Monday Miscellany, 10/9/23

Monday Miscellany, 10/9/23 October 9, 2023

Another war breaks out, a bipartisan effort to punish bipartisan effort, and paying Trump not to run.

Another War Breaks Out

Israel declared war on Hamas, the Islamic radicals who govern the Gaza Strip.  Hamas forces staged a massive, co-ordinated surprise attack on Israel from land, sea, and air.  They fired some 3,500 rockets on 22 towns and cities as far north as Tel Aviv, as ground forces estimated at around 1,000 troops broke through barriers and glided in on parasails, roaming through Israeli towns gunning down civilians.

At last count, 1,100 Israelis were killed, with over 2000 wounded.  Many soldiers and civilians were reportedly captured.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is vowing harsh retaliation, promising a “mighty vengeance” that will reduce Gaza to “rubble.”  Israeli planes have started bombing Palestinian sites.

The vaunted Israeli intelligence system was caught completely by surprise.  And the army, some of which was on strike protesting attempts to reform the Supreme Court, was caught unprepared, leaving rural settlements defenseless.

Might other Islamic forces join the war?  Might Iran, who has formed an Axis with Russia and China?  Is this the apocalyptic war for the annihilation of Israel that jihadists have dreamed of?

And what will the U.S. do, if Israel is truly threatened?

UPDATE:  Iran-backed Hezbollah has attacked Israel with artillery fire from Lebanon.

A Bipartisan Effort to Punish Bipartisan Effort

America’s political polarization has metastasized to another level.  Not only are the two poles, the conservatives and the progressives, at each other’s throat.  The conservative pole is polarized within itself.

In the House of Representatives, eight Republicans led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) were upset with speaker Kevin McCarthy for co-operating with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.  So they themselves co-operated with Democrats to throw him out of office.

Gaetz said McCarthy was “Democrat-owned.”  So why did the Democrats vote to get rid of him?

No issues were at stake, as far as anyone can tell.  Both Gaetz and McCarthy are Trump supporters.  Gaetz reportedly resented McCarthy for not stopping an ethics investigation against him.

But now the one branch of the government the Republicans control is in a state of chaos.

More broadly, the various tribes of conservatives–the NatCons, the FreeCons, the NeoCons, the LibCons, the LifeCons, the BroCons, the ChristCons–are vilifying each other and tearing each other into pieces.

In contrast, the Democrats, though they have their differences, are voting as a bloc–glad to join in the punishment of McCarthy for working with them–and are rallying behind the candidacy of the deeply flawed Joe Biden.

What political party do you think is in the best shape to win a national election?

Paying Trump Not to Run

Sam Bankman-Fried, the crypto-currency tycoon now on trial for fraud and conspiracy, was way into a branch of “effective philanthropy” called “longtermism.”  That’s the view that wealthy individuals should give money that will do the greatest good for the greatest number, and, specifically, to save the future of humanity.  We blogged about this.

This has resulted in our Tech Lords indulging in some very creative philanthropic projects, such as Elon Musk’s plans to save the human race by colonizing Mars.

Bankman-Fried also had a creative idea.  He assumed that Donald Trump is an existential threat to American democracy.  The usual course for people with money who believe that would be to give money to Trump’s political opponents, so as to help prevent Trump from getting elected again.

But, according to a new book by Michael Lewis, Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon, as reported in the Jerusalem Post, Bankman-Fried wondered if he could just pay Trump not to run.

He reportedly floated the idea to the Trump organization, who told him that Trump would agree not to run if Bankman-Fried gave him $5 billion.

If that’s true, Trump had his price, but it was too rich for Bankman-Fried’s blood.

Maybe Trump’s foes from both the left and the right could start a GoFundMe drive.


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