Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

TEN WAYS WE’RE EFFED

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I’ve had a hard time blogging recently. Writer’s block. Stress in my personal life is one reason. Not helping. That’s just the background noise though. No, the real reason is more general. I’m extremely pessimistic about the state of the world, and the state of the USA in particular. In many senses I’ve always been a doomsday prophet, but the 21st century has moved into a whole new universe compared to my worrying about nuclear war in my younger days. So how do I write about this? Ten reasons I’m pessimistic about now. Who knows, hopefully this will be cathartic:

  1. The rich keep getting richer and more powerful. The upward transfer of wealth in America and the world accelerated under Covid. In other words, price gouging is at the heart of the global economic system. What are people going to do when the last dollar in America is in some rich person’s or corporation’s offshore account?
  2. The Cold War continues. The Cold War was stupid proganda to justify endless American war making and war spending from the beginning. The new Cold War is even crazier. China isn’t trying to take over the world, Russia isn’t trying to destroy the west.
  3. The War on Terror was a colossal fail. By every metric the War on Terror has massively increased global terrorism. War is the least effective way to fight terrorism. And yet here we are, bombs away, with nary a hint of protest.
  4. We forgot the lessons of Vietnam. This is a codicil to number 3:  Opinion | The Pentagon Papers’ Lessons Went Unlearned – The New York …
  5. Science denial is rampant. This is bizarre. When I was a kid and young person most people understood that science and reason were the shiznit. Now actual supposed adults in positions of power embrace voodoo nonsense … and they get more popular. Go figure.
  6. The Christian right wants to seize power. A third of the country wants America to be forced to live under their Old Testament take on reality.
  7. The GOP’s massive ongoing voter suppression, protest suppression, history suppression, and rights suppression campaign (abortion and LGTB rights.) The actual cancel culture.
  8. No independent media. When I was young the mainstream media was independent, even if they did try to influence politics. Not anymore.
  9. Climate change. It’s real, humans are causing it, efforts to mitigate it are still “too little, too late.” Fossil fuels are the most profitable extractive industry ever, but the costs are wrecking our world.
  10. AI, homemade doomsday devices, etc. In my lifetime (knock on wood) there are any number of potential technological advances that could lead to doomsday. It’s my answer to the Fermi Paradox, our form of life is ultimately self destructive, an evolutionary dead end.

And I’m sure I missed a few. The continued glorification of the Confederacy and white washing of American history. UFOs. Nearly half of Americans believe dinosaurs still exist. Yeah, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we are about to slide into some Golden Age. Snort. Biden will be the Pertinax of our time more likely. (Pertinax was a sane senator who became Caesar after the death of a crazy Caesar. His reign only lasted three months before the corrupt praetorian guard murdered him.)

On the plus side, a lady I like called me “Sweetie” today. Objectively there is no future relationship, but it made this lonely old guy feel good. Have a great week everyone.  #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found somewhere, possibly Public Domain, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 14, 2021 at 7:23 pm

JUNE 6, 1944, THE LONGEST DAY

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A long time reader suggested some history posts instead of the GOP follies. It would be a nice break. And the timing is perfect, today is the 77th anniversary of the greatest seaborne invasion in history, Operation Overlord, the Allied landings in Normandy in German occupied France during the second World War. And I know a lot about it, as it was a famous battle in my favorite war.  I’ve probably covered most if not all of the following in previous blogs, but there’s always the possibility of a new reader or two.

So yes, D-Day was the largest amphibious landing in history. 24,000 paratroopers landed the night before, and 156,000 men (and one woman we know of) waded ashore on D-Day. About 4,000 of them died, another 6,000 were seriously injured. About a thousand Germans died, and thousands more were wounded. And several thousand French civilians also died. A pretty modest death toll for a single day of fighting actually. While thousands more would die in the weeks to come, it wasn’t a particularly deadly battle compared to numerous other battles. Hell, over 20,000 died in one day at the Battle of Towton, and that was in 1461.

D-Day also has the distinction of being the most carefully planned military operation in history. Years were spent preparing for it. All sorts of special weapons and equipment were invented for just this one battle. Hell, hundreds died in preparation for the battle. How many battles had over 700 dead preparing for the battle? Damn few, so D-Day might be the worst in history in this regard too. On the plus side, the double catastrophes in Exercise Tiger taught the Allies valuable lessons, and no doubt saved hundreds if not thousands of lives on D-Day.

And since D-Day was so well planned, it really couldn’t fail. While Ike (the overall commander) did have a message pre-written in case the landing failed, there really wasn’t any realistic chance of that. The German defences weren’t even remotely finished, the Germans had fallen for the Allies misdirection and concentrated their defences elsewhere, and overwhelming Allied air power and French resistance attacks crippled the German ability to rush reinforcements to Normandy. The Allies flew over 10,000 air missions on D-Day, the Luftwaffe, a 100 or so. No contest. The only real way the invasion could have failed is if spectacularly bad weather had set in for weeks after the landing grounding the Allies air power. None of this diminishes the accomplishments of those who took part in the invasion, it was a hard fought battle.

Some Americans love to claim D-Day was the “turning point” in the war. No, no it wasn’t. Stalingrad and Kursk were the turning points in the war. By the summer of 1944 the Russian juggernaut was rolling inevitably toward Berlin, it was just a matter of time. D-Day hastened the end of the Third Reich, and meant Western Europe and West Germany didn’t become Soviet occupied countries, but it didn’t affect the outcome of the war. D-Day was the beginning of the end for Hitler is a good way to think about it.

In the same vein Americans often think D-Day was an American affair. In “Saving Private Ryan” for example, the British are only mentioned once, disparagingly; and the Canadians aren’t mentioned at all. In point of fact, five beaches were invaded that day, two by Americans, two by the British, and one by Canadians. While America certainly provided the lion’s share of troops and weapons for the western Allies, only about 40% of the troops wading ashore on 6 June 1944 were American.

Lastly, a nice story. There were lots of specials about D-Day on the 50th anniversary in 1994. I remember one story. There was a kid from I think Nebraska who waded ashore on D-Day. He survived, and the war ended. He had some leave before returning to America. He decided to visit Normandy because he had been struck by how beautiful the countryside was. (Pretty much anyone who grew up in Nebraska will think that way about almost anywhere but Nebraska, but I digress.) Well, while there he met this nice French girl, and the rest is history. He was still happily living there as of 1994. And I bet he never had to pay for his drinks at local bars.

In any event, tonight I will drink to all that fought that day. God rest the souls of those who died. Well, all but the Nazis. I still think Nazis are bad, call me old fashioned. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: American dead on Utah Beach.  Note the body has been tagged with information about who he was, when and where he died, etc. Real people died that day, war really is madness. Credit: Probably Robert Capa.)

Written by unitedcats

June 6, 2021 at 12:23 pm

MEMORIAL DAY

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wars. The US has been at war 222 out of 239 years. More than 92% of its existence. And even that’s an under count, there really was no peace during the 19th century because of ongoing efforts by individuals and state militias to exterminate the natives. And virtually none of the wars were just wars in any way, shape, or form. That has been especially true in the post World War Two era.

Memorial Day 2021. This is the day where Americans honor those who died fighting in America’s wars. Well, that’s the theory at least. Unfortunately the way many people are honoring our dead strikes me as the exact opposite of honor. The day has been turned into a propaganda fest in support of America’s endless wars. The US has been at war 222 out of 239 years. More than 92% of its existence. And even that’s an undercount, there really was no peace during the 19th century because of ongoing efforts by individuals and state militias to exterminate the natives. And virtually none of the wars were just wars in any way, shape, or form. That has been especially true in the post World War Two era.

And yet all over Facebook, and all over the country presumably, people are posting and talking about fallen heroes who died “defending our freedom.” This is obscene. Every war since 1945 has been about defending America’s global empire and its corporate interests. Every American who died in these wars was a life wasted in service of the empire. And the memory of those whose lives were tossed away on the altar of corporate and political greed has been turned into a celebration of death and empire.

I grieve for those lost in our wars. I will honor their loss by continuing to speak for peace. The greatest thing an American can do to honor the fallen is stop supporting further war. Stop sending our youth abroad to die and be maimed in the service of corporate greed. The US is the most powerful empire the world has ever seen, there are no threats to our freedom. Outside the US at least, certain parties are working hard to destroy our freedom from within.

But that’s tomorrow’s blog. I hope all have or had a good Memorial Day. God rest the souls of those who died in America’s uniform, grant peace to their friends and family. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: From Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

May 31, 2021 at 7:50 am

THE ARIZONA AUDIT IS THE CREATION MUSEUM OF OUR TIME

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The election audit in Arizona just gets weirder and weirder. Surreal GOP ‘Audit’ in Arizona Is Off the Rails—and Just Getting Started. And some are claiming the ballots were shredded, fed to chickens, then the chickens were burned. Yes, the gentle reader read that right. An election official owns a large chicken facility, and there was a fire that killed a lot of chickens. And that’s further “proof” that the election was stolen. Wait, what? Oh, the auditors have also ruined the Maricopa county voting machines, their security has been compromised at this point. The company doing the audit isn’t actually qualified to perform an audit.

This is what happens after decades of Fox News, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and Ken Ham. What do all of these have in common? They all alter the facts to support the narrative. That’s Trump, he said the election was stolen, his followers accept that as a fact, and off they go searching for “facts” that can be shoehorned into supporting their narrative. So we know for a fact that no matter what the “auditors” discover, they won’t admit the election was fair and Trump lost. Any more that Young Earth Creationists will admit the Earth is billions of years old and evolution is real. They will twist the facts to support their beliefs, as the Creation Museum clearly demonstrates.

Reagan was the beginning of this. The first president elected entirely on his image, no content required. He was the beta version of Trump. I suspect Reagan would have despised Trump. Reagan had class, Trump is a boor. A boor with a gilded toilet and an exotic trophy wife is still a boor. I digress. Reagan: The Welfare Queen myth. Borrow and spend. The end of the Fairness Doctrine. Stock market price manipulation decriminalized. The end of mainstream independent media. Before Reagan only the fringes lived in a fantasy world, he institutionalized it. And the ultimate result of teaching their base that the narrative determines the facts … Trump, all narrative, no fact.

This is why Republicans who remained moored in reality are freaking out. Going along with GOP nonsense because it made you rich was one thing, believing Trump’s preposterous self-serving treasonous delusions is another. And I mean treason. Trump incited a mob of his followers to storm the capitol and overturn the results of the election. It was sophomoric magical thinking by Trump, like Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch, but it was in fact an effort to overthrow the Republic. That’s treason. It was also the worst attack on the Republic since the Civil War, a fact which Trump’s GOP is working hard to deny and obfuscate.

And like the last great treasonous Americans, the Confederates, Trump will probably get away with it. At least Hitler got jailed after his insurrection, our republic is already so dysfunctional that even that won’t happen. We let the leaders of the treasonous south get off scot free, and I sometimes wonder if that was one of the greatest mistakes in American history. And now round two, the people who live in a 1950s white bread fantasy world have seceded.

A new Civil War? Eff if I know, the only thing I know now is that we are moving into a new era. Reagan was the start, Trump is the end. He’s the Mao, Caesar, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin of our time. Or maybe ultimately he will only be the Jeffferson Davis of our time. Just glad I’m here to witness it. Who wouldn’t want to be on the front row of history? Stupid question. The people living in Gaza would likely disagree. I’m trying to write about that nightmare, it’s a microcosm of what’s wrong in the world.

Digressing again. Windy day in northern Iowa, but some nice rain. Garden is looking good, the ground level bird bath is a big hit with the birds. Finches, Vireos, Juncos; fun new birds. I’ve seen starlings too, though not in my yard. A starling was the last bird I killed. Decades ago. Nest robbing non-native birds. It’s here to stay though, I won’t be shooting anymore. Hope all are having a good weekend. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: From Twitter, attributions in image. Found on Facebook, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

May 23, 2021 at 11:17 am

BOMBS AWAY, LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE

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There’s been a lot of, well, violent oppression in Israel and its occupied territories lately. More innocents dead. It’s not really a complicated or nuanced situation. Israel invaded and conquered the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, and since then has refused to either annex them or allow them to declare independence, whilst slowly stealing their land, destroying their homes, farms, infrastructure; and periodically waging war on them. Sometimes the Palestinians fight back, but the violence is overwhelmingly on Israel’s part, and the innocent dead are overwhelmingly Palestinian.

I’d say “what a mess,” but that implies it’s some sort of intractable problem where both “sides” are to blame. Nope, Israel has all the power, all the weapons, all the advantages including the unconditional and uncritical backing of the US. Israel has deliberately perpetuated the situation by denying the Palestians their rights, essentially keeping them as stateless prisoners in open air prisons. It’s not aparteid. It’s much uglier than apartheid. And as long as the US and the international community give Israel their unqualified support, Israel has no incentive to do anything but continue their slow ethnic cleansing of Gaza and the West Bank. Pointing out the injustice of this isn’t antisemitism, it’s just stating the truth.

Speaking of stating the truth, Liz Cheney, the now former GOP leader of the House, has been stripped of her position. She refuses to believe in and support Trump’s lies: Trump lost the election, and he incited a mob to storm the capitol. Not debatable. Trump though is cementing his control of the GOP and, well, inciting a purge. It’s made his remaining supporters more fanatical, while driving away huge numbers of conservatives who have decided enough’s enough. Pretending that Trump was this fantastic president was easy, but at this point Trump is indeed destroying the foundations of our democracy in his obsession with “not being a loser.”

And by driving away, I mean just that. Trump’s popularity has plummeted since the election, which is unprecedented for a former president. He’s at like 32% now, as I’ve been saying all along, about a third of the country is behind him. Some of the Republicans who have abandoned Trump are threatening to create a new party. The “No Homers” party. OK, that was a really old Simpsons joke, IDK what they propose to call it. And honestly, good show. The chances of Trump getting reelected in 2024 are basically zero if he can’t rally all the Republicans back to him. Fine by me.

And there’s definitely schadenfreude on my part here, the GOP lied for decades, sowing the field for someone like Trump. Granted the Dems aren’t exactly paragons of truth and justice, but Fox News and the GOP normalized lying about basic facts. And now a guy who lives in his own made up reality where he lies about everything is running their show. Makes me curious to know if something similar preceded the rise of other personality cult leaders in history. Fodder for future research and blogs.

Speaking of lying cult leaders, a Federal judge has slapped down Wayne Lapierre’s attempt to declare the NRA bankrupt. Basically turns out the NRA had a huge corruption problem, with the people at the top essentially looting at will. They got caught and the state of New York began legal proceedings. Mr Lapierre tried to declare the NRA bankrupt in what was a brazen attempt to get away with the goods. Using the letter of the law to evade the intent of the law usually only works in Hollywood movies, it’s why we have judges. Again, schadenfreude time. Though not really. It’s not really shameful joy when the parties involved brought it on themselves. Just joy.

In other news:: President Joe Biden Approves Nation’s First Major Offshore Wind Farm. 85 wind turbines off the coast of Massachusetts. It will produce enough electricity to power 400,000 homes. Hopefully it’s just the first, the nation’s offshore wind power potential is twice the current total energy output of the US. I am however deeply disappointed by Mr Biden in this. What was he thinking? It should have been placed off the coast of Mar-a-Lago. Hope all are having a good week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Palestinians fleeing Israeli ethnic cleansing in 1948. Public Domain image. Mar-a-Lago joke credit: FearlessFly.)

Written by unitedcats

May 12, 2021 at 7:16 pm

FOUR GREAT HISTORICAL LIES

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I’ve been hampered in writing about current events lately because it’s really been seeping in that almost everyone is propagandised. By that I mean that most people largely hold a worldview that is actively promoted by special interests. It’s what I mean when I say all religions and ideologies are the same. It’s what Colonel Kurtz meant when he said “Everyone is loyal to the nightmare of their choice.” It’s not a new phenomena, it’s been around since organized religion and hereditary class structure for sure. In the last century though, as the sciences of advertising and propaganda took off, it’s grown far more pervasive and multi-dimensional: Enormous numbers of people believing things that just aren’t true.

It doesn’t make them bad people, in fact it says nothing about them as individuals at all. People are people, most of us are pretty decent under normal circumstances. It doesn’t make them “sheep” either, I hate that terminology/mindset the same way I hate the “friend zone” concept. It does however mean they will actively go to great lengths to defend their world view. Motivated reasoning and such kicks in here, people use the fine brains evolution/God gave them to believe they are right and others are wrong. My lie is comforting, it makes sense of the world, it provides me with tons of social support and reinforcement. I’m on the winning team!

The problem, and it’s a huge problem, is that belief in nonsense may allow one to commit atrocities. Bad things can happen from widely believed lies. Here are four great historical examples. And they are great, each and every one of these is brilliant propaganda. A lie the targeted audience wanted to believe! A lie that touches all the sweet spots. In very considered order, here are four of “The Greatest Lies in History:”

  1. The Stab in the Back Myth.” This was the idea that arose after World War One that the Central Powers, Germany especially, lost the war not because it was a stupid war where the Allies had numerous advantages, but because a cabal of socialists, communists, and especially Jews conspired to cripple their war effort. Like all great lies, there’s zero evidence to support it, and it doesn’t pass the laugh test logically; but it explains the loss of the glorious war and blames people many Germans already had been taught to hate. Illustrated in a 1919 postcard above.
  2. “The Arab Nations Told the Palestinians to Flee!” lie. After Israel’s 1948 war of independence during which 700,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed (IE chased out at gunpoint) from what is now Israel, Israel claimed that the Arab governments told the Palestinians to flee! Perfect! So of course they are the Arab governments’ problem, and Israel promptly passed laws prohibiting them from returning to their homes in Israel. Even Israeli historians now admit this was pure propaganda, Arab governments never did anything of the kind.
  3. “Stop the Steal.” Yerp, brilliant. Trump supporters want to believe Trump was the greatest president ever, they want to believe that Democrats/socialists/communists/libtards are plotting against them, the true Americans. The fact that there is zero evidence for this lie, and logical reasons why it’s BS, no matter. Characteristics that all four great lies share, that so many people believe(d) them is why I am fond of saying “We’re not really an intelligent species.”
  4. “Russiagate.” This is the one where so many of my friends and readers are going to balk. Sorry, not sorry. Did Putin try to influence the 2016 election? Possibly, though so far no evidence has been provided in support of same. And Russiagate has now grown into an incredibly elaborate theory where Trump was a “Russian asset/Putin’s Puppet” all along. Brilliant. Dems don’t need to look to their own party’s failings that led to Trump’s election, and now they are fully supportive of Washington’s imperial war forever policy!

The beauty of great propaganda illustrated. No one is immune. I certainly believed in some stupid myths when I was younger. “If blacks would just comply with law enforcement and there would be no problems” is the ugliest that comes to mind now. I’m sure there are others. Life, a constant struggle to identify and remove beliefs other people have instilled in oneself. Most people never even understand that. A freaking shame that so much human society seeks to indoctrinate, not enlighten.

Speaking of blacks and police, tomorrow’s blog. Just trying to sort out the fact from fiction in the Daunte Wright shooting. God rest his soul in any event, no one deserves to die in a traffic stop.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Austrian postcard from 1919, author unknown, Public Domain in this Universe.)

Written by unitedcats

April 13, 2021 at 8:41 pm

TRIBES

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Caitlyn is often annoying, but sometimes she is very on point. The idea that the west gives a flaming hoot about oppressed Muslim minorities doesn’t pass the laugh test, but here the US is, leading the sanction charge against China. I could provide examples, but those that see the point don’t need them … and those that don’t will rationalize them away. People are loyal to the world view of their choice, and will reject out of hand any facts that contradict it by one means or another. Is this what Colonel Kurtz meant when he said “Everyone is loyal to the nightmare of their choice?” Maybe. I’m pretty sure it’s what “The map is not the territory” alludes to.

So I want to write endlessly about what is going on in the world, but how do I do so without a 12 volume preamble explaining that everything most people know about the world is mass marketed crap designed to make them support the status quo and the powers that be? When Marx said “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” he kinda meant it literally.  The Trump/GOP cult is the current major local manifestation of this, but the Dems are not really better off, just different.

By about 1900, 1950 at latest, it was easily possible to provide everyone on Earth with food, shelter, education, health care. Modern machinery could do the work of countless humans, a steam shovel or tractor could do the work of dozens or hundreds of men and horses. And factories, oh my. Everyone on Earth could have their basic needs met, with plenty left over for those that wanted more. So why aren’t we doing this?

And that dear readers is why I blog, trying to figure out why when humans live in Eden, they create societies based on systematic inequality. I think it comes down to tribal thinking. Most on the left have no problem recognizing that there are “religious” leaders whose only goal is exploiting religious people’s faith to get rich. What they don’t understand is that for every faux religious leader cashing in on the credibility of their believers, there is a faux ecologist, faux animal right’s activist, faux liberal politician, etc. doing the same thing.

Once one has decided one’s tribe is the “good guys” and other tribes are “bad guys,” all possibility of a worldview based on reason and science ends. It’s the logical fallacy that is destroying our future. I don’t know what the answer is, but I think reason and science hold the key if there is such.

And on the basis of all that, my blog format is going to change. 3-5 nights a week I’m just going to pull the most interesting links/events out of the day’s news and comment upon. I just don’t have what it takes to make dedicated posts now. And the world we live in is in huge flux, despite the voices of normalization running amok. The world we all knew did die at the end of 2019, the new world is still unfolding. Better yet, thick and thin blogs are easy and fun to write. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 27, 2021 at 8:30 pm

WHAT HAPPENED HERE?

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Neat photo, eh? What happened here? That is the remnant of a concrete building, the metal is indeed rebar. Thick iron rods embedded in concrete, in fact this is what reinforced concrete is, concrete with metal bars in it. No, nuclear weapon damage. In fact this damage was done by a natural phenomena. I’ll give the answer at the end of the blog.

I get my Covid vaccine on Wednesday, knock on wood. Not sure which version it is, doesn’t matter. I’ve kept current on vaccines all my life with no problems, this one will be a blessed relief. It doesn’t by any means I can just go back to “pre-Covid” behaviour. Well, I suppose I could, but it would be stu-pid. Like “OK, I’ve got a seat belt now, let’s crash my car for fun!” stupid. Vaccines are not necessarily 100% effective, and this is a terrible disease, one best avoided if at all possible. So I’ll still be masking in public and socially isolated, but I will be less stressed about it and will resume outdoor socializing with friends, maybe indoor with vaccinated friends.

Huge numbers of people being vaccinated world wide, good news. Bad news, and it is indeed very bad news, this isn’t going to magically return the world to its pre-Covid state. We aren’t going to be able to say “Phew, it’s under control now, throw away your masks and parteh!” That’s because Covid is unlike any previous disease, it’s a terrible disease, and it’s not going anywhere. It’s not going anywhere for two reasons. First of all it’s the disease from hell. Second of all, people are stupid.

By disease from hell, I mean it’s a terrible, highly contagious, widespread disease … that is mutating as I type! New strains have emerged that are even more contagious than the original version, more likely to reinfect Covid survivors, and at least somewhat resistant to some or all of the current vaccines. And new versions will continue to evolve, so vaccines will have to be continually updated. This is a war that will likely continue the rest of our lives.

Secondly, many people, including some US state governors, are simply pretending everything is now OK and lifting all restrictions. This is literally bat shit crazy, but welcome to the American 2020s where the GOP lives in pretend reality. As long as people continue to pretend that Covid is no big deal or just a temporary thing, especially people in power, we’re effed. And that would definitely be America, as someone put it, a state lifting precautions is like a designated peeing area in a pool. Here’s the good doctor on the science: COVID Race Against Time | NeuroLogica Blog.

So trying to parse just when the American  right exited reality, today’s theory is that it was after Gulf War Two, the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Anniversary coming up. Before the invasion there was much public debate, the right claiming Iraq and Saddam were an existential threat to the US, and we needed to invade to eliminate Saddam’s WMDs. This was right after 9/11, so Americans were afraid of mass casualty attacks. And as a codicil to this, they argued that the people of Iraq would be happy to have Saddam removed and freedom and democracy bestowed upon them! On the other side people argued that the threat posed by Saddam was at least wildly overblown, and that nothing good would come of this invasion.

At least there was debate about the potential war, and common ground to debate about. Saddam and Iraq actually existed, the debate was about what America should do about it. The “Invade Iraq!” faction won (not that there was ever any doubt,) Iraq was invaded and conquered easily! The results, twofold: First,  exactly dip squat was found of any WMDs, Saddam had in fact destroyed his WMD programs exactly as he was told to. Secondly, democracy and freedom didn’t flow through the streets, mass bloodshed and instability did. Continuing to this day.

So let’s review. Turns out the 2003 Iraq invasion was utterly unjustified, and the results were catastrophic by any reasonable measure. After Vietnam at least there was some general agreement that the war was a mistake, after Saddam’s fall turned into a nightmare, nothing doing. The War Party, and that includes plenty of Dems, just carried on as if everything was fine. Not surprising it was all coincidental with birtherism and trutherism, the two other big fact free beliefs of the post 9/11 era.

The wheel is spinning, who knows where it will land. There’s people who think about things, and people who find someone comfortable to think for them. Both have an evolutionary advantage I suppose. I write for the former. I hope. So, image above. Came across that because a friend asked if the Romans who died in Pompei died quickly? Yes, yes they did. Pompei was hit by a nue ardente, or pyroclastic flow. Basically super hot gas (450F plus degrees) and molten rock ash. Flowing faster than a person can run. Like being tossed into a blast furnace. A windy blast furnace. And that’s what the image above is, a reinforced concrete building in Mexico hit by a pyroclastic flow in 1982. Killed at least 1900 people. From a dormant volcano. Oops.

Stay safe everyone. Crazy days. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Described in text. Taken by a USGS employee as part of their job, so public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 8, 2021 at 9:33 pm

Posted in History, Iraq, Personal, War

MARCH 4TH 2021: BIDEN REVEALED AS CHINESE CLONE, TRUMP REINAUGERATED AS THOUSANDS OF SPACE FORCE SHOCK TROOPS DESCEND ON WASHINGTON. HUNDREDS ARRESTED, AOC, HARRIS, AND HILLARY FLEE ON AIRFORCE TWO TO CUBA

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“Washington is calm tonight as Space Force Shock Troops backed by thousands of QAnon and related militia forces swept into Washington, with Trump revealing in a press conference damning evidence of high crimes by the Democratic Washington establishment; shortly afterwards he was reinaugurated as the US president. The carefully planned and executed “Operation Storm” caught various Democratic criminals in the act, many confessing and providing evidence to avoid summary execution. Across America millions came to the streets to peacefully celebrate a return to justice and democracy, and the fitting end to one of the most demonic conspiracies ever.”

Well, that was fun. Once again QAnon’s hopes for their Messiah being magically reinstated have failed to materialize. And messiah it is, Trump’s popularity isn’t based on any reality based examination of his life and accomplishments, except in a few exceedingly narrow categories. Interesting times indeed. I’m frightened of Trump supporters now, there’s been a lot of crazy talk. In Texas in particular there’s talk of secession and kicking Democrats out of the state. Yeah, extremists for now, but scary times.

We are seeing the GOP doubling down on voter suppression efforts in states they control. Another beauty of Trump’s truthless claims of massive voter fraud. Healthy democracies make it easy to vote, because it’s not that hard to prevent voter fraud in the computer era. The US is not a healthy democracy, with GOP gerrymandering and voter suppression making it less so on a regular basis. The truth is most Americans are reasonably liberal and open minded, and not interested in living in a “Christian Nation” defined by an old testament Evangelical worldview.

Frankly at this point, give the GOP Texas and the south. I sometimes think the North should have just let the South go its own way in 1860. Slavery was already an athema to the rest of the developed world. The CSA would have been the Saudi Arabia of the world, without the oil. They would have been a friendless pariah state, with an economy increasingly lagging in a growing industrial world. Slave plantations could not compete with factories and mechanization. IE the South was a freaking lost cause in 1860, and is even more so now.

So give Texas, Florida, and a half dozen southern states to the Trump supporters and let them create their deregulated Christian utopia. Then the rest of us can rejoin the modern world and get on with an inclusive democratic America based on what works best for the common good. No ideology necessary. Things like single payer healthcare, a minimum wage, etc help everyone. The rich are slightly less rich, they’ll survive. Works just fine in the rest of the developed world, why the richest nation the world has ever known can’t provide a fair distribution of wealth to its citizens isn’t because of shortage, it’s because of greed.

So, two other items in the news. The people who have the rights to the Dr Seuss books announced that they would cease publishing six of his more obscure books because they contained offensive racist stereotype images. And the right wing “cancel culture” outrage machine went into full ballistic mode, claiming censorship, Biden did this, etc. Sigh. Times change people, and often for the better. Recognizing that dated racist stereotypes aren’t really a good thing to distribute is a perfectly reasonable and commendable business decision. If people just need to have one of these books, they will be on Ebay forever. And boy, it was a brilliant marketing move, sales of Dr Suess books have gone through the roof.

In a similar vein, Mr Potato head, a toy from my freaking childhood, rebranded their product to be more inclusive. They made it so kids could make Mr and Mr Potato head, etc, if they wanted. Again, the right wing outrage machine went nuts. What can I say, if your worldview is so fragile that even acknowledging that other views are possible … you’re a fucking Nazi and a disgrace to Christ. Let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with Trump supporters. I have a problem with them thinking their way is the only way and everyone who doesn’t think their way is the enemy.

Basically at this point Trump is the Messiah to his followers. We’re far beyond politics, debate, or compromise. Historically messiahs make terrible heads of state, Trump certainly filled those shoes nicely; but to his followers, he was the best president ever! And still is to many of them, I came across this today:

“Wow. Just wow.

I went to a friends house tonight to say goodbye to her mom who is moving back to Alabama. I’ve seen these people all along, and we’ve been careful, but their politics are opposite of mine. We normally just don’t discuss it, but tonight I walked into it.

They honestly believe:

Biden is not actually president, Trump is.

Hillary is in jail.

A secret inauguration happened today.

They had a lot of reasons to back up their claims.

They spent much of the evening showing each other pictures from right wing social media “proving” their theories.

Crazy is real, peeps.”

OK then. I wish we could just shuffle Trump supporters off into a private holodeck universe where they could live out their lives in some fantasy Trumptopia. No such luck. Have a great weekend everyone. Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much, processing my dad’s death is harder than I expected. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 5, 2021 at 8:56 pm

AMERICA, HISTORY, VIOLENCE, TRUMP

with one comment

I realized today that I am suffering from symptoms of anxiety. Not terribly surprising,Covid is still raging, the worst American mass death event of my life, and I’ve been socially isolated for a year. That’s going to be stressful. And my father just died. And not only died, but died of Covid. I know I’ve written about how Covid was going to kill people we knew, but I wasn’t prepared for it to hit so close to home. Couldn’t have been prepared actually, the death of a loved one will always hurt, but some deaths are worse than others. This one will always hurt, I lost my dad in the pandemic. Words I never dreamt I would say.

There’s one other thing  though. Bear with me, going to try to tie some things together. A huge source of the anxiety I realize is due to the Capitol Riot. This was an unprecedented American historical event, like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, no one really saw it coming.* That’s not really what’s bothering me though. That I could deal with … if the national response to it had been, well, rational. IE: This was Trump’s doing, and it’s unacceptable. Like how most of England responded to Guy Fawkes attempt to blow up the King and Parliament.

No, that’s not how Trump supporters responded to the Capitol Riot. Broadly speaking they responded in two ways. Denial and rationalization. Trump supporters either denied Trump caused the riot, it was some sort of Antifa/Democrat false flag operation; or it was a justified response to the “Voter fraud cost Trump the election” lie. While there are some voices of reason among the Republicans, a very solid majority is, well, believing the lie. Living in a fantasy world. Seceding from reality as it were.

And this isn’t new, this is where I am stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. How to say this? White America is a nation almost unequaled in its staggering propensity to justify violence that preserved its white ruling class superiority. And the Capitol Riot was an extension of the same, it’s not some distant historical aberration, this attitude exists with us today. “Everything’s fine, America is great, any problems are caused by minorities themselves or leftists.”

Mass shootings for example. America has a horrible problem with mass shootings, no other developed country has anything like it. And when one of them does have a mass shooting, they do everything they can to prevent another, usually with great success. In America, people pretend it didn’t happen, or pretend it was unavoidable. The right’s response to America’s horrible gun violence problem is pretty much the same as its response to the Capitol Riot.

And it goes all the way back. America’s founding fathers set up a system where white property owning males reigned supreme. Race riots and native genocide were a huge part of American history, not to mention lynchings. The freaking Civil War, the greatest mass death event in US history, was fought because a certain subset of white Americans wanted to own human beings as property.

And they haven’t given up yet. The Confederates called the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression” and that mindset is still driving Trump supporters. No, progressives don’t want to cancel them. They don’t want them to feel guilty for the crimes of their ancestors. They don’t want to outlaw Christianity or install a communist government. We just want them to acknowledge that there were terrible things in American history, and we can do better.

Did that make any sense? I’m frightened and anxious because we went through the looking glass the past few months. This isn’t Birtherism or Russiagate nonsense, Trump supporters are now living in an alternate reality. Trump is their messiah, and he tells them what is real. This scares the f–k out of me. Nixon or Reagan don’t hold a candle to this sort of devotion. There’s never been anything like this in my life before, and as a student of history, Trumps are few and far between.

Usually they’re smarter though. What a sheetshow. Stay safe everyone, still crazy times everywhere. Covid is in fact real. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

*If on January 5 one predicted “Trump will incite a mob tomorrow, and they will overrun the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the election,” one would not have been taken seriously.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 3, 2021 at 10:20 pm