Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘George Floyd’ Category

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

August 31, 2020 at 7:56 pm

A GREAT DAY IN TRUMPTOPIA, A SAD DAY IN AMERICA

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A child with a gun kills two people, and some are celebrating. I am of course talking about Kyle Rittenhouse, who showed up in Kenosha during the unrest toting an AR-15. He is seventeen. He’s a child. It’s actually illegal for a child to open carry. He definitely had interactions with the police, by some accounts they even encouraged him. To put it mildly, if he had been black, the police would no doubt have treated him very differently. And that’s why there is protest and unrest in America. Not in Trumptopia. In Trumptopia America’s cities are under siege by anarchists and thugs, and Democratic mayors are ordering police to stand down. And a gun toting child who killed two people is a hero. It’s unreal. It really is.

Speaking of unreal, the RNC is winding down tonight. All sorts of highlights. A spectacle like never before. The blatant violations of the Hatch Act are a good place to start. Federal employees are not allowed to work for political purposes while on the job, nor use Federal resources for same. So Melania using the Rose Garden to give her speech, Pompeo speaking from a state mission to Jerusalem, and others are blatant violations. Yeah, the “law and order president” doesn’t mean the laws apply to him, oh no, just other people. Love they ran an ad claiming that only Trump can save us from the lawlessness of a Biden presidency … while showing images of lawlessness occurring during the Trump presidency.

Then there’s the mind numbing claim about how Trump’s response to Covid-19 was the greatest US mobilization since World War Two, saving millions of lives! Where to start, lie from beginning to end, there’s still no national response to Covid-19, and with 4% of the world’s population, we have about 20% of the world’s deaths. With no end in sight, Trump apparently got bored pretending to fight Covid-19 and has moved on. Basically the whole Trump platform boils down to “Vote for Trump because only he can fix all the things that went south during his term!”

Oh well, Back in the real world, Scientists warn it may be years before students can return to school without masks, social distancing. Well, duh. Until the virus is controlled it makes zero sense to resume school in the first place. America now is kind of like a person who hurts themselves or gets injured, but just doesn’t want to admit to themselves anything is wrong. Like my dad when he had a bad fall on the ski slopes, the EMTs thought he really needed to go get checked out. Nope, just bruises, he’ll be fine. Drove four hours to get home. And couldn’t get out of his car. Broken hip. The world we grew up in broke its hip this year, but many Americans are still in denial. My dad was able to call for help when he got home, not sure who Trump is planning on calling.

In the same vein: Scientists: A Single Event Caused 40% of COVID Cases in Boston

“It’s a cautionary tale as we go forward and begin to open our communities, our workplaces and schools.” Pretty much speaks for itself. I keep repeating for new readers, Covid-19 is mad contagious, unless it’s completely shut down it’s going to keep breaking out. Which the rest of the world is experiencing, though since they actually mobilized to fight it, they have the means to shut down hot spots. Pretending America mobilized to fight Covid-19 won’t actually help fight Covid-19. It’s mad contagious because it spreads through aerosols: COVID-19 Is Transmitted Through Aerosols. We Have Enough Evidence, Now It Is Time to Act. Acting like we have it covered isn’t what they mean.

Hurricane Laura rolled ashore, massive damage, death toll modest so far. The storm surge wasn’t as bad as feared, so no Katrina death toll. Still, the economy is already reeling, so it’s one more body blow the nation didn’t need. And in an interesting note of irony, Hurricane Laura topples Confederate monument in Lake Charles weeks after vote to keep it up. Certainly an interesting coincidence, nu? And why are all these tragedies striking America under a president who the Evangelicals claim was sent by God? Hell, there’s even talk of adding a Trump chapter to the Bible. Miriam Adelson wants a ‘Book of Trump’ in the Bible. We asked an expert if that’s possible. Of course it’s possible, there’s no ‘official’ bible, and seems unlikely God will weigh in on the issue. I’m all for it, Trump can be Pharaoh 2.0, the leader who let tragedy after tragedy befall America because he has no heart. It practically writes itself.

Well, no new major horrors in the news tonight. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Stay safe and stay sane everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #UtMelioremPeiusAnteTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A dark road to an uncertain future, America today. Credit: Pixabay user Mnievesmc. They have released the image into the public domain and it may be used freely without attribution.)

Written by unitedcats

August 27, 2020 at 8:14 pm

HERE COME THE STORMS

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8/26/2020 Well, we’re in for it, today’s news is some of the worst in weeks. It’s been a problem this year; 2020, the gift that keeps on giving. So yeah, two storms, and one bat sh*t insane story in the news. Not even counting the Republican National Convention which was a whole other level of weirdness. A celebration of the Trump dynasty. I’ll let others cover that, if the gentle reader is a Trump Supporter I’m sure they thought it was all Jim Dandy. If not, well, reactions varied. It was certainly a spectacle though. In any event, the bad news of the day …

At the top of today’s horrors, Hurricane Laura is expected to hit the Gulf Coast as a category 4 hurricane. A 15-20 foot (4-6 meter) storm surge is expected. Basically a small tsunami is going to hit the Gulf Coast, along with 145 mph (233 kmh) winds. “Unsurvivable” is how the storm surge is being described. Anyone living in the affected area is urged to flee. It hits tomorrow (Thursday) morning, and the result is almost certain to be devastation and loss of life. A blow the country didn’t need now, not that it ever did. And I’m sure the Trump administration will respond with the same level of urgency and competence they used to crush Covid-19 and make America the envy of the world in pandemic response. Yeah, I’m being facetious. He’ll say he did a great job, his core followers will believe him, and they’ll move on to his next rally. The governors will take care of it, right?

Secondly, this news just came out: CDC was pressured ‘from the top down’ to change coronavirus testing guidance, official says. The change was, they didn’t want asymptomatic people tested even if they had contact with an infected person. This just means more infected people will go undetected, thus spreading Covid-19 further. Pure unadulterated politics in other words, the only reason for this change would be to reduce the  number of positive tests. The decision by the Trump administration was made when Dr. Fauci was under anesthesia, as he no doubt would have fought it tooth and nail. Pretty much how the Trump administration handles everything, results don’t matter, just people’s perception of them. And at this point only the perception of likely Trump voters matters to Trump, since what little effort he has made to appeal to people outside his base has been somewhere between embarrassing and pathetic. It’s why the USA is the worst hit country by Covid-19, with no end in sight. Reality trumps politics.

And last the nightmare in Wisconsin. A 17 year old teenager armed with an AR-15 killed two people. This was after two nights of unrest that started when an unarmed black man was shot a number of times publicly under circumstances murky at best. Seven times, hard to understand why seven shots into a man’s back were justified? And why was a 17 year old running around with an AR-15 is probably what most of the world’s people will wonder about? Yes, really, this is America, Disneyland with guns. At this point Americans have divided into two groups, Trumpland against the rest of us. So Trump and company will see this unrest  as insurrection and as something to crush, because everything is under control as long as people behave themselves. He’s already sent in the troops.

People are really angry, and they have every reason to be. Violence isn’t the solution. Groups of angry people can get violent, and shouldn’t be encouraged to do so. I’ve seen a mob, not something I want to ever see again. I have friends who have seen a police riot, pass. Neither helps. The divided press is a disaster, Fox News viewers will see rioters, the MSM will be a little more nuanced, but what I’ve seen already painfully normalizes police violence. Not helping. It takes two fools to have a fight.

So I was really upset today, A clenching in the stomach. Horrible times getting worse, daily sometimes. I don’t think it’s my imagination, Covid-19 is still an ongoing catastrophe of historic proportions, and it’s just the background noise. Floods, fires, storms, plagues. The idea that something changed in 2012, be it in the nature of reality itself, the Hadron Collider theory, or something else, I dunno, makes me wonder. My brain is telling me aliens or an AI are going to reveal themselves soon, maybe both. That’s just crazy talk though, isn’t it? Of course there’s those who see Biblical signs in it all. I guess. Still, if Jesus shows up in the flesh, I’m on his side. (I’ll keep my suspicions he’s an alien AI on the Q.T.)

Stay safe everyone. I hope tomorrow’s blog is more hopeful. Comments, likes, shares appreciated.

So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth. Job 5:16

#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #UtMelioremPeiusAnteTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: US government graphic. Used legally, US government stuff is generally Public Domain as long as not used to endorse something. The US government does not endorse Doug’s Darkworld.)

Written by unitedcats

August 26, 2020 at 6:34 pm

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

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OK, cooler heads seem to have prevailed in the USA, no catastrophic new developments over the past few days. Large scale demonstrations against white supremacy and police brutality have continued, largely peacefully. Trump has tweeted up a storm and built a wall around the White House. So he got his wall, just not quite what he expected or promised. These are still very uncertain times. A few thoughts about various developments.

Someone pointed out that when Trump was waving a bible around for his photo op, he was holding it upside down and backwards. And they observed that if Obama had held a Bible in such a fashion, Fox News and crowd would have been screaming it was proof that Obama was the anti-christ. Yes far future readers, we really have reached that level of transcendent absurdity. The GOP and Fox News spent all of Obama’s two terms generating outrage about Obama over things that were trivial to non-existent. And of course never really criticizing him for his real failings: his service to the banking industry, normalization of endless war, etc. Political discourse has been farcical in the USA for decades, it’s just gotten more pronounced under Trump.

There has at least been some response to all these demonstrations. The cops who killed George Floyd have been arrested and charged. The Democrats have announced a police reform bill. France is banning chokeholds. I dunno though, serious change in how we police America has been overdue for decades. Our rate of police shootings is horrifying. And it’s not like we don’t know what to do, there are excellent and proven ways to reduce violence by police. That we haven’t done this shows the problem is political, despite what anyone says. And by political I mean that special interests wedded to ideology are preventing progress. Maybe we are at a watershed and true police reform will happen, I’m not holding my breath.

And no, Minneapolis disbanding their police department doesn’t mean the burbs will hire private security while the Crips and the Bloods fight it out for control of urban areas. I literally heard that from a person on the right. I could write a book about the bad logic and factual errors such thinking encompasses. Like I said, we’ll see what transpires. Disbanding police departments means turning over all the instances where cops were expected to be “social workers with guns” to other more appropriate agencies. Go with what works, imagine that?

So yes, all sorts of mass demonstrations against police violence. Wildly outnumbering the handful of people taking to the streets demanding an end to the Covid-19 social distancing a month or so back. Many of these people are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Add that to police using banned chemical weapons, which helps spread Covid-19, and we could see a huge spike in Covid-19 in a few weeks. Thrillsville. I don’t think saving the rich was worth killing grandma, but ending police brutality is? I have yet to resolve this issue.

So came across this quote:

“It has exposed how much of Western society … is permeated with influential people who have deluded themselves into thinking that their ability to manipulate words, images and sounds gives them the ability to control reality itself.”

It was from this article, Why the Coronavirus is Winning. IDK, it addresses my previous conundrum, how does one justify mass protests during a pandemic? Read it and weep I guess. And I stand by the quote above, it exposes the west’s fatal flaw. Reality bats last.

For my part I’ve concentrated on getting my garden ready as I wait for more shoes to drop. (Image above.)  It was very satisfying, my first serious vegetable garden in nearly 30 years. Boy, life just whizzes on by, mostly boring, sometimes too stressful for words. One adapts to the later I suppose. That’s my plan, seeing as my plan to die young and be a horrible warning has gone tragically awry. Have a safe and sane week everyone. Shares, comments welcome.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: My garden, Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

June 8, 2020 at 7:55 pm

LIGHTS OUT IN WASHINGTON, Part II, “Protesters dispersed with Tear Gas so Trump can Pose at a Church.”

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Well, that headline sure sums up Trump in a nutshell. While he was giving his “law and order speech” yesterday,  police used mace, rubber bullets, and horses to disperse peaceful, lawful constitutionally protected protestors so he could walk across the street and pose waving a bible in front of a church. A church that vociferously objected, never gave permission for their church to be so used, and supports the protestors. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, responsible for the church that Trump visited said: “The Bible teaches us to love God and our neighbor; that all people are beloved children of God; that we are to do justice and love kindness. The President used our sacred text as a symbol of division.” Apparently Trump doesn’t have to obey the law even while he is insisting he’s the “law and order” president. It’s nonsense like this that makes the aliens fly right by. I should also note that if the president of one of our designated enemies did this, the GOP would be howling in outrage at the perversion of democracy.

Sigh. Notes in the margins so to speak. Observations and thoughts on the nation’s travails, struggling with a pandemic and widespread civil unrest. In a nutshell, police brutality has been an ongoing problem in the US for decades. The police kill like a thousand people a year in the USA, under 100 in Germany, France, and the UK combined. It’s a horrible level of police violence for a self-styled developed country. As long as that continues, protests and calls for change are going to continue. If someone’s cause is just, that some violence is done in its service doesn’t magically delegitimize the cause. And it most certainly doesn’t legitimize calling on the troops and police to quell the disturbance, as if people angered by decades of unjustified police killings and violence were somehow the enemy of the state.

It’s not like there are no reasonable solutions. How about cops being trained to much higher standards, like the rest of the developed world does? How about reversing the militarization of the police, bipartisan efforts are already under way in that regard. They’re freaking police, not an occupying army for God’s sake. How about admitting there’s a problem and trying to address it? Apparently that’s too subtle or too complicated for the great thinker in the White House to come up with. “The riots must be being orchestrated by my enemies, so they must be crushed.” Never before had a president in my life who made everything about him. Narcissism illustrated.

I had a thought I don’t recall being pointed out anywhere. The original George Floyd incident. OK, I spent decades going to little liquor stores in sketchy neighborhoods. And yes, a few times a customer tried to pay with a stolen credit card or some shit. The store owners refused to honor it and booted the customer, end of story. In this case, the clerk took obviously fake money, gave George his purchase, and then called the cops? Wouldn’t it be easier to not honor the counterfeit money in the first place? It sounds like the store owner was trying to create a confrontation and a problem. And this is the shit black people have to deal with regularly, people call the cops on them at the drop of a hat. This time the wrong cop showed up, though with his history of violent complaints, one has to wonder why he was still a cop? This gets back to what I said above, why the hell can’t we hold cops to a higher standard? And why the hell don’t cops support such efforts, though granted there are those that do.

One of my biggest fears now is the chaos engendered by Trump will “break” the system, and we will get a military coup or some such. IE there have to be all sorts of Dick Cheney’s working in the shadows, people perfectly willing and capable of using Trump’s chaos to further their agenda. Trump would make the perfect martyr to install a Christian theocracy for example. Scary days. Paranoid nonsense? IDK anymore. We’ll see how it plays out, but I don’t see any lights in the tunnel yet. At least none that aren’t train wrecks rushing towards us. Boy, just a few months ago I thought the Iowa caucus screw up was the big story of the year, if not the decade, that I would have front line seats to.

Let’s see, May brought us murder hornets, a horrible police killing, and the worst civil unrest and police riots since the 1960s. Still waiting for June’s treat. Asteroids? Ebola outbreak? Tigers? Whatever it is, I’m sure it will generate some hysterical memes. If things keep humming along, I might post every day for a while. To say I am upset and my concentration has been affected would be an understatement. I watch the news, I rage, I write. Rinse and repeat.

Stay safe, stay sane everyone.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Antififa activists storm ashore June 6 1944 in the beginning of the end for One of the world’s most evil fascist tyrants. How we got from all Americans  knowing fascism was bad to a POTUS defending Nazi flag waving thugs and demonizing anti-fascists is a mystery to me. Credit: Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 2, 2020 at 1:58 pm

LIGHTS OUT IN WASHINGTON

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OK, for the past several nights there have been growing protests across America against the killing of George Floyd in particular, and injustice and violence towards blacks in general. Last night demonstrations outside the White House got violent, property damage, fires set. There was skirmishing with the police, the police might even have started it, I wasn’t there. Trump turned out the White House lights and hid in a bunker. I’m underwhelmed, a real leader would have emerged and addressed the crowd.

Be that as it may, today Trump gave a short speech about how he’s going to respond. It was pretty simple, I will recapitulate. He started off by saying how terrible the killing of George Floyd was, and he wants his family to get justice. (I wonder if the four accused cops ever watched Breaker Morant?) Then he went on to say how terrible the violence was, with Trump’s trademark cherry picked list of victims. And then he claimed it’s a law and order problem, blamed all the violence on his designated left wing enemies, and said he’d send in the troops if governors didn’t get the situation under control, using the National Guard if they had to. Basically framing it all as a law and order issue vs leftist thugs, and he was going to crack down and fix.

I’m sure Rush Limbaugh and hard core Trump supporters ate it all up. They live in a world where there is no right wing violence. No police riots. All violence is from the left. Even Hitler was a leftist. Covid-19 and now this is all a Democrat plot to bring down Trump. Sigh. I don’t know what to say to such people, but if any are still reading, hear me out. Let’s deconstruct Trump’s speech.

OK, yeah, justice for George Floyd. Great. However, and it’s a huge however, George Floyd’s killing was just one of an endless series of blacks being killed with no consequences by cops and civilians. Implying that this single injustice is  what the violence is all about is either ignorant or disingenuous. Then his cherry picked list of victims. All real no doubt. It just excludes victims that don’t support his “law and order” narrative. There’s absolutely credible reports of police riots and police attacking news reporters. And credible reports of right wing instigators trying to start a “race war.” Bad people come in a wide array of persuasions, welcome to Earth.

And then his claim it’s all a “law and order” issue, and that’s what America is all about. No mention that peaceful protest is constitutionally protected. In a nutshell, Trump refused to address the underlying issue, and claimed he’s going to use force to make it all better. Yeah, I don’t see this working, police violence is the problem, not the solution. He promised to magically make Covid-19 go away, and we are the worst hit country. I doubt his promise to fix this will work out any better, simplistic ideology driven solutions make problems worse, not better.

So I’m going to post this tonight, and maybe add to it in the morning. The worst civil unrest since the sixties, anything could happen tonight. I’m sick at heart over all this. I have friends going to protests as I type. I pray for their safety. I pray for peace. I pray for justice. I pray Trump’s response doesn’t make this worse, but I think threats and encouraging violence isn’t going to help. I don’t think this is a problem troops will solve.

We’ll see, G’night and take care all. Crazy times.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Used without permission. Claiming Fair Use, historically important image, widespread viral image.)

Written by unitedcats

June 1, 2020 at 7:01 pm