Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

RUSSIA AND UKRAINE, THE DOGS OF WAR HAVE BEEN UNLEASHED

leave a comment »

I have been very depressed since Russia invaded Ukraine. This is the worst outbreak of war since the US invasion of Iraq nearly 20 years ago, and in some ways one of the worst outbreaks of my life. Modern industrialized nuclear powers going to war is always a scary thing, the sheer destructive power at their disposal is frightening even without counting nuclear weapons. Even if this war is limited to Russia and Ukraine the death toll is likely to be in the thousands at least with property damage in the billions. Already there are over 150,000 refugees, so a terrible humanitarian crisis is unfolding. And it could get so much worse, other nations could get involved, nuclear weapons could get used, a world war is not out of the question.

A lot to be depressed and angry about. Humans live on a planet that is a paradise, a planet that could easily provide a good life for everyone on Earth. Instead greed, corruption, and violence are rampant, with a tiny number of people hoarding staggering amounts of wealth while billions of people live in abject poverty. And the ultimate expression of the failure of humanity is war, organized violence intended to kill other human beings. I suspect war is one of the main reasons the aliens fly right by. And yet we’ve completely normalized it, glorified and fetishized it in many cases. There’s nothing glorious about war, if your country is involved in a war, there were almost always failures in leadership that led to it.

Russia invading Ukraine is a terrible crime. It’s a war crime, the greatest war crime in fact because all other war crimes flow from it. I hope cool heads prevail and the war ends as quickly as possible. I had no wish to see this in my day, just as I had no wish to experience the greatest pandemic in a century. And that’s far from over. Oh, and the Tonga volcano eruption in January was the greatest in decades. 2022 is starting off with a bang. My few remaining readers want my opinion, of which I have a few. Unpopular as they may be.

So yes, terrible thing, terrible war crime. And that’s as far as it gets in the US at least, no context, no history, nothing. Evil Russia invades freedom loving Ukraine, heroic Ukrainians defending valiantly against invading Russian hordes. True enough, but without history and context, it’s a facile sophomoric analysis. Russia hit first, end analysis, preschool playground ethics. See it on TikTok, put a sunflower on your Facebook profile. Americans can feel incredibly noble and heroic defending Ukraine, without the inconvenience of actual Americans being killed and wounded for life. And anyone who doesn’t get on the bandwagon is a Putin apologist if not an enemy of America.

Washington got the war it wanted, in the grand American tradition of fomenting wars going back to the Mexican American War in 1846, A Democratic war no less, while most Republican criticism of the Dems is paranoid marketing nonsense, the Dems have managed to start a lot of wars. Good for their sponsors, the arms and energy industries, the two most powerful industries on Earth. When the Soviet Union collapsed and effectively surrendered to NATO the US promised that NATO would not expand eastward. A promise that the US broke immediately and expanded NATO up to and inside the borders of the old Soviet Union. Putin made it very clear that Russia had had enough, they would not stand for Ukraine joining NATO and positioning missiles on the border with Russia’s heartland. No more than the US would allow Russian or Chinese missiles stationed in Mexico or Cuba. Hell, we almost fought a world war about Russian missiles in Cuba.

So yes, this war could have been completely avoided if Ukraine had just stayed neutral, the same way Finland and Austria coexisted peacefully next to the Soviet Union for decades. Tell that to most Americans though and hostility and denial will be the response, Putin is the next Hitler and must be stopped because he wants to rule the world. (highly recommended link.) A conclusion so absurd (not to mention projecting, since it’s America that is trying to rule the world) as to be laughable. Except of course there’s nothing laughable about this situation. Among other nonsense being tossed around western media is the Dems somehow making this war Trump’s fault. So the Dems have mastered the GOP’s playbook, anything bad that happens is the other party’s fault. At least during the Vietnam War debate was possible, and at least some Americans were calling for peace.

All that aside, what the hell is going to happen now? No idea. If I had to guess, I think eventually Ukraine will realize America isn’t going to send the cavalry to their rescue, and will sit down with Putin and work out an acceptable deal that preserves Ukraine’s independence while assuaging Russia’s security concerns. That’s an optimistic sentiment though. It could get much worse. The other possibility is that Biden’s plummeting approval rating will goad him to reckless military involvement, like trying to impose a no fly zone over Ukraine. Here is a good link about how this war could have been avoided, and tons of history and context ignored by the western media: The Eazy-Peazy Ukrainian Alternative – Partition.

Another good discussion about this war and America’s response to it: The History Behind the Russia-Ukraine War. I particularly liked:

As Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University and leader of the so-called “realist” school of foreign policy wrote earlier this week, “‘strategic empathy’ isn’t about agreeing with an adversary’s position. It is about understanding it so you can fashion an appropriate response.”

That’s all I try to do. Stay safe everyone. I’ll try to write more about this nightmare as the situation unfolds.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme found on Facebook, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. In fact from what I can tell it’s not possible to copyright or trademark quotes by other people.)

Written by unitedcats

March 6, 2022 at 4:20 pm

THE RUSSIA UKRAINE THING JUST GETS WEIRDER: Russia plans fake video as pretext for Ukraine invasion, US claims

with 2 comments

That is indeed the latest in Washington’s ongoing war with Russia thing: Russia plans ‘very graphic’ fake video as pretext for Ukraine invasion, US claims. I have no idea what to make of this, but I certainly wouldn’t take it at face value. Sowing confusion for sure, and oddly enough does validate the one pretext Russia would use as a pretext to intervene. Millions of Russian citizens live in eastern Ukraine, and Russia will act to protect Russians and Russia’s allies. Oh, the Russian purported plot was supported by no evidence. As a certain TV tool guy would say, “Evidence, smevidence.”

Diplomatically, some progress is being made. US Makes Putin Offer He Can Hardly Refuse. All Russia wants is assurances that first strike weapons won’t be deployed on its borders, and Putin might just get that. Ukraine for its part is pushing back at Washington’s war rhetoric, either genuinely, or at the secret behest of the US. If the US is really up to something, who knows who the players involved are. Biden’s goal would be to get Putin to do something that can be claimed as Russian aggression. So Biden can be the hero, the Pentagon and arms industry keep the bucks rolling in, and the Dems’ sagging popularity can be boosted in time for the fall elections.

So now if something ugly does happen in eastern Ukraine, Putin won’t know if it’s real, or being faked by some party? And if he reacts to something faked, he’s walked into a trap. And if he ignores it, he loses face. IDK, I wouldn’t want to play chess with Putin, I hope Biden knows what he’s doing. Seems like a lot of risk with no clear goals, Putin isn’t going to abandon Crimea or fail to defend the Russians in eastern Ukraine, and he might well if pushed … do something decisive and unexpected. It’s what he does. Putin outwitted both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Speaking of US propaganda: Havana Syndrome could be caused by pulsed energy devices – US expert report. US Intelligence agencies commissioned a report … which came to the exact conclusion they wanted. In the Vietnam era when the US still had a free press, the veracity of this report would have at least been questioned. Now it’s presented as news, and is fact in many America’s minds no doubt. Why do I dismiss this as propaganda? Um, the source isn’t reliable. No evidence has been presented. Science has no trouble with classic mass hysteria being the cause. And lastly, our chosen enemies have utterly no reason to do this and excellent reasons not to.

The latter is the one overlooked by the FCM (fawning corporate media.) In fact the American media pretty much presents the world as a cartoon where the US is the good guy and our designated enemies hate us for our freedoms, or are just plain evil and out to get us. No nuance, understanding, context, history required. It must drive actual historians and foreign policy experts nuts. Excepting the ones who are cashing in on it. The number of people who make their living by being talking heads about the US for selected demographics must be one of the world’s greatest economies. That one of these bloviating talking heads actually managed to get himself elected POTUS really is a sign of just how dysfunctional the whole mess is. The greatest empire the world has ever seen, devoted entirely to making its rich ever richer. But boy, what a ride.

So 3 February 1959, The Day The Music Died. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and their pilot, Roger Peterson died when their plane crashed shortly after take off. God rest their souls. My very first memories date to this time, though I don’t recall this of course. People still visit the crash site regularly to this day, odd how stuff rises to the top like this. No real connection to Ukraine and Russia, aside from this crash was almost certainly because the pilot wasn’t qualified to fly this plane during the conditions of the flight. I fear Biden thinking he can take Putin could be a similar mistake. I hope I’m wrong.

Tonight’s epiphany: the US never stopped fighting World War Two, and the decades since then were and are just a continuation of it. Blog to follow.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The wreckage at the 1959 Buddy Holly crash site. Public domain under US copyright law. This wreck is why authorities started withholding names after deaths until the families were notified. Buddy Holly’s wife heard about his death on the radio, and likely had a miscarriage as a result.)

Written by unitedcats

February 3, 2022 at 9:42 pm

UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 No. 4: A TALE OF FOUR TERRITORIES

leave a comment »

OK, we’ll see what we can crank out tonight. My definition of woke: If you understand that whether you watch CNN or FOX, you’re watching a product designed for a demographic, not news. And no, I’m not saying they are equal … except in that respect. So yes, no war in Ukraine yet. Biden and his allies continue to push the “Russia is about to invade card.” Since Russia isn’t about to invade anyone, things are calm in Russia. ‘This is just hysteria’: Russians unmoved by threat of Ukraine conflict | Russia | The Guardian. And some in Ukraine, including the president, aren’t happy with all the American saber rattling: Ukraine’s Zelensky Slams West for Creating ‘Panic’ After Biden Call. A war with Russia would be a terrible thing, still hoping cooler heads prevail. This is blog number four about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, January 2022. Links to the first three at the bottom.

Today, four territories. What does the gentle reader think? Taiwan is a part of China. Legally and historically, not debatable. It’s just been in revolt since 1948, supported by the US. China wants it back. The people of Taiwan would prefer not to be ruled by China, though they have never declared independence. To do so would likely result in war with China. What’s to be done?

The Golan Heights. The elephant in the room, the blatant conquest and annexation of another nation’s territory. And no, the people living there didn’t want to be living in Israel. Oddly enough it’s never mentioned. How come the west isn’t upset about this? (rhetorical question.)

Kosovo, the forgotten land. Nato waged war on Serbia to force them to allow the province of Kosovo to declare independence. Kosovo was the heart of Serbia historically.

Basically in all three cases, the US supports them because it supports the US global agenda. And I don’t actually have a problem with that, imperialism is a horrifying cultural disease, but it’s internally consistent. You do what you can to extend your control, be it legal or through popularity. What I think is insulting to the intelligence, is those who think America has some moral high ground here. Cue motivated reasoning by those who defend the (gasp!) Atlantic Empire.

Then we come to territory four, Crimea. Been a part of Russia for centuries, and was only attached to Ukraine politically in the 1950s. It didn’t want to be part of Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed, most of its people being either Russians, or Crimean Tatars, indigenous people who allied with Russia centuries ago. It’s complicated. Truth be told, like countless regions on Earth, they’d prefer independence if they could. Barring that, the people of Crimea would prefer to be in Russia, not Ukraine, thank you. But Biden is prepared to risk war with Russia over this?

Then there’s Kashmir, given to India by the British when they pulled out, despite the fact that the vast majority of the people living there would have preferred, and likely still would prefer to be part of Pakistan. And Tibet, whatever happened to “Free Tibet!?” And when are the Kurds (30 million plus of them) going to get their own country?

In any event, my current understanding of the 2022 Ukraine crisis: the Bioden administration has pulled out all the stops on saber rattling. I have no idea why, and I hope it doesn’t result in war.

Ukraine Crisis 2022 no 1: WAR SCARE: WILL RUSSIA INVADE UKRAINE? | Doug’s Darkworld

Ukraine Crisis 2022 no 2: UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 no 2: GOTCHA, THE AMERICAN WAY OF WAR | Doug’s Darkworld

Ukraine Crisis 2022 no 3: UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 no. 3: WHAT IS RUSSIA SO AFRAID OF? | Doug’s Darkworld

Have a great weekend everyone. Change my mind.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Putin in a staged propaganda photo with Crimean Tatar leaders. Make of it what the gentle reader will.)

Written by unitedcats

January 29, 2022 at 9:11 pm

UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 no. 3: WHAT IS RUSSIA SO AFRAID OF?

with one comment

Well, talks between Russia and the US continue. Though the US and its close allies are still yelling about imminent Russian invasion. Um, the government of Ukraine has been backpedaling furiously though. They aren’t happy that the US and others pulled their embassy staff out, and in fact thanked the other EU members for not adding to the hysteria. Because, the idea that the Russians will be bombing Kyiv is, well, ridiculous. Anyhow, this covers this: What’s Actually Happening in Ukraine? And here’s an interesting article claiming that Biden is doing this simply because his approval ratings have been plummeting. It also covers more of the history of Crimea: Sleepy Joe’s Wimpy Tail Wags the Dog of War. So day three of my Ukraine watch, no war yet.

One of the things so annoying about the media reporting on this subject is how Russia’s point of view is either ignored, or worse, completely misrepresented. Putin is regularly cast as the aggressor, often to absurd lengths like claiming he wants to reconquer eastern Europe and restore the Soviet Union. Um, that’s codswaddle, the Soviet occupation of eastern europe was a gigantic fail, no one in their right mind would want to resurrect it. And Putin is one smart mofo, not an idiot.

There’s two reasons Russia is edgy about its European borders. The first is the history of the 20th century. Russia was twice invaded by western armies. The first being World War One and its aftermath, during which various western militaries, including America, sent troops into Russia during their civil war. And then. Just a generation later, a resurgent Germany invaded again. That was the big one, what the Nazis did in Russia was one of history’s greatest crimes, at least 25 million Russians lost their lives, major cities were laid waste. And you better believe Russia is covered with war memorials, this is still a living memory in Russia. And the reason they kept Germany divided and eastern europe occupied after the war, they weren’t about to let a resurgent Germany rise and do it again.

Eventually though, the cost of occupation bankrupted the Soviet Union and it collapsed in 1989. At this point Nato was obsolete and should have been disbanded. And in fact in return for withdrawing from eastern europe, the US promised Russia that Nato would not expand eastward. Instead, Nato aggressively expanded eastward up to and inside the borders of the old Soviet Union. And doing everything in its power to isolate and weaken Russia. Including deploying “missile defense” systems. Um, missile defense systems are first strike weapons, there’s nothing defensive about them. So Putin has every reason to suspect American motives in eastern europe, think how America would react if a Russian backed coup seized power in Mexico, allied with Russia, and stationed Russian troops on the border of the US. The hysteria in Washington would be audible from the ISS. Why is it so hard to understand that Russia might have legitimate concerns about Nato in Ukraine?

Because America as well as being the most powerful empire the world has ever known is also one of the most narcissistic empires the world has ever known. That however is a topic for a future blog. One last note for today, Jan 27th is the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. How human beings can do that to other humans is horrifying beyond belief. It starts with people deciding that “other” people aren’t human, for whatever reason be it religion, skin color, gender, etc. In any event, never forget: Haunting colourised pictures of Nazi concentration camp victims reveal the full horror of Holocaust | Daily Mail Online.

Bonus link: The US-Russia Commitment Gap: And Its Tragic Potential.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 27, 2022 at 9:00 pm

UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 no 2: GOTCHA, THE AMERICAN WAY OF WAR

with one comment

No major new developments in the 2022 Ukraine crisis today, but the west has refused Russia’s request that Ukraine not be allowed to join Nato. Granted the west promised Russia that Nato wouldn’t expand eastward if the Soviet Union agreed to pull out of Eastern Europe, but bad faith is America’s stock in trade. And Russia does indeed have reasonable security concerns. Points for later posts, today’s post, America’s long history of instigating wars while claiming self defense. Thus why I am very much afraid the Biden administration is trying to start a war, not stop one. To wit:

America has been the world’s most powerful country since around 1830, its economic power and thus ability to wage war unmatched by any rival, peaking in power around 1945 when America effectively ruled the world’s seas. In the years after World War Two even the rest of the world combined couldn’t challenge America’s globe spanning fleet. And while its status has declined some since, America is still the greatest military and economic power the world has ever known. None of this is open to argument, though of course some will, see above meme.

So it follows naturally that no country in its right mind would attack the US, directly at least. This presented a problem. America loves to portray itself as the world’s beacon of democracy, freedom, human rights, etc. So if the government wanted to wage war on someone, just right out attacking them would contradict the “America is great” schtick. People, even many Americans, would notice. Instead America has a long standing policy of provoking hostilities, however minor, and using that to justify going to war.

Starting in 1846. A large part of Mexico, Texas was in open revolt against Mexico, having declared independence and defeated the Mexican forces sent to quell the rebellion. So the border between Mexico and Texas wasn’t even defined, with competing claims on each side. So the US marched an army into the contested territory, territory that was still claimed (and in fact legally in the possession of Mexico,) hoping that the Mexican military would respond. They did, and the US used a border dispute to justify a huge war of conquest. It’s right there in Wikipedia even. “Polk sent U.S. Army troops to the area; he also sent a diplomatic mission to Mexico to try to negotiate the sale of territory. U.S. troops’ presence was designed to lure Mexico into starting the conflict, …

In the US Civil War, the war started because Confederate troops shelled Fort Sumter. What is never mentioned is that Lincoln was trying to start a war. And in fact he had ordered Fort Sumter reinforced in the hopes the Confederates would attack the ships, thus giving him a casus beli. They did him one better, shelling the fort itself. Whatever one thinks of the Civil War, Lincoln wanted war and goaded the rebels into firing the first shot. And also again, a very minor border incident was used to launch the largest war ever in the western hemisphere.

OK, Pearl Harbor, clearly the nefarious Japanese launched a dastardly surprise attack on unsuspecting America! Not even close. Roosevelt was very much trying to provoke a war with Japan. He had embargoed their oil, sent them a badly worded ultimatum, and refused to talk with them. Let’s see, the US wouldn’t talk to them, so they had no assurance that even if they complied with Roosevelt’s ultimatum that the oil would come back on.  And without oil, both their economy and their ability to even defend themselves would collapse within a year. They chose war to get access to oil, the only real choice Roosevelt left them.

And, the Tonkin Gulf incident. A single machine gun bullet hit an American destroyer, and President Johnson used it as an excuse to launch one of the bloodiest wars in 20th century history, a war that killed millions of people and accomplished nothing. And what was that American destroyer doing when a bullet hit it? It was sailing along North Vietnam’s coast, in and out of North Vietnamese water. American destroyer’s did that routinely, and often south Vietnamese gunboats would follow afterwards and raid North Vietnam. And the last time, North Vietnamese patrol boats rushed out to intercept the destroyer, the destroyer opened fire, and the patrol boats returned fire. There was a second incident that night, but there’s no evidence it was anything other than spooked sailors shooting at shadows. And on the basis of these American provoked incidents, Congress gave Johnson the blanket authority  to ultimately drop more bombs than were dropped by all of the participants in all of world War Two.

Gulf War One. Saddam without warning invades and conquers innocent Kuwait, and is massing to attack Saudi Arabia! He’s about to be the next Hitler! That’s the American propaganda version, the reality is far different. Prior to Iraq’s attack, Kuwait had done everything in its considerable economic power to  hurt Iraq. They had called in all the loans they made to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, they were pumping and selling oil way above their OPEC quotas thus depressing the price of oil. And most egregious of all, there was a neutral zone between Iraq and Kuwait where the border was in dispute, they were slant drilling into the neutral zone and stealing its oil. And as the icing on the cake, they utterly refused to even talk to Iraq. I mean just before the war Saudi Arabia had convinced Kuwait to sit down to talks. The Saudi and Iraqi delegations entered and sat down. The Kuwaiti delegation entered, sat down, got up, walked out. The Saudis were furious, and Saddam unleashed his tanks. It’s basically inconceivable that Kuwait did this without absolute certainty that the USA would intervene. And the pics Bush said he had showing Iraq was massing tanks on the Saudi border. They were just another lie.

Gulf War Two. That one’s pretty much an open book. After 9/11 the Bush administration blamed Iraq for 9/11 (despite zero evidence,) and made up the idea that Saddam secretly had WMDs and was going to attack the US if we didn’t attack him first. No WMDs were found, in fact it was found that Saddam indeed had complied with the terms the US had forced on him after Gulf War One.

So there, six major historical examples of the US instigating and provoking wars and lying about it. And this is why I am terrified that it’s happening again, the US for whatever reason has decided to provoke a war with Russia. And I think this is a terrible idea. Will Putin rise to the bait and do something the US could use as a casus beli? I hope not, Putin has everything to lose and nothing to gain from such. Still, Putin will react with force if certain lines are crossed, as he did in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. We’ll see. There has been at least some recognition in the west that Putin’s security concerns are valid, and talks are scheduled. Tomorrow I’ll blog about the Russian perspective.

Bonus link: NATO Bears Some Responsibility for the Ukraine Crisis.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 26, 2022 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Biden, History, Putin, Russia, Ukraine

WAR SCARE: WILL RUSSIA INVADE UKRAINE?

with one comment

So for the past week Biden (and some of his Nato allies, particularly Britain) have been sounding the alarm about Russian troop movements in Russia, claiming that Russia is about to invade Ukraine, and promising massive economic retaliation when Russia does attack. I’m very alarmed by this development, I think the US is up to something, and a confrontation with Russia of some sort is a very real possibility. There’s a lot to unpack, but the mainstream media’s coverage of this might as well be written by the Pentagon and the White House. So as long as this crisis is unfolding, I’m going to post daily. To help me understand if nothing else, but hopefully I have a few readers left. Head’s up, these won’t be the most polished posts, more like coverage of a live event.

Where to start. The media coverage. It’s terrible, why I call in the FCM, fawning corporate media. They simply are regurgitating Cold War propaganda repurposed for the current situation. It would take a book to write a balanced history of The Cold War, and maybe some posts will touch on that, for today’s launch, I’m just going to cover some salient points. And point one, the media and government are lying. Talk to your friends and relatives who remember Vietnam or Saddam’s WMDs if the gentle reader wasn’t around for those.

OK, is Russia going to invade Ukraine? No. Godot Likely To Arrive Before Russia Invades Ukraine. Russia will defend its own vigorously, but they have no interest in conquest. And no, despite endless western propaganda, Crimea never wanted to be part of Ukraine in the first place: Does Crimea want to become part of Russia? Arguably they were never legally part of Ukraine to begin with. The reason the US and the west were/are so eager to keep Crimea out of Russia is that the loss of Sevastopal as a military base would have crippled the Russian navy.

So if Russia isn’t going to attack, what’s going to happen? Well, possibly Ukraine decides it has a green light to attack its two breakaway eastern provinces: Eastern Ukraine Separatists Warn Kyiv Preparing Offensive in Donbas. What is Donbas? Well, after the US backed anti-Russia coup in Ukraine in 2014, two eastern Ukraine provinces (where the population were majority ethnic Russians) declared autonomy, fully supported by Russia. While there has been sporadic fighting, the situation is mostly stable. If Ukraine decided to settle the situation militarily, like Georgia foolishly tried in Ossetia in 2008, Russia will respond.

Sort of the core of the whole thing is that Russia’s legitimate security concerns have been ignored, and that’s what this is really all about. Russia doesn’t want Nato troops and equipment on Russia’s borders any more than Americans would want Russian first strike weapons deployed in Mexico. Especially if Mexico was claiming California as its own. Here’s a good article: Are Neocons Worried at Pace of US-Russia Talks?

I don’t have any answers. I don’t really know what’s going on, but world geopolitics is a cutthroat business. I do know that “Putin is Hitler and the US and Nato are the hapless good guy victims” is, just, silly. Oh, and while we’re at it, sanctions are war. I hope the gentle reader checks out the links I posted before commenting. I hope the situation resolves itself without a war, but I fear that’s what Biden is up to. We’ll see.

In my personal life, don’t ask. I had a bad fall, face plant, I’m still homeless, but things are looking up. Have a great 2022 everyone, I’ll daily blog if I can. This is far more exciting than Trump vs Biden, it will be fun.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 25, 2022 at 9:23 pm

HEAR THAT POPPING SOUND IN THE DISTANCE? THAT’S EVANGELICAL’S HEADS EXPLODING …

with one comment

Because: Nevada pageant winner to become 1st transgender Miss USA contestant Saw this posted on Facebook, the outrage in some comments was, sadly, predictable. Something that quite literally has zero effect on them or society is somehow personally enraging to them. The nation and world has all sorts of terrible ongoing problems that are most definitely impacting everyone’s lives in negative ways … but they are outraged because a Miss USA contestant was born with male genitals. Go figure.

Might have linked this before, but it’s worth another look: Why Biden’s American election meddling comments in Geneva were such a bad look Basically Biden lectured Putin on election interference, claiming it made Russia look bad. Apparently Biden was utterly oblivious to the fact that it’s the USA that is the world’s number one meddler in foreign elections. Pot calls kettle black in other words.

A good article about France hopefully coming to grips with sexual abuse and pedophilia: Omerta in France. France has a long proud history of romance and seduction, but a lot of it is actually pretty nasty.

Another one from the trending “I’m going to change the facts to fit my narrative” file: Horses in Pre-Columbian America. Horses became extinct in North America something like ten thousand years ago, and didn’t return until the European conquest began after 1492. However, three modern groups are disputing that. One is some native groups, basically based on oral traditions, and the fact that they aren’t comfortable with the idea that the horse, which was such a central part of plains indian culture, originated with the European invaders. Hey, I can understand that. Second, by wild horse aficionados who want wild horses to get protected status, which is only granted to native species, not invasive species. Their hearts are in a good place. Lastly, the LDS Church. Because … the Book of Mormon written in the 19th century clearly claims there were horses in the New World in Biblical times. And of course since they claim it was written by God or such, it must be true. Right.

They’re all wrong of course. Well, wrong so far as current science understands it. Scientists do make mistakes though, that’s why scientific research is ongoing: It’s OK to be Wrong | NeuroLogica Blog. There was some thinking in the mid 19th century that science was on the verge of discovering everything there was to know and soon humans would have God’s creation all figured out. Ah, the folly of youth. Interestingly enough science is now able to find DNA in soil layers and determine what animals were around when the soil was deposited: All the major players spent time in the Denisovan cave. This is actually going to revolutionize archeology and paleontology. Not to mention putting the final nail in the coffin of such imaginary animals as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

Speaking of imaginary creatures, the much awaited Pentagon report of UFOs came out. Oh, wait, they’re UAPs now because UFOs have such a bad name. Of course the report contained absolutely nothing new, because UFOs are one big nothingburger. Great for scaring up defense dollars though: UFO Report Provides No New Information But Plenty Of Fodder For Cold Warrior Policymakers. I know some will say, but reliable people have seen them! Um, when someone sees something in the sky the human eye cannot determine how big it is, how far away it is, or how fast it is moving. Then there’s the fact that UFOs have only been reported in modern times in regions with a history of UFO sightings, no one has ever hit one, none have ever crashed, and no one has gotten a good picture of one.

When I was younger people would say, no one ever got a picture of a car crash either! Well, decades later, we have lots of car crash pictures, still no UFO, Bigfoot, or Nessie pics. And of course SETI has come up with absolutely nada, and they’ve tried a lot of promising approaches. If alien intelligent life is ever discovered, I will of course be thrilled, but right now the overwhelming evidence is that UFOs are mythological, sociological, and psychological constructs like ghosts and angels.

Getting more random here: ‘Dragon man’ claimed as new species of ancient human but doubts remain. Long story short, during WW2 Chinese laborers found a weird skull, didn’t want the Japanese occupiers to know about it, and it was hidden until just recently. And lo and behold it’s one of the most unusual ancient skulls ever found and some are claiming it’s a new human lineage like Denosovians or Neanderthals. Yeah, one skull, no context, no DNA. Let’s not get carried away, maybe it was a Denosovian Andre the Giant. Neat find, and our understanding of just how complicated the human lineage is grows all the time, but we are not going to be rewriting textbooks on the basis of one skull.

Well, a few more links, but tomorrow! Or whenever. Interesting time in my life indeed. So the pics above! Both were taken in the 1930s. The one on the left is a group of Soviet Young Pioneers. Kinda Stalin’s equivalent of Hitler Youth. On the right, a Mickey Mouse Club meeting. The similarities and differences are telling. Even by the thirties American youth were living in a fantasy world.

So final nice story and segue. During Kristallnacht, a Jewish family was in their home as a mob came up the street burning and looting Jewish homes. Just before it got there, their 17 year old neighbor ran into their house wearing his Hitler Youth uniform. When the mob arrived he yelled out of an upstairs window that the home had been sold to a good German family, and the Jews were gone. Saving their home and valuables, and ultimately saving their lives as it left them with the resources to flee Germany before the war.

Stay cool and safe everyone. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Described in text, both are Public Domain images to the best of my knowledge.)

Written by unitedcats

June 29, 2021 at 7:48 pm

WHAT DO AIS AND DATING SITE SCAMS HAVE IN COMMON? PLUS JUNE 22ND

leave a comment »

So I’ve been checking out some dating sites lately. They’ve come a long way since I last looked. And I’ve been there the whole time, I did computer dating in the late 1970s. And that was one computer nerd who wrote a program and advertised it locally, in Davis, USA. Worked for me, it hooked up my housemate to a girl I dated for years, was friends with for decades. Now, it’s much more sophisticated. And the scammers are as well. Well, scammers and sex workers. Neither of which I have a problem with. Hey, poor people in the second and third world want to scam gullible Americans out of their money, go for it. And sex workers can’t advertise openly and safely because this is Kristian Amerika, so they have to do so subtly on dating and rental sites. I digress.

So seeing as I have no interest in sending money to scammers or seeking the services of sex workers, I need to figure out how to filter out same. The sex workers are pretty easy, if their pics involve T&A shots with a sparse profile looking for hookups: sex worker. The scammers, boy, they have gotten a lot more sophisticated. The best ones have very real looking profiles. And when messaged, the responses can be well written as well. They tend to have a cut and paste look though, IE neat message, but only superficially at best a response to my prior message. And when I suspect a scammer, I ask a very specific question. Or better yet, say something completely nonsensical. Jeez, sent a nonsense response to one, got an obvious cut and paste message to the effect of “Wow, thanks for sharing that information with me.” Busted.

So, I realized I am essentially running a variant of the Turing Test on possible scammers. The Turing Test is basically the idea of interfacing with a subject via text exchange and determining if it is a human or a computer. Brilliant concept really, because it doesn’t concern itself with whether a computer can become conscious and self aware, it limits the question to, can a software program fake human responses enough to fool humans?

And we’re real close folks. We are close to the point where it’s going to be hard to tell if we are interacting with a person or software. Phone a business, will one be talking to software or a person? And think about this. How many professions are essentially ‘talking to people?’ The ones that can run remotely, a Zoom image or whatever works as well. The image of a person on a video feed is just pixels on a screen, all manipulable by software. AIs are going to put a lot of people out of work, every telemarketer on the planet for starters.

As for pixels on a screen, that’s what movies and TV series are, right? So why couldn’t an AI create movies? It’s just a more sophisticated chess calculator. Or series. There have to be an infinite number of possible ‘Simpsons’ episodes, right? So why couldn’t software write new ones? Think of it, every TV show or movie the gentle reader ever liked available with countless computer generated sequels/episodes. Young Sean Connery could star in thousands of James Bond films. Peeps will be able to buy software that will create movies or series to order.

Will this happen soon? IDK, technology was running ahead of application during the US Civil War, the gap has increased since then. Is there as yet some human component to creativity that AIs won’t be able to surpass? Maybe. One thing we can say for sure about the future, no one has ever accurately predicted it.

The past though, we can see how predictions went wrong. June 22nd 1941, eighty years ago today, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa, the greatest invasion in history. Tens of millions would die as a result. Exactly three years later, June 22nd 1944, the Soviet Union launched Operation Bagration. AKA “The Destruction of Army Group Center.” Germany’s Army Group Center. The greatest defeat ever suffered by Germany, and the fifth bloodiest campaign in European history. No one predicted that, most thought that Germany would easily conquer Western Russia, and who knows what would happen then. A crushing German defeat with Soviet Armies steamrolling to Berlin three years later, couldn’t happen.

Could an AI have written that plot? Maybe. Did an AI write that plot? Could we be living in a 23rd century computer game program on some kid’s Qpad? Am I a software routine writing a blog that will only be read by other aps? And do we evolve as a result? Hell if I know, but I’m going to explore the idea more.

So, yes. My blogging has been limited because of … personal … issues. I think I’m going to write about speculative weirdness to see if I can break through my writer’s block. Stay safe and sanish everyone. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Two destroyed German tanks during Operation Bagration, including dead German crew members. There are still people alive who remember the horrors of Germany’s invasion of Russia. I can’t imagine what they lived through. Credit: Unknown, public domain image under all known copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 22, 2021 at 7:55 pm

BIDEN BACKS UKRAINE’S CONFRONTATION WITH RUSSIA, THIS COULD GET UGLY

leave a comment »

Germans bombing Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine in 1941. Ukraine in living memory has suffered terribly at the hands of non-Ukrainians: Nazi Germans and Stalinist Russians. So a lot of bad blood there. That’s the background. Jumping ahead, both Bush and Obama tangled with Russia over border disputes between Russia and its neighbors. In both cases Russia was defending ethnic Russians or long time allies of Russia.

Bush encouraged Georgia to believe it had American support in the event of a confrontation with Russia. Two small breakaway provinces of Georgia had decided during the collapse of the Soviet Union that they wanted to be part of Russia, dammit; there had been blood spilt, but Russia ‘peacekeeping’ troops ensured their de facto independence from Georgia. Sashakvili, the leader of Georgia, attacked these troops in an effort to reincorporate the breakaway provinces  into Georgia. The Russians responded with overwhelming force. Bush told them to back off. Putin said “talk to the hand;” and Russian troops beat the crap out of the Georgian military, invading Georgia itself in the process. Georgia came to its senses, granted the two minor provinces to Russia, and that was that.

Then Obama took his turn. An anti-Russian coup took place in Ukraine, the US immediately proclaimed it legitimate, and the new rulers wasted no time passing laws that made ethnic Russians into second class citizens. The local government of Crimea then voted to join Russia, they held a plebiscite which also overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Since, you know, Crimea had been part of Russia for centuries, and was populated almost entirely by ethnic Russians. Putin promptly annexed Crimea, and Obama was left with explaining how he had “lost Crimea.” And to this day Russia defending Russia, Russians and its allies is characterized as “Russian aggression.” Technically correct the same way that any chess player making a move can be characterized as the aggressor.

And now it looks like Biden is going to try his hand at facing off with Russia over its disputes with Ukraine. So freaking similar to Rome’s wars with Persia that it’s somewhere between scary and silly. Have we learned nothing? I digress. There are two eastern provinces of Ukraine that also saw pro Russian revolts, where the ethnic Russians declared a sort of independence from Ukraine. Supported by Russia. And there’s where the current problem is. Russia has built up troops there in case they “need” to protect Russians in Ukraine.

Will Ukraine “invade” its two eastern provinces, a replay of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia? I hope not. Putin outmaneuvered Bush and Obama, I’d bet on him vs Biden and his handlers any day. Russia has nuclear weapons too, so it seems crazy to do anything that could provoke war with them. Ans as well Russia can easily field conventional forces that could crush Ukraine’s military in a conventional war. So if Ukraine does something stupid, it’s because they think the US will back them.

How will this play out? No one knows. I give a 50% chance something further stupid will happen. And there’s a 1-10% chance something awful to history changing will happen. Is Biden really a senile old fool, or a sociopathic mimic of the first order who will do what the Washington elite says? My bet is on the latter, hopefully we won’t find out. I guess if I get to see ‘Life meets Jericho,’ there are worse fates.

Have a great weekend everyone. Get a Covid vaccine as soon as you can, Covid is looking like a worse disease all the time. Stay safe. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

PS: And in the 24 hours since I started writing this, the situation has deteriorated: US Warships to Enter Black Sea in ‘Significant Signal’ to Russia, Russia Prepared for ‘Worst Scenario’ With Possible US Sanctions, and Ukraine’s Top Commander Invokes NATO’s Article 5 Military Assistance Clause as West Continues to Oversee Ukraine’s War in the Donbass. Fun times.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Used legally:This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B12190 / Kraagranger [Kraayvanger] / CC-BY-SA 3.0 )

Written by unitedcats

April 9, 2021 at 7:41 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Russia, Ukraine, War

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

leave a comment »

There will be a Borders III post, but it’s going to have to wait a bit. And boy, turns out there’s a lot of people on Facebook who claim to be the Messiah. I’ll get a post out of that someday too. I know someone who lost their wife and kids to a cult once, self styled messiahs have an unholy attraction for some people. Today, I’m going to be all over the place. Or more so than usual I suppose. My staff consists of one useless cat at the moment. Working on a partnership though, she’s already been far more helpful than the cat.

Moving right along, January 31 was a big day in history. I mean, every day has all sorts of historical events on it. (Except June 31, nothing ever happened on June 31, no one knows why.) However, January 31, a big day as in important well remembered events. This was the day in 1943 where German Field Marshal Paulus surrendered to the encircling Russians at Stalingrad, thus ending the greatest battle in history. Hitler had promoted Paulus to Field Marshal because no German field marshal had ever surrendered. Have I ever mentioned that Hitler was prone to magical thinking? Stalingrad was Hitler’s Pickett’s Charge, the war would only go downhill for Hitler from there.

On January 31 the VietCong launched simultaneous surprise attacks on every provincial capitol in South Vietnam, and even breached the American embassy’s grounds in Saigon. It caught America and South Vietnam by complete surprise, but it didn’t trigger the general uprising the VietCong had been counting on, and the Tet Offensive as it was called, was a tactical and strategic disaster, one from which the VietCong would never recover from. And in the USA, it was a political death blow for president Johnson, and significantly eroded American support for the war. That’s because some months earlier Johnson had announced … victory! The VietCong had been beaten, the war was all but over, the US could start pulling out. So yeah, a massive nationwide VietCong surprise attack pretty much destroyed Johnson’s credibility, and was in fact the beginning of the end for America’s misbegotten involvement in southeast Asia.

Well, those were the big two events, enough for January 31. Although in another historical footnote: Meet Eunice Foote, The Mother Of Climate Science Whose Work Was Ignored Because Of Her Sex. She was the first person to discover the role that CO2 plays in changing the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere. The greenhouse effect as it is called. Since she was a woman though, she wasn’t allowed to present her findings at the 1856 American Association for the Advancement of Science conference. A man got the honor and the credit 3 years later. Sigh. It would be over 100 years before she was recognized for her groundbreaking discovery.

In a medical breakthrough: Two more coma patients’ brains jump-started with ultrasound. Waycool. People sometimes come out of comas after years or even decades. The brain’s ability to heal itself is quite amazing. We are talking comas though, this would not have helped the sadly famous Terri Schiavo, she was in what is known as a persistent vegetative state. PVS is a horrible condition, the patient has normal sleep and awake cycles. They may laugh, they may cry, they may appear to be looking around. So it’s easy to see why friends and loved ones would very much cling to the belief that they are still alive and may recover. Alas, what PVS sufferers don’t do is communicate in any way, there is literally no one home. And while a few people who were misdiagnosed as being in a PVS have recovered, they were all showing signs of improvement after a few months. No one has ever recovered from an actual PVS diagnosis, the part of the brain that makes us who we are is irreparably damaged.

Moving from inner space to outer space (lame segue I know) here’s an interview with the professor who thinks Oumuamua was alien technology of some sort: Professor Avi Loeb: ‘It would be arrogant to think we’re alone in the universe’. On the one hand, he’s plugging his new book on the topic. On the other hand he does have a point regarding how the scientific community can be hostile and non supportive of anything related to aliens. A situation that’s unlikely to change until we actually find actual evidence for them, it’s way too easy for politicians to ridicule SETI, why attract attention from them?

And another scientist has come up with an explanation for the Wow! Signal. The Wow! Signal was detected in 1977 and has never been explained. Here’s another try though: Was the Wow! Signal Due to Power Beaming Leakage? Basically humans are starting to experiment with beamed power to launch spacecraft and such, and the Wow! Signal might well be “leakage” from aliens doing the same. It’s an interesting idea, and suggests we might want to observe that part of the sky continuously to see if it ever repeats.

Lastly, back on Earth. I, for one, look forward to Qbacca testifying at Trump’s impeachment trial: ‘Complete circus’: Lindsey Graham fears ‘QAnon Shaman’ testimony at Trump’s impeachment trial. All of Trump’s lawyers have quit at this point, it’s not clear who will represent him at his trial in just over a week. Apparently all he wants to talk about at the trial is his fantasies about election fraud. It’s gonna be interesting, if not a total circus. I don’t think Trump’s ever faced anything like it, this isn’t going to be a press conference where he can ignore questions, hurl abuse at the questioner, and storm out if he doesn’t like how things are going. He might try though, boy, won’t that be fun.

Stay safe and warm everyone. Just maybe things will settle down now and the Capitol Riot was peak insanity over Trump’s election fraud charade. A man can hope. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Field Marshal Paulus surrendering at Stalingrad. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.

Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-F0316-0204-005 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

No changes were made in the image. Paulus actually survived being a Russian prisoner. Most of the nearly 300,000 men who surrendered with him didn’t. Stalin had in fact promised that Paulus’ men would be well treated, and did order so. Yeah, by this point the Germans had done terrible things in Russia, so Stalin’s orders were for the most part ignored. Paulus lived until 1957.)

Written by unitedcats

January 31, 2021 at 8:30 pm