Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

WE ALREADY KNEW TRUMP WAS A DRAFT EVADER, TAX AVOIDER IS NO SURPRISE

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The assassination of Julius Caesar, painted by William Holmes Sullivan, c. 1888

The big news of the day is Trump’s taxes. IDK, not really my area of expertise. They’re saying he’s a wheeler dealer who avoided paying a lot of taxes. So he’s a typical corporate American businessman?  I don’t see anything at first pass that’s going to make a difference, so seems like just a distraction to me. A lot of my Democrat and progressive friends are excited about this, so maybe I’m wrong. We’ll see, maybe something more will come of it. Or something else will happen. . 

This here I think is far more important. All sorts of people who worked for or with Trump are coming out and claiming he’s incompetant at best. This is just the most recent: ‘I can be silent no longer’: former intel official denounces Trump. I only remember back to Nixon, but still, in my lifetime there’s never been anything like this, where a current president’s former staff, many lifelong Republicans, are saying “Yeah, I worked for this guy, he’s a terrible president, don’t reelect him.” And I don’t think historically there’s ever been anything like it before either. 

This is one of those things, like sharpiegate, that I simply can’t come up with a charitable interpretation. A few sour apples sure, but this is unprecedented. Like the stunning turnover rate in the Trump administration, it sure seems like a poor reflection on Trump’s management abilities. Maybe he has trouble hiring loyal people, but even then, that’s a deal-breaking flaw in a POTUS. Shouldn’t the POTUS be someone capable of putting together a competent loyal team? So yeah, not a good sign that Trump’s former team members are turning on him.

And on a second round of thoughts about Trump’s taxes, I guess they show he really is just a flim-flam man. He’s certainly not been investing in things that create good American jobs. I guess job creation is something for other rich people to do? He mostly invested in golf courses, yeah those employ all sorts of people. So I dunno, spun right, I guess this really might be made to make Trump look like the snobbish elitist he is. Spun right. Sigh.

That’s the problem of course. The non Fox News media will play this story in the best possible light to excite Democrat readers. They’re already voting against Trump, so that’s not helping. How could they spin this story to help? Beats me, I’m usually just trying to define the problem, difficult enough in these times. But, yes, segue here, I guess there are those calling for real-time fact checkers at the debate? Not a good idea if they want to make Trump look bad. Paradoxically enough trying to refute falsehood by confronting people with facts can make them double down on their beliefs. 

Someone suggested that Trump will come up with some excuse not to debate Biden. Didn’t occur to me, but maybe? Trump prefers adoring crowds, not pointed questions. Well, actually, they’ll likely be softball questions, but coming up with coherent responses to questions is not Trump’s strong point. Except in his own mind. I can’t imagine anything other than the tepid joint press conferences the “debates’ have been the past few decades, but it’s 2020 folks, all bets are off. 

Someone asked if this was an epoch changing time in history? Who knows, too soon to tell for sure. Decent chance though, Covid-19 and the fail of the American republic both are looking like game changers. Will history repeat itself? Will a mob of Senators attack Trump as he enters the debate, stabbing him to death on life TV? Led by Pence? Trump’s last words being “You too Pence?” 

I survived the weekend. Now a crazy week, especially with debates and all. Have a great week everyone. No word from aliens or time travellers yet, but I remain ever ready to spread whatever wisdom they might want to share. (“Don’t sweat the little things, and there are no big things.” as my mentor Wayne used to say.) Comments, likes, shares appreciated as always. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: see image caption, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 27, 2020 at 7:08 pm

NO, TRUMP IS NOT PLOTTING A COUP OR ATTEMPTING TO STEAL THE ELECTION. HE REALLY THINKS HE’S A GOD, SUCH IS NOT REQUIRED.

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Yes, there’s been a lot of concern about the upcoming election, and Trump isn’t helping by refusing to say he would go along with a peaceful transfer of power. Hell, Trump and company have done all sorts of things to cast doubt upon the electoral process. I can’t speak to the motives of those around him, but I think it’s safe to say Trump isn’t engaged in some sort of plot to steal the election. That’s because in Trump’s world, he’s going to win the election, just like he won the last election. In Trump’s world, he’s not lying, he believes what comes out of his mouth. He’s the greatest president ever, his adoring crowds prove that, so if on election night the media and such claim he lost, fake news. He’s like the kid everyone knew in grade school who would tell outrageous stories to get attention. And if impossibilities or contradictions were pointed out, they just add another layer of nonsense without skipping a beat.

So here’s my prediction. No matter what happens on election night, Trump is going to declare victory. Because in his world, that’s the only possibility, any other outcome has to be the result of fraud. Most functioning adults know the difference between truth and a lie. People’s propensity to lie varies, but there’s certainly plenty of people who lie wherever it’s in their interest to do so. There’s people that habitually lie even about stuff they have no reason to lie about, I’m sure most readers have been mystified by one of those passing through their life. And at the end of the scale are people who lie to themselves. I know it’s hard to get one’s head around, but psychologists have shown there are indeed people who lie to themselves.

So there’s no question what Trump’s going to do on election night, he’s going to declare victory. Because in his head, he will indeed have won the election. Gotta remember, this is one of the main reasons he is so fervently believed by his core, it’s because Trump believes in himself. It’s not an act, he really is the greatest president ever. That’s why I’ve compared him to Roman Emperor Commodus before, imaged above. And as in the bust, Commodus actually believed he was Hercules reborn. And plenty around him were happy to feed his delusions since they benefited from his rule. Granted in the end his wife and the pool boy strangled him in his bath … but I digress.

Knowing what Trump’s going to do on election night, the question is, what will everyone else do when he declares victory? Especially those he is sharing power with. I guess it depends on just what the election is looking like. If it’s an absolute Biden blowout, well, the people around him will likely read the writing on the wall and cooperate with a peaceful transfer of power. And despite Trump’s screaming tweets of outrage and fraud, he’ll be escorted out of the White House when the time comes. I just don’t think McConnel and such are foolish enough to think they can simply ignore the election results. While Trump’s supporters would be happy to see him made in Caesar, pretty sure the captains of industry and finance, not to mention the military, aren’t going to be on board with basically tossing the facade of democracy and constitutional government aside. Way too many people make way too much money working under the current scheme.

I’m not really expecting a Biden blowout, but the next 39 days could hold a lot of surprises. Anything could happen if 2020 to date is any indication. The debates are next Tuesday, that’s gonna be fun. How to Debate Someone Who Lies, Truth sandwiches, ridicule and other tactics for Joe Biden when he faces President Trump. I will report on them. It’s what I do. Aside from long weird rants like those above. Which are going to be more common as the election approaches.

More common because of the times. And I’m getting old and unlike the child in the White House, I don’t really care what people think of me. And well, I have a disease that starts with “C.” It’s not Covid-19 though! Woohoo! My plan to achieve immortality through not dying isn’t looking good, so I need to redouble my efforts to achieve immortality through my writing. And if I don’t make it to the election, I expect my loyal readers to each arm wrestle at least one Trump supporter into voting for Biden. Those three or four votes might make the difference.

Stay safe everyone, have a great weekend. As always, comments, shares, likes appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Bust of Commodus, excavated in Rome in 1874 in the Horti Lamiani. Credit: Found on Wikipedia, released into the public domain by the photographer.)

Written by unitedcats

September 25, 2020 at 6:58 pm

POLICE SEIZE 320,000 USED CONDOMS, 2020 JUST GETS WEIRDER

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This is going to be a really random post. It’s my blog and I will if I want to. I posted a picture of dead Russian soldiers in the Facebook group, one of which was a woman, and it certainly inspired discussion. Thought I hope too, certainly thought on my part. Got me thinking about shield maidens, women soldiers. I certainly think that if women want to join a war, all good. It’s actually fairly unusual historically for that not to be the case, but medieval European Christianity invented the idea that women were slaves just by virtue of being women, and many of them are still right at it. Reminds me of the thought “Feminism is about changing the rules, not letting women play the game.” War is NOT the natural state of mankind. I guess the idea that women that want to participate in it should be on equal status as men is a good thing, but that’s just attacking the symptom. Still, voting Biden is simply attacking the symptom (Trump) of the underlying problem, I guess sometimes that’s the best option, and hope that it leads to avenues to deeper change. Remind me to blog about Joan of Arc. 

I’m saying that women should fight in wars just like men, but that doesn’t magically make wars OK. Wars should be a last resort of national defense, and offensive wars are never justifiable. The above image was indeed a war of national defense. Those are some of the Night Witches and their bombers. They were an all woman bomber group during World War Two, Russians, who had a frightening reputation bombing German troops during the war. Invading German troops I should add. The Night Witches bombed at night using obsolete wooden biplanes, so they’d cut their engines in the final bomb approach so as not to give warning, and there would just be a whispering sound as they glided over the target as their bombs exploded below. Night witches on their broomsticks.

So yeah, police in Vietnam seized 320,000 used condoms that had been washed, reshaped,  and were being sold as new condoms. Vietnam police seize more than 320,000 used condoms. OK then. My first thought, how in the hell did someone gather up hundreds of thousands of used condoms? Are there like public condom recycling bins to steal them from? Industrial scale sex worker establishments? The article doesn’t say, I leave it to the intrigued reader to dig further if they want. My second thought was: Well, this makes every job I’ve ever had look good in comparison. “Used condom cleaner” just isn’t an attractive career path. 

In Covid-19 news, the party that promised in 2016 they wouldn’t try to seat a SCOTUS justice just before an election has promised there will be an orderly transfer of power no matter the election result. US election: McConnell promises an ‘orderly’ transition of power. We’ll see. I’m not reassured. “Extremists are only useful to have around when they are right.” 

This one speaks for itself: Here’s how utterly dumb the mask-wearing debate has become. It was and is an example of historic stupidity. There were never any reasons to object to wearing a mask, no more that there were reasons to be upset that businesses required customers to wear shirts and shoes. And while there was some initial scientific questioning about how well masks worked, that was long ago resolved. Public masking is the number one defense against spreading Covid-19, and anyone who doesn’t get that yet is living in a fantasy world. A Trump fantasy world that has killed tens of thousands of Americans with no end in sight.

Well, there is an end in sight. Only about 10% of Americans have been infected with Covid-19. So within a year or two we’ll start to hit numbers high enough that transmission will slow down: Coronavirus: 90% of Americans have not been exposed to Covid-19, CDC director warns. It will mean a few million dead Americans, millions more with long term or permanent health problems, but at least millions weren’t subjected to the trivial inconvenience of wearing a mask in public.

Stay safe gentle reader. Comments, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: public Domain image from World War Two.)

Written by unitedcats

September 24, 2020 at 7:26 pm

200,000 DEAD, 7 MILLION CASES, BUT FORTUNATELY COVID-19 “AFFECTS VIRTUALLY NOBODY.”

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That’s where we are today, 200,000 Americans are dead of Covid-19. Hundreds of thousands more have long term or even permanent health deficits. It’s all OK though: Trump said coronavirus “affects virtually nobody,” as U.S. surpasses 200,000 deaths. He said this while holding one of his Covid-19 superspreader rallies. What does one call a POTUS who is not only doing essentially nothing to fight Covid-19, he’s holding big rallies where Covid-19 transmission is assured? Mass murderer comes to mind. Trump is not Putin’s bitch, he’s Covid-19’s bitch. 

I was thinking of running a really outré blog today, but decided against it. Still, gonna include the thought. I was mulling last night about how this could all work out, and had this vision of some huge conflict at the White House, Trump and hundreds of his followers besieged inside when the whole thing blows up and burns. The Branch Davidians, the Alamo, and 9-11 rolled into one. It would be epic, Trump instantly a martyr, numerous states promptly secede and form Trump’s Kingdom or whatever. Weeks of non-stop TV coverage as it all plays out, nothing in any of our American lives will have been like it before. Only six weeks away folks, people should be making trailers. 

With these both disturbing and satisfying thoughts running through my head, I ran across this article: “A wargame designer defines our four possible civil wars.” Being a wargame designer myself, I was intrigued. And I was pleased. His analysis of the election comes up with four big possible scenarios: One similar to the US election of 1860 and the outbreak of the Civil War. Something akin to the Russian revolution. The Irish War of Independence. And last but not least, the Rwandan Civil War. 

Not a happy range of possibilities. One of the four above is a Biden blowout, one a Trump blowout. The Biden blowout he considers to be the US Civil War one. The main similarity being that yes, Lincoln did indeed clearly win the election, so the Federal government sided with him in the ensuing mess. And Lincoln still ended up with the worst mass death event in US history. And Biden’s no Lincoln. Not reassuring.

Oddly enough, the scariest one was a Trump blowout, that was the one the author compared to the Rwandan Civil War. Yes, the war that included the Rwanda Genocide, up to a million murdered in a few months. Seems extreme, but Trump is one vindictive fellow and many, including him, might see an election blowout as a mandate to remake America as the Christian Nation they envision. Abortion criminalized, half a million marriages dissolved, civil rights losses for huge numbers of minorities … and anyone that gets in the way gets hurt. Trump has done everything he can to portray Democrats and liberals as un-American enemies of the state. Is it beyond the realm to imagine that given the power to “lock them up!” at will, Trump might? 

Anyhow, read the article and see what the gentle reader thinks: A wargame designer defines our four possible civil wars. And the elephant in the room of course is Covid-19. No matter what happens election wise, the economic and social costs of Covid-19 will continue to mount in the US until something is done, coupled with global issues around same. Not to mention that since global warming and its climate downsides are actually real, just the background the US election 2020 is playing out on is quicksand. Or a minefield with quicksand. 

Once again, a bunch of links but no time to write about them. The news is cycling quickly these days, what would a year ago be big news for a week is now old hat in a day. Tomorrow is a busy personal day for me, so maybe I will just go back and post all the links that still are relevant. Despite the ongoing crisis, the world does go on. Stay safe everyone.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: Public domain Snappygoat image is the base. Haiku: Copyright © 2020 Yula Flournoy. All rights reserved. The meme above, unaltered, may be freely shared for legal non-commercial use.)

Written by unitedcats

September 22, 2020 at 7:12 pm

200,000 AMERICANS DEAD OF COVID-19, TRUMP TWEETS ABOUT FARTS? WHATEVS, 2020 CONTINUES.

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Stuff keeps happening. Near 200,000 dead of Covid-19 in America now. A million deaths or more world-wide. Trump retweeted some sophomoric fart joke. The man’s sense of humor, well, appeals to his base. He also joked about signing an executive order prohibiting Biden from being president. Trump’s not much of a humorist, despite what his toadies and fans may think. If he was doing a great job, who cares? Since, um, still no national plan to address the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m going with a not so great job. Whatevs, lame tweets are just lame tweets, Trump’s other ‘accomplishments’ are far more worrisome.

Like the national debt: Under Trump’s Watch, America’s National Debt Has Increased by $6.6 Trillion. I seem to recall the GOP gets excited about deficit spending when they aren’t at the helm? Reagan is the guy to blame for this. “Borrow and spend,” the right’s answer to “tax and spend.” I’m not an economist, I don’t know, but I find extreme deficit spending by a non wartime president to be questionable. 

Definitely questionable is Trump’s decision to keep ramping up pressure on Iran. And doing it in defiance of the UN and our allies. Yeah, they aren’t buying it. In the fantasy realm the neocons have created, Iran is the font of all evil in the Middle East, and nothing less than endless war makes sense. So Trump’s just doing what his base, and the current government of Israel, want. It’s crazy, but we’re getting to see what would happen if a drunken uncle blowhard like Rush Limbaugh got to actually run the show. Fun times.

Bear with me here. Train of thought thinking. So multiple reports are coming out that the US military electronically camouflaged spy planes as commercial aircraft in order to spy on China. Hopefully the gentle reader can see the big problem with this practice. There are several problems with it. The biggest is that by deliberately disguising a combatant as a civilian,  it makes all civilians potential military targets. It’s basically hiding the military among civilians, like disguising a military base as a school or hospital. Or another way of looking at it, how about if Russia or China or Iran did that to the US? The outrage on both sides of the political aisle would be seismic. Us doing it to them, we’re the good guys; but they’re the Godless commies, it reduces the risk to our spy planes. 

So somehow it became part of the American national character that since we’re the good guys, we don’t have to follow the rules if the end is just. Numerous US war crimes during World War Two for example. Firebombings, nuclear bombings, whole cities full of civilians murdered. And many if not most Americans not only overlook that, they even celebrate it. It goes back deeper too. In some ways the founding of the United States was a good moment for humanity. Self determination, constitutional democracy, inherent human rights … these were and are good positive ideas. How could they go wrong?

They went wrong because at the very outset, America didn’t live up to its ideals. Chatel slavery, human beings as mere property, was written into the constitution. Indians didn’t become citizens until 1924. Acknowledging flaws doesn’t make America weak, it makes it greater. Because once acknowledged, a flaw can be fixed and we can move on to even better things. It’s not weakness to admit mistakes were made, it’s definitely cowardice and weakness  to deny such. So yes, Trump and his supporters are ultimately cowards. I hope they come around.

So during World War Two a Japanese pilot flying off of a Japanese submarine bombed Oregon. Yes, submarine aircraft carriers were a thing in WW2:

He dropped a few incendiary bombs, trying to ignite a forest fire. The US was well protected against that though, since it was still operating under the misapprehension that putting out all wilderness fires was a good idea. Hell, if the Japanese attempts to light forest fires in the western United States during the war had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and burned a hundred and four million acres … today’s fires on the west coast wouldn’t be so bad. And few would even guess. I digress.

So yes, the pilot’s name was Nobuo Fujita. He was invited to Brookings Oregon in 1962, the town he had dropped his bombs near. After being assured he wouldn’t be tried as a war criminal, he went. He had trepidations though, he was ashamed of what he had done, and if he was received badly he planned to kill himself with his family’s 400 year old katana sword. As it was he was treated warmly, though there was some controversy. And he gave the sword to the town in atonement and all went well. 

Teaching school children the truth about America’s past isn’t child abuse. And there’s lots of room to teach nuance and context. It’s not anti-white, it’s not anti-American, it’s not unpatriotic. It’s the truth. Truth is the first casualty of war though, and Washington declared war on reality a long time ago. 

And now, America is reaping what it sowed. Stay safe everyone. Shares, likes, donations, comments, suggestions (anatomically possible,) welcome. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Images: Top image is a Snappygoat public domain photo with an anonymous quote I found on Facebook. Shares appreciated. Bottom image is the British HMS M2, it’s a Public Domain image pretty much everywhere.)

Written by unitedcats

September 20, 2020 at 7:03 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

ELECTION NIGHT NIGHTMARE?

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A friend sent me a video. Interesting video. It makes the case that we’ll see something truly horrifying on election night. It points out that Biden mail in votes are going to be likely double Trump’s mail in votes. According to their calculations, we might see Trump getting an overwhelming electoral college victory on election night from in person votes. And about ten days later as the mail in ballots are counted, Joe Biden becomes the winner.

I have no way of judging the accuracy of their calculations, so I have no idea how likely such a result is. It certainly seems plausible though, I can see no reason why it’s impossible. And then, we’d have a problem. The gentle reader gets one guess what the result of that would be. Yes, Trump would declare victory on election night and do everything in his power to cast doubt on the subsequent mail in ballots. It could get really ugly. Here’s the link to the video: The Terrifying Election Scenario That Could Rip America Apart.

And to make it even more fun, despite all his overblown fears of fraudulent votes, Trump asked his supporters in north Carolina to vote twice for him to “test the system.” That’s right, Trump urged his supporters to commit voter fraud to somehow prevent voter fraud? I’d say I’m not sure what he’s thinking, except I don’t think much thought goes into what Trump says. At least it gives ammo to the Democrats to demand scrupulously fair mail in vote counts. Still though, it’s throwing more gasoline on the dumpster fire the 2020 elections are shaping up to be.

2020 really highlights the transcendent archaic absurdity of America’s electoral system. In their efforts to set up a system that would prevent some populist from getting elected over the desires of the rich and powerful, the founding fathers set up a system that ultimately was incredibly undemocratic and easily manipulated by politicians. I mean gerrymandering was invented in 1812 for God’s sake, and the Constitution should immediately have been amended to prevent it. Nope, it’s still with us today, allowing political parties to get representation far beyond what their support warrants. And it’s gotten worse in recent decades as the GOP realized demographically they were more outvoted every year. If Trump wins in November despite losing the popular vote, that will mean three out of the last six presidential elections will have gone to the loser in the popular vote. All Republicans I might add. Yeah, some democracy.

A couple more notes in the margins. I’m a bit under the weather today. And the 2020 new normal baseline is frazzled, depressed, angry. Hoping it’s just allergies/air quality. I’d be really annoyed if I caught the Rona. So more Trump shenanigans:  Trump orders review to defund NYC, other ‘anarchist’ cities. OK then. As I said in yesterday’s blog, the amount of civil unrest in the US right now is pretty modest. There’s no “cities under siege.” Anarchists are not flooding the streets, there’s not widespread rioting and looting. So this is just another of Trump’s attempts to claim liberals are the problem and he is the solution.  It will play well with his base, and that’s all that matters to Trump.

In other Trump news (it is 2020) Trump claims that Americans who died in war are “losers and suckers.” My guess is that this isn’t going to help his popularity with veterans: Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’. It’s a depressing article. According to it Trump simply can’t understand why anyone would do anything that wasn’t out of self interest. His whole term in office certainly reflects that. I mean, that’s what con artists do, anything goes as long as they benefit. Trump University showed beyond any doubt he doesn’t care who he hurts as long as he benefits.

So I guess this to some extent explains the popularity of Q-Anon conspiracy theories among Trump supporters. Unable to admit that their beloved leader doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself and his family and cronies, why, Trump must be secretly engaged in a fight against terrible enemies of all that is right and good! Confirmation bias on steroids. The Q-anon movement is still growing, and sucking in other conspiracy minded folks: How Covid-19 myths are merging with the QAnon conspiracy theory.

What a time to be alive. Yeah, the election isn’t going to end well. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: A Roman dodecahedron. Hundreds have been found. What is it for? No one knows. Just a reminder that no matter how much we think we understand, there are still things we don’t know. Even about ourselves. Seemed appropriate in these times, people are going to look back on 2020 America and wonder. Why didn’t they defend their country against Covid-19? It will be a mystery. I’m still mystified. Credit: Lokilech Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.)

Written by unitedcats

September 3, 2020 at 7:44 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

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

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

PPPS: Shares, likes, comments appreciated.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

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

Written by unitedcats

September 2, 2020 at 7:44 pm

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

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I had an unpleasant thought last night. It dawned on me that Trump’s failure to respond effectively to Covid-19 has a ramification I hadn’t considered. Where to start? At the beginning I suppose. OK, the Covid-19 crisis came along, and some governments reached the conclusion sooner than others, but by March 2020 most of the world’s governments concluded that Covid-19 was serious as a heart attack and required a comprehensive, rational, and science based response. That this was the worst global emergency since World War Two and absolutely required standing up and fighting. Different countries took different strategies of course, some more successful than others. And the fight is ongoing, Covid-19 is at best being held at bay globally, victory is not in sight yet. There might not even be a victory per se as much as there is a new normal shaped by Covid-19.

The gentle reader may see where this is going. There is one national leader who did not grasp that Covid-19 was a whole new ball game that required a comprehensive, rational, and scientific response on a national level. And that would be one Donald Trump. Who from the beginning has responded as if Covid-19 were just another political crisis. Gestures, promises, flim flam. Whatevs, Trumptopia can believe what they want, in the real world Trump’s response to Covid-19 was and is shockingly incompetant. Anyone with lurking suspicions that the Donald was smarter than he looks had the final proof, Trump is actually incapable of leadership in a crisis.

And my thought is … America’s enemies sure as shit noticed this as well. Most of the world’s governments are rational actors, and that includes many of our designated enemies. They now know that Trump is incapable of setting aside his ego and politics to deal with real world issues. They might have suspected it before, but now they know. (Trump supporters, you’ve been rickrolled, because Trump says he beat Covid-19 doesn’t actually mean he did. Sorry, reality trumps fantasy.) This frightened me when I realized it and started to think about it.

This changes everything. Foreign interference in the 2016 election made little sense and was sans evidence. Now our enemies have huge incentive to get Trump reelected, or at the very least put in a similar position to Covid-19 before he leaves office. Who wouldn’t want a nation that treated yours as an enemy to be commanded by someone incapable of a rational scientific response to a crisis? I’d sure ask my intelligence agencies how such crises might be manufactured, nu?

Our friends are also making the same calculation. At one point Hitler asked the Japanese to round up their miniscule Jewish population because the Jews were plotting world domination and needed to be eliminated. The Japanese government asked their intelligence agencies to assess this threat. They reported it was all nonsense. (And thus Japan was a safe haven for Jews in World War Two.) Japan was a rational actor in this context, the Nazis weren’t. Intelligence agencies around the world are now reporting that Trump is indeed not a rational actor.

So an attack on America in some realm is a heightened possibility now, nu? America is like Rome at its peak, but clearly a madman is Caesar. Trump thinks he beat Covid-19. He didn’t. I’m hoping these are just paranoid ramblings, but if so they are the paranoid ramblings of someone who spent their life trying to understand current events in a logical and historical and scientific context.

Tomorrow, more on the child shooter and what it portends. Unless something else bigger happens first, def a possibility these crazy times. Stay safe and sane everyone, have a great weekend. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #UtMelioremPeiusAnteTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

August 28, 2020 at 8:18 pm

TRUMP URGES BOYCOTT OF AN AMERICAN MANUFACTURING COMPANY … BECAUSE THEY HAVE AN EMPLOYEE DRESS CODE

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You just can’t make this shit up: Trump demands boycott of Goodyear Tire — which employs thousands of US workers. Why? Because they asked their workers not to wear or display political slogans, endorsements, etc. A perfectly reasonable (and completely legal and constitutional) rule to keep political disputes out of the workplace. Especially reasonable during the most toxic election campaign in living memory. And Trump has worked very hard to make the election as toxic as possible, regaling the American people with the most horrific fear mongering about the Democrats. No, the Democrats don’t want to open the borders, take away people’s guns, ban Christianity, or turn America into a Stalinesque gulag. They just want a well run country, with justice and equal opportunity for all.

It’s all just effing weird. I’m really starting to see how magical thinking has permeated America from the beginning, even more so in recent decades. It started off when the founding fathers created this wonderful new country based on freedom and democracy! Well, with a few exceptions: Slaves. Indians. Women. Non-property owners. It was a great moment in history, our new lords and masters declared us free! Don’t get me wrong, the concept of individual human rights and constitutional democracy is a good one, it just needs to be more widely implemented.

So magical thinking. Another example of thoughts I have had recently. Trump’s claim that he has saved millions of lives with his response to Covid-19 is magical thinking. “If we hadn’t done it my way, the result would have been worse!” is a defense one could use to defend any course of action. There certainly are circumstances where it would be a valid claim, but when your actions consisted of mostly bragging, doing nothing, and blame shifting; and your country was hit far worse by Covid-19 than any other country, it’s a magical defense. It requires multiple layers of special pleading to be a valid argument, which makes it a weak argument indeed.

Trump’s claim to have saved millions from Covid-19 is the American way of thinking. Truman used the exact same argument to justify killing 200,000 civilians with nuclear weapons. We saved a million lives by killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people! Wait, what? There are plenty of historians, not to mention contemporaries of the event, who thought otherwise. I don’t ask people who think the nuclear bombs on Japan attacks are justified to change their minds. I just ask them to think about the idea that their claim is no different than Trump’s claim to have saved millions of American lives through his actions.

I don’t expect many believers of either claim will change their thinking anytime soon. Once humans get a hold of an idea, it sinks in. Why yes, this is going somewhere. This isn’t just my obsessive need to write every day as my world ends. (OK, it is.) The idea that Covid-19 was “just a flu with a higher than usual mortality rate, mostly among the elderly and sick” really got established quickly and deeply. Even in much of the medical community. I hadn’t really realized the medical community was slow to pick up on it. The human brain is a pattern recognition sense. We slot new things into existing categories. So no surprise I guess.

Yeah. Reality is not required to conform to our idea of how reality should be. There will be tests. Covid-19 is one of them. So yes, this: Long-Haulers Are Redefining COVID-19. Basically an article pointing out that a lot of people are having long term lingering effects from Covid-19, unlike colds or flus that one completely gets over in a week or two at most. Science is starting to pick up on it, a number of studies have yielded alarming results. Personal experience, I know half a dozen people plus who got Covid-19. One died, several were hospitalized, most still haven’t fully recovered.

Don’t get Covid-19. You or someone you love will regret it. Don’t spread Covid-19, you or someone you love will regret it. This is not a drill. This is not a hoax. This is not a nefarious Hollywood movie style plot. No, Covid-19 is like the thing in the Southern Reach Trilogy. (Don’t read it, you’ll never sleep properly again and Oumuamua will haunt your dreams.) Hopefully not as bad, but half a million dead Americans by year’s end is not outside the realm of possibility.

Jesus wept. I write to stay sane, not sure if it’s working. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #MundiSolisOccasum

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image from Facebook. Attribution unknown, used without permission. Claiming Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 19, 2020 at 7:41 pm