Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘2012 election

In with Obama, out with Petraeus, and Happy Veterans Day

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Well, been a  few changes the past few days. Obama won the 2012 election, no big surprise there. I was pretty sure all along that he would be hard to beat, the man is shrewd politician. Even his weak performance at the first debate was deliberate I now suspect, it just made his final two debates that much better. Though despite all the crowing on the liberal side, the popular vote was very close, this was not a landslide or a mandate. It was however a slap-in-the-face for the most neanderthal on the right, the five worst pro-rapist politicians soundly lost their elections, as did a number of tea partiers. And things like gay marriage and marijuana decriminalization won in a number of states. I don’t think the election results are all that surprising, though I hear many on the right are shocked. Yeah, well, many on the left were shocked when Bush was re-elected, the shocked righties will live. I think basically Romney alienated pretty much everyone but straight white males, allowing Obama to squeak by on a broad coalition despite the weak economy.

It would be nice if the Republicans decided to work with Obama the next four years instead of devoting themselves to obstructionism and making sure Obama didn’t win re-election. So far it’s not looking good. There’s even talk of employers retaliating against their employees because of the results of the election. Classy, real classy. And the interesting coincidence of the two maps above doesn’t inspire me with hope and change. The top map is the results of the election. The bottom map are the states that seceded during the civil war. Though the map was a bit premature, Obama did win Florida. I sometimes wonder if the south should be allowed to leave the union, lately it sure seems like they don’t want to be a part of it.

On the other hand, divided America aside, I have hopes that the results of this election means that despite what the Tea Partiers think, the nation is shifting back in a liberal direction. It’s been heading right since Reagan, it would be nice to live to see the pendulum swinging the other way. Not surprising really, it’s hard not to notice that borrow and spend, the upwards transfer of wealth, and endless military/security/police/prison spending … at the expense of infrastructure/education/health care … hasn’t delivered on all of its promises. Or any of them, unless one really wanted endless war. As I am sure someone has said better, if giving the rich tax breaks created jobs, everyone in America and their pets would be employed. Plus it would be cool to see another cultural revolution like the 60s, humans always come up with interesting new stuff. Some are dragged into the future kicking and screaming, some look forward to every new day.

Moving right along, General Petraeus is moving right along. Darling of the neocons and pro-war media (aka the mainstream media,) General Petraeus, the man who convinced Americans to shed more American lives so that we could pretend we “won” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has resigned as Director of the CIA. I for one am relieved, the man was more politician than general, and his presidential aspirations sure seemed palpable to me. He resigned because it turned out he was having an affair with his biographer. There are also concerns that he may have allowed her access to information that she wasn’t permitted to access. It’s all rather vague at this point. It would be nice if he was replaced by someone who wasn’t going to use the office as a stepping stone to the presidency. Someone actually tuned into the real world. I’m not holding my breath.

Speaking of the real world, that’s the topic of the next blog. I plan to segue from politics to the real world. Then some fun posts on science, Vikings, neanderthals, and related subjects. It’s gonna take a lot to wash the election from my brain. Lastly, I hope everyone is having a Happy Veterans Day. I honour those who have served in uniform for their country, I spit on those who send uniformed men and women to die in senseless wars that have nothing to do with national defense. One can be pro-firefighter without being pro-arsonist, something our war culture obsessed media generally neglects to mention these days.

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s all over Facebook, no idea who to attribute it to. Yes, that’s the original Pledge of Allegiance, from before the USA started turning into a theocracy. Maybe this election means that tide has turned too, one can only hope.))

Written by unitedcats

November 12, 2012 at 6:39 am

Injured kittens, elections, and worse stuff

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On the way to work today the bus got mired in traffic. Then I saw emergency lights ahead, the police were routing traffic into one lane. Getting closer I saw why. There was an injured kitten in the road, a half grown little stripey guy. One of the cops was standing so as to keep him in the shade. For some reason the sight just about to broke my heart, I cried on and off all day. So much sadness in the world, this just put me over the edge I guess. I hope the little guy made it.

I’ll be glad when the election is over. It’s been one of the uglier elections in my memory, if not the ugliest. I still honestly don’t give a crap who wins, both candidates have aspects that are so so creepy it makes my flesh crawl. Both candidates are a tool of the bankers, militarists, and energy cartel. Obama’s social policy window dressing is a bit better, but living in a theocracy might actually make Americans snap out of their revery. More on point, I think if Superman got elected, we’d still be hosed. America is like a stately old oak tree … completely rotted out inside. It looks majestic, but one of these days there will be a stiff breeze and down it goes. It’s not going to be pretty.

Obama. Barrack “kill list” Obama. I find it more than disturbing that the POTUS maintains a kill list, a list that can and has included Americans. It’s disturbing in and of itself, but that no one is upset about it is just plain scary. Nixon had an enemy’s list, and was excoriated for it; Obama has a kill list, and no one cares? People went wild over non-existent “death panels,” but don’t care that Obama has set himself up as a death panel of one? I am not reassured.

Then we have the rapist’s right’s party. Think about this: We have a Senate candidate Mourdock claiming that a rape  pregnancy was a gift from God and couldn’t be aborted. He said he anguished over this question before coming to that conclusion. I’m a little unclear what he anguished over. He couldn’t have anguished over how he would feel if he were raped and impregnated, since that can’t happen to him. So he must have anguished over how he would feel if he raped and impregnated someone. And he concluded that whoever he, or any man, chooses to rape;  if the woman is impregnated, she must bear the child. The rapist gets to choose, the raped victim doesn’t. Right. Romney endorsed this guy. Ryan holds similar view. This is crazy, a perversion of Christianity, and an example of rape culture. Again, not reassured.

I like Jill Stein, but nothing short of a miracle will get her in the White House. It might make a good science fiction story, or an unlikely Hollywood movie. I think they put Ron Paul back in cryogenic suspension, I don’t know where he went. Probably conveyed to media purgatory. There’s other stuff on ballots. I’m cynical about it all. The special interests have it locked up, even when they lose, they have the lawyers and the money to fix it. Legalized corruption on a scale never before seen in history. See, the USA is still number one! On the other hand, unlike so many people, I’m not going to freak out no matter who gets elected. Whoever gets elected has my support, at least initially. Whoever wins has an unholy mess to contend with, and the last thing America needs now is sore losers. My studied neutrality may only last to the acceptance speech, tomorrow is another day.

Lastly, so as not to be accused of excess negatively, can I envision an encouraging outcome on election day? Yes. Yes I can. I hope the winning candidate sees an injured kitten in the road, and his heart is softened and his mind is cleared, and he gives an acceptance speech that resonates with all Americans, and opens a dialog that begins to heal this fractured land. See, I can still dream.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Not being used for profit, it’s just such a lovely image, I couldn’t resist. I got it from this site. It’s destruction from Hurricane Sandy. The image says a lot to me. Who is this woman? Where is she going?)

Written by unitedcats

November 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Hurricane Sandy and Related News

with 2 comments

This close to the election, everything seems to revolve around the election. At least if one is a hard-core Republican. Or more on point, everything seems to revolve around hating Obama. The bodies weren’t even cold in Benghazi and Romney was heaping criticism on Obama, and he never let up. Odd, I don’t recall the GOP ever criticizing Bush for his military fiascoes, but once Obama was in charge, nothing but criticism. Hurricane Sandy appears to be the same. A Republican governor praises Obama for his prompt and effective response to Hurricane Sandy, and right wing pundits are foaming at the mouth. Classy, real classy. I used to be a Republican, but the party I knew at least acknowledged that we were all Americans, and that it was the politician’s job to work together to run the country.  Now Republicans seem to be trying to outdo themselves at reaching ever more ridiculous levels of partisanship. Granted there are voices on the left falling into the same trap, but I’ve yet to hear any liberals criticizing Obama for helping out a Republican governor. Plenty of them have praised Governor Christie though, I was impressed. Yeah, the storm was a break for Obama, but the Republicans could have handled the situation with far more dignity, instead they made it clear no matter how bad things get, no matter how many Americans die; Obama and the people who support him, tens of millions of Americans, can go f**k themselves. I’ll be glad when the election is over and Romney can move on to being a rodeo clown.

Speaking of Hurricane Sandy, or Superstorm Sandy as some are calling it, it was quite the storm. At least 90 dead in the USA, far more in the Caribbean. It wasn’t a super powerful storm, but it was super huge, one of the biggest hurricanes on record, it affected 24 states in the USA and numerous nations in the Carribean. Sandy wasn’t unprecedented, but it was certainly unusual. It’s already on track to be the second most damaging USA East Coast hurricane ever. Still, several times a century a storm like this can be expected to hit New York. And the frequency will be going up as the tropical seas get warmer. The real damage was caused by the storm surge. A storm surge is a pile of water pushed ahead of a storm by winds, surges of over 30 feet have been recorded. Think a tide thirty feet high. Not a pretty sight, storm surges are the big killer in hurricanes and cyclones. On the plus side, they can be prevented. A storm surge killed thousands in Holland in 1953, giant coastal defenses were built to prevent it happening again. Such were suggested for New York long ago, the idea is being revisited in the aftermath of Sandy. We’ll see.

A discussion of Sandy wouldn’t be complete without some mention of global warming. Was Sandy caused by global warming? It’s impossible to say, global warming is about climate, not weather. A fact that global climate change deniers conveniently ignore pretty much every time there is a severe snowstorm somewhere. Granted plenty of global warming activists are claiming that Sandy is clear proof of global warming. I feel their frustration, the globe increasingly is having the kind of extreme weather events that global warming predicts, the fact that it’s not possible to conclusively say that a particular event was caused by global warming is very difficult to explain to people who want to resist science they don’t approve of. However, even if global warming didn’t cause Sandy, it made it worse. That seems to be pretty clear to the climatologists. And at least it got the topic back on the news, that’s a good thing. Good for everyone except the coal and oil industry, sadly they own a lot of think tanks, politicians, and journalists … and they’re not afraid to use them.

In other Sandy  news, a Brazilian model, Nana Gouvea, thought it would make a nice backdrop for a photo shoot. One pic helpfully posted above. Her pics went viral. She got heaps of criticism and outrage. Granted it is a tasteless and tacky thing to do. On the other hand, she got tons of publicity. No harm, no foul. It’s not like she’s aspiring for political office, and she didn’t actually hurt anyone. I think it’s a clever idea. Ya, people are outraged. So what? On a scale of one to ten when it comes to outrageous items in the news, this is a zero. There’s tons of sleaze and crime every day far more deserving of outrage than a tasteless photo shoot. Priorities people, priorities. Heck, as my friend Steve Burke said: “Some guys will be seeing the damage for the first time thanks to these photos.”

Have a great weekend everyone!

(The above images are claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, they aren’t being used for profit and are central to illustrating the post. I don’t know who to credit the top one to, the second I assume is owned by Ms Noumea herself. Since I linked to her site and praised her photo shoot, hopefully that’s attribution enough. It would be nice if someday copyright law could be re-written to reflect reality, alas industry is easily the slowest element in a culture to adapt to changing times, and often uses its influence to impeded progress.  Another blog post for another day.)

The very last Obama-Romney “debate.” Thank God, I couldn’t take another one.

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Here is my unscripted, unedited, sometimes patently offensive responses to the debate as it occurred. Apologies in advance, this is to reproduced to stimulate thought and discussion, not to get anyone’s knickers in a twist. And I was subsequently presented with reasonable argument and already changed my mind about one thing I said below, enjoy:

Debate started. 2 minutes of pure lies and BS by Romney. This will be fun.

Followed by two minutes of gibberish from Obama.

And now Mitt is promising to fix all the problems in the Middle East!

Lies and gibberish back and forth.

Israel is NOT our ally, tired of that lie.

Romney is going to wave a magic wand and turn Syria into our ally.

And now Obama is claiming Libya was a brilliant success. @@

How the hell did Americans get the idea that we get to decide who is running other countries? Worse, how the hell have they not noticed that this almost always makes things worse?

And Romney could have made things turn out better in Egypt, must be nice to have God like powers. And now he’s going to promote peace!

And now Romney is claiming our economy is the problem with our foreign policy, cheap shot.

Right, America is the “indispensable nation.” Dogmeat.

And Romney’s magic wand is going to work on the economy as well! He got in some teacher bashing, nice.

They ran out of “foreign policy” and are going on and on a about economic fantasies.

“Let me get back to foreign policy.” The moderator is pretending to have balls. They ignored him.

Lies and more lies about health care.

“You don’t balance your budget, you’re out of business.” I guess Romney wasn’t including Wall Street where if you don’t balance your budget, the government bails you out.

Arguing about military budget trivia when we are spending more money on our military than the rest of the world combined is surreal.

Right, Obama is going to help veterans. He forgot to do that during the past four years?

And now the comic book world where Iran attacks Israel. We are cooperating with Israel? Maybe. They return the favour by spying on us and influencing our politics. Some ally.

And now Obama’s bragging about destroying Iran’s economy. And apparently mixing up the real Iran with Hollywood Iran.

Neither of them seem to remember that Iran has China and Russia as friends, Putin has stated that an attack on Iran would be considered an attack on Russia.

Iran agreed to a deal a few years back that would have absolutely prevented them from developing nuclear weapons. The US put the kibosh on the deal. So we made this mess, and everything they are spewing about Iran’s nuclear program is lies. Lies, lies, lies.

Obama you LYING SACK OF SHIT. No matter WHAT Iran agrees to the USA will just make more demands.

Lies, lies, lies, lies. Romney will repeat the same lies though.

And now the mewling crap about American weakness and apologies overseas.

You are such a moron Romney, I think he actually believes that if he just puffs out his chest and acts tough other countries will magically roll over and do our bidding.

“Four years closer to a nuclear Iran.” No matter how many times Romney says it, it’s still a lie.

How terrible Obama feels about the tiny number of toy rockets fired at Israel, near children’s bedrooms even. When is he going to visit Pakistan and feel sorry for the hundreds of children our vastly more deadly missiles have killed?

Oh God, invoking 9/11. Um, we didn’t bring OBL to justice, we murdered him. There really is a difference.

“Move Pakistan in the right direction.” Romney has a vivid fantasy life, that’s for sure.

“Pakistan isn’t acting like an ally???? We’re fucking bombing them, what kind of ally does that make us?

Oh good, more flying death squads, Romney promises. News flash: The USA is more hated than India in Pakistan because of our drone strikes.

And now Obama is going to stop corruption, enforce women’s rights, and guarantee free enterprise and democracy in countries like Somalia and Yemen. He’s as delusional (or dishonest) as Romney.

Fortunately the moderator is making sure the debate is framed in the fantasy propaganda world that both sides are spewing, some debate.

“The world’s greatest security threat is a nuclear Iran.” Pure, unadulterated dogshit.

It’s all China’s fault. Romney is going to fix that too.

“You gotta play by the rules.” The US has ignored the rules since WW2, Snort.

And now they’re back on the auto industry, irrelevant lies and gibberish.

It’s like watching ten year olds “debate.”

Shoulda watched the Giants. At least there will be a clear winner and loser, and the rules will be followed.

Romney is going to save the middle class. Snort.

Romney’s concern for suffering Americans, Oh my.

“America as the hope of the Earth.” That’s beyond narcissistic, I think hubris is the word that applies.

It’s over, going to soak my brain in beer to get the taste of the candidates out of it.

Post debate: Obama fiddled to his base beautifully. Romney less so, but he didn’t eat his tie and he held his ground even when being pummeled; he played well in Peoria I expect. Both stayed safely within the America the Saviour fantasy script. I don’t really care who wins, I really meant it when I said this feels like when the Praetorian Guard auctioned off the Empire of Rome to the highest bidder. It didn’t really matter then who won the bidding, the forces already in motion weren’t going to be stayed by mortal man. Whoever wins this election reaps the whirlwind. That usually doesn’t end well.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I think this was Romney’s biggest gaffe. Today’s navy is a little bit larger than the one Obama got from Bush, so it was insane to think they could attack Obama on this. And Obama handled it brilliantly to boot. My absolute final say on the debate: All posture, no substance.)

Written by unitedcats

October 23, 2012 at 7:56 am

Through Thick and Thin

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Another week gone by. Two more days to the last and final debate between Romney and Obama. Both sides are pulling out all the stops. I’m more bored by the day. What’s this, the tenth election in a row billed as “the most important election ever?” I don’t think so. Might be the most screwed up election ever. Now that “both sides” have convinced their base that the only thing that matters is their narrow ideological stand on a  handful of of social  issues, there is zero chance that any of the real issues facing this country will be addressed. Climate change? What’s that? Our endless overseas wars? Don’t go there. Our every expanding security state? Fracking? GMOs? Forget about it. Nope, just legions of people who thinking they are saving babies or saving women by their respective vote for a dyed-in-the-wool agent of the 1%. Like in the previous election, I’m hoping that the Republican wins, because it might breath new life into the antiwar left, which Obama has effectively driven into a lobotomized coma. Yes, Obama has succeeded where Nixon and his generation only dreamed, he destroyed the antiwar movement. In any event, a few random notes on recent events, in no particular order:

A huge US led anti-mine drill in the Persian Gulf was a disaster. It was called the single largest naval drill in history, with more than 30 nations participating. Twenty nine simulated mines had been planted, the whole point of the exercise was to demonstrate the West’s effectiveness to find mines and keep the Straight of Hormuz open. Reportedly the drill was an abject failure, with less than half of the simulated mines being found. Not exactly sure what this signifies. I can’t see why the US would lie about something like this, maybe they want to encourage the Iranians to do something rash? Seems like sowing international doubt about our ability to keep the straight open wouldn’t be worth the damage it would do to the US’s credibility and efforts to prevent diplomacy with Iran. It’s certainly possible that we’re just that bad, a huge amount of military spending the past few decades has been about enriching the arms manufacturers, with limited attention paid to whether equipment will actually work under real world conditions. Who knows, curious though.

An interesting poll was just taken in Egypt. Apparently there is a trend towards support for Iran and Egypt acquiring nuclear weapons. And the military is still the most trusted institution in the country. Interesting for a number of reasons. I think it’s a good thing that Egyptians are turning away from the USA and the west and more interested in hewing their own path. It’s painfully clear at this point that the USA doesn’t give as rat’s a** about the people of the Middle East, and is only trying to maintain western and Israeli hegemony in the region. And it’s also painfully clear that the nuclear powers, declared and undeclared (cough Israel cough) have no intention of giving up nuclear weapons and are perfectly happy to have the current situation perpetuated forever. It was also interesting some of the reaction to the poll in the west. They saw it as a sign of the rise of extremism in Egypt. Yerp, people deciding they know what’s best for their countries and not wanting to be a satrap of the USA is extremism. The US and Israel keep reaping what they sow, and there seems like no end in sight.

Scientists have decided to send a paddle boat into space. Those crazy scientists, what will they think of next? OK, not space exactly, they want to send a paddle boat to Titan, a moon of Saturn. It’s actually a good idea, it will get to sample both the lakes and the atmosphere of Titan, and move around a bit to get more varied data. The plan is for it to last for six months to a year. The last Titan lander lasted 90 minutes. Considering it’s nearly 300F below zero that’s a tall order. I’m assuming it will be nuclear powered. In other space news someone stitched together the above panorama from shots taken by the new Curiosity rover on Mars. I love pics like this, really shows it  as the surface of a planet; add a few juniper bushes and it could have been taken in Nevada.

I have a number of dedicated posts I have been chipping away on. Hopefully I will get some of them out in the next week. Another week where I have a lot of work. that’s good, the wolves have been pushed back out the door at least. I hope everyone had a good weekend!

(The above image is public Domain under US copyright law. Credit and copyright: NASA. For the readers of coarser tastes so to speak, a stone penis was also recently discovered on Mars. I don’t think it’s going to give the Face on Mars a run for its money.)

Written by unitedcats

October 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Land Mines for Liberals

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I watched the debate. Much of it at least. Both Obama and Romney make my flesh crawl, so I had to take breaks. It’s over though. I don’t think a winner has been officially declared yet. I have debated the debate with some friends, and perused some Facebook Posts, but otherwise haven’t looked at how the pundits are reacting to the debate. My raw unscripted reaction as it were:

First off, I was appalled at how the mainstream media framed the debate. At least the channel I was watching made a big deal about how much “momentum” Romney had, and they so much as said that Obama had to win big to get back in the race. Yes, the election of the president of the most powerful nation the world has ever seen reduced to a shallow popularity contest at best. Racing cockroaches at worst. Hmm, did I type that aloud? As an aside from the facile shallowness of this approach to a presidential debate, it also sets Obama up to fail. Unless he dominates Romney, he loses. Say what?

Then, the questions. Every one I heard, and I heard most or all of them, seemed like a carefully constructed liberal land mine. IE a question designed to trip up liberals, basically questions that the conservative ideology on was very clear, so any answer that didn’t satisfy that was doomed to fail. There were no questions where Obama could shine. How the hell did this happen? Was the debate specifically set up so that Obama would fail? Hmm.

Worse, when presented with these clearly biased questions, instead of going on the offense, Obama fell back on liberal talking points. My favourite was the gun control question. Obama’s record on gun control is zilch, in fact he has let some gun control laws lapse without a fight. Even then, he has been endlessly pilloried by the right as a threat to gun ownership. So what does he do when the question comes up? He talks about gun control! He might as well have announced he was the anti-Christ. He could have pointed out that the Supreme Court had ruled that the second amendment guaranteed the Right to Bear Arms, and pretty much left it at that. It’s not like he was going to lose any liberal votes. Instead the next issue of the National Rifleman practically writes itself.

That in a nutshell was why I think by accident or design Obama threw the debate and the election. He preached to the choir, when he needed to appeal to Ron Paulists, intelligent conservatives, hard-core green voters, and militarists. I know this because I’m a card-carrying member of all four. Obama failed to redirect his message at the people he most needed to reach. This is the kiss of death. Granted Romney did no better, but he didn’t have to. All he had to do was look presidential while he pontificated, and he was golden. Romney looked Reaganesque to me, that may be all it takes to get a white back in the White House.

Granted I am biased, and there is absolutely no doubt that people’s preconceptions will colour how they view this debate. “They saw a game” as it were. I saw Obama set up to be a clown, and despite his best efforts, he came off as one. His liberal base is already crowing victory I see, but I also see that conservatives have ample new ammunition. There are advantages to having friends and associates from all over the political spectrum. I get to hear everyone’s prejudices. This makes me the most prejudiced one of all.

So my current thinking is that Romney is going to win the election, and the liberals are screwed no matter what happens. If things go great (snort, but it could happen) then of course Romney saved us all! And if things go to shit, it was all Obama’s fault!

Obama has been pwned. I hope I’m wrong.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Us under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, etc. It’s from the Facebook group: Binders Full of Women. yes, things move quickly in cyberspace. I used it because I thought it was funny, and an example of how quickly memes explode these days. Within an hour of the debate and Romney’s “Binders full of women:” remark there’s already a viral response to it. Such an age we live in. )

Written by unitedcats

October 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Romney Crushes Obama in Debate, Obama Flees Podium in Shame as the Crowd Screams: “Death Panels, Death Panels, Death Panels!” Next on Fox News, Iran’s Secret Plan the Rule the World.

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OK, I listened to most of the debate. Sadly, it wasn’t all that interesting. A few good points that I’m sure the pundits will cover at great length. Romney wants to balance the budget by cutting PBS. Neil degrasse Tyson covered that nicely: “Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive.” Romney also regurgitated the Death Panels fallacy. No, Obamacare does not have death panels. And we already have death panels, they work for the insurance giants. All sorts of stuff and nonsense about the budget and the economy, which basically boiled down to a debate on how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Both Romney and Obama made points that their supporters will claim as great victories, oblivious to the fact that Romney and Obama are appealing to a different demographic. Truth be told though, Romney came across just fine, so no knock-out blows were delivered.

Fox News was covering a car chase the other day, and they accidentally broadcast live a man’s suicide by gun. Then they apologized profusely for it. This really pissed me off. `What, we’re fucking children that the news has to cover its eyes when something bad happens? To censor anything gritty and real out of the news is to infantalize the viewing population. Sometimes I think that’s the whole point, children are far more easily swayed by advertising … or propaganda.

It’s been discovered that climate change may shrink fish. So close and yet so far. If scientists could only show it will shrink something else, the world’s leaders will fall all over themselves addressing the issue.

The idea that our armies operating in foreign lands are some sort of crusading force for good is straight out of the Middle Ages, 1095 to be precise. Jesus wept.

I’ve been very busy with work. I will be back to my regular posting schedule soon. Lots of stuff is happening in the world, and as always I have opinions about it all. I think World War Three has already started. A post on that is coming soon. Since the US hasn’t won a war since World War Two the prognosis is not good. A post on that is in the works. And other stuff and nonsense.

Yes, this is a  brief extemporaneous post.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by unitedcats

October 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Sliming Towards Babylon

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I’ve been involved in a  work project the past four days that has kept me tired and covered in sawdust. Neither is terribly conducive to blogging. I did get one post sort of written, but it stalled. So here I am, churning out a random post. Well, not entirely random I suppose. In fact generating a post by random would just yield gibberish in virtually all cases. No, these are the disjointed and tired thoughts of an aging hominid on the surface of an unremarkable planet orbiting an unremarkable star. OK, mostly gibberish.

Well, Romney looks like he’s going down in flames. He can’t even make a joke anymore without getting pilloried. He does seem to have a way of putting his foot in his mouth. I’m back to my original 2012 election analysis of some time ago, The Repubs will field a weak candidate because no one in their right mind wants to take on Obama. And the Repubs are also paying for four years of obstructionism; I mean, for four years, if Obama did it, they were agin it. Their programmed core voters of course all know Obama is a socialist who is destroying the country, the same way Liberal core voters think Obama is some sort of liberal humanitarian, but to win the election the Republicans needed to appeal to middle of the road voters and just in general people who don’t strongly identify with either party. And not only have the Repubs failed to do this, they seem to have gone out of their way to alienate a number of demographics. Right now I’m calling the election for Obama.

In science news, scientists have been studying how slime mould might take over the world. Helpful illustration above. Yes, scientists really did cover a globe with agar and corn flakes to see how a slime mould would spread. For those unfamiliar with slime mould, it’s a mould that grows branches in search of food. Is there any practical use for this research, or are scientists just wasting money? Of course there is! People who think scientists should study useful things are idiots. Idiots in the sense that their opinion shows they know dipsquat about science. There’s nothing stupider than someone who holds an opinion about something they are ignorant about. Why is it idiocy? Because there’s simply no way to tell in advance what research may lead to useful advances. In this case scientists are interested in slime mould’s pathfinding ability, and this research someday might contribute to designing transportation systems. That’s a pretty practical application from growing mould on a globe.

Speaking of the global scene, the chances of war have gone down, though it’s still ugly. And it’s already war, so I mean a bigger war. It is fascinating to me how we have drifted from being more or less at peace to being in constant war. In the eighties if a US serviceman died overseas, it was front page news. Now they die all the time and no one cares. (Political posturing doesn’t count.) Syria is in full armed insurrection. It’s not really a civil war, but the media’s use of war terminology is muddy at best. Ahmadinejad showed that his international diplomacy skills are on par with Romney’s. A lot of what he says makes perfect sense, but if he’d leave out the egregious insults to Israel and Jews he’d make a lot more headway on the world scene. His term is almost up, that should be interesting. Afghanistan: We’ve surrendered to the Taliban, but aren’t going to admit it until after the election. IE all joint training and exercises with the Afghan army have been halted. It’s over folks.

BS aside, world drought and climate changes are the elephants in the room. My contacts in the Midwest say they’ve never seen anything like it before. There’s been serious global drought issues for a number of years now, and it may get worse. Arctic ice is at unprecedented lows this fall as well. World wide bacon shortage unavoidable at this point. Some sort of secret plot of Obama’s no doubt. I think humanity may survive, but the global civilization we have built has foundations of sand. And a Wind is Rising.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is being used for educational purposes. The fine scientist who holds the copyright: Professor Adam Adamatzky. I’ll end with a science nerd joke: We don’t allow faster than light neutrinos in here, said the bartender. A neutrino walks into a bar.)

Chemtrails, Romney, Clint Eastwood, and Turkey Vultures

with 22 comments

Well, not making much progress on the chemtrails post. OK, no progress. I want to be objective, but I keep running into a reef. For the chemtrails theory to be true, one of two things must be happening. The nation’s air traffic control system must be compromised as part of the plot, or somehow airliners or other scheduled flights must be secretly equipped with spraying apparatus. Either possibility would seem to involve so many co-conspirators as to defy credulity. Someone did post a video in a comment though, and I’ll watch it soon enough. I just tried to watch the video of Clint Eastwood’s speech at the RNC. I only watched a minute or so. It was painful. Incredibly painful. I guess the RNC thought they were getting a rousing speech by Harry Callahan, of Dirty Harry fame. Instead they got a rambling mumbling old man. Gran Torino could have been his legacy, if he’s lucky it will be and this sad swan song will be forgotten. It’s the end of an era.

I’ve given some thought to the comment left on the last post claiming that maybe rapists should be given some parental rights, because children raised with two parents do better than children raised by one. And after careful thought, the commenter is wrong. I don’t believe that forcibly impregnating a women gives a rapist any parental rights. That’s literally no different than the biblical: “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives” (Deuteronomy 22:28–29). This is barbaric. Though if one wants to read a lovely modern Christian apologist writing about this, go here. It’s a good way to give one’s gag reflex a work out. I’m really tired of people twisting the Bible’s sickeningly patriarchal view that women are property of men into some sort of faux concern for women. The fact that 31 states give rapists some parental rights shows how far we have to go. If a woman who was impregnated by a rapist wants to have the rapist in her life, that’s her decision. If she wants to give him some parental rights, he can adopt the child.

This election is starting to get to me like the invasion of Iraq did. IE I feel like being drunk all the time to make the pain go away. While I am no fan of the Democrats, the Republicans are clearly in a race to the bottom. They spent the past four years doing everything they could to obstruct and delegitimize Obama (Yes, I looked it up, record number of filibusters in Congress.) And now their campaign is that Obama didn’t accomplish anything! Well, actually, he accomplished quite a lot. And even Mitt waded into the mud shit with his “no one has asked me about my birth certificate.” There’s a reason for that Mitt, it’s because you are white. Mr Romney might as well have said “Vote for me and get that nigger out of the White House.” Classy, real classy. Then there’s the Republican platform, which among other things calls for changing the Constitution to make fertilized eggs into human beings. There’s so many things sick and wrong with that idea it’s scary. And no, it’s not about “saving babies.” It’s about making sure woman are breeding cows, as the Bible intended. (Don’t worry, I’ve got some uncharitable things to say about our war-mongering so-called progressives in an upcoming post.)

I put up the bird comic for a variety of reasons. For one I thought it was funny. Secondly it challenges people to look at things from different perspectives. Lastly a reminder that we aren’t that far away from Turkey Vultures evolutionary speaking. And we both started from the same place, segmented worms of some sort. Humans are basically a highly evolved segmented worm. Our ribs being the last vestige of the segments, but we’re still basically a worm, a big fleshy tube where food goes in one end and waste goes out the other. Evolution is awesome. I’m also getting tired of the endless efforts to teach the Christian Creation myth as some sort of theory on par with the Theory of Evolution. No, creationism has zero scientific creds, and since it isn’t testable, it’s not even a scientific theory. Creationism is no different than any other creation myth, and there are thousands of them. Which is not an attack on religion, it’s an attack on religions that are still stuck in the Bronze Age.

Have a great weekend everyone!

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s all over Facebook, so it’s likely in the public domain. Credit and copyright: Bird and Moon Comics. Yes, my posts are getting more random. It’s more fun to write a random post, what can I say.)

Written by unitedcats

August 31, 2012 at 10:22 am

Mitt Romney, International Ambassador of Bad Will

with 3 comments

A reader suggested I take a break from bashing Obama and set my sights on Mitt Romney for a change. She had a point, and I’m certainly up to the challenge. Well, it’s not much of a challenge, but I’m up to it anyhow. As I pointed out during the primaries, none of the Republican candidates looked promising, because anyone with any political sense at all would know that running against Obama was likely a suicide mission. He’s the most astute politician to come down the pike in a generation, he came out of nowhere to take the presidency right out from under Hillary Clinton’s nose in 2008. And now that he’s had four years to consolidate his position, beating him is going to be a challenge. Any Republican that seriously wants to be president is likely to wait till 2016 when Obama will be gone. That being said, the primaries are over, and Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts is the Republican sacrificial victim. Will Obama carve him into quivering lumps of human sushi this fall? (Figuratively speaking of course.) Who knows.

And just days after I started writing this post, Romney himself decided to provide grist for the mill. I am of course talking about his international tour. He chose to only visit staunch US allies, shielded himself from the press, and sallied forth to grab some easy photo opportunities and look suitably foreign policy presidential. What could go wrong? He opened his mouth. It has been almost painful to watch, like the proverbial train wreck in slow motion. First, he criticized the British preparations for the ongoing Olympics. I’m not even sure what inspired that, but it went over like a lead balloon. Then on to Israel, where he managed to insult both Israelis and Palestinians, and lie about Obama’s relationship with Israel to boot. In fact there were many serious factual errors in his insulting remarks, adding insult to injury. Then off to Poland, where Romney managed to avid offending anyone, only to have his travelling press secretary Rick Gorka utter the immortal line: “Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people, show some respect.” Classy. Granted the reporters were being jerks, but one would think that presidential hopefuls would use people who didn’t lose their cool under a little pressure. It was a bad way to end the tour.

It wasn’t all bad of course, Romney got accolades from the places he visited, and it’s doubtful he hurt his support in the US much, if any. The Obama supporters who are chortling over Romney’s stupidity seem to have forgotten that saying incredibly stupid things hasn’t stopped previous Republicans from being elected. There was no “Dean Scream” moment, Romney’s campaign will carry on.

Still, I was genuinely frightened by some of it. First off, he seems to be completely unaware of that nature of Israel and the occupied territories. He understated Israel’s wealth considerably, and wildly overstated the Palestinian’s wealth. And he made the bizarre claim that “cultural differences” accounted for the disparity. In fact in my readings Romney apparently has made similar remarks about other countries, claiming that a disparity of wealth between them was due to “cultural differences.” The reasons for wealth disparities between nations are complex, but rarely do culture differences have much to do with it. That Romney thinks they do is at best a horribly simplistic view, and at worst reflects what can only be called racism. And I don’t think he was pandering to his base, I suspect his remarks have been genuine. And extemporaneous. I was left with the impression that he didn’t do much homework for this trip.

Moving right along, two other points. The first is fairly minor. If I’m informed correctly, he has gone from being pro-choice to being anti-choice. That seems awfully politically expedient of him. And then health care. He hates Obamacare, even though it’ almost the same as Romneycare, the health care plan he instituted while governor of Massachusetts. Then, he praises the health care system in Israel, even though it too contains features that he decries in Obamacare. Again, political expediency? Or is he that out of touch? Well, we know he’s not a man of the people after his NASCAR gaffe. In some ways that’s what scares me the most about him, he has lived a life of privilege and wealth. He was a draft evader as well, which never impresses me in someone who wants to be a leader.

Does any of it matter? I don’t really think so. Politics is completely  polarized in the USA now, and deliberately so. I read an interesting article that posited that the Republicans think they can win by perusing a risky strategy of ignoring the issues and hammering on the endless “Obama isn’t a real American, Obama is a socialist, Obama is going to take away our guns” theme. The lack of undecided voters certainly bears this out. The idea being that if they win, they will have very successfully shifted the centre to the right and relabelled even today’s Democrats as out of touch leftists. If they lose, they lose nothing and can spend the next four years blaming Obama for anything that goes wrong. It’s an ugly strategy that counts on enough Americans to be panicked about having their guns taken, socialism, and Obama’s supposedly “weak” foreign policy. All Romney has to do is avoid any gaffes that will hurt his base, look vaguely presidential, and he’s golden.

So I’m not really expecting much from this election campaign. Lots of hysteria from the right, presumably to be strategically slapped down by Obama. We’ll see. The world is still going up in flames too, figurative and literal, so there could still be a surprise before the election that will change everything. I’ll be sure to blog about it.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Credit and copyright: Eccorazzi. It’s a spoof of a 1983 incident where Romney strapped his family dog on the roof of his car in a windshield protected dog carrier. For a 12 hour trip. Frankly I have mixed feelings about this. Romney dismissed critics of this incident with “They’re not happy that my dog loves fresh air.”)

Written by unitedcats

August 1, 2012 at 7:54 am