No September 11 Post

I used to write a memorial post on September 11. You can read one here. I haven’t for the past two years, though, and I am not going to this year.

The reason why is that I’m disgusted. September 11, 2001 wasn’t that long ago in the whole scheme of things. Yet, everyone seems to have forgotten about it. It bothers me that in my generation, what should have been a turning point and seminal event is just viewed as history now, and something that can’t (and won’t) happen again.

So instead, I am going to work on my novel, then go read for a bit, then go to bed. I’m not going to spend time trying to convince people that the events of September 11, 2001 are more important today than ever before. (Have you read the news about the Middle East lately?) It’s not worth my time and honestly, I really don’t know if I care about persuading people anymore.

Murdered Journalists, Hypocritical Liberals, And Soviet Nuclear Threats

By now you’ve probably heard the horrible news that yet another American has died at the hands of the disgusting Islamic terrorists commonly known as the “Islamic State.” The BBC article I linked to seems to think that the murder of these journalists is proof that American airstrikes are hurting the Islamic State; I’m not sure I agree, but that isn’t the point of this post.

The first point is this: it’s amazing that for years, starting in 2003 or so, the liberals in the United States parroted the stupid rhyme that “Bush lied, people died.” People did die when Bush was president (but show me a president with a truly bloodless tenure and I’ll show you a cat with wings). People are also dying with Obama as president and I haven’t heard a peep out of these allegedly “humanitarian” liberals so concerned with human rights in the third world (and the occasional American soldier, when it suits them). (Realize I’m not just talking about Americans dying now: there are a ton of innocent people dying in Iraq from that stupid Islamic State. Somehow that doesn’t seem to bother the liberals much anymore, though.)

The second, and more important, point is: what the hell is the American government doing letting all this happen? The only duty a government has is to protect its people from external threats—and considering the taxes taken out of each of my paychecks, we Americans deserve a lot of protection! Instead of actually saying something of substance to the Islamic State—say, stop it or we’ll nuke you—all the president says (through his mouthpiece, the White House spokesman John Earnest, of course) that we are “thinking” of the murdered journalists. I’m sure all those thoughts are doing Steven Sotloff and James Foley a whole lot of good right now… not.

What, threats of nuclear annihilation don’t work, you say? I beg to differ: they can be quite effective. Observe the following passage from John R. Schindler’s Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa’ida, and the Rise of Global Jihad, pages 135-36.

…Only rarely did Mughniyah slip up. One operation that didn’t go according to plan was the October 1985 kidnapping of four Soviet diplomats in Beirut—a political attaché, the embassy’s doctor, and two KGB officers. Mughniyah miscalculated as the Soviets weren’t inclined to use wait-and-see tactics when its representatives were taken hostage. After one Soviet was executed, the KGB retaliated in Beirut and reportedly threatened that a nuclear bomb would be dropped on the Iranian holy city of Qom if the remaining hostages weren’t at once. Israeli intelligence intercepted encrypted messages between Hizballah and Tehran that revealed Iranian control of the operation—and that Moscow’s threat worked. The Soviet officials were released without further harm.

I don’t like the Soviet Union one bit, but I can’t help but admire such an effective show of strength. (Note: this is one reason why I wish the US and Russia were close allies. I want such rhetoric from someone on my side, not an enemy.)

And I also want the government to stand up for all Americans, no matter where they are in the world. Is it really asking too much for my fellow citizens to elect someone who isn’t a spineless coward? I suppose it is, unfortunately.

Tired

Today was a not-so-exciting day at work. So unexciting, in fact, that while thinking it over in the shower, I thought, “And why am I doing this again?!?” We’re doing a whole bunch of training right now and dang, is it boring. A little part of me dies inside every time I’m forced to listen to a lecture on something I already know. Case in point: I know what an inverted yield curve is, I know when and why it occurs, and what I don’t need is an hour-long lecture on the subject that does not contribute to my knowledge on the matter whatsoever. Just saying.

No, Alexander Motyl, Putin Hasn’t ‘Lost’ Ukraine

I think only someone truly delusional could believe that Putin has “lost Ukraine” (and one must wonder, what does that phrase even mean?). Alexander J. Motyl, resident pro-Ukrainian Russophobic columnist at World Affairs Journal, is one such delusional person. That’s why I couldn’t resist responding to his latest article, “How Putin Lost Ukraine.” Without further ado.. let’s bring it on!

Putin at his inauguration in 2012, obviously thinking, "Bow to my might, weak Ukraine!" Source.

Putin at his inauguration in 2012, obviously thinking, “Bow to my might, weak Ukraine!” Source.

Half a year ago, in the fall of 2013, Ukraine was well on the way to becoming an authoritarian vassal state of Russia. Now, thanks to Russia’s neo-fascist dictator, Vladimir Putin, Ukraine is well on the way to becoming a democracy and a full-fledged member of the international community.

If by “authoritarian vassal state” you mean “close partner of Russia due to historical and cultural ties,” well, I guess you’re right, Mr. Motyl. Likewise, if by “full-fledged member of the international community” you mean “bankrupt country that leeches off US and IMF aid and is gleefully killing its own citizens in the eastern part,” then, right again!
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News Flash: Kiev Police DIDN’T Kill Protestors in February

Berkut policemen shoot rubber bullets at protestors. Source

Berkut policemen shoot rubber bullets at protestors. Source

Remember those protests in Kiev at the end of last year and earlier this year? Remember how Viktor Yanukovych, the rightful president of Ukraine, was accused of ordering the special police force Berkut to fire on his own people?

Well—surprise, surprise—it turns out that Berkut didn’t kill the protestors after all! A parliamentary commission in Ukraine that is investigating what happened says that the bullets that killed the protestors didn’t match the weapons issued to Berkut.

There is no forensic evidence linking the victims of mass killings in Kiev on February 20 with officers from the Berkut police unit, the head of the parliamentary commission investigating the murders told journalists.

[...]

The MP [Gennady Moskal] made the statements at a media conference on Tuesday gathered to announce preliminary results of his commission’s probe. He assured that despite the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s office having arrested 12 Berkut officers on allegations of committing the mass killings, forensic evidence suggests their innocence.

He said the bullets that killed people in Kiev on the bloodies day of confrontation between protesters seeking to oust President Viktor Yanukovich and riot police didn’t match any of the firearms issued to Berkut’s special unit, which, unlike the majority of riot police, was allowed to carry lethal weapons.

Moskal added that the first shot was fired at police, not the protesters. He alleged that the shooters were agents of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) acting from the ranks of the protesters, but admitted that genuine protesters could have been the culprits.

[...]

The sniper case is one of the hottest issues in Ukraine, where the new authorities accused the ousted president of ordering the mass killings. Both he and several former Ukrainian officials accused the new authorities of sending the snipers to provoke bloodshed and topple the government.

Yanukovich said he never ordered anyone to shoot at Ukrainian people.

The same version was voiced privately in a leaked conversation between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.

Russia says that activists of the radical Right Sector ultranationalists are the most likely culprits.

The whole situation is so frustrating. Of course, there will be no mention of this in the Western media, just as there is no mention of the civilians being killed in Eastern Ukraine since the election of Pyotr Poroshenko on May 25.

Also, keep in mind I’ve been saying this from the start. The government forces only turned to violence in order to act in self-defense. The protestors were the ones who began behaving violently first.

No, You Can’t Learn to Code in Three Months

I read this excellent article on Quartz yesterday called No three-month course can teach you how to code. It’s definitely worth a read—and it’s important to note that the author is a self-taught coder. He does not say that people cannot learn to code on their own; he says it’s not possible to learn to do so in three months, as a lot of those stupid, overpriced boot camps say.

The Quartz article linked to this recent Wall Street Journal blog entry called Have Liberal Arts Degree, Will Code. I thought it was sort of stupid and left a comment:

Interesting article and great discussion. I thought I’d write a bit about my experiences with coding and liberal arts. I have a liberal arts degree (history and Russian) and after graduating with no job, I panicked and thought I’d do one of those coding bootcamps. I choose Dev Bootcamp and applied. I got in but eventually decided not to attend due to financial issues (it’s $12,000 and that’s not even including living expenses in San Francisco). This happened over a year ago and now I have a little bit of perspective, I am completely against the idea of these bootcamps. There’s nothing wrong with learning a little code on your own (I taught myself HTML and CSS for fun so that I could better design my blog) but paying to do it is obscene. As many have pointed out, you can’t learn in three months what actual computer scientists have spent their entire undergraduate degrees learning. That’s just absurd. And here’s another secret articles like this don’t say: these bootcamps aren’t as exclusive as people think they are. Dev Bootcamp accepted pretty much everyone who applied (at least when I was going through the application process).

Bottom line: if you got into a coding bootcamp, you’re probably not special. They just want to take your money and run. (Let’s face it: if you graduate without a job you have no legal recourse for getting that money back.) If you want to learn to code, there are much cheaper ways to do it.

Sorry for ranting but I have some pretty strong feelings on this subject.

I feel unbelievably pretentious for quoting myself, but hey, I wanted to share the comment with all of you. (And yes, I realize that “boot camp” is two words; unfortunately I made a few typos in my comment and cannot edit it now that it’s posted.)

The moral of the story? Don’t waste your money on stupid stuff.

Six Years

I waited six years for the Sochi Olympics, people. Six long years of wonderful anticipation. And you know what I find out when I try to watch this event I waited six years for? I can’t watch it because I’m not a cable subscriber! I tried a Comcast login on my computer (it is a legitimate login; a salesman gave it to my dad) and it simply does not work.

Maybe it’s a silly thing to be disappointed about. But I am so incredibly disappointed right now.