Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

STAN STYCH: “BE NICE TO EACH OTHER.”

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“Be nice to each other.” That was my father’s last message to me. He passed earlier this afternoon. 22 February 2021. He died of Covid, and a broken heart. I’m at sea, my father and I weren’t close, in many ways we never understood each other, but he was a good man, and he tried. Now all is gone. He was a kid in the 30s, a teenager during the war. In Canada. Went on to college and became an engineer. Got into sales and management, then to CEO. Had many insights on that. And he raised four kids, all of whom are good people. Loved two women, both of whom preceded him in passing. He loved to fish. He loved photography. He skied.

I guess you’d call my father one of the depression generation, before people stated this whole stupid gen whatever crap. He grew up on a Ontario family farm in the depression: They plowed using horses, heated their house with coal stoves, had an outhouse, and the only running water was a hand pump well in the back kitchen. A radio was it for entertainment. A different world from the one most people alive in the west grew up in.

Stan Stych. He lived through the 1930s depression (he only survived childhood because of penicillin,) World War Two, the Cold War*, the Sixties, and all that followed. All history now, part of the lost country. He’ll live on in my heart and my dreams so long as I live. That’s him on the left above, San Francisco behind, taken from Alcatraz. Circa 2009. My father was a complicated man, we had a complicated relationship. Life’s like that. The world is a complicated place.

I’m doing what the Stych tradition dictates, carrying the soul of the dearly departed to the next life on a sea of alcohol. A tradition that has no doubt been practised by so many families for countless generations. My father made the world a better place, I can only hope to do the same. I love you dad, I’ll miss you.

Five hundred thousand dead of Covid in the USA, I thought my dad was safe in Canada. No one is safe from Covid. It is a nightmare disease. I may take a break from blogging for a few days. Stay safe gentle reader.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. (Text and image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 22, 2021 at 9:55 pm

STRANGE DAYS, WEIRD TIMES IN AMERICA

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Came across this article: The United States is visibly in an early stage of disintegration, as the Internet changes before my eyes. Tonight’s recommended read. Both the left and the right are claiming Internet censorship, both are right in that there’s a struggle to control the narrative on the Internet, but suggesting it is some monolithic entity like liberals (The Right’s Straw Man nonsense,) to the Tech Giants/government (In the Left’s fear that progressive views are being shut out,) isn’t supported by evidence or reason.  Damned if I know what is going on, but the times are a changing rapidly. Both America and the world are in difficult times.

The recommended article about the U.S. being in disintegration had some false arguments in it, but factually it was right on the money. By any rational metrics the US is way sick. All the gains in the economy the past four decades have gone to the people at the tippy top. Legalized corruption on a breathtaking scale. Our infrastructure is a decaying joke, our public education and health little better, the shame of the developed world. Our military eats up all the money the rich don’t get, and the rich profit handsomely from it to boot.

We haven’t won a war for decades despite massive military spending, but we have this global military empire fighting low level wars all over the planet. Is there some plan to this? No. And our new Caesar, Biden, has made it clear he’s going to keep it all up. So there’s that. And, well, half the white population is convinced that  all of America’s problems are caused by everyone else …  in this big violent liberal conspiracy to destroy America somehow. Freaking weird people.

And Covid is ravaging America like no other country because our ruling class is so dysfunctional. Isn’t that a diplomatic way of putting it? So it’s not a good look for the largest empire the world has ever seen. America is kind of the New Byzantine Empire. I could write a blog about that alone, but not tonight. Huge, corrupt, archaic, a hollow empire, not adapting well to the changing world. An empire where a rich province is struck by a natural disaster, and the results are far worse than they could have been because it is in a corrupt dysfunctional empire; and the Right blames the liberals and green power. Like Trump’s claims about election fraud, the idea that green energy and AOC(!) are responsible for Texas’s poor response to a blizzard are both silly and easily factually refuted. Future historians will have fun with America in the 2020s. I mean, I’m a contemporary, and it’s crazy to me.

On the plus side, sort of a side effect to all this madness, a Golden Age of Solar System exploration. NASA just landed the most sophisticated robot lander ever on Mars. It takes 3-22 minutes to get radio messages to Mars, so real time communication is impossible, probes have to do some things, like landing, by themselves. And this one, Perseverance, was the first one to land in a tricky area, chosen for its science potential; instead of all previous landers who tried to land in big flat areas. Science marches on.

The Perseverance rover is also going to gather samples to be picked up and returned to Earth on near future missions. I plan on continuing to blog until then. Though my erstwhile assistant wants me to try vlogging. She has a point. The deep freeze continues in Northern Iowa. No news about my father, he is alive or dead. Stay safe and warm everyone.  God bless. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: First image from the just landed NASA Perseverance Mars lander, with a photoshopped recent viral Bernie Sanders image. Attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US Copyright Law.)

Written by unitedcats

February 18, 2021 at 8:56 pm

RUSH LIMBAUGH, THE MAN WHO CONFLATED PATRIOTISM WITH ‘HATE THY NEIGHBOR,’ IS DEAD. GOOD.

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I’m not normally one to celebrate someone’s death, but there are the rare cases where I will make an exception. Rush Limbaugh is one of those cases. Hell, the first case, I’m not sure I’ve ever been so unconflicted happy that someone died. This was a man who devoted his life to persuading Americans to blindly hate their fellow Americans for no other reason than differences of opinion. More than anyone else Rush created the divided America we live in today where a third of Americans fear and hate anyone who doesn’t think in lockstep with them. When I was younger Republicans and Democrats disagreed, but generally got along fine outside of politics. Name calling and accusing the other of wanting to destroy America was in the fringe, not mainstream. This is a guy who said (paraphrased) we should keep two liberals alive in every town on display so people can see what they were. If that’s not mindless hatred, I don’t know what is.

Rush also normalized name-calling as a mainstream thing. Referring to people one disagrees with as ‘libtards’ or ‘feminazis’ isn’t political disagreement or debate, it’s dehumanizing one’s political opponents so that their viewpoints don’t have to be considered, let alone discussed. Name calling is just one of the many false arguments and logical fallacies Rush normalized. People say, why not just listen to what he has to say! I did, on a number of occasions. A third of what he said was just insults and name calling. A third was just lies. (Another truly special form of false argument.) And the last third was just false arguments strung together. They sound terribly convincing to people who agree with his conclusions, but aren’t actually logical arguments at all.

Just one example from when I listened to him. Rush claimed that a study showed that if California adopted health care for all, it would cost more than the state’s entire existing budget. Right, let’s think about this. Every other developed nation on Earth has universal health care, at far less cost than Americans pay, but California, far richer than pretty much all of them, can’t possibly afford it? Safe to say that this “study” was conducted by America’s corporate “profit off of sick people” health care disaster. And Rush was carrying water for them. Yeah, he cared about Americans. Snort.

Rush was not a conservative either. Or more accurately, he changed the definition of conservative into “someone who hates and fears anyone who isn’t a conservative.” Eisenhower would have been appalled. Hell, even Reagan would likely have been appalled. Hating other Americans is neither conservative nor Christian, but Rush worked very hard to change the definition of conservative into hate-mongering, false argument spewing fools. Good job Rush, tearing a country in two is a real accomplishment.

And then Covid came along. I always wondered if Rush’s schtick was just an act, and he was laughing all the way to the bank. Then America faced the worst crisis of his life, one that cried out for an apolitical science and reason cased response. What did he say? “Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.” And millions of his followers believed him, and all the other BS about Covid being some sort of Democratic hoax to make Trump look bad. And hundreds of thousands of people who could have lived are dead as a result. Good going Rush, like Trump, you could have helped lead America and the world in the fight against Covid. You chose ignorance and partisanship instead.

And Trump gave Rush a Medal of Freedom. That Trump gave it to him, and he accepted it pretty much sums both of them up. I was hoping that maybe when Rush was diagnosed with fatal cancer he might change his tune. People can change. Carnegie was a rat bastard all his life, but in his old age he spent nearly a trillion dollars in today’s money on public works. Rush didn’t ever change. If there’s a heaven and a hell, I know where Rush is going. Jesus and so many others told us to love our neighbor, not hate and fear him.

I dunno, kind of a negative post. I think humans all need to work together, we are all in the same boat. I just think that those who devote their life to demonizing other humans are part of the problem, not part of the solution. I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument to the contrary. Maybe Rush’s death heralds the end of an era, the one man who really took up his mantle (a certain former president) may also be on a downward spiral. Hate isn’t going to fix America, it’s time to move on. Yeah, I’m an optimist.

My father still lives. Spring is around the corner. Life goes on. Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 17, 2021 at 9:51 pm

DARK DAYS, A PERSONAL BLOG POST

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I’m sorry readers, no archeology post tonight. I was looking forward to it, I was going to share my theory that Stonehenge was all just an amusing misunderstanding. However I’m too out of it for a coherent post tonight, but going to come up with what I can. Basically my father is on his deathbed. He’s pushing 90, and has Covid. Worse, or better, depending on one’s viewpoint, he’s pretty much refusing all but palliative care. He might pull through, but not looking very encouraging at this point. He’s had a long full life, he knows that a full recovery from Covid is unlikely, and if it’s his time to go, he accepts it.

I think he wants to avoid the fate of his father, my grandfather. He outlived three wives (one of whom died in his arms,) went blind, and spent the last years of his life pretty much wishing he’d died younger. I can see why someone might want to avoid that. My dad thought he’d avoided that fate because my stepmom was 20 years his junior. They were a really happy couple. Then she got ALS and passed in her fifties. Dad never really got over that. Love is a wonderful thing, but it usually ends with some sadness on someone’s part.

So I’m more or less on deathwatch, waiting to see if my father lives or dies. One of those life events that no matter how much one knows it is coming, one is never really prepared for it. I was lucky, I lived until my forties without losing anyone close. Since then, yeah, death happens. Always hard. Even an ignostic such as I takes comfort in the idea that maybe there is another side where our passed loved ones wait for us. Seems unlikely, but I’ll find out sooner or later. Or not find out if there isn’t. As Mark Twain said “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

Covid I fear. Now that it has struck close to home, my anger and hatred toward Rush, Trump, and all those who made Covid far worse than it had to be in the US and the world is reaching new heights. Millions of Americans, not to mention many foreigners, are experiencing or have experienced the loss of loved ones to Covid because of Trump and companies reality denying nonsense. Rush: “It’s just a cold folks.” Trump: “It will all be gone by Easter!” Yeah, the nightmare is far different. Trump could have led America and the world in the fight against Covid, saving hundreds of thousands,  if not millions of lives. All he had to do was follow science and reason, previous administrations had planned and prepared for something like Covid. Instead Trump, Rush, and their ilk chose to politicise and cripple America’s response to Covid. Trump is literally the world’s number one global purveyor of false Covid information.

I won’t be consumed by anger and hatred though, life is too short. It is what it is. And I can take pleasure that in the long run, Trump’s legacy will be to be remembered as the worst American president ever. His cultists may think differently, but history is not kind to cult leaders, for good or for ill, accomplishments are what counts. A rusting pointless wall on the border will be Trump’s greatest legacy. Ozymandius understands.

I hope you make it dad. I love you. And if your druthers is to not carry on, I can accept that. Stay safe and warm gentle readers, appreciate your loved ones while they are still here. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A crow in a tree, crows are psychopomps. Public Domain image from Snappygoat.)

Written by unitedcats

February 16, 2021 at 9:33 pm

Posted in 2021, Covid-19, Personal, Trump

HAVE A GOOD PRESIDENT’S DAY, OR JUST A GOOD DAY FOR MY FOREIGN READERS

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-14F When I got up this AM, I’m ready for spring. Today is a holiday in the US, and I posted a bonus post Saturday, so taking a break today. Life is pretty stressful now, my father has Covid, not a good thing for a man pushing 90. Fun archeology post later this week, I guess I’ll say more on Myanmar, Russia, and the continuing political mess in the USA. Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

February 15, 2021 at 7:34 am

Posted in 2021, Personal

A COLD MONDAY EVERYWHERE

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Cold in Iowa, but much colder in yesterday’s mystery picture above. Those are sand dunes … on Mars. The stripes though, scientists aren’t exactly sure what’s causing them. Stuff is always happening on Mars now, a Chinese robotic mission arrives in a few days. If all goes well it will deploy a lander and a rover to the surface. A week later NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will land on Mars, it’s the one that will deploy the first helicopter drone on another world. Boy, when I was a kid Mars was just a fuzzy image seen from Earth based telescopes. Now, wow, a Golden Age of Mars exploration. Sooner or later they will find life, I just hope it’s sooner.

Back on Earth, Yes, I’ve launched another web site, to try and sell some of my photos: Doug Stych. Just thought it would be nice to earn a bit of extra money, my retirement income is very modest. And as a way for Doug’s Darkworld readers to make one time donations to keep me blogging. I suppose if the donation was big enough, I could be persuaded to stop blogging as well. I’m nothing if not responsive to my loyal readers’ desires.

So today, various tidbits and links. One reader expressed concern that my coverage of the Trump follies might decrease. No worries, as long as Trump is still making the news, I’m sure I’ll find time for him. Watching him turn the GOP into a Trump personality cult was endlessly entertaining. (In a morbid sort of way.) Watching him destroy what’s left of the GOP is even more entertaining. He is getting more pushback though, there actually are perfectly reasonable conservatives who have had enough of Trump and his fantasies. This fellow for example: Message to Nebraska GOP State Central Committee. I can and do respect a conservative like that.

An interesting read, the Dems are not exactly completely innocent in America’s descent into fantasy: Trump May be on Trial, but System That Produced Him Will Be Acquitted. And another neat link: How The US Legalized Corruption. White people use funny words for bribes. I mean, people think, whoah, you can give a cop $20 in other countries to get out of a ticket, but boy, US cops aren’t corrupt like that. No, no, they aren’t, asset forfeiture and the war on drugs has made penny ante corruption like that not worth the bother.

Two examples: A friend was busted buying a tiny amount of weed. It cost his family over $10K to keep him out of jail! Yes, safe bet that money didn’t go into funding drug rehabilitation programs. Then my favorite. A waitress found a customer had left a paper bag at her table, she caught her in the parking lot, the customer said: “Oh, wow, well, you just keep it!” There was like $15K in cash in the bag. Well, deciding to be on the safe side, she took it to the police. They said, “OK, if no one claims it, yes, it’s yours.” A week later the police called her: “Oh, we’ve determined it was drug money, so it’s been confiscated.” The woman was like, how did they determine that? So she got a lawyer, and the judge asked the same question of the police. She got to keep the money.

And in today’s “Yes, I predicted this” file: Republicans target Rep. Ilhan Omar after Dems try to oust Marjorie Taylor Greene. Granted I am sure lots of people predicted it, since it was about as predictable as the Sun coming up tomorrow. Which reminds me, I once had a big misunderstanding about the Sun coming up tomorrow with some people. Well, it wasn’t a misunderstanding, they were simply wrong. Some folks were claiming science could predict some things with 100% accuracy. I accurately pointed out that no, science never predicts anything with 100% accuracy. Granted in many cases the accuracy is such that it’s 100% for all practical purposes, but they were like “No, the Sun will come up tomorrow, period.” Yeah, more than likely; but if during the night the Earth or the Sun gets hit with a black hole travelling at relativistic speed, there will be no sunrise. It’s religion and ideology that often claim 100% accuracy, science never makes such claims.

Lastly, a link that made me think. So of course, a link to share: Woman Lists 18 Disturbing Facts Showing That Our World Wasn’t Built For Women. It just shows how insidious sexism is in the modern world, it really is a man’s world on levels most people never even recognise. A white man’s world too. Another great link for those that want to see: The Invisible Backpack. How does one get through to white people who think everything’s fine, racism and sexism are a thing of the past, that anyone has equal opportunity in modern America? Beats me, but I’ll keep trying.

Stay safe and warm everyone. Likes, comments, shares, patrons, and donations appreciated. I really am a poor artist living in a cold garret. I wouldn’t have it any other way, keeps me humble, but more beer and pizza money always helps. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Sand dunes on Mars. Credit: NASA, image used legally, IE NASA does not support or endorse Doug’s Darkworld in any way.)

Written by unitedcats

February 8, 2021 at 8:57 pm

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

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Just a quick post today. Now that we’ve made it safely (so far) out of Trump’s tenure in the White House, I’m going to stop blogging daily. It’s just too much to keep up with, I need my weekends. I’m switching to a five days a week format, and likely with a bit more organization. One day will be science news updates, one day will be a history post, things like that. Possibly a space exploration day. That leaves two days a week to cover current events. As always, I’m open to suggestions. I’ve also come up with a neat way for people to make one time donations to keep me fed so I can continue to blog. I will be announcing that tomorrow. I am very grateful for whatever support I get, just this week a long time reader is sending me a pair of nice gloves, woohoo! Thank you Lars!

And just for fun, the above is a mystery pic. It’s actually a double mystery, a mystery inside a mystery as it were. What is it, that’s fairly easy. And what the hell are the stripes? That one even scientists can’t explain yet. So many things science can’t explain, but that’s a feature, not a bug. Whenever someone said “damned if I know,” well, means one is dealing with an honest person.

In Iowa, oh my, negative temps in fahrenheit and celsius. The polar vortex is here, so much for our mild winter. Nowhere near the magic -40 though, even with wind chill counted in. Magic as in 40 below is the same in both fahrenheit and celsius. Diesel fuel starts to freeze at 40 below. And it’s really easy to get hypothermia and die at forty below, I know this from personal experience. Well, not the dying part, I managed to save myself, but boy was I stupid. How I ever survived my foolish youth is one of the mysteries of my life.

Oh, yeah, there was some sort of big sportsball game today. I heard the commercials were awful. I didn’t watch it because I knew what the score was before the game started. Zero to zero. Hey, cracked me up when I was eleven. Stay safe and particularly warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: I will reveal tomorrow, but it is reproduced here legally.)

Written by unitedcats

February 7, 2021 at 7:42 pm

Posted in Iowa, Personal, Science

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 23, 2021 at 8:59 pm

TREPPENWITZ, AND TRUMP’S WHITE HOUSE DIET COKE BUTTON

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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

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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