Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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Adams_The_Tetons_and_the_Snake_River

For two reasons. First, except for time out during my health issues in January, I have been doing a good job of posting regularly. And yes, after tons of physical therapy and exercise under the bridge,  my left arm is starting to feel semi-normal again. I can hold a beer steady with my left hand now while I use the opener with my right hand, so even if I make no further progress, life is worth living again.

Secondly, and more importantly, I am going to be making some changes around here. To start with, my Patreon site is going to go to patron only. And I will be posting there once a week. So patrons will get exclusive content from now on. On my WordPress site I will be posting thrice weekly, those posts will be public. No more double posting, the free stuff, and most of my writing will remain free, will only be posted on my WordPress site.

I have excellent reasons for doing this. I don’t know exactly how long any posting hiatus may be, probably not long at all, there will certainly be some posts during the conversion. The goal is to have it all back on track by July 1st, sooner if I can manage it. Oh, and one final reason for taking a break … I’m going to snap my twigs if I don’t. No one wants that.

Business done, now a political rant for amusement. Presidential politics just gets weirder every year in America. I mean yes, Trump is a hard act to follow, but Joe Biden? A man who is mostly known for being a subject for funny memes during the Obama years. A man whose voting record and past statements make him an enemy of all that is progressive, and a complete betrayer of old school Democratic principles. And yet the mainstream media is serving him up as the anointed one. He’s getting all sorts of favorable coverage, while everyone else is already relegated to “also ran” status. Basically the political dynasties in the US control the press, and that’s that.

Things could change, but right now looking like a repeat of 2016. A Democratic candidate essentially forced on the Democrat base, with his main qualification being “He’s not Trump!” My freaking cat isn’t Trump either, but that doesn’t make him presidential material. Biden will run a lackluster uninspiring campaign,  huge numbers of Dems will stay home disgusted that their candidate didn’t even get a fair chance at the nomination. And then Biden will go on to lose to Trump, because the Dems seem determined to insult and piss off potential Trump voters, driving them to the polls in just enough numbers to eke out another Trump victory.

And if Biden loses, just like Clinton did last time, it will be everyone’s fault but his own. Especially the fault of the people who didn’t vote for him! I am still amazed by the idea that people are supposed to vote for the anointed candidate, and if somehow they didn’t in droves, well, it’s the non voters who are in the wrong, not the fault of the candidate who was supposedly working hard to inspire them to vote. The Seymour Skinner school of political thought. And even if Biden wins, he is 100% guaranteed to maintain the status quo. IE corporate America and the ultra rich continue running the country for their benefit, while infrastructure, education, and health care continue to decay.

This is why I like Stargate. There has to be a way off this planet! Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Tetons and the Snake River (1942) Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Credit: Ansel Adams, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 14, 2019 at 4:12 am

HUMANS ARE CAUSING GLOBAL WARMING AND IT’S A BAD THING

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retreat

Global warming. There’s been a lot of bad news about it lately. Not surprising, no more surprising than damage occurring when a building is on fire. The difference of course is that when a building is on fire, people band together to fight the fire. They don’t stand around arguing about who set the fire, or claiming that the fire really is a good thing and people should just let the house burn down. Especially if it’s their only house. There is no real doubt humans are causing global warming, but because science deals in probabilities, not certainties, it makes it really easy for deniers to claim there is controversy where there isn’t any. And there’s no doubt global warming is a bad thing, the only complication is there’s uncertainty as to how bad.

This is a favorite tactic of deniers of all stripes. Biblical literalists love to claim there is debate about evolution, evolution is just a theory, evolution is a theory in crisis, etc. In point of fact the scientific debate about evolution was over by about 1870. It’s a bedrock theory in biology that has been demonstrated in the field and in the lab countless times. Until someone comes up with a theory that better explains over a century of experiment and observation, evolution is fact for all practical purposes. Or even something as solid as the Sun coming up tomorrow. Scientists cannot say for certainty that the Sun will come up tomorrow, just that the probability that it will do so approaches certainty. That subatomic sliver of uncertainty is all deniers need to create the illusion of controversy.

It’s frustrating to say the least. In many areas it doesn’t really matter what people believe no matter how unscientific, flat earthers or Moon landing deniers aren’t going to cause any real problems. (Knock on wood.) Global warming deniers, yeah, major problem. An extremely well funded industry, fossil fuels are the world’s number one industry, is literally putting humanity’s future at stake in order to keep raking in profits. It was bad enough when industry did the same regarding cigarettes and leaded paint/gas, this is far worse. Granted global warming isn’t the only thing humans are doing to destroy Earth’s habitability, but it’s easily the worst.

And one of the most frustrating things about the situation is that human caused global warming is really simple. It doesn’t depend on obscure theories, complicated models, or rocket science. A freaking fourth grader can understand it. Simple physics and measurements, neither of which is debatable. We know that the huge increase in atmospheric CO2 the past two centuries is caused by humans. And we know this is warming the globe. There aren’t any alternatives, this has been settled science for decades.

Wait, how do we know these are facts? As follows. The huge increase in atmospheric CO2 the past two centuries is beyond dispute. It’s simply a matter of direct measurement, I don’t think even the hardcore deniers dispute this. And we know it was caused by human activities. How? Basically there are two types of carbon, C-12 and C-14. C-14 is an unstable radioactive isotope of carbon that is created by cosmic rays striking carbon atoms in the atmosphere. It’s created at a certain rate, and it decays at a certain rate, so the percentage of C-14 to C-12 in the atmosphere is basically constant. And since living organisms get virtually all their carbon from the atmosphere, the ratio of C-14 to C-12 in living tissue matches that of atmospheric carbon.

This is how carbon dating works, when an organism dies, it stops absorbing Carbon. The C-14 in its tissues continues to decay into C-12 though, so the older organic tissue is, the less C-14 it contains. Thus the ratio of C-12 to C-14 in organic tissue tells us when the tissue died, making it very useful for dating organic artifacts. Well, all the new carbon in the atmosphere contains no C-14. There’s only two possible sources of carbon devoid of C-14, human activity or volcanoes. Burning fossil fuels produce only C-12, the carbon in them having been sequestered in the ground for millions of years. And volcanoes can only account for less than 1% of the new carbon in the atmosphere, they contribute about 200 million tons of C02 per year. About 29 billion tons of new CO2 is added to the atmosphere every year, and burning fossil fuels are the only other possible source for this. Both these numbers are gotten from actual measurement, again, no room for debate.

So it’s a slam dunk that the huge increase in atmospheric CO2 in the atmosphere is caused by humans burning fossil fuels. The second part of the picture is even simpler. Different gases reflect heat at different rates. So one can go outside, point a spectroscope at the sky, and determine what gases are reflecting heat back towards the ground. And turns out there are five main gases that account for almost all of the heat trapped by the atmosphere: CO2, methane, water vapor, nitrous oxide, and ozone. We’ve known this for like 200 years, simple measurement and physics. Increase the amount of these gases in the atmosphere, and the amount of heat trapped by the atmosphere goes up. Solid, well established science.

Backed up by over a century of increasingly sophisticated measurements. Earth is warming up, and it’s warming up at an unprecedented rate. Sure, the CO2 has been as high as it is now in the distant past, and Earth was wildly warmer then too. Neither fact in any way, shape, or form implies that humans aren’t behind the current rise in CO2 or global warming. Worse, sometimes deniers like to claim “It’s been like this before, what’s the big deal?” The big deal is when it was like this before the Earth was a wildly different place, the oceans were hundreds of feet higher, and the tropics and continental interiors were uninhabitable.

So we are literally racing towards global calamity, all so the fossil fuel industry can keep raking in the profits. I thought about naming this post “Global Warming for Dummies” but decided against it. I want to engage the deniers, not insult them. And sadly conspiracy ideation is no indication of lack of intelligence, smart people can be anti-vaxxers or Moon landing deniers. Our brains are simply not wired for logic, and thus easily get led astray. I sometimes think that if formal logic was standard school curriculum, maybe someday progress can be made out of the scientific Dark Age we are sliding into. Still, we can’t even get teachers to stop hawking their religion in schools, let alone get them to teach logic.

So make hay while the world burns I guess. So far the effects of global warming are running considerably ahead of the worst case models, and there’s no reason to think this trend won’t continue. Unfortunately the American Empire, the new Roman Empire, is sustained entirely by fossil fuel exploitation, so it’s not going to willingly give up its oil addiction. Many actually seem to think it’s no big deal. Yes Mr Pompeo “The climate’s been changing a long time. There’s always changes that take place.” Unfortunately for your facile “analysis” Mr Pompeo the changes that took place over the past 11,000 years or so have been mild, and the Earth has enjoyed a very stable climate regime. The changes taking place now are extreme, unlike anything the Earth has seen for millions of year, and it’s only just begun.

Oh well, like always, half the reason I wrote this post was to increase my own understanding. So all I’ve done is depress myself. Our only hope is that the future is mutable, it looks grim now, but maybe our civilization will evolve to meet the challenge. We have come some ways since the Roman Empire, and despite all the parallels, at least wholesale politically motivated murder is no longer practised in Rome. I mean Washington. Those Emperors were a homicidal lot. Tell me this is an improvement. Please.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: I put together the above image from images I found on Wikipedia. Credit: Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 10, 2019 at 6:47 pm

IT’S FRIDAY!

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East_and_West_Shaking_hands_at_the_laying_of_last_rail_Union_Pacific_Railroad_-_RestorationPhotographer: Andrew J. Russell Public Domain under US copyright law.

A BBC presenter, Danny Baker, has been fired for being a racist poopy head. He tweeted a picture of a British royal couple with their child … the child being depicted as a chimp. Baker apparently missed the memo: Depicting POC as monkeys is racist, no exceptions. He did his best to weasel out of it with the ever popular “It was just a joke!” line. So not only he is a racist, he thinks people who point it out to him are stupid enough to fall for that? No, Mr Baker, it wasn’t a joke, it was a racist troll cartoon, exactly what you intended. And you got what you deserved.

And another “What the hell is wrong with our society and when are we going to fix it?” story repackaged as a “feel good” story: Colorado School Shooting Victim Died Charging Attacker. Thank you mainstream media for helping us feel good about living in a country awash with guns and the attendant senseless gun violence. Don’t worry, nothing will be done, so stories like this will keep coming. Jesus wept.

Denver, CO, voted to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, aka magic mushrooms. Good, it’s a remarkably safe drug that doesn’t cause any social problems I am aware of. Long past time to treat recreational drugs as a medical and social issue on an individual user basis; prohibition is a strategy that not only failed, it actually makes the situation worse. Made a lot of corrupt cops and corporations very wealthy though, welcome to America.

Oh man. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joe Dunford, speaking to the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee on Wednesday,  insisted that US troops should stay in Afghanistan “As long as an insurgency continues.” I am assuming it takes years of special training to say something like that without smirking or giggling. 18 years in, the insurgency is worse than ever, and no one had a clue how to defeat it. But “stay there forever” is what the Pentagon wants. See last sentence of previous paragraph, replace <cops> with <soldiers.>

In the “Who does he think he’s kidding?” file the Pope has made it mandatory for clergy to report sexual abuse and cover-ups to the church. Wrong on so many levels. If someone discovers criminal activity in their organization, especially something as horrible and criminal as sexual abuse … they call the effing police. Child sexual abuse is a crime, there is no other acceptable course of action. Letting the church hierarchy decide how to respond to such allegations is how the church became a haven for pedophiles in the first place.

Speaking of medieval, in the “Are time travellers from the Middle Ages among us?” file we have a state representative from Texas checking all the hate boxes in his profile. Hates gay marriage, thinks marital rape is OK, adamantly opposes the ungodly evils of vaccination. OK, I understand the twisted interpretation of Christ’s teachings that lets people hide their obsession with other people’s genitals under religious concerns. I get it, you see a married couple, their genitals don’t match your religious preferences, so it’s icky. So, you know, Christ must have been against it. And marital rape, the Bible says it’s OK in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5. Granted there are other Bible verses that say otherwise, but hey, if I know anything about bible worshipping Christians is that it’s their God given right to pick and choose what parts of the Bible to obey.

How Mr Stickland got his anti-vax views from the Bible, that’s a mystery to me. Pretty sure Jesus had nothing to say on the topic. In fact safe to say the Bible has nothing to say on the topic, being as vaccines weren’t around 2,000 years ago. So somehow this life saving medical treatment is bad, but other stuff doctors do is ok? Basically we have a political leader urging citizens to deliberately spread disease in the name of his God. The Muslims got nothing on our Christian crazies.

End rant. I have nothing against religion, being Episcopalian and all, but people using Our Saviour to spread hatred and lies, yeah, I have problems with that. Today’s post is an extemporaneous post, as the post I was writing Thursday ran aground so to speak. I probably have dozens if not hundreds of abortive posts. Preserved forever on the Interwebs for future historians to mull over.

The picture, yes. 10 May 1869. The USA’s first intercontinental railway was completed in Utah. 150 years ago today. What a great picture. There’s almost certainly people alive today who would have known people in this photograph. This is the sort of stuff I think about. Have a great weekend everyone.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by unitedcats

May 10, 2019 at 5:32 am

Trump’s Taxes

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nastImage credit: Thomas Nast 1867. Public domain under US copyright law.

Something like 18 state legislatures have introduced laws requiring candidates for the presidency to release their tax returns as a requirement to appear on their state’s ballots. A few have been vetoed already, the rest are works in progress. I find these bills fascinating on several levels, so lots of meat for a post here. And fair warning, I don’t think these laws are a good thing in and of themselves, nor by what they portend.

First, how important is it to have this info? On the one hand, sure, I guess it’s a good thing for presidential candidates to be open about their finances. On the other hand, tax returns can and do contain very personal information, so I can see good reasons why someone might want to keep them private. I mean, running for the presidency means people are going to be digging into every aspect of one’s past, this requirement just adds insult to injury. I also am not sure what difference it makes, not releasing his returns didn’t keep Trump out of the White House, so it’s obviously not a critical issue to a lot of voters. Shouldn’t the voters decide what qualifications they want in their presidential candidates?

These bills also have constitutional issues. While the Constitution is solid on the requirements to be elected president, the states can’t change that; the states do have constitutional leeway when it comes to ballot qualifications. That’s how we got Bush in 2000. It’s clear these laws will instantly be challenged on constitutional grounds should any of them pass. So it seems unlikely any would make it into law by 2020. Especially considering that the nation’s judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, have been packed with GOP leaning judges in recent decades.

Then there’s the slippery slope aspect. Slippery slope arguments are often ridiculous false arguments. Like claiming gay marriage will lead to people marrying animals. Slippery slope arguments are not always false arguments though.  If these laws work as intended, suppressing the GOP vote, there’s any number of “reasonable sounding” ballot requirements that could be invoked to hurt specific candidates. Note the “specific candidates.” And have the Dems even considered that the GOP could play this game too if these laws pass constitutional muster?

Granted, lots of bills passed can and are challenged, that’s not a reason to not introduce a bill. It gets worse though. The most troubling aspect to me is that these “candidates must release their taxes to be on the ballot” bills are patently partisan. Yes, the people promoting these bills talk about transparency and informed elections, but let’s be fucking real here folks. If it wasn’t for Trump and his refusal to release his taxes, no one would be proposing these bills. So they are a completely partisan and targeted effort to hurt Trump’s reelection chances, either by keeping him off state ballots, or forcing him to disclose something embarrassing in his tax returns.

In other words, these bills are prima facie intended to prevent GOP voters from voting for the candidate of their choice. How is this not voter suppression? The GOP claims their voter suppression efforts are a good faith effort to prevent voter fraud. These bills are good faith efforts to … what? Force Trump to release his tax returns or his voters won’t be allowed to vote for him? At the end of the day that’s still attempted voter suppression at the very least.

Alas as the cartoon above shows, voter suppression has been with us a long time. It’s just as damaging now as it ever was. Granted the GOP has been leading the charge in recent decades, but nothing good can come of the Dems countering with their own constitutionally questionable version of voter suppression. This is part of a long established pattern of Dems avoiding the real issues while trying to game themselves back into office. That however is a topic for another post. Have a great week everyone.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 6, 2019 at 4:20 am

Posted in Elections, Politics, Trump

Want a Gun? Mug a Teacher!

with 2 comments

Well, speaking of changing my mind, I was wrong about President Trump. I thought he had political acumen, and was smarter than he let on to be. The Walter White of politics. I mean, one has to say idiotic things to get elected president in modern America (using the word modern in the loosest possible sense) but that doesn’t mean one believes them. In Trump’s case, yes, it’s pretty clear he believes the nonsense he spews. He’s a trust baby con-artist with a knack for self promotion, who came along at the right time and place in history to get elected. The man clearly couldn’t think his way out of a paper bag.

Case in point. He thinks arming teachers is a solution to school shootings. Sigh. So much wrong with this idea it makes me want to pound my head against my tablet in frustration. Alas, like most Americans these days, I can’t afford a new tablet, so however much that might be satisfying, I must forgo the pleasure for now.

There’s all sorts of thing wrong with this idea, so we will start at the base. This is a classic downstream solution to a problem. Which is just what it sounds like. Say pollutants are being poured into a river, however, downstream the river is used to provide drinking water. Solution: Build a plant to filter the pollutants out of the water! Hopefully my astute readers can suggest better and cheaper ways to deal with the problem. Downstream solutions attack the symptoms of a problem, without actually addressing the causes of the problem.

And sadly they are often seriously proposed as solutions to a problem in America. That’s because corporate America loves downstream solutions. They are a great way to pass costs onto the public. Like my river example above, the factory dumping the pollutants saves money, and then the public pays for a factory downstream to fix the problem. Corporate America makes money at both ends, shareholders laugh all the way to the bank while the public picks up the tab. In the case of guns, we already have a $40 billion dollar industry costing the public something like $200 billion a year. This would just add $10 billion or more to the second figure, and a few billion to the first.

Looking closer at the proposed solution itself, what could possibly go wrong with putting 3.2 million guns into schools? First if all, training. To be prepared to deal with an active shooter situation requires extensive training. We are talking training 3.2 million people to essentially be qualified to be a SWAT team member. This will require massive expenditure on both facilities and trainers. And it will be ongoing, this sort of training requires constant practice. Qualified teachers are already overworked and underpaid and in short supply. Who is going to pay for all of this?

To be useful these 3.2 million guns need to be easily accessible. Which means they will sometimes fall into the wrong hands. Even with them strapped to teacher’s hips. And of course who is liable for the accidental shootings? Or the mistaken shootings? Having three million more armed “cops” in the schools means there will be more accidental shootings. And of course guns stolen to be used in other crimes, not just school shootings. Want a gun, mug a teacher!

And when there is a shooting and the cops arrive, how do they tell the armed shooters from the armed teachers? Are teachers now going to wear special vests on the job to identify them? How will the teachers be able to tell who is the actual shooter? And guess what, teachers snap too. Gonna be some really fun gunfights in the schools if this becomes a reality.

Lastly, really, we’re asking our 50 year old home ec teacher to shoot one of their students? People that are comfortable with shooting people become cops or join the army. Pretty much the last profession they choose is teaching children. Even with all the training in the world teachers are about the last and least qualified people to gun someone down.

As a final little aside, gee, let’s see, arm all the teachers and put them in uniform. Have the schools surrounded by a high fence and make the kids go through metal detectors to get inside. What are we talking about here? A freaking prison, that’s what. Hell, why bother teaching students at all, put em to work. Sure will shorten the school to prison pipeline, guess that will save some money.

In conclusion, in the history of dumb ideas, this one gets a gold medal. It’s actually hard to think of a stupider idea. Arming teachers makes the border wall look sensible in comparison, and the wall is an idea so dumb that even Reagan was able to understand it was unworkable. Alas, decades of Rush Limbaugh, charter schools, home schooling, and the like have left us with tens of millions of Americans who think ideas that would only work in comic books are serious public policy.

Jesus wept.

 

(While I still post here sporadically, the majority of my work is now posted on Patreon. I even made a video introduction, consider yourself warned. ;) Image above is a public domain drawing of the Columbine library. Note that an armed sheriff’s deputy on campus did not prevent the Columbine massacre.)

Written by unitedcats

February 26, 2018 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Crime, Politics, Trump

Through Thick and Thin

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youdoodle-2018-01-26T13-43-28Z-1

Another week, another series of depressing news stories. It’s been increasingly embarrassing to be an American since 1980, but the last year, boy howdy. The thing that got my attention this morning was China announcing it is going to build a Polar Silk Road. That is to say, they are going to open up the arctic to international shipping to and from China, cutting travel time almost in half to destinations in Europe. This is part of China’s one trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative that will rebuild much of Eurasia’s transport infrastructure of roads, ports, and railroads … with China at the center.

In other words, China is actually putting “China first,” whereas the president of a decaying military empire on the other side of the planet uses “America first” as a slogan while the bankers, corporations, and military loot the public till. A trillion dollars for infrastructure or a trillion dollars more in bombers, one guess which is going to pay more dividends and create more jobs in the decades to come. And the amazing and maybe most embarrassing thing about this is that most Americans are oblivious as their leaders loot the country.

Still, more globally, ugly. 82 Percent of the Wealth Generated Last Year ‘Went to the Richest 1 Percent of the Global Population‘ This is minding numbing when one thinks about. Literally most of the world’s population is working to benefit under 100 million people. And billions of those working people are living in abject poverty. Call it whatever one wants, but the power structures of our planet are set up to exploit the many for the benefit of the few. Even a modest redistribution of this wealth would end world poverty, but no chance of that happening any time soon. Greed is the most powerful force in the Universe.

Meanwhile back on Earth, the two Koreas are increasingly talking to each other and making efforts to peacefully resolve their differences. The Trump administration is having none of it. I’m starting to wonder if China and the Koreas realize if play their cards right, they might well get a unified Korea under China’s protection. Think about it, if Trump really does lose it and order an attack on North Korea … and North Korea doesn’t retaliate against South Korea … anti US sentiment in the South would go through the roof. In fact globally anti US sentiment would take a huge hit. The US could end up getting kicked out of South Korea while Kim comes out of it as a national hero. Might even make Japan reconsider their relationship with the US. We’ll see, but if there was ever a US administration with an infantile understanding of global politics and international relations, Trump’s is it.

In local news, eleven school shootings in the US already, and we’re not even through the first month of the year! Looks like we will set a new record this year. The Trump administration is on it though, Trump has offered his “Thoughts and Prayers.” So sad. As others have noted, our national response to the Sandy Hook school massacre was exactly dip squat, so no one is holding their breath waiting for the US government to do anything about our nation’s horrific gun violence problem. In fact many Americans apparently like it this way.

In a bit of odd historical news, it was revealed that in 2013 San Francisco police received a letter purportedly from one of the three men who escaped from Alcatraz in 1962. Interesting indeed. Officially they drowned, and that’s what most people think. I did too for a long time, figuring that criminals usually lack judgement, and sooner or later one of them would have given themselves away. Later I realised since they had put together a remarkably clever and well planned escape, maybe they did have the good sense to lay low. Who knows, probably a hoax, maybe some day more light will be shed on this mystery.

Finally, science has looked into the eternal mystery, do lobsters feel pain? Are people who throw them live into boiling pots of water truly monsters? Well, actually, science only looked at the first question. And the answer is, maybe. Science can be really frustrating sometimes. Read all the details here.

Have a great weekend everyone

Written by unitedcats

January 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Posted in Politics, Trump, World

Tagged with , , ,

Entering the Trump Zone, part one

with 4 comments

Here we are, the first populist president of my lifetime. And I remember Nixon. Been hella interesting so far, and promises more of the same. I’m not a Trump supporter, though I am glad Hillary lost. I have no problems with supporters of either, or Bernie supporters for that matter. If anything, I call myself an independent, I don’t think either major party has the best interests of the common American at heart. It was an wild election campaign, and we are in for a ride. Here, in semi particular order, are my observations on the Trump presidency so far.

A lot of people were surprised and shocked when Trump won, I wasn’t one of them. I watched one of the very first GOP debates and came away thinking “This guy could win this thing.” He had an obvious appeal that all of his rivals lacked. I know most of my progressive and Democratic friends can’t see this. A sign of how polarized the country has become. If all one watches is the “news” produced for one’s own targeted demographic, it eventually becomes impossible to understand people watching the opposite. This goes as much for Jon Stewart watchers as it does for Fox News fans.

Moving right along, in some ways it was funny watching Trump walk all over his GOP rivals in the campaign. The irony was delicious, they and the GOP spent decades priming their base for someone just like Trump, so his appearance out of nowhere was their just desserts. In some ways Trump is a symptom of the times.

I mentioned that I am glad Hillary lost. And I still am. She was the establishment candidate pure and simple, annointed by the powers that be. She would have simply hammered more nails into the coffin of the progressive movement in tne USA. The rich would have gotten richer, corporate influence would have gotten greater, and our wars overseas would have continued and expanded. All the forces that have been destroying this country since Reagan would have gotten that much stronger. I know Trump is not the antidote to that, far from it, but maybe there is now a chance progressives will get back into power. Or at least turn back the tide of GOP control of congress and state legislatures. It may be a slim hope, but it would have been no hope under Clinton.

As to why Hillary lost, that’s a can of worms. Like most lost wars or battles, myths have grown up to expain it away. It is clear to me that many of her supporters were shocked that she lost to someone like Trump. And since she was the obviously (to them, see paragragh 2) the superior and more qualified candidate, there must be some underhanded reason why she lost. Russian meddling is the favourite so far, in fact half of Democrats think Russians diddled with the actual voting machines, an allegation no one has even made! Blaming Bernie supporters or other third party supporters is another favourite. Yes, she lost because people that should have known better didn’t vote for her! To my way of thinking that attitude itself is a big reason she lost. Vote shaming is hardly a good way to inspire people to vote. The bottom line is she utterly failed to inspire people to vote for her, and blaming anyone but her for this failure is ludicrous.

And the “Russia got Trump elected” thing. Yeah, long on allegations, short on anything that can be considered evidence. I know many many people are absolutely convinced this is the case, but it all seems like motivated reasoning to me. When actual evidence of said conspiracy shows up, I will reconsider my position. I also point out that claiming Russian influence was responsible for the tiny margin that Trump won by is ignoring the huge numbers of voters that Hillary scorned or even encouraged to vote against her with her campaign missteps. There’s also the fact thay it’s hard to imagine Putin doing something so stupid. He is one dangerous mofo, but he is no fool.

In a related vein, the whole “Russia is a terrible threat” trope is ridiculous. The USA and its allies outspend Russia by more than ten to one in military spending. We have Russia ringed with military bases, fleets, and nuclear weapons, not vice versa. In fact Russia is making big cuts in its military spending this year, while Trump is pouring ever more money into the military. It’s safe to say that no country in history has ever enjoyed the global military hegemony the USA now enjoys.

Tomorrow, presuming I have any readers left, more on the Trump phenomena. Good times.

Written by unitedcats

March 22, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Posted in Politics, Propaganda