Tag: Information

The Cost of Information, Good and Bad


Is there something about the decreasing price of information that makes it harder to sift the chaff from the wheat? I have investigated this phenomenon before with respect to poetry. The barriers to entry for writing and publishing poetry have come down significantly over the centuries, and especially over the last few decades. There is much more poetry, but not necessarily any more good poetry. Thus, it becomes more of a chore to find good new poems. (Trust me, I once published and edited a poetry magazine.) The same seems to be happening with “news” and other information sources. There seem to be more outlets serving fewer real facts. Finding these facts becomes more and more difficult.

What are you seeing out there, Ricochet?

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Information has taken on a whole new meaning in the digital age, a time when sensitive data is either too easily accessible or not accessible enough. This issue of access to information encompasses fundamental human rights – specifically the freedom of speech as well as the right to privacy. Because it’s a primary means of […]

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Can Trump Solve the Chinese Puzzle?


Xi puzzle“Facts don’t care about your feelings,” as Ben Shapiro is wont to say. Indeed, John Adams admonishes us: “facts are very stubborn things.” In the midst of all the virtual ink spillage, and pundit and politico posturing, the inconvenient truth is that Hong Kong is a city in communist China. This unfeeling and stubborn fact fundamentally limits what the United States, any other nation, and people inside Hong Kong can do to affect conditions on the ground. Yet, there may be a move, within the larger Chinese puzzle, that President Trump can play now that might slow Hong Kong’s descent into normal Chinese city status.

Cautionary Tales of Careless Words:

We hear conservatives and constitutionalists argue against “do something” as a reaction to mass shootings. Yet, we hear from some of the same sources that the president of the most powerful nation in the world must “do something,” where “do something” is just “say something.” Educated and wise counselors and leaders may be charged with knowing our own history with presidents “saying something.”

Roberts Robs Citizens of Crucial Information


There has been plenty of commentary, on Ricochet and elsewhere (see first and especially Amy Howe’s analysis), about the decision penned by Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the four consistent leftists in relevant parts on Department of Commerce v. New York. One issue, and important consequence, seems unaddressed. By sending the matter back to the Federal District courts, without imposing a very accelerated calendar and requiring a decision back to the Supreme Court by the end of the summer, Roberts has effectively pushed back any actual count of the illegal alien population by a decade! He has kept the political process uninformed, except by competing guesses, presented as statistical models and sample data. This is the point on which President Trump should be hammering daily.

Roberts did not rule that a citizenship question is unconstitutional, but he did not need to, as his opinion, as written, runs out the clock nicely. Instead, he relied on insinuations that Wilbur Ross had racist motives and had lied to cover up these racist motives. By entertaining this smear job by the lower courts, Roberts diverted the conversation from the ultimate bipartisan elite goal, perpetuating their numbers racket.

The Numbers Racket:

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Andrew McCarthy is wrong this time. He calls not only for a policy of regime change but also for President Trump to call for “regime change” in Iran. McCarthy should pay closer attention to the history of American presidents talking up “liberation” or regime change. Consider both President Eisenhower and President George H.W. Bush, and […]

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Trumping Middle East Hands: Iran [Updated]


Start from the position that the Iranian people are hostages in their own country to a regime based on an idea, perhaps an ideology, concocted in the 1970s and propounded clearly only after Khomeini’s faction had control in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Consider that there has been popular unrest against the regime. Factor in that the rulers are savvy and ruthless, with an elite military force keeping the regular military and the populace in check, while extending regime influence regionally and globally. The Khomeinists seem to have a strong hand, with some high cards, so how do we set about trumping their hand? Moving towards answers that are feasible takes more than hand-waving and posturing.

The U.S. military has long recognized that it was only one instrument in Uncle Sam’s tool belt, and that military strategy needed to be integrated with plans and actions by the rest of the government. This became called a “whole of government” approach. For many years, military officers, in their advanced schooling, were instructed in consideration of four “instruments of national power:” Diplomacy, Information, Military, and Economy (DIME).

DIME was useful for getting officers with around twenty years of military planning and operations under their belts to think more broadly. However, Uncle Sam actually has a larger set of tools, and uses them. To capture these other tools, DIME became DIMEFIL:

Making America Great Again with the New National Security Strategy


I found the National Security Strategy (NSS) publication timing and the setting of President Trump’s speech both significant. Publication within the first year of the Trump Administration is remarkable. The timing shows he recognized the importance of this document to drive change across agencies and shows the competence of his senior national security team. The speech setting both evoked Reagan and pointed to serious support for the full set of instruments of national power.

The setting was not a military base or DHS, rather it was the Ronald Reagan Building, whose tenants include USAID, Commerce, Trade, and CBP as well as the Woodrow Wilson Center. That reinforced the new President’s intent to use the informational and economic tools of national power. So, while President Trump was addressing multiple audiences with his words, his physical presence delivering the speech also underscored his intent.

Could We Please Stop Calling it “Capitalism?”


shutterstock_237930475The moment we call “capitalism” capitalism, I’ve come to believe, we’ve already conceded far too much ground to the other side, which of course portrays capitalism as a coherent system, imposed on economic life, just as socialism represents a system imposed on producers and consumers from the outside. If we’re simply choosing between two systems, the socialists contend, why choose the one imposed on the rest of us by rich cronies, interested only in their own wealth and power, instead of the system imposed by the government on behalf of ordinary people?

In truth, of course, capitalism represents the absence of any imposed economic system. Instead, it is simply what arises in conditions of freedom — the organic order that establishes itself as people come together in markets, pool their capital, respond to price signals, and so forth. Our choice isn’t between two systems, imposed on the rest of us, one by the rich, the other by the government. Not at all. Our choice is between freedom and coercion. The term “capitalism” obscures that absolutely basic point.

Which is why I found myself struck by one phrase in an email from a friend. He was writing about the pope’s visit, but the pontiff isn’t the issue here. Words — that is the issue here: