If You Vote For This Monster, You Don’t Ever Get To Call Yourself “Pro Life” Again

All over the world, countries with competent, moral leadership have done the difficult things it took to mitigate the spread of this deadly virus. The United States has failed miserably. While we are having 800, 1000, 1200 people dying in a DAY, countries like Canada & Germany & even Italy haven’t seen that many deaths if you total their death toll OVER THE LAST FOUR MONTHS. The fragile, weak-minded man in the White House lied & bragged about the administration’s non-existent response to the coronavirus, and within months of this virus’ appearance, the U.S. became the world’s epicenter for both cases and deaths.

Every question, from every journalist, at every press briefing from now until November should be “Why did you lie to the country & act like this virus wasn’t a very big deal, causing the deaths of more than 200k American people?”

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. As much as this republican administration likes to act like this was some sort of inevitability, it wasn’t. We have a president who — when asked about our nation’s dismal response to COVID19 — lies about our response… He brags about what a good job we are doing… And when pressed with actual statistics, he says, “It is what it is.” He is even on tape talking about how he “likes to downplay” the seriousness of the coronavirus, even though he was briefed and informed in January and February about how deadly and easily transmissible coronavirus was. Imagine if a governor was given information that a dam was failing… And instead of warning the town below the failing dam, he acted like it was not a very big deal. And THEN, when he is asked about how his dishonesty caused the needless deaths of thousands, he says he “didn’t want to cause a panic” and says, “It is what it is.”

Who in their right mind would vote to reelect such a person? And how could they ever be described as “pro-life”???

Even now, as science is CLEAR about the life-saving benefits of wearing a mask, he continues to downplay the seriousness of the situation we are in. He does this, all while insisting that EVERY PERSON who gets anywhere near him is tested on a daily basis. And then the masses of ignorant followers see him — without a mask — and think, “I don’t have to wear a mask either… I’m not going to LIVE IN FEAR.” He attempts to shame journalists who wear masks, and he rolls his eyes at people, not living in his same protective bubble, who choose to act responsibly & compassionately by doing something so simple to help mitigate the spread of a virus that has already killed over 200,000 Americans. It’s honestly difficult for me to listen to this raging narcissist speak for a 23 second clip, but try to stomach it…

He starts to say, “You’re healthy…” knowing full well that this virus has killed hundreds of thousands of otherwise healthy people… Knowing full well that people who are not showing any symptoms can still spread this disease… Knowing full well that the mask Jeff Mason wears does not protect HIM, nearly as much as it protects others. And the grossest, most cowardly thing of all: He does this from a very safe distance, with every person who comes into contact with him being tested daily. And do you know WHY he has every person tested? Because he KNOWS this is deadly.

Oh my God, 200,000 people… That’s like SIXTY-SEVEN September 11th attacks. That is HALF the number of the American soldiers who died in World War II — A war that took about six years… We’ve had this many Americans die in six MONTHS. These are more than numbers. They are PEOPLE. They are smiles with lives and dreams and talents and families. And they’re not just old people on death’s door.

And still, he actively works to downplay the seriousness of this virus. In early April, the United States Post Office had a plan to mail 5 reusable masks to every household in the nation. The White House killed their plan, because they wanted to project strength and control… And because it was an election year. Below is their press release..

And it’s not like we’ve “gotten past the worst of it.” Experts predict that the United States death toll could be over 400,000 by year’s end. And no one even knows how the flu season will affect the way this virus acts… But one thing is for sure: Get used to the term “Co-infection.” As outbreaks continue, schools will continue to close… Businesses will continue to close… The economy will continue to be disrupted… People won’t be able to pay their bills… And everything will continue to suck. After six months, you don’t get paid unemployment anymore (ask me how I know this)… This is going to have a big effect on foreclosures, which — as we learned 12 years ago — can spiral into a giant recession or another depression. But all that is just the economic effects. Last week Canada had 40 total COVID19 deaths. Over the same week, the U.S. had 5,967 people die as a result of this disease.

Long story short, donald trump is a horribly broken human being, and an even worse leader. We have more COVID19 deaths in one day than countries with competent, moral leadership have had over the course of FOUR MONTHS. And STILL he insists on holding indoor rallies, with no mask mandates… All while keeping people a VERY safe distance from him, and ensuring that anyone who comes anywhere near him is tested daily. He is a monster, and if you vote for him, you are too. This is not a matter of a “difference of opinion.” It’s a difference of MORALITY.

After Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, tens of millions of dollars was donated to democratic candidates and groups. After her death, Georgia’s Doug Collins despicably linked her life of service to the number of abortions and said “RIP to the… unborn babies” (even though SIX of the seven SCOTUS majority justices who voted on Roe v. Wade were appointed by republicans). Republican senators who withheld Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS appointment (because they wanted to let the voters decide) are hypocritically changing their tunes. Everything is awful and stupid and I’m sad all the time…

But listen: We are not going to be able to use the hypocrisy of the GOP to “shame” them into doing the right thing. They don’t care. The ONLY thing we can do is vote them out. Trump is a cancer on this country, and we must ALL do everything we can to remove him from power… And what that looks like right now is obviously voting for Joe Biden. But it’s also supporting & becoming knowledgable about candidates in down ballot elections. It is everyone’s responsibility to vote. The goal of authoritarians is to wear us down with so much awfulness that we stop caring enough to fight back. That is NOT an option right now. I’ll leave you with the words of another woman who — like RBG — will be remembered as an American hero… Not just “a hero for women,” but a hero for all Americans.

Please, PLEASE vote.

Thanks so much for reading. This started as a Facebook post, and then I just kept on writing… This week feels like the cherry on top of the poop sundae that has been 2020. But we must not lose heart. We are strong. Love is stronger than fear. Truth is stronger than lies.

Thank you so much to Kathryn, the one new Patron who signed up to support me on Patreon. This week was hard, and I can’t tell you how much your support means to me. As promised, here is a poem for you…

Kathryn, pure & wild
Tuscan kissed and generous
Breath of hopeful air

If you value this blog, and you’d like to support my writing, you can also BECOME A PATRON. Or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool”. Or you can find a down ballot race, and give them some money. Either way, thank you for reading, and check me out on Facebook and on Twitter for more fun. And vote like your lives depend on it. They do.

Chris

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This Flag Is a Symbol of Racism.

Yesterday I made the mistake of commenting on a “Back The Blue” social media post (one that was put up on a Facebook community page, of all places… Not particularly known for being forums of rational thought & conversation). The post was in response to the two L.A. police officers who were shot the other day. It basically said, “Hey police officers: We want you to know we’ve got your six” (which, if you don’t know, is military speak for “watching someone’s back”). The military reference seemed very intentional, as the poster was letting law enforcement know that the community is watching out for people who might be trying to ambush them while they’re pumping gas, eating at a restaurant, etc… and ready to jump into the fight, presumably pulling out pistols and pumping people full of bullets. Hundreds of people liked the status.

So I made a comment reminding People Of Color that I had THEIR backs… That I would film interactions between police and the Black people I saw… That — when two officers put a Black man in a choke hold and beat him unconscious for not having his I.D. while being a passenger in an Uber (as happened a few days ago) — I would work to see the officers fired and charged for their crimes… That — when a handcuffed man is slowly murdered by a cop who kneeled on his neck for nearly NINE MINUTES while he called out for his dead mother, or a women is killed in her own home for doing absolutely nothing — I would work to dismantle the systemic racism within policing which makes Black folks nearly THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY to be killed by an officer of the law…

You’d have thought I pissed on the 9/11 memorial. People were… NOT pleased. They insisted that I was one who was racist, for bringing up race. QAnon cultists showed up, demanding that “pedophilia” was the REAL problem in this country, and insisting that “800,000 kids every year” are abducted and sold into sex slavery, or some BS (when really, the number is closer to 115 kids per year). I was told that I should be ashamed of myself. I was told that it’s a Christian’s responsibility to support the police. They even tagged a Black conservative (who is into QAnon & doesn’t believe that systemic racism exists) to argue with me. All in all, I wasted about two hours of my life.

You know what? I don’t know about that… Maybe it wasn’t a waste? It was definitely a waste if you judge wasted time by the number of QAnon cultists’ minds you’ve changed. But maybe there were some people reading along at home who read something that made sense. Maybe a Black person living in a conservative southern town felt seen or supported in some way. And maybe I worked out some stuff in my own mind too… One of those things I have worked out is that the whole “Back The Blue” and “Thin Blue Line” and “Blue Lives Matter” movement is INSEPARABLE from the racism behind it. And that includes this racist garbage right here:

I once got suspended from Facebook for a week for posting a picture of the blue line flag being peeled back to reveal a nazi swastika underneath. I have a tattoo of Zuck to commemorate the hard time I did…

Now, many of you are probably thinking, “I don’t know that we should call that ‘racist.’ That’s just people showing their support for the police.” Well, let me explain it to you…

The creation of this flag came about as part of a “Blue Lives Matter” reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. Think about that for a moment: Blue Lives Matter is a COUNTER-movement to complaints about human rights abuses. When people were angry about continued police killings of black people, the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was one they could rally around. And “Blue Lives Matter” was a response to & dismissal of that rallying call. It does this in the same way that “White Lives Matter” dismisses the inherent value of Black lives.

For those who don’t remember, “Blue Lives Matter” started after the killing of two New York police officers shortly after a grand jury decided not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Eric Garner with a choke hold after he was accused of selling loose cigarettes. His dying words, “I can’t breathe” became another rallying cry against police violence and systemic racism. Protests were taking place after Garner’s murder, as well as the recent police killing of Michael Brown. The man who murdered the officers was Black, and he ended up committing suicide afterward. Since the killings came a couple weeks after the decision to not charge Daniel Pantaleo (much like the shootings of the L.A. officers came after a week of unrest after the police killing of Dijon Kizzee, a black man who was stopped while riding his bike), many people assumed they were revenge killings against the police… But there is no proof of that. Anyway, that’s where the “Blue Lives Matter” human rights countermovement originated.

You can find the blue line flag at just about any place where a Black Lives Matter counter-protest is happening… And if you see it, you’re likely to see some confederate flags as well. The same sorts of people fly these two flags. We see this many places, but one which stood out was at the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, where white supremacists and neo-nazi demonstrators carried tiki torches and yelled “Jews will not replace us.” It has become a favorite symbol of law enforcement officers and angry white people alike. Here is what recently happened when a Pittsburg officer was told that his blue line flag mace mask was disrespectful to the U.S. flag…

The blue line flag has become a symbol of perceived persecution against police. They’re feeling “not supported.” Which — I’m sorry, but… NOT SUPPORTED?!? Police officers have got to be the most supported group in the country. They eat for free or at least for half price just about everywhere. They have qualified immunity. Their words & testimony weigh more in court. If they bust into the wrong house and kill an innocent woman, the COMMUNITY pays their $12 million civil suit settlement. How much more support do they want? I mean, good grief — When the two officers were shot in L.A., the president of the United States called for the death penalty for the Black man who shot them, and then — even though the shooter was by himself — he posted the video of the shooting and connected him to “Animals that need to be hit hard” (Which begs the question: To which “animals” is he referring here?). This interpretation of calls for increased accountability for police officers as “persecution” reminds me of how, when people are accustomed to privilege, they interpret those movements toward equality as “oppression.”

The rate of police officers killed while on duty is near historic lows. I have seen the video of the shooting, and it is scary & horrific. I understand seeing something like that and feeling scared & angry & under siege. But when — after a random criminal commits an act of violence against a member of a police force — people try to make police out to be an oppressed group, it is a lot like when the 5 year old boy (who was white) was shot and killed by a Black man, and white people everywhere threw their hands ups and screamed, “WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE OVER THIS?!?” Well, number one, it’s everywhere. Including your post about it. Number two, one is a random act of senseless violence committed by a criminal, and the other is part of a PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR, committed & condoned by systemic forces who are supposed to protecting citizens & upholding the law.

We live in a country with 4.25% of the world’s population, but 22% of the world’s prisoners. One out of every 100 Americans is in prison or in jail, and 33% of those prisoners are Black… even though only 12% of the U.S. population is Black. Black Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites. THESE THINGS ARE SYSTEMIC.

When explaining why “All Lives Matter” is harmful garbage, it’s often explained that there is an understood “Too” at the end of Black Lives Matter. In a similar way — as a counter-reaction to BLM — “All Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter,” and “White Lives Matter” all have an understood “No,” in front of those phrases. If you’re wondering how the blue line flag is inseparable from the racism behind it, ask yourself this question: How would the people who fly this flag (or buy the Blue Line T-shirts and other merch) react if Black civil rights groups took a U.S. flag and changed all the colors around to make it about THEM, instead of ALL Americans? Or, if that doesn’t do it for you, go to any Blue Lives Matter/Thin Blue Line Facebook group, and read the comments & wade through the overt racism of the people who hang out there…

There is one more reason my time spent mired in madness on that Facebook page wasn’t a complete waste… There was this lovely, kind woman who reminded me that so many people are are scared & hurting right now, and that she felt it was her responsibility “to model and express empathy, understanding and most of all, support,” in the hopes that people might learn from her example and show the same level of support, advocacy, & understanding for People of color. Which is so true & beautiful. At the same time, if a group of people is experiencing harassment, brutality, & oppression from a group in a position of power, and — when they cry out that their lives MATTER — you respond with “Nah… The powerful people’s lives matter,” you’ll have to forgive me if I see it as less of a statement of support for the powerful group, and more of a statement of opposition to the value of the lives of the ones being oppressed. Instead of police feeling like equal members of our community, having a different flag encourages an “Us vs. Them” mentality… And the “Them” has historically been folks who are black and brown. When I see someone flying that blue line flag, I don’t see “support for police officers.” I see support for systemic racism.

Thanks for reading. You can support my writing and this blog by BECOMING A PATRON. No one took me up on the “Poem for new Patrons” offer after the last post, so I’ll keep it going… Yours for becoming a $2/month Patron. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo a tip to “chris-boeskool.” You are also invited to follow along on Facebook and on Twitter.

Thanks again,

Chris

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Trump Thinks Anti-Racism Trainings are “Anti-American.” What Does That Say About How He Views America?

This republican administration has a new enemy: Diversity Training. It turns out that trump has directed the Office of Budget & Management to crack down on anti-racism trainings which take place within federal agencies. He called Diversity Trainings “divisive, anti-American propaganda,” and he called “Critical Race Theory” a “sickness that cannot be allowed to continue” and asked his followers to “report any sightings so we can quickly extinguish” while posting a Breitbart article (of course)…

A couple things about “Critical Race Theory”: First of all, I would bet everything of value I have in the world that donald j. trump couldn’t tell you what Critical Race Theory is… Even if you promised him that by doing it, he’d make Putin SUPER proud. This is one of those things that Stephen Miller ran across in a white supremacist chat room in some dark corner of the internet, he told donald that federal agencies were teaching employees that White Privilege is a real thing, and then, VOILÀ! You got yourself an executive order.

Critical Race Theory comes from a larger social philosophy called Critical Theory. In short, CT argues that the world’s social problems are more a result of societal structures than they are influenced by individual actions… And IDEOLOGY is the biggest barrier to human liberation. Critical Race Theory focuses on racial power structures, it values people’s stories & experiences, and it acknowledges the fact that white supremacy has been woven into the fabric of America since the very beginning. To many, this is understood to be self-evident. To some — particularly white people in positions of power — these ideas are seen as a threat.

They don’t want white people being taught that they benefit from racism, or that there are certain privileges that automatically come with being part of the dominant culture in a society. They want to FIGHT the idea that racism is systemic — that there don’t need to be individual racists for white supremacy to work its magic throughout the power structures of America. As Robin DiAngelo talks about in the video below, instead of racism being understood as systemic, white supremacy wants to reduce racism to 1) an INDIVIDUAL, 2) who CONSCIOUSLY does not like people based on race, and 3) who INTENTIONALLY seeks to be mean to them. Individual Conscious Intent. NEVER a system. Please watch this.

This same strategy is used when combatting criticism of the racism & brutality endemic to policing in the United States. If the problem is systemic, then the solution must one that addresses the SYSTEM. Systemic problems require systemic changes… And those sorts of changes are painful. But if you reduce the problem to “one bad apple,” THEN it’s easily handled. You just get rid of that “one bad apple” and your problem is solved. And when the same thing happens again, it’s just ANOTHER “bad apple.” But at some point, the appearance of “bad apples” becomes a pattern (not to mention that the rest of that “bad apple” idiom says “spoils the bunch”). And at that point, they have to start attacking the ones pointing out the patterns (journalism, science, academia, etc…). Which historically has led to the increased nationalism & growing fascism we have been witnessing in the United States.

Everything they don’t like becomes “anti-American.” The anti-racists are anti-American… The anti-fascists are anti-American… But what does that say about their idea of what “American” means when being anti-racist & anti-fascist is deemed “anti-American?” Please make no mistake: They attack Diversity Trainings because the foundation they are built on is that racism is both REAL and SYSTEMIC. They attack Critical Race Theory for the same reason they are pissed off about the 14th Amendment, the Voting Rights Act, and Brown vs. Board of Education. This republican administration (along with right wing media) would have you believe that any discussion of the realities of systemic oppression is “anti-American.” The GOP looks at CRT as a policy of grievance & envy & “victimhood.” Any pushback against the idea of American exceptionalism is “anti-American.” Any talk about how there are parts of the American system that need FIXING is “anti-American” (which, by the way, is hypocritical to the point of being hilarious… Seeings how they have now run TWO campaigns with the slogan “Make America Great Again,” which is based on the grievance that America ISN’T great, and needs to be made that way). Trump has cast himself as the “defender of white America.”

Republicans are so invested in attacking a social philosophy which acknowledges the reality of systemic and institutional racism, of white supremacy, of white privilege, of intersectionality, of microaggressions… Phrases which people on the right use as punch lines… But beyond that, please understand that these ideas are a THREAT. And they’re not just a threat to the pride that comes from the idea that white folks have “earned” everything they have (with hard work, respect, determination, and a good attitude). The REAL threat is to the foundational idea of their own SUPREMACY.

Follow me here: They want need to believe that America is a FAIR place where the most qualified person gets the job… Where all you need is hard work to succeed… Where the police won’t mess with you if you simply follow the law. They want need America to be “post-racial,” so that their white kid isn’t “oppressed” when college admissions take things into account other than just test results (that are connected to a school with more resources, which is connected to a neighborhood with higher home prices and tax dollars that go to their school systems, which is connected to racist housing policies and redlining which prevented a black kid’s ancestors form building wealth, which is connected to Jim Crow, and slavery, and on and on). They want need an America where the playing field is level, because when the playing field is level, then they can attribute their own success to being BETTER. Also known and “supremacy.”

This is also why so many racist people are also misogynists — Because the idea of the imaginary level playing field nicely explains their position of privilege. They’re just better. If women with MBAs only make 74 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts make, it’s not because of any kind of oppression or anything “systemic.” It’s because men are just better at business. And if whites own 90% of the wealth and Blacks only own 2.6% of the wealth, it’s because whites “work harder.” If Blacks only make up 13% of the general population, but 40% of the prison population, it’s because they are more “prone to crime.” Maybe that’s also why even though Black children make up 18% of the preschool population, they account for 50% of the preschool suspensions.

He knows he can’t alienate his base…

The U.S. is so racist that when folks protest racism, people think they’re protesting America. We know systemic racism is real (HERE is some really good proof). Racial discrepancies exist… And in America, almost every social & economic difference between racial demographics favors white people. Either this is due to the existence of systems of oppression (Critical Race Theory), or this is due to one group just being “better” (White Supremacy). And THAT is why this racist administration is attacking Diversity Training. THAT is why republicans view Critical Race Theory as “anti-American propaganda.” They’re afraid if we acknowledge that systemic racism is real, it will take away the intellectual case for embracing white supremacy. That system has worked very well to benefit the people who have all the power & wealth… And they are not interested in changing it.

And this is not to say that a vote for Joe Bide will change this system. It won’t. But a vote for Joe Biden will move us CLOSER to that goal. The goal of Equality. And Justice. And a More Perfect Union. If trump’s supporters haven’t abandoned him by now, they never will. The way in not to try to change their minds… The only way is to out-vote them. We must ALL vote.

THANK YOU! You reading this means a lot to me. Here’s a deal: If you BECOME A PATRON for $2/month or more, I will write to a kick ass Haiku that will go along with my next post. It really helps. Or, if you want to leave a tip (like Dale, Carol, & Amanda — All of whom are completely kick ass), you can do that ON PAYPAL or by Venmo-ing me at “chris-boeskool.” You can also follow along on TWITTER and on FACEBOOK.

Thanks again,

Chris

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The Ten Types of Trump Supporters

Do you ever look at the relentless stream of horribleness coming from the mind & mouth & cell phone of the person occupying the Oval Office and think to yourself, “What kind of person would support this monster?” I do. It’s stunning. I am bewildered & disheartened on a daily basis as seemingly intelligent & relatively moral people throw their support behind a truly despicable demagogue. And like so many others, that’s the thing that leaves me feeling the most hopeless: Not that someone as broken as trump exists… Not even that someone like him could rise to power… But that — even after the despicable display of dishonesty & depravity, incompetence & bigotry we have seen over the past three and a half years — there are still a sizable group of people out there who are excited having him lead our nation.

I remember reading an article a few years ago that tried to quantify what sorts of people were voting for a person like trump. They analysis found FIVE UNIQUE CLUSTERS OF TRUMP SUPPORTERS: “American Preservationists (20%), Staunch Conservatives (31%), Anti-Elites (19%), Free Marketeers (25%), and the Disengaged (5%).” And as good of a job as that did of summing up his support after the 2016 election, I believe that — over the shit show we have witnessed over this presidency — some other important groups have formed. Here are ten that I have come up with:

DISCLAIMER: My analysis is not based on surveys or science… It is based both on what I have witnessed with the people around me (in real life, and on social media), and on what I thought would be somewhat funny and fun to read. Also, it should be pointed out that people can DEFINITELY fit into more than one category… So the percentages are an estimation, and do not add up to 100%.

1. ONE ISSUE VOTERS (31%). These are mostly “christian” folks to whom you can show an endless amount of evidence that trump is morally bankrupt & evil, and they will end up talking about abortion every single time. Despite the fact that if you want fewer abortions, you should be voting for democrats… Despite the fact that God prescribes abortions in the Bible & seems to be pro-abortion… Despite the logical inconsistencies of anti-abortion folks who believe that “saving souls” is what it’s all about… There are always going to be those who would happily vote for the love child of Lucifer & Jeffrey Dahmer if he slapped a “Pro-Life” sticker on his lapel.

2. BILLIONAIRES (< 1%). It’s a good time to be rich. If you are a person whose wealth is tied to the markets, the last 12 years or so have been good to you. Over the course of the pandemic, billionaires have gotten $637 BILLION richer (though that info was from August 3, so it’s more than that by now). But as this meme shows, that’s not you or me:

What’s this “Bank Account” thing I keep hearing about?

Which leads me to the third group…

3. IDIOTS (12% – 79%). Some folks are just dumb. God bless ’em… Either our educational system has failed them, or they were homeschooled by parents who were homeschooled, or they were taught at some defunct Bible College that science is the devil… I don’t know. They can’t figure out that they are voting against their own interests, they don’t know when they’re being lied to, they can’t recognize a reputable source. There are a lot of trump supporters out there who make the movie “Idiocracy” look eerily prophetic. His biggest demographic is non-college-educated white men. But like their hero said, “I love the poorly educated.”

When you think this guy is intelligent, you aren’t.

4. DICTATORS (< 1%). Enemies of America LOVE this president… Partially because they love seeing America slip from a place of international power & respect, partially because they enjoy watching us tear each other apart while the moron in the White House enflames racial division, but ALSO because trump LOVES himself some dictators. He regularly criticizes leaders of democratic countries while repeatedly praising authoritarian strongmen. Luckily, they can’t vote. Unfortunately, they CAN spend vast sums of money to influence the election in trump’s favor — Usually taking advantage of members of group number 3…

5. KARENS (6%). If you are an insufferable, middle-aged white woman with short, frosted hair, who calls the police when Black folks don’t give you the respect you think you are entitled to, who will threaten to sue someone who flips you off as you speed by them in your giant SUV, who would like to speak to the manager RIGHT NOW, and who is prone to selling essential oils while sharing dubious anti-vaccination articles, there is a pretty good chance you’re voting for trump.

6. PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BURN IT ALL DOWN (9%). These can be Bernie Bros… They can be charismatic christians who believe that they are somehow ushering in the apocalypse & the return of Jesus… They can be ultra-right libertarians & anti-government types who squeal with delight as trump fills cabinet positions with people who have spent their lives hating and trying to destroy the agencies they oversee. If you think government is not the answer, you LOVE seeing people who celebrate & flaunt their incompetence in positions of power.

Brilliance from Bill Bramhall.

7. TROLLS (4%). If you are a coward who gets some sort of gratification from going online and anonymously trying to make people angry and ruin people’s days, you are almost certainly voting for trump. You’re afraid to use your real names when you spread your hatred… But you love him, because you love that he has figured out how to spread his hated without losing his job.

8. GUN NUTS (8%). I’m not talking about people who own guns and appreciate the 2nd Amendment… I’m talking about the folks who are amassing an arsenal in their bunkers/basements (next to their nonperishable foods and WWII nazi memorabilia), and who send their kids to apocalypse survivalist camps where they teach teens how to read a Bible and fire a gun. If you fantasize about militias & second civil wars, you are voting for the candidate who is willing to fan the flames of division if he thinks it will help him stay in power.

Perfection from Signe Wilkinson… I’m voting for the one trying to put OUT the fire.

9. PEOPLE WHO ARE MAD ABOUT NOT BEING FUNNY (30%). Conservatives aren’t funny. There is something in the ability to discern humor that must be connected to the ability to smell bullshit. A lot of people who have spent their whole lives unable to make people laugh are now angry about it. They feel like 2nd class citizens, and they feel a sense of camaraderie within the MAGA crowd. It’s a fraternity of the unfunny. And they are unaware of how hilarious that is…

10. THE LITERAL WORST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD (25%). Admittedly, this one is kind of a catch-all. It includes White Supremacists & Literal Nazis, Conspiracy Theorists & Anti-Maskers, Misogynists & Sexists, QAnon Cultists & White People Who Have Confused Christianity With Nationalism… Basically, if you see someone somehow take pride in saying something so repugnant that it makes your skin crawl, 99% of these people are planning on voting for trump. People who watch Tucker Carlson. People who share memes celebrating 17 year old kids murdering protesters. People like failed QAnon congressional candidate, trump supporter (whom he retweeted when she posted #FireFauci), & all-around pile of awfulness, DeAnna Lorraine, who posted this gem (before it got removed for violating Twitter’s terms of service):

You might remember her from the now deleted tweet where asked if George Floyd’s family was lured to the Democratic convention with “free meth.” When Hillary talked about the “basket of deplorables,” she aimed way too small with her choice of a “basket.” It’s a giant sewage tank. They’re the sort of folks who take pride in being deplorable, and they’re his base. And whether trump wins or loses, we are going to be dealing with the ramifications of having so many of these sorts of people in our country for MANY years (It should be noted that this does not mean that 25% of the Literal Worst People in the World are trump supporters… It means that 25% of his support comes from the Literal Worst People in the World. Upwards of 99% of the Literal Worst People in the World are trump supporters).

So there you have it. This’s what we are up against. This is why we ALL have to vote. If you possess the capability to understand that trump is the worst of us, then you have a responsibility to vote to remove him from a position where he can do as much damage as he has done to this country. There is only one person who can do that, and his name is Joe Biden. I don’t care if he’s not your favorite, and I don’t care if he wasn’t your first choice (he wasn’t mine either). He’s our only chance. VOTE!

Thank you once again for reading. Thank you SO MUCH to Steve, Kristine, Debora, Carol & Rosemarie for leaving a tip on my PREVIOUS POST. If you are feeling generous and would like to leave a tip, you can do that ON PAYPAL or by Venmo-ing me at “chris-boeskool.” You can also BECOME A PATRON… It’s easy and fun. Otherwise, please follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fun.

Press on,

Chris

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No. The CDC Did Not Just “Admit That Only 6%” Actually Died From COVID. You Moron.

Yes, I realize that title might seem a bit harsh… But the majority of the people who need to read this the most are folks who don’t read past the titles of things, and I wanted to make sure they got the gist.

This morning — before I even got out of bed — I was unfriended & blocked by a woman I went to high school with. It seems she didn’t like it when I informed her that the ridiculous meme she shared was false: It said…

“This week the CDC quietly updated the Covid number to admit that only 6% of all of the 153,504 deaths recorded actually died of Covid.

That’s 9,210.

The other 94% had 2-3 other serious illnesses & the overwhelming majority were of very advanced age.”

If you have any anti-maskers or QAnon cultists in your feed, chances are pretty good you saw it at some point in the last 24 hours. Some versions added the words “90% were in nursing homes,” which is completely untrue (in the U.S., 9% of cases were LINKED to nursing homes, and 41% of deaths… Though, as more people die, that percentage is going down). Some shared a link to THIS PAGE of the CDC’s website, where they can read that “For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.” And then morons & trump supporters everywhere (I’m aware of the redundancy) post the meme with CAPTIONS LIKE, “Well, we were duped. It’s time for the mask brigade to stop with the fear mongering, and let’s get the kids back in school 5 days a week. The hoax is over.”

Before I explain why this meme is total horse crap, I’d like to point out a few quick things: 1) I don’t know when or where this meme originated, but the actual number of U.S. reported deaths right now due to COVID-19 is over 185,000 (it’s actually way higher than that, but we’ll get to that shortly). 2) The section this information is under is titled “Comorbidities.” The CDC has been reporting on this all along, so it’s a lie to say that they “quietly updated” this information, as if this is something new. It’s not. It’s just something most people haven’t been paying attention to. And 3) When they say “of very advanced age,” they are talking about how this virus disproportionally kills the elderly. Once again, it is SUPER gross to diminish the seriousness of this disease based on the fact that the virus is more deadly to old folks… As if they are more expendable. I hope older folks remember these dismissals when it comes time to vote.

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Wow. I hope none of the people who were buried in a mass grave on Hart Island in New York City were YOUNG FOLKS, amirite?? Now THAT would be a tragedy…

So… About the meme. In order to understand why it is such dishonest garbage, first you need to understand what “comorbidities” are. A comorbidity is basically having more than one chronic diseases or conditions at the same time. Research has shown that 60% of Americans have at least one chronic condition, and 42% have more than one. That’s a lot. Some common comorbidities include: Hypertension (high blood pressure), Asthma, Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Kidney Disease, Pulmonary Disease, Obesity, Substance Abuse, Depression, Anxiety, Cardiovascular Disease, Smoking, Pneumonia, and MANY others. And as people get older, their chances of having more comorbidities goes up. So when it says that “for 6%, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned,” it means the doctor didn’t list any other chronic disease or condition in the Cause Of Death. If a person gets COVID-19, gets pneumonia as a result, goes on a ventilator and ends up dying, that person might have both COVID and pneumonia listed on their death certificate. If a person dies from a blood clot or stroke (as COVID has a history of causing), they’re going to have both COVID and stroke listed. Everything is connected.

It should be obvious that the more comorbidities a person has, the more dangerous this disease is to them. It attacks systems. And when you think about the fact that 6 out of every 10 Americans have at least one chronic condition, and that this disease is far more deadly the older a person is, it actually says a lot about how deadly this virus can be — even to some folks who are perfectly healthy. A full 6% of people this disease killed had no other listed comorbidity which caused their death. This does NOT mean that COVID actually “only” killed 6% of the 188,000 or so Americans whose deaths are COVID-linked. In actuality, it has killed so many more than the 188,000 that have been reported.

If you clicked on the link to the CDC information above, you will notice right away that the information is not very easily accessible to the common person. I’m the kind of dork who looks at that sort of stuff in my free time for fun, and it’s difficult for *me* to figure out. Luckily, we have medical professionals and journalists to help us make sense of it all… And the experts say that the thing we should be looking at is not just “reported deaths” (and certainly not random, un-cited memes posted on Facebook by some dip shit you went to high school with). We need to be looking at the total EXCESS DEATHS.

Let’s say you own a milk farm. And because you have been keeping track, you can predict that every month, you and your 100 cows can expect about 100,000 gallons of milk. If — in March through August — your cows are only putting out about 70,000 gallons a month, you know you’ve got a problem. Or if you have 10,000 free range chickens laying eggs, and you can predict that each month usually about 300 or so chicken will die, and then — in March through August — you’re losing about 1000 chickens every month, you know SOMETHING IS UP. Maybe there is a hole in the fence and a fox is getting in… Maybe that asshole Jedediah is stealing your chickens again… Maybe there is a virus.

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It always amazes me that people are skeptical of doctors & scientists & even actual pictures of piles of dead people… But they will see a meme posted by some dimwit with picture of a bald eagle carrying an AR15 & a cross as her profile pic, and they will take it as the gospel truth.

The CDC has a link to Excess Deaths as well, but once again, it is very difficult for laypeople to decipher… And I believe this is by design. They could put the information out in an easy-to-understand graph or graphic. But they don’t. Again, luckily we have experts and journalists whose job it is to help us understand what’s going on. One of those people is the New York Times’ Denise Lu, who wrote THIS IMPORTANT ARTICLE. In it, she shows graphs which detail the staggering number of EXCESS DEATHS the United States has seen since the start of this pandemic, and shows proof that we passed 200,000 COVID deaths a while ago. The true number who have died is closer to a QUARTER OF A MILLION PEOPLE. The NYT analyzed the information given by the CDC, and figured out that the number who have died is actually “about 60,000 higher than the number of deaths that have been directly linked to the coronavirus.

Now, at some point, someone from the medical community (who actually knows what they are talking about) will make a video or a status or an article that a whole bunch of people will share, and it will explain exactly why this viral meme is total garbage… But it will have nowhere near the reach of the of this stupid meme & the armies of idiots who pass it along. The explanation will be “too long.” Or it will be too triggering to their need for confirmation bias. Or they will just chalk it up to some “conspiracy” that everyone is in on. Like Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And you want to know the hell of it?? MARK TWAIN DIDN’T EVEN SAY THAT!!!

The trump administration is desperately trying to push the narrative that it’s not really as bad as they say it is. Because when you look at our country’s response to COVID-19 compared to the rest of the developed world (other than Brazil, who has their own trump-ish moron to deal with), you have no other option than to put the blame for our nation’s incompetent, profoundly stupid response to this pandemic where it belongs: On trump’s incompetent, profoundly stupid shoulders. This corrupt, dishonest republican administration is trying to paint the picture that it is not as bad as it seems… In reality, it is SO MUCH WORSE. I get that people are exhausted, and they want this to be over. Believe me, I do too. I am still out of work, and things are getting way scarier for many of us since the unemployment stimulus ended. We all want things to get back to normal… but the ONLY way to “get back to normal” is to take this seriously. And the only way for us to take this seriously is to vote this jackass out of office.

 

Please, PLEASE check things out before you repost them. Our country is teetering on the edge of fascism, and it is no time to pass along false information. And if you see someone posting stuff that isn’t true, please be brave enough to let them know. Even if you’re pretty sure you won’t change the person’s mind who posted it… There are other people watching along at home.

Thank you so much for reading. If you’d like to help an out-of-work writer pay a bit or two, you can BECOME A PATRON. If you’d like to leave a tip for me taking the time to explain why that meme is dumb (so you didn’t have to), you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL or Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool.” Otherwise, please follow me ON FACEBOOK and ON TWITTER for more good fun.

Much love,

Chris

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Tennessee Republicans Are Trying To Make It A FELONY To Peacefully Protest

Yes, you read that right: Bill Lee and the Good Ol’ Boys are upset. And they’re not going to let a little thing like “Constitutional rights” get in the way them showing Black & Brown people who’s in control…

On Friday June 12th, a group of protesters led by Justin Jones (who devotees may remember from THIS POST from three years ago) assembled outside the Tennessee State Capitol on War Memorial Plaza. Among the things the protesters wanted were the removal of Police Chief Steve Anderson (who has since been removed), defunding the police, demilitarizing the police, and removal of racist statues… But they pledged to leave if Governor Bill Lee would simply talk to them about police brutality. Bill Lee has never shown up to talk to them, and protesters have been there 24 hours a day ever since, making it the longest continuous protest in the country. They called it the People’s Plaza and renamed it “Ida B. Wells Plaza.”

I was down there the next afternoon. During earlier George Floyd protests, a statue was torn down on the plaza. The statue that came down was of a little known man named Edward Carmack. A little history behind Edward Carmack: He was a newspaper editor in Nashville and Memphis during the late 1800s. When some black men in Memphis tried to open a grocery store, they were lynched. Carmack wrote articles defending the lynching. The men who were murdered were friends of journalist and civil rights hero Ida B. Wells, and when she decried the lynching, Carmack turned his pen & his hatred in her direction, telling the mob to “get the black winch.” She was out of town at the time, but they burned down the newspaper she worked in. She never returned to Memphis. Later, Carmack became a politician (of course he did), running as a prohibitionist, and after he was killed by a political rival, the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement saw him as a martyr for their cause, and helped get his statue erected in 1927.

Initially, the protesters set up on the site where the statue was torn down. Saturday morning, they were told they had to move because the base of the statue was to be cleaned. After it was cleaned, police set up barriers to keep the protesters away, and so they moved to a wall near the site, and hung a sign on the wall that said “Ida B. Wells Plaza.” Police prevented anyone from entering the area around the Capitol building, and positioned state troopers to protect the statue of Sam Davis — another confederate soldier and traitor who was hung for espionage during the Civil War. Sam’s family’s plantation  had more than 50 slaves. He went to Western Military Institute (which is now Montgomery Bell Academy, and he was dubbed “The Boy Hero of the Confederacy.” He is a hero to racists, and his statue shamefully stands on the grounds of the Tennessee Capitol. Here is a picture I took of the troopers protecting the statue of Sam Davis.

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Throughout the protests on the plaza, the people protesting have been peaceful. Any aggression has come from the police. I watched as troopers advanced their line toward the peaceful protesters. I watched as troopers stood about six inched from a sitting Justin Jones — while not wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic. Here is a video I recorded when state troopers brought in barricades while Justin and protesters sat in defiance:

As I wrote, the protesters have been at the capitol in some form every night since. In 2011, the Tennessee State legislature — as a response to the “Occupy Wall Street” protests — made it illegal to “camp” on state lands that were not expressly designated as a campground… But the offense was a misdemeanor. As the lawmakers grew more & more annoyed at the constant reminder of how Tennessee continues to embrace its racist past, the republican majority decided to up the ante. They proposed House Bill 8005, which would make it a FELONY to “camp” (a word which can be widely interpreted) on state grounds, as well as making it a Class A misdemeanor to “disrupt a lawful meeting.” This puts the act of protesting or interrupting a lawmaker’s session on par with crimes like Sexual Contact with a Minor by an Authority Figure, Child Abuse, Spousal Abuse, and Using Violence to Intimidate Voters… While putting the “crime” of peacefully protesting overnight on state property as a WORSE crime than all of those. Here is News Channel 5’s Phil Williams asking Bill Lee if that sounds like Justice to him. Watch Bill Lee’s cowardly answer:

Bill Lee said, “On balance, I think it was the right thing to do.” A reminder that the protestors said they would leave if he just had a conversation with them. He refused, and he responded by making it a felony to protest. Representative Jason Hodges went viral with his response to this. He said, “We seem not to worry about protesting when white people show up with AR-15s, but when black people show up with signs, it just seems like we try to pass legislation to keep people from protesting. And so that’s just a little concerning to me, and maybe that’s why the protesters are out there in the first place.” He is one of the people featured in a “NowThisNews” story about this… You should watch it.

HB 8005 makes it so that people protesting overnight on state grounds would have a MANDATORY MINIMUM 30-day jail sentence. It also calls for a mandatory minimum 30-day jail sentence for the misdemeanor offense of “causing physical contact” with police or other first responders. CAUSING PHYSICAL CONTACT. If a cop walks toward you and you don’t move, is that “causing physical contact?” This is unconscionable. Under the new law passed a week ago, convicted protesters could face up to SIX YEARS IN PRISON and LOSE THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE. All for the “crime” of protesting racism & police brutality. Please think about that for a moment while I find you numbers to call…

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Amazing shot. The Plaza belongs to The People. 

Listen — Tennessee lawmakers (who are working to disenfranchise protesters) would like for you to know that it’s really hard for THEM too… For example, State Senator Kerry Roberts of Springfield recalled being yelled at while he walked down the street, and he said, “The thing is, what I wish I could convey to people is that it’s really hard to be sympathetic to what someone is saying when they are yelling at you, when they’re trying to shame you, when they’re calling you names and so forth.” As they say here in Nashville, “Bless his heart.” Perhaps you can call him (his telephone number is 615-741-4499) and tell him how sympathetic you are to him being “shamed” simply because he voted to take away the voting rights of peaceful protesters.

Or perhaps you could call State Representative and porcupine Pokemon impersonator William Lamberth (whose telephone number is 615-741-1980) and express your feelings on the fascism behind HB 8005… Lamberth sponsored the bill.

Or you can join with the ACLU, and call for Bill Lee to veto this injustice. This bill has passed the state house and the state senate, and is awaiting Governor Lee’s signature. Bill Lee’s number is 615-741-2001. No one will answer (because he really doesn’t care), but you can leave a message. FLOOD THE LINES. Let him know that this is an injustice, it is anti-American, and that it reeks of creeping fascism. Or, you could speak his language, and get angry about the fact that this will no doubt end up in the Supreme Court & end up costing the state of Tennessee millions of dollars in legal fees. Either way, get angry and make some noise.

Also, if you’re interested and able, you can join and support the protesters. In addition to protests, there are other ways to help. They are doing a donation drive for the Nashville Free Store (a community-stocked store with free food, essential goods, & PPE) tomorrow (August 21), and you can drop off donations at the People’s Plaza (right in front of the State Capitol building in Nashville). The things they need the most are diapers, bleach, dish soap, laundry detergent, all purpose cleaners & cleaning supplies. Follow Brother Jones on Twitter at @brotherjones_. You can also follow them on Facebook HERE.

 

Thank you for reading. Please get involved. Please vote. Please share this post. And if you value this blog, please consider supporting my writing. You can BECOME A PATRON HERE (like Adrien just did. THANK YOU!). You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL (thank you to Jessica and Donna!), or Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool” (Thank you, Nate!). Otherwise, you can follow me on Facebook or on Twitter for more fun. I love you all!

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Five Things The Death of That 5-Year-Old Boy Has Me Thinking About

I heard about the murder of little Cannon Hinnant two days ago. I had posted an article (like I do) about a KKK member who got sent to prison for driving through a crowd of protestors, and I said that even though the far-right acts like “ANTIFA” is what we all need to fear, if you’re looking for who is committing the real acts of violence & domestic terrorism, and who you need to be afraid of in this country, it’s RACIST, WHITE MEN. And then some dude showed up (you’ll never guess his complexion), posted a picture of Cannon & his accused murderer with a description of what happened, and said, “Evil comes in all colors.” So I searched his name on Google (like I do) and researched the story… From what I read, it was senseless and horrific and awful. So sad.

Apparently, a man named Darius Sessoms — a friend of Cannon’s family — shot the boy in the head and killed him. The next day, a warrant was made for Sessoms’ arrest, and within a day he was arrested, charged with first degree murder, and denied bail.

The story began to spread across the country, nearly all the posts with accompanying pictures of Darius Sessoms’ mugshot — I assume to ensure that everyone knew that it was a BLACK MAN who committed this murder. And then came the hashtags, which were mostly plays on Black Lives Matter hashtags: #SayHisName, #JusticeForCannon, and #HisLifeMattered… The narrative was that people (the media, in particular) care when Black people get murdered, but no one bats an eyelash when we poor, oppressed white people get killed (a message that has apparently made it to the Department of Justice, because with all the craziness in the world right now, the DOJ has decided to open a case against Yale for “discriminating against white people”). White folks were angry, and they managed to somehow make this boy’s tragic death about George Floyd… Crap like this:

“Double standard!” they cried. “Where’s the outrage??” they demanded to know. “WHERE ARE THE PROTESTS?!? Well, if you were on social media at all recently, you SAW where the outrage was. And that is what has me up in the middle of the night writing right now. So here are five things I have been thinking about…

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I was going to use a picture of Cannon for this post, but it felt really gross using his image. I can’t imagine how gross it must feel to use it as some sort of meme for imaginary white “oppression.”

 

1) “HIS LIFE MATTERED.” Of course his life mattered. Honest question: Who do you see saying that his life didn’t matter? We know that his life mattered because the man accused of killing him was arrested and charged within a DAY. They didn’t wait three months to arrest and charge his killers (like they did with the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery). His murderers aren’t still walking around free 5 FULL MONTHS after they killed him (as is the case with Breonna Taylor’s killers). His life wasn’t ended by a police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he called out for his dead mother as onlookers pleaded for his life (as happened with George Floyd). You can tell his life life mattered because the GoFundMe for the family has raised nearly $600,000 in three days. Do you see people presuming the kid did something to deserve being killed and assuming that the shooting was justified? No? Well that’s one way to tell his life matters. I mean, C’mon, Chachi…

2) “WHERE ARE THE PROTESTS?” Do y’all even have anything close to a clue what the protests have been about? Because I don’t think you do… They’ve been protesting systemic racism (like the kind that initially resulted in no charges being filed against the white men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery and then stood over his lifeless body and called him a n****r). They’ve been protesting police brutality (like the kind that resulted in the death of Elijah McClain where cops received a call of him “looking sketchy,” they stopped him while walking and committing to crime, put him in a choke hold, and then injected him with ketamine). They’ve been protesting the LACK of justice for the loved ones and families of the people who have been unjustly murdered. Protests & riots don’t happen just because someone is killed… Protests & riots happen when nothing is done to show the community that justice is being served. Riots don’t necessarily happen because Rodney King is beat up by police — Riots happen when those cops aren’t charged with a crime & held accountable. The reason no one is protesting the random, tragic shooting of Cannon Hinnant is because JUSTICE IS BEING SERVED. No one gets mad when their internet is WORKING… We get mad when it goes out. We get mad when the system ISN’T working. The system isn’t working for Breonna Taylor.

3) ALMOST ALL OF THE OUTRAGE IS COMING FROM WHITE PEOPLE. Why do you think that is? Sure, you might be able to track down a random “Candice Owens-ish” voice cashing in on white outrage… But if you check the faces of the people who are liking and sharing those posts, they are almost universally white. I have a lot of ideas about what is behind that, but I want you to genuinely spend some time thinking about why it is that the profile pics of the ones who seem very upset that not enough attention is being paid to this young boy’s death nearly ALL contain photos of white faces. Or flags. Or eagle holding guns. I guarantee you there have been many black kids in this country who have been killed in the six days since Cannon’s death. Why aren’t we hearing from these same white voices about those random, tragic deaths?

4) THIS IS NOT A PATTERN. This murder is horrific and heartbreaking, but there have not been a rash of black men running up to white children and shooting them in the head. We DO see a pattern of continued police brutality and a different set of rules for officers interacting with white folks and with Black folks. We DO see a pattern of white anger at the perception of persecution & oppression, when what is really happening is adjusting to the discomfort of equalityWhat we DO see happening over and over again is the pushing of images of Black men as criminal. If you want to post about how sad this event made you, that’s one thing… But posting images that reinforce the “FEAR BLACK MEN” narrative is doing actual harm. It is allowing people to justify their hatred and racism, and that is very, very dangerous. Regardless, if someone shares an article about how many white supremacists are trying to kill people, and you respond by showing a random, deranged black man who committed a murder, I’ve got some bad news for you: Your racism is showing.

5) IS IT SUDDENLY OKAY TO “POLITICIZE A TRAGEDY?” Have y’all noticed that the Venn diagram of the people who will tell you that you shouldn’t “politicize a tragedy” after yet another mass shooting or act of gun violence, and the people who are now politicizing Cannon’s murder is a PERFECT CIRCLE?  When 20 first graders get murdered by a man with an AR15 and people talk about passing legislation to make those tragedies less common, it’s distasteful to “use their deaths” to make a point. But these people are angry that the shooting happened, and trying to do things to prevent it from happening again. NONE of the people talking about “#HisLifeMattered” seem particularly concerned with trying to prevent this sort of thing from happening again… Or how Cannon might still be alive if everyone & their niece didn’t have access to a highly efficient killing tool… They’re concerned that George Floyd’s funeral was bigger. Imagine politicizing a kid’s murder when the point you’re trying to make is “WHITE PEOPLE AREN’T GETTING ENOUGH ATTENTION!” That is really, REALLY gross. Seriously… Stop it.

That’s it. That’s what I wanted to say… Stop it. Please.

 

I talked to my mom yesterday… She told me to write about something happy. I told her I usually write when I’m overflowing with something, and I haven’t felt overflowing with happiness in a while. She reminded me that I have a whole lot to be happy about… Anyway, aren’t moms the best? Sorry, mom. I know this isn’t a happy subject, but it had me overflowing. Maybe next time?

So… If YOU are someone who is happy when I overflow on this blog, there is a way to show you care. You can BECOME A PATRON! It’s easy and fun. Bonnie just became a new Patron last week, and I’m SO thankful. You can also LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, or Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool” as well. Check me out on Facebook and on Twitter for more good stuff.

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Christians Are A Force For Evil In The World.

That’s hard for me to say, because I still consider myself a Christian… In that I consider myself a follower of Jesus. I love Jesus. I love what he was about. I believe that the closer human beings get to being like Jesus, the better off the whole world gets. But I don’t really want to call myself a “Christian,” because that brand is such utter garbage. And I suppose that works out well, because most other people who identify as christians don’t want me calling myself a christian either. I don’t think the Bible is infallible or “written by God.” I don’t consider Jesus the only source of truth in the world or the only leader to ever speak for God. I don’t believe that someone had to die in order for us to be close to God. I don’t believe in hell anymore — Although 2020 is pretty damn close. I don’t exactly know how to describe my concept of “God” anymore. But I believe in GOODNESS… And the more I look around, the clearer it gets: Christianity does more harm than good.

This is not to say that ALL Christians are individually doing more harm than good. There are some amazing people out there loving and helping their neighbors, and working to make the world a more Just, more Equitable, BETTER place… And they are doing it because of what they believe about Jesus. So save your time with the “Not All Christians” comments. Obviously not all Christians are actively working to make the world a shittier place… But MOST of them are. And barely any of them realize that’s what they are doing.  Let me give you an example. Here is a scene from an outdoor worship service this weekend…

There’s this guy named Sean Feucht. If you don’t know who he is, you are not alone. Most people don’t. He worked for a church called Bethel in Redding, CA. He leads worship. He ran for Congress (and lost) on a pro-trump, anti-immigrant platform. You may recognize him for his long, curly, reddish hair… Sean is the one “reaching out in faith” and touching trump’s garment/arm is this photo op of worship leaders at the White House:

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I’m not positive on how is name is pronounced, but I think it’s how you THINK it’s pronounced… As in, “This country is Feucht.”

He’s been in the news a little more lately after he showed up Uninvited in Minneapolis (the very unsuccessful, straight-to-DVD sequel of “Sleepless in Seattle”) at a rally for George Floyd, and put together an impromptu worship service. I guess he looked at the Black-led protests and thought, “You know what they could use? A long-haired white guy with an acoustic guitar… That’s what.” And then he posted video of that on social media and talked about “what god was doing.” In addition to his self-promotion, he also took advantage of the outrage at him showing up, and played the “persecuted christian” card.

You see, many christians around the country have been fed the idea that they are being attacked. It started with “the war on Christmas,” and now many of the ignorant masses are convinced that this virus is made up to keep people away from Church… And that mask mandates are just a plot to get people used to face coverings for when the democrats declare Sharia Law and force everyone to wear burkas. So this guy comes up with the Feucht-up idea of utilizing that narrative to tour around the country and put on worship concerts… Defying local laws and mandates about sizes of gatherings made to prevent the spread of this deadly disease. Here is Sean explaining that “God is going to release a wave of healing” on the lungs of the people who attended his gathering in Portland.

Isn’t it interesting that christians will post memes about how “police won’t bother people if they just obey the law,” and they’ll quote Romans 13 (about “submitting to governing authorities”) when justifying the death penalty… But suddenly protest becomes “American” again when THEY are breaking a law that makes THEM feel “oppressed.” And by “interesting,” I mean “hypocritical.”

Here’s the thing: Bad theology kills people. It is one of the deadliest things on the planet. And in America right now, the majority of the people with REALLY bad theology are calling themselves “christians.” This is especially true of charismatic christians. For many of them, Reason is looked at as a BARRIER between them and the almighty. The sort of person that questions authority or challenges contradictions is looked at as a threat. They are told to “turn off their brains” in order to hear from god. They’re made to believe they hear directly from god… And when everyone is hearing from god, paranoia can be interpreted as the voice of the holy spirit, and finding some QAnon conspiracy theory site in a dark corner of the internet can be viewed as god “leading them.” And to top it all off, they are told the world will hate them, so if they are being total asses and everyone is getting mad at them, they’re like, “I must be doing something right!”

The frustrating thing about Sean Feucht is that I’d bet just about anything that he doesn’t see himself as a force for evil. Like so many other forces for evil in the world, he has no clue that’s what he is… He’s not like donald trump, who knows darn well that he doesn’t believe any of that “christian” nonsense, but knows he needs to fake it to get more power. But Sean almost certainly believes that he is NEEDED at a George Floyd rally in Minneapolis. He believes he is being “called.” It stands to reason that these folks believe in white saviorism… Most of them think Jesus was white — Their whole religion is BUILT on the idea of a white savior. And when he sees those crowds, he probably believes that God is going to keep those people safe. When he baptizes people and dunks them in that COVID water, he believes he is participating in SAVING those people from going to hell.

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It’s almost like God “desires mercy, not sacrifice.” To “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.” Wouldn’t that be something…

And when he runs for government, there was never any option for him other than running as a republican. He has grown up listening to preachers say that god is on America’s side… In churches that fly the American flag up front. He has probably figured out a way to use the Bible to justify christians carrying guns and being ready to kill folks. Imagine calling yourself a “christian” and being willing to kill someone with a gun to “protect people,” but not being willing to put a piece of fabric over your mouth to protect people from this virus…

And this is NOT me saying “Christians should be democrats.” In normal times, there are good reasons to vote republican… But now is not a normal time. I genuinely believe that voting to remove the evil that is donald trump from office is a moral imperative… And the best/only way to do that with the system we currently have is to vote for Joe Biden. But there are many people in this country who don’t see that. And at this point, if you can’t see that trump is objectively one of the worst people on the planet who should be kept as far from power as humanly possible, it doesn’t come down to a “difference of opinion” on political issues — It’s a fundamental difference of understanding what is meant by the word GOODNESS… It’s a totally different definition of Morality.

The single greatest reason for christians becoming a force for evil in the world is their longing for power. In 2016, trump told a crowd in Sioux City, Iowa that “Christians will have the power” (Click on that article. You need to read it), and they believed him. There is a deep hypocrisy where Christians profess to believe that PEOPLE should take care of people — Not the government… But then they need the government to enforce their vision of morality. And they profess to believe that God is on control of things… But they don’t trust God to take care of things unless christians are electing leaders who give them more political power. Their longing for power belies a lack of faith.

The Bible tells a story of Jesus being tempted with power. It didn’t take. It’s the exact opposite of who Jesus was. The people wanted a king on a horse, but they got a carpenter on a donkey… And most people calling themselves “christians” don’t get that at all. The degree to which christianity is a force for evil in the world is directly correlated to how little christians resemble Jesus. Christians have largely become noisy gongs & clanging cymbals. They are willing to break the law & risk other people’s lives in order to pray “on the street corners to be seen by others.” It’s all wrong. It’s wanting to rule, when you’re called to serve. It’s carrying a gun, while testifying of a god who is supposedly powerful enough to protect you. It’s being willing to kill to protect your neighbor, but not being willing to wear a mask to protect your neighbor. It’s hypocrisy. And it is — for lack of a better word — evil.

 

Thank you so much for reading. Thank you to Marissa and Sue for leaving a tip after my last post. And thank you SO much to my Patrons. If this blog is valuable to you, and you’d like to help support it, you too can BECOME A PATRON. Or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL or Venmo “chris-boeskool” your generosity. And if you’d like to keep up with me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER, that’s good fun too. Thank you, seriously. I’m so honored that there are people who read the things I write…

 

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Why You’re Hearing About Human Trafficking and HydroxyChloroquine Right Now

I am angrier than I have ever been right now. I’m not talking about a fleeting rage… I’m talking about a deep, residing anger — One that feels like is just WITH me. All the time. Yesterday, I watched a video of a woman at a Montana supermarket intentionally cough on people who were telling her to put a mask on, and I was SHOCKED — Not because it happened or because people that awful exist… By now, that’s not at all surprising. What shocked me was the realization that I found myself thinking, “WHY IS NOBODY PUNCHING THAT OLD LADY IN THE FACE?” Genuinely. I mean, she probably someone’s grandma… And there I was rooting for her to get dropped by a straight right hand. Here’s the video:

Like, who is that person? Not the lady coughing on a stranger in the middle of a pandemic… The one rooting for her to get punched in the face. I don’t recognize him. I’ve never found it harder to love my enemies than I do right now. Every day, it feels like more and more people around me are given over to conspiracy theory and irrational thought, and never in my life have I been quicker to call someone a “moron.” And I don’t see that going anywhere any time soon, so this isn’t going to be the sort of post where I call you to some better path. I’m frustrated, and I’m angry, and that just is what it is.

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That blue section is ALSO roughly the same size of the United States’ world percentage of people in prison. AMERICA FIRST, AMIRITE?!?

You’ve probably seen a lot of people on social media posting about Human Trafficking and HydroxyChloroquine. And there is a reason for that: The reason is this republican administration’s colossal and historic failure with regards to the mishandling of this pandemic. There is an election in less than 100 days, and they don’t want people thinking about a cratering economy, historic unemployment, and 158k dead Americans. So they rally the troops for a truly disgusting campaign of Distraction and Distrust.

DISTRACTION
You’ve probably noticed that a whole lot of your conservative friends are suddenly VERY concerned with Human Trafficking. And I suppose that would be a good thing, if only it weren’t a totally dishonest distraction. Many of the people suddenly beating the drum of the horrors of human trafficking ALSO “happen” to be the same folks who are anti-mask and pro-reopen in-person schooling. And it’s framed as “Oh, you’re concerned about the kids’ health?!? Well why aren’t you concerned about the 800,000 American kids who are sold into sex slavery each year!?!?” (A few things about that 800k number, by the way: That’s the total number of kids reported missing — anything from runaways, to can’t find my kid at Target, to custody disputes — and “more than 99% of those kids come home.” The actual number of kids who are abducted in the U.S. each year is about 115… Which is horrible and a real problem, but it’s NOT the “You’re worried about kids wearing masks in school while 2200 kids go missing EVERY DAY” narrative that they’re selling).

What is frustrating is how they paint this as if people can’t be concerned about two things at once. We can. It’s like if someone was focusing their energy on feeding kids in their school system, and people got mad about that because “kids in Somalia are way hungrier.” It’s like, “Okay? Great. You work on that thing. I’ll work on this thing.” This dishonest distraction is also a not-so-subtile nod to QAnon cultists and conspiracy theorists… Which, if you don’t know about QAnon, I don’t have the space or energy to go into it in depth right now, but it is born of the same dark 4chan/8chan corners of the internet that “Pizzagate” (a thoroughly debunked theory which is rising again) was born from. HERE is a good summary of the lunacy that is QAnon. It basically takes a quasi-religious fervency to the idea that EVERYONE is in on the conspiracy, and Clinton and Obama and “the Deep State” are running some giant child sex slavery ring. And CNN is in on it…

Speaking of Obama, that is one of the main reasons you can tell this precipitous concern with Human trafficking is totally disingenuous: If one quarter of America was out of work, the economy was in shambles, and 150k people were dead because of Barack Obama’s stupidity and incompetence, do you think that any of these people would be yelling, “WHAT ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING” right now? Not a chance in hell. Some folks have been working on ending human trafficking before it was politically convenient to focus on this issue. My friend David has been working with good groups like The Exodus Road and Safe House Project to help those affected by human trafficking. So if you’re actually interested in helping out (beyond an abortion-esque, “whatabout” distraction), there are many organizations in which you can invest your time & money… Instead of fearfully equating masks with child abductions like this utter nonsense:

DISTRUST
There are basically two main arbiters of truth in the modern world: Science and Journalism. Both are committed to finding out what is true. Journalism is basically just science with words. It’s an attempt to find FACTS, and it’s the most powerful tool we have against government corruption and overreach… Which is why trump has spent so much time attacking it. All of his “fake news” and “they’re all against me” and “enemy of the people” talk is straight out of the Fascist Handbook he keeps next to his bed. If you’re attempting to consolidate power and get away with things, it makes sense to focus on making people distrust one of the only checks to power we have (the other is VOTING — which he is ALSO attacking and attempting to sow distrust of… Make sure you are registered to vote).

Science is another way we find out what is true. It’s not as “in your face” as journalism, but it is there, working behind the scenes. And when science finds out something true, the hope is that journalism conveys those findings to the public. So when scientists tell us that man-made climate change is real, and we HAVE to do something about it right away, hopefully journalism gets the word out. Unfortunately, there are many who are profiting from polluting the environment who don’t want that message to get to the people who vote for leaders… So they attack the credibility of journalism and inject distrust.

But with this pandemic, we now have people who are actually paying attention to the numbers and statistics the scientific communities are putting out. And those numbers do NOT look good for the trump administration. We have 26.46% of the world’s coronavirus cases with only 4.25% of the worlds population… And even though trump would have you believe this is due to testing, we ALSO have a similar percentage of the world’s COVID-19 deaths. People are not dying because they are getting tested. And this is where the nonsense with HydroxyChloroquine comes in…

HydroxyChloroquine is a medicine used to treat malaria and lupus. When coronavirus was first spreading, doctors had no clue how to treat it. They were trying many different things, and one of them was HydroxyChloroquine. There were early rumors of its effectiveness in treating COVID, and those rumors made it to the president’s ears. Now, intelligent people understand that before you tell the public a cure for the plague has been found, you do actual RESEARCH… But the president is NOT an intelligent person. It turns out that every randomized trial of HydroxyChloroquine found that it was not only ineffective, but it actually did more harm than good.

Usually, that would be where it ended. Unfortunately, this administration has always tried to handle this virus with messaging… But you don’t “spin” your way out of a pandemic. You handle pandemics with clear policies and competent leadership. The numbers don’t lie, but when the numbers don’t paint fascists in a favorable light, they attack the credibility of the people providing the numbers. And this is what they have done and CONTINUE to do with HydroxyChloroquine: They act like there is really a cure, but the scientists don’t want to let people have it, because they want to make trump look bad. So they highlight and retweet a handful of discredited doctors and quacks who give anecdotal evidence of success. But science is not done with anecdote… It’s done with research, and with randomized, double blind trials.

Consider that for a moment: This corrupt administration casts doubt on the integrity of the entire scientific and medical communities… That they HAVE a cure, but they don’t want to give it to people. And rumors spread about doctors falsely categorizing COVID deaths to get more money. And that gives the true believers a reason to doubt the numbers that can’t be interpreted any other way than total failure. If you trust the scientific community to tell the truth about the ineffectiveness of HydroxyChloroquine, then you ALSO need to trust their numbers showing this administration’s EPIC FAILURE with this virus.  It’s no wonder so many of these morons (there I go again) don’t trust vaccinations. It’s the same reason republicans push back so hard against the CLEAR scientific benefit of wearing masks. They don’t like masks, because masks are a constant, visual reminder of trump’s failure and lies… But beyond that, casting doubt on their effectiveness in preventing the spread of this virus casts doubt on the expertise of the scientific community. And when there are no experts (or trusted arbiters of truth), authoritarian regimes can tell the people whatever they want. 

The ONLY reason trump started saying that people should wear masks is because someone convinced him that they are essential to getting the economy going again. You can bet that if it was just a matter of people dying, he would have stubbornly refused. Anyway, there you have it. When you see anti-mask, anti-science trumpers posting dishonest “whataboutisms” concerning Human Trafficking, and posting conspiracy theories about HydroxyChloroquine and masks, see it for what it is: Distraction and Distrust.

Now, if someone can seriously find that coughing lady and punch her in the face…

 

Thank you again for reading. If you’re feeling angry, and you want to do something kind to snap yourself out of it, maybe make a donation to one of those organizations working to help victims of human trafficking. Or, if you want to BECOME A PATRON of this blog, that would also be nice. You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, or Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool” as well. Please follow me on FACEBOOK and on TWITTER for more fun. Take care of each other…

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The Case Against (and For) Mask Shaming

I have seen many people making the case that we shouldn’t be shaming people for not wearing masks when they go out. “You don’t know their story,” they say. “They could have a legitimate reason for not wearing a mask.” People bring up claustrophobia, anxiety & panic attacks, asthma, sensory issues, and assault trauma (where someone’s mouth was covered during an assault). The claim is that there are many other reasons (other than being a conspiracy theorist or an anti-science moron) for people to not wear masks. There are even accusations of ablism… That expressing frustration and anger pointed at people without masks on could be a discriminatory act against people with a disability which prevents them from wearing a mask.

I confess that I have been guilty of calling people morons for not wearing a mask. When I see people not wearing a mask in stores that are requiring them, it makes me angry.  I see tweets like this one, and — to be honest — it makes my heart sing a little bit…

I admit I’ve never even considered that some of these people might have experienced abuse which causes wearing a mask to trigger a panic reaction. I make assumptions… About their reasons, their intelligence, their political party. I do not give these people anything close to the “benefit of the doubt.” I even find myself assuming psychopathy and narcissism (there is some research surrounding this). I don’t see phobias or trauma… I usually see ignorance and selfishness.

But there is a reason for that: It’s because the vast majority of the people refusing to wear masks do so out of ignorance and selfishness.

Some of this “ablism” talk defending those who don’t wear masks feels very similar to the arguments around “Not all men” and “Not all white people” and “Not all Christians.” Namely, the idea that we shouldn’t make critical statements about a group, because SOME in that demographic might not fit the description. So if a woman criticizes men because of toxic masculinity, a chorus of voices declare that “not all men” are toxic… As if that is what was being said. White people have the same fragile reaction to criticism (Now think… Did you hear me say ALL white people have that same fragile reaction?). When Christians hear criticism of the church, many feel the need to clarify that “not ALL Christians” are like that. It’s easy to see why the most fragile of all God’s creatures — the white, male Christian — feels so persecuted… Even though they aren’t.

MESH-MASK-WP

Someone PLEASE tell me it’s alright to call this fragile, oppressed dude a “moron.”

NO ONE thinks that the majority of the people refusing to wear masks have legitimate medical reasons for it. And if they DO have legitimate medical reasons for it, we need to do some serious testing as to whether MAGA hats cause breathing problems, because I’d say that 95% of the people who refuse to wear masks in stores are trump supporters, and there is a correlation there that implies causation. And then they insist that it is against HIPPA and ADA privacy laws to ask someone to have to prove their medical condition for going without a mask. But HIPPA and ADA privacy mandates are mandates, just like mask mandates are mandates… And MANY of these folks are the same people demanding that victims of rape or incest be forced to relive their trauma and “prove” that their assault happened before allowing her and her doctor decide to end her pregnancy. Isn’t that interesting… And by “interesting,” I mean hypocritical.

Imagine a young man wearing a t-shirt with a big swastika on it and he’s got a shaved head. Now, if you called this guy a nazi skinhead, there’s a CHANCE that he actually wanted to wear his Human Rights Coalition Equality shirt, but his house was on fire and he had to grab a shirt quick… And perhaps alopecia is the reason for his head having no hair. But chances are very, very slim. And the idea of not letting nazi skinheads know that our norms do not allow harmful & threatening expressions of hate simply because of the possibility of him being a person living with alopecia who hurried from a fire seems ludicrous to me. When you consider that instead of free expression, we are dealing with a virus that kills about 1.4% of the people who are infected with it, there is even a more urgent reason to speak up about establishing norms.

Because that’s what we’re doing: We’re establishing norms. It’s not about shaming people for shaming sake… It’s about letting people know that they are not complying with standards the community has decided are in the benefit of public health. You might think it’s your “god-given right” to rub pig shit all over yourself before going out to Walmart, but that doesn’t mean people don’t get to plug their noses when you walk by. And if it turns out that pig shit is causing a bunch of people to get sick and die, I’ve got news for you: Walmart has online ordering and pickup. USE IT. Same goes for the folks who can’t wear a mask because of trauma: Make other arrangements. Just about every grocery store has the option to order your groceries online. Use that option. Have it delivered. Do curbside pickup. Ask a friend for help. SOMETHING.

So for the small group of folks who have legitimate medical reasons for not wearing a mask, I’m sorry if I have incorrectly judged you as being a conspiracy theorist, or an anti-science moron, or ignorant, or selfish, or worse… A republican. Forgive me for confusing you with all the people who are convinced masks are going to make them die from carbon dioxide poisoning… Or the lady at Panera who claimed masks don’t stop the virus because “pants don’t stop farts.” Or the lady that said she doesn’t wear a mask for the same reason she doesn’t wear underwear: “Because things gotta breathe.” But we are in the middle of a pandemic… Make other arrangements. Just because someone has a reason they don’t want to wear a mask, it doesn’t mean that person has a “right” to go wherever they want without a mask right now.

Last thing, and I don’t think this can be stressed enough: The people who are concerned about breathing because of claustrophobia, anxiety & panic attacks, asthma, sensory issues, and assault trauma should be the MOST concerned about everyone doing their part to stop the spread of this disease. If you think masks aren’t fun, you’re REALLY not going to enjoy COVID-19. If you find it difficult to breathe with a mask on, you’re going to find it REALLY difficult to breathe with COVID-19. Every person in a hospital bed who has COVID-19 has a mask on. Every one. Regardless of their anxiety or feelings of claustrophobia. Every one… except for the ones who are intubated. And if you don’t like mask mandates being shoved down your throat, you’re REALLY not going to enjoy ventilator tubes being shoved down your throat.

WEAR A MASK.

 

Oh people, thank you for reading this rant. Perhaps this will help you breathe  or laugh when you see someone flaunting their maskless face while we all try to do what we can to stop the spread of this virus. If you enjoy this blog, and you’ve been thinking “I’d really like to support that guy,” now is a great time to do that. I’m still furloughed because of the virus, and the CARES Act money runs out next month, so every little bit helps. You can BECOME A PATRON… You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL (or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool”). Otherwise, you can do me a solid and share this with the people in your lives on Facebook or on Twitter or wherever else. But most of all, thank you for reading. Peace…

 

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