Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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Woohoo! Two new patrons today, so much appreciated. I’ve been socially isolated since March and don’t dare work since at any age, mine especially, Covid just isn’t something to get. This is a disease that we still don’t even begin to fully understand, and a large percentage of people who get it will have long term effects. Covid really is a game changer, it’s not The Stand or Earth Abides (both highly recommended by the way,) but it’s the worst thing to come down the pike in a century at least. The 1918 flu was deadlier, but it had nothing like the long term effects Covid has, a disease that once one gets, it keeps on giving.

I digress. So my blog is really all that’s keeping me safe, and every patron helps. And as always, I’m happy to write blog posts on topics suggested by patrons. Science, history, politics, and cats for the most part. I suppose I could try other topics, but my knowledge of things like sportsball, fashion, and popular entertainment is limited in the extreme. When my parents got excited about the Beatles coming to America, I was like, what’s the big deal about some beetles from England? Granted I was 7 at the time. My knowledge base hasn’t expanded much since, aside from seeing every movie Arnold Schwarzenegger ever made. (I lost a bet, yes, that explains it, quick thinking Doug.)

So, The Donald (note I have not sunk to the name calling du jour which seems to have infected every aspect of American politics these days, though I sure am tempted to refer to him as the Velveeta Voldemort, that cracked me up.) The Donald is thinking of starting his own political party. Go for it Mr Trump. Seeing the GOP split in half is fine by me. It means the Dems will get even more a lock on power, and I can only hope that it inspires them to make some actual positive changes in the country. Things like Medicare-for-all and a real living wage would do wonders for both Americans and the economy. Digressing all over the place today.

Yes, the Donald’s ability to manage a political party will be on par with how he managed Covid, the United States Football League, and his numerous failed business ventures. IE the man is a brilliant self promoter and grifter; actual management ability, he’s a multiple failure. He got through the first three years of the presidency because the inertia of the gigantic byzantine most bloated bureaucracy that ever existed is such that a gerbil could be president and pull it off. Until of course something happens that actually requires a competent leader at the helm. And that would be Covid, actual leadership was required; we got pandemic signalling, blame shifting, and the My Pillow guy. It’s darkly ironic that if it hadn’t been for Covid, Trump would almost certainly have been reelected.

Hopefully Trump will be dropping out of the news cycle soon and I can get back to blogging about science and the ongoing catastrophe that is the American Empire. I’d say that the Atlantic Empire is not going away any time soon, but we’re kinda through the historical looking glass here. And empires based almost entirely on military might tend to be very fragile if my understanding of history is any guide. Oh, history posts, yes, all sorts of those on the back burner.

So one last Trump outrage, the very last thing he did on inauguration day was fire the head usher at the White House and sent the staff home. That way there was no one to open the door at the White House when the Bidens arrived. Awkward: Trump fired chief usher right before leaving White House – TheGrio and  Bidens were left stuck outside White House on Inauguration Day after ‘petty’ final Trump act. IDK, conflicting reports on this one. Still, Trump and infantile pettiness are pretty much synonyms, so sounds believable to me. This is a guy who so far as I can tell spent his presidency undoing anything Obama did because Obama roasted him at a White House House Correspondents Dinner. People that have no sense of humor are even more humorless when the joke is on them. And Trump’s lack of even a shred of humor is the stuff of legend.

Lastly, I see that a famous blogger plagiarized me! OK, that’s almost certainly not true, it’s more a matter of GMTA I suspect. (I always have to explain that that means “Great Minds Think Alike” since for some reason most people are unfamiliar with an acronym that was popular on AOL for a few days in 1998.) The good Doctor Novella  had observations about QAnon today parallelling my observations yesterday. Not really a stretch, Qanon is pretty much a classic “End Times” cult, lots of people have no doubt made that observation. (Excluding QAnon believers of course.)

Petco actually did blatantly plagiarize a website I ran in the late 90s, but what’s done is done. The site is still up, but I lost the password long ago so it’s just a weird fossil site on the interwebs. (And looking at it, at least one link is now flagged by Avast, be careful.) Whoever hosts it is likely still getting revenue from my writing, c’est la vie. I write because it is my purpose, not to make money. Still, money keeps me alive to write, new patrons are always more than welcome, sign up here. I’ll never paywall this site, but I do live on the generosity of readers.

Freezing weather here in Iowa. Maybe I should do another history quiz post, open to suggestions. (Yes, digressing again.) Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: An upbeat image today, might as well be happy before I become completely disillusioned with the Biden administration. A cheery Sisley painting: The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne. 1872. Public domain of course. Alfred Sisley.)

Written by unitedcats

January 23, 2021 at 8:59 pm

TRUMPARTURE EVE AND CRUSHED ANTS

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Four years of the Trump presidency ends tomorrow, today was his last full day in office. And what a ride it’s been, there’s been nothing like it in my lifetime, and pretty much in all of US history. History in the making, and soon to be history, period. His chances of getting reelected in 2024 seem remote, but that’s years from now anyhow. A lot is going to happen between now and then. Various thoughts, in whatever order I end up putting them in:

I could have written this post in advance, but decided to wait until this last evening just in case  there were any crazy new developments. None yet, though we’re not completely out of the woods. At least a dozen National Guard members have been removed from the capitol security detail for extremist ties, two for making threats to politicians. We’re talking right wing extremist ties, nice to see them finally being taken seriously.

Let’s see, just  to repeat stuff I’ve said before: Mea culpa. I was wrong. Trump ended up being worse than my worst fears. I even had some hope, a thin hope at that, that he might be an OK president. He did make a number of promises that would have made a huge difference to poor and working class Americans. Yeah, none of those materialized. I also initially held out the hope that he was smarter than he appeared, it didn’t take long for him to demonstrate the falsehood of that theory. Lastly, I wasn’t shocked by his election. His appeal to a certain demographic was obvious, and Trump’s always been a world class self promoter. Pretty much Trump’s only world class talent sadly. And Clinton’s missteps were painful to see, it was clear she thought she had the 2016 election in the bag. Pretty much every military disaster in history was preceded by the losing side wildly underestimating their enemy, that was Clinton’s 2016 campaign in a nutshell.

I digress, tonight is Trump’s last night. Him and Melania are likely hiding tuna fish in the White House’s curtain rods or such. He’s proven himself a vindictive petty man time and again. Some people see that as  a strength. I see it as proof of Sally Shlaer’s axiom: “There are no adults.” Living with an eight year old in a sixty year old man’s body housemate  has reinforced that, but I digress. I see that Mike Pence has risen to the occasion: Mike Pence posts farewell photos in good-bye message — but excludes any of Donald Trump. Apparently him and  Trump haven’t spoken since, well, Trump incited a mob to lynch Pence. Pence may be a fundamentalist monster, but unlike Trump, he’s not an idiot.

Trump’s star continues to fall: Petition circulates in Scotland to rename airport Trump uses to get to his golf course for Joe Biden. There will be a lot more things like this in the months to come. There’s good things too though: Tonight is the last night in US history where there’s never been a female vice president. Or a black vice president too for that matter I suppose. The end of Trump  is a sea change in US history.

400,000 dead of Covid today. That’s Trump’s legacy. I wonder how many gravestones will say “killed by Trump’s inability to fight a pandemic?” In some ways (all ways?) Trump’s response to Covid defines his presidency and his legacy. If he had just consulted the experts and gone with the plan Obama/Bush left him, he’d be getting ready to be inaugurated into his second term tomorrow. Instead he winged it, and when Covid didn’t magically disappear, he just moved on and ignored it. Smooth move exlax.

Trump is a man who his entire life ignored the law, contractual obligations, and reason. And he was protected by privilege, wealth, and finally the presidency. That ends tomorrow. Who knows what the future holds. Whatever happens, the Earth abides. In the  greater scheme of things, Trump’s accomplishments and transgressions are no more than crushed ants.

Deserts are the greatest testament to God’s beauty, barren and lifeless, in many ways they are the most living places on Earth. Does that make sense? Probably not. That’s why I write, trying to put such thoughts into words. Trump’s departure is a sea change in US history, but God and nature really don’t care. They are infinitely bigger  than Trump. See  above image, nature will persevere no matter what. Stay safe and warm everyone, who knows what Biden will bring. Blogging topics at least! #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Death Valley, Public Domain snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

January 19, 2021 at 9:34 pm

NAZIS EVERYWHERE

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More and more major news sites are paywalled these days. I find it concerning, because basically it’s limiting poor and working class people’s access to online news. A dollar a week is often the going rate, with the implied or even stated “selling point” that that’s only the cost of a cup of coffee. Chump change really. Well, to people making six figure incomes, sure. Most Americans don’t make six figure incomes, or even close to it. A dollar a week is fifty dollars a year, the cost of a trip to the grocery store. That’s serious money to huge numbers of Americans, so it effectively limits their ability to access news online. I’m not sure what can be done about it in America, but it’s sad seeing yet another barrier being erected to keep poor people in their place. Because it’s more than news that’s being blocked: want ads, employment, etc. Oh well, end rant.

Yes, it’s official, Trump will not be getting a traditional military farewell ceremony: Pentagon confirms it will not hold traditional farewell ceremony for Trump as president vies for military-style parade: reports. Oddly enough, urging an insurrection mob to storm the capitol cost  Trump even more support among the professional military. And his flurry of Trump apparatchik appointments to the Pentagon couldn’t have helped either. Clinton’s insistence that Russian interference cost her the election was ridiculous on many levels, but she didn’t urge her supporters to storm the capitol in a bizarre attempt to overturn the election results.

Does look like Trump is leaving the White House post haste. There’s even rumors that he is going to leave the country. All wild speculation, I certainly got nothing. It is really nice not having him spread his lies on social media anymore. Still, his beliefs aren’t going away anytime soon: Why Beliefs of 2020 Election Fraud Could Last Well Past Trump. My best guess is we are in for years of something akin to “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Basically the war between the IRA and Britain, with a few other parties involved too. Much ugliness and terrorism, but only a few thousand dead all told. It did last 30 years though, one can hope ours will be over much sooner.

Interestingly there was a previous period of, well, out and out Nazism in the USA, from 1924 to 1941 or so. Their famous 1939 rally in New York is pictured above. They were a lot more ideologically united than the weird patchwork of Neo-Nazis parading around now and on display at the capitol riot. But all pretty much the same, ultra nationalist, white supremacy, with actual pure Nazism thrown in for good measure like the “Camp Auschwitz STAFF, work brings freedom” T-shirt guy. The 1939 rally was their high water mark, and it was surrounded by far more people opposed to them than attended. Only a massive police presence kept them apart. Afterwards it turned out the leader of the rally had absconded with a huge chunk of money made at the rally and spent it on his mistress and such, like $250,000 in today’s money. That was pretty much the last straw for the American Nazi party at the time, and Pearl Harbor and Germany declaring war on us in 1941 pretty much wrapped them up.

Sadly the current batch is far more numerous. And I don’t have any problem regarding hard core Trumpers as essentially Nazis. They share pretty much identical ideology. Both want their country returned to a nation where white Christian heteronormative people basically define society’s laws and values, with everyone else shoved back in the closet. That’s what “Make America Great Again” means, convince me otherwise.

Finally, what not to do about this mess. Rebecca Solnit: On Not Meeting Nazis Halfway. Great read, this isn’t a situation where dialog and compromise is going to help. In fact it’s essentially surrendering to the right, since they have zero interest in dialog or compromise. Read the article, I’m going to be really making more of an effort to link to articles that aren’t paywalled. It’s a shame, I like a lot of the guest editorials in the New York Times, but c’est la vie. Two days to go, Biden’s Wednesday inauguration is sure gonna be different than any previous inauguration, glad I’m not going to be there. Stay safe and stay warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula  #impeachtrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: 1939 Nazi Rally in NYC. Public Domain under US copyright law as it was taken by a US government employee in the course of  their duties.)

Written by unitedcats

January 18, 2021 at 9:08 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Elections, History, Trump

A MAZE OF DEATH*

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I’m really pessimistic today about what 2021 holds for America. I know that many people think that Trump leaving office is going to head us back towards pre-Trump normalcy. While people can be forgiven for thinking that, I think it’s wishful thinking at this point. A third of America is in revolt against reality itself. They actually believe that the Democrats stole the election and that Trump is somehow going to fix it; especially the people, millions of people, who have slid into the QAnon rathole and think there is some sort of Satanist Pedophile Jewish Democrat cabal running the world … that Trump is secretly fighting.

I don’t think much will happen between now and the inauguration, enormous numbers of troops have been deployed in Washington and state capitals. However, to people still somewhat tethered to reality, this is a sensible precaution after Trump supporters stormed the capitol building. To the tens of millions of Trump supporters who believe the election was stolen, this is further proof that the Democrats are secretly up to no good. That’s why I think there is no way out of this maze of death, everything is now simply further proof of the conspiracy. Motivated reasoning on steroids, if Jesus himself came back from the dead and denounced Trump, the Trumpers would think it was a Democrat hoax.

That’s one factor in my bleak analysis. Another is that despite getting modest press coverage due to the political sheetshow that is dominating the news cycle, America is reeling under the worst mass death crisis since 1918, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. 100,000 Americans a month or more are dying of Covid, and with the new more contagious strain spreading, that won’t get better anytime soon. The vaccine rollout will mitigate it eventually, somewhat, maybe, we can hope. And adding a  terrible economy for the poor and working class just adds to the widespread social stress. Hard times have spawned horrible political crises throughout history, and there’s no reason to think America will be any better. Biden is no FDR, and even if he was, he’s facing a much worse situation than FDR faced. Hoover was merely incompetant, Trump in addition to incompetence is doing everything he can to sabotage the nation before he leaves the White House.

Lastly, America is freakishly violent for a developed country. We have a long proud (sadly) history of glorifying both external and internal violence. For many Americans violence is the first option, and always has been. Tens of millions of Americans glorify the Confederacy for God’s sake, a treasonous rebellion that killed a million Americans because the South wanted to keep human beings as property. Our genocidal and ethic cleansing policies towards natives. Over 5,000 lynchings in US history, how many in Canadian history? One. A mob of Americans crossed the border and lynched a man. And America’s homicide, mass murder, and violent crime rates are horrifying compared to the rest of the developed world. Violence has always been the first response of Americans to perceived social ills. Jesus wept.

The capitol riot was just the beginning. The right is already warping the riot to support their warped view of reality: How Republicans Are Warping Reality Around the Capitol Attack. There’s countless potential Lee Harvey Oswalds and Timothy McVeighs out there, and Trump and numerous others are encouraging them. Even if the show of force this week at the inauguration deters new outrages, the right’s imagined grievances aren’t going to go away, if anything they will get worse. I don’t see a peaceful resolution to this discord.

And worse (yes, Doug’s Darkworld, not Doug’s Puppyworld) I still think the rest of the country is wildly underestimating how bad this could get. Like people are all up in arms worrying that Trump is looting the White House on his way out. Frankly, who cares, the Republic is in one of the worst crises in its history, and people are upset that the Trumps might be stealing White House silverware? Not my worry. I freaking hope that before the Biden’s move in the White House gets a world class scouring for bombs, toxins, booby traps, and surveillance devices. It only takes one radicalized White House staffer to leave something that would change history. Anyone who doesn’t understand after the capitol riot that some of these QAnon people are capable of anything is living in a dream world.

Remember, if a time bomb went off in the White House, or a bunch of Biden people die of anthrax … that wasn’t done by a right wing extremist among Trump’s staff, oh no, the Democrats did that to make Trump look bad! Every act of violence here on out is going to make things worse, and it only takes a handful of people realizing that to act on it. This is why I took down my Biden sign and hung an American flag in my window. If in July 1914 someone said there would be a million war deaths by Christmas 1914, they would have been laughed at. I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2021 America, but I think there will be more blood than in anyone’s worst nightmares.

I hope and pray I’m wrong. Stay safe everyone. Comments, likes, shares, and especially patrons appreciated. If the gentle reader enjoys my writing, even a dollar a month makes a difference. God bless all. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Dead civilians in Belgium killed by Nazis in the winter of 1944. Credit: US government photographer, so Public Domain under US copyright law.)

*’A Maze of Death’ is a 1970 scifi novel by Philip K. Dick. Titles cannot be copyrighted, but I still wanted to credit one of my favorite authors.

Written by unitedcats

January 17, 2021 at 9:02 pm

MADNESS WALKS THE LAND

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I’m at a loss. I’ve spent my whole life studying current events, human affairs, and history. And what’s going on in the United States now is so far off the rails that it’s almost incomprehensible to me. Trump and his supporters believe things that are so at odds with reality that they prevent any possibility of dialog or resolution. For example, I was reading some posts today to this effect:

“Trump has already secretly invoked the Insurrection Act, and Biden is no longer the president elect, the November election is null and void. Before the 20th (eight days from now) Biden and pretty much every Democrat legislator in America will be arrested. And in March the election will be held again.”

How does one respond to something like that? Millions, if not tens of millions, of Trump supporters actually believe that, or something very similar. That last fall’s election was some terrible left wing plot to impose communism on America, or even Chinese rule, and Trump’s going to fix it all and restore himself to the presidency. It’s like an onion, layers of fantasy atop each other, all the way down. And if last Wednesday’s assault on the capitol is any indication, much worse will happen in the next week as millions of Trump supporters take to the streets to bring their vision to fruition.

So I was wrong. I knew Trump wasn’t likely to be a very good president, though I harbored some thoughts that maybe he would follow through on some of his promises and muddle through his four years as a controversial figure without doing too much damage. Replacing the ACA with something that gave health care to all Americans would have been cool. Raising taxes on the rich, that is long overdue. Infrastructure spending, yeah, decades of deferred infrastructure spending has left the US a mess. None of that happened, just four years of Trump giving the rich and corporate America what they wanted, with a side order of destroying our relationships with our allies and incompetant governing to boot. I mean, there’s going to be at least a million Americans dead of Covid by the end of this year because Trump was unable to launch and coordinate a rational science based response to it.

The closest 20th century parallels would be Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Dictators who imposed their own flawed (OK, crazy) vision of reality on their people to horrible effect. It has nothing to do with ideology, if a strong charismatic leader has reality testing issues, they infect the people under them. Humans are very atavistically tribal at the core, if their chief believes it, it’s true for them. And here we are, Trump’s fantasies about election fraud are believed by his followers, so they use motivated reasoning to confirm them. Example: Yes, Trump did encourage his followers to attack the capitol, but after his speech his followers all went home and antifa agents dressed as Trump followers attacked the Capitol!

So what happens now? We’re fucked. I don’t see any way forward for the US that’s not horrifically dystopian. Tens of millions of Americans think Trump is sent by God to destroy the Godless libtards who want to turn America into some sort of socialist hell. They are armed to the teeth, and think last week’s Capitol insurrection was the beginning of a second American revolution to save the country from being ruled by communist foreigners. There will be blood. I have no clue how it will all play out, anyone who says they know is a liar or a fool.

I’d say it’s safe to say that no, Trump isn’t going to reverse the results of the November election, but fuck if I know. Nothing lasts forever, maybe this is the end times for the Republic. It was a flawed experiment from the get go, chattel slavery was a dying archaaic institution even in Washington’s time, yet it was enshrined in the constitution. And the Nazi and racist regalia on display in last week’s insurrection shows it’s still with us. Trump’s supporters think they are God’s chosen people.

That type of thinking never ends well. 2021 in America is going to make 2020 look like a picnic in comparison. I’ll be so happy if I’m wrong. I may have met the love of my life in 2020, if things settle down maybe I won’t die a lonely old crank. In any case, I’ll keep blogging! I’ll never be as famous as “Davy CrockoShit” or “Dances-with-Karens” or whatever one calls the fur wearing “QAnon Shaman” who stormed the Capitol last week, but I can live with that.

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #ImpeachTrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

January 12, 2021 at 9:50 pm

WAS LINCOLN A MONSTER? THE DAKOTA WAR AND AMERICA’S LARGEST MASS HANGING.

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Today a trip down history lane, Lincoln and the largest mass hanging in US history. On 26 December 1862 38 Indians were hung by the US Army in Mankato, Minnesota. I’ve seen a number of memes and discussions on Facebook about this event, and frankly I’m usually horrified by how it’s portrayed and discussed. Mostly discussion involves just what a farce their trials were, and they weren’t even up to the standards of the day; plus throwing in Lincoln as the bad guy in all of this. Lately I’ve seen a number of memes etc. to the effect that Lincoln was some sort of racist monster. I hate black and white depictions of complex historical events and people, they usually leave a lot out.

In any event, The Dakota War, the event that led to this mass execution. Minnesota was a frontier state at the time, it had only been a state for four years. Yes, natives were treated badly by America pretty much from the get go, privately genocide was the often path taken by whites. Cultural genocide was the national policy. There’d been a lot of conflict as settlers moved onto land basically just stolen from the people living there. Thus a lot of resentment on the natives part. And one day a native hunting party massacred a settler family, and that instigated a general uprising.

Numerous bands and tribes began to kill settlers in a bid to convince Americans to flee the region. Between 500 and 800 settlers were killed, often in truly heinous ways. Several small towns were completely destroyed, all their inhabitants killed or taken prisoner. Initially there was little resistance because this was the height of the Civil War and there were no federal troops in Minnesota at all. It should be pointed out that not all the native bands and tribes in the region participated, a number of chiefs refused to participate, one even ordered his warriors to protect the American settlers living nearby.

Within months though a combination of hastily organized militias and federal troops fought and won a number of battles with the Dakota,  put down the uprising, and imprisoned hundreds of natives. The army tried over 300 of them for war crimes and sentenced them all to hang, 303 death sentences to be exact. And for the most part, Americans were just fine with this. The governor of Minnesota even warned that if they weren’t all hung, private citizens would enact their own retribution on whatever natives they could. We are talking about hundreds of settler families murdered, many memorials to those killed remain today.

And this is where Lincoln’s involvement comes in. He was, shall we say, kinda busy during this time. The Civil War was raging. He worked from before dawn to just before bed most days, his wife said she was lucky if she got 15 minutes of his company before he fell asleep at night. So he didn’t need to get involved at all, he could have just let the army hang all 303 prisoners, and that would have been that. That wasn’t Lincoln though, he personally reviewed every federal death sentence handed down during the Civil War, and he made no exception here. He had the trial transcripts, such as they were, sent to Washington, and over a month reviewed them all. And he commuted the death sentences of all but 39 of them, later commuting one more when a general wired him that new information cast doubt on one indian’s guilt.

And by every accounting, Lincoln was horrified by the corrupt and unjust way natives were treated, saying “If we get through this war, and I live, this Indian system shall be reformed.” He also said something to the effect that “You can’t hang an Indian just because he joined an uprising at his chief’s command.” Lincoln grew up on the frontier, and knew in fact how badly natives were treated. During the Blackhawk war he prevented his own men from murdering a native that wandered into their camp. Maybe if the Civil war hadn’t intervened he could have started reforms and maybe the whole damn uprising never would have happened.

So yeah, a shameful chapter in American history. As is almost all of America’s history with the natives, and it’s still not exactly something to be proud of today. When Reagan visited the Soviet Union and pressed them on their human rights record, the Russian premier brought up America’s treatment of its natives. Reagan said “Why, we treat them fine. I’ll meet with Indians any day to discuss their concerns!” When he got back to Washington, a delegation of native leaders was literally waiting in front of the White House to meet with him. He refused.

All that being said, I don’t see how Lincoln comes off as the bad guy in this. It seems popular these days to portray Lincoln as a racist, but the cherry picked quotes I have seen don’t support that. Yes, he did regard whites as the “superior” race, that was kind of the scientific view at the time. However, and it’s a huge however, Lincoln thought that meant it was more important than ever to treat them with the exact same dignity and justice as anyone else. This was a man who his whole life was concerned with justice and fairness. He wasn’t popular among his fellow lawyers for example because he charged people what they could afford, and wouldn’t take on unjust cases.

And I’m no fan of Lincoln. As I have said before “Lincoln didn’t free the slaves, he enslaved the rest of us.” Lincoln was the one that laid the groundwork for the enormously expanded bloated monstrosity the federal government is today. Maybe if he had lived to finish his work, the country might be a better place today. In any event, even allowing the “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart…’ I think that whatever the result, Lincoln was an honorable man trying to leave the world a better place than he found it. Something I would say of very few other presidents.

Tomorrow, more covid horror and Trump’s fantasy about winning the election gets ever weirder. Stay safe, warm, and sane everyone.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: “Attack on New Ulm” Oil on canvas, 1904, Anton Gag. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

January 2, 2021 at 6:41 pm

JULY WAS THE DEADLIEST MONTH FOR YOUNG ADULTS IN MODERN AMERICAN HISTORY

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Yes, yes it was: Opinion | People Thought Covid-19 Was Relatively Harmless for Younger Adults. They Were Wrong. Of course they were wrong, we’ve known since the beginning that young healthy people were dying of Covid-19, while most of the deaths have been among the elderly, not all. And as I and others keep repeating to the “It’s just the flu” folks, young people, even asymptomatic young people, often have heart damage and other possibly long term or permanent health damage. Watching half the country descend into a fantasy world where Trump won the election and Covid is a hoax, I am pretty much giving up on a lot of Americans.

Apparently the Trump administration did too. ‘We want them infected,’ Trump HHS appointee said in email pushing to expose infants, kids and teens to Covid to reach ‘herd immunity’. I find it hard to put stuff like this into words. They wanted to sacrifice a bunch of lives, like hundreds of thousands, to save the rest. In war this is called, um, surrender? It’s one step up from eugenics, the government is supposed to protect American lives, not throw them away to save money. I guess because Covid-19 didn’t start with a Pearl Harbor attack or 9/11, it doesn’t warrant mobilizing the country to defend? And this had nothing to do with saving the economy:  “Fighting the Pandemic” vs. “Saving the Economy” Is a False Choice. Trump didn’t know what to do, but thought he did, and still does. And the dying continues.

Once you get people to believe in the devil, it’s a short jump to getting them to believe the devil is in other people. Once you think God is on your side, it means God isn’t on the other guy’s side. And there, bad things happen. When asked “Do you pray God is on the Union’s side?” President Lincoln replied, “No, I pray the Union is on God’s side.” I find the latter a much healthier perspective on God. And this is what scares me, a huge number of Trump followers think God is on their side. Or Trump was sent by God.

So Trump ’s a saint or messiah? Jesus. I’ll keep trying to make sense of it all. More than one out of a thousand Americans dead, and we could easily hit one in five hundred. I learned tonight an old friend may be dead, hope not, but not looking good. Death is stalking the land, while half of Americans ignore it and continue to follow their leader, The Donald.

The vaccines are out. As the image above shows, vaccines are part of the solution to Covid, but only part. Half of America at least would reject this image. So What Makes You Think 2021 Will Be Better? I’m not sanguine about the future, but I’ve always been a downer in that regard. This time I was right though, 3000 plus dead a day is a freaking disaster. Stay safe and sane everyone, and we’ll get through this. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Self explanatory. Credit/attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Its use may save lives.)

Written by unitedcats

December 16, 2020 at 9:15 pm

TRUMP SELF-OWNS, AND THEN IT GETS MUCH WORSE. 17 STATES SIGNALED THEIR INTENT TO SECEDE, 24 STATES OPPOSED, IT WILL BE DECIDED THIS WEEKEND.

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I was going to skip Trump today, but like a cankerous boil, he outdid himself with a classic self-own. To wit, in yesterday’s rant about how a vast conspiracy cheated him out of being re-elected, he called America a third world country. Yes he did: Trump calls US ‘third world country’ in latest attack on election results. Well Mr Trump, whatever the US was when you took the helm, and it had its share of problems, I don’t think anyone thought it was a third world nation. If it’s a third world nation now, it somehow happened on Trump’s watch. In other words, epic self own Mr Trump, your administration has indeed demonstrated classic stereotypical third world nation incompetence. Nepotism and personal loyalty litmus tests do not a first world national government make.

And then, after writing this, my brain exploded. Some would say it exploded decades ago, who knows, I digress. I realized this latest Hail Mary pass by Trump is much scarier than I grokked (do people still use that word?): Texas and 16 plus states have formally asked the Supreme Court to overturn the 2020 POTUS election. At this juncture at least 24 states have filed motions opposing Texas’s motion. The electors vote Monday, so this is a last ditch attempt to rewrite the election results.

This weekend is it in other words. The SCOTUS, packed by GOP loyalists in recent years, effectively has an opportunity to, well, seize control of US national elections. Basically five people could decide this weekend to overrule the election and make Trump POTUS. This is a real possibility, gentle reader, no matter what anyone says.

So, what would be the result? Well, the people who were shocked when Trump won in 2016 heads’ would explode. Tens of millions of Americans would be outraged, there would certainly be mass protests, and the attendant problems that always arise from that. After that it’s anyone’s bet, but I don’t think Trump would be magnanimous in victory. Not in any universe. He will fan the flames, not reunite the country.

Wow, boy, I’d sure have tons to blog about then. Not that there’s any shortage this year. Hopefully the SCOTUS will ignore it or shoot it down, and things will be so calm by Monday I can blog about the Mexican whale hoax or some such. I’ll be here to blog on it no matter what; Doug, freaking out since 1957. It’s what I do. Stay safe and stay sane everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public Domain. The battle of Fort Sumter, the start of the Civil War. I couldn’t think of a better analogy, Trump is claiming he’s still president, some states may go along with him. Fun times.)

Written by unitedcats

December 10, 2020 at 7:46 pm

PLEASE WEAR A MASK

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Good news for starters: Georgia governor rejects Trump’s call to ‘overrule’ elections officials with emergency powers. The Republican governor of Georgia has decided not to secede from the Union. IE he refused to override his state’s electoral win for Biden, since there is no evidence of the massive voter fraud Trump claims. Yet Trump and his followers sure as shit believe there is. One takeaway for me is to question what I believe, do I have similar blind spots in my reality testing? Point them out in the comments please.

Some say Trump is losing it: Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial. Or this, not paywalled:

Donald Trump ‘facing a rapid decline’ as he wallows in ‘rage and denial’ over election loss: report. IDK, he’s certainly in a unique position, the first president in American history to refuse to concede a presidential election. Rock meet hard place. Like 9/11 Truthers and Birthers, show me the evidence. None yet. Russiagate too. I’m an iconoclast, limiting my readers but at least I can live with myself. Here, long speculative read: Opinion | Why Do So Many Americans Think the Election Was Stolen?

Meanwhile, Covid’s second wave, the Northern Hemisphere’s winter cold and flu season, is exploding pretty much everywhere. The places pretending Covid was a hoax are getting slammed really bad: Opinion | Covid-19 Came for the Dakotas. I’m not sorry, Covid is real, not a communist plot. A 9/11 a day in American deaths now, who knows how many more with long term or permanent health issues. What a freaking mess. Stay strong people.

So some great science news. And science IS making great progress with Covid. That’s tomorrow though. Calling it a night. In northern Iowa, no snow yet. Def unusual. Another layer of oddness in the hell year of my life. Most of which I’ve dodged by being socially isolated since March. Cue hysterical laughter. Good thing I don’t own a chainsaw. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #CabinFever

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: PSA. Trust your doctors people. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. God bless health care workers.)

Written by unitedcats

December 6, 2020 at 8:29 pm

TRUMP HAS CROSSED THE RUBICON, BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID

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I got nothing, so pure (snort) stream of consciousness.  Train wreck of consciousness? Three facets of reality are out of frame so to speak. Pandemic. Trump’s Election denial. And being in social isolation since March has definitely put me in an odd frame of mind. I’m normally a loner and an introvert, but the last nine months, wow.

Weird times: Racists Destroy California Monolith, Proclaim Christ Superior to Aliens. It’s bringing out the best and worst in people. This was kinda the worst. Then this, Trump supporters turning on each other: Opinion | The MAGA Revolution Devours Its Own. And “Why Police reform is needed” illustrated: Alabama sheriff’s ‘thugshot’ Christmas tree draws complaints. As well it should, the police in the US all too often have a gang mentality. Not helping.

Saved by the bell! Went to check the news, Trump is basically insisting that the governor of Georgia should, well, secede from the Union: Claim the vote was rigged somehow and call the state legislature to overturn the state’s win for Biden. My first thought, Trump has crossed the Rubicon. Be afraid, be very afraid. It’s my second thought too, Trump isn’t going to back down from his fantasy that he won the election. And he’s ordering the GOP to follow him.

What interesting times to live in. I hope I wake up tomorrow and the governor of Georgia has defied Trump. And nothing else weird and horrible has happened. Doug’s just freaking out again. Stay safe everyone, I’ll just freak out quietly here in the corner. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Caesar crossing the Rubicon, from Snappygoat. Public Domain.)

Written by unitedcats

December 5, 2020 at 9:06 pm