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If the ladies on The View had their own podcast would it be called a BroadCast? Asking for a friend. ps Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Another World

 

My wife and I spent yesterday afternoon at the Willamette National Cemetery. We were there for the interment of her stepmother. She was going be interred next to Karen’s dad. Karen’s dad began WWII as a sailor in the Merchant Marine and, before the war ended, was a sailor in the US Navy. While waiting to be escorted to one of the shelters for the memorial service, Marines arrived for another service. So we missed the endless parade of pundits for the Senate verdict on President Trump’s impeachment.

Karen’s dad was a farm boy from North Dakota and joined the Merchant Marine to escape the farm, and a chance to see the world that existed beyond the Dakota plains. He saw a bit more of that world than he bargained for. On his first voyage, his ship was sunk by a German U-boat. He and some of his shipmates found themselves in a lifeboat and watched as the U-boat surfaced. They thought that the Germans were going to finish the job they started. The sailors on the U-boat gave them some food, and then gave them directions on the course they needed to follow to get back to the US coast.

Karen’s stepmother was a kind and gracious woman. Years ago, our daughter almost entered the world in their living room. We made it to the hospital in time; about an hour after Karen went into labor, our daughter was born.

There was some laughter and tears on that cold, rainy day yesterday. Two blended families sharing memories of someone they loved, and who loved them, and later talking about children, and grandchildren.

Karen and I didn’t miss anything yesterday in the big world; we had everything we needed in our little world.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: The Queen of Advice

 

The most important piece of advice I can give you: don’t take my advice. It’s not that I give bad advice — at least most of the time. But I’ve spent the last 40 years trying not to give advice. Giving advice can be an obsession, and I’m trying to cure myself of it. Let me tell you why.

For most of my life, I thought everyone was entitled to my advice, whether they wanted it or not. So I felt free to offer advice for any number of reasons:

  1. They clearly didn’t know what was good for them, based on the choices they were making historically.
  2. I was older and wiser than they were.
  3. I had better information than they had.
  4. They weren’t all that smart to begin with.
  5. I couldn’t stand to see them suffer from their own awful decisions.

I could go on, but it’s clear that I had their well-being at heart — sort of.

Until I realized I was acting like an arrogant jerk.

First of all, I recognized that even if I was asked for advice, they might not want advice at all, but only someone with whom to share. They wanted a sympathetic ear. So my first rule was to “sense out” the reason for them talking with me.

Even if they asked my advice, I would ask them what they thought the possible solutions might be. If I could put my ego aside, I might discover that they were actually the best resource for their own answers.

If they shared potential answers with me, and I was concerned whether their options would be satisfactory for them, I would explore their reasons for their options and how they thought they would be helpful. If they weren’t totally exasperated with me by then, and really wanted my input, I’d often voice my reservations about their ideas rather than give them advice.

Does this process sound like one giant dodge? In some ways, it is. But I have a good reason for doing it:

  1. I like to feel I can help empower others and nudge their minds to problem-solve.
  2. I have to avoid using the opportunity as a way to boost my own ego about how smart, clever, and powerful I am.
  3. I also have no way of knowing all the details and subtleties of the situation, and if a critical factor is not shared with me, any advice of mine could be disastrous.
  4. I also realized that I wanted to give advice because I couldn’t bear the idea of watching them suffer from their own poor decisions (especially if I’d witnessed them before).

Here’s one situation that was a great lesson for me. I knew someone who kept picking terrible guys to be in a relationship with her. They were liars, cheats, and manipulators, with huge egos. (I actually met some of them.)

This woman was pretty insecure, and she very much wanted a man in her life. One day she said to me, “I don’t know why I keep picking men who are jerks!” Rather than give her advice, I said, “I think you know early on that they’re jerks. In fact, if you paid attention to your reaction to them, a little bell would go off in your head chiming ‘Stop!’ I think you might be ignoring that bell. You’re a smart woman. Just listen to that little bell.”

That might be advice, but I refrained from psychoanalyzing her, criticizing her, criticizing them, or lecturing her. I felt like she really heard me.

She still ended up marrying a jerk, but I’m pretty sure she knew what she was getting into.

And I didn’t feed my obsession to give advice.

So if you feel compelled to give advice, you might ask yourself whether it’s for your benefit or theirs. But then, you don’t have to take my advice…

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Envy and Entitlement: The Immorality of Socialism

 

“I want these billionaires to stop being freeloaders,” demands Elizabeth Warren during an interview with CNBC.

“This extraordinary, unprecedented concentration of wealth and power and privilege must be broken apart,” says the former Texas congressman, Beto O’Rourke, to a cheering audience at his first presidential rally, “and opportunity must be shared with all.”

“Am I going to demand that the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes? Damn, right I will!” Bernie Sanders spewed at a CNN town hall.

These are sentiments from Democrat politicians on how to cure American’s problems. They are not alone, as 51% of 18- to 29-year-olds favor the redistribution of other people’s wealth, or the trendier title, socialism. I do not agree with socialism; mathematically it will not work. Historically, it has not worked. Not even close. Its body count is 100 million strong and growing as it has most recently destroyed the once vibrant economy of Venezuela.

But those are topics for another day. I want to focus on why socialism is simply immoral in its practice. In the words of modern-day sage Dennis Prager, “Socialism breeds envy and entitlement.”

To be considered in the top 1%, you need an annual income of $480,930. The top 10% of taxpayers make at least $138,031, although this varies from state to state. Bernie Sanders has proposed raising taxes on people making $250,000 or more.

I want to tell you about a couple I know very well. Because of the personal nature of this information and the fact that they don’t like the spotlight, I’m going to call them Mike and Jenny. Mike and Jenny are not billionaires, they are not millionaires, not even by a long shot. They are small business owners who fall in the top 10% range, and whenever taxes are raised at any level: local, state or federal, they feel it — like a nightstick to the knee cap.

Let me give you some background. Jenny’s parents were small business owners and they did well for themselves. Mike was raised in a very large family and was dirt poor. His family grew their food, fixed their cars, mended their clothes, and built their home. Both families worked hard, very hard, for everything they had, and those traits were instilled in Mike and Jenny.

Married in their early twenties with a combined college education of one year, they scrimped and saved for three years to become owners of a distributing business (think middleman, like Dunder Mifflin). That means they took a risk and a large loan to buy the rights to a business. If they did well, it meant money in their pockets (eventually). If they didn’t, well, that’s the risk you take. Thankfully for them after decades of hard work, frustrations, prayers, plenty of mistakes, and countless hours repairing worn-out work trucks, business is good and they are finally reaping the fruits of their tireless labors.

The far-left ideology of wealth redistribution suggests that certain people, like Mike and Jenny, don’t deserve their money — but the rest of the country does. This is immoral.

1) They already get taxed more than most.

Our federal tax rate is already progressive, which means the more money you make, the higher percentage your tax rate. A $250,000 gross income is currently taxed at 35%; that means $87,500 goes to the federal government. Bernie Sanders wants to take more.

Also, small businesses like Mike and Jenny’s get taxed up the wazoo, on average 19.8%.

If you are an employee and receive a W2 from your job, about 15% of your gross income goes to Social Security and Medicare; you only pay half as your employer pays the other half.

When you are self-employed you have no employer, so you pay that 15% entirely yourself. On top of that, you pay other taxes like state, unemployment, and sales; it adds up quick.

Let me put this in perspective. For years my husband was self-employed while I was a regular W2 employee. His gross income was 30% less than mine, even after deductions (write-offs for his business expenses), I paid 11% in federal taxes while he paid 14%.

If you are so envious and entitled to the wealth of others, try paying your taxes like they do.

2) They are penalized for growing their business.

Capital gains tax applies when a person or business sells something for more than its purchased price. So if you buy a piece of equipment, you pay sales tax. When you sell that equipment, you pay taxes (again) on the profit you made in the form of a capital gains tax.

When a business sells something and makes a profit, they then can turn around and use that money (or capital) to invest in their business; hire more staff, give raises, contract with builders and utility companies, etc. When a business grows it brings more jobs and money to a community. That is how capitalism works.

When the capital gains tax is high, why would a business want to sell anything if they have to give a large chunk of that profit to the government? In their 30 years’ experience, Mike and Jenny notice when the capital gains tax is high, they and the many business owners they know don’t sell their capital because they don’t want to get taxed at such exorbitant rates. So they hold on to their money instead of putting it back into their business; their business does not grow and neither does the surrounding community.

They find the opposite is true when the taxes are lower. And the higher your tax bracket – you guessed it – the higher your capital gains tax.

3) They work really hard for their money.

There has been a lot of attention on teachers these past couple years, and the hard work and long hours they dedicate to their jobs. I understand this because I have been a teacher. After getting to know Mike and learning about what he does, I can honestly tell you that my busiest week as a teacher is normal for him. Leaving the house at 3:30 a.m. (you read that correctly), often putting in a 12-hour day, a 60+ hour workweek tallies up quick. Between time spent at his office, loading his trucks, delivering to customers, managing his staff, payroll, repairing trucks, maintaining equipment, racing two hours away to corporate to manage a fire, taking work home every day including weekends; it does not stop. Jenny also puts in time, helping wherever needed be it deliveries, paperwork, or customer relations. According to a New York Enterprise Report, this is the norm, as small business owners work twice as much as regular employees.

Sick days? Those don’t exist. If you have a dire emergency, customers still need to get their product. Broken shoulder, three feet of snow, or a pesky cold…

…still don’t get you a day off.

Vacation days? Those didn’t happen for the first four years and were few and far between. It took about 15 years until Mike and Jenny could take regular vacations, even still those are interrupted with phone calls and worry about the business … it’s not really relaxing.

Now you might be thinking, That is the profession they chose and they are compensated very well for it, no sympathy here!

You are correct. They did choose that profession and its consequences. Here’s the thing though: they do not complain or look at those who make more than they do and demand a piece of their wealth. Entitled and envious people do. They made their choices and blame no one for what they lack, relying solely on themselves to advance. Entitled and envious people blame everyone for what they lack, and demand that others make them advance.

4) They are generous with their money.

This is the biggest irritant for me. Leftists like to demonize groups of people; clumping all individuals together and branding them with negative labels, in this case, “greedy.” A commonplace lie about the rich is that they oppose having more of their own earnings taken by the government, therefore they are greedy. This is a smear to make socialists come off as generous and benevolent, even though they are the ones advocating to take other people’s money.

Mike and Jenny are some of the most generous people I know, be it with their money, time, or resources. From volunteering hours with Boy Scout and church groups, hosting weddings for people who cannot afford the costs, gift cards left for hotel housekeepers, looking after the elderly and widows, housing family and friends, planning funerals, donating to causes close to their heart; service is at the core of their lives and it is incalculable to put a price tag on the generosity they’ve bestowed to others.

They are not alone; according to the latest data, 51.6% of charitable donations came from households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more. According to his tax statements, Bernie Sanders’ charitable donations come to 5% of his income; I pay more than that.

5) They are smart with their money.

Rich people don’t get rich from being dumb with their money. For example, The National Study of Millionaires found that millionaires usually spend less on monthly groceries and dining out than the average American. Mike and Jenny are not dumb with their money, they do not live a lavish lifestyle — at all. Their beautiful 2,800-square-foot home is a far cry from the single-wide trailer their kids were born in. Mike built it from the ground up—literally. From the foundation to the roof, his hands put in the time every night for a year, saving them thousands. Still, their home is modest, as is their appearance. In fact, if you saw them you’d have no idea of their success.

They also live within their means and use what they have. They’ve put over 550,000 miles (yep, you read that correctly) into a ragged old truck they bought used in 1991, and the thing is still going strong! Mike finally updated to a shiny new vehicle … in 2010. Let me make this clear: Mike was 50 years old the first time he bought a brand-new vehicle for himself. According to Credit Sesame, the average auto loan balance for consumers under 25 is $12,128, and $10,778 for the 25-34 age group.

This is the same demographic petitioning, protesting, and screaming that the “freeloaders” at the top, like Mike: pay-off their student loans, buy their contraception, provide them free college, subsidize $15/hour wages for their minimum skills/minimum training/minimum education jobs, and foot the bill for their health care.

Envious and entitled people make these demands. And such demands are immoral.

This couple is not unique in their qualities. I know a man who built an incredibly successful one-person business through his own unrelenting efforts, and if you met him you’d have no idea of his immense wealth because he’s just a normal, good guy.

You will find commendable and despicable behaviors on both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum; I’ve known the daughter of an Upper East Side Socialite who was bratty, spoiled, and manipulative. I’ve also known the daughter of an Upper East Side Socialite who was kind, caring, and down-to-earth. I’ve been snapped at by a country club woman for not knowing she meant “half salad” when she ordered “a salad” and I’ve been screamed at by a single mom who demanded free childcare, no strings attached, simply because she was a single mom.

I’ve seen people, more times than I can count, lie on applications so they can “qualify” for more government benefits. I knew a single mother who lived almost entirely off taxpayers; housing, childcare, Medicare, food stamps – yet she somehow managed to get breast implants. I know another single mother who made a lucrative career for herself being a housekeeper; owning her home and two vehicles, she worked tirelessly to create a great life for her family. I’ve waited on uppity old couples who treated me like I was the help, while others treated me like a granddaughter. And I’ve sat in the most humble of homes with people who personify the old adage, “they’d give you the shirt off their back.”

It’s not a money issue – it’s a character issue.

Every person is an individual and deserves to be treated as such. Didn’t someone famous once implore Americans to judge a man by the content of his character…

Oh, that’s right! Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream where the peoples of this nation would not judge a man based on the color of his skin. I argue he would add to that what they wear, where they live, what they drive, what they do for a living, or how much money they make. His dream was one of people looking at the individual and seeing them for who they truly are, not what our prejudices see. And lately, our country has fallen for some very destructive and false prejudices about people with money.

Which America are you part of? The envious and entitled crowd whose coveting of stuff, other people’s stuff, is so blinding they see fit to change the very foundation of the greatest country the world has ever seen. Or are you a part of the America Martin Luther King envisioned? The one that judges individuals by their character, never spiteful but learning from their successes.

That is the America I was raised in. And the America I choose to be a part of today.

What You Can Do

  • Educate yourself about what socialism really is. Research: William Bradford, John Smith, and the agricultural socialism of Plymouth and Jamestown, Carl Marx, Frederich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chavez.
  • Register to vote.
  • Vote for candidates who demonstrate they understand how amazing America is and don’t vilify the rich and successful.
  • Work or volunteer for a campaign.
  • Pray for our country.
  • Don’t demonize others. All ____ people are not all _____ all the time.
  • Stop judging people by how much money they make. Stop judging people based on how you imagine they are. Stop judging people — that’s it. Just stop judging people. You’ll be better off. So will our country.

Crossposted here.

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The Pierre Delecto Hot Take Special

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Not political at all. Mine are Nutter Butters

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Abigail Writes Thomas

 

On May 20, 1804, Abigail Adams wrote an old friend, Thomas Jefferson, expressing her condolences on the recent death of his daughter, Mary, who had died at Monticello on April 17 at the age of 25. John Adams and Jefferson first met in 1775 at the Continental Congress, quickly becoming friends despite very different temperaments and backgrounds. Jefferson met Abigail in 1784, when Congress sent him to Paris to join Adams in representing the new country in Europe. They became close, with Abigail becoming very attached to young Mary Jefferson, serving as her surrogate mother (Jefferson’s wife, Martha, died in 1782).

During the Adams presidency (1797-1801), a rift (more like a chasm) had grown between him and Jefferson, his Vice-President, over policy towards France and England and the Alien and Sedition Acts, while Jefferson secretly funded a newspaper which printed harsh personal attacks on Adams. Anyone who thinks today’s politics are uniquely rough should take a look at the vicious nature of 1790s politics. There was very little direct communication between the two during those years and none after Jefferson became President in March 1801 and an embittered John and Abigail returned to Braintree, MA.

Abigail’s letter conveyed her own grief and sympathy for Jefferson and contained a hint of invitation to reopen communication. Some excerpts:

…reasons for various kinds withheld my pen, until the powerful feelings of my heart, have burst through the restraint, and called upon me to shed the tear of sorrow over the departed remains, of your beloved and deserving daughter…

The attachment which I formed for her, when you committed her to my care: upon her arrival in a foreign Land: has remained with me to this hour…. The tender scene of her separation from me, rose to my recollection, when she clung around my neck and wet my Bosom with her tears…

That you may derive comfort and consolation in this day of your sorrow and affliction … is the sincere and ardent wish of her, who once took pleasure in subscribing Herself your Friend.

Jefferson responded and the two exchanged five more letters over the next six months. Reading the correspondence, you can feel two people with genuine affection for each other trying to figure out a way to reconnect, but unable to do so. The correspondence first goes awry when Jefferson’s initial response included an attempt to justify his position on the policy differences that drove the wedge between he and Adams. Jefferson “lived in his head” to an extent beyond most people of his day (and, for that matter, any day) and his inability to understand others shows in his approach to Abigail. Abigail, who was as politically opinionated as both her husband and Jefferson, engaged with him on the policy issues once Jefferson made the mistake of reopening the wounds, and the tone of the letters became increasingly contentious. On October 25, Abigail wrote in a final letter:

Having once entertained for you a respect and esteem, founded upon the Character of an affectionate parent, a kind Master, a candid and benevolent Friend … the Heart is long, very long in receiving the conviction that is forced upon it by reason. Affection still lingers in the Bosom, even after esteem has taken its flight. It was not until after circumstances concurred to place you in the light of a rewarder and encourager of a Libeller … that I withdrew the esteem I had long entertained for you.

In the John Adams papers is a note, dated November 19, 1804, and found appended to the correspondence:

The whole of this Correspondence was begun and conducted without my Knowledge or Suspicion. Last Evening and this Morning at the desire of Mrs. Adams I read the whole. I have no remarks to make upon it at this time and in this place.

Happily, contact between John Adams and Jefferson was finally renewed with Adams’ letter to Jefferson of January 1, 1812, triggering more than 150 further letters between the two before their deaths on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.


I was reminded of the episode below by the recent post from @susanquinn quoting Abigail Adams.

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I am drawn toward the warmth of a fire, as are most people I suppose. In the dead of winter there is always room for a good story. this wee we have seen several of these and I say: Burn the lot. I present for your reading pleasure a classic: The Cremation of Sam McGee […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Did Trump Park in the Wrong Spot?

 

I was doing work in a government building once and I parked my vehicle, and it created a huge fuss. The reaction was ridiculous, it was a personal affront. It wasn’t that someone had to walk a couple feet further, I had devalued them as a person.

It was rather enlightening, and amusing if I’m honest. This person had worked for years diligently and carefully, moving up the ladder, getting better pay and finally, recognition by getting a choice parking spot. In Canada, this is a taxable benefit. It was a measure of importance and stature. I had insulted them, devalued them. It was indeed personal.

This whole impeachment fuss comes down to something quite ridiculous. Trump had the temerity to expose the Biden Family influence-peddling scheme. We have been instructed, not told that the arrangement wasn’t illegal, what Trump did was illegal, immoral, a threat to the Constitutional order. He must be removed from office.

Interestingly, if you poke around a little, not a lot, just a smidgen of curiosity some interesting tidbits fall out into the open. Kerry. Where have I heard that name before? Oh yes, John Kerry’s son was involved with Biden’s son. Hmm. Then we learn that Romney has someone on his staff that is connected somehow to this as well.

Nothing illegal of course. Illegal, meaning it violated a law passed by Congress, the Senate and signed by a President.

How common are these arrangements? If someone did a deep dive, wrote an article with the title All the Useless Sons of Washington, what would we learn?

I have some suspicions. That these arrangements are considered one of the natural perks of office, that they are very very common. That U.S. foreign policy isn’t conducted by Ambassadors or the President, but in fact by these connections where influence is gained by paying a useless son of Washington. That much of the animosity towards the US in other countries stem from this corrupt and demeaning practice of having to listen to these idiots to get favorable treatment by the US Government.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the guy simply had a bad day, a fight with his wife or something like that. It wasn’t about the parking spot.

I’ve been instructed by everyone from the media, politicians and esteemed conservative voices that is isn’t about the parking spot.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Legacy GOP Exposed

 

Let’s take a look at the Republican Party’s last two nominees before Trump in 2016.

John McCain famously reneged on two signature issues the traditional base voters wanted, immigration reform “build the damn fence!”, McCain exclaimed when running for re-election to his Senate seat, and the repeal of Obamacare.

Much of the criticism, and even some of the outrage, was muted due to McCain’s illness (although he could have retired) but now that the official mourning period is over, and all the lamentations from Democrats have subsided, it’s time to revisit that treachery in light of the next nominee’s betrayal.

Forensic analysis of the 2008 McCain campaign suggests self-sabotage, and a cursory look back through the life of this man certainly bolsters that theory. Others speculated that McCain, never one to respect the conservative wing of the party, actually threw the fight, took a proverbial dive, and/or simply never cared enough to win.

Our 2012 nominee was ruthlessly attacked and mocked by Democrats, and every Republican defended him without fail.

Sure, his conservative record was a bit spotty (to say the least), but he was adept at explaining conservative ideas. In those days, influential Republican pundits, well-schooled in conservative thought, emphasized rational debate as the primary method to win over engaged Democrats and Independents. Of course, using the hammer/nail analogy, if you’re a scholar in conservative thought, everyone looks like a student. Weekly Standard and National Review readers were in the distinct minority, but Jennifer Rubin was widely read in the Washington Post, Mona Charen had a column in USA Today, and Ross and David graced the pages of the New York Times. The other method proposed was pandering to the millions of Hispanics for whom the party had willingly left the back door open to appease their donors.

To many, Romney was an icon of upstanding morals, a graceful decent man who would certainly fulfill the role of President-as-Prince  so many conservatives longed for. He wouldn’t get October surprised by the media. Not this guy!

Having lost the culture war, many Republicans desperately longed for a virtuous avatar in the White House to role-model America back into being decent, traditional, moral, family-oriented wholesome people. The slogan could have been, Make America(ns) Good Again.

Now in retrospect, we see yet another man who rose to the pinnacle of Republicandom going squarely against the voters and other elected Republicans. In all of Congress, every Republican representative in the House voted against impeachment, and every Republican Senator, including several historical fence-sitters (Collins, Murkowski, Alexander) voted for acquittal, except one Mitt Romney. The Senator from Utah apparently has a uniquely brilliant rationale for his vote other Republicans, including most Utahans he purports to represent, cannot see.

This legal insight is so important that Romney is willing to be the lone dissenter among every elected Republican and side with Democrats.

This is exactly what John McCain did in signaling thumbs down as a deciding vote on the signature Republican issue.

This is now the legacy of the two previous Republican presidential nominees. In the meantime, it’s fair to ask what has become of ex-Speakers Paul Ryan and John Boehner. Denny Hastert?

Obviously there was, and still is, something horribly wrong inside the Republican Party. It can’t be more obvious.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. On Irrelevance: Mitt Romney and NeverTrump

 

Mitt Romney has been able to make himself feel relevant again, for a fleeting moment, to the class that really matters to him. The major media network NBC, its baby sister known as MSNBC, as well as CNN have all declared him a “profile in courage”. All those who hate the existence of Donald Trump, because he has proven to actually be relevant, are allowing Romney another five minutes or so of self-delusion before he will again fade back into their midst. When tested his conservatism wasn’t that severe after all.

We all want to feel relevant to those that matter most to us. Sometimes the key to our inner peace is the honest definition of what they are. And yes, they can change depending on our rate of maturity or insight.

Yesterday, February 5, 2020, was not the first time we have seen Romney buckle when faced with being an outcast from the class where he feels the warmest. It came in front of us all in a televised debate. He allowed himself to be cowed by a biased “journalist” whose name we can barely recall from pressing the very relevant point that the Obama administration had willfully abandoned Americans to die in a foreign land.

I still waver back and forth about the relationship between the so-called modern progressive Democrat Party and the bulk of the media. The only question is which one is really pulling the wagon and which one is holding the reins. But they both belong to the same class, the political class. The media, those who “serve” throughout the administrative state, those who chase elective office and those who find it warm and safe to thoughtfully stroke their chins while being pundits to others who thoughtfully nod are all in the same class. One can have a safe membership in this class if they understand their place. Far too many of what I have come to call “professional conservatives” cherish that membership.

While some can make an honest argument about parts of Donald Trump’s persona, his real sin has been that he has challenged the relevance of these class members, and he has exposed it.

They consider Trump a class apart. And so does he.

Romney did not hesitate to court Trump for the position of Secretary of State. A simple “search” can find the picture of them having dinner together as the former candidate graciously offered to help guide the successful candidate through the forests of foreign policy, perhaps adding a needed touch of professionalism to this peasant uprising.

But his offer was rejected. And somewhere in all of this Donald Trump was “classless” enough to point out that Romney himself had lost a race that was winnable. But that would have required him tearing up his membership card.

Despite turning into a Never-Trumper after the rejection, Romney again did not hesitate to ask for the president’s endorsement in the 2018 Senate race in Utah. That is the Utah he had just recently moved to where there was an empty seat. President Trump endorsed him and was rewarded with an immediate flip by Romney back to Never-Trumper status.

Mitt’s feelings might not have been that different from those of his father from whom the younger Romney inherited his class membership card. George Romney must not have been too comfortable with having a B actor from Hollywood invading the realm. He, like most of the “establishment” GOP, undercut him whenever possible.

Reagan was relevant. There were real outcomes from his conservatism. But because of that he could never be fully accepted by the political class.

Donald Trump is relevant. Things actually change and move. And all that change and movement makes it oh-so apparent how really irrelevant the professional pundits and political class “conservatives” have been – for decades.

All that change and movement are also poison to another division of that political class, the dominate one. It is what I have come to call the Saul Alinsky members. They have had their way for some time now. The America of today is distinctly different from the America of 1900 because of them. There are times when the ball moves more slowly than others but they know that the compliant members from the lower “conservative” division will not risk their status by actually changing the entire course. This division is panicked by a serious change of direction and real outcomes. The more outcomes, the more desperate they are.

But these Alinskites are even more desperate because they now have a serious challenge from an even more overtly radical division. Their rise makes the issue of re-electing Donald Trump even more important for those intent on preserving the principles and vision of the Founding.

In the final analysis, all members of the political class have a real problem with the relevance of the agenda that the peasants were finally able to move forward by voting for an impolite outsider. That agenda had been either ignored or slow-walked by all certified (or is that certifiable?) members of the political class which pushed the grass-roots Tea Party to the corner. It is that agenda they hate most of all.

Romney’s vote was against that agenda and against the Constitution which protects it. That vote will get him a pat on the back from the Georgetown crowd and a brief clap from a media that would gladly turn on him in a second. But it is the relevance of that agenda that has to survive for the sake of that Constitution.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This Week’s Book Review – Frozen Orbit

 

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

Book Review

‘Frozen Orbit’ is science fiction at its best

By MARK LARDAS

Jan 25, 2020

“Frozen Orbit,” by Patrick Chiles, Baen Books, 2020, 336 pages, $16

The United States is sending a manned space expedition to Pluto. Not to put the first humans on Pluto but because they’re not the first humans to reach Pluto.

“Frozen Orbit,” a science fiction novel by Patrick Chiles, starts with this. The time is the very near future. Magellan, with a four-astronaut crew, is heading to the outer planets.

Magellan, a reusable nuclear-powered spacecraft, was originally to be sent to Jupiter on its first mission. Other outer planets were to be visited on subsequent flights. Then NASA officials learned the Soviet Union secretly sent a three-man expedition to Pluto in 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed.

The Soviets launched it secretly because their Arkangel spacecraft was powered by nuclear bombs and could trigger a nuclear war. It was kept secret because something the cosmonauts discovered proved so dangerous the Russians destroyed the return capsule as it approached Earth landing years later, long after the crew’s death.

Magellan’s mission is to find out what that discovery was.

As with his previous novel “Farside,” Chiles builds a story blending a plausible but unlikely scenario, hard science fiction and an entertaining and gripping plot. Could the Soviets have secretly launched a manned mission to Pluto? The technology of the Arkangel mission is rooted in 1960s technology, and the 1980s Soviets were paranoid and grandiose enough to attempt Chiles’ scenario.

Chiles nails the atmosphere of a NASA-run human spaceflight mission in the 21st century, the jargon of the mission controllers and astronauts, and the bureaucratic infighting characterizing today’s NASA.

He packages everything in an entertaining story, one that compels readers to keep reading to learn what comes next. The scenario and background don’t overwhelm the story. Rather they are the scaffolding on which a gripping tale is formed.

Readers experience the wonder the astronauts feel on a remarkable voyage, groan as the Earth goes crazy as the expedition progresses, and thrill to a powerful conclusion.

“Frozen Orbit” is science fiction at its best — a novel that could have fit its 1950s and 1960s silver age, updated to the current century.

Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QotD: All Men Would be Tyrants

 

Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.

–Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams, was a very bright woman, farmer and investor. She was a devoted partner to her husband, and showed her strength and independence at those times that he was required to leave her alone at their home farm called Peacefield in Massachusetts.

During her lifetime, she very much supported women’s rights and spoke to her husband about them, including the right to vote. Yet in the years of his governance, only limited rights were extended to women.

Since Abigail Adams’ relationship with her husband was just as much a partnership as a marriage, her quotation is puzzling at first. But I think I know her reasons for saying it.

She was telling women in those times that they must own their own power and not give all of it to their husbands. Men, the testosterone gender, felt powerful, and the culture gave most powers to them in marriage. It wouldn’t have occurred to most of those men that the power in a marriage was meant to be shared.

Women have come a long way. And yet there are cultural leftovers from a time when women had little to say about their choices, preferences or family decisions. I think Abigail may have been prescient in her statement since, to this day, I think many women still are inclined, whether they’ll admit it or not, to defer to their husbands in some ways. At the same time, our culture has browbeaten men so badly that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they harbor dreams of being tyrants in their marriages.

What do you think?

 

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Ongoing, Bipartisan Effort to Make Democrats Look Stupid

 

The State of the Union address has been described as kabuki theater; an elaborate, carefully orchestrated, melodramatic spectacle heavy on showmanship and light on content. President Trump is good at this, he has built a very successful career in business and entertainment by excelling in theater, in one form or another. His production of, and performance in, yesterday’s State of the Union address was aptly masterful. Nothing that happened there was an accident. The whole show was carefully, and brilliantly, planned and executed. And I think that’s fine; play to your strengths. This is one of his strengths.

My problem was the other side of the show. The behavior of Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats in attendance was absurd. What makes that absurdity particularly noteworthy is that it was just as carefully planned and executed as President Trump’s address. They had months to prepare for this. They knew exactly what President Trump was going to do. And the best they could come up with was wearing white, expressing disapproval at America’s successes, and tearing up his speech after he gave it. The Democrats were essentially filming Republican campaign ads for them, making themselves look ridiculous, clueless, and meanspirited, and this was after months of careful planning. This was exactly what they intended to do. I just don’t get it.

If I were a Democrat voter, I would really wonder about this. “Couldn’t they come up with something, anything, better than this? The Republicans are going to try to make us look stupid, petty, and vicious. Why are we helping them?”

To be fair, the Democrats really can’t campaign on results. By nearly any measure, Trump’s presidency has been a remarkable success. Domestic policy, economic policy, foreign policy, and so forth… it would be extremely difficult to portray his presidency as a failure. They could try, of course. But they don’t try. They rarely mention policies or results. Which is probably sensible.

And the Democrats don’t have any realistic alternatives. Their policies are either impractical (Medicare for all), detrimental (open borders), or completely insane (Green New Deal). They don’t have any promising candidates to run against Mr. Trump in the upcoming election. And whoever they do run will lose if s/he admits what they actually believe in. The leadership of their party is either unlikable (Chuck Schumer), criminal (Hillary Clinton), communist (Bernie Sanders), deluded (AOC), confused (Biden), or all of the above (Pelosi).

So Trump’s presidency has been an obvious positive for the United States, and they have no suggestions for how to improve on it. So what to do?

I’m not sure. But surely, not this.

Again, Trump is really good at this sort of thing. He makes his opponents look bad. It’s remarkable, really.

But the Democrats are helping him. With endless planning and coordination, they are helping him.

I just don’t get it.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Throw Mitt Romney Out

 

Mitt Romney has voted with the Democrats to convict President Donald Trump on the first of their BS articles of impeachment. This comes after Romney voted for more witnesses, which the House could have called but chose not to, because he didn’t think there was enough evidence. My tolerance for squishy Republicans is pretty much limited to Susan Collins, who at least has the benefit of coming from a squishy state. But Mitt didn’t vote to convict because he’s squishy, rather because he has a personal dislike of Trump. Mitt is beneath contempt. He should be expelled from the Senate GOP conference and stripped of all his committee assignments.

The Democrats, with Mitt’s help, tried and failed to impeach Trump. The House didn’t even pretend to accuse Trump of an actual “high Crime or Misdemeanor,” as required by the Constitution. Their contempt for the Constitution is only surpassed by their contempt for Trump, which is to say their contempt for you, the voters. They didn’t impeach Trump. Trump was not impeached. His acquittal voids the impeachment. They impeached you. But Mitt was fine with that because he doesn’t like Trump.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. An Open Letter to Sen. Mitt Romney

 

Tucson, Arizona
February 5, 2020

Dear Sen. Romney:

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am no one of consequence. I am a 52-year-old lawyer from Tucson, Arizona, married and with four children. My oldest son is a sergeant in the Marine Reserves. I am a patriotic American and a lifelong conservative Republican.

I believe that I first became aware of you when you ran for the Republican nomination in 2008. I did not vote for you in the Arizona primary as I preferred Gov. Huckabee, but I found you to be an outstanding and honorable candidate. I recall that I preferred you over my own state’s senior Senator, John McCain. In the 2012 Arizona primary, I did not vote for you, preferring Sen. Santorum. Again, I found you to be an outstanding and honorable candidate in the primaries.

I was an enthusiastic supporter of your 2012 campaign against President Obama. I was extremely pleased with your selection of Rep. Ryan as your running mate, and I recall my excitement at your masterful performance against President Obama in the first debate. I voted for you without reservation, and I wish that you had emerged victorious. I concluded that you were a man of extraordinary ability, integrity, and moral character.

I have carefully followed the impeachment trial of President Trump. I found the case against him to be quite unconvincing, on many grounds, but I understand that there is room for disagreement on this issue among people of good faith.

I was extremely disappointed by your decision to vote to convict the President on one of the two Articles of Impeachment. I am concerned that you did not fully realize the gravity of your vote.

I watched your Senate speech stating your position. You predicted, quite accurately, that you would be attacked for voting to convict the President. This is already beginning, as I have seen your motives questioned and your character impugned.

First, I want you to know that I oppose that criticism. I believe that you honestly voted your conscience, on the basis of the evidence as you interpreted it. I disagree, but I respect your position and am convinced that you acted in good faith. I believed that you were a man of honor when I voted against you in the 2008 and 2012 primaries, and when I voted for you for President in 2012. I believe the same thing today.

Second, however, I must point out the grievous political and historic consequences of your decision. I wish that you could have found room within your conscience to abstain if you could not acquit. In the House, 195 Republican Representatives voted against impeachment, with not a single Republican vote in favor. In the Senate, all 52 of your Republican colleagues voted against conviction. If you had voted to acquit, or even abstained, the entire proceeding could have been dismissed, as I believe it should have been, as a wholly partisan gambit by an out-of-control Democratic Party.

Again, I wish to emphasize that I believe that you voted your conscience. I am concerned, however, that your conscience imposed an appalling political cost on the Republican Party and the conservative movement. I fear that your decision, by adding a tiny patina of bipartisanship to an otherwise completely partisan process, will be damaging to the beliefs and values that we share, in both the 2020 elections and in the longer history of our country.

Other than a declaration of war, I believe that impeachment and removal of a President is the most momentous decision that any Senator or Congressman can make. On this issue, your conscience is contrary to the conclusion of every one of your 247 Republican colleagues in Congress who voted on the issue. All of your friends and allies disagreed with you. You alone stood with our political opposition. Your views are manifestly outside the Republican and conservative mainstream.

I do not ask you to change your vote, even if you could. I do not ask you to apologize for doing what you believed to be right.

I do ask, respectfully, that you consider resigning your position as United States Senator.

Very truly yours,

Gerald F. Giordano, Jr.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Narcissism of Suffering

 

Mitt Romney cast a vote of “conscience” to convict President Trump of “abuse of power”. He said in doing so that

It is the last decision I wanted to take. The personal consequences, the political consequences that fall on me as a result of that are going to be extraordinary.

Yeah, it’s going to get very lonely. And again, the consequences are significant. … There has not been a morning since this process began that I slept beyond 4 a.m.

No doubt Mitt has spoken honestly. This is how he feels. His judgement is better than his colleagues. He has a closer walk with G-d.

Mitt anticipates suffering. He has experienced his own Golgotha. It is now his obligation to suffer. That is what happens to men (and women) of principle. Jesus Christ, St. Peter, Joan of Arc, Joseph Smith, Deitrich Boenhoffer, and now Mitt Romney. Or at least that is the company he envisions himself to keep.

Sanctimony is not a good look. Sanctimony in service to the corruption of the Constitution by the Democrats is even worse. Mitt does not see it that way, but then again why would he?

The Senate is not a priesthood. It is a political body created to check other political bodies. Mitt forgot that Jesus called him to be “as cunning as snakes….“ (Matthew 10:16) He eschews “cunning” as something less than himself.

America needs cunning men. As Patton said: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making some other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” We need warriors, not lambs, in the halls of Congress, because the progressives are in the fight and they are not fighting by the Marquis of Queensbury rules. Mitt is not a hero, he’s a chump.

But he can now revel in his suffering, deluded in his self-righteousness.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Maybe never-Trumpism should be in the DSM-5 as a recognizable mental disorder. Jonah Goldberg, a man of wit and erudition, a prolific, insightful author and a genuinely likable guy is jeopardizing his career (especially the perception of his new venture The Dispatch) to make the point that we should all be more critical of Donald […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Advice to Republicans on Winning over Non-Republicans

 

So you want to be elected? Do you really? How’s about acting like it? If you must, fake it ’til you make it. Here are a few suggestions, for free:

  • Show up.
  • Listen actively and respectfully.
  • Act on what you hear.

Free is much less than Karl “The Architect” Rove charged, but we all know how his advice worked out, leaving President George W. Bush in the hands of Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid. Take a look at the latest State of the Union address, consider the many actions, words, and images that formed the basis of a string of accomplishments, and you might find a path to maximizing your chances in future elections, near and far.

Karl Rove’s advice was grounded in the loser belief that Republicans could only delay the tide of history. Under this view, the best Republican strategy is to do detailed analysis of each district and demographic, carefully activating just enough registered Republicans to win just enough to take and hold power at the presidential level. Mitt Romney spoke out loud what the Republican establishment believed and still believe, that demographics and the irresistible trend of social welfare programs were naturally changing the electorate into one that would vote for the party of entitlements. None of them really subscribed even to Ronald Reagan’s views, views that had broken Democrats’ grip on demographic groups characterized for a time as “Reagan Democrats.”

To be fair, even Reagan bought a big part to this gloomy forecast, as he never contended for African American votes. Go back to Justice Clarence Thomas’s autobiography, My Grandfather’s Son. He describes his disappointment in the Reagan administration squandering an opportunity. President Reagan appointed Thomas the eighth Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas quickly expressed his desire to work in community outreach, seeking the support of African Americans for Republican policies and candidates. He was met with silence. When he pushed the issue hard enough, a senior Republican Party official finally answered verbally, completely dismissing African-Americans as a group whose votes were not worth Republicans’ effort.

It took Donald J. Trump to upset that apple cart. He had stewed for decades over the disgrace of our biggest cities having both great success and lasting squalor. It was a scandal to him. So he decided to take action when he was elected. Here is what he did:

President Trump showed up. We all understand that candidate Trump targeted sections of the country that were disrespected and ignored by both major parties for years, and that these sections were largely white, skewing working-class. Yet, our standard filters may blind us to his pre-election bid for African-American support. That was a speech and a written set of promises.

“What do you have to lose?” was not going to be a big winner for a first-time candidate running as a Republican. Yet, he had actually reached out. His post-election activities included a high-profile meeting with two serious black men, Jim Brown and Ray Lewis. Jim Brown walked away from football on top, one of the all-time greats, then dedicated his life to mostly quiet service to poor inner-city communities, seeking to break the cycle of violence and poverty. President Trump met with Kim Kardashian West, a celebrity married to a massively successful black celebrity, Kanye West, about prison reform.

President Trump listened actively and respectfully. He heard Jim Brown and Ray Lewis. He listened to Kim Kardashian’s plea for the release of a black woman from a very long prison term.

President Trump acted on what he heard. He acted to revitalize inner-city communities, to improve education and training, to push employment opportunities. He took the high visibility meeting with Kim Kardashian to drive long-stalled prison reform legislation and to change sentencing policy. President Trump spent a significant portion of the status report section of the State of the Union address laying out promises already kept. Let’s start with the president’s special guests, from the White House website:

Now, review what the president said, both in reporting current status and in laying out future policy. Consider the relevant excerpts from the State of the Union Address [emphasis and comments added]:

The unemployment rate for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans has reached the lowest levels in history. (Applause.) African American youth unemployment has reached an all-time low. (Applause.) African American poverty has declined to the lowest rate ever recorded. (Applause.)

The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years. And, last year, women filled 72 percent of all new jobs added. (Applause.)

The veterans unemployment rate dropped to a record low. [African Americans, serve at much higher than their population percentage, especially black women.] (Applause.) The unemployment rate for disabled Americans has reached an all-time low. (Applause.)

Workers without a high school diploma have achieved the lowest unemployment rate recorded in U.S. history. [Blacks fit this category disproportionately.] (Applause.) A record number of young Americans are now employed. (Applause.)

Under the last administration, more than 10 million people were added to the food stamp rolls. Under my administration, 7 million Americans have come off food stamps, and 10 million people have been lifted off of welfare. (Applause.)

In eight years under the last administration, over 300,000 working-age people dropped out of the workforce. In just three years of my administration, 3.5 million people — working-age people — have joined the workforce. (Applause.)

Since my election, the net worth of the bottom half of wage earners has increased by 47 percent — three times faster than the increase for the top 1 percent. (Applause.) After decades of flat and falling incomes, wages are rising fast — and, wonderfully, they are rising fastest for low-income workers, who have seen a 16 percent pay increase since my election. (Applause.) This is a blue-collar boom. [This reinforces the black employment news.](Applause.)

Jobs and investments are pouring into 9,000 previously neglected neighborhoods thanks to Opportunity Zones, a plan spearheaded by Senator Tim Scott as part of our great Republican tax cuts. (Applause.) In other words, wealthy people and companies are pouring money into poor neighborhoods or areas that haven’t seen investment in many decades, creating jobs, energy, and excitement. [See decades of Trump remarks on this problem.] (Applause.) This is the first time that these deserving communities have seen anything like this. It’s all working.

Opportunity Zones are helping Americans like Army veteran Tony Rankins from Cincinnati, Ohio. After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house, and his family. He was homeless. But then Tony found a construction company that invests in Opportunity Zones. He is now a top tradesman, drug-free, reunited with his family, and he is here tonight. Tony, keep up the great work. Tony. (Applause.) Thank you, Tony.

Our roaring economy has, for the first time ever, given many former prisoners the ability to get a great job and a fresh start. This second chance at life is made possible because we passed landmark criminal justice reform into law. Everybody said that criminal justice reform couldn’t be done, but I got it done, and the people in this room got it done. (Applause.)

…In the Gallery tonight, we have a young gentleman. And what he wants so badly — 13 years old — Iain Lanphier. He’s an eighth grader from Arizona. Iain, please stand up.

Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was the first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy. He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, “Most people look up at space. I want to look down on the world.” (Laughter and applause.)

But sitting behind Iain tonight is his greatest hero of them all. Charles McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio, one century ago. Charles is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen — the first black fighter pilots — and he also happens to be Iain’s great-grandfather. (Applause.) Incredible story.

After more than 130 combat missions in World War Two, he came back home to a country still struggling for civil rights and went on to serve America in Korea and Vietnam. On December 7th, Charles celebrated his 100th birthday. (Applause.) A few weeks ago, I signed a bill promoting Charles McGee to Brigadier General. And earlier today, I pinned the stars on his shoulders in the Oval Office. General McGee, our nation salutes you. Thank you, sir. (Applause.)

From the pilgrims to the Founders, from the soldiers at Valley Forge to the marchers at Selma, and from President Lincoln to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Americans have always rejected limits on our children’s future.

The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Yet, for too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools. To rescue these students, 18 states have created school choice in the form of Opportunity Scholarships. The programs are so popular that tens of thousands of students remain on a waiting list.

One of those students is Janiyah Davis, a fourth grader from Philadelphia. Janiyah. (Applause.) Janiyah’s mom, Stephanie, is a single parent. She would do anything to give her daughter a better future. But last year, that future was put further out of reach when Pennsylvania’s governor vetoed legislation to expand school choice to 50,000 children.

Janiyah and Stephanie are in the Gallery. Stephanie, thank you so much for being here with your beautiful daughter. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

But, Janiyah, I have some good news for you, because I am pleased to inform you that your long wait is over. I can proudly announce tonight that an Opportunity Scholarship has become available, it’s going to you, and you will soon be heading to the school of your choice. (Applause.)

Now I call on Congress to give one million American children the same opportunity Janiyah has just received. Pass the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunities Act — because no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school. (Applause.)

Every young person should have a safe and secure environment in which to learn and to grow. For this reason, our magnificent First Lady has launched the BE BEST initiative to advance a safe, healthy, supportive, and drug-free life for the next generation — online, in school, and in our communities. Thank you, Melania, for your extraordinary love and profound care for America’s children. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

…My budget also contains an exciting vision for our nation’s high schools. Tonight, I ask Congress to support our students and back my plan to offer vocational and technical education in every single high school in America. (Applause.)

To expand equal opportunity, I am also proud that we achieved record and permanent funding for our nation’s historically black colleges and universities. (Applause.)

By showing up, listening, and acting, President Trump has become the first Republican president since at least World War II to actively contend for the votes of African Americans. This will not result in a majority of black voters turning to Republicans, yet it may well move the needle enough to change electoral politics, stripping Democrats of certainty and forcing Republicans, including political operatives, to get serious about campaigning beyond their comfort zone. The same holds true for other groups who turned out to vote for President Trump, when they had not voted Republican since Reagan, if ever.

It all starts with universally applicable basics:

  • Show up.
  • Listen actively and respectfully.
  • Act on what you hear.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Converting One Young Person at a Time

 

I walked back to our Receiving department this morning to check out something on our hold shelf. The smart young man who works there asked me what I thought of last night’s State of the Union speech. Now, in the past, this young man has been a leftist and we have argued back and forth congenially. Today, however, he told me that he was really impressed with the President’s speech, and we laughed over Nancy Pelosi’s juvenile conduct with her copy of the speech. He says that he is now a supporter and I asked him what changed his mind.

He told me that, on YouTube, he had seen a video by a young black woman, who was familiar with US history, and who took her viewers on a tour through black history, emphasizing which party was the real bigoted one, and which party actually improved the lot of black people in America.

He told me that the video got him to rethink his support of Democrats, now that he was presented with the truth of what they had done. We also discussed the other juvenile behavior of the Dems in last night’s audience and agreed they have an uphill battle trying to get rid of Donald Trump.

So we have one new Trump supporter around; I think he will be speaking to his co-workers, and maybe starting more conversions.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Van Jones Warns Democrats

 

Van Jones (former Obama official, current CNN Contributor) has a warning for Democrats following the State of the Union address. They need to take Trump seriously if they want to win. Trump has a great week. His acquittal is all but guaranteed, Iowa was a disaster for the Democrats, and the State of Union speech was strong. Trump is signaling that he is going to do something that Republicans have traditionally not done well — he is courting the Black vote. He is helping them in “real life.”

To me, taking Trump seriously would be trying to put the Pelosi-speech-ripping thing behind them fast. Also, ending the constant talk of additional impeachment investigations. If Democrats want to win, they need to take their jobs seriously; no more stunts. Show the country what they want to do and how it will be better.

Basically, I think things are going as well as possible for a Trump re-election. I don’t think Democrats have the ability to be serious.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Romney has given us a revealing glimpse into the workings of RINOism. It was never about ideology and compromise with the left. The true common ground is narcissism. Whether it is the bogus moral posturing of a RINO betraying his side because he is just so darn much better than they are or a lefty […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What is Your Entertainment Wokeness Threshold?

 

Recently, Right Angles wrote a wonderful post making fun of 9-1-1 Lonestar and how incessantly woke it is. At around that time, I decided to give up on the television show, The Good Place, because it exceeded what I call my “wokeness threshold.” In Right Angles blistering review, she mentioned how insufferably preachy the show is. Most notably, the gay and the transgender firepeople before helping a lady suffering a cardiac arrest decide to bother the lady with their personal lives.

Before helping her, a fireman says “I should tell you I’m gay” (why?), and she recoils a little so the trans one bends down to help and says “And I’m trans.” When the woman is in respiratory distress! Excuse me?

Right Angles she concluded that, “I want to be entertained, not yelled at.” As for myself, economic illiteracy very quickly crosses my woke threshold.

The Good Place is a show about whether or not people get into the Good Place or the Bad Place. The Good Place is pretty much heaven and the Bad place is pretty much hell but your actions and not your faith determines who goes where. Almost every action gives you positive or negative points depending on the consequences and intentions of what you do.

The first two season were great television. It was one of the most innovative stories told as a minute comedy and it was both funny and legitimately thoughtful. Then came the third season and in came the economic illiteracy.

I can suspend my disbelief for magic and superpowers and aliens but once people completely misunderstand economics in a story, I lose interest. I don’t have magic or superpowers… that I would admit to, nor am I alien… you totally can’t prove I’m an alien, but I do interact with the economy everyday and I’ve read Thomas Sowell and Milton Friedman so it’s much harder to suspend my disbelief of something that I am both intimately and academically familiar with.

In this particular case, it has to do with the economic acquisition of two bundles of roses and the morality therein. The economics wasn’t even basic.

"People are good. Why is that so hard to remember?"

<Minor spoiler ahead>

A powerful divine being with intellect far beyond human understanding is reading from a book about whose action is good or evil. This divine being apparently interprets goodness the way a 19 year conformist would after listening to his Marxist Professor.

In 1534, Douglass Wynegarr of Hawkhurst England gave his grandmother roses for her birthday. Picked them himself, walk them over to her, she was happy, boom 100 and 45 points. Now, in 2009, Doug Ewing of Scottsville Maryland also gave his grandmother, a dozen roses. But he lost four points.

Why? Because he ordered roses using a cell phone that was made in a sweatshop. The flowers were grown with toxic pesticides picked by exploited migrant workers delivered from thousands of miles away, which created a massive carbon footprint and his money went to a billionaire racist CEO who sends his female employees pictures of his genitals.

In essence, the economic system that has enabled billions of people to read and to have access to basic literacy and healthcare is to its core corrupt. It would be better to have half of your children die in 1534. The slave trade, serfdom and indentured servitude were all normal in 1534 England. England was actually unusual for just having serfs and not slaves.

The rest of the list of problems show just how ignorant our artistic class is of basic realities. Pesticides can be very problematic and they should be regulated sensibly but they do let us create more food and flowers with a minimum of land and help create enough food to avoid child labor. It is unlikely that Doug Ewing’s cellphone was made in a sweatshop because the labor for constructing cellphone parts is too skilled for slave labor. As for the racist billionaire, I will concede that it is disturbingly easy to believe that an elite billionaire is a sex pervert. However, very few CEOs are racist. They have to deal with many different people of many different colors everyday and high I.Q. people tend not to be racist.

That last comment was a rich-hating cherry on the socialism Sunday and was more about confirming the left’s anti-capitalist bias than it is about concern for the victims of our elite’s sexual depravity.

<End of Minor spoiler/>

Any of us who have ever studied algebra know that if you get something wrong in the beginning, the ending result will be wrong even if you do everything else perfectly. Likewise, if you don’t understand Basic Economics, you misunderstand everything about society and politics.

Castle "Don't Ruin My Story With Your Logic" Women's T-Shirt

Some writers and critiques have said that the message of a work doesn’t determine its worth, particularly if it’s meant as entertainment. As the saying in Hollywood goes, “If you want to send a message, call Western Union.” Many great Hollywood writers would agree with Right Angles that movies were for entertaining people preaching at them. I respect the sentiment but almost every story has a moral universe that is a crucial piece of the whole.

For example, the first two seasons of The Good Place encouraged people to be good. The show would not have worked without that moral message. The ethical debates in the show are a bigger part of the show than any of the main characters. This isn’t at all unusual. In, To Kill a Mockingbird, Maycomb county and the zeitgeist of the time was as much a character as Atticus or Scout. Scout and the trial of Tom Robinson were the lens through which the reader could see the moral universe as viewed by Harper Lee.

While it is unusual for philosophy to feature so heavily in a narrative written primarily to entertain, it is far from unheard of. Since the time of the Greeks, people who wanted to express ideas wrote stories instead of philosophy. Humans are moved by stories and not by well-researched arguments. The Greeks were a creative and competitive lot and the writers knew that they wouldn’t be able to keep audiences by lecturing at them. Aristophanes has lots of fart jokes for a reason.

Aristophanes - Greek Playwright
Those jokes were funny. I regret nothing.

The Good Place was always left-learning but its leftism was never a core part of the show’s philosophy. Even though the show’s writing, character development and humor seem as good in the third season as it did in the first, the Wokist message fatally undermines the show because its anticapitalist (and I would argue antiwealth) philosophy corrupts the necessary message of struggling to be good.

We immediately understand that if the protagonist of a story starts to be written poorly, the entire story can cave-in like a building falling after one crucial load bearing structure has been compromised. The same is true if the story’s moral universe collapses in on itself. At least, that is my woke threshold.

What crosses your wokeness threshold? What makes you quit a show after a few seasons of really enjoying it? Do you agree that a bad message can undermine the arête of a work?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Movie Distractions

 

I’m sitting here watching Elizabeth, The Golden Age while the snow falls and the dogs snooze. I can see why Cate Blanchett was nominated for her starring performance and why the film won awards for costume design and art direction. But, I’m totally put off by Mary Stuart’s thick Scottish brogue. Mary Queen of Scots was raised in France (her mother’s birthplace) and was a French queen at one time. She almost certainly spoke French and, if anything, had a French accent. It’s very distracting to someone even marginally familiar with the history.

James Delingpole and Toby Young discussed the odd and unlikely appearance of a Sikh soldier in the movie 1917 portrayal of WWI and the Western Front. 

What do you find distracting in otherwise good movies?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: Advice: Babies!

 

Seven months ago (no, not to the day, we missed our chance to gain a dependent on Independence Day), @kidcoder and I produced our first offspring, so here are a few brief analyses of common advice people give.

Sleep when the baby sleeps, do laundry when the baby does laundry, drive when the baby drives, etc.:

This one actually gets a bad rap. Mothers hate it because they say that nap times are the only times that they can get any actual tasks done. But in the beginning, time isn’t real, so if you don’t sleep enough at night then you really need to sleep during the day. If you’re lucky, you can simply extend your night clear through to the afternoon.

Your baby needs socks and blankets when going out on a hot summer’s day:

No. There is no logic here whatsoever. Why do you think there is? You’re wrong.

“I think that has alcohol in it.” (to a visibly pregnant woman):
Why yes it does! *sip*

Learn about childbirth before you do it:

Excellent advice! Also, learn in general. Don’t just depend on your doctor or your child’s pediatrician to tell you what to do or what to worry about. Odds are, whatever they think they know about proper procedures and timelines in normal, healthy situations is outdated. I could do a whole post on medical advice I’ve happily ignored since I started this journey.

Sleep train/don’t sleep train:

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Sleep training doesn’t harm children and skipping it doesn’t sentence them to a life without sleep. It’s mostly about the sanity of the parents. And speaking of them:

Don’t judge other parents:

It depends on what you mean by “Judge.” I firmly believe in watching and learning. But should you say anything? Probably not.

Any contradictions from outsiders about what your baby needs at this moment:

Excellent, maybe they can take over childcare for a bit.

Have fun!
Thanks, I will!