Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Propaganda’ Category

MASS COVID MURDER IN FLORIDA, TINY DESKS, AND OTHER WEIRDNESS

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The governor of Florida, in an act that is both mind numbingly stupid and utterly horrifying in its consequences, has extended an order that bans localities in Florida from issuing mask mandates. One couldn’t make this shit up. We are in the midst of a terrible pandemic, and the governor of a state outlaws the best known method to slow the spread of Covid-19. Some of the things people did to try and fight off the Black death seem pretty crazy from a modern viewpoint, but they at least have the excuse they didn’t know any better. The governor of Florida has no such excuse, he’s living in a fantasy world

So I’m back to being worried again. More worried still? Trump has convinced about 3/4s of Republicans that the election was fishy. I’ve talked to some of them now. Their belief is like people who believed in birtherism and 9/11 trutherism. No evidence required, they just cite youtube videos and such of various people claiming to have seen voter fraud, but no corroborating evidence was provided. Theories that are promoted without evidence can be dismissed without prejudice, and so far the courts have done just that regarding the dozens of lawsuits Trump has filed contesting the election.

So I hope the Biden transition continues and this all turns out to have been much ado about nothing. Trump’s last gasps, and then something like normalcy will resume. It’s a comforting thought. I’m not terribly comforted. We’re not out of the woods yet. After Trump’s latest case in Pennsylvania failed, apparently the plan is to take it to the Supreme Court. I think that’s been the plan all along, if even one of Trump’s lawsuits challenging the election gets to the SCOTUS, we might see a repeat of 2000. An utterly unconstitutional ruling that puts Trump back in the White House.

The shitsh*w continues. Trump gave a press conference at a tiny desk. (image above) He continues to claim he won the election. People had all sorts of fun with the image of him at a tiny desk, the Twitter hashtag #diaperdon trended for a while. Trump had a conniption fit over that too. This, this is what presidential politics in America has sunk to. The man who has no problem calling his political opponents names is mortally offended that people are calling him names. Go figure. And frankly, it was an odd choice of desks to give a presidential press conference from.

I guess it’s just amazing to me that in this day and age, when science and reason have given us a clearer picture of reality than at any time in human history, half of my country has retreated into a fantasy reality. Yeah, the rest of the country has their delusions too, but they understand that Covid-19 and Global Warming are real, and that Trump lost the election. Basically the people that never really accepted that the South lost the Civil War have seceded again.

I just have no idea how this is going to turn out. That’s technically always the case, but never in my life has the future been so uncertain. Except for me posting every day until the Trump era is over. That’s a certainty. If I stop posting, the deep state got me. Avenge my passing! Comments, shares, donations are also appreciated. Have a great weekend everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Trump at his tiny desk. Attribution unknown, used without permission. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 27, 2020 at 9:53 pm

THE TRUMP PLAN FOR MASS DEATH IS UNFOLDING IN FRONT OF OUR EYES

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And away we go, the gentle reader thought Covid-19 was bad this spring, they ain’t seen nothing yet. Trump has pretty much abdicated from actually running the country, and completely abdicated on doing anything about the pandemic. Most state governors are doing very little as well. So basically America has resigned itself to hundreds of thousands of additional deaths and millions more Americans with long term or permanent health problems … because it’s too much hassle to do anything about it? I mean, hell if I know. The world, the future, many Americans look on with astonishment and horror as the world’s last superpower allows a pandemic to spread unchecked through its population.

Amazing what one can get used to I guess. America has been lost in space for decades really, it’s not like our attachment with reality was terribly strong to begin with. Maybe it began with the Moon Landing Hoax. The idea that possibly the most well documented event in human history was somehow a hoax. I sometimes think that was the moment the “I believe something that wouldn’t even make a believable science fiction movie” virus got hold. Comic book thinking I call it. That’s about the level of it. Grown ups unable to see that certain ideas are both logically absurd, have zero evidence in support of them, and a mountain of evidence against them.

Things like holocaust denial, flat earthers, anti-vaxxers, etc. I used to debate people like that, now they’ve retreated into their own online realities. At least people are trying. Hell, I’m trying, it’s why I write. I’ve been fascinated by the amazing universe we live in since forever, and never stopped trying to figure it out. And the secret of the universe: It’s easy to get people to believe BS. And here America is, steeped in BS while awash in the wonders of actual science. Go figure. Hell, science has made it even easier to get people to believe in BS. Advertising and propaganda are sciences now, and quite effective ones thank you.

A moment here to thank the church for laying the groundwork for America’s disenfranchisement from reality. By church, I mean fundamentalists and biblical literalists of all stripes. By 1830  science knew that the Earth was at least millions of years old and there was never a global flood. By 1870 the scientific debate over evolution was over. But to this day tens of millions of Americans teach their children that Genesis was literally true. This is why the aliens lock their doors and fly right by.

And now into this mix, throw Trump. He really is a figure of incredible historical prominence. Obama, Palin, Biden will all be historical footnotes someday, Trump will be a Caesar, Napoleon, or Hitler. People will remember him. There really hasn’t been any American in my life like him, able to get blind devotion and support from tens of millions of Americans, he’s their messiah. Trump’s a brilliant self-promoter, one of the best in history. He’s parlayed it into a fortune, world wide name recognition, and the presidency of the United States.

I’d say I’d love to meet Trump, like I’d love to meet Obama or Caesar or Lincoln, but no. I don’t think there’s really anyone there there. He hasn’t grasped Covid-19 is real just for starters. In any event, the chances I will interview Trump for my blog are minimal. Still, it’s 2020, anything is possible. Stay safe everyone, Dr, Fauci hasn’t given up hope: U.S. reports record 153,400 new Covid cases as Dr. Fauci urges Americans to be careful: ‘It is not futile’. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

November 14, 2020 at 8:24 pm

LIES

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The Donald has decided that the best way to proceed after losing the election is spreading lies and Covid-19 as best he can. And frankly, he’s damn good at both.  Him and his family and supporters are spreading endless claims of voter fraud, all of which have been baseless or ridiculous. A Youtube video of someone burning ballots claiming they were Trump ballots, even the information visible on the video itself showed they were sample ballots, not actual ballots. In one of their court challenges to the election the only evidence they provided was a post-it note with hearsay on it. The post-it note claimed to have seen some ballots being mishandled, but the author of the post-it note wasn’t known. Yeah, the judge wasted no time dismissing that case.

And Trump is going to continue to hold his Covid spreading rallies, where he plans to display the obituaries of people he claimed voted for Biden. And basically carrying on as if he won, and somehow the election was stolen from him. Well, if that’s all it is, so far so good. IE so far just a lot of noise, sound, and fury signifying nothing. Biden launched his Covid-19 task force today, a bipartisan collection of experts. And made it very clear that Covid-19 will be his number one priority when he takes office. Gee, rational leadership, something Trump is incapable of. Whatever Biden’s neocon faults, it’s just refreshing to see basic competency returning to the White House.

So Pfizer announced a vaccine that early trials say is 90% effective at preventing infection. It’s a very good sign. Some have suggested they waited until after the election to announce it, to avoid giving Trump votes. Well, since Trump had nothing to do with this vaccine, Pfizer developed it with it’s own money, even if they did, good. Trump would have lied and tried to claim credit for it, so even if the company delayed the news, it was the responsible thing to do.

I suspect it’s unlikely though, like most (all?) conspiracy theories, it’s based on reinforcing prejudices, not actual facts. In any event, a vaccine is good news. An effective vaccine would be an incredibly valuable tool in the anti-Covid toolbox. It would make control and eradication of Covid-19 possible, and with the US rejoining WHO and the global struggle against Covid-19, that light at the end of the tunnel might be real. Covid-19 is not just another flu or cold, many countries have eliminated it, and like Smallpox, every effort should be made to eliminate it. Smallpox killed a million or more people a year, and crippled millions more, until a global vaccination campaign eliminated it. That was fifty years ago, there’s no reason it couldn’t be done today against Covid-19.

We’ll see. Despite all the good news, America is still a horribly fractured country. Two countries really, the GOP has created an alternate reality where everything is viewed through a warped political lens. Yes, every faction on Earth is propagandized to some extent, the Democrat left in the USA absolutely. However, sometimes a faction goes so far down its own rathole that they are detached from reality itself. How does one debate with people like that?

So yeah, a Trump supporting friend sent me this: Oakland: ‘Caravan of armed robbers’ target cannabis businesses on Election Night, leaving suspect dead. He gets very … excited … about stuff like this. He was the same fellow who predicted the left would set America aflame if Trump prevailed in the courts and ‘won’ the election. Where to start? The incident itself. An American mob engaged in criminal activity. OMG, it’s the end of the world and proof that libtards are going to kill us all if we let them run the country! No, it’s a microscopic event in America’s long sad history of mob violence.

I wish I knew the answer, but I do know that “All of society’s problems are caused by the Godless libtards” is not the answer. Convince me otherwise. Stay safe everyone, the near future is still a scary place. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The best musical joke meme ever created. Enjoy.)

Written by unitedcats

November 9, 2020 at 8:39 pm

EXTREMISTS AND THEIR APOLOGISTS, THE TALIBAN ENDORSE TRUMP, AND OTHER ELECTION NEWS

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Pretty much. It’s even a bit weirder than that. A visitor from the Soviet Union in the eighties was astonished by American “news.” He was like “Wow, in the Soviet Union they have to shoot reporters to make sure the news toes the government line. The American news does it voluntarily!” Maybe it wasn’t always like that, but by the eighties the big corporations owned both the mainstream media and the government, so of course the mainstream media and the government have the same message. Everything’s great, the rich and the big corporations are getting ever richer, and for everyone else, if you’re worse off than your parents, it’s your fault, loser!

Well, militia thoughts and developments. Rick Wiles claimed that Governor Whitmer made those men want to kidnap her. You can’t make shit like this up. His logic, if one can call it that, is that she must have so abused her power that these “law abiding” men (Wiles’ term) felt compelled to take action. Apparently kidnapping and insurrection were better options than I dunno, working to get their preferred candidate elected? Basically Rick Wiles is using the logic that abusers have used forever, they made me do it! Read about this insanity here: Rick Wiles Blames Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for Making Those Men Want to Kidnap Her.

In the same vein, one of the arrested “law abiding” men shared a stage with an extremist sheriff: Man In Militia Plot To Kidnap Michigan Governor Shared Stage With Extremist Sheriff. Not really a fluke either, there’s an unholy concordance between right wing militias and the police. Here’s more discussion on same: Mapping Far-Right and Anti-Immigrant Movement Alignment with County Sheriffs. On the one hand this is creepy, on the other hand, these people are a distinct minority. Still, in the current climate where Trump is all but encouraging the Timothy McVeighs of the country, bad things could happen. Not all of these militia guys are as stupid as the recent plotters. I should know, I was a founder and second in command of a right wing militia once, and I’ve been accused of a lot of things in my time, but stupidity isn’t one of them.

As the election draws closer, always interesting news. Trump’s grip on the Republican party is slipping. Or more accurately, as his behaviour gets more outrageous and his reelection chances keep sliding, rats are deserting Trump’s sinking ship: Republicans are finally ready to diss Don. It has always been fascinating to see how Trump became the face of the GOP like no one since at least Reagan has. Reagan took decades to get there though, Trump’s rise to political godhood was far faster. One has to wonder if his descent will be just as fast. It seems clear to me that while Trump has a core of fanatic supporters, I don’t think most his fellow GOP leaders are anything other than fair weather friends. I don’t think Trump grasps that.

On the weird side, Trump has been endorsed  by … the Taliban! The Taliban on Trump: “We hope he will win the election” and withdraw U.S. troops. Well, ain’t that special? I doubt this will get mentioned on Fox News. I also don’t believe Trump will pull out of Afghanistan, the last president with the stones to pull the US out of a stupid and unpolular war was … Reagan. Trump is no Reagan. I mean, he didn’t co-star with a chimp on The Apprentice, right? I should point out the hideous colonial mindset in discussions about Afghanistan. IE, we should stay there just to make sure Al Qaeda doesn’t get a base of operations established. The idea that Afghanistan is a sovereign and independent country apparently not figuring into the calculations.

An interesting article: Are These the Last 25 Days of American Democracy? I can’t argue with the premise of the article, it certainly makes good points. Democracy in America has been losing ground for decades. Does that mean it’s about to collapse, will Trump by hook or by crook get himself “reelected,” and continue to dismantle democracy? Beats me, my crystal ball burst into flame months ago. I’ve always felt that Trump couldn’t plot his way out of a paper bag, let alone plot a coup. Here’s a counterpoint article: There Will Be No Trump Coup. Doesn’t mean horrible things can’t happen though.

In conclusion, Covid-19 isn’t a freaking cold or flu. Anyone who says so is lying or misinformed. Hell of an election night coming up. Stay frosty everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Harvested off of Facebook, attribution unknown, used without permission. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 10, 2020 at 7:52 pm

NO, THERE IS NO DEBATE ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING. PLUS VACCINE THEATER AND LIFE ON VENUS.

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America, land of denial. Trump has visited the fire ravaged West coast: US West Coast fires: Row over climate change’s role as Trump visits. Western governors are pointing out that global warming is a big part of the fire problem now raging across the west. Trump claims it’s poor forest management. Both are right and wrong, though as usual Trump is wronger. (Is that a word? It is now.) Yes, poor forest management is definitely a big part of the reason. Apparently Trump is overlooking that over half of forest land in the west is under federal management. So Trump is literally admitting to a big share of the blame. Since Trump is never wrong and never takes blame, only credit, I doubt that will get much mention in the circus that passes for the mainstream media in the US.

And no, the debate about global warming ended decades ago, Earth is rapidly warming up, and human activity is the cause. While we’re on the topic, the debate about evolution ended around 1870, the debate about creationism ended around 1830. I digress. This is America though, where if a powerful interest finds some scientific finding might hurt its profits, the science of science denial has made great progress in recent decades, and they are quite capable of creating “debate” where there is no debate. That American politicians are basically for sale to the highest bidder doesn’t hurt either. Welcome to Global Warming World, Northern Hemisphere summer was hottest on record, scientists say, where it’s just going to get worse and worse while Washington fiddles.  

Oh, wait, Trump is going to save us all. I missed this, but he declared he’s the greatest environmental president since Teddy Roosevelt! Trump Declares Himself “the No. 1 Environmental President” Well, he’s consistent at least. He’s also declared he’s been the best president for blacks since Lincoln, and the best president for LGTB rights ever. Basically, he’s the best at everything. The fact that all three claims are not only wrong, they are in complete opposite of the facts of his record is irrelevant. Some close to him say Trump apparently can’t tell the difference between the truth and a lie. Psychotic is a term one acquaintance used. Beats me, but someone who literally spent his term gutting and cancelling every environmental law and regulation he could is not an “environmental” president. If he actually believes it, then it’s partially true, he’s mental. 

Trump officials rush to introduce untested vaccine tracking system. Yes, Trump’s gonna be distributing a vaccine just before the election! What a guy! Trump’s gonna save the day! Sigh. No, this is pandemic theater. The date was chosen for political reasons, the chances a safe and effective and well tested vaccine will be available then is almost zero. You’d think that the fact that Trump keeps saying everything is going to come up roses … and it doesn’t … might cost him support. No, at this point Trump followers are committed, they’ve built their whole world view and identity around Trump, there’s nothing so blinding as deciding a leader is the Messiah. Look at Jim Jones and his followers.

An interesting article: Why Are Right-Wing Conspiracies so Obsessed With Pedophilia? Short version: “They’re baby killers!” is really effective propaganda, has been throughout history. They go into the McMartin preschool case, where one obviously not-quite-right-in-the-head mother claimed her son had been abused. (The fact that she kept her kid in the center even after making the allegations should have tipped people off.) The police interviewed a bunch of preschoolers, and oh my, the stories they told. Underground tunnels, animal sacrifices, satanic rituals, the whole works. They even sacrificed a giraffe! (Again, someone should have said, wait, what? Where would they get a giraffe?) 15 millions dollars of investigation later, multiple lives ruined, and it was all so much nonsense. Turns out preschoolers are easily encouraged to make stuff up to please the friendly policemen questioning them. A giraffe? Oh well, interesting read.

In some good news, life on Venus! Well, that came out of the blue. However, let’s not get carried away, like so many headlines: A gas found on Earth that signifies life has been detected in the clouds on Venus. So no, actual life detected, not quite. Phosphine, a nasty smelling swamp gas produced by anaerobic bacteria has been detected in Venus’s atmosphere. Entirely by surprise I might add. The reason scientists think this discovery might signify  life is because no one knows of any other way Phosphine could be produced. We’re likely not talking surface life, the surface of Venus is hellishly hot and unlikely to support life. Some of the cloud layers are quite temperate though. In fact it’s been seriously suggested that Venus is one of the best colony spots in the Solar System: Our Future in Space. Why pray tell? Because Venus has Earth normal gravity, unlike anywhere else in the Solar System but Earth. It’s the one thing that can’t be easily artificially created, and at this point it’s pretty clear for long term habitation, Earth normal gravity is likely essential for healthy human life.

I digress. It is exciting news, Venus is close, much closer than Mars. No doubt sample return missions are already being sketched out, don’t even need a lander, just a probe that swoops through the atmosphere and then returns samples to Earth. The discovery of life elsewhere in the Solar System would be a huge leap in our understanding of life. Essentially there are two possibilities. It’s related to life on Earth, which means panspermia is possible and life is likely all over the Solar System. Or more exciting, it’s not related to Earth life, which means life arose independently in two places in the Solar System. Which pretty much means life is all over the Universe.

Which then brings us back to, if life is everywhere, where are the aliens? Good question, hope there’s an answer in my lifetime. Stay safe everyone as we spiral into an insane election. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: Facebook image of unknown attribution, used without permission. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 14, 2020 at 8:27 pm

BIOLOGICAL ATTACK ON AMERICA

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“Biological attack at Sturgis Motorcycle Rally spreads a deadly and highly contagious disease to at least 250,000 Americans across the land. Thousands will die, tens of thousands will have long term or permanent health damage. Health care costs alone estimated at 12 billion dollars.” 

Imagine if another nation did this to us? Trump and his supporters would be enraged. Nope. America did this to itself, and Trump and his supporters just watched, when not actually cheering them on. I am talking about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally a few weeks back. The results are starting to come in, and as expected, Covid-19 loved it!   250,000 cases. That’s just a first little study, this is going to be one of the most well studied epidemiological experiments in history. Let’s take a half million Americans, a few percent of them definitely infected with Covid-19, cram them into close proximity with each other for a week with little effort at mask compliance even … ideal conditions for Covid-19 to spread … and then we’ll study what happens. 

Thousands will die. Tens of thousands will have long term and/or permanent health damage. And this is just for starters. It’s still stunning to me that an ongoing apocalypse is rolling across America, and Trump and so many others are still essentially pretending Covid-19 will go away.  On the plus side, Covid-19 is exposing rotten, corrupt, and undemocratic leaders around the globe. This is some interesting thinking on it: The Pandemic Was Supposed to Be Great for Strongmen. What Happened? (Sorry it’s paywalled.) Basically Trump is not the only autocrat to tell his people “It’s just a cold folks!” to disastrous results. The ongoing demonstrations in Belorussia were triggered by just that sort of incompetant leadership. Covid-19 doesn’t give a shit about politics or personality or religion or ideology. Well run countries with modern health infrastructure do OK against Covid-19. Corrupt incompetant regimes fare much worse. Sadly, despite the delusions of many Americans, America is a lot closer to the latter than to the former.

Americans are still not understanding how bad this pandemic could get. So many of them do not yet understand that Covid-19 is a new disease, one whose long term effects we are only beginning to understand, one that no sane person or nation would want to risk. And it could get much worse. Nightmare scenarios are still possible, where people who get Covid-19 start to develop various cancers in a year or two. For the first time in our lives the entire human race is sailing into uncharted waters. One would think that would wake most people up, apparently not. 

People worry about fantasy microchips injected by Bill Gates, but fail to understand that Covid-19 is a vastly more sophisticated biological device that once it gets inside you does all sorts of nasty shit, as well as uses your body’s breath to spread itself to other bodies. Yeah, a microchip that spreads itself to one’s friends and family, Bill gates could only dream of such a thing.  I had a bunch of links for today, but the Sturgis thing came out and, sigh, what else is there? The governor of South Dakota is in denial about it all already. We’re not really an intelligent species. One link though, the good Doctor Novella has some thoughts about how and why people fall for conspiracy theories: QAnon and Other Conspiracies

Stay safe everyone. Depressing times for sure. Can’t anyone get Trump to take Covid-19 seriously? Next post something normal, like emails from aliens. Comments, shares, likes appreciated. And stay safe. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: The Triumph of Death. Credit: Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 8, 2020 at 7:50 pm

TRUMP DECLARES HE’S GOD AND OTHER NEWS AS THE WORLD ORDER COLLAPSES, BUT IT’S OBAMA, CHINA, AND THE WHO’S FAULT

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I hear Trump really lost it on his Monday address, claiming he is the boss of things, lashing out at his enemies. He also played a “clip show” that proves what a great job he’s done, it was weird on multiple levels, it’s on this site. His base will eat it up though. I’m going to watch Trump live this afternoon, history unfolding before my horrified eyes. Other countries get to listen to sane rational advice advice from health and pandemic specialists, we get to watch an increasingly frustrated man try to bullsh*t his way through a terrible crisis. It’s what Trump does unfortunately, he bullshitted his way into the White House, and has no real clue how to deal with an actual crisis. He actually thinks he’s one of the smartest people ever. No, he’s one of the most talented bullshit artists ever. Gotta give him his props, he’s good at it. Better than Obama in many ways.

Trump wasted the first ten weeks of the crisis basically doing nothing except claiming Covid-19 was no big deal, he had it under control, and it was all going to be OK. And now the USA has the world’s largest Covid-19 death toll, surpassing Italy. A stunning accomplishment for a developed nation on the opposite side of the world from China, where the pandemic originated. Covid-19 is well on track to kill more Americans than died in the Vietnam War, in about 1/20th of the time. As the days pass and the gap between reality and Trump’s claims grow, God only knows how he will react. I’ll watch today and write about it, and post at the end of this.

The quarantine stress and anxiety is starting to get to me. Most humans are really comfortable with the status quo, they just want their lives to go in a predictable and comfortable way. Change is stressful, that’s why for most people moving is one of the most stressful life events. Well, for all practical purposes, we’re all going to make multiple unplanned moves over the next few months without leaving our homes. I wish it wasn’t so, but here we are. A friend of a friend just died of Covid-19. She was 30 years old and in good health. Yeah, Covid-19 is just a cold. I wake up in the morning hoping this new normal is all a dream. Nope, here we are, living the nightmare.

One last thought before the Orange Trumpet of Purported Wisdom speaks. This is a great article about the history of how we got here, and how things may change. Basically as people should be noticing by now, working people are what make the economy run. Not CEOs, politicians, big corporations, celebrities, the stock market, or billionaires. And setting up an entire global economy to exploit the former to enrich the latter is a huge part of the reason we are in such an economic mess now. That’s possibly one of the most horrible things about this, if the world had been run rationally, humanity could have taken Covid-19 in stride. Instead we’ve been all guns, no butter since at least 1980.

<Trump’s address>

Well, that was weird. Second Trump Covid-19 briefing I’ve seen.  Tuesday, 14 April, 2020. Let’s see if I can sum it up. “Everything’s great, the WHO screwed up, not me. I saved all sorts of lives by not listening to them, and I’m cutting off their funding to investigate them and their pro-China bias. It’s all under control, the governors have all they need, much of the US is just fine, and soon enough we’ll be back to being the greatest economy the world has ever seen, and we’ll help everyone else out. Oh, and where we weren’t prepared it was Obama’s fault.” I’m sure his supporters were happy to hear once again Trump has it under control, those damned foreigners and Obama caused the problem, but Trump has done wonders saving us. Oh, almost forgot, once again  “No one could have seen this coming!”

There’s a few problems with his narrative. Whatever mistakes the WHO may have made were nothing in comparison to Trump doing nothing for ten weeks while Covid-19 spread. He once again made a big deal about how his closing travel from China was the right call and it saved so many lives. First of all, his travel ban closing was more a band-aid, only a small class of people were excluded, some 40,000 flew to the US from China after Trump closed the border. And stood in crowded airports (cough cough)  because the US didn’t have the capability to test arrivals. Trump’s travel ban did nothing basically.

His claim the Obama administration left the US unprepared was a whopper. The Obama administration fought two pandemics in its time, and left behind a pandemic plan and a pandemic team to deal with precisely things like Covid-19. Trump dismantled the team, and ignored the plan. Also note that because Obama had a plan and a team to deal with pandemics, the idea that “No one could have expected this!” is pure, unadulterated, bullshit. A lie as the old folks used to  call them.

Basically sounds like Trump is setting it up so he can blame governors if anything goes wrong, and if less than two million Americans die, it will be a great victory for Trump! In other words, he’s making sure he has scapegoats for anything that goes wrong, and his bar for success is so low he will be able to claim almost anything as a Trump victory. Trump still really does think he’s a genius, he’s handling this brilliantly, and soon enough this will all be behind us and the economy will be booming again. And of course he will be reelected and go on to leading America to greater glory.

And lastly no, Trump’s claims that the USA has testing all under control are bogus, the US is still dead last for testing in the developed world. IE it’s likely we don’t even yet have a good idea how bad it is in the US, so Trump’s claims it’s all good and we’ll be back to business soon are as bogus as all his prior claims about how it would soon be over. No, it won’t. 25,000 dead and rising by thousands a day now. And the world we knew is gone forever.

And if I’m full of it, and Trump does have it all back under control and normalcy returns in a few months, I’ll never have been happier in my life to be wrong. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane. #StaytheFHome

Comments, likes, shares appreciated.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Mount Kosciusko, seen from the Victorian border (Mount Hope Ranges) Painting, 1866. I found it in an image search for <hope>. There is hope Covid-19 will lead to a better world, but not anytime soon. Still, I choose to hope. Credit: Johann Joseph Eugene von Guérard 1811-1901. Public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

April 14, 2020 at 6:57 pm

SCREAMING AT THE TV

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I watched the Biden/Bernie debate last night. I was literally screaming at the TV at one point. I said to my perplexed housemate, guess now you’re glad I don’t watch the news all the time? Yes, yes he is. It’s likely the neighbor’s are glad too. Apparently it’s genetic, my grandfather was known for flying into a rage watching the news. The item that earned the loudest screams, the debate moderator actually asked “Should China be punished or sanctioned because their initial response to Covid-19 was inadequate?” The Trumpian/neocon implication being that other countries should be punished by the US for doing what the US deems to be bad things? Who the hell made America the world’s policeman? And if we are going to talk about countries causing problems in other countries, the US has turned whole nations into failed states wreaking havoc across entire continents. So yeah, pot calling the kettle black, global style. And the idea that Covid-19 is a created bio-weapon requires layers of special pleading, so not likely. I’m losing my already shredded tolerance for propaganda. It never helps. Propaganda, not tolerance.

Well, if one ever wondered if something like Covid-19 would pull humanity together, the answer is pretty obvious. No, some nations are better than others, but turns out having a planet run on the “armed gang turf” model isn’t a good model for communal national response to a global emergency. Basically think of Covid-19 as an alien invasion, because that’s a pretty damn good analogy. It doesn’t care. And we’re squabbling among each other for the most part. Trump not exactly leading the charge for international cooperation in the face of this crisis.

Writing about this unfolding crisis is weird, thoughts and trends become irrelevant so quickly. I had more thoughts on the Bernie/Biden debate, but it’s already slipping away. Bernie thinks the Covid-19 crisis should force us to look at the problems in society that are making this such a disaster. Great, but it was preaching to the choir. Biden is the Democratic voice of corporate America, IE GOP lite. He sounded good though, he’s not senile yet. And the debate format clearly played to his neocon world view. At this point, who knows. Both could easily die of Covid-19 before the election. Reality bats last.

Yeah, it’s bad and getting worse. Last Friday my small rural Iowa town was mostly pretending everything is fine, in action (bars etc packed) and online. By today the tide was changing. The empty store shelves, Trump and the governor finally saying it’s an emergency. Too little too late I expect, it’s still exploding in Europe, and they were vastly more prepared for this than the USA. Oh, yeah, Biden at one point even said that Italy’s cradle-to-grave health care system had failed to prevent their outbreak, evidence that such wasn’t needed in the US. The “logic” in that is so frighteningly bad that yes, more screaming. We’re going to fare a lot worse than Italy, and our patchwork for-corporate-profit health care system is part of the reason.

Trump rated himself 10 out of 10 on his response to Covid-19, which is divorced from reality, but he believes it. At this point Covid-19 is looking like the worst pandemic since 1918, the worst depression since 1929. With Trump stridently claiming he’s got it under control the whole time, despite all evidence to the contrary. This is going to be like Hurricane Katrina, but national. Some of our friends and family will be dead before Christmas, barring a miracle.

Yes, so normal last week, peeps starting to freak out this week. Empty store shelves, limits on purchases. The first national disruption of my lifetime since the gas crisis of 73. And looking much worse than that already, though at least gas is in good supply. Yeah, fracking. I’m pretty stocked up, and have helped friends and neighbors already, because that’s why I stocked up. We’re all in this together.

In that vein, peace out to everyone I know, in contact with them or not. My estranged siblings, my friends old and new, Lars, Eric, Steve, my family, my readers, everyone. I’m at risk in the coming storm, if I go I want to be at peace with all. Even my mortal enemy, Anna-lisa Smoker. “You haven’t really lived until you’ve had a mortal enemy.” I’m quoting myself. I’ll try to make a near future post about the nuggets of supposed wisdom I’ve uttered or heard in my life. Might be my last chance.

So I had a bunch of links, most stale already. It’s bad people, not a hoax. And Covid-19 is worse because our system has failed the common good. This link is worth reading. And yeah, there’s a storm coming in. Hell of a thing. Take care everyone.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Anonymous Facebook meme. Credit: Riker’s Beard? Used without permission, will gladly attribute or remove upon request as required.)

Written by unitedcats

March 16, 2020 at 6:52 pm

I HAVE NO WORDS, GROCERS TO FIGHT A PANDEMIC?

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OK, I had a Covid-19 post already written. Then, Friday the 13th, Trump held a press conference where he announced a national emergency over Covid-19, the novel coronavirus pandemic that is spreading around the world. I’m still in shock over his event. Trump trotted out his crack team of … grocers … who are going to be our goto guys for fighting Covid-19. Not experts in public health or pandemics, no, those weren’t even consulted in the planning for this! And by grocers, I mean the heads of giant health care profiteers like Walgreens. People whose entire agenda is to make money from sick people. Wait, what? When your house is on fire, one sends in fire-fighters, not anyone else. Right?

And after all these guys gave a little rahrah speech for Trump, Pence gave a speech extolling Trump’s response to Covid-19 and claiming everything was all peachy, which was so divorced from reality that I had to stop listening. I’m having a real hard time processing this, Trump seems to have finally become aware that Covid-19 is real, not a hoax as he was claiming at first, but he thinks businessmen are the people to fight this? This is surreal, did I dream this, did I die this afternoon and this is a dying fever dream?

So yeah, crisis of the decade, if not my life, is upon us. We’re in a really interesting moment in history, gonna be wild. Like when Grant was approaching Richmond or Panzers were rolling over France. Surprize! Reality might very well change in big ways in the next few months. I’m gonna keep  blogging about it, because my whole life has been devoted to “What the hell is going on here?” And right now, “here” is overwhelming whatever comfortable fantasies Americans live under. Arguably we’re the most sheltered and coddled national population on Earth, so the Covid-19 shutdown is going to be an ugly shock to most Americans.

I hoped Trump would make it through his term without having to deal with something like this, most of the damage he’s done can at least potentially be rolled back. Ain’t no fixing this, a global crisis, and the guy in the White House is a failed businessman, skilled grifter, habitual liar, and reality show star. Not the skill set for dealing with a pandemic. As today’s performance showed. :( Convince me otherwise.

One last thought, Trump and Pence made a big deal about how their border closures made things so much better. And on one level, true enough, the fewer infected people arriving, the better. However, and it’s a huge however, that was only part of the battle. There was no question that Covid-19 was going to arrive in the US, so border restrictions just bought us time to deal with it when it got here. And that’s where Trump dropped the ball. They did nothing but pretend it was no big deal. And here we are, it’s spreading rapidly in the US, and we don’t even have a clue how much because zero preparation was made for widespread testing and containment procedures.

I had more, but most of it is rapidly being overtaken by events. The crisis of a generation is upon us, and the Trump administration isn’t handling it well. So barring a miracle, things are gonna get real ugly over the next few months. I hope and pray I’m wrong, time will tell I suppose.

Have a safe and sane weekend everyone. Comments appreciated, damned if I know what to make of all this. God bless.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A Lewis Carrol illustration, The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits by Lewis Carroll, just a random image of something crazy, like today’s Trump national emergency declaration. Credit: Henry Holiday, This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer.)

Written by unitedcats

March 13, 2020 at 7:32 pm

THE DAY THE DEMOCRACY DIED

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Things just get more and more ridiculous in Washington. Looks like the Senate has basically spiked Trump’s impeachment trial by voting not to call any witnesses. So Trump is expected to be acquitted by as early as next week. No surprise here, there was never any doubt that the GOP controlled Senate would acquit Trump. And if anything Trump’s base is going to be more energized and outraged against Democrats. Plus the whole impeachment trial has all been a huge distraction from Trump gutting environmental regulations and giving away public assets to the rich. It reminded me of the OJ trial, huge numbers of people got sucked into watching that farce too.

And on the flip side of Yesterday’s coin, the Democrats. The DNC blatantly changed the rules of the next debate so that a seat could be sold to a multi-millionaire, Bloomberg. Like the GOP, the Democrats no longer are even pretending to be anything other than part of the corrupt third world dictatorship Washington has evolved into. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Sir John Dalberg-Acton said that in the 19th century. And Washington, the most rich and powerful city the world has ever seen, has become corrupt almost beyond comprehension.

Lots of people don’t see it though. Or they see it on the other side, but still have faith that their party will fix things. They don’t see a lot of things. A nation lost in the fog. Though I think it’s a media fog. Americans get their news from corporate owned media outlets that provide content to a targeted demographic, not news. And content that is staggeringly convincing because science has made great strides in propaganda and advertising the past few decades. That’s today’s theory on why America is not marching by the millions on Washington. Some have other theories.

The Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic continues to spread. Trump has used it as an excuse to restrict travel from more Muslim countries. At least Trump is consistent. Even if the virus is contained soon, at this point the economic damage is considerable and rising quickly. Well, the economy of the rich at least, stock markets are taking a hit. We’ll see. There’s always stuff going on that could turn ugly, but sometimes more than other times. This is one of the sometimes more than other times. I’m guessing the chances of a global pandemic with a million or more dead are at least 1% now, interesting times indeed.

Speaking of interesting times, Brexit just happened. The UK leaves the European Union after 47 years. Yikes. What to say? I have very mixed feelings about this. To start out, even though I am reasonably worldly educated, I am way too ignorant about European politics to have strong opinions on this topic. And I don’t see it as a black and white issue. That the vote resulted in Brexit shows that democracy is alive in the UK. I think that’s a good thing. I also posit that the vote to leave the EU is an indication that the EU has failed on some levels  Or maybe humans aren’t really an intelligent species.

Depends on how one defines intelligence. My current thinking is that the human brain is wired for pattern recognition, social beliefs, and pleasure seeking. Not logic. This is what makes us greater than ants, and what may well be the death of us all. Ants are logical, humans aren’t. On the plus side, if I was an ant, I wouldn’t be blogging.

What a freaking week. Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The uncompleted U.S. Capitol building in Washington after being burned by a British army in 1814. Credit: George Munger, 1781-1825. Public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

February 1, 2020 at 7:47 am