Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Hitler’ Category

“THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES” PLUS THE 2021 NONSENSE CONTINUES

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I saw a classic movie the other night: “The Best Years of Our Lives” It was a 1946 movie about three servicemen returning from World War Two and the difficulties they had re-adjusting to civilian life. Surprisingly, to me at least, it was quite watchable. I find it fascinating how some old movies become pretty much unwatchable after even a few decades, while others become timeless classics. Partly personal preference I am sure, but I am sure there are other factors at play. It was also interesting in that the movie took a very honest look at what we now call PTSD, these three veterans had serious issues. I’m sort of stuck on the idea that prior to 1980 or so most movies portrayed an idealised “Father Knows Best” view of American culture, so it was refreshing to see one with a more honest take. Unfortunately they all worked out their problems in the end and lived happily ever after, which is a far cry from the realities of PTSD.

Still, a movie I really enjoyed. As did the people at the time, it was a wildly popular movie, and won nine academy awards. Including the first time a non professional actor won an academy award, Harold Russel; and the only time a performer won two awards for the same performance, Harold Russell again. I guess it’s a good thing that a movie about people dealing with personal demons was so popular, even if the demons were unrealistically vanquished. It’s Hollywood, happy endings are what they are all about. Hey, even I, who recently lost all faith in humanity, liked it.

In politics: The utter ridiculousness of calls for Joe Biden to resign. It really is transcendentally absurd. 13 Americans die, and the GOP falls all over themselves claiming Biden is unfit to lead and should resign. Were there calls for Roosevelt to resign after Pearl Harbor? Reagan to resign after the Beirut Barracks bombing? Trump after Covid killed hundreds of thousands of Americans? Bush to resign after 9/11? Maybe, but not by mainstream leaders of the opposition party. This really shows just how out of touch with reality the GOP has gotten, because they refuse to accept Biden as the elected president, that somehow that translates into he’s unfit to lead. Give me a break. And whatever criticism one wants to aim at Biden, he successfully pulled off one of the greatest airborne evacuations in history, over 150,000 people evacuated in two weeks.

Not surprising, manufactured outrage is all the GOP has. They’ve been spreading a story that Biden repeatedly checked his watch during the ceremony as the US dead from Kabul were unloaded. No, he didn’t: Did Biden Check Watch 13 Times During Transfer of Fallen Soldiers? In fact he may once have glanced at his watch, though that isn’t even clear. No worries though, Fox News replayed the video at half speed to exaggerate the glance and make it appear more than it was: Fox News manipulates its own video to spread allegation that Biden looked at his watch during transfer of fallen troops. Kind of like how the British during World War Two edited a film of Hitler to make it look like he was dancing a little jig after the surrender of France. Of course Britain was at war with Germany at the time and making Hitler look bad was a very reasonable propaganda exercise. Um, is Fox News at war with America? Apparently, if they are happy to alter a film to make Biden look bad. Nonsense like this not only destroys the mainstream media’s credibility, it’s a big factor in tearing America apart and making it ungovernable. And Fox News isn’t the only one, but they led the way.

Sigh. A good article about China, Taiwan, and the US. More accurately, just how nation states are adamant about not letting provinces secede. The US paid a terrible price preventing the Confederacy from seceding, and if anything the Chinese are even more adamant that Taiwan is a part of China. For the US to go to war with China to prevent it reunifying with Taiwan is utter folly. Still, nations have gotten into stupid wars for no good reason throughout history, just hoping this doesn’t turn into one of those wars. Good read:  American Civil War and the Lesson for China and Taiwan.

And then some of today’s truly whacked nonsense. A man who no doubt thinks of himself as a patriot and a Christian calls for tens of millions of Americans to be literally starved into supporting Trump’s “Stop the Steal” lies: ‘You Get Nothing’: Josh Bernstein Calls for Democratic Voters to Be Starved Until Biden Resigns. This would of course include millions of innocent children, not to mention millions of Trump supporters. This is called “collective punishment,” and is a human rights violation and war crime of the first order, something only the most hideous authoritarian governments do. (cough) Nazis (cough.) And unlike the Nazi’s who would massacre villages for supporting insurgents, he’s talking about collective punishment for people exercising their right to vote. And once again I apologize for my prior claims that comparing Trumpism to Nazism was overblown, I was wrong.

And for dessert: Christian Preacher: If Trump Isn’t Reinstated, Your Wives May Be Raped. The title pretty much speaks for itself.  Thoughts and prayers to those impacted by Ida. And I am doing something about it, I write about Global Warming constantly to fight the fossil fuel industry lies that are making the consequences of Global Warming far worse than they needed to be. Hope all are having a good week, stay safe and dry everyone.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Hitler jig photo, taken at the surrender of France to Germany on 22 June 1940. It was from a film that was altered to make Hitler dance a little jig, but I couldn’t find that online. Credit: Unknown, likely Public Domain under US copyright law, claimed as Fair Use in any case.)

Written by unitedcats

September 1, 2021 at 4:35 pm

HEAR THAT POPPING SOUND IN THE DISTANCE? THAT’S EVANGELICAL’S HEADS EXPLODING …

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Because: Nevada pageant winner to become 1st transgender Miss USA contestant Saw this posted on Facebook, the outrage in some comments was, sadly, predictable. Something that quite literally has zero effect on them or society is somehow personally enraging to them. The nation and world has all sorts of terrible ongoing problems that are most definitely impacting everyone’s lives in negative ways … but they are outraged because a Miss USA contestant was born with male genitals. Go figure.

Might have linked this before, but it’s worth another look: Why Biden’s American election meddling comments in Geneva were such a bad look Basically Biden lectured Putin on election interference, claiming it made Russia look bad. Apparently Biden was utterly oblivious to the fact that it’s the USA that is the world’s number one meddler in foreign elections. Pot calls kettle black in other words.

A good article about France hopefully coming to grips with sexual abuse and pedophilia: Omerta in France. France has a long proud history of romance and seduction, but a lot of it is actually pretty nasty.

Another one from the trending “I’m going to change the facts to fit my narrative” file: Horses in Pre-Columbian America. Horses became extinct in North America something like ten thousand years ago, and didn’t return until the European conquest began after 1492. However, three modern groups are disputing that. One is some native groups, basically based on oral traditions, and the fact that they aren’t comfortable with the idea that the horse, which was such a central part of plains indian culture, originated with the European invaders. Hey, I can understand that. Second, by wild horse aficionados who want wild horses to get protected status, which is only granted to native species, not invasive species. Their hearts are in a good place. Lastly, the LDS Church. Because … the Book of Mormon written in the 19th century clearly claims there were horses in the New World in Biblical times. And of course since they claim it was written by God or such, it must be true. Right.

They’re all wrong of course. Well, wrong so far as current science understands it. Scientists do make mistakes though, that’s why scientific research is ongoing: It’s OK to be Wrong | NeuroLogica Blog. There was some thinking in the mid 19th century that science was on the verge of discovering everything there was to know and soon humans would have God’s creation all figured out. Ah, the folly of youth. Interestingly enough science is now able to find DNA in soil layers and determine what animals were around when the soil was deposited: All the major players spent time in the Denisovan cave. This is actually going to revolutionize archeology and paleontology. Not to mention putting the final nail in the coffin of such imaginary animals as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

Speaking of imaginary creatures, the much awaited Pentagon report of UFOs came out. Oh, wait, they’re UAPs now because UFOs have such a bad name. Of course the report contained absolutely nothing new, because UFOs are one big nothingburger. Great for scaring up defense dollars though: UFO Report Provides No New Information But Plenty Of Fodder For Cold Warrior Policymakers. I know some will say, but reliable people have seen them! Um, when someone sees something in the sky the human eye cannot determine how big it is, how far away it is, or how fast it is moving. Then there’s the fact that UFOs have only been reported in modern times in regions with a history of UFO sightings, no one has ever hit one, none have ever crashed, and no one has gotten a good picture of one.

When I was younger people would say, no one ever got a picture of a car crash either! Well, decades later, we have lots of car crash pictures, still no UFO, Bigfoot, or Nessie pics. And of course SETI has come up with absolutely nada, and they’ve tried a lot of promising approaches. If alien intelligent life is ever discovered, I will of course be thrilled, but right now the overwhelming evidence is that UFOs are mythological, sociological, and psychological constructs like ghosts and angels.

Getting more random here: ‘Dragon man’ claimed as new species of ancient human but doubts remain. Long story short, during WW2 Chinese laborers found a weird skull, didn’t want the Japanese occupiers to know about it, and it was hidden until just recently. And lo and behold it’s one of the most unusual ancient skulls ever found and some are claiming it’s a new human lineage like Denosovians or Neanderthals. Yeah, one skull, no context, no DNA. Let’s not get carried away, maybe it was a Denosovian Andre the Giant. Neat find, and our understanding of just how complicated the human lineage is grows all the time, but we are not going to be rewriting textbooks on the basis of one skull.

Well, a few more links, but tomorrow! Or whenever. Interesting time in my life indeed. So the pics above! Both were taken in the 1930s. The one on the left is a group of Soviet Young Pioneers. Kinda Stalin’s equivalent of Hitler Youth. On the right, a Mickey Mouse Club meeting. The similarities and differences are telling. Even by the thirties American youth were living in a fantasy world.

So final nice story and segue. During Kristallnacht, a Jewish family was in their home as a mob came up the street burning and looting Jewish homes. Just before it got there, their 17 year old neighbor ran into their house wearing his Hitler Youth uniform. When the mob arrived he yelled out of an upstairs window that the home had been sold to a good German family, and the Jews were gone. Saving their home and valuables, and ultimately saving their lives as it left them with the resources to flee Germany before the war.

Stay cool and safe everyone. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Described in text, both are Public Domain images to the best of my knowledge.)

Written by unitedcats

June 29, 2021 at 7:48 pm

WHAT DO AIS AND DATING SITE SCAMS HAVE IN COMMON? PLUS JUNE 22ND

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So I’ve been checking out some dating sites lately. They’ve come a long way since I last looked. And I’ve been there the whole time, I did computer dating in the late 1970s. And that was one computer nerd who wrote a program and advertised it locally, in Davis, USA. Worked for me, it hooked up my housemate to a girl I dated for years, was friends with for decades. Now, it’s much more sophisticated. And the scammers are as well. Well, scammers and sex workers. Neither of which I have a problem with. Hey, poor people in the second and third world want to scam gullible Americans out of their money, go for it. And sex workers can’t advertise openly and safely because this is Kristian Amerika, so they have to do so subtly on dating and rental sites. I digress.

So seeing as I have no interest in sending money to scammers or seeking the services of sex workers, I need to figure out how to filter out same. The sex workers are pretty easy, if their pics involve T&A shots with a sparse profile looking for hookups: sex worker. The scammers, boy, they have gotten a lot more sophisticated. The best ones have very real looking profiles. And when messaged, the responses can be well written as well. They tend to have a cut and paste look though, IE neat message, but only superficially at best a response to my prior message. And when I suspect a scammer, I ask a very specific question. Or better yet, say something completely nonsensical. Jeez, sent a nonsense response to one, got an obvious cut and paste message to the effect of “Wow, thanks for sharing that information with me.” Busted.

So, I realized I am essentially running a variant of the Turing Test on possible scammers. The Turing Test is basically the idea of interfacing with a subject via text exchange and determining if it is a human or a computer. Brilliant concept really, because it doesn’t concern itself with whether a computer can become conscious and self aware, it limits the question to, can a software program fake human responses enough to fool humans?

And we’re real close folks. We are close to the point where it’s going to be hard to tell if we are interacting with a person or software. Phone a business, will one be talking to software or a person? And think about this. How many professions are essentially ‘talking to people?’ The ones that can run remotely, a Zoom image or whatever works as well. The image of a person on a video feed is just pixels on a screen, all manipulable by software. AIs are going to put a lot of people out of work, every telemarketer on the planet for starters.

As for pixels on a screen, that’s what movies and TV series are, right? So why couldn’t an AI create movies? It’s just a more sophisticated chess calculator. Or series. There have to be an infinite number of possible ‘Simpsons’ episodes, right? So why couldn’t software write new ones? Think of it, every TV show or movie the gentle reader ever liked available with countless computer generated sequels/episodes. Young Sean Connery could star in thousands of James Bond films. Peeps will be able to buy software that will create movies or series to order.

Will this happen soon? IDK, technology was running ahead of application during the US Civil War, the gap has increased since then. Is there as yet some human component to creativity that AIs won’t be able to surpass? Maybe. One thing we can say for sure about the future, no one has ever accurately predicted it.

The past though, we can see how predictions went wrong. June 22nd 1941, eighty years ago today, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa, the greatest invasion in history. Tens of millions would die as a result. Exactly three years later, June 22nd 1944, the Soviet Union launched Operation Bagration. AKA “The Destruction of Army Group Center.” Germany’s Army Group Center. The greatest defeat ever suffered by Germany, and the fifth bloodiest campaign in European history. No one predicted that, most thought that Germany would easily conquer Western Russia, and who knows what would happen then. A crushing German defeat with Soviet Armies steamrolling to Berlin three years later, couldn’t happen.

Could an AI have written that plot? Maybe. Did an AI write that plot? Could we be living in a 23rd century computer game program on some kid’s Qpad? Am I a software routine writing a blog that will only be read by other aps? And do we evolve as a result? Hell if I know, but I’m going to explore the idea more.

So, yes. My blogging has been limited because of … personal … issues. I think I’m going to write about speculative weirdness to see if I can break through my writer’s block. Stay safe and sanish everyone. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Two destroyed German tanks during Operation Bagration, including dead German crew members. There are still people alive who remember the horrors of Germany’s invasion of Russia. I can’t imagine what they lived through. Credit: Unknown, public domain image under all known copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 22, 2021 at 7:55 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

WHAT WERE THE RIOTERS THINKING, AND OTHER THOUGHTS

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So I saw my cancer doctor today, the cancer is indeed gone. Feels good. I wrote the below last night, will review it. Then Capitol Riot Truthers,plus a prediction I made comes true. Sort of.

Late extemporaneous post tonight, let’s see if I can pull it off. (I didn’t.) I have been thinking, the Capitol rioters, what were they thinking? Well, Trump exhorted them to seize the day so to speak, so they charged. Trump said he would be with them, so I guess they thought this was it, Trump’s gonna declare martial law, Q’s going to send instructions. For good or for ill they faced little opposition and stormed the bastille so to speak. There was no leader, no plan, just a mob of hard core Trump supporting people doing what they thought their leader wanted.

Which he did, Trump was hoping that his people would somehow “fix” the election, that his popularity and greatness would make him president for another eight years. Then he retreated to his command post and watched it all play out on live TV. He didn’t give any secret orders, he sent no agents, he just watched the chaos unfold, ignoring entreaties to do something for hours. There was no Plan A, let alone Plan B.

This is Trump in a nutshell. The Capitol Riot  was in many ways the same as Trump’s claim that Covid would magically disappear by Easter. He set things into motion, and set it up so he was a winner if things played out his way. And had an out if they didn’t. Trump doesn’t plan, the Capitol Riot was like if Hitler on the Night of the Long Knives simply ordered his men to kill his enemies. No, Hitler personally led his charge. Not Trump.

Things could be worse in other words. My point is Trump has no management, planning, or leadership skills, just a world class ability to inspire some people to do his bidding. He basically believes in magic is what I am saying … he hoped Covid would go away as he predicted, he would have been a God … he hoped the Capitol rioters would somehow overturn the election, then he would be POTUS for four more years. They really are the same mind set, and countless other incidents  in Trump’s life.

Trump’s a gambler who has taken crazy bets all his life, almost always lost, but his wealth and privilege protected him from consequences, and when he won big; Boy Howdy. The two times Trump won big: “The Apprentice” and getting elected POTUS. As someone observed about the Diet Coke button on Trump’s Oval Office desk … how childish. He’s not a complicated man, there’s no nuance, The Donald couldn’t plan his way out of a paper bag.

And yet Trump’s going to be one of the most remembered men in American history. Remembered for what, that has yet to be written. I’ll keep blogging as long as I can, hoping for another thirty years. It sure will be interesting to see Trump’s legacy decades from now.

That was last night. Today, two things:

OK, as many more or less expected, there are indeed Capitol Riot Truthers now. People who believe it was a false flag attack staged to make Trump look bad. That wasn’t a typo. See: Oregon GOP offers ridiculous excuse for US Capitol attack. There are a few, um, logical problems with this argument. Why bother. For puzzled future and foreign readers: Trump spontaneously incited a crowd of his supporters into storming the Capitol building in Washington on January 6 2021, this is fact. There’s room for endless debate on just how and why this happened, but it did indeed happen. Tens of millions of Americans can’t or won’t accept that. I’d say I’m puzzled, but I’m not. Humans are simple, if one can sell them an idea, they will happily let the seller alter the facts to fit the idea. Trump sold millions of Americans on the idea that he was a winner, and if they followed him they’d be winners too.

Second thing. Well, I called this one, I said we might see Trump more or less pretend to still be president. ‘Attention-starved’ Trump brutally mocked for ‘pathetic’ Office of Former President announcement. The tone of the article is annoying, but Trump does indeed still think of himself as president.

Weird times continue. Biden said something truly horrifying today, and I had a thought about the rising paywall tide. Tomorrow’s blog. Stay safe and warm everyone. Stay frosty too.

#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: An illustration for Shelly’s sonnet Ozymandias: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Not a subtle allusion. Credit: Elminster_ZK. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

January 26, 2021 at 8:52 pm

NIXON RISES FROM THE GRAVE TO CONDEMN TRUMP

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President Trump has been impeached … again. The first president in US history to be impeached twice. So much winning. He might break other records before or after leaving office too. Granted I doubt he will serve jail time, hell, I don’t want him to be jailed. Especially if he can run for president again. We all know what infamous German leader used his jail time after a failed coup to write his magnum opus. I’ve had enough Trump parallels with Hitler already thank you. I hope he flees to Russia to avoid his creditors, it would keep him out of trouble. (Putin knows how to deal with peeps who cause him trouble. Yeah, that’s heartless, but Trump’s a cop killer now, my sympathy for his fate is limited.)

I don’t think the impeachment will succeed, they still need a two thirds vote in the Senate. Still, anything is possible, it’s 2021! He did send one last message to try and head off the impeachment vote, he called on his supporters to avoid violence. That’s all he did though, he didn’t retract his lies about the election being stolen. And he still took no responsibility for inciting his crowd to violence. Too little too late.

Lot’s has come to light. One congresswoman is reporting that the panic buttons in her office had been torn out before the attack. It seems unlikely they had been removed for cleaning. If true, it certainly implies that there was inside help of some sort, IE someone knew the Capitol was going to be stormed. Some of the rioters were indeed carrying zip ties as are used to tie people up, and one Congresswoman tweeted that Pelosi had been removed from the chambers. She’s getting a lot of flak for that and other incendiary tweets, idk what to think about that.

This, if true, is scary: Neo-Nazis trying to recruit military servicemembers to assassinate elected officials: report. I’ve certainly been worried about this, it only takes one unstable  Trump sympathizing National Guardsman, Cop, or Secret Service agent to change history. Indira Gandhi and Anwar Sadat come to mind, and I am sure there are numerous other examples. Political assasination is a tradition in America, we are one violent nation.

Speaking of violence,  there’s been a lot of Trump inspired violence. All denied by so many rightists though. If there was violence, somehow the left inspired it! Like a friend I know, claimed that men were only violent if provoked by women. I shit the gentle reader not. His example, a guy he knew stabbed two people in a bar. Why? Because a woman slapped him in the face. Stuff like this is why I have my jaw taped to my head.

Lots of Capitol rioters have been arrested at this point. I don’t think Trump will pardon them, any more than he will refund all the people he cheated with Trump University or the contractors he’s stiffed. They FAILED, in his mind they are no doubt suckers and losers. Granted on some levels this was a keystone cops insurrection. How did some wag put it? “Revolutionaries have seized the Capitol building! Now they’re milling around in confusion.” I think Trump actually imagined that somehow the storming of the Capitol would result in the election being cancelled. Reports are that he watched it unfold in glee.

IDK though. This is one of those situations where all sorts of misinformation makes it into the airwaves. Nobody accidentally tasered himself to death for example, a falsehood I believed and shared. Oops. Bottom line, I still think there’s going to be more violence and craziness. Tens of millions of Americans think Trump is their savior and believe anything he says without credulity or evidence. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet by a long shot.

Stay frosty everyone, hell of a time. I started a neat science post about rats with toxic hairdos, but there’s so much unfolding in Washington and beyond I just had to cover it. America has a long proud history of toxic violence (see meme above) and it looks like there’s going to be a big spasm in the next week. The peeps who have been screaming that the tree of liberty needs to be watered in blood occasionally are likely going to rise to the occasion. Let’s hope it’s as comical and relatively bloodless as last week’s Capitol seizing farce. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #ImpeachTrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. And yes, the blog title is clickbait. Weird times to be sure.)

Written by unitedcats

January 13, 2021 at 9:23 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

CRAZIER EVERY DAY IN WASHINGTON AND AMERICA

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Started up on a history and science blog, but too much going down personally and in the continuing Trump election challenge crisis. On the personal front got a terrible text from a friend. My oldest best friend actually. I guess he’s peeing blood now, and he was scheduled for cancer tests. He’s in California. The gentle reader can likely guess what happened, all cancelled because the healthcare system is swamped with Covid patients. He’s angry and frightened, and I don’t blame him.

For every 2 Americans who die from Covid, there’s another Covid related death. Hopefully this won’t include my friend. So we’re at over 500,000 deaths above and beyond normal for the past year, one American in just under 700. And it’s still raging out of control. In other countries too, the new more contagious strain is, well, spreading wildly. And there are concerns the current vaccines won’t be as effective against it as the original strains. Trump of course is doing nothing, all he’s been doing since the election is trying to get the election results overturned.

Some of it is farcical, except it’s destroying American’s faith in our democracy. Not even sure where to begin, but ultra farcical is a good start. Trump has awarded two more Medals of Freedom. It’s pretty much the highest award a civilian can be granted in the US, only about ten a year are given out. It’s given for “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” Somehow Rush Limbaugh got one for doing pretty much the opposite, a man who spent his life convincing half of America to hate and fear the other half. The latest two, Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan. They are members of Congress. What are they getting the award for? For being unabashed lickspittle Trump supporters. OK then.

And boy, the infighting among Republicans over whether or not to support Trump’s quixotic attempt to remain in power just keeps getting weirder. Can’t even keep up with it all. Here’s an interesting development: The Republicans refusing to join Trump’s coup attempt are making a stunning admission. They basically aren’t supporting Biden because they don’t like Trump, they are supporting Biden because they fear Trump’s efforts to overturn the election might well end up with the Electoral College being abolished. And if that happens, the GOP’s chances of getting the presidency back get a lot grimmer. Only one GOP presidential candidate has won the popular vote in 32 years. Wouldn’t bother me any, the Electoral College is an archaic joke at this point. Not a ha ha joke though, a “The world is looking at us and wondering wtf is wrong with America?” joke.

Looks like there will be an investigation into Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State: Trump Faces Criminal Investigation for Call to Georgia Secretary of State. We’ll see. While being president Trump was protected from all sorts of civil and criminal proceedings, all that ends January 20th: What Trump faces on Jan. 20, 2021. Jail time seems unlikely, but who knows. I’ve heard people claiming that’s the reason Trump is so desperate to stay in office, he’s afraid of what will happen when he loses his presidential immunity. I don’t really buy that, I think it’s more he really does think he was cheated out of an election victory, the same way I think he really believes he was a fantastic president.

I’m not usually a fan of John Pavlowitz, he does a lot of preaching to the converted, and sometimes his articles fall into the TLDR category. I’m a firm believer that if one can’t make one’s argument in 800 words or less, one needs to rewrite and condense. Still, this time I thing he’s right on, even brilliant. He’s basically pointing out that Trump’s mental health isn’t what makes Trump what he is, it’s because Trump has been sheltered by money and privilege all his life and never faced consequences for his actions. He’s just shallow, selfish, and utterly unconcerned about what harm he causes others. Mr Pavlowitz puts it much better than I can: It’s Trump’s Privilege, Not His Mental Illness That Brought Us Here.

Exciting, if horrifying times. Tomorrow is the Georgia runoff election, so I’ll cover what is known tomorrow night. And I think it’s a safe bet there will be more unfolding news tomorrow as well as Trump’s slow coup attempt or whatever one wants to call it rolls, onward? This turmoil could drag on for months or years. It’s not like Covid is going away anytime soon or the economy is going. Hell, Trump could still order some sort of attack on Iran in a last ditch attempt to stay in power or burn everything down before he’s dragged out of the White House. That’s what Hitler did when he finally accepted/understood that nothing was going to stop the allied armies from rolling into Berlin. He ordered Germany to be basically burned to the ground. Fortunately for the German people, by that time cooler heads were quietly ignoring orders like that.

I can hardly wait to see tomorrow’s news. The next two weeks will likely be crazytime in America.  Likes, comments, as always appreciated. Patrons especially appreciated, even a dollar a month helps, click here. Stay safe, sane, and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It made me spray coffee on my computer screen, no matter what else, enjoying the memes these days.)

Written by unitedcats

January 4, 2021 at 7:39 pm

THE LAME DUCK SHEET SHOW ROLLS ON

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As I stated in the prior post, three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse are raging in America. And with our luck, number four will arrive on Friday. Granted the parallels aren’t perfect, but we can call Covid plague, the collapsing economy is famine, and Trump is the sword. The fourth is the beast, so I guess snake wolves arrive on Friday? One can make a case that Trump is the antichrist, but not going there. Not sure what he is, but he’s conquered the heart and souls of tens of millions of Americans, trapping them in his fantasy world.

Let’s see, in another lovely downside to Trump and company’s Covid denial, it’s made life so unpleasant for health care professionals in rural red areas, that they are fleeing: ‘Toxic Individualism’: Pandemic Politics Driving Health Care Workers From Small Towns. At this point, I’m not ashamed to admit a bit of schadenfreude. Turns out there’s a downside when “Make America great Again” translates to “We hate and fear medical experts.” Talk about shooting your own community in the face. One has to wonder what other types of experts will flee red areas, and will the people living there ever understand that Rush Trumpian BS is not actually a workable substitute for reason and science, who knew?

The vaccine rollout in the US is, as might have been expected, turning into a complete clusterduck: Medical expert details why the vaccine rollout is a mess: ‘They are again setting states up to fail’ Basically the Federal Government simply hasn’t stepped up to the plate to coordinate and support the vaccine rollout, in the exact same way it didn’t step up to the plate to coordinate and lead the fight against Covid. Basically the states are having to fend for themselves. This is why the Confederacy lost the Civil War, and why Covid is kicking America’s teeth in.

But hey, Trump says he’s doing a great job, and that’s all it takes for his supporters. It’s like some great experiment in mass psychology. As if God was bored one day and said “I wonder how long a political movement will last if the followers believe everything their leader says, even though it’s all self aggrandizing lies while him and his buddies loot the country for the rich instead of governing it for the people?” Going on four years now, no end in sight, even as the country crashes and burns.

For more fun, Trump is promising a ‘wild’ time on January 6th. Trump is summoning supporters for a ‘wild’ time on the day the electoral vote will be finalized. That’s the day the election is finalized in the Senate. It’s essentially a formality, there doesn’t seem to be any way Trump could actually change the outcome of the Senate vote, but Trump is the guy who thought he could wish away Covid 19 and a lost election, so who knows what fantasies are floating through his mind. Trump’s summoned supporters from all over the country, though I think it’s a safe bet the turnout will be minimal. At that point too, I think the potential for right wing violence will start to ramp up.

Right wingers have been stockpiling weapons and infiltrating the police and military for a long time now. This story is from Germany, they have the same problem: A Far-Right Terrorism Suspect With a Refugee Disguise: The Tale of Franco A. Basically an officer in the German army disguised himself as a Syrian refugee and created a fake identity. Then he was planning on committing political assassinations and acts of violence, so that they would be blamed on a fictitious Syrian refugee. The idea was to create enough unrest to bring down the government. Yeah, a totally whacked plan, as dumb as the Michigan yahoos who were going to kidnap and try their governor. We’ll see, it’s only going to take one Lee Maga Oswald to change the world though, it’s not something I want to blog about.

Even better, if right wing whack jobs do commit terrible crimes, if they do so before Trump leaves office, he can pardon them! Dark sarcasm. Pardoning murderers is what Trump does. I’d say the recent Blackwater pardons shocked me, but no, they don’t. They murdered Iraqi civilians, which is simply the modern day version of “nits make lice.” I don’t think most Americans, even many on the right, understand how deeply ingrained America’s genocidal impulses towards non whites really is. Trump is the voice of intolerance and hatred, we can only count our blessings that he has inspired very little of it so far.

In many ways, despite the very real damage Trump is doing and may do to the country, he really is a clown in many ways. Hitler was a bonafide war hero from a very humble background. Trump is a spoilt rich brat who used his wealth to shelter himself from reality his whole life. As Mary Trump said, no one has ever said no to Trump, which is why he is freaking out about losing the election. He simply can’t grasp nor accept that the majority of American’s finally said :No!: to him.

Suddenly dawns on me, what if Trump turns out to be one of the small number of Covid survivors who develops a severe psychosis? And if he does, how will we tell? Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I do fear the twenties are going to be a rough decade.)

Written by unitedcats

December 29, 2020 at 7:36 pm

STALIN WOULD HAVE TRUMP FOR BREAKFAST

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. The odds are overwhelming the Sun will come up tomorrow. Still, the Earth or the Sun could be struck by a black hole traveling at relativistic speeds, poof, no sunrise. That being said, many things are so unlikely we can discount them, thus the map. Thus at some point no further scientific debate is warranted. Science is as yet the most accurate map we have.

“The map is not the territory.” Alfred Korzybski. At 63 spins around the Sun old, I still think that’s the number one rule to understanding the world we find ourselves in. No matter how accurate our understanding of reality, it’s just a map, it’s not reality itself. And the two aren’t actually linked in any way. Ever. The world we see around us and understand, is a construct on every level, at no point does it actually connect with reality itself. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad map, it can be remarkably accurate on many levels, that’s why we’re able to walk around and do things like shop or catch balls or write blogs.

But no matter how accurate the map, it’s still just a map. Applied to science this means that science can only predict probabilities, not certainties. The odds are overwhelming the Sun will come up tomorrow. Still, the Earth or the Sun could be struck by a black hole travelling at relativistic speeds, poof, no sunrise. That being said, many things are so unlikely we can discount them, thus the map. Thus at some point no further scientific debate is warranted. Science is as yet the most accurate map we have.

And then there’s religion in general, and Trump supporters in particular. Some religions, I’m looking at you fundamentalists, especially Evangelicals, claim their map is the most accurate. Hell, they claim it’s congruent with reality, it’s God’s word. Yeah, even if their old testament map seemed remarkably accurate, it would still be a map. And it’s not terribly accurate by any objective standard, but it serves its purpose. People who want certainty instead of a map, it’s perfect. Trump and supporters are the same, he thinks his map is perfect, and countless supporters so want an accurate map they follow him. Trump is indeed a Messiah.

Been trying to refine my map since I was four and determined by observation that clouds were just above houses and trees because they never obscured same. No Civil War yet, but not like high ranking people aren’t calling for it: MAGA leaders call for the troops to keep Trump in office. Who knows what the hell would happen if Trump issued … unusual … orders. My take is that Trump is unable to grasp that if he wants the Pentagon’s support, he needs to cut a deal with same, or engage in a Stalinesque purge. Stalin would have Trump for breakfast.

And hell, the reverse could happen. Trump and followers claim that there was massive fraud. Only in states they lost  though. What if there was indeed massive fraud, but on the GOP side: BUSTED? Why the numbers behind Mitch McConnell’s re-election don’t add up. I mean, I do recall the news that Trump did better than polling predicted? Maybe the polling was in error … maybe the GOP cheated? The GOP has had no problem with voter suppression. Trump cheats at golf, I can’t imagine him having a problem with election cheating. I mean, if you’re right, you’re just reinforcing what’s right, right?

I’ll wait till further evidence is produced though. What a time to be alive. I’ve dodged three fatal bullets in the last two years … so I can live through one of the top three mass death and political crises of American history. And no matter what happens, I can’t imagine major battles in Iowa. Snort. The first battle of Bull Run (The first big battle of the Civil War) was fought with a family’s farm in the middle. After that they said “Eff this Sh*t” and bought a farm in rural Virginia. Near the small town of Appomattox. Yerp, Grant used their house as his headquarters when Lee surrendered. So the family could say that the Civil War started in their front yard, and ended in their living room. Nowhere is safe.

Stay safe, sane, and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facebook meme, attribution unknown. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I think it’s funny on multiple levels. Um, any Star Trek fan knows … Trump would not impress the Klingon High Council. There’s a great short film in there.)

Written by unitedcats

December 18, 2020 at 9:02 pm