Weird Trends

Twitter thinks that when I’m in Canada, I become a completely different person:

What is all this? Who cares about all this incredible weirdness?

Breakfast with Mrs. Palfrey

I had to travel up North to find at least a little bit of snow. Now I’m staring at the snow, having breakfast, and reading Elizabeth Taylor’s Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. Her novel Angel was great but Mrs. Palfrey is a bleeding masterpiece. Why I never heard of it before is incomprehensible.

Taylor is a writer who is incapable of writing a sentence that is anything but beautiful. I want to speed through the novel to find out what happens next but the beauty of the writing stops me on every page.

Mrs. Palfrey is a novel about old age. Even in Angel it was clear that Taylor’s at her best when writing about elderly people. Chirbes read Taylor in his thirties and didn’t connect to the topic of aging. He connected deeply with Taylor’s description in Angel of what makes a writer. Chirbes didn’t live to be as old as Taylor’s characters in Mrs. Palfrey but I’m sure he would have appreciated the novel later in life. It’s such a great book, such a joy to read.

The Best 5,6%

Never did something this good cost this comparatively little. I watched footage today of Kherson residents going grocery shopping to a normal store with full shelves for the first time in 8 months. Russians had looted all the stores, so there was nothing for the locals to buy. And now finally they can buy food like normal people. Helping eject the thieving, murderous Russian bastards from their lives was, among many other great things, made possible with this American money. Finally, this huge black box called “defense budget” is producing tangible results.

But it’s not only Ukrainians who benefit. It’s the American budget, so it should benefit Americans first. And it does.

There are many (albeit very far from all) such benefits listed in the article, such as this:

The war is also pushing NATO partners to quickly increase spending to the 2% of GDP and above target. Given the US’ technological advantage in defense equipment, a sizeable share of this additional military outlay will be spent on US equipment.

Trump tried to achieve this and failed. And note that it’s good for the US not only militarily but also economically. Unlike “sending free money to people”, which had already devalued our dollar by 10% in a record-setting inflation, getting foreigners to pay for our technology is great for the economy.

But wait, there’s more:

The revelation that Russia’s defense industry is something of a Potemkin village also generates other strategic and diplomatic wins for the US. Countries eager to secure defense capability to meet their own threats – think of Turkey, India, Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia — might have opted for cheaper, “value” Russian defense offerings. However, with the quality/capability of this equipment now being questioned because of poor battlefield performance, they will likely be vying to acquire a better US kit. But this will require improved diplomatic relations. This is currently evident in the improved US–Pakistan relationship, with Pakistan securing upgrade kits for its F-16s.

What kind of an absolutely extraordinary dumbass would sacrifice all these benefits (and the linked article lists more) to save 5,6% of the defense budget that hasn’t done anything this good for us and the world in decades?

But why shouldn’t this money be spent on the many social ills we suffer from here in the US, people ask?

Anybody who has worked with state money knows that funds allocated for X can only be used to pay for X and never for Y. The pots of state money allocated for different purposes are not communicating vessels. You might have a large surplus in the X pot but you can’t use it to patch a hole in the Y pot. This is why “the money going to Ukraine should have been spent on securing the border / opioid crisis / crime / schools” is moronic. There was never any likelihood that the defense money was going to be spent on any of these worthy causes. Refashioning the US budget to spend significantly less on defense and channel that money into welfare is a cherished goal of the far left. When I was on the Left, we talked about it all the time. It’s a long-term project but those who believe in it should definitely try to get it done. For that project to work, you need all 3 branches of power working in unison, the Pentagon needs to agree, the entire US diplomacy should be refashioned, new state agencies will spring up to administrate the diverted funds, etc. But a couple of decades later, it’ll all settle down and the shift will be achieved.

For now, though, let’s be glad we are spending these 5,6% so well.