Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

TEXAS FOX LUNACY, WHY AMERICA IS BROKEN ILLUSTRATED. AND MARS.

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The modern GOP is pretty easy to predict, if something bad happens, the liberals engineered it. MAGA mob storms capitol? Antifa false flag operation. A terrible plague ravishes the land? Democratic hoax. The Texas power grid fails in a severe winter storm, those damn liberals and their green power! Fox repeated this particular lie endlessly. ‘Simply laughable’: How a lie about the Texas energy crisis dominated Fox’s coverage. It’s not really that laughable, because people believe the lies. No, GOP deregulation is why their power grid failed, it’s not even debatable. And people have been pointing out for a decade that the Texas power grid wasn’t ready for a storm like this: Beto O’Rourke said Texas was warned for years about power grid.

And Texas Senator Ted Cruz is really taking flak for fleeing with his family to Cancun while Texas suffered its worst natural disaster in decades. Millions without power, and he flies to Mexico for some sun. His excuse(s) aren’t flying well: People Can’t Help But Mock Ted Cruz’s Absurd Excuse For Cancun Trip. He blamed his daughters. Presumably they are liberals? It’s all just weird these days. But yeah, more evidence that more than just America’s infrastructure is rotten to the core, our ruling class is about the same. At least he’s getting fire from some fellow Republicans, but not most of course. If Obama had done something like this, the GOP outrage would have reverberated through the ages.

Gets weirder too. It’s becoming a thing in Evangelical circles to predict Trump is coming back. Not in 2024, but this year, 2021. The Christian Prophets Who Say Trump Is Coming Again. Somehow God is pissed that Trump is no longer president, and he’s going to reinstate him pronto. Because, Trump has God’s blessing or something. Yes, foreign and future readers, a lot of American evangelicals are, well, out of touch with reality. There’s no Constitutional way to change the election results. And boy, on the Evangelical fringe, the Texas winter storm was “scientifically impossible” and therefore caused by “weather manipulation:” Christian Activist: TX Freeze Was Weather Manipulation. Tens of millions of Americans believe this stuff, not promising for a healthy debate.

In many ways, all not that surprising. The GOP spent Obama’s administration pumping birther nonsense, claiming he wasn’t really the president, and doing everything in their power to demonize and obstruct him. It’s a logical extension to “Biden cheated so Trump really won.” Gotta remember, the GOP can’t win on popularity. Twice this century they “won” a presidential election even though they lost the popular vote, and Trump almost pulled it off again. The GOP right led by Evangelical extremists (people that want to turn the USA into a “Christian Nation,”) has moved considerably to the right in recent decades. Only maybe a third of America has followed them, the rest of us actually want to live in a secular democracy where Americans of all stripes are welcome. That’s why Obama got elected twice, the majority of Americans didn’t care that he was black.

I’m of course no Obama fan. While I think it’s a good thing Americans elected him twice, God bless em, their hearts were in the right place … Obama was true to his voting record. He was a complete tool of corporate America, Wall Street, and the pentagon. He normalized forever war and erased what remained of the Democrat’s actual progressive wing. Peace and actual economic justice are off the table, but LGTB rights! Couldn’t we have both? Not with Obama, and sure not looking like it with Biden.

My father is still alive, but very weak. Take care gentle readers, hopefully this is the last cold weekend in North America. Maybe. More likely than God putting Trump back into the White House. And if somehow Trump does get back into the White House in the near future, woo boy, blogging heaven! I’ll be back Monday, shares, comments, likes, follows, patrons, donations as always appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Mars Perseverance Rover two meters above the ground. Amazing Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 19, 2021 at 8:43 pm

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 23, 2021 at 8:59 pm

“THERE ARE NO ADULTS”

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After reading this article, Analysis | A vindictive Trump seeks to undermine Biden’s presidency, I realize we are in for a repeat of the Obama presidency. Basically four to eight years of the GOP claiming Biden isn’t the legitimate president, and obstructing him in every way while working hard on the state level to deprive poor people and minorities of their vote. This isn’t governing, this isn’t politics, it’s basically crime family gang warfare. It’s just grotesque, a mockery of government. All the while screaming that the Democrats want to destroy America, oblivious to the fact that they are making America ungovernable, and they are crippling all efforts to solve America’s problems. A party of spoilt children who refuse to play the game unless they get to make up all the rules.

And Trump is doing everything in his power to hand over a giant steaming pile of hurt to Biden on January 20th. Icing on the shit cake really, just the Covid catastrophe he is leaving Biden is going to be a nightmare. And before Biden even finishes his inaugural address, the GOP will have magically realized Covid is a monster and Biden is to blame. No doubt “Biden’s Covid death Toll” sites are already waiting to launch. As Voltaire said, paraphrased, once one gets people to believe in absurdities, it’s easy to get them to commit atrocities. And the right has definitely come to believe in absurdities. They think anyone not supporting Trump and the GOP is a stupid libtard who wants to destroy America, open the borders, and surrender to our enemies overseas. The libtards also want to take away everyone’s guns, install a communist government, and outlaw Christianity and Christmas. Yes, people believe this stupid shit, I know some of them personally.

It’s depressing as hell. On a personal level, while my surgery is healing up nicely (I’m gonna have a wicked badass scar under my eye, I’m going to tell people I got it in a knife fight,) I appear to have picked up a head cold. At least I sure hope it’s a head cold. So I’m pretty miserable, and don’t know how much longer I can write before collapsing into Nyquil dreams. I hope to sleep at least, I didn’t get much last night. On the plus side, I made a nice pot of fish chowder today. OK, what links I have left:

This was an interesting article: What Trump Showed Us About America – POLITICO. A number of academics weighing in on what they have learned about America during the Trump years. That Trump is so popular among so many Americans really has come as a shock to a lot of people. Me, not so much. I moved to the hinterlands partly because I was dismayed by some of the elitist attitudes of coastal liberals. “Flyover states” is the elitist liberal version of “libtards.”

America, the failing state. It doesn’t have to be this way, I guess we got the government we deserved? We were likely the best prepared nation on the planet to face something like Covid-19. Granted we had flaws, Covid-19 was going to hurt, but still: Opinion | How America could have fought covid-19 better. That leads into the whole nightmare American health care system, the shame of the developed world. Again, there’s no reason for it to be this way other than corporate greed and fostered ignorance: Yale Study Says Medicare for All Would Save U.S. $450 Billion, Prevent Nearly 70,000 Deaths a Year.

I dunno. Climate of scarcity thinking has been fostered in America. The idea that there’s only so much wealth to go around, so that helping people means others suffer. The idea that if we raise wages, why, fewer jobs! Basically a huge number of Americans don’t understand that America is mind numbingly wealthy, and could easily provide working class and poor Americans with a vastly higher standard of living. It would mean cutting back on our obscene military spending, and actually taxing the people who have hoarded more wealth than they could spend in multiple lifetimes. It’s crazy really: Opinion | Is This Where We Are, America?

Lastly, in the “The stupid, it burns” file: Parents Tried to Cover Up a ‘Superspreader’ Dance. Disaster Ensued. Yes, parents, large numbers of them, people who claim to be adults, arranged a big High School dance in complete defiance of Covid-19 restrictions. Shit like this is a huge part of the reason Covid-19 is out of control in America. Maybe the main reason: Superspreader Events Played a Key Role in Igniting The Current Pandemic Globally. As my friend and mentor Sally said about contemporary America: “There are no adults.”

Stay safe everyone. Comments, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

November 21, 2020 at 7:42 pm

SCARY TIMES, WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING?

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Trump’s out of the hospital. He tweeted up a storm this morning. Still confusion and conflicting reports on how sick he was and is. He’s certainly not out of the woods yet, despite his rosy claims to the contrary. His tweets were up to par. Still downplaying Covid-19, praising American medicine, utterly oblivious to the fact that most Americans will never see anything like the care he got. On the public dime no less. The rich are never bothered by being the recipients of socialism, interesting, nu?


And endless twitter attacks on the Democrats. All caps even, so we know he was serious. The usual straw man arguments. Never had a president like this in my life, one who endlessly demonizes anyone not in his base. Obama wore a tan suit and people on the right freaked, he never even remotely said the kinds of things about Republicans that Trump routinely says and tweets about Democrats. It would be absurd if this wasn’t so hateful and divisive … and weird.


There was a moment at Trump’s last Minnesota rally that really kind of summed up the surreal craziness that is Trump. He was raging about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. And he said he’d been reading for years all these reports about her corruption and crimes, leading into a “Lock her up!” chant. OK, reports? What reports were these? If Trump has been getting reports about crimes and corruption, why is nothing being done? The justice department works for him, in fact every federal agency works for him? Why aren’t any federal agencies looking into this, members of congress don’t have any immunity for criminal acts? Why isn’t the Senate holding hearings? And what, exactly, are these crimes he’s read these reports about?


In other words, Trump’s got nothing on Ilhan Omar. This is all a fantasy in Trump’s head. But he’s preaching to people who thought Obama was a secret Muslim working for ISIS, so of course a Somali born congresswoman is no better. This observation is lost on Trump supporters. I doubt many of them read my blog. Who needs a Civil War if both parties already live their lives segregated from each other?


Still seeing peeps who think Trump getting Covid-19 is all a ploy. I suppose on some level it makes sense. Fake getting Covid-19, quickly and easily get over it, then claim “See, just a cold!” It’s all just a Democratic hoax. Yeah, right. (An example of a double positive equaling a negative, love the intricacies of language. And yes, there is similar in other European languages at least, God bless Google.) I don’t think so in other words, Trump’s into bald faced straw man arguments, not complicated deceptive plots.


On the other hand, a nuance that gets lost, even if Trump getting Covid-19 wasn’t some ploy, it’s going to be used as one. Trump is basically betting on making a quick and full recovery, and that the collateral damage as the infection spreads through the White House and beyond is minor. He’ll claim Covid-19 is nothing to worry about, throw away your mask, and get back to work. Herman Cain’s death was a fluke, the actual death toll in the US is exaggerated, and undercounted in other countries. Really, we’re winning with Trump, it’s all under control.


Yeah, right. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Trump is some great genius, Covid-19 is no big deal, he’ll get re-elected and America will enter a Trumpian Golden Age. Would be a huge relief for me. Then I’ll know for certain that when I slammed into that stucco wall Christmas 2018 I was killed and everything after is just a creation of my dying brain.


Stay safe everyone. October is just getting started, gonna be a wild ride. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula


Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.(Image: Public Domain image from Snappygoat. Captures my take on the uncertain times we live in.)

Written by unitedcats

October 5, 2020 at 8:49 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 1, 2020 at 7:25 pm

LABOR DAY WEEKEND 2020, THE MADNESS CONTINUES

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A reader alerted me to an interesting ad placement in my last post, image above. Coincidence? IDK, marketing gets more sophisticated every day. Not sure I consider myself a part of the media. I’m a guy who’s been trying to figure out the world since I was 13 or so, and writing helps in that regard. Honestly, I don’t think the mainstream media has been fair to Trump. Fox News has been almost obsequious, that’s hardly fair. And the rest of the mainstream media has basically played softball with Mr Trump. He’s got nothing to complain about.

Another surreal day in 2020 America.  Whoever the writers are for 2020, they sure come up with some zingers. I think we got a whole new crew, the years before 2020 were bland compared to this year. I didn’t get any emails from future historians yet, so either there are no future historians, or sending emails into the past isn’t possible. Dammit, I thought that was a promising approach. Saying “Computer, end program!” aloud hasn’t worked either. I’ll keep trying, I have other ideas.

So, Trump lost the support of a lot of veterans by shit talking about them. He’s denying it of course, but there’s been too much corroboration at this point. It’s about what I would expect from a draft evader. A draft evader is like a draft dodger but without the stones to own what they did. In other news, the sinking of four(five?) ships in a Trump ship flotilla has been a gold mine for meme makers. No one died, so glad people are having fun with it. OK, gonna share one image:

I hope it’s a preview of the coming election. This is the first time in my life I’ve felt strongly that I should vote. One of the many reasons I don’t trust the polls. We’re in uncharted waters with this election.

Another thing that came out today (again, kudos to the reality writers,) apparently Trump hired a faux Obama: Trump hired an Obama impersonator to yell at and “fire,” according to Michael Cohen’s book. I couldn’t make this shit up. Is it true? Who knows. Trump’s disdain for Obama is legend, and he’s certainly undone as much of Obama’s work as he could. Obama publicly roasted Trump once, and there are those who think Trump’s whole run for POTUS was driven by a desire to destroy the legacy of a man so powerful he could publicly humiliate Trump. A better man would have taken the roasting in good stride, even taken it for the acknowledgement as an equal the roasting was. Trump is not that man. 

I digress. Kinda missed it at last week, but really, Trump may think letting Covid-19 run its course would grant America “herd immunity” and it would all be great? I hope this isn’t true: Millions could die if Trump listens to the adviser he hired from Fox’s green room. No Mr Trump, letting a poorly understood disease run wild in the off chance it will magically vanish is neither scientific nor logical. We may find out though, America is the “control group” for Covid-19. Let’s see what happens to a population that decides not to halt the spread of Covid-19! I mean, even some of our leaders agree: Idaho House passes resolution to end coronavirus emergency declaration. This isn’t going to end well.

So in review. Craziest election/times of my life, gonna chronicle daily as long as I can. I’m voting for Biden because he’s going to put Dr. Fauci in charge of the nation’s Covid-19 defense, and Biden was decent to a panhandler in the street. Two good reasons. I’m voting against Trump because of his abysmal response to Covid-19, and I’m a veteran. I served to defend the right of Mr Trump to call me a sucker and a loser. And I’m going to vote against him for having such a shitty attitude towards those who served. Convince me otherwise. Stay safe everyone, enjoy Labor Day, I hope nothing terrible happens. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Top image: Screengrab from Facebook, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Second Image: The same, unknown attribution, historically important image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 6, 2020 at 7:17 pm

TRUMP DECLARES HE’S GOD AND OTHER NEWS AS THE WORLD ORDER COLLAPSES, BUT IT’S OBAMA, CHINA, AND THE WHO’S FAULT

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I hear Trump really lost it on his Monday address, claiming he is the boss of things, lashing out at his enemies. He also played a “clip show” that proves what a great job he’s done, it was weird on multiple levels, it’s on this site. His base will eat it up though. I’m going to watch Trump live this afternoon, history unfolding before my horrified eyes. Other countries get to listen to sane rational advice advice from health and pandemic specialists, we get to watch an increasingly frustrated man try to bullsh*t his way through a terrible crisis. It’s what Trump does unfortunately, he bullshitted his way into the White House, and has no real clue how to deal with an actual crisis. He actually thinks he’s one of the smartest people ever. No, he’s one of the most talented bullshit artists ever. Gotta give him his props, he’s good at it. Better than Obama in many ways.

Trump wasted the first ten weeks of the crisis basically doing nothing except claiming Covid-19 was no big deal, he had it under control, and it was all going to be OK. And now the USA has the world’s largest Covid-19 death toll, surpassing Italy. A stunning accomplishment for a developed nation on the opposite side of the world from China, where the pandemic originated. Covid-19 is well on track to kill more Americans than died in the Vietnam War, in about 1/20th of the time. As the days pass and the gap between reality and Trump’s claims grow, God only knows how he will react. I’ll watch today and write about it, and post at the end of this.

The quarantine stress and anxiety is starting to get to me. Most humans are really comfortable with the status quo, they just want their lives to go in a predictable and comfortable way. Change is stressful, that’s why for most people moving is one of the most stressful life events. Well, for all practical purposes, we’re all going to make multiple unplanned moves over the next few months without leaving our homes. I wish it wasn’t so, but here we are. A friend of a friend just died of Covid-19. She was 30 years old and in good health. Yeah, Covid-19 is just a cold. I wake up in the morning hoping this new normal is all a dream. Nope, here we are, living the nightmare.

One last thought before the Orange Trumpet of Purported Wisdom speaks. This is a great article about the history of how we got here, and how things may change. Basically as people should be noticing by now, working people are what make the economy run. Not CEOs, politicians, big corporations, celebrities, the stock market, or billionaires. And setting up an entire global economy to exploit the former to enrich the latter is a huge part of the reason we are in such an economic mess now. That’s possibly one of the most horrible things about this, if the world had been run rationally, humanity could have taken Covid-19 in stride. Instead we’ve been all guns, no butter since at least 1980.

<Trump’s address>

Well, that was weird. Second Trump Covid-19 briefing I’ve seen.  Tuesday, 14 April, 2020. Let’s see if I can sum it up. “Everything’s great, the WHO screwed up, not me. I saved all sorts of lives by not listening to them, and I’m cutting off their funding to investigate them and their pro-China bias. It’s all under control, the governors have all they need, much of the US is just fine, and soon enough we’ll be back to being the greatest economy the world has ever seen, and we’ll help everyone else out. Oh, and where we weren’t prepared it was Obama’s fault.” I’m sure his supporters were happy to hear once again Trump has it under control, those damned foreigners and Obama caused the problem, but Trump has done wonders saving us. Oh, almost forgot, once again  “No one could have seen this coming!”

There’s a few problems with his narrative. Whatever mistakes the WHO may have made were nothing in comparison to Trump doing nothing for ten weeks while Covid-19 spread. He once again made a big deal about how his closing travel from China was the right call and it saved so many lives. First of all, his travel ban closing was more a band-aid, only a small class of people were excluded, some 40,000 flew to the US from China after Trump closed the border. And stood in crowded airports (cough cough)  because the US didn’t have the capability to test arrivals. Trump’s travel ban did nothing basically.

His claim the Obama administration left the US unprepared was a whopper. The Obama administration fought two pandemics in its time, and left behind a pandemic plan and a pandemic team to deal with precisely things like Covid-19. Trump dismantled the team, and ignored the plan. Also note that because Obama had a plan and a team to deal with pandemics, the idea that “No one could have expected this!” is pure, unadulterated, bullshit. A lie as the old folks used to  call them.

Basically sounds like Trump is setting it up so he can blame governors if anything goes wrong, and if less than two million Americans die, it will be a great victory for Trump! In other words, he’s making sure he has scapegoats for anything that goes wrong, and his bar for success is so low he will be able to claim almost anything as a Trump victory. Trump still really does think he’s a genius, he’s handling this brilliantly, and soon enough this will all be behind us and the economy will be booming again. And of course he will be reelected and go on to leading America to greater glory.

And lastly no, Trump’s claims that the USA has testing all under control are bogus, the US is still dead last for testing in the developed world. IE it’s likely we don’t even yet have a good idea how bad it is in the US, so Trump’s claims it’s all good and we’ll be back to business soon are as bogus as all his prior claims about how it would soon be over. No, it won’t. 25,000 dead and rising by thousands a day now. And the world we knew is gone forever.

And if I’m full of it, and Trump does have it all back under control and normalcy returns in a few months, I’ll never have been happier in my life to be wrong. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane. #StaytheFHome

Comments, likes, shares appreciated.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Mount Kosciusko, seen from the Victorian border (Mount Hope Ranges) Painting, 1866. I found it in an image search for <hope>. There is hope Covid-19 will lead to a better world, but not anytime soon. Still, I choose to hope. Credit: Johann Joseph Eugene von Guérard 1811-1901. Public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

April 14, 2020 at 6:57 pm

Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, Iraq Crisis

with 2 comments

baquba

Tuesday Morning. Don’t really have time for a full review. Christians are fleeing to what is now effectively Kurdistan. The Kurds have announced they have no interest in helping the Maliki regime recapture Mosul. No kidding, they have their homeland and they are digging in, at some point soon I would expect them to declare independence. And fighting has gotten closer to Baghdad, the ISIS appear to have resumed their push south. The city of Baquba is being fought over, less than 40 miles from Baghdad. It’s an important city of 500,000, many whom are fleeing south. I think the image is Iraqi volunteers heading north out of Baghdad.

Tuesday Evening. The ISIS appears to be advancing on Baghdad. A few larger perspective points. Right now, the events of the past week appear to have been game changers. I don’t see how the clock can be turned back and the “status quo,” whatever that was, will be restored. I think that the Sykes–Picot Agreement, the unnatural borders imposed on the former Ottoman Empire by France and England after World War One, may finally be unravelling. A major war may be in the offing, no one knows how those ever turn out. The ISIS advance so far has been stunning and almost unprecedented. Certainly in recent history. Other points:

“It’s Obama’s Fault.” Sigh. Well, at least the GOP is consistent. Anything bad is Obama’s fault. On the first pass, Obama’s foreign policy was the same as Bush’s foreign policy in any significant regard, so, wtf? Secondly, Bush was the one that invaded Iraq on lies followed by an occupation based on wishful thinking. Bush couldn’t fix the mess he created in his six years, so it’s Obama’s fault he couldn’t fix it? I don’t think anyone expected the ISIS to explode, although I was raising alarms a few months back, but the GOP certainly wasn’t. In any event looking for blame in a situation like this is like blaming Pearl Harbor on Roosevelt. Which the GOP didn’t do. The rise of the ISIS is the worst crisis the US has faced since 9/11, partisan politics has no place here. At the very least they should tone it down and try to help.

As a codicil to this, the people who thought the invasion of Iraq was such a great idea in the first place are now doubling down. Excuse me, but could we just give Senator McCain and his ilk rifles and send them to Iraq? Misguided US military action is what created this mess, it’s clearly not the solution. As Obama recently said, paraphrasing here, “Just because you have the best hammer, doesn’t mean every problem is a nail.” Sure, the US military could likely recapture Mosul and the rest more or less with ease. Then what? The ISIS would just melt into the population and wait for us to leave. They aren’t from Mars for God’s sake, they live there.

Which is the last point, the Manichean heresy. In essence, the idea that there are good guys and bad guys. And by extension the idea that if the good guys just kill all the bad guys, everything will be just fine. (That’s been tried repeatedly, it never works.)  Or as the Manichean heresy might be called today: the 12 year old boy’s comic book view of the world. The ugly truth is that people are people, they are all pretty much the same, and differences between them are due to circumstances and history, not inherent good/evilness. I’m not saying there aren’t just wars, and indeed people like Hitler do show up. My point is that when leaders say “They are the bad guys, we must wage war,” it’s not a logical argument. The first is simplistic at best, the later is a does not follow argument.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings. There are other points I should toss out for discussion. Like the fact that this could result in a huge loss of American influence in the world. Two Saudi Arabias, neither of which require the US as an Ally. Sleep tight.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit. It is arguably an historic image. I will gladly properly attribute it if I find out who to attribute it too. God save us all.)

 

Written by unitedcats

June 17, 2014 at 10:46 pm

The Tea Party’s Government Shutdown, Obamacare, and Insanity

with 5 comments

richmond-burning

This is not a complicated situation. We have the ACA, aka Obamacare. It was passed by Congress, signed by the president, and survived a Supreme Court challenge. It’s the law of the land according to the US Constitution, and is being implemented as I type. The Tea Party refuses to pass a budget for government operations, insisting that the ACA be delayed a year before they will agree to do so. And now large parts of the government have shut down because Obama and the Democrats refuse to even consider such.  Dafuq? This is indeed screwed up, and is easily the worst government crisis since the decades preceding the Civil War.

The merits and faults of the ACA aren’t relevant here. That many in the media are portraying this situation as a “standoff” or a “disagreement” doesn’t actually make it a disagreement. It is a faction of a minority party claiming it has veto power over any existing law. The Tea Party is basically refusing to accept that the ACA is law, and insisting that it’s “my way or the highway.” This is the antithesis of democracy or constitutional government. And the Democrats and Obama are correct in holding the line, allowing a party who controls one house of congress to effectively veto any existing law would be a disastrous precedent to set. This is extortion, not government.

For its part the media is all over the map reporting on the government shutdown, mostly regurgitating the talking points of their targeted markets. The Tea Party is counting on this, I know hard-core Republicans who are still claiming the shutdown is because Obama refuses to negotiate. And they have plenty of voices in the right wing media to back them up. Many of them actually seem to believe that the ACA is some horrific draconian law that is going to turn the USA into a dictatorship. Five years of the extreme right wing press claiming Obama is the anti-Christ, a secret Muslim, and unAmerican seems to have really affected some people, they are living in a fantasy bubble world. Maybe it’s not charitable, but I guess if one believes in talking snakes and zombie prophets, well, the sky’s the limit. In any event, my point here is that our mainstream media is almost as dysfunctional as our government, it’s not helping.

This whole mess highlights the dangers of dogmatic ideology. A party that can’t or won’t compromise is a terrible threat to anything resembling democratic government. And giving them any sort of concession will just make them make more demands. In normal situations a party like this would be dooming itself, but these aren’t normal times. Sometimes in history parties like the Tea Party have gotten into power. That was Hitler’s secret, no compromise. One powerful politician after another aligned themselves with Hitler’s nascent party to improve their political position, only to find out too late that Hitler wasn’t going to compromise on anything and that Hitler was using them, not vice versa. And when Hitler’s party got strong enough, he simply disposed of his former rivals. I’m not comparing the Tea party to the Nazis, yet, but the fact that they are willing to do anything to get their way should scare anyone.

In some very real ways the Tea Party is carrying on the legacy of the Confederacy and the KKK, these are people who have still not accepted that the South lost the Civil War. In recent decades people like this have been a fringe group, but not any more. I don’t know what the end result of the shutdown is going to be, but the last time a political minority refused to compromise no matter what, the results weren’t pretty.

Yes, I am using extreme examples, and I certainly don’t think, yet, that we will see anything like the Civil War or the rise of Hitler. I use extreme examples because what the Tea party is doing is extreme. It’s a minority party willing to hurt millions of Americans and gut constitutional government to get their way. I urge the Democrats, moderate Republicans, and Obama to hold the line. The ACA is not on the table. If the Tea Party gets their way, the Republic will pay a terrible price.

(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law as it was painted around 1865. Credit: Watercolour.  The Burning of Richmond, Alexandre Thomas Francia, Circa 1865. It’s the burning of Richmond at the end of the US Civil War. Another extreme example, but the Tea Party is an extremist party. One can only wonder what other countries think of this mess.)

Written by unitedcats

October 3, 2013 at 8:47 am

Syria, War and Lies All Over Again

with 9 comments

gas-masks

Well, Washington and Obama are making noise about attacking Syria. Quelle surprise. Kerry was saying today that the evidence of a Syrian chemical attack was “undeniable.” Please, spare me. Washington has been lying about this sort of stuff since the Mexican War in 1848, and it’s hard to find a 20th century war they didn’t lie through their teeth about. Our economy and political system is based on war forever, Syria is just more of the same. The main reason we know this is a lie is simple. Obama stated that the use of chemical weapons would trigger US intervention. Why in the name of God would Syria do the exact thing that would trigger US attacks? They wouldn’t of course, no one is that stupid, especially considering that chemical weapons are essentially useless on the battlefield unless your enemies are using World War One style human wave attacks. So Syria has no conceivable reason to use chemical weapons, and excellent reason not to use them.  Kerry’s claim should be taken for what it most likely is, a lie.

So if the Syrian government didn’t launch an attack, who might have? Well, let’s see, who has to gain from US intervention? Bingo in the Elf Lounge. The rebels. Yes, a chemical weapons attack was launched by the Syrian government conveniently near a UN inspection team even! How lucky was that? And snipers even tried to slow the team down as it approached the stage of the purported chemical weapons attack. Stage as in staged. It’s more than likely the rebels faked an attack of some sort, it wouldn’t take much. For all practical purposes Obama asked them to stage an attack, who can blame them? Even the public evidence is suspect. There are photographed bodies of claimed sarin gas victims. Assuming these are real pics (yes, the rebels have tried crude fakes before) it’s been pointed out that if these people really did die from sarin gas, the people wandering around the bodies without protective gear would also quickly be succumbing to the intensely lethal substance on the bodies. They aren’t.

Sadly the truth doesn’t really matter. The USA attacks whomever it pleases whenever it pleases, and manufactures whatever justification is needed. Most Americans don’t want another war, but their opinion hardly counts anymore. Even Congress isn’t even trying these days, this time they might not even bother to pass a resolution supporting the attack. What will be the results of the attack, aside from more profits for the military industrial complex? Who knows, it often takes years for the blow-back from this sort of nonsense to fully realize itself. It stands a good chance of bringing down the Assad regime, one of the only remaining secular regimes in the region, and replacing it with a Islamic fundamentalist government aligned with Al-Qaeda. How would that help the USA or Syria? Damned if I know.

What I do know is that there is nothing “humanitarian” about an American attack on Syria. Yes, that’s part and parcel of the endless propaganda flowing from Washington and the mainstream media, we’re all concerned about the plight of woman and minorities and democracy. Yes, unlike every other empire in history, the USA’s motives are pure! Spare me. Anyone who believes that may have pure motives themselves, God bless em, but the facts on the ground consistently belie the idea that we are trying to make the world a better place. US intervention almost invariably makes things worse for the people in a  region, especially the ones we kill and maim with our “well intentioned” bombs and missiles. It does however prevent the rise of modern secular nation states, which would be far less pliable to American influence and meddling. They might even have radically dangerous ideas like those pursued by Saddam for example … he thought that the profits from the sale of Middle Eastern oil should be invested in the Middle East! One can see why he had to go.

So many lies, when it’s all just about western militarism and colonialism. European armies have been marching through the Middle East since Alexander the Great. The excuses change but the end result is the same. Death and destruction for the locals. That’s what wars do on the receiving end. Our current Alexander in Chief hasn’t shown any qualms about that before. And of course wealth and profits for the west. Follow the money as they say.

Lastly, a point about chemical weapons. They are not WMDs. They in fact aren’t anything special, just another one of the myriad evil ways humans have devised to kill each other. Like nuclear weapons, they have few real military applications and are more a political and propaganda weapon than anything else. And to make the hypocrisy complete, not only does the US cheer on such weapons when they approve of the regime using them, the USA has utterly no qualms about using them itself. So the idea that Syria has crossed some sort of moral boundary by using (purportedly) chemical weapons doesn’t pass the laugh test.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and its use here in no conceivable way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. Its a photograph entitled “Viktor Bulla’s Pioneers in Defense Drill, Leningrad (1937)” It appears on page 79 of a book of photographs called “Propaganda and Dreams” by Leah Bendavid-Val. While a lovely ghoulish photo by modern standards, it was very much meant as a propaganda picture showing how prepared the Soviet Union was for self defence.)

Written by unitedcats

August 27, 2013 at 7:59 am