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Showing posts from May, 2018

Does the wake drive the boat?

In one of his talks, the late Wayne Dyer, a famous motivational speaker, declared: "The wake does not drive the boat." What he meant was that, as we age, we develop narratives about how the misfortunes of our pasts limit our present and future choices. He says these narratives are false excuses since our pasts are merely trailing phenomena like wakes (the water pushed out behind sailing ships) and cannot control where we are going. After all, the wake does not drive the boat, and our pasts don't control where we go. In this video, begin at about 15:45, listen for a minute, and you'll hear his claim. I was immediately afflicted with the goosebumps I get when I am skeptically curious. Is that true? The wake doesn't drive the boat? I thought of a question that appeared at the end of James Carroll's recent novel The Cloister. "You are towing a large barge on a hawser...Your main engine suddenly fails. What is the greatest danger?" The characte

We regret to inform you that the world may have to be destroyed (on Trump's cancellation of June 2018 talks with North Korea)

Soon after news broke the morning of May 24 that President Trump was canceling peace talks with North Korea, Trump tweeted out the letter he wrote to Kim. It reads like a letter written by a businessman, not a diplomat. Like a business letter about the possible destruction of the planet. Like a business letter released to the public via a tweet that misspelled his enemy's name as "Kim Jung Un." (He reissued the same tweet an hour later with the corrected spelling "Kim Jong Un" and then deleted the previous tweet that contained the error.) Sadly, I was forced to cancel the Summit Meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong Un. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018 Three sentences in particular are alarming: “Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours a

The moral hazard of working for a corrupt administration

Those who work for a corrupt political administration can expect to have their own careers damaged. There were many warnings about this prior to Trump's inauguration. One of the early casualties was campaign manager Paul Manafort, who resigned several months before the election over concerns about his connections to Russia and, two years later, remains under increasing legal pressure. Upon Trump's inauguration in January 2017, Republican commentator and former Bush speechwriter David Frum identified four personal risks of associating with the new administration: exposure to Trump's "finances...including tax and corruption investigations"; to his "clandestine contacts with hostile foreign governments"; to enabling his lies, especially if they become illegal, such as when he speaks to Congress or speaks under oath; and to his general disregard for the law. "A law-abiding person will want to stay as far as possible from the personal service of Pre