Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Biden’ Category

THE ENTIRE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IN ONE BLOG POST?

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I was going to sum up the entire upcoming Biden administration in one blog post, but I realized that’s impossible. Maybe double spaced with anecdotes? It would still be boring fluff. The upcoming Biden term can actually be summed up in two words: “Obama 2.0” In a sentence: “Obama faithfully served Wall Street, the Pentagon, and corporate America. Biden will do exactly the same.” I see zero indication from his history or actions since taking office to indicate otherwise.

On the plus side, it simplifies analysis of what will happen now. Mainstream Dems will be happy, they liked Obama, they will like Biden. The Dems that understand that some actual changes need to be made or the rich will just keep getting richer on the worker’s backs, well, they can protest. Look what Occupy Wall Street accomplished. I just don’t see anything earthshaking coming out of Demland in the near future. Bernie has been safely sidelined, maybe AOC will get something done, but I’m not betting on it.

On the right, well, they have seceded from reality, not sure what’s in store for them. Biden’s election didn’t usher in some sort of socialist nightmare, see meme above, but that won’t change the fact that a huge percentage of them are still following Trump, convinced he actually won the election. I don’t have a problem with that. Trump has spectacularly failed at pretty much everything he’s done, the chances he will provide the GOP with competent leadership is effectively zero. Timothy McVeigh type lunacy is possible, but without anyone at the helm, that won’t change anything. Still, scary times: The Republican revolt against democracy, explained in 13 charts.

So if we step back, and look at the world? We’re still screwed. The world is run by a handful of armed gangs whose purpose is to protect the rich and keep them growing ever richer. A world wracked by utterly unnecessary war and poverty. Humans easily have the knowledge and resources to turn Earth into a happy place for all. Yet here we are, learning nothing from Covid, essentially betting that Global Warming is a hoax, and running a global economy based on exploitation of workers and the environment for the benefit of the rich.

It’s not going to end well. The science of exploitativeness is easily winning against the science of cooperation and empathy. Dark irony really. The great secret humans used to conquer the globe and become the most successful species ever was the gift of community cooperation. And that same talent made it possible for the few to get the many to cooperate for the benefit of the few. And this gentle reader, is why I think intelligence such as ours is an evolutionary dead end. Ultimately even less successful than the dinosaurs. They had no clue the asteroid was coming, we have plenty of warning and are still oblivious.

On a personal level, hope to be here for a few more decades blogging on it all. The deathwatch and mourning for my father is over. Thanks for the condolences. As his eldest child, I got to identify his remains today. All virtual due to Covid of course. The funeral home sent me pictures. Yep, it was him. Not that there was any doubt. Sad beyond words, but words are all I have. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 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

March 1, 2021 at 7:48 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Personal, Trump

TEXAS FOX LUNACY, WHY AMERICA IS BROKEN ILLUSTRATED. AND MARS.

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The modern GOP is pretty easy to predict, if something bad happens, the liberals engineered it. MAGA mob storms capitol? Antifa false flag operation. A terrible plague ravishes the land? Democratic hoax. The Texas power grid fails in a severe winter storm, those damn liberals and their green power! Fox repeated this particular lie endlessly. ‘Simply laughable’: How a lie about the Texas energy crisis dominated Fox’s coverage. It’s not really that laughable, because people believe the lies. No, GOP deregulation is why their power grid failed, it’s not even debatable. And people have been pointing out for a decade that the Texas power grid wasn’t ready for a storm like this: Beto O’Rourke said Texas was warned for years about power grid.

And Texas Senator Ted Cruz is really taking flak for fleeing with his family to Cancun while Texas suffered its worst natural disaster in decades. Millions without power, and he flies to Mexico for some sun. His excuse(s) aren’t flying well: People Can’t Help But Mock Ted Cruz’s Absurd Excuse For Cancun Trip. He blamed his daughters. Presumably they are liberals? It’s all just weird these days. But yeah, more evidence that more than just America’s infrastructure is rotten to the core, our ruling class is about the same. At least he’s getting fire from some fellow Republicans, but not most of course. If Obama had done something like this, the GOP outrage would have reverberated through the ages.

Gets weirder too. It’s becoming a thing in Evangelical circles to predict Trump is coming back. Not in 2024, but this year, 2021. The Christian Prophets Who Say Trump Is Coming Again. Somehow God is pissed that Trump is no longer president, and he’s going to reinstate him pronto. Because, Trump has God’s blessing or something. Yes, foreign and future readers, a lot of American evangelicals are, well, out of touch with reality. There’s no Constitutional way to change the election results. And boy, on the Evangelical fringe, the Texas winter storm was “scientifically impossible” and therefore caused by “weather manipulation:” Christian Activist: TX Freeze Was Weather Manipulation. Tens of millions of Americans believe this stuff, not promising for a healthy debate.

In many ways, all not that surprising. The GOP spent Obama’s administration pumping birther nonsense, claiming he wasn’t really the president, and doing everything in their power to demonize and obstruct him. It’s a logical extension to “Biden cheated so Trump really won.” Gotta remember, the GOP can’t win on popularity. Twice this century they “won” a presidential election even though they lost the popular vote, and Trump almost pulled it off again. The GOP right led by Evangelical extremists (people that want to turn the USA into a “Christian Nation,”) has moved considerably to the right in recent decades. Only maybe a third of America has followed them, the rest of us actually want to live in a secular democracy where Americans of all stripes are welcome. That’s why Obama got elected twice, the majority of Americans didn’t care that he was black.

I’m of course no Obama fan. While I think it’s a good thing Americans elected him twice, God bless em, their hearts were in the right place … Obama was true to his voting record. He was a complete tool of corporate America, Wall Street, and the pentagon. He normalized forever war and erased what remained of the Democrat’s actual progressive wing. Peace and actual economic justice are off the table, but LGTB rights! Couldn’t we have both? Not with Obama, and sure not looking like it with Biden.

My father is still alive, but very weak. Take care gentle readers, hopefully this is the last cold weekend in North America. Maybe. More likely than God putting Trump back into the White House. And if somehow Trump does get back into the White House in the near future, woo boy, blogging heaven! I’ll be back Monday, shares, comments, likes, follows, patrons, donations as always appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Mars Perseverance Rover two meters above the ground. Amazing Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 19, 2021 at 8:43 pm

WELL, I CERTAINLY GOT SOME PUSHBACK ON YESTERDAY’S BLOG ABOUT MARJORIE TAYLOR GREEN. AND OH, TRUMP IS HANGING PEOPLE ON THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN? WTF?

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Yesterday’s blog about Marjorie Taylor Greene got some pushback, always gratifying. If people take the trouble to disagree with me, then I’m doing something right. Preaching to the converted has never appealed to me. I mostly write to encourage thought and to get my own thoughts in order. My views will likely change until the day I die, and maybe after. Well, for sure after, since if there is an after, my views about there likely not being an after would clearly need to be modified. So in that vein, I thought I’d take a look at a select few comments and see how they changed my thinking:

I dunno, MTG is obviously very stupid, ignorant and gullible, and that type of person just should not be on an education committee. So while I agree that the Dem’s motivation was wrong, I think they stumbled their way into doing the right thing.

Also I think after Trump the “shine a light on the craziness” thing can’t be relied on. He said and did so so many stupid things that just increased his popularity with his base. I think MTG’s views might be more mainstream than you think.   — S.

He has a point, Trump being a crazy bad president if anything empowered his base. Giving MTG free rein in congress might just make the situation worse.

If it was purely partisan I might agree with Doug, but it wasn’t. 11 republicans also voted to remove Ms. Greene from her assignments, one more than voted to impeach Trump for insurrection (the most bipartisan impeachment in history). Someone who publicly ridicules parents of kids who were murdered at Sandy Hook probably isn’t qualified to be on an education committee. And if one thinks Jewish space lasers are behind the world’s problems it’s probably past time to see a psychiatrist, not sit on a budget committee. You have freedom to say what you want, but it comes with consequences. Ms. Greene can have her seat she rightfully won, but she is not entitled to committee work when she has demonstrated over and over she is mentally unhinged and potentially violent.   — J.V.

Well, 11 out of like 200 GOP congressmen is a pretty low bar for “bipartisan,” but it’s better than none I suppose. Can’t argue the logic after that though. Still, I agree that MTG is unsuited for congress, let alone sitting on committees. Just not sure this was the best way to handle it.

I think you may be wrong here. We’re all in need of a signal, which this is, that crazy theories in the public sphere won’t be tolerated. We’ve waited long enough. And it’s not as if 75% or more of the Rep. politicians tolerate it either, despite still voting on party lines, being cowardly hypocrites for the most part.   — M.T.

Oh, absolutely. I’m certainly less sure of my opinion than when I wrote the previous blog post. And yes, MTG crosses a line is a good point. I would certainly agree there is a point where a candidate is so unsuitable and unqualified that this action would be the only sensible recourse.

That’s putting it nicely. It’s gonna take a lot of bipartisan effort to get these people off their Q horse so to speak.

So I do think this censure is sorta worth it. Innocent people could be harmed if she continues to run her mouth off accusing people who are just run of the mill citizens of being baby eaters or something.   — E.K.

Yes, this comment definitely made me think, I hadn’t really considered that MTG could do (or encourage) actual real world harm the more latitude she is given in congress. People like her were the heart and soul of the Capitol Riot, so it’s a point I can’t refute.

Since this line is drawn, we can now expect Republicans to remove all Democrats from every committee in either chamber they control.

They will cast any prior statement (e.g. stated support for BLM or suggestion that Trump did anything wrong after this election) as being as bad or worse than the statements made by Greene.

I have already seen demands made that Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and Rashida Talib be removed from all committee assignments due to their supposed racist statements and incitement of violence.   — C.P.H

Well, at least one person agrees with me. I guess all things considered, it kind of comes down to how much harm could Ms Green do given full leeway in congress vs how much this action could come back to haunt the Democrats later? And as I don’t have a crystal ball, damned if I know. I did come on too strong yesterday though, for that, well, mea culpa. I’m always trying to find that sweet spot where people that disagree with me want to engage. And it seems to have worked this time. Thanks always for those who shared their thoughts!

I mean, it is frelking nuts. Ms Green might as well be a flat earther who thinks Earth is run by lizard people, QAnon really is, well, delusional. At odds with reality. Unsustainable logically. Nuts. All of the above. She did recant all her past views in congress, so she’s smart enough to lay low or she really is menatally … inconsistent? Boy, trying to avoid using ableist language is quite a challenge sometimes.

And what do QAnon believers think now? See the above image. Yes, that’s a gallows set up on the White House lawn. Wait, what? Wouldn’t this be on the news? Muhahaha, of course not. The fake news about Biden being president is all part of Trump’s plan. He’s actually still president, and since Biden’s inauguration he has been carrying out his plan, publicly hanging the enemies of democracy. It will no doubt all be revealed soon, and won’t that own the libtards! I wish I was making this up. Barring that, I wish the person making this up made it up. I don’t hardly know anymore: These QAnon followers believe Trump is still secretly president — and has been carrying out public executions at the White House.

Yes, dear foreigners, future readers, aliens, and time travellers; it is indeed mind blowing to live in an era where tens of millions of Americans live in a fantasy alternate reality.  If any reader wanders by the White House and takes pictures of whatever is going on, I’ll gladly post them. Oh well. In actual Northern Iowa reality we had the first big snowstorm of winter and are in single digit temps now. I stay inside a lot. I don’t think the parsley is going to survive this, but next year’s garden is already taking shape in my dreams.  Comments, shares, and especially patrons are appreciated. Subscribe to the WaPo or the NYT for a dollar a week, and they won’t even know you exist, gentle reader. Subscribe to my blog for a dollar a month, and I’ll write posts on topics you suggest! Subscribe for more and I will be eternally grateful. (That means I’ll buy you a drink if you’re ever out this way, eternal gratitude from mortals has its limits.) Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Photoshopped image of gallows on the White House lawn. Credit: Some person on QAnon, found on the Rawstory QAnon link above, attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

February 5, 2021 at 8:30 pm

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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Woohoo! Two new patrons today, so much appreciated. I’ve been socially isolated since March and don’t dare work since at any age, mine especially, Covid just isn’t something to get. This is a disease that we still don’t even begin to fully understand, and a large percentage of people who get it will have long term effects. Covid really is a game changer, it’s not The Stand or Earth Abides (both highly recommended by the way,) but it’s the worst thing to come down the pike in a century at least. The 1918 flu was deadlier, but it had nothing like the long term effects Covid has, a disease that once one gets, it keeps on giving.

I digress. So my blog is really all that’s keeping me safe, and every patron helps. And as always, I’m happy to write blog posts on topics suggested by patrons. Science, history, politics, and cats for the most part. I suppose I could try other topics, but my knowledge of things like sportsball, fashion, and popular entertainment is limited in the extreme. When my parents got excited about the Beatles coming to America, I was like, what’s the big deal about some beetles from England? Granted I was 7 at the time. My knowledge base hasn’t expanded much since, aside from seeing every movie Arnold Schwarzenegger ever made. (I lost a bet, yes, that explains it, quick thinking Doug.)

So, The Donald (note I have not sunk to the name calling du jour which seems to have infected every aspect of American politics these days, though I sure am tempted to refer to him as the Velveeta Voldemort, that cracked me up.) The Donald is thinking of starting his own political party. Go for it Mr Trump. Seeing the GOP split in half is fine by me. It means the Dems will get even more a lock on power, and I can only hope that it inspires them to make some actual positive changes in the country. Things like Medicare-for-all and a real living wage would do wonders for both Americans and the economy. Digressing all over the place today.

Yes, the Donald’s ability to manage a political party will be on par with how he managed Covid, the United States Football League, and his numerous failed business ventures. IE the man is a brilliant self promoter and grifter; actual management ability, he’s a multiple failure. He got through the first three years of the presidency because the inertia of the gigantic byzantine most bloated bureaucracy that ever existed is such that a gerbil could be president and pull it off. Until of course something happens that actually requires a competent leader at the helm. And that would be Covid, actual leadership was required; we got pandemic signalling, blame shifting, and the My Pillow guy. It’s darkly ironic that if it hadn’t been for Covid, Trump would almost certainly have been reelected.

Hopefully Trump will be dropping out of the news cycle soon and I can get back to blogging about science and the ongoing catastrophe that is the American Empire. I’d say that the Atlantic Empire is not going away any time soon, but we’re kinda through the historical looking glass here. And empires based almost entirely on military might tend to be very fragile if my understanding of history is any guide. Oh, history posts, yes, all sorts of those on the back burner.

So one last Trump outrage, the very last thing he did on inauguration day was fire the head usher at the White House and sent the staff home. That way there was no one to open the door at the White House when the Bidens arrived. Awkward: Trump fired chief usher right before leaving White House – TheGrio and  Bidens were left stuck outside White House on Inauguration Day after ‘petty’ final Trump act. IDK, conflicting reports on this one. Still, Trump and infantile pettiness are pretty much synonyms, so sounds believable to me. This is a guy who so far as I can tell spent his presidency undoing anything Obama did because Obama roasted him at a White House House Correspondents Dinner. People that have no sense of humor are even more humorless when the joke is on them. And Trump’s lack of even a shred of humor is the stuff of legend.

Lastly, I see that a famous blogger plagiarized me! OK, that’s almost certainly not true, it’s more a matter of GMTA I suspect. (I always have to explain that that means “Great Minds Think Alike” since for some reason most people are unfamiliar with an acronym that was popular on AOL for a few days in 1998.) The good Doctor Novella  had observations about QAnon today parallelling my observations yesterday. Not really a stretch, Qanon is pretty much a classic “End Times” cult, lots of people have no doubt made that observation. (Excluding QAnon believers of course.)

Petco actually did blatantly plagiarize a website I ran in the late 90s, but what’s done is done. The site is still up, but I lost the password long ago so it’s just a weird fossil site on the interwebs. (And looking at it, at least one link is now flagged by Avast, be careful.) Whoever hosts it is likely still getting revenue from my writing, c’est la vie. I write because it is my purpose, not to make money. Still, money keeps me alive to write, new patrons are always more than welcome, sign up here. I’ll never paywall this site, but I do live on the generosity of readers.

Freezing weather here in Iowa. Maybe I should do another history quiz post, open to suggestions. (Yes, digressing again.) Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: An upbeat image today, might as well be happy before I become completely disillusioned with the Biden administration. A cheery Sisley painting: The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne. 1872. Public domain of course. Alfred Sisley.)

Written by unitedcats

January 23, 2021 at 8:59 pm

TREPPENWITZ, AND TRUMP’S WHITE HOUSE DIET COKE BUTTON

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Ah, treppenwitz. Or esprit de l’escalier, the wit of the stairway. When someone claimed that having tens of thousands of troops in Washington for the inauguration was like being in a third world country, I should have replied: “Like one of those countries where the president incites a mob to attack the capitol to overturn a free and fair election?” The same person would have been apoplectic if the mob had been a BLM/Antifa mob.  Of course they don’t think it was a fair election, because how could their anointed by God leader possibly lose an election? Especially if he insisted he’d been cheated? I and many others have said it before, Trump supporters are now living in an alternate reality. Here is a great example: Sen. Graham calls out Biden administration’s claims that ‘everything is in shambles’. No Mr Graham, this isn’t the Obama playbook, Trump wasn’t a particularly good president, and after the election he basically ignored the exploding pandemic and everything else to concentrate on his fantasy quest to overturn the election. And his administration’s essential refusal to coordinate with the incoming Biden administration was historically unprecedented in modern times.

To back my point up, here are three of Trump’s most unqualified and corrupt appointments, all fired by Biden on his first day in office. The information comes from Slate.com, but since it’s paywalled, I’m rephrasing it here:

Michael Pack. He was appointed in June to run the U.S. Agency for Global Media. The Voice of America international broadcaster. He tried to transform it into a propaganda outlet for Trump, despite a  mandate that prohibits such political interference. He purged the staff of the VOA and sister networks, replacing them with Trump loyalists, insisted on pro-Trump coverage, and unconstitutionally punished reporters who didn’t toe the pro-Trump line. He also illegally fired the board of the Open Technology Fund, which promotes international internet freedom, and replaced them with Republican activists. After whistleblower complaints, the U.S. Office of Special Counselfound it very likely that Pack had broken federal law. After being fired by Biden, he whined that his termination “was a partisan act,” talk about self-owning irony.

Kathleen Kraninger, confirmed as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018. She had no previous experience in consumer protection. She scrapped a rule that restricted predatory payday lending, insisting that her staff downplay the harm to consumers. She refused to enforce a federal law that protected military personnel from predatory payday lending, basically allowing them to be defrauded by said lenders. She also approved a rule allowing debt collectors to harass Americans with limitless texts and emails. Charming, appointed to protect consumers, instead she protected predatory lenders.

Lastly, Peter Robb. Confirmed as the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel in 2017. The NLRB’s mandate is  to enforce federal laws that protect workers’ right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. Mr Robb is brutally anti-union. He tried to limit employees’ free speech, gave employers more ability to practice wage theft, crippled unions’ ability to collect dues, and helped prevent employees from organizing unions. He also tried to seize total control of the agency by demoting regional directors and consolidating power in his office, giving him unheard of power to bust unions and prevent new ones from forming. Biden fired his sorry a** after he refused to resign.

I’d link to the original Slate article, but I’m going to try to avoid linking to all unreasonably paywalled articles, what’s the point? I doubt very many of my readers subscribe to Slate. By the same token I unsubscribed to the New York Times today. I love many of their guest editorials, but I can’t share them with my friends and readers, so what’s the point? And boy, they made me jump through hoops to unsubscribe, further increasing my antipathy towards them. I swear, a lot of modern marketing seems to have avoided, I dunno, actually asking real people what they thought?

In any event, these and so many other examples show Trump not only broke his promise to drain the swamp, he was possibly the worst president ever for appointing industry lobbyists and Trump loyalists to posts where they were supposed to regulate said industries in a non-partisan way. Sigh. Hey, Trump University, a scam to cheat poor people out of their life savings shows what Trump really thought about poor and working class Americans.

So far Biden is at least paying lip service to the idea he is serving all Americans. He cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, which was interesting. Basically the pipeline only benefited the rich, had very serious ecological concerns, defiled sacred native land, and would have only provided a trivial number of jobs. IDK, this certainly seems to indicate that Biden won’t completely be a slave to the oil lobby. He also is going to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, which despite its flaws, at least acknowledges that human caused global warming is real. Which it is, the scientific debate ended decades ago; there are certainly questions about how best to deal with global warming, but pretending it’s all a hoax and continuing to pump CO2 and methane into the atmosphere to protect fossil fuel profiteering isn’t one of them.

Predictably, Fox News and the rest are already screaming in outrage about Biden. Apparently condemning white supremacy is an insult to Trump voters: Fox News upset over Biden’s denouncement of white supremacy – because it might offend Trump voters. Frankly, anyone who is upset about Biden denouncing white supremacy can go jump in a lake. Or jump in a time machine and go live in Hitler’s Germany. Hell, a QAnon congresswoman is already filing articles of impeachment against Biden. Yeah, gonna be a fun four years.

Lastly, I just found out that Trump had a button on his oval office desk that when he pushed, a butler would bring him a Diet Coke. Really. To me, that’s kind of grotesque, especially on the taxpayer’s dime. I can’t imagine even having a butler, just have a freaking mini fridge in your office if you need Diet Coke available 24/7. I would have made a very poor lord I guess. The button is gone now, Biden had it removed.

Have a safe and warm weekend everyone. The above meme references the explosion of Bernie in mittens memes after the inauguration. All good fun, though I’m sure Trump supporters, wed to the idea that Sanders is Mao reborn, are horrified. Think of the Children! Or some such, idk. Trump has zero sense of humor, and apparently his followers don’t either. I’ll keep blogging as long as I can. Comments, suggestions, shares, and especially patrons appreciated. I’ll never paywall my blog, but donors are incredibly appreciated. Thanks in advance, thanks for reading in any case. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 22, 2021 at 9:00 pm

TRUMPARTURE EVE AND CRUSHED ANTS

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Four years of the Trump presidency ends tomorrow, today was his last full day in office. And what a ride it’s been, there’s been nothing like it in my lifetime, and pretty much in all of US history. History in the making, and soon to be history, period. His chances of getting reelected in 2024 seem remote, but that’s years from now anyhow. A lot is going to happen between now and then. Various thoughts, in whatever order I end up putting them in:

I could have written this post in advance, but decided to wait until this last evening just in case  there were any crazy new developments. None yet, though we’re not completely out of the woods. At least a dozen National Guard members have been removed from the capitol security detail for extremist ties, two for making threats to politicians. We’re talking right wing extremist ties, nice to see them finally being taken seriously.

Let’s see, just  to repeat stuff I’ve said before: Mea culpa. I was wrong. Trump ended up being worse than my worst fears. I even had some hope, a thin hope at that, that he might be an OK president. He did make a number of promises that would have made a huge difference to poor and working class Americans. Yeah, none of those materialized. I also initially held out the hope that he was smarter than he appeared, it didn’t take long for him to demonstrate the falsehood of that theory. Lastly, I wasn’t shocked by his election. His appeal to a certain demographic was obvious, and Trump’s always been a world class self promoter. Pretty much Trump’s only world class talent sadly. And Clinton’s missteps were painful to see, it was clear she thought she had the 2016 election in the bag. Pretty much every military disaster in history was preceded by the losing side wildly underestimating their enemy, that was Clinton’s 2016 campaign in a nutshell.

I digress, tonight is Trump’s last night. Him and Melania are likely hiding tuna fish in the White House’s curtain rods or such. He’s proven himself a vindictive petty man time and again. Some people see that as  a strength. I see it as proof of Sally Shlaer’s axiom: “There are no adults.” Living with an eight year old in a sixty year old man’s body housemate  has reinforced that, but I digress. I see that Mike Pence has risen to the occasion: Mike Pence posts farewell photos in good-bye message — but excludes any of Donald Trump. Apparently him and  Trump haven’t spoken since, well, Trump incited a mob to lynch Pence. Pence may be a fundamentalist monster, but unlike Trump, he’s not an idiot.

Trump’s star continues to fall: Petition circulates in Scotland to rename airport Trump uses to get to his golf course for Joe Biden. There will be a lot more things like this in the months to come. There’s good things too though: Tonight is the last night in US history where there’s never been a female vice president. Or a black vice president too for that matter I suppose. The end of Trump  is a sea change in US history.

400,000 dead of Covid today. That’s Trump’s legacy. I wonder how many gravestones will say “killed by Trump’s inability to fight a pandemic?” In some ways (all ways?) Trump’s response to Covid defines his presidency and his legacy. If he had just consulted the experts and gone with the plan Obama/Bush left him, he’d be getting ready to be inaugurated into his second term tomorrow. Instead he winged it, and when Covid didn’t magically disappear, he just moved on and ignored it. Smooth move exlax.

Trump is a man who his entire life ignored the law, contractual obligations, and reason. And he was protected by privilege, wealth, and finally the presidency. That ends tomorrow. Who knows what the future holds. Whatever happens, the Earth abides. In the  greater scheme of things, Trump’s accomplishments and transgressions are no more than crushed ants.

Deserts are the greatest testament to God’s beauty, barren and lifeless, in many ways they are the most living places on Earth. Does that make sense? Probably not. That’s why I write, trying to put such thoughts into words. Trump’s departure is a sea change in US history, but God and nature really don’t care. They are infinitely bigger  than Trump. See  above image, nature will persevere no matter what. Stay safe and warm everyone, who knows what Biden will bring. Blogging topics at least! #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Death Valley, Public Domain snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

January 19, 2021 at 9:34 pm

NAZIS EVERYWHERE

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More and more major news sites are paywalled these days. I find it concerning, because basically it’s limiting poor and working class people’s access to online news. A dollar a week is often the going rate, with the implied or even stated “selling point” that that’s only the cost of a cup of coffee. Chump change really. Well, to people making six figure incomes, sure. Most Americans don’t make six figure incomes, or even close to it. A dollar a week is fifty dollars a year, the cost of a trip to the grocery store. That’s serious money to huge numbers of Americans, so it effectively limits their ability to access news online. I’m not sure what can be done about it in America, but it’s sad seeing yet another barrier being erected to keep poor people in their place. Because it’s more than news that’s being blocked: want ads, employment, etc. Oh well, end rant.

Yes, it’s official, Trump will not be getting a traditional military farewell ceremony: Pentagon confirms it will not hold traditional farewell ceremony for Trump as president vies for military-style parade: reports. Oddly enough, urging an insurrection mob to storm the capitol cost  Trump even more support among the professional military. And his flurry of Trump apparatchik appointments to the Pentagon couldn’t have helped either. Clinton’s insistence that Russian interference cost her the election was ridiculous on many levels, but she didn’t urge her supporters to storm the capitol in a bizarre attempt to overturn the election results.

Does look like Trump is leaving the White House post haste. There’s even rumors that he is going to leave the country. All wild speculation, I certainly got nothing. It is really nice not having him spread his lies on social media anymore. Still, his beliefs aren’t going away anytime soon: Why Beliefs of 2020 Election Fraud Could Last Well Past Trump. My best guess is we are in for years of something akin to “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Basically the war between the IRA and Britain, with a few other parties involved too. Much ugliness and terrorism, but only a few thousand dead all told. It did last 30 years though, one can hope ours will be over much sooner.

Interestingly there was a previous period of, well, out and out Nazism in the USA, from 1924 to 1941 or so. Their famous 1939 rally in New York is pictured above. They were a lot more ideologically united than the weird patchwork of Neo-Nazis parading around now and on display at the capitol riot. But all pretty much the same, ultra nationalist, white supremacy, with actual pure Nazism thrown in for good measure like the “Camp Auschwitz STAFF, work brings freedom” T-shirt guy. The 1939 rally was their high water mark, and it was surrounded by far more people opposed to them than attended. Only a massive police presence kept them apart. Afterwards it turned out the leader of the rally had absconded with a huge chunk of money made at the rally and spent it on his mistress and such, like $250,000 in today’s money. That was pretty much the last straw for the American Nazi party at the time, and Pearl Harbor and Germany declaring war on us in 1941 pretty much wrapped them up.

Sadly the current batch is far more numerous. And I don’t have any problem regarding hard core Trumpers as essentially Nazis. They share pretty much identical ideology. Both want their country returned to a nation where white Christian heteronormative people basically define society’s laws and values, with everyone else shoved back in the closet. That’s what “Make America Great Again” means, convince me otherwise.

Finally, what not to do about this mess. Rebecca Solnit: On Not Meeting Nazis Halfway. Great read, this isn’t a situation where dialog and compromise is going to help. In fact it’s essentially surrendering to the right, since they have zero interest in dialog or compromise. Read the article, I’m going to be really making more of an effort to link to articles that aren’t paywalled. It’s a shame, I like a lot of the guest editorials in the New York Times, but c’est la vie. Two days to go, Biden’s Wednesday inauguration is sure gonna be different than any previous inauguration, glad I’m not going to be there. Stay safe and stay warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula  #impeachtrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: 1939 Nazi Rally in NYC. Public Domain under US copyright law as it was taken by a US government employee in the course of  their duties.)

Written by unitedcats

January 18, 2021 at 9:08 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Elections, History, Trump

A MAZE OF DEATH*

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I’m really pessimistic today about what 2021 holds for America. I know that many people think that Trump leaving office is going to head us back towards pre-Trump normalcy. While people can be forgiven for thinking that, I think it’s wishful thinking at this point. A third of America is in revolt against reality itself. They actually believe that the Democrats stole the election and that Trump is somehow going to fix it; especially the people, millions of people, who have slid into the QAnon rathole and think there is some sort of Satanist Pedophile Jewish Democrat cabal running the world … that Trump is secretly fighting.

I don’t think much will happen between now and the inauguration, enormous numbers of troops have been deployed in Washington and state capitals. However, to people still somewhat tethered to reality, this is a sensible precaution after Trump supporters stormed the capitol building. To the tens of millions of Trump supporters who believe the election was stolen, this is further proof that the Democrats are secretly up to no good. That’s why I think there is no way out of this maze of death, everything is now simply further proof of the conspiracy. Motivated reasoning on steroids, if Jesus himself came back from the dead and denounced Trump, the Trumpers would think it was a Democrat hoax.

That’s one factor in my bleak analysis. Another is that despite getting modest press coverage due to the political sheetshow that is dominating the news cycle, America is reeling under the worst mass death crisis since 1918, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. 100,000 Americans a month or more are dying of Covid, and with the new more contagious strain spreading, that won’t get better anytime soon. The vaccine rollout will mitigate it eventually, somewhat, maybe, we can hope. And adding a  terrible economy for the poor and working class just adds to the widespread social stress. Hard times have spawned horrible political crises throughout history, and there’s no reason to think America will be any better. Biden is no FDR, and even if he was, he’s facing a much worse situation than FDR faced. Hoover was merely incompetant, Trump in addition to incompetence is doing everything he can to sabotage the nation before he leaves the White House.

Lastly, America is freakishly violent for a developed country. We have a long proud (sadly) history of glorifying both external and internal violence. For many Americans violence is the first option, and always has been. Tens of millions of Americans glorify the Confederacy for God’s sake, a treasonous rebellion that killed a million Americans because the South wanted to keep human beings as property. Our genocidal and ethic cleansing policies towards natives. Over 5,000 lynchings in US history, how many in Canadian history? One. A mob of Americans crossed the border and lynched a man. And America’s homicide, mass murder, and violent crime rates are horrifying compared to the rest of the developed world. Violence has always been the first response of Americans to perceived social ills. Jesus wept.

The capitol riot was just the beginning. The right is already warping the riot to support their warped view of reality: How Republicans Are Warping Reality Around the Capitol Attack. There’s countless potential Lee Harvey Oswalds and Timothy McVeighs out there, and Trump and numerous others are encouraging them. Even if the show of force this week at the inauguration deters new outrages, the right’s imagined grievances aren’t going to go away, if anything they will get worse. I don’t see a peaceful resolution to this discord.

And worse (yes, Doug’s Darkworld, not Doug’s Puppyworld) I still think the rest of the country is wildly underestimating how bad this could get. Like people are all up in arms worrying that Trump is looting the White House on his way out. Frankly, who cares, the Republic is in one of the worst crises in its history, and people are upset that the Trumps might be stealing White House silverware? Not my worry. I freaking hope that before the Biden’s move in the White House gets a world class scouring for bombs, toxins, booby traps, and surveillance devices. It only takes one radicalized White House staffer to leave something that would change history. Anyone who doesn’t understand after the capitol riot that some of these QAnon people are capable of anything is living in a dream world.

Remember, if a time bomb went off in the White House, or a bunch of Biden people die of anthrax … that wasn’t done by a right wing extremist among Trump’s staff, oh no, the Democrats did that to make Trump look bad! Every act of violence here on out is going to make things worse, and it only takes a handful of people realizing that to act on it. This is why I took down my Biden sign and hung an American flag in my window. If in July 1914 someone said there would be a million war deaths by Christmas 1914, they would have been laughed at. I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2021 America, but I think there will be more blood than in anyone’s worst nightmares.

I hope and pray I’m wrong. Stay safe everyone. Comments, likes, shares, and especially patrons appreciated. If the gentle reader enjoys my writing, even a dollar a month makes a difference. God bless all. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Dead civilians in Belgium killed by Nazis in the winter of 1944. Credit: US government photographer, so Public Domain under US copyright law.)

*’A Maze of Death’ is a 1970 scifi novel by Philip K. Dick. Titles cannot be copyrighted, but I still wanted to credit one of my favorite authors.

Written by unitedcats

January 17, 2021 at 9:02 pm

11 MORE DAYS

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I am not sure what anything means any more. I sometimes think life is just learning that there is always something that hurts more and every day brings a greater understanding of how little it is possible to ever really understand anything. So yeah, I  didn’t post last night. I lost something, and I’m so tired of loss. So tired of seeing a glitter in the mud only to grasp it and just mud. Mud and ashes. In short, it was a terrible week for me and it ended badly.

So, enough about me. 11 more days until Biden is sworn in as the new president. Maybe. I sure hope his Secret Service agents are well vetted. I think Wednesday’s insurrection was just a dress rehearsal and the worst is yet to come. So much to unpack, so much going on. Trump has been banned from Twitter and other platforms for inciting violence. No, this isn’t censorship or loss of freedom. He’s free to say what he wants, and individual people and businesses are free to repeat it, or not.

Five dead now in Wednesday’s riot? A woman shot in the face while leading a charge into the Capitol. A looter managed to fall and taze himself to death. A woman trampled to death while waving a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. Sometimes I think dark irony is the purpose of the Universe. A guy died of a heart attack from the excitement of it all. Yes, trashing over 200 years of democracy must have been pretty exciting. And a policeman beaten to death. All for what? Damned if I or anyone knows. It was fascism though, inciting a mob to overturn an election is about as fascist as it gets.

Some have suggested those defending congress stepped down because they were in collusion with Trump or at least in sympathy. Some have suggested they were deliberately ordered to stand down to avoid a bloodbath that would give Trump cause to declare martial law. Frankly I think incompetence and racism were the biggest factors. There’s no such thing as right wing violence is practically a mantra on the right. Conservatives Blame Everyone but Trump Supporters for Capitol Attack. And if there is right wing violence, why, somehow the left caused it.

The logic of wife beaters throughout history.

The Dems are going to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump on Monday. I don’t blame them, though I see it neither succeeding nor doing any good. I do think it should be done, even if just on the chance it will succeed. I will feel safer if Mr Trump is forever barred from public office in the USA again. His mismanagement and fantasies have left the country in a sorry, and possibly ungovernable state. While a lot of Trump’s support has melted away, the fantasy world created by him and so many others isn’t going anywhere soon. Theirs was a lost cause one hot sunny day in July of 1863, yet here we are.

How do you get people to see reason and facts when they make up their own facts and use motivated reasoning to make the world fit their narrative? It’s a hell of a thing: The Wages of Motivated Reasoning | NeuroLogica Blog. And frankly most working Americans are fucked at birth, and as long as that’s the case the Trumps and Rush Limbaughs of the nation will find fertile fields for their brand of manure. And it’s not like the Dems are going to fix the horrible systematic inequalities that have allowed the rich to get ever richer for decades while the poor and working class share of the nation’s wealth shrank. And the idea of national health care will of course be unfulfilled, there’s way too much corporate profit to be made from sick people.

Gonna be a hell of a year if what has already transpired is any indication. Stay safe everyone. If the gentle reader knows me on Facebook, I may not be back there for a while. It’s ashes and poison to me now. Shares there are appreciated though. Hell, shares anywhere are appreciated. Likes, comments too. Patrons especially appreciated, even a dollar a month helps. Click here. And no matter what, like so many sites are going these days, Doug’s Darkworld will never be paywalled. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #ImpeachTrump

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

January 9, 2021 at 3:51 pm

SOME GOOD NEWS FOR A CHANGE: BIDEN IS OFFICIALLY THE PRESIDENT ELECT AND COVID VACCINATIONS BEGIN

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Some good news for a change. The electoral college voted today, exactly as they were expected to, and Joe Biden is president elect of the United States. Trump’s quixotic delusional attempt to overturn the election results through legal means has come to naught. There’s been some Trump rallies and demonstrations, but no serious violence today. And honestly, the number of Trump supporters taking to the streets has been minimal. The Million Man MAGA Rally in Washington Sunday drew … thousands. A huge percentage of Republicans may believe the election was stolen, but apparently very few of them care enough to actually take to the streets. Good for them.

Still it’s not over yet, Trump is going to continue to claim Biden isn’t the legitimate president, gotta remember Trump was the biggest pusher of the birther nonsense during the Obama years, another evidence-free conspiracy theory. And unfortunately Trump is going to do everything in his power to cripple the Biden administration both before and after he leaves the White house. And with the GOP mostly falling in line behind him, especially congress, this could do serious damage. Well see, if the Dems can win the two runoff Senate seats in Georgia, the GOP will lose control of the Senate and their ability to hamstring Biden will be considerably diminished. January 5th, save the date.

The first Covid vaccines inoculations started today, more good news. It’s too late to prevent the upcoming winter Covid catastrophe, but at least health care providers and such will be much better protected. Unfortunately vaccine resistance is very high in the US, so any chance of eliminating Covid seems remote, but at least most of the damage will be limited to vaccine refusers. I mean tens of millions of Americans are still mask resisters, so there’s limits to what science and modern medicine can do.

In more good news (I’m on a roll here,) New Zealand declared itself Covid-free today, and lifted all restrictions. Back to normal life. Wow, that must feel so good. Foreigners are banned for the foreseeable future, and New Zealand citizens have to spend fourteen days in a government quarantine facility upon their return. That’s likely how it’s going to be in a lot of countries when they get this under control, at least until science gets us to the point where people can be instantly and accurately screened for Covid infection upon arrival. And that could happen, when money gets thrown at science, it can make amazing progress. The vaccines are proof of that.

I guess if there’s a day for good news, Monday is the day. The department of Transportation finally took action against emotional support animals: Why the Emotional Support Dog Ban Is Good for Everyone. Or to be more accurate, they took action against the huge and rising number of, well, assholes; who were bringing their pets pretty much everywhere claiming they were “emotional support animals.” The “emotional support peacock” being a great example of how absurd it had gotten. Understand, I have no problem with legitimate emotional support animals, and these changes shouldn’t cause any problems for them, it’s just for the people who apparently conflate freedom with privilege and entitlement. People who think freedom means they can do whatever they want. No, that’s anarchism, not freedom.

Well, a bunch more links, but none of them really qualify as good news, so I’ll leave them for another day. Ending on a high note so to speak. No worries regular readers, I’m sure there will be reams of bad news to blog about tomorrow. For tonight, I will celebrate, Trump’s departure and the vaccine’s arrival. No snow yet here in Iowa, but getting a bit chilly. The lake is refreezing, it’s been an unusual winter to be sure. Stay safe and sane everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It made me laugh, heck, I sprayed coffee like this guy.)

Written by unitedcats

December 14, 2020 at 7:43 pm