Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘2021’ Category

NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR AMERICA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 13, 2021 at 8:54 pm

BOMBS AWAY, LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 12, 2021 at 7:16 pm

SHARED IDIOCY, TRUMP, AND RELATED TOPICS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 9, 2021 at 7:05 pm

CUTE COUPLES, INDIA, COVID, TRUMP, AND NEWS BITS

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I stumbled on this lovely World War One image. Two Australian soldiers in an R&R area in France, 1918. Cute couple, eh? One has to wonder what sort of R&R they were engaging in before the photographer showed up. It wasn’t a more innocent age, it was just an age where gay people stayed in the closet for the most part, and most people pretended they didn’t exist. Although the “hate gays” cadre was still active, Oscar Wilde was jailed for homosexual acts. Even then, like Socrates and his Hemlock, Wilde more or less chose jail as a form of protest. He was a man ahead of his time.

Speaking of cute couples, I also stumbled on this today: Lesbian couple voted king and queen of their high school prom. Some days my blog almost writes itself. They were surprised they got elected; high school prom king and queen is usually a popularity contest, so they must be nice kids. Don’t read the comments on the link  though. Lots of, well, Christian hate. Well, not really Christian hate, what I’ve read about Christ indicates he was for love and inclusivity, not hate and exclusivity. And their hatred isn’t based on Christ’s teachings, it’s based on their interpretation of “God’s” teachings in the Old Testament.

Which is frankly, nuts. If I said that my invisible giant rabbit superfriend was going to torture everyone forever after they die if they don’t wear a red hat 24/7, people would rightfully think I was nuts. Especially if I insisted that 24/7 red hat wearing should be made compulsory under the law of the land, and that my rabbit superfriend was responsible for tornadoes and such which were punishment for not wearing the hats. Yet that’s what people on the Evangelical Right do as a matter of course.

One comment about the lesbian couple was, ‘How are they going to have kids?’  The commenter wasn’t being ironic or facetious either. Let’s see, lots of heterosexual couples are incapable of procreating, so they shouldn’t be couples? And like those same heterosexual couples, they can adopt. In fact the reason homosexuality appears to be common in the animal world is it provides couples to raise orphaned or abandoned children.  Oh, and in the case of lesbian couples, all making a baby requires is a turkey baster, some distilled water, and a donor. Voila, baster baby. And best of all for the people that claim to be “pro-life,” homosexual couples never have unwanted pregnancies. No abortions, and every child born is a wanted child.

So yeah. Homosexuality is a feature, not a bug. So, other news of the day. Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced. Paraphrased: Worms living in caves under the Amazon Forest cut off from the surface for tens of thousands of years care about this more than I do. Moving right along, Covid is exploding in India. All due to a Trump of their own: Prime Minister Modi’s culpability for India’s COVID crisis has become startlingly clear. What a nightmare, India’s capitol lit up at night by all the funeral pyres. I thought this would be happening last summer, I was wrong. Covid, the gift that keeps giving.

In the US it looks like herd immunity isn’t going to happen. Because of people like these:Former GOP congressional candidate says vaccinating people is the ‘modern day Holocaust’ and Rick Wiles Says COVID-19 Vaccines Are a Plot to Carry Out ‘Global Genocide’. The last half of my life has seen the rise of a world dominated by conspiracy theories. I knew when the anti-vaxxers first hit the ground that they were a new breed. A conspiracy theory so anti-reality that it would kill people. The anti-vaxxers have likely already contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, and Covid is their shining light, they can indeed be one of the deadliest cults in human history. In fact their, well, lunacy, is reaching new heights: “The vaccinated are a danger to the unvaccinated because of shedding!”: The latest COVID-19 antivaccine disinformation.

Lastly, I’m not the only one frightened by the GOP turning into a personality cult based on Trump’s Big Lie: NYT Columnist Warns People Are Being Lulled Into False Security. What a time to be alive. Trump is the Abraham of our times. Have a great week everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public Domain World War One image, colorizer credit in the image.)

Written by unitedcats

May 4, 2021 at 9:23 am

I GIVE UP, TRUMPTOPIA FOREVER!

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Sunday, another week has gone by, and the world rolls on. I have to admit, the post Trump era isn’t anything like I expected. Not that I knew what to expect, no one did. Trump and the GOP are morphing into a personality cult right in front of everyone’s (mostly horrified) eyes. A cult where loyalty to the leader is the cult’s defining characteristic. I’m certainly not the only one coming to grips with this: Michigan GOP official blasts ‘cult of personality’ after party ousts him for not voting for Trump. If the leader has an ideology, they slavishly adopt and implement that as well. Trump doesn’t really have a considered ideology, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. History will tell of course.

Speaking of history, personality cult leaders often end badly. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao leap to mind. Their ideologies weren’t the problem, the problem is giving one person unfettered power. Though people who are proponents of right wing ideology love to claim that Stalin and Mao prove “socialism bad.” That’s an incredibly shallow assessment, ignoring all the myriad confounding factors. Shallow assessments are the right’s stock in trade these days sadly. Had a guy tell me that Mexico has a huge violent drug gang problem … because of gun control. The numerous countries with strict gun control that don’t have a huge violent drug crime problem … they don’t count I guess.

I also realized that people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert are intertwined with the Trump phenomena. It’s not surprising they got elected, because we are seeing the coming of age of the “Fox Generation.” People who were raised in households where all they saw was Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones and the like. The people raised on CNN and MSNBC have their own blind spots, mainstream media was in fact transformed into a Washington/Corporate mouthpiece by about 1990. The latter think Biden is some sort of Roosevelt reborn. Pretty nuts, but doesn’t hold a candle to “Trump is the Messiah!”

Speaking of misconceptions on the right, I came across this: EW Jackson Claims Liberals Would Love Nothing More Than to Kill Black Conservatives. Apparently he’s serious, although these days I wonder. No, liberals don’t want to murder anyone. Kinda the definition of liberal. Against the death penalty, antiwar, want the best for everybody. IDK, projection combined with the evangelical obsession with victimhood? No, liberals might make fun of black conservatives (below,) but killing people seems to be something the right is focused on.

That’s Clayton Bigsby, the world’s only black White Supremist. No, he really wasn’t at the Trump capitol riot, but my black friends had fun sharing this meme.

Speaking of Trump’s attempted coup, one of the white cops who barely survived doesn’t have much good to say about how the GOP is trying to pretend it was no big deal, or worse, it wasn’t Trump supporters: Watch: DC Cop Who Barely Survived January 6th Insurrection Incensed By “Whitewash Of Events”. I’m incensed too, how does one find common ground with people who think their leader inciting a mob to storm the capitol was a good thing?

In other words, Trumptopia is out of control. I think I may just go back to blogging about Trump every day because it’s the time we live in. He’s still running around claiming he really won the election, and that this recent Arizona recount farce will get him on the road back to the White House: Trump Hints At Mar-A-Lago That Biased Arizona Recount Could Be Road To White House. And tens of millions of his followers believe him, and are trying to purge the GOP of people who aren’t sufficiently loyal to Trump. Mitt Romney even: Utah GOP vote to censure Mitt Romney fails while senator is booed at convention. OK then.

And the GOP is now essentially outlawing protest in state after state: Anti Protest Laws Grant Drivers License to Kill. I mean, 3 people are now considered a riot in Florida? This makes sense in a twisted way though. The George Floyd protests last summer were almost universally portrayed on Fox News as BLM and Antifa thugs set on burning down American cities and destroying America. So outlawing protests makes perfect sense. The fact that this isn’t what happened last summer has no bearing on the matter, the Fox News right believes it, so all good. America in the post factual age.

One last entry for the “Satire is dead because of people like this” file: Unhinged GOP lawmaker arrested after trying to be a substitute teacher. He terrified the students. Basically he got a job as a substitute teacher, and spent his day haranguing students about his evangelical God, finally actually assaulting one and inviting other students to do so. Another Evangelical Christian who can’t handle that most Americans have decided that Evangelical Christianity’s medieval vision of America  isn’t for them and they would like a country based on science, reason, cooperation, and inclusivity. Don’t want to go to a gay wedding, don’t go. Preach hatred of gay families like this fellow, well, as I’ve said for decades, Satan does his finest work in the name of Our Lord.

Or I could blog about my misadventures in online dating sites. That’s gotten weird too. Stay safe everyone.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Unknown attribution, posted on Facebook, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It looks like Public Domain. Just another illustration of showing that the GOP isn’t anything like a majority viewpoint anymore. That’s why they are also outlawing democracy in state after state, but that’s for another blog.)

Written by unitedcats

May 2, 2021 at 9:04 am

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Scary on the face of it, and scary because it certainly seems to imply to me that they see people practicing their 

Or, what’s the GOP up to now? For starters: Half a Year After Trump’s Defeat, Arizona Republicans Are Recounting the Vote. Yes, despite no evidence of the massive fraud that Trump claims, the GOP is still trying to overturn the election results. And the company in charge of the recounting … is headed by a big “Stop the Steal” proponent. Since Biden has already been sworn in, I can’t see any good coming of this. Just a continuation of the modern GOP’s program to reject the reality of anything they disapprove of. At least they’re consistent.

That’s when they’re not freaking out about about stuff that isn’t actually happening: Where’s The Beef? Republicans Outraged Over Biden Meat Policy…That Doesn’t Exist. Basically a satirical article in an English paper claimed that Biden’s Green New Deal would involve Americans massively cutting back on their beef consumption. And this wasn’t just passed on by people on the fringe; governors, politicians, and Fox News ran with it. No, Biden is not planning to nor has he proposed any changes in America’s dietary habits. Like Obama’s “death panels,” they are spreading outrage over something that isn’t real. Twilight Zone politics?

On the plus side, they are passing laws to protect people’s rights. The Right to Crash Cars Into People for example. Republicans are falling all over themselves passing laws that are essentially encouraging people to drive their cars into protestors. How is this helping? Isn’t driving a car into a crowd terrorism? Scary on the face of it, and scary because it certainly seems to imply to me that they see people practising their right to protest as somehow the enemy? As in the meme above states, make it make sense.

According to the good doctor Political Polarization is Exaggerated. I certainly can’t argue with him, most people are just people. And most people are pretty decent. I go by the 10-10 rule, I’ve also heard it as the 15-15 rule. Basically ten percent of people are really good people, the people that hid their Jewish neighbors during the holocaust good. Another ten percent are bad people, the people that helped round up and murder their Jewish neighbors. And 80% of people will pretty much go whichever way the wind blows. With good leaders they will be good people. With bad leaders, well, they will go along with bad things.

And right freaking now, the GOP’s leaders are scaring me. So I’ll keep blogging about them. The Biden administration is boring. “Watch me move the Dems even more to the right while pretending to be a progressive!” Who could possibly have predicted Obama’s VP would take the Dems to the right? Yes, that was indeed a rhetorical question.

Winter might finally be over in Iowa. Fingers crossed. In 1947 they got ten inches of snow in late May. In the late 1800s two Iowa counties got a hailstorm so bad drifts were six feet deep. All the birds and rabbits etc were killed. Sheesh. Well, as global warming continues (it’s no more a hoax than Covid is a hoax) we will get to see more extreme weather events. It’s not hopeless, but it’s now or never. As the article points out, the trope that green power will ruin the economy is what the old folks called a lie. Doing nothing about global warming willdevastate the economy, but hey, the most profitable industry the world has ever known will continue to profit! Well, it’s a tossup as to whether fossil fuels or war profiteering is the most profitable industry ever, but neither of them are helping.

And boy, dating sites in the US are really weird now. I’ve been investigating. A huge number of, well, sex workers. Cute young woman posting T&A shots with suggestive profiles. Whatevs. A lot of foreign women posting, I’m guessing they are looking for a ticket to America? (And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.) Then there’s the ones who are pretending to be Americans, but obviously aren’t. Obviously they aren’t because there’s mistakes in their profile, and more on point, their English is fractured. Fractured as in “No one whose first language was English would ever construct that sentence.” And they seem to really want to get cell numbers and emails. Neither has any beyond minuscule value, so I’m puzzled about what that’s about.

Have a great week everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image. A tweet, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

April 26, 2021 at 8:25 pm

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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Well, I have about a dozen stories that might make a blog post if padded, but I hate that. So I’ll just dive right in and see how many I can fit in one blog. First off, the good doctor is on point today. I used to be anti-GMO and pro organic, but I have since realised these are basically ideological positions, not science based ones. There certainly are many problems with modern industrial farming, CAFOs in particular are an ecological blight. The solutions are complicated though:  EU Scientists – Organic Farming Less Sustainable.

As  an aside, I notice that while left leaning folks have no trouble understanding that there are all sorts of religious organizations, think tanks, groups etc. who are promoting pseudoscience and nonsense in support of their ideology/religion (or simply out of greed) many leftists don’t seem to understand there are plenty of left leaning organizations doing exactly the same thing. Ecowatch leaps to mind, but there are plenty of others. Selling snake oil is as old as civilization and utterly indifferent to politics and ideology. Reason and science are required to figure out reality, not pseudoscience and bad logic. That’s what people will come up with though if one points out for example that glyphosate is a remarkably safe herbicide that is harmless to animals. Nope, glyphosate bad, Monsanto bad, end of discussion. Sorry not sorry: Glyphosate and Behavioral Economics. Convince me otherwise.

Oh well, I just lost another friend or two no doubt? What else is in the news: Research shows the need to address the root cause of far-right extremism. Basically they determined that sexism and misogyny is a big part of the foundation of far right extremism. Makes sense to me, I’ve been saying that sexism is the root of all the other isms for decades. Once one has decided that half the human race isn’t really human because of their genitals, an idea so stupid it hurts the head to think about, why it’s easy to think the same about any other group of people based on superficial characteristics like skin color, national origin, etc. Sadly I don’t see this misconception changing in the west anytime soon because the Abrahamaaic religions are founded and based almost entirely on the idea of male superiority.

Speaking of genitals and civilization: Another gender reveal party explosion, at least no one was hurt this time: Explosive gender reveal party shakes houses miles away. Yes, there have been deaths. Frankly, the whole concept of gender reveal parties strikes me as somewhere between absurd and downright creepy. I mean, having a party to celebrate what genitals a fetus has? Really? Why would anyone care, what genitals a kid has reveals exactly zero about them. Frankly this whole obsession with other people’s genitals strikes me as disturbed. Who looks at a married  couple and wonders if they have the “right” genitals? Who goes into a bathroom and worries that someone in a stall has the “wrong” genitals? A lot of Republicans apparently.  (I’ve wondered if GOP stands for “Genitals, Other Peoples’.”) Another reason the aliens lock their doors when they fly by Earth.

The Trumpers’ election loss meltdown/fantasy continues: ‘It’s almost like insanity’: GOP base continues to lash out over Trump’s defeat. I’m pretty sure that fervently believing something for which there is zero evidence for, and tons of evidence against, is insane on some level. I have no problem with the GOP tearing itself apart at Trump’s bequest. Hell, voting for people who are pretty much insane seems to be the future of the GOP: QAnon Candidates Are Winning Local Elections. Can They Be Stopped? Why stop them, give them all the rope they want.

In the same vein (GOP fantasies,) there’s this: As economy spikes, Republicans are still waiting for the ‘Biden depression’ that Trump predicted. Turns out that Trump’s claims that the economy was going to crash if Biden was elected were, well, bullshit. Who would ever have guessed? And a final bizarre Trump fantasy: Trump administration thought they’d be memorialized in statues for doing such a great job negotiating with China. In some ways this is one of the weirdest things about Trump and his cult, they actually think he was a fantastic president. I’m sorry, at best Trump was an unremarkable president up until Covid, and his response to Covid was catastrophically hundreds of thousands of dead Americans incompetant.

And Trump’s Covid misinformation legacy lives on, because of vaccine resistance invigorated by Trump’s downplaying of the virus, it looks like herd immunity for the US won’t happen: Thanks to Republican Anti-Vaxxers, the U.S. May Never Reach COVID-19 Herd Immunity. Sorry Mr Trump and followers, but being the world’s largest driver of Covid misinformation doesn’t get Mr Trump any statues.

Lastly, so many police shootings of coloured folk. America has a problem here, and until we acknowledge that, we can’t fix it. There’s nothing wrong with police, or the concept of police, but police culture in the US needs to be reformed … and we need to stop using police in situations where other professionals would be better utilized. In any event, here’s a police training event where police are taught that not only is killing people no big deal, they’ll have great sex afterwards.

I have a hard time seeing this as a good thing. Police should be trying to save lives, not get off on taking them. Stay safe and have a great weekend everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image. A tweet, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

April 23, 2021 at 7:12 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

April 20, 2021 at 8:15 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

April 9, 2021 at 7:41 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Russia, Ukraine, War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

April 6, 2021 at 4:19 pm