Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘war on terror’ Category

9/11 WEEK

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Today is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the USA. My thoughts and observations in some particular order. To say the attacks were a big deal at the time would be an understatement, in terms of immediate impact they were easily the biggest events of my life. In living memory they were rivalled by the Kennedy assasination and Pearl Harbor, but those were both before my time. I was living in rural Oregon, watching “The FBI Files” the morning of the attacks. My housemate wandered through the room, noticed some text scrolling at the bottom of the screen, gasped, and flipped to a news channel. By then both towers had collapsed, and it was a shocking sight. Very briefly I thought maybe this was some War of the Worlds thing, a movie trailer that somehow had been mistaken for the real thing; but I quickly realized it was in fact real, and that thousands of people were dead and dying. A freaking nightmare.

I had strange dreams earlier. First I was walking down a long country road, a city skyline in the distance. There was a ragged barbed wire fence with weeds alongside the road. Beyond the fence was an expanse of dust in a pile about six foot high. Tan dust, maybe fine sand. I remember thinking in my dream it might be fun to slide down the side of the pile, and I was looking for a gap in the fence to get to it. Then the dream morphed, and I was huddling in the corner of a basement with some frightened people, we were sheltering from an explosion of some sort. Then I woke up, went in and started my day like any other. Until my friend changed the TV channel. Was there any connection between my dream and the events that were even then unfolding on the other side of the continent?

Beats me. I wasn’t as affected by 9/11 as some people, no one I knew worked in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It was still shocking as hell. So many people dead and dying. And the jumpers, oh my God, I can’t imagine. Turns out a good friend of mine was in Manhattan that day. Hell of a thing. He said after the first plane hit people just thought it was some terrible accident and were trying to get a better view. So he was watching when the second plane hit, and then of course people knew it wasn’t just some terrible accident. He’s upset by it all to this day, and can’t watch any of today’s coverage. I can’t imagine. At some point later I read some transcripts of 9/11 calls made from the towers before they fell. I wish I hadn’t.

So it was awful, and I feel for those who lost friends, family, and loved ones. God rest the souls of those who died that awful September morn, God grant solace to the survivors. In retrospect there was at least one item of good news that day, and I’ll end this post on that note. In the middle of the second tower to be struck was the largest tenant of the towers, they occupied 20 floors. When the first tower was struck the on site manager told everyone to just get out and go home as quickly as they could. Not out of any prescience, he just knew that no work would be done that day, and he wanted his employees to get clear of the towers before throngs of emergency vehicles and rubberneckers jammed all the nearby roads, etc.. Shortly afterward the second plane struck right in the middle of those 20 floors … and they were all empty. Every single employee survived. And I bet that manager hasn’t had to pay for a drink when out with coworkers since.

More posts about 9/11 will follow, they will be (or are) linked below. Hope all are having a good, if somber, weekend.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The first tower just as it started to collapse. Credit: Unknown, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 11, 2021 at 4:28 pm

THE STUPID, IT BURNS

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OK, been having a bit of a writer’s block. Or more like writer’s frustration? I couldn’t find the origin of the phrase “the stupid, it burns” for one. Granted that’s just a minor frustration, but part of the bigger picture. So so so much stupidity in modern America these days. To the point where I am debating just changing the name of the blog to “The Stupid, It Burns.” And calaloguing every bit of abject stupidity I find among the day’s news. There’s more than enough to go around, hell, people have built careers around cataloging it. John Stewart and Stephen Colbert come to mind, although no doubt there are countless others.  It’s tempting, but I do like writing about science and history and such, so I would get tired of it. Not to mention depressed and angry.

So instead, I’ll just make this post about rampant stupidity. Especially because three of the biggest stupidities of my life in America are big news lately. And a special sort of stupid. Things that are going to cost tens of trillions of dollars over the rest of my life. Not billions, trillions of dollars. As Senator Dirkson observed in the seventies: “A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” He’d no doubt be horrified today because the billion has turned into a trillion. And we’re also talking about countless American lives that will be lost, easily in the hundreds of thousands, and we’ll be lucky if it doesn’t go into the millions.

The first of course is Covid. Early estimates were that it would ultimately cost the US economy 16 trillion dollars. And that was assuming we got it under control, which we have manifestly not done yet. The second is global warming. Fires, floods, droughts are steadily ratcheting upwards, and the costs once again are in the trillions of dollars. Lastly of course the so called War on Terror, in the news lately because of the nightmare of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. We spent over two trillion dollars: New Report Finds US Has Spent Over $2.3 Trillion on Afghanistan War. And that’s just part and parcel of the War on Terror and freaking endless US military spending, more than the next twelve highest military spending nations combined … most of which are our allies to boot. These three mind numbing endless (and growing) idiotic expenses are why America’s infrastructure, education, and health care is the shame of the developed world.

And none of them are being addressed or rectified in any meaningful way by either American political party. One party, the GOP,  is more or less ignoring them, when not actually making them worse. All in the name of politics and winning elections, and of course fully in service of their corporate overlords who get ever richer while the nation and planet suffer. The other party, the Democrats, pays lip service to them in the interest of politics and winning elections, while still in actuality serving the same corporate masters. That’s the great thing about American politics, both parties have convinced their base that the other party is evil. And both parties are right, though not in the way they portray it. America could be the greatest country on Earth when it comes to things that actually matter to people, all being sacrificed on the altar of partisan politics and the insatiable greed of the richest ruling class the world has ever seen. Sigh. So in the midst of this mass national ignorance and stupidity, so so many smaller acts of stupid. Just for fun I’ll chronicle some of the current crop.

At the top of today’s list: Fury as US congressmen fly into Kabul in midst of evacuation effort. That’s right, as a horrifying evacuation of people is under way in Kabul, Afghanistan, with people so desperate to escape that they are clinging to aircraft only to fall to their deaths, two congressmen decided to fly into Kabul on a “fact finding” mission. Right, what facts were they unclear on? The fact is that whatever plane seats they and their staff filled on their way out could have been filled by people who were fleeing for their lives. The fact is this publicity stunt means some people will be tortured and killed. It made about as much sense as if some British politicians had decided to sail to Dunkirk on a “fact finding” mission. It’s literally that stupid. Bipartisan stupid in this case, one is a Democrat and the other is a Republican.

Mike Lindell, who is Trump’s self appointed ambassador of stupid, now predicts Trump will be reinstalled as president by New Year’s day now that his prediction of an August 13 reinstatement predictably didn’t come to fruition. The regular reader will note that I predicted Mr Lindell would just change the date when his first prediction failed. So many layers of stupid. First, the lie that the election was stolen from Trump is just that, a fact free lie. Trump was the least popular president in modern history, so not only is it no wonder he wasn’t reelected, the real wonder is he got as many votes as he did. Then of course, even if it was shown that the election was crooked (don’t hold your breath,) that still wouldn’t result in Trump being reinstated. The election isn’t some sort of horse race where if the winner is disqualified the second place candidate wins. That’s not how any of this works. Stupid, all the way down.

And in today’s “Jesus Facepalms” file, a heretic Christian blogger says mom’s shouldn’t work because their teenage children will have sex if they aren’t in the home. Truly an almost infinite onion of layered stupid.  Let me count the ways. One, unless mom spends 24/7 with the kids in her presence, they will most certainly figure out ways to have sex if that’s their inclination. Two, if teenage children haven’t already learned how to behave sensibly, parental supervision isn’t going to help. She sounds like she doesn’t trust her own children to follow the “Christian” values she raised them on. Three. The days when a single income can support a spouse and children are long gone, most working moms work because they have to. I’m sure the gentle reader can come up with more. And of course access to sex education for children makes it less likely they will engage in risky sexual behavior, get pregnant, and get a venereal disease. Unfortunately people like this mommy shaming blogger think sex outside of marriage is bad … and think things like unwanted pregnancies and venereal disease are a good thing, punishment for sin and all that.

Yeah, stupid and evil often go together. Next, a nice science post I’m working on. Turns out Gobekli Tepe may have been a monument to stupidity. Yes, there have been stupid people for more than 10,000 years. It never ends: Driver ignores warnings not to park on beach and van ends up floating in sea. And of course new horror in Afghanistan. Humans, such a fascinating species. I think I’m losing my faith in human nature. Sigh. Hope all are having a good week, stay safe gentle readers.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image top: 19th century rail accident, public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 26, 2021 at 6:39 pm

AMERICA’S SAIGON MOMENT IN AFGHANISTAN, A WAR THAT LASTED NEARLY ONE THIRD OF MY LIFE ENDS IN A DAY.

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They don’t call Afghanistan “The Graveyard of Empires” for nothing. While a Taliban victory was imminent and inevitable last week; today, 15 August 2021, the provisional  Afghan government fled, and the Taliban marched into Kabul and seized effective control of Afghanistan. America’s longest war is over. In the vulgar vernacular: “It’s over. We lost.”

Historically this looks to be a big deal. It’s a freaking big deal in Afghanistan for sure. In America, if Facebook is any indication, Afghanistan is essentially non news. The forgetting is already in place. Or misdirection, Trump and the right are already proudly proclaiming it’s all Biden’s fault and they could have prevented the Taliban march into Kabul. And a third of Americans don’t get that this analysis is both infantile, ignorant, and not helpful.

If we’re gonna be political, at least Biden had the balls to get out of an expensive and counterproductive war. Reagan was the last president with that kind of stones. And Trump was the one who set the ball rolling in Afghanistan for freak’s sake. He signed the withdrawal agreement with the Taliban, Biden just followed through.

And in America it’s all compromised because ignorance about Afghanistan and its last fifty years of history is rampant. Even worse, most Americans believe stuff about Afghanistan that just ain’t true.The US didn’t ever fund the Taliban for example, the Taliban didn’t arise until 1994, and they arose to fight the mujahideen the US had supported to drive out the Russian invaders.And no, this is not a religious war. Yes, the Taliban are inspired by their faith, but their war against the US was about driving foreign invaders from their land.

“The question I never hear asked. Where would Afghanistan be today if the USA had never been there?” My answer: Run by a stable, popular, Pashtun, and remarkably uncorrupt theocracy. And they would be an isolated impoverished sanctioned pariah state like Cuba, North Korea, or Iran … because that was US policy before we invaded. Good question.

Hell if I know really. The fact that no one has ever been much good at predicting history, how many peeps predicted the Taliban would roll into Kabul today, shows that the future can’t be predicted. This is true retroactively as well.

Today was a turning point in history. Or it isn’t. What now? Anyone who says they know is a liar or a fool. I can only hope that the bloodletting remains low, so far so good. The Taliban are not ISIS. For good or for ill Afghans now control their own fate, as it should be.

I’m freaked about this turn of events. Stay safe everyone, have a great week.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A US helicopter evacuating the last few people from the US embassy. Attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law as it is an historically significant photo.)

Written by unitedcats

August 15, 2021 at 7:28 pm

AFGHANISTAN IS ON MY MIND

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And in the news. Now that the US is pulling out, the Taliban are rapidly regaining control of their country. In the west, the only approved narrative is that Taliban barbarians are overrunning a bastion of civilization. Or as the BBC puts it: Afghanistan: Panic and disbelief as thousands flee Taliban onslaught. Sigh. Yes, it is a terrible thing, people are dying, refugees are fleeing, a land that hasn’t known peace in decades is experiencing a paroxysm of violence and retribution. My heart goes out to the people suffering and dying.

However, the situation is a little more nuanced than “good vs evil and evil is winning.” OK, a lot more nuanced. Afghanistan is a land where there have been no good actors for decades, and blame for this horror show stretches all the way to Moscow, London, and Washington. A number of points and observations I would like to make. The first being that leaving was the only good option the US had, staying in Afghanistan wasn’t going to change anything, it was just postponing the inevitable. Staying there was just putting good money after bad as poker players say. And the idea that leaving would somehow make all the blood and money we wasted in Afghanistan meaningless is classic “sunk cost fallacy” thinking.

It should also be pointed out that the people running Afghanistan under our protection were just as violent, fundementalist, and misogynistic as the Taliban. And vastly more corrupt. That’s how the Taliban came to power in the first place, they were an improvement over the warlords whose greed and internecine warfare tore Afghanistan apart after the Soviet Union withdrew. The very same warlords the US put back in power. It should have surprised no one that they couldn’t form an effective and popular government to fight the Taliban. What a nightmare. Basically Afghanistan is a microcosm of just what a counterproductive disaster the whole “war on terror” has been. Conquest is easy, just and effective rule doesn’t magically follow.

And then there’s the usual painful hypocrisy from the west, as if western governments actually give a crap about the plight of the people of Afghanistan. We are allied with plenty of governments that are just as fundamentalist, undemocratic, violent, and misogynistic as the Taliban; but since they are happy to let the west exploit their resources, no problem. Frankly I’m so cynical these days about the world’s leaders it’s getting harder all the time to write about the state of the globe. The vast majority of them don’t give a crap about their own people and are solely concerned with protecting the wealth and power of themselves and their cronies. Even worse, huge numbers of people continue to slavishly support these “leaders.”

Anyhow, here’s a similar take on the topic: Stop Listening to the Pro-War Idiots Who Got Afghanistan Wrong. This: Deceptions and lies: What really happened in Afghanistan. Or this: Who Lost America’s Longest War? – Antiwar.com Original. Sigh. Have a good weekend everyone, stay safe and cool.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Russian troops pulling out of Afghanistan. Image reproduced in accordance with US copyright law. Attribution: RIA Novosti archive, image #58833 / A. Solomonov / CC-BY-SA 3.0 This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Written by unitedcats

August 13, 2021 at 5:19 pm

TEN WAYS WE’RE EFFED

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I’ve had a hard time blogging recently. Writer’s block. Stress in my personal life is one reason. Not helping. That’s just the background noise though. No, the real reason is more general. I’m extremely pessimistic about the state of the world, and the state of the USA in particular. In many senses I’ve always been a doomsday prophet, but the 21st century has moved into a whole new universe compared to my worrying about nuclear war in my younger days. So how do I write about this? Ten reasons I’m pessimistic about now. Who knows, hopefully this will be cathartic:

  1. The rich keep getting richer and more powerful. The upward transfer of wealth in America and the world accelerated under Covid. In other words, price gouging is at the heart of the global economic system. What are people going to do when the last dollar in America is in some rich person’s or corporation’s offshore account?
  2. The Cold War continues. The Cold War was stupid proganda to justify endless American war making and war spending from the beginning. The new Cold War is even crazier. China isn’t trying to take over the world, Russia isn’t trying to destroy the west.
  3. The War on Terror was a colossal fail. By every metric the War on Terror has massively increased global terrorism. War is the least effective way to fight terrorism. And yet here we are, bombs away, with nary a hint of protest.
  4. We forgot the lessons of Vietnam. This is a codicil to number 3:  Opinion | The Pentagon Papers’ Lessons Went Unlearned – The New York …
  5. Science denial is rampant. This is bizarre. When I was a kid and young person most people understood that science and reason were the shiznit. Now actual supposed adults in positions of power embrace voodoo nonsense … and they get more popular. Go figure.
  6. The Christian right wants to seize power. A third of the country wants America to be forced to live under their Old Testament take on reality.
  7. The GOP’s massive ongoing voter suppression, protest suppression, history suppression, and rights suppression campaign (abortion and LGTB rights.) The actual cancel culture.
  8. No independent media. When I was young the mainstream media was independent, even if they did try to influence politics. Not anymore.
  9. Climate change. It’s real, humans are causing it, efforts to mitigate it are still “too little, too late.” Fossil fuels are the most profitable extractive industry ever, but the costs are wrecking our world.
  10. AI, homemade doomsday devices, etc. In my lifetime (knock on wood) there are any number of potential technological advances that could lead to doomsday. It’s my answer to the Fermi Paradox, our form of life is ultimately self destructive, an evolutionary dead end.

And I’m sure I missed a few. The continued glorification of the Confederacy and white washing of American history. UFOs. Nearly half of Americans believe dinosaurs still exist. Yeah, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we are about to slide into some Golden Age. Snort. Biden will be the Pertinax of our time more likely. (Pertinax was a sane senator who became Caesar after the death of a crazy Caesar. His reign only lasted three months before the corrupt praetorian guard murdered him.)

On the plus side, a lady I like called me “Sweetie” today. Objectively there is no future relationship, but it made this lonely old guy feel good. Have a great week everyone.  #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found somewhere, possibly Public Domain, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 14, 2021 at 7:23 pm

SHARED IDIOCY, TRUMP, AND RELATED TOPICS

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I’m back! I was depressed by the flanking fire from my sister a few posts ago, but tearing each other down is what my family does. So the fact that almost none of them speak to me is a good thing. Oh, Happy Mother’s Day everyone. I miss my mom, but no one lives forever. No one that we know about at least. Though the idea that people may someday be able to hibernate is looking less science fictiony all the time. And I suppose having one’s brain copied is a form of immortality. We can’t build a brain from a recording … yet. Still, science could record sounds decades before they could play them back. That’s why there’s actually a minuscule chance that Lincoln’s voice was recorded and is lurking in some dusty attic somewhere. And the brain recording, a company is planning on offering the service, but it does have a downside: A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal”

So, the meme above. Sigh. No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. As one commenter posted: “The post is a series of logical errors.” As a friend put it: “This needs to go under the title ‘Conservatives Trying to Define Socialism but Just End Up Describing Capitalism Again.’” I’ll give it a brief review: 1) No one is suggesting legislating anyone out of prosperity. So straw man argument, typical GOP fear mongering. 2) Yes, that’s actually the problem, the rich are getting vastly more than their share, and it’s not like they’re working harder. The working class is literally subsidizing the rich through their labor. The author of course intended it as another version of the “welfare queen” myth, which is just that, a myth. 3) Yes, that’s how taxes work. Again, the author is just regurgitating the GOP welfare queen myth. 4) A friend got this one: “4 is just plain false. Economics is a big, weird subject, not very intuitive, and not a zero sum game. Dividing wealth among more people will – almost always – increase the economic power of the whole. Much, much more so than collecting wealth in only a few hands. Oligarchical Russia is not a wealthy nation. Dictatorial North Korea is not wealthy. The USA has millions of people below the poverty line. These nations WOULD be wealthier if wealth was more evenly distributed, because more people would be more productive.” 5) A weird GOP fantasy that half of people don’t want to work, and that the other half are subsidizing them. It’s completely at odds with reality. Most people are working hard while the profits are stolen by the rich. Basically the meme is an example of magical thinking, not logic: The magical thinking of guys who love logic

So the Trump takeover of the GOP is rolling right along, looks like Liz Cheney is on her way out: Analysis: With Cheney’s impending ouster, the GOP chooses Trump over principle. They’re choosing Trump’s delusions over reality. I think the GOP gave up principle after 9/11. Hell, Reagan really. The Dems caught on, they gave it up under Clinton. Hell, in some senses they all gave it up when America was founded on high minded principles … plus slavery, ethnic cleansing, and oligarchy. The concept of inalienable human rights is a good thing, but it still needs to be universally implemented.

Trump taking over the GOP, Covid continues. Global COVID-19 death toll more than double official estimates – IHME. No surprise there, governments always lie about mass death tolls. Wars especially, casualty counts in wars are always under reported. America is hit with a double whammy, not only are Covid deaths under reported, right wing delusions are making it worse: Tucker Carlson Doubles Down on Batsh** Vaccine Fearmongering and Fox News Torpedoed COVID-19 Science Hundreds Of Times Since January, Watchdog Says.

It’s just so weird living in America now. The worst global health crisis in a century, and America’s response to it has been frighteningly incompetent. And simultaneously seeing the rise of a cult-like leader along the lines of Saddam, Hitler, Mao, and so many others. My personal life being a series of catastrophes the past year hasn’t helped. I even had my heart broken this spring. You’d think at my age I could avoid such things, yeah, snort.

Have a great week everyone. Try not to get Covid. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 9, 2021 at 7:05 pm

TIMES CHANGE

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2020 was the first time in decades I voted in the presidential election. Pretty safe bet there are millions of others like me. Covid continues to rage out of control, as does the concurrent stupidity epidemic. Saw a meme today that said Covid was no more dangerous than driving to work. I stand corrected, there is a stupider Covid comparison than “It’s just a cold folks!” Science is making great strides on the Covid pandemic, the stupidity pandemic, not so much. Today’s blog, random links!

Trump supporter who gave $2.5m to fight election fraud wants money back. Well, good luck with that, I’m betting the fine print pretty much rules it out. Trump’s doing pretty well at getting donations: Trump raises $200m for post-election legal battles.  Yeah, grifting is what the man does best. I wonder how much my old middle school friend gave him.

Moving right along, I’ve always lived a life of voluntary simplicity. IE in America it’s possible to pile up enormous amounts of stuff without half trying. At least twice in my life I pretty much abandoned everything, and during much of my life my possessions would fit in a car. So I thought this link was interesting: Pathological Consumption Has Become So Normalised That We Scarcely Notice It. Frankly there’s a lot of pathological parts of our culture that have become normalized. I digress. I’ve known a few hoarders, it’s a horrible disability.

I saw this on the BBC, and I’m like, really? China is greatest threat to freedom – US intelligence chief. Weird article. Basically boils down to “China’s acting like a western power, OMG, they’re an existential threat to the west!” Turgid neocom propaganda, just the contemporary iteration of “The White Man’s Burden.”

I’m really starting to see how the whole neocon, right wing, and by extension Trumpian world view is to regard pretty much anything that contradicts the world view as an existential threat. Gets the base riled up and in line, and justifies anything that gets done. And that’s how the US turned into a global military empire kids. First justified by containing those damn commies who want to enslave us all. And then by fear of terrorists who wanted to kill us all. Now we’re just conflating them all together, the left are Commie Terrorists!

In that vein, Trump has ordered US troops out of Somalia. He’s the C in C of the US military, if he orders them to pull out, they have to pull out. Perfectly legal and constitutional order. Any roadblocks Congress or the Pentagon throws up are indeed unconstitutional, the POTUS is the supreme commander of the US military. Is Trump testing the fealty of his generals? One of Trump’s few silver linings is he didn’t buy into the neocon world view, his reasoning may have been suspect, but “Why the fuck are we still in Afghanistan?” doesn’t actually have a good answer. Even Trump figured that one out.

I suspect it’s a semi-random effort to leave a mess for Biden and lock in whatever Trump perceives to be his legacy. It’s also interesting because of the historical links. The US first got involved in Somalia in a big way under another GOP lame duck president. Bush senior intervened there just before Clinton took office. Left Clinton with an ugly mess, culminating in the “Black Hawk Down” incident. Where Somalians demonstrated they hated Americans so much they would take huge casualties to kill them. Of course America had given them good reason to hate us, murdering all their leaders on live Somalian TV. The western media missed that part somehow.

So now a lame duck president is pulling out of Somalia to leave his Democrat successor a mess. Times change, but some things stay the same. American partisan politics may yet be the death of us all. Future historians may never understand how crazy it’s gotten. Stay safe and sane everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #Somalia

PS: Still tripping Heidi! Trump will be talked about for centuries. Fucking weird isn’t it? He’s the Hitler/Napoleon/Nero of our time. Or Mussolini/Anthony/Custer. We are witnessing one of the great times in American history folks, books will be written, movies will be made, pay attention!

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

December 4, 2020 at 9:35 pm

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I will have such revenges on you both  

That all the world shall—I will do such things—      

What they are yet I know not, but they shall be      

The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep?       

No, I’ll not weep.

The 19th anniversary of 9/11, when four American airliners were hijacked and flown into civilian targets in the USA, the most infamous being the Twin Towers in New York City. I was in rural Oregon at the time. Had strange dreams that morning, I think events like 9/11 ripple outwards in ways we don’t understand yet. If we can build a device that can detect the collision of black holes billions of light years and ago away, something like 9/11 that must pop all over the planet. 

That being said, what else to say? My biggest memory? The horrifying sick feeling in my stomach as in the days to follow two things were already becoming clear. America wasn’t going to learn anything from this terrible crime, and no one would be held responsible for this utter failure of our nation’s defences. And that a paroxysm of American violence and hatred was going to follow. Sadly I’ve been proved true in spades on both counts. The last time an American leader screwed up and paid the price was Benedict Arnold. And our endless crusades in the Middle East were normalized by 9/11 and continue today.

I say crusades very deliberately. I see America as just a continuation of the Roman Empire, it broke up in the Dark Ages, various factions arose, Christian monotheism became the state religion. The factions fought among one another and were finally unified in 1945 when Japan and Germany surrendered. So by crusading, I mean the medieval Roman Empire sent armies into the Middle East, mostly looting under the guise of religion. They even established a Christian state in Palestine, it lasted like 100 years. No real difference from Israel and America’s Middle East wars starting with Gulf War One.

On to the obvious, Covid-19 is dealing America a 9/11’s worth of death a week, with no end in sight, and the Trump regime has yet to mobilize the nation’s resources to defend against it. In a weird ironic way, I think our reactions to 9/11 and Covid-19 should have been reversed. 9/11 was terrible, but it was a crime committed by a tiny band of extremists, Terrorism before and after 9/11 was a minor threat to Americans, and one we had plenty of defenses against. Covid-19 we should be mobilizing the awesome power of the Federal Government, thank you Lincoln, to defend against. We’d save thousands of lifes a week. 

So yes, it’s really weird that we’re paying huge tribute to 9/11 while we more or less ignore a much more dire ongoing death march. And not even thinking about the pointless carnage the “Global War on Terror” has wreaked. What can I say? I honor the dead on that terrible day, I’m sorry for all the loss. A nightmare for those involved. And the best way to honor their deaths, let’s stop promoting violence as a solution to complex social problems. 

The hippies and pacifists and such were all right, as such it is my inspiration for the meme above. The lesson of 9/11, killing people doesn’t help. Sit down at a table and work things out like adults. We are an intelligent species, right? There are better alternatives? 

Weird day, weird times, where will we be on the 20th anniversary of 9/11? I hope all reading will be safe and sound. Stay safe everyone. Likes, shares, etc. appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Quote: King Leer. Image: A meme I made, Public Domain.)

Written by unitedcats

September 11, 2020 at 6:56 pm

EPIDEMIC OF APATHY CONTINUES IN AMERICA AS COVID-19 KILLS AT WILL

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OK, so, the first surgery failed. Second surgery, well, another new experience, I could see the smoke and smell my burning flesh when they cauterized the incision. Smelled like chicken. Yes, I have a very odd sense of humor. Some would even say I don’t possess such. Philistines. So still kicking, but more surgery after the latest biopsy. Modern medicine, as in all modern science based endeavors, is pretty amazing stuff. Fox News viewers and Evangelicals, you’re missing out on some good shit.

And since they’re in control of the country now, their failure to grasp that Covid-19 required a science based approach has killed tens of thousands of people. I know, boring, we’re over Covid-19, on to some other story. Not here in Doug’s Darkworld. Greatest mass death of my time, so I’m  gonna keep blogging on it. And whatever comes to mind. That’s my plan for the fall, write about whatever I want to. 

Three quick Covid-19 links. First, once again, Covid-19 is very serious even for young healthy adults: A sobering breakdown of severe COVID-19 cases shows young adults can’t dismiss it. I know I repeat this a lot, because it’s important. Covid-19 is not a cold or a flu, it’s much worse, and we need to snap out of the complacency a hundred years of vaccines and modern public health brought us. Here’s a good article just basically going over some of the hows and why America failed so miserably fighting Covid-19: COVID-19 Has Killed Nearly 200,000 Americans. How Many More Lives Will Be Lost Before the U.S. Gets It Right? A good, if depressing, read. Lastly, just some interesting thoughts on where Covid-10 is going: How do pandemics usually end? And how will this one finish? 

So the Abraham Accord. Yeah, this one seems remarkably easy to deconstruct. The United Arab Emirates, one of the medieval Gulf State theocracies, has normalized relations with Israel, one of the few Arab nations to do so. Trump and company are touting it as a big move towards peace in the Middle East, he has even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize! By a far right Muslim-bashing Norewegian politician who has nominated Trump for the prize before. The astute reader can no doubt guess that it’s going to go downhill from here.

So what is the Abraham Accord? It’s really simple, the UAE recognizes Israel, then they get to buy a giant pile of advanced US weapons. And Israel gets a huge pile of American taxpayer dollars which they have to spend on US weapons. Woohoo, American war profiteers make a pile of money, Israel and the UAE get even more weapons! And what do the Palestinas get? Nothing. How does pouring more weapons into the Middle East promote peace? God only knows. Basically it’s Trump giving away a pile of America taxpayers money so he can claim a diplomatic success. Color me unimpressed.

And more weapons in the region. Yeah, that’s worked out well: At least 37 million displaced by America’s two-decade ‘war on terror’: Report. Weapons are the world’s number two industry, and a profitable industry it is. And politically powerful. It’s distorted civilization since the end of World War Two, with no end in sight. They should have hung German industrialists alongside the other war criminals the Allies hung at Nuremberg. Nope, we’re stuck in this reality where giving more weapons to two warlike regimes in a region devastated by war is touted as a peace treaty.

Shit like this is why the aliens fly right past. Assuming any such aliens exist, the latest search came up with nada: Astronomers find no signs of alien tech after scanning over 10 million stars. If there’s aliens out there, they certainly aren’t doing anything noticeable. My backup theory is that intelligent life such as ours is an evolutionary dead end. Soon enough the technology will be such that an individual will be able to build a doomsday device. We can’t even stop school shooters in the US, so this would be inevitable. We’d all die with our freedoms intact though, woohoo! And if the stock markets were high at the time, then what else matters?

OK, no emails from aliens yet. I just checked. Unless they are cleverly disguised as spam, which would seem to miss the point. Still, how the hell would I know how aliens think, even understanding Trump supporters gives me pause. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: Anonymous quote pasted onto a Public Domain Snappygoat Image. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 10, 2020 at 7:39 pm

IT’S MONDAY! NEWS, TRUMP, MEXICO, TERRORISM, CARTELS, AND UKRAINE

with 5 comments

As far as I can tell the mainstream news gets worse daily, it’s just the Democrat version of Fox News now. Granted I watch very little of it. Good thing too, the neighbours would complain about the screaming. Case in point, last night I overheard a snippet on one of the plethora of ‘news’ shows my housemate watches. There was a former Obama official talking about Ukraine. He said Ukraine is at war with Russia, and Russia is occupying Ukrainian territory. And at that point, I started screaming and my housemate asked me to leave his room.

I was screaming because the former is an outright lie, and the later completely ignores the context. Basically the Democrat propaganda line is that Russia is the aggressor against poor Ukraine. I even met a fellow who swore Russia is setting itself up to “retake” Ukraine. An incredibly complicated situated reduced to the status of a Risk game. When people’s knowledge of the world is based on utter falsehoods, it pretty much short circuits any possible debate. Note terrorism comments below.

Add to that the ever increasing number of things Russia is purported to have done to undermine our democracy. It was ridiculous long ago, but that doesn’t stop huge numbers of people from believing it. It’s all basically crazy. Ukraine is about as unimportant to the US as it’s possible to get, the US meddling there serves no purpose. (Is Ukraine slavic for Vietnam?) And selling Ukraine advanced weapons is just adding fuel to the fire, if Ukraine gets into a real war with Russia, they will lose. And the idea of the US fighting a nuclear war to defend Ukraine is bat shit crazy.

Speaking of bat shit crazy, Trump recently floated the idea of using the US military to destroy the drug cartels in Mexico. And a move is afoot to designate these criminal gangs as ‘terrorist organizations.’ Both are really bad ideas. The USA has not been able to halt the flow of drugs into the USA, nor the flow of money and guns into Mexico. All of which occur right here in the USA. And somehow marching into Mexico is going to make a difference? It’s not like the cartel members wear uniforms and have military bases, how the hell is the military going to be any better at finding them than the Mexican military?

And of course sending the US military into Mexico would cause anti-American resentment throughout Latin America, and make American civilians marked targets for cartel retaliation everywhere, including in the United States. Like sending advanced weapons to Ukraine, it would be the equivalent of using a flamethrower to put out a fire. People, like Trump apparently, who think the military is the solution to every problem have watched too many Hollywood movies and not paid any attention to the litany of failed interventions that has been the “War on Terror” the past few decades. Fortunately the government of Mexico has said “No!” to the idea. Hopefully Trump isn’t unstable enough to send troops into Mexico without their blessing, knock on wood.

And declaring criminal gangs to be “terrorist organizations’ just highlights the stupidity of declaring any organization a terrorist organization. It’s simply a propaganda label used to avoid any actual debate about America’s interventionist foreign policy. And if Trump gets the cartels so designated, refugees from that part of the world would then be able to claim they were fleeing terrorism. As people have pointed out, it would open a whole can of legal worms, likely driving more refugees to try and cross the border. Something Trump is against, so I suspect Trump didn’t really think this through. Granted thinking things through does not appear to be one of Trump’s strong points.

We’ll see what happens. The picture above is from Ukraine’s varied history, no implications meant. It’s a parade in Ukraine after Hitler’s legions rolled in in 1941. At first the Nazis were welcomed as liberators, Stalin’s rule of Ukraine being brutal. The Germans quickly showed they could out brutal Stalin any day, and Ukrainian collaboration with Hiter’s Nazis quickly waned. 4.5 million Ukrainians ultimately fought for Stalin, the devil you know I guess.

Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Parade in Stanislav (Ivano-Frankivsk) in honor of the visit of the Governor-General of Poland Reichsleiter Hans Frank Credit: Unknown, Public Domain under Russian Copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 2, 2019 at 4:19 am