Bull Session

Another big news week and we’ve assembled the appropriate heavy hitters to help us parse it: first up, Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on North Korea, the IG report, and why the case for collusion is looking weaker and weaker every day. Then, Andrew McCarthy (listen to his brand new podcast, The McCarthy Report) stops by for some in-depth analysis on that IG report and what it means for the President. Also, Robinson returns from Spain and reports on what it’s like to hang out with rich people. Olé!

Music from this week’s episode:  Spanish Bombs by The Clash

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There are 30 comments.

  1. Aaron Miller Member

    Ricochet Audio Network: the IG report, and why the case for collusion is looking weaker and weaker every day. Then, Andrew McCarthy (listen to his brand new podcast, The McCarthy Report) stops by for some in-depth analysis on that IG report and what it means for the President.

    I continue to see headlines from Democrats’ media lapdogs that present a polar opposite portrayal of events. Will the facts have greater consequences than the fiction?

    The Left has made habit not only of contesting election results but contesting description of every political event. Without agreed facts, there can be no civil debate. Without conversation, politics will get uglier.

    • #1
    • June 15, 2018, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    EJ, EJ, EJ! I laughed so hard just looking at the picture. I haven’t even listened yet, and I’m already in a great mood. Thank you.

    • #2
    • June 15, 2018, at 1:22 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Django Member

    At around the 10 minute mark, James, you nailed! Reprehensible liberal actions are excused because their intentions were good. Conservative’s, or Trump’s, good actions are irrelevant because both had bad intentions. 

    • #3
    • June 15, 2018, at 1:55 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    It just makes my blood boil that these democrat bureaucrats get away with it and sometimes even enhance their careers by bringing their politics to work. Lois Lerner did get chased down her street once but she is living on a full government pension and probably still reciting: “I did nothing wrong”. Try being a Republican and working for the Federal government. You have to keep your opinions to yourself or you will be sent to work in the basement or they will find a way to fire you.

    I really do hope that Trump is as smart as VDH thinks he is, because otherwise we are in real trouble.

    • #4
    • June 15, 2018, at 2:58 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. La Tapada Member

    ¡Ah! ¡Que gusto escucharle a Don Pedro hablar el español!

    • #5
    • June 15, 2018, at 6:17 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. MaximusK Listener

    Why am I not allowed to post here? Do I not have a podcast membership and isn’t this a podcast post??

    • #6
    • June 16, 2018, at 7:59 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. MaximusK Listener

    I guess I can, even though that annoying notice “Please upgrade your membership level in order to comment on posts” persists.

    I usually enjoy the Ricochet podcast. The 3 hosts are usually stellar and the banter is witty. A couple comments:

    1. There is a lot of background noise at times. For example, the beginning part of the VDH interview. It sounds like someone is playing with their dog – Lileks? He’s the one who has mentioned a new dog a couple times so I suspect it’s him. Whoever it is, mute your darn microphone!
    2. Sound quality in general has taken a spike downhill. The good news is that most podcasts seem to be suffering from this. On the other hand, there are ways to improve the sound quality, and a good sound engineer will know what to do. If I were to make a prediction about the death of podcasts, I think bad sound quality will kill them or put the nail in the coffin at some point. The other issue about sound is that the sound level is so low I have to crank it up to hear it in my car via Bluetooth which just makes things sound worse. One last thing – I used to have freeconferencecall.com or something like that, and the sound quality of those calls was better than what I am hearing in your podcasts.
    • #7
    • June 16, 2018, at 8:08 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Blue Yeti Admin

    MaximusK (View Comment):

    I guess I can, even though that annoying notice “Please upgrade your membership level in order to comment on posts” persists.

    I usually enjoy the Ricochet podcast. The 3 hosts are usually stellar and the banter is witty. A couple comments:

    1. There is a lot of background noise at times. For example, the beginning part of the VDH interview. It sounds like someone is playing with their dog – Lileks? He’s the one who has mentioned a new dog a couple times so I suspect it’s him. Whoever it is, mute your darn microphone!
    2. Sound quality in general has taken a spike downhill. The good news is that most podcasts seem to be suffering from this. On the other hand, there are ways to improve the sound quality, and a good sound engineer will know what to do. If I were to make a prediction about the death of podcasts, I think bad sound quality will kill them or put the nail in the coffin at some point. The other issue about sound is that the sound level is so low I have to crank it up to hear it in my car via Bluetooth which just makes things sound worse. One last thing – I used to have freeconferencecall.com or something like that, and the sound quality of those calls was better than what I am hearing in your podcasts.

    Fair criticisms. A lot of factors conspired against us in this show — Victor Davis Hanson was on his farm where the phone connection is terrible, James had a new mic and didn’t know how to mute it (he does now), and Rob’s internet was completely down and had to move to another location minutes before we started. 

    These shows are taped live and once we start, it’s very difficult to start (guests are booked at specific times and we have to get to them on schedule). We promise to try and do better on the future.

    On your note about the volume — I’ve checked it on multiple devices including a car bluetooth setup and it all seems fine to me. Anyone else think the levels are too low?

    • #8
    • June 16, 2018, at 3:34 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Arahant Member

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):
    Anyone else think the levels are too low?

    No. They are good for me. I usually have my headphone volume at the lowest level.

    • #9
    • June 16, 2018, at 5:53 PM PDT
    • Like
  10. Cow Girl Thatcher

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):
    James had a new mic and didn’t know how to mute it (he does now),

    Really, it sounded like someone was bowling!!!

    • #10
    • June 16, 2018, at 7:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Arahant Member

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):
    James had a new mic and didn’t know how to mute it (he does now),

    Really, it sounded like someone was bowling!!!

    That was Rob. He went to the local alley for better reception. 😁

    • #11
    • June 16, 2018, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Bishop Wash Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):
    James had a new mic and didn’t know how to mute it (he does now),

    Really, it sounded like someone was bowling!!!

    That was Rob. He went to the local alley for better reception. 😁

    And the only place nearby with free wifi?

    • #12
    • June 16, 2018, at 9:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. James Lileks Contributor

    MaximusK (View Comment):
    For example, the beginning part of the VDH interview. It sounds like someone is playing with their dog – Lileks? He’s the one who has mentioned a new dog a couple times so I suspect it’s him. Whoever it is, mute your darn microphone!

    Totally and utterly my fault. Birch woke up, came into my room, found a big bone, and started chomping. I was googling HOW TO MUTE BLUE SNOWBALL while Yeti begged me to do something in the Slack channel. 

    • #13
    • June 16, 2018, at 10:21 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Icarus213 Thatcher

    It’s so depressing to me that someone as smart as VDH has so utterly jumped on board the 7-dimensional-chess narrative with the President. If this had been any liberal President meeting with the North Korean leader at this time in history, he would have condemned it in the harshest terms. But since it’s Trump, he switches his analysis to factor in that times have changed, and the situation is quite different now than it was in previous administrations. So now it’s fine, and perhaps even brilliant, that Trump is extending the olive branch and praising Kim. Or, if Trump had done the opposite and doubled down on opposing NK, that would have been brilliant as well. Whatever he does will have been brilliant.

    I cannot imagine that this is anything other than VDH talking himself into whatever argument he needs to reach for in order to support the President. He has a right to be a partisan, but I can no longer pretend he is one of our great political minds anymore. He is simply a political rationalizer.

    • #14
    • June 17, 2018, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. DHMorgan Coolidge

    Icarus213 (View Comment):
    I cannot imagine that this is anything other than VDH talking himself into whatever argument he needs to reach for in order to support the President. He has a right to be a partisan, but I can no longer pretend he is one of our great political minds anymore. He is simply a political rationalizer.

    I still find much benefit in reading (or listening to) Mr. Hanson, but I too believe he is becoming an apologist for Pres. Trump. He seems to bring up historical parallels between Pres. Trump and other people (e.g. Patton) but I doubt he has any more insight into Pres. Trump’s mind than the rest of us. You can pound square pegs in round holes if you use a hammer and don’t mind mutilating the pegs.

    Mr. Hanson suggests that Pres. Trump has some deep understanding of human nature. Really?

    Well, if he does, it’s probably about the darker side of human nature since he seems to revel in his own base instincts and lavishes praise on various dictators.

    • #15
    • June 17, 2018, at 6:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Django Member

    DHMorgan (View Comment):

    Icarus213 (View Comment):
    I cannot imagine that this is anything other than VDH talking himself into whatever argument he needs to reach for in order to support the President. He has a right to be a partisan, but I can no longer pretend he is one of our great political minds anymore. He is simply a political rationalizer.

    I still find much benefit in reading (or listening to) Mr. Hanson, but I too believe he is becoming an apologist for Pres. Trump. He seems to bring up historical parallels between Pres. Trump and other people (e.g. Patton) but I doubt he has any more insight into Pres. Trump’s mind than the rest of us. You can pound square pegs in round holes if you use a hammer and don’t mind mutilating the pegs.

    Mr. Hanson suggests that Pres. Trump has some deep understanding of human nature. Really?

    Well, if he does, it’s probably about the darker side of human nature since he seems to revel in his own base instincts and lavishes praise on various dictators.

    Just a thought: If Trump has an understanding of the “darker side of human nature”, that understanding will be useful in dealing with people such as the leader of North Korea, and a few other leaders as well. 

    • #16
    • June 17, 2018, at 6:18 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Arahant Member

    Django (View Comment):
    Just a thought: If Trump has an understanding of the “darker side of human nature”, that understanding will be useful in dealing with people such as the leader of North Korea, and a few other leaders as well.

    I think “most leaders” is the term you want. Even George Washington didn’t start out as the Cincinnatus he became.

    • #17
    • June 17, 2018, at 6:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Django (View Comment):
    Just a thought: If Trump has an understanding of the “darker side of human nature”, that understanding will be useful in dealing with people such as the leader of North Korea, and a few other leaders as well. 

    Unfortunately I think his understanding comes from his own darker side as he obviously admires what he perceives as strength (toughness).

    • #18
    • June 18, 2018, at 8:56 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. Django Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    Just a thought: If Trump has an understanding of the “darker side of human nature”, that understanding will be useful in dealing with people such as the leader of North Korea, and a few other leaders as well.

    Unfortunately I think his understanding comes from his own darker side as he obviously admires what he perceives as strength (toughness).

    Toughness, endurance, and determination are elements of strength, and if one doesn’t understand the darker side of human nature, he can’t claim to understand human nature at all. 

    • #19
    • June 18, 2018, at 9:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Django (View Comment):
    Toughness, endurance, and determination are elements of strength, and if one doesn’t understand the darker side of human nature, he can’t claim to understand human nature at all. 

    There is a big difference in understanding and admiration. 

    • #20
    • June 18, 2018, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. Django Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    Toughness, endurance, and determination are elements of strength, and if one doesn’t understand the darker side of human nature, he can’t claim to understand human nature at all.

    There is a big difference in understanding and admiration.

    True. But with regard to toughness, endurance, and determination, I both understand and admire them. 

    • #21
    • June 18, 2018, at 10:23 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Django (View Comment):
    True. But with regard to toughness, endurance, and determination, I both understand and admire them. 

    I find it impossible to regard murderous dictators as anything other than scum.

    • #22
    • June 18, 2018, at 10:33 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. Django Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    True. But with regard to toughness, endurance, and determination, I both understand and admire them.

    I find it impossible to regard murderous dictators as anything other than scum.

    I wasn’t talking about the individuals. I was referring to the characteristics that I listed. I seek to embody them myself.

    Well, even Churchill got a lot of criticism for his comments about Erwin Rommel: “May I say across the havoc of war, a great general.” 

    • #23
    • June 18, 2018, at 10:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Django (View Comment):
    Well, even Churchill got a lot of criticism for his comments about Erwin Rommel: “May I say across the havoc of war, a great general.” 

    Even Churchill was wrong occasionally but he certainly didn’t say that about Hitler. You do not show “toughness, endurance, and determination” in any positive sense by systematically starving your people. And Trump IS talking about the individuals. 

    • #24
    • June 18, 2018, at 11:04 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. Django Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    Well, even Churchill got a lot of criticism for his comments about Erwin Rommel: “May I say across the havoc of war, a great general.”

    Even Churchill was wrong occasionally but he certainly didn’t say that about Hitler. You do not show “toughness, endurance, and determination” in any positive sense by systematically starving your people. And Trump IS talking about the individuals.

    He was not wrong on that occasion; he could have said it about Hitler. Hitler won the Iron Cross, actually two, one First Class and one Second Class in the first World War. The German command did not give those out casually. It is a part of the silliness of modern thought to believe that one cannot recognize the strengths of his enemies even as he struggles to defeat them completely.

    And, yes, you are correct to point out that those characteristics I listed can be used negatively.

    • #25
    • June 18, 2018, at 11:13 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Django (View Comment):
    And, yes, you are correct to point out that those characteristics I listed can be used negatively.

    And it is very wrong to praise those characteristics when they are used negatively. I believe Churchill was wrong to use the word “great” to describe Rommel in any capacity. He paid a political price for doing so.

    Django (View Comment):
    It is a part of the silliness of modern thought to believe that one cannot recognize the strengths of his enemies even as he struggles to defeat them completely.

    Once again there is a difference in recognizing and admiring.

    • #26
    • June 18, 2018, at 12:03 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Django Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):
    And it is very wrong to praise those characteristics when they are used negatively.

    The characteristics remain what they are, admirable. It might be tactically wrong to praise them in an enemy, but that is a different issue. 

    • #27
    • June 18, 2018, at 12:19 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Quinnie Member

    I have enjoyed this podcast since its inception. As the flagship podcast of the website, I’d like to make a general comment to Ricochet podcasters. STOP MULTI-TASKING! During Mr. Hanson’s interview someone was tidying their house/office/something, but who cares. It is incredibly disrespectful to the speaker and the listeners. Why on earth should we want to listen if the people delivering the podcast are too bored to pay attention? At minimum, utilize the mute button on your phones.

    • #28
    • June 18, 2018, at 1:17 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. kedavis Member

    @blueyeti I couldn’t post this here before, for some reason the site kept saying I wasn’t logged in and couldn’t comment, just for this one, although it worked for other podcasts and even other “episodes” of this one. Weird.

    Anyway, I’ve encountered this issue with other shows. A podcast volume can “never” be too high, as long as there’s not clipping. Turning down the playback volume is easy and does not add distortion. But if it’s too low, turning up the volume on a playback device can introduce more noise/distortion, possibly run out of gain before reaching a listenable level… and then if your phone rings or something, prepare to be deafened!

    In the past I’ve used something as simple as Nero 7 “Wave Editor” to quickly and easily increase the volume level for an entire podcast, and it takes about 30 seconds to load, process, and re-save. I’ve also used it to increase the volume just for certain callers, etc. It’s a little more complicated – more than a single step – but still quite easy.

    Adding some normalization/compression might be helpful too, especially for people listening in their cars or elsewhere without noise-cancelling headphones. Dennis Miller used to think it was clever to whisper to radio-show callers on cellphones at the airport, from his soundproofed studio with high-end headphones and studio mike. But it was dumb.

    • #29
    • June 19, 2018, at 1:05 AM PDT
    • Like
  30. Blue Yeti Admin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    @blueyeti I couldn’t post this here before, for some reason the site kept saying I wasn’t logged in and couldn’t comment, just for this one, although it worked for other podcasts and even other “episodes” of this one. Weird.

    Anyway, I’ve encountered this issue with other shows. A podcast volume can “never” be too high, as long as there’s not clipping. Turning down the playback volume is easy and does not add distortion. But if it’s too low, turning up the volume on a playback device can introduce more noise/distortion, possibly run out of gain before reaching a listenable level… and then if your phone rings or something, prepare to be deafened!

    In the past I’ve used something as simple as Nero 7 “Wave Editor” to quickly and easily increase the volume level for an entire podcast, and it takes about 30 seconds to load, process, and re-save. I’ve also used it to increase the volume just for certain callers, etc. It’s a little more complicated – more than a single step – but still quite easy.

    Adding some normalization/compression might be helpful too, especially for people listening in their cars or elsewhere without noise-cancelling headphones. Dennis Miller used to think it was clever to whisper to radio-show callers on cellphones at the airport, from his soundproofed studio with high-end headphones and studio mike. But it was dumb.

    Check your DMs.

    • #30
    • June 20, 2018, at 3:15 PM PDT
    • Like