Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

DEREK CHAUVIN GUILTY, EVERYONE IS A CONSPIRACY THEORIST, AND OTHER NEWS

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A jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts of murdering George Floyd. It’s certainly good news in the sense that civil unrest would have ensued had he been found guilty. However, that aside, I do believe justice has been served. From what I have read, all modern policing theory says that the neck is not an appropriate restraint target. While various neck holds are very effective at restraining people, they are also inordinately dangerous. The police are supposed to protect the public, not put them in danger, And in this case, kill them.

I think police reform is needed in the US. That’s what people mean when they say “defund the police.” Part of the reform is not using police for everything. Someone is acting out because of a mental health crisis, send a mental health crisis team, not the police. And police in schools, give me a break. And qualified immunity has to end, if a cop kills someone in any situation that isn’t clearly self defense, there should be a trial. Cops are supposed to take risks to protect the public, not kill people because the police felt threatened or the suspect wasn’t complying. Other developed countries manage to police themselves without police killing people at anything like the rate at which American police kill people, especially POC.

Convince me otherwise. It will require logic backed by science, but I can change my mind if presented with a reasonable argument. A quality I’m not sure many people share. I’ve had trouble blogging recently because I realized that almost everyone is a conspiracy theorist. By that they hold all sorts of social beliefs that they aren’t willing to admit might be wrong. And they will use confirmation bias and motivated reason to defend those beliefs if challenged, sometimes brilliantly. The person who believes their invisible superfriend rules the world is really no different than the person who thinks the Rothschilds rule the world. Thinking there was some secret conspiracy to  blow up the Twin Towers is no different that thinking a hurricane was sent by God.

And no matter what one believes, there are web sites happy to provide endless false arguments, motivated reasoning, and cherry picking in support of the same. Doubt that? Challenge someone’s belief that GMOs or glyphosate are dangerous, that Trump is a Russian asset, or that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. A world of motivated reasoning. No wonder the aliens fly right by.

Speaking of flying, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter made the first powered flight on another planet. It’s basically a drone. Pretty impressive considering the atmosphere of Mars is about 1% the atmosphere on Earth. Jesus, if I make it a few more decades, humans might return to the Moon and make it to Mars. Well, even if I don’t make it, hopefully humans will pull it off. I just hope I’m around to see.

So much stuff on America and its empire, not sure where to start. Try this: America’s Intel Vampires Can’t See Themselves in the Mirror: DNI’s Hypocritical and Self-Awareness-Absent Annual Threat Assessment – Antiwar.com Original. America, a nation ruled by fear. The richest and most powerful nation the world has ever known defines itself by fantasy threats both domestic and international. While its rich get ever richer and its working class gets an ever smaller slice of the pie. Go figure.

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis, completed in 1661 by Rembrandt. It depicts a Batavian oath to Gaius Julius Civilis, the head of the Batavian rebellion against the Romans in 69 AD. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

April 20, 2021 at 8:15 pm

FOUR GREAT HISTORICAL LIES

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I’ve been hampered in writing about current events lately because it’s really been seeping in that almost everyone is propagandised. By that I mean that most people largely hold a worldview that is actively promoted by special interests. It’s what I mean when I say all religions and ideologies are the same. It’s what Colonel Kurtz meant when he said “Everyone is loyal to the nightmare of their choice.” It’s not a new phenomena, it’s been around since organized religion and hereditary class structure for sure. In the last century though, as the sciences of advertising and propaganda took off, it’s grown far more pervasive and multi-dimensional: Enormous numbers of people believing things that just aren’t true.

It doesn’t make them bad people, in fact it says nothing about them as individuals at all. People are people, most of us are pretty decent under normal circumstances. It doesn’t make them “sheep” either, I hate that terminology/mindset the same way I hate the “friend zone” concept. It does however mean they will actively go to great lengths to defend their world view. Motivated reasoning and such kicks in here, people use the fine brains evolution/God gave them to believe they are right and others are wrong. My lie is comforting, it makes sense of the world, it provides me with tons of social support and reinforcement. I’m on the winning team!

The problem, and it’s a huge problem, is that belief in nonsense may allow one to commit atrocities. Bad things can happen from widely believed lies. Here are four great historical examples. And they are great, each and every one of these is brilliant propaganda. A lie the targeted audience wanted to believe! A lie that touches all the sweet spots. In very considered order, here are four of “The Greatest Lies in History:”

  1. The Stab in the Back Myth.” This was the idea that arose after World War One that the Central Powers, Germany especially, lost the war not because it was a stupid war where the Allies had numerous advantages, but because a cabal of socialists, communists, and especially Jews conspired to cripple their war effort. Like all great lies, there’s zero evidence to support it, and it doesn’t pass the laugh test logically; but it explains the loss of the glorious war and blames people many Germans already had been taught to hate. Illustrated in a 1919 postcard above.
  2. “The Arab Nations Told the Palestinians to Flee!” lie. After Israel’s 1948 war of independence during which 700,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed (IE chased out at gunpoint) from what is now Israel, Israel claimed that the Arab governments told the Palestinians to flee! Perfect! So of course they are the Arab governments’ problem, and Israel promptly passed laws prohibiting them from returning to their homes in Israel. Even Israeli historians now admit this was pure propaganda, Arab governments never did anything of the kind.
  3. “Stop the Steal.” Yerp, brilliant. Trump supporters want to believe Trump was the greatest president ever, they want to believe that Democrats/socialists/communists/libtards are plotting against them, the true Americans. The fact that there is zero evidence for this lie, and logical reasons why it’s BS, no matter. Characteristics that all four great lies share, that so many people believe(d) them is why I am fond of saying “We’re not really an intelligent species.”
  4. “Russiagate.” This is the one where so many of my friends and readers are going to balk. Sorry, not sorry. Did Putin try to influence the 2016 election? Possibly, though so far no evidence has been provided in support of same. And Russiagate has now grown into an incredibly elaborate theory where Trump was a “Russian asset/Putin’s Puppet” all along. Brilliant. Dems don’t need to look to their own party’s failings that led to Trump’s election, and now they are fully supportive of Washington’s imperial war forever policy!

The beauty of great propaganda illustrated. No one is immune. I certainly believed in some stupid myths when I was younger. “If blacks would just comply with law enforcement and there would be no problems” is the ugliest that comes to mind now. I’m sure there are others. Life, a constant struggle to identify and remove beliefs other people have instilled in oneself. Most people never even understand that. A freaking shame that so much human society seeks to indoctrinate, not enlighten.

Speaking of blacks and police, tomorrow’s blog. Just trying to sort out the fact from fiction in the Daunte Wright shooting. God rest his soul in any event, no one deserves to die in a traffic stop.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Austrian postcard from 1919, author unknown, Public Domain in this Universe.)

Written by unitedcats

April 13, 2021 at 8:41 pm

BIDEN BACKS UKRAINE’S CONFRONTATION WITH RUSSIA, THIS COULD GET UGLY

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Germans bombing Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine in 1941. Ukraine in living memory has suffered terribly at the hands of non-Ukrainians: Nazi Germans and Stalinist Russians. So a lot of bad blood there. That’s the background. Jumping ahead, both Bush and Obama tangled with Russia over border disputes between Russia and its neighbors. In both cases Russia was defending ethnic Russians or long time allies of Russia.

Bush encouraged Georgia to believe it had American support in the event of a confrontation with Russia. Two small breakaway provinces of Georgia had decided during the collapse of the Soviet Union that they wanted to be part of Russia, dammit; there had been blood spilt, but Russia ‘peacekeeping’ troops ensured their de facto independence from Georgia. Sashakvili, the leader of Georgia, attacked these troops in an effort to reincorporate the breakaway provinces  into Georgia. The Russians responded with overwhelming force. Bush told them to back off. Putin said “talk to the hand;” and Russian troops beat the crap out of the Georgian military, invading Georgia itself in the process. Georgia came to its senses, granted the two minor provinces to Russia, and that was that.

Then Obama took his turn. An anti-Russian coup took place in Ukraine, the US immediately proclaimed it legitimate, and the new rulers wasted no time passing laws that made ethnic Russians into second class citizens. The local government of Crimea then voted to join Russia, they held a plebiscite which also overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Since, you know, Crimea had been part of Russia for centuries, and was populated almost entirely by ethnic Russians. Putin promptly annexed Crimea, and Obama was left with explaining how he had “lost Crimea.” And to this day Russia defending Russia, Russians and its allies is characterized as “Russian aggression.” Technically correct the same way that any chess player making a move can be characterized as the aggressor.

And now it looks like Biden is going to try his hand at facing off with Russia over its disputes with Ukraine. So freaking similar to Rome’s wars with Persia that it’s somewhere between scary and silly. Have we learned nothing? I digress. There are two eastern provinces of Ukraine that also saw pro Russian revolts, where the ethnic Russians declared a sort of independence from Ukraine. Supported by Russia. And there’s where the current problem is. Russia has built up troops there in case they “need” to protect Russians in Ukraine.

Will Ukraine “invade” its two eastern provinces, a replay of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia? I hope not. Putin outmaneuvered Bush and Obama, I’d bet on him vs Biden and his handlers any day. Russia has nuclear weapons too, so it seems crazy to do anything that could provoke war with them. Ans as well Russia can easily field conventional forces that could crush Ukraine’s military in a conventional war. So if Ukraine does something stupid, it’s because they think the US will back them.

How will this play out? No one knows. I give a 50% chance something further stupid will happen. And there’s a 1-10% chance something awful to history changing will happen. Is Biden really a senile old fool, or a sociopathic mimic of the first order who will do what the Washington elite says? My bet is on the latter, hopefully we won’t find out. I guess if I get to see ‘Life meets Jericho,’ there are worse fates.

Have a great weekend everyone. Get a Covid vaccine as soon as you can, Covid is looking like a worse disease all the time. Stay safe. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

PS: And in the 24 hours since I started writing this, the situation has deteriorated: US Warships to Enter Black Sea in ‘Significant Signal’ to Russia, Russia Prepared for ‘Worst Scenario’ With Possible US Sanctions, and Ukraine’s Top Commander Invokes NATO’s Article 5 Military Assistance Clause as West Continues to Oversee Ukraine’s War in the Donbass. Fun times.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Used legally:This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B12190 / Kraagranger [Kraayvanger] / CC-BY-SA 3.0 )

Written by unitedcats

April 9, 2021 at 7:41 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Russia, Ukraine, War

STRANGE GREEN ROCK FOUND ON MARS, OTHER SCIENCE NEWS, AND #DEARMOONCREW

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NASA scientists have found a six inch long green rock on Mars. (inset above.) As most of the rocks on Mars are, well, rather drab dusty red colored (above,) this is definitely unusual. Tests are underway to figure out what it is. Since Mars had all sorts of water once, there are any number of possible minerals formed in hot springs and such. A meteor origin is possible too, a number of meteorites have been spotted on Mars. That’s because Mars gets more meteors, more of them make it to the surface because of the thin atmosphere, and then they just sit there waiting to be found because erosion and such is a slow process on Mars. This made me wonder if “shooting stars” can be seen on Mars, I checked, and I’m happy to inform the gentle reader that Mars certainly has enough atmosphere to burn up incoming meteors and make shooting star displays visible from the surface of the planet.

While researching this particular rock I found out that the Chinese Yutu-2 Moon rover also discovered mysterious “gel like” green rocks on the Moon about a year ago. That mystery was solved though, the rocks were glass. IE rocks probably melted in a meteorite impact. Or maybe melted when they were testing Jewish space lasers. Sigh. Yes, Marjorie Taylor Green, the GOP’s “hold my beer” response to “Well, at least the GOP can’t elect anyone stupider than Sarah Palin;” actually blamed California wildfires on “space lasers.” Well, there’s one advantage to giving up science and reason, you can imagine whatever you want!

Sorry, slipped into politics for a moment there. Speaking of odd rocks found in far away places, I recall from my childhood that astronauts on the Moon announced they had found “green crystals” on the lunar surface. Turned out later they were joking. I was unable to confirm this on the Interweb though, so as it’s a fifty year old memory, I can’t vouch for it being accurate. Apollo 17 astronauts did indeed find unexpected orange soil on the Moon. Turns out it was volcanic in origin, created by an ancient fire fountain back when the Moon had active volcanoes. Interestingly enough scientists still can’t explain the origin of some of the unusual elements found in the soil samples after they were returned to Earth. That’s one of the wonders of science, if anything the things it can’t yet explain gets larger with every new discovery. No shortage of things for budding scientists to cut their teeth on.

Speaking of the Moon, I did apply for the #dearMoonCrew. This is a project to send eight passengers on board a spacecraft that will circle past the Moon in a few years. It was launched by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. I signed up mainly as a lark and for a bit of fun blog fodder. I waited until the last moment to actually fill out and send in my application. It was then I discovered I had made a horrible mistake. This is not a publicity stunt or such, the goal of the mission is actually incredibly cool.

Mr Maezawa is recruiting artists of all stripes (if one calls oneself an artist he’s good with it, and I sure as sheet think writing and blogging is an art,) who want to go to the Moon for inspiration, to inspire others, and to express themselves artistically. I mean, how cool is that? I could be the first blogger to circle the Moon! One better believe that would be the blogging opportunity of a lifetime. The mistake I made was not looking into it further, so my application was filled out at the last minute and wasn’t nearly as inspired and well written as it could have been. Oh well, missing opportunities is a long honored family tradition.

Still, I do want to go. They sent John Glenn up at 77 years old, so it’s not completely out of the picture. And I’ve been tagging #dearMoonCrew all over the place hoping my application at least gets passing attention. So gentle readers, if any of you are friends with Elon Musk (he’s supplying the spaceship) or the inestimable Mr Maezawa, please put in a good word for me!

Stay safe everyone, hope all are having a good week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(NASA images the perseverance rover on the surface of Mars. NASA images are public domain so long as they aren’t used to indicate NASA endorses a product or service. No, NASA doesn’t endorse Doug’s Darkworld, although it would be cool if they did.)

Written by unitedcats

April 6, 2021 at 4:19 pm

TRUMP’S EASTER CRAZINESS, AT LEAST HE AND HIS FOLLOWERS ARE CONSISTENT

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The above was Trump’s pre Easter message. Let’s see, where to start? Um, over 60 lawsuits filed by Trump etc contesting the election got exactly nowhere in court, including plenty ruled on by Trump appointed (!) judges. So the idea (fantasy really) that the election was rigged causing Trump to lose is, well, not true. What the old folks call a lie. Pretty sure Trump believes it, what is it called when someone believes their own lie? Starts with ‘D.’ Doesn’t matter how many people believe it or are angry about a lie, it’s still a lie. I’m assuming he is referring to the Democrats as “radical left crazies.” No Mr Trump, the vast majority of them are about as radical left as Eisenhower or Nixon. And they’re no more crazy than Trump’s followers. As for facts coming out, none so far, but I will be happy to revisit the issue if they ever do. I won’t be holding my breath though.

He reiterated it on Easter: “Happy Easter to ALL,” Trump said, “including the Radical Left CRAZIES who rigged our Presidential Election, and want to destroy our Country!”  Well, at least he wished the Democrats a Happy Easter. He added that the Democrats desire to destroy the country. I know of no Democrat who wants to destroy the country. Oh well, when you have no ideas, no policies, no philosophy; name calling and fear mongering  is all that’s left.

Trump isn’t alone in his delusion, the Pillow Guy is confident his documentary and lawsuit will do the trick: Right Wing Watch on Twitter: “”That miracle is coming,” declares Mike Lindell, confident that his new documentary and lawsuit will overturn the 2020 election and have Trump back in the White House by August. Just goes to show that being rich and being smart are not necessarily correlated, for those that missed the fact that Trump does not appear to be the brightest candle on the cake either. Sticking to one’s guns is one thing, but this ship has already sunk.

Some of Trump’s followers don’t think a lawsuit and documentary are going to do the trick. Nope, gonna be a military coup that returns Trump to power: When Will the Military Intervene? Basically this guy’s theory is based on a series of dreams he had. Yes, his invisible superfriend visited him in his sleep and told him that the military will return Trump to power. Snort. The Pentagon just loves a draft evading coward who refers to veterans as suckers and losers. I wonder if he was using one of the Pillow Guy’s pillows? Maybe everyone who sleeps on one gets weird dreams and delusions?

Turns out Texas’s power problems weren’t caused by green energy after all. OK, only uncritical Fox News viewers thought that, the cause was unregulated power companies not wanting to spend a dime on being prepared for bad weather. Deregulation in other words. That doesn’t work for QAnon theorists though. Oh no. It was Biden and China, the Chinese paid him billions of dollars to test their “new weather weapons” on Texas. Whatever’s in those pillows, it’s getting stronger apparently.

Apparently a number of Christian prophets predicted Trump would win reelection. And for some, that’s all the proof they need that the election was stolen. That’s right gentle reader, since people claiming to speak for an invisible superfriend in the sky all said Trump was going to win, why God’s will was thwarted. Does Trump really understand just how bat shit crazy many of his followers are? That was a rhetorical question of course, Trump’s right there with them.

In today’s ‘cancel culture’ news it turns out that Georgia passing a horrifying voter suppression law has consequences. Major League Baseball is pulling their All Star game out of Atlanta. Predictably enough: Republican threatens MLB after Trump Jr goes nuts about the All-Star Game and Laura Ingraham and National Review’s Pathetic Defenses of Georgia’s Voter-Suppression Law. Basically Georgia is disenfranchising huge numbers of voters to prevent microscopic amounts of voter fraud. As I said before, making it harder for people to vote isn’t fighting voter fraud, it’s making it harder for people to vote. Why would the Republicans do that? (Another rhetorical question.)

Lastly, this article nicely covers the absurdity of the Republican claims about ‘cancel culture’: Cancel culture isn’t about denying freedom of speech, it’s about consequences. Basically white Christian America spent hundreds of years cancelling (often violently) anyone who didn’t meekly mimic their Christofascist world view, and those times are changing. It’s not ‘cancel culture’ it’s a nation growing up. Some of us at least. The ones still worshiping their old testament invisible superfriend, not so much.

Stay safe everyone. Tomorrow I’ll pick on Democrats and liberals, I wouldn’t want to be accused of bias.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Trump’s public statements are Public Domain under US copyright law. At least as far as quoting them goes.)

Written by unitedcats

April 5, 2021 at 6:38 pm

THE EVANGELICAL RIGHT AND THE GOP, THE REAL CANCEL CULTURE

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So much in the news about the left’s so called “cancel culture.” Much hue and cry about it from the right. What, exactly, is the left cancelling? I’m not exactly sure, the examples in the news are generally trivial, misrepresented, or both. A few old books that no one reads anymore are pulled from publication? A few people who have said horrible things have lost their jobs? I guess some speakers have been discouraged from speaking at some colleges? How, exactly, is this impacting the lives of people on the right? As far as I can see, other than being outraged by what Fox news and others tell them, it doesn’t seem to affect the average American in any way. It’s like the so-called “war on Christmas,” there’s no there, there. Americans remain completely free to celebrate Christmas any way they like.

On the other hand, there are things the religious right is working assiduously to cancel. They want to cancel about a million marriages for starters. They want to wreak havoc in a million households, imagine being married, and the government simply outlawing your marriage. To say that would impact people’s lives negatively is an understatement. I don’t see anyone on the left calling for conservatives marriages to be annulled, let alone actively pursuing that goal in the courts.

The evangelical right not only wants to cancel women’s access to health care, they are doing a good job of it. And doing a good job of it by closing down Planned Parenthoods’, appealing to the Supreme Court: Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 U.S. 682 (2014,) and fighting against birth control and sex education. Yes, they want to cancel the very things that prevent abortions, so this isn’t about saving babies, it’s about cancelling lifestyles they don’t approve of. Hell, rafts of bills designed to prevent women from accessing health care, sex education, and birth control are passed by the GOP regularly.

And of course they want to cancel transgender people. They did manage to cancel them in the military, though Biden has reversed that. They have done everything they can to prevent them accessing health care, participating in society, etc. The fact that transgendered people have always existed and always will exist because human’s biological gender/sexuality exists over a broad spectrum doesn’t matter to the evangelical right. Male/female dichotomy, heteronormality all the way for them.

Hell, not just women having their access to health care cancelled. The evangelical right wants to give health care providers the right to refuse to treat people because they don’t want to treat certain people whose lifestyles/identities they don’t approve of. Imagine telling firemen they could refuse to fight a fire if they didn’t like something about the owners/occupants of a building. Again, no one on the left has proposed anything like this, let alone made it central to their political philosophy.

Speaking of political, they also want to cancel people’s right to vote. The GOP has been passing “New Jim Crow” laws for decades now, bills designed to make it harder for poor and black people to vote. Or democracy itself in the case of rampant GOP gerrymandering. And lately it’s getting worse, a law has been proposed in Arizona to allow the legislature to simply overturn the people’s vote for president! All in the name of fighting non-existent widespread voter fraud. And if there was widespread voter fraud, making it harder for people to vote isn’t fighting it, it’s making it harder for people to vote. There is no logical connection here.

Still, America is a country where huge numbers of people accept that killing 200,000 old men, women, and children “saved lives.” No one has ever explained to me how that works without the use of magical thinking. Moving right along, some on the right have followed this type of thinking to its “logical” conclusion, and simply want to cancel Americans who disagree with them. Yes, they are making the case that Biden voters “aren’t real Americans.” New Claremont essay reveals how Republicans are rejecting America:

“Most people living in the United States today — certainly more than half — are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term,”Glenn Ellmers, the essay’s author, writes. “They do not believe in, live by, or even like the principles, traditions, and ideals that until recently defined America as a nation and as a people. It is not obvious what we should call these citizen-aliens, these non-American Americans; but they are something else.”

So many things sick and wrong with that sort of thinking, I don’t know where to start. Crazy times. Have a safe Easter Weekend everyone, celebrate it (or not,) as you want. It’s still a free country. Sort of. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A forest in Indonesia cancelled by a volcano, public domain image from Wikipedia. I hope it doesn’t come to that in America, literally or metaphorically.)

Written by unitedcats

April 2, 2021 at 8:23 pm

BIDEN, INFRASTRUCTURE, OIL, WAR, RAPE IN THE NEWS

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Biden tells Johnson they should build massive global infrastructure plan to rival China. Well, when is the US going to invest in its own antiquated and failing infrastructure? Biden didn’t say. He did say this though about China, Washington fear mongering at its best:

“They have an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world. That’s not going to happen on my watch.”

No Mr Biden, it’s America that is obsessed with being the most powerful country in the world, it’s America that sees everything in terms of rivalry. This is a nice article that ties into that mindset: The Origins of America’s Unique and Spectacular Cruelty. I was particularly struck by the point that a ridiculously high percentage of the American economy is profit driven. Like health care for example, no other nation has allowed giant corporations to turn health care into a profit making industry. It’s the major reason our healthcare system is so obscenely expensive compared to other countries. The whole idea that somehow profit is the best way to motivate institutions to do a good job is somewhere between silly and sick, though a lot closer to sick. It’s warped our thinking about so many things.

While I’m detailing America’s faults, here’s another: US Fossil Fuel Companies Get a Shocking Amount of Implicit Subsidies Each Year. It’s only shocking to people who haven’t been paying attention. More than $50 billion in the US, nearly a trillion dollars annually over the entire globe. Coal being far and away the worst, if coal power had to pay the health and environmental costs of mining and burning coal, it would all stay in the ground right where it is because there’d be no profit in mining it and burning it for power. Just another way the economy of the world is geared towards making obscene profits for the few by passing the costs onto the public. Ain’t capitalism grand?

Lastly, it really needs to be repeatedly said that America is one of the most warlike (as in endlessly waging wars) nations the world has ever seen. It’s insanely expensive, and not only unnecessary, it’s actually causing terrible harm. And yet here we are. Waging war around the world, suffering a terrible level of domestic gun violence, and most Americans are just oblivious to it. It’s really weird if one steps back and looks at it. No other country built a giant fleet of bomber carrying ships and uses them constantly to bomb people around the world. Your tax dollars at work.

So yeah, speaking of surreal (welcome to America,) the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that if a woman is drunk when she meets a man, he can’t be charged with raping an incapacitated victim. Say what? They are literally saying if a man drugs his victim or gets her drunk, he can be charged with raping an incapacitated woman … but if she was already drugged or drunk, it’s not quite rape? He is going to be retried on a lesser charge, but people are outraged. I am certainly with those who say Minnesota rape law needs to be rewritten.

Oh, the trial of George Flyod’s killer started. Hopefully it will proceed to a sane conclusion, and there will be no unrest. Blog fodder if there is. Um, windy as hell in Northern Iowa. Trump cultists are still predicting his imminent return to the White House. Worse, the GOP seems to be running with “Biden winning was a coup.” Stupider and far more mainstream than birtherism, yeah, American politics not looking good. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Snappygoat image of the USS Kitty Hawk, Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 29, 2021 at 8:03 pm

TRIBES

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Caitlyn is often annoying, but sometimes she is very on point. The idea that the west gives a flaming hoot about oppressed Muslim minorities doesn’t pass the laugh test, but here the US is, leading the sanction charge against China. I could provide examples, but those that see the point don’t need them … and those that don’t will rationalize them away. People are loyal to the world view of their choice, and will reject out of hand any facts that contradict it by one means or another. Is this what Colonel Kurtz meant when he said “Everyone is loyal to the nightmare of their choice?” Maybe. I’m pretty sure it’s what “The map is not the territory” alludes to.

So I want to write endlessly about what is going on in the world, but how do I do so without a 12 volume preamble explaining that everything most people know about the world is mass marketed crap designed to make them support the status quo and the powers that be? When Marx said “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” he kinda meant it literally.  The Trump/GOP cult is the current major local manifestation of this, but the Dems are not really better off, just different.

By about 1900, 1950 at latest, it was easily possible to provide everyone on Earth with food, shelter, education, health care. Modern machinery could do the work of countless humans, a steam shovel or tractor could do the work of dozens or hundreds of men and horses. And factories, oh my. Everyone on Earth could have their basic needs met, with plenty left over for those that wanted more. So why aren’t we doing this?

And that dear readers is why I blog, trying to figure out why when humans live in Eden, they create societies based on systematic inequality. I think it comes down to tribal thinking. Most on the left have no problem recognizing that there are “religious” leaders whose only goal is exploiting religious people’s faith to get rich. What they don’t understand is that for every faux religious leader cashing in on the credibility of their believers, there is a faux ecologist, faux animal right’s activist, faux liberal politician, etc. doing the same thing.

Once one has decided one’s tribe is the “good guys” and other tribes are “bad guys,” all possibility of a worldview based on reason and science ends. It’s the logical fallacy that is destroying our future. I don’t know what the answer is, but I think reason and science hold the key if there is such.

And on the basis of all that, my blog format is going to change. 3-5 nights a week I’m just going to pull the most interesting links/events out of the day’s news and comment upon. I just don’t have what it takes to make dedicated posts now. And the world we live in is in huge flux, despite the voices of normalization running amok. The world we all knew did die at the end of 2019, the new world is still unfolding. Better yet, thick and thin blogs are easy and fun to write. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

March 27, 2021 at 8:30 pm

MR SAFETY, AR-15s, ETC

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I was heartened by a number of comments about my story about rushing to the neighbor’s house with a fire extinguisher and saving the day. I posted it all over the place, as is my wont. A number of people said something along the lines of “Wow, I just ordered a fire extinguisher.” So woohoo, I was a positive influence on people. I’ve been Mr Safety since I was a teenager, in that I realized that most of life is boring and safe, but life can go horribly wrong without warning … and one can have only minutes or less to mitigate one of those horrifying moments. That’s why I’ve taken a lot of first aid classes, lifesaving classes, etc. And I’ve learned all sorts of little tricks to mitigate or prevent disasters.

So I went to the library today. Library staff: “You’re the guy who stopped the fire!” I was, well, flabbergasted. Yes, the library is three blocks from my home and I’m a regular, but how did they know? I was too surprised to ask, especially since an excited patron started asking questions about what went down. I’m a local hero, though it really wasn’t a big deal. I’ve been told the local paper may call me, which is just so small town Midwest that it’s making my face hurt from smiling.

Mass shooting in Colorado. Both a lot … and not much … to say. Short version seems accurate. Colorado bans AR-15s, because their only civilian purpose is mass murder. NRA sues, ban is struck down, mentally unsound man buys one and commits mass murder. Gee, 90% of Americans think people who want guns like this should only be allowed to do so after a background check. The NRA begs to differ. “Gun sales trump sound social policy” in their world.

What’s to say? Sure, people have a right to own guns. No problem. There’s no such thing as an unfettered right, people shouldn’t be allowed to have tactical nuclear weapons or WMDs, but where’s the line to be drawn? I think civilians should be limited to double barrel shotguns, bolt action rifles, and revolvers. Perfectly adequate for home defense and hunting purposes; but makes it impossible to gun down dozens of people in public venues.

On the gripping hand, that Biden is leaping into action on this is an example of the Dems exploiting “culture wars” instead of actually trying to fix America’s problems. Medicare for all or making the minimum wage a living wage would save huge numbers of lives and make life better for tens of millions of Americans.  An AR-15 ban would save a few hundred lives a year. Guess which one Biden is embracing? And the sad truth is that even in this, he will likely fail. Our democracy is broken.

The wackiness continues in the right wing evangelical fringe-o-sphere: ‘Prophet’ Robin Bullock Says Biden’s Stairs Stumble Is a Sign His Presidency Is ‘Finished’. Joe Biden: The worst president – ever! Wnd.com. Trumpists Still Pushing Election Fraud Claims and Conspiracy Theories. All fairly predictable sadly, once they had decided Trump was sent by God, rational debate was pretty much no longer in the cards. Well, if Trump was sent by God, God has a sick sense of humor.

A town in Illinois became the first American city to offer reparations to blacks: Evanston, Illinois, becomes first US city to pay reparations to Black residents. No, not for slavery. The biggest way blacks were cheated of wealth was after World War Two when they were systematically prevented through fair means and foul from buying homes in the suburbs. White families got richer and richer after the war as their suburban homes increased in value, home blacks couldn’t by. So this is redressing a contemporary wrong, and only applies to blacks who lived in Evanston. Seems reasonable enough to me, though I’m sure many bigot’s heads are exploding in outrage over this.

Crazy busy day, I have my mojo back. Tomorrow, more science. The one thing that may save the human race, because politicians sure ain’t going to save us. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

March 25, 2021 at 6:01 pm

BOOM!

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Shortly after I got up this morning I hear a loud bang. My housemate calls out, “Are you OK?’ The bang wasn’t upstairs, I was fine. Thought about it, went down to investigate, halfway down the stairs I hear my housemate on the phone to 911, there was an explosion next door, he can see flames and black smoke. I’m like “Oh sheet.” I get dressed real fast, grab my fire extinguisher, run next door. A trash can had caught fire and exploded, raging fire in the wind, side of house was already nicely burning. The neighbor and a passer by were trying to fight it, but all they had was a rake and a hose that wasn’t long enough and had little pressure. The fire was winning. I waded in with my fire extinguisher and got it under control until the pros arrived.

In my life I’ve now saved two cars and a house because I keep fire extinguishers handy. I was a Boy Scout and a Marine, be prepared and if there’s an emergency, run towards it. The moral of the story though, every kitchen should have a fire extinguisher prominently located and everyone in the house should know how to use it. Minutes count when fighting fires. I think I read it’s typically less than ten minutes between a house fire’s ignition and it spreading to the entire house. Maybe I didn’t save their house, but I certainly prevented much worse damage. And it was windy as hell, extreme fire danger weather, it might well have spread to other houses before the fire department arrived.

And boy, well, my adrenaline gland works just fine. Near twelve hours later and I’m still wired. I may not sleep for a week. OK, that’s an exaggeration, I hope, but the experience really had a huge effect on me. My sense of time was especially affected. Hard to explain. It feels like it just happened, but it was 12 hours ago? Right after it happened I decided to cook myself a nice breakfast. It only seemed like it took a few minutes, but I was surprised to see it was over thirty minutes on the clock. I did wonder why my hash browns were cooking so fast. Had a few similar experiences in my time, “the world turns to ice” is one way I’ve described it.

So how did this happen? How did a trash can spontaneously explode? The neighbor says she put a candle in the trash, and apparently it wasn’t fully extinguished. Might have been last night even, not sure. She was pretty upset. The trash can was obliterated, nothing left but little puddles of burning molten plastic. The firemen said a plastic bottle exploding is what caused the explosion, or two explosions according to my housemate. Makes me realize modern isn’t always better. Up through the 70s trash cans were made of metal, and if the trash caught fire, the fire was contained. Not anymore, plastic trash cans are potential little napalm bombs.

On the plus side (aside from being a neighborhood hero) it kinda reset my mental state too. I won’t say my broken heart is mended, but certainly put some distance between me and it. Did that make any sense? I was going to write about my upcoming Moon trip today, but this seemed more timely. So tomorrow’s blog, help Doug get to the Moon! Yes, I’m serious, and it’s for a good cause. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Scene outside my home this morning. Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

March 21, 2021 at 7:51 pm

Posted in 2021, Iowa, Personal, Philosophy