Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Covid-19’ Category

“NEVER LESS ALONE THAN WHEN ALONE.”

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Some celebrated Ginsburg’s death. Mitch McConnell didn’t even wait for her body to cool before announcing the Senate would vote on appointing a Trump appointee to the Supreme Court. The very same guy who when a justice died eight months before the last election … blocked any new appointment until after the election. Hypocrisy runs deep in current American politics. If this shitshow can even be called politics. 

The Supreme Court thing is a horrible distraction from the much more pressing issues at hand, like Covid-19 and the economy. And Trump seems determined to ratchet up pressure on Iran and the whole mess in the Middle East just for snids and giggles. Trump is still promising a return to normal in the near future, and lots of people still think it’s going to. I think they’re fooling themselves, but what do I know? Well, more than many I think. 

The USA went off the rails in 1980, and the debacle that is 2020 is the bill coming due. See above image. Another good look at the corrupt core of the problem here:  The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure. And then for fun QAnon is taking on a life of its own: Friends And Family Members Of QAnon Believers Are Going Through A “Surreal Goddamn Nightmare” 

Speaking of nightmares, more cases of Covid-2 reinfection reported: Catalonia reports four cases of Covid-19 reinfection, with one patient in intensive care. Scattered reports world-wide, still not enough data to come to any conclusions. Not a good sign though. The Cold from Hell is what I dubbed Covid-19 early on, and as accurate as ever. Speaking of surreal, we’re reinforcing our uninvited and illegal forces in Syria, because of “Russian aggression.” Except the Russian troops are in Syria at the express invite of the Syrian government, while America is an illegal invading force. 

As an old acquaintance once said, “America is a land where right is wrong, and wrong is right.” I wonder what they think of today. Just in review, and for new readers, my theory is that the world we all grew up in took a mortal blow in December 2019. Covid-19 was the perfect bullet to crumble the house of cards that the neocolonial exploitation of the world was, especially in America, a land buried in corruption, evangelism, and science denial. The corpse is still stumbling forward but it’s dead; science denial and reality denial only work for so long. The horsemen are arriving, deal with it. Don’t worry, Trump  has a plan, teach America’s children to be good little Trumpsters: Trump calls for ‘patriotic education. That how malignant narcissism works, why, the problem is … they’re not thinking like me! 

Just in, Trump says the SCOTUS nominee will be a woman! Brilliant! Insane! Sexist as hell! Why, as long as the nominee has female genitals, the liberals should be happy! Not the point of feminism, but explaining that to the Rush Limbaugh crowd, well, I’ll keep trying. Here’s hoping it’s Sarah Palin. 

The weird alien sitcom reality show that 2020 Trump’s America is … continues  unabated. Have a safe and sane weekend everyone. I have gone into retreat for a bit, but should be able to keep blogging. God, we’re gonna see some crazy shit between now and January. Pull up a chair, I’ll comment as I am able. Share at will. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Tweet attributed to Kane Wishart. Used without permission but legally. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 19, 2020 at 7:20 pm

2020 CONTINUES

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A commenter accused me of playing down how awful things were in yesterday’s post. Well, that’s a new one. Heaven forfend!  So to be clear, 2020 is one awful year with multiple terrible things simultaneously going on. Many of them things that in simpler times (say, 2019) would have dominated the news for weeks. Now they are often relegated to the back pages. So let’s review…

The Covid-19 pandemic continues. The first wave never really ended in the US, and now Europe is experiencing a second wave. No vaccine yet, though at least we have learned a lot about how to treat severe cases, so fewer people are dying. Trump promised a vaccine just before the election. Yeah, if one believes that I have some property in Florida they might want to buy. There will be no such vaccine, because Trump will promise whatever it takes to motivate his base. And when there isn’t a vaccine, he’ll blame Biden, China, Antifa, or whoever is on the Trump shit list of the day.

Fires still burning wildly in the American west. It’s just the start of the fire season, so no relief in sight yet. The economic damage from this in both direct and indirect effects will be staggering. The hurricane season is off to a great start with more to come. Both of these are made much worse by poor human actions and global warming. By poor human actions, I mean inadequate building codes and poor zoning. Developers rule, IE the profit motive trumps public safety, the story of America in six words. 

While we are on global warming, the news is worse than ever. Greenland’s ice sheet has melted to a point of no return, according to new study. Pretty much means a 20 foot (6 meter) rise in sea level is inevitable. That’s going to cost a pretty penny. One of the horrifying things about global warming is that feedback will almost certainly speed it up in ways we have yet to anticipate. The good doctor covers some of this nicely in a recent blog: Ice Age Bear Found in Melting Permafrost

And the global and American economy are, well, not great. I’m seeing a lot of empty store shelves, this didn’t used to happen in America. Still, I always knew I lived in an unprecedented bubble of prosperity in America. That’s all going away. As an avid amateur historian, there’s no real exact precedents for now. Best is sort of like America in 1941 or 1860. In 1941 most Americans were still hoping to stay out of World War Two. And in 1860, few (if any?) guessed that Lincoln’s election would tear the nation apart. 

So yeah, things still suck on September 17, 2020. I figure at this rate alien invasion, civil war, or World War Three are all on the table before year’s end. I hope I’m wrong. Hell, I probably will be, the final development will likely be worse than any of those possible futures. Scary times. 47 days to the election. An election where both parties are setting it up to claim “foul” if their candidate loses. One can only hope that no matter what happens, it inspires America to go in a more democratic direction. The electoral college is literally bat shit crazy at this point, Trump doesn’t need to appeal to all Americans, he just needs to get his base out in a handful of battleground states. When an election for the leader of a nation of 300 million can essentially ignore the vast majority of the country, not democracy.

There’s been more weirdness. I can’t write anymore tonight. I’ll cover it tomorrow. Trump claims education is child abuse, the mind numbing crimes of the 1%, and the “Covid-19 is Chinese biological warfare” doctor. No shortage of blog topics these days. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facebook meme of unknown genesis, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Cow deaths happen.)

Written by unitedcats

September 17, 2020 at 8:12 pm

A WORLD WITHOUT SMILES

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So today we start with something evil that doesn’t involve Trump or Rush Limbaugh: Auto Industry TV Ads Claim Right to Repair Benefits ‘Sexual Predators’ This is sick and evil on several levels. Basically a “right to repair” initiative is on the ballot in Massachusetts. The right to repair being the radical idea that if you buy something, it’s yours, and you can have anyone fix it. One would think this wouldn’t even be needed, would it? Welcome to modern America where big corporations are working hard to turn America into one giant company town. In essence when big corporations sell something like a car, tractor, or electronic device a lot of them recently are specifying that the item in question can only be modified or repaired at a corporate authorized dealer. Basically trying to drive independent shops out of business. It’s a horrible unfair way to use their power to destroy competition.

And since they don’t have any rational arguments to support their attempt to destroy the free market and make their customers economic serfs, they are claiming “right to repair” laws will lead to women getting raped. That’s right, if you take your car to an independent garage, your wife or daughter might get raped! Sick and wrong on multiple levels. I’ll let the discerning reader parse them for themselves. 

So Rush, yeah, phew, back to him: Rush Limbaugh downplaying hurricane Irma may have decreased evacuations. Yeah folks, get your science based stuff from scientists, not radio entertainers. Science, unlike any known ideology or religion, has a pretty good track record at understanding reality. People claim science is “making stuff up!” That’s called projection. It’s religion and ideology that make stuff up. Doesn’t mean science can’t be minused, just means science in general isn’t putting the cart before the horse. 

Ran seven errands on an outing today. Pretty universal mask coverage. Red state, red town, but … and pretty big but … the Mason micropolitan area is a college town, tourist region, and high class retirement area. A lot of educated folks who might vote for Trump, but are gonna mask up in public cause their neighbors are. Can’t smile at people though. If this continues, guessing new ways of communicating smiles will evolve. And masking has its plus sides. One can mouth “F**k You!” at deserving folks without fear. Better yet, I can smile at people all the time without being weird. That’s a win.

Well, a day without any new really bad developments. Win win. If everything calms down and the next few months underwhelm everyone, woohoo! Wouldn’t that be nice? Stay safe people. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

PS. Well, then Hurricane Sally. Some places got eighteen inches of rain, and it’s not over yet. I’ve seen an “inch an hour” rain for a few hours twice in my life, the results were local catastrophes. So freaking weird to live in a time where events that would have dominated the news for weeks during my prior life are now but brief interludes in the saga 2020 is. 

PPS: My town has been invaded by foxes.Seven deaths so far. 

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: Facebook meme of unknown origin, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It made me laugh.)

Written by unitedcats

September 16, 2020 at 8:01 pm

EXPLODING TREES, RUSSIAN JETS, ANTI-MASKERS FORCED TO DIG GRAVES FOR COVID VICTIMS, AND OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY. A 2020 DAY THAT IS.

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2020, the gift that just keeps giving. The ad above (left) was run by the “Trump Make America Great Again Committee,” run by both the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign. There’s a few problems with it that I helpfully labelled. The photographer was Russian too, and pretty amused by it all when contacted. The RNC had no comment. 

So a hundred or so thousand years ago, for the very first time, a human or proto human, an ancestor whose DNA story still lives, crumpled or assembled something together into a spherical shape for no particular reason. The first ball. He or she tossed it around. Do apes toss things at each other? (Sort of.) At some point one of them tried to catch the ball, but fumbled it and dropped it. Yes, there was a first time a human dropped the ball. 

And we’ve been dropping it since. This is the sort of stuff I think about. So yeah, terrible fires continue in California. Trump said trees explode causing wildfires. Except he didn’t. He literally said they did, but he was trying to say deadwood is an explosive fire danger, and if it had been cleared out, they wouldn’t be having this problem. Trump’s right, if a hundred years plus of overgrowth and deadwood was cleared away, the fires wouldn’t be this bad. This would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, it’s not a realistic option. Trump also promised cooler weather would fix the problem. He’s a magic man.

Talking to a Covid-19 denier the other day, it once again got to me that a lot of people don’t understand that “the map is not the territory.” How to explain this? It’s why I write. The virtue of the human brain is we have a mental map of reality. “You are here” is a huge advantage over reacting to everything by instinct. When something new shows up, it’s essential to expand the map, not shoehorn the new thing into the map. Thinking covid-19 is “just a flu” is an example of the latter type of thinking. Not helping.

Election stuff keeps going on. Certain amount of MSN attention to “Russians, Iranians, etc. are hacking our election!” True enough, hackers the world over no doubt target everything in the US. So? It’s not like the US is above hacking anything they can. My point here is that if Biden loses the election, no problem: OMG, the Russians/Iranians/Chinese are to blame! Yeah, anything but examine what a travesty the American election system has turned into. Democracy theater, any resemblance to real democracy is a coincidence. Oh, turns out there’s no actual evidence for Russian bounties on US troops in Afghanistan, not that that matters. 

This pissed me off: Violent memes and messages surging on far-left social media, a new report finds. That’s the actual Washington Post headline. And it’s true, but …  in the article: “The report acknowledges that left-wing political actors, including those who embrace the antifa movement, have been responsible for far less violence than white supremacists and other right-wing ones — a finding consistent with the conclusions of law enforcement and other threat analysts.” In other words, right wing violence is still the problem. Nonetheless no doubt Trump and company will seize on this as evidence that if Trump doesn’t get reelected, a wave of left wing violence will destroy the country. 

Gonna be a fun election. So, in Indonesia: Anti-maskers forced to dig graves for COVID-19 victims in Indonesia. They were short grave diggers, anti-maskers had committed a crime, problem solved. Jesus, maybe Covid-19 will usher in Asia as the world leader. Cooperation is the only way to fight Covid-19, enforced or voluntary. A trait Americans seem to have lost. 

And in nightmare news I am still processing, do we have an American Dr. Mengele?: ‘Like an Experimental Concentration Camp’: Whistleblower Complaint Alleges Mass Hysterectomies at ICE Detention Center. I can only hope it’s not as bad as it sounds. Still, humans are capable of terrible evil. Especially towards people not in the tribe. 

So stay safe gentle reader. 2020 continues. Shares, comments, donations appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: A meme I made. Credit: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

September 15, 2020 at 8:21 pm

NO, THERE IS NO DEBATE ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING. PLUS VACCINE THEATER AND LIFE ON VENUS.

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America, land of denial. Trump has visited the fire ravaged West coast: US West Coast fires: Row over climate change’s role as Trump visits. Western governors are pointing out that global warming is a big part of the fire problem now raging across the west. Trump claims it’s poor forest management. Both are right and wrong, though as usual Trump is wronger. (Is that a word? It is now.) Yes, poor forest management is definitely a big part of the reason. Apparently Trump is overlooking that over half of forest land in the west is under federal management. So Trump is literally admitting to a big share of the blame. Since Trump is never wrong and never takes blame, only credit, I doubt that will get much mention in the circus that passes for the mainstream media in the US.

And no, the debate about global warming ended decades ago, Earth is rapidly warming up, and human activity is the cause. While we’re on the topic, the debate about evolution ended around 1870, the debate about creationism ended around 1830. I digress. This is America though, where if a powerful interest finds some scientific finding might hurt its profits, the science of science denial has made great progress in recent decades, and they are quite capable of creating “debate” where there is no debate. That American politicians are basically for sale to the highest bidder doesn’t hurt either. Welcome to Global Warming World, Northern Hemisphere summer was hottest on record, scientists say, where it’s just going to get worse and worse while Washington fiddles.  

Oh, wait, Trump is going to save us all. I missed this, but he declared he’s the greatest environmental president since Teddy Roosevelt! Trump Declares Himself “the No. 1 Environmental President” Well, he’s consistent at least. He’s also declared he’s been the best president for blacks since Lincoln, and the best president for LGTB rights ever. Basically, he’s the best at everything. The fact that all three claims are not only wrong, they are in complete opposite of the facts of his record is irrelevant. Some close to him say Trump apparently can’t tell the difference between the truth and a lie. Psychotic is a term one acquaintance used. Beats me, but someone who literally spent his term gutting and cancelling every environmental law and regulation he could is not an “environmental” president. If he actually believes it, then it’s partially true, he’s mental. 

Trump officials rush to introduce untested vaccine tracking system. Yes, Trump’s gonna be distributing a vaccine just before the election! What a guy! Trump’s gonna save the day! Sigh. No, this is pandemic theater. The date was chosen for political reasons, the chances a safe and effective and well tested vaccine will be available then is almost zero. You’d think that the fact that Trump keeps saying everything is going to come up roses … and it doesn’t … might cost him support. No, at this point Trump followers are committed, they’ve built their whole world view and identity around Trump, there’s nothing so blinding as deciding a leader is the Messiah. Look at Jim Jones and his followers.

An interesting article: Why Are Right-Wing Conspiracies so Obsessed With Pedophilia? Short version: “They’re baby killers!” is really effective propaganda, has been throughout history. They go into the McMartin preschool case, where one obviously not-quite-right-in-the-head mother claimed her son had been abused. (The fact that she kept her kid in the center even after making the allegations should have tipped people off.) The police interviewed a bunch of preschoolers, and oh my, the stories they told. Underground tunnels, animal sacrifices, satanic rituals, the whole works. They even sacrificed a giraffe! (Again, someone should have said, wait, what? Where would they get a giraffe?) 15 millions dollars of investigation later, multiple lives ruined, and it was all so much nonsense. Turns out preschoolers are easily encouraged to make stuff up to please the friendly policemen questioning them. A giraffe? Oh well, interesting read.

In some good news, life on Venus! Well, that came out of the blue. However, let’s not get carried away, like so many headlines: A gas found on Earth that signifies life has been detected in the clouds on Venus. So no, actual life detected, not quite. Phosphine, a nasty smelling swamp gas produced by anaerobic bacteria has been detected in Venus’s atmosphere. Entirely by surprise I might add. The reason scientists think this discovery might signify  life is because no one knows of any other way Phosphine could be produced. We’re likely not talking surface life, the surface of Venus is hellishly hot and unlikely to support life. Some of the cloud layers are quite temperate though. In fact it’s been seriously suggested that Venus is one of the best colony spots in the Solar System: Our Future in Space. Why pray tell? Because Venus has Earth normal gravity, unlike anywhere else in the Solar System but Earth. It’s the one thing that can’t be easily artificially created, and at this point it’s pretty clear for long term habitation, Earth normal gravity is likely essential for healthy human life.

I digress. It is exciting news, Venus is close, much closer than Mars. No doubt sample return missions are already being sketched out, don’t even need a lander, just a probe that swoops through the atmosphere and then returns samples to Earth. The discovery of life elsewhere in the Solar System would be a huge leap in our understanding of life. Essentially there are two possibilities. It’s related to life on Earth, which means panspermia is possible and life is likely all over the Solar System. Or more exciting, it’s not related to Earth life, which means life arose independently in two places in the Solar System. Which pretty much means life is all over the Universe.

Which then brings us back to, if life is everywhere, where are the aliens? Good question, hope there’s an answer in my lifetime. Stay safe everyone as we spiral into an insane election. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: Facebook image of unknown attribution, used without permission. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 14, 2020 at 8:27 pm

THE AMERICAN WEST IS BURNING

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It’s just one god damn thing after another in 2020. Terrible wildfires are raging across California and Oregon now, dozens dead at least, whole rural towns destroyed. And the fire season is just beginning. My friends living in California can’t even go outside now it’s so smokey. I lived in California for decades and never experienced anything like it. My heart goes out to those who lost everything, especially to those who lost family and friends. A natural disaster on top of a natural disaster, what a nightmare. I’m talking about the pandemic of course, which has just made it all the harder to fight the fires.

After reading the following article, I realized I have been wrong about the west’s fire history. In the eighties science belatedly realized that fire was a natural and essential part of western ecosystems, and that putting all fires out for a century had been a terrible mistake. Before Americans settled in the west, millions of acres burned every year. The vast majority of these fires basically being grass fires, because with regular burns huge amounts of deadwood and brush didn’t accumulate. By putting out all the fires, huge amounts of flammable brush built up, so now when fires burn they get huge and burn hotter and deadlier. I thought we had learned a lesson, for example in 1988 they let Yellowstone burn, to much uninformed public outrage. 

I was wrong. While scientists had realized the problem in the eighties, it didn’t get translated into public policy. Basically, politics, inertia, corruption. California and other western states should be burning millions of acres a year to reduce the amount of accumulated deadwood, instead they’ve burned less than 50,000 acres per year in prescribed burns. Add that to a 20 year drought almost certainly global warming related, and the whole west is just a wildfire waiting to happen. Read the article here: They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?

Can’t blame this one on the GOP either. California has been pretty much a Democrat state for decades. Which means fuck all. The point here isn’t partisan politics, it’s that American politics have been hostile to science based solutions all my life. Granted it’s gotten worse in recent decades as the GOP has substituted fantasy for science in things like abortion and global warming, but it’s not limited to the GOP. Whole books have been written about America’s aversion to science and learning, it’s a mystery to me. In both natural disasters, the fires and Covid-19, experts have been shouting warnings since the 1980s, yet little to nothing was done. For shame.

Back to the matter at hand, the Covid-19 pandemic and the election. Four links for the gentle reader’s consideration. Real world, politics, paranoia, and fantasy. Hey, it’s the end of an era, I’m gonna cover as many bases as I can. First, politics: Trump officials interfered with CDC reports on Covid-19. If true, well, not like we didn’t know that Trump seems to consider Covid-19 an image problem, rather than an actual crisis to be dealt with. Horrifying and Stalinesque. That’s modern America.

Real world: College athletes show signs of possible heart injury after COVID-19. Yeah, Covid-19 ain’t just an upper respiratory infection, Covid-19 gets into the heart. Covid-19 is not a hoax, not a flu, not a cold. It’s a new and scary virus that people should do everything they can to avoid. A message I will continue to repeat because it’s a matter of life or death

In the paranoid file for today: Roger Stone calls for Trump to seize total power if he loses the election. Well, he’s repaying Trump for the pardon? IDK, apparently he made these statements on Alex Jones’s Infowars. Alex Jones makes Rush Limbaugh look like Carl Sagan in comparison. (No, not really, they’re both off the rails.) I hope we don’t see some horrible shitshow after the election, but stuff like this is not reassuring. 

Lastly, good news! Studio Ghibli Movies Are Available On HBO Max And Now I Know What I’m Doing All Week. I’ve only seen a few of them, but enjoyed them immensely. “My Neighbor Totoro” is my favorite so far. Fantasy, science fiction, and psychological fantasy all wrapped up together. Kinda a genre on their own. Enjoy.

Stay safe everyone, hope all are having a good weekend. Likes, shares, comments appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: “Bobcat Fire view from our kitchen window in Monrovia, CA, September 10, 2020”.  Credit: Eddiem360. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

September 12, 2020 at 8:11 pm

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I will have such revenges on you both  

That all the world shall—I will do such things—      

What they are yet I know not, but they shall be      

The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep?       

No, I’ll not weep.

The 19th anniversary of 9/11, when four American airliners were hijacked and flown into civilian targets in the USA, the most infamous being the Twin Towers in New York City. I was in rural Oregon at the time. Had strange dreams that morning, I think events like 9/11 ripple outwards in ways we don’t understand yet. If we can build a device that can detect the collision of black holes billions of light years and ago away, something like 9/11 that must pop all over the planet. 

That being said, what else to say? My biggest memory? The horrifying sick feeling in my stomach as in the days to follow two things were already becoming clear. America wasn’t going to learn anything from this terrible crime, and no one would be held responsible for this utter failure of our nation’s defences. And that a paroxysm of American violence and hatred was going to follow. Sadly I’ve been proved true in spades on both counts. The last time an American leader screwed up and paid the price was Benedict Arnold. And our endless crusades in the Middle East were normalized by 9/11 and continue today.

I say crusades very deliberately. I see America as just a continuation of the Roman Empire, it broke up in the Dark Ages, various factions arose, Christian monotheism became the state religion. The factions fought among one another and were finally unified in 1945 when Japan and Germany surrendered. So by crusading, I mean the medieval Roman Empire sent armies into the Middle East, mostly looting under the guise of religion. They even established a Christian state in Palestine, it lasted like 100 years. No real difference from Israel and America’s Middle East wars starting with Gulf War One.

On to the obvious, Covid-19 is dealing America a 9/11’s worth of death a week, with no end in sight, and the Trump regime has yet to mobilize the nation’s resources to defend against it. In a weird ironic way, I think our reactions to 9/11 and Covid-19 should have been reversed. 9/11 was terrible, but it was a crime committed by a tiny band of extremists, Terrorism before and after 9/11 was a minor threat to Americans, and one we had plenty of defenses against. Covid-19 we should be mobilizing the awesome power of the Federal Government, thank you Lincoln, to defend against. We’d save thousands of lifes a week. 

So yes, it’s really weird that we’re paying huge tribute to 9/11 while we more or less ignore a much more dire ongoing death march. And not even thinking about the pointless carnage the “Global War on Terror” has wreaked. What can I say? I honor the dead on that terrible day, I’m sorry for all the loss. A nightmare for those involved. And the best way to honor their deaths, let’s stop promoting violence as a solution to complex social problems. 

The hippies and pacifists and such were all right, as such it is my inspiration for the meme above. The lesson of 9/11, killing people doesn’t help. Sit down at a table and work things out like adults. We are an intelligent species, right? There are better alternatives? 

Weird day, weird times, where will we be on the 20th anniversary of 9/11? I hope all reading will be safe and sound. Stay safe everyone. Likes, shares, etc. appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Quote: King Leer. Image: A meme I made, Public Domain.)

Written by unitedcats

September 11, 2020 at 6:56 pm

EPIDEMIC OF APATHY CONTINUES IN AMERICA AS COVID-19 KILLS AT WILL

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OK, so, the first surgery failed. Second surgery, well, another new experience, I could see the smoke and smell my burning flesh when they cauterized the incision. Smelled like chicken. Yes, I have a very odd sense of humor. Some would even say I don’t possess such. Philistines. So still kicking, but more surgery after the latest biopsy. Modern medicine, as in all modern science based endeavors, is pretty amazing stuff. Fox News viewers and Evangelicals, you’re missing out on some good shit.

And since they’re in control of the country now, their failure to grasp that Covid-19 required a science based approach has killed tens of thousands of people. I know, boring, we’re over Covid-19, on to some other story. Not here in Doug’s Darkworld. Greatest mass death of my time, so I’m  gonna keep blogging on it. And whatever comes to mind. That’s my plan for the fall, write about whatever I want to. 

Three quick Covid-19 links. First, once again, Covid-19 is very serious even for young healthy adults: A sobering breakdown of severe COVID-19 cases shows young adults can’t dismiss it. I know I repeat this a lot, because it’s important. Covid-19 is not a cold or a flu, it’s much worse, and we need to snap out of the complacency a hundred years of vaccines and modern public health brought us. Here’s a good article just basically going over some of the hows and why America failed so miserably fighting Covid-19: COVID-19 Has Killed Nearly 200,000 Americans. How Many More Lives Will Be Lost Before the U.S. Gets It Right? A good, if depressing, read. Lastly, just some interesting thoughts on where Covid-10 is going: How do pandemics usually end? And how will this one finish? 

So the Abraham Accord. Yeah, this one seems remarkably easy to deconstruct. The United Arab Emirates, one of the medieval Gulf State theocracies, has normalized relations with Israel, one of the few Arab nations to do so. Trump and company are touting it as a big move towards peace in the Middle East, he has even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize! By a far right Muslim-bashing Norewegian politician who has nominated Trump for the prize before. The astute reader can no doubt guess that it’s going to go downhill from here.

So what is the Abraham Accord? It’s really simple, the UAE recognizes Israel, then they get to buy a giant pile of advanced US weapons. And Israel gets a huge pile of American taxpayer dollars which they have to spend on US weapons. Woohoo, American war profiteers make a pile of money, Israel and the UAE get even more weapons! And what do the Palestinas get? Nothing. How does pouring more weapons into the Middle East promote peace? God only knows. Basically it’s Trump giving away a pile of America taxpayers money so he can claim a diplomatic success. Color me unimpressed.

And more weapons in the region. Yeah, that’s worked out well: At least 37 million displaced by America’s two-decade ‘war on terror’: Report. Weapons are the world’s number two industry, and a profitable industry it is. And politically powerful. It’s distorted civilization since the end of World War Two, with no end in sight. They should have hung German industrialists alongside the other war criminals the Allies hung at Nuremberg. Nope, we’re stuck in this reality where giving more weapons to two warlike regimes in a region devastated by war is touted as a peace treaty.

Shit like this is why the aliens fly right past. Assuming any such aliens exist, the latest search came up with nada: Astronomers find no signs of alien tech after scanning over 10 million stars. If there’s aliens out there, they certainly aren’t doing anything noticeable. My backup theory is that intelligent life such as ours is an evolutionary dead end. Soon enough the technology will be such that an individual will be able to build a doomsday device. We can’t even stop school shooters in the US, so this would be inevitable. We’d all die with our freedoms intact though, woohoo! And if the stock markets were high at the time, then what else matters?

OK, no emails from aliens yet. I just checked. Unless they are cleverly disguised as spam, which would seem to miss the point. Still, how the hell would I know how aliens think, even understanding Trump supporters gives me pause. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: Anonymous quote pasted onto a Public Domain Snappygoat Image. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 10, 2020 at 7:39 pm

BIOLOGICAL ATTACK ON AMERICA

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“Biological attack at Sturgis Motorcycle Rally spreads a deadly and highly contagious disease to at least 250,000 Americans across the land. Thousands will die, tens of thousands will have long term or permanent health damage. Health care costs alone estimated at 12 billion dollars.” 

Imagine if another nation did this to us? Trump and his supporters would be enraged. Nope. America did this to itself, and Trump and his supporters just watched, when not actually cheering them on. I am talking about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally a few weeks back. The results are starting to come in, and as expected, Covid-19 loved it!   250,000 cases. That’s just a first little study, this is going to be one of the most well studied epidemiological experiments in history. Let’s take a half million Americans, a few percent of them definitely infected with Covid-19, cram them into close proximity with each other for a week with little effort at mask compliance even … ideal conditions for Covid-19 to spread … and then we’ll study what happens. 

Thousands will die. Tens of thousands will have long term and/or permanent health damage. And this is just for starters. It’s still stunning to me that an ongoing apocalypse is rolling across America, and Trump and so many others are still essentially pretending Covid-19 will go away.  On the plus side, Covid-19 is exposing rotten, corrupt, and undemocratic leaders around the globe. This is some interesting thinking on it: The Pandemic Was Supposed to Be Great for Strongmen. What Happened? (Sorry it’s paywalled.) Basically Trump is not the only autocrat to tell his people “It’s just a cold folks!” to disastrous results. The ongoing demonstrations in Belorussia were triggered by just that sort of incompetant leadership. Covid-19 doesn’t give a shit about politics or personality or religion or ideology. Well run countries with modern health infrastructure do OK against Covid-19. Corrupt incompetant regimes fare much worse. Sadly, despite the delusions of many Americans, America is a lot closer to the latter than to the former.

Americans are still not understanding how bad this pandemic could get. So many of them do not yet understand that Covid-19 is a new disease, one whose long term effects we are only beginning to understand, one that no sane person or nation would want to risk. And it could get much worse. Nightmare scenarios are still possible, where people who get Covid-19 start to develop various cancers in a year or two. For the first time in our lives the entire human race is sailing into uncharted waters. One would think that would wake most people up, apparently not. 

People worry about fantasy microchips injected by Bill Gates, but fail to understand that Covid-19 is a vastly more sophisticated biological device that once it gets inside you does all sorts of nasty shit, as well as uses your body’s breath to spread itself to other bodies. Yeah, a microchip that spreads itself to one’s friends and family, Bill gates could only dream of such a thing.  I had a bunch of links for today, but the Sturgis thing came out and, sigh, what else is there? The governor of South Dakota is in denial about it all already. We’re not really an intelligent species. One link though, the good Doctor Novella has some thoughts about how and why people fall for conspiracy theories: QAnon and Other Conspiracies

Stay safe everyone. Depressing times for sure. Can’t anyone get Trump to take Covid-19 seriously? Next post something normal, like emails from aliens. Comments, shares, likes appreciated. And stay safe. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: The Triumph of Death. Credit: Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 8, 2020 at 7:50 pm

HOPE ALL HAD A GOOD LABOR DAY

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No parades I hope. The above was in New York City in 1882. There are people alive today who personally knew people in this picture. We still have connections to the past, even as long ago as 1882. I’m guessing Labor Day was a lot more important back then, decades of “labor unions are bad” propaganda has eviscerated the labor movement in the US. Reagan firing the striking air controllers was the beginning of the end for workers’ rights in America.

It’s horribly sad that the GOP has gone down the “They’re going to take away your rights!” schick about rights like speech, gun rights, and religion … when none of those freedoms was in any danger. Your right to a decent job, decent health care, decent benefits, to organize unions, get a good public education, enjoy modern public infrastructure … oops, sorry. Those don’t count. The rich need all that money. Wealth inequality has reached frightening heights in the US, and Covid-19 is just making it worse.

So the next few months in America will be fun. States are broke, cities are broke, the CARE act expired, and the Senate is disinclined to do anything. On the plus side, other than a few Trump boats sinking, this holiday weekend there’s been no new outbreaks of violence, police riots, police shootings, vigilante shootings, etc. I had a fairly relaxing holiday weekend. Phew. 

No immediate bad news, but another grim development on the Covid-19 front: Mysterious Post-COVID Syndrome Affecting Kids Appears to Be Even Worse Than We Thought. This is not a virus anyone in their right mind wants to catch, but I’m  still seeing people who don’t get that yet. 

Trump did throw more fat on the fire today: Trump launches unprecedented attack on military leadership he appointed. This Trump quote was especially interesting:

“I’m not saying the military’s in love with me — the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy,” 

Wow. The POTUS criticizing war profiteering? Blasphemy! Of course Trump also brags about how much money he threw at the military, so it’s not like he’s doing anything about it. It’s just damned unusual for it to be publicly acknowledged that American military spending has been out of control since 1945. It’s driven a global binge of military spending really, armaments are the world’s number two industry. In any event, Trump is occasionally right on in his observations on the world, because he doesn’t understand the Neocon ideology that has ruled Washington for decades, or even the Cold War ideology underpinning it.

What the Pentagon will do if there is an ugly disputed election is a concern. I have no freaking clue. Anyone who claims they do is full of it. The Romans had civil wars when there were multiple claimants to be the emperor. Yeah, civil wars weren’t as ugly back then, civilians generally had little to worry about. We’ll see I guess.

What worries me is how widespread the idea is that Democrats are the enemy of America, traitors who should just be eliminated. Trump seems to be doubling down on the idea, it’s not like he has much of a record to run on. More on that in a subsequent blog.

I lived in Berkeley for decades. The nation’s center for anarchists. There must be dozens of them. Yeah, they ain’t driving national protests. That’s an aside. Short blog today. Almost took the day off, but at this point, it’s a point of honor to blog daily until the election is resolved. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.  

(Image: Public domain.)

Written by unitedcats

September 7, 2020 at 8:10 pm