Skip to content

Category Archives: Political issues

A vision of the Trumpian hellscape

The posthumous execution of Oliver Cromwell, 1661 My old friend Jonathan Rauch has an excellent piece in the Atlantic today, “We Don’t Have to Speculate About Trump’s Next Term: The former president and his allies have explained their plans quite clearly.” This piece is a must-read. I agree with everything Jonathan says except for one […]

Lying isn’t as profitable as it used to be

Alex Jones. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Members of the reality-based community should cheer, gloat, and enjoy the schadenfreude after the jury’s decision yesterday in the Alex Jones defamation trial. Jones has been ordered to pay $4.1 million in compensatory damages and $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy killed in the […]

The epistemology of derp

Paul Krugman’s column today is about crypto currency, “Crypto Is Crashing. Where Were the Regulators?” But my subject here isn’t crypto currency. Rather, it’s the many, many ways in which people allow themselves to be deceived, and the many, many ways in which people try to deceive us. As for how people allowed themselves to […]

First Fiona Hill, now Cassidy Hutchinson

I have written here in the past about Fiona Hill, the Russia expert who worked in the White House and who gave such brilliant testimony during Trump’s second impeachment. Fiona Hill went on to write a beautiful book, There Is Nothing for You Here. Yesterday, during the sixth of the January 6 committee’s televised hearings […]

Pity the poor witches

A Facebook meme The day before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, there were stories in the media about an effort in the Scottish Parliament to pardon the thousands of witches who were burned at the stake in Scotland between between 1563 and 1736. Earlier this year, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of […]

Avoiding (and detecting) fallacies

The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy. Albert O. Hirschman. Harvard University Press, 1991. 198 pages. Political discourse is a minefield of fallacy. Whether we are considering the arguments of others, or framing an argument of our own, an undetected fallacy may lead us badly astray. Those who argue in good faith work hard to […]

The justice we’ve been waiting for

For years, our televisions brought us the horror story that was Donald Trump. Last night, our televisions brought us something completely different: an end to the despair that Trump and the Republican Party would inevitably get away with everything. It should now be clear to all that Donald Trump and many others are going to […]

The long, long culture war

Enemies of the Enlightenment: The French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity. Darrin M. McMahon. Oxford University Press, 2001. 262 pages. Merely reading about the violent history of France is enough to get a case of PTSD. France, already damaged by the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century, lurched from monarchy to revolution and then […]

The theater of intimidation

The U.S.S. Nimitz under the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Fleet Week, 2006. Source: Wikimedia Commons. We all want to be as aware as possible of the political environment that we are immersed in. An important element to watch for is: Who is trying to intimidate us? How? Why? Are they trying to intimidate us […]

Turning our political radar north

The countries of the Baltic Sea. Source: Global International Waters Assessment via Wikimedia Commons. Today, Sweden and Finland formally applied for membership in NATO. (Washington Post story here.) This is a very big deal. Remember when the Neocon war hawks of the Bush-Cheney administration tried to teach us that diplomacy no longer matters and strove […]