Vladimir Putin Has Fallen Into the Dictator Trap

2022-03-16 Brian Klaas

For those of us living in liberal democracies, criticizing the boss is risky, but we’re not going to be shipped off to a gulag or watch our family get tortured. In authoritarian regimes, those all-too-real risks have a way of focusing the mind. Is it ever worthwhile for authoritarian advisers to speak truth to power?

As a result, despots rarely get told that their stupid ideas are stupid, or that their ill-conceived wars are likely to be catastrophic. Offering honest criticism is a deadly game and most advisers avoid doing so. Those who dare to gamble eventually lose and are purged. So over time, the advisers who remain are usually yes-men who act like bobbleheads, nodding along when the despot outlines some crackpot scheme.

When despots screw up, they need to watch their own back. Yet again, they can become victims of the dictator trap. To crush prospective enemies, they must demand loyalty and crack down on criticism. But the more they do so, the lower the quality of information they receive, and the less they can trust the people who purport to serve them. As a result, even when government officials learn about plots to overthrow an autocrat, they may not share that knowledge. This is known as the “vacuum effect”—and it means that authoritarian presidents might learn of coup attempts and putsches only when it’s too late. This raises a question that should keep Putin awake at night: If the oligarchs were to eventually make a move against him, would anyone warn him?

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/putin-dictator-trap-russia-ukraine/627064/

The Painfully Shy Developer’s Guide to Networking for a Better Job (Without Being Creepy)

2017-07-07 Sam Julien

People are honestly not that complicated. When you go to an event or a meetup, do you find yourself awkwardly standing around, compulsively looking at your phone? Do you feel alone or uncomfortable? The truth is, nearly everyone else is feeling the same way. When it comes down to it, people want to feel welcomed and accepted. Why else do people gravitate towards the people they already know at these events? Few people really relish being awkward at these things.

Here’s the fun part: you can change that for someone else. Shift your thinking from how you are feeling to how others are feeling. How nice would it be if someone came up to you and just gave you a warm smile, said hello, and asked you a genuine question about yourself? You can be that person for someone!

https://www.samjulien.com/shy-dev-networking

Mike Pence: Biden Broke Our Deal With the Taliban

2021-08-17 Mike Pence

In February 2020, the Trump administration reached an agreement that required the Taliban to end all attacks on U.S. military personnel, to refuse terrorists safe harbor, and to negotiate with Afghan leaders on creating a new government. As long as these conditions were met, the U.S. would conduct a gradual and orderly withdrawal of military forces.

Unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, the agreement immediately brought to Afghanistan a stability unseen in decades. In the past 18 months, the U.S. has not suffered a single combat casualty there.

But when Mr. Biden became president, he quickly announced that U.S. forces would remain in Afghanistan for an additional four months without a clear reason for doing so. There was no plan to transport the billions of dollars worth of American equipment recently captured by the Taliban, or evacuate the thousands of Americans now scrambling to escape Kabul, or facilitate the regional resettlement of the thousands of Afghan refugees who will now be seeking asylum in the U.S. with little or no vetting.

Once Mr. Biden broke the deal, the Taliban launched a major offensive against the Afghan government and seized Kabul. They knew there was no credible threat of force under this president. They’ve seen him kowtow to anti-Semitic terrorist groups like Hamas, restore millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority, and sit by earlier this year while thousands of rockets rained down on Israeli civilians.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/mike-pence-biden-broke-our-deal-with-the-taliban-11629238764

Why Satan should chair your meetings

2021-08-03 James Surowiecki

Deep in the laws and commentaries of the Talmud, there is an unusual provision about capital punishment: if all 71 judges in a capital case agree that the death penalty should be imposed, then it is automatically taken off the table … if everyone is seeing things a certain way, you may well have missed something important.
It takes a rare leader to see discord as a boon, however. Alfred Sloan, the legendary boss of General Motors from the 1920s to the 1950s, was one such maverick. “Gentlemen, I take it we are all in complete agreement on the decision here,” he said at the end of one board meeting. “I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting, to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain understanding of what the decision is all about.”

https://www.economist.com/1843/2021/08/03/why-satan-should-chair-your-meetings

https://archive.is/wW7Dr

Rev. Graham reacts to Biden leaving ‘God’ out of prayer proclamation: ‘There is no one else to pray to’

2021-05-07 Charles Creitz

Graham … opined on Facebook about the president leaving God out of his proclamation:

“Why would President Biden omit God? … I was deeply saddened to read that President Biden is the first president to omit the word “God” in his proclamation. That speaks volumes doesn’t it? It is hard to believe we have come this far,” he wrote.

https://www.foxnews.com/media/rev-graham-reacts-to-biden-leaving-god-out-of-prayer-proclamation-there-is-no-one-else-to-pray-to