Skip to toolbar

Quote of the Day: The Benefit of the Law


Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

– “A Man For All Seasons”, Robert Bolt (Act I)

You can append any outrageous charge with “if” and the sentence that results would be true. If I ate babies, I would be a cannibal. If I did, I would be. But I do not. So I am not.

Currently, we have a set of accusations made against the President by anonymous witnesses offered behind closed doors. Those judging the evidence are not impartial. They exclude all except those who agree with them. The conclusions and public pronouncements made by the investigating committee are frequently contradicted by both facts and the statements of those testifying after they leave. If Trump had done the things he is accused of he should be removed. But an accusation alone is not enough to condemn a man. There must be proof. And the proof must be credible, and it must be presented openly and subject to investigation.

We have established norms of evidence in this country. They are not being followed in the investigation of the President. We have established procedures for investigating accusations of misconduct. No cross-examination of witnesses is allowed. The Intelligence Committee is investigating the accusations, not the committee that should be investigating the accusations (Judiciary). The main inquisitor committee chair with the responsibility of impartiality is behaving in an egregiously biased manner.

I understand why the press is playing this as gospel. It sells papers and views and they have no obligation to respect the facts or tell the truth. What I do not understand is how any rational person – especially those educated in the law – can take this process seriously, at least as far as a legal proceeding. What should be taken seriously should be the assault on the bedrock principle of this country: due process of law. Anyone, especially lawyers, should be ashamed of themselves if they put the result of a trial ahead of the process.

Are They Going to Kavanaugh Trump?


When Justice Kavanaugh was nominated for the US Supreme Court, one woman came out to lie about him, and then when her story was publicized, seemingly scores of accusers came out of the woodwork to make increasingly absurd accusations. Kavanaugh has been forever tainted this way and the Democrats learned how to “put an asterisk” on a justice.

Now comes word that scores of accusers are ready to testify that Trump is using his office to enrich his businesses. Since the House is treating the impeachment like a star chamber, these accusers won’t even be cross-examined. It won’t matter if they are lying because even if they are, how will Trump be able to take action against so many liars without looking bad? Every accuser that has their lies exposed will be replaced by another ten who will make even greater lies.

Yesterday Trump mocked Pelosi as a third-rate politician. So was Josef Stalin. Neither he nor she practices politics; what they do is something other than politics. The scale of perfidy to our nation is profound.

Attacks on Jews, and a Leftist’s Attempt to Speak a Bit of Inconvenient Truth


I read Bari Weiss’s new book, How to Fight Anti-Semitism out of curiosity. I wondered if she would really speak truth to power and slap the hand that pays her salary, the New York Times. She did not. She is a woman of the left and a talented columnist, both of which come across in this small, easily read volume. I do not envy her the task she set for herself. I do not know if anyone could write an approachable appeal, that would both address the prominent sources of anti-Semitism and keep the ear of even one major faction on either side of the great political divide.

This is a lengthy and critical review, arranged with the following section headers: “A few administrative details,” “Book outline,” “Too far right?” “Not far enough left?” “Naming radical Islam,” “Review of reviews,” and finally some closing thoughts under “Civility?” Fair warning: this ended up being a very critical review. For balance, you should go read Cathy Young’s review, and Melissa Langsam Braunstein at the Federalist, both of which I link and excerpt in the “Review of reviews” section.

A few administrative details:

How to Fight Anti-Semitism was published 10 September 2019. At 206 pages plus four thank-you pages, it fits nicely in a cargo pocket or pocketbook. There are no footnotes, no endnotes, no index, and no references. The prose is very approachable, making it a fairly quick read.

I borrowed the book from my local library, first in line for one of two copies being processed for library use. There were no other patrons jumping on the waitlist. I got it on a Thursday afternoon, read it cover to cover with one cup of iced coffee, closing the book with my notes about three hours later.

It has been three weeks since reading and first drafting some rough thoughts, as I mulled things over. A check of the Mesa library kept showing no one else requesting the book. Checking the Maricopa County Library District, there was only slight interest. Usually, when a new book shows up in the cue to be processed for library loan, there is a bit of a waiting list. Not so with this book. Indeed, even in the Phoenix library system, the vibrant Jewish community in Phoenix has not generated a strong demand for Bari Weiss’s warnings and recommendations.

Book outline:

Bari Weiss begins with a personal account of hearing about the deadly attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, October 27, 2018. She grew up in that community and was bat mitzvahed in the Tree of Life congregation. This raised in her mind the question of whether and how America had become dangerous for Jews. While a woman of the left, she is determined to clearly identify the full spectrum of threat sources, not just those approved by Democratic Party partisans. Weiss describes “a three-headed dragon” of anti-Semitism: far right, far left, and radical Islam. She seems to invite all people of goodwill in America to consider her warnings, yet from the very outset there are hints her notion of people of goodwill excludes a great many Americans:

This book is for anyone, Jew or gentile, who is concerned not with what is fashionable but with what is true. This book is for anyone, Jew or gentile, who loves freedom and seeks to protect it. It is for anyone, Jew or gentile, who cannot look away from what is brewing in this country and the world and wants to do something to stop it. (p.25-6)

Weiss seeks to build a brief historical case for each of these threat sources and then address the current environment and possible near future. She starts with the right wing, then, having tried to bank some credit with the left, turns to criticize the left, followed finally by the especially sensitive (to the left) Islamic source of modern anti-Semitism or Jew-hatred. Having made the case for concern about a rise in violent anti-Semitism, Bari Weiss ends with a series of recommended actions for Jews to take.

Yes, the recommendations are for her fellow Jews, not a mix of recommendations that include that wider audience she seemed to invite at the beginning. This disconnect was noted in a relatively favorable review we will come to in a bit. Ultimately, then, Bari Weiss has crafted a readable threat-assessment and self-help book. I cannot speak to the efficacy of the self-help portion, and invite Ricochet members with a better vantage point to address this. Choosing such a self-limiting approach might help explain the lack of interest, at least in the Arizona reading public.

Too far right?

Bari Weiss seeks to keep Jews on the liberal left, painting an inflated picture of the far right. She includes the Ku Klux Klan when Jonah Goldberg laid out in Liberal Fascism the plain truths that the KKK was reborn in the early 20th Century as fanboys of The Birth of a Nation. [Liberal Fascism, p.259] As any informed journalist should know, this movie was given a rocket fuel boost by the first Progressive Democrat in the White House, President Woodrow Wilson, a stone-cold white supremacist. Wilson shows up nowhere in this brief account, certainly not on the left side of the ledger, and we do not learn that the KKK’s party was the Democratic Party.

Father Coughlin is entered into the right side of the ledger as a prefigurement of the dangerous demagogue Weiss wants to make President Trump out to be. Yet, if she had consulted Jonah Goldberg, at least before he was undone by the 2016 electorate, she would know that this is a mistake. Father Coughlin was far more of a leftist. He hated the KKK because they hated Roman Catholics, but he advocated for FDR and state control of the economy.

In painting the standard liberal left picture of populism and nationalism leading up to World War II, Weiss smuggled in the assumption that Nazism was of the far right, when Jonah Goldberg showed many years ago now that:

The Nazis’ ultimate aim was to transform both the left and the right, to advance a “Third Way” that broke with both categories. But in the real world the Nazis seized control of the country by dividing, conquering, and then replacing the left. [ Liberal Fascism, p.70]

At the heart of this chapter is President Trump, and his supporters, who Bari Weiss paints in all the ugly and false terms one expects of a New York Times writer. Her perceptions were certainly not contradicted by those on the conservative side who she acknowledged:

In our collective fight against anti-Semitism, I am grateful to be connected to . . . Meghan McCain . . . . And to have deepened my friendships with . . . David French . . . .

While Weiss believes she is proceeding fairly, reasonably, her circle of friends and advisers cited are well within the left and anti-Trump establishments. Missing from her list of friends and allies are such names as Dennis Prager, Ben Shapiro, and Jonah Goldberg. She name-checks Ben Shapiro as another public figure who has been deluged with vile anti-Semitism online, but even though her previous job was with the Wall Street Journal, Ben Shapiro is probably too politically toxic in her professional circles. The same likely holds for Dennis Prager, who just happens to be the co-author of a 2003 book, Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism. In short, those on and off her acknowledgments list help explain her tone-deafness to how her choice of words misdirect threat perceptions and reinforce divisions rather than build a broader defense against violent anti-Semitism, including ultimately genocidal hatred of Israel.

Not far enough left?

Bari Weiss showed journalistic courage in turning a light on the left as a source of anti-Semitism. She points out the path Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has taken, both in its direct anti-Semitism and in its alliance with radical Islam. The result has been a movement of the Labour Party to the extreme left. Weiss names Rep. Ilhan Omar and the Squad, and points to the Democratic Party’s failure to reject or discipline Omar in their party. Weiss even calls out President Obama on one point, criticizing his outrageous circumlocutions about the attack in France on a Jewish deli.

In providing context for the current threat on the left, Weiss never mentions Woodrow Wilson as an instigator of the modern KKK. She is silent on FDR and the Holocaust. Both of these Democratic Party giants also imprisoned many thousands on suspicion of disloyalty during war. See Johan Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, generally, on both of these presidents.

Of course, to bring up FDR, who Father Coughlin supported, would be to open the door to questions about her current employer. The New York Times and its owner covered themselves in disgrace with suppression of credible reports of the Holocaust. They had earlier been all but the American branch office of Pravda during the Holodomor and the Great Terror. Two weeks before How to Fight Anti-Semitism was published, another book, very relevant to this portion of Weiss’s argument, was published: The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust.

The Jews Should Keep Quiet further reveals how FDR’s personal relationship with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, American Jewry’s foremost leader in the 1930s and 1940s, swayed the U.S. response to the Holocaust. Documenting how Roosevelt and others pressured Wise to stifle American Jewish criticism of FDR’s policies, Medoff chronicles how and why the American Jewish community largely fell in line with Wise. Ultimately Medoff weighs the administration’s realistic options for rescue action, which, if taken, would have saved many lives.

The New York Times, in its Holocaust coverage during the war, was part of that establishment effort, to hide the full truth and keep everyone on the side of the FDR administration.

The publisher at the time, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, and his family were members of the “our crowd” German Jews in this country, and they didn’t want to alienate the powers that be in government and business. So questions of Jewish identity were often diluted in the paper’s pages, lest the Sulzbergers be seen as being on the “pro-Jewish” side. A conscious decision was made from the top to downplay stories which might give the impression that The Times was a “Jewish newspaper.”

Today, apparently, questions are not to be asked of a newspaper that publishes blatant, classic anti-Semitic cartoons. Nor are questions to be asked of Michelle Obama, who may be the Democrats’ future nominee. While the long streak of attacks on Jewish men in Brooklyn are seen on film to be perpetrated by young black men, no one is to raise questions about African-American anti-Semitism, personified in Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and Jeremiah Wright, in whose church Barack and Michelle Obama sat for all those years.

Jews being hit with rocks. Jews being chased down and punched. Jews being beaten with belts. Jews being stabbed on the street. Jewish school buses being set on fire. Jewish women having their wigs ripped off. Swastikas being painted on sidewalks. Jews being forced to take off their kippot. These are scenes that could be straight out of 1940s Nazi Germany, or perhaps from France today, but they’re not. These recent assaults have all happened in Brooklyn, New York. The worst part is, no one seems to care.

See my earlier piece on Jamestown 1619 for more detail on the disgraceful response by local Democratic politicians and media. Further, consider the behavior of the New York Times since World War II, including in the middle of Weiss’s book project. Deborah E. Lipstadt started a review of Print to Fit: The New York Times, Zionism and Israel, 1896-2016:

In late April 2019, the New York Times international edition published a cartoon depicting a blind, kippa-wearing President Trump being led by a dachshund with a Jewish star around its neck. The dog’s face was a distorted caricature of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visage. The message was indisputable: Israelis qua Jews, despite being the national equivalent of lapdogs, have the unique ability to blind presidents and shape political events. Beguiled, not only does Trump do their bidding, but he is, like the other unwitting victims on the world stage, blissfully unaware of what is going on. The cartoon gave vivid expression to the conspiracy theory, or rather myth, that is at the heart of anti-Semitism and did so in an image that, as was widely noted, could have appeared in Der Stürmer. How did it end up receiving the New York Times’s imprimatur?

Bret Stephens, another columnist recruited to the New York Times from the Wall Street Journal, clearly denounced his own paper.

Imagine, for instance, if the dog on a leash in the image hadn’t been the Israeli prime minister but instead a prominent woman such as Nancy Pelosi, a person of color such as John Lewis, or a Muslim such as Ilhan Omar. Would that have gone unnoticed by either the wire service that provides the Times with images or the editor who, even if he were working in haste, selected it? The question answers itself. And it raises a follow-on: How have even the most blatant expressions of anti-Semitism become almost undetectable to editors who think it’s part of their job to stand up to bigotry?

So, Bari Weiss already had some evidence that she could put her employer’s publication under critical scrutiny without losing her job. Since the infamous New York Times cartoon was published in late April of 2019, there was time to consider the paper’s responses in the fuller context Weiss sought to apply to other current actors and incidents.

The Times faced increased backlash after their non-apology and was forced to issue a new statement claiming the paper was “deeply sorry” after a white nationalist terrorist opened fire at a synagogue in California on Saturday, killing one and injuring three others.

“We are deeply sorry for the publication of an anti-Semitic political cartoon last Thursday in the print edition of The New York Times that circulates outside of the United States, and we are committed to making sure nothing like this happens again,” The Times said in a new statement. “Such imagery is always dangerous, and at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, it’s all the more unacceptable.”

Were it not for the white nationalist, and the need to attack President Trump with clean hands, would Bari Weiss’s employer ever have made the revised and extended apology? There was time, especially with this book’s format, to include the Times April cartoon as an instance of the link between the left and radical Islam.

In citing authority for the problem of the left’s near singular focus on Israel as a villain, Bari Weiss quotes Susan Rice instead of Nikki Haley:

[A]s Susan Rice put it less poetically but just as clearly: “No country is immune to criticism, nor should it be. But when that criticism take the form of singling out just one country, unfairly, bitterly, and relentlessly, over and over and over, that’s just wrong—and we all know it.” [106-7]

Weiss could have had the same and better from Haley, but that would raise questions about Trump and Obama. Why is this choice especially problematic? Weiss is silent on Susan Rice, as President Obama’s U.N. Ambassador, engineering the U.S. abstention, on a vote only days before President Trump took office, so the rest of the Security Council could pass the infamous U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, declaring Israeli settlements illegal. So, Weiss might just wonder if Susan Rice and her old boss were a bigger part of the problem on the left. Are the moves in American politics, against Jews and Israel since 2018, a continuation of what President Obama set in motion in 2009?

Naming radical Islam:

Bari Weiss gives an accurate account of the reemergence of dangerous enmity towards Jews (and Christians) from Muslims in the Middle East, radiating out to the world. She starts with an account of medieval Roman Catholic Europe generating blood libels that excused large scale murders of Jews, and claims:

until the twentieth century, it was Christianity that was responsible for the murder of more Jews than any other ideology on the planet.

We do not have good enough records to compare the pagan Roman empire, or earlier pagan conquests, each with their own ideology, if Christianity is an ideology, but the point should be taken. At the same time Weiss does not whitewash the systemic oppression in the Islamic world, under a form of legal segregation and discrimination called dhimmitude. By this account, it is Western Christian European empires, in the 19th Century that brought their virulent blood libel accounts into the Islamic world, and the Islamic world was already fertile soil.

Once majority Muslim societies experienced Christians and Jews empowered not to submit to dhimmi status, the reaction was extreme. Contrary to self-flattering secular Western intellectuals’ belief, more education brings with it deeper anti-Semitism, through reading and connecting texts supporting an account linking abandonment of the old-time religion with decline in material and political success. Weiss points out that the same thing actually happened in Germany leading up to the Nazi regime. While she does not make this claim, beliefs of Prussian, then greater German, superiority and rights to more territory, lebensraum, was observed at the turn of the 19th into the 20th century.

Weiss believes in America, as a unique solution that has allowed Catholics and Protestants, who once slaughtered each other in religious wars, to brunch together. That same American system was relatively hospitable to Jews, living in their faith, from the founding, as Weiss recounts. She also holds to a positive assessment of the European Enlightenment, and the related modernizing or moderating of both Christianity and Judaism. This may be another unexamined Western secular elite myth, assuming that education and modernity bring skepticism and bending of religion, rather than the world being put under the lens of religious texts and teachings.

This all passed for uncontroversial opinion until recently. Now, however, Weiss is speaking secular heresy, as any moderately aware observer of our time knows. Weiss dares call anti-Zionism, as it is actually practiced, anti-Semitism, and challenges the weaponization of intersectional theory in the service of anti-Semitism. The response from the left was swift and strongly negative, as several reviews below illustrate.

Of course, riding the intersectional social justice tiger is tricky. The Forward was harsh in its treatment of Bari Weiss, yet their opinion editor just experienced the inconvenient truth Weiss wrote: there is no separating anti-Zionist agitation from Jew-hatred:

[Forward opinion editor Batya] Ungar-Sargon was asked to speak at the conference hosted by Bard’s Hannah Arendt Center, where she was to be part of a discussion on “Racism and Zionism: Black-Jewish Relations.” Prior to that, she was slated to take part in another panel that was to discuss anti-Semitism along with Harvard University scholar Ruth Wisse and a Holocaust survivor. Students for Justice for Palestine, a group that actively promotes the BDS movement and which engages in anti-Semitic incitement, planned to protest at the conference. But what threw Ungar-Sargon for a loop was that these opponents of Israel weren’t going to be satisfied with protesting at the session about Zionism but would first seek to disrupt the one about anti-Semitism.

The chapter on extremism in Islam is the one that most signaled the need for notes and references. It was here that Bari Weiss’s strength as a columnist worked most against her as a book writer. The book would have been strengthened by even a two-page appendix of suggested readings and internet resources for each chapter.

Review of reviews:

Bari Weiss’s effort to speak inconvenient truths to all sides was not well received by her own side. Both Slate and the New York Times were not kind. It seemed to go downhill from there on the left, in the Forward, the Nation, and JewishCurrents. She got a more sympathetic view from across the pond at the Observer, and from National Review because of their agreement that President Trump is horrible and that he is responsible for destroying our civic discourse and politics, not those who have sought to nullify the 2016 election. Finally, I comment on your reading reviews by Cathy Young and Melissa Langsam Braunstein.

Jordan Weissmann at Slate attacked Bari Weiss’s research and her focus:

Bari Weiss’ new book on combating hatred of Jews in the Trump era is more interested in condemning the left than actually confronting the problem.


Here are a few things that a journalist might want to do if she were attempting to write a good and worthwhile book titled How to Fight Anti-Semitism.

The journalist could carefully explore the online radicalization process that leads men to violent white supremacy, and detail possible ways to curb it. She could talk to students involved in the campus boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement to more clearly understand their motivations, before unpacking whether or when the effort is anti-Semitic. She could go to Crown Heights in New York, where a long history of tension between the black and Hasidic communities has lately erupted into violence against the neighborhood’s Jews, and perhaps interview local leaders trying to bridge those divides. She could explore why American schools are doing a miserable job teaching the Holocaust and how that affects discourse about Jews and Israel.

The New York Times review by Hillel Halkin of How to Fight Anti-Semitism goes right at Bari Weiss’s core beliefs about the natural fit between Jewish identity and history and the liberal left. The reviewer directly attacks Judaism’s history from an intersectional politics perspective:

Weiss approvingly quotes a friend of hers, hurt to the quick by the proposed banning of “Jewish pride flags” at the 2019 Washington Dyke March. Always? As if the right to define oneself sexually as one pleases were a cause Jews have fought for over the ages!

As a matter of historical record, it was Greek and Roman high society, not the Jews, that practiced and preached polymorphous sexual freedom. Judaism fiercely opposed such an acceptance of sexual diversity, against which it championed the procreative family, the taming of anarchic passions, and the cosmically ordained nature of normative gender distinctions that goes back to the first chapter of Genesis: “So God created man in his own image. … Male and female created he them.” And while we’re at it, it was the Greeks, not the Jews, who invented democracy. What mattered to Jews throughout nearly all of their history (and still does to a considerable number of them today) was the will of God as interpreted by religious authority, not free elections.

Judaism as liberalism with a prayer shawl is a distinctly modern development. It started with the 19th-century Reform movement in Germany, from which it spread to America with the reinforcement of the left-wing ideals of the Russian Jewish labor movement. As much as such a conception of their ancestors’ faith has captured the imagination of most American Jews, it is hard to square with 3,000 years of Jewish tradition.

Tell it to Greek and Roman women. That “sexual freedom” was for the powerful, like today’s Afghan warlords with their pubescent boys. I learned that truth indirectly from translated Greek classics long before intersectionality was a thing. We read to understand the art and thought of the time, as progenitor to our “Western Civilization,” not for the sexual politics, but there were the powerful men with their young male objects of desire.

There was real debate over the morality, the ethics of elite sexual behavior at the time, debate clear in the literature, but it was the successful spread of Christianity, which came out of Judaism, that imposed limits on men’s appetites. Nevertheless, the New York Times makes clear the intersectional hierarchy and places both Christianity and Judaism, as a religion, in the position of privileged oppressors.

These were the good reviews from the left. It got a lot uglier with Talia Lavin at the Nation:

As a Jewish woman who has faced the same anti-Semitic harassment as Weiss and who has felt twinges of discomfort in leftist spaces, I found myself doubly frustrated: I had genuinely hoped to locate some commonality in struggle with this woman who claims to be my sister in it. Yet the profound lack of intellectual curiosity, proportionality, and material analysis in the book renders it worse than simply useless. Instead of being the jagged, urgent cri de coeur Weiss imagines herself to have written, the book suffers from the limitations of one particularly sophistic opinion columnist. I have written numerous op-eds in my time, and while the form is excellent for advancing a polemic or highlighting some facet of a broader problem, it does not lend itself to a book-length analysis of one of the knottiest issues in the modern world. Weiss is in the business of delivering weekly hits of dopamine to a right-of-center readership, and perhaps those readers will enjoy a book that offers more of the same. But readers who seek a more robust and rigorous analysis of contemporary anti-Semitism are advised to look elsewhere.

Right-of-center? Talya Zax at the Forward attacks both the general thrust of the book and especially her look at radical Islam:

Despite the preponderance of space Weiss gives to analyzing what she sees as the landscape of contemporary anti-Semitism, her book isn’t actually about ringing an alarm bell. What it’s fundamentally interested in is providing reassurance: No, we aren’t making this up, yes, we have the power to fight, yes, the other side is delusional — even though yours is, too. Most consoling of all, the solution comes through embracing our identity, by having confidence in our values and bravery in applying them. “Trust your discomfort,” Weiss advises. “Don’t trust people who seek to divide Jews. Even if they are Jews.” And: “Never, ever forget to love your neighbor.” And: “Choose life.”


The dangers of that perspective are most apparent in the book’s chapter on “Radical Islam,” and specifically in Weiss’s insistence on using the term “Islamist.” That term technically refers to Muslims who believe that Islam ought to be the strongest political force in a country, but in common American parlance generally refers to extremists bent on establishing fully Islamic states. Yet Weiss uses it to apply to every instance she cites of an alleged anti-Semitic attack by someone of Arab origin, and to the problem of Muslim anti-Semitism at large. These instances follow a familiar pattern, she writes, beginning when “An Islamist does something terrible.” “It is very hard,” she writes, “to absorb the extent of Islamist anti-Semitism in Europe.”

Judith Butler naturally was unhappy with the whole project, especially Bari Weiss’s criticism of the reality of intersectional politics and of questioning the existence of Israel.

Weiss’s book turned out to be both passionate and disappointing. She repeats her urgent pleas for the reader to wake up and avert a recurrence of a nightmarish history. At the same time, she does not take up the issues that make the matter so vexed for those who oppose both antisemitism and the unjust policies of the Israeli state. To do that, she would have had to provide a history of antisemitism, and account for the relatively recent emergence of the view that to criticize Israel is itself antisemitic. To fight antisemitism we have to know what it is, how best to identify its forms, and how to devise strategies for rooting it out. The book falters precisely because it refuses to do so. Instead, it elides a number of ethical and historical questions, suggesting that we are meant to feel enraged opposition to antisemitism at the expense of understanding it.


Weiss makes clear that there can be criticisms of Israel that are legitimate, but only if they take the form of demanding that Israel live up to its higher ideals. Under such conditions, we are barely permitted to ask the more fundamental question: what political form would lead to the flourishing of all the people who now lay claim to that land?


And yet another line of history runs through and past the Naqba, a history that intersects with the story Weiss tells: state Zionism provided sanctuary for Jewish refugees even as it dispossessed more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes, producing more refugees for whom there is no clear sanctuary. 1948 was a year in which multiple histories intersected. There is no one line of history. If we accept wholesale Weiss’s proposition that Israel exists and is therefore legitimate, then we are excused from asking too many historical questions about why it was established in the way that it was—on what legal terms, and at what price, and through the vanquishing of what alternative possibilities.

At the Guardian, a British paper of the left, Yehudah Mirsky praised Bari Weiss’s effort generally, before using the occasion to go where the left wants to go, targeting Donald Trump and evangelical Christians, along with the majority of voters in Israel:

Loosely written, going not deep but wide, she brings together trends whose crisscrossing makes for much current confusion. And her observations generally ring true. Her taking aim at both right and left will infuriate some but is on the mark. What, for Weiss, is antisemitism? “An ever-morphing conspiracy theory in which Jews play the starring role in spreading evil in the world.”


Enter today’s conspiracist-in-chief. Calling Donald Trump antisemitic mistakes him for someone with beliefs. Rather, stereotypes that make Jews’ flesh creep – greedy, power-hungry, tribal, ruthless – are his idea of virtues. Demagogic egomaniacs like him are Jew-haters’ natural friends. His relentless assaults on minorities’ rights, free speech and the rule of law strike at the very things that for most American Jews are not only strategic pillars but deep articles of faith.

Trump’s version of pro-Israel policy is meant to please not the majority of American Jews, most of whom side more with Israel’s center-left, but the harder-line and Orthodox and, above all, evangelicals, whose professed love for Jews is, it often seems, not so far from its opposite.


Jews met this strange, frightening new hatred in different ways: religious retrenchment or, alternatively, reform, political liberalism, socialism, nationalism – and Zionism, which mixed and matched with them all. Ironically, the sheer diversity of Jewish responses to modernity’s dangers and opportunities, with Jews on all sides of the ideological barricades, set fevered imaginations wild.

Brian Steward at National Review took to Bari Weiss’s book like catnip, predictably taking the same course as their counterparts in the Observer:

As Weiss is fully aware, her book is most apt to court controversy by providing a political guide to these fresh outbreaks of anti-Semitism. She begins rather dauntingly by noting that Jews in the West, especially in Europe, are confronted by a “three-headed dragon.” First, there is an antagonistic environment for Jews, thanks in large measure to the rapid growth of Islamism on the Old Continent. Second, there is ideological vilification by the political Left, which increasingly regards Israel as an illegitimate state serving no other purpose than as a bastion of Western (read: white) colonialism. Third, there is a recrudescence of reactionary populism on the political right that, while often professing sympathy for Israel, evinces a fervent commitment to blood-and-soil politics that seldom ends well for Jews.

Not everybody will agree with Weiss’s portrait of the hydra-headed enemy, which itself points to part of the problem. The tribal impulse in our political life has grown so pronounced that it has overwhelmed a common civic culture, rendering many classical liberals politically homeless. There is a well-oiled habit among the political class and in the press of excusing obvious, often deplorable, transgressions by one’s “own” side. The acid test for fighting anti-Semitism, as with so many other derangements, is to face it down with equal enthusiasm and commitment when it flares up on one’s team — or, better yet, to be more discriminating about which team one belongs to in the first place.


In addition to being more diffuse than many imagine, the lunatic fringe is also thicker than is generally understood. Weiss is justly concerned by the spike in violence against Jews and other minorities from the identitarian right and about the grisly ideology behind it. After some years of dormancy, in August 2017 it flared into the open in Charlottesville when a “Unite the Right” rally of white supremacists gathered at the University of Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Carrying tiki torches, these doughy goons shouted the slogans: “Blood and soil,” “White Lives Matter,” and, in a nod to the ancient anti-Semitic notion of the Jew as the evil puppeteer, “Jews will not replace us.” Lest we forget, President Trump’s reflexive response to this wicked nonsense was to put in a good word for such “very fine people.”

That last sentence is a lie. National Review knows it is a lie. Now pay close attention to the conclusion:

If the populist-nationalist view of Israel continues to dominate the right side of the ballot in both Israel and America, and if that view continues to command electoral majorities, it will help vindicate the Left’s suspicion that Israel is in essence an ethnocracy, or will soon evolve into one. As progressive politics lurches to the left, the Israeli Right will find new support in subverting democratic institutions and entrenching the occupation. In place of a smaller, plucky Israel punching above its weight against fearsome enemies while upholding a laudable multiethnic democracy, the cycle of dueling left and right populisms risks helping to foster a Greater Israel that loses sight of the liberal Zionism that birthed it. If this comes to pass, it will be a moral and political catastrophe, no matter where America’s embassy in Israel is situated.

Never mind that Israel was recast as oppressor by the left in the early 1970s, after the economic class warfare gambit failed in the 1960s. Arabs became the virtuous victims of colonization by the victorious Israeli colonizers. The deplorables of Israel and America, as they dare to elect the wrong people, are to blame, according the National Review‘s review of How to Fight Anti-Semitism.

Melissa Langsam Braunstein, with the Federalist, offers an even-handed review. You should really go and read her review after what I have written.

Weiss deserves credit for calling out not only “the Squad,” but also President Obama’s response to the attack on Paris’ Hyper Cacher supermarket, which he pretended was random rather than anti-Semitic. However, the example I wish she had used was President Obama’s handling of opponents to the Iran deal.

I would also have added The New York Times shamefully discussing Iran deal opponents in reference to their districts’ Jewish populations. Lest anyone miss those statistics, The Times highlighted the figures in yellow, recalling the Nazi-era yellow star. If we’re going to speak honestly about how we arrived at this moment, it’s important to acknowledge not only what’s happened since 2016, but also what happened the year before.


The closest I found to an explanation of Trump’s antisemitic remarks were three examples offered 18 pages earlier. One example is a behind-the-scenes insult from Michael Wolff’s first book about the Trump White House. So is the anecdote definitely true? I know not.

The other two were comments Trump made at Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) events (one of which I covered for The Federalist), which sound terrible out of context. However, as a Jewish conservative familiar with those gatherings having joined the RJC decades ago, I’d say those examples mostly underscore the gap between how Jews in those rooms heard Trump’s words and how liberal journalists chose to cover them.

To maximize the impact of this chapter, especially for conservative readers, I would have selected different examples. The two times President Trump has made comments related to Jews that have concerned (at least some, if not all) Jewish conservatives were his response to Charlottesville and his recent remarks about Jewish disloyalty. The first emphasized the president’s unwillingness to definitively tell off his alt-right fanbois, while the latter saw him dipping into anti-Semitic language.

Cathy Young comes at the book from a different viewpoint, but is similarly fair-minded:

In fact, Weiss has written a smart, thoughtful book that defends increasingly embattled liberal values. That means it has something to offend both major political tribes right now. It’s pro-Israel and against the “social justice” progressivism currently dominant on the left. It’s also resolutely against the populist/nativist ideology prevalent on the right. It’s against “The Squad” and against Donald Trump.

How to Fight Anti-Semitism is a thin book without endnotes (and one that, at times, could have used a bit more explanation and sourcing), but it does a remarkably good job of examining the three main strands of anti-Semitism today: right-wing, left-wing, and Islamist.



It should be clear that I do not share Young’s assessment of the book and, at least in part, of the author. Way back in 2010, Dennis Prager wrote:

Liberal Jewish columnist Frank Rich of The New York Times wrote recently that Tea Partiers had engaged in a “small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht.” The November 1938 Kristallnacht (“Night of the Broken Glass”), with its murdered Jews, broken and vandalized Jewish businesses and homes, and burned-down synagogues, is widely considered to be the opening act of the Holocaust.


Where liberal and conservative Jews differ is where each group thinks the greatest danger to the Jews lies. Jews on the Left are certain that the greatest threats to Jews come from the Right. Conservative and centrist Jews believe that dangers to the Jews can come from the Left, from the Right, from Islam, from a renewal of Christian anti-Semitism, indeed from anywhere, but that at this moment the world’s Left is far more an enemy of the Jewish people than the world’s, not to mention America’s, Right.

Yes, the Tea Party was being compared to Nazis when these good citizens dared politely stand up and civilly protect the bipartisan crazy deficit spending, driving our national debt into a near vertical climb. “Clinging to their guns and God?” “Basket of deplorables?” Who was really being uncivil in their discourse? Though the book and in her speaking appearances, Bari Weiss shows a consistent lack of self-awareness:

…Weiss, who describes herself as center-left politically and holds pro-Israel views that include criticisms of the Jewish state, went on to speak about her own family’s wrestling with the politics of the day, with her sisters and her mother not allowing their “Trump-curious” father to vote for Donald Trump for president in 2016.

“We prevented him from voting for Trump, and he wrote [on his ballot] Steph Curry [the NBA star]. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next election, especially if it’s Bernie [Sanders] or Elizabeth Warren [as the Democratic candidate],” Weiss said. “I think a lot of Jews could be writing in Steph Curry.”

Weiss said while she supports Trump’s relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, his scuttling of the Iran nuclear deal and his recognition of Israeli control over the Golan Heights, Trump’s disregard for civil discourse has had a poisonous effect on the country.

Yet, Bari Weiss calls Congresswoman, and U.S. Army major, Tulsi Gabbardan Assad toady [language warning].” On camera, she spelled it “t-o-a-d-i-e” when asking for someone to look up the meaning, after Joe Rogan asked her what she meant. In the book, she goes with -y, and offers precious little justification beyond the vague hand-waving she offered on air. Of course, this is perfectly acceptable in the Democrat media complex bubble, as the New York Times and CNN proved together in the lead-up to the October Democratic Presidential primary debate sponsored by CNN.

Oh, and many Ricochet readers and me? When I had just finished reading How to Fight Anti-Semitism, I mentioned it to a friend. He expressed interest and I handed him the book copy, brand new from the library, only ever read by me. He opened it towards the middle and this is what he read:

When the president of the party of Lincoln praises Robert E. Lee as a “great general,” they hear the whistle. When the president talks not about patriotism but about nationalism, they hear the whistle. When he denigrates immigrants and declares “America first,” they hear the whistle loud and clear. [p.63]

“Dog whistles!? She’s going with dog whistles?” he exclaimed derisively, snapping the book shut and thrusting it back to me. I could not disagree.

In the end, Bari Weiss may be in the position of the young stock-trader woman after the 1984 election. The woman was completely unashamed to tell a news periodical that she was so thankful that President Reagan was so far ahead in the polls because that let her vote for Mondale to feel good about herself. Weiss, her sisters, and mother can gang up on her father again, and maybe even join him in voting for some socially acceptable sports figure, safe in the knowledge that the object of her fear and loathing will secure real safety for another few years. At the same time, it may be up to us to pick up the pieces of a political culture that she and her fellow leftists and TruCon lapdogs, not we, helped imperil, as both Peter Robinson and Kimberly Strassel explain.

Identity Politics: Setting the Record Straight


Human beings are arrogant creatures prone to pessimism. We do not want to take responsibility for our own sorry circumstances or failures nor are we willing to simply attribute these things to chance. So we find others to blame and we invent conspiracies. The self is perfect, of course, but a victim. When in the company of others with similar failures and sorry circumstances, we find solace. When politicians step in to encourage our doubt and provide false state-mandated remedies, identity politics is born.

The American ideas of equality, liberty, self-reliance, opportunity, and perseverance are antithetical to the corrosive despair of victimhood. Our citizens are not victims, but individuals with the liberty and power, with the responsibility, to pursue their own happiness.

In the world of identity politics, a myth is promoted: happiness is an entitlement. It is not. Happiness is a pursuit.

A Pope Speaks Out (No, Not That Pope)


I’ve listened to some of the Democrat Presidential debates and I had no idea there were that many people that were concerned with what I should eat, how I should travel, what I should own, and my medical care. There’s more to add to the list so rather than list everything I’ll just say – I never knew I was so inept in living my unsupervised personal life, much less how that ignorance was oppressing my neighbors. I not only was oppressing my neighbors I was oppressing an entire nation with my selfish lifestyle.

In this age of unexamined ideas where history begins with the start of the next 24-hour news cycle, state-sanctioned looting is nothing new, the Catholic Church has already wrestled with this issue. There were Catholics that advocated Distributism, which was no more than Socialism. Some called it the Catholic Third Way of Economics. The Magisterium never advocated this Third Way because it was seen as no more than theft.

I’ll leave you with two quotes from Pope Leo XIII taken from his Encyclical “On Capital and Labor” – Rerum Novarum, written and published on May 15, 1891.

4. To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community.

5. It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man’s little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.

Would that a Pope Leo XIII was here today, but we have his words on this issue, and would that small “c” Catholics and non-Catholics were more aware of the pedigree of ideas.

What Are the Key Parts of a Relationship?


Some time back, it was popular to talk about the “Five Love Languages,” the ways in which a person shows his or her love to someone else. I was always kind of resistant, partially because I reflexively suspect categorization as being a somewhat fuzzy and lazy tool, especially when applied to relationships. Or as the Babylon Bee puckishly “reported,” Husband Declares His Love Language is Marathoning All the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Movies.

Still, there is no denying that people absolutely often express love through acts of service, affirming words, gifts, time, and touch. But that, at least to me, neither properly categorizes, nor even includes the most important language of love in a growing relationship: listening. Indeed, listening to the other person is not only important, but it is the gateway to having a successful relationship in the first place. Hearing the other person, and considering what she has to say, is the first and single most important step in any proper relationship. Everything that comes after that builds on that single foundation.

I would submit that the Torah offers us a different set of love languages, the things people do when they wish to grow a relationship. They are as follows: listening, expressing desire, exchanging gifts, and visits.

“Where,” you might wonder, “did he get that in the Five Books of Moses?” The answer is very simple: in the commandments relating to the ultimate and completing festival of the entire Jewish year: Sukkos. And it all starts with listening – most specifically, G-d listening to man.


The first time portable booths, sukkos are mentioned in the Torah, Jacob left the service to Laban and dangerous encounter with his brother Esau, and was on the road back home to Canaan. He built sukkos for his flock, and a house for himself. It seemed to bridge the gap for him on his journey, providing a transition from his time with Laban and his brother back to his home in Canaan.

Something amazing happens: Jacob built Sukkos and a house, and G-d, it seems, was listening!

When G-d took the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt, we were also, like Jacob, on our way to Canaan. And then G-d imitated Jacob: He provided us, his flock, with booths, sukkos in the wilderness. He commanded us to build Him a home: the tabernacle. Commemorating the sukkos was enshrined in the Torah as one of the five festivals, which is why my family and I are dwelling in our Sukkah now. But the whole idea came to be because Jacob invented it, and G-d truly listened to Jacob. That provides the underpinning not only for Sukkos but for all of Judaism: G-d and man listening to each other.

There are four species that we bring together on Sukkos, and they represent Expressing Desire and Exchanging Gifts 


1: Tamar – the palm. Joseph Cox writes:

Tamar is also the name of a person. Tamar, when she put herself in Judah’s path, took things into her own hands. She did it in order to remain a part of the Jewish people and the divine relationship. The tamar we bring represents our desire to be with G-d.

2: Hadass, myrtle. Joseph writes:

This is also a gift, but the words are more obscure. The word עָבֹת is rare. It is used to describe the gold braid that wraps around the stones on the priest’s breastplate. Gold represents the divine. With this chain, G-d is embracing our people. The myrtle represents G-d’s mysterious desire to be with us.


1: Willow, described as the enriching stream. Joseph:

Bilaam describes us as Hashem’s nachal, watering the world. It is a theme that recurs again and again. We are G-d’s spiritual stream.

Erev, twilight, mixes night and day. Likewise, we mix our world with His. We mix the physical and the spiritual.

The willow thus defines our gift to Hashem, bringing His presence into the world like a spring waters its environs. We are G-d’s agents, and continuing to act in that role is our ongoing present to our Creator.

2: The fruit of the persisting tree, the citron.

The persisting fruit is G-d’s gift to us, a ready-made fruit that both resembles the Jewish people in that it is seemingly outside the natural order: a citron can still grow and survive even in seasons when nothing else can, and a gift showing that G-d has endowed in us these traits: survival and beauty and persistence even when all around is wintertime and seemingly lost.

Which leaves us with just one love language left: visits.

On Yom Kippur, a mere five days before the festival of Sukkos starts, the high priest goes into the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. There, the divine presence rests, separated from mankind only by a pair of angels, their wings, sochechim, providing both protection and an interference layer that allows man and G-d to be as close as possible without negating our very existence.

The odd thing is that those very angels, cherubim, are made by mankind, in gold. It is the house we made for G-d, and we provide the interface layer between us so that when we visit, we can coexist in almost the same space.

On Sukkot, the roles are flipped! The hut, the sukkah, is to remind us of the protections that G-d gave us to survive in the wilderness. He, not we, made the wilderness survivable. We just lived there. And an incredible thing happens on Sukkos: instead of man visiting G-d, He visits us! And when he does so, the angels are provided by the schach, the “wings” of the natural, G-d-made plants that we use for a roof. Angels in both cases, in both homes, and both used to provide a protective layer: but in the house we built (the tabernacle) man produced the angels, while in the house that G-d builds, the Sukkah, G-d provides the angels.

The idea is that on Sukkos G-d’s presence is on the other side of the natural schach, while on Yom Kippur, man’s presence is on the other side of the man-made schach, the wings of the golden cherubim. Reciprocity, sharing, and visits in our relationship with the divine.

There you have it: the love language of the Torah, shown in all its glory through the festival of Sukkot!

Tulsi Unloads on Hillary. Have Popcorn?


This explosion occurred when the forlorn and pathetic Hillary Clinton called candidate Tulsi Gabbard a Russian asset. A Uranium-rich remark. Now, there’s a lot to like about Tulsi Gabbard, even though I think she’s wrong about a number of social policy issues and if she had a different educational path might have come out more on the conservative end of the spectrum … but damn! She certainly has Hillary Clinton pegged. We’ll see if this boosts her standing in the Democrat field even as some diehard Hillary fans are affronted by the broadside. Who cares about Biden, Warren, or Bernie. This is where all the action is.


Member Post


Fox streamed some of Trump’s Dallas rally Thursday night. Finding little else to watch on my available 600 or so cable channels, I tuned in, at least until the start of the hockey game (Coyotes beat the Predators, 5-2). I noticed a marked change in the president’s delivery and demeanor in Dallas. First, he seemed […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Dinesh D’Souza on the Socialist Temptation


Thursday night, Dinesh D’Souza was in town to meet with the local Young America’s Foundation group and give a talk at the State University of New York at Buffalo. It was free and open to the public, so my wife and I went. His talk was streamed live and can be viewed on YouTube:

Before I get to the talk, a couple of words on UB, where my wife and I met as graduate students thirty-some years ago. I hadn’t walked around the campus in years, and the changes were amazing. It has probably 50 percent more buildings than when I was there and the amenities for students are stunning. New dorms that are like nice condos, food courts, recreational facilities. I saw a CVS drug store and a UPS store. There was no retail when I was there other than the bookstore, which is now a Barnes and Noble. The complaint then was that UB was isolated, but now it’s more like a little town unto itself.

It was pleasant to walk around there. One thing I noticed – this is something I look for – was that whenever we followed students through a door, they always looked back to see if anyone was behind them and held the door for a moment so we could grab it. It’s a small thing but I think it’s a good sign. The student life center, where the talk was, had an office for veterans and I saw a student walk by in uniform without anyone bothering him.

There were no protests, which was almost disappointing. Someone at the talk said that posters had been torn down and defaced, so I guess there was some opposition. A couple of people who asked questions clearly disagreed with D’Souza and disliked him, but they got to ask their question and he answered them without incident, which is how it should be.

In fact, before the talk they showed a video from the University President and others about the importance of giving everyone a respectful hearing and not disrupting events. The video included a member of the College Republicans and in one shot a Make America Great Again poster could be seen in the background. One girl said that diversity was not just about race but about who you are and what you believe, or words to that effect. I think the video was well done and I was glad to see that they show it (I hope they do so before all events and not just conservative ones).

D’Souza’s talk was well done – I imagine he’s given enough of these that he can talk for an hour without much in the way of notes or preparation. He took questions for about a half-hour. I thought he was less successful in fielding the questions, not always addressing the question that was asked.

He had one way of talking about income inequality that I’m going to remember and use if I get a chance. He said to imagine that there were 100 people with $100 each, and one of those people was J.K. Rowling. She has a book that everyone wants to read so everyone buys a copy for $10. Now you have 99 people with $90 each and one person with $1090. It’s now very unequal, but is it unjust? No one was robbed. This was a series of voluntary transactions because one person had something the others wanted to acquire. Some people get rich for good reason. I thought that was a good way to put it.

He also said that he has another movie and book in the works, which should be out next year.

It was nice event and I’m glad we went. It wasn’t a big crowd – a little over 100 people, but it was a cheerful group.

Quote of the Day: St. John Henry Newman


“It is plain every great change is effected by the few, not by the many; by the resolute, undaunted, zealous few. … shunning all intemperate words, let us show our light before men by our works.” St. John Henry Newman

I dunno, but this admonishment for the clergy might also pertain to politics. Ahem. (Yes, yes, I know Trump is not the best shunner of intemperate words, but his works on our behalf seem pretty solid. And he fights — resolutely, undauntedly, and zealously.)

Cardinal John Henry Newman was formally declared a saint Sunday in Rome. For those who don’t know, the designation of sainthood is given to people believed to be living eternally with the Beatific Vision in Heaven. These are the Catholic Church’s named saints, but many more unnamed saints make up the “communion of saints” we profess in our creed.

The saint’s life of virtue is what first brings him to the Church’s attention, after which his cause undergoes a rigorous process of investigation which can take decades or centuries. In order to prove his heavenly post at the Throne of God, he must have been shown to intercede in two authenticated miracles. Cardinal John Henry Newman’s cause was taken up after his death in 1890 and came to its fruition today.

More of Newman’s wisdom:

“She [the Church] fights and she suffers, in proportion as she plays her part well; and if she is without suffering, it is because she is slumbering. Her doctrines and precepts never can be palatable to the world; and if the world does not persecute, it is because she does not preach.”

Something to remember in these contentious times. If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not trying.

The Model Priest for a Church in Crisis

Cardinal John Henry Newman: How did he become a saint?

My Uncle’s Trick or Treat


Did you know there’s a beautiful orchid called Trick or Treat? There are several different types, but they mostly have one thing in common: they have the bright Halloween orange. And my first sight of one was at my uncle’s home.

Uncle Al had raised orchids for many years. He had a greenhouse at his home in Massachusetts, but when he moved to Florida, he didn’t require a greenhouse. By the time we followed my aunt and uncle to Florida, he had over 100 orchid plants. And I wanted to have some of my own.

So my uncle became my orchid mentor. He gave me my first couple of plants, and then I went shopping on my own. I decided I would display mine on bamboo benches, which I discovered don’t last forever, but are lovely to use. (We always have a few in reserve for replacement purposes.) Displayed in front of a bamboo lattice we attached to our screenhouse, the benches and blooms created an Asian retreat.

My uncle knew everything about orchids: the time of year they bloomed, how hearty they were, which ones liked sun and those that preferred shade; how to fertilize them, how to re-pot them, how to determine which ones needed watering and which ones didn’t. He had so many plants that there were always blooming plants on his lanai.

Before he died, he was in an assisted living apartment. We made sure his plants were watered; fortunately, he had an automatic watering system for most of them. But we knew we couldn’t take in all his orchids: he had them literally hanging from the roof of his lanai. I asked him about the possibility of notifying friends that we would be giving them away, and they could come on a specific day and take “x” number of plants. (We decided that we’d limit them to five since most of them weren’t orchid growers.) Since I wasn’t giving them away to just anyone, he liked that idea. So for three hours on just one day, we gave away his orchids. I took home about 15 of them. One person even wrote Uncle Al a thank-you note; he loved that gesture. He left this world a few months later.

Over time I’ve lost a few of the plants. He didn’t realize that the plants he was treating for fungus were actually infected by an incurable, infectious virus; they showed their illness through dark spots on the leaves. I had an acquaintance who is an orchid expert and consults to Disney World if he would take a look at the plants; he was kind enough to do it free. That’s when I learned the plants had an incurable virus, but could still live a very long time.

I’ve also learned that as long as the plants are able to drain, they aren’t fussy about how much water they receive; they also retain a lot of water. At this point the lanai has lovely purple flowers; this is their time. Orchids bloom at different times of the year, and their blooming always reminds me of uncle Al.

I haven’t added to my collection; they are like a family blessed by my uncle. I will care for them as a tribute to their beauty, and to my uncle whom I dearly loved.

Forsaking the City


I’m trapped, for the time being, in a city. It’s a vivacious and proud city — arguably the state’s cultural capital; a place seemingly immune to economic malaise; a place teeming with little shops and well-manicured 19th-century neighborhoods. It appears on all the usual “best” lists — as the nth best place to raise a family, the nth most educated city in America, the nth greatest place for young professionals. It has much to offer … if you fancy yoga and craft beer and vegan cuisine.

If you’d care to join the Rudolf Steiner Anthroposophy Study Group, or the Astrology Circle, or the Lesbian Coffee House, or the Shamanic Journey Group. If you’d like to hear the local priest sermonize about social justice, then indulge in a little Catholic yoga afterward. If you’re interested in discussing “Cat Person” at the local library, or you enjoy the idea of perusing the city art museum’s collection of #Resistance artwork (which, when I last visited, included droopy hand-knit rifles with the name “Trump” stitched into them).

If you’re looking for a Dickens or Tolstoy or Chesterton discussion group, or a reasonably traditional bible study, or some other safe space for old souls, you’re out of luck. Now, a book club needn’t be political, and members needn’t pass an ideological litmus test. But for Buttigieg’s sake, it needn’t be a Margaret Atwood cult, either … which is what most American book clubs amount to. The same is true for just about every other cultural institution in the city where I happen to reside. The place has three saving graces — its architecture, its orchestra, and its jazz club. Those only go so far.

Graduate-student duties aside, there’s rarely a good reason for me to leave my apartment — except to sightsee, which I often do … alone. There’s little reason for me to feel invested in the city. There’s little reason for me to stay.

Kevin Williamson is half-right.* Conservatives, for all their praise of little platoons, do a shoddy job of creating and sustaining them, especially in the places where little platoons are most likely to thrive. I don’t blame them. It’s much easier to harumph at the world from the solitude of our homes than to found book clubs, study groups, coffee shops, art museums, theaters, think tanks, etc. But book clubs, study groups, coffee shops, art museums, theaters, and think tanks form the backbone of a city’s cultural life, and we renounce them at our peril. Obviously, the cities will never be conservative. It’s not unreasonable, though, to expect islands of anachronism within an otherwise woke-chic sea. In many places, those islands don’t seem to exist, perhaps because nobody bothers to make them. Heck, I don’t bother to make them.

Yet we wonder why conservatism is dying.

* I say “half-right” because Kevin’s defense of cities applies only to half of them. Old-fashioned high culture might survive in New York and Chicago, but it’s an endangered species in the average, small-to-medium-sized Middle American city.

Without Religion, America Is Toast


William Barr gave a most remarkable speech last Friday. I urge careful reading of every word. To call it a tour de force would be an understatement. In today’s world, Barr is that rare public political figure (perhaps the only one) who possesses real wisdom. A few excerpts from the speech follow:

Religion helps teach, train, and habituate people to want what is good. It does not do this primarily by formal laws – that is, through coercion. It does this through moral education and by informing society’s informal rules – its customs and traditions which reflect the wisdom and experience of the ages.

I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years religion has been under increasing attack.

On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square.

On the other hand, we see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.

By any honest assessment, the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.

Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground.

In 1965, the illegitimacy rate was eight percent. In 1992, when I was last Attorney General, it was 25 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. In many of our large urban areas, it is around 70 percent.

Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.

I will not dwell on all the bitter results of the new secular age. Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage, and misery. And yet, the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy.

Among these militant secularists are many so-called “progressives.” But where is the progress?

We are told we are living in a post-Christian era. But what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? And what is a system of values that can sustain human social life?

The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion.

One of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor. It is taking on all the trappings of a religion, including inquisitions and excommunication.

Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake – social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.

The pervasiveness and power of our high-tech popular culture fuels apostasy in another way. It provides an unprecedented degree of distraction.

In the past, when societies are threatened by moral chaos, the overall social costs of licentiousness and irresponsible personal conduct becomes so high that society ultimately recoils and reevaluates the path that it is on.

But today – in the face of all the increasing pathologies – instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have the State in the role of alleviator of bad fconsequences. We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.

So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion.

The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as the ersatz husband for single mothers and the ersatz father to their children.

The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with the wreckage. While we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.

Christianity (ed: and Judaism) teaches a micro-morality. We transform the world by focusing on our own personal morality and transformation.

The new secular religion teaches macro-morality. One’s morality is not gauged by their private conduct, but rather on their commitment to political causes and collective action to address social problems.

This system allows us to not worry so much about the strictures on our private lives, while we find salvation on the picket-line. We can signal our finely-tuned moral sensibilities by demonstrating for this cause or that.

Something happened recently that crystalized the difference between these moral systems. I was attending Mass at a parish I did not usually go to in Washington, D.C. At the end of Mass, the Chairman of the Social Justice Committee got up to give his report to the parish. He pointed to the growing homeless problem in D.C. and explained that more mobile soup kitchens were needed to feed them. This being a Catholic church, I expected him to call for volunteers to go out and provide this need. Instead, he recounted all the visits that the Committee had made to the D.C. government to lobby for higher taxes and more spending to fund mobile soup kitchen.

We are left wondering how to bring sanity — if not immediately religion — back into American life. In the wake of the synagogue shooting in Poway, California, the rabbi of that congregation suggested implementing a moment of silence at the start of the school day. This idea was first broached by Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Such an idea would require a grass roots movement to implement. No religious content would be prescribed for the moment of silence but, yes, everyone would be required to stand in silence for one minute every morning. If a child asked the teacher what to think about during that moment, the teacher would say, “Ask your parents.” That way, parents might actually have to be parents and have a conversation about what to think about each morning during that moment which, we have reason to hope, would have something to do with the importance of being kind, generous, and respectful of others, as well as the rewards of self-reliance and hard work and, who knows, the subject of G-d might even come up.

Colorful Korean Meal


Various forms of contemporary kimchi. National Institute of Korean Language [CC BY-SA 2.5]
Across the northern hemisphere, this is the time of year for harvest festivals. In Germany, Oktoberfest 2019 is in its final week. Two weeks ago, South Koreans celebrated ChuseokI claim no expertise in Korean culture or cuisine but have a few colorful memories of Korean food.

Start with green and white cabbage. Cabbage is preserved by fermentation, both in Asian and in Europe. In Korea, instead of sauerkraut, a mild dish, you get kimchi. Driving through the hilly Korean countryside north of Seoul, I noticed very large plastic sheets laid out on the sides of the road, near farming houses. They were covered, covered with small bright red chili peppers, laid out to dry. These would form the fiery base of the spices that separate kimchi from sauerkraut. There are many other possible ingredients, but you can usually expect orange carrots, green and white scallions, and white radish, ginger, and garlic.

As there are many salsas, including all the family recipes, so there are many sorts of kimchi. There is even a Museum Kimchikan, celebrating the history of the food. Mostly, though, we think of whole-leaf kimchi. You will find this in every Korean restaurant, and several varieties in any market that includes a significant Korean food section. You can even make it yourself, but do pay close attention to the safety instructions! You must wear a long pair of rubber/latex gloves, of the sort sold for kitchen cleaning. Or you will pay for it with pain from the chili paste.

This time of year, the terraced rice fields have dried out, the tops of the rice gleaming a golden straw color. Because the Korean farmers work much smaller fields than agribusiness in America, the mechanical harvester is of a much smaller scale. In fact, the first word that came to my North American mind was “Zamboni!” The ice-resurfacing machine and the rice harvester are similar in outline and seem close in scale.

You definitely want rice as a base under the kimchi, if nothing else. Kimchi is not so much a “side” as an integral part of a meal. A South Korean (ROK) Army officer invited me to his home for dinner, during the break day in the middle of a large command post exercise. His wife laid out about ten smaller dishes in the middle of the family table. We added what we liked to our plates, on or alongside the rice. I remember yellow, orange, purple, green, white, and red. Along with soup and rice, these dishes, called banchan, were the meal.


Here is a recipe, with each step illustrated, for “traditional napa cabbage kimchi called tongbaechu-kimchi, a.k.a., baechu-kimchi or pogi-kimchi.” If that is a bit daunting, this video, by the same woman, walks you through “easy kimchi:”

Still a bit much for you, either in the prep time required or in the spicy heat? Here is a simple recipe for sauerkraut, much easier to make than kimchi.

A note on thanksgiving: The fall harvest festival is the common heritage of all Koreans. In what has been North Korea for nearly seven decades, the holiday appears to be called by an older name, “Han’gawi.” Appears, because there is virtually no information available. Plug “Han’gawi Holiday” or “Chuseuk North Korea” into your favorite search engine, even, and you will find colorful images of plenty … in South Korea. At most, I found a story or so of how the people in North Korea are now able to have a small celebration and were not starving at the time of the articles.

If the North Korean dictator was really interested in strength through popular legitimacy, there would be public celebrations prominently broadcast. So, think on Korea, north and south, and on Venezuela, before and after. As Americans prepare for tons of candy and the increasingly elaborate adult frivolity of Halloween, then press on towards our own massive Thanksgiving travel and feasting, it is worth remembering that these are the blessings of liberty, secured by those who would defend it. Yes, “천만에요 (cheonmaneyo) Korea,” and “bitte sehr, Germany;” you’re welcome, courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.

What Is Your Health Fad History?


Paleo. No sugar, Turmeric. Gluten-free. CoQ10. Omega 3. Resveratol. Non-GMO. Drinking vinegar to balance out the body’s pH. And endless variants and chelations and super-duper-brain-activity goodies later … these are the fads of today. The fads of yesterday are endless, marching back into history. Remember low sodium? Macrobiotic diets? A tablespoon of bran a day? Garlic? Anti-oxidants? Cod liver oil? Yum!

I was remarking to @susanquinn that health-fad lovers all share the same gullible desire to believe the “experts,” to believe that there are shortcuts to long and healthy lives. And that, of course, anyone promoting a fad today has a history of promoting fads in the past — fads that clearly were not, in the end, supported by data. Which means that the vast majority of people (yes, even good people) do not choose to learn from their own experiences.

So let’s have it, Ricochetti! What are the fads you have tried in the past and then abandoned? Here’s my list: Omega 3s. Immunocal. Resveratol.

Let’s hear it!

It’s a Quake. A Really BIG Quake!


We all have that “where were you” memory associated with big historic events. Where were you on 9/11? Where were you when Armstrong walked on the moon? For those of us of a somewhat advanced age, where were you when Kennedy was shot? Events we share, but are also particular to just us.

This past July was the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing. I remember watching on tv as a fifteen-year-old in our family room in San Jose with Mom, Dad, and the two brothers. Dad worked for Lockheed Missiles and Space and had previously worked for Aerojet General, an Apollo engine contractor. I remember Dad getting up and coming to each of the three boys, looking us in the face and shaking our hands. He and Mom had been born before Lindbergh’s flight, lived through depression and war, and now, we had achieved this.

Another event happened thirty years ago today. I spent the summer of 1989 working on television broadcasts of the Giants and the A’s. Both were having a good year. Baseball fans recall Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell, Matt Williams, Mike Krukow, Dave Stewart, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, and Dennis Eckersley as just a few of the players that would meet in the Fall Classic. It was the first and still the only time they would meet in the World Series.

Oakland took a 2-0 lead in the first two games at the Oakland Coliseum. The network coverage was on ABC. Major League Baseball packages their show to the world, allowing for each country to add their announcers and languages. I was hired as one of three tape operators for the French-Canadian feed. For game 3, we were in a smaller truck parked against the wall of Candlestick Park, right at the press entrance. We had a camera in our booth in the football press box and another for pre and post-game interviews. The ABC trucks were parked further up the third-base side of the outside wall of the park with various station news vans in-between.

As we came on the air, Tom, our booth cameraman, was standing on a table so he could frame Claude and Denis, our announcers, with the field behind them. At 5:04, things started to shake. A friend who was coming into the park to watch the game told me he looked across the parking lot and saw cars rising and falling as if a wave was going through it. Jon, Jerry, and I looked at each other in our little tape room as we realized it was an earthquake. Our two truck engineers were from out of state and they bolted for the door. The truck’s power went out as we shook. Now we, the locals, followed our engineers out the door and away from the wall of concrete above the truck. The quake lasted for, at most, 15 seconds. That may not seem like a long time, but please look at your watch’s second hand, sit quietly for fifteen seconds and imagine your world bouncing all the while.

Once the shaking stopped, the capacity crowd let loose with a huge cheer. We realized that this was the biggest quake that any of us had ever experienced. Power was out for all except the local news vans using their on-board generators. As we waited for power to be restored, I wandered up the row looking in the open doors of the vans. That is where I saw the first pictures coming in from the Marina district, the Bay Bridge, and the collapsed freeway in Oakland. Our little baseball game had turned quickly into an international disaster story. 

We waited for the next three hours as the dusk turned into a very dark night. The hope was that power would be restored and we would be the originating source for Canadian news coverage. But it would not be restored that night. We were asked to remain available for the next few days just in case we went back up. That didn’t happen either. I left southeast San Francisco in complete darkness and drove home down the mostly darkened peninsula. In my Menlo Park apartment, my power was out and would stay out for the next three days. My floor to ceiling bookshelves had all collapsed. In the small pool outside, more than a foot of water had shaken out.

After midnight, the phone rang. Dan Rather was coming to Oakland, was I available to work there for a few days? Having committed to the Canadians, I said I wasn’t. A friend took that job and was on the clock for the next five days straight. Once released until the Series would restart, I did work for the PBS station in town feeding the national network. I was on a crew that went down to Watsonville and Santa Cruz where the damage was as serious as the Bay Area to the north. Aftershocks continued for the next week. Geraldo came to the Marina district and did a show I worked on. I also worked on the multi venue benefit concert for earthquake relief.

Ten days after the quake, the World Series resumed with multiple first responders throwing out the ceremonial first pitches. Oakland swept the Giants and the Bay Bridge Series ended even as crews were working to rebuild the namesake bridge. It ended an October that the Bay Area would never forget. Nor will I.

(On a familial note, our great grandfather, great grandmother, and grandfather Watt survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. They were evacuated to Alameda across the Bay.)

Lynch Mob Mentality


I have said several times that the Democrats should read Moby Dick and the Never Trumpers should read The Oxbow Incident. After giving it more thought, I am certain of the mob mentality. Trump winning the nomination and then the election crushed their expected entitlements to power and inflamed fragile sensibilities, the real crime. Now they are fighting over who can bring the rope. Whatever false claim they make is repeated as fact by the mob. His crimes, according to the Twitter mob this week, resembled Schiff’s “parody,” not the actual transcript of Trump’s phone call. Having built the mob into a hate-filled frenzy, Democrats are ready to build the gallows while still in search of a real crime. This mob, however, will not feel any remorse in lynching an innocent man.

The government lynch mob was so sure of Trump’s evil side, it violated laws and norms to spy on him, destroying anyone in his campaign they thought could be turned to testify against Trump. Like Captain Ahab, their pursuit led to their own destruction and the destruction of the respect citizens have for the FBI, CIA, FISA Court, DOJ, and DNI. Like a lynch mob, they assign morality to their evil actions to justify them. Like the whale, Trump survives, while Brennan, Clapper, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Comey, Rosenstein, Fusion GPS, Simpson, Mueller, Steele, etc., are out, discredited, and/or waiting for the ax to fall thanks to Barr and Dunham. Since intelligence agencies exist to serve the President, the investigation will likely lead to Obama and other administration heads.

“Impeach 45” started almost immediately. Trump was guilty of … winning. Needing an excuse for Hillary’s loss, they fabricated the Russia collusion hoax. They couldn’t blame themselves for riding a corrupt, unlikeable candidate to the polls.

The lynch mob considers every firing an impeachable offense, every disgruntled, unprofessional worker an expert witness and even a protected leaker, no matter if they’re credible. They poke the hornet’s nest and then claim the 25th Amendment should be applied when the hornet attacks back. An innocent man fighting back against their lynch mob is proof of guilt to them.

Among those eager to bring a rope to the lynching are some of my favorite pundits. One by one, I have quit following them on Twitter, reading their articles, and listening to their podcasts. I don’t dislike them as people but am tired of the negativity and don’t want to join their lynch mob.

Members of Congress have either joined the mob or stood by silently wishing for the lynching but not wanting to soil themselves with it. Others are pushing back, but not at a level an innocent man elected by the voters deserves. Democrats in Congress are a lynch mob, fabricating crimes while claiming a higher moral authority. They claim Trump’s honesty is a reason to impeach while lying about him. They use Trump’s moral behavior before assuming office as a reason, forgetting they said Clinton’s behavior in office was a private matter.

Nothing displays the mob mentality better than the Kurd/Turkey debacle. Congress was eager to vote to condemn Trump for pulling back when they should have voted to authorize military actions against Turkey, if they felt that way. Had Trump deployed a fighting force to oppose an ally, they would have added that to their list of impeachable offenses. Had Trump left the small contingent on the border as human shields to be killed by the unpredictable Erdogan, they would have held the impeachment vote immediately.

The Turkey/Kurd situation is a different war. Both are allies, Turkey by treaty. The situation sucks. However, if Congress believes that we should deploy a fighting force there to engage in hostilities against Turkey, putting Incirlik Air Base, Izmir Air Station, and 5,000 military people stationed in Turkey at risk, then it needs to vote to authorize it. Voting to condemn Trump for not doing what they are too afraid to vote for is the coward’s way. It is the lynch mob’s excuse to bring out the rope.

People who say Turkey wouldn’t have attacked as long as a few American soldiers were placed there as human shields are gambling with the lives of those serving there. They forget that once Erdogan served notice that he was going in, he could blame Trump for leaving our forces there, in a border area, after the warning.

Now the lynch mob has formed and can’t be stopped. The Ukraine hoax is a flimsy excuse, but then lynch mobs run on emotion, not the rule of law. They merely claim the rule of law to hide their own evil behavior.

Londoners Are Fed Up and Fighting Back


For several days now, climate alarmists and members of the Extinction Rebellion have snarled traffic in and around London preventing people from getting to work and earning a living. We’ve scene a similar tactic in Portland, OR, by Antifa.

Well, Londoners may have reached their breaking point. When some climate activists jumped atop a commuter train in order to stop it from running, the London commuters finally snapped. The London police have been soundly criticized for not doing enough to stop this nonsense, and many of the politicians in the city from the mayor on down (as in Portland), sympathize with and support the activists and their cause. At some point, this was bound to happen.

And this. Note how gently the protesters are dealt with.


If You Think They Won’t Seize Your Guns…


Unbelievable. Stephen Nichols, an 84-year-old Korean War veteran who served on the Tisbury, MA, police force for 60 years has had his firearms seized. Here’s what happened:

He was eating breakfast in the local diner, Linda Jean’s, when he commented to a friend that the school resource officer was often seen leaving school in the mornings. When he’d investigated it, he found out that the resource officer at Tisbury school was leaving — after children were present — to get himself a coffee at the Xtra Mart nearby.

Nichols pointed out that anything could happen while the school security guard was gone. He said that somebody could come in and shoot up the school while the guard was gone. Nichols described the situation as the school guard ‘leaving his post.’

And that’s it, folks. A dangerous, violent threat.

A waitress overheard the conversation and called the Tisbury Police Department, and the Police chief and another officer arrived and told Mr. Nichols to get into their police car; they took him to his home where they confiscated his guns. They have taken away his gun license, which he’s had since 1958. He’s been fired from his job as a crossing guard. Nichols was told that he could have been charged with a felony for what he said, but that he wouldn’t be.

After confiscating his guns, they didn’t give him a receipt for them, although Nichols’ son-in-law, who owns a gun shop, has been told he can take possession of the guns and sell them. Mr. Nichols has 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He was quoted as saying, “I would never, ever, ever, harm a child.”

I hope he gets a very, very good lawyer. Beto O’Rourke should be proud.

‘Open Borders, Inc.’ a Must-Read


A year ago, frustrated with the media’s pathetic coverage of the burgeoning, 7,000-member migrant caravan from Central America to the United States, I posted an intemperate tweet. Long deleted, I asserted that the Open Society Foundations – funded by currency trader, billionaire, and left-wing “philanthropist” George Soros – was behind the caravan.

The left-wing Twitter Mob’s response was quick and ferocious. Reporters, including the New York Times’ Ken Vogel and others from Bloomberg, CNN, and the Washington Post reached out to me. Despite the fact my Twitter account (with a whopping 2,200 followers at the time) was always personal and never affiliated with my employer, it didn’t take much for The Mob to inundate my employer’s senior executives with scores of emails and demands for my head, never mind the fact that I was already halfway out the door as part of a planned retirement.

CNN actually reported that I had been fired (completely false), and a few wags decided to edit a Wikipedia page about my service as Secretary of the Senate with lies about me. Nevermind that the social media mavens at the Open Society denied that they had anything to do with that caravan. Bloomberg wanted to chat about my social media posts on other issues, such as same-sex marriage. You know the motive.

I felt bad for the hassles my employer experienced, but it didn’t take long for evidence to surface that I was mostly correct. And, now, Michelle Malkin has penned a terrific and well-documented book (one of many she’s written) titled, Open Borders, Inc. I wish I had both her journalistic skills (I used to be a newspaper editor) and courage. I especially wish her book had been published when I had my confrontation with the Twitter Mob. I would not only have been well equipped to respond but easily proven the Open Society’s blanket denial was a flat-out lie.

Of course, any criticism of the Soros empire is met with the usual response – a “far-right” and “anti-Semitic” attack on someone who is “fighting corruption” and for a more “open society,” no matter that the Open Society Foundations are consistently rated as the most opaque in the nonprofit world. Michelle addresses that, again with documentation, in her book. Even Fox News banned (for a while) a Judicial Watch investigator who dared utter the name “Soros” in regards to the caravan issue. When you spend billions on your cause, money not only talks, it silences.

But, as a wise sage once said, a lie gets around the world before the truth gets its boots on. Well, with Michelle’s latest book, but truth has its boots on and is on the march.

Michelle’s book, especially chapter two, deeply documents the Soros World engagement in moving migrant populations and advancing migrant “rights” not just in the US, but in Europe as well, and even with acquiesce of our own government and your taxpayer dollars. She deeply documents the plethora of “nonprofit” organizations that advance a globalist agenda that includes open borders and destroying national sovereignty. It is an eye-opener and a must-read, whether through audio (such as or written form. She also outlines various Hollywood and corporate entities who are all too eager to get into the act.

She concludes with a nice prescription of things regular (normal) Americans can do to challenge this insidious effort, starting with some “what not to do” suggestions, like not subsidizing entities behind this. I was rather amazed at the role of the US Catholic Conference of Bishops behind this, along with Catholic Charities and others, but I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s a must-read, and a must-follow with respect to her sage and practical advice.

Member Post


I checked the mailbox this afternoon and found 3 copies of the Hillsdale College monthly Imprimis. 3 copies? What computer snafu was this? But wait…one is for Mrs. Webb, my next-door neighbor, and the other for Mr. Arnold…two doors down from her! What?! THREE Imprimis readers on the same street? In NEW JERSEY? I generally […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post


Is Brexit about to take place? Today was “do or die” day for Brexit. And it looks like it may be “do”. The agreement still has to be unveiled and it has to pass through Parliament to go into effect. The vote is to occur Saturday according to early reports. This will be the […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

The Johnnie Cochran School of Impeachment


My friends, while conducting a séance at the witching hour, a spirit from beyond the grave contacted me, and here is what he had to say about President Donald Trump:

If he’s on the beach, you must impeach.

If he’s within reach, you must impeach.

If he’s able to teach, you must impeach.

If he tries to preach, you must impeach.

If he hangs with Cheech, you must impeach.

What’s your best Johnnie Cochran impeachment line?

500 Pages Later, This Ain’t the Mueller Report


The Portland Police Bureau released the transcript of their investigation into the officer shooting of a mentally ill man on the streets of Portland. The 555 pages of investigation work is far more important than the Mueller Report and the amount of time that has been spent on trying to nullify an election. The will full ignorance, and misplaced compassion of refusing to address the problems of the mentally ill by turning them loose on the streets is a national disgrace. It is not only a disgrace, but it’s also dangerous.

The story from OregonLive:

A Multnomah County grand jury on Monday found no criminal wrongdoing by a Portland police officer who fatally shot 31-year-old Lane Christopher Martin in an alcove of a Southeast Portland apartment complex on July 30.
The grand jury determined the shooting by Officer Gary Doran was “a lawful act of self-defense and/or defense of a third person,” according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The fatal shooting occurred after Martin had threatened a security guard with a knife and hatchet in a parking lot as he was caught breaking into a Jeep, walked off yelling at bystanders and swinging the hatchet down a busy city thoroughfare, was shot by police twice in the legs with two less-lethal sponge-tipped munitions, ultimately dropped the hatchet and ran to an apartment complex where he was cornered by police, according to 555 pages of police reports released late Monday afternoon.

Mr. Martin’s family has filed a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against the Portland Police Bureau. They are grieving, and angry-I understand that. According to one family member Mr. Martin was on a new medication, but she suspects he may have been using meth as well. Self-medicating is not unusual, and feeling that they are smarter if they are not taking the prescribed medication is not unusual as well.

Not all mentally ill persons are a danger, but there are some that are. Police officers have intervened before someone is in a full blown crisis, and there are times when they have to intervene when someone is on the ragged edge. As a former police officer, I’ve had experiences in both of these situations.

Police officers have an obligation to try and deescalate a situation when they can. Police officers also have a responsibility to protect the public and themselves in these types of situations. It doesn’t hurt any less to be stabbed with a knife or to receive a blow from a hatchet from someone who is mentally ill than it does from someone who has run of the mill anger management issues.

The sad thing is that it’s almost impossible to get a civil commitment for families that are trying to get help for a mentally ill family member. That needs to change.

I have provided links to the PPB Investigation, as well as the OregonLive article. I skimmed through all 500+ pages of the PPB report. Officer Doran’s interview with detectives was not scheduled to be released until the Grand Jury decision was made public. The decision has been made public now so I imagine Officer Doran’s interview will be released in a few more days.