Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

MEMORIAL DAY

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Another Memorial Day. I guess a BBQ is the tradition.  Mexican food here, I live in a pretty secular household. Just another day on the farm. Memorial Day is an American holiday, it started after the Civil War. The only American War where the homeland suffered. The death toll was also horrific, by most measures the first or second worse mass death event in US history. I know I was taught in high school that the period after the Civil War was one of the most peaceful in US history. Ostensibly because the country was tired of war. I’m older now, and I suspect a lot of natives would question that assessment. Much of the west was being constantly warred on after the Civil War, some of the worst massacres of natives occured after the Civil War. And, well, primarily in the Southern US, terrorist wars were launched and conducted against African Americans. Hardly a nation at peace. The figures I looked up say the US has been at war over 91% of its existence.

And a lot of Americans died in those wars, this is the day we remember them. Soldiers who lost their lives fighting in America’s wars. Well, skol, here’s to them. Most of them were good people fighting for their country. Even the ones that weren’t, well, being killed in a war is a hell of a price to pay for whatever their situation might have been. I’ve spent my whole life studying war, such exquisite madness. I have nothing but respect for those who served, I served myself. And the ones who died, in battle or of their wounds later, I hope their families and loved ones keep their memory alive, this day and all days.

That’s acknowledging their sacrifice with words, but I’d like to go a bit further. What was their sacrifice for? I would guess many would say to protect America and its freedoms. Certainly those in my lifetimes. And here’s my first divergence with the standard narrative, no matter how noble their sacrifice, that doesn’t mean the wars America’s soldiers died in were noble. In my opinion none of America’s wars in my lifetime have been just wars, they have all been foreign wars of choice. And I think it’s a damned shame Americans died in those wars, and the best way I can honor their sacrifice is to be a voice for peace, so no more Americans die in stupid foreign wars.

A mission I think is even more important today than ever before in my life. The US is deeply involved in a pointless foreign war, the Russo-Ukrainian War, that America played a huge role in instigating. A terrible war, though all wars are terrible. This is the big lie that has been foisted on the American people, the idea that war is noble. That there is such a thing as a good war. And so so many Americans are convinced that this war is it, this is the good war, a war that brings back memories of ‘The Greatest Generation.’ That would be the World War Two generation, arguably America’s last just war. Putin is the next Hitler, destroying him is our only best choice, he is a monster who can’t be trusted. Snort. That’s a “does not follow” false argument for readers who stay up on such things.

While the Russo-Ukrainian War is terrible, it’s not the epic stand of freedom and democracy against tyranny. And ruthless though Putin may be in the defense of Russia, he’s not Hitler hell bent on recreating the Soviet empire. Or to put it in perspective, Hitler was in charge of the world’s second most powerful nation, modern Russia is barely in the top twenty. US military aid to Ukraine is already more than Russia’s annual budget for God’s sake. This is a war America should be trying to end, not promoting. People are dying, the sooner the war stops the better, then people can sit down and work out a solution. Diplomacy, it’s worked before.

I hope all had a good Memorial Day, and celebrated it as they thought appropriate. I drink to peace and those who pursue it.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public Domain colorized World War One photograph. “29 May 1918 The Third Battle of the Aisne. French infantry coming back through Passy-sur-Marne, pass a British regimental band resting by the roadside.” When I first saw this picture I wrote: ‘They’re all dead now, some didn’t live out the war, some may not have lived out the week. All real people with lives, hopes, dreams. Even the people who remember them as grandparents and the like are getting long in the tooth.’ Kinda how I feel this Memorial Day, all those who died in war were real people with loves and lives. Tragically cut short. We can do better.)

Written by unitedcats

May 30, 2022 at 8:55 pm

WHAT WILL AND WILL NOT HAPPEN IF ROE VS WADE IS OVERTURNED

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It looks like the SCOTUS (Supreme Court) is going to overturn Roe vs Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion a right. So many things are absurd about this, for starters the idea that abortion was banned by the Bible is only a few decades old: The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal. It gets worse,  the logic in the leaked SCOTUS draft is ridiculous. I guess when one doesn’t have logical reasons for stripping women of bodily autonomy, one has to get creative: The Supreme Court’s Leaked Draft Is Full Of Mystifying Arguments Against Abortion Rights. Or this: ‘Intellectually bankrupt’: Alito’s Roe v Wade opinion trashed by constitutional scholar.

If it comes to pass, and Roe vs Wade is struck down, what happens? I speculate:

Millions will celebrate that their fellow citizens are being deprived of their rights and bodily autonomy. The Evangelical Right especially will celebrate, being “pro-life” has been a huge part of their identity for decades. Sticking it to the Libs is a major motivator for them now. Anyway they can, including forcing gays back into the closet and women back into the kitchen. There will be demonstrations for sure, though not sure what that is supposed to accomplish. Pro-choice and anti-choice people will be hitting the streets. Plus stupid stunts such as this: ‘Pro-life Spiderman’: anti-abortion activist climbs San Francisco’s tallest building.

“Dems will send out fundraising emails.” And that’s about it. Since the Dems had nearly fifty years to pass a federal law mandating abortion rights, but somehow never got around to it, I don’t think they will suddenly do something now. Biden just said he won’t eliminate the filibuster to make such happen, so the Dems basically have already surrendered on the issue.

Other rights will get taken away. Normally slippery slope arguments are false arguments, but in this case, not so much. Contraception banned: Contraception could come under fire next if Roe v Wade is overturned. The Evangelical Right has stacked the Supreme Court in their favor, and they’d love to cancel marriage equality for starters. Laws against interracial marriage could become constitutional again. “No exception laws” are already being introduced: No-exception laws, once too harsh even for anti-abortion Republicans, gain traction across US

Lives ruined. Sure, the well off will still be able to get abortions, the poor and minors’ options will be severely reduced. Poor women will be killed and maimed by back alley abortions again. 13 year old rape victims will be forced to bear their rapist’s children. State border checkpoints, women’s’ bodies no longer their own. Some states are already talking about making it illegal for a woman to travel to get an abortion: US states could ban people from traveling for abortions, experts warn. An underground abortion railway will arise.

The thing that absolutely will not happen:

Fewer abortions being performed. Roe vs Wade didn’t increase the abortion rate, abortion prohibition is about as effective as alcohol prohibition was or the war on drugs is. A complete failure to to effect the stated cause of the prohibition, plus the creation of all sorts of other problems associated with the prohibition. That’s what happens when a social/medical issue is criminalized.

If people actually wanted to reduce the abortion rate, it’s quite doable. Comprehensive sex education starting in middle school, birth control and family planning on demand. Voila, very low abortion rates. It would be nice if the only abortions were for medical necessity or rape. One of the many horrible things the Evangelical Right believes, they think liberals celebrate abortion. Um, no, liberals would agree the fewer abortions the better.

Conclusion:

Reversing Roe vs Wade is wrong on so many levels. Women can’t have their organs harvested when they’re dead without their permission, but a living woman will be forced by the state to continue a pregnancy that might kill her? And yes it will happen under fetal heartbeat laws: Death of Savita Halappanavar. Which is another false  argument the evangelical right uses, their ‘fetal heartbeat’ is just electrical activity: ‘Heartbeat’ Bills Get the Science of Fetal Heartbeats All Wrong. And on top of that, a heartbeat doesn’t mean someone is alive, plenty of brain dead people had a heartbeat. And the Bible says, very clearly, life begins when the first breath is drawn.

When it comes right down to it, the party that bills itself as the party of freedom, has now declared it will decide how women use their bodies. It has nothing to do with “saving babies,” it’s to force people to only have sex in married relationships for the purposes of procreation. If you’re not ready to have a baby, don’t have sex. Problem solved. People that think like that have no problem with outlawing abortion and birth control because by the way they think, anyone who is behaving ‘properly’ has no need for either.

The problem, and it’s a huge problem, is that the idea that only people who want to have children should have sex is a religious belief. Period. And religious beliefs are what a person uses to guide their own behavior, to make them the law of the land is tyranny. Sadly some faiths, fundamental Christianity and Islam in particular, feel it’s part of their faith to convert everyone else to their faith by any means necessary. It’s not about religion, it’s about making their religion the law of the land. This really has nothing to do with abortion, it’s about making America into a right wing evangelical theocracy. They are quite clear on that: Dominion Theology.

Postscript:

It’s been a few days since I wrote the above. Those who think, “phew, at least my state won’t ban abortion,” think again: Mitch McConnell floats federal abortion ban if right-wing Supreme Court overturns Roe. There’s been at least one unhinged reaction to the Supreme Court leak. “100000000 times more serious than the Capitol riot.” Hyperbole much? See: “An Actual Insurrection”: Conservatives Equate Supreme Court Roe v. Wade Leak to Literal Violence. Oh, and this, killing public education: Greg Abbott Reveals the GOP’s Plan After Killing Roe v. Wade: Killing Public Education.

Last but not least: The Long Hand of Slave Breeding, Redux. It’s a long read filled with history, but makes a good case that connects the people that want to overturn Roe vs Wade with people who bred slaves in the 19th century. There’s just a whole class of American men that want to control everything, including the bodies of women and blacks. And honestly I think  they’re about as powerful today as they ever were. Maybe more so.

I fear for my nation’s future.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Barricades were put up around the SCOTUS building after the Roe vs. Wade draft was leaked. Credit, unknown, found on twitter? That was the attribution where I found it. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

May 9, 2022 at 8:04 am

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

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This map helps to understand Ukraine and the divisions that have wracked it since the nation was created after the collapse of the Soviet Union. What became Ukraine was created administratively by the Soviet Union, so its borders didn’t really matter while the Soviet Union existed. Once the Soviet Union collapsed problems began almost immediately: Russia-Ukraine Tensions Flared Early in the Post-Soviet Era | The National Interest.

And now the latest and worse problem, the Russo-Ukraine War, continues, exactly as Washington wants it to: The War Party’s Dictates on the Ukraine War Weapons continue to pour into Ukraine. Where they go then, who knows.  The US Has No Idea Where Its Ukrainian Military Aid Is Going. Ukraine was already a horribly corrupt country before the war, there’s zero reason to think it’s any less corrupt now. In Hollywood fantasy movies people band together in the face of adversity. In reality the grifters and war profiteers go nuts in hard times. The Russo-Ukrainian War is basically a US proxy war against Russia now:  The Second Level Geopolitical War in Ukraine Takes Over

So that’s the plan and news in the west, the world is united against Russian aggression, and with western help the Ukrainians will win the war. NATO expands, Russia is weakened and vanquished, NATO expands, democracy and freedom all around. There are endless problems with this narrative. Despite the “news” in the west, the world is most definitely not siding with the US. Only 30 of the world’s 195 countries have agreed to the US sanctions against Russia. Most of the world more or less thinks “NATO made this mess, it’s not our problem.” On Ukraine, the World Majority Sides With Russia Over US.

I’m really starting to think US foreign policy is basically on auto-pilot. Cold War forever, the response to the Russian invasion seems entirely predictable. NATO is going to conquer the world in the name of good, no need for planning or nuance, just keep moving forward, like this: Nine reasons why NATO should close the door to Sweden and Finland. Excellent reasons not to, but NATO may indeed. Our foreign policy seems determined to meet the desires of the Pentagon and arms industry, playing lip service to democracy and freedom.

The problem is it’s not 1970 anymore, the US is no longer the undisputed economic and military leader of the planet. Hell, even then there were limits to our military as Vietnam showed. Granted to this day we clearly refuse to understand that: “Nothing is Impossible” Finds It Impossible to Tell the Truth About Vietnam. IE, Washington is living in a fantasy world it has sold to its people and itself. Pretty sure if one’s game strategy is completely predictable and at odds with reality, the advantage is to the other team. Works that way in both football and war.

I’m not the only one thinking on these lines. What if Russia Wins Its War Against Ukraine. The one thing that is 100% predictable about wars: they rarely come to predictable ends. And the bigger the players, the less predictable such wars become. Russia is still a big player. And Putin is the smartest leader to hit the world’s stage in a long time, he ran circles around both Bush and Obama. And despite western fantasies, his popularity is rising. Maybe the war is going exactly as Putin planned? It’s possible, people who can’t see that are like the people who don’t understand Trump’s appeal. People are like they are, not as how we want them to be.

So, a couple of other links on US autopilot hypocrisy: Iran Talks Stall: Does America Even Believe in Diplomacy Anymore? Trump canceled a perfectly good agreement, just resign it. Or this: “After spending months lecturing the world on the rights of states to set their own foreign policy course and to decide on their own alliances, the US is once again reminding small states that it assumes that their freedom to make those decisions is contingent on Washington’s approval.” Breaking the Habit of Bullying Small States. Hypocrisy especially illustrated: When the US does it, it’s sanctions. Russia does it, it’s gas blackmail. If you wanted an example of how the mainstream media is just an American propaganda outlet, this is it: Russia begins ‘gas blackmail’ halting supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, governments told.

The Russo-Ukrainian War is not good vs evil, the Manichean heresy, it’s just a stupid border war between major industrialized states, one nuclear armed. With some outside world powers doing their best to prolong the conflict. Lots of evil to go around, very little good. We’re through the looking glass here folks, the most terrible major power war since the US invasion of Iraq. And it turned out far differently, and far worse, than almost any of the pundits predicted. Granted the US invasion of Iraq was based on fantasy while Putin’s attack was much more reality based.

Still, this war is another great example of, like almost all wars, “It takes two fools to have a fight.”

PS: Next post: Soft liars vs hard liars.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Etho-linguistic Map of Ukraine. Credit: User:Yerevantsi/Maps, published legally under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Written by unitedcats

May 1, 2022 at 8:06 pm

IS UKRAINE RUSSIAN FOR DIEN BIEN PHU?

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Links and at least an attempt to deconstruct what’s going on in Ukraine today. The above is the current situation as of 23 April 2022. Note that Russia has withdrawn from its incursions in the north, but has consolidated its control of the south and east. They now control a land link to Crimea. And unofficially at least they may seek to control all of Southern Ukraine, linking them to Russian separatists in Transnistria, the gray area in the lower mid left off the map: Russian General Suggests Moscow Could Seize Ukraine’s Entire Coast, Create Link to Transnistria.

It’s been clear since the beginning that overt conquest of Ukraine wasn’t Russia’s aim, the modest scale of the invasion force, and the subsequent withdrawal from the north, pretty much confirms that. There’s still some Ukrainian troops holding out in Mariupol, but otherwise Russia has control of the whole south eastern Ukraine region apparently. Note that Crimea is connected to Russia by a bridge at the lower right, built since Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014. That Ukraine hasn’t attempted to knock this bridge out is another indication that the war is limited on both sides. In the western hysterical press, it’s Hitler invading Poland. In reality, it’s a stupid border war between two sovereign states. Let’s hope it stays that way.

It’s kind of fascinating watching the US narrative. Americans have been convinced that Putin is a monster and the entire world is lining up to oppose him. That’s the beauty of being the most propagandized people on Earth: Where’s the Truth? How the CIA Shapes the Minds of Americans. The rest of the world though, meh, NATO made this problem, it’s not our problem. You won’t hear much like this in the western press: Turkey Says Some NATO Members Want Longer Ukraine War to Hurt Russia. Or this of course: To Fight Russia, Europe’s Regimes Risk Impoverishment and Recession for Europe. And of course one will never hear this in the west:  Minsk II: Two Words You’ll Never Hear on Mainstream News

A few other links with perspective one won’t find on CNN: Against World War III This one is about comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the historical situation that is most comparable to the current situation in Ukraine. Then: If we don’t want nuclear war, why are we pushing for one? Good question. Well, it is terrible times, Covid, Global Warming, why not add some nuclear weapons in the mix. The Pentagon, not to mention many Americans, would love an excuse to use nuclear weapons. Myself, I think war with Russia is best to avoid: First Priority – Avoid US War With Russia. Then: Shades of Gray in the Russia-Ukraine War

Many Americans have internalized American exceptionalism, we’re the good guys so we can use force. And of course we always use war responsibly to minimize civilian casualties. As if killing fewer babies, but not deliberately targeting them, was a good thing. How does one argue with people who are horrified by the Russian war on Ukraine, but are indifferent at worst to America’s wars on Iraq, Syria, Serbia, and Libya, just for starters? Blogging is all I got for now. War as an instrument of national policy is the problem, not Putin.

Someone said it decades ago, paraphrasing: “If you’re going to be the world’s policeman, you’re gonna find out how many street corners the world has.” The ugly truth is that Ukraine is about as insignificant to US security as it could get. As is the South Pacific:  The misbegotten notion that the South Pacific is a US sphere of influence The truth is that even the Monroe Doctrine was imperial overstretch, Ukraine is not the hill our empire should die on. We’re so conditioned to thinking the USA is invincible and has it all under control, that anything other than a humiliating defeat for Putin is unimaginable. Ukraine could be the biggest miscalculation in American history.

We could go for it in Ukraine … and suffer a defeat that makes Dien Bien Phu look minor. Can’t happen of course. Snort. History is full of things that people thought “couldn’t happen.” That’s what makes history fun. And terrifying.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Situation in Ukraine around 23 April 2022. Credit: Viewsridge. Reproduced legally: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 24, 2022 at 8:05 pm

IF BEING FOR PEACE AND DIPLOMACY MAKES ME “OFF BASE,” I AM PROUDLY OFF BASE

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The flagship of the Russian Back Sea fleet has been sunk by Ukrainian missiles. Largest warship to be sunk since World War Two. A symbolic and morale victory for Ukraine. Another major event in the war of our times. Symbolic because it’s not going to change the course of the war anyhow, it’s a land war, not a sea war. Also one day closer to the day when all large warships are obsolete. The latter is just my opinion though.

So the terrible war continues. Want a blog where Putin is the devil, Zelensky a hero, and the war is a struggle between good and evil? Move right along, the western mainstream media has it covered. As a Russian visitor to the US once said: “In the Soviet Union we had to shoot reporters to get them to repeat government propaganda. In America, they do it voluntarily!” And hey, for the sake of argument I’m happy to grant that Putin is a monster whose attack on Ukraine was unjust and unprovoked. That doesn’t change the fact that both Zelensky and the USA are doing what they can to prolong the war, not end it. Even if the Russo-Ukraine wasn’t a US proxy war to start with, it most certainly is one now.

Like this: Blinken Tells European Allies He Believes Ukraine War Will Last Through 2022. Or this: Zelensky pushes for more weapons to fight Russia. I mean, yeah, sure, you’re at war and need weapons? But if you don’t get more weapons there will be a bloodbath? More war and weapons is how one creates bloodbaths, not prevents them. Why not try to end the war through diplomacy? Oh right, Putin is a madman so war is the only option. Depicting Putin as ‘Madman’ Eliminates Need for Diplomacy. That appears to be where most pro-war people I talk to are coming from, they’ve really bought the endless demonization of Putin and Russia they’ve been steeped in for decades. War, what is it good for? Profits: New Reporting Details Corporate Media’s War Industry Pundits.

Aside from the just plain horror of it all, there are peoples all over the world fighting for their independence, sometimes for decades, often against regimes far more brutal than Putin’s Russia. Where is their endless news coverage, billions of dollars of aid and weapons, and crippling sanctions against their oppressors? If America was so about freedom and self-determination, Ukraine would be just one of many causes Biden was championing. Instead, the vast majority of Americans remain utterly in the dark. Palestine, Kurdistan, Tibet, Rohingya, and numerous others. But yeah, Ukraine is where the US has chosen to fight for freedom. Snort.

The more I understand how the world works, the more I understand why putative aliens would fly right by, locking their doors as they pass. A planet with over five thousand ethnic groups, ruled by fewer than 200 armed gangs. Poverty, injustice,  and wealth inequality are rampant. Armaments and fossil fuels are the planet’s top two industries. Humans are killing each other by the millions every year, and fossil fuels are literally destroying the planet’s climate and killing millions more by way of air pollution. Yeah, even Kirk and Spock would leave this one alone.

And I guess I’m gonna keep blogging about the war. The Russo-Ukrainian War is the Vietnam War of my time, except this time our designated enemy has nuclear weapons. No genocide yet. And I’m hoping this might eventually revive the peace movement in the US. Granted I think corporate control of the media and government propaganda make that unlikely, but a man can dream. I was accused by a reader of being “off base” for suggesting that peace and diplomacy are laudable paths. That makes me proudly off base. There’s people risking death and jail fighting for peace in Ukraine and Russia. I guess I can risk losing friends by blogging for peace in America.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The recently sunk Russian cruiser Moskva. Credit: Mil.ru. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 18, 2022 at 1:32 pm

UNPOPULAR OPINION: THE WAR IS OVER, PUTIN WON

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I try to stay moored in reality. IE what is, is, reality doesn’t care about anyone’s opinions. It’s going to do whatever happens no matter how that meshes with anyone’s opinion of how the world works. And when huge numbers of people think their opinion is reality, problems arise. And in contemporary America, we have problems along these lines. On both left and right.

This limits my reading audience considerably these days. I digress. Back on point, I think the Russo-Ukrainian War is effectively over. Putin won, nothing next but a lot of whining in the American west. And maybe destroying the world economy. Wait, what? It’s fairly simple. Putin accomplished his goals: The Ukrainian military has been decimated, Russia is free to annex Donbas, NATO and Biden proved spineless, Ukraine won’t be joining NATO anytime soon. Russia is essentially sanction proof. In fact, Biden’s efforts to sanction Russia will hurt the west worse than Russia. Yeah, preventing Russian athletes from running in the Boston Marathon will really hurt Putin.

Nuclear war avoided, nothing left but endless op ed twaddle trying to frame the war as an American victory. Nope. The high water mark off the American Empire, the Russian Red Line held, we’re reduced to threatening China with the same sanctions that failed to achieve victory in Ukraine. No idea what happens now, but expect it’s going to be weird. The horrifying contradictions of the American Century will become increasingly unhinged. Good times.

I do understand the “mainstream” view: ‘The US leads the free world, rule of law, freedom, arsenal of democracy. NATO expanding meant more people joining the free world. And for the last decade at least Russia and China have become more aggressive. China is militarizing the South China Sea, expanding its influence around the globe with the New Silk Road initiative. Russia even more so with its aggression in Georgia and Crimea. And now an all out invasion of Ukraine, a horrifying humanitarian crisis, Putin must be reined in at least.’

All true. Well, some of it is true. Sort of.  A good illustration that lies of omission are the greatest lies. IE there’s no context to any of it, and what it leaves out is legion. Here’s a good article that talks about the media bias and double standards in the west. Just for starters, the utterly illegal US invasion of Iraq resulted in a million deaths, and that’s the conservative estimate: From Korea to Libya: On the Future of Ukraine and NATO’s Never-Ending Wars. And then this, Mr. Paul always offers a different perspective. CIA Admits Feeding Americans False Info About Ukraine.

I do hope it’s over soon. Kremlin Says Russia’s War in Ukraine Could End ‘In Foreseeable Future’. Though it seems clear the Biden administration is in no hurry: Is the Biden Administration Trying to Prolong the Ukraine War? The media is saying now there will be a big fight in Donbas. I wouldn’t hold my breath, I don’t think the Ukrainian army has the offensive capability to drive Russia out. And the Russians have air superiority, almost always fatal for an attacking force.

PS: Zelensky going around the world to give speeches to adoring (mostly) parliaments is kinda weird. As in, other than stroking his ego, what is the point? Weapons and money aren’t going to win the war for him, and at this point it seems clear no one is going to directly challenge a nuclear armed Russia. Shouldn’t he be trying to end the war, not prolong it? Like I said earlier, this might get increasingly weird.

Next, a blog about my cat. Maybe. Stay safe and warm everyone, we’re getting a week of unseasonable snow, rain, and hail here in Eastern Oregon.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image. Flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic. They voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from Ukraine, though how fair that vote was, and was it after a million or more ethnic Ukrainians fled? Still, no different than some of the horrors perpetrated in the Balkans in the nineties, that passed completely under the radar in the west. Credit: Владимир Ђорђевић “I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:

I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.”)

Written by unitedcats

April 12, 2022 at 7:48 pm

“DO I NOT DESTROY MY ENEMIES WHEN I MAKE THEM MY FRIENDS?”

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Well, the war in Ukraine is getting worse, wars tend to do that, one of the reasons to try and avoid them … and one of the reasons to try and end them once they begin. There aren’t really any winners in wars, they represent the ultimate fail of human relations, both international and domestic. Humans deliberately killing other humans in organized violence, pretty much doesn’t get worse than that. Putin is a war criminal, and like all war criminals, it would be good if he was brought to justice someday. The chances seem remote though, fantasies of the Russian people rising up and deposing him are just that, fantasies. Hey though, the people in Washington pushing such twaddle are the same people who fantasized that Iraqis would welcome our invading armies with flowers and democracy would flow across the Middle East.

I have no problem condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What I have a problem with is how the west is portraying it. This war is  portrayed by Washington as a struggle between democracy and autocracy, good vs evil, freedom vs Hitler. Sigh. The world is not black and white, and pretending it leads nowhere good. Granted the US has been doing this a long time now, at least since World War Two, but it’s depressing that so many have completely accepted this destructive fantasy for fact. There’s literally nothing noble about this war, or any war really, the US did everything they could to encourage it, and even the government of Ukraine played a role:  Zelensky Rejected German Security Proposal Before Russian Invasion. Apparently he rejected Putin’s last not-unreasonable offer … because he didn’t trust Putin to adhere to it. The logic there escapes me, if a guy threatens war if you don’t do X, why not do X if you were going to do it anyways?

And now a day or two after I wrote the above, there are allegations of Russian atrocities in areas they withdrew from. Accepted as fact instantly in the west. I have doubts, it’s not a slam dunk. Doesn’t matter, Biden and Zellensky seem determined to push for endless war. As far as I can tell Americans think they are winning, I think it’s much more complicated than that. I think Biden is utterly determined not to let anything happen that could be spun as any sort of Russian victory, my way or the highway has been American “foreign policy” for a century. It’s a trap though, locking ourselves into a black and white worldview limits our options terribly. And I think Putin knows that.

I don’t know what’s going on. No one ever does when wars start, but that doesn’t apparently stop them from thinking they do. Maybe it was insanity and evil on Putin’s part, and he’s losing badly. Maybe Putin and China are playing Biden like a fiddle and it’s all going according to their plan. The truth lies somewhere in the middle I suspect, somewhere no one is expecting. My guess is this war will be a watershed moment, things will never be the same afterwards. Especially for those who die, are maimed, and their loved ones. In that sense, like all wars, it’s a nightmare.

I hope for peace, but alas I think 75 years of Americans being raised to think Russians are evil runs too deep. And a hundred years of America insisting on unconditional surrender. Lincoln spent the entire war trying to make peace with the South, that’s his quote in the title. Biden is about as far from Lincoln as it gets. We’re doomed.

Next up, a post about a cat. The war is too depressing.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Maybe it’s satire, if not it’s darkly ironic.)

Written by unitedcats

April 6, 2022 at 9:16 pm

THE RUSSO-UKRAINIAN WAR, DAY 38

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The Russo-Ukrainian War continues. I’m still trying to figure it out. To say that the current global situation is complicated and unstable would be an understatement. It doesn’t look like this war is going to end anytime soon. The last time there was open war between developed nations was the Falklands in 1982 or the Yom Kippur War in 1973. I guess you could call the Gulf Wars such, but they were both essentially walkovers. And on paper Russia vs Ukraine should be a walkover, the fact that it isn’t pretty much is a slam dunk that Russia’s war aims are limited, this isn’t Hitler rolling into Poland. When Hitler invaded Poland he committed essentially all of his military might. 

So what is Putin up to? According to the western press he’s a guy surrounded by lying incompetents, evil to boot, who has made a terrible mistake and is failing terribly in his war endeavors. IE the complete opposite of the brilliant strategist who has defended Russia and its friends for decades, outmaneuvering both Obama and Bush when confronted. Maybe, people change, but I’m guessing Putin is as clever as ever, and however desperate this war is, he has plans and alternate plans. Assuming your enemy is an idiot or incompetant has been the basis of countless military disasters in history, and if the Biden administration really thinks Putin is a fool, America is really fucked. 

When stuff like this is happening, ripple effects will spread out around the world. Especially since Putin almost certainly wouldn’t have invaded without China’s tacit support, and it’s more than likely carefully coordinated with them. In fact one of the very first thoughts I had about this, would China try to retake Taiwan while this is going on? I think whatever is going on is more subtle than that though, if I had to guess I think a subtle counter punch to America global hegemony might be part of their plan. Things like this Cambodia Signs Military Deal With China After US Pressure and this: Security agreement with China ‘initialled’ by both countries, Solomon Islands says | Asia Pacific | The Guardian. In fact the latter brushed off US objections by saying they intend to be friends to all, enemies to none. This may well have been a slap to America’s face, since that was what the founding fathers intended  … and Washington is the complete opposite of today. 

Even regionally, this is fascinating: South Ossetia Planning to Hold Referendum To Join Russia. South Ossetia is the homeland of people who have been loyal Russian allies for centuries. It was never a problem until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the borders drawn up by NATO made South Ossetia part of Georgia, which the Ossetians manifestly did not want to a part of. They fought two wars to remain independent from Georgia, the second one where Georgia attacked Russian peacekeeping troops … and got pounded by Russia in response. I suspect the vote will be overwhelming, if nothing else Russia does stand by its friends. The USA is already screaming that the “territorial integrity” of Georgia is sacred or some such, which is code for ‘only the USA gets to draw the world’s borders.’

Those days may be coming to an end.  The world is changing, the US is no longer the undisputed ruler of the world. It never really was except in many Americans fevered imagination. Most Americans don’t grasp that, and the Biden administration doesn’t appear to get it either: The Bush-Biden Doctrine – The American Conservative. Or this, perhaps Biden’s grasp of the situation Washington created really isn’t as nuanced as it needs to be: Insult Diplomacy: Does Biden’s Vilification of Putin Help? Day 37 and the war continues, who knows what tomorrow will bring. Whatever it does, I’ll blog on it.

Well, this morning brought this link: Rand Paul: Promoting negotiations over war doesn’t make you a Putin sympathizer – Responsible Statecraft. I’m normally underwhelmed by anything Rand Paul says, but here he’s the voice of reason. It’s appalling to me that so many people on the Democrats’ side are falling for “Putin is evil and more war is the solution.”  And yes, all my recent blog posts have been about the war in Ukraine. That’s because aside from Global Warming it’s the top story of the day. And the longer it goes on, the worse it will get.

Hope all are having a good weekend.

Copyright © 2022 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

April 2, 2022 at 9:31 pm

SLEEPWALKING INTO THE APOCALYPSE

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Washington has lived in a self created fantasy world for about 100 years now, and every time reality has threatened to overturn their narrative, they’ve pretty much doubled down on it. Sadly most of the American public has bought into the fantasy narrative, and cheers on whatever war is being currently touted by Washington as “The good fight.” There was a brief period during and immediately after the disastrous Vietnam War when some Americans became aware their government was lying, but the corporate takeover of America’s mainstream media had pretty much shut that down by 1980 or so. Phew, the wars continue and the corporate profits roll in. And now in Ukraine, possibly the most fantasy based war yet, where what we hear on the “news” is almost pure drivel.

Here is an excellent article that goes into a lot of historical detail about how we got into this mess: Washington Is Delirious With War Fever – For No Reason of Homeland Security. One of the most interesting parallels is the end of WW1 and the Collapse of the Soviet Union. In both cases the victors drew lines on the map with almost no consideration for the facts on the ground, instead they were drawn up for imperial ambitions, and often in the case of America, for domestic political concerns. Pretty much like all of European history, except in the past the winners they didn’t pretend they were the good guys creating a better world. World War Two was almost entirely because of the horrific conditions forced on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles after World War One; and right now it’s looking like World War Three might very well ultimately result from the horrible conditions placed on Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Another curious point the article makes is that the Ukrainian military has been all but destroyed, and it really hasn’t impeded the Russian advance much. One certainly wouldn’t know that from western media coverage, where the plucky Ukrainians are valiantly defending their independence from Russian aggression. Putin has announced he is limiting military activity around Kyiv and going to concentrate on the Donbass and Crimea. If I had to guess now, I’d say that unless Ukraine agrees to Russia’s demands, which are perfectly reasonable despite the hysterics emanating from Washington, Putin will simply occupy the Russian majority areas of Eastern Ukraine. That would give him the buffer he wanted and protect the Russians living in such areas. The last thing Putin wants is to occupy all of Ukraine and end up with an endless guerilla war.

Would Washington accept a defacto Russian victory? Not sure they would have much choice, sanctions aren’t going to stop Russia, in fact it can well be argued that the sanctions will cause far more harm to the world economy than Russia’s economy. Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face so to speak. You’d think by now that Americans would realize just how counterproductive sanctions really are. From Cuba, Iraq, Iran, to North Korea sanctions have done nothing but hurt the poor in those countries but make their people and governments more determined to resist US hegemony. Alas Washington isn’t worried about effectiveness, as long as the war profiteering continues forever, all good.

Meanwhile, in other world affairs, the news from Antarctica is extremely grim. Background: Antarctica is essentially composed of two ice sheets, the WAIS and the EAIS. Until now, the effects of global warming have largely been confined to the west, as the WAIS is considerably less stable than the EAIS. When the WAIS slides into the ocean, the world’s sea levels will rise about 3.3 m (11 ft). To say this would be a global catastrophe is an understatement. And to date there is no understanding of how likely this is to happen anytime soon, but scientists are gravely concerned that the collapse is already underway.

Until now the EAIS was thought to be much more stable than the WAIS, in fact it was considered by many to be effectively invulnerable to global warming. That may be about to change as East Antarctica has been hit by unprecedented warming, and this just happened: Ice Shelf Collapse in East Antarctica. Yes, an ice shelf on the edge of the EAIS has collapsed, catching scientists by complete surprise. While it seems unlikely that the EAIS will collapse anytime soon, if it does the results would be far worse than the collapse of the WAIS. If the EAIS collapses, it could raise global sea levels as much as 53.3 m (175 ft). IE, most of the world’s great cities, as well as many entire countries would be inundated.

So yes, while America argues about Oscar slapping, we are sleepwalking into nuclear war and catastrophic global warming. Woohoo! What a time to be alive. There is a silver lining though, maybe Biden is smarter than I imagine. Even a modest nuclear war would cause dramatic global cooling, a nuclear winter lasting years. No more global warming. Brilliant!

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

Image: Self explanatory. Public domain image found on Snappygoat, no attribution required.

Written by unitedcats

March 30, 2022 at 8:16 pm

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The Russo-Ukraine War is still at the top of the news of course. All over it actually, pretty much the only news story going right now. I haven’t been following the details because, well, they don’t matter. It’s not a freaking sports event with teams and scores, no one knows who is winning or what that would even mean. And of course the news, at least the mainstream news, is horrifically biased. It’s actually freaking weird living in a country where the news is almost entirely propaganda … but everyone believes they are being informed. I’ve heard it said Americans are the most propagandized people on Earth, I can believe it.

Still, some stories stick out. This for example: US Needs More Arms Factories, Says Chief Weapons-Buyer Nominee. Right, NATO is spending twenty times as much as Russia, arms spending is already one of the world’s top two industries … but it’s not enough. We need moar weapons. America, our infrastructure is falling apart, our schools and healthcare are the disgrace of the developed world, but by God we got weapons. And we will soon have more apparently: US May Invoke Defense Production Act to Fill Weapons Stocks Depleted by Ukraine Donations

More than one article on this shark feeding of weapons buying: Pentagon Scrambles to Restock Weapons Sent to Ukraine as Arm Makers Look to Cash In. And the Pentagon hasn’t missed a beat either: Pentagon Exploits Ukraine War to Sink Another Billion Into Failed Zumwalt-Class Destroyers. Yes, this war means even more money for a warship without a purpose. The most bloated military the world has ever known is getting more bloated as I type.  Coincidentally enough, the US is in no hurry for this war to end: US Signals It’s Discouraging Zelensky from Making Concessions to Russia That Could End the Fighting.

Yes, Putin is a war criminal, his invasion of Ukraine is monstrous. The Russo-Ukrainian War, like all wars, can’t really be defended in any way. However, and it’s a nuclear sized however, that’s where western coverage of the war ends. Scant mention of how hard the US worked for decades to bring this war about: How the West Sabotaged Ukraine. Very good article that really goes into the background of Ukraine and the history leading up to this mess. And of course no mention is ever made of how the US is doing their best to prolong this war, not bring it to an end. It takes two fools to have a fight, war means both governments have failed.  What a mess: From Moscow to Washington, the Barbarism and Hypocrisy Don’t Justify Each Other.

And while this war superficially resembles the US efforts to get Russia bogged down in Afghanistan, a hopeless war, Ukraine isn’t Afghanistan. The Russian’s loss in Afghanistan was no threat to world peace, it wasn’t going to cause a nuclear war. This war is far different, it’s not going to end with some miraculous Ukrainian victory, Russia defeated and chastised, with NATO victoriously deploying troops in newly joined NATO members Ukraine and Georgia. Why not? Because Putin has made it clear he will use nuclear weapons to prevent that. Having the US station potential first strike weapons minutes missile flight of Russia’s heartland is something Russia can’t allow. That most Americans don’t understand what a terrible risk prolonging this war is shows just how horribly our media is misleading us, and we may well pay a terrible price: Will Humans Be the Next ‘Freedom Fries’?,  Is Victory for Ukraine Worth Risking Nuclear War?, and Is official Washington flirting with world war?

On the plus side, if there can be said to be a plus side about nuclear war, I’m reasonably safe here in rural Oregon. Even Sarah Palin couldn’t see Russia from my place. Hell, there’s so few lights at night that I was able to see the Zodiacal Light for the first time in decades. This is a bright glow in the sky immediately after and near where the Sun sets or will rise in the sky. (Also called False Dawn if before sunrise.) It’s the Sun illuminating the disk of dust orbiting the Sun in the same plane that the planets orbit the Sun.

Perspective, a wonderful thing. Most people would rather have a narrative spoon fed to them, and there’s plenty to do the spooning. Last check, no new news. Russia hints they may pull back. I’m all for an end to the fight, then everyone can sit down and work things out.

The US will not do that. Enter the whirlwind. Have a safe weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A mall in Kyiv destroyed by a Russian cruise missile strike. Why did the Russians fire missiles at a mall? Very possibly because a Ukrainian TikTok user broadcast a video showing it being used as a Ukrainian military depot. Oops. He’s been arrested. If it’s true, means Russia is making good use of open source intelligence, IE monitoring open media for information of military value. Credit: Unknown Ukrainian source, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 25, 2022 at 8:06 pm