that the Soviets had launched a satellite. Marty responded, “Good, now we know it can be done.” Dad responded that they needed to track it. Marty asked if he could finish dinner first. Dad said yes, but come down immediately after that. They worked for three days without going home and modified Minitrack successfully to track Sputnik.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: A Moment


It may have been a grey December day like this one, but I don’t remember. It must have been cold because I was wearing my bright red scarf. Did I buy the scarf or was it a gift? I don’t remember. I may have chosen it, although I generally avoid wearing red. It had a luxurious softness that I do remember because on an otherwise unmemorable day, I wore it to visit my grandmother.

She was sitting alone in her room. I remember that she didn’t say hello. She didn’t say anything at all. She didn’t smile, and she didn’t rise to greet me. When I leaned over to hug her, she felt my scarf. She stroked my scarf like an intrigued infant with a new, soft toy that she did not want to give back. Its gentle texture and pleasing bright color held her attention. Or was it that she was trying to acknowledge me?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A White Guy on White Male Privilege


It is high time people throw off old preconceptions of Republicans as the mean descendants of cotton plantation owners, you know, the old diatribe about white male privilege. With Trump’s rising numbers among minorities, maybe we’re all finally seeing people as just people who are all just trying to persevere and build a better life for themselves and their families.

I look at my children. They are half Hungarian blood on my wife’s side; that side came to the US through Ellis Island in the early 20th century and somehow they all found each other. They were not privileged at all; they had nothing. They were the children of simple farmers whose land was confiscated by the communists. They did not come but were sent to America for a better future, which they found in the factories in and around Bridgeport, CT.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Meet and Greet with a Hopeful Congressman


Thursday evening, Papa Toad and I went to an event with Tony German, a retired two-star general (when he retired, Tony was Adjutant General of the New York National Guard, leading 20,000 airmen, sailors, soldiers, and civilian staff) who is seeking to unseat our one-term useless congressman, Antonio Delgado.

I first heard of Tony about a month ago when, out of the blue, I found a message from him on my home phone, telling me he was running for the nomination and hoped to speak to me to find out what issues were important to me. I was quite impressed, and, I admit, flattered. I called him back and left a message for Tony to the effect that I was heartened to hear his message, and that I hoped he would kick some [redacted] and that we would be praying for him. Tony called me back and we had a good long chat about the state of the state, and what could be done at the federal level to improve things.


While DC dithers, the real action is happening in the states. I attended the States and Nation Policy Summit this week, a conference organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The smartest local and national politicians and policymakers from Florida to Alaska shared how they’re improving the lives of their constituents. Here’s the lineup:

The intro/outro and Jon’s song of the week is “Mainland” by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Left’s Diffusion Challenge


We on the right and our counterparts on the left are each convinced that the media are biased, though we disagree about which way the press tilts. Spoiler: It tilts left — it isn’t even close. Worse, it tilts left more blatantly and extremely and unashamedly than it ever has before, at least in my lifetime. Most of our institutions tilt left, our universities and schools and entertainment industry — and, of course, those noble defenders of democracy who elide and dissemble under cover of press passes.

So here’s the problem for our friends on the left. The trailblazing institutions of progressive innovation have outpaced the roughly half of the country that doesn’t think of itself as generally conservative. We on the right think they’re crazy; increasingly, registered Democrats who earn their living in the real world and who are normal people kind of agree, even if they aren’t eager to talk about it. As the gap between the vanguard of the left and the nominal progressive voter widens, the views of the two groups must necessarily diverge: radical ideas can only diffuse through the culture so quickly, and the pop-cultural pace-setters are moving faster than normal people care to keep up, or are even able to keep up.