Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Bernie Sanders’ Category

THROUGH THICK AND THIN: FEBRUARY 24

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This is a rather disturbing article about America’s lack of readiness in the event of a pandemic. And at this point seems pretty damn likely that COVID-19 is on the way. It’s spread to too many countries, some of which simply don’t have the resources to deal with a pandemic. Add to that there are always going to be people or organizations who ignore attempts to control the disease’s spread for one reason or another. And “winging it” isn’t going to be an effective approach. There are things where having trained experts is the only sensible approach. If one’s house catches fire, a fully equipped and trained firefighting crew is the best response. Right?

This is always what has scared me about Trump. He’s one of those people who think there’s simple solutions to all of reality’s issues. “Just build a wall” or “Just say no!” are examples of simplistic solutions to complex social issues. Worse, if COVID-19 does spread to the USA and turn into a pandemic, pretty sure Trump and his supporters will blame everyone but Trump for our inadequate response. Trump can’t even bring himself to admit he made minor mistakes, sharpiegate comes to mind, so he’s certainly not going to admit his administration wasn’t prepared for a pandemic. And God only knows, I can see COVID-19 turning into an excuse to cancel the election, especially if it looks like Bernie might win the election.

Speaking of Bernie, looks like he is the front runner now after handily winning the Nevada caucuses. Which has caused major freakouts in the establishment media. MSNBCs Chris Matthws compared Bernie’s win to “the Nazis conquering France.” He’s also the guy who suggested if Bernie won, he’d have people executed in Central Park. There’s example after example of mainstream outlets doing what they can to belittle his win. For example this headline: “Nevada caucuses win would make Bernie Sanders a weak front-runner.” Or MSNBC host Nicole Wallace saying Democratic enthusiasm for Sanders as “political suicide,” and also said the supporters of the night’s runaway victor constitute only “a squeaky, angry minority.” Or this gem. So if Bernie wins the election the day after the inauguration will we see headlines like “Apparent Front Runner Sworn In,” “Is Bernie Re-electable? Experts Say No,” and “GOP Starts Impeachment Hearings.” Sigh.

The image is of the ‘Battle of Los Angeles.’ It was the evening of February 24th 1942 until 4am or so the 25th. Basically anti-aircraft gun crews thought a Japanese air raid was underway, and opened fire for hours. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a few months earlier, so nerves on the American West Coast were at a fever pitch. Exacerbated by Japanese submarines sinking American ships off the coast, and one even shelling Santa Barbara. One Congressman even proposed abandoning the west coast and setting up a defensive line in the Rocky Mountains. Which was a ridiculous over-reaction. Yes gentle reader, electing idiots to Congress is a long standing tradition in America. When all was said and done, the ‘battle’ was one big panic attack. Sadly 5 people died in auto accidents or heart attacks related to it.

Monday morning now, speaking of mass panic, the Coronavirus thing continues to spread, with all sorts of wild accusations being thrown around. I’m more than a little concerned, because while our government should deal with this outbreak sanely and effectively, neither characterises contemporary Washington, where the watchword is “How can we use this crisis to benefit our faction?” Washington has been for decades really, though it’s gone off the rails since 9/11. That being said, planetary economic disruption also looks like it’s inevitable at this point too. This might be the one the mormons and preppers were waiting for. I think I’ll go to the grocery store and stock up before the hoarders get there.

Have a great week everyone, remember, wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face when you’re out and about.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Battle of Los Angeles. Credit: Los Angeles Times. This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1925 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.)

Written by unitedcats

February 24, 2020 at 6:39 am

IOWA’S CAUCUS TO NOWHERE

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OMG. Well, glad I went to bed at ten. Never dreamt the “technical issues” would still be delayed as of this AM. My take now: It’s over, the DNC is determined that stopping progressives is more important than winning back the White House. Four more years of Trump coming, or maybe a corporate shill like Biden. Sigh. I hope I’m wrong.

That was my first impression (unedited) when I woke up this morning and saw that the Iowa Caucus results were still unavailable. I caucused, for one of those rare times in life I was in the midst of an historical event. An event that’s still going on. So I’m going to write about it as it unfolds.

My local caucus seemed badly run to me, but I’m sure nothing out of the unexpected. It’s the only Iowa caucus I’ve ever been to, so no standard of comparison. They were using a “new system,” something we had been warned about as the date approached. We as in local campaigners and volunteers trying to get out the vote for our candidate. We went, we caucused, we came home. We turned on the TV. I went to bed or so leaving a room full of Bernie volunteers (who were edgily confident of victory before the caucus) to talk among themselves and watch talking heads on TV trying to say something non insipid (increasingly failing) as they awaited the official results.

I went to bed because I’m not much of a party guy. I’m not going to have anything to say in a room full of excited Bernie supporters watching the caucus fail to unfold. I would have excused myself from a Superbowl party for the same reason. I did occasionally hear people talking all night long, and wondered what was still happening. And here I am, 520am Central Time. Still waiting.

Second impression: I think this means one of two things. Hopeless incompetence on the part of the DNC, because this looks really bad. The GOP base must be going nuts with glee and finger pointing about the silly stupid liberals. Or worse, this was a designed strategy to spike the progressive surge in the Democrat base, the people who want the DNC to go back to representing workers, unions, and regular Americans.

I haven’t read anything past the BBC headline linked above. My thinking will evolve while events unfold today, I’m going to wade into the sh*tstorm that must be going on in social media. Like jumping into a shark cage during a feeding frenzy, it’s for science! And informing my readers. So this is a “live” post. Have a great day everyone, don’t let the crazy get you down, I’ll be back, I will update later today.

8:11 AM Tuesday 4 Feb Update

It’s like being a passenger on the Titanic. Well, maybe not that extreme. Like the Romans watching when Emperor Commodus decided he was a God he fought in the colosseum. Well, not quite. It’s like anyone in history who looked around and said, sheesh, this is really happening, isn’t one? The first big lesson, reality bats last. Another historical event no one saw coming. People that claim to predict the future are full of it. People who claimed to have predicted the future just got lucky. Yet one or two good hits and one can make a career out of “predicting” the future, be it as a medium, a pollster, or what have you. People are just that eager to believe the future can be reliably predicted.

Still no results. Various campaigns are releasing their own numbers. The right is chortling about Democrat incompetence. Democrats are all over the place, though certainly seeing plenty of people convinced this is deliberate for some as yet anti-progressive purpose. IE Biden got clobbered, and the DNC is desperate to cover that up. I dunno, could just be a combination of things, incompetence figuring in there somewhere. It could be the beginning of the end for the Dems 2020 hopes, it could blow over in a few days. Then there’s this, 600-Pound Butter Cow Sculpture Wins Caucus. From 2012, but still relevant.

Part of this stems from the fact that the Dems platform since Reagan has been “We’re Not the GOP!” A pretty hard place to generate excitement from. This all does reinforce my thinking that the election campaign has as much relevance to the average American as the Superbowl. It doesn’t really matter who wins so long as everyone attends the game. On the other hand, Trump has really hurt some friends of mine in very real ways like denial of medical care. That’s new in my experience, the first administration in my life actively hostile to large numbers of Americans because of who they are.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Meena. Founder of RAWA, the Revolutionary Alliance of the Women of Afghanistan. I was planning on writing about her today, a lot to unpack there. The gentle reader never heard of her? That’s one of the many things to unpack. God rest her soul, I support her cause and goals.

Maybe more on Meena and RAWA later. Back to caucus hell.

10AM, Tuesday 4 Feb Update

Well, it’s over. Trump wins. We’ve gone beyond clusterf*ck now, they could have tallied up the results on their fingers by now. What a gift for Trump on the day of the SOTU (State of the Union Address.) I imagine some bizarre alternate reality now where the caucus results won’t be announced until the eve of the election. I joked with friends about Trump cancelling the election and we could all relax and go home. Never dreamt the DNC would be the one handing the election to Trump on a silver platter. Also remember a lot of people wondering why the Iowa caucus was such a big deal. The same reason getting out of the starting gate in a race is a big deal. Gonna be an interesting campaign if this is any indication, the way watching a train wreck in slow motion is interesting. Jesus wept.

11:30AM Tuesday Feb 4

Three more points as we wait, still, for the caucus results to be announced. I remember friends positing that the raft of Democratic candidates (There were three in the 2016 caucus, and only two counted) was a deliberate attempt to siphon votes away from Bernie so that Biden, the anointed establishment candidate, would quickly emerge as the front runner. Seems far-fetched, but secret deals in smoke filled rooms have always been a hallmark of American politics. If not all politics. If that’s the case, boy, it blew up in their faces spectacularly. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that Biden’s performance was anything less than disappointing. I don’t think the DNC really understands how much the average American wants real change, not just more empty promises. And Biden is about an empty a promise as it gets, especially since his promises come down to “I won’t rock the boat!” Dudes, the boat needs rocking, that’s why Trump won in 2016.

Also reminded of times I pointed out that Clinton’s loss to Trump pretty much showed she couldn’t run an effective campaign. Loyalists insist it was anything from sunspots to invisible Russian trolls. Well, the DNC just demonstrated they can’t even run an effective state caucus! And this is the party that’s going to beat Trump? Not off to a good start.

Lastly, I feel so bad for all the staff and volunteers in every candidate’s campaign. They put in huge amounts of effort and enthusiasm into their chosen candidate. And as the hours drag by, it more and more seems like it was all one giant waste of effort. Even when the results are announced, I seriously doubt it’s going to be too little too late. One or two candidates needed to make a strong showing so others would start dropping out and the leaders could start to pick up momentum. Instead we have this:

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This is not going to end well. Sigh.

Last update, Tuesday night, 4 Feb 2020

They started to release results. Buttigeig leads, Sanders in second, Biden in a distant fourth. All kind of irrelevant, the damage is done. Now off to watch The State of the Union Address. Taking one for the team so to speak. I’ll blog on that tomorrow.

Comments and shares appreciated!

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Public domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 4, 2020 at 4:37 am

WHY I’M VOTING FOR BERNIE SANDERS*

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*This post will likely piss off everyone. It’s what I do. What can I say, it’s a gift. Note, first off I didn’t say I was a Bernie Sanders supporter, and when I say vote, I mean caucus for. That’s right, I live in Iowa, where my primary vote actually means something. Muhahaha! Sorry, got carried away; it’s all the cornfields, they get into one’s dreams. So I will caucus for Bernie. I’m not quite sure what caucusing is, but afterwards I will blog about it. Who I will vote for in the general election, it depends on who’s running I suppose.

So yes, why? Why is someone who mutilated ballots in old elections and whose last act of political activism was protesting against Jane Fonda in the seventies, why am I now doing stuff for Bernie Sanders? Because Bernie Sanders is talking about the real issues destroying America. Wealth inequality, climate change. And our insanely aggressive imperialistic foreign policy.  And health care for all is a no brainer, literally everyone wins. All of which I am happy to defend logically. And he’s consistent, unlike faux progressives like the Clintons or Obama, Sander’s life history is actually progressive. Plus a lot of my dear friends are enthusiastic Bernie supporters, that has to count for something, right?

That being said, essentially I see my Bernie support as a version of “voting for the lesser evil.” I’m a cynical old SOB, Clinton and Obama both made all sorts of progressive promises, then delivered to the Pentagon and the bankers. I’d like to believe Bernie is different, and I do in the sense I’m happy to caucus for him and provide logistical support for his local campaign efforts. In the sense that I’m a Bernie fan, nope, I suspect he’s as much a part of the system as any other career Washington politician. He just comes from a local political background where being progressive is harmless. And just to recap, yes, I am a cynical old SOB.

I also think the American governing system is so controlled by special interests, oligarchs, what have you; that even if Sanders gets elected, he will be effectively paralyzed by a largely uncooperative congress. And then the GOP will make hay claiming it’s now proved that progressive policies don’t work. Depressing, the Trump junior as president alternate reality. I mean, the Bushs managed a presidential dynasty, why not the Trumps? On the other hand, I can imagine a world where  Sanders is sincere, manages to get a few policies up and running, and the results speak for themselves. A man can dream, right? On the gripping hand, I can  imagine a world where Sanders gets wellstoned.

A few other observations. The campaign in general is just another example of how stinking wasteful America is. Staggering amounts of time and money are being poured into a “campaign” that is essentially non stop now. Such a waste of time, energy, and money. Granted, waste is a part and parcel of modern America, but it seems to be much worse now than back in my day. And widespread waste in a society where so many are wanting seems to be a symptom of, well, something bad.

The other observation is just how far the political reality gap is these days. I saw a FOX news snippet where the newscaster called Sanders and Warren “two commies.” No people, Sanders and Warren aren’t communists. America does have a communist party, but its heyday was before World War Two, it has maybe 10,000 members now. Sanders and Warren aren’t socialists either. Again, there is an actual American socialist party, but they too are a shadow of what they once were. We essentially have one political party with two factions, but they play this game where the other party “is going to destroy America.” No, neither the Dem base nor the GOP base want to “destroy America.” Get a hold of yourselves people.

Oh, yeah, go Bernie!

And lastly, my life lately has been a perfect storm of intersecting global and personal issues, which has interfered with writing. On the plus side, the older I get, the easier it is to deal with crap.

Have a great weekend everyone. Remember, any day you wake up in the morning is a good day.

Comments welcome.

(Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Image: Bernie Sanders with cat, photoshopped image. Credit: The whole story here, claiming Fair Use under US copyright law. Go cats, Go Bernie!)

Written by unitedcats

January 17, 2020 at 7:52 pm

LONDON BURNING, GERONIMO, BERNIE AND NUCLEAR POWER, AND FLICC

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Geronimo_and_his_warriors

Some dates in history, nothing happened. Most though there are a number of things to choose from. In the first week of September in 1666 the Great Fire of London was raging. It’s a story with some interesting tidbits. I think I will write a dedicated post to it on Friday. Or not, one can never tell with these things. Maybe there will be some new shocking current event to write about. Or I could just make one up. “Nun Machine Guns Choir in Dispute Over How to Spell Arpeggio.” We’ll find out Friday I suppose.

More recently, on September 4 1886, Geronimo and his band of warriors finally surrendered to the US army. Him and his men had been more or less continuously fighting Mexico and the US for decades. All pretty ugly, especially the war between the Mexicans and the Apache. A lot of massacres on both sides. Against the Americans, he was mostly wanted for cattle rustling and “escaping” from the reservation. At one point near the end about a third of the US Army was hunting for him, 20,000 guys looking for a few dozen Indians. Whose big crime at that point was cattle rustling and leaving their reservation? Overreactions to minor threats on the frontier is a hallmark of imperialism. Just saying.

Once Geronimo and his men  surrendered, they were treated as prisoners of war. They were never allowed to return to Arizona. They were however taken out and about, IE the US government paraded Geronimo around at various events to show off the US. A tradition going back to at least the Romans. In his case, he got to make some nice pocket money. He’d sell pictures of himself, bows and arrows. Even his hat. Geronimo wrote an autobiography, which I am now putting at the top of my reading list. An interesting life indeed, the changes he saw. On his deathbed it’s reported that he regretted surrendering, who knows.

So he’s in the picture above. One of my favourite photographs of all time. Taken in the spring of 1886, it’s Geronimo and his men. I’ve probably posted and talked about it before. Cest la vie. It’s the only known photograph of a Native American military force operating in the field against the United States. These guys were at war with the US. Fun times.

Back to the here and now, I found out that Bernie Sanders wants to phase out nuclear power plants. I must admit I find that dismaying. There’s a huge problem with phasing out nuclear power plants, since they provide about 20% of the nation’s electricity, what do they get replaced by? Solar and wind can’t really take up the slack, since they can’t vary their power output on demand. Instead, exactly as is happening in Germany and Japan, they will get replaced with coal burning plants. The exact opposite of what we need to do. Nuclear power has its issues, but it is much safer and greener than burning oil and coal. And it has negligible carbon emissions, which is kind of an emergency species goal right now.

So I wonder if Mr Sander’s opposition is sincere, or his he only pandering to his base. The good Doctor Novella goes into the politics of nuclear power in his last post. Not surprisingly, Republicans are far more pro-nuclear than Democrats. I’m not sure what to think about it all. I guess I need to do more research. I’ve changed my mind before, it’s painful but the alternative is worse.

Lastly, FLICC. A new concept to me, or at least stuff I already knew in pieces, put together in a coherent package. Fairly new algorithm, 21st century. It’s a list of the big things to use to flag science denial. F is fake experts. L is logical fallacies. I is impossible expectations. IE, science can never be 100% sure of anything, and nothing is 100% safe, so one can point to the exceptions and claim they invalidate the science. C is cherry picking. And the last C is conspiracy theories. The more of these that show up in an article, the more likely it is science denying garbage. Not surprising, when both science and logic refute your position, stuff like this is all that’s left. Alas tens of millions of people listen to CNN and Rush Limbaugh, and fall for it every time. The FLICC article here.

Hope everyone had a good Labor Day holiday. There ended up being a party here. An introvert’s nightmare, a house full of friendly strangers. After enough beer I finally ventured forth and joined in the festivities . Parties here always involve the cat escaping and leading a merry chase through the neighborhood. They got the cat back, then locked me outside by mistake. All’s well that ends well though, they let me back inside, and I had a good time.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Photo by C. S. Fly of Geronimo and his warriors, taken before the surrender to Gen. Crook, March 27, 1886, in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico. Fly’s photographs are the only known images of Indian combatants still in the field who had not yet surrendered to the United States. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 4, 2019 at 3:40 am

BERNIE, WORLD WAR ONE, AMAZON FIRES, AND FORTIFIED SCHOOLS

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green-sky-c6f49480-4d18-4b7d-af26-65b5e91471f3

Maybe I should rename it Doug’s Cynical World. I do have hope for the species, in that I think extinction is unlikely. And there are good people in the world. And that’s about as far as it goes in modern America. I posted this story in my last post. People for the most part have no clue how easy it is to manipulate people. And with science being brought to bear (Yes, I have recommended this book before, read it and weep) on the issue, advertisers and political entities can shape people’s thoughts and even memories like never before. And few if any of these entities have the health, welfare, and betterment of humankind as their mission.

I did some volunteer work for the Bernie campaign, but I gave up on it. I like what he has to say, he has plenty of enthusiastic followers, but the same applied to Obama and Clinton. Both of whom moved the Dems even further away from their working class roots. And the Bernie campaign seems to be designed by coastal liberals, which means doomed to fail in the midwest. My current guess is that Bernie will be tapped for the VP slot, since the Dems have to have his followers if they want to ensure a victory over Trump. And then he can be safely sidelined, since the VP’s only job is to be a cheerleader for the POTUS. This assumes the DNC wants to win the 2020 election, which is far from clear to me.

105 years ago today the Battle of Tannenberg was raging. It was between Russia and Germany as Russia invaded Germany in the early days of World War One. It was an epic German victory, an entire Russian army was surrounded and destroyed with near 200,000 killed or captured. The German losses were trivial. Hindenburg was the big hero on the German side, going on to to play a big role in post war German politics. There is some doubt as to how much of the credit should go to him, but that’s a moot point by now. I mention it as an example of a crushing victory that was then overshadowed by subsequent battles, and pretty quickly all but forgotten. The Battle of Chancellorsville and the Battle of Stamford Bridge being two other good examples. Food for future blog posts.

World War One is officially history now by the way. About 65,000,000 served during the war, the last one died in 2012. The last one who saw combat in 2011. The last who served in the trenches in 2009. Tens of millions of people, locked in a life and death struggle. For many of them it was the defining event of their lives. For about ten million of them, it was the end of their lives. The War to End All Wars. And ultimately all for nothing, it was just the prelude to an even greater war. If that’s not depressing to think about, I don’t know what is.

In current world news, the Amazon basin is on fire. Well, Brazil’s new president did run on increasing agriculture and decreasing environmental protections. A politician who keeps his word, how did that happen? Oh, wait, a politician who keeps his promises to big business, never mind. It’s an environmental catastrophe, but at least it’s not depleting the world’s oxygen supply as many claim. I’d be upset, but that’s what they want. The whole freaking human race is an environmental catastrophe, this is just another float in the parade. There will be outrage for a week or two, then on to the next outrage. With both ruling parties of the US* determined to ignore environmental issues, nothing will be done until it’s way too late.

In America, schools are now being built with mass shootings in mind. My mind, formerly boggled, reels uncontrollably. We have failed as a people. On the plus side, 10,000 years and three dark ages from now, archeologists studying the ruins of early 21st century America will discover we started fortifying our schools about 2020. It will be the enigma of the age, numerous theories, each more clever than the last, will endeavour to explain why we did so. None will even come close to the truth. Our culture is sick.

Here in Iowa, fall is in the air. Some say it’s going to be a bad winter. Iowans complain about how cold their winters are a lot. Not sure why, it’s basically a Southern Ontario winter. IE the tropics of snowy winters. I’ll survive it, or not. If the former, more blogging! I really am working on the second installment of ‘Falling.’ If not, well, as Mark Twain said:

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

Have a great weekend everyone!

*No need for a link about Trump, who has abandoned all efforts to mitigate Global Warming and is rolling back environmental protections wherever he can.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Green Sky. Reminds me of an alternate reality I briefly visited once. Credit: Arnaud M. Used without permission, but he’s not a professional, and from what I can find he just wants people to share and enjoy his work.)

Written by unitedcats

August 30, 2019 at 2:43 am