Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Sliming Towards Babylon

with 7 comments

 

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

Confessions of a Gun Nut … and the Lies of the NRA

with 10 comments

I admit it, as a young man I was a gun nut. I mean, yeesh, it was easy. Walk into a store, give them money, walk out with guns and ammo. Drive out to the desert and shoot everything in sight, how could I resist? I didn’t, I must have fired thousands of rounds through dozens of guns in my day. Even worse, I was an irresponsible gun nut. There were times and places where I should not have been shooting, and there were times and places where I stored or used guns in a terribly unsafe way. I can recall two accidental discharges where it was only a matter of inches and a terrible tragedy would have resulted. So I was a lucky gun nut, I grew up and became a responsible gun owner before something terrible happened.

I look back now, and yes, it was too easy for me to get guns. And some of the guns I was able to easily get were dangerous or completely beyond any reasonable sporting or self defence need. And the “education” I was required to get in order to buy and use these guns was a joke. There were reasonable and practical laws and regulations that would have made me a much safer gun nut. I wasn’t some lunatic who was determined to get a gun and kill people; and if I had been, yes, laws and regulations wouldn’t have stopped me.

Which highlights the first and possibly the biggest lie the gun lobby uses to derail discussion of gun regulation. The claim that “criminals and lunatics will be able to get guns no matter what the laws.” True. As far as it goes. The problem with this “argument” is twofold. If a law makes it harder for criminals and lunatics to get guns without taking away law abiding citizens rights, that’s a fucking problem? Arguing that criminals will always be able to get guns so gun regulation is useless, is literally saying “we should make it as easy as possible for criminals and lunatics to get gets.” Excuse me, but that’s fucktard insane. As Mr Holmes and many like him have more than amply demonstrated.

Secondly, and more insidious, the “criminals will get guns” argument completely ignores the fact that a tremendous amount of gun violence does not involve criminals or lunatics. More than half the gun deaths in the USA are suicides, over 15,000 deaths a year. And there’s more 20,000 accidental gunshot injuries in the USA every year, including over 500 deaths. Again, if laws and regulations might make some of these suicides and accidents less likely, there’s a problem with that? Wait some are saying, if someone is going to kill themselves, they will find a way, how can gun control prevent those deaths? Listen closely, because this is something that a lot of people don’t want people to know gentle reader. A lot of human behaviour, and that most certainly includes suicides, is impulsive.  It’s not planned, it’s not premeditated, it’s just a spur of the moment combination of opportunity and impulse. We know this, both from people who survive suicide attempts, and from the fact that when “suicide magnets” like the Golden Gate Bridge are made suicide proof, local suicide rates go down. And, obviously, a certain percentage of homicides have to be impulsive events as well.

And let’s look at the accidental deaths thing a bit more. A lot of these are children. Again, if we can reduce these deaths without infringing on anyone’s rights, what the hell is the problem? In fact (look it up,) the gun industry has managed to  insulate itself from most simple product safety law. It’s, literally, as if the automobile industry was able to prevent mandatory safety glass or seat belts. A great example, the Ruger company for several decades until the seventies manufactured and sold “Old Model” revolvers. These were revolvers built to a nineteenth century design. They were simple, they were elegant, they were beautiful … and if jarred or dropped, they would fire. At least 600 deaths, many children, have resulted from this company’s decision to market an unsafe gun. To this day they have avoided being required to recall them. Americans have a right to buy unsafe guns? Give me a break.

Speaking of infringing on rights, the NRA and it’s supporters ignore the fact that a few years back the Supreme Court ruled that the second amendment means that Americans do indeed have a right to bear arms. They continue to rant (yes, that’s the word) about how liberals and/or Obama are going to somehow confiscate American’s guns. Can’t happen without changing the Constitution, and that’s not about to happen anytime soon. Their hysterical preaching encourages Americans to buy and stockpile guns and ammo. One would think they were just a shill for the gun industry. Actually, that’s exactly what I think. I’d call them a prostitute for the gun industry, but that would be an insult to prostitutes.  They do everything they can to glorify guns, and wrap themselves in the flag while they are at it. The NRA was once a fairly responsible organization, I know, I was a member for years.

And while on the topic of glorifying guns, Hollywood has a lot of blood on its hands too. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the single person gun massacre is a late 20th century phenomena in the USA. Endless movies glorifying gun violence, and more importantly, glorifying retribution on your enemies by getting mad and shooting a bunch of them is a central theme in Hollywood. A meta-study of 5,000 studies looking at the the link between media and violence found that all but 18 of them found some linkage, and 12 of those 18 were funded by media interests. Sure, normal healthy people aren’t going to run out and shoot people because of violence on TV or in the movies, but not everyone is normal and healthy! Basically it’s a fact that media violence plays some role in inspiring real world violence, monkey see, monkey do.

My point, is that gun violence encompasses a vast array of violence with multiple and complex causes. It’s  simplistic and wrong to claim that guns are the problem, though frankly not as simplistic and wrong to claim that guns aren’t part of the problem. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” may sound all righteous and holy, but how the hell does that translate into “We shouldn’t do anything to keep guns out of the hands of lunatics and criminals?” It doesn’t of course, and there’s all sorts of things that could be done to address the problem without infringing on anyone’s rights. Which will be the topic of a upcoming post.

And yes, I decided to post this blog today because of yesterday’s mass shooting in Wisconsin. The details aren’t all in yet, but we do know that Wisconsin has some of the most permissive gun laws in the nation.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. That’s a recent cover of the NRA’s magazine, which used to be called “The American Rifleman” back when it was a reasonably responsible organization. Replace “election” with “organization,” and it describes the contemporary NRA quite nicely.)

Written by unitedcats

August 6, 2012 at 8:03 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

Muslim Brotherhood Wins Egyptian Election, Let the Fear Mongering Begin!

with 7 comments

I love the Drudge Report! Matt Drudge, here was a man who realized that people don’t want to know what’s going on in the world so that they can make rational judgements about it, oh no, people just want their prejudices and hatreds reinforced! The above image is how the Drudge Report revealed the results of the election in Egypt. The first story: “Muslim B’hood takes Egypt.” Too much trouble to write out “brotherhood?” Of course not, but B’hood with its suggestion of gangsters and hoods is so much more delicious. Other helpful stories in this category included “Egyptian beats pregnant wife to death for not voting for Mursi…” and “Supporters mass, chant ‘Allahu Akbar!'” I’m sure the gentle Drudge reader is now so much more informed, Egypt is just a bunch of wife murdering, Allah worshiping, towel heads! Might as well nuke em now before hordes of Egyptian children with suicide vests stream across the border into Israel and onto the tarmacs of unsuspecting American airports from Egyptian airliners. Where’s Chuck Norris when you need him?

Is the Drudge Report really that bad? Pretty much. At least they’ve stopped running a banner headline every time a black teenager beats someone up. Reality check people: I’ve lived in Berkeley/Oakland for thirty years, I walk around for miles every day, passing dozens or hundreds of black teenagers every day. I have been assaulted and insulted exactly zero times. Granted I avoid the worst neighborhoods, but still, millions of Americans think that the streets are full of black thugs just looking for trouble. This is the reason I am highly skeptical about Zimmerman’s version of events, this kid, with no history of assault or violence, just attacked him out of the blue for no reason? The fact that Zimmerman got caught lying to a judge to save himself bail money doesn’t help his credibility then either, or my opinion of his judgement.

I see the Drudge Report has expanded their coverage of the Egyptian elections in the past few hours. (Yes, I write slow.) They’ve now added two new stories: “Islamist Joy …” and “Israel Jittery.” Yerp, nothing like a joyful Islamist to get people’s attention, since Drudge readers know the only joy in Islamist’s lives is plotting the destruction of Israel. Which is why Israel is “jittery.” Yes, a peace treaty with an Arab military dictatorship that was bought and paid for by the USA was such a great strategy for protecting Israel’s long term interests. And of course they used the breathing room the peace treaty gave them so productively, creating one of the world’s ugliest apartheid states … all in Israel’s best interests of course.

Sigh. I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s even worse with Syria destabilizing. I do know that broad generalizations and stereotypes are silly, but sadly they infect us all. Over a half century of anti-Islamic and anti-Arab propaganda in the west, and it’s no wonder everyone’s thinking on the subject is muddy. Well, crystal clear but completely obscured. What’s going on in Egypt isn’t another Iranian Revolution, nothing like it really. (Yes,I have already heard that comparison made.) Not that Americans have any clue about the Iranian revolution. Most Americans couldn’t grasp how Iranians could still in 1979, 26 years after the fact, be still upset that in 1953 the USA overthrew a democratically elected Iranian government and installed a brutal dictator in its place. Yet in 2012, 33 years after the fact, many Americans still rant about the Americans taken hostage in Iran in 1979. Go figure.

As one American hostage put it, after a year in captivity, he one day snapped and told his guard how fucked up it was that they had been held hostage for a year. The guard, without any sympathy at all, told him that America took his entire country hostage in 1953. They don’t hate us for our freedoms (I still throw up a little in my mouth when I hear that,) they hate us for the horrific things the USA has done in the region for decades. Compounded by stupidity. Yeah, selling Egypt tear gas to use on protestors, that was smart. Then there’s American efforts to buy influence, which almost always give the kiss of death to their benefactors. Yeah, like an American political party funded by Iran would get anyone elected in the USA. Well, Maybe in Michigan. (Yes, that was a joke.)

In just four more years it will be a hundred years since France and Britain sat down and carved up the remnants of the Ottoman Empire for their own narrow self interest, the interests of the people living there be damned. We are still paying for their greed and short sightedness today, compounded by American and Israeli folly. I can only hope that the Muslim Brotherhood has the wisdom to lead Egypt, because American and Israeli governments can’t even lead their own nations into peace and prosperity, and they sure as shit aren’t spreading the same around abroad.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I got it from The Drudge Report, I have no idea where they got it or I would attribute it properly. It’s purportedly an image of people in Egypt after the election, I don’t think The Drudge Report sinks to Alex Jones’ level. Next blog, something fun. I been working on a  post about Lincoln’s second term, it’s a hoot.)

 

Written by unitedcats

June 25, 2012 at 8:12 am

From Memorial Day Hangovers to Mitt Romney the Coward

with 5 comments

I don’t mean literally a post Memorial Day hangover, it’s more an emotional thing. All the sheep and their masters burbling about “sacrifice” and “honour” and how our boys are defending our freedoms overseas. Patriotic drivel. Our troops overseas are simply the legionaries or conquistadors of our time, pretending they are spreading goodness and light in the name of God is what imperialists have done throughout history. The idea  that one can conquer and rule other peoples for their own good is an incredible conceit, and a terrible insult to both the founders of this once great nation (now an empire in its death throes) and the Americans who have served in just wars. It’s also insane, since the overwhelming majority of the time such efforts cause far more damage than they supposedly fix. In fact imperialism is about domestic politics, war profiteering, and making the world safe for corporate exploitation. Such as it ever was, Smedly Butler had it right decades ago, and it’s gotten worse since. It’s actually turned into a dystopian nightmare at this point, with the UN being blatantly an agency of colonialism and NATO effectively its enforcer.

Speaking of domestic politics, I see that Mr Romney is telling Americans that the world is a “scary place,” and so we need to spend ourselves blind to protect ourselves from it. He didn’t mention the spending ourselves blind part, that just an assumption, I mean, he does understand what we are spending on our military? I’m so sick of the fear mongering, it’s racist crap and has seriously damaged the heart and soul of this country. The world is not a scary place, it’s a wonderful place filled with wonderful people. Because our leaders and the media concentrate on the bad things that happen (conveniently ignoring/justifying the ghastly things the west does and ignoring the role the west played in destabilizing whole continents,) many Americans think foreigners are all bad people out to kill us. I remember in a chat room some years back where someone defending our invasion of Afghanistan said that “try parachuting into Taliban territory” and see what happens to you. I can answer that. If you came as their guest … they would treat you with the utmost hospitality and die to protect you. If you came as an invader, why shouldn’t they do whatever they can to kill you? I know people who travelled their before the Russians invaded, it was a wonderful country. Will be again … when the foreign armies leave.

Still, when a country is destabilized, it can take decades or generations to settle down. That’s what is so insane (and sick)  about the west’s efforts to use people’s longing to be free to try and get our satraps into power in Africa and the Middle East. A dozen countries or more have been turned into horrible messes by western invasions/interventions the past decade. It’s like the Vietnam War never happened. It’s been going on for awhile though. It was forty years before the Confederacy achieved pre-war levels of industry and agriculture. That generally doesn’t get mentioned in US history classes.

Anyhow, enough ranting for the moment. I thought the above picture was really cool. It’s a comparison of Earth and Europa, a moon of Jupiter. And Europa actually has (probably) more water than Earth! It may in fact have a globe spanning ocean that is a hundred miles deep, capped with a thick layer of ice a mile thick or more. Ice that would be as hard as granite at the temperatures on the surface. Just as slippery though, ice remains slippery no matter how cold it gets. Last I heard it’s still not fully understood why ice is slippery. In fact there’s a number of mysteries about ice that have yet to be solved, like why does it melt from the bottom up on rivers and ponds for example? Heck, there’s all sorts of scientific mysteries still, most of which are unfortunately way too arcane to write an interesting blog post about.

Coming soon, a post about liars. A new epiphany about God and his minions. Purported minions more accurately speaking. I’m still working on a post about one of America’s greatest monsters: Abraham Lincoln. Then there’s his legacy, flying death squads. And there are at least two “What the hell is that?” mystery photo posts in the works. As always I am open to suggestions. Well, if they are anatomically possible. Someone did leave a rude comment here, should I delete it?

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, it’s not being used for profit etc. I got it from the fine APOD site, credit & copyright: Kevin Hand (JPL/Caltech), Jack Cook (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Howard Perlman (USGS.) I used it becasue I think it’s an incredibly cool image.)

Written by unitedcats

May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Ron Paul in person

with 4 comments

Here it is, photographic proof that I saw the great man in person myself. Yes, my camera doesn’t have a telephoto lens. Is there an app for that? Did I spell app correctly? I’m a little behind on the technological curve sometimes. It runs in the family. When I was a kid in the early sixties my grandfather’s phone had to be cranked to make it work. How many people remember one of those still in use? I eventually as a young man-made the phone’s wooden case into a jewellery box for my sister, I think she has it still.

Dr. Paul’s speech was an interesting experience, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a political rally before. There were a few thousand people. Mostly pro Paul, with a few exceptions. It was outdoors, which was nice. I like the outdoors. My overall experience was one of gladness and sorrow. On the one hand, it was really nice to see a mainstream political candidate who was calling for actual change, not just new monograms on the White House towels. And for an end to the War on Drugs, and an end to endless military adventures overseas. Yes, even our troops in Japan and Germany should come home. No more “nation building,” scaling back the size of the US government, all things that need to be done. His positions on abortion, woman’s rights, and the welfare state … not so promising.

The sorrow. Well, there was this quixotic aspect to all of it. The people running the rally were all so upbeat and optimistic about Ron’s candidacy, when it was obvious that the crowd of a few thousand was draw from all over the greater Bay Area. The Grateful Dead drew larger crowds when they appeared at UC. And then there’s the unspoken fact that the media and the mainstream parties have largely marginalized “outsider” candidates like Ron Paul and successfully demonized him. Most Americans now are basically programmed to think that their party has all the right ideas, the other party is going to destroy America, and third parties are dangerous lunatics. Yes, actually making changes in how the government does things is now a dangerous heresy. Washington wept.

All said and done, I still think Rob Paul is the best of a bad lot by far. For one he’s the only politician who answers questions more or less directly, instead of launching into sound bites. Or lying through his perfect teeth. More importantly, he’s the only one calling for and end to World War Two. It’s time to bring the troops home. Nearly 75 years as globocop has made a small number of Americans very very very rich, and impoverished the rest of us. War profiteering is not a sustainable base for the economy of a great nation. And his stand on reducing government spending and ending the War on Drugs is also refreshing. Refreshing in the former case because I think he’s serious about it, refreshing in the later case because the war on Drugs has been a costly and counterproductive failure.

How about his stand on abortion, fetal rights, and the welfare state? Apalling, and sadly a reflective of his all too Christian world view. Abortion especially has been the scalpel that allowed the democrats to successfully demonize Mr Paul and make sure that no “progressive” voter looked any further, lest they too be demonized as some sort of woman hating monster by their progressive friends. That’s modern America for us, no debate, just to hell with any alternatives. I have recently noticed that the progressive left is about as fair and balanced in their outlook as Fox News viewers are in theirs. Does it show?

Am I for banning abortion, making fertilized eggs into human beings, or slashing social programs? No, of course not. So why do I support Ron Paul? It’s very simple. If we don’t end the warfare state, the Christian right is going to eat us alive, and we will lose all our rights anyhow. These people have a crusader mentality, and constant war is their bread and butter. It means they are the good guys, therefore whatever they do is right. And since they are steeped in ideology and a need to make everyone conform to Biblical norms of behaviour, it’s not going to be pretty. When the Christian right eventually overturns Roe vs Wade, and then outlaws abortion nationally … Ron Paul’s idea of leaving it up to the states to decide is going to look a lot better in retrospect.

Sigh, politics. Next maybe some uplifting posts about zombie puppies or some such.

(Photo copyright Doug Stych 2012, all rights reserved. I think that’s his wife and daughter sitting behind him. And I guess those are security people watching him and the crowd. I’m glad I went, for good or for ill it’s still a very free country in many ways. It’s been a  long strange path since Yorktown, and I think we are lost in Mirkwood, but who knows what is on the other side.)

Written by unitedcats

April 9, 2012 at 7:20 am

Posted in Elections, Politics

Tagged with ,

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