Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

leave a comment »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 23, 2021 at 8:59 pm

TREPPENWITZ, AND TRUMP’S WHITE HOUSE DIET COKE BUTTON

leave a comment »

Ah, treppenwitz. Or esprit de l’escalier, the wit of the stairway. When someone claimed that having tens of thousands of troops in Washington for the inauguration was like being in a third world country, I should have replied: “Like one of those countries where the president incites a mob to attack the capitol to overturn a free and fair election?” The same person would have been apoplectic if the mob had been a BLM/Antifa mob.  Of course they don’t think it was a fair election, because how could their anointed by God leader possibly lose an election? Especially if he insisted he’d been cheated? I and many others have said it before, Trump supporters are now living in an alternate reality. Here is a great example: Sen. Graham calls out Biden administration’s claims that ‘everything is in shambles’. No Mr Graham, this isn’t the Obama playbook, Trump wasn’t a particularly good president, and after the election he basically ignored the exploding pandemic and everything else to concentrate on his fantasy quest to overturn the election. And his administration’s essential refusal to coordinate with the incoming Biden administration was historically unprecedented in modern times.

To back my point up, here are three of Trump’s most unqualified and corrupt appointments, all fired by Biden on his first day in office. The information comes from Slate.com, but since it’s paywalled, I’m rephrasing it here:

Michael Pack. He was appointed in June to run the U.S. Agency for Global Media. The Voice of America international broadcaster. He tried to transform it into a propaganda outlet for Trump, despite a  mandate that prohibits such political interference. He purged the staff of the VOA and sister networks, replacing them with Trump loyalists, insisted on pro-Trump coverage, and unconstitutionally punished reporters who didn’t toe the pro-Trump line. He also illegally fired the board of the Open Technology Fund, which promotes international internet freedom, and replaced them with Republican activists. After whistleblower complaints, the U.S. Office of Special Counselfound it very likely that Pack had broken federal law. After being fired by Biden, he whined that his termination “was a partisan act,” talk about self-owning irony.

Kathleen Kraninger, confirmed as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018. She had no previous experience in consumer protection. She scrapped a rule that restricted predatory payday lending, insisting that her staff downplay the harm to consumers. She refused to enforce a federal law that protected military personnel from predatory payday lending, basically allowing them to be defrauded by said lenders. She also approved a rule allowing debt collectors to harass Americans with limitless texts and emails. Charming, appointed to protect consumers, instead she protected predatory lenders.

Lastly, Peter Robb. Confirmed as the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel in 2017. The NLRB’s mandate is  to enforce federal laws that protect workers’ right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. Mr Robb is brutally anti-union. He tried to limit employees’ free speech, gave employers more ability to practice wage theft, crippled unions’ ability to collect dues, and helped prevent employees from organizing unions. He also tried to seize total control of the agency by demoting regional directors and consolidating power in his office, giving him unheard of power to bust unions and prevent new ones from forming. Biden fired his sorry a** after he refused to resign.

I’d link to the original Slate article, but I’m going to try to avoid linking to all unreasonably paywalled articles, what’s the point? I doubt very many of my readers subscribe to Slate. By the same token I unsubscribed to the New York Times today. I love many of their guest editorials, but I can’t share them with my friends and readers, so what’s the point? And boy, they made me jump through hoops to unsubscribe, further increasing my antipathy towards them. I swear, a lot of modern marketing seems to have avoided, I dunno, actually asking real people what they thought?

In any event, these and so many other examples show Trump not only broke his promise to drain the swamp, he was possibly the worst president ever for appointing industry lobbyists and Trump loyalists to posts where they were supposed to regulate said industries in a non-partisan way. Sigh. Hey, Trump University, a scam to cheat poor people out of their life savings shows what Trump really thought about poor and working class Americans.

So far Biden is at least paying lip service to the idea he is serving all Americans. He cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, which was interesting. Basically the pipeline only benefited the rich, had very serious ecological concerns, defiled sacred native land, and would have only provided a trivial number of jobs. IDK, this certainly seems to indicate that Biden won’t completely be a slave to the oil lobby. He also is going to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, which despite its flaws, at least acknowledges that human caused global warming is real. Which it is, the scientific debate ended decades ago; there are certainly questions about how best to deal with global warming, but pretending it’s all a hoax and continuing to pump CO2 and methane into the atmosphere to protect fossil fuel profiteering isn’t one of them.

Predictably, Fox News and the rest are already screaming in outrage about Biden. Apparently condemning white supremacy is an insult to Trump voters: Fox News upset over Biden’s denouncement of white supremacy – because it might offend Trump voters. Frankly, anyone who is upset about Biden denouncing white supremacy can go jump in a lake. Or jump in a time machine and go live in Hitler’s Germany. Hell, a QAnon congresswoman is already filing articles of impeachment against Biden. Yeah, gonna be a fun four years.

Lastly, I just found out that Trump had a button on his oval office desk that when he pushed, a butler would bring him a Diet Coke. Really. To me, that’s kind of grotesque, especially on the taxpayer’s dime. I can’t imagine even having a butler, just have a freaking mini fridge in your office if you need Diet Coke available 24/7. I would have made a very poor lord I guess. The button is gone now, Biden had it removed.

Have a safe and warm weekend everyone. The above meme references the explosion of Bernie in mittens memes after the inauguration. All good fun, though I’m sure Trump supporters, wed to the idea that Sanders is Mao reborn, are horrified. Think of the Children! Or some such, idk. Trump has zero sense of humor, and apparently his followers don’t either. I’ll keep blogging as long as I can. Comments, suggestions, shares, and especially patrons appreciated. I’ll never paywall my blog, but donors are incredibly appreciated. Thanks in advance, thanks for reading in any case. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 22, 2021 at 9:00 pm

THE SHEETSHOW CHRONICLES CONTINUE

leave a comment »

I’m still amazed and astounded, I never expected to live through one of the great events of history, yet here I am. More to unpack every day, can’t even really keep up with it all. No new horrors the last day, but still lots of stuff to react to.

Like, what was Trump doing while the Capitol riot was going on? Watching it on TV with barely contained glee, while ignoring congressmen and others who were frantically phoning him to do something. Trump was watching TV while riots took place: Washington Post. This appears to be confirmed by numerous sources, Trump was apparently even puzzled that his aides didn’t share his glee. More proof (as if it was needed) that he lives in a fantasy world, he actually thought he was seeing the election results being overturned by Chewbacca Bikini guy and friends.

Or worse, Trump really is a sadistic fuck who is perfectly happy to see carnage and chaos if he’s not getting his way: How the media is making a big mistake on Trump’s role in the Capitol siege. Yeah, maybe this article is a bit over the top, but I sure see no evidence contradicting that the basic premise is sound. Trump is incapable of empathy, remorse, or adult responsibility. It’s all about Trump, if bad things happen, not his fault. The USA is the worst hit country by Covid, and yet he sees himself as blameless for that. Trump is a man incapable of empathy or introspection. Change my mind.

At this point my sympathy for people who still support Trump has reached new lows. Before Covid and the election, yeah, I understand how many people supported him. Maybe they were misguided, but people are social animals who generally go along with what their friends and family think, especially in the modern American world where one can watch the media outlet of one’s choice to reinforce their views. And working class and poor Americans have been screwed for decades, so it made sense for them to support a leader who claimed to feel their pain. Granted it only sort of made sense, since they were being screwed by the rich, not immigrants, blacks, antifa, or poor people.

IDK, anyone who claims to know what’s really going on is deluded or lying. It does seem the Capitol riot wasn’t just a spontaneous thing that happened out of nowhere: More Arrests Made Amid New Calls for Investigation of Capitol Attack. And many aspects of it were indeed hideous:

Arrested Capitol rioter claims he thought officer he beat with US flagpole was ‘antifa’: report. Right, a cop in a cop uniform was antifa? Jesus wept.

The last time Washington saw something like this was 1814, when a British force burned the White House etc. This time we did it too ourselves. Go figure. And the insanity continues, case in point: QAnon Congresswoman says she’ll impeach Joe Biden less than 24 hours after he takes office. Preemptive impeachment? Give me a break.

Just had to move my car in a snowstorm in the middle of the night after too many beers, mission accomplished. This post is a little unpolished, but posting because by tomorrow events may have overtaken it. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #impeachtrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as fair use under US copyright law. Accuracy unknown, way too much misinformation floating around. Turns out no one tasered themselves to death during the riot for example.)

Written by unitedcats

January 14, 2021 at 10:36 pm

MADNESS WALKS THE LAND

leave a comment »

I’m at a loss. I’ve spent my whole life studying current events, human affairs, and history. And what’s going on in the United States now is so far off the rails that it’s almost incomprehensible to me. Trump and his supporters believe things that are so at odds with reality that they prevent any possibility of dialog or resolution. For example, I was reading some posts today to this effect:

“Trump has already secretly invoked the Insurrection Act, and Biden is no longer the president elect, the November election is null and void. Before the 20th (eight days from now) Biden and pretty much every Democrat legislator in America will be arrested. And in March the election will be held again.”

How does one respond to something like that? Millions, if not tens of millions, of Trump supporters actually believe that, or something very similar. That last fall’s election was some terrible left wing plot to impose communism on America, or even Chinese rule, and Trump’s going to fix it all and restore himself to the presidency. It’s like an onion, layers of fantasy atop each other, all the way down. And if last Wednesday’s assault on the capitol is any indication, much worse will happen in the next week as millions of Trump supporters take to the streets to bring their vision to fruition.

So I was wrong. I knew Trump wasn’t likely to be a very good president, though I harbored some thoughts that maybe he would follow through on some of his promises and muddle through his four years as a controversial figure without doing too much damage. Replacing the ACA with something that gave health care to all Americans would have been cool. Raising taxes on the rich, that is long overdue. Infrastructure spending, yeah, decades of deferred infrastructure spending has left the US a mess. None of that happened, just four years of Trump giving the rich and corporate America what they wanted, with a side order of destroying our relationships with our allies and incompetant governing to boot. I mean, there’s going to be at least a million Americans dead of Covid by the end of this year because Trump was unable to launch and coordinate a rational science based response to it.

The closest 20th century parallels would be Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Dictators who imposed their own flawed (OK, crazy) vision of reality on their people to horrible effect. It has nothing to do with ideology, if a strong charismatic leader has reality testing issues, they infect the people under them. Humans are very atavistically tribal at the core, if their chief believes it, it’s true for them. And here we are, Trump’s fantasies about election fraud are believed by his followers, so they use motivated reasoning to confirm them. Example: Yes, Trump did encourage his followers to attack the capitol, but after his speech his followers all went home and antifa agents dressed as Trump followers attacked the Capitol!

So what happens now? We’re fucked. I don’t see any way forward for the US that’s not horrifically dystopian. Tens of millions of Americans think Trump is sent by God to destroy the Godless libtards who want to turn America into some sort of socialist hell. They are armed to the teeth, and think last week’s Capitol insurrection was the beginning of a second American revolution to save the country from being ruled by communist foreigners. There will be blood. I have no clue how it will all play out, anyone who says they know is a liar or a fool.

I’d say it’s safe to say that no, Trump isn’t going to reverse the results of the November election, but fuck if I know. Nothing lasts forever, maybe this is the end times for the Republic. It was a flawed experiment from the get go, chattel slavery was a dying archaaic institution even in Washington’s time, yet it was enshrined in the constitution. And the Nazi and racist regalia on display in last week’s insurrection shows it’s still with us. Trump’s supporters think they are God’s chosen people.

That type of thinking never ends well. 2021 in America is going to make 2020 look like a picnic in comparison. I’ll be so happy if I’m wrong. I may have met the love of my life in 2020, if things settle down maybe I won’t die a lonely old crank. In any case, I’ll keep blogging! I’ll never be as famous as “Davy CrockoShit” or “Dances-with-Karens” or whatever one calls the fur wearing “QAnon Shaman” who stormed the Capitol last week, but I can live with that.

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #ImpeachTrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

January 12, 2021 at 9:50 pm

11 MORE DAYS

leave a comment »

I am not sure what anything means any more. I sometimes think life is just learning that there is always something that hurts more and every day brings a greater understanding of how little it is possible to ever really understand anything. So yeah, I  didn’t post last night. I lost something, and I’m so tired of loss. So tired of seeing a glitter in the mud only to grasp it and just mud. Mud and ashes. In short, it was a terrible week for me and it ended badly.

So, enough about me. 11 more days until Biden is sworn in as the new president. Maybe. I sure hope his Secret Service agents are well vetted. I think Wednesday’s insurrection was just a dress rehearsal and the worst is yet to come. So much to unpack, so much going on. Trump has been banned from Twitter and other platforms for inciting violence. No, this isn’t censorship or loss of freedom. He’s free to say what he wants, and individual people and businesses are free to repeat it, or not.

Five dead now in Wednesday’s riot? A woman shot in the face while leading a charge into the Capitol. A looter managed to fall and taze himself to death. A woman trampled to death while waving a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. Sometimes I think dark irony is the purpose of the Universe. A guy died of a heart attack from the excitement of it all. Yes, trashing over 200 years of democracy must have been pretty exciting. And a policeman beaten to death. All for what? Damned if I or anyone knows. It was fascism though, inciting a mob to overturn an election is about as fascist as it gets.

Some have suggested those defending congress stepped down because they were in collusion with Trump or at least in sympathy. Some have suggested they were deliberately ordered to stand down to avoid a bloodbath that would give Trump cause to declare martial law. Frankly I think incompetence and racism were the biggest factors. There’s no such thing as right wing violence is practically a mantra on the right. Conservatives Blame Everyone but Trump Supporters for Capitol Attack. And if there is right wing violence, why, somehow the left caused it.

The logic of wife beaters throughout history.

The Dems are going to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump on Monday. I don’t blame them, though I see it neither succeeding nor doing any good. I do think it should be done, even if just on the chance it will succeed. I will feel safer if Mr Trump is forever barred from public office in the USA again. His mismanagement and fantasies have left the country in a sorry, and possibly ungovernable state. While a lot of Trump’s support has melted away, the fantasy world created by him and so many others isn’t going anywhere soon. Theirs was a lost cause one hot sunny day in July of 1863, yet here we are.

How do you get people to see reason and facts when they make up their own facts and use motivated reasoning to make the world fit their narrative? It’s a hell of a thing: The Wages of Motivated Reasoning | NeuroLogica Blog. And frankly most working Americans are fucked at birth, and as long as that’s the case the Trumps and Rush Limbaughs of the nation will find fertile fields for their brand of manure. And it’s not like the Dems are going to fix the horrible systematic inequalities that have allowed the rich to get ever richer for decades while the poor and working class share of the nation’s wealth shrank. And the idea of national health care will of course be unfulfilled, there’s way too much corporate profit to be made from sick people.

Gonna be a hell of a year if what has already transpired is any indication. Stay safe everyone. If the gentle reader knows me on Facebook, I may not be back there for a while. It’s ashes and poison to me now. Shares there are appreciated though. Hell, shares anywhere are appreciated. Likes, comments too. Patrons especially appreciated, even a dollar a month helps. Click here. And no matter what, like so many sites are going these days, Doug’s Darkworld will never be paywalled. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #ImpeachTrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 9, 2021 at 3:51 pm

IT’S NOT OVER YET BY A LONG SHOT

leave a comment »

Yesterday a mob incited by Trump’s lies about the election stormed the Capitol Building in Washington. Only one death directly related to the riot, a woman shot inside the building. A second death pending, apparently an injured cop is brain dead. Three others died of unrelated causes during the excitement. The rioters were trying to disrupt the official counting of the electoral votes that would be the last step in certifying Biden’s electoral victory. A number of members of congress were planning to protest this  event, defending Trump’s unsupported fantasies about the election being stolen from him by massive fraud. After the protesters were cleared out, congress resumed its deliberations and completed the certification. And in fact a number of members who had been planning to object, changed their tune and voted to accept the results of November’s election. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are now officially the president and vice president elect, and will be sworn into office on January 20th.

Upon reflection, what do I think? I think people need to choose. They can choose to support America or they can choose to support Trump. They can’t do both, they are mutually exclusive at this point. Trump’s lies and exhortations caused this insurrection and attempt to subvert democracy in America. He is no longer fit to be president of the United States and should be removed from office under the auspices of the 25th amendment, and be impeached so that he can never hold office in the United States again. There is talk of same, but at this point I still don’t see either happening. Time will tell.

The reaction on the right, sadly pretty predictable. About half of registered Republican voters supported what the mob did. Along with a whole coterie of rationalizations and weirdness. It wasn’t Trump supporters, no, it was Antifa supporters disguised as Trump supporters! Or a false flag operation by the Democrats! Or the Lizard People! OK, I haven’t actually heard the last one anywhere, but I’m sure there’s some out there. It’s fascinating to me that Trumpers can simultaneously support what happened, but somehow deflect blame onto their supposed enemies. Some have even called it an attempted coup by the Democrats! The mind reels at the mental gyrations behind all this. And for the record, numerous mob members have been identified so far, and every single one is a proud white nationalist Trump supporting QAnon following enthusiast.

Even after watching this trend grow for decades, it’s still amazing to me that people have gotten themselves into a headspace where their perception of every facet of reality is twisted to match their ideological beliefs. Global warming is a hoax, Obama was born in Kenya, Covid-19 is a hoax, Trump won the election, etc. The whole world of non Trump supporters is somehow this giant conspiracy against them to take away their freedoms and impose atheist gun banned socialism on them. (Paranoid details will vary depending on the Trumper in question.) The problem of course is that people who create their own reality (or follow those who do so for them) are capable of anything, except being reasoned with. Wednesday may have been our century’s Fort Sumter, time will tell.

I am torn up by these events. And Covid continues to rage, 4,000 a day dying in America now. If 4,000 Americans a day were dying on Obama’s watch, Trump and his followers would be apoplectic with rage. Trump’s watch, they don’t even notice. And lastly I’m torn up because a person I had become very fond of as late vanished Tuesday night, and no one knows what happened. Torn up doesn’t really cover it, I woke up this morning hearing her call my name. I can only pray that she’s OK. I love you Erika. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #ImpeachTrump

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Inside the Capitol yesterday. An image that should never have happened, the people protecting Congress failed. Jesus Christ, one cop even posed for a selfie with a rioter. When was the last time a cop posed for a selfie with a bank robber? Disgusting beyond belief. Image attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. If it’s not an historically important image, I don’t know what is. Lastly, a slightly different perspective on the riot: Capitol Incident a Dress Rehearsal.)

Written by unitedcats

January 7, 2021 at 8:18 pm

CRAZIER EVERY DAY IN WASHINGTON AND AMERICA

leave a comment »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 4, 2021 at 7:39 pm

REVELING IN MY TRANSFORMATION FROM “SOCIALLY AWKWARD LONER” TO “SOCIALLY ISOLATING HERO.”

leave a comment »

Two more days and 2020 is over. It’s been a hell of a year. I’ve done OK because I am able to stay socially isolated. I feel for my friends who have no choice but to keep working. And for all people in the same boat. And for those who lost loved ones to Covid or are still suffering aftereffects themselves. We, as in scientifically literate people who live in the real world, knew real early on Covid was serious sheet and nothing to duck around with. Even people who took all the precautions still fell victim to the cold from hell. Just one freaking haircut, sheesh: They did everything right. But after one at-home haircut, a husband and wife died of Covid-19.

And a just elected Congressman died just days before he was sworn in: Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies from Covid complications days before being sworn in. 41 years old, leaves a wife and two kids. A damn shame, must be hell for them, God rest his soul, god grant them peace. He wasn’t one of the total “It’s just a hoax” crazies, but he certainly didn’t help by holding maskless rallies and insisting that the economy needed to be opened up. As I’ve stated before, that’s like insisting the factory start up even though it’s still on fire.

These people are kind of self-owning actually, since they’re basically admitting that the nation’s wealth is indeed being generated by working people, not somehow magically by the hyper rich. And that God forbid if people can’t work, corporate profits might be affected! Fortunately our leaders have managed to do just a fine job of bailing out the rich so that 2020 was a great year for them. Sowing the wind, it’s not going to end well.

Speaking of Covid deaths, Dawn Wells died of Covid today. Known to history as Mary Ann of Gilligan’s Isle. She was 82. Ginger (Tina Louise) is now the only surviving cast member of the show. She can have reunions with herself! Yeah, kind of sad. OK, very sad. I was a kid when Gilligan’s Isle was on, so it’s a big part of my personal history in a way. Most of the cultural icons of my childhood are dead now. I’m getting old, but it beats the alternative. Planning on a few more decades at least.

Speaking of islands (yes, I’ve come up with better segues) read an interesting article on “Lord of the Flies.” This was a 1954 novel about a bunch of English school kids stranded on a desert isle, and how they descended into barbarity. Never really thought about it before, but that’s one of the main tropes governments use to justify their existence, why, without government, chaos and barbarism would result! The ugly truth is that modern science says the opposite, most people behave themselves because they possess empathy and know the difference between right and wrong. Even worse, a lot of religions make even stronger, more ridiculous, claims. “There is no morality without religion!” Almost Trumpian logic really, saying it doesn’t make it true. In any event, the article points out that the guy who wrote the book was a raging alcoholic who beat his children, and the book is a reflection of that, not insight into the supposedly intrinsic barbarity of humans: ‘Lord of the Flies,’ Revisited.

Speaking of Trumpian (my year’s ration of good segues ran out, apologies) here’s a neat article on Trump I came across: ‘Sadistic and amoral’: Mental health expert performs postmortem on the ‘pathological’ Trump presidency. It covers a lot of ground, and basically points out a number of things I’d noticed and many I didn’t. Most of which are, well, not good signs. The only time he seems to smile is when he’s being praised by a crowd or is making fun of someone. His rallies and schtick haven’t changed in four years. I noticed that for sure, his reelection campaign was essentially the same as his first campaign. He’s a simple man. Anyhow, I enjoyed it.

Stay safe and sane everyone. A last minute news check shows no new horrors. Other than the new Covid variant has made it to the US. Fortunately our effective national test/trace/quarantine program will shut it down, nothing to worry about. Sigh. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facebook meme, attribution in image. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 30, 2020 at 7:34 pm

Posted in 2020, Covid-19, Personal

SOWING THE WIND

leave a comment »

I had to take a break. Covid and Trump’s antics were beating me down. And I feared my posts were blurring into each other. I was blurring into something. Moving on … So, less than a week from Christmas 2020. Donner Party winter coming up looks like: Opinion | Lewis and Clark’s Long, Dark Winter. And Ours. One out of a thousand Americans is already dead of Covid, should hit one out of five hundred by spring. Vaccines are being deployed, but in the US, and I’m being diplomatic here, the mixed compliance with science and reason based public health measures; means there’s still going to be mass death before we achieve herd immunity through vaccination. If we ever do.

I’m an independent voter. Both parties are slaves of the 1%, the corporations and rich that rule us. Then Trump came along, and stole the GOP base right out from under them, the establishment GOP right career politicians. Trump is like Nixon or Reagan on steroids. The GOP is still sticking to Trump’s “The election was stolen!” line. A shame. If Trump actually reached across the aisle with some humility, he could still come out of this a national hero like DeGaulle or Nasser. Fat chance.

And the Dems are playing the Russia card again. Yes, Russia has engaged in some massive cyberattack on the US just when the Dems need it most! Perfect! Yeah, the Cold War never made much sense to begin with, now it’s like a bad Get Smart episode. Yes, Putin is a ruthless SOB like 90% of human leaders ever, including plenty of US allies; but the idea he is trying to destroy the west is ludicrous. NATO has been the aggressor since its inception. I’m not the only one dubious of this all too convenient alleged Russian hack:  A Pandemic of Russian Hacking. Change my mind.

So two items of current news tonight. A new form of Covid seems to have appeared and been spreading in England: New coronavirus variant: What do we know? It appears to be even more contagious than the earlier strains, which is alarming and causing some economic disruption as countries close their borders to England. It long ago escaped England though, and has been detected elsewhere. It doesn’t appear to be any more dangerous than other versions of Covid. And viruses mutate constantly, it’s one of their things. The new vaccines will work on it, but it’s just another reminder that Covid is likely to be with us for a while, if not permanently. A new wrinkle, but most of the world will cope. America, not as much. We can’t even get people to wear masks, let alone get vaccinated.

The other item is Trump and martial law. Trump, who frankly seems increasingly unhinged these days, has apparently been talking about declaring martial law and seizing voting machines etc in key states to prove his massive voter fraud … fantasy. So far cooler heads have prevailed. This isn’t something that can be fixed with a sharpie. I don’t know what would happen if Trump declared martial law, and I don’t want to find out. I’m heartened that our electoral and judicial institutions withstood Trump’s fantasy legal assault, I can only hope the military will similarly say “We’ve sworn not to obey unconstitutional orders, we’re standing down.”

So we end up with Proud Boys trying to seize voting machines and records, and governors calling up their National Guards to resist. Hope not, but we’re in a tumultuous period of both global and American history, anything can happen. I plan to keep blogging through it, I’ve been trying to make sense of the world since preschool, and if anything am more determined than ever to do so. The Trump era, what a time to be alive.

That being said, help is appreciated. Even 1$ a month patrons add up, and a few 10$ a month patrons help appreciably. Support an old veteran who has been trying to make the world a better place using reason and science since the 60s: Patrons. Patrons get my undying gratitude, and I’ll write posts about topics they suggest. For some reason one of my Facebook groups, Glitches in the Matrix, recently exploded. Exploded as in new members flooding in. If any of them finds their way here and wants me to write about my glitch experiences here, now’s your chance.

That being said, I saw the Jupiter/Saturn “Christmas Star” conjunction tonight. Image above. It was easier to see last time, no city lights. Stay sane, warm, and safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

December 21, 2020 at 8:40 pm

JULY WAS THE DEADLIEST MONTH FOR YOUNG ADULTS IN MODERN AMERICAN HISTORY

leave a comment »

Yes, yes it was: Opinion | People Thought Covid-19 Was Relatively Harmless for Younger Adults. They Were Wrong. Of course they were wrong, we’ve known since the beginning that young healthy people were dying of Covid-19, while most of the deaths have been among the elderly, not all. And as I and others keep repeating to the “It’s just the flu” folks, young people, even asymptomatic young people, often have heart damage and other possibly long term or permanent health damage. Watching half the country descend into a fantasy world where Trump won the election and Covid is a hoax, I am pretty much giving up on a lot of Americans.

Apparently the Trump administration did too. ‘We want them infected,’ Trump HHS appointee said in email pushing to expose infants, kids and teens to Covid to reach ‘herd immunity’. I find it hard to put stuff like this into words. They wanted to sacrifice a bunch of lives, like hundreds of thousands, to save the rest. In war this is called, um, surrender? It’s one step up from eugenics, the government is supposed to protect American lives, not throw them away to save money. I guess because Covid-19 didn’t start with a Pearl Harbor attack or 9/11, it doesn’t warrant mobilizing the country to defend? And this had nothing to do with saving the economy:  “Fighting the Pandemic” vs. “Saving the Economy” Is a False Choice. Trump didn’t know what to do, but thought he did, and still does. And the dying continues.

Once you get people to believe in the devil, it’s a short jump to getting them to believe the devil is in other people. Once you think God is on your side, it means God isn’t on the other guy’s side. And there, bad things happen. When asked “Do you pray God is on the Union’s side?” President Lincoln replied, “No, I pray the Union is on God’s side.” I find the latter a much healthier perspective on God. And this is what scares me, a huge number of Trump followers think God is on their side. Or Trump was sent by God.

So Trump ’s a saint or messiah? Jesus. I’ll keep trying to make sense of it all. More than one out of a thousand Americans dead, and we could easily hit one in five hundred. I learned tonight an old friend may be dead, hope not, but not looking good. Death is stalking the land, while half of Americans ignore it and continue to follow their leader, The Donald.

The vaccines are out. As the image above shows, vaccines are part of the solution to Covid, but only part. Half of America at least would reject this image. So What Makes You Think 2021 Will Be Better? I’m not sanguine about the future, but I’ve always been a downer in that regard. This time I was right though, 3000 plus dead a day is a freaking disaster. Stay safe and sane everyone, and we’ll get through this. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Self explanatory. Credit/attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Its use may save lives.)

Written by unitedcats

December 16, 2020 at 9:15 pm