Musings on Bad Faith in Politics

“Hypocrisy” and “cynicism” are two adjectives used to describe actions of Republicans, particularly when they supported Trump. I tend to think those two words are inadequate. I like bad faith better, but the meaning seems a little vague to me. In this thread, I want to flesh out the meaning and think about term, versus alternatives, when discussing the modern day GOP and their leader.

Voter Fraud Vs. Voter Suppression

Voting and the integrity of our election are truly a critical part of our democracy, and the Democrats and Republicans have two competing narratives with regard to this topic. Democrats believe that Republicans want to suppress votes, particularly for people of color, as a primary way to gain or hold political power. Republicans, on the other hand, believe that voter fraud is a serious problem that poses a real threat to the integrity of our elections. Who’s right? That’s what I want to answer in this thread. Primarily, I want to collect evidence for both narratives. Now, I have already been reading about this topic, and let me say upfront that the evidence for voter fraud being a serious problem seems scant, while the evidence for voter suppression, in my view, seems far more compelling. Before I begin, I should acknowledge if one or both narratives proves true, they are legitimately serious problems–problems that would demand some corrective action.

“Our Entire Democracy is now at Risk. History will judge what we do at this moment.”

These are the closing words of a 100 scholars. Specifically, they find recent actions to make voting more difficult, by Republican controlled state legislature, alarming.

Statutory changes in large key electoral battleground states are dangerously politicizing the process of electoral administration, with Republican-controlled legislatures giving themselves the power to override electoral outcomes on unproven allegations should Democrats win more votes. They are seeking to restrict access to the ballot, the most basic principle underlying the right of all adult American citizens to participate in our democracy. They are also putting in place criminal sentences and fines meant to intimidate and scare away poll workers and nonpartisan administrators. State legislatures have advanced initiatives that curtail voting methods now preferred by Democratic-leaning constituencies, such as early voting and mail voting. Republican lawmakers have openly talked about ensuring the “purity” and “quality” of the vote, echoing arguments widely used across the Jim Crow South as reasons for restricting the Black vote.

These scholars urge Congress to act, passing laws to counter these efforts, even if it means suspending the filibuster. I’m wary of language like this, but I can’t dismiss these claims. I’m concerned; I don’t think we’re out of the woods, even though Trump is not in office. Here is Max Boot, former Republican Senator and Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and former Republican Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock.

General McCaffery on General Flynn’s comments about coup in the U.S.:

1/6 Insurrection

During this week the House passed a bi-partisan bill to form a commission to investigate the 1/6 insurrection. House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, opposed it at the last minute, even though he initially gave support to Rep. John Katco (R) to work on this bill with Katco’s Democratic counterpart, Rep. Bennie Thompson. Mitch McConnell has now also publicly opposed this.

In any event, I wanted to post the articles about this in the thread, Journal During the Trump Regime (10): Interregnum, but that thread is to slow to open and navigate now. Because of that I’m starting this thread to post comments about the insurrection. I’ll start things off in the first comments by posting something from the Interregnum thread.

Philly D.A. (2021)

This is a thread to discuss Philly D.A. is an eight part Independent Lens docuseries now playing on PBS. The series follows a newly elected D.A., Larry Krasner, who never worked as a prosecutor, but worked as a civil rights defense attorney instead. For most of my life, I’ve thought about improving government services, and I’ve gained some thoughts on the obstacles preventing this. For these reasons, I’m really interested in following Krasner and tracking his progress. Here’s a clip:

Racism Against Asian-Americans

Has any been following the stories of violence and verbal attacks against Asian-Americans? Last night, I believe six Asian women (and two non-Asians) were shot and killed. I’m dismayed by these stories, hearing Asian-Americans express fear of going out and seeing these brutal attacks. Watching these things evokes an odd feeling, almost as if I’m watching a different country, as the reality here seems very different. Have you guys heard of similar stories happening in Hawai’i? By the way, I heard Trump last night on Fox News referred to the covid virus as the “China virus.” It’s still appalling that people who know better continue to support him. (I made myself watch the clip, just so that I can say I heard it myself.)

Continue reading “Racism Against Asian-Americans”

Could Movies Featuring the Lower Classes and People of Color be Commercially Successful as Long as They had Strong Stories and Compelling Characters?

Near the end of Thom Anderson’s Los Angeles Plays Itself, neglect of the lower classes and/or people of color in Hollywood movies struck and dismayed me. And I should specify the neglect involves stories and characters that fall outside existing stereotypes–for example, there are Hollywood films that feature the lower class criminals. I would also add that films with the type of characters exist, but my sense is that many are not mainstream movies. Why aren’t there more mainstream films with non-stereotypical minority characters outside of the middle and upper classes tend not to buy the explanation that the audience would be too small. Would it be too hard to create good stories with these type of characters? I find that hard to believe.

To test this, I looked at the AFI top 100 films of all time. Of this list, The Grapes of Wrath seems to be the best fit–although perhaps they can be seen as a more middle class family that is going through hard times. Raging Bull and Rocky may qualify as well. However, what stands out to me is that violence seems to be a critical component. That is, a mainstream film can feature lower class characters, but they and their stories must generally involve action and/or violence.

Midnight Cowboy is there, but I’d argue the lower class character (if he is a part of the lower class) falls within accepted stereotypes–i.e., the poor are criminals or social deviants.

Can anyone think of good mainstream films that featured non-stereotypical characters, non-white characters, primarily from the lower classes?