Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

DO TREES DREAM?

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Trump said something yesterday that neatly encompasses why we are so screwed. He announced he was going to allow border officials to prevent the return of Americans suspected of having Covid-19: Trump mulls banning return of US citizens suspected of contracting coronavirus: reports There are a number of problems with this idea.

The first, is that it is somewhere between pointless and microscopically useful. Covid-19 is spreading just fine in the United States, and only patchwork efforts are being made by individual states to control it. So a few more or less possibly infected people coming into the country isn’t going to make any difference until we get it under control inside the country. Which we are nowhere near doing, we’re not even trying on a national level. This ban will literally have no effect on the fight against Covid-19 in America, because we aren’t fighting Covid-19 in America.

Which brings us to point number two, why is Trump doing this? I can only think of two possibilities. He thinks this will help fight Covid-19. Which once again demonstrates his poor grasp of the problem and his overconfidence in his own abilities. Or it’s just Covid-19 theater for scoring political/bragging points. Neither possibility reflects Trump in a good light.

Lastly, Jeez barring American citizens from their homeland? Isn’t Trump supposed to be looking out for Americans? If Obama had barred American citizens from returning home … screams of outrage from the GOP would resound across the land. Once again this is an example of how Americans have paralyzed their country by seeing everything through a political lens. Reality doesn’t give a fuck about politics. Or religion, no matter how much one believes in their invisible superfriend.

So what should Trump be doing? What pretty much every other country has done, returning citizens are quarantined for a few weeks, then they can go home. There’s all sorts of hotels crying out for business. Of course since we are just letting Covid do its free range thing in the US, returnees would  probably be safer just staying in quarantine. Which brings us back to the beginning. As long as the USA isn’t launching a national test/trace/quarantine program, everything else we do in the name of fighting Covid-19 is basically irrelevant.

Sigh. Today Trump said if he’s not re-elected, we will all have to learn Chinese. I wish I was making this up, I can’t call it scaremongering, because the Chinese are no threat to America militarily. So what is he talking about? He’s claiming we were crushing China economically before Covid-19, and Biden will surrender economically to China if he’s elected. And China will “own” America? It makes no sense, Biden works for the same rich and corporate interests as Trump, they aren’t planning on surrendering to China anytime soon. Trump’s core base will eat it up though

Back to reality, I read this interesting article from Australia: We are witnessing the fall of a great power. It reiterates a lot of my thinking, and seems logical and factual. The objections I have seen raised to it are, well, unimpressive. If the gentle reader has any major points of disagreement, please comment. We’ve turned politics into a tribal religion in America, and that’s pretty much the end of effective government. 160,000 plus dead, with Covid-19 still out of control. The economy in tatters with no relief in sight. And neither party seems interested in anything but partisan posturing?

Yeah, we’re hosed. I hope I’m wrong. Oh, Biden picked Kamala Harris as a running mate. Honestly, I don’t really care. In fact my first impulse is to say she’s the Geraldine Ferraro of her time. Probably my last impulse too. It doesn’t really change much, Biden’s platform is “I’m not Trump.” Will it be enough to win in November? Damned if I know. Will it matter if he does or doesn’t ? Double damned if I know.

Stay safe friends and readers. We’re slowly getting to the fun part of the epidemic where almost everyone will know a victim. Will it change people’s minds? Probably not. Only the complete collapse of the system will do that. Hang on, it’s on the way. Comments, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: ‘A tree dreams of fall.’ I love photography, capturing moments in time and place. And other things. Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

August 11, 2020 at 7:42 pm

LIVING IN THE MOMENT

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Finally, the first real rain in a month or more. .6 Inches (1.5 cm) of rain, so I got to use my rain gauge for the first time. I saw several of the neighbors wander over to check it as well. There’s not much to do during quarantine. At least those of us quarantining. Huge numbers of Americans, whole states really, more or less pretending it will all go away. Trump’s been saying that from the beginning, “It will all just go away!” Still saying it last I hurt. And if one’s house is on fire, yes, eventually the fire will go away. If it’s my house though, I think we should fight the fire, not wait until it goes out.

In local news there’s been a noticeable uptick in property crimes. Burglaries, car break ins, shoplifting. The only thing surprising about it is that so many locals can’t understand why this is suddenly happening now in our sleepy almost crime free town. Let’s think. Millions of people around the country have lost their jobs. A lot of them need money desperately and have fewer scruples than most. We live in an isolated little affluent resort town, nobody locks their stuff up, and there’s easy freeway access. This is one of the sorts of things I was talking about the other day. As massive change sweeps the land, there will be cascading changes triggered by all the changes. More property crime is pretty foreseeable, it will just get worse as people get desperate.

And desperate they will get. Trump and company are talking about a “V” shaped recession. IE yes the economy is in free fall, but it will hit bottom and bounce right back. Yeah, pretty much like thinking the Titanic was going to only sink so far. So lots of benefits are ending soon, Congress has been unable to come up with anything except blaming the other party. Great political strategy during peacetime, catastrophic fail during a national and global crisis. (And actually it’s a pretty crappy strategy during peacetime, it’s just crappier when the nation faces a fight for its life.) Trump signed a few executive orders, but they don’t seem to be much more than empty gestures.

Seeing in some quarters the idea that “We shouldn’t be paying people not to work!” There are a number of problems with this statement. Millions of people don’t have jobs to return to for one. Huge numbers of small businesses have gone under already. The amount of money we are talking about is trivial on a large and small scale. Lastly, what the hell do people think will happen to the money given to unemployed/poor/sick people? They run out and spend it! Consumer spending, the thing that drives the economy, right? Well, the poor have just been cut off in the US. I can’t imagine it will turn out well.

People sometimes say: “If you’re not offering a solution, you have no right to complain.” Yeah, no. I don’t know how to resolve the split between left and right in the US. For decades too many on the left have assumed a supercilious smarmy superiority over the right. The right has decided anyone not on their side is a liberal bent on destroying America. These are not positions conducive to debate and compromise. I’m still open to debate with Trump supporters. Fifteen years ago when I started this blog conservatives and liberals debated in numerous online forums. Now they almost never do.

I saw an amazing sight in the sky tonight. I got a few pictures. I’ll post them tomorrow. A shorter than usual post, but it’s Sunday. I can take it a little easy on a Sunday. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Stay safe readers. The world you grew up in is dead. Enjoy.

#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Random Facebook image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 9, 2020 at 8:11 pm

I DRINK AND I WRITE THINGS

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First order of business, how many readers realize we are in the second worse ongoing mass death event in US history? There weren’t 160,000 dead in the first six months of World War Two or the Civil War, not even close. Only the 1918 Flu pandemic was worse, and only for about a month. A huge number of Americans died in October of 1918. And yet most people are going about their lives as best they can under the circumstances. Really? Future generations are going to look back and wonder what it was like to live through America’s Covid-19 epidemic.

And for the ones reading this now, it’s fucking weird. The nation has yet to mobilize in defense of Covid-19. One would think an ongoing event killing a thousand Americans a day would warrant a national response. Or at least an acknowledgement that something awful was going on. For the most part, no, Covid-19 just turned into another background news item. In fact it’s been thoroughly politicised by many people, by that I mean how one thinks about Covid-19 is a political litmus test. The alien invasion movies all had it wrong, America is not capable of uniting against a common foe.

So, um, one recent thought I had, people need to understand we are in uncharted territory, anything can and will happen. This is just the beginning of a world changing event. There will be completely unforeseen complications/events as a result of Covid-19. Even at the best of times the future is known to no one, these pretty much by definition are not among the best of times. When World War Two started, no one had a freaking clue how it would progress, let alone turn out. Well, World War Three for all practical purposes started in March. Because huge numbers of Americans are still in denial about it won’t change the outcome one whit.

Another brief talking point I wanted to toss out there: Pay no attention to polls. Polls are an industry now, a poll can be commissioned to get pretty much any result desired. That’s why GOPers were so shocked when Obama got reelected in 2012, Fox News polls had shown him sure to lose. And now with the world exploding, polls are even less reliable … and people are even more motivated to use them to influence people. Ignore the polls people.

So, I read a good article on the current situation with a lot of historical background. Most of it I liked, some of it I didn’t. Fair warning to Trump supporters, it has some Trump bashing, that’s one of the problems I have with it. Still a good read though: The Unraveling of America, anthropologist Wade Davis on how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era. I would have edited out some paragraphs. And whatever faults China may have, they aren’t going to try and replace America’s world military empire. The Chinese tend to be practical, not stupid. As the article points out, China pours more concrete every three years than the US did in the entire 20th century. 20,000 miles of Chinese high speed rail to America’s zero.

Yeah, but we have military bases all over the world! Snort. So what? Pissing money away isn’t something to be proud of. The American Empire never made much sense, World War Two ended in 1945, we should have stood down then. Instead we’ve spent staggering sums of money on endless colonial wars and maintaining a worldwide network of military bases. To what end? Made a handful of Americans very rich. That’s pretty much it. The rest of the developed world spends their money on infrastructure and taking care of their citizens. You’d think this would be a no brainer. There’s something more important than the health, education, and welfare of a nation’s citizens?

And in that vein, Trump just promised to terminate social security if he’s re-elected. OK then. Well, the GOP spent decades promoting the idea that government was bad, now with Trump they are reaping what they sowed. Well, if no government is the problem and the free market will fix everything, a Golden Age is beginning. I have no idea what’s going to happen now, but in my considered opinion, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. A horror age, not a golden age.

Hope everyone stays safe this weekend. Constructive comments from Trump supporters are especially welcome. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Snappygoat image of a cat I liked, Public Domain under US Copyright Law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 8, 2020 at 8:38 pm

“IT IS WHAT IT IS”

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The post title was something Trump said at a recent interview where he made more ridiculous claims about how Covid-19’s not really that bad in the USA, and his administration’s performance has been just fine. An American a minute died during his interview, dark irony. Not terribly surprising though, if it’s good, Trump takes credit for it. If it’s bad, it’s actually really good, or it was caused by his enemies, not him. It’s always about him, never seen a politician so alarmingly narcissistic. Or one that lies with such frequency. He’s consistent though, I’ll give him that. And, well, he inspires loyalty in his followers. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

I’d wonder why people keep believing him, but it’s not all that much of a mystery. I’ve gone over it before. This article goes into some of the science why people believe his lies, interesting read, though the source is a bit left leaning for my tastes. Trump’s utter self-assurance is part of it. He believes what he is saying. Trump does actually believe he is this genius national leader, the same way Hitler convinced himself he was a brilliant general. (150,000 dead due to Trump’s ineptitude and magical thinking, comparisons to Hitler are becoming fairer by the minute. Because every minute that thump sound  in the background is another American dropping dead.) On the other hand, unlike Hitler, Trump’s a craven coward, making it unlikely he will try to seize power. Fun times.

Came across this article about how the wellness crowd is merging with the alt-right conspiracy crowd. Strange bedfellows indeed. Interesting read. Speaking of interesting reads, an article on a recent and new theory of consciousness. Science hasn’t made a whole lot of progress on the topic, because it’s tricky to study. Consciousness can’t exactly be put on a microscope slide, we can’t land probes on it. Even defining consciousness is tricky, philosophers have been grappling with it forever. Anyhow, another interesting read for those inclined to speculate on such. Myself, when they found out some ants pass the mirror test, I gave up. I think, therefore I am, good enough for me.

And lastly, in non Trump or Covid-19 news, a terrible explosion in Beirut Lebanon’s port. Nearly a hundred dead, hundreds injured. It’s all over the news, no need for a link. The conspiracy people will hit the ground running no doubt. (Well, their feet were never on the ground in the first place, but the gentle reader knows what I mean.) There was a mushroom cloud, but any large enough explosion will generate a mushroom cloud. For any number of reasons it isn’t a nuclear explosion. For example if it was an air burst, the initial flash would have set everything on fire within some distance of the epicenter, and anyone in the open nearby would have terrible burns and been blinded if looking at it. Not to mention vaporized people near the epicenter. If a ground burst, there would be a ginormous crater. Lastly, numerous countries have orbital satellites watching the Earth 24/7 to detect nuclear explosions. They have had for a long time, they spotted one in the South Atlantic Ocean in 1979, if Beirut was nuclear they’ll know soon enough.

No, more than likely it was just what initial reports are claiming. An industrial accident, there are a number of chemicals which can explode under the right circumstances. The Texas City disaster in 1947  being a good one. 2,000 tons of fertilizer exploded, killing nearly 600 people. As an odd little aside, this disaster is why building zones were invented. Having things like residences and fire departments next to industrial sites that might blow up was a bad idea in retrospect. Then there was the Halifax Explosion in 1917. That killed around 2,000 people, but it was a ship full of high explosives. However, I am by no means ruling out foul play, there are a lot of violent players in the region. God rest the souls of all who died, my heart goes out to the people of Beirut.

90 days to the election. Who knows what the hell is going to happen either before or after. Well, 130,000 odd Americans will die if the current Covid-19 pandemic continues in the USA. And normal Americans. Tall Americans. Short Americans. Young Americans. Old Americans. God rest their souls. My heart goes out to their families and friends.

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image publicly posted on Facebook of unknown genesis, used without permission. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Credit: @manictheshitposting. Whatever that means.)

Written by unitedcats

August 4, 2020 at 8:12 pm

93 DAYS. GIVE ME LIBERTY. AND DEATH.

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Posted this meme because this is entitlement illustrated. Granted I doubt the people that are entitled will see that, that’s how entitlement works, one thinks that society should make special exemptions for you. There’s no reason not to wear masks in public, there’s no reason why businesses should serve someone who isn’t wearing a mask. Businesses can refuse to serve people on any basis other than some fairly narrow (but extremely important) issues like race, religion, etc. This idea makes about as much sense as a “No traffic laws hour.” Hopefully at least some people can understand why that doesn’t make any sense … because it would endanger all sorts of other law abiding people.

The post title came from this editorial: Double, Double, “Trump’s Toil, Our Trouble.” I liked it, and it matches my thinking in a lot of ways. So I suppose confirmation bias is at play. Read it gentle reader and see I suppose. I’m more and more despairing of Trump and his followers ever seeing the light. Maybe if Rush Limbaugh or Trump dies of Covid-19. Herman Cain’s death doesn’t seem to have done the trick, though Trump’s support is continuing to shrink. 93 days until he is voted out of office. Or who knows. What a depressing frustrating time to be alive. Especially in America, a country that seems to have lost its way.

One of the things future historians are going to be most baffled by is Trump’s utter failure to fight Covid-19, it’s not like Trump couldn’t see it coming, and it wouldn’t have been hard to throw up some sort of plan to mitigate it. I’m baffled still. It was Trump’s chance to shine and be the hero and leader he claims he is. If Covid-19 deaths were under 50k and the economy was cautiously reopening, like every other freaking developed (and many undeveloped) countries, he’d be comfortably sailing towards reelection while Biden and the Dems floundered. Granted Biden and the Dems are still floundering, Clinton grasped defeat from the jaws of victory in 2016, I wouldn’t be shocked if Biden pulls the same hat trick in 2020.

Meanwhile, Trump is blaming his falling support on the idea that “nobody likes my personality.” No Mr Trump, your popularity is sinking because Covid-19 is out of control in the US, and you seem unable or unwilling to address it. All Trump seems to be doing these days is whining and trying Hail Mary strategies to save his reelection chances. Promoting quack doctors, quack cures, blaming China and everyone else for his failure to mount an effective Covid-19 strategy for America. One of his latest is to try and ban Tik-Tok. Irrelevant, makes zero sense, likely will cost him even more support, especially among young people.

Trump’s attempt to turn the Portland protests into some sort of rallying point seems to have failed. Yeah, there’re always a few jerks among protest movements, but the idea that the Portland protest is some sort of anarchist/terrorist driven plot to destroy America doesn’t seem to be gaining traction. The protests don’t seem to be accomplishing a whole lot either, here’s an interesting black perspective on the whole deal.

Oh, yeah, schools reopening. What horseshit. There’s this thing called reality. It doesn’t give a crap about us wanting to “get back to normal.” I’m changing my thinking about a lot of things as this global disaster unfolds, and one of my current thoughts is that people are far more out of touch with reality than in my worst nightmares. It’s no wonder that over 5,000 human civilizations have collapsed, my current thinking is that successful civilizations (and yeah, there’s many wonderful things about civilization) sooner or later get to the point where the “map” or philosophy or worldview of the civilization gets so incongruent with reality that the whole edifice rots and collapses.

The fantasies of the ultra rich and powerful in said civilization seem to contribute to the same. The rich and powerful in America have used Covid-19 to get even richer. Yes gentle reader, the upwards transfer of wealth in America has accelerated under Covid-19. This article is from May, but I can’t find anything that refutes it. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say that if a civilization’s  rich see a global calamity as an opportunity to get richer, it’s not a sign of a healthy civilization.

Oh well, a golden age for bloggers and memes and billionaires. Well, not a golden age for me. Hell, Trump is trying to take away my health care. Because you know, depriving 20 plus million Americans of their health care in a global pandemic is going to be so good for the country. I’d say where’s Jesus when we need him, but even if he did come back now he’d go down in a hail of rubber bullets and tear gas. Or worse, crucifixes in the future would show Our Saviour covered with rubber bullet bruises, as a cop kneeled on his neck while pepper spraying him in the face.

Fun times. Stay safe everyone, Comments, shares, likes appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #BaghdadBurning

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image publicly posted on Facebook of unknown genesis, used without permission. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 1, 2020 at 8:03 pm

94 DAYS, AND HERE COMES AUGUST

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“Constant incredulity is the only non-contrived response to life.” My ex-wife said that decades ago, she was wise beyond her years. Not surprised she divorced my sorry ass, I wasn’t much of a husband. These days, my incredulity is in danger of burning out. Today’s theory is that huge numbers of Americans are so out of touch with reality that they wouldn’t recognize it if it hit them in the face. Though certainly hearing stories of people coming around as they are sick or dying of Covid-19. Covid-19 is actually a real thing, go figure.

In that vein, looking like a lot of otherwise OK Covid-19 survivors have damaged hearts. I’m sure plenty will dismiss this as “fake news.” Decades of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have turned a lot of brains to mush. I’m getting less inclined to be diplomatic as this insanity continues. We have a president praising a “doctor” who’s about as much of a quack as it’s possible to be (see previous  post,) so it’s no wonder so many of Trump’s remaining supporters keep thinking (if thinking is the operative word here) that actual science is some sort of plot to embarrass Trump. OK then.

Continuing in this vein, a new study indicates that Covid-19 aerosols remain infectious in the air for up to 16 hours. IE the droplets expelled by infectious people from simply breathing. This is apparently unusual, most viruses start breaking down much sooner. Although not surprising in that the evidence is very much pointing at Covid-19 being mostly spread by being in a room with a Covid-19 infected person. We knew really early on Covid-19 was a freakishly contagious disease, now we’re starting to understand why. Now if science could only  figure out why stupidity is so contagious.

I saw this article, not exactly sure how to take it. Claiming that Jared Kushner’s coronavirus task force decided no national response to Covid-19 was needed, because it was primarily a Blue State problem. It’s certainly believable, the GOP has politicized Covid-19 from the very beginning. That’s not really debatable, they turned wearing masks into a freaking political issue for Christ’s sake, which is so stupid as to beggar belief. These are the people who turned married couples’ genitals into a political issue though. In any event, the reason why no national response to Covid-19 has been launched doesn’t freaking matter. It’s stupid beyond belief no matter what the reason, as dumb as Roosevelt saying “Well, Hawaii can handle the Japanese, the attack on Pearl Harbor isn’t really a national problem.” As my friend Jonny recently said “We’re just so screwed man it’s sad.” Three months to go.

Anyhow, weekend coming up, here’s a few non Covid-19 links I found of interest. Scientists won an Ig Nobel Prize for a study about whether cats should be classified as liquids or solids. From Wikipedia: “The Ig Nobel Prize is a satiric prize awarded annually since 1991 to celebrate ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research, its stated aim being to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.” The name of the award is a pun on the Nobel Prize, which it parodies, and the word ignoble.” Being an ailurophile, I got a big kick out of it: Are cats liquid or solid?

Well, Japanese scientists did a study that required them to paint zebra stripes on cows. Science is often fun, what can I say. I mean, getting paid to paint zebra stripes on cows, how cool is that? The idea being that maybe zebra stripes protect against fly bites. Looks like a good study, looks like the stripes really did reduce fly bites. They aren’t sure why, they conjecture it somehow confuses the flies’ visual perception. I’m a little puzzled, if it was so effective wouldn’t more animals have evolved zebra stripes? And I always thought the purpose of zebra stripes was dazzle camouflage, IE it made it harder for a predator to single out a single zebra in the herd? Fun stuff though, if one starts seeing zebra striped cows, this is why.

Lastly, I Dream of Jeannie. My older readers will recognize that, a classic sitcom from the sixties. 1965 to 1970 I believe. A different world then. Especially television, there were only three networks, and it was much easier for shows to achieve cultural icon status. I was just a kid, wasn’t one of my faves, I was into science fiction even then. I was one of the kids who thought “Lost in Space” was much better than “Batman.” That was the big schoolyard debate then, simpler times. Less nuanced times? The lost country, as I’ve mentioned before. Anyhow, stumbled on this article analyzing the show from a sociological perspective: Jeannie’s American DreamThe Assimilation of a TV Icon. I thought it was a fascinating thought provoking read, I hope my readers enjoy it.

Stay safe and stay sane this weekend gentle readers. I will continue to blog daily as long as I am able. Judging from my doctor visit today, that might be more limited than I had hoped. No one lives forever. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Random image publicly posted on Facebook of unknown genesis, used without permission. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

July 31, 2020 at 8:51 pm

95 DAYS, AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

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Yeah, I’m 63 years old today. How the hell did this happen? My plan to die young and be a horrible warning has gone tragically awry. And judging from the image above, I’m not even doing old age right. A Covid-safe birthday of course, cake for one. I’ll throw something at the cat maybe. I had the wrong birth date listed on Facebook out of excessive caution. In 1984 creepy as F fashion Facebook changed the date to the correct date. Oh well, at least all my Facebook friends sent me birthday greetings on the right day this year.

The election countdown continues. Trump suggested that the election might have to be postponed because of Covid-19. Outrage, justifiably enough, from many quarters. Trump doesn’t have the authority to change the election date, so just more of his nonsense. He’s running scared and grasping at straws. Like his endless complaining it’s going to be the most corrupt election in history. (Easy on the hyperbole sport, it’s getting old.) Safe bet that if he loses, he will claim the election was rigged. Not sure what he would be able to do about it though. His latest wall around the White House is 13 foot high. So it’s going to hurt when he gets tossed over it. (Since I wrote this even Republican leaders have said no way to his election delaying fantasy.)

And even if somehow the election is delayed, it’s not like Covid-19 is going to magically go away or the economy will magically recover. The economy is tanking at a frightening rate actually, no doubt Trump will claim this is fake news or a Democratic hoax. His fantasised ability to bend reality to his bidding doesn’t really work that way, neither problem (the economy or Covid-19) can be solved with a sharpie on a chart.

Came across the below meme about the doctor Trump was touting as support for his Covid-19 treatment:

I can’t make this shit up, living in a world where facts have left fiction in the dust. On the plus side, Trump doubling down on trying to appeal to his Evangelical, science denying, magical thinking base is a good thing. They are still a definite minority in America despite the best efforts of the quiverfull movement, alienating everyone else isn’t going to help him win in November.

Trump has decided to pull 12,000 troops from Germany. He’s punishing Germany for something or other is the claim. Screams of outrage from some quarters, far less understandable in this case. If the troops are actually coming home, great. Nato’s raison d’etre ceased to exist over 30 years ago, the more troops the US pulls from abroad the better, at this point as our economy is nose diving we really should consider cutting military spending, there are a few problems in America more pressing than defending against essentially non-existent overseas threats. Caitlin Johnston covers this tempest in a teapot nicely: The Exit of 12,000 US Troops is the Single Worst Event in German History. When Caitlin is on form, she’s on form.

A few quick notes. A double lung transplant saved a Covid-19 patient. When was the last time someone with a cold or flu needed a double lung transplant? Once again for those in the back, Covid-19 is a terrible disease, it’s not just a new cold or flu.

Turns out coating things with copper really helps stop the spread of infections in hospitals. Good news, though peak copper is a thing. Hospitals and doctor’s exam rooms are going to look a lot different in years to come as this is put into practice. Gonna drive up the price of copper though. Peak copper and copper theft are already issues. More incentive to develop asteroid mining I hope, there’s single asteroids out there that contain more of certain metals than exist in the entirety of Earth’s crust.

Lastly, still getting into debates with people who think Biden is as bad as Trump. On the one hand, can’t argue with them, Biden is a terrible choice on multiple levels. There’s nothing even slightly progressive about him, he’s an utter tool of big corporations, the rich, and the Pentagon. Point granted, he’s no better than Clinton in 2016. I loathe both parties, both of them have been selling out poor, working, and middle class Americans since at least 1980.

However, and it’s a huge giant in-your-face however, in 2016 Trump was just a scary candidate with numerous red flags. 2020, Trump is insane. He lives in a fantasy world where he is a genius and a great world leader. His utter inability to lead has resulted in an epic  economic and health catastrophe in America. One of these things is not like the other. I still and to my dying day encourage people to cast their vote as they prefer, that’s the whole idea of democracy. However, unlike 2016 where I didn’t bother to vote, this time I will indeed vote for anyone who I think might win over Trump.

IDK. My crystal ball burst into flames months ago. 95 days, anything could happen between now and the election. I don’t have a spear, but I do have a sword. The way things are going, might be my saving grace. Oh, my old friend did call me. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Random images publicly posted on Facebook of unknown genesis, used without permission. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

July 30, 2020 at 9:36 pm

97 DAYS

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97 days to the weirdest election of my life. At least I hope there’s an election. Came across the above, basically true. Trump’s campaign platform is that he’s going to fix problems he created. Plus problems that don’t exist. Covid-19, oh yeah, he’ll have a vaccine by early next year and the army is on standby to deliver it! Woohoo, Covid-19 will all go away if Trump gets reelected, he promises! Right. It may not even be possible to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. Or it might be like the flu vaccine, helpful, but doesn’t eliminate the flu. Also, huge numbers of Americans won’t even wear a piece of cloth on their face, not to mention the USA is the world capital of anti-vaxxers. Safe to say that large numbers of Americans will resist getting a vaccine. And the bottom line is that even if we get a vaccine, it’s only one part of the sort of comprehensive test/trace/quarantine program required to get Covid-19 under control. A program which as yet Trump refuses to create. Then of course the idea that the guy whose incompetence made America the worst hit by Covid-19 nation is going to fix it, is, well, somewhere between pathetic and ludicrous.

And then there’s the “riots” and “cities under siege” Trump’s going to fix. He was even talking about sending 75,000 cops/troops into American cities. Where the hell these 75,000 cops are going to come from is anyone’s guess. I’d say something rude about where Trump’s going to pull them from, but I’ll leave it up to the gentle reader to imagine. And in any event the demonstrations (there was little to no rioting) were dying down until Trump sent in his DHS wannabe cops, who blew the situation up and triggered more protests.  Oh, yes, there’s been police riots, but Faux News doesn’t mention those.

I don’t even want to go into the idea that Biden is some sort of arch socialist who’s going to destroy America, or that the protestors are all arch anarchists trying to destroy America. It’s freaking ludicrous, but people believe it. Saw a Facebook meme today about hunting protesters for sport, and it was serious. Thanks Trump, you’ve done more to turn Americans against each other than any president in my lifetime.

Moving right along, here’s a good editorial: “What the coronavirus has revealed is the power of America’s cult of selfishness. And this cult is killing us.” Worth a read, though us old folks who have watched America turn into a land of selfish children the past few decades will no doubt be familiar with much of it.

An article by a reformed Covid-19 truther, a fellow who was adamant that Covid-19 was all just a Democratic hoax to make Trump look bad. And  he caught it himself, and infected a number of relatives, some of whom died. Yeah, a wake up call for him. I’ve mentioned this before, but most truthers of any ilk face essentially zero personnel consequences for their beliefs and actions. Sandy Hookers, 9/11 Truthers, Birthers, whatever. They can hold their beliefs and suffer nothing worse than occasional ridicule. Which if anything will reinforce their beliefs. Covid-19 Truthers, yeah, sooner or later there will almost certainly be serious consequences for their beliefs. Covid-19 doesn’t give a shit what you believe. Sadly though Covid-19 Truthers won’t read this article, and even if they did they would dismiss it as just fake news. Until Covid-19 kills someone they know there’s little likelihood of them coming around, especially with so many public figures still spewing “It’s only a cold!” and other such dogs*t.

Q-Anon. I’d heard of them, but was only vaguely familiar. In brief: “The world of QAnon is one in which Trump is a lone, heroic warrior, the only person strong enough to take a stand against a nebulous entity they call the “deep state”. The deep state is a secret shadow government, led by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, philanthropist George Soros, and others, existing to facilitate unspecified corruption and — hold onto your hats — their global pedophilia ring. In the QAnon world, the US Democratic party, the deep state, and pedophilia are essentially synonymous.” Yes, gentle readers, actual human beings actually believe this. Sigh. As the article says, sociologists will be studying this for decades, up there with the Tulip mania and other such mass delusions. Anyhow, a good article deconstructing the Q-anon phenomenon.

Lastly, several readers have asked if I want to reconsider my Trump isn’t  Hitler article of 2018. Honestly, yes and no. In many senses I stand by it, I think such comparisons can limit our thinking. On the other hand, not any question that whatever Trump is or isn’t, I am far more horrified by Trump now than I was then. I still think WW3 with millions of Americans sent to concentration camps is unlikely, but sure not going to bet on it. I will add that there is a parallel between the two I missed. Both men were absolutely convinced of what they believed and said. Self confidence at a level that, well, sane people in touch with reality can never achieve. Reality is way too complicated and nuanced for absolute assurance. This trait however is why both Trump and Hitler developed a cult like following, a lot of people just can’t resist a leader who exudes absolute confidence. Human nature I guess, another one for the sociologists, psychologists, and historians to ponder.

Lastly, there’s an increasing possibility, which I don’t see many people mentioning, that even if Trump doesn’t turn into Hitler, he may do such grave damage to the republic that someone far far worse than Trump could seize power.

Sleep tight gentle readers. Stay safe. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Random image publicly posted on Facebook of unknown genesis, used without permission.)

Written by unitedcats

July 28, 2020 at 7:45 pm

100 DAYS

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Another quick post. 100 days until Trump loses his re-election bid. And 836 years after the Erfurt Latrine Disaster, but I digress. I read an article that is a fascinating perspective from one who lived through the start of an actual dictatorship that disappeared 30,000 or so people. I actually have no idea what the rest of 2020 is going to bring, anyone who says they do is a liar or an idiot. Both are surprisingly common in contemporary America.

Article linked in a moment,  horrible but interesting. The author makes one point I think is right on: If Trump actually does try to cancel the election, refuse to leave office, whatever, and barricades himself in the White House surrounded by his “army” of wanna-be soldiers, IE his DHS thugs he has been using to attack peaceful protesters in Portland … it’s not going to be pretty. And it’s not going to last long.

The Pentagon has one of the greatest scams in history going, they aren’t going to stand for President Bone Spurs, draft evader extraordinaire, a man who gets zero respect from actual soldiers, dismantling the republic. We will quickly see on live TV the 101st airborne et al march into Washington to restore the Republic, and they will make very short work of Trump’s DHS thugs (and any “I need a haircut” armed loons foolish enough to stand with them.) DHS wanna-be soldiers who get their jollies dressing up in soldier uniforms and tear gassing and beating up peaceful protesters will stand zero chance against real soldiers with Abrams tanks and Apache gunships. Tear gas and rubber bullets vs tanks and helicopter gunships manned by veterans. It will be effing glorious to see.

And by that point the vast majority of Americans will stand with the Pentagon, not a deluded failed president whose incompetence, hubris, lies, and magical thinking has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, devastated the economy, and utterly destroyed America’s prestige, influence, and respect abroad.

Yeah, I’m an optimist. I have no freaking idea what the next 100 days will bring, but willing to bet it’s going to be a wild ride. Here’s the article, read it and decide for yourself gentle reader. Stay safe and stay sane in these perilous times. God bless America. (It’s a figure of speech my atheist readers, I’m ignostic.) #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Random image publicly posted on Facebook of unknown genesis, used without permission.)

Written by unitedcats

July 26, 2020 at 7:39 pm

IT JUST GETS WEIRDER AND WEIRDER IN AMERICA

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Ok, so have come across Trump’s re-election platform. It was something along the lines of “Biden is a socialist who’s going to take your guns and impose liberal fascism on America, completely destroying it from within. Vote for Trump to save America!” Did I miss some subtle nuance? I don’t think so. That was from his latest speech, which was more unhinged than usual. I mean, this is the ultimate straw man campaign, Trump’s firing up his supporters to fight a Democratic platform that doesn’t exist. Biden is an utterly non-progressive centrist candidate who is going to make zero progressive change, a total tool of the pentagon and the rich, like every president since Reagan. I went to Youtube and a Trump ad wanted my input on a poll about socialism. WTF? The socialist party in the USA has been irrelevant since at least the forties, Biden isn’t a socialist by any stretch of the imagination. And no serious gun control measures have been proposed since Reagan was shot decades ago. The Supreme Court even ruled in 2008 that the right to bear arms was an individual right, there’s literally zero chance of mass gun confiscation in the US.

So context for readers from the future, Covid-19 is raging out of control in the US. Trump is insisting schools open normally in a few weeks. Rush Limbaugh, the spokesman and mentor for Trump, is now saying we should “just get used to” mass Covid-19 deaths, because the Donner Party didn’t complain about their predicament. No, not making this up. He’s basically claiming that things like wearing masks and social distancing are cowardly liberal surrender. No, they are rational attempts to deal with Covid-19. Which are working just fine in virtually every other developed country.

It’s beyond crazy. I can’t even think of an historical analogy. The president and his followers are utterly refusing to fight Covid-19 as the experts in the field are urging them to do, and their re-election campaign so distorts the Democratic platform that it’s essentially running against a fantasy candidate. Sort of how my brother relates to me, but I digress. Yeah, I know, the Dems have their own reality testing issues. Mostly related to pretending that somehow they aren’t serving the rich and the pentagon. Not in the same league as a POTUS pretending a global pandemic is some sort of hoax to make him look bad, or the same POTUS whose reelection campaign is directed against a non-existent Democratic platform.

***

Friday night. Another new record sent, 75,000 new cases. The madness continues. The mask wars continue. The one step we could take to dramatically slow the spread of Covid-19, but huge numbers of Americans are resisting. And the president is encouraging the resisters. I don’t know what to say about that. To people concerned about the safety of themselves and their loved ones, they should do everything they can to avoid catching/spreading Covid-19 until there is a cure or a proven safe vaccine. It’s basic game theory, one wants to minimize the chances of a catastrophic outcome. Anything less is playing Russian roulette with one’s life, we simply don’t know what the long term consequences of getting infected with this virus are.

It’s like, oh, it only kills the old! In other words, if one catches Covid-19, maybe one has no symptoms as a young healthy person, but it hides in their body and kills them when they hit their sixties. Viruses do stuff like this, infections are permanent, they hide in one’s body for life waiting for favorable conditions to explode. Only a fool would take the risk of catching an unknown virus that already has scary effects. Heart damage for example.  Oh, but, my freedoms! The economy! Yeah, when your leaders tell you to charge into machine gun fire, maybe they don’t have your best interests at heart? When leaders talk about “acceptable losses,” be very afraid.

Just realized that in some ways, Biden is the perfect foil for Trump. He’s white, he’s male, he’s Christian, there’s nothing progressive in his background at all. He’s not vulnerable to the coded racist and sexist attacks Trump uses against Hillary, Obama, etc. Trump is basically flinging mud wildly, because Trump has neither accomplishments or issues to run on at this point. I can see why Biden is mostly laying low.

I’ll end on some good news, Covid-19 might be the beginning of the end for the fossil fuel industry. Especially coal. They are both wildly subsidized industries, in that they are allowed to pass their terrifying environmental and health costs onto the public, not to even mention global warming. So good riddance. Well, good news for Europe at least, where no one is in power who believes in “clean coal” and thinks wind farms cause cancer: “The way Europe sees it, if every nation in the world is going to be in debt for at least the next decade, they might as well be paying for something that solves the biggest challenge of the 21st century.” Interesting read: FC100: 2020 Is The Worst Year Ever For Fossil Fuels

Hope everyone is having a safe and sane weekend. Sorry about the disjointed nature of this post, getting harder to concentrate as I watch the Trump virus rage out of control in America. I recommend getting Covid-19 health advice from the CDC and Dr Fauci, not the White House. What a country, where the president thinks he knows more than experts in the field. The mind, formerly reeling, boggles uncontrollably. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Random image publicly posted on Facebook of unknown genesis, used without permission.)

Written by unitedcats

July 18, 2020 at 8:53 am