Wedded to a Narrative

Every time I decide that Sarah Kendzior can’t get any sillier, she breaks her own record. I have no idea why she thinks it’s so cute to pose as a dumb airhead. And I don’t really think she is one. It’s a persona she cultivates.

It’s unbelievable that adult people are publicly expressing the idea that oligarchs Deripaska and Vekselberg can avoid losing money to sanctions because they had “so much time to move their assets that the effect is minimal.” What do they think these “assets” are? Loose pocket change that they can hide in a different pocket? Once the value of your company drops by 15% on the stock exchange – which is what befell Deripaska yesterday – there’s not much “moving” you can do to change that. And hey, Deripaska is extremely rich. But losing a billion in one day is hardly “minimal” even for him.

This is what happens when you get wedded to a narrative and begin to avoid all evidence that undermines it. Even people who are not naturally dumb begin to sound downright idiotic when it happens.

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Linguistic Policies

I think talent excuses a lot of things. Literary talent especially. For instance, I’m opposed to linguistic policies and governmental efforts artificially to preserve languages in many places (that will remain unnamed right now due to me not wanting a hassle at this point in my life.)

But I wholeheartedly support all of these things in the Basque Country. In the midst of extremely difficult circumstances that went on pretty much forever, this small bunch of speakers of a language that has almost no non-bilingual speakers created the kind of cultural production and the kind of literature that some 100-million-plus powerful monolingual nations have not.

If a language has the kind of literature written in it that we see in Saizarbitoria, Atxaga, Uribe, Zaldua, etc, then they are absolutely entitled to measure the size of letters on neon signs (which I’m not saying they even do.)

As I said before, my approach to separatism always operates on a case-by-case basis. If your artists are choosing to avoid the minority language because wee-wee, life is hard, and it’s hard to get published, then you can’t make a case that this culture is worth preserving.

And I don’t have a separate set of criteria for Ukraine, either. Now is the time for Ukrainians to decide if they choose their language and can create something major in it. Whatever they decide is up to them.

Tax Cuts

Just 32 percent of Americans reported having more take-home pay due to the cuts, including just 35 percent of middle-class respondents and 48 percent of Trump supporters. More than half saw no change.

Oh, sweet Lord in heaven. This depends on how one’s withdrawals are set up. Those who see a salary increase now will get a smaller tax return next April. Those who are seeing no increase will get a larger lump return. Which is a great thing for them because a lump sum to spend registers more and can buy more than a smaller regular increase in the same amount.

Putinism Defeats Anti-Semitism

The speaker of the Russian parliament said that it’s a responsibility of everybody in Russia to support the oligarch who’ve been hit with US sanctions. This means more taxes and more privations for everybody to make sure that these billionaires don’t see even a minimal reduction to their well-being.

What’s really interesting is that there haven’t been any xenophobic comments by Russian people against these oligarchs who are very obviously not ethnically Russian. Nobody seems to have a problem feeling solidarity with them.

Of course, the victory over xenophobia has only been achieved in what concerns oligarchs. In the recent fire that killed many small children, quite a few folks in Russia advanced the idea that the kids had been killed by Jews as a sacrifice for Pesach.

I’m Glad

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska lost a cool billion on April 6 as a result of the US sanctions. Just like that, in a matter of hours,his company’s stock fell by over 15%. Oligarch Suleiman Kerimov lost $265,000,000. Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg lost $56,000,000.

I understand you don’t know these names and your life is richer for it. But I do. These are very very nasty characters, real bandits. Of course, this won’t change anything and they’ll still be mega rich. But it’s not unpleasant to observe this collapse. It’s the worst these evildoers ever experienced in their disgusting lives.