Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘nuclear weapons’ Category

THE GOOD WAR?

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Well, another thing I would have hoped to avoid seeing in my lifetime: A popular war. More exactly, a wildly popular war. The last time this really took off on a national scale was during World War Two. At least from my understanding of history, that was before my time. So it’s not surprising that the current war is being compared to that one. Saw a guy online ranting that Putin was now the equivalent of Hitler and had destroyed Russia’s world standing for generations. Words can’t describe how ridiculous that is. And the mainstream media is almost pure war porn and war mongering now. With Zellensky and Biden stridently calling for endless war.

Aside from the mind numbing hypocrisy of the US accusing Russia of aggression, possibly the greatest case of the pot calling the kettle black in history, Zellensky refuses to even talk to Russia, and he’s even claiming they will get “all” of Ukraine back including Crimea. As I have pointed out before (one will never see this mentioned in the western news) Crimea was only part of Ukraine through historical accident, it was administratively added to Ukraine in the 1950s when both were part of the Soviet Union, but the people there are Russian and never wanted to be a part of an independent Ukraine. Basically Zellensky is claiming he’s justified in conquering a land full of Russians that doesn’t want to be part of Ukraine.

Yet Americans are convinced Zellensky and Ukraine are fighting for their freedom from Russia, and it’s a noble cause that must be pursued at all cost. And the cost is western gas and food prices going through the roof, and the Dems getting hammered in the fall elections. No, there’s nothing noble, the Russo-Ukrainian War is just another American manufactured war. it’s the war the Deep State (or the Blob or the Atlantic Empire, or whatever you want to call the nexus of power in the western world, Washington, the New Rome) wants and worked hard to get.

The big picture. World War Two was enormously profitable, historically profitable, for the American fossil fuel industry, arms industry, and the Pentagon. I mean these  guys usually profit in modern war, but this time it was all profit, the American homeland was unbothered by World War Two. So after the war, they and Washington were already in bed together, so the cozy arrangement continued. Endless war, the Cold War, endless profits. The military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about. And now, I guess it’s a habit? A strategy like what bees and ants do? America chooses its enemies, and works hard to keep them enemies.

Russia tried to join the west, the USA wouldn’t let them. Global Reform and How the US Hurts Itself. Most Americans though have bought the complete twaddle that certain regimes are “evil”
and that treating them with anything but complete hostility is appeasement; can’t have that, it will unleash a new Hitler upon the world. Neither Saddam nor Putin had a whole lot in common with Hitler, and the Russo-Ukrainian War isn’t Hitler invading Poland. In fact as far as I can tell under the blizzard of propaganda is that both sides are being relatively restrained and trying to only hit military targets.

Neither side gains anything by trying to destroy key infrastructure or cause mass casualty attacks. Russia’s goals are limited and not served by deliberately targeting infrastructure or civilians. Neither are Ukraine’s, destroying the Russian bridge to Crimea or otherwise causing mass harm to Russia runs the very real risk the Russians would escalate in kind. Russia has lots of nuclear weapons, an escalation Ukraine can’t match.

Another huge personal conundrum … there’s really no way to know what’s actually going on in this war. This article for example: Day 150 of the Russo-Ukrainian War. If it’s even half true, the war has gone very badly for Ukraine. Yet the west is mostly claiming that the plucky Ukrainians are inflicting terrible casualties on Russia. Then there’s this: The War ‘Diplomat’: How Borrell and the West Lost the ‘Global Battle of Narratives’ Yes, only America’s allies have bought into the NATO crusade against Russia. Claiming this is “losing the global battle of narratives” strikes me as odd at best, deluded at worst. The point here is that if Russia is actually winning the war, and it’s not an unreasonable conjecture, while NATO and Ukraine think they’re winning … this war could last a long time.

And since we’re talking about a proxy war between the US and one of its two great global designated enemies, serious business. Another such war is still going on after 72 years. That would be the Korean War, still technically just a cease fire. The US has never agreed to negotiate the end of the war, so the war still sits stalemated with both sides armed to the teeth staring at each other across the DMZ. Forever war, forever arms sales, forever Pentagon spending. The only losers are everyone else.

Sometimes I wish I was as sure of my world view as almost everyone else is. It quickly passes. I am sure that war is a bad thing all around. There’s no such thing as a good war.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Self explanatory, attribution in image, found on Facebook. Believed to be legal use under US copyright law, claimed as Fair Use in any event.)

Written by unitedcats

July 27, 2022 at 8:59 pm

IS UKRAINE RUSSIAN FOR DIEN BIEN PHU?

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Links and at least an attempt to deconstruct what’s going on in Ukraine today. The above is the current situation as of 23 April 2022. Note that Russia has withdrawn from its incursions in the north, but has consolidated its control of the south and east. They now control a land link to Crimea. And unofficially at least they may seek to control all of Southern Ukraine, linking them to Russian separatists in Transnistria, the gray area in the lower mid left off the map: Russian General Suggests Moscow Could Seize Ukraine’s Entire Coast, Create Link to Transnistria.

It’s been clear since the beginning that overt conquest of Ukraine wasn’t Russia’s aim, the modest scale of the invasion force, and the subsequent withdrawal from the north, pretty much confirms that. There’s still some Ukrainian troops holding out in Mariupol, but otherwise Russia has control of the whole south eastern Ukraine region apparently. Note that Crimea is connected to Russia by a bridge at the lower right, built since Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014. That Ukraine hasn’t attempted to knock this bridge out is another indication that the war is limited on both sides. In the western hysterical press, it’s Hitler invading Poland. In reality, it’s a stupid border war between two sovereign states. Let’s hope it stays that way.

It’s kind of fascinating watching the US narrative. Americans have been convinced that Putin is a monster and the entire world is lining up to oppose him. That’s the beauty of being the most propagandized people on Earth: Where’s the Truth? How the CIA Shapes the Minds of Americans. The rest of the world though, meh, NATO made this problem, it’s not our problem. You won’t hear much like this in the western press: Turkey Says Some NATO Members Want Longer Ukraine War to Hurt Russia. Or this of course: To Fight Russia, Europe’s Regimes Risk Impoverishment and Recession for Europe. And of course one will never hear this in the west:  Minsk II: Two Words You’ll Never Hear on Mainstream News

A few other links with perspective one won’t find on CNN: Against World War III This one is about comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the historical situation that is most comparable to the current situation in Ukraine. Then: If we don’t want nuclear war, why are we pushing for one? Good question. Well, it is terrible times, Covid, Global Warming, why not add some nuclear weapons in the mix. The Pentagon, not to mention many Americans, would love an excuse to use nuclear weapons. Myself, I think war with Russia is best to avoid: First Priority – Avoid US War With Russia. Then: Shades of Gray in the Russia-Ukraine War

Many Americans have internalized American exceptionalism, we’re the good guys so we can use force. And of course we always use war responsibly to minimize civilian casualties. As if killing fewer babies, but not deliberately targeting them, was a good thing. How does one argue with people who are horrified by the Russian war on Ukraine, but are indifferent at worst to America’s wars on Iraq, Syria, Serbia, and Libya, just for starters? Blogging is all I got for now. War as an instrument of national policy is the problem, not Putin.

Someone said it decades ago, paraphrasing: “If you’re going to be the world’s policeman, you’re gonna find out how many street corners the world has.” The ugly truth is that Ukraine is about as insignificant to US security as it could get. As is the South Pacific:  The misbegotten notion that the South Pacific is a US sphere of influence The truth is that even the Monroe Doctrine was imperial overstretch, Ukraine is not the hill our empire should die on. We’re so conditioned to thinking the USA is invincible and has it all under control, that anything other than a humiliating defeat for Putin is unimaginable. Ukraine could be the biggest miscalculation in American history.

We could go for it in Ukraine … and suffer a defeat that makes Dien Bien Phu look minor. Can’t happen of course. Snort. History is full of things that people thought “couldn’t happen.” That’s what makes history fun. And terrifying.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Situation in Ukraine around 23 April 2022. Credit: Viewsridge. Reproduced legally: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 24, 2022 at 8:05 pm

UNPOPULAR OPINION: THE WAR IS OVER, PUTIN WON

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I try to stay moored in reality. IE what is, is, reality doesn’t care about anyone’s opinions. It’s going to do whatever happens no matter how that meshes with anyone’s opinion of how the world works. And when huge numbers of people think their opinion is reality, problems arise. And in contemporary America, we have problems along these lines. On both left and right.

This limits my reading audience considerably these days. I digress. Back on point, I think the Russo-Ukrainian War is effectively over. Putin won, nothing next but a lot of whining in the American west. And maybe destroying the world economy. Wait, what? It’s fairly simple. Putin accomplished his goals: The Ukrainian military has been decimated, Russia is free to annex Donbas, NATO and Biden proved spineless, Ukraine won’t be joining NATO anytime soon. Russia is essentially sanction proof. In fact, Biden’s efforts to sanction Russia will hurt the west worse than Russia. Yeah, preventing Russian athletes from running in the Boston Marathon will really hurt Putin.

Nuclear war avoided, nothing left but endless op ed twaddle trying to frame the war as an American victory. Nope. The high water mark off the American Empire, the Russian Red Line held, we’re reduced to threatening China with the same sanctions that failed to achieve victory in Ukraine. No idea what happens now, but expect it’s going to be weird. The horrifying contradictions of the American Century will become increasingly unhinged. Good times.

I do understand the “mainstream” view: ‘The US leads the free world, rule of law, freedom, arsenal of democracy. NATO expanding meant more people joining the free world. And for the last decade at least Russia and China have become more aggressive. China is militarizing the South China Sea, expanding its influence around the globe with the New Silk Road initiative. Russia even more so with its aggression in Georgia and Crimea. And now an all out invasion of Ukraine, a horrifying humanitarian crisis, Putin must be reined in at least.’

All true. Well, some of it is true. Sort of.  A good illustration that lies of omission are the greatest lies. IE there’s no context to any of it, and what it leaves out is legion. Here’s a good article that talks about the media bias and double standards in the west. Just for starters, the utterly illegal US invasion of Iraq resulted in a million deaths, and that’s the conservative estimate: From Korea to Libya: On the Future of Ukraine and NATO’s Never-Ending Wars. And then this, Mr. Paul always offers a different perspective. CIA Admits Feeding Americans False Info About Ukraine.

I do hope it’s over soon. Kremlin Says Russia’s War in Ukraine Could End ‘In Foreseeable Future’. Though it seems clear the Biden administration is in no hurry: Is the Biden Administration Trying to Prolong the Ukraine War? The media is saying now there will be a big fight in Donbas. I wouldn’t hold my breath, I don’t think the Ukrainian army has the offensive capability to drive Russia out. And the Russians have air superiority, almost always fatal for an attacking force.

PS: Zelensky going around the world to give speeches to adoring (mostly) parliaments is kinda weird. As in, other than stroking his ego, what is the point? Weapons and money aren’t going to win the war for him, and at this point it seems clear no one is going to directly challenge a nuclear armed Russia. Shouldn’t he be trying to end the war, not prolong it? Like I said earlier, this might get increasingly weird.

Next, a blog about my cat. Maybe. Stay safe and warm everyone, we’re getting a week of unseasonable snow, rain, and hail here in Eastern Oregon.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image. Flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic. They voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from Ukraine, though how fair that vote was, and was it after a million or more ethnic Ukrainians fled? Still, no different than some of the horrors perpetrated in the Balkans in the nineties, that passed completely under the radar in the west. Credit: Владимир Ђорђевић “I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:

I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.”)

Written by unitedcats

April 12, 2022 at 7:48 pm

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The Russo-Ukraine War is still at the top of the news of course. All over it actually, pretty much the only news story going right now. I haven’t been following the details because, well, they don’t matter. It’s not a freaking sports event with teams and scores, no one knows who is winning or what that would even mean. And of course the news, at least the mainstream news, is horrifically biased. It’s actually freaking weird living in a country where the news is almost entirely propaganda … but everyone believes they are being informed. I’ve heard it said Americans are the most propagandized people on Earth, I can believe it.

Still, some stories stick out. This for example: US Needs More Arms Factories, Says Chief Weapons-Buyer Nominee. Right, NATO is spending twenty times as much as Russia, arms spending is already one of the world’s top two industries … but it’s not enough. We need moar weapons. America, our infrastructure is falling apart, our schools and healthcare are the disgrace of the developed world, but by God we got weapons. And we will soon have more apparently: US May Invoke Defense Production Act to Fill Weapons Stocks Depleted by Ukraine Donations

More than one article on this shark feeding of weapons buying: Pentagon Scrambles to Restock Weapons Sent to Ukraine as Arm Makers Look to Cash In. And the Pentagon hasn’t missed a beat either: Pentagon Exploits Ukraine War to Sink Another Billion Into Failed Zumwalt-Class Destroyers. Yes, this war means even more money for a warship without a purpose. The most bloated military the world has ever known is getting more bloated as I type.  Coincidentally enough, the US is in no hurry for this war to end: US Signals It’s Discouraging Zelensky from Making Concessions to Russia That Could End the Fighting.

Yes, Putin is a war criminal, his invasion of Ukraine is monstrous. The Russo-Ukrainian War, like all wars, can’t really be defended in any way. However, and it’s a nuclear sized however, that’s where western coverage of the war ends. Scant mention of how hard the US worked for decades to bring this war about: How the West Sabotaged Ukraine. Very good article that really goes into the background of Ukraine and the history leading up to this mess. And of course no mention is ever made of how the US is doing their best to prolong this war, not bring it to an end. It takes two fools to have a fight, war means both governments have failed.  What a mess: From Moscow to Washington, the Barbarism and Hypocrisy Don’t Justify Each Other.

And while this war superficially resembles the US efforts to get Russia bogged down in Afghanistan, a hopeless war, Ukraine isn’t Afghanistan. The Russian’s loss in Afghanistan was no threat to world peace, it wasn’t going to cause a nuclear war. This war is far different, it’s not going to end with some miraculous Ukrainian victory, Russia defeated and chastised, with NATO victoriously deploying troops in newly joined NATO members Ukraine and Georgia. Why not? Because Putin has made it clear he will use nuclear weapons to prevent that. Having the US station potential first strike weapons minutes missile flight of Russia’s heartland is something Russia can’t allow. That most Americans don’t understand what a terrible risk prolonging this war is shows just how horribly our media is misleading us, and we may well pay a terrible price: Will Humans Be the Next ‘Freedom Fries’?,  Is Victory for Ukraine Worth Risking Nuclear War?, and Is official Washington flirting with world war?

On the plus side, if there can be said to be a plus side about nuclear war, I’m reasonably safe here in rural Oregon. Even Sarah Palin couldn’t see Russia from my place. Hell, there’s so few lights at night that I was able to see the Zodiacal Light for the first time in decades. This is a bright glow in the sky immediately after and near where the Sun sets or will rise in the sky. (Also called False Dawn if before sunrise.) It’s the Sun illuminating the disk of dust orbiting the Sun in the same plane that the planets orbit the Sun.

Perspective, a wonderful thing. Most people would rather have a narrative spoon fed to them, and there’s plenty to do the spooning. Last check, no new news. Russia hints they may pull back. I’m all for an end to the fight, then everyone can sit down and work things out.

The US will not do that. Enter the whirlwind. Have a safe weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A mall in Kyiv destroyed by a Russian cruise missile strike. Why did the Russians fire missiles at a mall? Very possibly because a Ukrainian TikTok user broadcast a video showing it being used as a Ukrainian military depot. Oops. He’s been arrested. If it’s true, means Russia is making good use of open source intelligence, IE monitoring open media for information of military value. Credit: Unknown Ukrainian source, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 25, 2022 at 8:06 pm

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

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I  came across this image on Facebook this morning. Got a chuckle out of it. I am hoping my typical reader is astute enough to pretty much instantly say “No way!” The last sentence in the meme is accurate though, no one alive today has ever witnessed anything like the above image. Before I explain, if the gentle reader doesn’t see the problem, no biggie. Astronomy has no practical applications to daily life, so if one has no interest in it and doesn’t see the problem with the image, perfectly understandable. I still remember reading in Sherlock Holmes that Doctor Watson was astonished to find out that Holmes didn’t know the Earth revolved around the Sun, not vice versa. Holmes was like, I can’t imagine a less useful piece of information, why would I clutter my mind with useless information? An interesting point.

The problem with the image  is that Mars never gets close enough to Earth to appear as large as the Moon. It never gets close enough to appear as anything other than a bright star in the sky. If Mars ever does get that close, at the very least there would be huge tidal surges causing massive flooding along ocean shorelines the world over. At the very least. Any event in the Solar System powerful enough to knock Mars (Or the Earth) out of their orbit would almost certainly have other terrible effects on Earth. Like changing its orbit for starters, even possibly dragging Earth away from the Sun entirely. It’s unlikely the human race would survive such. If the Sun disappeared within weeks the atmosphere would have frozen and fallen to the ground as snow, and life on Earth would be pretty much extinct. I still remember a great science fiction story about the same from my youth, it can be read here: A Pail of Air. And for those who are curious enough to want to experience the loss of the Sun, I helpfully blogged about it once: How Can I Destroy the Sun?

I try to be helpful on Doug’s Darkworld. And in that vein, nonsense aside, the Moon will indeed be very close to Mars in the sky this weekend. This fine article discusses it. And no, it doesn’t happen every two centuries, it happens every two years or so. See it for oneself: The Moon and Mars Align.

Moving right along, today was the anniversary of a significant historical event. An old friend’s father saw the predecessor to it in 1945:

In the predawn hours of July 16, 1945 my teenage father was sitting on the bed of his room putting on his shoes before going out to deliver the morning paper, he was a paperboy. Suddenly his room lit up with a white light so bright, he had to close his eyes. The shades were still drawn. A few minutes later, the room began to rumble. This sound bounced off the mountains for 2 long minutes. When it was over, he gathered himself together and went out to deliver the papers. People were standing outside their houses pondering on what had happened. The papers the next day said that a large mine shaft had blown up somewhere out in the desert. That happened occasionally. But the townsfolk speculated that it never sounded like that. There was never an intense light. The rumbling never lasted as long.*

I am of course talking about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. August 6th, 1945, 75 years ago today. The above recollection was about the Trinity Test, the world’s first nuclear explosion. I’ve written about Hiroshima before, it was an event sad beyond reckoning. A city full of civilians, of no military significance, was killed. A second city a few days later. I still don’t think it was justified, the idea that the nuclear attacks on Japan saved lives or ended the war are debatable at best. In fact the idea that killing two cities full of civilians saved lives is prima facie … absurd? I digress. Read this for an alternate view: Nuclear War or Invasion: The False Dichotomy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Rationalizing horrible crimes is a hallmark of America though. Starting from the beginning when we accepted chattel slavery as an acceptable instituion in “the land of the free.” Rationalizing mass death at Washington’s hand is a long established habit. One that continues to this day, fully ⅓ of Americans continue to pretend that Washington’s Olympic class failure to address Covid-19, 160,000 dead and rising, is acceptable.

It’s no more acceptable than the atomic bombings of two cities. Yet here we are, it is what it is. I urge my fellow Americans to work together to defeat Covid-19. Science and reason can still save us, partisanship and politics won’t. Neither will thoughts and prayers. Stay safe everyone, comments, likes and shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

PS: I still think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

*Quote Copyright © 2020 Leslie Smith.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

(Image: Facebook post of unknown origin, presumably it is Public Domain under US copyright law. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law in any event.)

Written by unitedcats

August 6, 2020 at 7:17 pm

NIGHTMARE IN LEBANON, AND TRUMP SLIPS FURTHER INTO THE TWILIGHT ZONE

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Well, the nightmare explosion in Lebanon is much worse than I initially thought. The destruction and death toll is worse than I had initially assumed. Hundreds are likely dead, with thousands injured. Heard over 150 miles away on the island of Cyprus, the explosion registered as a 3-4 Richter magnitude earthquake. So far no definitive word on what happened, but apparently over 2,000 tons of ammonium nitrate  was stored next to stored fireworks. Welders apparently managed to set off the fireworks, resulting in an initial explosion and fire. Eight minutes later that explosion and fire set off the ammonium nitrate, that was the big one. Certainly seems consistent with the footage I’ve seen. Pretty sure Lebanon still has a free press. In any event the world is filled with explosion experts (go figure,) if there’s anything funky with that narrative, no doubt they will weigh in soon.

Aside from just the horrible carnage, there is going to be a horrible aftermath. Lebanon’s hospitals we’re already packed because of the pandemic, so likely this will be a horrible triage situation. Triage is where they divide the wounded into three groups. Those that will likely live without medical care. Those that will likely die even with medical care. And those who likely will be saved with medical care. Only the latter group gets medical care. And even then further cuts might have to be made if there aren’t enough facilities to handle that reduced load. I can’t imagine having to make those sorts of decisions. OK, I sort of can, it would haunt one.

It gets worse. Lebanon imports almost all of its food. Almost all of it through the port of Beirut. And the country’s main grain storage facility was destroyed in the blast. Bread is the staff of life for most Lebanese, so immediate and ongoing food shortages are almost certain. Basically looks like in the near future Lebanon is going to be worse off than even at the height of the bad times during Lebanon’s fifteen year civil war. Locals are using “doomed” and “hopeless” to describe the catastrophe. And did I mention that corruption and incompetence almost certainly caused this disaster? The welders were not using OSHA approved methods I’m sure, and why the hell were fireworks stored next to ammonium nitrate? Why was the ammonium nitrate even stored there in the first place? There were already big demonstrations against the government going on, so an explosion of anger is likely imminent.

That’s the gist of it. All from this article: Lebanon’s Mushroom Cloud of Incompetence. The author is Lebanese, and it seems objective enough. Oh, and just saw, some port officials have already been placed under house arrest. What a nightmare, and it will keep unfolding for who knows how long. Oh, and of course Trump came out and said the explosion was a “terrible attack.” Anonymous defense officials have already corrected him, there is literally zero reason to believe this was any sort of attack. No doubt Trump will double down on his claim, because admitting he was wrong appears to be beyond his capabilities. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Trump, he does appear to be getting less hinged as the election gets closer. 160,000 dead, the worst economic downturn since the great depression, not surprising. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have inspired him to actually do much about either. His Axios interview was telling. I’ve watched enough Trump this past few months to see what he does. He basically praises himself, pats himself on the back, and blames everyone else for the nation’s problems. And his aides provide him with talking points to toss out that superficially sound good, but fall apart upon analysis. Like his claim that a smaller percentage of Americans are dying of Covid-19 than was the case when it broke out. True, but so what? The world’s medical establishment has learned a lot about how to treat it in the past few months, basically a meaningless factoid. The shear numbers of Americans dying is damning.

And sadly after briefly appearing to take Covid-10 more seriously, Trump’s backtracked and is once again claiming “It’s just going to go away.” He’s still living in a fantasy world where Covid-19 will magically go away, the children will go back to school, the economy will recover, and he will be re-elected in the fall more popular than ever. Yeah, and Mussolini got an utterly unprepared Italy into World War Two because he fantasized about riding a white horse into Cairo at the head of his victorious legions. The war didn’t turn out well for him. In fact a lot on the right are going off the deep end, Alex Jones is claiming leftists are stockpiling explosives and weapons for some nefarious purposes, and rightists should strike first. If that’s not inciting violence, I don’t know what is. Oh well, read about that and other far right nonsense here. And here.

Did have a commenter here the other day who said he liked having Trump as his president. Well, what can I say, Trump still has his fans. Here’s a good article on doing one’s own research. I share as part of my ongoing efforts to encourage people to use reason and science to guide their lives, not emotion and religion. The latter hasn’t been working against Covid-19 as the friends, families, and loved ones of over 160,000 dead Americans can attest. I hope my Trump admiring reader doesn’t become one of them.

And here’s the funny meme for the day:

Stay safe everyone. My election vigil continues.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image of the explosion in Beirut. Credit and copyright: https://warisboring.com It’s a reduced size, grayscale copy of the original. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law due to that, it’s arguably an historically important image, central to the post, and no public domain image is yet available. The second image is a Facebook meme and claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, if it even has a copyright.)

Written by unitedcats

August 5, 2020 at 8:04 pm

WAR DRUMS

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Well, so much for writing fun sciency or history posts. Stuff just keeps happening in Trump’s confrontation with Iran. I will write on and off during the day, updating when necessary. The first development is Trump threatening to attack 52 Iranian sites if Iran retaliates for the US’s targeted killing of a popular Iranian general. Hundreds of thousands have turned out for his funeral. The general’s, Trump is still with us. And Iraq just voted to expel all US troops from Iraq. Gee, they don’t want any part of Trump’s war with Iran, and they certainly don’t want it fought in Iraq. Who would have guessed? And just now, Iran rolled back the 2015 nuclear deal.

I’m not sure what Trump is trying to accomplish by making threats. It’s bizarre that his airport attack is presented as some sort of defensive move or preventing a war. Now if anything happens, he has backed himself into a corner. And gave Iran cover for rolling back on the nuclear deal. Which isn’t going to make our allies happy. And how will Trump respond to that? It’s not like harsher sanctions are an option. Worse, anyone who wants war between the US and Iran just has to fake an Iranian backed terrorist attack. If it’s spectacular enough Trump will really be on the hot seat. I can’t see any good about a war with Iran, but some organizations and even some governments would. Certainly I’m seeing people saying Trump is Israel and Saudi Arabia’s puppet, there’s some truth to it for sure.

It should be pointed out that Iran is closely aligned with Russia and China, which again highlights the absurdity of “Trump is Putin’s puppet” codswallop. And the administration idea that general Soleimani was some sort of American murdering terrorist plotting to kill more Americans doesn’t seem to have any evidence backing it up. Staggering amounts of nonsense all over Facebook and the media. At least we seemed to have backed down on Trump’s threat to attack cultural sites.

Trump should be happy, he’s destroyed the 2015 Nuclear deal with Iran, one of Obama’s signature accomplishments. Hopefully that’s the worst of it, but sadly burning oil facilities and a worldwide economic jolt are still very much an unpleasant possibility. Bombing Iran isn’t going to fix anything, nor will it engender regime change in Iran. Not exactly sure what Trump is trying to accomplish, if he manages to bluster through this without making it worse he’ll get my approval.

I am just trying to get my thoughts down and published. Some of my friends are refusing to watch the news, it’s all pretty depressing now. I have no idea what’s going to happen now, anyone who says they do is deluding themselves. “Everyone is loyal to the nightmare of their choice” though, as the good colonel said in Heart of Darkness. This often leads to bad things. I hope it all blows over and I can go back to blogging about cats.

I’m reading a book about the Battle of Stalingrad, some light reading to distract me from the news. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Thoughts and shares appreciated.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Digital art. Credit: Pixabay, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

January 5, 2020 at 5:03 pm

THE DOUG’S DARKWORLD GUIDE TO NOT SURVIVING A NUCLEAR ATTACK

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This is a 2018 reprint from my Patreon site. Enjoy. ;)
usa-potential-nuclear-targets
Yes, the gentle reader read the title correctly, it’s not a typo. There’s been a lot of talk lately about nuclear war, and for good reason, it’s all too likely with the current crew in Washington. And a sentiment I have heard from a number of people in such discussions, is that if there is a nuclear war, they would prefer to be killed outright. I’m a “where there’s life there’s hope” kind of guy, but I guess I can understand. No fast food, no pizza delivery, empty Walmarts swarming with radioactive zombies. And of course, no cable TV. That alone would make life not worth living for some folks. So thinking on this, I realize there’s lots of books and websites about how to survive a nuclear war, I’ve even written some myself. These are of no help for people whose goal is non survival. So as a public service in these perilous times:

 

THE DOUG’S DARKWORLD GUIDE TO NOT SURVIVING A NUCLEAR ATTACK

OK, the first step, as in real estate, is location location location. The nearer one lives and works to a nuclear target, the better one’s odds of being a casualty before one is even aware there is a war going on. This is especially true the closer one gets to a coast. The above map is a rough guide, but basically if one looks out one’s front window and sees a major military base, major transport hub, or major urban area … all good. And try to have the bedroom window facing the same direction, wars are often scheduled at night.

Of course, if a war starts or seems like it is about to start, great time to take a vacation near a target  if one isn’t fortunate enough to live near a target. As a bonus, the traffic jams will likely be going the other way, and the motel room will be cheap or even free! Room service may be limited or non-existent, so bring along food and booze. Might as well be comfortable while awaiting vaporization.

Still, if one isn’t close enough to ground zero, it gets trickier, but there’s still hope if one isn’t instantly turned into a shadow on a wall. One just needs to know how to recognize a nuclear attack, and react appropriately. The first sign will be an incredibly bright flash of light, it might even be blinding or cause severe burns. If so, all good, just stay where one is. Now if one is sheltered somehow from the blinding light, quick action is essential. There are moments, up to a minute, to get into the open and face the direction the flash came from. That’s because within a minute of the flash, the blast wave will hit. Standing in the open facing it, or even looking through a window in the right direction, will do the trick. In fact after watching this link, handy tip: If the blinds in a room suddenly burst into flame, quick, jump in front of the window!

OK, dammit, the war started, but unluckily one was in a basement or otherwise not close enough to ground zero. Don’t lose hope, with a bit of perseverance blessed relief can still be had. It may take a few days, and they may be unpleasant days, but think of the years of suffering avoided. Simply head towards the nearest mushroom cloud. Breath deep, keep the car windows open and the AC off. If it starts to rain, run around in it and drink as much as possible, roll around in the mud. With a little luck, more bombs will go off in the vicinity, increasing the odds of being a first strike casualty.

When one arrives at ground zero, and there’s a crater, booyaa, fallout city. Roll around in the dirt, swallow it, with any luck at all nausea, hair loss, and death will soon follow. If no crater, well, head downwind. And think of everything around as being covered in magic pixie fairy dust, and the goal is to get completely covered with the dust, inside and out. The more the merrier, and the faster relief will come. Turn down any misguided offers of medical care of course, unless it’s purely palliative care. Keep the goal in mind.

Lastly, worst case scenario, nuclear war has started. (And maybe even ended already.) There’s not a mushroom cloud in sight. None within driving distance even. In this case, yeah, it’s hopeless. You’re well and truly fucked … life goes on. Maybe you’ll get lucky.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Nuclear targets in the united States. Credit: FEMA. legal to use under US copyright law as long as one does not claim FEMA is endorsing the content. I think it’s safe to say this is not a FEMA approved guide.)

Written by unitedcats

December 5, 2019 at 8:46 am

Posted in nuclear weapons, War, WMDs

WHAT ROUGH BEAST

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The_Sandman_a_B-24_Liberator,_piloted_by_Robert_Sternfels

I was working on my interstellar visitor post, then this happened. Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities have been hit by drones, reducing their production capacity by about 50%. Saudi Arabia is the world’s number two producer of oil. So, to put it succinctly, this is a big deal. All hell could break loose Monday when the world’s stock markets open. It’s also possible that this is the first salvo in a much wider war in the region. Or as some are already saying, the End Times have begun. Maybe, hope not.

OK, so why is this attack so important? There’s a lot to unpack here. First, regional background, unstable as hell: Houthi rebels started a civil war in Yemen in 2015, ousting the authoritarian president. Saudi Arabia backed by the west has been waging war on Yemen since, trying to defeat the Houthis and reinstall the ousted dictator. The Saudis fear the Houthis will ally with Iran, though it’s unclear that their war has achieved anything, or even can achieve anything. And Yemen is a terrible failed state at this point with numerous factions in the fight for different goals.

As well, in 2015 Iran signed a humiliating deal with the USA and other major powers. They caved to intrusive western nuclear inspections that made a mockery of the NPT and Iranian sovereignty. Iran problem solved, right? No, along came Trump who backed out of the deal and started a campaign of economic warfare against Iran. Regime change being the goal apparently. Israel is urging the US to attack Iran, and there’s certainly people in Washington who think it’s a great idea.

There have also been other mysterious attacks on some oil tankers in the Gulf recently. And now this, a drone strike does devastating damage to Saudi Arabia’s oil production capacity. Not cruise missiles, drones. Small, cheap, could have been launched by any number of nations. Houthi rebels are claiming it was them, Trump is claiming Iran launched the drones. When the markets open Monday oil prices will likely rise, and all sorts of economic hell might break loose. And of course this could spread to other acts of war in the region.

First takeaway, believe no one. Governments always lie.  Could have been Houthi rebels. They could have gotten the drones from Iran, or any number of third parties. Could have been Iran. Doesn’t really matter, since both the US and Israel are going to blame Iran and react accordingly. And anyone else who is happy to see the Saudi’s and/or the US petrodollar hurt may try and figure out how to take advantage of this. That would be China, Russia, and Venezuela for starters. I don’t think North Korea will be shedding any tears over this either. The rest of the world is urging calm, since a catastrophic war that takes out a large part of the world’s oil production will hurt all around.

So, a lot of angry arguing cooks in the kitchen and a stove top grease fire just broke out, what happens now? Do they work together to put out the fire? Or does someone throw flaming grease on someone else. That’s really the only question that matters now. Even if nothing else happens, gas prices are likely to rise, the world’s economies will take a hit, and even temporary gas shortages are possible. If the US or Israel does attack Iran, anything is possible. Oil facilities are very soft targets, and when it comes right down to it, the world economy is very fragile in many respects.

And sadly I know I recently said I hope Trump gets through the rest of his presidency without having to deal with a major crisis. Obviously I should have knocked on wood when I typed that. Maybe this isn’t a major crisis just yet, but it could get there quickly. And we have a man in the White House who thinks he can retroactively change reality using a sharpie. This does not fill me with confidence. At least Bolton is gone, he’d be foaming at the mouth urging an attack on Iran. Someone could slip and fall. I’m hoping cooler heads prevail everywhere.

In any event I’m posting this today because by Monday the situation may have changed. If there are further unpleasant developments, I will post on Monday or Tuesday. If not (fingers and toes crossed,) on Wednesday I will post about Comet Borisov and aliens. Hope everyone is having a good weekend, stay calm and carry on.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: B-24 Liberator, emerging from smoke over the Astra Română refinery, Rumania, during World War Two.  Only Public Domain picture of a refinery under attack I could locate on short notice. Credit: Jerry J. Joswick This image or file is a work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain in the United States.)

Written by unitedcats

September 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm