Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Trump’ Category

BIDEN, INFRASTRUCTURE, OIL, WAR, RAPE IN THE NEWS

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Biden tells Johnson they should build massive global infrastructure plan to rival China. Well, when is the US going to invest in its own antiquated and failing infrastructure? Biden didn’t say. He did say this though about China, Washington fear mongering at its best:

“They have an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world. That’s not going to happen on my watch.”

No Mr Biden, it’s America that is obsessed with being the most powerful country in the world, it’s America that sees everything in terms of rivalry. This is a nice article that ties into that mindset: The Origins of America’s Unique and Spectacular Cruelty. I was particularly struck by the point that a ridiculously high percentage of the American economy is profit driven. Like health care for example, no other nation has allowed giant corporations to turn health care into a profit making industry. It’s the major reason our healthcare system is so obscenely expensive compared to other countries. The whole idea that somehow profit is the best way to motivate institutions to do a good job is somewhere between silly and sick, though a lot closer to sick. It’s warped our thinking about so many things.

While I’m detailing America’s faults, here’s another: US Fossil Fuel Companies Get a Shocking Amount of Implicit Subsidies Each Year. It’s only shocking to people who haven’t been paying attention. More than $50 billion in the US, nearly a trillion dollars annually over the entire globe. Coal being far and away the worst, if coal power had to pay the health and environmental costs of mining and burning coal, it would all stay in the ground right where it is because there’d be no profit in mining it and burning it for power. Just another way the economy of the world is geared towards making obscene profits for the few by passing the costs onto the public. Ain’t capitalism grand?

Lastly, it really needs to be repeatedly said that America is one of the most warlike (as in endlessly waging wars) nations the world has ever seen. It’s insanely expensive, and not only unnecessary, it’s actually causing terrible harm. And yet here we are. Waging war around the world, suffering a terrible level of domestic gun violence, and most Americans are just oblivious to it. It’s really weird if one steps back and looks at it. No other country built a giant fleet of bomber carrying ships and uses them constantly to bomb people around the world. Your tax dollars at work.

So yeah, speaking of surreal (welcome to America,) the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that if a woman is drunk when she meets a man, he can’t be charged with raping an incapacitated victim. Say what? They are literally saying if a man drugs his victim or gets her drunk, he can be charged with raping an incapacitated woman … but if she was already drugged or drunk, it’s not quite rape? He is going to be retried on a lesser charge, but people are outraged. I am certainly with those who say Minnesota rape law needs to be rewritten.

Oh, the trial of George Flyod’s killer started. Hopefully it will proceed to a sane conclusion, and there will be no unrest. Blog fodder if there is. Um, windy as hell in Northern Iowa. Trump cultists are still predicting his imminent return to the White House. Worse, the GOP seems to be running with “Biden winning was a coup.” Stupider and far more mainstream than birtherism, yeah, American politics not looking good. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Snappygoat image of the USS Kitty Hawk, Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 29, 2021 at 8:03 pm

LIFE IS ABOUT FINDING A SAFE PLACE TO REST

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Life is about finding a safe place to rest. Working is easy, for most of us. Finding a safe place to rest, trickier. Nowhere is every really fully safe of course, cosmic debris can get one anytime, anywhere. Still, most of us in the west have it pretty good. However, even if one finds a safe spot from outer demons, the inner ones remain. Maslow didn’t account for them. Kafka tried.

I notice a lot of people are writing “One Year of Covid” posts. True enough I suppose. I wondered when I first began to be alarmed, and I’m pleased to say that by late February 2020 I was already very concerned about Covid and blogging about it regularly. Maybe pleased isn’t quite the right word, relieved? I was right! (“Extremists are only valuable to have around when they are right.” — Anonymous.) I’m an extremist in the global disaster sense, I knew early on that Covid was a big deal, that every precaution to avoid getting it should be taken, and I urged others to do the same.

A year later, what’s the deal? About 750,000 Americans have died of Covid, about ten million have long term health deficits from Covid. Yeah, the official death toll is just over 500,000, but the excess deaths, deaths above the normal death rate, are about 50% higher. And Covid is the only thing that accounts for it. 3rd or 4th worst mass death event in US history, and it’s still not over yet. And not likely to be anytime soon, Covid is mutating rapidly and it’s already clear that vaccines will need constant updates. The flu from hell is here to stay.

Amazingly enough, people have normalized Covid in many ways. It’s not like a war. October 1918 was the deadliest month in US history, dwarfing all else. Yet few Americans know that, forgotten in history, because they died of the flu. The same now, just under one in every four hundred Americans dead, vastly worse than 9/11 (250 times worse) … and Covid is just background noise in the media. Life goes on I guess. Some people still think Covid is a hoax or exaggerated. It’s their social knowledge. Social knowledge is a powerful thing. Rules us all really. This is important to let me clarify. Social knowledge is what one’s tribe believes to be true about the world.

And until the Age of Science, social knowledge was all people had outside of their own limited experience. And we’re a tribal animal, it’s very important that the tribe members all live in the same reality. So it’s not surprising that people are prone to adapting the shared world view (another term for social knowledge) of their friends, family, and community. And since we all have a need to understand the world, or make sense of it at least, people who claim to explain the world can become very popular. Messiah’s are common, and some do indeed change the world.

Christ, Buddha, Muhammad come to mind. Trump is another, though who knows how long term his effect will be. Q as well. The popularity of both is perfectly normal human behaviour. Will they be temporary disturbances in the force, or will they ripple down through history? Will there be a church of Trump or Q? Damned if I know. I’d give both at least a 1% chance of seeding something long term. Today’s theory is that Q is an AI or an alien (or an alien AI,) experimenting on the human race. Might be benevolent, benign, or malignant. Ancient aliens theory is quaint compared to my suspicions about aliens, nu?

Here in northern Iowa, winter came back, but it’s rapidly leaving again. I’m going to plant flowers, and when I get my second Covid shot, I’m leaving too! I’m going to drive around the country, see stuff, take pictures, and blog. And since there are people out there, even if it violates the introverts’ code, I will sometimes talk to them. Shudder. Hopefully they will say something worth blogging about. And with any luck I will find nice spots to rest in briefly while I am at it. A man can dream.

Stay safe everyone. As always, comments, likes, patrons appreciated.   #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Picture I took of the frozen lake and seawall just before winter ended the first. I photoshopped out a second ice fishing hut, and I’m pleased with the image I created. It was a magical sunset.)

Written by unitedcats

March 18, 2021 at 7:27 pm

“NOTHING WILL FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE”

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OK, I think I am at the root of my writer’s block. I’m sick about writing about politics. For a number of reasons. I was pretty obsessed with it in the run up to and after the election, writing daily for several months. Politics was never one of the big interests in my life, so on some levels it was a chore. The whole Trump phenomena, while fascinating in sociological, cultural, and historical perspectives, is nonetheless exhausting. Especially this last year where he so profoundly dropped the ball on Covid. Plus I’m stressed out in general from social isolation, and my father dying of Covid has still not fully been processed. Losing a family member to a natural disaster is bad enough, worse when one’s own government’s incompetence made the disaster far worse than it needed to be.

Enough about Trump. That felt good to type! No, the core of the reason I am sick at heart about politics now, is that in many ways things are worse under Biden. Let me get this off my chest and I’ll get back to historical puppy massacres and other non political topics. It’s worse, because now far more Americans are out of touch with reality. During Trump’s term, yes, his followers were blind to just what a terrible president he was. At least the majority of Americans understood Trump was a terrible president for more or less objective reasons. Now with Biden in charge, it’s much different. The Trump supporters all hate Biden, and for ridiculous reasons that for the most part have nothing to do with reality. And Biden supporters for  the most part don’t see that Biden is terrible for poor and working class Americans. Just like they are so fond of pointing out about GOP voters, the Dems voted for and are happy about a candidate who is utterly opposed to their interests. Try this article, it explains it better: “We really haven’t contemplated the idea that the U.S. will continue to go its own hyper-capitalist way, cementing its status as the gun-toting, feudal, corporate-governed freakshow of the West.

So we’ve got the Dems pretending to help the American people while they sell them out to the big corporations, the rich, and the Pentagon. And the GOP fighting a weird fantasy socialist Democratic plot, so engaged in culture wars and owning the libs they no longer even pretend to govern  … and their fans eat it up. Two great recent examples, laws passed or proposed by state GOP governments: Republican Lawmaker Proposes Death Penalty For Women Who Have Abortions In The State and Oklahoma House Passes Bill To Give Immunity To Drivers Who Hit Protesters. The thing to note about these laws, and so so many GOP laws, is they don’t actually try to solve any problems. Threatening women with the death penalty isn’t going to prevent abortions, it will just make them more expensive for rich people and more dangerous for poor people. And how the hell does encouraging people to drive into crowds of protestors solve anything?

So yes, back to history, science, war, and other fun topics.Maybe even some fiction, that would be fun. Lastly, I want to thank all those who expressed concern over my father’s illness and death. And concern over my bad reaction to the Covid vaccine. It only lasted a day, back to good health now and looking forward to April 15th when I will be able to cautiously emerge from social isolation. It’s been a rough year, anxiety is still definitely an issue, but hopefully things will look up from here. Stay safe everyone: #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I mean, it’s simply a quote, it’s always legal to quote people within reason.)

Written by unitedcats

March 15, 2021 at 7:12 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Personal, Politics, Trump

MARCH 4TH 2021: BIDEN REVEALED AS CHINESE CLONE, TRUMP REINAUGERATED AS THOUSANDS OF SPACE FORCE SHOCK TROOPS DESCEND ON WASHINGTON. HUNDREDS ARRESTED, AOC, HARRIS, AND HILLARY FLEE ON AIRFORCE TWO TO CUBA

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“Washington is calm tonight as Space Force Shock Troops backed by thousands of QAnon and related militia forces swept into Washington, with Trump revealing in a press conference damning evidence of high crimes by the Democratic Washington establishment; shortly afterwards he was reinaugurated as the US president. The carefully planned and executed “Operation Storm” caught various Democratic criminals in the act, many confessing and providing evidence to avoid summary execution. Across America millions came to the streets to peacefully celebrate a return to justice and democracy, and the fitting end to one of the most demonic conspiracies ever.”

Well, that was fun. Once again QAnon’s hopes for their Messiah being magically reinstated have failed to materialize. And messiah it is, Trump’s popularity isn’t based on any reality based examination of his life and accomplishments, except in a few exceedingly narrow categories. Interesting times indeed. I’m frightened of Trump supporters now, there’s been a lot of crazy talk. In Texas in particular there’s talk of secession and kicking Democrats out of the state. Yeah, extremists for now, but scary times.

We are seeing the GOP doubling down on voter suppression efforts in states they control. Another beauty of Trump’s truthless claims of massive voter fraud. Healthy democracies make it easy to vote, because it’s not that hard to prevent voter fraud in the computer era. The US is not a healthy democracy, with GOP gerrymandering and voter suppression making it less so on a regular basis. The truth is most Americans are reasonably liberal and open minded, and not interested in living in a “Christian Nation” defined by an old testament Evangelical worldview.

Frankly at this point, give the GOP Texas and the south. I sometimes think the North should have just let the South go its own way in 1860. Slavery was already an athema to the rest of the developed world. The CSA would have been the Saudi Arabia of the world, without the oil. They would have been a friendless pariah state, with an economy increasingly lagging in a growing industrial world. Slave plantations could not compete with factories and mechanization. IE the South was a freaking lost cause in 1860, and is even more so now.

So give Texas, Florida, and a half dozen southern states to the Trump supporters and let them create their deregulated Christian utopia. Then the rest of us can rejoin the modern world and get on with an inclusive democratic America based on what works best for the common good. No ideology necessary. Things like single payer healthcare, a minimum wage, etc help everyone. The rich are slightly less rich, they’ll survive. Works just fine in the rest of the developed world, why the richest nation the world has ever known can’t provide a fair distribution of wealth to its citizens isn’t because of shortage, it’s because of greed.

So, two other items in the news. The people who have the rights to the Dr Seuss books announced that they would cease publishing six of his more obscure books because they contained offensive racist stereotype images. And the right wing “cancel culture” outrage machine went into full ballistic mode, claiming censorship, Biden did this, etc. Sigh. Times change people, and often for the better. Recognizing that dated racist stereotypes aren’t really a good thing to distribute is a perfectly reasonable and commendable business decision. If people just need to have one of these books, they will be on Ebay forever. And boy, it was a brilliant marketing move, sales of Dr Suess books have gone through the roof.

In a similar vein, Mr Potato head, a toy from my freaking childhood, rebranded their product to be more inclusive. They made it so kids could make Mr and Mr Potato head, etc, if they wanted. Again, the right wing outrage machine went nuts. What can I say, if your worldview is so fragile that even acknowledging that other views are possible … you’re a fucking Nazi and a disgrace to Christ. Let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with Trump supporters. I have a problem with them thinking their way is the only way and everyone who doesn’t think their way is the enemy.

Basically at this point Trump is the Messiah to his followers. We’re far beyond politics, debate, or compromise. Historically messiahs make terrible heads of state, Trump certainly filled those shoes nicely; but to his followers, he was the best president ever! And still is to many of them, I came across this today:

“Wow. Just wow.

I went to a friends house tonight to say goodbye to her mom who is moving back to Alabama. I’ve seen these people all along, and we’ve been careful, but their politics are opposite of mine. We normally just don’t discuss it, but tonight I walked into it.

They honestly believe:

Biden is not actually president, Trump is.

Hillary is in jail.

A secret inauguration happened today.

They had a lot of reasons to back up their claims.

They spent much of the evening showing each other pictures from right wing social media “proving” their theories.

Crazy is real, peeps.”

OK then. I wish we could just shuffle Trump supporters off into a private holodeck universe where they could live out their lives in some fantasy Trumptopia. No such luck. Have a great weekend everyone. Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much, processing my dad’s death is harder than I expected. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 5, 2021 at 8:56 pm

AMERICA, HISTORY, VIOLENCE, TRUMP

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I realized today that I am suffering from symptoms of anxiety. Not terribly surprising,Covid is still raging, the worst American mass death event of my life, and I’ve been socially isolated for a year. That’s going to be stressful. And my father just died. And not only died, but died of Covid. I know I’ve written about how Covid was going to kill people we knew, but I wasn’t prepared for it to hit so close to home. Couldn’t have been prepared actually, the death of a loved one will always hurt, but some deaths are worse than others. This one will always hurt, I lost my dad in the pandemic. Words I never dreamt I would say.

There’s one other thing  though. Bear with me, going to try to tie some things together. A huge source of the anxiety I realize is due to the Capitol Riot. This was an unprecedented American historical event, like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, no one really saw it coming.* That’s not really what’s bothering me though. That I could deal with … if the national response to it had been, well, rational. IE: This was Trump’s doing, and it’s unacceptable. Like how most of England responded to Guy Fawkes attempt to blow up the King and Parliament.

No, that’s not how Trump supporters responded to the Capitol Riot. Broadly speaking they responded in two ways. Denial and rationalization. Trump supporters either denied Trump caused the riot, it was some sort of Antifa/Democrat false flag operation; or it was a justified response to the “Voter fraud cost Trump the election” lie. While there are some voices of reason among the Republicans, a very solid majority is, well, believing the lie. Living in a fantasy world. Seceding from reality as it were.

And this isn’t new, this is where I am stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. How to say this? White America is a nation almost unequaled in its staggering propensity to justify violence that preserved its white ruling class superiority. And the Capitol Riot was an extension of the same, it’s not some distant historical aberration, this attitude exists with us today. “Everything’s fine, America is great, any problems are caused by minorities themselves or leftists.”

Mass shootings for example. America has a horrible problem with mass shootings, no other developed country has anything like it. And when one of them does have a mass shooting, they do everything they can to prevent another, usually with great success. In America, people pretend it didn’t happen, or pretend it was unavoidable. The right’s response to America’s horrible gun violence problem is pretty much the same as its response to the Capitol Riot.

And it goes all the way back. America’s founding fathers set up a system where white property owning males reigned supreme. Race riots and native genocide were a huge part of American history, not to mention lynchings. The freaking Civil War, the greatest mass death event in US history, was fought because a certain subset of white Americans wanted to own human beings as property.

And they haven’t given up yet. The Confederates called the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression” and that mindset is still driving Trump supporters. No, progressives don’t want to cancel them. They don’t want them to feel guilty for the crimes of their ancestors. They don’t want to outlaw Christianity or install a communist government. We just want them to acknowledge that there were terrible things in American history, and we can do better.

Did that make any sense? I’m frightened and anxious because we went through the looking glass the past few months. This isn’t Birtherism or Russiagate nonsense, Trump supporters are now living in an alternate reality. Trump is their messiah, and he tells them what is real. This scares the f–k out of me. Nixon or Reagan don’t hold a candle to this sort of devotion. There’s never been anything like this in my life before, and as a student of history, Trumps are few and far between.

Usually they’re smarter though. What a sheetshow. Stay safe everyone, still crazy times everywhere. Covid is in fact real. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

*If on January 5 one predicted “Trump will incite a mob tomorrow, and they will overrun the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the election,” one would not have been taken seriously.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 3, 2021 at 10:20 pm

THE ENTIRE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IN ONE BLOG POST?

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I was going to sum up the entire upcoming Biden administration in one blog post, but I realized that’s impossible. Maybe double spaced with anecdotes? It would still be boring fluff. The upcoming Biden term can actually be summed up in two words: “Obama 2.0” In a sentence: “Obama faithfully served Wall Street, the Pentagon, and corporate America. Biden will do exactly the same.” I see zero indication from his history or actions since taking office to indicate otherwise.

On the plus side, it simplifies analysis of what will happen now. Mainstream Dems will be happy, they liked Obama, they will like Biden. The Dems that understand that some actual changes need to be made or the rich will just keep getting richer on the worker’s backs, well, they can protest. Look what Occupy Wall Street accomplished. I just don’t see anything earthshaking coming out of Demland in the near future. Bernie has been safely sidelined, maybe AOC will get something done, but I’m not betting on it.

On the right, well, they have seceded from reality, not sure what’s in store for them. Biden’s election didn’t usher in some sort of socialist nightmare, see meme above, but that won’t change the fact that a huge percentage of them are still following Trump, convinced he actually won the election. I don’t have a problem with that. Trump has spectacularly failed at pretty much everything he’s done, the chances he will provide the GOP with competent leadership is effectively zero. Timothy McVeigh type lunacy is possible, but without anyone at the helm, that won’t change anything. Still, scary times: The Republican revolt against democracy, explained in 13 charts.

So if we step back, and look at the world? We’re still screwed. The world is run by a handful of armed gangs whose purpose is to protect the rich and keep them growing ever richer. A world wracked by utterly unnecessary war and poverty. Humans easily have the knowledge and resources to turn Earth into a happy place for all. Yet here we are, learning nothing from Covid, essentially betting that Global Warming is a hoax, and running a global economy based on exploitation of workers and the environment for the benefit of the rich.

It’s not going to end well. The science of exploitativeness is easily winning against the science of cooperation and empathy. Dark irony really. The great secret humans used to conquer the globe and become the most successful species ever was the gift of community cooperation. And that same talent made it possible for the few to get the many to cooperate for the benefit of the few. And this gentle reader, is why I think intelligence such as ours is an evolutionary dead end. Ultimately even less successful than the dinosaurs. They had no clue the asteroid was coming, we have plenty of warning and are still oblivious.

On a personal level, hope to be here for a few more decades blogging on it all. The deathwatch and mourning for my father is over. Thanks for the condolences. As his eldest child, I got to identify his remains today. All virtual due to Covid of course. The funeral home sent me pictures. Yep, it was him. Not that there was any doubt. Sad beyond words, but words are all I have. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 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

March 1, 2021 at 7:48 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Personal, Trump

TEXAS FOX LUNACY, WHY AMERICA IS BROKEN ILLUSTRATED. AND MARS.

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The modern GOP is pretty easy to predict, if something bad happens, the liberals engineered it. MAGA mob storms capitol? Antifa false flag operation. A terrible plague ravishes the land? Democratic hoax. The Texas power grid fails in a severe winter storm, those damn liberals and their green power! Fox repeated this particular lie endlessly. ‘Simply laughable’: How a lie about the Texas energy crisis dominated Fox’s coverage. It’s not really that laughable, because people believe the lies. No, GOP deregulation is why their power grid failed, it’s not even debatable. And people have been pointing out for a decade that the Texas power grid wasn’t ready for a storm like this: Beto O’Rourke said Texas was warned for years about power grid.

And Texas Senator Ted Cruz is really taking flak for fleeing with his family to Cancun while Texas suffered its worst natural disaster in decades. Millions without power, and he flies to Mexico for some sun. His excuse(s) aren’t flying well: People Can’t Help But Mock Ted Cruz’s Absurd Excuse For Cancun Trip. He blamed his daughters. Presumably they are liberals? It’s all just weird these days. But yeah, more evidence that more than just America’s infrastructure is rotten to the core, our ruling class is about the same. At least he’s getting fire from some fellow Republicans, but not most of course. If Obama had done something like this, the GOP outrage would have reverberated through the ages.

Gets weirder too. It’s becoming a thing in Evangelical circles to predict Trump is coming back. Not in 2024, but this year, 2021. The Christian Prophets Who Say Trump Is Coming Again. Somehow God is pissed that Trump is no longer president, and he’s going to reinstate him pronto. Because, Trump has God’s blessing or something. Yes, foreign and future readers, a lot of American evangelicals are, well, out of touch with reality. There’s no Constitutional way to change the election results. And boy, on the Evangelical fringe, the Texas winter storm was “scientifically impossible” and therefore caused by “weather manipulation:” Christian Activist: TX Freeze Was Weather Manipulation. Tens of millions of Americans believe this stuff, not promising for a healthy debate.

In many ways, all not that surprising. The GOP spent Obama’s administration pumping birther nonsense, claiming he wasn’t really the president, and doing everything in their power to demonize and obstruct him. It’s a logical extension to “Biden cheated so Trump really won.” Gotta remember, the GOP can’t win on popularity. Twice this century they “won” a presidential election even though they lost the popular vote, and Trump almost pulled it off again. The GOP right led by Evangelical extremists (people that want to turn the USA into a “Christian Nation,”) has moved considerably to the right in recent decades. Only maybe a third of America has followed them, the rest of us actually want to live in a secular democracy where Americans of all stripes are welcome. That’s why Obama got elected twice, the majority of Americans didn’t care that he was black.

I’m of course no Obama fan. While I think it’s a good thing Americans elected him twice, God bless em, their hearts were in the right place … Obama was true to his voting record. He was a complete tool of corporate America, Wall Street, and the pentagon. He normalized forever war and erased what remained of the Democrat’s actual progressive wing. Peace and actual economic justice are off the table, but LGTB rights! Couldn’t we have both? Not with Obama, and sure not looking like it with Biden.

My father is still alive, but very weak. Take care gentle readers, hopefully this is the last cold weekend in North America. Maybe. More likely than God putting Trump back into the White House. And if somehow Trump does get back into the White House in the near future, woo boy, blogging heaven! I’ll be back Monday, shares, comments, likes, follows, patrons, donations as always appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Mars Perseverance Rover two meters above the ground. Amazing Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 19, 2021 at 8:43 pm

STRANGE DAYS, WEIRD TIMES IN AMERICA

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Came across this article: The United States is visibly in an early stage of disintegration, as the Internet changes before my eyes. Tonight’s recommended read. Both the left and the right are claiming Internet censorship, both are right in that there’s a struggle to control the narrative on the Internet, but suggesting it is some monolithic entity like liberals (The Right’s Straw Man nonsense,) to the Tech Giants/government (In the Left’s fear that progressive views are being shut out,) isn’t supported by evidence or reason.  Damned if I know what is going on, but the times are a changing rapidly. Both America and the world are in difficult times.

The recommended article about the U.S. being in disintegration had some false arguments in it, but factually it was right on the money. By any rational metrics the US is way sick. All the gains in the economy the past four decades have gone to the people at the tippy top. Legalized corruption on a breathtaking scale. Our infrastructure is a decaying joke, our public education and health little better, the shame of the developed world. Our military eats up all the money the rich don’t get, and the rich profit handsomely from it to boot.

We haven’t won a war for decades despite massive military spending, but we have this global military empire fighting low level wars all over the planet. Is there some plan to this? No. And our new Caesar, Biden, has made it clear he’s going to keep it all up. So there’s that. And, well, half the white population is convinced that  all of America’s problems are caused by everyone else …  in this big violent liberal conspiracy to destroy America somehow. Freaking weird people.

And Covid is ravaging America like no other country because our ruling class is so dysfunctional. Isn’t that a diplomatic way of putting it? So it’s not a good look for the largest empire the world has ever seen. America is kind of the New Byzantine Empire. I could write a blog about that alone, but not tonight. Huge, corrupt, archaic, a hollow empire, not adapting well to the changing world. An empire where a rich province is struck by a natural disaster, and the results are far worse than they could have been because it is in a corrupt dysfunctional empire; and the Right blames the liberals and green power. Like Trump’s claims about election fraud, the idea that green energy and AOC(!) are responsible for Texas’s poor response to a blizzard are both silly and easily factually refuted. Future historians will have fun with America in the 2020s. I mean, I’m a contemporary, and it’s crazy to me.

On the plus side, sort of a side effect to all this madness, a Golden Age of Solar System exploration. NASA just landed the most sophisticated robot lander ever on Mars. It takes 3-22 minutes to get radio messages to Mars, so real time communication is impossible, probes have to do some things, like landing, by themselves. And this one, Perseverance, was the first one to land in a tricky area, chosen for its science potential; instead of all previous landers who tried to land in big flat areas. Science marches on.

The Perseverance rover is also going to gather samples to be picked up and returned to Earth on near future missions. I plan on continuing to blog until then. Though my erstwhile assistant wants me to try vlogging. She has a point. The deep freeze continues in Northern Iowa. No news about my father, he is alive or dead. Stay safe and warm everyone.  God bless. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: First image from the just landed NASA Perseverance Mars lander, with a photoshopped recent viral Bernie Sanders image. Attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US Copyright Law.)

Written by unitedcats

February 18, 2021 at 8:56 pm

RUSH LIMBAUGH, THE MAN WHO CONFLATED PATRIOTISM WITH ‘HATE THY NEIGHBOR,’ IS DEAD. GOOD.

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I’m not normally one to celebrate someone’s death, but there are the rare cases where I will make an exception. Rush Limbaugh is one of those cases. Hell, the first case, I’m not sure I’ve ever been so unconflicted happy that someone died. This was a man who devoted his life to persuading Americans to blindly hate their fellow Americans for no other reason than differences of opinion. More than anyone else Rush created the divided America we live in today where a third of Americans fear and hate anyone who doesn’t think in lockstep with them. When I was younger Republicans and Democrats disagreed, but generally got along fine outside of politics. Name calling and accusing the other of wanting to destroy America was in the fringe, not mainstream. This is a guy who said (paraphrased) we should keep two liberals alive in every town on display so people can see what they were. If that’s not mindless hatred, I don’t know what is.

Rush also normalized name-calling as a mainstream thing. Referring to people one disagrees with as ‘libtards’ or ‘feminazis’ isn’t political disagreement or debate, it’s dehumanizing one’s political opponents so that their viewpoints don’t have to be considered, let alone discussed. Name calling is just one of the many false arguments and logical fallacies Rush normalized. People say, why not just listen to what he has to say! I did, on a number of occasions. A third of what he said was just insults and name calling. A third was just lies. (Another truly special form of false argument.) And the last third was just false arguments strung together. They sound terribly convincing to people who agree with his conclusions, but aren’t actually logical arguments at all.

Just one example from when I listened to him. Rush claimed that a study showed that if California adopted health care for all, it would cost more than the state’s entire existing budget. Right, let’s think about this. Every other developed nation on Earth has universal health care, at far less cost than Americans pay, but California, far richer than pretty much all of them, can’t possibly afford it? Safe to say that this “study” was conducted by America’s corporate “profit off of sick people” health care disaster. And Rush was carrying water for them. Yeah, he cared about Americans. Snort.

Rush was not a conservative either. Or more accurately, he changed the definition of conservative into “someone who hates and fears anyone who isn’t a conservative.” Eisenhower would have been appalled. Hell, even Reagan would likely have been appalled. Hating other Americans is neither conservative nor Christian, but Rush worked very hard to change the definition of conservative into hate-mongering, false argument spewing fools. Good job Rush, tearing a country in two is a real accomplishment.

And then Covid came along. I always wondered if Rush’s schtick was just an act, and he was laughing all the way to the bank. Then America faced the worst crisis of his life, one that cried out for an apolitical science and reason cased response. What did he say? “Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.” And millions of his followers believed him, and all the other BS about Covid being some sort of Democratic hoax to make Trump look bad. And hundreds of thousands of people who could have lived are dead as a result. Good going Rush, like Trump, you could have helped lead America and the world in the fight against Covid. You chose ignorance and partisanship instead.

And Trump gave Rush a Medal of Freedom. That Trump gave it to him, and he accepted it pretty much sums both of them up. I was hoping that maybe when Rush was diagnosed with fatal cancer he might change his tune. People can change. Carnegie was a rat bastard all his life, but in his old age he spent nearly a trillion dollars in today’s money on public works. Rush didn’t ever change. If there’s a heaven and a hell, I know where Rush is going. Jesus and so many others told us to love our neighbor, not hate and fear him.

I dunno, kind of a negative post. I think humans all need to work together, we are all in the same boat. I just think that those who devote their life to demonizing other humans are part of the problem, not part of the solution. I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument to the contrary. Maybe Rush’s death heralds the end of an era, the one man who really took up his mantle (a certain former president) may also be on a downward spiral. Hate isn’t going to fix America, it’s time to move on. Yeah, I’m an optimist.

My father still lives. Spring is around the corner. Life goes on. Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 17, 2021 at 9:51 pm

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