Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

TEN WAYS WE’RE EFFED

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I’ve had a hard time blogging recently. Writer’s block. Stress in my personal life is one reason. Not helping. That’s just the background noise though. No, the real reason is more general. I’m extremely pessimistic about the state of the world, and the state of the USA in particular. In many senses I’ve always been a doomsday prophet, but the 21st century has moved into a whole new universe compared to my worrying about nuclear war in my younger days. So how do I write about this? Ten reasons I’m pessimistic about now. Who knows, hopefully this will be cathartic:

  1. The rich keep getting richer and more powerful. The upward transfer of wealth in America and the world accelerated under Covid. In other words, price gouging is at the heart of the global economic system. What are people going to do when the last dollar in America is in some rich person’s or corporation’s offshore account?
  2. The Cold War continues. The Cold War was stupid proganda to justify endless American war making and war spending from the beginning. The new Cold War is even crazier. China isn’t trying to take over the world, Russia isn’t trying to destroy the west.
  3. The War on Terror was a colossal fail. By every metric the War on Terror has massively increased global terrorism. War is the least effective way to fight terrorism. And yet here we are, bombs away, with nary a hint of protest.
  4. We forgot the lessons of Vietnam. This is a codicil to number 3:  Opinion | The Pentagon Papers’ Lessons Went Unlearned – The New York …
  5. Science denial is rampant. This is bizarre. When I was a kid and young person most people understood that science and reason were the shiznit. Now actual supposed adults in positions of power embrace voodoo nonsense … and they get more popular. Go figure.
  6. The Christian right wants to seize power. A third of the country wants America to be forced to live under their Old Testament take on reality.
  7. The GOP’s massive ongoing voter suppression, protest suppression, history suppression, and rights suppression campaign (abortion and LGTB rights.) The actual cancel culture.
  8. No independent media. When I was young the mainstream media was independent, even if they did try to influence politics. Not anymore.
  9. Climate change. It’s real, humans are causing it, efforts to mitigate it are still “too little, too late.” Fossil fuels are the most profitable extractive industry ever, but the costs are wrecking our world.
  10. AI, homemade doomsday devices, etc. In my lifetime (knock on wood) there are any number of potential technological advances that could lead to doomsday. It’s my answer to the Fermi Paradox, our form of life is ultimately self destructive, an evolutionary dead end.

And I’m sure I missed a few. The continued glorification of the Confederacy and white washing of American history. UFOs. Nearly half of Americans believe dinosaurs still exist. Yeah, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we are about to slide into some Golden Age. Snort. Biden will be the Pertinax of our time more likely. (Pertinax was a sane senator who became Caesar after the death of a crazy Caesar. His reign only lasted three months before the corrupt praetorian guard murdered him.)

On the plus side, a lady I like called me “Sweetie” today. Objectively there is no future relationship, but it made this lonely old guy feel good. Have a great week everyone.  #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found somewhere, possibly Public Domain, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 14, 2021 at 7:23 pm

JUNE 6, 1944, THE LONGEST DAY

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A long time reader suggested some history posts instead of the GOP follies. It would be a nice break. And the timing is perfect, today is the 77th anniversary of the greatest seaborne invasion in history, Operation Overlord, the Allied landings in Normandy in German occupied France during the second World War. And I know a lot about it, as it was a famous battle in my favorite war.  I’ve probably covered most if not all of the following in previous blogs, but there’s always the possibility of a new reader or two.

So yes, D-Day was the largest amphibious landing in history. 24,000 paratroopers landed the night before, and 156,000 men (and one woman we know of) waded ashore on D-Day. About 4,000 of them died, another 6,000 were seriously injured. About a thousand Germans died, and thousands more were wounded. And several thousand French civilians also died. A pretty modest death toll for a single day of fighting actually. While thousands more would die in the weeks to come, it wasn’t a particularly deadly battle compared to numerous other battles. Hell, over 20,000 died in one day at the Battle of Towton, and that was in 1461.

D-Day also has the distinction of being the most carefully planned military operation in history. Years were spent preparing for it. All sorts of special weapons and equipment were invented for just this one battle. Hell, hundreds died in preparation for the battle. How many battles had over 700 dead preparing for the battle? Damn few, so D-Day might be the worst in history in this regard too. On the plus side, the double catastrophes in Exercise Tiger taught the Allies valuable lessons, and no doubt saved hundreds if not thousands of lives on D-Day.

And since D-Day was so well planned, it really couldn’t fail. While Ike (the overall commander) did have a message pre-written in case the landing failed, there really wasn’t any realistic chance of that. The German defences weren’t even remotely finished, the Germans had fallen for the Allies misdirection and concentrated their defences elsewhere, and overwhelming Allied air power and French resistance attacks crippled the German ability to rush reinforcements to Normandy. The Allies flew over 10,000 air missions on D-Day, the Luftwaffe, a 100 or so. No contest. The only real way the invasion could have failed is if spectacularly bad weather had set in for weeks after the landing grounding the Allies air power. None of this diminishes the accomplishments of those who took part in the invasion, it was a hard fought battle.

Some Americans love to claim D-Day was the “turning point” in the war. No, no it wasn’t. Stalingrad and Kursk were the turning points in the war. By the summer of 1944 the Russian juggernaut was rolling inevitably toward Berlin, it was just a matter of time. D-Day hastened the end of the Third Reich, and meant Western Europe and West Germany didn’t become Soviet occupied countries, but it didn’t affect the outcome of the war. D-Day was the beginning of the end for Hitler is a good way to think about it.

In the same vein Americans often think D-Day was an American affair. In “Saving Private Ryan” for example, the British are only mentioned once, disparagingly; and the Canadians aren’t mentioned at all. In point of fact, five beaches were invaded that day, two by Americans, two by the British, and one by Canadians. While America certainly provided the lion’s share of troops and weapons for the western Allies, only about 40% of the troops wading ashore on 6 June 1944 were American.

Lastly, a nice story. There were lots of specials about D-Day on the 50th anniversary in 1994. I remember one story. There was a kid from I think Nebraska who waded ashore on D-Day. He survived, and the war ended. He had some leave before returning to America. He decided to visit Normandy because he had been struck by how beautiful the countryside was. (Pretty much anyone who grew up in Nebraska will think that way about almost anywhere but Nebraska, but I digress.) Well, while there he met this nice French girl, and the rest is history. He was still happily living there as of 1994. And I bet he never had to pay for his drinks at local bars.

In any event, tonight I will drink to all that fought that day. God rest the souls of those who died. Well, all but the Nazis. I still think Nazis are bad, call me old fashioned. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: American dead on Utah Beach.  Note the body has been tagged with information about who he was, when and where he died, etc. Real people died that day, war really is madness. Credit: Probably Robert Capa.)

Written by unitedcats

June 6, 2021 at 12:23 pm

WILL TRUMP BE REINSTATED IN THE WHITE HOUSE IN AUGUST?

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Short answer: No. Long answer: No effing way. Trump has been telling people he expects to be reinstated into the Oval Office in August. There is literally no constitutional way this could happen. Even if it were shown that massive fraud got Biden into office, there’s no mechanism for removing Biden except impeachment. And even if that were the case, the office would go to Kamala Harris, the vice president, not Trump. An ex-president isn’t isn’t anywhere in the line of succession should Biden, Harris, etc be impeached. It’s been suggested that Trump might be reinstated by a military coup, such as happened in Myanmar. I suppose that’s possible, but it would not in any way, shape, or form be legal and constitutional. It would be the end of America’s long experiment in democracy.

Frankly seems unlikely in the extreme. At this point Trump’s star continues to fall. His blog folded after just a month, surprising no one. He says he is going to launch a social media site that will rival twitter, Facebook, etc. I’m not holding my breath. He has amply demonstrated that his management and leadership skills are zero, and as an ex-potus his influence is limited and falling. We’ll see, but at this point Trump’s base is slowly and steadily shrinking, and I’m beginning to think Trump is going to fade into obscurity like Dewey after the 1948 election, image above. No, Dewey didn’t win.

We’ll see. I have been insanely busy the past month, which has interfered with my blogging. Plus, the unreality gripping the right is a challenge to grasp. Read a serious article the other day claiming that increasing wealth inequality doesn’t exist, it’s a liberal plot to justify more government welfare programs. Their reasoning? Well, because microwaves and shit are cheap and easily available now, it means the poor are doing just fine. Right. In 1970 a person with a minimum wage job could support a family and work their way through college. Not even remotely possible now, but because microwaves are cheap it doesn’t matter? Give me a break. Adjusting the facts to fit the narrative is all the rage now on the right, I can’t see that ending well.

And back in the real universe where Biden is actually president, their fake narrative continues apace. China and Russia are the aggressors, the US is just peacefully defending the free world! In this fantasy world, two Iranian warships sailing to possibly Venezuela is somehow a big deal and a “test” for Biden. Give me a freaking break. Two Iranian warships present exactly zero threat to the US, US warships routinely sail all over the planet. Hell, the Coast Guard is sailing a ship into the Black Sea! Right, the US Coast Guard is sailing to the opposite side of the planet, but we aren’t the aggressors?

So it’s hard for me to blog. On the one hand the Trumpers are living in a “stop the steal” fantasy world. On the other hand, people on the left think that what they see on CNN etc. is real. And domestically the GOP has launched a massive attack on democracy and human rights, while the Dems give lip service to progressive values while serving the Pentagon and corporate America in spades. The right is delusional, the left is lying. While the rich get ever richer.

So yeah, maybe I should just stick to blogging about science and UFOs. Fuck that. In High School I decided that trying to understand our world and do my best to make it a better place was my reason for existing. Got a lot of pushback and funny looks then. Still do. I’m not a genius, but I’m smarter than the average bear. I may die poor and unremarked, but at least I’m trying.

And my few fans are appreciated. Comments, suggestions, feedback appreciated. Support is especially appreciated. One time donations are great. Patrons are greater. Even one good patron would let me write endlessly. People are people. Not all rich people are the enemy. Carnegie and others prove that. Stay safe and sane everyone. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A historically important image, claimed as air Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 3, 2021 at 9:21 pm

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MEMORIAL DAY

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wars. The US has been at war 222 out of 239 years. More than 92% of its existence. And even that’s an under count, there really was no peace during the 19th century because of ongoing efforts by individuals and state militias to exterminate the natives. And virtually none of the wars were just wars in any way, shape, or form. That has been especially true in the post World War Two era.

Memorial Day 2021. This is the day where Americans honor those who died fighting in America’s wars. Well, that’s the theory at least. Unfortunately the way many people are honoring our dead strikes me as the exact opposite of honor. The day has been turned into a propaganda fest in support of America’s endless wars. The US has been at war 222 out of 239 years. More than 92% of its existence. And even that’s an undercount, there really was no peace during the 19th century because of ongoing efforts by individuals and state militias to exterminate the natives. And virtually none of the wars were just wars in any way, shape, or form. That has been especially true in the post World War Two era.

And yet all over Facebook, and all over the country presumably, people are posting and talking about fallen heroes who died “defending our freedom.” This is obscene. Every war since 1945 has been about defending America’s global empire and its corporate interests. Every American who died in these wars was a life wasted in service of the empire. And the memory of those whose lives were tossed away on the altar of corporate and political greed has been turned into a celebration of death and empire.

I grieve for those lost in our wars. I will honor their loss by continuing to speak for peace. The greatest thing an American can do to honor the fallen is stop supporting further war. Stop sending our youth abroad to die and be maimed in the service of corporate greed. The US is the most powerful empire the world has ever seen, there are no threats to our freedom. Outside the US at least, certain parties are working hard to destroy our freedom from within.

But that’s tomorrow’s blog. I hope all have or had a good Memorial Day. God rest the souls of those who died in America’s uniform, grant peace to their friends and family. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: From Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

May 31, 2021 at 7:50 am

UFOS, AZ AUDIT, NECROPHILIA, AND VULTURES

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What can I say, I try to cover all the bases on Doug’s Darkworld. UFOs first and again. Came across this: How Washington Got Hooked on Flying Saucers. A nice overview of how a handful of UFO true believers got UFOs back into the news. Interesting for the sociology and politics involved. Fascinating to me how many people seem to think that the Pentagon’s putative interest in UFOs means something. The Pentagon is probably one of the most unreliable sources in American history, that people invoke its authority when it suits their narrative is pretty telling. The good doctor goes into the actual details of the current bloom of UFO nonthingburger: UFOs Are Back – And They Are Still Nothing. Nothing to see here folks. I’d love for aliens to be real, when I was 14 I thought Chariots of the Gods was amazing, proof aliens are real! I’m a long way from 14.

And true believers is definitely it. I’ve gotten into a few debates with UFO believers the past week; it’s like debating 9/11 Truthers, evolution deniers, or AZ audit proponents. It becomes painfully clear there is literally no argument that will sway them. All I need is evidence and reasonable argument to sway my beliefs. I’m not hearing that. Examples: But pilots see them! Um, pilots are magically immune to the cognitive and perceptual biases that make humans terrible observers of unexplained aerial phenomena? Like sasquatch, at this point the lack of a single clear UFO photo is more than a little troubling, it’s damning.

And AZ audit supporters. Their main argument at this point is “If there’s no problem, why be afraid of an audit?” That’s pretty much like saying: “If the police searched a home and found nothing, why would multiple repeat searches be a problem? What have they got to hide?” Um, because the searches are disruptive, destructive, and destroy one’s property value? The same with the AZ audit (and more are on the way,) the 2020 election is already the most audited election in US history, and so far nothing has been found that is evidence of widespread fraud. This “audit” is both destroying people’s faith in election integrity, and giving the GOP cover to pass ever more restrictive voter suppression laws. Scares me, should scare anyone who likes living in a constitutional republic.

Moving right along: Morgue worker arrested after giving birth to a dead man’s baby. National Enquirer? Weekly World News? The Onion? Nope, for realies. The reader of a squeamish nature might want to skip this paragraph. I did confirm it. Sperm cells live up to five days after being, um, released into the wild so to speak. So as long as he wasn’t too long dead and had ejaculated before his death, perfectly possible. There was another case where a fellow sued for divorce because his white wife had a mixed race baby. He lost, turned out she had been faithful, he had routinely had sex with prostitutes on his way home from work, and then had sex with his wife. And a little fella hitched a ride so to speak.

The things one learns on Doug’s Darkworld. Necrophilia is a fetish. A fetish is being sexually aroused by something other than primary and secondary sexual attributes of a potentional sex partner. IE liking their genitals, chest, hair, butt, etc … not a fetish. Turned on by feet (the most common,) hats, or dead people … yeah, fetish. Fetishes are incredibly common, more than half the population has a fetish. And the vast majority of them are perfectly healthy. It’s only when taken to extremes that pathology sets in. In the case of this woman for example, necrophilia is an open secret in the funeral industry, but she was clearly out of control.

And vultures were circling my house this afternoon! That’s a sign of good luck, right? And Googling, I was right! Vulture Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens). Yeah, no, in common western parlance, vultures are a sign of imminent death. Though often humorously. I checked, the cat and the housemate are still alive. I still seem to be kicking. I blog, therefore I exist? Joking aside, the vultures were wandering up and down the shore of the lake. It’s been freakishly windy even by Iowa standards for days. Maybe dead fish were blowing ashore? The trees are waving outside my window as I type. Hope it ends soon. Reminds me of this story: A Wind is Rising. One of the first science fiction stories I ever read. Sticks with me to this day. And just now noticed it was published in the year I was born. Good omen or bad?

Stay safe everyone, have a great week.  #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Vultures over my house. Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

May 24, 2021 at 8:16 pm

THE ARIZONA AUDIT IS THE CREATION MUSEUM OF OUR TIME

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The election audit in Arizona just gets weirder and weirder. Surreal GOP ‘Audit’ in Arizona Is Off the Rails—and Just Getting Started. And some are claiming the ballots were shredded, fed to chickens, then the chickens were burned. Yes, the gentle reader read that right. An election official owns a large chicken facility, and there was a fire that killed a lot of chickens. And that’s further “proof” that the election was stolen. Wait, what? Oh, the auditors have also ruined the Maricopa county voting machines, their security has been compromised at this point. The company doing the audit isn’t actually qualified to perform an audit.

This is what happens after decades of Fox News, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and Ken Ham. What do all of these have in common? They all alter the facts to support the narrative. That’s Trump, he said the election was stolen, his followers accept that as a fact, and off they go searching for “facts” that can be shoehorned into supporting their narrative. So we know for a fact that no matter what the “auditors” discover, they won’t admit the election was fair and Trump lost. Any more that Young Earth Creationists will admit the Earth is billions of years old and evolution is real. They will twist the facts to support their beliefs, as the Creation Museum clearly demonstrates.

Reagan was the beginning of this. The first president elected entirely on his image, no content required. He was the beta version of Trump. I suspect Reagan would have despised Trump. Reagan had class, Trump is a boor. A boor with a gilded toilet and an exotic trophy wife is still a boor. I digress. Reagan: The Welfare Queen myth. Borrow and spend. The end of the Fairness Doctrine. Stock market price manipulation decriminalized. The end of mainstream independent media. Before Reagan only the fringes lived in a fantasy world, he institutionalized it. And the ultimate result of teaching their base that the narrative determines the facts … Trump, all narrative, no fact.

This is why Republicans who remained moored in reality are freaking out. Going along with GOP nonsense because it made you rich was one thing, believing Trump’s preposterous self-serving treasonous delusions is another. And I mean treason. Trump incited a mob of his followers to storm the capitol and overturn the results of the election. It was sophomoric magical thinking by Trump, like Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch, but it was in fact an effort to overthrow the Republic. That’s treason. It was also the worst attack on the Republic since the Civil War, a fact which Trump’s GOP is working hard to deny and obfuscate.

And like the last great treasonous Americans, the Confederates, Trump will probably get away with it. At least Hitler got jailed after his insurrection, our republic is already so dysfunctional that even that won’t happen. We let the leaders of the treasonous south get off scot free, and I sometimes wonder if that was one of the greatest mistakes in American history. And now round two, the people who live in a 1950s white bread fantasy world have seceded.

A new Civil War? Eff if I know, the only thing I know now is that we are moving into a new era. Reagan was the start, Trump is the end. He’s the Mao, Caesar, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin of our time. Or maybe ultimately he will only be the Jeffferson Davis of our time. Just glad I’m here to witness it. Who wouldn’t want to be on the front row of history? Stupid question. The people living in Gaza would likely disagree. I’m trying to write about that nightmare, it’s a microcosm of what’s wrong in the world.

Digressing again. Windy day in northern Iowa, but some nice rain. Garden is looking good, the ground level bird bath is a big hit with the birds. Finches, Vireos, Juncos; fun new birds. I’ve seen starlings too, though not in my yard. A starling was the last bird I killed. Decades ago. Nest robbing non-native birds. It’s here to stay though, I won’t be shooting anymore. Hope all are having a good weekend. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: From Twitter, attributions in image. Found on Facebook, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

May 23, 2021 at 11:17 am

UFOS ARE THE ANGELS OF OUR TIMES

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UFOs have been in the news. This is just one version of recent events: Leaked video appears to show UFO plunging under water off California. The basic story is very simple, some military authorities say there’s something going on in these videos where humans can’t be doing. Tacit admission, shall we say, that UFOs may well be alien in origin. Sigh. For this to be true, IE alien UFOs, probes or what not are flying around in Earth’s atmosphere, requires layers of special pleading. IE all sorts of logical problems with the premise need to be explained away. Not a promising start in other words.

So let’s dive into this. OK, say military authorities decided that Sasquatch was real? Or Nessie? Or Leprechauns? Or Santa Claus? Would that make the idea that any of those was real more likely? No. Military authorities historically are often wrong, and often lie. The idea that the military is taking UFOs seriously, if that’s even what’s happening, is simply an argument from authority. It goes downhill from here. Here’s another layer of special pleading. There is zero evidence of alien intelligence in the Universe. SETI has tried all sorts of promising approaches, and found nothing. And there’s zero evidence on Earth of alien probes, no crashed ones have ever been found, no one has ever taken a good picture of one. Nada.

But, but, the military has all sorts of special sensors and stuff! These are infrared motion pictures for example, how  many of those are around? Well, quite a few I am sure. I digress. Any student of the history of military sensing technology knows it’s a long history of false alarms and mistaken identifications. There’s all sorts of ways birds, bugs, and all sorts of other stuff has been mistaken for something other than what it is. The flying rods nonsense is an example of people not understanding what new technology was recording. It’s not that hard to find experts pointing out there’s nothing unexplainable in these infrared videos. I mean, this story has been popping up repeatedly for years.

That doesn’t sell though. In the Internet Age, especially, for every site trying to promote sober analysis (like this one I hope,) there are dozens preaching to the choir. UFOs sell, and have for decades. Humans want to believe. The same way they want to believe in angels. Many still do believe in angels. It’s a comforting belief. And people believe that UFOs are real for the same comforting reasons. Wouldn’t it be nice if intelligence such as ours could not only exist far beyond our level, it could actually be benign toward us? Or least indifferent. The people who believe in Ancient Aliens certainly demonstrate the former.

Myself, I think the evidence indicates that aliens do exist, but in a far darker form than people imagine. A topic for another post. In other news, what a mess Washington is now, sheesh: The congressman from Hell is a symptom of our rotten political system. Good but depressing read. In personal news I socialized for the first time in a year yesterday. The cat got all the shrimp, the guests carried away the leftovers, and what they didn’t take my housemate ate in the morning. I’ve been missing this? Joking aside, good times. Hope all are having a good week. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Sunset on Mars. Credit: NASA. NASA pics are public domain so long as not used to imply endorsement. NASA does not endorse Doug’s Darkworld.)

Written by unitedcats

May 18, 2021 at 7:34 pm

NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR AMERICA

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The GOP doesn’t actually believe in democracy or the will of the people. Missouri abandons voter-approved Medicaid expansion. Some of them still believe Trump will be returning to the White House: MyPillow’s Mike Lindell claims Trump will ‘be back in office in August’ in Steve Bannon podcast rant. I guess they don’t understand that we live in a Constitutional Republic. The election was held and certified in accordance with the constitution and the law of the land. This means it’s a done deal. The results of the election can’t be changed, no matter what. Even if Trump’s allegations turned out to be true … it wouldn’t change anything. Biden would still be the legal POTUS. Still, the GOP’s anti democracy trend is scary, and I’m in agreement with this link, not sure the democrats even care: The country is careening off a cliff — and Democrats are asleep at the wheel. The GOP is convinced global warming is no threat, so not surprising the Dems would regard the GOP’s anti-democracy trends as no threat. Fun times.

2-year-old boy shoots both his parents. Who the hell leaves a gun where a two year old can find it? These folks apparently. Sigh. This is another issue where who cares about facts. Most Americans think having a gun around makes them safer. Wrong. Empirically, factually wrong. America has 6% of the world’s population and 42% of the world’s privately owned guns. So if guns made us safer, America would be the safest country on Earth. It’s the opposite: Does a Gun Make Your Home Safer? Our leaders decided to rule based on people’s feelz though rather than facts, logic, science; and we’re all paying a terrible price for it.

Richard Dawkins stepped in it by suggesting that aborting fetuses with Down Syndrome was a good thing, the proper moral choice even. He got schooled: Brendan O’Connor praised for tackling guest on his remarks about babies with Down’s Syndrome. On the plus side he did back down from his claim, which was ignorant at best. Ableist to eugenics promotion at worst. People with Down Syndrome report happiness with their lives, appearance, and family at rates that other people can only dream of. So the idea that them being born causes suffering is, well, wrong.

This is one of those issues with no black and white answers. Abortion is a right, that’s because forcing someone to bear a child against their will is wrong. The reason they choose to abort is irrelevant, it’s their life, their body. If people wanted to prevent as many abortions as possible, which seems like a laudable goal to me; then birth control, family planning, and sex education should be widely available. Those are the things proven to reduce the abortion rate. That the people who claim to be anti-abortion are overwhelmingly against the very things that prevent abortion pretty much shows they aren’t actually trying to prevent abortions.

Came across a good article about America’s crumbling infrastructure: Cracked bridge over Mississippi River highlights supply chain vulnerabilities. Like global warming, the US has ignored its infrastructure for decades. And now it’s time to pay the piper. In many ways that actually sums up modern America: the piper payment is coming due, and we ain’t even close to being ready. But boy, we’re not going to give up. Never think things through, but never give up.

And yes, image above, there have been some gas shortages because of a pipeline shut down by ransomware. There has been some panic buying. It didn’t go well for some people: Hummer loaded with four 5-gallon containers of gas catches fire after leaving Florida gas station. On the one hand, not too bright. On the other hand, he refused treatment for burns? Oh dear. Burns are a terrible injury even with prompt medical attention. I hope he gets to an ER ASAP. Maybe it was toxic masculinity,  but maybe he couldn’t dare incur medical expenses. In either case, not a good look for America.

Maybe that’s all I will blog about now. What the hell is wrong with this country. It’s gotten worse and worse my whole life. The rich and powerful exploit to their heart’s content, the military fights the war that never ends, while regular Americans are taught to blame each other, or foreigners,  or themselves(!) for what’s wrong. Endless source material for sure. What a time to be alive, stay safe everyone.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, I believe it’s public domain, but claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law in any event.)

Written by unitedcats

May 13, 2021 at 8:54 pm

BOMBS AWAY, LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE

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There’s been a lot of, well, violent oppression in Israel and its occupied territories lately. More innocents dead. It’s not really a complicated or nuanced situation. Israel invaded and conquered the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, and since then has refused to either annex them or allow them to declare independence, whilst slowly stealing their land, destroying their homes, farms, infrastructure; and periodically waging war on them. Sometimes the Palestinians fight back, but the violence is overwhelmingly on Israel’s part, and the innocent dead are overwhelmingly Palestinian.

I’d say “what a mess,” but that implies it’s some sort of intractable problem where both “sides” are to blame. Nope, Israel has all the power, all the weapons, all the advantages including the unconditional and uncritical backing of the US. Israel has deliberately perpetuated the situation by denying the Palestians their rights, essentially keeping them as stateless prisoners in open air prisons. It’s not aparteid. It’s much uglier than apartheid. And as long as the US and the international community give Israel their unqualified support, Israel has no incentive to do anything but continue their slow ethnic cleansing of Gaza and the West Bank. Pointing out the injustice of this isn’t antisemitism, it’s just stating the truth.

Speaking of stating the truth, Liz Cheney, the now former GOP leader of the House, has been stripped of her position. She refuses to believe in and support Trump’s lies: Trump lost the election, and he incited a mob to storm the capitol. Not debatable. Trump though is cementing his control of the GOP and, well, inciting a purge. It’s made his remaining supporters more fanatical, while driving away huge numbers of conservatives who have decided enough’s enough. Pretending that Trump was this fantastic president was easy, but at this point Trump is indeed destroying the foundations of our democracy in his obsession with “not being a loser.”

And by driving away, I mean just that. Trump’s popularity has plummeted since the election, which is unprecedented for a former president. He’s at like 32% now, as I’ve been saying all along, about a third of the country is behind him. Some of the Republicans who have abandoned Trump are threatening to create a new party. The “No Homers” party. OK, that was a really old Simpsons joke, IDK what they propose to call it. And honestly, good show. The chances of Trump getting reelected in 2024 are basically zero if he can’t rally all the Republicans back to him. Fine by me.

And there’s definitely schadenfreude on my part here, the GOP lied for decades, sowing the field for someone like Trump. Granted the Dems aren’t exactly paragons of truth and justice, but Fox News and the GOP normalized lying about basic facts. And now a guy who lives in his own made up reality where he lies about everything is running their show. Makes me curious to know if something similar preceded the rise of other personality cult leaders in history. Fodder for future research and blogs.

Speaking of lying cult leaders, a Federal judge has slapped down Wayne Lapierre’s attempt to declare the NRA bankrupt. Basically turns out the NRA had a huge corruption problem, with the people at the top essentially looting at will. They got caught and the state of New York began legal proceedings. Mr Lapierre tried to declare the NRA bankrupt in what was a brazen attempt to get away with the goods. Using the letter of the law to evade the intent of the law usually only works in Hollywood movies, it’s why we have judges. Again, schadenfreude time. Though not really. It’s not really shameful joy when the parties involved brought it on themselves. Just joy.

In other news:: President Joe Biden Approves Nation’s First Major Offshore Wind Farm. 85 wind turbines off the coast of Massachusetts. It will produce enough electricity to power 400,000 homes. Hopefully it’s just the first, the nation’s offshore wind power potential is twice the current total energy output of the US. I am however deeply disappointed by Mr Biden in this. What was he thinking? It should have been placed off the coast of Mar-a-Lago. Hope all are having a good week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Palestinians fleeing Israeli ethnic cleansing in 1948. Public Domain image. Mar-a-Lago joke credit: FearlessFly.)

Written by unitedcats

May 12, 2021 at 7:16 pm

SHARED IDIOCY, TRUMP, AND RELATED TOPICS

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I’m back! I was depressed by the flanking fire from my sister a few posts ago, but tearing each other down is what my family does. So the fact that almost none of them speak to me is a good thing. Oh, Happy Mother’s Day everyone. I miss my mom, but no one lives forever. No one that we know about at least. Though the idea that people may someday be able to hibernate is looking less science fictiony all the time. And I suppose having one’s brain copied is a form of immortality. We can’t build a brain from a recording … yet. Still, science could record sounds decades before they could play them back. That’s why there’s actually a minuscule chance that Lincoln’s voice was recorded and is lurking in some dusty attic somewhere. And the brain recording, a company is planning on offering the service, but it does have a downside: A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal”

So, the meme above. Sigh. No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. As one commenter posted: “The post is a series of logical errors.” As a friend put it: “This needs to go under the title ‘Conservatives Trying to Define Socialism but Just End Up Describing Capitalism Again.’” I’ll give it a brief review: 1) No one is suggesting legislating anyone out of prosperity. So straw man argument, typical GOP fear mongering. 2) Yes, that’s actually the problem, the rich are getting vastly more than their share, and it’s not like they’re working harder. The working class is literally subsidizing the rich through their labor. The author of course intended it as another version of the “welfare queen” myth, which is just that, a myth. 3) Yes, that’s how taxes work. Again, the author is just regurgitating the GOP welfare queen myth. 4) A friend got this one: “4 is just plain false. Economics is a big, weird subject, not very intuitive, and not a zero sum game. Dividing wealth among more people will – almost always – increase the economic power of the whole. Much, much more so than collecting wealth in only a few hands. Oligarchical Russia is not a wealthy nation. Dictatorial North Korea is not wealthy. The USA has millions of people below the poverty line. These nations WOULD be wealthier if wealth was more evenly distributed, because more people would be more productive.” 5) A weird GOP fantasy that half of people don’t want to work, and that the other half are subsidizing them. It’s completely at odds with reality. Most people are working hard while the profits are stolen by the rich. Basically the meme is an example of magical thinking, not logic: The magical thinking of guys who love logic

So the Trump takeover of the GOP is rolling right along, looks like Liz Cheney is on her way out: Analysis: With Cheney’s impending ouster, the GOP chooses Trump over principle. They’re choosing Trump’s delusions over reality. I think the GOP gave up principle after 9/11. Hell, Reagan really. The Dems caught on, they gave it up under Clinton. Hell, in some senses they all gave it up when America was founded on high minded principles … plus slavery, ethnic cleansing, and oligarchy. The concept of inalienable human rights is a good thing, but it still needs to be universally implemented.

Trump taking over the GOP, Covid continues. Global COVID-19 death toll more than double official estimates – IHME. No surprise there, governments always lie about mass death tolls. Wars especially, casualty counts in wars are always under reported. America is hit with a double whammy, not only are Covid deaths under reported, right wing delusions are making it worse: Tucker Carlson Doubles Down on Batsh** Vaccine Fearmongering and Fox News Torpedoed COVID-19 Science Hundreds Of Times Since January, Watchdog Says.

It’s just so weird living in America now. The worst global health crisis in a century, and America’s response to it has been frighteningly incompetent. And simultaneously seeing the rise of a cult-like leader along the lines of Saddam, Hitler, Mao, and so many others. My personal life being a series of catastrophes the past year hasn’t helped. I even had my heart broken this spring. You’d think at my age I could avoid such things, yeah, snort.

Have a great week everyone. Try not to get Covid. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Agnostic.com, attribution unknown, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

May 9, 2021 at 7:05 pm