Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Biden’ Category

DEBATE HANGOVER, COPYCATS, WINDY APPLES, AND CANCER

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Debate hangover. It really was a mess. As the Babylon Bee put it: Broadcast Signal Accidentally Picks Up Two Old Men Yelling At Each Other Instead Of Presidential Debate. Some wag tweeted: “I thought this debate was going to be moderated?” I can see Trump’s visceral appeal though, and he got in some licks. The problem is that much of what he said simply wasn’t true. The insulin is as cheap as water for example. Trump Took Credit for Making Insulin “So Cheap It’s Like Water.” Tell That to People Paying for It. His point black refusal to denounce white supremacy didn’t go over well, apparently Trump did a bit of backpedaling on that today. 

His claim he’s doing a great job on Covid is so false it’s one for the textbooks. No, he didn’t save millions of Lives, his Covid-19 gestures and promises did essentially nothing, 200,000 dead with no end in sight. He’s like a broken record,Trump just keeps claiming Covid-19 is going to magically go away, and handling the crisis of our lifetimes as if it’s some minor politicised event that we just need to get over. No one Trump knows has died, guessing him and Herman Cain weren’t good buddies. While we’re on the topic, herd immunity ain’t happening soon: COVID – Not Close to Herd Immunity. I think Biden could of done a lot better job hammering  Trump on this point.

Oh, yes, they managed to talk about Trump getting his SCOTUS justice seated right away … without mentioning that four years ago the GOP had high and mightily refused to seat a new Justice until “the people spoke” in the upcoming election. I was surprised Biden let this go by unremarked.

So, I could add more about debate, taxes, etc. I don’t think I have any trenchant commentary though, and there’s plenty out there to choose from. So, some science fun. Cats. Cat cognition even: Kitty see, kitty do: cat imitates human, in first scientific demonstration of behavior. Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a cat can imitate what a human does. I’m sure plenty of cat owners are quite sure cats can imitate people, but anecdotes aren’t science. 

Fascinating because cats don’t pass the mirror test, they don’t possess “theory of mind.” So they aren’t consciously imitating humans. If true means their mirror neurons come into play with humans, which was already pretty clear I guess. I’ve heard it stated that cats don’t think they’re people, they think we are big cats. A lot of fascinating work has been done on animal cognition in recent decades, animal consciousness is far more complex than was once thought. And yet still, no matter how sophisticated and clever animals are, they can’t put their thoughts into words. Communicate, yes, speak, no. 

Probably for the best. I’m pretty sure sharks would have something to say about this: Coronavirus Vaccine Could Result in 500,000 Shark Deaths. Though I suppose they could communicate their displeasure without words. Basically one of the most promising vaccines requires a substance harvested from sharks. Humans are a freakishly ghoulish species when it comes right down to it; again, not surprised the aliens won’t have truck with us. 

On a personal note, I’m in a fancy hotel enjoying room service for the first time in my life. And it wasn’t even on my bucket list. Is this how the 1% live, they can have beer and burgers sent to their room at any time of the day or night? Maybe I should reconsider my vow of poverty. Anyhow, I’m far from home in ‘The Windy Apple,’ visiting Iowa’s answer to the Mayo Clinic. I get to see the Dr House of cancer tomorrow. Woohoo, I might get a new cancer named after me! Hell, there’s even possible immortality options here

Oh, the meme above made me laugh, it’s multilayered. And the implied reason for posting it is the fact that dinosaurs aren’t the only parties getting credit for administrative skills they don’t possess. And maybe come November said parties will be on their way to extinction and we’ll shortly get people who can administrate. I agree that was a tortured thought train.  I know my writing isn’t for everyone, but I also know I have my fans. It’s why I’m not sleeping in my car tonight, they are appreciated.

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

September 30, 2020 at 7:58 pm

BIDEN VS TRUMP DEBATE (AND BOY WAS I WRONG)

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45 minutes until the debate. One of the more anticipated debates of the past decade at least. I expect it’s going to be pretty dull, the debates tend to be. Both trying to score points for their base, off each other, not as much. I’ll make some running notes, then sum it up when it’s over. Fun times. Beer will be involved.

Wow, what a flaming shitshow. A clusterfuck? I was wrong, this is unlike any previous presidential I have ever seen. Trump is simply fantasizing aloud, the moderator can’t seem to keep it under control. And Biden keeps missing opportunities to skewer Trump, and letting Trump control the narrative.

OK, that was my one in progress comment. Oh my, I was sure wrong. The debate was a much bigger free for all than I expected. Never been a debate like this in my life. The moderator was, well, inconsistent? Certainly wasn’t the boring debate I expected. In hindsight not surprising. Trump lives in a fantasy world, with near four years of “proof” to support him. Biden tried to keep the debate reality oriented, and scored points with his base no doubt. Both sides will claim they won. In random order, a few in-debate observations.

No, the pre-Covid economy was not “The greatest in history.” Trump’s response to Covid-19 didn’t save millions of lives, it was one of the least effective responses on the planet leading to 200,000 and rising dead Americans. The “radical left” in America is miniscule, in no way shape or form are Democrats and Biden supporters “radical leftists.” Antifa is an idea, not an organisation. 

So yeah, I don’t think either side won. I think Biden could have done a better job, but he got his licks in. A shitshow debate for a shitshow election in a shitshow year. And two more to follow, three if we count Harris/Pence. I guess I’ll watch em all. 

Oh, bonus points for me, Iowa was mentioned in the debate! Stay safe everyone, longer post tomorrow I hope.#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

September 29, 2020 at 8:39 pm

ANTIFA WEAPONS CACHE EXPLODES ON STREET KILLING SEVEN

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A quote on yesterday’s post about Trump: “Walter Mitty handed absolute authority.” Yeah, that certainly sums Trump up. Walter Mitty is a fictional character who lives a very meek life but is consumed by heroic fantasies where he is the star. Trump is a Walter Mitty who has sucked millions of people into his fantasy world … where he’s the greatest president ever, yadda yadda yadda.

Also came across this quote by the guy who ghost wrote “The Art of the Deal” for Trump: 

“Lying is second nature to him,” Schwartz said. “More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.”

Got it from this Snopes article, a curious read in itself: Donald Trump Gave His 2nd Grade Music Teacher a Black Eye. (No, he didn’t.) In any event my remote assessment of Trump is pretty much the same as a guy who interviewed him on numerous occasions. Confirmation bias, I know. Haven’t really come across anyone talking about what a brilliant articulate guy Trump is though. Aside from Trump himself I suppose. (That doesn’t count.) 

Trump has named his Supreme Court pick. Might be a fun ride ahead. We could see abortion recriminalized, half a million marriages dissolved, 20 million people losing their health care, and discrimination of many types made perfectly legal again. I’m a little unclear on how trying to reset the national calendar to 1950 is going to help, but we may well find out.

A story about another police shooting in America. Sigh. No, BLM is not a terrorist organization, nor are they anti-police. And in any event, the basic core problem, the reason there is a BLM and why there are calls to reform the police, is because American police shoot way too many people under circumstances where if a civilian did the shooting, the shooter would be arrested and go on trial. And that that almost never happens in the USA is the problem. And here’s a case where the victim was white; while the police disproportionately shoot blacks, innocent white people get shot too: FBI probes police killing of boy on family’s drive.

To summarize for those who didn’t have time to read, the police went to do a health and welfare check on a teenage boy whose Facebook posts had prompted a call to the police by concerned friends. Upon arriving, the kid backed his car out of the garage “aggressively,” and was shot dead, more than ten shots were fired. (That’s called a fusillade by the way.) Well, he was OK until the cops arrived, phew, does that count?. The justification for shooting him? The cop was afraid. I’m sorry, aren’t cops trained to keep a level head in scary situations? That’s their job, right? Cops are called to deal with scary situations

Hey, and if “I’m scared” is such a great excuse for cops killing people, then no problem letting a jury decide? And that’s the goddamn effing problem. Cops shoot people under circumstances where I or the gentle reader would be on trial for murder, and rarely are they tried or seriously called to account for their actions. No other civilized country lets their cops get away with this, and shootings by police are trivial in other countries compared to the US. Even if one wants to ignore the racial disparity in these shootings, it still needs to change. 

Moving right along, the post image: Fact-check: Are Protesters Throwing Cans of Soup and Tuna, As Trump Claims? Short and long answer, no. Trump has recently touted some fantasies about how anti-police protestors are bringing bags of canned food to protests to throw at the police, so they can claim they were “just carrying groceries” if caught. This is what I was talking about when I said Trump was like the grade school kid we all knew who made up wild stories. This tin can story comes out of Trump’s imagination, there’s zero evidence for it. And it makes no sense to begin with. 

I had some sciency stuff about supercats, but this turned into another Trump and Covid-19 post. It is what it is. Oh, my Biden sign arrived today, I have yet to deploy it. Looking forward to debating with my neighbors. Let me be clear, I don’t expect anyone to vote for anyone, vote for whoever one pleases. I’m voting a straight Democratic ticket though, the first time I’ve voted in a POTUS election in decades. And I urge other people to do so, Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic can’t be allowed to continue or hundreds of thousands more will die. It’s that simple.

Plus Trump doesn’t have a cat or a dog. That’s, just, un-American. Hope everyone is having a good weekend. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, no known attribution, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 26, 2020 at 7:37 pm

LABOR DAY WEEKEND 2020, THE MADNESS CONTINUES

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A reader alerted me to an interesting ad placement in my last post, image above. Coincidence? IDK, marketing gets more sophisticated every day. Not sure I consider myself a part of the media. I’m a guy who’s been trying to figure out the world since I was 13 or so, and writing helps in that regard. Honestly, I don’t think the mainstream media has been fair to Trump. Fox News has been almost obsequious, that’s hardly fair. And the rest of the mainstream media has basically played softball with Mr Trump. He’s got nothing to complain about.

Another surreal day in 2020 America.  Whoever the writers are for 2020, they sure come up with some zingers. I think we got a whole new crew, the years before 2020 were bland compared to this year. I didn’t get any emails from future historians yet, so either there are no future historians, or sending emails into the past isn’t possible. Dammit, I thought that was a promising approach. Saying “Computer, end program!” aloud hasn’t worked either. I’ll keep trying, I have other ideas.

So, Trump lost the support of a lot of veterans by shit talking about them. He’s denying it of course, but there’s been too much corroboration at this point. It’s about what I would expect from a draft evader. A draft evader is like a draft dodger but without the stones to own what they did. In other news, the sinking of four(five?) ships in a Trump ship flotilla has been a gold mine for meme makers. No one died, so glad people are having fun with it. OK, gonna share one image:

I hope it’s a preview of the coming election. This is the first time in my life I’ve felt strongly that I should vote. One of the many reasons I don’t trust the polls. We’re in uncharted waters with this election.

Another thing that came out today (again, kudos to the reality writers,) apparently Trump hired a faux Obama: Trump hired an Obama impersonator to yell at and “fire,” according to Michael Cohen’s book. I couldn’t make this shit up. Is it true? Who knows. Trump’s disdain for Obama is legend, and he’s certainly undone as much of Obama’s work as he could. Obama publicly roasted Trump once, and there are those who think Trump’s whole run for POTUS was driven by a desire to destroy the legacy of a man so powerful he could publicly humiliate Trump. A better man would have taken the roasting in good stride, even taken it for the acknowledgement as an equal the roasting was. Trump is not that man. 

I digress. Kinda missed it at last week, but really, Trump may think letting Covid-19 run its course would grant America “herd immunity” and it would all be great? I hope this isn’t true: Millions could die if Trump listens to the adviser he hired from Fox’s green room. No Mr Trump, letting a poorly understood disease run wild in the off chance it will magically vanish is neither scientific nor logical. We may find out though, America is the “control group” for Covid-19. Let’s see what happens to a population that decides not to halt the spread of Covid-19! I mean, even some of our leaders agree: Idaho House passes resolution to end coronavirus emergency declaration. This isn’t going to end well.

So in review. Craziest election/times of my life, gonna chronicle daily as long as I can. I’m voting for Biden because he’s going to put Dr. Fauci in charge of the nation’s Covid-19 defense, and Biden was decent to a panhandler in the street. Two good reasons. I’m voting against Trump because of his abysmal response to Covid-19, and I’m a veteran. I served to defend the right of Mr Trump to call me a sucker and a loser. And I’m going to vote against him for having such a shitty attitude towards those who served. Convince me otherwise. Stay safe everyone, enjoy Labor Day, I hope nothing terrible happens. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Top image: Screengrab from Facebook, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Second Image: The same, unknown attribution, historically important image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 6, 2020 at 7:17 pm

LABOR DAY WEEKEND DAY ONE, TRUMP BOAT PARADE HAS AN ARMADA MOMENT

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Well, no real scary news today. Knock on wood. Trump is vehemently denying he called American war dead “losers” and “suckers.” Even Fox News is corroborating some of it, granted RawStory is a slanted source: Chaos at Fox as some refuse to believe the network’s own reporting on Trump’s contempt for troops. I guess it’s still hearsay, no primary source has come forward to corroborate it. It certainly sounds like something Trump would say, the guy loves to call names. Thank you Rush Limbaugh and others for mainstreaming name calling as a debate tactic. The Republic is so much better for it. Snort.

No burning American cities yet. I have friends in both Portland and NYC, all is well. No, NYC is not “anarchy, violence and destruction.” Trump’s campaign is just the fear mongering the right has been doing for decades on steroids. Biden is run by some sort of secret anarchist cabal whose only goal is to destroy America! And only Trump can stop him! The presidential debate is going to be interesting. Yes, there has been some looting. As someone pointed out, there’s looting after hurricanes, sporting events, and others. There’s always crooks waiting for an opportunity now. Plenty have been apprehended in the act, few if any violent anarchists. Lots of just plain ordinary folks, and a few white militia members for fun and games. 

Trump’s sticking with “there will be a vaccine just before the election.” Yeah, the guy who claimed Covid-19 was all a hoax and that it would all just magically go away is going to save us in the nick of time. Covid-19 really is the only issue for me. Since all Trump is doing about the pandemic is still basically nothing, his vaccine promise is hollow. At least Biden is planning on doing the things Trump should have done months ago. One guy’s promising to take the rational science based steps to fight Covid-19, the other guy is promising it will all magically go away. Seems like a no brainer choice to me. 

So four boats sank at a Trump flag boat parade in Texas. No one was hurt or killed fortunately. Making a big splash online. (Sorry.) One tweet I’ve heard about says they were sunk by the Antifa Navy. Smiles. No, looks like a blustery day in the pics I’ve seen. The idea was to cover one’s boats with boat flags. This is like putting a bunch of little sails on a boat not designed as a sailboat. A wind came up and a few of the most ambitious flag boats went down. My guess at least. Knowing boaters, alcohol may have contributed. Oh well, I can only hope this is the worst news of the day. Dare I check?

Whew. Trump is calling the reporter who accused him of name calling, names. At least he’s consistent, anyone who criticizes Trump or points out one of his flaws: “He’s a poopyhead!” It’s like having a three year old for president. How did this happen? How did the most powerful nation the world has ever seen, Rome’s greatest descendant ruling an Empire Caeser couldn’t even have dreamt of …how the hell did a stupid, immature, utterly corrupt, con-artist become Caesar? I hope future historians figure this out, and somehow explain it to me in a reverse timed email. (Yes, I’m talking to you future historian.) 

This whole Trump and Covid-19 catastrophe has lowered my optimism for the ultimate survival of the human race. I think we’re a type 13 civilization. Yes, scientists are still building machines that manipulate little bits of reality at hyper extreme levels to test their theories about the nature of reality itself: New evidence that the quantum world is even stranger than we thought. I’m generally a huge proponent of science, it’s still the most useful paradigm for understanding God’s creation that humans have yet developed. It’s certainly made a misstep here and there, but unlike ideology or religion, science is self correcting as an inherent part of the paradigm. 

So I’m a little queasy about things like supercolliders. When scientists say they may be recreating events that only occurred right after the Big Bang, I’m like, maybe there’s a reason they haven’t occurred since? On the plus side, unlike Trump’s inexplicable failure to defend America against a global pandemic, if a physics experiment alters reality in some way where we ain’t here no more, it will no doubt propagate at light speed; thus one second you’re here, the next … reality gone bye bye.

I’m enjoying my Labor Day weekend, I hope the gentle reader is enjoying their’s. I got a nice haul of acorn squash from my Covid-19 victory garden, pics will follow. I used the image above for a number of reasons. While I hate America’s wars, those that fight honorably in them deserve respect, shame on you Mr. Trump if the allegations are true. And yes, a reminder of the endless mounting Covid-19 death toll because Trump can’t or won’t defend America against Covid-19. And lastly, fall is coming. Stay safe everyone, shares, likes, comments appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: graves, Arlington cemetery. Pixabay pic, may be used without attribution. Credit: SteenJepsen.)

Written by unitedcats

September 5, 2020 at 7:17 pm

PEOPLE WHO DENY THINGS THEY WEREN’T ACCUSED OF ARE ADMITTING GUILT

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People who deny things they weren’t accused of are admitting guilt. That’s been one of my observations since I was a young man. I suppose there are codicils, there always are, nothing  is black and white. Still, as a general rule, when someone denies something they weren’t accused of, it should raise an eyebrow or two. I am here talking about Trump and him tweeting: 

“ … Now they are trying to say that your favorite President, me, went to Walter Reed Medical Center, having suffered a series of mini-strokes. Never happened to THIS candidate — FAKE NEWS,”

Um, no one said anything about a series of mini-strokes Mr Trump. (The medical term is transient ischemic attack (TIA.) It’s basically a temporary stroke that lasts only a few minutes. It’s a forewarning of a possible stroke.) He is literally denying something that no one suggested.

That’s the problem with lying all the time, hard to remember what one has said. Trump was taken for an unscheduled hospital visit last fall. Is something up with his health? Unfortunately America has a long history of lying about the health of the POTUS. Cleveland. Wilson. Roosevelt. I can see why they do it, people are remarkably able to deny their health has failed, especially when the brain is involved. Wilson referred to himself as “slightly lame.” One whole side of his freaking body was paralyzed! And his cognitive functions were impaired, as you would expect when a major stroke caused brain damage. And it also makes sense for the people around an ill POTUS to keep up the fiction. Either out of cynical self-interest, or rationalizing it away. Human nature.

I pretty much suspect that something happened to Trump’s brain. I say this from a number of perspectives, but mostly based on his non response to Covid-19. He does not seem able to grasp that Covid-19 was a game changer and required an actual response, not his standard gestures and promises. That the world he inhabited had changed! And so here we are playing a national game of whack-a-mole as various states try to control outbreaks. All without anything resembling a national coherent strategy.

So yeah, there’s no one really home in Trump’s head. He’s just a walking collection of habits. And in the case of a con artist and habitual liar, these aren’t particularly useful habits for a POTUS. If it’s good, it’s his doing. Bad, his enemies. No enemies to blame? Make them up. His tweets and responses to interview questions are getting weirder and weirder. Hell, some of his recent interview responses have just been word salads. And he has no platform for his reelection campaign, just his usual habit of regurgitating Rush Limbaugh and Q-Anon nonsense. Like his latest claim about a planeload of antifa thugs: Black-clad thugs on a plane? What was Donald Trump talking about? No one knows, no evidence has been provided. And it makes no sense, why would they wear black clothes on a plane?

This is what happens when one turns a political party into a religion. There’s nothing left but dogma, and it doesn’t have to actually make sense. And anyone who disagrees, why they are Satan’s minions. Deceived by the anti-religion, socialism, communism, whatever. The fact that the anti-religion doesn’t exist, no matter. The Jewish conspiracy Hitler was killing millions to fight didn’t exist. Small comfort to the millions killed. The number of socialists and anarchists in America is miniscule, the idea that they secretly control the Democratic party is laughable. It’s an idea that might get Trump reelected though. 

One has to remember that in the shining world of white Christian Republicanism … there’s no such thing as right wing violence. I’ve had right wingers absolutely freaking insist on that, all violence comes from the left. Even Hitler, he was a socialist don’t you know? And people like Kyle Ritterhouse and the police, why if they are violent they were forced into it defending themselves against leftist violence. Like I said, Evangelical Republicanism led by Trump is a religion now. A cult really. They have the answers, any problems that arise are because people didn’t accept them as saviors.

Reality is far more nuanced of course. That’s why the efforts of Trump, Napoleon, Hitler, Washington all came to naught. (Yes, I admire Washington in a way, but creating a country where only white male property owners have rights while everyone else was a second class citizen hasn’t turned into the paradise for all it was promised to be.) So yeah, Trump is not going to win the election and turn America into a paradise anymore than he did the first time. Granted Biden isn’t either, but I think there’s someone still home there.

I mean, Trump’s latest is telling everyone there will be a vaccine just before the election! What an incredible coincidence! Just another example of his magical thinking, since his higher functions are gone. (Look at Trump interviews from decades back, he at least was articulate and responded to questions in a sensible way, unlike his current word salads.) There’s absolutely zero reason to think a safe, tested, and effective vaccine will be available by November. And even if there is, vaccines are only one component of a national pandemic response. Which we don’t have yet. 

Oh well, Rambling on. It’s just so freaking weird to wake up every day in a country where mass death stalks the land, and the king is pretending it’s all under control. And his loyal followers agree even as they are dying. Maybe Trump will stroke out or otherwise become incapacitated before the election. Not that I’m sure that would help any. On the plus side, as a long time student of history, I now find history’s endless parade of stupidity, nonsense, and avoidable catastrophes far less perplexing. Human ignorance, gullibility, and stupidity is a feature, not a bug.

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

PS. This has been bugging me. If American cities were actually under siege, if there was widespread violence  … people would be dying by the score! Whole blocks would be going up in flames! We’d see burning Walmarts on TV every night! I mean, in the Watts riots in 1965, the last major civil unrest in the US in my lifetime, 35 people were killed. Just in Watts! If something like that was happening nationally, hundreds would be dead! Whole neighborhoods would be burning. What, under a dozen people are dead? A handful of businesses? There are no freaking riots going on people; so responding as if there are is political theater, nothing more. Like Trump’s promised vaccine, pandemic theater. Neither is helping.

PPS. Guess what the big killer of cops is now? Covid-19. If Blue Lives Mattered Mr Trump, you’d do something about that, not make up stories about plane loads of antifa ninjas.

PPPS: Shares, likes, comments appreciated.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: A screengrab from The Drudge Report. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s an interesting site, it’s been an Oracle at Delphi for the right for decades, people should check it out.)

Written by unitedcats

September 2, 2020 at 7:44 pm

ONWARD THROUGH THE FOG, VOTE FOR BIDEN, AND BLACK LIVES MATTER

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So, I came across this article: We Don’t Know How to Warn You Any Harder. America is Dying. It’s an article by someone who has actually experienced the horrors of an authoritarian state. And it makes the claim that that’s what is happening in the US, Trump is in the process of seizing power like Saddam or Qaddafi  and American democracy is being dismantled in front of our eyes.

Right. While I am horrified by what the next few months will bring, major civil unrest seems to be inevitable at this point, I still don’t really see the Donald as much of a dictator. I suppose he might try, but I don’t see him as dictator material for at least three reasons. First of all, he’s an idiot. Sorry Trump supporters, but Trump has said so so many stupid things there’s really no other conclusion to reach, he aint particularly bright. Dictators tend to be smart, it’s kinda a job requirement for seizing power. Secondly, he’s a coward. All bullies are cowards, not to mention draft evaders. He’s afraid to address any crowd that isn’t a crowd of his followers. Then there’s the bunker incident. Every dictator I know of fought viciously to get into power, many were actual war heros. Lastly, and most importantly, the man has major reality testing problems. Every dictator on the planet has taken serious steps to fight Covid-19. Trump still hasn’t.

So yeah, Trump may screw things up and cause terrible problems, but I really can’t imagine him as a dictator. It would likely be a short lived dictatorship. Granted he might mess things up so much someone else takes over. IE Trump insists he won the election despite all evidence to the contrary. Millions take to the streets. And the army steps in and removes him, setting up an interim government. With martial law and a suspension of the Constitution. And oopsies, there we are.

Who knows. At least there hasn’t been anything really ugly in the last day or so. One of the things that’s just so horrifying to me is that Trump isn’t even remotely trying to represent all Americans, he seems to consider Democratic led cities and states as the enemy. No surprise, decades of Rush Limbaugh and such preaching hating on the liberals, it laid the foundation for someone like Trump to be elected.

Saw an interesting meme today claiming that only 6% of those who have died of Covid-19 actually died from Covid-19. It’s pure hogwash of course, but widely believed in Trumptopia. I thought it was interesting because it’s an example of a narrative that arises to explain why a nation lost a war. Or an election. Or a fight against a virus that every other nation fought far better than the US. Clinton blamed her election loss on Russia. The US lost Vietnam because we fought with one hand tied behind our backs. A secret cabal of Jews sabotaged Germany in World War one. Etc. It will be curious to see if any overarching myth takes root in America to explain away how America was the worst hit country by Covid-19.

In today’s science news (yes, I think I will slip in some science news in random posts) turns out some drugs used to fight a coronavirus in cats might be useful for fighting Covid-19 in humans: New study finds cat drugs may fight COVID-19 in humans. Woohoo, cats save the day! Actually it’s all pretty preliminary, but human trials are underway. Cats get a coronavirus disease called FIP, and maybe drugs used to fight it in cats might work on Covid-19 in humans. Worth looking into at least. As an aside, cats apparently can catch Covid-19, but are asymptomatic and can’t spread it to humans. Reality is weird.

Lastly this depressing article: The Inevitable Whitelash Against Racial Justice Has Started. Basically it claims that after a burst of BLM support by whites after the George Floyd murder, white BLM supporters are falling back into old patterns of tacitly accepting institutional racism. IDK, I was thinking myself that this might not be the greatest time to protest considering it just gives Trump ammo to fire up his base. I so support people’s right to assemble and express their grievances as protected by the Constitution, so I support all people protesting over just grievances. And BLM is a just cause. Timing is everything though.

Reminds me of South Korea. Used to be a brutal military dictatorship. There was a big pro-democracy movement, got pretty popular. The army shot a few hundred protestors and that ended that. A few years later the dictatorship got the Olympics to be held in South Korea. And the pro-democracy leaders saw their chance, they quietly waited and organized, and a few months before the games were to start, they organised huge public pro-democracy protests. It put the army in an impossible position, if they violently crushed the protests, the Olympics would be cancelled. That would be a huge blow to national pride, and make the army even less popular. Dictatorships have to maintain a certain level of support or they do get swept from power. They caved and allowed free elections.

And I do kinda think there are parallels. I do think protestors should wait until after the elections at this point to protest. Protesting now plays into Trump’s hands. Does that tacitly mean my support for BLM isn’t sincere? Fuck if I know. As a friend once said “We’re all whores in Babylon.”

Crazy times. Stay safe everyone, have a good week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #UtMelioremPeiusAnteTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facebook meme. One of my all time favourite movies, repurposed in a clever way. Credit: Unknown, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US Copyright Law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 31, 2020 at 7:56 pm

SCIENCE SUNDAY ETC.

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Ha ha, rickrolled gentle reader, sort of. I do have one great science story, which I will write about first. Then my evolving thoughts on the evolving situation in America. I’m trying to evolve my thinking with the times as well, the times are indeed evolving. Still, science does go on, in fact so far life goes on for most of us. Skip the science part if one wants to just go to Biden. The science part is about fossils, so yes, it does segue nicely into Biden.

Soft fossils. A quick recap. 20 odd years ago a graduate paleontologist found what looked like preserved soft tissue deep inside a dinosaur bone. Sounds impossible, right? She marshaled her evidence to a senior scientist, and being a good scientist he didn’t say “That’s impossible!” He said “Prove that it isn’t!” And she couldn’t, and decades of science followed. Turns out there was a lot of soft tissue preserved in fossils once scientists started looking for it. The science denying religious people claimed this discovery was proof that fossils weren’t that old. Um, no, the map is not the territory. That’s confirmation bias or motivated reasoning, not logic.

I digress, it’s a habit. Links at the end, but the mystery has finally been solved. Organic tissue shouldn’t last for millions of years, so what was going on with soft fossils? Well, turns out they aren’t the original soft organic tissue like blood vessels or skin, they are soft fossils of it. I’m sure somebody thought of it long ago, but turns out that under the right conditions fossils can be soft. The original organic matter long ago was replaced by stable compounds. Polymers in this case. The only reason we think of fossils as rocks, is because we never see any other kind.

So preserved soft dinosaur tissue is … just another type of fossil. This actually is a huge boost to understanding these fossils. Huge amounts of knowledge to be gained. We learn new stuff all the time about ancient life by studying fossils in rock, now we know fossils are sometimes soft. That’s how science and human knowledge advances. One study, but it’s a significant step forward.

Moving right along to fossilized politicians, my progressive friends are very upset that Biden won’t support “Medicare for all” or other progressive ideals, instead running on a corporatist “I’ll make no fundamental changes” platform. They see him as a sell out, and are angry that a candidate openly espousing liberal change was denied the nomination by hook and by crook. Probably, Biden, like Clinton, is the anointed one of the Washington corporatist establishment. Not denying that.

Progressives think Biden would stand a much better chance of winning if he went full Bernie. I’m not so sure at all. There may be a method to Biden’s madness. The important thing here is to win the election right? If Biden loses, all bets are off for the powers that be.  I wonder if Biden’s blandness is designed to get as many crossover votes in battleground states as possible. In a very real sense both Kerry and Clinton lost their presidential runs because they had essentially zero crossover appeal. Biden does not have the charisma and appeal of Kerry, let alone Obama, he has to win key battleground states to defeat Trump. Something Clinton didn’t understand until election night.

In fact thinking about this more, if Biden came out with progressive policies, what would happen? Huge numbers of progressive Democrats would come out and vote for Biden … and he’d win the blue states by a larger margin? That doesn’t help. Sure, it brings out more progressives in swing states, but what else does it do? It gives Trump HUGE ammo to wrap his socialist and liberal demonizing lies around. That aint gonna help either. If Trump gets a big turnout on battleground states, he wins. And there just aren’t that many Berners in battleground states.

Going with what Biden is doing, giving Trump all the rope he needs, and looking safe and reasonable might well be all it takes for the unengaged Trump voters, the guy next store that watches Fox News and votes GOP but does so out of social habit. I’m already hearing stories of same switching to Biden. This is how Biden will win or lose this election, he needs to soften Trump’s support in battleground states enough to carry the day in a few of them. It might even make mad sense for him to call for the protestors to stand down, or at least protest peacefully. The more he can get the message across that Trump is encouraging the violence, I mean, this is happening on Trump’s watch, the more Trump’s non-fanatic fan base will desert him.

People forget, the American South was pure blue until 1972, when Nixon’s southern strategy changed all that. Things can change with mass social opinion, and if Biden can appeal to the typical Trump supporter, we could see the GOP destroyed by blindly following Trump. Thinking aloud, anything is possible.

A few months to go until the election. I hope cooler heads prevail and we don’t see massive street violence out there. So far it’s been minor, God rest the souls of those who have died, let’s hope and pray that this current mess leads somewhere ultimately good. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #UtMelioremPeiusAnteTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Anonymous Facebook Meme. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. For those who have to know how it turned out: “That was awfully disturbing, but oddly satisfying at the same time.”

Written by unitedcats

August 30, 2020 at 7:04 pm

WHY I’M VOTING FOR BIDEN AND OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY. WELL, BAD NEWS, BUT IT IS 2020.

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I’ve got a science post coming up, and more on Q-Anon, but today Biden and more bad news. They are not related. I found a reason to vote for Biden. And no, “He’s not Trump” isn’t the reason. Honestly, the lesser of two evils voting hasn’t really worked out well for America. My theory is try and find a reason to vote for a candidate, positive thinking and all that. And imaged above, the reason I’m voting for Biden. This was 2018, when he wasn’t running for anything. After taking his granddaughter to a movie, he chatted with a homeless fellow, gave him some money, then went back into the movie theatre to get a pen and paper so he could give the man the phone number of someone to call to help with an issue the man was having with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As far as I can tell this was a spontaneous and unscripted encounter.

Yeah, it’s not much of a reason. No need to tell me all the reasons not to vote for Biden, I’m quite familiar with them. This incident just says to me that somewhere inside Biden has good impulses and can act on them. So who knows, maybe Biden when elected will actually try and be a good president. IE he will work for the betterment of poor and working Americans. Especially if the Dems win by a landslide and he has a mandate. A thin hope, but those are all we get these days. I had the same hope for Trump, though granted that was just wishful thinking, Trump University tells one all one needs to know about Trump’s character. Or lack thereof.

In today’s bad news, the first apparent Covid-19 reinfection has been confirmed. There have been anecdotal reports before, and some where there may have been testing errors. This Chinese fellow recovered in March, but was reinfected while travelling in Europe recently. Four months after his initial illness. Wouldn’t be terribly surprising unfortunately, acquired immunity to other coronaviruses only lasts months in many cases. That’s why people can catch colds all the time. Let’s just hope that this is a fluke or a mistake. If it turns out acquired immunity from Covid-19 only lasts for a few months, it’s a very bad thing. It would mean that people who’ve gotten over the disease are only protected for a short time. Worse, it could well mean that a vaccine won’t do much better. We could be heading into a world where along with the annual flu shot, one gets a biannual Covid-19 shot. Fun times ahead.

And in more Covid-19 news, Rwanda is doing better than the USA when it comes to Covid-19. Much better, orders of magnitude better. 1500 cases, total. Most American states have more cases than that every day. So in other words Mr Trump, one of the “****hole” countries you so eloquently referred to, is kicking your pathetic ass when it comes to fighting Covid-19. I doubt this will be playing on Fox News though. And even if brought to the attention of Trump supporters, I’m sure the rationalizations to explain it away would be painful to hear.

And Republicans must be doing a lot of rationalizing these days. A reader yesterday alerted me to this: 3 in 4 Republicans say US is in better shape than four years ago: poll OK then. The economy is in free fall, tens of thousands are dead with a pandemic still spreading essentially unchecked, our international standing has plummeted, life expectancy in the US has been dropping since 2015, states are going bankrupt, with no sign any of this is going to get better anytime soon … and that’s an improvement over Obama’s term? And even if one takes Covid-19 out of the picture, Trump’s claim that the economy did fantastic under him compared to Obama, is, well, what the old folks call a lie.

Lastly, a sad story about a couple who believed Rush “It’s just a cold folks” Limbaugh and Trump and all the others who spent so much time telling Americans that Covid-19 was a hoax or no big deal. So the couple ignored masking and social distancing. It ended badly:  Man who believed virus was hoax loses wife to Covid-19 Yerp, he survived, his wife didn’t. He’s changed his tune now. In a just world the people who sabotaged America’s fight against Covid-19 would be brought to justice. It’s not a just world though, and even should Trump not be re-elected, I would be shocked if he or anyone else suffered any serious repercussions for their failures.

Still, a man can dream. Happy Tuesday everyone, stay safe and have a great week.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #UtMelioremPeiusAnteTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Joe Biden talking to a homeless vet. Credit: Unknown, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US Copyright Law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 24, 2020 at 7:35 pm

PARTISAN WARP BUBBLES, TRUMP LIES AGAIN, AND OTHER NEWS AND LINKS

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I stumbled onto this little poll. Over half of Republicans think near 200,000 dead Americans is “acceptable.” These are the same people that spent years obsessing over 4 dead Americans in Benghazi? Would this be acceptable if Obama was still president? Of course not, Republican outrage would be deafening. The above really shows just how partisanship is shaping alternate realities today. And then came across this, research showing that yes indeedy, when it comes to Covid-19:  The partisan pandemic: Do we now live in alternative realities? IE before Covid-19 there was more or less agreement on a lot of basic facts. Covid-19, not so much. And lest I am not being clear here, the Republicans are the ones tending to believe, well, incorrect factual information about Covid-19.

The authors could only speculate as to why. I wonder if four years of believing Trump’s lies has loosened their grip on reality. I guess I’m heartened that at least 43% of Republicans do find that  the Covid-19 death toll is unacceptable. One has to wonder how high the number has to go before they consider the Covid death toll unacceptable? We’ll find out, because barring a miracle, it’s gonna keep chunking upwards.

Speaking of Trump’s lies, he repeated several times a claim that the Democrats had removed the word God from the pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention. The Convention was of course filmed, and it’s 100% clear the “Under God” phrase was used all four nights. Trump is sticking to his guns, and no doubt millions of his followers will believe him. In 2016 I had a friend tell me in outrage that the Democrats had banned the US flag from their convention because it might offend people! She actually fucking believed this! And no, it was completely untrue. Well, Trump’s not going to win reelection on his record, lies and scaremongering are what he does best. Well, after bragging.

He might win though. I notice two unpleasant currents on my Facebook feed. Granted this isn’t a scientific sampling. I still see a lot of Democrats hating on Biden. I’m not really sure what that is supposed to accomplish? It seems to me that discouraging Democrats from voting for Biden might not be prudent at this juncture. I can understand not liking Biden and refusing to vote for him, but encouraging others not to do so seems like it’s campaigning for Trump. And then the vote shamers, a lot of them are still doing their thing. Various versions of “You’re an idiot if you don’t vote for Biden, because then Trump will win!” It’s been my considered experience that insulting people is a very poor method of persuading them to see things your way. It’s your vote, cast it for who you want gentle reader.

Read this curious article on Alternet: Driven by fear: Trump has sealed himself in the Fox News bunker. It covers a lot of ground, and Alternet is definitely left leaning, so one has to ignore that. Still, stuff like this got me:

“If our opponents prevail, no one will be safe in our country and no one will be spared. Including the people who helped fund. They think they’re gonna be best pals. They’re not gonna be best pals. They’ll be terminated just like many others. I’m the only thing standing between the American dream and total anarchy, madness and chaos. And that’s what it is.”

That’s Trump at a recent interview. Oh. My. God. He’s literally claiming that if Biden wins they will start killing people, and total anarchy, madness, and chaos will break out?  And I think Trump believes it. And a lot of his supporters will too. This is crazy talk. Biden has literally marched in lockstep with the Republicans for decades. The Democrat overlords went to great lengths to make sure an utterly corporate safe, law and order,  and unprogressive candidate got nominated. Biden is their man. This isn’t hyperbole on Trump’s part. It’s hysterical fear-mongering.

So yeah, I’m scared. Unregulated Covid-19 is on track to kill a quarter of a million Americans by the election. With millions more suffering long term or permanent health deficits. The economy is continuing to tank. Natural disasters are piling up. And the president’s reelection campaign strategy is the most negative in living American history. Things are safe and good for me now, but that’s what Jews in Latvia thought in 1939. (Not an original observation.) So as a parting gift, this is from 2016, but still has points today: Autocracy: Rules for Survival.

Have a good week everyone, stay safe. Shares, likes, comments appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #UtMelioremPeiusAnteTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: CBS Poll Results. Credit: CBS News. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US Copyright Law. It’s a greyscale reproduction, properly attributed, the only image available to illustrate the story. )

Written by unitedcats

August 23, 2020 at 7:15 pm

Posted in Biden, Covid-19, Elections, Trump