Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘2020’ Category


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So breaking news today, the FBI has arrested a number of men plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor and start a civil war, heeding Trump’s call to “liberate” Michigan. Glad they were caught. I’m not as excited as some, sounds like a bunch of idiot yahoos likely encouraged by FBI informants to concoct a ridiculous plot. It’s not a good sign though, armed insurrection is an insane overreaction at this point. Governor Whitmer was furious, and blamed Trump for inciting groups like this to violence. (In his debate with Biden, Trump  pointedly refused to condemn such groups.) The FBI has been tracking these particular people for months, so it’s not like the debate inspired them.

Honestly I think Whitmer should have studiously avoided laying the blame at Trump’s feet, now his supporters will rally round him and blame the Dems for the nation’s partisanship divide. Her statement was a softball pitch to Trump at least. I guess progressives will support her statement, a lot of people are still processing it all. I’m still not sure what to think. I’ve already seen one Trump supporter blame Antifa, it’s not out of the question Trump will blame his imaginary “extreme leftists” for actually fomenting the plot somehow. We’ll see, I’m writing at midday, who knows what will happen in the next six hours.

I visited The Drudge Report today. First time in years. It’s a conservative counterpoint to more or less. I was surprised, shocked even, I’d heard Mr Drudge wasn’t supporting Trump anymore. The first link I saw was this: Dying in a Leadership Vacuum. It’s an article from the Harvard Medical School in the New England Journal of Medicine … about how catastrophically incompetant the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19 is. And this: PIERS MORGAN: Donald Trump’s dying presidency is crashing and burning in a reckless, chaotic, dangerous, earth-scorching ball of fire – because he fears the American people are about to tell him: ‘YOU’RE FIRED!’ I think we can safely say Matt Drudge isn’t a Trump supporter anymore.

Final thoughts on yesterday’s Harris-Pence “debate.” It wasn’t a debate. A debate is a moderated discussion of real things. It can certainly include politics and religion, but it has to be anchored in reality. In the very first question, Pence simply ignored reality, and promoted the Trump alternate reality where Trump’s Covid-19 virtue signaling “saved millions of lives.” Debate isn’t possible with someone who’s living in a fantasy world, how can it be? There’s nothing to argue, by all scientific and rational standards Trump’s Covid-19 response was wildly inadequate. Compared to any other developed country the USA is a Covid-19 basket case. We had nearly 1,000 deaths yesterday, Canada had 19. And other developed countries had similar low numbers. The USA is the worst hit country by Covid-19, certainly among developed countries. So even debating it with Trump gives this nonsense credence. The Nation suggested cancelling presidential debates. Cancel the Presidential Debates—Permanently. It makes a lot of good points, I agree, they’ve become farcical.

I dunno, Pelosi, whom I don’t really like (irrelevant, I know) is talking about invoking the 25th Amendment. This is where an incapacitated president is removed from power. Part of me says, no, this is crazy talk. But after watching Pence last night, I realized that Trump’s claim that he won a great victory against Covid-19 and saved millions of lives is as if Lee claimed Gettysburg was a great victory and now the war was almost won. It is literally that batshit crazy. Will Trump go so off the rails that even Pence and company will agree he needs to step down? Damned if I know.

Current thinking, Trump’s gonna get more and more out there and alienate all but his inner core, and lose the election by an undeniable landslide. He’ll resign, Pence will pardon him, and he’ll slink away. That’s the good version. Things could still get way uglier, and won’t be surprised if they do. Trump was basically claiming today that he wants his attorney general to arrest Obama, Biden, Clinton. The evidence being some declassified stuff that even the GOP Senate committee investigating didn’t think worth pursuing. What if Trump picks up the phone and orders those arrests?

Could be a lot more interesting than some yahoos thinking that plotting treason and rebellion was a good idea. 2020 never lets up on the interesting news, so no end of blog topics. My cancer surgery has been scheduled for November, so hoping that means I’ll be around to see how the election turns out at least. It’s my fervent hope. When I visit graveyards I’m always especially saddened by people who died in years like 1944 or 1864. It would be like being at a Superbowl game, and dying in the last inning before the winner was determined. I mean wow, death is a bummer, but just before the end of the game? That’s cold God.

Actually God is always implacably fair down to subatomic levels. The rules of the Universe are never broken. Stay safe and sane everyone. Shares, likes, comments, appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: “Fall of the Rebel Angels” by Bruegels, 1562. Public Domain. I chose it for my debate post last night, it just seems like an image that captures the times we are in. Then the fly happened, and that had to be used. Crazy times.)

Written by unitedcats

October 8, 2020 at 8:48 pm


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Trump’s out of the hospital. He tweeted up a storm this morning. Still confusion and conflicting reports on how sick he was and is. He’s certainly not out of the woods yet, despite his rosy claims to the contrary. His tweets were up to par. Still downplaying Covid-19, praising American medicine, utterly oblivious to the fact that most Americans will never see anything like the care he got. On the public dime no less. The rich are never bothered by being the recipients of socialism, interesting, nu?

And endless twitter attacks on the Democrats. All caps even, so we know he was serious. The usual straw man arguments. Never had a president like this in my life, one who endlessly demonizes anyone not in his base. Obama wore a tan suit and people on the right freaked, he never even remotely said the kinds of things about Republicans that Trump routinely says and tweets about Democrats. It would be absurd if this wasn’t so hateful and divisive … and weird.

There was a moment at Trump’s last Minnesota rally that really kind of summed up the surreal craziness that is Trump. He was raging about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. And he said he’d been reading for years all these reports about her corruption and crimes, leading into a “Lock her up!” chant. OK, reports? What reports were these? If Trump has been getting reports about crimes and corruption, why is nothing being done? The justice department works for him, in fact every federal agency works for him? Why aren’t any federal agencies looking into this, members of congress don’t have any immunity for criminal acts? Why isn’t the Senate holding hearings? And what, exactly, are these crimes he’s read these reports about?

In other words, Trump’s got nothing on Ilhan Omar. This is all a fantasy in Trump’s head. But he’s preaching to people who thought Obama was a secret Muslim working for ISIS, so of course a Somali born congresswoman is no better. This observation is lost on Trump supporters. I doubt many of them read my blog. Who needs a Civil War if both parties already live their lives segregated from each other?

Still seeing peeps who think Trump getting Covid-19 is all a ploy. I suppose on some level it makes sense. Fake getting Covid-19, quickly and easily get over it, then claim “See, just a cold!” It’s all just a Democratic hoax. Yeah, right. (An example of a double positive equaling a negative, love the intricacies of language. And yes, there is similar in other European languages at least, God bless Google.) I don’t think so in other words, Trump’s into bald faced straw man arguments, not complicated deceptive plots.

On the other hand, a nuance that gets lost, even if Trump getting Covid-19 wasn’t some ploy, it’s going to be used as one. Trump is basically betting on making a quick and full recovery, and that the collateral damage as the infection spreads through the White House and beyond is minor. He’ll claim Covid-19 is nothing to worry about, throw away your mask, and get back to work. Herman Cain’s death was a fluke, the actual death toll in the US is exaggerated, and undercounted in other countries. Really, we’re winning with Trump, it’s all under control.

Yeah, right. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Trump is some great genius, Covid-19 is no big deal, he’ll get re-elected and America will enter a Trumpian Golden Age. Would be a huge relief for me. Then I’ll know for certain that when I slammed into that stucco wall Christmas 2018 I was killed and everything after is just a creation of my dying brain.

Stay safe everyone. October is just getting started, gonna be a wild ride. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.(Image: Public Domain image from Snappygoat. Captures my take on the uncertain times we live in.)

Written by unitedcats

October 5, 2020 at 8:49 pm


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Trump is still kicking. He even made a brief drive by foray from the hospital. They say he might go home Monday. Still conflicting reports on how sick he was and is. The fact that he’s not tweeting up a storm would indicate to me that he’s pretty sick. Numerous other people in his circle are infected as well. Good chance an event they had last Sunday in the White House was a “superspreader” event, so this isn’t over yet. Seems pretty clear Biden is gaining in the polls, hard to see how Trump could spin this in a way that makes him look good. I’m sure he’ll try though.

I can’t see any but Trump’s hard core supporters being impressed by Covid-19 spreading through the White House. We’re still losing about 750 people a day to Covid-19, the only thing worse in history is the Civil War and a few months of the 1918 flu. This means as it spreads, more and more people are going to have friends or loved ones sickened or killed by Covid-19. Reality intrudes on fantasy. Here’s a good overview: Trump’s strategy of COVID denial is defeated by COVID

Kind of intrudes on multiple levels. 2020 is not a fluke, it’s a culmination of trends scientists and science understanding folks have been warning about for decades. Covid-19 is just one example. By the 1980s scientists had a basic understanding of emergent diseases, those that jumped from animals to humans. And they knew then that sooner or later, something nasty and at least as infectious as the 1918 flu was going to appear. It was a certainty. It was just luck it happened this particular year, but there was nothing unexpected about Covid-19. We could have defended ourselves against it, but our efforts were badly coordinated and poorly implemented. And ultimately failed, Covid-19 is here to stay.

In any event, Covid-19 is just one of the things going on. This is a good article about how Global Warming is slamming us now: 2020: The Year of the Converging Crises, Dealing with one crisis at a time was a luxury that is now over, and climate change has become the “threat multiplier” we knew it would be. The world keeps rolling on too. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region has reached war status. Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Major cities hit as heavy fighting continues. This one’s a mess, but like so many of the world’s conflicts, it appears to be a legacy of colonialist border drawing. (The Soviet Union being the colonialist power in this instance.) Hopefully it won’t spread, but sooner or later another world war is pretty much a given.

And in fun news, the #ProudBoys hashtag has been hijacked by, proud boys! Just not the ones the founders of the Proud Boys had in mind. The Proud Boys are a white supremicist, male only, ultra nationalist organization. Basically fascists. So now gay married couples are hijacking their hashtag with stories of, well, happy gay couples: The “Proud Boys” Hashtag Has Been Taken Over By Gay Love. I thought from the beginning that the “Proud Boys” chosen name was problematic. I was apparently right.

The whole gay marriage furor always baffled me. I grew up in a heteronormative world until I was in my late twenties. I had no contact with gay people, routinely derided them among my peers, didn’t give it much thought. Then I landed in Berkeley amidst a gay friendly community. And gee, finally confronted with gay people, what to think? Well, I think girls are hot. Most girls think guys are hot. What’s the diff if some girls think girls are hot, and some guys think guys are hot? I couldn’t think of any objections. Whatever floats your boat, what consenting adults do is none of my business.

Objection to gay marriage comes down to seeing a married couple … and being offended because their genitals aren’t “appropriate?” Ew, I mean just ew. Who sees a couple and wonders about their genitals? A lot of Republicans apparently. I’m digressing all over the place, I guess I’m worried that some Handmaid’s Tale future for America could still happen.

No horrible new national Trump news as I type now. 30 days until the most important election of my lifetime, if not in US history. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Stay safe everyone, comments, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 4, 2020 at 8:11 pm


with one comment

Wow, never thought I’d be writing a blog post like this. What a few days it has been, on top of an already crazy year. So in summary, President Trump has been hospitalised for Covid-19. There’s a lot of confusion as to exactly when he tested positive, and what his condition in the hospital is. Not going to go there. What we do know, for an absolute fact, is that for a man in his age and condition, Covid-19 is a deadly serious disease. A ten to thirty percent chance of death, and likely as much chance of long term effects. Yes, he might bounce right back, but there’s a very real possibility the president could die in the next week or two. He might be dead already as I type. 

I’m gonna try and walk the straight and narrow here. This should never have happened. THIS SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED. It was known beyond any doubt that Covid-19 was a serious risk for a man of Trump’s age and health. Trump should have been the last person in America to catch Covid-19. Now the president is incapacitated, who knows for how long, and to put it mildly, an incapacitated president is not a good thing for the nation. That this happened is once again irrefutable evidence that Trump is unfit to lead, he couldn’t protect the nation from Covid-19, he couldn’t even protect the White House and his wife. For shame Mr President. (Saw part of his video tweet today, he takes zero responsibility for catching Covid-19.) 

It’s also clear to me that even should Trump recover, he should drop out of the race. The long term effects of Covid-19 aren’t understood at this time, but it is absolutely clear they can be serious. He’s a sick man now no matter his symptoms, it would be like electing a time bomb. Granted Trump will never admit that, so I can’t imagine him dropping out. Even if he recovers, I wish him no personal ill will, but I sure hope this is the end of his political career. Trump claimed Covid-19 was no big deal, all under control, and now his wishful thinking has not only put himself and those around him at risk, an incapacitated president puts the entire country at risk.

These aren’t normal times though, and Trump’s not a normal president. I don’t know what’s going to happen now, no one does. One day at a time now. Scariest time in America since the Cuban missile crisis? I think we can safely say, October is going to be one hell of a ride. Trump’s usual twitter storm has dropped to a trickle, so again, we can safely assume he’s actually sick. The uncertainty roiling around the White House now is going to generate all sorts of wild theories; that we can not only safely assume, it’s pretty much written in stone. Here’s a QAnon take: 

“…Trump does not have COVID-19 and this is all a signal that he is now deep undercover trying to root out Hillary’s child sex slave ring once and for all. It was not clear if this still involves a pizza parlor or if Alex Jones is involved. Recall that at least one man (maybe more) believed it earlier and went to a pizza parlor location with a gun and the police stopped them.”

Well, isn’t that special. Since this still is Doug’s Darkworld, it would be irresponsible of me not to engage in my own wild speculation. The first weird theory that tumbled through my head, what if Trump dies, and they hide it? At this point the technology exists to create videos and such of him “recovering” in the White House. And then Trump wins the election, but afterwards it all unravels and it turns out a dead man was elected POTUS. Not sure just where that’s covered in the Constitution, near the back somewhere?

That seems unlikely though. What happens if Trump simply dies in the next week or two? All hell breaks loose I guess. Again, don’t think this is covered in the Constitution. Especially since lots of mail in votes have been sent already. Could the election just go on with votes for Trump going to Pence? My guess is the election would be postponed somehow, hard to imagine any solution that led to an orderly transition and a resumption of normalcy. 

It should also be pointed out that a lot of people in Trump’s circle have now been exposed, and a number have tested positive. So Trump getting ill might just be the beginning. Biden’s not out of the woods yet either, Trump did a lot of loud talking during the debate, and he might well have been infectious already. What happens if both candidates on the ballot die before the election?

I hope we don’t find out. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

PS: One last nightmare thought. Trump dies, and the idea that somehow it was the liberals/Democrats fault gets traction … and we get a horrible violent backlash against them. The country effectively split in two with violent ethnic cleansing in the red states. The right has spent too many decades glorifying violence and demonizing liberals for me to entirely dismiss this. Sleep tight everyone, God only knows what Sunday will bring.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public domain image found on Pixabay. Just captured the uncertainty of the road ahead for us.)

Written by unitedcats

October 3, 2020 at 7:28 pm


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So Trump and Melania test positive … hours after insisting that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.” Is this his Tet Offensive? Is the end of Trump in sight, one way or another? 2020, it just never lets up. 

There are more cases of Covid-19 in the White House tonight than there are in New Zealand.

President Trump has tested positive for Covid-19, and been taken to Walter Reed hospital. He is symptomatic, and basically the next week will tell. He could get much sicker. He could die. We could be swearing in a new president sooner than anyone expected. No matter what happens, this is already a disaster. The most chaotic election in over a century, and now the POTUS is sick? Another layer of uncertainty in troubled times is not a good thing.

Some are questioning how real this is. The thought certainly crossed my mind, especially at first. Symptomatic and taken to the hospital, that seems pretty elaborate, and to what gain? It’s also not really consistent with Trump’s usual lies/self-deceptions, which run to grandiose self promotion. The guy who claims to be the healthiest man ever elected president is pretending to be sick? Until I see evidence for a hoax, I’m going with “Yeah, it’s real.” 

Not a stretch to think that this was China’s intent all along, since plenty including Trump have claimed that by accident or design, this was China’s fault somehow. OK, it is a stretch, and requires multiple layers of special pleading. Hopefully this particular theory doesn’t take off, not a good thing if Trump’s illness or death leads to a war with China. 

Is this some big surprise development? No. I pointed out from the beginning that anyone could get Covid-19, and will eventually unless they take serious precautions. Which the White House clearly was not doing. What happens if Trump and Biden both die of Covid-19 before election day? Chaos. (It was a trick question.)

What happens now? History. Thick and fast, stay frosty people, your grandkids will ask what it was like to live through the 2020 election in America. Speaking of history, my Tet Offensive comment in the leading paragraph. President Johnson announced that the Vietnam War was all but won, the enemy was on the run, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Then the VietCong launched a massive surprise attack on pretty much every major city in South Vietnam, one assault squad even penetrating the US Embassy compound in Saigon. It was pretty much the end of any reelection hopes for Johnson, and he chose not to run. Trump catching and being downed by the virus he downplayed at every turn, yeah, one would think that might get through to some of his supporters.

Hearing a lot of, well, harshness coming from Trump critics. Hopefully I have avoided “Trump Derangement Syndrome” as an appellation in my C.V. I’m certainly highly underwhelmed by Trump’s response to Covid-19, he’s made America far worse off than it could have been. And I do have criticism here. Trump not only couldn’t defend the country against Covid-19, he couldn’t even protect him and his wife! If we needed proof that Trump was wrong about downplaying the virus, this is it. In any event, I drink to his health.

So yes, reality intruded onto my planned wobbling rocks and hornets post. Still kind of in shock, woke up this AM to multiple messages about “Trump has Covid-19!” I’d known it was possible, but there’s only so far that expectations can prepare one for reality. I wasn’t ready for this, and I knew it was possible. This situation may well evolve very rapidly, curious what I’ll wake up to tomorrow. Have a safe and sane weekend everyone. #COVIDCaughtTrump #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Based on a Public Domain image. Haiku: Copyright © 2020 Yula Flournoy. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

October 2, 2020 at 7:16 pm


with one comment

Actually, I did. One of the takeaways from Obama getting elected twice is that it’s safe to say the majority of Americans are reasonably progressive and open minded, and not overtly racist. Just the facts ma’am. If Clinton had been as good as Obama at inspiring the typical American to vote, Trump would be history now. Alas, Trump’s appeal to disaffected whites got him into the White House. And now, with his dream economy in tatters, Covid-189 stubbornly refusing to go away, he’s decided to double down on the basest of his appeals, immigrant scaremongering and barely coded racism. His bizarre refusal to condemn the Proud Boys, a misguided racist group if there ever was one, along with his other endless fear mongering, is starting to take a toll. The Drudge Report has stopped supporting him for example,  so has Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. And his hateful rant against Ilhan Omar didn’t help his cause. Trump apparently doesn’t grasp that she’s an American and she was elected. Guess the will of the voters only counts for Trump if the voters support him and his candidates. 

A month to go until the election. I put out my Biden sign, the first time ever I did something like that. Not sure what POTUS I last voted for. I think maybe Clinton in the 90s. And more out of civic duty than any great love for Clinton. Not voting for Biden out of any great love either, but for the first time in my life, yeah, anybody is an improvement over Trump. Civic duty for sure. Trump’s worried about immigrants, has anyone pointed out to him that we now have room for 206,000 more, and rising daily? 

And the Trump outrage du jour: Trump insists that food aid comes with campaign literature, outraging anti-hunger advocates. A violation of the Hatch Act so blatant that it basically means the Trump administration is like the Hell’s Angels now, a criminal organization operating in the open. And since it’s 2020 and this is minor compared to all the other stuff coming down, I suspect it will simply sink without a trace. Still, if an administration actually hostile to Trump ever took power, a pipe dream to progressive Democrats, this and numerous other things would get Trump and his cronies beaucoup jail time. Don’t see that happening.

Back to reality: Experts Say COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Unlikely Before Fall 2021. It’s possible it will come sooner, but realistically speaking, best not to count on it. Yet that’s what Trump wants his base to do, believe Trump’s claims that a vaccine is right around the corner, and voting for Trump will ensure it happens. Even if Trump believes it is true, it’s still a lie. Reality is funny that way. Speaking of which: Study finds Trump was ‘the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation’ early in pandemic. In other words Mr Trump, your failure to grasp that Covid-19 was an actual public health crisis requiring a rational science driven response, more than likely increased the global death toll, not just the American one. 

Gonna be fascinating to see how history treats Trump. Hoping I’m around to see as much of it as possible. I’ve survived two strokes, a pulmonary embolism, and a stupid thrill seeking youth, I can survive cancer. It really was like a House episode at the medical center today, at least three assistants testing me in relays. Then the Doctor himself came in for a few minutes, made pronouncements, left. Hoping this is an episode with a good ending. I digress. I can’t see Trump being treated well in history, his place is assured, but his legacy is likely to be unimpressive at best.

Maybe Trump will be like this weird reverse Hitler now. Covid-19 will be his Stalingrad. He’ll get voted out, his fanatic core will shrink steadily over time. The GOP will collapse because of its own ideological  inconsistencies, like the Soviet Union. Decades from now, surrounded by a last remaining core of Trump supporters, he’ll kill himself in a bunker. The world will be like “Trump Who?”

A man can dream. Tomorrow, unless something else outrageous happens, some neat science links. Murder hornets and tipping rocks, what’s the connection? Stay safe, stay sane everyone. Likes, comments, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Haiku: Copyright © 2020 Yula Flournoy. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

October 1, 2020 at 7:25 pm


with 2 comments

Debate hangover. It really was a mess. As the Babylon Bee put it: Broadcast Signal Accidentally Picks Up Two Old Men Yelling At Each Other Instead Of Presidential Debate. Some wag tweeted: “I thought this debate was going to be moderated?” I can see Trump’s visceral appeal though, and he got in some licks. The problem is that much of what he said simply wasn’t true. The insulin is as cheap as water for example. Trump Took Credit for Making Insulin “So Cheap It’s Like Water.” Tell That to People Paying for It. His point blank refusal to denounce white supremacy didn’t go over well, apparently Trump did a bit of backpedaling on that today. 

His claim he’s doing a great job on Covid is so false it’s one for the textbooks. No, he didn’t save millions of Lives, his Covid-19 gestures and promises did essentially nothing, 200,000 dead with no end in sight. He’s like a broken record,Trump just keeps claiming Covid-19 is going to magically go away, and handling the crisis of our lifetimes as if it’s some minor politicised event that we just need to get over. No one Trump knows has died, guessing him and Herman Cain weren’t good buddies. While we’re on the topic, herd immunity ain’t happening soon: COVID – Not Close to Herd Immunity. I think Biden could of done a lot better job hammering  Trump on this point.

Oh, yes, they managed to talk about Trump getting his SCOTUS justice seated right away … without mentioning that four years ago the GOP had high and mightily refused to seat a new Justice until “the people spoke” in the upcoming election. I was surprised Biden let this go by unremarked.

So, I could add more about debate, taxes, etc. I don’t think I have any trenchant commentary though, and there’s plenty out there to choose from. So, some science fun. Cats. Cat cognition even: Kitty see, kitty do: cat imitates human, in first scientific demonstration of behavior. Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a cat can imitate what a human does. I’m sure plenty of cat owners are quite sure cats can imitate people, but anecdotes aren’t science. 

Fascinating because cats don’t pass the mirror test, they don’t possess “theory of mind.” So they aren’t consciously imitating humans. If true means their mirror neurons come into play with humans, which was already pretty clear I guess. I’ve heard it stated that cats don’t think they’re people, they think we are big cats. A lot of fascinating work has been done on animal cognition in recent decades, animal consciousness is far more complex than was once thought. And yet still, no matter how sophisticated and clever animals are, they can’t put their thoughts into words. Communicate, yes, speak, no. 

Probably for the best. I’m pretty sure sharks would have something to say about this: Coronavirus Vaccine Could Result in 500,000 Shark Deaths. Though I suppose they could communicate their displeasure without words. Basically one of the most promising vaccines requires a substance harvested from sharks. Humans are a freakishly ghoulish species when it comes right down to it; again, not surprised the aliens won’t have truck with us. 

On a personal note, I’m in a fancy hotel enjoying room service for the first time in my life. And it wasn’t even on my bucket list. Is this how the 1% live, they can have beer and burgers sent to their room at any time of the day or night? Maybe I should reconsider my vow of poverty. Anyhow, I’m far from home in ‘The Windy Apple,’ visiting Iowa’s answer to the Mayo Clinic. I get to see the Dr House of cancer tomorrow. Woohoo, I might get a new cancer named after me! Hell, there’s even possible immortality options here

Oh, the meme above made me laugh, it’s multilayered. And the implied reason for posting it is the fact that dinosaurs aren’t the only parties getting credit for administrative skills they don’t possess. And maybe come November said parties will be on their way to extinction and we’ll shortly get people who can administrate. I agree that was a tortured thought train.  I know my writing isn’t for everyone, but I also know I have my fans. It’s why I’m not sleeping in my car tonight, they are appreciated.

Stay safe everyone, shares, comments, likes appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

September 30, 2020 at 7:58 pm


with 2 comments

45 minutes until the debate. One of the more anticipated debates of the past decade at least. I expect it’s going to be pretty dull, the debates tend to be. Both trying to score points for their base, off each other, not as much. I’ll make some running notes, then sum it up when it’s over. Fun times. Beer will be involved.

Wow, what a flaming shitshow. A clusterfuck? I was wrong, this is unlike any previous presidential I have ever seen. Trump is simply fantasizing aloud, the moderator can’t seem to keep it under control. And Biden keeps missing opportunities to skewer Trump, and letting Trump control the narrative.

OK, that was my one in progress comment. Oh my, I was sure wrong. The debate was a much bigger free for all than I expected. Never been a debate like this in my life. The moderator was, well, inconsistent? Certainly wasn’t the boring debate I expected. In hindsight not surprising. Trump lives in a fantasy world, with near four years of “proof” to support him. Biden tried to keep the debate reality oriented, and scored points with his base no doubt. Both sides will claim they won. In random order, a few in-debate observations.

No, the pre-Covid economy was not “The greatest in history.” Trump’s response to Covid-19 didn’t save millions of lives, it was one of the least effective responses on the planet leading to 200,000 and rising dead Americans. The “radical left” in America is miniscule, in no way shape or form are Democrats and Biden supporters “radical leftists.” Antifa is an idea, not an organisation. 

So yeah, I don’t think either side won. I think Biden could have done a better job, but he got his licks in. A shitshow debate for a shitshow election in a shitshow year. And two more to follow, three if we count Harris/Pence. I guess I’ll watch em all. 

Oh, bonus points for me, Iowa was mentioned in the debate! Stay safe everyone, longer post tomorrow I hope.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

September 29, 2020 at 8:39 pm


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Image first. I do change my format as feedback comes in. Yes, I do read comments, and sometimes they make me think. And sometimes when I think, I realize my thinking has been wrong, and I think differently henceforth. And writing a blog is tricky to begin with, and I try to write each post so that it’s equally accessible to first time readers and long time readers. And people across various spectra. Moving right along, above image first. It took me a moment to get, but it refers to the recent Trump tax return excitement, referencing the infamous Sharpiegate incident. I loved it on multiple levels once I got it.

It also made me rethink Sharpiegate. Sharpiegate was a year or so back when Trump claimed that a certain state was in the path of a hurricane. It was quickly pointed out that no, no weather service report put this state in danger. A small understandable mistake, we all make them from time to time. Ooops, sorry, move on. Not Trump. He insisted he was right, and even showed on TV an officially produced chart crudely modified with a sharpie to bolster his claim. Surreal, nu?

(By US government – This file was derived from:  President Trump Receives a Hurricane Dorian Update.webm, Public Domain,}

And thinking about it, I may have been wrong. I assumed he did it himself, or had an aide do it, and off he went. Problem solved. I realize this may be over generous. What if an aide did it, handed the chart to Trump saying: “You were right boss, here’s the proof!” And Trump accepted it without question as real?  I mean, this isn’t even a crude photoshop, this is well below that bar, a fake so bad even a lot of children would spot it. But maybe Trump is so out of touch with reality, so convinced that what he says ought to be true, that his ability to discern between what is real and what isn’t is broken?

So yeah, Sharpiegate is where I started to think Trump wasn’t just a con artist, there was something not right with his reality testing. He certainly appears to surround himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear. Possibly even to the point of handing him crude fakes to support his view. I mean a true evil genius would have laughed at the Sharpiegate chart, fired (or worse) the minion who came up with it, and gotten a good fake chart made. I digress.

So … Trump has found a doctor willing to hand Trump Covid-19 Sharpiegate style stuff, and the CDC director is not happy: CDC Director Says Trump Adviser Is Wrong About Everything. My comment upon reading the article: “Who would have thought that a chief executive who surrounded himself with ass kissers and yes men would be counterproductive in dealing with a global pandemic? @@”

Came across this article: I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There. Interesting read. One person commented:

” …  I use history as my guide. The States have been through troubling periods before, and we’ll get through this one too!” 

My reply:

This isn’t a “troubling period” though. This is the 2nd or 4th worst mass death event in US history, the worst economic slump since the great depression … and the federal government is in disarray with no reason to believe it’s going to deal effectively with the pandemic or the economy in the near future at least, and it may well get much worse before it gets better. Our international standing has also plummeted the past three years as we’ve started trade wars and walked away from long term agreements and treaties. This isn’t just a little bump in the road no matter how ordinary one’s own life may seem. This is a thousand people dying a day; call it collapse, catastrophe, whatever evil, but it’s here NOW, and most people are more or less pretending it’s not happening. 

We’ll see. Or some of us will, another cancer procedure Thursday, at my state’s Mayo Clinic equivalent. 

Two last links I’m sharing because tomorrow’s the debate and they will have receded into the past afterwards: Here’s How the Pandemic Finally Ends. And Forget “The Apprentice” — Trump’s taxes show he was really “The Biggest Loser”. And finally a quote by AOC about Trump’s tax revelation:

“He contributed less to funding our communities than waitresses & undocumented immigrants,”

Pretty much. Trump’s gonna go down in history though, that’s for sure. Have a safe week everyone. I plan to watch the debate tomorrow, take notes, and post as quickly as possible afterwards. Probably going to be boring, who knows. The debate, not my post, which will of course be as witty and incisive as ever.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Top image: Tweet found on Facebook, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Attribution in the image.)

Written by unitedcats

September 28, 2020 at 7:14 pm


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The assassination of Julius Caesar, painted by William Holmes Sullivan, c. 1888

The big news of the day is Trump’s taxes. IDK, not really my area of expertise. They’re saying he’s a wheeler dealer who avoided paying a lot of taxes. So he’s a typical corporate American businessman?  I don’t see anything at first pass that’s going to make a difference, so seems like just a distraction to me. A lot of my Democrat and progressive friends are excited about this, so maybe I’m wrong. We’ll see, maybe something more will come of it. Or something else will happen. . 

This here I think is far more important. All sorts of people who worked for or with Trump are coming out and claiming he’s incompetant at best. This is just the most recent: ‘I can be silent no longer’: former intel official denounces Trump. I only remember back to Nixon, but still, in my lifetime there’s never been anything like this, where a current president’s former staff, many lifelong Republicans, are saying “Yeah, I worked for this guy, he’s a terrible president, don’t reelect him.” And I don’t think historically there’s ever been anything like it before either. 

This is one of those things, like sharpiegate, that I simply can’t come up with a charitable interpretation. A few sour apples sure, but this is unprecedented. Like the stunning turnover rate in the Trump administration, it sure seems like a poor reflection on Trump’s management abilities. Maybe he has trouble hiring loyal people, but even then, that’s a deal-breaking flaw in a POTUS. Shouldn’t the POTUS be someone capable of putting together a competent loyal team? So yeah, not a good sign that Trump’s former team members are turning on him.

And on a second round of thoughts about Trump’s taxes, I guess they show he really is just a flim-flam man. He’s certainly not been investing in things that create good American jobs. I guess job creation is something for other rich people to do? He mostly invested in golf courses, yeah those employ all sorts of people. So I dunno, spun right, I guess this really might be made to make Trump look like the snobbish elitist he is. Spun right. Sigh.

That’s the problem of course. The non Fox News media will play this story in the best possible light to excite Democrat readers. They’re already voting against Trump, so that’s not helping. How could they spin this story to help? Beats me, I’m usually just trying to define the problem, difficult enough in these times. But, yes, segue here, I guess there are those calling for real-time fact checkers at the debate? Not a good idea if they want to make Trump look bad. Paradoxically enough trying to refute falsehood by confronting people with facts can make them double down on their beliefs. 

Someone suggested that Trump will come up with some excuse not to debate Biden. Didn’t occur to me, but maybe? Trump prefers adoring crowds, not pointed questions. Well, actually, they’ll likely be softball questions, but coming up with coherent responses to questions is not Trump’s strong point. Except in his own mind. I can’t imagine anything other than the tepid joint press conferences the “debates’ have been the past few decades, but it’s 2020 folks, all bets are off. 

Someone asked if this was an epoch changing time in history? Who knows, too soon to tell for sure. Decent chance though, Covid-19 and the fail of the American republic both are looking like game changers. Will history repeat itself? Will a mob of Senators attack Trump as he enters the debate, stabbing him to death on life TV? Led by Pence? Trump’s last words being “You too Pence?” 

I survived the weekend. Now a crazy week, especially with debates and all. Have a great week everyone. No word from aliens or time travellers yet, but I remain ever ready to spread whatever wisdom they might want to share. (“Don’t sweat the little things, and there are no big things.” as my mentor Wayne used to say.) Comments, likes, shares appreciated as always. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: see image caption, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 27, 2020 at 7:08 pm