Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

TRUMP SURRENDERS TO THE CHINA VIRUS

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Victory in America day for Covid-19! The Trump administration has surrendered. Trump had one job  … protect America. And he’s failed, hundreds of thousands dead with no end in sight. Well, walking away from messes he has made is Trump’s life story. He couldn’t even make the announcement himself, some leader.

That was my first impression when I heard that Trump had given up on trying to stop the spread of Covid-19. Trump’s chief of staff admits US cannot control pandemic. I was shocked when I heard the news, and am more horrified on multiple levels the more I think about it. The first level is easy. Lots of people will die. Hundreds of thousands of them, even if Biden gets elected and does his job. This is unprecedented, like Roosevelt surrendering to Japan and Germany in 1944, but Trump still wants people’s votes!

And Trump thinks Covid-19 is all media hype? He’s upset that the mainstream media keeps covering the worst crisis to hit America since 1941? He in fact claimed the press’s coverage of Covid-19 was an “election law violation.”  Trump accuses media of ‘election law violation’ for reporting on COVID-19 pandemic. No Mr Trump, covering a pandemic that’s killing a thousand people a day is the media’s job. Defending the country against the pandemic is your job, because you don’t want to do it isn’t the media’s fault.

This is Trump’s equivalent to his bankruptcies, so on some level this isn’t a surprise. I myself predicted Trump might resign based on his history of bankruptcies. I realize now bankruptcy and resignation are two different things. A bankruptcy, one gets to keep one’s reputation, power, standing. A resignation, not so much. This surrender however is very much like bankruptcy. He’s just dumping the problem on states and local government, and walking away. Fully intending to remain POTUS and strut his stuff among the world’s elite.

Surprised this isn’t getting more press actually. It’s a sign of just how detached from reality all of modern America is. Yes, I call it the “China Virus” in the headline. That’s because this is how Trump portrayed Covid-19, as essentially an attack on the world and especially America by China. If it’s a Chinese attack on America Mr Trump, why aren’t you defending us against it?

Yes, the image, Lee surrendering to Grant. Very mixed feelings about the comparison, but thought it covered a lot. Lee at least put up a furious fight for years before accepting the inevitable. Trump hardly put up a fight at all, and surrendered in just over six months. Lee was an avowed traitor, who was a major leader in the greatest crime in American history. I wouldn’t call Trump a traitor per se, but not sure what other word applies to a leader who just opens the gates to an enemy? In any case, we are in a pivotal moment in American history.

2020 is proof positive that huge numbers of humans live in ideological/religious alternate realities. Had to happen sooner or later if history is any guide. Eight days till the election, what a wild ride this has been. The future has always been an unknown land, but usually in the west for generations, a general Pax Roma was a safe bet. Not now. “The map is not the territory” is a more important concept than ever.

Stay safe everyone, Covid-19 is a disease the gentle reader doesn’t want to get. Covid-19 changes everything. #WinterSucks #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Lee surrenders. Credit: In the image. Used without permission, unsure of the image’s copyright status. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 26, 2020 at 8:41 pm

BURIED TREASURE FOUND, AND THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN SHOW CONTINUES

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In local news, this is what I found while treasure hunting (metal detecting) yesterday. A US penny, 1853. About the size of a modern quarter, pure copper. 1853, whole different world. My state, Iowa, had only been formed seven years earlier, the county I live in only two years earlier. No planes or cars then of course, if one went anywhere, one walked or rode a horse. Though train and steamboat travel was getting popular. Photographs had been around for about a decade, so was the telegraph, the first long distance electronic communication system. The country had become a much smaller place, news could travel across the nation instantly, when previously it would take weeks. And plans were afloat to lay the first transAtlantic telegraph cable. The stirrings of the modern world were starting.

And America was in the death spiral leading to the Civil War seven years later. Since before 1820 there were slave states and free states, and by 1853 it was really starting to heat up. Especially in Kansas as free state and slave state vigilantes wreaked violence, around 200 people would die in “Bleeding Kansas,” as this prelude to the Civil War would be called. Here, Clear Lake Iowa was literally just being founded, the first settlers arriving two years before. So if my coin was dropped in 1853, it was dropped by one of the very first settlers. Though it’s also possible it was lost by a Winnebego Indian, Clear Lake was a popular summer home for them.

And here’s a positive local story about same. One of the very earliest settlers was some fellow who claimed he was a notorious Indian fighter. Well, one night some local Winnebagos had a little too much to drink, and a party of them set out to pay him a visit and see this guy for themselves. Well, word got to him before they arrived … and he fled with the clothes on his back, never to return. Be careful what one brags about I would say.

So it was a good way to end the treasure hunting season. Will inspire me to do more next year. Alas the US has no treasure trove laws, so I have to be careful to only search private property with an agreement with the landowner. Europe would be so much better, far more treasure to be found, and treasure trove laws mean if you find real treasure, the government will pay you a fair market price for it. Everyone wins, treasure hunters get the reward for their finds, priceless historical artifacts become public property for science and show. Here in the US, no treasure trove laws, so looting is the order of the day. Another aspect of “modern” America that doesn’t reflect us in a good light.

Like, say, the current election. Both sides are frantically slinging mud and hoping it sticks to the wall. Far more so than in any previous election I recall, I mean really, life was boring before 2020. I can’t keep up with them all. There was something about Hunter Biden’s emails, that Trump claimed was the political crime of the century. Is there a word for when one’s hyperbole has been hyperbolized? Then Trump claimed the media was deliberately ignoring the Hunter Biden story to make him look bad. No Mr Trump and Trump followers, they ignored it because the Hunter Biden story stank. And at this point appears to be a whole lot of nothing.

By the same token the FBI came out with some stuff about Russia, Iran, and the election, which has also been immediately blown out of anything resembling proportion. FBI director Ratcliffe said Russia and Iran had obtained US voter information, no hacking involved. And why would there be, it’s publicly available information for the most part? And apparently some Iranian servers have used this information to stir up trouble, but  Ratcliffe was again specific, the Russians haven’t done so. In other words, Russia obtained some public information about US voters … and this is being breathlessly touted as “Proof of Russian election interference!” and “Why is Trump not doing anything about it!” Give me a break.

And frankly the idea that some foreign power is causing dissent in the US now is like saying a guy running around in a hurricane with a squirtgun is a public menace. We’re doing just fine on our own with an out of control pandemic and an out of control POTUS. This was a good one: Trump’s campaign is laser-focused on appealing to Donald Trump. After 2016 no one wants to predict the election result, but Jesus, is Trump’s campaign run by squirrels wearing a human suit? There’s this, Tiffany Trump tried to hold an LGBTQ pride campaign event, it didn’t go well: Tiffany Trump burned over disastrous LGBTQ pride campaign event: ‘Beyond pathetic’. Or this mind numbing image:

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here to point out that this says far more about whoever created, vetted, and approved this image than anything about Biden. And yes, it’s real. And once again with feeling, screw the people that mainstreamed name-calling as acceptable political discourse. It’s like living in a country run by preschoolers.

Tomorrow, the last Biden/Trump debate! My only prediction … it won’t turn out the way anyone predicted. Might well be a shitshow like the last debate, but doesn’t take a crystal ball to “predict” that. Maybe something really fun will happen, Biden’s human mask falls off and reveals a reptoid. Trump pulls out handcuffs and tries to citizen’s arrest Biden. It’s 2020 right? As my ancient nemesis Missy would say “Not bored yet.” #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Coin photo: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Billboard image: Pittsburgh City Paper. Used without permission, but claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I’m promoting and linking to their article.)

Written by unitedcats

October 21, 2020 at 7:22 pm

31 YEARS AGO TODAY, THE LOMA PRIETA EARTHQUAKE. HOPED IT WOULD BE THE LAST DISASTER OF MY LIFE. THEN CAME 2020 …

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The 1989 loma Prieta earthquake. 31 one years ago today. I was in my vegetable garden in the Berkeley hills. The ground started to really shake, not scary, but I was like “wow, this in the biggest quake I ever felt.” Little quakes are common in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sometimes one went for years without feeling one, sometimes there would be several in a year. Just part of life in California. The excitement lasted about 5 seconds … then it started rolling. Like being on a boat in the ocean. I had a hard time standing up, the fence post I was trying to grab kept swerving out of my way. I could see my big old 3 story house swaying. I could hear glass breaking. But worse of all, I was a geology major. I knew that if one feels shaking in a quake followed by rolling, it means one is some distance from a big earthquake … and that people were almost certainly dying as I stood there.

It was not a good feeling. I was lucky I guess. A couple I had met died in the Cypress Freeway collapse. From my window I could see the broken Bay Bridge (image above) and worse, holes they cut in the Cypress Freeway to get to the crushed cars. Some were crushed to 3 inches thick. Not survivable. I had survivor’s guilt for about a year. Got over it though. Before the earthquake I had always wondered what it would be like to survive a natural disaster. Loma Prieta cured that, I would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life without experiencing another similar event.

And then came 2020 and Covid-19. “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” Loma Prieta was over in 20 seconds, after that was just the aftermath. Covid-19 and Trump’s inexplicable failure to cope with it, gonna last until late January 2021 at least. Fun times. So a few recent links and my increasingly caustic honest responses to same:

As the Coronavirus Surges, a New Culprit Emerges: Pandemic Fatigue. Please, this isn’t fatigue, it’s “I’m too stupid to understand that Covid-19 changed everything and I need to change my ways.”

Influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk Dead Of Coronavirus After Telling Followers It Wasn’t Real. Let’s think, it’s 1941, the German blitz (bombing raids) on London had been going on for over six months. The Headline: “Man Who Thought the Blitz was a Hoax Dies in Blitz Bombing Raid.” In other words, Dmitry was an idiot.

A friend sent me this: There’s a Word for Why We Wear Masks, and Liberals Should Say It. The word is freedom. I wear a mask because I’m a freedom loving patriot. That means “my freedom to do what I want with my fists … ends at your jaw.” Anyone who thinks their freedom means they can punch their fellow citizens whenever they want has a sick idea of freedom at best.

Moving right along … planning my “Travels With Charlie” road trip. I’ve got three weeks of good health left, I love road trips, might be my last chance. Granted the surgeries could all turn out fine and I’ll be blogging for decades hence, but see previous God plans joke. At the very least, looks like I will live to the election, so my straight blue ballot will count.

Hope all are having a good weekend. As always: likes, comments, questions, anatomically possible suggestions welcome. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The section of the Bay Bridge that failed in the 1989 quake, sadly one fellow died when he drove into it. USGS image, public domain under US copyright law.)

The 1989 loma Prieta earthquake. 31 one years ago today. I was in my vegetable garden in the Berkeley hills. The ground started to really shake, not scary, but I was like “wow, this in the biggest quake I ever felt.” Little quakes are common in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sometimes one went for years without feeling one, sometimes there would be several in a year. Just part of life in California. The excitement lasted about 5 seconds … then it started rolling. Like being on a boat in the ocean. I had a hard time standing up, the fence post I was trying to grab kept swerving out of my way. I could see my big old 3 story house swaying. I could hear glass breaking. But worse of all, I was a geology major. I knew that if one feels shaking in a quake followed by rolling, it means one is some distance from a big earthquake … and that people were almost certainly dying as I stood there.

It was not a good feeling. I was lucky I guess. A couple I had met died in the Cypress Freeway collapse. From my window I could see the broken Bay Bridge (image above) and worse, holes they cut in the Cypress Freeway to get to the crushed cars. Some were crushed to 3 inches thick. Not survivable. I had survivor’s guilt for about a year. Got over it though. Before the earthquake I had always wondered what it would be like to survive a natural disaster. Loma Prieta cured that, I would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life without experiencing another similar event.

And then came 2020 and Covid-19. “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” Loma Prieta was over in 20 seconds, after that was just the aftermath. Covid-19 and Trump’s inexplicable failure to cope with it, gonna last until late January 2021 at least. Fun times. So a few recent links and my increasingly caustic honest responses to same:

As the Coronavirus Surges, a New Culprit Emerges: Pandemic Fatigue. Please, this isn’t fatigue, it’s “I’m too stupid to understand that Covid-19 changed everything and I need to change my ways.”

Influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk Dead Of Coronavirus After Telling Followers It Wasn’t Real. Let’s think, it’s 1941, the German blitz (bombing raids) on London had been going on for over six months. The Headline: “Man Who Thought the Blitz was a Hoax Dies in Blitz Bombing Raid.” In other words, Dmitry was an idiot.

A friend sent me this: There’s a Word for Why We Wear Masks, and Liberals Should Say It. The word is freedom. I wear a mask because I’m a freedom loving patriot. That means “my freedom to do what I want with my fists … ends at your jaw.” Anyone who thinks their freedom means they can punch their fellow citizens whenever they want has a sick idea of freedom at best.

Moving right along … planning my “Travels With Charlie” road trip. I’ve got three weeks of good health left, I love road trips, might be my last chance. Granted the surgeries could all turn out fine and I’ll be blogging for decades hence, but see previous God plans joke. At the very least, looks like I will live to the election, so my straight blue ballot will count.

Hope all are having a good weekend. As always: likes, comments, questions, anatomically possible suggestions welcome. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The section of the Bay Bridge that failed in the 1989 quake, sadly one fellow died when he drove into it. USGS image, public domain under US copyright law.)

The 1989 loma Prieta earthquake. 31 one years ago today. I was in my vegetable garden in the Berkeley hills. The ground started to really shake, not scary, but I was like “wow, this in the biggest quake I ever felt.” Little quakes are common in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sometimes one went for years without feeling one, sometimes there would be several in a year. Just part of life in California. The excitement lasted about 5 seconds … then it started rolling. Like being on a boat in the ocean. I had a hard time standing up, the fence post I was trying to grab kept swerving out of my way. I could see my big old 3 story house swaying. I could hear glass breaking. But worse of all, I was a geology major. I knew that if one feels shaking in a quake followed by rolling, it means one is some distance from a big earthquake … and that people were almost certainly dying as I stood there.

It was not a good feeling. I was lucky I guess. A couple I had met died in the Cypress Freeway collapse. From my window I could see the broken Bay Bridge (image above) and worse, holes they cut in the Cypress Freeway to get to the crushed cars. Some were crushed to 3 inches thick. Not survivable. I had survivor’s guilt for about a year. Got over it though. Before the earthquake I had always wondered what it would be like to survive a natural disaster. Loma Prieta cured that, I would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life without experiencing another similar event.

And then came 2020 and Covid-19. “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” Loma Prieta was over in 20 seconds, after that was just the aftermath. Covid-19 and Trump’s inexplicable failure to cope with it, gonna last until late January 2021 at least. Fun times. So a few recent links and my increasingly caustic honest responses to same:

As the Coronavirus Surges, a New Culprit Emerges: Pandemic Fatigue. Please, this isn’t fatigue, it’s “I’m too stupid to understand that Covid-19 changed everything and I need to change my ways.”

Influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk Dead Of Coronavirus After Telling Followers It Wasn’t Real. Let’s think, it’s 1941, the German blitz (bombing raids) on London had been going on for over six months. The Headline: “Man Who Thought the Blitz was a Hoax Dies in Blitz Bombing Raid.” In other words, Dmitry was an idiot.

A friend sent me this: There’s a Word for Why We Wear Masks, and Liberals Should Say It. The word is freedom. I wear a mask because I’m a freedom loving patriot. That means “my freedom to do what I want with my fists … ends at your jaw.” Anyone who thinks their freedom means they can punch their fellow citizens whenever they want has a sick idea of freedom at best.

Moving right along … planning my “Travels With Charlie” road trip. I’ve got three weeks of good health left, I love road trips, might be my last chance. Granted the surgeries could all turn out fine and I’ll be blogging for decades hence, but see previous God plans joke. At the very least, looks like I will live to the election, so my straight blue ballot will count.

Hope all are having a good weekend. As always: likes, comments, questions, anatomically possible suggestions welcome. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The section of the Bay Bridge that failed in the 1989 quake, sadly one fellow died when he drove into it. USGS image, public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 17, 2020 at 7:58 pm

TRUMP, BABYLON BEE, SATIRE, AND OTHER ONGOING 2020 CRAZINESS

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In the “Well, this is new from a POTUS” file:   Trump retweets satirical news story about Joe Biden and Twitter. Apparently not realizing it was satire.  On the one hand, whatevs, most people have fallen for a satirical article once or twice. Sometimes major publications fall for a story. And Babylon Bee is a right wing site more or less. Still, embarrassing. Sorry confused future readers and foreigners, our president Trump sometimes has the self control and wisdom of a spoilt 13 year old.

So this, this article got me thinking: Covid: One-way ‘travel bubble’ opens between Australia and NZ. Nice, some air travel is opening up again. I have a few friends that have made flights. Still, the point to be made, the world’s airline needs are a fraction of what they were pre-covid, and there’s little chance that will change for years. It’s actually a good thing, the world’s airline industry was artificially bloated and subsidized. IE the world’s airline industry shrinking  is bad in the short term, people will lose jobs; but it’s great in the long term.

Gonna be a lot of stuff like that coming up. A friend sent me a magazine: ‘New York,’ November 2019. The last month of the pre-Covid era. Its title: “The Weirdness is Coming.” I’ll let the gentle reader track the magazine down if so inclined, not online that I could find. It’s futurism, IE a whole collection of ideas about what changes are going to happen over the coming decades. Interesting stuff, there’s a lot of wild technologies coming on line. And humans speculating about such is a new thing. Times do change.

Possibly the most interesting thing about the magazine, maybe one out of four items in it … oops, no longer applies. And no longer applies, or has been superseded … because of Covid-19. Something I’m still trying to grok, living in a sheltered corner of rural Iowa myself. It’s especially weird in addition because I live in America, where the ruling party has decided to just more or less ignore Covid-19, and huge numbers of citizens are pretending it will all go away soon. Oh dear.

Times do change. Was in the park today looking at the kid play area. Plastic fantastic like nothing I had as a kid. We had swings, teeter totters, monkey bars. Often with little or no ground padding. I remember monkey bars on asphalt. See image above. Broken bones were not unusual in my childhood, though I never suffered any. All the kids were free range too. A block or so by second grade, a few blocks by third grade, a mile or more by sixth grade. Rode off on one’s bike and explored the world nearby. I could write a book about what I remember.

Truth be told one could easily spend more time writing about an experience than the experience took. Another example of the Universe being infinite no matter what direction one looks. Sorry for the short blog tonight, have a great weekend everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Kids on monkey bars in the 1960s. Found it on a public image site, claimed as Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 16, 2020 at 8:08 pm

954 YEARS AGO TODAY ANOTHER CONTENTIOUS RULERSHIP DISPUTE IS SETTLED

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October 14, 1066. It was a bright late fall day in Southern England. English King Harold and possibly 10,000 or more foot soldiers were arrayed on top of a hill behind a shield wall (that’s a line of men holding large shields touching or even overlapping each other,) both flanks protected by dense forest. Duke William of Normandy and about as many men were at the bottom of the hill, they were a combined force or archers, foot soldiers, and mounted knights. These 20,000 or more men were about to settle a critical political dispute. Who was to be the next king of England, Harold or William?

And they weren’t going to settle the issue with namby pamby things like votes. This was near a thousand years ago, political issues were settled with swords, and fought to the death. One can only wonder at what was going through the mens’ minds that morning (there were possibly a few women, but that’s speculation.)  They knew that by day’s end they might well be dead, or grievously wounded. That just meant they died a week or two later most likely. Many of Harold’s men were tired, especially the core of his army; they had fought a bloody but victorious battle at Stamford Bridge less than three weeks before. And had marched 270 miles (430 km)  in 2 weeks, that’s 20 miles (32 km) a day carrying heavy gear.

The battle started with the Norman archers attacking. They were shooting uphill at men behind a shield wall. Basically most of the arrows bounced off the shields or flew harmlessly over the top of the hill. And since the English had few archers, there were few English arrows to gather up and shoot back. After that, accounts vary. William’s foot soldiers charged up the hill at least three times and were beaten back. They almost panicked in the first retreat because a rumor spread William had been killed, he had to ride through his army with his face exposed to reassure his men that he still lived.

When the Normans retreated after an unsuccessful attack, by accident or design, groups of Harold’s soldiers pursued, and were quickly surrounded and killed once away from the shield wall. Harold’s two brothers were likely killed early in the battle this way. The end of the battle, this is the big mystery. Again, by accident or design, a group of Norman knights got through a gap in the shield wall, and hacked Harold to death. Or Harold may have gone down with an arrow in the eye. Or both. No one really knows, all we know is that sometime in the late afternoon Harold was killed, and his army quickly collapsed and ran. No point continuing to fight when the king is dead.

And that was the end of the last Anglo Saxon English king, and the last time England was successfully invaded. It’s not known how many men died that day. The Norman dead were buried in a mass grave whose location is unknown to this day. The English dead were left on the field, though some of their bodies were retrieved by their families.  2,000 dead Normans and at least twice that many of Harald’s soldiers is the best guess today. William’s legacy? Depends on who one asks. Probably the most significant event in English history between the Roman invasion and the 20th century. Some think that’s giving William too much credit, though it is certain that changes his rule started in England are still felt today. Whether his conquest was a good thing or a bad thing for England is debated by historians.

It was certainly a bad thing for the thousands that died that bright October day, and the thousands more that would die as William consolidated his rule of England and put down rebellions. At least back then most of the participants in wars were volunteers in one sense or another, civilians generally and wisely avoided battles. Long time ago, but still has connections to us today. Turns out a friend is a direct descendant of William. Small world … and William did have a lot of kids.

I don’t see Trump or Biden leading an army into battle, so their differences will be solved by other means. Tomorrow, more on Trump’s plan to let a million Americans pointlessly die. Whole other kind of perspective I suppose. Stay safe everyone. Comments, shares likes appreciated. Patrons especially appreciated, go to the link in the “Welcome to Doug’s Darkworld” blurb on the right. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings and the death of Harold. Credit: Unknown, likely commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother. Public Domain under all known copyright laws.)

Written by unitedcats

October 14, 2020 at 7:11 pm

Posted in History, Politics, War

THOUGHT THE DEBATE WAS PEAK CRAZY? COVID-19 SAYS “HOLD MY BEER.”

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So Trump and Melania test positive … hours after insisting that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.” Is this his Tet Offensive? Is the end of Trump in sight, one way or another? 2020, it just never lets up. 

There are more cases of Covid-19 in the White House tonight than there are in New Zealand.

President Trump has tested positive for Covid-19, and been taken to Walter Reed hospital. He is symptomatic, and basically the next week will tell. He could get much sicker. He could die. We could be swearing in a new president sooner than anyone expected. No matter what happens, this is already a disaster. The most chaotic election in over a century, and now the POTUS is sick? Another layer of uncertainty in troubled times is not a good thing.

Some are questioning how real this is. The thought certainly crossed my mind, especially at first. Symptomatic and taken to the hospital, that seems pretty elaborate, and to what gain? It’s also not really consistent with Trump’s usual lies/self-deceptions, which run to grandiose self promotion. The guy who claims to be the healthiest man ever elected president is pretending to be sick? Until I see evidence for a hoax, I’m going with “Yeah, it’s real.” 

Not a stretch to think that this was China’s intent all along, since plenty including Trump have claimed that by accident or design, this was China’s fault somehow. OK, it is a stretch, and requires multiple layers of special pleading. Hopefully this particular theory doesn’t take off, not a good thing if Trump’s illness or death leads to a war with China. 

Is this some big surprise development? No. I pointed out from the beginning that anyone could get Covid-19, and will eventually unless they take serious precautions. Which the White House clearly was not doing. What happens if Trump and Biden both die of Covid-19 before election day? Chaos. (It was a trick question.)

What happens now? History. Thick and fast, stay frosty people, your grandkids will ask what it was like to live through the 2020 election in America. Speaking of history, my Tet Offensive comment in the leading paragraph. President Johnson announced that the Vietnam War was all but won, the enemy was on the run, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Then the VietCong launched a massive surprise attack on pretty much every major city in South Vietnam, one assault squad even penetrating the US Embassy compound in Saigon. It was pretty much the end of any reelection hopes for Johnson, and he chose not to run. Trump catching and being downed by the virus he downplayed at every turn, yeah, one would think that might get through to some of his supporters.

Hearing a lot of, well, harshness coming from Trump critics. Hopefully I have avoided “Trump Derangement Syndrome” as an appellation in my C.V. I’m certainly highly underwhelmed by Trump’s response to Covid-19, he’s made America far worse off than it could have been. And I do have criticism here. Trump not only couldn’t defend the country against Covid-19, he couldn’t even protect him and his wife! If we needed proof that Trump was wrong about downplaying the virus, this is it. In any event, I drink to his health.

So yes, reality intruded onto my planned wobbling rocks and hornets post. Still kind of in shock, woke up this AM to multiple messages about “Trump has Covid-19!” I’d known it was possible, but there’s only so far that expectations can prepare one for reality. I wasn’t ready for this, and I knew it was possible. This situation may well evolve very rapidly, curious what I’ll wake up to tomorrow. Have a safe and sane weekend everyone. #COVIDCaughtTrump #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Based on a Public Domain image. Haiku: Copyright © 2020 Yula Flournoy. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

October 2, 2020 at 7:16 pm

TURNS OUT DOUBLING DOWN ON HATE MIGHT NOT GET TRUMP REELECTED, WHO KNEW?

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Actually, I did. One of the takeaways from Obama getting elected twice is that it’s safe to say the majority of Americans are reasonably progressive and open minded, and not overtly racist. Just the facts ma’am. If Clinton had been as good as Obama at inspiring the typical American to vote, Trump would be history now. Alas, Trump’s appeal to disaffected whites got him into the White House. And now, with his dream economy in tatters, Covid-189 stubbornly refusing to go away, he’s decided to double down on the basest of his appeals, immigrant scaremongering and barely coded racism. His bizarre refusal to condemn the Proud Boys, a misguided racist group if there ever was one, along with his other endless fear mongering, is starting to take a toll. The Drudge Report has stopped supporting him for example,  so has Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. And his hateful rant against Ilhan Omar didn’t help his cause. Trump apparently doesn’t grasp that she’s an American and she was elected. Guess the will of the voters only counts for Trump if the voters support him and his candidates. 

A month to go until the election. I put out my Biden sign, the first time ever I did something like that. Not sure what POTUS I last voted for. I think maybe Clinton in the 90s. And more out of civic duty than any great love for Clinton. Not voting for Biden out of any great love either, but for the first time in my life, yeah, anybody is an improvement over Trump. Civic duty for sure. Trump’s worried about immigrants, has anyone pointed out to him that we now have room for 206,000 more, and rising daily? 

And the Trump outrage du jour: Trump insists that food aid comes with campaign literature, outraging anti-hunger advocates. A violation of the Hatch Act so blatant that it basically means the Trump administration is like the Hell’s Angels now, a criminal organization operating in the open. And since it’s 2020 and this is minor compared to all the other stuff coming down, I suspect it will simply sink without a trace. Still, if an administration actually hostile to Trump ever took power, a pipe dream to progressive Democrats, this and numerous other things would get Trump and his cronies beaucoup jail time. Don’t see that happening.

Back to reality: Experts Say COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Unlikely Before Fall 2021. It’s possible it will come sooner, but realistically speaking, best not to count on it. Yet that’s what Trump wants his base to do, believe Trump’s claims that a vaccine is right around the corner, and voting for Trump will ensure it happens. Even if Trump believes it is true, it’s still a lie. Reality is funny that way. Speaking of which: Study finds Trump was ‘the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation’ early in pandemic. In other words Mr Trump, your failure to grasp that Covid-19 was an actual public health crisis requiring a rational science driven response, more than likely increased the global death toll, not just the American one. 

Gonna be fascinating to see how history treats Trump. Hoping I’m around to see as much of it as possible. I’ve survived two strokes, a pulmonary embolism, and a stupid thrill seeking youth, I can survive cancer. It really was like a House episode at the medical center today, at least three assistants testing me in relays. Then the Doctor himself came in for a few minutes, made pronouncements, left. Hoping this is an episode with a good ending. I digress. I can’t see Trump being treated well in history, his place is assured, but his legacy is likely to be unimpressive at best.

Maybe Trump will be like this weird reverse Hitler now. Covid-19 will be his Stalingrad. He’ll get voted out, his fanatic core will shrink steadily over time. The GOP will collapse because of its own ideological  inconsistencies, like the Soviet Union. Decades from now, surrounded by a last remaining core of Trump supporters, he’ll kill himself in a bunker. The world will be like “Trump Who?”

A man can dream. Tomorrow, unless something else outrageous happens, some neat science links. Murder hornets and tipping rocks, what’s the connection? Stay safe, stay sane everyone. Likes, comments, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Haiku: Copyright © 2020 Yula Flournoy. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

October 1, 2020 at 7:25 pm

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