Hey! Check This Out–the Politics Edition (2022)

A thread posts or links about current events that don’t warrant a separate thread.

The first one I have is an NYT article about U.S. law firms cutting ties with clients–Russian oligarchs, specifically. That’s the good news. Apparently, Putin’s invasion is enough for these firms to put their values or at least their reputation ahead of profits. (Then again, if there wasn’t such strong public backlash, they may not have cut ties.) The bad news is that these wealthy oligarchs will likely find some firm, in the U.S. or West, to take them as clients. This is likely to be an ongoing weakness in the U.S. and Europe. I really hope I’m wrong about this last point.

A Critique of Bonhoeffer’s Notion of Stupidity and How This Relates to America in 2021

I saw a video on a passage from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters from prison. If you don’t know, Bonhoeffer was a German Christian, who was sent to prison after an attempt to kill Hitler. The passage in the video makes the claim that a stupid person is worse than an evil person. While watching the video, and later reading the passage, I found myself disagreeing at several remarks. I want to explore and explain the remarks I disagreed with. (Note: I haven’t read Bonhoeffer’s letters, so it’s possible that I’m missing important information regarding his ideas on this matter. Indeed, I’m not entirely clear what he means in some sections of the passage. Also, I’m unfamiliar with the youtube channel that posted this, “Sprouts,” so I don’t know their agenda or reliability.)

Here is the video I watched:

Suggestions for Killing Time Before Watching NFL Gamepass

As you guys know, I watch all the NFL games via Gamepass. To avoid spoilers, I have to avoid learning anything about the games. I don’t get TV stations, so the TV is not an issue. I do have to avoid some internet sites, and, in general, I would prefer staying off the internet, as I may accidentally learn about the games. Additionally, I’d like to find some activity that occupies my mind, since I do get antsy while I wait for the games to appear on Gamepass.

Do you guys have any suggestions? Some movie or TV show recommendations would be welcomed. I have HBO Max for at least a month, so I’m thinking of watching a TV series or movie on that.

Is Everything Happening all the Time?

In the 90s I read an interview with Frank Zappa where he expressed the belief that “everything was happening all the time.” That is, time is almost illusory–there is no real past, present, or future. Or to be more precise, such states are primarily based on perspective of a sentient individual. Here are Zappa’s comments:

Oh, the other thing that you have to realize is time doesn’t start here and end over there. Everything happens all the time….The reason I can say that is time depends on the point from which you’re looking at it. It only appears that things are transpiring because we are here. If we were someplace else, they would not have transpired yet. If you could move your point of reference to the event taking place, you could change the way in which you perceive the event. So, if you could constantly change your location, you could live the idea that everything is happening all the time.

When I first read this, I could not grasp this idea. Now, I think I have a better understanding of it, especially the part about the way the past, present, and future seemed (wholly?) based on perspective. On the other hand, how can everything be happening all the time? How can an individual be born, become a teenager, adult, elderly and then die–at the same time?! Those events don’t seem dependent on perspective (or are they?). This is something I have yet to grasp. If anybody can help me understand this better, I’d love to hear from you.

2021-2022 NFL Draft

This year’s draft seems unique, and I wanted to discuss some of the possible ramifications of this. For example, my sense is that teams have far less information about the draftees this year, due to the limitations created by COVID-19. Teams might not only have less information about the players’ talent and the way this projects into the NFL, but they may lack significant medical and psychological information. All of this creates unprecedented uncertainty, at least in terms of the last twenty years. Should teams change their approach to the draft because of this? And if so, in what way? I’ll address that in the first post.

2020-2021 Super Bowl: Buccaneers vs. Chiefs

I think the Chiefs will win—assuming they’re healthy. Overall, they’re just the better team in my view. If the Bucs play their best, they are on a similar level, but I don’t think they will do that. Specifically, I’m pretty confident Brady will turn the ball over, at least once. I would be surprised if he doesn’t.

My position will become clear by looking at the scenarios that the Bucs can win the game:

Continue reading “2020-2021 Super Bowl: Buccaneers vs. Chiefs”

If the GOP Have Become an Authoritarian Party, How Should Biden and Democrats Approach Governing?

I strongly believe that our system works best when Democrats and Republicans compromise, particularly on big problems. However, this only works if both sides a) care about solving problems, and b) both sides have a healthy respect fundamental democratic principles and institution and operate in good faith. If one side cares primarily about power, then bi-partisanship doesn’t work.

I believe congressional Republicans and GOP leadership have become authoritarian. There was a sliver of hope that might change afeter Trump leaves office, but that sliver has all but vanished for me. The way the Senate Republicans are responding to the impeachment trial–I believe 45 voted that it was unconstitutional–is part of this. If one of the rioters killed Pence, I am actually unsure if they would respond differently.

And let’s look at McConnell, who at one point publicly said that Trump committed an impeachable offense:

If Republicans have become authoritarian–giving up on liberal democracy–the first step for Biden and Democrats is to recognize this–or at least be ever aware that this is a likely possibility. Professor Eddie Glaude expresses this notion fairly well:

But after this acknowledgement, what should Biden and Democrats do? Continue reading “If the GOP Have Become an Authoritarian Party, How Should Biden and Democrats Approach Governing?”

The Key to Defeating Trump–and the Leaders Like Him Who Follow, Part 1

(Note: I started at the end of 2020.)

Trump lost the election, but assuming the threat he posed is over would be a mistake. Assuming everything goes well and Biden is sworn on January 20, the threat of Trump—or more specifically, Trumpism—still remains. In my view, we have only played the first half of the game, coming close to losing it, I might add. The game, or the battle for the soul of America, as President-elect Biden describes, continues; we’ve got the second half to play, and that’s because the factors that lead to Trump’s rise to power still exist in my opinion. Before I opine on these factors, let me acknowledge that this is a highly complex problem, way too difficult for me to fully understand, let alone provide the solution. My assessment and recommended solutions may be off base and ineffective, respectively. Yet, I can’t help but feel the current approach isn’t very effective, and sometimes it may be making matters worse. In thinking about this problem, I have sought the heart of Trump’s power, and then finding a way to effectively target and neutralize it. The following post, drawing heavily from the insights of Andrés Miguel Rondón, a Venezuelan who worked to politically defeat Hugo Chavez, will explain the conclusions I’ve reached about both. Continue reading “The Key to Defeating Trump–and the Leaders Like Him Who Follow, Part 1”