Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Peace’ Category

IF BEING FOR PEACE AND DIPLOMACY MAKES ME “OFF BASE,” I AM PROUDLY OFF BASE

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The flagship of the Russian Back Sea fleet has been sunk by Ukrainian missiles. Largest warship to be sunk since World War Two. A symbolic and morale victory for Ukraine. Another major event in the war of our times. Symbolic because it’s not going to change the course of the war anyhow, it’s a land war, not a sea war. Also one day closer to the day when all large warships are obsolete. The latter is just my opinion though.

So the terrible war continues. Want a blog where Putin is the devil, Zelensky a hero, and the war is a struggle between good and evil? Move right along, the western mainstream media has it covered. As a Russian visitor to the US once said: “In the Soviet Union we had to shoot reporters to get them to repeat government propaganda. In America, they do it voluntarily!” And hey, for the sake of argument I’m happy to grant that Putin is a monster whose attack on Ukraine was unjust and unprovoked. That doesn’t change the fact that both Zelensky and the USA are doing what they can to prolong the war, not end it. Even if the Russo-Ukraine wasn’t a US proxy war to start with, it most certainly is one now.

Like this: Blinken Tells European Allies He Believes Ukraine War Will Last Through 2022. Or this: Zelensky pushes for more weapons to fight Russia. I mean, yeah, sure, you’re at war and need weapons? But if you don’t get more weapons there will be a bloodbath? More war and weapons is how one creates bloodbaths, not prevents them. Why not try to end the war through diplomacy? Oh right, Putin is a madman so war is the only option. Depicting Putin as ‘Madman’ Eliminates Need for Diplomacy. That appears to be where most pro-war people I talk to are coming from, they’ve really bought the endless demonization of Putin and Russia they’ve been steeped in for decades. War, what is it good for? Profits: New Reporting Details Corporate Media’s War Industry Pundits.

Aside from the just plain horror of it all, there are peoples all over the world fighting for their independence, sometimes for decades, often against regimes far more brutal than Putin’s Russia. Where is their endless news coverage, billions of dollars of aid and weapons, and crippling sanctions against their oppressors? If America was so about freedom and self-determination, Ukraine would be just one of many causes Biden was championing. Instead, the vast majority of Americans remain utterly in the dark. Palestine, Kurdistan, Tibet, Rohingya, and numerous others. But yeah, Ukraine is where the US has chosen to fight for freedom. Snort.

The more I understand how the world works, the more I understand why putative aliens would fly right by, locking their doors as they pass. A planet with over five thousand ethnic groups, ruled by fewer than 200 armed gangs. Poverty, injustice,  and wealth inequality are rampant. Armaments and fossil fuels are the planet’s top two industries. Humans are killing each other by the millions every year, and fossil fuels are literally destroying the planet’s climate and killing millions more by way of air pollution. Yeah, even Kirk and Spock would leave this one alone.

And I guess I’m gonna keep blogging about the war. The Russo-Ukrainian War is the Vietnam War of my time, except this time our designated enemy has nuclear weapons. No genocide yet. And I’m hoping this might eventually revive the peace movement in the US. Granted I think corporate control of the media and government propaganda make that unlikely, but a man can dream. I was accused by a reader of being “off base” for suggesting that peace and diplomacy are laudable paths. That makes me proudly off base. There’s people risking death and jail fighting for peace in Ukraine and Russia. I guess I can risk losing friends by blogging for peace in America.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The recently sunk Russian cruiser Moskva. Credit: Mil.ru. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 18, 2022 at 1:32 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

RUSSIA AND UKRAINE, THE DOGS OF WAR HAVE BEEN UNLEASHED

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I have been very depressed since Russia invaded Ukraine. This is the worst outbreak of war since the US invasion of Iraq nearly 20 years ago, and in some ways one of the worst outbreaks of my life. Modern industrialized nuclear powers going to war is always a scary thing, the sheer destructive power at their disposal is frightening even without counting nuclear weapons. Even if this war is limited to Russia and Ukraine the death toll is likely to be in the thousands at least with property damage in the billions. Already there are over 150,000 refugees, so a terrible humanitarian crisis is unfolding. And it could get so much worse, other nations could get involved, nuclear weapons could get used, a world war is not out of the question.

A lot to be depressed and angry about. Humans live on a planet that is a paradise, a planet that could easily provide a good life for everyone on Earth. Instead greed, corruption, and violence are rampant, with a tiny number of people hoarding staggering amounts of wealth while billions of people live in abject poverty. And the ultimate expression of the failure of humanity is war, organized violence intended to kill other human beings. I suspect war is one of the main reasons the aliens fly right by. And yet we’ve completely normalized it, glorified and fetishized it in many cases. There’s nothing glorious about war, if your country is involved in a war, there were almost always failures in leadership that led to it.

Russia invading Ukraine is a terrible crime. It’s a war crime, the greatest war crime in fact because all other war crimes flow from it. I hope cool heads prevail and the war ends as quickly as possible. I had no wish to see this in my day, just as I had no wish to experience the greatest pandemic in a century. And that’s far from over. Oh, and the Tonga volcano eruption in January was the greatest in decades. 2022 is starting off with a bang. My few remaining readers want my opinion, of which I have a few. Unpopular as they may be.

So yes, terrible thing, terrible war crime. And that’s as far as it gets in the US at least, no context, no history, nothing. Evil Russia invades freedom loving Ukraine, heroic Ukrainians defending valiantly against invading Russian hordes. True enough, but without history and context, it’s a facile sophomoric analysis. Russia hit first, end analysis, preschool playground ethics. See it on TikTok, put a sunflower on your Facebook profile. Americans can feel incredibly noble and heroic defending Ukraine, without the inconvenience of actual Americans being killed and wounded for life. And anyone who doesn’t get on the bandwagon is a Putin apologist if not an enemy of America.

Washington got the war it wanted, in the grand American tradition of fomenting wars going back to the Mexican American War in 1846, A Democratic war no less, while most Republican criticism of the Dems is paranoid marketing nonsense, the Dems have managed to start a lot of wars. Good for their sponsors, the arms and energy industries, the two most powerful industries on Earth. When the Soviet Union collapsed and effectively surrendered to NATO the US promised that NATO would not expand eastward. A promise that the US broke immediately and expanded NATO up to and inside the borders of the old Soviet Union. Putin made it very clear that Russia had had enough, they would not stand for Ukraine joining NATO and positioning missiles on the border with Russia’s heartland. No more than the US would allow Russian or Chinese missiles stationed in Mexico or Cuba. Hell, we almost fought a world war about Russian missiles in Cuba.

So yes, this war could have been completely avoided if Ukraine had just stayed neutral, the same way Finland and Austria coexisted peacefully next to the Soviet Union for decades. Tell that to most Americans though and hostility and denial will be the response, Putin is the next Hitler and must be stopped because he wants to rule the world. (highly recommended link.) A conclusion so absurd (not to mention projecting, since it’s America that is trying to rule the world) as to be laughable. Except of course there’s nothing laughable about this situation. Among other nonsense being tossed around western media is the Dems somehow making this war Trump’s fault. So the Dems have mastered the GOP’s playbook, anything bad that happens is the other party’s fault. At least during the Vietnam War debate was possible, and at least some Americans were calling for peace.

All that aside, what the hell is going to happen now? No idea. If I had to guess, I think eventually Ukraine will realize America isn’t going to send the cavalry to their rescue, and will sit down with Putin and work out an acceptable deal that preserves Ukraine’s independence while assuaging Russia’s security concerns. That’s an optimistic sentiment though. It could get much worse. The other possibility is that Biden’s plummeting approval rating will goad him to reckless military involvement, like trying to impose a no fly zone over Ukraine. Here is a good link about how this war could have been avoided, and tons of history and context ignored by the western media: The Eazy-Peazy Ukrainian Alternative – Partition.

Another good discussion about this war and America’s response to it: The History Behind the Russia-Ukraine War. I particularly liked:

As Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University and leader of the so-called “realist” school of foreign policy wrote earlier this week, “‘strategic empathy’ isn’t about agreeing with an adversary’s position. It is about understanding it so you can fashion an appropriate response.”

That’s all I try to do. Stay safe everyone. I’ll try to write more about this nightmare as the situation unfolds.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme found on Facebook, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. In fact from what I can tell it’s not possible to copyright or trademark quotes by other people.)

Written by unitedcats

March 6, 2022 at 4:20 pm

AFGHANISTAN IS ON MY MIND

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And in the news. Now that the US is pulling out, the Taliban are rapidly regaining control of their country. In the west, the only approved narrative is that Taliban barbarians are overrunning a bastion of civilization. Or as the BBC puts it: Afghanistan: Panic and disbelief as thousands flee Taliban onslaught. Sigh. Yes, it is a terrible thing, people are dying, refugees are fleeing, a land that hasn’t known peace in decades is experiencing a paroxysm of violence and retribution. My heart goes out to the people suffering and dying.

However, the situation is a little more nuanced than “good vs evil and evil is winning.” OK, a lot more nuanced. Afghanistan is a land where there have been no good actors for decades, and blame for this horror show stretches all the way to Moscow, London, and Washington. A number of points and observations I would like to make. The first being that leaving was the only good option the US had, staying in Afghanistan wasn’t going to change anything, it was just postponing the inevitable. Staying there was just putting good money after bad as poker players say. And the idea that leaving would somehow make all the blood and money we wasted in Afghanistan meaningless is classic “sunk cost fallacy” thinking.

It should also be pointed out that the people running Afghanistan under our protection were just as violent, fundementalist, and misogynistic as the Taliban. And vastly more corrupt. That’s how the Taliban came to power in the first place, they were an improvement over the warlords whose greed and internecine warfare tore Afghanistan apart after the Soviet Union withdrew. The very same warlords the US put back in power. It should have surprised no one that they couldn’t form an effective and popular government to fight the Taliban. What a nightmare. Basically Afghanistan is a microcosm of just what a counterproductive disaster the whole “war on terror” has been. Conquest is easy, just and effective rule doesn’t magically follow.

And then there’s the usual painful hypocrisy from the west, as if western governments actually give a crap about the plight of the people of Afghanistan. We are allied with plenty of governments that are just as fundamentalist, undemocratic, violent, and misogynistic as the Taliban; but since they are happy to let the west exploit their resources, no problem. Frankly I’m so cynical these days about the world’s leaders it’s getting harder all the time to write about the state of the globe. The vast majority of them don’t give a crap about their own people and are solely concerned with protecting the wealth and power of themselves and their cronies. Even worse, huge numbers of people continue to slavishly support these “leaders.”

Anyhow, here’s a similar take on the topic: Stop Listening to the Pro-War Idiots Who Got Afghanistan Wrong. This: Deceptions and lies: What really happened in Afghanistan. Or this: Who Lost America’s Longest War? – Antiwar.com Original. Sigh. Have a good weekend everyone, stay safe and cool.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Russian troops pulling out of Afghanistan. Image reproduced in accordance with US copyright law. Attribution: RIA Novosti archive, image #58833 / A. Solomonov / CC-BY-SA 3.0 This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Written by unitedcats

August 13, 2021 at 5:19 pm

AMERICA, LONG ROAD TRIP, GOOD LUCK FLAGS, AND WINDMILL MADNESS

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Over the past few weeks I’ve spent nights in Iowa, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Oklahoma, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York. A lot of driving was involved. Fortunately I like to drive, and apart from one marathon Western Oregon to Iowa in two days marathon, it wasn’t bad at all. Nice weather for the drive too, except way too hot in some parts. A friend speculates that through wildfires, excessive heat, and drought that much of western America is going to become uninhabitable in the following decades as Global Warming continues to devastate the planet. I hope he’s wrong, but he might well be right. In any case, I will resume blogging now as I am safely ensconced in a house for the near future.

One highlight of the trip, the above flag. Spotted in a military museum in Idaho. I was somewhat dismayed to see it displayed. Why? Isn’t it a Japanese battle flag, war booty proudly and appropriately displayed in a museum? (Begging the question whether war booty is ever appropriate.) No, it’s not a battle flag. It’s a Good Luck Flag. These were flags carried by Japanese soldiers during World War Two. They would be presented to the soldier before deployment, and they were covered with written messages and prayers from family, friends, and loved ones. Almost every Japanese soldier carried one, it was a prized personal possession. Similar to how American soldiers might carry photographs of their families.

During the war the looting and collecting of these flags became popular among servicemen. Unlike swords or weapons, they could be easily carried and concealed, and a good number of them made their way back to the USA. That’s how I learned about Good Luck Flags. I read about a fellow whose dad was a veteran of the Guadalcanal campaign, one of the uglier battles in World War Two. His dad never wanted to talk about his experiences, but after his death his son found the flag and had it framed and hung in his home. He did in fact think it was a battle flag. Until a few years later when a Japanese reading guest asked about it. He asked the fellow if he knew what it was? Battle flag captured by my dad on Guadalcanal! Well, no, it was explained to him the nature of the flag.

Long story short, the vet’s son decided to do the right thing. The name of the soldier was on the flag, as were those of his wife and children. And upon contacting a Japanese consulate, he learned that his widow and children were still alive. So the vet’s son flew to Japan to return the flag to the dead Japanese soldier’s widow and family. And this is why I was a little perturbed to see one such flag on public display in a museum. It’s not really appropriate, this was personal property looted from the body of a dead Japanese soldier. And sadly the museum was aware of what it is from the label. I thought about what, if anything, I should do. And upon researching it, I discovered there is a group devoted to repatriating Good Luck Flags, the Obon Society. Their mission is to try and repatriate all personal items looted during the war in the spirit of peace and reconciliation. So I sent them the picture above, and they will do what they can, often working through state historical societies.

Another highlight of my trip was the billboard above spotted in Wyoming. I rolled my eyes so hard I might have permanently damaged them. I mean, give me a break. The idea that a few windmills “forever ruins” countryside is bizarre to say the least, especially when one considers that the anti-green energy movement is funded by the fossil fuel industry, an industry whose pollution, health costs, and ecological damage are mind numbing in comparison to wind power. This is America though, where “Right is wrong and wrong is right.”

And of course Trump signs and billboards are everywhere in rural America. I never experienced a personality cult before, at least a national one on this scale. To tens of millions of Americans Trump is their saviour, a saviour whose reelection was stolen from him by some sort of socialisist sino satanic plot. Food for future blogs. I’ll blog about Afghanistan soon, a Civil War battlefield I visited, the rise of unreason, and other fun stuff. And of course the plot I recently uncovered to control us all through chemically induced mind control. Contemporary America is still a blogger’s paradise.

Hope all had a good weekend, have a safe and cool week everyone.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image top: Japanese Good Luck flag in an Idaho museum. Credit: Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Image bottom: Found on the internet, attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 9, 2021 at 8:11 am

ONWARD THROUGH THE FOG

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Oh boy, getting ready to move so blogging has been a low priority. I would have moved already, but I needed to have a storage space for my stuff built first. LOL. Yes, every storage space near me was full with a waiting list. Then I found one that was in the process of building a new building so I rented a storage space that hasn’t been built yet. Fortunately they are making good progress, a few days ago it was just a concrete slab, drove by yesterday and the building was nearly complete. I can only hope they are working through the weekend. Looking forward to hitting the road.

Stuff keeps on happening in the bizarre imaginary world modern America has turned into in front of my horrified gaze. One of them is illustrated above: Mike Lindell made an insane election conspiracy diagram that has to be seen to be believed. It’s bizarre to say the least, looks like something a deeply unmedicated schizophrenic would come up with. (No ableism intended, just couldn’t think of a better way of saying it.) And then there’s this: Trump Supporters Insist Far-Fetched 7-Point Plan Will Get Him Back In Office. At least this one has the benefit of being easy to understand. The first three steps are fantasy, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. Save the date though, August 13 is when Trump claims he’ll be back in the oval office.

In other American news, statues of Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson are being taken down in Charlottesville, North Carolina: Charlottesville set to remove Robert E Lee statue that sparked rally. These were two “heroes” of the Confederacy, so they never should have been installed on public property in the first place. These were men who took up arms against their nation because they wanted to keep human beings as (rapeable) property. Hardly people to memorialize. That’s the lost cause myth though, the idea that the Confederacy was some sort of noble state’s right cause crushed by northern aggression. It’s high time all glorification of the Confederacy was removed from public spaces, so this is progress.

A good article that looks into the history of the religious right’s opposition to social change of any sort, linking the Scopes monkey trial to today’s attacks on Critical Race Theory: Experts beware: America may be headed for a Scopes moment. The main takeaway, it’s a long article, is that the religious right always wildly misrepresents things like Evolution and Critical Race Theory in their attacks upon them. Worth a read. Oh, and my observation, gee, the very same people who insist that creationism should be taught in schools so children can understand the controversy … don’t think that CRT should be taught for the same reason? Basically the bottom line is the religious right only want their narrow interpretation of history taught in schools, they’d dump the teaching of evolution in a heartbeat if they could do so.

Basically America isn’t a modern civilized educated country. And it’s not just the religious right:  QuestionPro Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Americans Believe in UFOs. No surprise since even the Pentagon has gotten on the UFO train: The Pentagon Lies About UFOs – But Not Always For The Reasons You’d Expect (Updated). There’s as much evidence for aliens on Earth as there is for the existence of angels and demons. People still believe in them too: Did a Demon Appear at Biden’s Speech? And ‘Prophet’ Claims Biden Has Demonic ‘Serpent Eyes,’ Defends Trump’s Election Win. Even the BBC is promoting nonsense these days:The BBC Indulges in Bizarre Pseudohistorical Stonehenge Speculation. Sigh.

In foreign news, a group of foreign mercenaries made their way into Haiti and murdered the country’s acting president in his home: Haiti president’s assassination: What we know so far. A nightmarish event for one of the world’s poorest and most long suffering nations. I wish I had an answer, but I do know that death squads and political assassinations are the epitome of evil. The two Americans involved should be flown back to the USA, and executed on the tarmac on live TV. Alas the world’s rulers for the most part have no problem with death squads so long as they’re killing the people they want killed. If killing people solved problems the world would be a paradise. Sadly I don’t see it stopping anytime soon, in the USA at least the peace and antiwar movement has been so sidelined and delegitimized by the powers that be that it might as well not even exist.

Oh well, since messed up North America appears to be today’s default theme, a good article on the North American heat wave: The North American Heatwave | NeuroLogica Blog. While one can never say with certainty whether a weather event is related to global warming, the odds that an event this extreme would have occurred without global warming are vanishingly small. The well funded denier lobby will continue their work though, and global warming will continue to pick up steam.

Lastly, some good news from Florida’s Surfside condo collapse. First though, I saw an observation about this terrible event that I thought was right on the money, paraphrased: “The surfside condo didn’t collapse because of terrorism or some natural disaster, it collapsed because of shoddy construction and maintenance, internal rot basically. In so many ways a metaphor for modern America.” Yerp, our infrastructure, education, and health care is the embarrassment of the developed world, but our military could blow up the world a dozen times over! Couldn’t defeat the Taliban … but I digress.

Yes, the good news, a Surfside condo survivor was found! His name is Binx. He’s a cat: Cat missing in Surfside condo collapse found alive; death toll climbs to 79. He lived on the ninth floor and it’s not exactly clear how he escaped with his life, as he was just found in the vicinity of the ruins. May well have jumped to safety, cats can and do survive falls from great heights. Must be nice knowing you don’t need no freaking ladder or landing pad or parachute, just jump!

Hope all are having a good weekend. Next post, Afghanistan. Looks like America’s role in this sheetshow is finally over. Stay safe and cool everyone.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Pillow Guy’s whiteboard about how Trump is still president. Used without permission, but claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Hell, I’m sharing his wisdom with the world, people will see this illustration and flock to Trump’s defense! How could he object?)

Written by unitedcats

July 10, 2021 at 6:08 pm

MEMORIAL DAY

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 31, 2021 at 7:50 am

BIDEN, INFRASTRUCTURE, OIL, WAR, RAPE IN THE NEWS

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Biden tells Johnson they should build massive global infrastructure plan to rival China. Well, when is the US going to invest in its own antiquated and failing infrastructure? Biden didn’t say. He did say this though about China, Washington fear mongering at its best:

“They have an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world. That’s not going to happen on my watch.”

No Mr Biden, it’s America that is obsessed with being the most powerful country in the world, it’s America that sees everything in terms of rivalry. This is a nice article that ties into that mindset: The Origins of America’s Unique and Spectacular Cruelty. I was particularly struck by the point that a ridiculously high percentage of the American economy is profit driven. Like health care for example, no other nation has allowed giant corporations to turn health care into a profit making industry. It’s the major reason our healthcare system is so obscenely expensive compared to other countries. The whole idea that somehow profit is the best way to motivate institutions to do a good job is somewhere between silly and sick, though a lot closer to sick. It’s warped our thinking about so many things.

While I’m detailing America’s faults, here’s another: US Fossil Fuel Companies Get a Shocking Amount of Implicit Subsidies Each Year. It’s only shocking to people who haven’t been paying attention. More than $50 billion in the US, nearly a trillion dollars annually over the entire globe. Coal being far and away the worst, if coal power had to pay the health and environmental costs of mining and burning coal, it would all stay in the ground right where it is because there’d be no profit in mining it and burning it for power. Just another way the economy of the world is geared towards making obscene profits for the few by passing the costs onto the public. Ain’t capitalism grand?

Lastly, it really needs to be repeatedly said that America is one of the most warlike (as in endlessly waging wars) nations the world has ever seen. It’s insanely expensive, and not only unnecessary, it’s actually causing terrible harm. And yet here we are. Waging war around the world, suffering a terrible level of domestic gun violence, and most Americans are just oblivious to it. It’s really weird if one steps back and looks at it. No other country built a giant fleet of bomber carrying ships and uses them constantly to bomb people around the world. Your tax dollars at work.

So yeah, speaking of surreal (welcome to America,) the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that if a woman is drunk when she meets a man, he can’t be charged with raping an incapacitated victim. Say what? They are literally saying if a man drugs his victim or gets her drunk, he can be charged with raping an incapacitated woman … but if she was already drugged or drunk, it’s not quite rape? He is going to be retried on a lesser charge, but people are outraged. I am certainly with those who say Minnesota rape law needs to be rewritten.

Oh, the trial of George Flyod’s killer started. Hopefully it will proceed to a sane conclusion, and there will be no unrest. Blog fodder if there is. Um, windy as hell in Northern Iowa. Trump cultists are still predicting his imminent return to the White House. Worse, the GOP seems to be running with “Biden winning was a coup.” Stupider and far more mainstream than birtherism, yeah, American politics not looking good. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Snappygoat image of the USS Kitty Hawk, Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 29, 2021 at 8:03 pm

BORDERS

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OK, off we go. News? I used to get a lot of news from the Wapo and the NYT, not anymore for reasons I explained at length in recent blogs. Now my top two news sites are the BBC and The Guardian. Plus other sites too, one should get their news from a wide variety of sources, international ones for sure. Haaretz and Al Jazeera are good for example. They all have their biases, blind spots, propaganda. This is what God gave us brains for, to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’ve never seen any major fact checking errors on Snopes for example, the truth is out there. In fact how people react to Snopes pretty much tells one if they are connected to reality or live in a fantasy world. I often hear a nice selection of false arguments from Snopes deniers. “They’re not professional fact checkers!” is my favorite. Um, so what? Show me a topic where Snope’s is factually in error. I’ll wait. And then Wikipedia is a great source for non controversial topics. A topic that corporate America or the US government wants to control the narrative on, skip Wikipedia entirely. What’s there may not be wrong, but it certainly won’t represent reality.

So, back to news, China threatens war if Taiwan declares independence.* Taiwan is a small island off the coast of China, a little bit bigger than Maryland, a little bit smaller than the Netherlands. It’s yet another relic of the Cold War. When Mao and his communists won the Chinese Civil War after World War Two, the US backed side fled to the island of Taiwan, and protected by the United States, there they remained. If the US hadn’t protected them, Taiwan would just be another province in China that no one outside of China had ever heard of.

And as I understand it, most people in China are adamant that Taiwan is indeed part of China, no discussion allowed. And this, in a nutshell, is why nationalism sucks sheet. The idea of a nation is great from many perspectives, but when that idea runs roughshod over self determination, it’s simply tyranny. When the United States declared independence from Britain, its revolution was based ostensibly on the ideals of self determination, not to mention inalienable human rights.  Yes, the founding fathers were hideous hypocrites who completely dishonored these ideals in the breach, founding a nation based on slavery and propertied white male supremacy, but the concepts are stll valid.

Alas, the world’s governments only apply them when it is in their interest to do so. America’s hypocrisy on this level is mind numbing, but of course completely normalized by the western press. To the point that many (most?) Americans are all for Taiwan being independent, but Crimea wanting to be part of Russia, that’s a terrible crime! The borders of the world were drawn up by the European colonial powers for their own exploitive ends, there’s nothing “normal” about them, but they are treated as such by the western press. A huge percentage of the world’s people, it must be in the 100s of millions, would rather be independent or part of another country than the one they are in.

Countless examples. The Kurds, 30 million of them, Kurdistan should have been a country after World War One. Kashmir, if they ever got to vote, would almost certainly want to be part of Pakistan. Large parts of Pakistan would rather be part of Pashtun Afghanistan. Tibet was once an independent country. I wouldn’t even know where to start in Africa, it’s a nightmare of colonial boundaries. And then countless indigenous people around the world would rather be their own country as much as possible. Why not, there’s at least 5000 ethnic groups on the planet, why should there be only 300 countries? Andorra, a nation the size of Peoria Illinois, has been independent for over 500 years. It can be done. And there are many others.

This, at the core of it, is why the aliens fly right by us. About 300 armed gangs control Earth for the benefit of a tiny number of people already so rich they could live a thousand lifetimes and not spend it all. Any sane species would long ago have fixed this. Give people self determination, and the border problems sort themselves out. And put mechanisms in place to make sure everyone benefits from the world’s wealth, it is a collective effort. Make it so businesses can’t pass health and environmental costs onto the public, the free market will indeed fix things like global warming. No ideology or religion need apply. They are the problem, not the solution. Granted some are worse problems than others. Anti-vaxxers. White Supremacists. Nazis. Yeah, I’m still anti-Nazi. Convince me otherwise. Though I do accept and try to understand the appeal. Germany was a modern educated land.

The above map is a preliminary speculation about a balkanized America. The native peoples especially should be scattered about in ancestral lands, but it’s a start. I don’t think the world colonial government is going to collapse anytime soon, but many people were surprised by the fall of Rome and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Times change, I plan to blog about it as long as I can. The Earth Burning blog. Stay safe gentle readers. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

*China tends to be more forthwith than doublespeak western diplomacy, this is likely a promise, not a threat.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Map by blog author: Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

January 29, 2021 at 9:36 pm

VETERANS DAY 2020

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Veterans Day, 2020. One knows people are being hosed if there’s a day set up to honor them. Hosed, used, manipulated, whatever. America has fetishized war, the military, and veterans. Basically one or two days a year, and in other silly ways (I get veterans parking, woohoo!) America “lauds” its veterans. The other 365 days a year they send them to die in colonial wars whose only purpose is politics or corporate profits. The last war America fought to “defend our freedoms” was World War Two, and even it has caveats. Every veteran after that fought to make some president look good or promote the American Empire.

So yeah fellow veteran dudes and dudettes, your service is appreciated. With the exception of WW2 vets, a few of which may still be reading this, you got duped. I served myself, joined with high ideals, found I’d joined a deeply misogynistic muslim-hating gang whose mission was to travel around the world and murder people. I was disillusioned to say the least, though if I had it to all do over again, I would have joined the army instead of the USMC and served 20 or 30 years. Life is complicated. And I did meet some great people in the service.

Hell, I was a Nazi bigot before I joined the service. Actually living and working with people of all faiths, colors, etc., I learned “A**holes come in all colors.” We had four drill instructors in basic training. Two white, two black. First guy, black guy, can’t remember his name. He was something else, mean mofo, the only DI (drill instructor) that physically abused me, he started kicking me one day because my push ups weren’t up to his standards. No big deal though. The other privates (recruits) connected with him. He didn’t last, showed up drunk one night while off duty and got into a fistfight with a private. He got replaced, I wish him the best.

The Senior Drill Instructor, white guy, Staff Sergeant Sisk (weird what details one remembers from four decades ago,) was a good guy but ill suited to be a Drill Instructor. OK guy though. I’d have a beer with him if I ever ran across him. 3rd DI. Black fellow. Dumb, as in modest IQ black guy from rural Georgia. Vietnam Vet. Sergeant Allen. And he was a Marine to the bone, probably the most Marinest Marine I ever met. If he had your back, you were covered. One of the most impressive human beings I ever had the privilege of knowing.

Last guy, white fellow, Canadian like me. He was a sick fuck. He liked hurting the privates. IE he liked hurting people. His one trick I remember was to bend people’s fingers back to the point of excruciating pain. He was a sadist. And he got brought down. We were very much taught to overlook excesses in the name of taking one for the team. Hazing was OK, like the guy kicking me. What this guy was doing was beyond hazing. Some officers showed up one day and asked us if any of the accusations against him were true. People spoke up, and he was gone.

Bigotted as I was, it sunk in that somebody’s skin color tells one nothing about how cool they are, or aren’t. And pretty much everything in my life since has reinforced that. People are people, some good, most OK, a few a**holes. And only getting to know them will tell which is which. So I applaud the service and how it can be good for people’s personal growth all else aside. (Aside: My fantasy zombie apocalypse team is diverse as fuck.)

And that’s where my thinking sat for decades. I wasn’t wrong. There’s another layer though. Sargent Allen told us a bit about Vietnam. He’d volunteered with two friends on a buddy program, where they all went through basic training and their first post together. One of them was killed. Allen told us the story, firefight, his friend got carried away, was shouting “I can see them, I can see them!” while standing and shooting. Actually being able to see the enemy is unusual in modern warfare. His last words, since if he could see them, they could see him. Sargent Allen even showed us pics of his friend’s body or body bag.

And this is where it gets ugly. Sargent Allen said that after that, on every patrol, him and his surviving buddy made sure they killed at least one local. That’s called a war crime. It’s called murder. One of the coolest and most honorable dudes I ever met, by his own admission, was a serial killer. And he got away with it because he was fighting in a war. How the hell does one process something like that?

War is bad. That’s all I got. Stay safe everyone.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: That’s me. 1978? Credit and copyright: No idea. Probably a government photographer, in which case Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 11, 2020 at 9:13 pm