Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Trump’ Category

TRUMP, BABYLON BEE, SATIRE, AND OTHER ONGOING 2020 CRAZINESS

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In the “Well, this is new from a POTUS” file:   Trump retweets satirical news story about Joe Biden and Twitter. Apparently not realizing it was satire.  On the one hand, whatevs, most people have fallen for a satirical article once or twice. Sometimes major publications fall for a story. And Babylon Bee is a right wing site more or less. Still, embarrassing. Sorry confused future readers and foreigners, our president Trump sometimes has the self control and wisdom of a spoilt 13 year old.

So this, this article got me thinking: Covid: One-way ‘travel bubble’ opens between Australia and NZ. Nice, some air travel is opening up again. I have a few friends that have made flights. Still, the point to be made, the world’s airline needs are a fraction of what they were pre-covid, and there’s little chance that will change for years. It’s actually a good thing, the world’s airline industry was artificially bloated and subsidized. IE the world’s airline industry shrinking  is bad in the short term, people will lose jobs; but it’s great in the long term.

Gonna be a lot of stuff like that coming up. A friend sent me a magazine: ‘New York,’ November 2019. The last month of the pre-Covid era. Its title: “The Weirdness is Coming.” I’ll let the gentle reader track the magazine down if so inclined, not online that I could find. It’s futurism, IE a whole collection of ideas about what changes are going to happen over the coming decades. Interesting stuff, there’s a lot of wild technologies coming on line. And humans speculating about such is a new thing. Times do change.

Possibly the most interesting thing about the magazine, maybe one out of four items in it … oops, no longer applies. And no longer applies, or has been superseded … because of Covid-19. Something I’m still trying to grok, living in a sheltered corner of rural Iowa myself. It’s especially weird in addition because I live in America, where the ruling party has decided to just more or less ignore Covid-19, and huge numbers of citizens are pretending it will all go away soon. Oh dear.

Times do change. Was in the park today looking at the kid play area. Plastic fantastic like nothing I had as a kid. We had swings, teeter totters, monkey bars. Often with little or no ground padding. I remember monkey bars on asphalt. See image above. Broken bones were not unusual in my childhood, though I never suffered any. All the kids were free range too. A block or so by second grade, a few blocks by third grade, a mile or more by sixth grade. Rode off on one’s bike and explored the world nearby. I could write a book about what I remember.

Truth be told one could easily spend more time writing about an experience than the experience took. Another example of the Universe being infinite no matter what direction one looks. Sorry for the short blog tonight, have a great weekend everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Kids on monkey bars in the 1960s. Found it on a public image site, claimed as Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 16, 2020 at 8:08 pm

TRUMP, DELUSIONS, HERD INSANITY, 2020 CARRIES ON.

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I wrote a post yesterday about the Battle of Hastings, that only mentions Trump and the times in relation to the post, and am criticised for being Americacentric:

Commenter: “An American’s potted history of The Norman Conquest and the Battle of Hastings….funny how they can manage to view everything through the prism of present day USA politics!”

Fair enough I guess, but I was trying to capture the moment as it were, to make people try to imagine what it felt like that day. My post is ‘potted’ in that I’m trying to cover a hugely important battle in one blog. I appreciate the comment, feedback helps me refine what I am doing.

And what I am doing is daily blogging about the ongoing election from hell and covid catastrophe in America, 15 October 2020.

I know blogging is so 2000s but Covid-19 has scrapped my plan to go to vlogging, so here I am. Writing is what I do.  I guess the main point I was trying to make with yesterday’s blog, which juxtaposed the Battle of Hastings with the events in modern America, is that shit is fucked up now in the USA. The way it was messed up then, the people didn’t have the internet, but news still travelled. People knew the king was dead, and claimants with armies were marching in. Fun times.

So yeah, Covid-19 is spiking in Europe (second wave) and spiking in the USA (third swell.) Under control in China, but mixed elsewhere. The Covid-19 plague continues. It’s not the Black Death, it’s not the 1918 flu, it’s not anything we have seen before, but what little we know about it now, it’s bad news. Covid-19 is the invisible enemy, it is an alien invader. It’s only killed a million people so far! That’s not a good start.

So two really unhappy American  thoughts. One, boy, ugly political assasination is not out of the question. It’s not like it hasn’t happened in our history. Certainly the sixties, and Reagan, Gabby Giffords. A lot of Americans are still clinging to normalcy, but it’s not normal times. Brace yourselves. Very very bad things may well transpire.

Secondly, Trump has decided that surrender to Covid-19 is the way to go. He calls his “strategy” herd immunity. Letting the virus spread through the population to the point where so much of the population has been infected, the virus can no longer spread. How to put this diplomatically? This is insane delusional nonsense. To Those Talking About ‘Herd Immunity’: Do The Math. Or Will Natural Herd Immunity End the Pandemic? Hundreds of thousands will die, if not millions, for nothing. America is already the worst hit country by numerous metrics, this non strategy will just make that worse.

I gave Trump a chance. I don’t suffer from TDS. What the hell, sometimes people who get into high power try to do the right thing and make the world a better place. Yeah, my hopes that Trump was one of those has faded. Promises aren’t real, see image above. (Unfortunately some people do believe him, but that number is dropping every day.) And in some ways I was wrong. Just read that Trump’s insistence that he had the greatest inaugural crowd ever was an example of delusional thinking. I mean it was demonstrably not true, Obama had much larger crowds.

So there was a duelling town hall thing tonight, since the planned second and third Trump/Biden debates are pretty much toast at this point. I didn’t watch. The big takeaway so far I see is that Trump didn’t disavow QAnon when asked to do so. He claimed “I know nothing about QAnon.” Well, I guess it’s refreshing to see Trump feign ignorance rather than claim he is the world’s expert. I am not reassured.

Two weeks to go. Blue wave crushing Trump defeat, or most FUBARED election in US history? Stay tuned. What a time to be alive. Comments, likes, etc. appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 15, 2020 at 7:27 pm

SURRENDERING TO COVID-19 IS A BAD IDEA MR TRUMP

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I’m suffering from what I hope is food poisoning tonight, so this might be short. But like Lou Gehrig and his consecutive game record (not broken for 56 years,) I’m going to post daily till the new president is sworn in. No matter what it takes. Granted I think my chances of stretching it out as long as Mr Gehrig’s record (2130 consecutive games played) is remote. It would take almost six years to blog 2130 consecutive days. We’ll see, if Trump gets resworn in (note I didn’t say reelected) maybe I will shoot for daily blogging until Trump leaves office. It’s good to have a purpose in life. I tried having a porpoise in my life, but that didn’t work out. It was awkward, we couldn’t use the bathtub cause he pretty much filled it up.

I digress. The Trump administration is once again pushing the idea of “herd immunity” by letting Covid-19 spread through the younger population while protecting the elder and vulnerable. In English this translates to Roosevelt saying “It’s OK if Japan and Germany invade the US, I’m sure we can protect the old and vulnerable.” Literally that batshit crazy. It’s basically saying “We’re not going to fight Covid-19, and we don’t care how many people that kills.” We are talking about hundreds of thousands of dead Americans, several million is not out of the question. And a similar if not greater number of Americans with long term or permanent health damage from Covid-19. And craziest of all, there’s uttery no reason to believe this strategy will work. We’re pretty sure at this point that getting Covid-19 makes you immune for a while, but there are plenty of diseases where acquired immunity is relatively short term. There’s every reason to believe Covid-19 is one of those, I don’t think any coronavirus causes lifelong immunity.

The claim will be made no doubt that this will buy us time for a vaccine. Yeah, human wave attacks will slow down an advancing enemy, but maybe alternatives should be considered? Surrender and mass sacrifice shouldn’t be the first choice, it’s the last choice. And there’s absolutely no knowing when a vaccine will be available either, nor how effective it will be. Most people still aren’t grasping that Covid-19 ain’t no freaking flu. It’s far more contagious and far more dangerous and there’s no reason to believe it’s going anywhere. We are going to have to learn to live with Covid-19. Pretending it’s no big deal is not learning to live with it, that’s living in a fantasy world. The rest of the planet is fighting Covid-19, not ignoring it.

I just had an epiphany. America, despite it’s fantasies about being an advanced free modern country, is actually one of the most conformist traditionalist societies on Earth. Especially among developed countries. We’re one of only three countries on the planet who hasn’t switched to the metric system for God’s sake, and the other two are tiny. Costing us billions a year and a few lives, but hey, if a system of weights and measures based on the length of the King’s nose was good enough for grandpappy, it’s good enough for me. American society is stunningly resistant to change. You know what they call gay marriage in Canada and in most of the developed world now? Marriage. That wasn’t hard. Except in America.

So Americans are especially resistant to change. And that’s a big part of Trump’s appeal, and why Covid-19 is kicking our collective ass. He promises a return to the heteronormative white world of the 1950’s, where drape color was all wives had to worry about. Trump and his supporters want everyone who doesn’t agree back in the closet. (Or worse.) The post Covid-19 world is going to require rethinking how we do everything, and that’s anathema to many Americans. So no wonder “Covid-19 is no big deal, let’s get back to normal” has tremendous appeal for many Americans.

Not gonna happen, Covid-19 and Trump’s surrender to it are real, despite what he says. It’s in fact worse than reported, but again, most Americans don’t want to hear that. The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed far more lives than reported, study says.Not even debatable. The daily death rate from all causes in the USA is very consistent. And it’s taken a big jump this year, and Covid-19 is the only possible cause. Made much worse by Trump’s failure to take effective national action against it.

Oh well. The election from hell (to hell?) gets nearer every day. I will stay up that night and watch. Last time I only knew Trump was elected because my housemate started screaming during the night. This election, hell, alien invasion or zombies are not out of the question, worth staying up for. Stay safe everyone, comments, likes, shares appreciated.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, made this ailurophile laugh. Attribution unknown, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law!)

Written by unitedcats

October 13, 2020 at 8:22 pm

ANOTHER MESSAGE FOR TRUMP SUPPORTERS?

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It gets more ridiculous every day. And that’s quite a feat considering how far down the crazy rathole the 2020 election has gone so far. At this point Trump is simply spewing endless lies about Biden, his own accomplishments, and reality itself. And then there’s the promises like the one above. OK, where is this proposal? It doesn’t actually exist. His administration has had three years to propose legislation to accomplish the above, nada. All Trump has done is try and get Obamacare cancelled.

Frankly, I do understand that Trump’s followers give him a lot of credence, it’s the secret to his success. Trump says it, it’s true. Woohoo, who wouldn’t want to make America great again? But guys, c’mon guys. Guys and gals, Trump supporters, Trump promised to do this in his first election campaign, and didn’t even attempt to follow through. Um, and this time you believe him? What’s the old axiom, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” This is one of those situations, Trump already broke this promise, why the hell would anyone believe him again?

And gotta love the “You’re welcome!” Trump hasn’t done anything about health care, why the hell should an empty broken promise get him thanks? Thanks for nothing dude, I’m one of the independent voters who defended Trump after he got elected. I never suffered from TDS, I gave him a chance, he made a number of positive promises, like the above. Yet Trump broke all of his specific promises to help Americans, I’m supposed to be impressed by repeating the promises? Reelect me so I can do the stuff I promised to do in my first term? Give me a freaking break. I can understand not voting for Biden, but Trump hasn’t earned a second term, voting for him is crazy.

Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court had a hearing today. So freaking what, unless she morphed into a lizard creature during the hearing and ate the Republican senators alive on national TV while simultaneously defecating on a Trump flag, the Republicans are going to confirm her.  So this is just political theater. Moving right along, I had a nice link about the lies Trump is telling about Biden’s abortion stance, but Trumpers won’t read it or believe it. Just for those interested though: Trump Made False Claims About ‘Late-Term Abortion.’ Here Are the Facts.

So yeah, Covid-19 rages on in the US while Trump does nothing but make promises. OK then. Covid-19 is in the top five mass death events in US history now, only the Civil War, World War Two, and the 1918 flu pandemic being worse. And Covid-19 is rising fast, it will indeed surpass World War Two soon enough if unaddressed. And the death toll is almost certainly worse than the official numbers: US sees 20% more deaths than expected this year, most due to Covid-19, research finds.

And then there’s this: Covid reinfection: Man gets Covid twice and second hit ‘more severe’. It’s rare still, but not a good thing. There’s going to be limits to how much a vaccine will help if protection only lasts so long. Basically, the human race is at a choice. We can get our collective shit together, do what needs to be done to eradicate Covid-19, or suffer permanently from the “Cold from Hell.” It really is a decision point in human history. Even if we “adapt” to Covid-19, and let it take its blood toll, sooner or later something even worse will show up.

I’m not a big God guy, but if a supreme being sent us Covid-19, their message is “Snap out of your shit and take care of each other.” Kinda what I think Our Saviour’s message amounted to. Not seeing that. Trump could have been the world’s saviour, and instead has gone down the “not my problem” path. Biggest failure in American history, biggest lost opportunity in American history. Trump could have been a hero, he chose to be a Trump.

Stay safe and sane everyone. Sane = ‘Do whatever you possibly can to avoid catching/spreading Covid-19.’ Oh, yeah, today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day:

#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Top Image: Public domain under US copyright law. Bottom image: Found on Facebook, attribution unknown, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 12, 2020 at 8:03 pm

TRUMP TELLS WHITE HOUSE CROWD THAT CORONAVIRUS IS ‘DISAPPEARING’ AMID SHARP INCREASE IN CASES

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Yes, yes he did. From march until today that’s been Trump’s response to Covid-19 … it’s no big deal and it’s going to magically go away soon. Guessing that every day fewer people believe him as they see their friends and relatives sicken and die while Trump does nothing except make empty promises. Here’s one man’s horror story as he found out just how full of sh*t Trump’s claims are: He called it a ‘scamdemic.’ Then his family fell ill, one by one. Please dear reader, do everything you can to avoid this plague, the lives you save may be your loved ones.

In more grim Covid-19 news: Covid-19 virus ‘survives on some surfaces for 28 days’ Granted this isn’t as scary as it may seem at first pass, it’s looking pretty solid that airborne transmission is the main vector. As it’s been pointed out, if one gets Covid-19 one has usually been in a bar, restaurant, or church in the prior two weeks. Or been in close contact with someone who has. Still, another reminder that when it comes to avoiding Covid-19, an excess of caution is the watchword. I need to put a new bottle of alcohol in my car.

In the “Dr Faucis’s days are numbered” file: US Election 2020: Anthony Fauci says Trump campaign ad quote misleading. Basically the Trump campaign edited a quote by Doctor Fauci to make it appear he was saying Trump did “everything he could” to fight Covid-19. Doctor Fauci said nothing of the kind. In other words, while ignoring Doctor Fauci’s recommendations, they lie and claim he supported Trump. A lie inside a lie. This is how Trump has fought Covid-19, by lying. No national shut down, no monitoring the borders for Covid-19, no national test/trace/quarantine program. No nothing, except giving a giant pile of money to the pharmaceutical industry to develop a vaccine. And even if they do, which is by no means certain, a vaccine is only a part of a strategy to fight an infectious disease. By itself it certainly won’t get in under control. Millions of Americans still refuse to wear masks or take other precautions, safe bet they will refuse a vaccine as well.

If the Vietnam War was going on, I’d be blogging about it every day. Covid-19 has already killed about four times as many Americans as our misbegotten war in Vietnam, so yeah, I’m going to keep blogging about it. As so many feared, a second wave is starting up in Europe, though granted it’s nothing like the ongoing carnage in the USA. It means Covid-19 is going to be with us for a while yet. Hell, it’s going to be with us forever most likely, I can’t see it going away any time soon. No matter how much Trump thinks he can bend reality to his will by saying Covid-19 is going to magically disappear.

And people really aren’t ready for the economic fallout that’s coming either, especially in the USA. Huge numbers of small businesses aren’t coming back any time soon. Whole classes of employment have been wiped out, like house cleaners.  In countless ways the cost of Covid-19 is going to be staggering. We’re talking trillions and trillions of dollars in the US alone. It’s hard to imagine how that’s going to play out, but in a country where the sole mission of government is to facilitate the upward transfer of wealth, it’s not going to be pretty.

In non Covid-19 news, I took a mini road trip today. Of the dozens of pictures I took, I think two were passable. I’m gonna share them now, because, well, tomorrow will likely bring a dozen new blog post topics. 2020, the gift that keeps giving.

I have high standards, these are both mediocre photographs. Slideshow OK though. Enjoy! Photography is an art, like writing. Taking these images is an example of white privilege though. I’ll try to explain that in a future blog.

Short post today, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m good. Hope everyone had a safe and sane weekend. Comments, shares, likes appreciated.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Top image: Facebook grab, attribution in the image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Second and third image: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

October 11, 2020 at 8:49 pm

Posted in 2020, Covid-19, Iowa, Science, Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 10, 2020 at 7:52 pm

TRUMP’S TELEVISED MEDICAL EXAMINATION, CRAZY END TO A CRAZY WEEK. PLUS REVERSE ANTHROPOMORPHISM IN CATS.

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It’s true: Trump Will Undergo Televised Medical Evaluation on Friday Night, Fox News Announces. I guess tomorrow I’ll blog about the results, if they aren’t boring. (See * at end) Boring is rarely a word associated with Trump these days as the last few weeks before the election slide by. Can’t even hardly keep up with Trump’s nonsense, some of which is increasingly incomprehensible. Like this: “They literally want to take buildings down and rebuild them… with tiny little windows. Tiny little windows so you can’t see the light.” Trump was ostensibly talking about the Green New Deal or something, nobody really knows what that was about. Maybe he’s seen a secret report about a secret plan? Here’s rest from the same interview: Here are 7 ridiculous moments from Trump’s wacky and nonsensical remarks.

Well, if Trump is having cognitive issues, no surprise: Nearly one-third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients develop brain malfunction, study finds. The second debate has apparently been cancelled at this point, wouldn’t surprise me if there weren’t any more debates. The first one pretty much jumped the shark. Trump is however planning more rallies and superspreader events. Even Doctor Fauci has chimed in on Trump’s refusal to face reality: White House hosted Covid ‘superspreader’ event, says Dr Fauci. At this point wondering if we are going to see Trump slip further and further into madness in the weeks to come.

The good doctor Novella blogged about Pence’s climate change denialism: Climate Denial Talking Points. Almost unprecedented, but scientists all over the world have realized that Trump’s utter failure to address Covid-19 in a rational scientific matter really means he’s off the rails. Climate change denial, it’s not that hard to swallow. At this point it’s a social belief inculated by the GOP and the fossil fuel industry. It may be driven by money or ideology, but at least in the short term it’s not insane.

Covid-19 denial, that’s a whole different ball of wax. There’s no reason to deny its reality, there’s every reason to fight it tooth and nail like pretty much every other nation on the planet. Instead Trump has been the greatest dissembler of Covid-19 misinformation on the planet, and to this day has refused to launch a national effort to fight Covid-19. It’s no wonder scientists are starting to speak out, the economic cost and social damage of letting Covid-19 rage out of control in the US is going to be staggering. In most of the world’s democracies, the Trump administration would have gone down in a vote of no confidence months ago.

I know, I know, in many ways I keep saying the same thing in different ways. Just in the hopes that as my words wander through the Interwebs, maybe they will make a few people think here and there. Denialism of all sorts is a cancer that’s destroying America now, even as it makes the rich ever richer. Covid-19 denial is killing thousands of Americans a week now, I don’t see that I have any choice but to keep writing about it. Keeps me from jumping up on park benches and speechifying. That rarely ends well.

Here in Iowa autumn is definitely upon us. I chose the image above because it captures the colors and mood of autumn, and reminds me of Iowa. Trees, lakes, boats. An Alfred Sisely painting. “Autumn Banks of the Seine near Bougival.” Painted in 1873. It looks so peaceful. I guess life does go on after awful things. 1870-1871 was the Franco-Prussian War, which saw northern France invaded, Paris captured, France humiliated. Hundreds of thousands dead. It was no world war, but was a huge deal in France at the time. And here just a couple of years later Sisely is painting beautiful landscapes.

So here’s hoping a few years from now the sorrows of 2920 are behind and I will be writing about kittens and science again. And here’s a nice story about the same to end my Friday night. A study has confirmed that slow blinks work on cats. Wait, what? Yes, a human who slow blinks at a cat is far more likely to be approached by a cat in a friendly manner. A slow blink is eyes half closed, blink slowly. This is how cats smile, and when they see a human smiling at a cat, they respond favorably.

Not a huge surprise to cat lovers, “don’t look straight at them and keep eyes half closed” has been the advice forever. Nice to see it pass scientific muster, it is real apparently. Does lead to a lot of further questions. I mean, just what is going on here? Somehow part of the cat brain that is wired to communicate with other cats is also responding to human faces? Can the human brain be so tricked? Is this reverse anthropomorphism? Food for thought: Study Confirms ‘Slow Blinks’ Really Do Work to Communicate With Your Cat.

Have a safe and sane weekend everyone, enjoy the nice autumn weather if you have it. Comments, likes, share appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

*Trump’s “medical exam” did not impress apparently: Commentary: Trump’s made-for-TV ‘medical exam’ is as much a sham as his COVID-19 response

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Autumn Banks of the Seine near Bougival, Alfred Sisely, 1873. He’s been dead 120 years, so in any sane world his work is public domain, and so claimed under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 9, 2020 at 8:40 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 8, 2020 at 8:48 pm

SCARY TIMES, WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING?

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Trump’s out of the hospital. He tweeted up a storm this morning. Still confusion and conflicting reports on how sick he was and is. He’s certainly not out of the woods yet, despite his rosy claims to the contrary. His tweets were up to par. Still downplaying Covid-19, praising American medicine, utterly oblivious to the fact that most Americans will never see anything like the care he got. On the public dime no less. The rich are never bothered by being the recipients of socialism, interesting, nu?


And endless twitter attacks on the Democrats. All caps even, so we know he was serious. The usual straw man arguments. Never had a president like this in my life, one who endlessly demonizes anyone not in his base. Obama wore a tan suit and people on the right freaked, he never even remotely said the kinds of things about Republicans that Trump routinely says and tweets about Democrats. It would be absurd if this wasn’t so hateful and divisive … and weird.


There was a moment at Trump’s last Minnesota rally that really kind of summed up the surreal craziness that is Trump. He was raging about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. And he said he’d been reading for years all these reports about her corruption and crimes, leading into a “Lock her up!” chant. OK, reports? What reports were these? If Trump has been getting reports about crimes and corruption, why is nothing being done? The justice department works for him, in fact every federal agency works for him? Why aren’t any federal agencies looking into this, members of congress don’t have any immunity for criminal acts? Why isn’t the Senate holding hearings? And what, exactly, are these crimes he’s read these reports about?


In other words, Trump’s got nothing on Ilhan Omar. This is all a fantasy in Trump’s head. But he’s preaching to people who thought Obama was a secret Muslim working for ISIS, so of course a Somali born congresswoman is no better. This observation is lost on Trump supporters. I doubt many of them read my blog. Who needs a Civil War if both parties already live their lives segregated from each other?


Still seeing peeps who think Trump getting Covid-19 is all a ploy. I suppose on some level it makes sense. Fake getting Covid-19, quickly and easily get over it, then claim “See, just a cold!” It’s all just a Democratic hoax. Yeah, right. (An example of a double positive equaling a negative, love the intricacies of language. And yes, there is similar in other European languages at least, God bless Google.) I don’t think so in other words, Trump’s into bald faced straw man arguments, not complicated deceptive plots.


On the other hand, a nuance that gets lost, even if Trump getting Covid-19 wasn’t some ploy, it’s going to be used as one. Trump is basically betting on making a quick and full recovery, and that the collateral damage as the infection spreads through the White House and beyond is minor. He’ll claim Covid-19 is nothing to worry about, throw away your mask, and get back to work. Herman Cain’s death was a fluke, the actual death toll in the US is exaggerated, and undercounted in other countries. Really, we’re winning with Trump, it’s all under control.


Yeah, right. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Trump is some great genius, Covid-19 is no big deal, he’ll get re-elected and America will enter a Trumpian Golden Age. Would be a huge relief for me. Then I’ll know for certain that when I slammed into that stucco wall Christmas 2018 I was killed and everything after is just a creation of my dying brain.


Stay safe everyone. October is just getting started, gonna be a wild ride. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula


Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.(Image: Public Domain image from Snappygoat. Captures my take on the uncertain times we live in.)

Written by unitedcats

October 5, 2020 at 8:49 pm

30 DAYS UNTIL THE ELECTION OF MY LIFETIME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution unknown, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 4, 2020 at 8:11 pm