Anti-Maskers, and The Right To Poop In Other People’s Food

In solidarity with the “My body, my choice” anti-maskers & COVID-deniers, I have decided I’m going to get a job at Smoothie King, and I’m going to blend a dollop of my own poop into the smoothies I make.

It’s a bit nutty… But it is protein-rich, it is gluten free, and it is certified organic.

And I’m not the only one. There is a nationwide “movement,” if you will, of people committed to shitting in other people’s food. I know there are people ALL OVER AMERICA who are committed to defecating in the things that other people are going to put in their mouths. We are everywhere! From fast food to fancy restaurants. So get ready…

Listen: If you don’t want to get sick, just stay home. But me? I’m not going to “live in fear” anymore. I’m going to get out there and LIVE MY LIFE. Like Braveheart said, “Everyone dies… Not everyone truly lives in a way that enables morons to drastically increase the risk of other people dying from E.coli.”

According to the OAN and Fox”News” programming that I watch on a daily basis, a VERY low percentage of E. coli cases end up with people dying. Sure, a lot of people MIGHT get sick… But the risk of DEATH is low. 98% of people who eat other people’s crap don’t even die from it! Most will recover. A lot of people who eat my poo smoothies end up asymptomatic. Anyway, E. coli is basically like the flu.

I’m sick and tired of BIG GOVERNMENT trying to tell me what I “can” and “can’t” do with my own feces. BIG PHARMA is in cahoots with all those “scientists” and liberal elitists trying to say that there should be regulations restricting our right to get other people sick. It’s a giant conspiracy, funded by George Soros. And if you rearrange the letters of George Soros’ name, you get the words FECAL SLAVERY… Which is their ultimate goal. The only ones who don’t agree with that have been bought and paid for by BIG SPELLING and BIG RATIONAL THOUGHT.

2020 has broken my non-violence.

I, for one, have had enough of “The Swamp” telling me what to do with my own body and my own poop. I’ve seen enough YouTube videos to know that NOT eating other people’s poo can be just as dangerous as eating other people’s poo. Besides, what’s next?!? Are they going to make it illegal for people to poop in their own homes?? This is a slippery slope if I’ve ever seen one… A slippery slope of poop.

Sure, call me “selfish.” It’s not my fault that all you liberals get all “triggered.” I’m not doing this just to “Own the Libs.” I’m doing this because it’s my God-given right as an American. I believe in three things: My right to shoot & kill anyone who makes me feel threatened in any way, my right to drop a deuce in other people’s food, and my right to tell a woman what to do with her body if she gets pregnant.

There are worse things than eating other people’s poo… Like the TYRANNY of being told you can’t take a dump in other people’s food. All of these so-called “mandates” are examples of government overreach… THIS IS ABOUT LIBERTY, PEOPLE! “First they came for my right to poop in other people’s food, and I said nothing…” You know what I’m saying?

It’s my right as an American! Show me where, in the Constitution, it says that people can’t #2 in someone else’s food. You can’t, can you.? I’m going to put my stool in other people’s food, as the Founding Fathers envisioned. Shitting in other people’s food is as American as baseball or apple pie with a bit of my poop in it. Stay strong, Patriots!!

I realize that 2020 has nearly killed satire, butt this blog has been missing some bathroom humor for a while. If you value this blog and you want to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON (I initially wrote “become a Parton, which would also be rad). Leah did last week, and she requested a poem titled “Super Leah.” Here it is:

“Super Leah”

When she flies over Fort Wayne
Or Kim Jong Un, in North Korea, 
She drives the villains all insane,
Because you can’t kill an idea.
Her name’s a buzz. A hiss. A brain.
A splashy onomatopoeia…
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
Holy shit, that’s Super Leah!

If becoming a patron is not for you, but you’d like to leave a tip (or contribute to the “Help pay for Chris’ kids’ Christmas present” fund), you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool.” No matter what, you should be following me ON FACEBOOK and ON TWITTER. Stay safe. Look for places to laugh, and reasons to smile. Take care of each other.

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COVID-19, and Why We’re Totally Screwed

Here is a recap of a conversation I had tonight at the restaurant with a man who was wearing a camouflage American flag hat:

I was going to wear my camouflage American flag hat, but I couldn’t find it… #RimShot

Him: “How late are y’all open tonight?”
Me: “Eleven o’clock.”
Him: “What? I used to hang out here until 3am!”
Me: “Yeah… Because of the virus, restaurants in Nashville get in trouble if they have people here after 11pm.”
Him: “That is so dumb. In Williamson county — just one county over — they have like NO restrictions. I was just there the other day… The restaurant was PACKED.”
Me: “Oh yeah? Stuff like that might be why the U.S. had 183k new cases just yesterday.”
Him: “That’s only because we’re testing so much.”
Me: “We had more new cases yesterday alone than most countries in the world have had TOTAL cases since the pandemic started… You think that’s just due to testing?”
Him: “Anyway, it’s not the CASES that count. It’s how many people die.”
Me: “Unfortunately, we lead the world in that category as well. We have 4% of the world’s population, and 20% of the world’s COVID deaths.”
Him: “That’s only because hospitals are calling things COVID that aren’t COVID to get more money. They get like $10,000 extra to treat COVID cases.”
Me: “So you think doctors are all lying about it to get extra money? I have friends who are doctors and nurses, and I’ve talked to them about it… They are not lying.”
Him: “You think if you ask people if they are embezzling money, they’re just going to say Yes?”
Me: “So ALL of them are just lying for extra money?”
Him: “It’s mostly the hospital administrators. THEY’RE the ones pressuring people to say everything is COVID.”
Me: “And you don’t think — if the doctors & nurses were being pressured to LIE about COVID diagnoses — that anyone would come forward and tell about it? That’s a pretty big conspiracy theory, right there…”
Him: “I have a buddy from the military… Committed suicide. Put a shotgun in his mouth, and killed himself. They marked down his death as being due to COVID-19.”
Me [thinks to myself: “That didn’t happen.”]: “Hmmm. Yeah, well… I have a feeling we’re going to have to shut down again soon…. We missed our chance to take this seriously when we shut everything down in March through May.”
Him: “Europe took it seriously, and now their cases are spiking again just like ours.”
Me: “They’re cases are spiking again in some places where they stopped taking it seriously. Germany has 80 million people, but they only have like 15,000 deaths (the actual number is 12,619 deaths).”
Him: “The only reason the European Union is doing better than us is because they’ve got less people than us.”
Me [considers saying “Fewer,” but decides to say]: “Dude, the E.U. has about 120 million more people than we do.”
Him: “Nope. I just looked it up the other day. We’ve got way more people.”
Me [pulls phone out]: “Hey Siri, how many people are there in the European Union?”

I show him the screen that says “447.7 million,” he says, “I don’t think that’s right,” and I kiss my tip goodbye.

And, scene…

___________________________________________________________________________________________

In the middle of March, I was furloughed from my job working as a server. I know a lot of people look down at that job, but I don’t mind that much. I’m very good at it, and it has provided for my family for a long time. Like many other people, not having an income was a scary time for me. During the time I was out of work, I couldn’t have survived financially without the extra money the CARES Act added to unemployment benefits. I mostly stayed home. Going to the store to buy necessities felt like a panic attack… But at least I could afford to pay my bills and buy food for my family. But for people who lost their jobs in March & April, unemployment benefits have run out….

This past week, as the restaurant was doing enough business to bring me back on, I started back at work. It has felt really good to work hard and be able to earn money again. We are doing everything we can to keep people safe, but the numbers don’t lie. Unfortunately, while our nation has tried to weather this pandemic, we have been under the leadership of an incompetent narcissist, and now we are heading towards another shut down. We have 70 million people in this country who think that doctors & scientists are lying to us, but they believe the word of an ex reality show host & failed steak salesman… The sort of people who see a computer tell you how many people live in the European Union, and when they see the answer, they say, “I don’t think that’s right.”

In late March, when most states issued stay-at-home orders, there were about 26,000 TOTAL cases in the entire country, and around 1,000 total deaths. That was enough for the majority of the states in the country to issue stay-at-home orders. Then, before the election, as 1000 people a day were dying from this virus, a fragile, broken man was holding multiple super spreader event rallies every day, leaving his followers stranded in the cold (because he doesn’t pay his bills), and was jealous of the media coverage the virus was getting… Saying, “It’s covid, covid, covid. You can’t watch anything else.” Now, so far this WEEK, there have been just shy of 925,000 new cases of coronavirus in this country. Over the same six day period in the United States, 6,734 people have taken their last labored breath because of COVID-19… And for another 66 days, we are stuck with a monster who doesn’t care one bit. Trump & the republican party has completely surrendered to this virus.

The plan for how to deal with a pandemic is fairly straightforward. You listen to the experts, and you take their advice. Leadership provides clear messaging. Stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary. Wear a mask. Social distance. Enforce mandates. Quarantine the sick. Access to testing. Provide detailed contact tracing.

Instead, what we got was a liar who didn’t want to spook the markets. We got a conman who pushed the debunked miracle cure hydroxycloroquine. We got a moronic child, who would rather file lawsuits about an election he lost than do ANYTHING to help people who are hurting. And we got a charlatan, who caters to the fear and bigotry of masses of people like my camouflage hat-wearing friend… Relentlessly deceiving them until they don’t have a clue what the truth is anymore. And when we finally have competent, compassionate, honest leadership for this nation, they will try to blame to pain of the new shutdown on the new administration. But make no mistake: The reason we will have to do it again is because we lacked the leadership to do it right the first time.

Thanks for reading. I love you all so much. Thank you for all the kind words of love and encouragement I received after the previous post. Honestly, from the bottom of my heart: Thank you. If you’d like to become a Patron and help support this blog, you can DO THAT HERE. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool.” There’s also a lot of fun happening on my FACEBOOK PAGE and also ON TWITTER.

Posted in 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Divorce.

I’m completely terrified right now. I told myself that the next blog that I was going to write I was going to be titled “My Divorce.” And so I’ve been putting it off… And putting it off. And something about writing it down — here especially — makes it feel really real. Like it’s actually happening. I’m such an unreasonably hopeful person. I still don’t want to believe that it’s happening. But it IS happening. It’s time for me to be honest… Not just with you, but with myself.

A little over a year ago, my wife told me she didn’t want to be married to me anymore. She said that she’s 100% sure, and that she wasn’t interested in any sort of marital counseling. There is nothing — literally nothing — which could have come as more of a shock to me than hearing this from her. If you had pulled a live alligator out any orifice of my body, I wouldn’t have been as surprised. Weeks earlier, I was bragging to strangers about how this time of married life was so sweet. We had our stresses and our struggles like any other couple… Mostly about finances. But I had put fear of her leaving me away a long time ago.

Saying “I do” was probably the scariest thing I had ever done. My parents got divorced when I was a kid, and I grew up looking at divorce as one of the great failures in a person’s life. I have always found it easy to love deeply, but with that love came an almost equally deep fear… Fear that she would leave. I carried that fear into the first 12 or so years of our marriage. Initially it came out in insecurity and jealously. It came out in being afraid to say no when she wanted to do something that sounded exhausting. It came out in trying to do ALL the things. My dad was the furthest thing from a good husband and father, and I was terrified of being like him… Of being unloving… Of being a failure at being a good husband and father. But people have different definitions of what that means. I had this idea that being a “good husband” meant I had to be all things for her. And I think if she found life outside of me, it made me afraid that I wasn’t doing a good job of supplying all her needs.

Then, about five or six years ago, I released that fear. I let go of the built up fear from the places where my heart had been broken before. I realized that I could NEVER be everything she needed, and whatever brought her Life, I was all for it. I trusted her completely. Or, as close to completely as my consciousness allowed. Which made this announcement… Shattering.

This is my wedding ring. I didn’t used to wear it all the time, because I had a bump on my knuckle, and it was too tight. I got it resized after she left… If that gives you any insight into my headspace.

I had about a three day panic attack, where I couldn’t eat or sleep. I thought I was having a heart attack. And if I’m being honest, that ache in my chest has never really gone away… It’s here right now. I learned about something called “anxiety.” I started seeing a counselor. I slept on the couch. When she was there, we passed each other in the hallway like strangers. About six months later, she moved out. Our three kids spend half their time with her, and half their time with me. They are resilient and funny and frustrating and lovely and difficult and wildly intelligent. They are kind and lazy and mean and creative and hungry… And they don’t make fun of me when they find me crying for no reason.

I’ve made MANY mistakes. There are many things I did and didn’t do which certainly led to the growing resentment that broke my heart, devastated my life, and shattered my family. I never even considered they could be at a level that would wind up with me living with the new, sour flavor in my mouth of phrases like “your mom’s house.” I think one of the hardest things is losing a family. For close to half my life, I thought of her family as MY family. I genuinely love those people. Now these people who I thought accepted me and loved me are now just… Gone. Sometimes in life, people just decide that they are done. And sometimes in life, you are forced to learn that there are many things you can’t control.

I wish I was strong enough to fight for her. I think I’m too heartbroken to do anything. Anyway, I don’t even know what that would look like. She knows me. She knows me better than anyone… And she doesn’t want to be with me. It’s much easier being rejected by people who DON’T know your heart. Still, I’m stupid with hope. I’ve talked to people who have been divorced for years, and they still hope for a reconciliation. But I’ve been talking about believing women… I have to believe her when she says that there is no chance to fix this. I have no interest in starting over. I still don’t understand how the legality of divorce works. It’s not final yet. I hate it… Having this person who I have always been for, and now being forced into a situation where I feel like that isn’t be the case… I don’t know how to be anything but for her. To an unhealthy degree, actually. I’m not sure how to make decisions with myself in mind (I’m also learning about something called “codependence”).

So I’m definitely depressed. And that’s really something I am unfamiliar with. Sometimes I sleep for about 11-12 hours… Other times I lie in bed until the sun starts coming in the windows, followed by three or four small naps. And I’m really SO sorry for neglecting my writing here more than usual (for those of you who look forward to this). All this shit happened in conjunction with COVID, and me being furloughed from my job because of the virus, and the stupid, lonely isolation of quarantine. Combine those things with seasonal depression and the uneasy despair over this coming election, and it’s made for some very dark days. I think I feel ashamed. But the reason has nothing to do with any Christian expectation or the “sinfulness” of divorce, and everything to do with feeling rejected by my best friend. There are people who looked up to us — and to our marriage — and I feel like I’m letting those people down, so it’s not something I’ve been talking about with too many people. I love her… And I can’t stand to see her… And I don’t know what to do next. I’ve been dreading writing this, and so I’ve been putting it off for months. And that’s made me feel like a coward. But maybe writing this post will be the mucus plug that signals the coming birth of a new, less sad time.

Or maybe not. I still feel destroyed. Either way, I thought you should know….

Thank you for reading my mucus plug. Thank you SO much to my Patrons, whose support has helped keep my afloat. If you feel like supporting this blog and my writing, you can BECOME A PATRON. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool”. Otherwise, I’d love if you’d join me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER.

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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

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

ap_20100497997560

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.

 

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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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