A Good Article on Ukraine

Finally, a great article on Ukraine from somebody with a functioning brain:

Ukraine gave up more than 1,800 nuclear warheads in exchange for that bogus commitment from Russia back in 1994 to respect its sovereignty and borders. Surely it has thereby earned the right to something more than night-vision goggles.

It’s strange to find such a lucid article, and in the New York Times, of all places.

In Search of an Alternative

I’m still trying to figure out why so many good, kind, intelligent, well-meaning people in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, etc. keep supporting Russia in its cannibalistic war against Ukraine. It is so obvious to me that nothing whatsoever can be found about Putin’s regime that would be even remotely redeeming. Yet people keep making googly eyes in Russia’s direction.

Is it as simple as: everybody has gotten used to seeing Russia as a source of alternative ways of being, and even though Russia’s alternative has been discredited very clearly and extremely recently, people still can’t snap out of that mentality? Is that’s what going on?

In Praise of Elitism

From a great post by Jonathan Mayhew:

On a face-book page for the Chronicle there were people ranting about an article that suggested that every college professor should be a researcher, that the teaching-only jobs were few and far between. The community college community exploded with accusations of elitism. Well, if you think elitism is bad, then you probably shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near higher education.  .  .
Everyone admires elite athletes and musicians, elite surgeons. In every area of life, being better is better than being worse. The race is in fact to the swift, and admiration does flow to the pinnacles of human achievement. Education is the major pathway to this excellence. We lie when we decry elitism, because we want it for our children.

I’ve always found very annoying the tendency of many to go “But it’s elitist!” and make scary eyes as a way to silence opponents. I happen to be extremely elitist and very proud of being that way. If I weren’t elitist, I would be posting images of kittens on Facebook instead of discussing the nation-state, politics and foreign affairs with a small elite of very exceptional readers.

A Feminist Tit

Reader NG brought a link about Lindy West and her story of confronting an online troll.

I have to say, I’m so shocked by the article that I’m on the verge of throwing up. This is one of the most horrifying and disgusting stories I have ever encountered. The idea this Lindy West person proposes is that women are obligated to mother, nurture and emotionally service even those men who insult, abuse, and persecute them.

The story goes as follows: the Lindy person is viciously assaulted by an online troll, begins to service him emotionally in a pathetic and abject way, troll finds happiness and gets “a new girlfriend” (like a new car or a new box of trash bags), forgives the Lindy person for not starting to service him sooner, and doesn’t bash her any more. Of course, there are crowds of other trolls out there, and the question remains as to whether the Lindy person will have enough titties to feed them all with the milk of female servitude.

The most unbelievable thing is that the Lindy person identifies as a “feminist” in the very first sentence of her bizarre screed. I’ve seen all kinds of strange definitions of feminism but for the Lindy person it seems to mean “rolling yourself out like a carpet for everybody to walk over.”

Hey, Lindy person! You are a person. You are not an enormous tit filled with understanding and compassion. The world won’t end if you don’t feed parts of yourself to every passing freak. You are setting a horrible example to other female persons because you are adding one more voice to an already enormous chorus that tells them that their only goal in life is to suckle and nurture needy men.

The Issue of Oil

What would really help Ukraine right now is a serious weakening of sanctions against Iran. I read that Khamenei is making some conciliatory noises. This might be a good moment to be nice to Iran.

If that were to happen, oil prices would drop some more, and the Russians might even come to their senses somewhat. Russians only manage to behave like normal people when oil is at less than $15 per barrel.

Long-term, of course, the only way to prevent Russia from being a constant source of instability on the planet would be to make oil irrelevant. Solar and wind are the answer to this problem.

It is kind of ridiculous that so much should depend on stupid oil.

Why Does Anybody Care About the Brian Williams Debacle?

A great post that finally made it clear to me why there is so much discussion of the extraordinarily boring story of Brian Williams and the helicopter:

And, finally, there’s the mainstream media itself, which is obsessed with this story out of sheer narcissism — it’s a story about us! it’s about what we do! As long as some people are paying attention to the press, the press is going to bask in the attention and engage in endless chin-scratching about media ethics.

This is just a small excerpt but do read the whole thing. The Brian Williams  story is the royal wedding of 2015, an attempt to distract everyone from the stuff that actually matters.

To Send or Not to Send?

The number of bizarre ideas for why the US shouldn’t give defensive weaponry to Ukraine is growing. The silliest one I’ve heard so far goes like this:

Ukrainians don’t know how to use this weaponry. So Americans will have to go to Ukraine to train them. And while they will be conducting the training at the front line (because it totally makes sense to bring weapons to the front line before teaching people how to use them), Russians will kidnap them (but thank you for recognizing that it’s not a civil war that Ukraine is fighting.) And how will the US then get these Americans back? Obviously, the only way would be to start an all out – war with Russia. The next step is a nuclear annihilation of the entire planet.

Yes, people actually come up with this sort of crap.

What nobody seems to get is that Russia will or will not start a war with whomever for reasons entirely of its own. Ukrainians have learned this lesson already. Georgians learned it back in 2008.

It will be a great breakthrough if everybody just gets this through their thick skulls: what the Russians are doing is not about you. So any fear of antagonizing them or making them angry is futile. This fear gives you an illusion of control where you’ve got none.