Contributor Post Created with Sketch. When You’ve Been Cancelled, Who Ya Gonna Call?


In this piece for Spectator USA’s special issue devoted to cancel culture, I describe my own experience of being cancelled by an online mob two years ago. I lost five positions in total, including my full-time job running an education charity. As I say in the piece, it was a vertiginous fall from grace, like something out of a Tom Wolfe novel. But that isn’t the end of the story.

I’m now setting up a Free Speech Union to protect people who find themselves at the center of one of these witch-hunts. Together, we can stop this digital McCarthyism ruining any more lives.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: 19th-Century Discontent


Elizabeth Barrett Browning.jpgDISCONTENT
Light human nature is too lightly tost
And ruffled without cause, complaining on–
Restless with rest, until, being overthrown,
It learneth to lie quiet. Let a frost
Or a small wasp have crept to the inner-most
Of our ripe peach, or let the wilful sun
Shine westward of our window,–straight we run
A furlong’s sigh as if the world were lost.
But what time through the heart and through the brain
God hath transfixed us,–we, so moved before,
Attain to a calm. Ay, shouldering weights of pain,
We anchor in deep waters, safe from shore,
And hear submissive o’er the stormy main
God’s chartered judgments walk for evermore.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

On first glance, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1805-1855) would seem to have lived a life of privilege and fortune, with little room for discontent or unhappiness anywhere. Her family, which resided in the north of England, was extremely wealthy on both sides, the result of both inheritances and ownership of Jamaican sugar plantations. As the oldest of twelve children, she had a very comfortable upbringing, well-educated, and encouraged in her love of poetry-writing by her mother, who kept every one of her daughter’s notebooks, giving us a fascinating glimpse into Elizabeth’s stylistic and philosophical development as she aged.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. In a Century


An old country girl now in her 80s reflected the other day on how much life has changed since she was a kid. It wasn’t the usual story of colorless television and walking to school with a lunch pail. There was no TV in her small town.

Baths were on Saturdays. They filled “the number 3 bathtub” with water heated on a fire stove. They stitched their own clothes together from feed sacks. “Burlap?” I asked. No, the sacks were softer cotton then. So many Americans made their own clothes from feed sacks that feed makers produced the sacks in a variety of colors and patterns. Attractive patterns improved sales.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump 1st President to Speak Live to ‘March for Life’


Well, Trump did it. Good for him. I think, Trump supporters and Trump critics on the right, can all agree this is a great thing to happen today.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Critical Staffing Shortages for Portland Police


The Portland Police Bureau is in trouble. Policing in a city where the city government does not appreciate its police officers is heading towards a hiring disaster, or maybe it’s already here. It’s only going to get worse. From KGW Channel 8 Portland:

Portland police will shut down two Street Crimes Units next month due to a critical staffing shortage. Central and North precincts will disband the teams effective Feb. 6, according to a bureau spokesperson.


You asked for more face time with The Founders®, and here it is: our first Question Time show of 2020 (there will be more!). We cover some Ricochet history, get into a feisty debate about abortion, take a brief break with Henry Olsen, host of our new Horse Race podcast to make some hay (see what we did there?) on impeachment and some key Senate races. Also, Lileks opines on the new Star Trek series, and the hosts pick a historical moment they’d like to visit once we achieve a critical mass of members (what are YOU waiting for? Join today!).

Thanks for all the great questions, Ricochet members!


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Choosing Faith


Years after trying to start a family, I found myself at a crossroad. I had spent half a decade riding an emotional roller coaster with the occasional up, but mostly the gut-wrenching downs that only a woman struggling with infertility can truly understand. We had tried almost every medical procedure possible, countless prayers and tears were expended by us and others on our behalf, blessings and fasts were offered, I spent hours upon hours scouring the internet to research adoption agencies and certify us as foster parents not once, but twice, in two different states. We took the classes, completed the home visits, and jumped through all the hoops but never saw a child because my husband’s job took us elsewhere before that could happen. We now were in a new state and hope was on the horizon as we finished our foster certification – for a third time. I was just hired as a full-time teacher, and we were settled into our new home. But as usual, our plans came to a halt.

My husband got word that his unit would soon deploy for 12 months. Upon becoming licensed foster parents, our hope was to take in a newborn. And as much as I longed for a baby and welcomed the challenge, I didn’t know the first thing about them; that was my husband’s expertise and I was depending on him for guidance.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Meanwhile, Back at the FISA Court…


The FISA Court just declassified an order Thursday relating to the FBI spying on the Trump campaign. Here is the order; here is a National Review article with a brief summary. This is a significant order addressing an important question not answered in the Horowitz Report. The order was entered on January 7, 2020.

The important, new information from this order is that the DOJ has concluded that the third and fourth FISA warrants obtained against Carter Page were wrongful. This means that the FBI conducted unlawful surveillance of the Trump campaign in violation of the Constitution.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘You’ve Done It Again, Lewis!’: On the Enduring Worth of ‘Inspector Morse’


There are, it seems, about a million British detective shows on offer to American audiences (about a million to the power of ten when you add in all the other European sleuthing nationalities), from heart-pumping “Luther” to the more sedate “Ms. Marple’s Mysteries.” Having grown up without cable and had 90 percent of my television-viewing experiences before high school courtesy of WGBH, I have a definite familiarity with the full range of British television offerings (“Vicar of Dibley,” “Keeping Up Appearances,” and “Waiting for God” were all household favorites), but age prevented me from ever making the acquaintance of “Inspector Morse.”

It took until halfway through high school, when I had, in a rare coup d’état, actually managed to get hold of the solitary television clicker, to see the Inspector on Netflix and my mother in no uncertain terms demanded that he disappear after half an hour. However, I was hooked. Even within the diverse range of detective dramas, Morse is a quite singular property, elaborate plotted, skillfully filmed, chock-full of more obscure references than an Umberto Eco novel, and poignant without being sappy or sentimental. A genius product of pop culture. 


Culture in America is often hard to define. Some would argue that culture has been deliberately and systematically destroyed. In 1944, Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew who fled the Nazis to America, coined the terms “genocide” and “ethnocide.” While Lemkin believed those words to be interchangeable, the definitions diverged over the last several decades. Genocide, a widely understood concept today, focuses on the intentional physical destruction of a large number of people, particularly of a certain group. Meanwhile, ethnocide, a term which is seldom used, concentrates on the destruction of the culture of a certain group of people. My guest is Barrett Holmes Pitner, he’s a philosopher, writer, journalist, and founder of the cultural think tank, Sustainable Culture Lab. He’s also been published in the Daily Beast and BBC. On today’s show, we’re going to discuss what “ethnocide” means, how it impacts American society today, and what grassroots organizations, like the Sustainable Culture Lab, are doing to reverse its effects. “Hashing it Out” is a podcast hosted by Siraj Hashmi, Washington Examiner’s commentary video editor and writer. Each episode includes a political guest to offer historical context of the news and politics of the day and insight into how we got to where we are. If you want to find the deeper meaning behind current events, then “Hashing it Out” is the podcast for you.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Jim Lehrer, RIP


Jim Lehrer died Thursday, peacefully in his sleep at 85. He got his three-score years and ten with change back, a life lived in full. Lehrer was best known as half of PBS’s “MacNeil-Lehrer Report.” It debuted in 1975 and was an example of balanced reporting through at least the mid-1990s (when I drifted away from watching it).

Lehrer was also an entertaining author. I read and enjoyed several of the novels he wrote back in the 1980s and 1990s, notably, Kick the Can. He was an example of what news reporting and journalism should be and is no longer.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Very Python Memory


The death this week of Monty Python member Terry Jones brought back an unforgettable memory of our one meeting.

As I commented here recently, for eight seasons I hosted an eponymous interview show in Silicon Valley that was syndicated to PBS stations around the country. Over the course of 300-odd shows I had a number of memorable experiences: holding Jane Goodall’s hands to keep them warm on a freezing hotel rooftop shoot, drinking wine with Julia Child while talking about the OSS, listening to Dizzy Gillespie tell how he stabbed Cab Calloway in the butt … and scores more.


As anti-Semitic attacks and incidents continue to rise, we take a closer look at who is to blame, and what we need to do as a Nation to stop this disturbing trend. This week, we revisit this topic and dive deeper with the Executive Vice President of The Heritage Foundation, Dr. Kim Holmes.



Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Three Most Important Words in the English Language


Oh, I know what you sappy sentimentalists are thinking: “I love you.” But, you would be wrong! How embarrassing.

The three most important words in the English language are: “I don’t know.” Okay, technically that’s four words with a contraction in the middle, smarty pants.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Fix is In: Media Edition


This morning the Daily Beast broke a new “bombshell” about Bernie Sanders, basically accusing him of racism:


Elizabeth & Tiffany talk about grants in cases involving “faithless” presidential electors and the Little Sisters of the Poor. They recap oral argument in the Montana school choice case and discuss the highlights of John Roberts’s new job presiding over President Trump’s impeachment trial. Elizabeth also chats with 4th Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson about finding work that makes your heart sing.

Stay tuned for Supreme Trivia – Impeachment Edition. Elizabeth’s in the hot seat!


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Democrat Concern About Election Fraud


The behavior of Democrats over the past few years has grown more and more difficult to discern from satire. So, whenever I read something ridiculous, I think, “I wonder if this is a spoof? Hard to say.” But this quote from Adam Schiff during the impeachment trial is genuine. (If it’s not, please let me know, and I’ll edit my post accordingly.)

Apparently Mr. Schiff said the following, without giggling: “The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box. For we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won.” A Democrat accusing a Republican of possible future voter fraud is too absurd to warrant a serious response. But several possible responses leap to mind, which would be more appropriately absurd.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lies, Cockroaches, and Adam Schiff


“Lies are like cockroaches: For every one you discover, there are many more that are hidden.” – Gary Hopkins

Wednesday night, Adam Schiff claimed that Donald Trump was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians by withholding military aid to pursue Hunter Biden, and to interfere with Joe Biden’s run for the presidency of the United States. This is a lie, a very big lie, from someone who has told many lies in the Democrats’ psychotic obsession with removing President Trump from office.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Real History/Context About a Fake Whistleblower


If, as sad as it may be to admit, you are too consumed by the ongoing impeachment theater from Democrats and their stool pigeons to break away, you should at least bookmark one of these links for later when you can devote the time needed to read 4,000 words of non-fiction that will most likely be lost to the fictional version of current events that will end up in the history books:

There is more real newsworthy and historically relevant “meat” in any single paragraph of that report than the entirety of the sophomoric impeachment script being presented by Nancy, Chuck, and their parade of eunuchs.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Brexit Happens!


Today the Queen gave her royal assent to the final Brexit bill. In one week’s time, the UK is out! They say it couldn’t be done, but they did it! The closest video I could find to express my mood was this scene from MASH:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Adam Schiff and Missing Mental States


I am still confused by Rep. Schiff’s repeated claim that Trump must be impeached for attempting to interfere in the 2020 election. I know that Jen Rubin, Bill Kristol, and the wider NeverTrump universe are in near-orgasmic agreement with whatever Schiff says in his anointed role as Trump-Slayer-in-Chief (a title formerly held by Robert Mueller) but I find the logic of this particular charge convoluted. I don’t get it.

Let’s assume that the leadership of Ukraine capitulated to the pressure they did not know was being applied and began the investigations that Trump had requested (which have not yet begun and for which inaction there was never a consequence as would be expected in a quid pro quo— but never mind that now). [Note: See Comment #4 from @kozak below Turns out they were already investigating prior to the Trump request.]


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Super Trump: Brought to You by Democrats!


Before he was elected, Donald Trump was never an ideological conservative or even a reliable Republican. But his instinctively thin-skinned nature led him to become a conservative. The Democrats attacked him, probably the single biggest error in the history of the party back to at least the 1960s.

Why is Trump speaking at the March of Life? Impeachment. Democrats pushed him there! And there are countless similar examples (from anti-regulation to policy on Israel to all the fantastic justices).


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Reason Enough to Re-elect Donald J. Trump


The most pro-life POTUS since Roe, President Donald Trump, will attend the March for Life in person Friday. God bless you President Trump for your witness to life.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump Gives an American Speech


On January 21, 2020, one could easily be flooded with pointless, repetitive, and dishonest speech-making if they allowed themselves to be held captive by the pointless, repetitive, and dishonest media coverage of a political party’s effort to rewrite the text and intent of the Constitution. But there was a speech given that day worth noting … and taking to heart.

To know of it, one had to shift their attention from the floor of the Senate to a snow-clad ski resort in Switzerland. The gathering was of internationals “elites” and entitled the World Economic Forum. One of its stated objectives is to “improve the state of the world.” They were told exactly how to do it.


Calling all political junkies, number crunchers, and poll watchers: this new podcast is for YOU. Washington Post political columnist and Ethics and Public Policy senior fellow Henry Olsen discusses the likely political impact of impeachment with the American Enterprise Institute’s Karlyn Bowman, what it’s like to cover President Trump every day with the White House Correspondent for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Debra J. Saunders, and does a deep dive into demographic and political trends in 2020’s most important state, Wisconsin, with Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel political report and analyst Craig Gilbert. All that plus a review of the race for House control and what makes the Ad of the Week tick on the Horse Race with Henry Olsen.