Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

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Busy busy busy now. Road trip of my life being planned. So, yeah, I think Trump’s support is shrinking. I don’t think it’s my imagination. His die hard core is around, the people who think he’s sent by God. But a lot of his 2016 votes were from people who just were glad to see a political outsider take up their plight in Washington. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I was one of the people who thought, well, maybe he will try to do a good job. Give him a chance.

Yeah, Trump had his chance. Pretty much at this point anyone not completely immersed in Trump’s alternate reality warp bubble is realizing that the man hasn’t been a particularly good president. People love a leader, we really are a tribal/social animal. A leader who’s delivering only pain, that gets old. This: Why this libertarian is voting for Biden. And especially this: Ditching The Donald: Trump’s largest voter base is fleeing at an alarming rate.

We’ll see, was musing today that despite the GOP’s short term success in taking the reins of federal and state government despite the fact that they aren’t in the majority, ultimately their strategy is self defeating. The GOP has basically convinced its base that anything contravening the GOP line is some sort of evil leftist plot to take away their freedom. Sensible gun control? They want to cancel the second amendment! Raise the minimum wage? They want to end the free market! Wear a mask and practise social distancing to slow the spread of a terrible disease? Covid tyranny, a plot to take away your freedoms!

Yeah, convincing people that government is the problem pretty much cripples actual governing. My point is that the GOP “Anything we don’t agree with is a plot to destroy America!” ultimately makes red controlled areas ungovernable. Exhibit A: Ammon Bundy is building a far-right theocratic army under the guise of defending ‘rights’ A political ideology that cripples public health initiatives in the face of a pandemic is not a viable long term strategy. Trumpism, no matter how much its followers believe otherwise, is just another political/ideological con in the service of its creators.

Lastly, with sensible government, it is possible to keep Covid-19 at bay. Just found out that Canada’s self ruling First Nation’s province Nunavut has completely avoided Covid-19. Last March they simply barred entry for virtually all non residents, and made returnees quarantine. The result? Zero Covid-19 cases. Zero. Granted there’s only 35,000 people or so in Nunavut, but it’s not an island like New Zealand. This is an example of good government by any metric.

Haiti has also done well with Covid-19, for reasons no one understands. Reality is complicated and nuanced, something many humans will never understand. If there were simplistic workable  black and white answers to governing human societies, Earth would be a paradise. Alas every simplistic answer so far has failed in the breech. Sorry Mr Trump and your followers, believing Trump was an answer sent by God doesn’t actually make it so.

If Trump wins the election, woo boy, four years of him getting back at his enemies. That will be fun. If he loses, two months of him punishing everyone for failing him. Fun times. Or maybe Trump will die in some memorable manner, and Trumpism will supersede Christianity. A thousand years from now there will be Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Trumpers. The four great Abrahamaaic faiths.

All killing and beheading each other just like today. Stay safe everyone. Comments, questions appreciated.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Used without permission, I can’t make out the attribution. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I will attribute or remove as needed.)

Written by unitedcats

October 18, 2020 at 8:32 pm

31 YEARS AGO TODAY, THE LOMA PRIETA EARTHQUAKE. HOPED IT WOULD BE THE LAST DISASTER OF MY LIFE. THEN CAME 2020 …

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The 1989 loma Prieta earthquake. 31 one years ago today. I was in my vegetable garden in the Berkeley hills. The ground started to really shake, not scary, but I was like “wow, this in the biggest quake I ever felt.” Little quakes are common in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sometimes one went for years without feeling one, sometimes there would be several in a year. Just part of life in California. The excitement lasted about 5 seconds … then it started rolling. Like being on a boat in the ocean. I had a hard time standing up, the fence post I was trying to grab kept swerving out of my way. I could see my big old 3 story house swaying. I could hear glass breaking. But worse of all, I was a geology major. I knew that if one feels shaking in a quake followed by rolling, it means one is some distance from a big earthquake … and that people were almost certainly dying as I stood there.

It was not a good feeling. I was lucky I guess. A couple I had met died in the Cypress Freeway collapse. From my window I could see the broken Bay Bridge (image above) and worse, holes they cut in the Cypress Freeway to get to the crushed cars. Some were crushed to 3 inches thick. Not survivable. I had survivor’s guilt for about a year. Got over it though. Before the earthquake I had always wondered what it would be like to survive a natural disaster. Loma Prieta cured that, I would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life without experiencing another similar event.

And then came 2020 and Covid-19. “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” Loma Prieta was over in 20 seconds, after that was just the aftermath. Covid-19 and Trump’s inexplicable failure to cope with it, gonna last until late January 2021 at least. Fun times. So a few recent links and my increasingly caustic honest responses to same:

As the Coronavirus Surges, a New Culprit Emerges: Pandemic Fatigue. Please, this isn’t fatigue, it’s “I’m too stupid to understand that Covid-19 changed everything and I need to change my ways.”

Influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk Dead Of Coronavirus After Telling Followers It Wasn’t Real. Let’s think, it’s 1941, the German blitz (bombing raids) on London had been going on for over six months. The Headline: “Man Who Thought the Blitz was a Hoax Dies in Blitz Bombing Raid.” In other words, Dmitry was an idiot.

A friend sent me this: There’s a Word for Why We Wear Masks, and Liberals Should Say It. The word is freedom. I wear a mask because I’m a freedom loving patriot. That means “my freedom to do what I want with my fists … ends at your jaw.” Anyone who thinks their freedom means they can punch their fellow citizens whenever they want has a sick idea of freedom at best.

Moving right along … planning my “Travels With Charlie” road trip. I’ve got three weeks of good health left, I love road trips, might be my last chance. Granted the surgeries could all turn out fine and I’ll be blogging for decades hence, but see previous God plans joke. At the very least, looks like I will live to the election, so my straight blue ballot will count.

Hope all are having a good weekend. As always: likes, comments, questions, anatomically possible suggestions welcome. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The section of the Bay Bridge that failed in the 1989 quake, sadly one fellow died when he drove into it. USGS image, public domain under US copyright law.)

The 1989 loma Prieta earthquake. 31 one years ago today. I was in my vegetable garden in the Berkeley hills. The ground started to really shake, not scary, but I was like “wow, this in the biggest quake I ever felt.” Little quakes are common in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sometimes one went for years without feeling one, sometimes there would be several in a year. Just part of life in California. The excitement lasted about 5 seconds … then it started rolling. Like being on a boat in the ocean. I had a hard time standing up, the fence post I was trying to grab kept swerving out of my way. I could see my big old 3 story house swaying. I could hear glass breaking. But worse of all, I was a geology major. I knew that if one feels shaking in a quake followed by rolling, it means one is some distance from a big earthquake … and that people were almost certainly dying as I stood there.

It was not a good feeling. I was lucky I guess. A couple I had met died in the Cypress Freeway collapse. From my window I could see the broken Bay Bridge (image above) and worse, holes they cut in the Cypress Freeway to get to the crushed cars. Some were crushed to 3 inches thick. Not survivable. I had survivor’s guilt for about a year. Got over it though. Before the earthquake I had always wondered what it would be like to survive a natural disaster. Loma Prieta cured that, I would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life without experiencing another similar event.

And then came 2020 and Covid-19. “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” Loma Prieta was over in 20 seconds, after that was just the aftermath. Covid-19 and Trump’s inexplicable failure to cope with it, gonna last until late January 2021 at least. Fun times. So a few recent links and my increasingly caustic honest responses to same:

As the Coronavirus Surges, a New Culprit Emerges: Pandemic Fatigue. Please, this isn’t fatigue, it’s “I’m too stupid to understand that Covid-19 changed everything and I need to change my ways.”

Influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk Dead Of Coronavirus After Telling Followers It Wasn’t Real. Let’s think, it’s 1941, the German blitz (bombing raids) on London had been going on for over six months. The Headline: “Man Who Thought the Blitz was a Hoax Dies in Blitz Bombing Raid.” In other words, Dmitry was an idiot.

A friend sent me this: There’s a Word for Why We Wear Masks, and Liberals Should Say It. The word is freedom. I wear a mask because I’m a freedom loving patriot. That means “my freedom to do what I want with my fists … ends at your jaw.” Anyone who thinks their freedom means they can punch their fellow citizens whenever they want has a sick idea of freedom at best.

Moving right along … planning my “Travels With Charlie” road trip. I’ve got three weeks of good health left, I love road trips, might be my last chance. Granted the surgeries could all turn out fine and I’ll be blogging for decades hence, but see previous God plans joke. At the very least, looks like I will live to the election, so my straight blue ballot will count.

Hope all are having a good weekend. As always: likes, comments, questions, anatomically possible suggestions welcome. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The section of the Bay Bridge that failed in the 1989 quake, sadly one fellow died when he drove into it. USGS image, public domain under US copyright law.)

The 1989 loma Prieta earthquake. 31 one years ago today. I was in my vegetable garden in the Berkeley hills. The ground started to really shake, not scary, but I was like “wow, this in the biggest quake I ever felt.” Little quakes are common in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sometimes one went for years without feeling one, sometimes there would be several in a year. Just part of life in California. The excitement lasted about 5 seconds … then it started rolling. Like being on a boat in the ocean. I had a hard time standing up, the fence post I was trying to grab kept swerving out of my way. I could see my big old 3 story house swaying. I could hear glass breaking. But worse of all, I was a geology major. I knew that if one feels shaking in a quake followed by rolling, it means one is some distance from a big earthquake … and that people were almost certainly dying as I stood there.

It was not a good feeling. I was lucky I guess. A couple I had met died in the Cypress Freeway collapse. From my window I could see the broken Bay Bridge (image above) and worse, holes they cut in the Cypress Freeway to get to the crushed cars. Some were crushed to 3 inches thick. Not survivable. I had survivor’s guilt for about a year. Got over it though. Before the earthquake I had always wondered what it would be like to survive a natural disaster. Loma Prieta cured that, I would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life without experiencing another similar event.

And then came 2020 and Covid-19. “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” Loma Prieta was over in 20 seconds, after that was just the aftermath. Covid-19 and Trump’s inexplicable failure to cope with it, gonna last until late January 2021 at least. Fun times. So a few recent links and my increasingly caustic honest responses to same:

As the Coronavirus Surges, a New Culprit Emerges: Pandemic Fatigue. Please, this isn’t fatigue, it’s “I’m too stupid to understand that Covid-19 changed everything and I need to change my ways.”

Influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk Dead Of Coronavirus After Telling Followers It Wasn’t Real. Let’s think, it’s 1941, the German blitz (bombing raids) on London had been going on for over six months. The Headline: “Man Who Thought the Blitz was a Hoax Dies in Blitz Bombing Raid.” In other words, Dmitry was an idiot.

A friend sent me this: There’s a Word for Why We Wear Masks, and Liberals Should Say It. The word is freedom. I wear a mask because I’m a freedom loving patriot. That means “my freedom to do what I want with my fists … ends at your jaw.” Anyone who thinks their freedom means they can punch their fellow citizens whenever they want has a sick idea of freedom at best.

Moving right along … planning my “Travels With Charlie” road trip. I’ve got three weeks of good health left, I love road trips, might be my last chance. Granted the surgeries could all turn out fine and I’ll be blogging for decades hence, but see previous God plans joke. At the very least, looks like I will live to the election, so my straight blue ballot will count.

Hope all are having a good weekend. As always: likes, comments, questions, anatomically possible suggestions welcome. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The section of the Bay Bridge that failed in the 1989 quake, sadly one fellow died when he drove into it. USGS image, public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 17, 2020 at 7:58 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 16, 2020 at 8:08 pm

TRUMP, DELUSIONS, HERD INSANITY, 2020 CARRIES ON.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 15, 2020 at 7:27 pm

954 YEARS AGO TODAY ANOTHER CONTENTIOUS RULERSHIP DISPUTE IS SETTLED

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October 14, 1066. It was a bright late fall day in Southern England. English King Harold and possibly 10,000 or more foot soldiers were arrayed on top of a hill behind a shield wall (that’s a line of men holding large shields touching or even overlapping each other,) both flanks protected by dense forest. Duke William of Normandy and about as many men were at the bottom of the hill, they were a combined force or archers, foot soldiers, and mounted knights. These 20,000 or more men were about to settle a critical political dispute. Who was to be the next king of England, Harold or William?

And they weren’t going to settle the issue with namby pamby things like votes. This was near a thousand years ago, political issues were settled with swords, and fought to the death. One can only wonder at what was going through the mens’ minds that morning (there were possibly a few women, but that’s speculation.)  They knew that by day’s end they might well be dead, or grievously wounded. That just meant they died a week or two later most likely. Many of Harold’s men were tired, especially the core of his army; they had fought a bloody but victorious battle at Stamford Bridge less than three weeks before. And had marched 270 miles (430 km)  in 2 weeks, that’s 20 miles (32 km) a day carrying heavy gear.

The battle started with the Norman archers attacking. They were shooting uphill at men behind a shield wall. Basically most of the arrows bounced off the shields or flew harmlessly over the top of the hill. And since the English had few archers, there were few English arrows to gather up and shoot back. After that, accounts vary. William’s foot soldiers charged up the hill at least three times and were beaten back. They almost panicked in the first retreat because a rumor spread William had been killed, he had to ride through his army with his face exposed to reassure his men that he still lived.

When the Normans retreated after an unsuccessful attack, by accident or design, groups of Harold’s soldiers pursued, and were quickly surrounded and killed once away from the shield wall. Harold’s two brothers were likely killed early in the battle this way. The end of the battle, this is the big mystery. Again, by accident or design, a group of Norman knights got through a gap in the shield wall, and hacked Harold to death. Or Harold may have gone down with an arrow in the eye. Or both. No one really knows, all we know is that sometime in the late afternoon Harold was killed, and his army quickly collapsed and ran. No point continuing to fight when the king is dead.

And that was the end of the last Anglo Saxon English king, and the last time England was successfully invaded. It’s not known how many men died that day. The Norman dead were buried in a mass grave whose location is unknown to this day. The English dead were left on the field, though some of their bodies were retrieved by their families.  2,000 dead Normans and at least twice that many of Harald’s soldiers is the best guess today. William’s legacy? Depends on who one asks. Probably the most significant event in English history between the Roman invasion and the 20th century. Some think that’s giving William too much credit, though it is certain that changes his rule started in England are still felt today. Whether his conquest was a good thing or a bad thing for England is debated by historians.

It was certainly a bad thing for the thousands that died that bright October day, and the thousands more that would die as William consolidated his rule of England and put down rebellions. At least back then most of the participants in wars were volunteers in one sense or another, civilians generally and wisely avoided battles. Long time ago, but still has connections to us today. Turns out a friend is a direct descendant of William. Small world … and William did have a lot of kids.

I don’t see Trump or Biden leading an army into battle, so their differences will be solved by other means. Tomorrow, more on Trump’s plan to let a million Americans pointlessly die. Whole other kind of perspective I suppose. Stay safe everyone. Comments, shares likes appreciated. Patrons especially appreciated, go to the link in the “Welcome to Doug’s Darkworld” blurb on the right. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings and the death of Harold. Credit: Unknown, likely commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother. Public Domain under all known copyright laws.)

Written by unitedcats

October 14, 2020 at 7:11 pm

Posted in History, Politics, War

SURRENDERING TO COVID-19 IS A BAD IDEA MR TRUMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 13, 2020 at 8:22 pm

ANOTHER MESSAGE FOR TRUMP SUPPORTERS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 12, 2020 at 8:03 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 11, 2020 at 8:49 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 10, 2020 at 7:52 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 9, 2020 at 8:40 pm