Protecting Syria

The official reason for Russia to invade Syria has finally been found.

Russia’s Channel 1 (the main source of information for all Russians) has announced that there are 40,000 Russian women in Syria who are there because they married Syrian men, and it’s Russia’s duty to protect them. By means of bombing, obviously.

I don’t want to be a nag but if somebody had paid attention when Russia started to “protect” Russians in Ukraine by bombing the hell out of them, we wouldn’t be seeing Russian combat aircraft “protecting” Russians in Syria.

Question: how many more countries do the unhinged Russians need to protect by way of bombing until somebody wakes up and stops them? At every stage of this insanity there has been an easy, non-military way of stopping them. And at every stage, it wasn’t used.

The Pope and Kim Davis

I’m one of the few people who don’t blame the Pope for meeting with Kim Davis. The woman is obviously unwell, and it’s the Pope’s duty to comfort the poor in spirit. Finally, he’s doing his job, which is not to speechify but to offer support to the needy.

I Told You So

Hey, folks, have you heard that Ta-Nehisi Coates has been awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant?

Not only is this great because he totally deserves it but also because this proves that the predictions of the inevitable demise of responsible, professional journalism have not come true.

Coates writes mile-long, painstakingly researched investigative pieces that are not based on snappy soundbites and tweetable clichés. And guess what? Everybody wants to read him.

This award is great news for all of us. And also, haven’t I been telling you this entire time he’s a genius? If there’s anything I know, it’s good writing.

Who Is Afraid of Monica Vernon?

Since I’ve donated to political causes, I often get emails soliciting donations. In the past couple of weeks, my mailbox has been inundated with messages from somebody called Monica Vernon.

The reason why these emails stand out is that they don’t provide any information on who Monica is, what party she represents  (I can guess since I only ever donated to a single party, but still), what she needs the money for, what legislative body she belongs to or wants to belong to, etc.

The only information I have on Monica is that she’s “a MOM just like you, Clarissa!” (thank you, bitch) and has two daughters who are helping her efforts to collect money for a mysterious cause.

I have never seen such a poorly run campaign and have got to wonder how Monica will manage to perform the duties for which she is trying to get elected (I assume) if she can’t make sure her aides send a meaningful email.

Russians Bomb Syria

Russians launched their first airstrike in Syria, hitting the Homs area and killing 27 people, 6 kids included.

The justification for the bombing that Putin gave at the UN General Assembly is that this is a way to fight ISIS. Of course, there is no ISIS anywhere close to the place where the Russian bombs hit.

Obviously, Syrians are only of interest to Putin inasmuch as he can use them to please his voters by defying Americans.

The Russian Orthodox Church is praising Russia’s invasion of Syria as “Holy War.”

Insanity

I just discovered that the director of Planned Parenthood is being paid the insane amount of $520,000 per year to do the half-assed job she’s doing.

This is beyond ridiculous. And it’s a perfect illustration of what I’m saying about the need to bring in highly qualified immigrants in my long comment in the previous thread. For this amount – hell, for a third of this anount, a qualified, driven immigrant would do actual work and not just mumble stupidly and let the organization fall apart.

The NYTimes of Trumpism

The NYTimes published a long piece today on the evil, designing H1-B recipients who come to the US to “steal jobs.”

Note how similar the rhetoric of the Liberal NYTimes is to that of Trumpazoids. Substitute illiterate Mexicans with educated Indians, and the rest is exactly the same: evil immigrants are “stealing jobs.” What is especially curious is that each side feels enormously self-righteous in comparison to the opponent.

Both shades of this rhetoric are an attempt to hide from the new reality of post-work society behind the bits and pieces of the collapsing nation-state. (Citizenship, borders, visas belong to the nation-state era, of course.) The wall that Trump wants to build (and the NYTimes does, too, albeit in a less tangible form) is a symbolic bulwark that is supposed to protect the nation-state from the intangible forces that are battering it.

The rhetoric of “stealing jobs” is an avoidance of the real reasons why jobs and entire professions are disappearing. The new and disturbing reality of post-work society will have to be discussed one day, and the longer we delay this discussion, the more painful it will be.

Organizing Principles

Germany is trying to figure out some sort of an organizing principle to engage with immigrants and is declaring that people who leave their countries because of economic hardship will not be accepted while those who flee war will.

The organizing principle here is pity. The immigrants are classified based on which ones among them are “deserving” of more compassion. From the very beginning, an immigrant is placed into a relationship with the locals that cannot be based on equality. In order to be accepted, an immigrant will have to strive to look as pitiful as possible to “prove” he’s worthy of compassion.

As the resources that European countries can spare for immigrants diminish, immigrants will be forced to engage in ever more exuberant spectacles of misery to titillate the jaded palates of the Westerners.

Book Notes: The Sleeping Voice by Dulce Chacon

The Sleeping Voice is one of the most famous novels of the Spanish Civil War. We all know how much I love this genre but this novel I detested.

This was supposed to be a novel about the Republican women in Franco’s jails. In reality, though, it’s not a novel, it’s a fairy-tale.

For one, it is written in this deeply obnoxious, childish voice that is so primitive and prattly that in the 450 pages of text I only needed to consult the dictionary twice.

The characters are all so perfect that they seem inhuman. They are all beautiful, kind, loyal, they invariably fall in love at first sight and remain faithful to their partners even when those are separated from them for decades. They are perfect parents, perfect friends, perfect siblings, perfect comrades, and perfect revolutionaries. After 450 pages of this unblemished perfection, you begin to detest these freakish robots.

This way of depicting the Republicans has a dubious effect. What if some of the Republican prisoners were less perfect and more human? What if they sometimes snored, picked their noses, yelled at their kids, fought with their friends, lied or even flirted with somebody other than their spouse? Would they not deserve our compassion then? Does our interest in them depend on their capacity to convince us of their saintly behavior throughout their lives?

And can you guess how the fairy-tale ends? Right you are, with a wedding!

But hey, among the hundreds of novels on the Spanish Civil War, this primitive tear-jerker was one of the 3 most successful.