Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Peace’ Category

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

EPIDEMIC OF APATHY CONTINUES IN AMERICA AS COVID-19 KILLS AT WILL

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OK, so, the first surgery failed. Second surgery, well, another new experience, I could see the smoke and smell my burning flesh when they cauterized the incision. Smelled like chicken. Yes, I have a very odd sense of humor. Some would even say I don’t possess such. Philistines. So still kicking, but more surgery after the latest biopsy. Modern medicine, as in all modern science based endeavors, is pretty amazing stuff. Fox News viewers and Evangelicals, you’re missing out on some good shit.

And since they’re in control of the country now, their failure to grasp that Covid-19 required a science based approach has killed tens of thousands of people. I know, boring, we’re over Covid-19, on to some other story. Not here in Doug’s Darkworld. Greatest mass death of my time, so I’m  gonna keep blogging on it. And whatever comes to mind. That’s my plan for the fall, write about whatever I want to. 

Three quick Covid-19 links. First, once again, Covid-19 is very serious even for young healthy adults: A sobering breakdown of severe COVID-19 cases shows young adults can’t dismiss it. I know I repeat this a lot, because it’s important. Covid-19 is not a cold or a flu, it’s much worse, and we need to snap out of the complacency a hundred years of vaccines and modern public health brought us. Here’s a good article just basically going over some of the hows and why America failed so miserably fighting Covid-19: COVID-19 Has Killed Nearly 200,000 Americans. How Many More Lives Will Be Lost Before the U.S. Gets It Right? A good, if depressing, read. Lastly, just some interesting thoughts on where Covid-10 is going: How do pandemics usually end? And how will this one finish? 

So the Abraham Accord. Yeah, this one seems remarkably easy to deconstruct. The United Arab Emirates, one of the medieval Gulf State theocracies, has normalized relations with Israel, one of the few Arab nations to do so. Trump and company are touting it as a big move towards peace in the Middle East, he has even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize! By a far right Muslim-bashing Norewegian politician who has nominated Trump for the prize before. The astute reader can no doubt guess that it’s going to go downhill from here.

So what is the Abraham Accord? It’s really simple, the UAE recognizes Israel, then they get to buy a giant pile of advanced US weapons. And Israel gets a huge pile of American taxpayer dollars which they have to spend on US weapons. Woohoo, American war profiteers make a pile of money, Israel and the UAE get even more weapons! And what do the Palestinas get? Nothing. How does pouring more weapons into the Middle East promote peace? God only knows. Basically it’s Trump giving away a pile of America taxpayers money so he can claim a diplomatic success. Color me unimpressed.

And more weapons in the region. Yeah, that’s worked out well: At least 37 million displaced by America’s two-decade ‘war on terror’: Report. Weapons are the world’s number two industry, and a profitable industry it is. And politically powerful. It’s distorted civilization since the end of World War Two, with no end in sight. They should have hung German industrialists alongside the other war criminals the Allies hung at Nuremberg. Nope, we’re stuck in this reality where giving more weapons to two warlike regimes in a region devastated by war is touted as a peace treaty.

Shit like this is why the aliens fly right past. Assuming any such aliens exist, the latest search came up with nada: Astronomers find no signs of alien tech after scanning over 10 million stars. If there’s aliens out there, they certainly aren’t doing anything noticeable. My backup theory is that intelligent life such as ours is an evolutionary dead end. Soon enough the technology will be such that an individual will be able to build a doomsday device. We can’t even stop school shooters in the US, so this would be inevitable. We’d all die with our freedoms intact though, woohoo! And if the stock markets were high at the time, then what else matters?

OK, no emails from aliens yet. I just checked. Unless they are cleverly disguised as spam, which would seem to miss the point. Still, how the hell would I know how aliens think, even understanding Trump supporters gives me pause. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: Anonymous quote pasted onto a Public Domain Snappygoat Image. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 10, 2020 at 7:39 pm

SADNESS WITHOUT WORDS, PRETTY WITHOUT KITTY

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I woke up this morning with those words going through my head. So … blog title! I’ve been sad and depressed a lot lately. I think it’s mostly a reflection of sad, I’m sad while awake, sad while asleep. I took the above picture outside my house last night. Ran inside to grab my camera, took pics, somehow the camera failed. So the above is from my crappy flip phone camera. A blue searchlight? A crack in the sky one friend asked when I sent the pic? I never saw anything like it before in my life. It persisted for a good ten minutes before fading away. That’s what I love about reality, always cool new shit to see. As for what it was, pretty sure it’s what is called an anticrepuscular ray. It was  exactly opposite the setting sun at sunset. Just the perfect condition in the sky to only see the one blue stripe. I like seeing things in the sky. Saw a sunspot with my naked eyes once. No UFOs yet though.

Yes, I have been writing a lot lately. The plan is to write and post every day until President Trump leaves office. Of his own accord, frogmarched, dragged kicking and screaming, whatevers. What if he gets reelected? Or conquers the world? I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it, anything is possible. I wasn’t one of the gobsmacked when Trump won the 2016 election, her majesty Clinton seemed determined to alienate any but her faithful. I’m writing every day because the most horrifying election of my life is going on as Covid-19 rages essentially unchecked across the land, the most horrible event of my life. America is burning. A chronicle of a terrible time for future and foreign readers.

Speaking of Covid-19, it broke out in Vietnam again. A big breakout this time, their first deaths. Ten died so far. In other words there have been plenty of nursing homes in the US hit harder by Covid-19 than Vietnam. Vietnam was, and is, one of the big success stories in the pandemic. They went into full shutdown and lockdown mode in January, keeping cases down to a few hundred with no deaths. And in the past few months basically resumed normal life. Then, poof, a huge outbreak in Da Nang. They don’t actually know how it got back in the country, the best guess is that it didn’t, that it was quietly circulating asymptomatically locally. The lesson here, this is one ferociously infectious virus and only strong national action can control it. Da Nang has been completely sealed off and shut down now. Meanwhile in Sturgis, South Dakota, America, what pandemic? Sigh.

When I wrote “America is burning” above, I had yet to hear about the rioting in Chicago. Sadly I think it’s just the beginning. People are desperate. Poor communities have been hit particularly hard economically by Covid-19. And with a disproportionate number of deaths too. And there’s not only no relief in sight, neither political party seems terribly interested in offering help to the poor and downtrodden. This is America? And Trump is not exactly a great unifier who will try to calm the nation. He will be sending in waves of cops and soldiers. It will almost certainly get uglier.

How did we get here? Lebanon is actually a good example of what the problem is. America has divided into two tribes, who view everything through a political ideological lens. (While the rich have stolen everything and continue to loot even as the nation burns.) The idea of the common good has been completely lost, it’s everyone for themselves, with loyalty to one’s own faction trumping all else. Everything is seen through a political lens. Unfortunately, as I have pointed out before, Covid-19 is utterly immune to partisan politics. Anyhow, this article about Lebanon articulates it better than I can: Beirut’s Blast Is a Warning for America. In this country, as in Lebanon, everything is now politics. I know it’s behind a paywall, open in an anonymous browser window to read, it’s worth the trouble. Just for this insight:

“This trend is not only hurting us, it’s literally killing us. The reason Trump has utterly failed to manage the Covid-19 pandemic is that he finally met a force he could not discredit and deflect by turning it into politics — Mother Nature. She is impenetrable to politics because all she consists of is chemistry, biology and physics. And she will do whatever they dictate — in this case, spread a coronavirus — whether Trump affirms it or not.”

And that’s the optimistic article. Here’s another good one, no paywall here: America’s Death March. Regardless of the outcome, the election will not stop the rise of hypernationalism, crisis cults and other signs of an empire’s terminal decline. This one basically makes the case that America has reached the end of the road, this level of wealth inequality, corruption, and oligarchy never ends well. I hope I’m wrong, but for what it’s worth, I think I’m living during America’s big fall. Sooner or later believing logical and scientific nonsense like “Global warming is a hoax (or worse.)” was going to lead to actual catastrophe. And here we are, defeated by a germ.

Stay safe everyone. I know people now who are simply not following the news because they don’t want to know. Yeah, I can do that after I’m dead. A reminder for new readers who just wandered in here, six months ago a terrible new disease started spreading. It’s not the Black Death, but it’s still the worst thing to come along in a century. It can be fought and defeated, reason and science are the way.

Ain’t gonna happen, we’re hosed. Stay tuned. Comments, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: An anti-crepuscular ray over my street yesterday sunset. Credit: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

August 10, 2020 at 8:28 pm

TRUMP’S PALESTINE “DEAL OF THE CENTURY” REVEALED

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This was a hard post to write. Palestine is at the fulcrum of the world’s problems, a solution to it would be a huge boost for peace. Alas, I see no light at the end of the tunnel. I must try though, I write this in the hope of promoting justice and understanding.

This is the map President Trump tweeted to announce his “deal of the century” offer to the Palestinians. It speaks for itself. This is not the map of an independent sovereign Palestinian state. It’s a “state” divided into at least six cantons, each  surrounded by Israeli territory. With numerous Israeli settlements situated inside the Palestinian enclaves. It’s a two state solution where the second state, the Palestinian state, is subject to Israel. The Bantustan solution to the issue. The Palestinians, none of whom were consulted in creating this deal, have already rejected it. As they should, this is not a realistic plan for peace, it’s an outline for Palestian surrender.

Or look at it this way, Trump’s offer basically gives all of Palestine to Israel, but allows the Palestinans to live on American style Indian reservations. Just like Indian reservations in America, the Palestinians can call themselves independent sovereign nations, but they are still subject to Israel. Especially with Israel controlling their borders, water, airspace, and defence. This isn’t really debateable. A “country” so divided up would be ungovernable. There’s no country anything like this on Earth, for good reason, it wouldn’t work. Which basically means that Trump’s offer is designed to be rejected. And then Israel can go ahead with annexation and claim “Well, we made them a reasonable offer, but they refused!”

The question that arises, does Trump actually believe this is a reasonable offer? I suspect he does. Decades of Israeli propaganda have cemented in many western minds.the idea that Israel wants peace but the Palestinians don’t.  Also the idea that the Palestinians aren’t a “real” people, so anything Israel offers them that allows them to stay is a generous offer, and they should be happy to get it. Or worse, Trump knows this offer is a joke, but doesn’t care.

I had Trump hopes before he got elected. Granted they weren’t very realistic hopes, but a man can dream? I hoped by being a populist and an outsider Trump might take a new approach to some of the world’s problems. Like actually trying to solve them instead of just perpetuating them. My hopes have been dashed at this point. Granted I’ve had my hopes for every president since Reagan, sometimes people elevated to high office try to do the right thing! Alas, it’s been a long time since we’ve had one of those presidents.

A solution to the Palestinian problem is possible. An actual contiguous West Bank  state, bordering on Jordan, without any Israeli enclaves. Even if it was only half the size of the current occupied West Bank, it would at least be a viable state. If added to modest, essentially symbolic, reparations for Israel’s ethnic cleansing in the past, I think the majority of Palestinians would be happy with it. Oh, an actual independent state too, in every sense of the word. Not a state where Israel controls the borders, airspace, and water … and freely launches military strikes in.

Would this instantly halt all terrorism directed towards Israel? Of course not. There’s always going to be criminals and extremists. Just as there have been in Israel. But in the long run it would make peace workable in Palestine, as long as people have independence and self determination they generally are happy to get along with their neighbours. Ultimately Israel has to make peace with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbours, no nation can survive perpetual war.

I don’t think peace now will happen though. At this point it seems like the extremists control Israel’s heart and soul. And they want nothing less than a 100% Jewish Palestine, with the Palestinians gone. And Trump’s “peace plan” is just another step in the process of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that has been ongoing since 1948. Israel has held all the cards since 1948. And it’s they that have chosen war and ethnic cleansing instead of negotiation and peace. Not all Israelis though. I suppose there is hope in that sense. I recommend that the gentle reader read The General’s Son. The IRA and Britain negotiated a settlement to their nightmare war, I can only hope that Israel and Palestine can do the same.

Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Trump’s images posted on Twitter. Credit: One of Trump’s minions I suppose, as official government tweets they are Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

February 3, 2020 at 9:51 am

Posted in Israel, Palestine, Peace, Trump

HAPPY HOLIDAYS ETC

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The year end holiday season is upon us. This will be my last post until after the holidays barring some news event I feel compelled to blog about. Knock on wood, it would be nice to go a week or two without rending my garments. And in that vein of thinking, I wrote a list of garment rending topics to quickly touch on in this post. And now, after a beer and fondue party, I will attempt to expound on them. The cheese fondue course was followed by a chocolate fondue course, so I am feeling no pain on multiple levels.

Australian fires. Yes, Australia is on fire. Two sad truths here, the first being that outside of Antarctica, Australia is the continent least suited to western style civilization, and such is making it even less habitable. Jerrod Diamond is where I got this nugget, so likely lots of codicils. Still, people have been living there for forty thousand years or more, and never found anything better than hunting and gathering. (Which is actually an underrated lifestyle.) And now, all the fires. Welcome to global warming, sad truth number two, which is exacerbating and increasing the droughts and such that are exploding the drier parts of the world. In our lifetime global warming is going to make large portions of the planet essentially uninhabitable, but we can’t do anything about it because it would hurt the economy. Go figure.

Generational conflict. So, yeah, some people are blaming the boomers for the state of the world. I chatted with one today. Yeh, right. (As an aside, love the English language, where a double positive can be a negative.) Give me a break in other words. Saying the boomers made the world today is like saying people in the past made the world we live in. Hardly a new or helpful observation. The world we live in is a mess, but hardly because a single generation screwed it up. Divide and distract is what the people running the world want us to do, so welcome to generational conflict. It’s not the hyper-rich families and corporations who have been running the world for centuries who screwed us over, oh no. It’s our parents and grandparents! A suggested fun topic with family over holiday meals.

And speaking of crazy pointless controversy, Merry Christmas! Apparently it’s a sin now in some quarters to say anything other than “Merry Christmas.” News flash, Christianity doesn’t own the calendar. So no one is required to say “Merry Christmas!,” nor is Christianity insulted in some way if one says otherwise. And if someone does get their knickers in a twist because someone wished them happy holidays or what not, it’s their problem. People wishing other people a good time is a good thing, duh.

This faux controversy is just a sign that the times have changed. When I was a kid, Christmas was treated essentially as a universal. It was just assumed and promoted in a million movies and TV shows that Christmas was an integral part of America, and the fact that millions of Americans didn’t celebrate Christmas was simply ignored. And we’re talking white, Jesus centered, heteronormative Christmas to boot. And now a lot of people would rather not be obliged to celebrate, or they want to celebrate it in their own way. None of which affects Christians who want to celebrate Christmas in any way, but lots of them like to pretend it does. And thus the faux “War on Christmas” was invented. Myself, I try to be polite to people in public. It’s worked so far, I recommend it.

Lastly. The 1914 Christmas truce, image above. World War One started in August 1914, And by Christmas the western front (where Germany was fighting France and England) was a line of opposing trenches from Switzerland to the Atlantic Ocean. 440 mi (700 km,) millions of men facing each other in a bloody struggle that had already killed half a million. There had never been a war like it. And on Christmas day in numerous places on the opposing trench lines spontaneous cease fires broke out. In many cases just so the dead could be retrieved. In many cases though the soldiers fraternized, even famously playing a bit of informal soccer. One of those historical events that was long forgotten, now resurrected by the magic of the Interwebs. All dead now, such is history.

And shamed by this spontaneous outbreak of goodwill between enemies, the leaders of both sides sat down and negotiated a peaceful end to one of history’s stupidest conflicts. Snort. No, they issued orders making damn sure something like this didn’t happen again, and on subsequent Christmas days the slaughter continued unabated. Phew, close one.

Happy Holidays all, have a great week whatever you are doing or celebrating.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: World War One newspaper front page. Credit:The Daily Mirror. I guess they’re still around, but I believe this image is now Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 23, 2019 at 7:41 pm

AVOID ACTIVE VOLCANOES AND OTHER STUFF

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It snowed again. Only a few inches. And powdery fluffy snow, so it was a breeze to shovel. An evil frigid breeze. When I came inside I could warm my hands in the deep freeze. I did manage to make it on foot to the library/Post Office/bank without suffering from frostbite, but that’s it for today. Today, random blogging. Well, not that random, it would take billions of monkeys eons to randomly type this post. I digress.

So, a volcano killed some tourists in New Zealand. Hopefully it was quick, what a way to go. Explosions can be handy that way, “One second, there you is, the next, where is you?” RIP, and may their friends and family find comfort and solace. I guess it was what they call a phreatic eruption as opposed to the more familiar types of volcanic eruptions. That’s where ground water gets hot enough to flash into steam, boom. I visited some once, quite impressive. This would explain why the eruption struck without warning, a slow rise in underground water temperature is probably tricky to monitor. It’s not  exactly an environment where one can drill down and install sensors.

This tragedy also highlights the disparity of the human condition on Earth. (Why yes, I do point that out a lot.) When westerners are killed by volcanoes, they were often tourists. Sometimes, as in this case, paying for the experience of being on a volcano. When third worlders die on volcanoes, it’s often because they were forced by circumstance to farm the fertile (but dangerous) slopes of volcanoes. And yes, there are far more of the latter dead people than the former. Stuff like this puzzles alien anthropologists to no end I am sure. Hell, I’m puzzled.

Speaking of puzzling, they found a man whose sperm’s DNA is entirely from his bone marrow donor. That’s right, if he fathers a child, another man will be the child’s genetic father. In fact the donor’s DNA has shown up in various parts of his body. Forensic scientists aren’t happy about this, this is going to complicate using DNA to solve crimes. Granted there’s already lots of ways extraneous DNA can get into samples, but still, one more thing to watch out for. Paternity cases could be complicated too, one more fly in the ointment. The takeaway, if one is a man who wants to father children, they should get their bone marrow from a close relative, preferably a twin sibling.

And as an aside to that, ‘they’ was just announced as Mirriam-webster’s word of the year. No doubt Rush Limbaufgh and other folks whose identity is all wrapped up in Biblical gender roles are having conniptions de merde. I really wish these people would get over themselves, but like their implacable efforts to take back control of women’s bodies, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Waaaay too much money and political influence to be had by promoting the Bible as an answer to all questions. Ask Mr Trump, he didn’t get elected by fanatic intellectual cultists. Myself, I don’t give other people’s genitals a second thought, I’ll call a person by whatever name and pronouns they prefer. Whatever floats their boat, someone else eating a donut doesn’t compromise my diet.

On the topic of DNA, I am seeing a lot of ads on Facebook about “get your DNA tested and we’ll tell you what kind of foods to eat!” Wow, it sounds all sciency and shit, who can resist? Hopefully anyone with a functional brain and a lick of common sense. Just another way for slick marketers to cash in on the DNA testing racket. In other words, it’s hogwash, there’s no scientific evidence that one’s DNA determines their optimal diet. If there ever is any such evidence, one’s doctor is the person to talk to about it. Not some shyster company marketing DNA testing for whatever reason.

In some positive news, Russia and Ukraine have come to an agreement over the Donbas in Eastern Ukraine. This is a part of Ukraine with a large Russian population that revolted in 2014 when Ukrainian nationalists seized power in Ukraine. One of the many ugly legacies of the ill starred Stalinist Soviet Empire, which moved borders and people around willy nilly. In any event, this is a good thing, it’s hard to see how violence will help this situation. In any event this is a good start, a truce, prisoner exchange, and further talks scheduled. If both sides negotiate in good faith, issues like this can and have been resolved.

And yes, still working on my response to Ukraine comment post. By the same token as the above paragraph, it’s only through engagement with people who think differently that accommodation can be made. That’s why I avoid the dripping anti-whoever <cough> trump <cough> vituperative that characterizes the anti Rush Limbaugh crowd. Hell, there’s no need, the man speaks for himself.

Have a great week everyone, stay warm. Unless you’re near an active volcano, then stay cool.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: First Snow at Veneux-Nadon. Credit: Alfred Sisley 1878, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 10, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Posted in Peace, Russia, Ukraine, War, World