Update on Ukraine: Biden ‘ s Visit

Joe Biden arrived in Kiev right at the time when Ukrainians were about to observe the remembrance day for the victims of the 1933 genocide of Ukrainians when millions of people were purposefully starved to death solely for being Ukrainian.

In the midst of this moment of grief, Biden cheerfully announced that the US had no interest in helping Ukraine in its war with Russia and that Ukrainians were to accept all of the Russians’ demands.

Ukrainians – who until this moment had retained the collective delusion that Obama ‘ s talk about anti – Putin sanctions actually meant something – reacted with shock and grief. Biden was almost beaten up by the crowd of angry Ukrainians after lecturing the people of a war – torn country on the importance of finding “a peaceful solution.”

Biden ‘ s speech was enthusiastically received by the peaceniks in Kremlin who immediately dispatched a significant number of troops towards the Ukrainian border.

Yet another enormous victory for Obama ‘ s diplomacy.

The Death of Welfare

A great article explaining why white working class voters hate Democrats:

And who does the WWC take out its anger on? Largely, the answer is the poor. In particular, the undeserving poor. Liberals may hate this distinction, but it doesn’t matter if we hate it. Lots of ordinary people make this distinction as a matter of simple common sense, and the WWC makes it more than any. That’s because they’re closer to it. For them, the poor aren’t merely a set of statistics or a cause to be championed. They’re the folks next door who don’t do a lick of work but somehow keep getting government checks paid for by their tax dollars. For a lot of members of the WWC, this is personal in a way it just isn’t for the kind of people who read this blog.

This is so true, my friends. I talk to the working people in my county – which went overwhelmingly red in the recent elections – and none of them have the slightest interest in gay marriage or abortion. What they are obsessively preoccupied with are “those folks who sleep until noon and then go shopping and partying on the government dime while I haven’t had a vacation in five years.”

The only way of appeasing this large group is by shredding the last remains of the welfare system. Do you remember how we discussed the state’s imminent withdrawal from providing a social safety net for the people?  The people themselves are trying to hasten this process with every means at their disposal.

The Republicans will have to drop their opposition to gay marriage and reproductive rights if they want to inscribe themselves successfully into the logic of the post-nation state. The Democrats will have to drop welfare to fit in with this logic. The people are turning their backs on the state even faster than the state is doing it to them.

The Mosque Discovered by Columbus

And here is somebody who would benefit greatly from taking my course on Hispanic Civilization:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is venturing into alternative history. Speaking to a summit of Latin American Islamic leaders in Istanbul, he said that: “Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus,” Erdogan said. “Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast.”

Spanish conquerors struggled with describing the lands they found to people back home. They constantly compared what they saw with things that readers back home would recognize. Imagine, for instance, that you get to travel to a different galaxy and discover a civilization that is very different from yours. Wouldn’t you be likely to describe it to your readers in terms of your shared frame of reference? Wouldn’t you be likely to say, “It’s as high as the Empire State Building” or “It is shaped like the Eiffel Tower”? Well, that’s precisely what Columbus and the rest of the conquerors did.

Here is what Columbus is said to have written in his diary (the diary itself hasn’t been preserved. We only have a retelling of the diary):

Señala la disposición del río y del puerto que arriba dijo y nombró San Salvador, que tiene sus montañas hermosas y altas como la Peña de los Enamorados, y una de ellas tiene encima otro montecillo a manera de una hermosa mezquita. (Translation: Remarking on the position of the river and port, to which he gave the name of San Salvador, he describes its mountains as lofty and beautiful, like the Peña de los Enamorados, and one of them has another little hill on its summit, like a graceful mosque.)

Obviously, there was no mosque in the “New World.” But there were mosques aplenty back in Spain, which was the country that sponsored Columbus’s journey and was awaiting his report on the findings of the expedition.

Obama’s Speech on Immigration

I’m sick again (talk about the mind-body connection: this semester has been horrible), so I missed Obama’s speech on immigration and pretty much everything else that’s been going on. And today I found everybody obsessed with this hugely earth-shattering speech. So I decided to find out what the hullabaloo was all about and read the transcript. After a lot of “our values blah-blah, our great nation bleh-bleh”, I got to the part with some substance to it:

So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.

Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. Only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.

Yeah, wow, that’s totally a big whoop. What a profoundly shocking, enormous transformation of the status quo. “We have no capacity to deport you (as I said at the beginning of the speech), so we are not going to exercise the capacity we admittedly don’t have and won’t deport you.” Yip-dee-do. 

This is so characteristic of Obama. He is constantly trying to sit on two chairs at once and doesn’t seem to notice that this approach just angers everybody. Gosh, just choose a position and stick to it already, whatever it is. 

Yes, yes, I know, this is better than nothing. We all belong to the “it’s better than nothing” and “the other guy is even worse” party.

The First Part of the Last Part

Should we go to see the first part of the last part of the Hunger Games movies? The third book in the series was the weakest. And the film – makers watered that weak book even further. So I’m wondering if it makes sense to watch the movie. Is anybody else going?  Thoughts, suggestions, recommendations?

What Is Consumer Mentality?

Everybody talks about “consumer mentality” but almost nobody can provide a concrete definition. People know that consumer mentality is something vaguely bad and that the appropriate facial expression when the words are pronounced is a condescending wince. Most of them , however, have no idea what they are wincing at.

As somebody who has lived both in a society of consumers and in a pre-consumerist society, I can tell you that consumerism is vastly superior to its alternative. This is why I always proudly declare that I have a consumer mentality. 

Consumer mentality is the expectation that goods and services will be available to satisfy your needs. If you come home, turn on the lights, and there is no electricity, a person with consumer mentality immediately thinks, “WTF? I’m paying for the service, I’d better be getting it”, starts calling the electrical company and demanding to know what’s going on. And a person with pre-capitalist mentality finds a candle and sits there staring at it without protesting and trying to figure out what happened. I grew up among such people, and let me tell you, such societies suck. 

If a person with consumer mentality buys a pair of shoes and they start leaking the next day, s/he will go back to the store, return the shoes, and write an angry review online. A person with consumer mentality believes that such a situation is not normal. 

If a person with consumer mentality discovers that there are shortages of oranges or notebooks or tablet devices, s/he will not perceive such a situation as normal. The passive acquiescence and fatalism of the pre-capitalist mentality are not natural to a consumer deprived of goods.

Consumer societies get a lot of flak because their members only abandon fatalism and passivity when they want their goods and services. A consumer sees the world in terms of goods and services to be purchased and gets unhappy when anything gets between the consumer and the purchase. However, any criticism of consumerist societies arises from comparing consumers to a non-existent lofty ideal and not to actual existing alternatives. I believe that it is already an enormously big deal that human beings have abandoned the attitude of patient resignation at least in one sphere of their lives. 

People who detest consumerism the most are those who have come out from a very strong monotheistic model and are now displacing their religious feelings away from the religion they abandoned and onto the secular world. The lack of self-abnegation and modesty that consumers exhibit hurts the religious sensibilities of such recent converts to secularism. If you observe the most passionate detractors of consumerism closely, you will see that they exhibit many of the signs of religious fanaticism. However, consumerism is hard to resist. Try depriving these passionate anti-consumerist bunnies of running water for a week or of their favorite designer tea for a day, and you will see an irate consumer awaken in each one of them.

Wednesday Link Encyclopedia

The invention of the Jewish nose.

Do you remember the scientist with a crazy shirt? And here is a response to the scandal with the shirted scientist. The whole thing is beyond hilarious.

And here is another post on the shirt debacle.  This will soon become the most important shirt in the history of humanity.

A really disgusting way to serve a cappuccino. (Work-friendly photo, in case you are wondering.)

Fifth-graders are stupid.

Gosh, wouldn’t people tell themselves to rationalize their miserable lives. Here is a guy who blames his sucky personal life on. . . his upward social mobility. Yeah, making money and moving up is a total no-no if you want to get a date.

An important observation: “Not only is your work addiction way more similar to a drug habit than you’re probably comfortable admitting, it’s probably also distressing the rest of your life just like any other addiction would.” Just like alcoholism and drug addiction, workaholism is a way to disconnect from personal pain and numb oneself to it. It’s more socially acceptable to work one self into an early grave than drink oneself into it but that’s where the differences end.

When I think of a man being effeminate, I think of a man being the total opposite of manly. Actually, I consider him taking on all those things that should be relegated to womanhood. . . Let the women dress like women.” And how is it that “women” dress, I wonder?

The only reason you should ever not date someone is if you are not attracted to them.” Great point! And if you are over the age of 11 and you are not attracted to anybody for more than a short period of time, it’s a reason to see a doctor.

And this is why I love Americans: “Fifty-seven percent of Americans disagree with the statement “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control,” a considerably higher percentage than the global median of 38%. Similarly, Americans place an especially strong emphasis on the value of hard work – 73% think it is very important to work hard in order to get ahead in life, compared with a global median of 50%.

The countries that face the highest and the lowest climate change threat.

Vladimir Putin is the world’s corrupt policeman. He finds the seediness in every country and nurtures it. On some occasions, he exploits cynicism and paranoia at once; on others, he banks it for later use. Often he appears to fan corruption for the hell of it because that is all he knows how to do.”

A new product that empowers women’s vaginas. Somebody needs to empower the creators of the product with a bucket of cold urine poured over their idiot heads.

Ukraine: a university in exile.

My Language

On the basis of my blogging, text messaging and emails,  my phone is learning to speak my language.

When I write “go to”, the phone suggests the following words to continue the phrase:

1. Fuck yourself
2. Hell in a basket
3. Psychologist

When I write “crazy, the phone suggests:

1. Russians
2. As fuck
3. Expensive

When I write “stupid, the phone suggests:

1. Sheep
2. As fuck
3. Russians