Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump’s Ukraine Call Was Necessary and Right: Change My Mind

 

I don’t think there is any doubt about the following (I’ve highlighted things that I would like to have better details for):
1. Ukraine has had a long-term problem with corruption, including with its politicians.
2. We knew #1 and they knew #1.
3. We have a treaty with Ukraine to support each other in anti-corruption investigations. This predates the Trump administration.
4. Burisma is one Ukrainian company with a history of corruption.
5. Joe Biden’s son Hunter was given an amazingly lucrative position on the board of Burisma, given his experience.
6. Joe Biden claimed (in public and recorded) that he forced the removal of the prosecutor who happened to be investigating Burisma by threatening to withhold $1 billion in aid. (There is some confusion that the prosecutor had other corruption issues, but when he was replaced by a “solid guy,” the investigation into Burisma was stopped.)
7. Before the time period of interest, both the US and Ukraine had elections. Zelenskyy ran on a platform of getting rid of corruption and Trump on a platform that included being careful about how our foreign aid is sent to countries that are either corrupt or act against US interests. Trump was also interested in getting more buy-in from allies more local to the issues than the US.
8. Trump held up the aid to Ukraine until he was reassured by a bipartisan senatorial group that the new president of Ukraine was “the real deal.” (The media says this was because Trump heard about the whistleblower. I think both were very close in time, but I don’t think Trump would worry much about the whistleblower.)

So, from the US standpoint, I think Trump’s motivation was to reassure himself on points #7 and #8. From my perspective, that seems like not only a legitimate goal, but a required one.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Happy Analemma Day

 

It’s that time of year. Feeling gloomy? Perhaps it’s the shorter days of the season. Indeed, there’s a lot less sunlight. The afternoons seem to be particularly short.

Well, I have good news; this is Analemma Day. This is the day of the earliest sunset in most of the northern hemisphere. After today, we’re over the hump, and the afternoons get progressively longer.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Congress Doesn’t Need No Stinking Evidence!

 

“So what? We can’t get felony approval for anything without finding twenty witnesses, a dozen surveillance cameras, a victim interview, the offender’s mother’s statement AND a confession on video…..and even then, it’s probably going to be a C.I. [Continuing Investigation] until such time as God himself descends from Heaven to declare ‘This [redacted] is GUILTY and has forfeited his eternal reward.'” – Anonymous Chicago Police Officer

The quote comes from a Chicago police officer in a reaction to State’s Attorney Kimmie Foxx recusing herself from the Jussie Smollett case. Unlike the Chicago Police Department Adam Schiff goes on a fishing trip with a backhoe.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 7): Lure of the Lava Lady

 

On an island far away, the mwahaha flies.

The mwahaha is a bird – not, funnily enough, so called because its cry resembles the laugh of an old-fashioned villain, twirling his moustache as the express train draws near – but just out of sheer soppy sentimentality. There used to be a thriving colony of them somewhere up around old Hollywood way, back in the “real” world. People keep hoping they might come back someday, but, sad to tell, no one in living memory can remember seeing an active colony of mwahahas. Like the dodo, they have passed into the mists of history …

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The U.S. and Consorting with Terrorists

 

We haven’t had a major terrorist action like the 9/11 attacks in the US for good reason. Our governmental agencies still take potential attacks seriously in this country and are vigilant. My greatest concern now is that we, the public, will become complacent.

Many Islamic groups appear to be taking an increasingly public stand against efforts that protect this country; they are determined to undermine our counter-terrorism activities. And they’re making an ongoing effort to manipulate our lawmakers to help them forward their agenda. Many concerning people are also running for government positions all over the country.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Serial Seppuku in the Capital

 

In all my many years of watching politics, I have never seen so many people so absolutely convinced of something where the facts support the exact opposite conclusion. The Democrats are literally screaming for Trump’s removal for a myriad of so-called high crimes and misdemeanors while the facts show none of their accusations are valid. The Ukraine aid was released, meetings were not denied and Zelinskyy never initiated any investigation nor promised to do so.

The actual transcript of the so-called incriminating conversation mentions no conditions on aid or assistance; in fact, it does not mention any assistance or aid at all. Zelisnkyy said he never felt pressured by Trump and did not know that the aid had been even delayed at the time of the call. There were five high-level meetings between US and Ukraine officials subsequent to the initial call and not once was any condition mentioned regarding the forthcoming aid.

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We have a great chat with James Golden, AKA “Bo Snerdley” from the Rush Limbaugh Show, about his new organization looking to bring the black vote back to the GOP. The group, “New Journey PAC,” and the accompanying MAGA.Black website aims to recruit black conservatives to challenge Democrats in the deepest-blue areas of the country by focusing on issues where conservatism lives but the Republican Party doesn’t play.

How does a black man raised in a Democratic Party household in Queens end up working for the king of conservative talk radio? And what was that journey like? James Golden lived it, and he knows that while the Republican Party struggles to get a tiny percentage of the black vote, when you put party aside and talk about issues like education and economic growth, there is a lot more in common than people realize. But for too long the GOP has written off the black vote, and Golden is working to change that.

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Elizabeth Slattery and Tiffany Bates talk about the NYC gun case and offer holiday gift ideas for SCOTUS fans. Elizabeth also chats with Judge Amul Thapar of the 6th Circuit about all things Kentucky.

 

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Follow along as Lyndsey Fifield and Mary Katharine Ham make a series of miscalculations and inadvisable decisions, avert near disaster and bodily injury—and VERY luckily come across only-nice people who help them… and ironically discuss cohabitation boundaries (while definitely overstepping Lyndsey’s husband’s) in the name of getting him a cool gift that is very far away… and very heavy.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. But That Was Yesterday…

 

Remember (not all that long ago), when those on the Left decried the Founding Fathers as a bunch of white, racist, slave-holding, and did I mention racist, rich, and did I mention racist, old men whose crown jewel, the Constitution of the United States was an out-of-date screed written by privileged, old (ADIMR) fuddy-duddies with no connection to the modern (and so much better) world?

When Beto almost cried at the thought of having to explain a concept so arcane and unfair as the reasoning behind the Electoral College to his children? And when that scholarly intellectual luminary AOC called that same Electoral College a scam?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Bit of Good News About US Productivity Growth

 

There’s a lot good to report about the American economy, now well into its record 11th year of expansion. Unemployment is low, and real wages are rising. And as I recently wrote in my The Week column, “Look, if you’re a president who promised to make America great again, and the unemployment rate falls to its lowest level since the early 1950s, it arguably looks like you’re making American great again.” Indeed, Goldman Sachs is predicting the unemployment rate to will “fall to levels last seen during the Korean War, bringing a further pickup in wage growth to 3.5 percent.”

But one worrisome weak point continues to be uninspiring productivity growth. Productivity has risen at a so-so 1.4 percent annual rate over the past two years, up from an abysmal average of just 0.6 percent in the 2011-2016 period. Faster productivity growth boosts overall GDP growth and means faster wage growth, as well. That said, productivity growth may be stronger than the data suggest. This from Capital Economics:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘What Happened to Drudge?’ Answered

 

Instapundit links to a Townhall piece by Derek Hunter, “What Happened to Drudge?” Hunter examines a bit of the history and mystery of the man. Noting the shift from 2016 to 2019 from decidedly pro-Trump to manifestly anti-Trump, Hunter wonders why:

I did get a hint. I have a friend who is actual, real-life friends with Matt. I asked them what the deal is. After all, no website was more pro-Trump in 2016 than the Drudge Report. Matt even ventured to a debate to see it all firsthand. The answer was telling, if only because there’s so little to go on.

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On September 11, 2017, we hosted Dr. Ballard, the man responsible for finding the Titanic, as we discussed the story behind finding the Titanic for our exhibit we had on display at the time. It was a fascinating program where he took the audience on a journey of ocean exploration. Let’s Listen.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Adam Schiff Subpoenas Phone Records of His Political Rivals

 
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)

There’s a lot of attention being paid to this impeachment theater, but why isn’t there more outrage about Adam Schiff’s subpoena of the phone records? I know Congress has the power of subpoena, but a conventional subpoena has to go through a court where probable cause must be demonstrated. Is there no restriction if Congress does it?

Schiff subpoenaed the records of a fellow member of Congress (Devin Nunes), a journalist (John Solomon), and the president’s personal lawyer (Rudi Giuliani).

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: The Red Jacket

 

My dad was born on December 5, 1920. Dad loved wearing red; shirts, sweaters, pants, hats, and for the last decade or so of his life, a bright red windbreaker jacket. Me, not so much. In fact, I have always disliked wearing red. The closest I’d come was my blue Boston Red Sox cap with its red B.

Shortly after dad passed in 2014, my sister and I got together to go through his things. When we came across the red windbreaker I impulsively told her, “I’ll take it.” It was the only piece of his clothing I kept.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Democrats’ Ukraine Problem

 

The impeachment hearings are more or less just a sideshow for Democrats; there’s no way they’re going to actually remove President Trump from office. They are an attempt to placate a base that wants blood, even if the only blood they get from the Trump administration will be a papercut. Democrats have gravely miscalculated at what cost bringing the sordid Ukraine situation into public view: the liability it creates for their top candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden. Today Biden was asked about the situation and, well, he’s going to need to work on his response over the next ten months if he has a prayer.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Psychiatrists Need an Intervention

 

Goldwater TrumpThis is shaping up to be another very instructive week, as more people who most Americans used to take somewhat seriously dash their reputations on the rocks of reality. Consider the really important, consequential stuff that happened in London this week, laid out in “‘Interagency Consensus DIME’ Not Worth a Plugged Nickel on NATO” and “Real Leadership, Real Statesmanship: President Trump at NATO.” Contrast the actual, on camera, behavior and results of President Donald J. Trump with the fevered fantasy of credentialed quacks; “mental health professionals” who used the Goldwater Rule for kindling on the bonfire of their hate for us and our president:

In an email forwarded to PJ Media, three psychiatrists with the coalition ask other psychiatrists to sign on to a petition to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee to include a statement on Trump’s supposed mental instability into the official record of the impeachment inquiry.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Stanford Law Professor’s Deplorables Seminar 101

 

Why are Leftist women so angry? Obviously trying to nullify 60 million or so votes is hard work, I get that. I watched the entire hearing today and there were moments that my eye’s started to glaze over several times during this sideshow. Jonathan Turley smiled at times, but the three Leftist activist law professors were grim and humorless. They were hardly happy warriors. They were actually poster children for recreational marijuana use and a government-provided Lava Lamp. Stare at the lamp, take a deep breath, and relax. Have another brownie.

Yep, I’m a deplorable, but I know when I’m being fed nonsense. My favorite moment was when Barron Trump was dragged into the fray. This woman has some serious anger issues. Notre Dame has Law Professor Amy Coney Barrett, Stanford has Pamela Karlan. Remember that when your kid wants to go to a law school.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Sound of the Season

 

While watching the 876th remake of the first Hallmark “original” Christmas film, I got to thinking about the two men responsible for the modern sound of the holiday season. The first one is obvious. When Irving Berlin sat down and penned White Christmas (somewhere between 1938 and 1941, nobody is really quite sure) he ushered in the flood of the secular Christmas song. While Santa Claus is Coming to Town was released years earlier in 1934, it was Berlin’s wartime ballad of longing, combined with the baritone of Bing Crosby, that propelled the genre to stratospheric heights.

The other would toil away in relative obscurity as a pianist in jazz clubs around his native San Francisco until he penned a modest hit called Cast Your Fate to the Wind which won the 1963 Grammy for Best Original Jazz Composition. Lee Mendelson, an independent television producer who was putting together a documentary on “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz, heard Cast playing on a taxi cab radio. He liked what he heard and tracked the composer down through the jazz critic of the San Francisco Chronicle and asked him to score his film.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Real Leadership, Real Statesmanship: President Trump at NATO

 

Trump and StoltenbergWhile lots of us engage in the guilty pleasure of watching selective clips of our favorite Congressional actors in the latest kabuki theater, we might profit more from considering some of the sights and sounds coming from the NATO 70th anniversary meeting of heads of state. I especially invite your attention to two official videos, one of President Trump meeting before the press with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and the other of the “2 Percenters” lunch meeting. Relevant excerpts from the transcripts appear below.*

Watch two mature adults have a real discussion before a real press corps. Notice that President Trump is defending NATO as a useful vehicle for the mutual defense of nations’ interests. Consider that Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is the former Prime Minister of Norway, not a career eurocrat. Listen to both men deal carefully with both the nature of threats and the natural disagreements even among friendly nations, where each nation operates from its own interests. President Trump says: “I love that you say that NATO is changing as the world is changing.” See Stoltenberg emphasis that NATO members have (under pressure from President Trump) made over 100 billion dollars worth of increases in military defense spending. Watch both men address the challenges of both China and Islamist terrorism.

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This episode begins with a liturgical piece by James MacMillan—a living composer—and ends with another liturgical piece by Wynton Marsalis—another living composer. In between, you’ve got some Saint-Saëns, some Sibelius, and some other music. Jay says some provocative—possibly offensive—things about a couple of cello concertos. Otherwise, it’s sweetness and light, mainly. A good show.

Tracks played:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Spencer: The Weariness of Freedom and Comfort

 

“[E]veryone has found how even the best easy chair, at first rejoiced in, becomes after many hours intolerable; and change to a hard seat, previously occupied and rejected, seems for a time to be a great relief. It is the same with incorporated humanity. Having by long struggles emancipated itself from the hard discipline of the ancient régime, and having discovered that the new régime into which it has grown, though relatively easy, is not without stresses and pains, its impatience with these prompts the wish to try another system: which other system is, in principle if not in appearance, the same as that which during past generations was escaped from with much rejoicing.” — Herbert Spencer, “The Man versus the State.” Apple Books.

Spencer was speaking of the desire of the populace which, once capitalism had liberated it for a long period of time from slavery and poverty, found itself longing for slavery. It is what’s happening in US politics today.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Groupthink

 

“If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” — Gen. George S. Patton

Yesterday YouTube suggested that I would like The Mark Steyn Show Climate Change Forum, so I watched it. Whether it’s creepy that YouTube put this video at the top of my feed the day after I had been writing on Ricochet about climate change in general and the website of a panel member in particular, I’ll leave for others to decide. The panel discussion included a lot about how difficult it is for people to speak up or challenge the uniform thinking of their peers.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: Days of Wine and Roses

 

My mom and dad grew up around moonshine whiskey and home-brewed beer in Oklahoma, a dry state at the time. Liquor may have been illegal, but of course there was still plenty of it sloshing around. In fact, in one of my first memories —I can see it clearly even now, seventy-five years later— I was sitting with my sister in the backseat of our 1939 Nash Ambassador while my dad drove down a dirt road looking for a moonshiner he had heard about.

That kind of environment, unhappily, produces more than its share of problem drinkers, among whom I count most members of my family, aunts and uncles included.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Interagency Consensus” DIME Not Worth a Plugged Nickel on NATO

 

NATO at 70Everyone in the vaunted “interagency,” is well aware of the concept of the instruments of national power. The old Army War College acronym is “DIME,” for diplomatic, informational, military, and economic tools. You will notice that each tends to rest primarily in different departments, different agencies in the “interagency.” This would be why you need multiple agencies to coordinate rather than always operating “in their own lane.”

Just as Madison Avenue is best at selling Madison Avenue, so too the permanent bureaucracy and its affiliates, allies, patrons, and petitioners all affirm competent and selfless expertise in the face of all evidence. Indeed, the reverence for the “foreign policy consensus” evokes the British Parliament’s ritual prostration before the NHS. Thank God that we finally have a president who feels no such compulsion, the first such since Ronald Reagan.

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