Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

TRUMP WINS WORLD WAR TWO, CURES CANCER, CATCHES THE ZODIAC KILLER AND GRATEFULLY ACCEPTS A THIRD TERM FROM AN ADORING NATION

leave a comment »

Today is Juneteenth, a holiday the freeing of slaves in the USA is celebrated. June 19th, 1865, the Union army freed the slaves in Texas. (Though it wasn’t quite the end, a few border states still had slaves until December.) So, Happy Juneteenth to my black friends and readers. I’m going to write a Black Lives Matter post one of these days. It’s hard because trying to write something that will reach the people who need to read it is tough. The people who think whites are a persecuted minority, blacks are for the most part thugs, and BLM is a terrorist organization devoted to killing all whites. Sigh. I miss the America of my youth where we all watched the same news and lived in the same reality, even if we disagreed about how to navigate it.

Remember Christopher McCandless? How about the movie “Into the Wild”? Basically after hitchhiking around the country for a few years, he hiked into the Alaskan wilderness in April 1992 with minimal supplies planning to “live off the land.”  Four months later he was dead of starvation, though poisoning may well have contributed to his death. A tragic story, made famous by a book in 1996 and more famous by the movie  “Into the Wild” in 2007. Subsequently the abandoned bus Mr. McCandless lived in became a tourist attraction. And this is where it gets even more tragic, since 2007 numerous people and parties have had to be rescued trying to get to the bus, and two people actually died. Apparently a lot of people watching the movie missed the message, don’t travel into deep wilderness unless you goddamn know what you’re doing. So now the DNR and the Alaska National Guard have removed the bus by helicopter to a place of safety. It will likely go on display somewhere where people can go look at it without risking their lives. Humans. “Buy them books and send them to school. What do they do? They eat the books.”

So the above illustration is a shamelessly copied image. Failure of central government illustrated? These are western democracies similar to the US in many respects. Get to some of those dirty commie countries, the comparison is worse. Cuba, 85 deaths. Vietnam, 0 deaths. And I’m being, what, sarcastic, facetious, when I say dirty commie countries? Drawing attention to the truly sick idea that there are “good” and “bad” government ideologies. No, there are 300 plus countries, each and every one of which is a unique case. Yeah, reality is complicated. My point here with this illustration is that the US federal government’s response to Covid-19 has been dreadfully inadequate by all reputable measures. The “pro-life” party running the country has cost the lives of tens of thousands of Americans, wtf?

And what is Trump doing to fix this? He’s holding a huge indoor rally this weekend, his first since he belatedly recognized Covid-19 was a big deal. Is there a vaccine? No. Has herd immunity been reached? No. Will the participants all be wearing masks and practising safe social distancing? No. Is a robust national test and trace program in place to deal with and shut down the Covid-19 outbreaks that events like this are almost sure to cause? No. So what the hell is going on here? Today’s theory remains unchanged, Trump pretty much only has one schtick, self-promotion, and it’s all he’s got to deal with this crisis. He’s a one trick pony so to speak. Will this weekend be the start of the Trump Pandemic? Maybe. Will he announce nothing but the great things he’s done? Probably. Will future historians be baffled.Definitely.

I’m baffled. The weirdest thing about the summer of Covid-19 so far is that we can’t talk about it except within those who share our social beliefs. During the run up to the invasion of and the subsequent occupation of Iraq after 9/11 I had a lot of engagement with people on the other side of the coin, both in real life and online. Today, essentially none. I guess I should call one of my oldest friends, he was a Trump stalwart last I checked. I’m afraid to know, it’s like we’re on different sides. I guess Lincoln corresponded with Davis during the Civil War, so maybe I should email him.

So hey, gentle readers, enjoy the good times if such is happening, that’s what I’m doing. (Drinking a craft beer and eating cheese with a homemade biscuit as I type.) A third of America is going to Trump rallies and thinks things are fine. The other two thirds, well, a lot of them don’t grasp how bad it is, and/or believe ridiculous conspiracy theories. Some of us are trying to make sense of it all, me included, comments/shares appreciated.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Used without permission. New York Times, claiming Fair Use, etc. I’m a subscriber and support them FWIW.)

Written by unitedcats

June 19, 2020 at 7:38 pm

LIGHTS OUT IN WASHINGTON, Part II, “Protesters dispersed with Tear Gas so Trump can Pose at a Church.”

leave a comment »

Well, that headline sure sums up Trump in a nutshell. While he was giving his “law and order speech” yesterday,  police used mace, rubber bullets, and horses to disperse peaceful, lawful constitutionally protected protestors so he could walk across the street and pose waving a bible in front of a church. A church that vociferously objected, never gave permission for their church to be so used, and supports the protestors. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, responsible for the church that Trump visited said: “The Bible teaches us to love God and our neighbor; that all people are beloved children of God; that we are to do justice and love kindness. The President used our sacred text as a symbol of division.” Apparently Trump doesn’t have to obey the law even while he is insisting he’s the “law and order” president. It’s nonsense like this that makes the aliens fly right by. I should also note that if the president of one of our designated enemies did this, the GOP would be howling in outrage at the perversion of democracy.

Sigh. Notes in the margins so to speak. Observations and thoughts on the nation’s travails, struggling with a pandemic and widespread civil unrest. In a nutshell, police brutality has been an ongoing problem in the US for decades. The police kill like a thousand people a year in the USA, under 100 in Germany, France, and the UK combined. It’s a horrible level of police violence for a self-styled developed country. As long as that continues, protests and calls for change are going to continue. If someone’s cause is just, that some violence is done in its service doesn’t magically delegitimize the cause. And it most certainly doesn’t legitimize calling on the troops and police to quell the disturbance, as if people angered by decades of unjustified police killings and violence were somehow the enemy of the state.

It’s not like there are no reasonable solutions. How about cops being trained to much higher standards, like the rest of the developed world does? How about reversing the militarization of the police, bipartisan efforts are already under way in that regard. They’re freaking police, not an occupying army for God’s sake. How about admitting there’s a problem and trying to address it? Apparently that’s too subtle or too complicated for the great thinker in the White House to come up with. “The riots must be being orchestrated by my enemies, so they must be crushed.” Never before had a president in my life who made everything about him. Narcissism illustrated.

I had a thought I don’t recall being pointed out anywhere. The original George Floyd incident. OK, I spent decades going to little liquor stores in sketchy neighborhoods. And yes, a few times a customer tried to pay with a stolen credit card or some shit. The store owners refused to honor it and booted the customer, end of story. In this case, the clerk took obviously fake money, gave George his purchase, and then called the cops? Wouldn’t it be easier to not honor the counterfeit money in the first place? It sounds like the store owner was trying to create a confrontation and a problem. And this is the shit black people have to deal with regularly, people call the cops on them at the drop of a hat. This time the wrong cop showed up, though with his history of violent complaints, one has to wonder why he was still a cop? This gets back to what I said above, why the hell can’t we hold cops to a higher standard? And why the hell don’t cops support such efforts, though granted there are those that do.

One of my biggest fears now is the chaos engendered by Trump will “break” the system, and we will get a military coup or some such. IE there have to be all sorts of Dick Cheney’s working in the shadows, people perfectly willing and capable of using Trump’s chaos to further their agenda. Trump would make the perfect martyr to install a Christian theocracy for example. Scary days. Paranoid nonsense? IDK anymore. We’ll see how it plays out, but I don’t see any lights in the tunnel yet. At least none that aren’t train wrecks rushing towards us. Boy, just a few months ago I thought the Iowa caucus screw up was the big story of the year, if not the decade, that I would have front line seats to.

Let’s see, May brought us murder hornets, a horrible police killing, and the worst civil unrest and police riots since the 1960s. Still waiting for June’s treat. Asteroids? Ebola outbreak? Tigers? Whatever it is, I’m sure it will generate some hysterical memes. If things keep humming along, I might post every day for a while. To say I am upset and my concentration has been affected would be an understatement. I watch the news, I rage, I write. Rinse and repeat.

Stay safe, stay sane everyone.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Antififa activists storm ashore June 6 1944 in the beginning of the end for One of the world’s most evil fascist tyrants. How we got from all Americans  knowing fascism was bad to a POTUS defending Nazi flag waving thugs and demonizing anti-fascists is a mystery to me. Credit: Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 2, 2020 at 1:58 pm

I HAVE NO WORDS, GROCERS TO FIGHT A PANDEMIC?

leave a comment »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

March 13, 2020 at 7:32 pm

DARK DAYS

with one comment

Number three abortive Covid-19 post. I notice it’s not making a huge amount of news, I think some attempt is being made to avoid panic. A good thing, panic rarely helps. As the CDC says, keep calm and wash your hands. At this point, still thinking Covid-19 is the cold from hell. The 1918 flu of our time. 40-70% of the world’s population will catch it, millions will die. The US will be particularly hard hit because of the dismal state of our public health care system, among other factors I previously blogged about.

Economic disruption is almost a certainty at this point. Just the closing of factories in China is going to result in empty store shelves here. Those of us who remember the 1973 gas crisis know what it will be like. Except there will be shortages of all sorts of things, not just gas. A little preparation now goes a long ways, I’m stocking up on items I know I will use eventually no matter what.

Going after Trump a waste of time, he’s made things worse and his response to this crisis is questionable, but the USA’s horrific public health system long preceded Trump. Turns out a health care system that prioritizes corporate profit over public health is poorly equipped to cope with a pandemic. Who would have guessed? I actually kinda feel sorry for Trump, he actually believes he’s this smart and competent leader. And now that he’s facing a real crisis, not an imaginary crisis or a crisis of his own making, he’s out of his depth. He’s like this guy, it’s painful to watch.

Watch for scammers. Facebook and Amazon have already pulled millions of ads for products claiming they will cure or prevent Covid-19, or price gouging on things like masks. (Masks are of little value anywise, they can certainly help prevent sick people from spreading disease, but they are of little use in protecting from it.) It goes without saying that getting Covid-19 advice from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow or Jim Bakker is a bad idea. Hoping and praying are of zero medical benefit. Here’s the CDC guide for preparing for it, real advice from real experts. Yeah, I’m old fashioned that way.

Some of the rumours flying are ridiculous. Read a post by a guy claiming Covid-19 reached the US by way of Chinese balloon bombs, modelled after the Japanese balloon bombs of WW2. Yes, that’s what comes from mixing poor logic, a limited understanding of history, and racism. There’s so many things wrong with the idea I don’t even know where to start. And as expected, since Covid-19 originated in China, racists are crawling out from under their rocks. Hopefully most people have more sense, but people often react badly to scary times.

Sorry about the brevity of this post. I have reached the age where various parts of my body are saying: “You thought that was bad? Watch this!” This being Bursitis. Sigh. Have a great week everyone. Wash your hands! Comments and shares appreciated.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: CDC flyer, inspired by this. Credit: CDC, used legally under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 2, 2020 at 12:58 pm

THROUGH THICK AND THIN: 21 FEBRUARY

leave a comment »

When it rains, it pours? I hurt my hip and have been crippled with pain for days, although it is getting better. Probably my drunken late night snow shovelling. And one of my oldest best friends is fighting for his life in the ICU, which hasn’t helped my state of mind any. So physically and mentally I was a wreck this week. Which, oddly enough, interfered with my writing. I’d say some day I’ll get the hang of being human, but at this point, maybe not. At least I’m secure in the knowledge that pretty much everyone is faking it, and the more outwardly successful they are, likely correlates nicely with how fake they are. I hung out with hippies for awhile in the eighties, and eventually noticed that the guys with the most hippie Zen Buddha personas … were the ones that beat up their girlfriends or otherwise had rage attacks. Same deal.

So writing, I’ve got at least two almost done posts that I am pleased with, but trying to finish them in my muddled state of mind and body would not yield happy results. So here I am winging it with another random post. We’ll get Trump out of the way first. I’m pleased to see that at least some in Washington have realized that attacking Trump directly is a waste of time. Deflecting deserved criticism is what con artists do best, and he’s the ultimate grifter pulling the con of the century. No, what they are doing now is goading him to overreact and start firing his staff. The latest silliness about Russian interference in our elections being a case in point. The truth of it doesn’t matter, it’s Trump’s reaction that matters. The more he goes all apprentency with his “You’re fired!” schtick, the more his administration will collapse from within. Just too bad they waited till now. Still, pass the popcorn.

In world news, the madness continues on all fronts. Popcorn sales in our neck of the galaxy are no doubt at historic highs. A racist loser shot a bunch of people in Germany because they had skin darker than him. He was an incel to boot. No surprise, anyone whose thinking process goes “I can’t find a girlfriend, so all women are fucked up” probably has disordered thinking in a number of areas. In this case leading to mass murder. Sigh. God rest their souls. In another case of multiple murder, a guy set himself and his wife and kids on fire in Australia. And a detective investigating the case has been relieved for saying the killer was “being driven too far by issues that he’s suffered”. Yeah, no, not a smart thing to say. It’s called victim blaming, it’s what abusive men say to justify their violence against their families. Sadly western culture promotes the idea of “righteous rage,” we need to address that, not use it to excuse acts of horror. Again, God rest their souls.

The Coronavirus continues to spread, though the death toll remains modest. I kinda think it’s with us to stay at this point, and at some point the annual flu shot will include the latest Coronavirus vaccine as well. No doubt driving the anti-vaxxers to new heights of child killing. Anti-vaxxers are my least favourite type of science denier, though I suppose in the end it’s the climate change deniers who will get more people killed. There at least some people are promoting it to make piles of money, greed is a powerful motivator. I’m not quite sure what drives the anti-vaxxers, but I’m sure there is scientific speculation.

On February 21 in history, a few odds and ends. In 1885 the Washington Monument was finally completed, 37 years after construction began. It’s the world’s tallest predominantly stone structure, and for a few years was the world’s tallest structure. Predominantly stone …in other words, sooner or later there will be a modest earthquake in Washington, and down it will come. So if you’re ever in the vicinity of the Washington Monument and an earthquake starts, run away! You want to be the person taking the video of it falling, not the people being crushed in the video. Another helpful safety tip from Doug’s Darkworld, I do what I can.

In 1918 the last Carolina Parakeet died in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo, 4 years after the last Passenger Pigeon died there.  I could probably make some morbid joke about the connection, but I’ll leave that to my regular readers. We killed them of course. There’s at least a possibility it could be brought back existence, there must be similar birds that could bear their eggs. And there’s still wild habitat, it was a very widespread bird. Since it’s flesh was often poisonous, cats would die after eating one, I’m surprised the cat haters haven’t started a gofundme. Or maybe they have, the idea of reviving them has been thought about.

I guess that’s another safety tip, if the gentle reader takes their cat time travelling, don’t let it eat any Carolina Parakeets. As for future historians and time travellers wondering what was up with us wiping out entire species, my bad, we’re really sorry. Have a great weekend everyone, please share.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Baltic Sea at Kolka Cape Credit: Italas at Lithuanian Wikipedia. Released into the public domain by same. The image came up when I searched  <rage> on Snappygoat, it just looked so nice compared to the Arctic wasteland outside my windows I thought I’d share.)

Written by unitedcats

February 21, 2020 at 9:33 am

YOU’RE A LYING DOG-FACED PONY SOLDIER!

leave a comment »

“You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier!” Biden said that to a young constituent during a campaign event in New Hampshire. She had asked him after his dismal performance in Iowa’s caucuses, why should people think he could win the national election? He then asked her if she had ever been to a caucus. She answered in the affirmative, and his response was the pony soldier line. It’s a line Biden has used before, claiming it’s from a John Wayne movie. It’s not, no one has been able to find it in any movie, though it might be a mishmash half remembered line from some 1950 era western or westerns. Biden claimed it was a joke, idk, insulting people “jokingly” has never seemed particularly funny to me. If it was some sort of attempt to bond with younger people, looked like it failed from my perspective. The woman in question did not look amused.

And Biden is the best the Democrat establishment has to offer? Sheesh. The woman’s question was a good one, which Biden did at least acknowledge after his attempt at witty repartee. If only ten percent of your  party faithful caucus for you, looks grim to me. I don’t know anyone who is enthusiastic about Biden, and I know a lot of Democrats. He was Obama’s sidekick for eight years, and I can’t remember a single thing he did to stand out during that time. I actually wonder why he’s running, his chances of winning are low, and it’s a thankless high pressure job. Reading his bio though, he wanted to be president from an early age, and this would almost certainly be his last best shot.

Frankly I have no use for anyone who wants to be president, especially from a young age. I suspect the motives of anyone running for president, there might be people who have good motives for doing so, but Biden doesn’t strike me as one of those. Gotta wonder if his staff was pounding their heads in frustration too. I mean, surely since he’s used the line before someone told him there’s not ever going to be a good time and place to use it? And maybe avoid trying to be funny at all? It’s not his forte. And reminding people he was watching movies in the fifties, not a good look on you Joe.

This turned into a political post, so in for a penny, in for a pound. I also use old expressions that date me to the days when the Dead Sea was just getting sick, but I’m not running for office. Came across an article talking about how the left and right politically in the US now is a false dichotomy. Neither party really stands for much anymore, and their view of their opponents is a weird straw man fantasy. And this is how the powers that be want it, the people blaming the other party and exaggerated threats for their ills, instead of concentrating on the ills that are destroying America. In any event, I thought it was an interesting read.

In non political news today, the deaths from the Wuhan Coronavirus exceeded the death toll from the last big coronavirus outbreak in 2003, the SARS coronavirus. And yesterday was the worst daily death toll so far, 97 dead. Still primarily an outbreak in central China, no need to start wearing masks yet. There’s just all sorts of things scientists have not yet learned about the virus, so predictions are all educated guesswork at this point. Reality bats last as they say. Seems pretty clear it’s another case of a virus jumping from an animal host to humans, an all too common occurrence because humans freaking eat just about any animal they can arm wrestle down their throat .

Oh well. Science post and others in the pipeline. Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: poster for the 1952 movie ‘Pony Soldier.’ Credit: Unknown, the studio or distributor of the film? Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Here’s a link to the movie.)

Written by unitedcats

February 10, 2020 at 7:34 am

DEATH IS IN THE AIR

leave a comment »

Well, for once Trump is no longer the top story of the day. I’ve heard people say he’s pissed off to not be the center of attention. I hope he’s not that shallow, but it’s certainly possible. So yeah, Kobe Bryant and eight (?) other people are dead in a horrible helicopter crash. Always sad when people die before their time. And this was not a good death, they had time to appreciate the fact that they were going down. At least they likely died instantly in the crash.

A few thoughts. (Yes, this is Doug’s Darkworld, I drink and share my thoughts.) Sociologists noted in the 20s that the distinction between hero and celebrity was breaking down in the US. And 100  years later, here we are, a man wildly nationally famous for his sportsball skills. And his death is front page news, with huge numbers of people feeling a personal connection to him. I don’t quite see what it is with people and celebrities, but that’s how humans roll I guess.

Helicopters, well, they are dangerous. They have a lot of moving parts, so more can go wrong. They tend to be used in lower and more uncontrolled ways than other aircraft, so more opportunity for problems. They are also trickier to fly than fixed wing aircraft. And if they lose power, they drop like a stone, no chance of gliding into a safe landing. I don’t even fly in jets, I would have to be forcibly boarded to fly on a helicopter.

For decades there has been research on helicopter parachute systems. IE the helicopter loses power and drops like a rock, and then a parachute deploys and slows the ground impact speed to a survivable speed. It is workable, but such systems also weigh a lot. So the marginal added safety isn’t worth the loss of cargo/passenger weight, so they aren’t used much. A hundred years (or less) from now helicopters (assuming we are still using them) will be built of such lightweight materials that such systems will be no-brainers. Not to mention the other high tech lifesaving systems that will be in use, and vehicle crash deaths will be almost unknown.

Of course if we all die of coronavirus before then it’s all moot. Yes, my second reference to “death is in the air.” There’s bad news about this virus. It’s apparently contagious before it’s symptomatic. This means infected people can unwittingly and essentially undetectably spread the virus. So we could be seeing the beginnings of a global pandemic, the virus may have already spread completely out of control. Hunker down, wash your hands a lot, and avoid being in public. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but advice offered to the “better safe than sorry” crowd.

The good news is that the fatality rate appears to be low at this point, a few percent. So even if it turns into a global pandemic, the death toll will be ugly, but it won’t collapse our civilization. And rumours are flying of course. This is to be expected of course, just human nature. Propaganda is to be expected too. It’s what governments do. A former Israeli defense official has floated a rumor that the coronavirus was accidentally released by a Chinese bioweapons facility. No evidence was cited, but it was dutifully regurgitated on mainstream “news” sites. I’ve heard other rumors too, social media is fun that way.

44 years ago today was the Apollo 1 fire. They didn’t even make it into the air. There was a woman I met exactly once, the sister of an old friend. I had reason to believe we were kindred souls. I hoped to talk to her again one day. And then she died in a helicopter crash. Her whole future life, family, marriage, whatever … all gone in an instant. So yes, helicopter deaths get to me.

So let’s all have a safe week. RIP Kobe, Natasha, Grissom, White, Chaffee, Egon, and hopefully a declining number of coronavirus victims.

(Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Death and girl. Credit: Egon Schiele 1890-1918. He died in the 1918 flu pandemic.)

Written by unitedcats

January 27, 2020 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

WAR DRUMS

with 2 comments

Well, so much for writing fun sciency or history posts. Stuff just keeps happening in Trump’s confrontation with Iran. I will write on and off during the day, updating when necessary. The first development is Trump threatening to attack 52 Iranian sites if Iran retaliates for the US’s targeted killing of a popular Iranian general. Hundreds of thousands have turned out for his funeral. The general’s, Trump is still with us. And Iraq just voted to expel all US troops from Iraq. Gee, they don’t want any part of Trump’s war with Iran, and they certainly don’t want it fought in Iraq. Who would have guessed? And just now, Iran rolled back the 2015 nuclear deal.

I’m not sure what Trump is trying to accomplish by making threats. It’s bizarre that his airport attack is presented as some sort of defensive move or preventing a war. Now if anything happens, he has backed himself into a corner. And gave Iran cover for rolling back on the nuclear deal. Which isn’t going to make our allies happy. And how will Trump respond to that? It’s not like harsher sanctions are an option. Worse, anyone who wants war between the US and Iran just has to fake an Iranian backed terrorist attack. If it’s spectacular enough Trump will really be on the hot seat. I can’t see any good about a war with Iran, but some organizations and even some governments would. Certainly I’m seeing people saying Trump is Israel and Saudi Arabia’s puppet, there’s some truth to it for sure.

It should be pointed out that Iran is closely aligned with Russia and China, which again highlights the absurdity of “Trump is Putin’s puppet” codswallop. And the administration idea that general Soleimani was some sort of American murdering terrorist plotting to kill more Americans doesn’t seem to have any evidence backing it up. Staggering amounts of nonsense all over Facebook and the media. At least we seemed to have backed down on Trump’s threat to attack cultural sites.

Trump should be happy, he’s destroyed the 2015 Nuclear deal with Iran, one of Obama’s signature accomplishments. Hopefully that’s the worst of it, but sadly burning oil facilities and a worldwide economic jolt are still very much an unpleasant possibility. Bombing Iran isn’t going to fix anything, nor will it engender regime change in Iran. Not exactly sure what Trump is trying to accomplish, if he manages to bluster through this without making it worse he’ll get my approval.

I am just trying to get my thoughts down and published. Some of my friends are refusing to watch the news, it’s all pretty depressing now. I have no idea what’s going to happen now, anyone who says they do is deluding themselves. “Everyone is loyal to the nightmare of their choice” though, as the good colonel said in Heart of Darkness. This often leads to bad things. I hope it all blows over and I can go back to blogging about cats.

I’m reading a book about the Battle of Stalingrad, some light reading to distract me from the news. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Thoughts and shares appreciated.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Digital art. Credit: Pixabay, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

January 5, 2020 at 5:03 pm

HAPPY NEW YEAR

leave a comment »

January first, New Year’s Day. Oddly enough starting the year on January 1st is a relatively new thing. In much of Europe it wasn’t until after 1500. In the Ottoman Empire it wasn’t until 1918. And in Thailand not until 1941! Yes, there are Thai people alive today who remember when New Year’s Day wasn’t January 1st. Before then it was April 1st. So that means there must have been an extra long year or an extra short year when they made the switch.  Must of been a huge hassle with contracts, birthdays, and such. The legal equivalent of when Sweden switched to driving on the right.

So, any interesting history on January 1st? A little, there’s always something. The Chenogne massacre in 1945, where American troops in retaliation for the Malmedy massacre killed a like number of German POWs. I’m of a mind that events like this should be taught in school. On the same day the Luftwaffe launched its last air offensive, Operation Bodenplatte, an attempt to destroy a crippling number of Allied aircraft on the ground in Belgium and France, giving the Germans control of the skies over the then raging Battle of the Bulge. It was a catastrophic fail, destroying easily replaced Allied aircraft and losing many irreplaceable trained and experienced German pilots. So it was the Luftwaffe’s last gasp as an organized force, and through the end of the war the Allies completely controlled the skies over Europe.

In 1947 Canadian citizens became Canadian citizens instead of British citizens. I didn’t know that, but it was more a formality and legal nicety than any big change. Going back further, in 1804 “Haiti becomes the first black-majority republic and second independent country in North America after the United States.” That’s from Wikipedia. I guess the hundreds of Indian nations in the Americas didn’t count as independent countries? In 1801 Ceres was discovered, the first and largest asteroid discovered. It was considered a planet for some time, then an asteroid, and now a dwarf planet. Science marches on, if confusingly sometimes.

Back in the here and now 2020 rolls in with a new crisis. Iraqi protesters swarmed the US embassy in Baghdad, causing damage, but no deaths or hostages yet. My first thought on hearing the news was, wait, what, isn’t the US embassy inside the Green Zone, the huge fortified crusader complex the US built in Baghdad? How did protesters even get to the US embassy? Turns out the Iraqi government let them in. Sigh, what a mess. Trump publicly blamed Iran, claiming they orchestrated the attack somehow. At least he’s mastered that aspect of Neocon World Middle East, if anything we don’t like happens, it must be Iran’s fault! That the US airstrikes against Iraqi militia forces killed dozens of people and just might have enraged Iraqis, nope, not relevant, it’s Iran! 

Even if Iran did have a hand in this, it’s just another indication of how America’s hard line policy towards Iran is failing. And he’s threatening Iran that they are going to pay “a very big price.” It’s not like he can sanction them further, so I’m not exactly sure what he means. He’s going to bomb Iraq some more? And no, our embassy wasn’t attacked because Trump has made people around the world not respect us. Good chance most of the protesters don’t even know who Trump is, but they do know America has brought nothing but suffering and death to Iraq for decades.

That’s one of the most frustrating things about Americans, most of them are now oblivious to the carnage and subsequent ill feelings our endless wars in the Middle East are causing. Somehow they are all habituated to it, like it’s normal to be dropping bombs on poor people on the other side of the planet. If some other country routinely bombed the USA Americans would most definitely be attacking their embassy, Americans would be outraged.  Do as we say, not as we do, the imperial disease illustrated.

In any event here’s hoping cool heads prevail, the last thing Trump or the nation needs is another war. Even watching the impeachment show is preferable to seeing another war on TV. Speaking of which, I did see a great movie recently, ‘Long Shot’ with Seth Rogan and Charlize Theron. It was as funny as ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Game Night,’ to give the gentle reader an idea of what movies I find funny. And now I will never hear the word ‘cracker’ again without giggling. I hope everyone had a safe New Year’s Eve, welcome to 2020.

Comments and shares appreciated.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Haitian revolution: The Battle of Palm Tree Hill   Credit: January Suchodolski 1897-1875. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924.)

Written by unitedcats

January 1, 2020 at 5:41 pm

EXTEMPORANEOUS NEW YEAR’S EVE POST

leave a comment »

dino crossing road

So a year ago I had a fall that almost killed me, twice. Since then I have taken exquisite care not to fall again. While dining with a friend tonight I got a unexpected call from an … interesting … person from my past. A person who leaves a wave of destruction in her wake. (She escaped from jail again.) So I get back to the table, sit, and my chair collapses and down I go. A chair I was only in because of a cat. Bruised, but nothing broken. Too many weird coincidences there, especially on New Year’s Eve. It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if I did die in the fall and my life since then is a last dying dream. I think I will drink tonight after all. Skol my friends, hope to see you all next year.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

December 31, 2019 at 7:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized