Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

DEBATE NIGHT

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OK, debate night. At least it’s on so far. First though, a correction. Turns out the Ratcliffe FBI stuff yesterday was team Trump nonsense, trying to once again cast doubt on the integrity of the upcoming election. My bad. Like I said, the crap is flying so fast now I can’t keep up. And internationally too. Protestors shot in Nigeria, not looking good. The fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh continues, thousands dead. Covid is making a big comeback in Europe. 2020 is not going out with a whisper, that’s for sure.

Still seeing people online who aren’t really getting how terrible the pandemic is, either out of simple denial, or a more complicated effort to rationalize away Trump’s failure to fight Covid-19 effectively. Met a guy who thinks Covid-19 will all go away after the election, because it’s mostly liberal media hype just to make Trump look bad. I really don’t even know what to say to such people anymore, I’m with Bill Murray. For the people that can read, this is one of the best overviews of the whole pandemic I’ve seen yet: America and the Virus: ‘A Colossal Failure of Leadership’

A brief summary for those who can’t get past the paywall. It’s a sad and infuriating story. Before Trump America was the best prepared nation on Earth for a pandemic. Started with Bush 42 actually. He read a book about the 1918 flu pandemic, was alarmed, called together some experts and asked how prepared America was? Not very was the answer. So he set up a pandemic response team and crafted a pandemic response plan. Obama expanded on it. And Trump dismantled it over three years, and when the pandemic hit, he threw the plan out the window in favor of winging it.

To be fair the article goes into the failures of China and other players, and the scientific missteps made along the way. Science is self-correcting though, realizing they were wrong and issuing new guidelines shows that science works. Since Trump can never admit he was wrong, his response to Covid-19 is still basically just winging it. The article also mentions that if the US had handled Covid as well as most other developed countries, only about 50,000 people would be dead. Trump’s claim he prevented millions of deaths is, well, bullshit. The last point, the point that isn’t being talked about at all as people envision it’s all going to go away when we get a vaccine. Right now the economic price tag is about 16 trillion dollars. That’s about 125 thousand for every household in America. Not the flu morans.

So covid-19 is as serious as a heart attack. And I guess it won’t be covered in the debate tonight. (I was wrong.)  I’m about to watch it. I’ll post some impressions tonight, more tomorrow if it ends up being something to blog about. I’m betting Trump has a fit and storms off the stage at some point.

And Biden has walked into a trap. Normalizing the idea that Russian can influence the election is playing right into Trump’s hand.

Screaming.

Biden’s doing OK, but I want to see Trump staked in the heart.

I just wish Biden was a great debater, a Lincoln or Roosevelt or even Obama would have eviscerated Trump.

“The preexisting condition plan at the same time we get the infrastructure plan.” Point for Biden.

Surreal.

Trump is a master of the gish-gallop argument. Except he believes what he is saying.

Had to mute Trump as he went into a horrific racist victim blaming rant about illegal immigrants.

I know a DACA kid. She came into the country at 2 years old in the trunk of a car. She’s a fantastic American.

Possible exception of Abraham Lincoln! No Mr Trump, just no.

“All talk, no action!” That’s Olympic class rich coming from Trump.

OK, I watched almost all of the debate. Trump is brilliant at what he does, he didn’t lose. That most of what he said was irrelevant (cherry picked) or untrue will be lost on a huge number of Americans. He didn’t storm off the stage, I lost a bet. Biden, well, he could have done worse. I’ll call it a draw at this point.

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

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

October 22, 2020 at 7:56 pm

RATS EVERYWHERE

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Busy busy busy now. Road trip of my life being planned. So, yeah, I think Trump’s support is shrinking. I don’t think it’s my imagination. His die hard core is around, the people who think he’s sent by God. But a lot of his 2016 votes were from people who just were glad to see a political outsider take up their plight in Washington. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I was one of the people who thought, well, maybe he will try to do a good job. Give him a chance.

Yeah, Trump had his chance. Pretty much at this point anyone not completely immersed in Trump’s alternate reality warp bubble is realizing that the man hasn’t been a particularly good president. People love a leader, we really are a tribal/social animal. A leader who’s delivering only pain, that gets old. This: Why this libertarian is voting for Biden. And especially this: Ditching The Donald: Trump’s largest voter base is fleeing at an alarming rate.

We’ll see, was musing today that despite the GOP’s short term success in taking the reins of federal and state government despite the fact that they aren’t in the majority, ultimately their strategy is self defeating. The GOP has basically convinced its base that anything contravening the GOP line is some sort of evil leftist plot to take away their freedom. Sensible gun control? They want to cancel the second amendment! Raise the minimum wage? They want to end the free market! Wear a mask and practise social distancing to slow the spread of a terrible disease? Covid tyranny, a plot to take away your freedoms!

Yeah, convincing people that government is the problem pretty much cripples actual governing. My point is that the GOP “Anything we don’t agree with is a plot to destroy America!” ultimately makes red controlled areas ungovernable. Exhibit A: Ammon Bundy is building a far-right theocratic army under the guise of defending ‘rights’ A political ideology that cripples public health initiatives in the face of a pandemic is not a viable long term strategy. Trumpism, no matter how much its followers believe otherwise, is just another political/ideological con in the service of its creators.

Lastly, with sensible government, it is possible to keep Covid-19 at bay. Just found out that Canada’s self ruling First Nation’s province Nunavut has completely avoided Covid-19. Last March they simply barred entry for virtually all non residents, and made returnees quarantine. The result? Zero Covid-19 cases. Zero. Granted there’s only 35,000 people or so in Nunavut, but it’s not an island like New Zealand. This is an example of good government by any metric.

Haiti has also done well with Covid-19, for reasons no one understands. Reality is complicated and nuanced, something many humans will never understand. If there were simplistic workable  black and white answers to governing human societies, Earth would be a paradise. Alas every simplistic answer so far has failed in the breech. Sorry Mr Trump and your followers, believing Trump was an answer sent by God doesn’t actually make it so.

If Trump wins the election, woo boy, four years of him getting back at his enemies. That will be fun. If he loses, two months of him punishing everyone for failing him. Fun times. Or maybe Trump will die in some memorable manner, and Trumpism will supersede Christianity. A thousand years from now there will be Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Trumpers. The four great Abrahamaaic faiths.

All killing and beheading each other just like today. Stay safe everyone. Comments, questions appreciated.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Used without permission, I can’t make out the attribution. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I will attribute or remove as needed.)

Written by unitedcats

October 18, 2020 at 8:32 pm

954 YEARS AGO TODAY ANOTHER CONTENTIOUS RULERSHIP DISPUTE IS SETTLED

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October 14, 1066. It was a bright late fall day in Southern England. English King Harold and possibly 10,000 or more foot soldiers were arrayed on top of a hill behind a shield wall (that’s a line of men holding large shields touching or even overlapping each other,) both flanks protected by dense forest. Duke William of Normandy and about as many men were at the bottom of the hill, they were a combined force or archers, foot soldiers, and mounted knights. These 20,000 or more men were about to settle a critical political dispute. Who was to be the next king of England, Harold or William?

And they weren’t going to settle the issue with namby pamby things like votes. This was near a thousand years ago, political issues were settled with swords, and fought to the death. One can only wonder at what was going through the mens’ minds that morning (there were possibly a few women, but that’s speculation.)  They knew that by day’s end they might well be dead, or grievously wounded. That just meant they died a week or two later most likely. Many of Harold’s men were tired, especially the core of his army; they had fought a bloody but victorious battle at Stamford Bridge less than three weeks before. And had marched 270 miles (430 km)  in 2 weeks, that’s 20 miles (32 km) a day carrying heavy gear.

The battle started with the Norman archers attacking. They were shooting uphill at men behind a shield wall. Basically most of the arrows bounced off the shields or flew harmlessly over the top of the hill. And since the English had few archers, there were few English arrows to gather up and shoot back. After that, accounts vary. William’s foot soldiers charged up the hill at least three times and were beaten back. They almost panicked in the first retreat because a rumor spread William had been killed, he had to ride through his army with his face exposed to reassure his men that he still lived.

When the Normans retreated after an unsuccessful attack, by accident or design, groups of Harold’s soldiers pursued, and were quickly surrounded and killed once away from the shield wall. Harold’s two brothers were likely killed early in the battle this way. The end of the battle, this is the big mystery. Again, by accident or design, a group of Norman knights got through a gap in the shield wall, and hacked Harold to death. Or Harold may have gone down with an arrow in the eye. Or both. No one really knows, all we know is that sometime in the late afternoon Harold was killed, and his army quickly collapsed and ran. No point continuing to fight when the king is dead.

And that was the end of the last Anglo Saxon English king, and the last time England was successfully invaded. It’s not known how many men died that day. The Norman dead were buried in a mass grave whose location is unknown to this day. The English dead were left on the field, though some of their bodies were retrieved by their families.  2,000 dead Normans and at least twice that many of Harald’s soldiers is the best guess today. William’s legacy? Depends on who one asks. Probably the most significant event in English history between the Roman invasion and the 20th century. Some think that’s giving William too much credit, though it is certain that changes his rule started in England are still felt today. Whether his conquest was a good thing or a bad thing for England is debated by historians.

It was certainly a bad thing for the thousands that died that bright October day, and the thousands more that would die as William consolidated his rule of England and put down rebellions. At least back then most of the participants in wars were volunteers in one sense or another, civilians generally and wisely avoided battles. Long time ago, but still has connections to us today. Turns out a friend is a direct descendant of William. Small world … and William did have a lot of kids.

I don’t see Trump or Biden leading an army into battle, so their differences will be solved by other means. Tomorrow, more on Trump’s plan to let a million Americans pointlessly die. Whole other kind of perspective I suppose. Stay safe everyone. Comments, shares likes appreciated. Patrons especially appreciated, go to the link in the “Welcome to Doug’s Darkworld” blurb on the right. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings and the death of Harold. Credit: Unknown, likely commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother. Public Domain under all known copyright laws.)

Written by unitedcats

October 14, 2020 at 7:11 pm

Posted in History, Politics, War

RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS HEED TRUMP’S CALL TO LIBERATE MICHIGAN, IT ENDS BADLY

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So breaking news today, the FBI has arrested a number of men plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor and start a civil war, heeding Trump’s call to “liberate” Michigan. Glad they were caught. I’m not as excited as some, sounds like a bunch of idiot yahoos likely encouraged by FBI informants to concoct a ridiculous plot. It’s not a good sign though, armed insurrection is an insane overreaction at this point. Governor Whitmer was furious, and blamed Trump for inciting groups like this to violence. (In his debate with Biden, Trump  pointedly refused to condemn such groups.) The FBI has been tracking these particular people for months, so it’s not like the debate inspired them.

Honestly I think Whitmer should have studiously avoided laying the blame at Trump’s feet, now his supporters will rally round him and blame the Dems for the nation’s partisanship divide. Her statement was a softball pitch to Trump at least. I guess progressives will support her statement, a lot of people are still processing it all. I’m still not sure what to think. I’ve already seen one Trump supporter blame Antifa, it’s not out of the question Trump will blame his imaginary “extreme leftists” for actually fomenting the plot somehow. We’ll see, I’m writing at midday, who knows what will happen in the next six hours.

I visited The Drudge Report today. First time in years. It’s a conservative counterpoint to Antiwar.com more or less. I was surprised, shocked even, I’d heard Mr Drudge wasn’t supporting Trump anymore. The first link I saw was this: Dying in a Leadership Vacuum. It’s an article from the Harvard Medical School in the New England Journal of Medicine … about how catastrophically incompetant the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19 is. And this: PIERS MORGAN: Donald Trump’s dying presidency is crashing and burning in a reckless, chaotic, dangerous, earth-scorching ball of fire – because he fears the American people are about to tell him: ‘YOU’RE FIRED!’ I think we can safely say Matt Drudge isn’t a Trump supporter anymore.

Final thoughts on yesterday’s Harris-Pence “debate.” It wasn’t a debate. A debate is a moderated discussion of real things. It can certainly include politics and religion, but it has to be anchored in reality. In the very first question, Pence simply ignored reality, and promoted the Trump alternate reality where Trump’s Covid-19 virtue signaling “saved millions of lives.” Debate isn’t possible with someone who’s living in a fantasy world, how can it be? There’s nothing to argue, by all scientific and rational standards Trump’s Covid-19 response was wildly inadequate. Compared to any other developed country the USA is a Covid-19 basket case. We had nearly 1,000 deaths yesterday, Canada had 19. And other developed countries had similar low numbers. The USA is the worst hit country by Covid-19, certainly among developed countries. So even debating it with Trump gives this nonsense credence. The Nation suggested cancelling presidential debates. Cancel the Presidential Debates—Permanently. It makes a lot of good points, I agree, they’ve become farcical.

I dunno, Pelosi, whom I don’t really like (irrelevant, I know) is talking about invoking the 25th Amendment. This is where an incapacitated president is removed from power. Part of me says, no, this is crazy talk. But after watching Pence last night, I realized that Trump’s claim that he won a great victory against Covid-19 and saved millions of lives is as if Lee claimed Gettysburg was a great victory and now the war was almost won. It is literally that batshit crazy. Will Trump go so off the rails that even Pence and company will agree he needs to step down? Damned if I know.

Current thinking, Trump’s gonna get more and more out there and alienate all but his inner core, and lose the election by an undeniable landslide. He’ll resign, Pence will pardon him, and he’ll slink away. That’s the good version. Things could still get way uglier, and won’t be surprised if they do. Trump was basically claiming today that he wants his attorney general to arrest Obama, Biden, Clinton. The evidence being some declassified stuff that even the GOP Senate committee investigating didn’t think worth pursuing. What if Trump picks up the phone and orders those arrests?

Could be a lot more interesting than some yahoos thinking that plotting treason and rebellion was a good idea. 2020 never lets up on the interesting news, so no end of blog topics. My cancer surgery has been scheduled for November, so hoping that means I’ll be around to see how the election turns out at least. It’s my fervent hope. When I visit graveyards I’m always especially saddened by people who died in years like 1944 or 1864. It would be like being at a Superbowl game, and dying in the last inning before the winner was determined. I mean wow, death is a bummer, but just before the end of the game? That’s cold God.

Actually God is always implacably fair down to subatomic levels. The rules of the Universe are never broken. Stay safe and sane everyone. Shares, likes, comments, appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: “Fall of the Rebel Angels” by Bruegels, 1562. Public Domain. I chose it for my debate post last night, it just seems like an image that captures the times we are in. Then the fly happened, and that had to be used. Crazy times.)

Written by unitedcats

October 8, 2020 at 8:48 pm

30 DAYS UNTIL THE ELECTION OF MY LIFETIME

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Trump is still kicking. He even made a brief drive by foray from the hospital. They say he might go home Monday. Still conflicting reports on how sick he was and is. The fact that he’s not tweeting up a storm would indicate to me that he’s pretty sick. Numerous other people in his circle are infected as well. Good chance an event they had last Sunday in the White House was a “superspreader” event, so this isn’t over yet. Seems pretty clear Biden is gaining in the polls, hard to see how Trump could spin this in a way that makes him look good. I’m sure he’ll try though.

I can’t see any but Trump’s hard core supporters being impressed by Covid-19 spreading through the White House. We’re still losing about 750 people a day to Covid-19, the only thing worse in history is the Civil War and a few months of the 1918 flu. This means as it spreads, more and more people are going to have friends or loved ones sickened or killed by Covid-19. Reality intrudes on fantasy. Here’s a good overview: Trump’s strategy of COVID denial is defeated by COVID

Kind of intrudes on multiple levels. 2020 is not a fluke, it’s a culmination of trends scientists and science understanding folks have been warning about for decades. Covid-19 is just one example. By the 1980s scientists had a basic understanding of emergent diseases, those that jumped from animals to humans. And they knew then that sooner or later, something nasty and at least as infectious as the 1918 flu was going to appear. It was a certainty. It was just luck it happened this particular year, but there was nothing unexpected about Covid-19. We could have defended ourselves against it, but our efforts were badly coordinated and poorly implemented. And ultimately failed, Covid-19 is here to stay.

In any event, Covid-19 is just one of the things going on. This is a good article about how Global Warming is slamming us now: 2020: The Year of the Converging Crises, Dealing with one crisis at a time was a luxury that is now over, and climate change has become the “threat multiplier” we knew it would be. The world keeps rolling on too. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region has reached war status. Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Major cities hit as heavy fighting continues. This one’s a mess, but like so many of the world’s conflicts, it appears to be a legacy of colonialist border drawing. (The Soviet Union being the colonialist power in this instance.) Hopefully it won’t spread, but sooner or later another world war is pretty much a given.

And in fun news, the #ProudBoys hashtag has been hijacked by, proud boys! Just not the ones the founders of the Proud Boys had in mind. The Proud Boys are a white supremicist, male only, ultra nationalist organization. Basically fascists. So now gay married couples are hijacking their hashtag with stories of, well, happy gay couples: The “Proud Boys” Hashtag Has Been Taken Over By Gay Love. I thought from the beginning that the “Proud Boys” chosen name was problematic. I was apparently right.

The whole gay marriage furor always baffled me. I grew up in a heteronormative world until I was in my late twenties. I had no contact with gay people, routinely derided them among my peers, didn’t give it much thought. Then I landed in Berkeley amidst a gay friendly community. And gee, finally confronted with gay people, what to think? Well, I think girls are hot. Most girls think guys are hot. What’s the diff if some girls think girls are hot, and some guys think guys are hot? I couldn’t think of any objections. Whatever floats your boat, what consenting adults do is none of my business.

Objection to gay marriage comes down to seeing a married couple … and being offended because their genitals aren’t “appropriate?” Ew, I mean just ew. Who sees a couple and wonders about their genitals? A lot of Republicans apparently. I’m digressing all over the place, I guess I’m worried that some Handmaid’s Tale future for America could still happen.

No horrible new national Trump news as I type now. 30 days until the most important election of my lifetime, if not in US history. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Stay safe everyone, comments, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

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

October 4, 2020 at 8:11 pm

THE PRESIDENT MAY ALREADY BE DEAD

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Wow, never thought I’d be writing a blog post like this. What a few days it has been, on top of an already crazy year. So in summary, President Trump has been hospitalised for Covid-19. There’s a lot of confusion as to exactly when he tested positive, and what his condition in the hospital is. Not going to go there. What we do know, for an absolute fact, is that for a man in his age and condition, Covid-19 is a deadly serious disease. A ten to thirty percent chance of death, and likely as much chance of long term effects. Yes, he might bounce right back, but there’s a very real possibility the president could die in the next week or two. He might be dead already as I type. 

I’m gonna try and walk the straight and narrow here. This should never have happened. THIS SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED. It was known beyond any doubt that Covid-19 was a serious risk for a man of Trump’s age and health. Trump should have been the last person in America to catch Covid-19. Now the president is incapacitated, who knows for how long, and to put it mildly, an incapacitated president is not a good thing for the nation. That this happened is once again irrefutable evidence that Trump is unfit to lead, he couldn’t protect the nation from Covid-19, he couldn’t even protect the White House and his wife. For shame Mr President. (Saw part of his video tweet today, he takes zero responsibility for catching Covid-19.) 

It’s also clear to me that even should Trump recover, he should drop out of the race. The long term effects of Covid-19 aren’t understood at this time, but it is absolutely clear they can be serious. He’s a sick man now no matter his symptoms, it would be like electing a time bomb. Granted Trump will never admit that, so I can’t imagine him dropping out. Even if he recovers, I wish him no personal ill will, but I sure hope this is the end of his political career. Trump claimed Covid-19 was no big deal, all under control, and now his wishful thinking has not only put himself and those around him at risk, an incapacitated president puts the entire country at risk.

These aren’t normal times though, and Trump’s not a normal president. I don’t know what’s going to happen now, no one does. One day at a time now. Scariest time in America since the Cuban missile crisis? I think we can safely say, October is going to be one hell of a ride. Trump’s usual twitter storm has dropped to a trickle, so again, we can safely assume he’s actually sick. The uncertainty roiling around the White House now is going to generate all sorts of wild theories; that we can not only safely assume, it’s pretty much written in stone. Here’s a QAnon take: 

“…Trump does not have COVID-19 and this is all a signal that he is now deep undercover trying to root out Hillary’s child sex slave ring once and for all. It was not clear if this still involves a pizza parlor or if Alex Jones is involved. Recall that at least one man (maybe more) believed it earlier and went to a pizza parlor location with a gun and the police stopped them.”

Well, isn’t that special. Since this still is Doug’s Darkworld, it would be irresponsible of me not to engage in my own wild speculation. The first weird theory that tumbled through my head, what if Trump dies, and they hide it? At this point the technology exists to create videos and such of him “recovering” in the White House. And then Trump wins the election, but afterwards it all unravels and it turns out a dead man was elected POTUS. Not sure just where that’s covered in the Constitution, near the back somewhere?

That seems unlikely though. What happens if Trump simply dies in the next week or two? All hell breaks loose I guess. Again, don’t think this is covered in the Constitution. Especially since lots of mail in votes have been sent already. Could the election just go on with votes for Trump going to Pence? My guess is the election would be postponed somehow, hard to imagine any solution that led to an orderly transition and a resumption of normalcy. 

It should also be pointed out that a lot of people in Trump’s circle have now been exposed, and a number have tested positive. So Trump getting ill might just be the beginning. Biden’s not out of the woods yet either, Trump did a lot of loud talking during the debate, and he might well have been infectious already. What happens if both candidates on the ballot die before the election?

I hope we don’t find out. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

PS: One last nightmare thought. Trump dies, and the idea that somehow it was the liberals/Democrats fault gets traction … and we get a horrible violent backlash against them. The country effectively split in two with violent ethnic cleansing in the red states. The right has spent too many decades glorifying violence and demonizing liberals for me to entirely dismiss this. Sleep tight everyone, God only knows what Sunday will bring.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public domain image found on Pixabay. Just captured the uncertainty of the road ahead for us.)

Written by unitedcats

October 3, 2020 at 7:28 pm

THOUGHT THE DEBATE WAS PEAK CRAZY? COVID-19 SAYS “HOLD MY BEER.”

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So Trump and Melania test positive … hours after insisting that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.” Is this his Tet Offensive? Is the end of Trump in sight, one way or another? 2020, it just never lets up. 

There are more cases of Covid-19 in the White House tonight than there are in New Zealand.

President Trump has tested positive for Covid-19, and been taken to Walter Reed hospital. He is symptomatic, and basically the next week will tell. He could get much sicker. He could die. We could be swearing in a new president sooner than anyone expected. No matter what happens, this is already a disaster. The most chaotic election in over a century, and now the POTUS is sick? Another layer of uncertainty in troubled times is not a good thing.

Some are questioning how real this is. The thought certainly crossed my mind, especially at first. Symptomatic and taken to the hospital, that seems pretty elaborate, and to what gain? It’s also not really consistent with Trump’s usual lies/self-deceptions, which run to grandiose self promotion. The guy who claims to be the healthiest man ever elected president is pretending to be sick? Until I see evidence for a hoax, I’m going with “Yeah, it’s real.” 

Not a stretch to think that this was China’s intent all along, since plenty including Trump have claimed that by accident or design, this was China’s fault somehow. OK, it is a stretch, and requires multiple layers of special pleading. Hopefully this particular theory doesn’t take off, not a good thing if Trump’s illness or death leads to a war with China. 

Is this some big surprise development? No. I pointed out from the beginning that anyone could get Covid-19, and will eventually unless they take serious precautions. Which the White House clearly was not doing. What happens if Trump and Biden both die of Covid-19 before election day? Chaos. (It was a trick question.)

What happens now? History. Thick and fast, stay frosty people, your grandkids will ask what it was like to live through the 2020 election in America. Speaking of history, my Tet Offensive comment in the leading paragraph. President Johnson announced that the Vietnam War was all but won, the enemy was on the run, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Then the VietCong launched a massive surprise attack on pretty much every major city in South Vietnam, one assault squad even penetrating the US Embassy compound in Saigon. It was pretty much the end of any reelection hopes for Johnson, and he chose not to run. Trump catching and being downed by the virus he downplayed at every turn, yeah, one would think that might get through to some of his supporters.

Hearing a lot of, well, harshness coming from Trump critics. Hopefully I have avoided “Trump Derangement Syndrome” as an appellation in my C.V. I’m certainly highly underwhelmed by Trump’s response to Covid-19, he’s made America far worse off than it could have been. And I do have criticism here. Trump not only couldn’t defend the country against Covid-19, he couldn’t even protect him and his wife! If we needed proof that Trump was wrong about downplaying the virus, this is it. In any event, I drink to his health.

So yes, reality intruded onto my planned wobbling rocks and hornets post. Still kind of in shock, woke up this AM to multiple messages about “Trump has Covid-19!” I’d known it was possible, but there’s only so far that expectations can prepare one for reality. I wasn’t ready for this, and I knew it was possible. This situation may well evolve very rapidly, curious what I’ll wake up to tomorrow. Have a safe and sane weekend everyone. #COVIDCaughtTrump #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Based on a Public Domain image. Haiku: Copyright © 2020 Yula Flournoy. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

October 2, 2020 at 7:16 pm

TURNS OUT DOUBLING DOWN ON HATE MIGHT NOT GET TRUMP REELECTED, WHO KNEW?

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Actually, I did. One of the takeaways from Obama getting elected twice is that it’s safe to say the majority of Americans are reasonably progressive and open minded, and not overtly racist. Just the facts ma’am. If Clinton had been as good as Obama at inspiring the typical American to vote, Trump would be history now. Alas, Trump’s appeal to disaffected whites got him into the White House. And now, with his dream economy in tatters, Covid-189 stubbornly refusing to go away, he’s decided to double down on the basest of his appeals, immigrant scaremongering and barely coded racism. His bizarre refusal to condemn the Proud Boys, a misguided racist group if there ever was one, along with his other endless fear mongering, is starting to take a toll. The Drudge Report has stopped supporting him for example,  so has Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. And his hateful rant against Ilhan Omar didn’t help his cause. Trump apparently doesn’t grasp that she’s an American and she was elected. Guess the will of the voters only counts for Trump if the voters support him and his candidates. 

A month to go until the election. I put out my Biden sign, the first time ever I did something like that. Not sure what POTUS I last voted for. I think maybe Clinton in the 90s. And more out of civic duty than any great love for Clinton. Not voting for Biden out of any great love either, but for the first time in my life, yeah, anybody is an improvement over Trump. Civic duty for sure. Trump’s worried about immigrants, has anyone pointed out to him that we now have room for 206,000 more, and rising daily? 

And the Trump outrage du jour: Trump insists that food aid comes with campaign literature, outraging anti-hunger advocates. A violation of the Hatch Act so blatant that it basically means the Trump administration is like the Hell’s Angels now, a criminal organization operating in the open. And since it’s 2020 and this is minor compared to all the other stuff coming down, I suspect it will simply sink without a trace. Still, if an administration actually hostile to Trump ever took power, a pipe dream to progressive Democrats, this and numerous other things would get Trump and his cronies beaucoup jail time. Don’t see that happening.

Back to reality: Experts Say COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Unlikely Before Fall 2021. It’s possible it will come sooner, but realistically speaking, best not to count on it. Yet that’s what Trump wants his base to do, believe Trump’s claims that a vaccine is right around the corner, and voting for Trump will ensure it happens. Even if Trump believes it is true, it’s still a lie. Reality is funny that way. Speaking of which: Study finds Trump was ‘the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation’ early in pandemic. In other words Mr Trump, your failure to grasp that Covid-19 was an actual public health crisis requiring a rational science driven response, more than likely increased the global death toll, not just the American one. 

Gonna be fascinating to see how history treats Trump. Hoping I’m around to see as much of it as possible. I’ve survived two strokes, a pulmonary embolism, and a stupid thrill seeking youth, I can survive cancer. It really was like a House episode at the medical center today, at least three assistants testing me in relays. Then the Doctor himself came in for a few minutes, made pronouncements, left. Hoping this is an episode with a good ending. I digress. I can’t see Trump being treated well in history, his place is assured, but his legacy is likely to be unimpressive at best.

Maybe Trump will be like this weird reverse Hitler now. Covid-19 will be his Stalingrad. He’ll get voted out, his fanatic core will shrink steadily over time. The GOP will collapse because of its own ideological  inconsistencies, like the Soviet Union. Decades from now, surrounded by a last remaining core of Trump supporters, he’ll kill himself in a bunker. The world will be like “Trump Who?”

A man can dream. Tomorrow, unless something else outrageous happens, some neat science links. Murder hornets and tipping rocks, what’s the connection? Stay safe, stay sane everyone. Likes, comments, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Haiku: Copyright © 2020 Yula Flournoy. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

October 1, 2020 at 7:25 pm

DEBATE HANGOVER, COPYCATS, WINDY APPLES, AND CANCER

with 2 comments

Debate hangover. It really was a mess. As the Babylon Bee put it: Broadcast Signal Accidentally Picks Up Two Old Men Yelling At Each Other Instead Of Presidential Debate. Some wag tweeted: “I thought this debate was going to be moderated?” I can see Trump’s visceral appeal though, and he got in some licks. The problem is that much of what he said simply wasn’t true. The insulin is as cheap as water for example. Trump Took Credit for Making Insulin “So Cheap It’s Like Water.” Tell That to People Paying for It. His point blank refusal to denounce white supremacy didn’t go over well, apparently Trump did a bit of backpedaling on that today. 

His claim he’s doing a great job on Covid is so false it’s one for the textbooks. No, he didn’t save millions of Lives, his Covid-19 gestures and promises did essentially nothing, 200,000 dead with no end in sight. He’s like a broken record,Trump just keeps claiming Covid-19 is going to magically go away, and handling the crisis of our lifetimes as if it’s some minor politicised event that we just need to get over. No one Trump knows has died, guessing him and Herman Cain weren’t good buddies. While we’re on the topic, herd immunity ain’t happening soon: COVID – Not Close to Herd Immunity. I think Biden could of done a lot better job hammering  Trump on this point.

Oh, yes, they managed to talk about Trump getting his SCOTUS justice seated right away … without mentioning that four years ago the GOP had high and mightily refused to seat a new Justice until “the people spoke” in the upcoming election. I was surprised Biden let this go by unremarked.

So, I could add more about debate, taxes, etc. I don’t think I have any trenchant commentary though, and there’s plenty out there to choose from. So, some science fun. Cats. Cat cognition even: Kitty see, kitty do: cat imitates human, in first scientific demonstration of behavior. Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a cat can imitate what a human does. I’m sure plenty of cat owners are quite sure cats can imitate people, but anecdotes aren’t science. 

Fascinating because cats don’t pass the mirror test, they don’t possess “theory of mind.” So they aren’t consciously imitating humans. If true means their mirror neurons come into play with humans, which was already pretty clear I guess. I’ve heard it stated that cats don’t think they’re people, they think we are big cats. A lot of fascinating work has been done on animal cognition in recent decades, animal consciousness is far more complex than was once thought. And yet still, no matter how sophisticated and clever animals are, they can’t put their thoughts into words. Communicate, yes, speak, no. 

Probably for the best. I’m pretty sure sharks would have something to say about this: Coronavirus Vaccine Could Result in 500,000 Shark Deaths. Though I suppose they could communicate their displeasure without words. Basically one of the most promising vaccines requires a substance harvested from sharks. Humans are a freakishly ghoulish species when it comes right down to it; again, not surprised the aliens won’t have truck with us. 

On a personal note, I’m in a fancy hotel enjoying room service for the first time in my life. And it wasn’t even on my bucket list. Is this how the 1% live, they can have beer and burgers sent to their room at any time of the day or night? Maybe I should reconsider my vow of poverty. Anyhow, I’m far from home in ‘The Windy Apple,’ visiting Iowa’s answer to the Mayo Clinic. I get to see the Dr House of cancer tomorrow. Woohoo, I might get a new cancer named after me! Hell, there’s even possible immortality options here

Oh, the meme above made me laugh, it’s multilayered. And the implied reason for posting it is the fact that dinosaurs aren’t the only parties getting credit for administrative skills they don’t possess. And maybe come November said parties will be on their way to extinction and we’ll shortly get people who can administrate. I agree that was a tortured thought train.  I know my writing isn’t for everyone, but I also know I have my fans. It’s why I’m not sleeping in my car tonight, they are appreciated.

Stay safe everyone, shares, comments, likes appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

September 30, 2020 at 7:58 pm

BIDEN VS TRUMP DEBATE (AND BOY WAS I WRONG)

with 2 comments

45 minutes until the debate. One of the more anticipated debates of the past decade at least. I expect it’s going to be pretty dull, the debates tend to be. Both trying to score points for their base, off each other, not as much. I’ll make some running notes, then sum it up when it’s over. Fun times. Beer will be involved.

Wow, what a flaming shitshow. A clusterfuck? I was wrong, this is unlike any previous presidential I have ever seen. Trump is simply fantasizing aloud, the moderator can’t seem to keep it under control. And Biden keeps missing opportunities to skewer Trump, and letting Trump control the narrative.

OK, that was my one in progress comment. Oh my, I was sure wrong. The debate was a much bigger free for all than I expected. Never been a debate like this in my life. The moderator was, well, inconsistent? Certainly wasn’t the boring debate I expected. In hindsight not surprising. Trump lives in a fantasy world, with near four years of “proof” to support him. Biden tried to keep the debate reality oriented, and scored points with his base no doubt. Both sides will claim they won. In random order, a few in-debate observations.

No, the pre-Covid economy was not “The greatest in history.” Trump’s response to Covid-19 didn’t save millions of lives, it was one of the least effective responses on the planet leading to 200,000 and rising dead Americans. The “radical left” in America is miniscule, in no way shape or form are Democrats and Biden supporters “radical leftists.” Antifa is an idea, not an organisation. 

So yeah, I don’t think either side won. I think Biden could have done a better job, but he got his licks in. A shitshow debate for a shitshow election in a shitshow year. And two more to follow, three if we count Harris/Pence. I guess I’ll watch em all. 

Oh, bonus points for me, Iowa was mentioned in the debate! Stay safe everyone, longer post tomorrow I hope.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

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

September 29, 2020 at 8:39 pm