Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mon Cher, We Will Never Be Second: Phillipe de Rothschild’s Wine Bottles and the Beauty of Capitalism

 

Wine is an art in France. And a business. Considering its dual nature, perhaps there was no one better to revolutionize both aspects of the French wine industry than a Rothschild. One from a family that has been entwined for centuries in Europe’s money and its art, as patrons and creators.

Nowadays, to the extent that he is remembered at all in the Anglophone world, Baron Philippe de Rothschild is remembered as a race car driver or the husband of style icon Pauline. However, the Baron was also a poet, film and theatre producer, playwright, translator, and vigneron of almost unparalleled success.

Château Mouton Rothschild, a wine estate located in Pauillac, southwestern France, has been in the Rothschild family since 1853, when it was purchased by Nathaniel de Rothschild and renamed from Château Brane-Mouton. Nathaniel was actually an English, not a French, Rothschild, though he spent the majority of his life residing and working in the country with the French branch of the family, and Phillipe believed that this is why the vineyard was denied Premier Cru status despite meeting the price standard. (The Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 was based on each château’s trade price and reputation, which at the time was closely related to the quality of the wine that it produced. Even in the face of significant criticism, the classification list remains in force today). Despite Nathaniel’s love of it, Château Mouton Rothschild little interested James Mayer de Rothschild, the heir, or his son Henri.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Politics of Impeachment: Watching High Stakes Poker

 

Normal Americans not consumed with politics may understandably be confused about what’s happening with the impeachment of now-former President Donald Trump. Allow me to share with you the political machinations likely driving what is, or is not, transpiring.

First, the January 6th breach of the Capitol by a hundred or so extremists opened a political opportunity for Democrats – not just to blame President Trump for “inciting” violence, but to drive a wedge between establishment Republicans and Trump supporters. They rightly figured that House and Senate Republicans, among others, would recoil at the violence and damage done to the Capitol.

They were correct. And they responded with a hurried, even “emergency” impeachment of President Trump. No hearings, no investigation, no Judiciary Committee vote, no due process of any kind. And it passed on a largely party-line vote, with 10 Republicans joining in. Establishment Republicans, including reputed New York Times “conservative” columnist Bret Stephens, praised House Conference Lynn Cheney and 9 of her colleagues for their “courage.”

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How a Country Abandoned Law and Liberty, and Became a Threat to Humanity

 

How does an advanced and civilized nation turn into a pack of hunting hounds directed against humans? Sebastian Haffner addresses the question in his memoir, titled Defying Hitler, which describes his own experiences and observations from early childhood until his departure from Germany in 1939. It is an important document–not only for the light it sheds on this particular and dreadful era in history, but also for its more general analysis of the factors leading to totalitarianism and of life under a totalitarian state. It is also a very personal and human book, with vivid portraits of Haffner’s parents, his friends, and the women he loved. Because of its importance and the fact that it is relatively little-read in the United States (I picked up my copy at the Gatwick airport), I’m reviewing it here at considerable length.

The title (probably not chosen by the author himself) is perhaps unfortunate. Haffner was not a member of an organization dedicated to overthrowing the Nazi state, along the lines of a Hans Oster or a Sophie Scholl. His defiance, rather, was on a personal level–keeping his mind free of Nazi ideology, avoiding participation in Nazi crimes, and helping victims of the regime where possible. Even this level of defiance required considerable courage–more than most people are capable of. As Haffner summarizes life under a totalitarian regime:

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Widow at Windsor

 

Oh, holy cow. It’s January 22. Exactly 120 years ago today that Queen Victoria popped her clogs breathed her last.

I don’t know why the recency of that date surprises me so much. Perhaps because so many members of my family whom I remember were alive on that date. Great Granny, who was born four years after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and who died when I was 14, was 32. She was a fearsome old bat, a product of the Victorian age, and could have given the Dowager Countess a run for her money any day of the week. I was born only 53 years after Victoria died. And now I’m 66, 13 years past the midpoint of the arc. One grandpa was eight when Victoria died, the other was 25. One granny was three, the other was 23.

I never could cotton much to the recent Victoria series on Masterpiece. Perhaps that’s because the portrayal of the Queen as a sweet young thing was a bit unsettling. For those of us who think of our beloved dumpy, plump, female British monarchs (Victoria, Elizabeth I, etc.) as grey-haired old hags, Judi Dench is our girl–although, let’s be clear, Dame Judi was, in the early days (and I remember the early days), quite a “babe.” But even the presence of one of the men regularly voted “the sexiest actor alive,” Rufus Sewell, couldn’t rescue that series for me. (I did, however, love, love, love, Dame Judi and the irreverent Scottish comic Billy Connolly in Mrs. Brown, a sweet little film about the widowed Victoria’s predilection for what I’ll just call “inappropriate relationships.”) Let’s move on.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Policing in Seattle

 

Remember when the duty of law-enforcement was to protect businesses and the public from bad actors? Remember when crimes of destruction and vandalism were rare, and punished when the perpetrators were found, tried, and convicted? Well, those days are gone. The expected riots in Seattle, around Tuesday’s inauguration of the New Regime in the other Washington, happened on Wednesday. Here’s a description of what went down.

Chopper 7 showed a crowd of more than 100 people dressed in all black. By now it’s a familiar, if dreaded, group in downtown Seattle.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Abuse and Misuse of the National Guard

 

I’ve concluded the use of the National Guard to occupy Washington DC for the inaugural ceremonies was an abuse of military power, and ought to be condemned. The fact that dozens of state governors (link) agreed to this abuse is all the more concerning.

Responding to and quelling riots are the responsibility of civilian law enforcement. In those situations where civilian law enforcement is overwhelmed, available military units may provide the necessary strength to restore order. Usually such military units are from the National Guard, the reserve component auxiliaries of the Regular US Army. In extreme cases, active duty Regular Army troops may also be employed to restore civil order.

The men of GLoP have some thoughts about the events at the Capitol, both the attack and the inauguration. They punditize Melania’s costume change on Air Force One, Lady Gaga’s billing, and ponder what might have happened had President Trump kept his Twitter account and attended Joe Biden’s swearing in. But it’s not all politics — not by a Rob Long shot. They discuss the new version of The Stand and the Marvel TV show Wanda Vision. Also, what to Danny Thomas, George Brett, and one of our sponsors have in common? Sorry, no spoilers.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. RIP, Hank Aaron

 

Hank Aaron in the batting cage spring training 1960
Baseball great Hank Aaron passed away today, January 22, 2021, at age 86. No cause of death has been provided.

Henry Louis Aaron was born on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama to Herbert and Estella Aaron. He was one of eight children which included a younger brother, Tommie, who would also play in the major leagues. The family was quite poor and so the young Henry had to work at odd jobs including picking cotton to help ends meet. He loved sports and learned baseball in sandlot games in which bottle caps or rocks usually substituted for balls and sticks or broom handles substituted for bats. He hit cross-handed from the start and he would keep hitting cross-handed until he began his professional career. Perhaps this is how he developed such quick and strong wrists which was much remarked upon from the beginning of his career. He did play baseball and football in high school, but like the young Willie Mays, he also began playing semi-pro baseball around the age of 14 thus adding another small sum to the family income.

Settle in folks, this is a long one (and not in the Rob sense of the word). First up, Powerline’s Steve Hayward (and the host of the Powerline Podcast available on the Ricochet Audio Network) drops by to discuss the inauguration and preview the Biden administration. Then, a segment we have been looking forward to for a long time. Avi Loeb is a Professor of Science at Harvard University and the longest serving chair of Harvard Astronomy Department. His new book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, posits that an alien craft visited our solar system in 2017. He makes a compelling and science based case for it, and if he’s correct, it’s one of the most –if not the most– significant scientific discovery in human history. You heard it here first, folks. Finally, Anontia Okafor is the host of the Speak-Easy podcast,one of our newest shows and one of our best. We talk to her about her passion for guns and the 2nd Amendment and why Kamala Harris becoming Vice President is significant to her, even though Anontia disagrees with almost all of Harris’ policy positions and politics. We urge you to listen to her 4 minute long solo edition of Speak-Easy on this topic. It’s enlightening and moving. 

Music from this week’s show: Waiting For The UFOs by Graham Parker and The Rumor

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. And They’re Gone …

 

My youngest daughter had to do her first semester at Georgetown at home on a laptop, but this morning, she left for D.C. to move into her apartment. My other two daughters have already left home. Things are different now. I really don’t remember my life before my daughters arrived. For 22 years, our house has been an explosion of blonde hair, pink bows, Barbie Dolls, athletic equipment, nail polish, multivariable calculus textbooks, stuffed animals, musical instruments, and endless wonderful chaos. Now it’s very quiet. They’re gone.

I knew they would leave at some point. That’s the whole idea, of course. Every Dad knows that his time with his daughters is brief and finite. And I’m so thankful for the time we had together. Every minute was wonderful – even the ones that weren’t, if that makes any sense.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Biden: “There’s Nothing We Can Do” to Slow Covid

 

Shortly before the election, candidate Joe Biden proclaimed, “I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country.” Two days after inauguration, he’s updated his message: “There’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.”

Nothing we can do. That means the lockdowns, mask mandates, and school closures are all for naught. The scientific miracle of producing a vaccine in less than a year is meaningless. After all, that’s what “nothing we can do” means.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Technology, Disheartenment, and a Piece of Torte

 

Those born in the US right after the Second World War arguably have had the easiest life of any humans ever living on the planet. This statement does not apply to people who served, suffered, and died in the Korean, Vietnam, and Middle East Wars or experienced natural disasters during that same era. But otherwise, let’s be honest: the ride for my generation has been easy, fueled by confidence in the American Dream and decorated by every comfort known to man.

Raised when the values and virtues defining our nation were taught to each child, I have been able to spend significant time in actively Communist countries and those previously devastated by Communism. How often I thought: “Ah, my homeland could never experience horrors like indiscriminate censorship, character assassination by legislative or political policy, or the tragic reduction of an individual’s life and legacy to the status of ‘non-person’ (regular features of life under Communism).” I wore my confidence like a badge of honor!

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Middle East Progress

 

Biden’s coming promotion of the Palestinian issue and rehashing old State Department idiocy from the 20th century is actually going to be good for Israel.

Israel used to be a United States client state, but Obama made it abundantly clear that the US is not truly a dependable friend. Then Trump and Iran worked together beautifully to create peace between Israel and quite a few Arab states (Morocco, Bahrain, UAE, and even effectively Saudi Arabia). The result is that Israel and those states are going to largely ignore the US going forward. Instead, Israel will form its own regional power bloc, offering a security umbrella against Iran and possible even some counterbalance to Turkey.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Who Needs Pravda?

 

Flipping through the channels Wednesday night I noticed CBS had two special programs on. The first was called One Nation: Indivisible. This program had CBS anchorperson Norah O’Donnell reading DNC talking points performing hard-hitting journalism. As you may have guessed, it was a Biden/Harris lovefest. Since there have been so many calls for “unity” they did include some Republican voters. For instance, one woman who voted for Trump in 2016 but not in 2020 said of our outgoing president, “That man is the face of evil in this country.” Can I get a “Kumbaya?” To be fair they did show other Trump voters … waving Confederate flags and beating on Capitol police. You know, a fair representation of the 74 million Trump voters.

After that hard-hitting exposé, another show started called Celebrating America. This was another Biden campaign ad that was televised on multiple channels. Here, celebrities who used to refer to the slightest acts of patriotism as jingoistic, now wrap themselves in the flag and talk about how great America is, now that they have their chosen people in power. If I didn’t know any better I would say they still haven’t gotten over the 2016 election.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Mob is Coming For You, Don’t Be Silent

 

Does your dog groomer need to vote the way you do in order to give her your business? What about your pediatrician or a private sleep consultant you talk to about how to get your baby to nap more consistently? On mommy social media this week, we learned that there is a large mob of moms who demand total compliance to their “moral code,” which includes, of course, political candidates of their choosing.

The Daily Wire has the whole story, but here’s the relevant nuggets:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Biden Disconnect, or Biden’s Bubble

 

Maybe it’s his mental capacity, but Biden, even before he took office, seemed to be barely connected to anything outside the prospective Presidency. I have to admit that I am not following him closely, but has anyone heard him address the following to any extent?

  • Violence in the streets that continues to this day
  • His goals of working with Congress
  • His expectations (pro or con) of the upcoming impeachment
  • What his plans are to encourage unity
  • An appeal to Democrats to stop attacking Republicans
  • Why any of his Executive Orders will be good for this country
  • Explain to the public how mask mandates are good for the economy

I could go on, but it seems to me that Biden is living in a bubble. Does he actually consult with people to determine the benefits or limitations of his actions? Or do they just make a list for him and have him follow it? Did he just go back to the Obama agenda and dress it up for 2021? Did he decide simply to remove every Executive Order that Trump passed, rather than assess if any of them might be helpful?

More than ever, I think Joe Biden is barely clinging to reality. I don’t think he even knows how seriously limited he is. Certainly, everyone reassures him that he’s doing a good job in initiating actions—their plans—so why should they complain?

Naval aviator, author and film producer Paco Chierici joins the show. Paco spent twenty years in the Navy, flying the A-6E Intruder, F-14A Tomcat and the F-5 Tiger II. Paco deployed to combat zones from Somalia to Iraq and was stationed aboard carriers including the USS Ranger, Nimitz and Kitty Hawk.

In his career, Paco has accumulated over 3,000 tactical hours and completed over 400 carrier landings. In addition to being an aviator, Paco also is the author of the novel, Lions of the Sky and the producer of the award-winning naval aviator documentary, Speed and Angels, available on Amazon Prime.

Victor Davis Hanson analyzes how Joe Biden’s early policy moves contrast with his campaign-trail rhetoric, reflects on the last days of Donald Trump, and explains how a fractured Republican Party can move forward.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Are You the Enemy?

 

Washington DC has not reopened. Barriers remain in place. Downtown is still ghostly empty. The 25,000 or so troops deployed (twice as many as LBJ ordered in during the 1968 riots that burned entire blocks over three-four days) faced no hordes, no demonstrations, no threat but are still slated to stay the weekend. In hindsight, the bypassed Maginot Line and German defenses at Pas De Calais were for naught but at least there was an actual enemy in those instances.

We need to get used to the idea that from now on, the forces of righteousness will be justified in whatever they need to do to stamp out “systemic” racism and threats to LGBTQXYZ and to the planet itself. The fiasco at the Capitol was merely the tip of the iceberg of evil that Team Biden must defeat.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Fair Weather Fans

 

“When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.” — Osama bin Laden

This is not just about horses, of course. Nor even about successful sports teams or countries. It is even true about deities. The plagues struck Egypt, but in the nature of people everywhere, the attraction to strength overcame the natural rejection of outside influences. The evidence is found in the Torah itself.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Election Integrity Fight & Progress in Arizona

 

Finally, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has agreed to release election material to the Arizona Senate so that the Senate can perform an audit, according to a Press Release statement from Senate President Karen Fann.

For a month, the supervisors have resisted all requests from the Senate, only to give within the hour after President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Have a good life. We will see you soon.”

 

Donald and Melania TrumpPresident Trump joined four early United States presidents in refusing to attend his successor’s inauguration. While President Washington attended his former vice president’s inauguration, John Adams did not pretend that the incredibly ugly 1800 campaign was normal. He refused to dignify Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration. The two men, formerly friends, were bitter enemies until they reconciled in a long correspondence, years after both returned to private life. Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams, did not attend the inauguration of the founder of the Democratic Party, Andrew Jackson. Yet, J.Q. Adams had a long second political life as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.* You may recall that President Trump chose to feature Andrew Jackson’s portrait in the Oval Office. Martin Van Buren, Andrew Jackson’s vice president, did not attend the Whig Party candidate, William Harrison’s inauguration.** Andrew Johnson, a Democrat elected on a war unity ticket with Lincoln, refused to attend U.S. Grant’s inauguration after the Radical Republicans impeached but failed to convict Johnson.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump gave one last address from the runway apron at Andrews Air Force Base before flying home to Florida. Like farewell addresses by previous presidents, the remarks included thanks to family and those who worked with them, along with both a list of accomplishments and notes of caution about the direction the new administration was likely to take.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Today is Brought to You by the Numbers 25 and 47

 

Yes, yes. I know. Yesterday was Inauguration Day. #46 hasn’t been in office a full 24 hours as of this writing and I’m already thinking of #47.

On this day, two of the nation’s left-leaning media outlets (excuse me if I repeat myself) have pieces up on Joe Biden’s cognitive decline.