Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Covid-19’ Category

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

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

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

THE SHEETSHOW CHRONICLES CONTINUE

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I’m still amazed and astounded, I never expected to live through one of the great events of history, yet here I am. More to unpack every day, can’t even really keep up with it all. No new horrors the last day, but still lots of stuff to react to.

Like, what was Trump doing while the Capitol riot was going on? Watching it on TV with barely contained glee, while ignoring congressmen and others who were frantically phoning him to do something. Trump was watching TV while riots took place: Washington Post. This appears to be confirmed by numerous sources, Trump was apparently even puzzled that his aides didn’t share his glee. More proof (as if it was needed) that he lives in a fantasy world, he actually thought he was seeing the election results being overturned by Chewbacca Bikini guy and friends.

Or worse, Trump really is a sadistic fuck who is perfectly happy to see carnage and chaos if he’s not getting his way: How the media is making a big mistake on Trump’s role in the Capitol siege. Yeah, maybe this article is a bit over the top, but I sure see no evidence contradicting that the basic premise is sound. Trump is incapable of empathy, remorse, or adult responsibility. It’s all about Trump, if bad things happen, not his fault. The USA is the worst hit country by Covid, and yet he sees himself as blameless for that. Trump is a man incapable of empathy or introspection. Change my mind.

At this point my sympathy for people who still support Trump has reached new lows. Before Covid and the election, yeah, I understand how many people supported him. Maybe they were misguided, but people are social animals who generally go along with what their friends and family think, especially in the modern American world where one can watch the media outlet of one’s choice to reinforce their views. And working class and poor Americans have been screwed for decades, so it made sense for them to support a leader who claimed to feel their pain. Granted it only sort of made sense, since they were being screwed by the rich, not immigrants, blacks, antifa, or poor people.

IDK, anyone who claims to know what’s really going on is deluded or lying. It does seem the Capitol riot wasn’t just a spontaneous thing that happened out of nowhere: More Arrests Made Amid New Calls for Investigation of Capitol Attack. And many aspects of it were indeed hideous:

Arrested Capitol rioter claims he thought officer he beat with US flagpole was ‘antifa’: report. Right, a cop in a cop uniform was antifa? Jesus wept.

The last time Washington saw something like this was 1814, when a British force burned the White House etc. This time we did it too ourselves. Go figure. And the insanity continues, case in point: QAnon Congresswoman says she’ll impeach Joe Biden less than 24 hours after he takes office. Preemptive impeachment? Give me a break.

Just had to move my car in a snowstorm in the middle of the night after too many beers, mission accomplished. This post is a little unpolished, but posting because by tomorrow events may have overtaken it. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #impeachtrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as fair use under US copyright law. Accuracy unknown, way too much misinformation floating around. Turns out no one tasered themselves to death during the riot for example.)

Written by unitedcats

January 14, 2021 at 10:36 pm

NIXON RISES FROM THE GRAVE TO CONDEMN TRUMP

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President Trump has been impeached … again. The first president in US history to be impeached twice. So much winning. He might break other records before or after leaving office too. Granted I doubt he will serve jail time, hell, I don’t want him to be jailed. Especially if he can run for president again. We all know what infamous German leader used his jail time after a failed coup to write his magnum opus. I’ve had enough Trump parallels with Hitler already thank you. I hope he flees to Russia to avoid his creditors, it would keep him out of trouble. (Putin knows how to deal with peeps who cause him trouble. Yeah, that’s heartless, but Trump’s a cop killer now, my sympathy for his fate is limited.)

I don’t think the impeachment will succeed, they still need a two thirds vote in the Senate. Still, anything is possible, it’s 2021! He did send one last message to try and head off the impeachment vote, he called on his supporters to avoid violence. That’s all he did though, he didn’t retract his lies about the election being stolen. And he still took no responsibility for inciting his crowd to violence. Too little too late.

Lot’s has come to light. One congresswoman is reporting that the panic buttons in her office had been torn out before the attack. It seems unlikely they had been removed for cleaning. If true, it certainly implies that there was inside help of some sort, IE someone knew the Capitol was going to be stormed. Some of the rioters were indeed carrying zip ties as are used to tie people up, and one Congresswoman tweeted that Pelosi had been removed from the chambers. She’s getting a lot of flak for that and other incendiary tweets, idk what to think about that.

This, if true, is scary: Neo-Nazis trying to recruit military servicemembers to assassinate elected officials: report. I’ve certainly been worried about this, it only takes one unstable  Trump sympathizing National Guardsman, Cop, or Secret Service agent to change history. Indira Gandhi and Anwar Sadat come to mind, and I am sure there are numerous other examples. Political assasination is a tradition in America, we are one violent nation.

Speaking of violence,  there’s been a lot of Trump inspired violence. All denied by so many rightists though. If there was violence, somehow the left inspired it! Like a friend I know, claimed that men were only violent if provoked by women. I shit the gentle reader not. His example, a guy he knew stabbed two people in a bar. Why? Because a woman slapped him in the face. Stuff like this is why I have my jaw taped to my head.

Lots of Capitol rioters have been arrested at this point. I don’t think Trump will pardon them, any more than he will refund all the people he cheated with Trump University or the contractors he’s stiffed. They FAILED, in his mind they are no doubt suckers and losers. Granted on some levels this was a keystone cops insurrection. How did some wag put it? “Revolutionaries have seized the Capitol building! Now they’re milling around in confusion.” I think Trump actually imagined that somehow the storming of the Capitol would result in the election being cancelled. Reports are that he watched it unfold in glee.

IDK though. This is one of those situations where all sorts of misinformation makes it into the airwaves. Nobody accidentally tasered himself to death for example, a falsehood I believed and shared. Oops. Bottom line, I still think there’s going to be more violence and craziness. Tens of millions of Americans think Trump is their savior and believe anything he says without credulity or evidence. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet by a long shot.

Stay frosty everyone, hell of a time. I started a neat science post about rats with toxic hairdos, but there’s so much unfolding in Washington and beyond I just had to cover it. America has a long proud history of toxic violence (see meme above) and it looks like there’s going to be a big spasm in the next week. The peeps who have been screaming that the tree of liberty needs to be watered in blood occasionally are likely going to rise to the occasion. Let’s hope it’s as comical and relatively bloodless as last week’s Capitol seizing farce. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #ImpeachTrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. And yes, the blog title is clickbait. Weird times to be sure.)

Written by unitedcats

January 13, 2021 at 9:23 pm

MADNESS WALKS THE LAND

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I’m at a loss. I’ve spent my whole life studying current events, human affairs, and history. And what’s going on in the United States now is so far off the rails that it’s almost incomprehensible to me. Trump and his supporters believe things that are so at odds with reality that they prevent any possibility of dialog or resolution. For example, I was reading some posts today to this effect:

“Trump has already secretly invoked the Insurrection Act, and Biden is no longer the president elect, the November election is null and void. Before the 20th (eight days from now) Biden and pretty much every Democrat legislator in America will be arrested. And in March the election will be held again.”

How does one respond to something like that? Millions, if not tens of millions, of Trump supporters actually believe that, or something very similar. That last fall’s election was some terrible left wing plot to impose communism on America, or even Chinese rule, and Trump’s going to fix it all and restore himself to the presidency. It’s like an onion, layers of fantasy atop each other, all the way down. And if last Wednesday’s assault on the capitol is any indication, much worse will happen in the next week as millions of Trump supporters take to the streets to bring their vision to fruition.

So I was wrong. I knew Trump wasn’t likely to be a very good president, though I harbored some thoughts that maybe he would follow through on some of his promises and muddle through his four years as a controversial figure without doing too much damage. Replacing the ACA with something that gave health care to all Americans would have been cool. Raising taxes on the rich, that is long overdue. Infrastructure spending, yeah, decades of deferred infrastructure spending has left the US a mess. None of that happened, just four years of Trump giving the rich and corporate America what they wanted, with a side order of destroying our relationships with our allies and incompetant governing to boot. I mean, there’s going to be at least a million Americans dead of Covid by the end of this year because Trump was unable to launch and coordinate a rational science based response to it.

The closest 20th century parallels would be Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Dictators who imposed their own flawed (OK, crazy) vision of reality on their people to horrible effect. It has nothing to do with ideology, if a strong charismatic leader has reality testing issues, they infect the people under them. Humans are very atavistically tribal at the core, if their chief believes it, it’s true for them. And here we are, Trump’s fantasies about election fraud are believed by his followers, so they use motivated reasoning to confirm them. Example: Yes, Trump did encourage his followers to attack the capitol, but after his speech his followers all went home and antifa agents dressed as Trump followers attacked the Capitol!

So what happens now? We’re fucked. I don’t see any way forward for the US that’s not horrifically dystopian. Tens of millions of Americans think Trump is sent by God to destroy the Godless libtards who want to turn America into some sort of socialist hell. They are armed to the teeth, and think last week’s Capitol insurrection was the beginning of a second American revolution to save the country from being ruled by communist foreigners. There will be blood. I have no clue how it will all play out, anyone who says they know is a liar or a fool.

I’d say it’s safe to say that no, Trump isn’t going to reverse the results of the November election, but fuck if I know. Nothing lasts forever, maybe this is the end times for the Republic. It was a flawed experiment from the get go, chattel slavery was a dying archaaic institution even in Washington’s time, yet it was enshrined in the constitution. And the Nazi and racist regalia on display in last week’s insurrection shows it’s still with us. Trump’s supporters think they are God’s chosen people.

That type of thinking never ends well. 2021 in America is going to make 2020 look like a picnic in comparison. I’ll be so happy if I’m wrong. I may have met the love of my life in 2020, if things settle down maybe I won’t die a lonely old crank. In any case, I’ll keep blogging! I’ll never be as famous as “Davy CrockoShit” or “Dances-with-Karens” or whatever one calls the fur wearing “QAnon Shaman” who stormed the Capitol last week, but I can live with that.

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #ImpeachTrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

January 12, 2021 at 9:50 pm

IT’S NOT OVER YET BY A LONG SHOT

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Yesterday a mob incited by Trump’s lies about the election stormed the Capitol Building in Washington. Only one death directly related to the riot, a woman shot inside the building. A second death pending, apparently an injured cop is brain dead. Three others died of unrelated causes during the excitement. The rioters were trying to disrupt the official counting of the electoral votes that would be the last step in certifying Biden’s electoral victory. A number of members of congress were planning to protest this  event, defending Trump’s unsupported fantasies about the election being stolen from him by massive fraud. After the protesters were cleared out, congress resumed its deliberations and completed the certification. And in fact a number of members who had been planning to object, changed their tune and voted to accept the results of November’s election. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are now officially the president and vice president elect, and will be sworn into office on January 20th.

Upon reflection, what do I think? I think people need to choose. They can choose to support America or they can choose to support Trump. They can’t do both, they are mutually exclusive at this point. Trump’s lies and exhortations caused this insurrection and attempt to subvert democracy in America. He is no longer fit to be president of the United States and should be removed from office under the auspices of the 25th amendment, and be impeached so that he can never hold office in the United States again. There is talk of same, but at this point I still don’t see either happening. Time will tell.

The reaction on the right, sadly pretty predictable. About half of registered Republican voters supported what the mob did. Along with a whole coterie of rationalizations and weirdness. It wasn’t Trump supporters, no, it was Antifa supporters disguised as Trump supporters! Or a false flag operation by the Democrats! Or the Lizard People! OK, I haven’t actually heard the last one anywhere, but I’m sure there’s some out there. It’s fascinating to me that Trumpers can simultaneously support what happened, but somehow deflect blame onto their supposed enemies. Some have even called it an attempted coup by the Democrats! The mind reels at the mental gyrations behind all this. And for the record, numerous mob members have been identified so far, and every single one is a proud white nationalist Trump supporting QAnon following enthusiast.

Even after watching this trend grow for decades, it’s still amazing to me that people have gotten themselves into a headspace where their perception of every facet of reality is twisted to match their ideological beliefs. Global warming is a hoax, Obama was born in Kenya, Covid-19 is a hoax, Trump won the election, etc. The whole world of non Trump supporters is somehow this giant conspiracy against them to take away their freedoms and impose atheist gun banned socialism on them. (Paranoid details will vary depending on the Trumper in question.) The problem of course is that people who create their own reality (or follow those who do so for them) are capable of anything, except being reasoned with. Wednesday may have been our century’s Fort Sumter, time will tell.

I am torn up by these events. And Covid continues to rage, 4,000 a day dying in America now. If 4,000 Americans a day were dying on Obama’s watch, Trump and his followers would be apoplectic with rage. Trump’s watch, they don’t even notice. And lastly I’m torn up because a person I had become very fond of as late vanished Tuesday night, and no one knows what happened. Torn up doesn’t really cover it, I woke up this morning hearing her call my name. I can only pray that she’s OK. I love you Erika. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #ImpeachTrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Inside the Capitol yesterday. An image that should never have happened, the people protecting Congress failed. Jesus Christ, one cop even posed for a selfie with a rioter. When was the last time a cop posed for a selfie with a bank robber? Disgusting beyond belief. Image attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. If it’s not an historically important image, I don’t know what is. Lastly, a slightly different perspective on the riot: Capitol Incident a Dress Rehearsal.)

Written by unitedcats

January 7, 2021 at 8:18 pm

CRAZIER EVERY DAY IN WASHINGTON AND AMERICA

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Started up on a history and science blog, but too much going down personally and in the continuing Trump election challenge crisis. On the personal front got a terrible text from a friend. My oldest best friend actually. I guess he’s peeing blood now, and he was scheduled for cancer tests. He’s in California. The gentle reader can likely guess what happened, all cancelled because the healthcare system is swamped with Covid patients. He’s angry and frightened, and I don’t blame him.

For every 2 Americans who die from Covid, there’s another Covid related death. Hopefully this won’t include my friend. So we’re at over 500,000 deaths above and beyond normal for the past year, one American in just under 700. And it’s still raging out of control. In other countries too, the new more contagious strain is, well, spreading wildly. And there are concerns the current vaccines won’t be as effective against it as the original strains. Trump of course is doing nothing, all he’s been doing since the election is trying to get the election results overturned.

Some of it is farcical, except it’s destroying American’s faith in our democracy. Not even sure where to begin, but ultra farcical is a good start. Trump has awarded two more Medals of Freedom. It’s pretty much the highest award a civilian can be granted in the US, only about ten a year are given out. It’s given for “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” Somehow Rush Limbaugh got one for doing pretty much the opposite, a man who spent his life convincing half of America to hate and fear the other half. The latest two, Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan. They are members of Congress. What are they getting the award for? For being unabashed lickspittle Trump supporters. OK then.

And boy, the infighting among Republicans over whether or not to support Trump’s quixotic attempt to remain in power just keeps getting weirder. Can’t even keep up with it all. Here’s an interesting development: The Republicans refusing to join Trump’s coup attempt are making a stunning admission. They basically aren’t supporting Biden because they don’t like Trump, they are supporting Biden because they fear Trump’s efforts to overturn the election might well end up with the Electoral College being abolished. And if that happens, the GOP’s chances of getting the presidency back get a lot grimmer. Only one GOP presidential candidate has won the popular vote in 32 years. Wouldn’t bother me any, the Electoral College is an archaic joke at this point. Not a ha ha joke though, a “The world is looking at us and wondering wtf is wrong with America?” joke.

Looks like there will be an investigation into Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State: Trump Faces Criminal Investigation for Call to Georgia Secretary of State. We’ll see. While being president Trump was protected from all sorts of civil and criminal proceedings, all that ends January 20th: What Trump faces on Jan. 20, 2021. Jail time seems unlikely, but who knows. I’ve heard people claiming that’s the reason Trump is so desperate to stay in office, he’s afraid of what will happen when he loses his presidential immunity. I don’t really buy that, I think it’s more he really does think he was cheated out of an election victory, the same way I think he really believes he was a fantastic president.

I’m not usually a fan of John Pavlowitz, he does a lot of preaching to the converted, and sometimes his articles fall into the TLDR category. I’m a firm believer that if one can’t make one’s argument in 800 words or less, one needs to rewrite and condense. Still, this time I thing he’s right on, even brilliant. He’s basically pointing out that Trump’s mental health isn’t what makes Trump what he is, it’s because Trump has been sheltered by money and privilege all his life and never faced consequences for his actions. He’s just shallow, selfish, and utterly unconcerned about what harm he causes others. Mr Pavlowitz puts it much better than I can: It’s Trump’s Privilege, Not His Mental Illness That Brought Us Here.

Exciting, if horrifying times. Tomorrow is the Georgia runoff election, so I’ll cover what is known tomorrow night. And I think it’s a safe bet there will be more unfolding news tomorrow as well as Trump’s slow coup attempt or whatever one wants to call it rolls, onward? This turmoil could drag on for months or years. It’s not like Covid is going away anytime soon or the economy is going. Hell, Trump could still order some sort of attack on Iran in a last ditch attempt to stay in power or burn everything down before he’s dragged out of the White House. That’s what Hitler did when he finally accepted/understood that nothing was going to stop the allied armies from rolling into Berlin. He ordered Germany to be basically burned to the ground. Fortunately for the German people, by that time cooler heads were quietly ignoring orders like that.

I can hardly wait to see tomorrow’s news. The next two weeks will likely be crazytime in America.  Likes, comments, as always appreciated. Patrons especially appreciated, even a dollar a month helps, click here. Stay safe, sane, and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It made me spray coffee on my computer screen, no matter what else, enjoying the memes these days.)

Written by unitedcats

January 4, 2021 at 7:39 pm

REVELING IN MY TRANSFORMATION FROM “SOCIALLY AWKWARD LONER” TO “SOCIALLY ISOLATING HERO.”

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Two more days and 2020 is over. It’s been a hell of a year. I’ve done OK because I am able to stay socially isolated. I feel for my friends who have no choice but to keep working. And for all people in the same boat. And for those who lost loved ones to Covid or are still suffering aftereffects themselves. We, as in scientifically literate people who live in the real world, knew real early on Covid was serious sheet and nothing to duck around with. Even people who took all the precautions still fell victim to the cold from hell. Just one freaking haircut, sheesh: They did everything right. But after one at-home haircut, a husband and wife died of Covid-19.

And a just elected Congressman died just days before he was sworn in: Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies from Covid complications days before being sworn in. 41 years old, leaves a wife and two kids. A damn shame, must be hell for them, God rest his soul, god grant them peace. He wasn’t one of the total “It’s just a hoax” crazies, but he certainly didn’t help by holding maskless rallies and insisting that the economy needed to be opened up. As I’ve stated before, that’s like insisting the factory start up even though it’s still on fire.

These people are kind of self-owning actually, since they’re basically admitting that the nation’s wealth is indeed being generated by working people, not somehow magically by the hyper rich. And that God forbid if people can’t work, corporate profits might be affected! Fortunately our leaders have managed to do just a fine job of bailing out the rich so that 2020 was a great year for them. Sowing the wind, it’s not going to end well.

Speaking of Covid deaths, Dawn Wells died of Covid today. Known to history as Mary Ann of Gilligan’s Isle. She was 82. Ginger (Tina Louise) is now the only surviving cast member of the show. She can have reunions with herself! Yeah, kind of sad. OK, very sad. I was a kid when Gilligan’s Isle was on, so it’s a big part of my personal history in a way. Most of the cultural icons of my childhood are dead now. I’m getting old, but it beats the alternative. Planning on a few more decades at least.

Speaking of islands (yes, I’ve come up with better segues) read an interesting article on “Lord of the Flies.” This was a 1954 novel about a bunch of English school kids stranded on a desert isle, and how they descended into barbarity. Never really thought about it before, but that’s one of the main tropes governments use to justify their existence, why, without government, chaos and barbarism would result! The ugly truth is that modern science says the opposite, most people behave themselves because they possess empathy and know the difference between right and wrong. Even worse, a lot of religions make even stronger, more ridiculous, claims. “There is no morality without religion!” Almost Trumpian logic really, saying it doesn’t make it true. In any event, the article points out that the guy who wrote the book was a raging alcoholic who beat his children, and the book is a reflection of that, not insight into the supposedly intrinsic barbarity of humans: ‘Lord of the Flies,’ Revisited.

Speaking of Trumpian (my year’s ration of good segues ran out, apologies) here’s a neat article on Trump I came across: ‘Sadistic and amoral’: Mental health expert performs postmortem on the ‘pathological’ Trump presidency. It covers a lot of ground, and basically points out a number of things I’d noticed and many I didn’t. Most of which are, well, not good signs. The only time he seems to smile is when he’s being praised by a crowd or is making fun of someone. His rallies and schtick haven’t changed in four years. I noticed that for sure, his reelection campaign was essentially the same as his first campaign. He’s a simple man. Anyhow, I enjoyed it.

Stay safe and sane everyone. A last minute news check shows no new horrors. Other than the new Covid variant has made it to the US. Fortunately our effective national test/trace/quarantine program will shut it down, nothing to worry about. Sigh. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facebook meme, attribution in image. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 30, 2020 at 7:34 pm

Posted in 2020, Covid-19, Personal

THE LAME DUCK SHEET SHOW ROLLS ON

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As I stated in the prior post, three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse are raging in America. And with our luck, number four will arrive on Friday. Granted the parallels aren’t perfect, but we can call Covid plague, the collapsing economy is famine, and Trump is the sword. The fourth is the beast, so I guess snake wolves arrive on Friday? One can make a case that Trump is the antichrist, but not going there. Not sure what he is, but he’s conquered the heart and souls of tens of millions of Americans, trapping them in his fantasy world.

Let’s see, in another lovely downside to Trump and company’s Covid denial, it’s made life so unpleasant for health care professionals in rural red areas, that they are fleeing: ‘Toxic Individualism’: Pandemic Politics Driving Health Care Workers From Small Towns. At this point, I’m not ashamed to admit a bit of schadenfreude. Turns out there’s a downside when “Make America great Again” translates to “We hate and fear medical experts.” Talk about shooting your own community in the face. One has to wonder what other types of experts will flee red areas, and will the people living there ever understand that Rush Trumpian BS is not actually a workable substitute for reason and science, who knew?

The vaccine rollout in the US is, as might have been expected, turning into a complete clusterduck: Medical expert details why the vaccine rollout is a mess: ‘They are again setting states up to fail’ Basically the Federal Government simply hasn’t stepped up to the plate to coordinate and support the vaccine rollout, in the exact same way it didn’t step up to the plate to coordinate and lead the fight against Covid. Basically the states are having to fend for themselves. This is why the Confederacy lost the Civil War, and why Covid is kicking America’s teeth in.

But hey, Trump says he’s doing a great job, and that’s all it takes for his supporters. It’s like some great experiment in mass psychology. As if God was bored one day and said “I wonder how long a political movement will last if the followers believe everything their leader says, even though it’s all self aggrandizing lies while him and his buddies loot the country for the rich instead of governing it for the people?” Going on four years now, no end in sight, even as the country crashes and burns.

For more fun, Trump is promising a ‘wild’ time on January 6th. Trump is summoning supporters for a ‘wild’ time on the day the electoral vote will be finalized. That’s the day the election is finalized in the Senate. It’s essentially a formality, there doesn’t seem to be any way Trump could actually change the outcome of the Senate vote, but Trump is the guy who thought he could wish away Covid 19 and a lost election, so who knows what fantasies are floating through his mind. Trump’s summoned supporters from all over the country, though I think it’s a safe bet the turnout will be minimal. At that point too, I think the potential for right wing violence will start to ramp up.

Right wingers have been stockpiling weapons and infiltrating the police and military for a long time now. This story is from Germany, they have the same problem: A Far-Right Terrorism Suspect With a Refugee Disguise: The Tale of Franco A. Basically an officer in the German army disguised himself as a Syrian refugee and created a fake identity. Then he was planning on committing political assassinations and acts of violence, so that they would be blamed on a fictitious Syrian refugee. The idea was to create enough unrest to bring down the government. Yeah, a totally whacked plan, as dumb as the Michigan yahoos who were going to kidnap and try their governor. We’ll see, it’s only going to take one Lee Maga Oswald to change the world though, it’s not something I want to blog about.

Even better, if right wing whack jobs do commit terrible crimes, if they do so before Trump leaves office, he can pardon them! Dark sarcasm. Pardoning murderers is what Trump does. I’d say the recent Blackwater pardons shocked me, but no, they don’t. They murdered Iraqi civilians, which is simply the modern day version of “nits make lice.” I don’t think most Americans, even many on the right, understand how deeply ingrained America’s genocidal impulses towards non whites really is. Trump is the voice of intolerance and hatred, we can only count our blessings that he has inspired very little of it so far.

In many ways, despite the very real damage Trump is doing and may do to the country, he really is a clown in many ways. Hitler was a bonafide war hero from a very humble background. Trump is a spoilt rich brat who used his wealth to shelter himself from reality his whole life. As Mary Trump said, no one has ever said no to Trump, which is why he is freaking out about losing the election. He simply can’t grasp nor accept that the majority of American’s finally said :No!: to him.

Suddenly dawns on me, what if Trump turns out to be one of the small number of Covid survivors who develops a severe psychosis? And if he does, how will we tell? Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I do fear the twenties are going to be a rough decade.)

Written by unitedcats

December 29, 2020 at 7:36 pm