Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Biden’ Category

NOT BORED YET

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OK, looking like Trump’s coup attempt, or whatever one wants to call his attempt to deny he lost the election and go on to a second term … is pretty much over. Looking like we’ve hit the Watergate phase here. Trump will be shuffled off the stage like Nixon, pardoning people left and right. Ho hum. Or ho hum to me, I’ve certainly had enough of the man. Unless there is some new great perfidy, I’m gonna start phasing out my Trump coverage. The Trump era is fading.

A shame really. He had half the country in his thrall. And then with the arrival of Covid-19, he was handed an opportunity few leaders ever face. A horrifying attack on America, an attack all Americans would rise to resist. The likes of Pearl Harbor or 9/11. That’s what Covid-19 was, an enemy that wanted to kill millions of Americans. An attack that was utterly apolitical, it transcended politics. If Trump in March had donned a mask and led a science based response to Covid-19, the GOP and his base would have followed. And far far fewer Americans would be dead, and Trump would have been triumphantly reelected.

Yeah, didn’t happen. This goes into it: The Rise (and Fall?) of Trump’s Viral Death Cult. Oh well, we’ll see what happens next. The Covid-19 death toll will hit at least 500,000 before it’s under control late next year. If all goes well. Biden will try to reestablish the pre-Trump international order. He may or may not succeed. Covid-19 and Trump have changed everything. That was Trump’s, and by extension his followers, great failing. They didn’t understand that Covid-19 was real, not some libtard plot. In the weird alternate universe the GOP has been building since the McCarthy era, everything by the opposition is some subversive commie plot to destroy America.

Great strategy politically, always ends badly when it collides with reality. And here we are, the economy trashed, the pandemic out of control, the rich looting like there’s no tomorrow. We’ll see how it falls out, but still going with “This isn’t going to end well.” I suppose that applies to everything if one steps back far enough.

So this was the first day in months where I felt physically OK and not more than usual worried about imminent death. IE gee, I can get myself a “I beat cancer” T-shirt. Yeah, no. Looking like a mild winter here in Northern Iowa. Hoping it extends to other realms. My dreams have been freaking intense lately, like a second life. Stay safe and sane everyone. Comments, questions, suggestions, etc. appreciated.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Nixon’s farewell address to the White House staff. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 25, 2020 at 8:37 pm

BIDEN WON BY A LANDSLIDE, THE WOW SIGNAL, AND OTHER RANDOM NEWS OF THE DAY

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Well, when all is said and done, Biden won by a landslide. The only winner this century with a higher margin was Obama’s win in 2008. Biden easily won by a much higher margin than Trump won by in 2016. And Trump had no problem claiming his 2016 win was a landslide, so he’s hoist by his own petard. Granted many of his followers think Trump was cheated out of the election, frankly though, being that out of touch with reality must be a crippling condition. I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

In other news, Trump gave a bizarre 63 second(!) press conference where he appeared to take credit for a record high stock market. Since he had predicted the stock market would tank if Biden was elected, it’s certainly odd. I actually find the whole stock market thing infuriating. A record high stock market means the upward transfer of wealth is reaching record highs. IE great news for the rich, not so great for the rest of us. In point of fact the poverty rate has been spiking while the rich are wallowing in ever more wealth. It’s also a sign (along with almost fawning mainstream coverage of Biden) that the rich and corporate America are thrilled with Biden.

There was a time when what was good for GM was good for America. Back when the minimum wage was a living wage, and good union jobs were plentiful. Those days are long gone, and until there’s a revolution, I can’t see them coming back. Greedy rich people control America now, and have created a horrible culture. The story of the 737 Max is a fantastic example of this, well, sickness. Where everything, including human life, is sacrificed in pursuit of higher stock prices and executive bonuses: Boeing’s 737 Max Is a Saga of Capitalism Gone Awry.

In other parts of our galaxy, a candidate source for the “Wow!” signal has been proposed. The “Wow!” signal was a brief but strong repeating radio signal picked up by a radio telescope in 1977. They were in fact scanning for alien radio transmissions. It was a strong signal, a scientist examining the computer printout circled it and wrote “Wow!” next to it. It never repeated, and no source for it was ever identified. Well, that was 1977, we have much better star maps now. A scientist realized this, took a new more accurate look in the direction the signal came from, and found a star very similar to the Sun: Sun-Like Star Identified As the Potential Source of the Wow! Signal

Yeah, kind of a long shot, we have no reason to believe there’s anything special about the Sun. Nonetheless, can’t hurt to take a much closer look at this star. We can listen for transmissions on many levels, and search for planets. It’s only 1800 light years away, that’s next door astronomically speaking. Hypothetically, if it was aliens, they sent the signal 1800 years ago, and their knowledge of Earth was as it was 3600 years ago. And, well, humans were building cities by then, great agricultural civilizations had arisen. From 1800 light years away, the changes that made in Earth’s atmosphere might well have been detectable.

And if they are watching us still, they’re seeing Earth as it was around the year 200. Septimus Severas was Caesar of Rome, I’m sure I’ve written about him before. An amazing character and life. Leading armies until his sixties, when bad English food and weather killed him. The Mayan Civilization was just beginning. Japan, China, India were all broken up into warring states. Hell, there were thousands of nations around the world, the Roman Empire was a complete anomaly at the time.

Back on Earth today: Evangelical Doctors’ Group Pleads With Churches To Stay Home. Not quite sure when evangelicals went off the deep end, the ones I knew in the 70s were cool. Good to see some of them still are rooted in reality. God would no more want his followers to hold services in an open field during a lightning storm than he wants them to gather in groups during a plague. God made reality for us to live in, and he wants us to follow its rules. Don’t play in traffic, don’t swim in shark infested mustard, don’t gather in groups during a pandemic. Same thing applies to Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving leftovers won’t taste as good if you’re on a ventilator,’ health department warns.

At least there’s some promising vaccine news: We Have Several Vaccines for COVID – Now What? With an incoming president who is actually going to fight Covid-19, by late 2021 things should be looking up. Knock on wood. Stay safe everyone. Comments, questions, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A scan of a color copy of the original 1977 computer printout. Credit: Credit: Big Ear Radio Observatory and North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO). Copyright: This image is ineligible for copyright! The first time ever I came across an image like that, learn something new every day.)

Written by unitedcats

November 24, 2020 at 8:24 pm

TRUMP’S TOAST

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Maybe it’s just the joy of surviving surgery, and cancer, which does weigh on a man … but I’m thinking Trump is toast at this point. He’s been foiled at every turn in his increasingly desperate attempt to rewrite the election as a Trump win. Sorry Mr Trump, but a sharpie and an army of sycophants can’t change reality, Biden won the election. Sorry Ernest*, your guy lost, deal with it.

160 New York business leaders weighed in for transitioning to Biden. Basically the rich and powerful, the “made” people in the global corporate empire, who Trump has always aspired to be one of … have rejected him. He’s toast. Let me expound. The people that own everything are in a class by themselves. It’s not organized like say the Mafia, but in many ways it’s the same. Trump’s not welcome at the top, it’s over.

In other good news, Oxford seems to have developed a vaccine that will be easy to deploy anywhere, and at cost, which is minimal. This isn’t the best article, but close enough. There’s no such thing as “Big Pharma,” nonetheless the idea that the profit motive is the best way to motivate people is sick and wrong. Short version, we appear to have a vaccine that we can easily deploy anywhere, which gives us a shot at global victory over Covid-19.

And that’s what is required. Once again for those in the back, Covid-19 is not a new cold or flu. I know some long haulers, all Americans will (or will get to experience it themselves) as the virus rages out of control while the POTUS simultaneously ignores it, prevents the incoming Biden administration from coordinating with federal health agencies, and goes golfing. Most diseases only affect part of the body, colds/flues are limited to the upper respiratory tract. Covid-19 goes EVERYWHERE, I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like it: Puzzling, often debilitating after-effects plaguing COVID-19 “long-haulers”.

Oh, Covid-19 is actually real. Many people predicted that since it was a Democratic hoax to make Trump look bad, it would magically disappear after the election! This would be like someone thinking in the US election of 1940 that the Nazi conquest of Poland and France was some sort of hoax, and would magically disappear after the election. Yes, it’s that fucking stupid. And Ted Cruz was a big proponent of same. Wrong Ted, Covid-19 is real.

Aside from my optimistic prediction that Trump will indeed be dragged from the stage, we’re not out of the woods yet. There’s still a lot of politics and wishful thinking poisoning America’s response to Covid-19, and there’s every reason to believe it will continue to explode. I’ll be straight up, I’ll bet before it’s over Covid-19 kills at least one person out of every three hundred, at least a million dead Americans.

In other words, we need to eradicate this disease. Any other option is mass death and disablement and economic carnage on a global scale. This is an object lesson for global warming, another threat that needs to be eradicated to avoid the same fate. Just the timeline is different. Will we pass either test? Damned if I know, but at least Biden acknowledges they are real threats.

I can live with that. So will a lot of people. Bye Don. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facebook grab, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Terminator 2, Judgement Day. Great movie, everyone should see it.)

Written by unitedcats

November 23, 2020 at 8:23 pm

“THERE ARE NO ADULTS”

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After reading this article, Analysis | A vindictive Trump seeks to undermine Biden’s presidency, I realize we are in for a repeat of the Obama presidency. Basically four to eight years of the GOP claiming Biden isn’t the legitimate president, and obstructing him in every way while working hard on the state level to deprive poor people and minorities of their vote. This isn’t governing, this isn’t politics, it’s basically crime family gang warfare. It’s just grotesque, a mockery of government. All the while screaming that the Democrats want to destroy America, oblivious to the fact that they are making America ungovernable, and they are crippling all efforts to solve America’s problems. A party of spoilt children who refuse to play the game unless they get to make up all the rules.

And Trump is doing everything in his power to hand over a giant steaming pile of hurt to Biden on January 20th. Icing on the shit cake really, just the Covid catastrophe he is leaving Biden is going to be a nightmare. And before Biden even finishes his inaugural address, the GOP will have magically realized Covid is a monster and Biden is to blame. No doubt “Biden’s Covid death Toll” sites are already waiting to launch. As Voltaire said, paraphrased, once one gets people to believe in absurdities, it’s easy to get them to commit atrocities. And the right has definitely come to believe in absurdities. They think anyone not supporting Trump and the GOP is a stupid libtard who wants to destroy America, open the borders, and surrender to our enemies overseas. The libtards also want to take away everyone’s guns, install a communist government, and outlaw Christianity and Christmas. Yes, people believe this stupid shit, I know some of them personally.

It’s depressing as hell. On a personal level, while my surgery is healing up nicely (I’m gonna have a wicked badass scar under my eye, I’m going to tell people I got it in a knife fight,) I appear to have picked up a head cold. At least I sure hope it’s a head cold. So I’m pretty miserable, and don’t know how much longer I can write before collapsing into Nyquil dreams. I hope to sleep at least, I didn’t get much last night. On the plus side, I made a nice pot of fish chowder today. OK, what links I have left:

This was an interesting article: What Trump Showed Us About America – POLITICO. A number of academics weighing in on what they have learned about America during the Trump years. That Trump is so popular among so many Americans really has come as a shock to a lot of people. Me, not so much. I moved to the hinterlands partly because I was dismayed by some of the elitist attitudes of coastal liberals. “Flyover states” is the elitist liberal version of “libtards.”

America, the failing state. It doesn’t have to be this way, I guess we got the government we deserved? We were likely the best prepared nation on the planet to face something like Covid-19. Granted we had flaws, Covid-19 was going to hurt, but still: Opinion | How America could have fought covid-19 better. That leads into the whole nightmare American health care system, the shame of the developed world. Again, there’s no reason for it to be this way other than corporate greed and fostered ignorance: Yale Study Says Medicare for All Would Save U.S. $450 Billion, Prevent Nearly 70,000 Deaths a Year.

I dunno. Climate of scarcity thinking has been fostered in America. The idea that there’s only so much wealth to go around, so that helping people means others suffer. The idea that if we raise wages, why, fewer jobs! Basically a huge number of Americans don’t understand that America is mind numbingly wealthy, and could easily provide working class and poor Americans with a vastly higher standard of living. It would mean cutting back on our obscene military spending, and actually taxing the people who have hoarded more wealth than they could spend in multiple lifetimes. It’s crazy really: Opinion | Is This Where We Are, America?

Lastly, in the “The stupid, it burns” file: Parents Tried to Cover Up a ‘Superspreader’ Dance. Disaster Ensued. Yes, parents, large numbers of them, people who claim to be adults, arranged a big High School dance in complete defiance of Covid-19 restrictions. Shit like this is a huge part of the reason Covid-19 is out of control in America. Maybe the main reason: Superspreader Events Played a Key Role in Igniting The Current Pandemic Globally. As my friend and mentor Sally said about contemporary America: “There are no adults.”

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

November 21, 2020 at 7:42 pm

SOME ARE CALLING IT SEDITION

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Sedition. Noun: sedition; plural noun: seditions

“Conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.”

At this point Trump’s attempts to subvert the results of the election certainly cross the line into sedition. This is what really did it for me: Trump summons Michigan GOP leaders for extraordinary meeting. No one knows what they are going to discuss, but since Trump has repeatedly floated the idea of GOP lawmakers overturning their states’ election results and giving their electoral votes to Trump, it’s not hard to guess.

Trump is still maintaining that some sort of massive election fraud cost him the election. He has provided no evidence. Every lawsuit he has filed has failed. Georgia finished their recount, Biden won. This was not a close election, but Trump continues to act as if the election was stolen and he will remain president, utterly refusing to even begin the usual transition to the next administration. It’s not a plot though, Trump and his followers live in an alternate reality. I was forced to listen to a snippet from a recent Trump rally in Arizona. He claimed at great length how Biden planned to “eliminate the border” and just let people freely flow into the US.

This is so divorced from reality one hardly knows where to begin. It’s more or less claiming Biden is secretly a potted plant wearing a human suit. It’s that effing stupid. That’s what we’re up against now. A lame duck president who lives in an imaginary reality, and has sucked tens of millions of Americans into it. Folie à deux on steroids. That’s when two or more people go insane together and share the same delusional reality. Trump simply can’t grasp he has lost the election, his niece has a cogent take on it: Mary Trump: The president ‘gaslights himself’ — and is stuck believing there’s no way he could have lost.

I particularly liked “Donald does not strategize,” Mary explained. No, he doesn’t. Oh, epiphany time. This is why Trump, like Hitler, so devastatingly destroyed his parallel contemporaries. Trump took over the GOP not because he was a brilliant strategist, but because he actually believed the political speil he was espousing. Hitler’s rise in Germany’s right political sphere was the same, powerful politicians thought they could benefit from this political outsider, only to be sidelined, co-opted, or eliminated as Hitler’s alternate reality infected their base.

Trump is not a politician, he’s a man who believes he’s anointed by the Gods. Usually such people don’t go far in life. Sometimes due to a confluence of unlikely factors, they change history. This is one of those times. What a time to be alive. The Trumpers don’t realize they aren’t living in consensus reality anymore. And most anti Trumpers don’t understand that either. We have two conflicting consensus realities in mainstream America now.

Amidst the worst pandemic in generations, if not centuries. One out of every 1000 North Dakotans has died of Covid-19 now. No surprise, the states that took the least precautions are now the hardest hit. Might make one out of every 500 by winter’s end. Winter is coming gentle reader.

Stay safe everyone. For the folks who may have missed it, Covid-19 is a horrible frightening new disease the likes of which we have never seen before, and everyone should do everything in their power to avoid getting and spreading it. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or deluded.

#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Galloping Gertie collapses, 1940. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 19, 2020 at 8:35 pm

SURVIVED THE FIRST ROUND OF SURGERIES!

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Woohoo, survived the first surgery! Still kicking! And writing! At least no one said “Oops” or “Oh my God, what the hell is that?” during the surgery, that has to be good, right? I refused a general anesthetic on the grounds that one should always refuse such if possible. Why add another layer of Russian roulette to the mix? And I was able to keep my eyes closed during most of it, and the few times I wasn’t, well, apparently surgery involves blood all over the place. I don’t recall that from House, Hollywood failed to prepare me for reality once again. Granted being only able to see out of one eye (the other being covered in bandages) is a bit of a hassle, but if that’s the worst that happens, all good.

Enough about me. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning said after meeting William Wordsworth “He was very nice to me and let me hear his conversation.” I may have mangled that, but one gets the drift. So yeah, the pandemic is getting worse. Americans dying while screaming “It’s all a hoax!” I kid one nought: South Dakota ER nurse tells horrific stories of patients near death — and still denying COVID is real. And then this: Incarcerated Texans enlisted to work in county morgue as COVID-19 deaths overwhelm El Paso. Fun times.

Some states are trying to crack down again, Trump’s pet quack called for one state to “rise up” against new restrictions. He later “clarified” that he wasn’t “inciting violence.” So glad that’s cleared up. The state where a political kidnapping plot against the governor was foiled, and armed protestors entered government buildings to “protest.” I guess that’s all he was calling for, phew. I am sick of Covid snowflakes. Heard one whining online today “It’s been nine whole months! This can’t go on! Wah! Wah! Wah!’ OK, he didn’t literally say “Wah wah wah.” He was also commenting in a group where non-Trumpers aren’t allowed, so I couldn’t respond to his pathetic bleat. For the record, anyone “tired” of Covid-19 restrictions should stfu, they are as welcome as people saying we should have just  surrendered in 1942 or 1862, because nine months of war was too much of a bother.

Yeah, fighting a war is a bother, and sure as hell puts a strain on the economy. Surrendering or losing is going to be much more a bother and much harder on the economy. As Germany and Japan could attest in 1945. And of course people will die. Far more than need be as Trump’s increasingly bizarre refusal to admit he lost the election continues. Even Biden had no trouble saying it. It’s like living in a Salman Rushdie novel. (Magical realism being the connection.)

And Biden’s right, lives will be lost. This winter is going to be a nightmare in America by all indications. I admit my predictions about how bad it would get this summer were off. Covid-19 did slow down in the summer months combined with restrictions. And for reasons not yet fully understood, it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been in the undeveloped world. We’re not out of the woods yet though. Spending all day in medical facilities where everything revolved around preventing the spread of Covid-19 gave me a renewed appreciation of the gravity of the situation and why everyone should do their part to fight Covid-19.

They’re all crisis actors! I’ve been hoaxed! Snort. I’m guessing people spewing stuff like that don’t understand how fucking dumb they sound. Covid-19 has lowered my tolerance for human stupidity, with no end in sight. And I’m going to keep blogging about it, because people still aren’t getting it and blogging is what I do. Fighting for America on the beaches of the Internet so to speak. Stay safe everyone, have a good week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Wound Man. Public Domain by all known copyright laws. And in the US.)

Written by unitedcats

November 16, 2020 at 9:30 pm

NOT DEAD YET!

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Normally I’d be posting about now, but instead just a few links put together. The drive down to Iowa City took longer than expected, and I’m exhausted. What’s to say about today, the pandemic continues to explode, Trump refuses to coordinate with the incoming Biden administration about it, or anything. Only thousands, low thousands, of pro-Trump protesters took to Washington’s streets Saturday. Yes, Trump continues to claim he was cheated out of the election win. A bizarre and unprecedented event in US history, I continue my blog marathon.

11 million American cases of Covid-19, people infected with a virus that damages the brain and the heart in a large percentage of cases. It’s actually kind of odd to me that people aren’t calling for Trump to provide medical proof that neither his heart nor his brain was damaged by Covid-19. Hell of a lot more important than his tax returns.

Moving right along, Obama gave an interesting interview. In some senses the real partisan divide that splits America started under him, when the GOP decided he was the antichrist and spent 8 years obstructing him at every turn, not to mention claiming he wasn’t even a real American with their birther fantasies. And the same people who thought Obama was a secret Muslim, now believe Trump was cheated out of being reelected. It’s a continuum.

Which Obama addressed, as long as we can’t agree on even the essential facts, no debate is possible. I loathe Obama, but he’s one brilliant mofo who at least lives in the real world. I guess evil working in the real world isn’t as scary as evil living in a fantasy world. We’re kinda hosed either way.

And ultimately we all die, sooner or later everyone accomplishes that. And then, not your problem anymore! Existential angst neutralised! I just hope I live to see how this winter turns out. Trump vs reality vs Biden, both vs Covid-19! It’s epic!

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: rural Iowa. Credit: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

November 15, 2020 at 10:21 pm

THE PARTIES ARE OVER, IT WAS FUN WHILE IT LASTED

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For the past four days I’ve consoled myself, I and millions of others, with the fact that Biden won the election and we would get back to something resembling a normal functional government. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Trump thinks he won the election and only massive fraud explains his loss. This is delusional thinking, the man really is insane, but it doesn’t matter. Enough of the GOP is going to support him, through shared madness or cynical self interest, that they will manufacture a way for him to ‘win’ the election. It will have the imprimatur of legality and constitutionality on it, but it won’t be. And at that point, we’re in a dictatorship. Trump, president for life. That’s the second party that’s over, America’s two century experiment with democracy. It was flawed horrifically from the beginning, but at least it was a step in the right direction. I hope I’m wrong, but at this point, with the Senate and the SCOTUS in Trump’s pocket, I don’t see any other outcome.

So what happens now? Beats me. There will be rising shock and horror on the left as Trump slimes his way towards stealing the election. There will be protests, there will be riots. All of which will have about as much effect as the Occupy Wall Street protests had. As long as Trump’s core is loyal, and it’s a given they will, protests will accomplish nothing except give Trump cover to seize more powers. We may well see him arresting his political enemies.

Wrote that this morning. Reading so many posts and articles today about Trump and his refusal to concede the election. Four or five days now, unprecedented in what wasn’t a close election. Most speculation along the lines of “When is Trump going to get it?” and positing he’ll be eventually dragged screaming and kicking from the White House. There’s two horrifying assumptions in this thinking. The first is that Trump will eventually get it. No, no, he won’t. Trump won the election in his mind, how could the greatest and most popular president in US history lose the election? The Dems cheated. Like Sharpiegate, he will never back down, Trump can’t back down.

The second assumption is that everything will proceed “normally” now, Biden is certainly doing all that’s expected of a president elect. The election will be certified, Biden will be sworn in, and Trump will be shuffled off to Twitter jail or some such. Trump is not a normal president, these are not normal times, and simply going through the motions will not magically make them normal times nor make Trump concede. I mean, Trump’s been saying for months that the Dems will cheat and he won’t commit to a peaceful transition, in fact he refused to commit to any transition. In his mind a terrible treasonous crime has been committed, and he’s going to fix it.

And so far McConnel, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, pretty much all the GOP Congress, not to mention tens of millions of Americans … all have Trump’s back. Secretary of state Pompeo promised “A smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” This isn’t going to end well. Trump is incapable of conceding. Saturday we all woke up to the mainstream media declaring Trump won. We’re not going to wake up to “Trump concedes.”

A fascinating spectacle, front row seats at the Colosseum, Trump vs. Biden. Historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and all sorts of other learned people are going to be studying these days for centuries to come. The greatest Empire the world has ever known crippled by a plague that by all reason they could have fought but didn’t. Combined with a political/constitutional crisis second only to the Civil War. And one of the things that I find especially interesting about this is how much it highlights just how invested most people are in their world view, they have a very hard time seeing that times have changed, they so much want to cling to “normalcy.”

There’s no such thing as normal, but right now America is divided into two diametrically opposed visions of normal. I don’t think that historically conflicts like this get resolved peacefully. Too much at stake, too many people’s identity and worldview at stake. The fun ride continues. Hope I get to see as much of it as I can. First round of surgeries next week, if I abruptly stop writing next week, well, no one lives forever.

And a PSA about Covid, in the same vein, saw someone wondering when Covid will end. My response: It’s not going to end unless there is a concerted coordinated global effort to end it, as Smallpox was eradicated. Covid-19 is both more dangerous than Smallpox and harder to control. By many metrics it’s one of the most frightening diseases we have ever seen, there’s been nothing like it before. Some countries will keep it under control, but as long as it rages elsewhere, none can let their guard down. The very best case scenario, it’s still going to be with us for years.

There’s in fact been more unpleasant discoveries about Covid-19, and the hyped Pfizer vaccine has a lot of caveats, it’s only going to be useful in stable developed urban areas. So, tomorrow’s blog will be depressing too! Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Hindenburg disaster, 6 May 1937. Credit: Sam Shere (1905–1982) It’s believed to be a Public Domain image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I needed an image of an unexpected disaster, though far more can be read into it than that.)

Written by unitedcats

November 10, 2020 at 8:14 pm

LIES

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The Donald has decided that the best way to proceed after losing the election is spreading lies and Covid-19 as best he can. And frankly, he’s damn good at both.  Him and his family and supporters are spreading endless claims of voter fraud, all of which have been baseless or ridiculous. A Youtube video of someone burning ballots claiming they were Trump ballots, even the information visible on the video itself showed they were sample ballots, not actual ballots. In one of their court challenges to the election the only evidence they provided was a post-it note with hearsay on it. The post-it note claimed to have seen some ballots being mishandled, but the author of the post-it note wasn’t known. Yeah, the judge wasted no time dismissing that case.

And Trump is going to continue to hold his Covid spreading rallies, where he plans to display the obituaries of people he claimed voted for Biden. And basically carrying on as if he won, and somehow the election was stolen from him. Well, if that’s all it is, so far so good. IE so far just a lot of noise, sound, and fury signifying nothing. Biden launched his Covid-19 task force today, a bipartisan collection of experts. And made it very clear that Covid-19 will be his number one priority when he takes office. Gee, rational leadership, something Trump is incapable of. Whatever Biden’s neocon faults, it’s just refreshing to see basic competency returning to the White House.

So Pfizer announced a vaccine that early trials say is 90% effective at preventing infection. It’s a very good sign. Some have suggested they waited until after the election to announce it, to avoid giving Trump votes. Well, since Trump had nothing to do with this vaccine, Pfizer developed it with it’s own money, even if they did, good. Trump would have lied and tried to claim credit for it, so even if the company delayed the news, it was the responsible thing to do.

I suspect it’s unlikely though, like most (all?) conspiracy theories, it’s based on reinforcing prejudices, not actual facts. In any event, a vaccine is good news. An effective vaccine would be an incredibly valuable tool in the anti-Covid toolbox. It would make control and eradication of Covid-19 possible, and with the US rejoining WHO and the global struggle against Covid-19, that light at the end of the tunnel might be real. Covid-19 is not just another flu or cold, many countries have eliminated it, and like Smallpox, every effort should be made to eliminate it. Smallpox killed a million or more people a year, and crippled millions more, until a global vaccination campaign eliminated it. That was fifty years ago, there’s no reason it couldn’t be done today against Covid-19.

We’ll see. Despite all the good news, America is still a horribly fractured country. Two countries really, the GOP has created an alternate reality where everything is viewed through a warped political lens. Yes, every faction on Earth is propagandized to some extent, the Democrat left in the USA absolutely. However, sometimes a faction goes so far down its own rathole that they are detached from reality itself. How does one debate with people like that?

So yeah, a Trump supporting friend sent me this: Oakland: ‘Caravan of armed robbers’ target cannabis businesses on Election Night, leaving suspect dead. He gets very … excited … about stuff like this. He was the same fellow who predicted the left would set America aflame if Trump prevailed in the courts and ‘won’ the election. Where to start? The incident itself. An American mob engaged in criminal activity. OMG, it’s the end of the world and proof that libtards are going to kill us all if we let them run the country! No, it’s a microscopic event in America’s long sad history of mob violence.

I wish I knew the answer, but I do know that “All of society’s problems are caused by the Godless libtards” is not the answer. Convince me otherwise. Stay safe everyone, the near future is still a scary place. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The best musical joke meme ever created. Enjoy.)

Written by unitedcats

November 9, 2020 at 8:39 pm

CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM CONTINUES

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So far, yes, Biden is looking good. He’s putting together a solid plan for when he gets into office, the pandemic being the first issue to address, he’s naming his pandemic task force on Monday. He will be taking charge while the second worst (and a good shot at becoming the worst) health crisis in American history is raging at its peak. What a nightmare, but Biden’s doing it with diplomacy and aplomb. He offered a solid olive branch to Trump supporters. Just the professionalism of it all is impressive, something that’s been sorely lacking in the White House the last four years.

The economy, racism, and climate change are Biden’s other three priorities. Everyone loves a good economy, but in many ways the economy is out of the president’s hands. More importantly, if the president actually does his job, running the country in a rational manner, the economy will take care of itself just fine. But yeah, Biden will not be inheriting a good economy. Well, at least he’s had experience inheriting a bad economy from GOP predecessor.

Racism, boy. A small majority of white Americans think whites are a discriminated against minority now. I think it’s safe to say that most of them are Trump supporters. They think racism is no longer an issue, or that non-whites have an advantage now over white people. Both premises are deeply wrong, yet here we are. Acknowledging this does not mean they are bad people, but Biden has his work cut out for himself here. How does one address an issue people think doesn’t exist?

Same problem with global warming, Trump and his supporters don’t think it’s real or it’s been exaggerated. Sigh. Global warming is real, human activity is causing it, it needs to be dealt with. There’s exactly zero reasons not to transition to a greener economy. Solar, wind, 4th gen nuclear are the wave of the future. Some stock will lose value, so what? Because an industry was once profitable doesn’t mean it has some God given right to profit forever. It’s called progress, the barrel making, whale oil, and saddle industries had their time in the Sun. Fossil fuels are the same, especially coal.

Will Trump concede and let this all transpire? That’s the big question now. Trump hasn’t given up, the GOP is divided. There’s even a rumour that Melania urged him to concede. From this one article, Trump does have some ways of constitutionally circumventing the election results: The Trump campaign is reportedly ‘discussing contingency plans to bypass election results’. Seems like a long shot to me. IDK, some claim Trump is incapable of conceding: Experts explain why losing is ‘like psychic death for Trump’.

I hope it all works out. In that vein, one nice thing. It’s cool we have the first black female VP. Little black girls the country over can be like, wow! Kids being inspired is a good thing, nu? Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Peace is a good thing. Public Domain image from Snappygoat/Pixabay.)

Written by unitedcats

November 8, 2020 at 7:52 pm