Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Trump’ Category

DARK DAYS, A PERSONAL BLOG POST

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

February 16, 2021 at 9:33 pm

Posted in 2021, Covid-19, Personal, Trump

TODAY IS THE DAY THE GOP DIED

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I wasn’t going to blog today, but the news was so good I just have to! Trump was acquitted at his Senate impeachment trial! This is a fantastic outcome, the best possible outcome! Wait, what? Did Doug suddenly turn into a Trump supporter? Was Doug’s Darkworld hacked? Hear me out dear readers, today marked the end of the GOP and the beginning of the Trump Party. This is great for the Democrats on so many levels. I hardly know where to start. So I will start with, what would have happened if he was convicted? Trump would have been a martyr, his base would have rabidly supported him, there’s nothing Trump supporters like better than being aggrieved. They would have turned on the Dems with renewed vengeance, and polarization in the country, and very possibly political violence, would have gotten worse. And with Trump out of the running in 2024, someone a lot smarter and more dangerous might well have taken up his mantle.

Now, Trump’s the winner! And boy, the very first thing him and most of the GOP will do is turn on the “traitors” in their ranks with a vengeance. The GOP is now the de facto Trump party, and he will waste no time getting rid of anyone who isn’t blindly loyal to him. Um, do they not remember just how badly run the Trump administration was? The White House churn rate (employee turnover) hit spectacular new heights. His administration accomplished essentially nothing outside of executive orders and cancelling diplomatic agreements. And building a monument to stupidity and Trump’s ego on the border with Mexico. They think he’s going to do a better job running the GOP? Fat chance.

Trump is incapable of planning, management,  and leadership. Every business he ever started failed, spectacularly in most cases. When he won in 2016 he was riding on the coattails of a reasonably functioning Republican party. He’s going to have four years now to purge it of anyone rational, competent, etc. I mean his 2020 reelection bid was a string of mismanaged rallies completely devoid of any platform, policies; pretty much his whole campaign was based on fear mongering.

I think when the Dems get over their outrage, they will see this as an opportunity, not a fail. It’s not like they really expected the GOP to convict, did they? This was not exactly an unpredictable outcome. And now it’s time to give Trump all the rope he wants. He will run the Trump Party (Formerly the GOP) with the same skill, leadership, planning, and organizational skills he showed during every business he ever destroyed and his failed presidential administration. Today is the day the GOP died, I for one am rejoicing.

Trump’s day is done. He’s a one trick pony. Yes, in any functional democracy he would have been convicted of treason and would now be in jail or facing a firing squad. He refused to accept the results of a free and fair election and tried to have the election results overturned by force. Fortunately his coup attempt was as well planned, organised, and led as his failed businesses and failed presidency. He’s not capable of learning from his mistakes, he’s not capable of growth, he’s not capable of modifying his strategy as the situation evolves.

I don’t know what’s going to happen from here on out. No one does. I just don’t think four more years of Trump holding the same rallies he’s been holding since 2016 is a danger to the republic. Even Hitler stopped holding giant rallies and moved on, Trump isn’t capable of that. Granted the Dems ability to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory might hand Trump another term in the Oval Office, I just think that’s damn unlikely. But I plan on being here to blog about it if they do.

Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

PS: Yes, on top of his flaming incompetence, Trump may well now wither under a barrage of criminal charges and bankruptcies. More the reason to be optimistic this day.

PPS: It’s even possible that this outcome is exactly what the people who started impeachment proceedings wanted, but that might be giving them too much credit.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public Domain Pixabay image, no attribution required. I would have photoshopped in Mitch McConnell’s face, but that’s beyond my skill set.)

Written by unitedcats

February 13, 2021 at 8:38 pm

TRUMP WON’T BE CONVICTED, WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

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I think the chances of Trump being convicted by the Senate are essentially zero. The vote may happen as early as Saturday. I haven’t been following the impeachment much, because what’s the point? There’s really no question of Trump’s guilt, but the GOP Senators either don’t care, completely live in a fantasy world where the Capitol Insurrection Riot was somehow a Libtard False Flag attempt to make Trump look bad, or worse, think it was justified. Trump himself once said: “I Could Stand In the Middle Of Fifth Avenue And Shoot Somebody And I Wouldn’t Lose Any Voters.” He might as well have said “I could stand on the National Mall and incite a mob to storm the Capitol and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” His defense team is playing to their choir, not making any actual attempt to defend him. Trump encouraging his followers to storm the capitol to prevent Biden being certified as president is indefensible in any real world sense. The GOP is now a personality cult no longer living in the real world, so they, and their followers, see nothing to defend.

I have no idea what happens next, but I can speculate. Trump will likely run again in 2024, there doesn’t appear to be any way to prevent that unless he is convicted at his impeachment trial. I expect the GOP and Trump will spend the next four years doing everything in their considerable power to sabotage the Biden administration. They live in a world where they are God’s favorites, and Biden is evil incarnate. The few republicans who have stayed on the side of sanity in all this will be shown the door and replaced with Marjorie Taylor Greene clones. I think Roe vs Wade will effectively be gutted, if not overturned entirely. The only way Biden could really fight all this would be to pass the sorts of progressive legislation that most Americans crave, and would dramatically improve the lives of Americans. Medicare for all and raising the minimum wage back to a living wage alone would do it. I doubt that’s going to happen, the bottom line is that the Dems serve the same corporate masters that the GOP does, neither party represents the average working class American anymore.

The country will become more polarised than ever, and political violence is certainly a strong possibility. The police will continue to kill people with impunity, the rich will get ever richer, Covid will continue to inflict a terrible toll. And Biden has already made it perfectly clear that our imperial wars will continue unabated. The nation’s infrastructure, schools, and health care system will continue to decline. Crime rates, especially violent crime, have been trending up the past year and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. The most powerful country and empire the world has ever known is ruled by a fantasy/religious driven personality cult and a political party that is corruption personified. Rome never did particularly well under co-emperors, and I can’t see the US doing so either.

So yeah, the glass is half empty and the other half is full of shit. This is America. On the plus side, all sorts of exciting stuff is likely to happen, and we can look forward to endless outrage from all quarters. And it’s a golden age for bloggers! Even though we are kind of old hat now. Writing is what I do, and I will continue to do.

Today was going to be miscellaneous links that I didn’t get around to this week, but alas, couldn’t help ranting about the impeachment and the sad state of the republic. I have a few though to round out the week with. There’s this for starters: Psychoanalyst Justin Frank: Capitol riot was a source of incredible pleasure’ for Trump. At least Trump’s state of mind is endlessly fascinating in a morbid sort of way. This analyst thinks that Trump does indeed believe he won the election. And since Trump is a Covid survivor, this is more important than ever: Post COVID-19 brain-related symptoms may be common, study indicates. There’s still people out there who think Covid is a hoax. America, land of the deluded.

It’s been a hard week for me, thus the image of a tired cat. And at least one more week of near or below zero temperatures here in Northern Iowa. A few years back the snow was gone and the lake unfroze by late February. Not this year. Stay safe and warm everyone. Double masking is now recommended, I wear a really tight mask with an extra filter inside. Why the hell would I want to risk getting a disease that infects my brain for God’s sake? Oh, have a great weekend everyone, I will resume blogging on Monday. Likes, shares, comments all appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image. Tired cat. Credit: Public Domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 12, 2021 at 7:32 pm

NUMBAT THURSDAY

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That’s a numbat. I had never heard of numbats before. It’s now my new favorite animal. Like many Australian animals, the numbat looks as if it was designed by a committee. In this case a committee of eight year olds. And in this case, the end result works. It looks cute, determined, and inquisitive at the same time. A cross between a fox and a chipmunk. And now that I have brought numbats to the attention of the world, can a Disney movie starring one be far behind? And if so, this blogger will gladly provide the voice for said numbat hero.

Yes, I’m very tired. Four ten plus hour days on limited sleep will do that to a person. Still, I promised my faithful readers a blog every weeknight, so I will persevere. Thursday was going to be a history post, but not much happened on February 11 in history. Not terribly surprising, history is mostly wars and such, and until recently, wars tended to be something conducted during the summer in the northern hemisphere. There was the carnival tragedy of 1823, sheesh, 100 or so young lads killed in a crush. One of the last battles as the Japanese closed in on Singapore in 1942, resulting in the first crushing victory of an Asian army over a European army in 400 years (so they don’t teach this one in British schools no doubt.) February 11, 1979 is the traditional date of the Iranian revolution, the one that toppled the ruthless US installed dictator. The latter part not taught in US schools I suspect, in fact last time I checked the CIA’s official history of Iran starts in … drum roll … 1979. And of course February 11, 1812 is the traditional date for the beginning of gerrymandering (and the end of representative democracy) in the US. That one’s too depressing for words. So no history post tonight, but on the plus side, history will still be there next Thursday! Stuff that’s already happened is reliable that way. (Well, not always.)

So a few interesting links as I stumble exhausted through the rest of tonight’s post: Here’s the real reason Republicans are obsessed with hating Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In short, half of white Americans live in a fantasy world where whites are a discriminated against minority now. In other words, the only real contact half of white Americans have with minorities is what they see on Fox News etc, otherwise they couldn’t believe transcendent absurdities like this. The article puts it all together and into perspective nicely. Yes, very depressing.

John Pavlowitz has a nice take on “Cancel Culture,” the current right wing (fantasy) outrage de jure: The Cancel Culture is Just Adult Accountability. He’s right on target as is usually the case, “Cancel Culture” is just the current version of the “War on Christmas,” the evangelical fantasy that Christianity is somehow under attack in the US. Playing the victim is pretty much all the evangelical right has these days, and the ‘Mandalorian’ actress played it to the hilt, among other offensive posts, claiming that Trump supporters in the US face the same persecution that Jews faced in Nazi Germany. Right. A few other takes on the situation, and the evangelicals’ screams of outrage: ‘Mandalorian’ actress axed over divisive social media posts and Gina Carano’s Mandalorian exit proves ‘cancel culture’ doesn’t exist – despite what her fans say.

Running out of steam here. One last article. Yes, Trump’s abysmal response to Covid really did kill several hundred thousand Americans: US could have averted 40% of Covid deaths, says panel examining Trump’s policies. Sigh. This was apparent to anyone not living in Trumptopia in March when his Covid response essentially boiled down to “It’s all going to magically go away by Easter!” He was the worst president in American history just by that standard alone, no other president’s flaming incompetence and denial killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. But just like America by so many objective standards has the worst health care in the developed world, the people living in Trumptopia are blind to it, because their leaders and media tell them it isn’t so. It’s a cult who think their beliefs give them magical power and/or that God will deliver them from their supposed enemies and restore them to their imagined past glories. Trump’s response to Covid was like Hitler’s “no retreat” order in Russia, why, if people just have the willpower, they can accomplish anything!

It’s never worked before in history, because reality trumps fantasy every time. Magical thinking sure has caused a lot of death, destruction, and sorrow though, and I fear we’re not out of the woods yet. Still, what a time to be alive in America watching and chronicling it all. Stay safe and warm everyone. Comments, shares, likes, patrons, and donations appreciated. (Thanks for the gloves Lars, they’re wonderful, pics to follow.) And if the gentle reader doesn’t want to support me, well, maybe they’ll help save the numbat: Project Numbat. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Numbat in Perth Zoo. Credit: Martin Pot. Image used legally: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.)

Written by unitedcats

February 11, 2021 at 8:56 pm

WHATEVER WEDNESDAY, TRUMP’S DEFENSE BLOWS UP AND OTHER ODDMENTS INCLUDING GUY FAWKES

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Well, looks like Trump’s trial in the Senate is going forward. The defense put up by his lawyers in the pretrial was pretty feeble by all accounts, not surprising, it’s not exactly the A team. Or even the B team. So yes, the senate voted that it is indeed constitutional to impeach a president after he is out of office. Cynical Doug says, “Great, so the next time the GOP controls congress they’ll impeach Obama.” I probably shouldn’t even joke about that, considering how weird politics has gotten in America. I’ll follow the trial’s developments, but this still seems like political theatre to me, I doubt Trump will face any serious consequences. The Dems are kinda like the fake opposition party, though granted they’re better than the GOP now.

Speaking of the Capitol Insurrection (GOPers are calling it a riot to deny Trump had any culpability, so insurrection it is if we’re gonna play word games,) here’s a fun take on it: Michigan’s Top Republican Falsely Calls U.S. Capitol Attack A ‘Hoax’. Yeah, really put it all in perspective for me. Basically a quarter or more of Americans live in a world where if something happens that challenges their world view, it didn’t really happen. School shootings, well, can’t possibly be that easy access to military grade weapons is a problem, so they were faked. A MAGA crowd stormed the Capitol with intent to kill, nope, Trump supporters only protest peacefully, so it was faked. Biden lost the election, nope, couldn’t have happened, so Trump was somehow cheated out of the victory. With codicil of course being all these things that were faked, why it was the libtards and their plot to turn America into a socialist welfare state where white Christians are second class citizens.

Trump’s genius, though more instinct than genius, was understanding that with these people, all one had to do was tell them what they want to hear, and deride anything that contradicts that as fake news, and they’ll eat out of your hand. Though at this point it’s getting increasingly bizarre as they try to reconcile the reality of President Biden with their fantasy world: ‘Hold the Line’: QAnon Adherents Claim Trump Will Become President Again on March 4. Or this: Fact check: Debunking claims that Biden’s Oval Office is a fake movie set. It never ends: ‘Prophetess’ Amanda Grace Says Trump’s Impeachment Trial Is Proof He’s Still President. ‘Obama wasn’t born in America’ on steroids.

Oddly enough I realized there’s a few (a fun few) parallels between the Capitol Insurrection and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The timing was about the same, the plot was revealed in early November, and ended with multiple executions at the end of January. Basically Catholics were being officially persecuted in England, and the plotters planned to blow up parliament and the king, start a revolution, and install a catholic Queen. They got as far as stashing 36 barrels of gunpowder under the parliament chambers. However, the authorities were alerted by an anonymous letter, the writer of which is unknown to this day. And in a search of the building, one Guy Fawkes was found guarding the gunpowder.

He was taken into custody, tortured terribly, and the other plotters chased down and rounded up, most were taken alive. They too were all tortured. Torture was on the way out at the time, but was still used for special occasions. And after their trials, they were all hung, drawn, and quartered. A particularly gruesome form of execution which involves hanging and then burning parts of their anatomy in front of them while still alive. I’ll leave further details to the gentle readers’ imaginations or Google skills. Guy though outwitted them at the end, he leapt off the gallows breaking his neck, thus avoiding the unpleasantness about to ensue.

So it was a plot to overthrow a government and install what the plotters thought of as the legitimate government. It went badly. And one person, Guy Fawkes, came to be emblematic of the whole mess, he was indeed the Qbacca of his day. Guy Fawkes Night is still celebrated on November 5, the day Fawkes was caught. And indeed he still has a certain amount of sympathy, I know I’ve had English friends who sympathized with his desire to blow up Parliament for a just cause. At the time though most everyone was quite releived the plot had failed, the plotters got little to no sympathy or support in their flight, and even had they succeeded, it’s unlikely their plot would have succeeded. More than likely it would have precipitated a wholesale massacre of English Catholics, and as it was all it succeeded in doing was invoking even further persecution of same.

The above photo was a careful reproduction of the 1605 parliament building exploded with the equivalent of 36 barrels of gunpowder. The inset is a contemporary drawing of Guy Fawkes. He was a handsome man by all accounts. The explosion showed that if the gunpowder had been in good condition, it would indeed have killed everyone in the building. Only a portion of the head of the dummy representing the king was found afterwards. It was done for a TV show in 2005. Millenia from now when our times are only fragmentarily known, will the two plots be confused and conflated, with Qbacca Fawkes forever known as the man who stormed and blew up parliament? We can only hope so. Frankly Trump’s insurrection mob storming the capitol only to write graffiti on the walls with their shit doesn’t have a lot of poetic appeal.

Stay safe and warm everyone. Our tap water was at 29 degrees fahrenheit this AM, which while nice if one wants ice water on tap, necessitated frantic measures to get it safely above 40 again. A burst pipe can do a lot of damage to a house, been there, seen that. Comments, likes, shares, donations as always appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Explained in text. Credit: Mike Slee This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Used legally. It has been modified with the Guy Fawkes image insert.)

Written by unitedcats

February 10, 2021 at 7:45 pm

WELL, I CERTAINLY GOT SOME PUSHBACK ON YESTERDAY’S BLOG ABOUT MARJORIE TAYLOR GREEN. AND OH, TRUMP IS HANGING PEOPLE ON THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN? WTF?

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Yesterday’s blog about Marjorie Taylor Greene got some pushback, always gratifying. If people take the trouble to disagree with me, then I’m doing something right. Preaching to the converted has never appealed to me. I mostly write to encourage thought and to get my own thoughts in order. My views will likely change until the day I die, and maybe after. Well, for sure after, since if there is an after, my views about there likely not being an after would clearly need to be modified. So in that vein, I thought I’d take a look at a select few comments and see how they changed my thinking:

I dunno, MTG is obviously very stupid, ignorant and gullible, and that type of person just should not be on an education committee. So while I agree that the Dem’s motivation was wrong, I think they stumbled their way into doing the right thing.

Also I think after Trump the “shine a light on the craziness” thing can’t be relied on. He said and did so so many stupid things that just increased his popularity with his base. I think MTG’s views might be more mainstream than you think.   — S.

He has a point, Trump being a crazy bad president if anything empowered his base. Giving MTG free rein in congress might just make the situation worse.

If it was purely partisan I might agree with Doug, but it wasn’t. 11 republicans also voted to remove Ms. Greene from her assignments, one more than voted to impeach Trump for insurrection (the most bipartisan impeachment in history). Someone who publicly ridicules parents of kids who were murdered at Sandy Hook probably isn’t qualified to be on an education committee. And if one thinks Jewish space lasers are behind the world’s problems it’s probably past time to see a psychiatrist, not sit on a budget committee. You have freedom to say what you want, but it comes with consequences. Ms. Greene can have her seat she rightfully won, but she is not entitled to committee work when she has demonstrated over and over she is mentally unhinged and potentially violent.   — J.V.

Well, 11 out of like 200 GOP congressmen is a pretty low bar for “bipartisan,” but it’s better than none I suppose. Can’t argue the logic after that though. Still, I agree that MTG is unsuited for congress, let alone sitting on committees. Just not sure this was the best way to handle it.

I think you may be wrong here. We’re all in need of a signal, which this is, that crazy theories in the public sphere won’t be tolerated. We’ve waited long enough. And it’s not as if 75% or more of the Rep. politicians tolerate it either, despite still voting on party lines, being cowardly hypocrites for the most part.   — M.T.

Oh, absolutely. I’m certainly less sure of my opinion than when I wrote the previous blog post. And yes, MTG crosses a line is a good point. I would certainly agree there is a point where a candidate is so unsuitable and unqualified that this action would be the only sensible recourse.

That’s putting it nicely. It’s gonna take a lot of bipartisan effort to get these people off their Q horse so to speak.

So I do think this censure is sorta worth it. Innocent people could be harmed if she continues to run her mouth off accusing people who are just run of the mill citizens of being baby eaters or something.   — E.K.

Yes, this comment definitely made me think, I hadn’t really considered that MTG could do (or encourage) actual real world harm the more latitude she is given in congress. People like her were the heart and soul of the Capitol Riot, so it’s a point I can’t refute.

Since this line is drawn, we can now expect Republicans to remove all Democrats from every committee in either chamber they control.

They will cast any prior statement (e.g. stated support for BLM or suggestion that Trump did anything wrong after this election) as being as bad or worse than the statements made by Greene.

I have already seen demands made that Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and Rashida Talib be removed from all committee assignments due to their supposed racist statements and incitement of violence.   — C.P.H

Well, at least one person agrees with me. I guess all things considered, it kind of comes down to how much harm could Ms Green do given full leeway in congress vs how much this action could come back to haunt the Democrats later? And as I don’t have a crystal ball, damned if I know. I did come on too strong yesterday though, for that, well, mea culpa. I’m always trying to find that sweet spot where people that disagree with me want to engage. And it seems to have worked this time. Thanks always for those who shared their thoughts!

I mean, it is frelking nuts. Ms Green might as well be a flat earther who thinks Earth is run by lizard people, QAnon really is, well, delusional. At odds with reality. Unsustainable logically. Nuts. All of the above. She did recant all her past views in congress, so she’s smart enough to lay low or she really is menatally … inconsistent? Boy, trying to avoid using ableist language is quite a challenge sometimes.

And what do QAnon believers think now? See the above image. Yes, that’s a gallows set up on the White House lawn. Wait, what? Wouldn’t this be on the news? Muhahaha, of course not. The fake news about Biden being president is all part of Trump’s plan. He’s actually still president, and since Biden’s inauguration he has been carrying out his plan, publicly hanging the enemies of democracy. It will no doubt all be revealed soon, and won’t that own the libtards! I wish I was making this up. Barring that, I wish the person making this up made it up. I don’t hardly know anymore: These QAnon followers believe Trump is still secretly president — and has been carrying out public executions at the White House.

Yes, dear foreigners, future readers, aliens, and time travellers; it is indeed mind blowing to live in an era where tens of millions of Americans live in a fantasy alternate reality.  If any reader wanders by the White House and takes pictures of whatever is going on, I’ll gladly post them. Oh well. In actual Northern Iowa reality we had the first big snowstorm of winter and are in single digit temps now. I stay inside a lot. I don’t think the parsley is going to survive this, but next year’s garden is already taking shape in my dreams.  Comments, shares, and especially patrons are appreciated. Subscribe to the WaPo or the NYT for a dollar a week, and they won’t even know you exist, gentle reader. Subscribe to my blog for a dollar a month, and I’ll write posts on topics you suggest! Subscribe for more and I will be eternally grateful. (That means I’ll buy you a drink if you’re ever out this way, eternal gratitude from mortals has its limits.) Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Photoshopped image of gallows on the White House lawn. Credit: Some person on QAnon, found on the Rawstory QAnon link above, attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

February 5, 2021 at 8:30 pm

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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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

WHAT WERE THE RIOTERS THINKING, AND OTHER THOUGHTS

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So I saw my cancer doctor today, the cancer is indeed gone. Feels good. I wrote the below last night, will review it. Then Capitol Riot Truthers,plus a prediction I made comes true. Sort of.

Late extemporaneous post tonight, let’s see if I can pull it off. (I didn’t.) I have been thinking, the Capitol rioters, what were they thinking? Well, Trump exhorted them to seize the day so to speak, so they charged. Trump said he would be with them, so I guess they thought this was it, Trump’s gonna declare martial law, Q’s going to send instructions. For good or for ill they faced little opposition and stormed the bastille so to speak. There was no leader, no plan, just a mob of hard core Trump supporting people doing what they thought their leader wanted.

Which he did, Trump was hoping that his people would somehow “fix” the election, that his popularity and greatness would make him president for another eight years. Then he retreated to his command post and watched it all play out on live TV. He didn’t give any secret orders, he sent no agents, he just watched the chaos unfold, ignoring entreaties to do something for hours. There was no Plan A, let alone Plan B.

This is Trump in a nutshell. The Capitol Riot  was in many ways the same as Trump’s claim that Covid would magically disappear by Easter. He set things into motion, and set it up so he was a winner if things played out his way. And had an out if they didn’t. Trump doesn’t plan, the Capitol Riot was like if Hitler on the Night of the Long Knives simply ordered his men to kill his enemies. No, Hitler personally led his charge. Not Trump.

Things could be worse in other words. My point is Trump has no management, planning, or leadership skills, just a world class ability to inspire some people to do his bidding. He basically believes in magic is what I am saying … he hoped Covid would go away as he predicted, he would have been a God … he hoped the Capitol rioters would somehow overturn the election, then he would be POTUS for four more years. They really are the same mind set, and countless other incidents  in Trump’s life.

Trump’s a gambler who has taken crazy bets all his life, almost always lost, but his wealth and privilege protected him from consequences, and when he won big; Boy Howdy. The two times Trump won big: “The Apprentice” and getting elected POTUS. As someone observed about the Diet Coke button on Trump’s Oval Office desk … how childish. He’s not a complicated man, there’s no nuance, The Donald couldn’t plan his way out of a paper bag.

And yet Trump’s going to be one of the most remembered men in American history. Remembered for what, that has yet to be written. I’ll keep blogging as long as I can, hoping for another thirty years. It sure will be interesting to see Trump’s legacy decades from now.

That was last night. Today, two things:

OK, as many more or less expected, there are indeed Capitol Riot Truthers now. People who believe it was a false flag attack staged to make Trump look bad. That wasn’t a typo. See: Oregon GOP offers ridiculous excuse for US Capitol attack. There are a few, um, logical problems with this argument. Why bother. For puzzled future and foreign readers: Trump spontaneously incited a crowd of his supporters into storming the Capitol building in Washington on January 6 2021, this is fact. There’s room for endless debate on just how and why this happened, but it did indeed happen. Tens of millions of Americans can’t or won’t accept that. I’d say I’m puzzled, but I’m not. Humans are simple, if one can sell them an idea, they will happily let the seller alter the facts to fit the idea. Trump sold millions of Americans on the idea that he was a winner, and if they followed him they’d be winners too.

Second thing. Well, I called this one, I said we might see Trump more or less pretend to still be president. ‘Attention-starved’ Trump brutally mocked for ‘pathetic’ Office of Former President announcement. The tone of the article is annoying, but Trump does indeed still think of himself as president.

Weird times continue. Biden said something truly horrifying today, and I had a thought about the rising paywall tide. Tomorrow’s blog. Stay safe and warm everyone. Stay frosty too.

#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: An illustration for Shelly’s sonnet Ozymandias: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Not a subtle allusion. Credit: Elminster_ZK. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

January 26, 2021 at 8:52 pm

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 23, 2021 at 8:59 pm

TREPPENWITZ, AND TRUMP’S WHITE HOUSE DIET COKE BUTTON

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Ah, treppenwitz. Or esprit de l’escalier, the wit of the stairway. When someone claimed that having tens of thousands of troops in Washington for the inauguration was like being in a third world country, I should have replied: “Like one of those countries where the president incites a mob to attack the capitol to overturn a free and fair election?” The same person would have been apoplectic if the mob had been a BLM/Antifa mob.  Of course they don’t think it was a fair election, because how could their anointed by God leader possibly lose an election? Especially if he insisted he’d been cheated? I and many others have said it before, Trump supporters are now living in an alternate reality. Here is a great example: Sen. Graham calls out Biden administration’s claims that ‘everything is in shambles’. No Mr Graham, this isn’t the Obama playbook, Trump wasn’t a particularly good president, and after the election he basically ignored the exploding pandemic and everything else to concentrate on his fantasy quest to overturn the election. And his administration’s essential refusal to coordinate with the incoming Biden administration was historically unprecedented in modern times.

To back my point up, here are three of Trump’s most unqualified and corrupt appointments, all fired by Biden on his first day in office. The information comes from Slate.com, but since it’s paywalled, I’m rephrasing it here:

Michael Pack. He was appointed in June to run the U.S. Agency for Global Media. The Voice of America international broadcaster. He tried to transform it into a propaganda outlet for Trump, despite a  mandate that prohibits such political interference. He purged the staff of the VOA and sister networks, replacing them with Trump loyalists, insisted on pro-Trump coverage, and unconstitutionally punished reporters who didn’t toe the pro-Trump line. He also illegally fired the board of the Open Technology Fund, which promotes international internet freedom, and replaced them with Republican activists. After whistleblower complaints, the U.S. Office of Special Counselfound it very likely that Pack had broken federal law. After being fired by Biden, he whined that his termination “was a partisan act,” talk about self-owning irony.

Kathleen Kraninger, confirmed as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018. She had no previous experience in consumer protection. She scrapped a rule that restricted predatory payday lending, insisting that her staff downplay the harm to consumers. She refused to enforce a federal law that protected military personnel from predatory payday lending, basically allowing them to be defrauded by said lenders. She also approved a rule allowing debt collectors to harass Americans with limitless texts and emails. Charming, appointed to protect consumers, instead she protected predatory lenders.

Lastly, Peter Robb. Confirmed as the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel in 2017. The NLRB’s mandate is  to enforce federal laws that protect workers’ right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. Mr Robb is brutally anti-union. He tried to limit employees’ free speech, gave employers more ability to practice wage theft, crippled unions’ ability to collect dues, and helped prevent employees from organizing unions. He also tried to seize total control of the agency by demoting regional directors and consolidating power in his office, giving him unheard of power to bust unions and prevent new ones from forming. Biden fired his sorry a** after he refused to resign.

I’d link to the original Slate article, but I’m going to try to avoid linking to all unreasonably paywalled articles, what’s the point? I doubt very many of my readers subscribe to Slate. By the same token I unsubscribed to the New York Times today. I love many of their guest editorials, but I can’t share them with my friends and readers, so what’s the point? And boy, they made me jump through hoops to unsubscribe, further increasing my antipathy towards them. I swear, a lot of modern marketing seems to have avoided, I dunno, actually asking real people what they thought?

In any event, these and so many other examples show Trump not only broke his promise to drain the swamp, he was possibly the worst president ever for appointing industry lobbyists and Trump loyalists to posts where they were supposed to regulate said industries in a non-partisan way. Sigh. Hey, Trump University, a scam to cheat poor people out of their life savings shows what Trump really thought about poor and working class Americans.

So far Biden is at least paying lip service to the idea he is serving all Americans. He cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, which was interesting. Basically the pipeline only benefited the rich, had very serious ecological concerns, defiled sacred native land, and would have only provided a trivial number of jobs. IDK, this certainly seems to indicate that Biden won’t completely be a slave to the oil lobby. He also is going to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, which despite its flaws, at least acknowledges that human caused global warming is real. Which it is, the scientific debate ended decades ago; there are certainly questions about how best to deal with global warming, but pretending it’s all a hoax and continuing to pump CO2 and methane into the atmosphere to protect fossil fuel profiteering isn’t one of them.

Predictably, Fox News and the rest are already screaming in outrage about Biden. Apparently condemning white supremacy is an insult to Trump voters: Fox News upset over Biden’s denouncement of white supremacy – because it might offend Trump voters. Frankly, anyone who is upset about Biden denouncing white supremacy can go jump in a lake. Or jump in a time machine and go live in Hitler’s Germany. Hell, a QAnon congresswoman is already filing articles of impeachment against Biden. Yeah, gonna be a fun four years.

Lastly, I just found out that Trump had a button on his oval office desk that when he pushed, a butler would bring him a Diet Coke. Really. To me, that’s kind of grotesque, especially on the taxpayer’s dime. I can’t imagine even having a butler, just have a freaking mini fridge in your office if you need Diet Coke available 24/7. I would have made a very poor lord I guess. The button is gone now, Biden had it removed.

Have a safe and warm weekend everyone. The above meme references the explosion of Bernie in mittens memes after the inauguration. All good fun, though I’m sure Trump supporters, wed to the idea that Sanders is Mao reborn, are horrified. Think of the Children! Or some such, idk. Trump has zero sense of humor, and apparently his followers don’t either. I’ll keep blogging as long as I can. Comments, suggestions, shares, and especially patrons appreciated. I’ll never paywall my blog, but donors are incredibly appreciated. Thanks in advance, thanks for reading in any case. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 22, 2021 at 9:00 pm