Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘2021’ Category

TEN WAYS WE’RE EFFED

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

June 14, 2021 at 7:23 pm

MEMORIAL DAY

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 31, 2021 at 7:50 am

UFOS, AZ AUDIT, NECROPHILIA, AND VULTURES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 24, 2021 at 8:16 pm

THE ARIZONA AUDIT IS THE CREATION MUSEUM OF OUR TIME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 23, 2021 at 11:17 am

UFOS ARE THE ANGELS OF OUR TIMES

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 18, 2021 at 7:34 pm

NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR AMERICA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 13, 2021 at 8:54 pm

BOMBS AWAY, LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 12, 2021 at 7:16 pm

SHARED IDIOCY, TRUMP, AND RELATED TOPICS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 9, 2021 at 7:05 pm

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!

with 2 comments

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