Facebook Jail and the art of trolling

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Top illustration by Tim Forkes

Once again I found myself in Facebook Jail, this time for seven days. What were my offenses?

You can’t post or comment for 7 days

This is because 4 of your previous posts didn’t follow our Community Standards.
Mar 26, 2021
Your comment didn’t follow our Community Standards on harassment and bullying
Jan 23, 2021
Your comment didn’t follow our Community Standards on harassment and bullying
Jan 5, 2021
Your comment didn’t follow our Community Standards on harassment and bullying
Dec 10, 2020
Your comment didn’t follow our Community Standards on harassment and bullying”

Apparently I hurt the feelings of some snowflakes in the Trump Cult. Multiple times. To be honest, I was restraining myself too.

In the most recent infraction I wrote a response to an article posted by a site called Intellectual Takeout — Intellectual Fakeout — that suggested men should follow the writings of an 18th century old white man when it comes to finding a wife. What a ridiculous idea and I wrote as much.

Immediately I was labeled a racist and anti-white people (I’m a white person) and that I was supporting some sort of … crazy idea I don’t really understand.

Apparently referring to some of the men as “incels” is bullying and harassment.

“What’s an Incel,” you ask? It’s a man who believes women he considers beautiful owe him sex and love, in that order. In fact, Incels can do without the love as long as they can get laid. Incels, it turns out, hate women. That’s not just a sociologist’s view. The words of Incels from various social media sites confirm it.

Reddit banned all the Incel and Incel-type groups on their site because of not only all that hate against women (“femoids” and “Stacys”) and the men they date and marry (“Chads”), but the violent rhetoric and images directed at women.

At any rate, I have to be fair and admit my replies to the people that replied to me were in part meant to be insulting, especially to the men.

Now that I recall, I was especially mean on a post by Fox News … Lesson of the day: Don’t be mean to the snowflakes in the Trump Cult.

One thing we know for certain is that sites like Intellectual Takeout and American Thinker are designed to appeal to Trump Cult members. But since they were threatened by Dominion Voting Systems with debilitating law suits for printing lies about the company’s machines and software, they have laid off the pro-Trump posts to some degree and relied on other topics their readers might agree with, like an article about what men should look for in a prospective wife.

It’s a very curious idea: “looking for a wife,” or looking for a husband.” Why bother looking? There are dating websites that make it easier these days, but why does one have to “look for” a husband or wife? So we should go shopping for a mate. Maybe I’m over thinking this — or not.

Shopping for a mate is a product of a hyper commercialized culture. Every commercial on TV shows happy couples, some with happy rugrats taking up screen time. Oh, those cute kids! Always saying the most precocious things!

So we’re just worthless failures if we’re not hitched up and pumping out babies by the time we’re 30 — 32 at the latest. And if we’re really smart about it we could be on our second marriage by the age of 30. Although I’m going to assume having marriages that don’t last is not something people aspire to when they are mate hunting. But I don’t know. So many people have three or more marriages these days, it’s hard to say what people are looking for when they are mate hunting.

But what do I know? I’ve never been married or been out wife shopping. I’ve fallen in love several times. Foolishly it turns out, but I know people have been married for decades — to the same person — and appear to be very much in love. “All you need is love,” John Lennon sang. Apparently marriages need a few more things.

Here’s one thing I have observed about having children. I’m watching the Dodgers vs the Rockies from Coors Field in Denver. A young kid, maybe 10-12 years old, caught a foul ball on the right field side, hit by Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes. As the boy sat down with that giant smile on his face, his first baseman’s mitt in his lap, the look of joy and pride on his father’s face was undeniable. My family and friends with children tell me those moments are priceless. I believe them.

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Claudia Gestro interviewing Dodgers Third Baseman Justin Turner at the 2017 MLB
All-Star Game (Claudia Gestro)

Speaking of Coors Field in Denver: Major League Baseball will be holding its Mid-Summer Classic — the MLB All-Star Game — in the Mile High City this year. After Georgia Republicans passed a very restrictive voter suppression law — that even criminalizes giving water and food to people standing in line to vote — MLB decided to move its ASG to Colorado. We don’t know where they will hold their draft.

Major corporations followed suit, including Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, both based in Georgia. Then many other corporations, including companies in Texas where more voter suppression laws are being considered, blasted the GOP for these laws, called “Jim Crow 2.0” by President Biden.

Senate Minority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell warned corporate America to stay out of politics. Moscow Mitch, the man who has made the use of corporate America in politics his life’s mission, now telling them not to use their First Amendment rights to speak out. The next day, presumably after someone pointed out to McConnell the hypocrisy of telling corporations to stay out of politics while accepting their campaign donations because they are an act of free speech, Moscow Mitch amended his warning to state that corporations should just spend their money as usual, just don’t speak out on the issues of the day. “STFU Mitch.”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said the voting laws is Colorado are more restrictive than Georgia’s. Ummm, no Bri, that’s false. Colorado had the second highest turnout in 2020, mainly because they send ballots in the mail to all registered voters. Plus they have same-day registration and drive-by voting which allows voters to drop their ballots off without getting out of their cars. A way to test Kemp’s assertion: look for photos of Colorado voters standing in hours long lines to cast their ballots, they way we saw in Georgia. I’ll save you the trouble — they don’t exist.

So the GOP and its followers are vowing to boycott all the companies that speak out against the voter suppression laws. So much for cancelling “cancel culture.”

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After my seven-day Facebook suspension was finally over I had to be careful when replying to all my favorite conservative pages. Don’t want to hurt the tender feelings of the Trump Cult. One of my offending posts was on an article posted by Fox News. Speaking of which: You know you are in deep shit if Fox News and Newsmax both deny offering you a job, as in Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. He’s getting swallowed up in his sex with a minor for money scandal. He even had Tucker Carlson disavow him on air.

The question people are asking the GOP in the House of Representatives is this: If they knew Gaetz was a slimy scumbag —he was showing nude pictures of the women he had sex with to his “friends” on the house floor — why did they not try to get rid of him sooner? Oh yeah, he was Trump’s favorite toady.

Matt might be breaking laws, paying women to cross state lines for sex, including under age girls, but what the hell, he’s Donnie’s boy so we let him walk, just like in other crime families. The boss’s boys always get away with shit the rest of us can’t — until the Feds start putting together a case. It’s just a matter of time until Donnie claims he hardly knew his favorite toady and pervert.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a pervert … I mean, if what the pervert is doing is completely legal and all parties are consenting. Hell, sex work is still work. It should be legal in every state and territory, regulated, taxed and made safer for all. But as long as the Feds have Gaetz twisting in the wind, let him hang. And what the hell (again) besides the salacious details of the investigation there are allegations he and his sex buddy were trafficking in stolen and/or fake I.D.s.

According to reports from various news organizations, from the Washington Post to Politico and several in between, Republicans in the House of Representatives said — quietly — they were just waiting for the Matt Gaetz house of cards to come crashing in on him.

The more this scandal drags on, the deeper Gaetz sinks into the mud. Now it’s been reported by the New York Times that Gaetz, Donald Trump’s most loyal toady, in the waning days of the Trump Administration, asked for a blanket pardon for any and all crimes he may have committed. What a (no) coincidence.

On Thursday the lawyer for Gaetz’s sex buddy Joel Greenberg, Fritz Scheller, told reporters Gaetz was probably worried. How did Scheller put it? “I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.”

Greenberg was the tax collector in Gaetz’s district and the two went on sex excursions with — allegedly — women they paid for the purposes of sex. As a dirty old man I’m thinking, “Why not?”

But, in this country dirty old men are frowned upon. The question is: are dirty young men frowned upon as well? Or as much? It is a federal crime to pay women to cross state lines — or travel from this country to another (The Bahamas) — for sex. Now we will wait to hear what Greenberg has to say about all these allegations.

For the average person it’s hard to see how Gaetz and his few friends can realistically make the claim that left wing and swampy republicans are fabricating all this … but the Trump faithful allowed themselves to be fleeced by the Trump machine and the Republican Party.

Good to remember the previous president set the precedent that reckless, lawless activity could be and would be not only tolerated, but celebrated — until it wasn’t. Also worth remembering Gaetz has been under investigation since January 2020 — during the Trump Administration, and then-Attorney General William Barr had been briefed many times on the investigation, so the Florida congressman’s claims that it is a partisan witch hunt are, bullshit.

The biggest supporter of Matt Gaetz right now is disgraced North Carolina Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Most everyone else in the GOP is either backing away slowly or running away as fast as possible. At least Gaetz has one of the conspiracy theory nuts on his side.

•••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••

Was Derek Chauvin, the man charged in the murder of George Floyd, depraved, immoral or indifferent to life? We can watch the smart phone videos shot as Chauvin knelt on the neck of Floyd and come to our own conclusions. But those videos don’t tell us what was in the mind of Chauvin. There is the one body cam video that shows a bystander telling Chauvin the excessive force was not needed and Chauvin responding, “That’s one person’s opinion.”

Actually, that’s the opinion of most people that have watched the videos showing the final minutes of George Floyd’s life.

Then there’s the body cam video of Officer Lane asking Chauvin if they should let up pressure on Floyd’s neck and body. Chauvin replies he’s staying put. Lane says he’s concerned about Floyd’s life and Chauvin replies, “That’s why we have an ambulance coming.”

That exchange took place after Floyd’s last breath, when his heart stopped beating. Is that an exposition of depraved indifference to human life? The prosecution is still presenting its case, with expert witnesses from the police department and various forensic labs that investigated the cause of death.

One would think this case is a slam dunk for the prosecution, but Derek Chauvin was a police officer. He was on the job when he killed George Floyd and if there is one thing we know about American juries: They do not like to convict police officers of heinous crimes.

There was a stat I read somewhere that said only five police officers have been convicted of killing people while on the job, since 2005. These cases are hard to prosecute to a successful conclusion. The state has vast resources on its side to pursue convictions, but they still carry a heavy burden in these cases against police officers. The defense needs just one juror to say “No” to a conviction. The prosecution has to convince all 12 jurors to say “Yes” to a conviction of second or third degree murder, or manslaughter.

Good luck to the prosecution team in Minneapolis and my thoughts to the family and loved ones of George Floyd who have to endure this painful regurgitation of Floyd’s final moments. It must be excruciating emotionally to view those videos and look at those charts that explain how Floyd died.

•••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••

This came up on the Instagram account for Mother Jones Magazine:

“John Boehner should just shut the fuck up.⁠

“So now we have to hear John Boehner whine about what happened to the Republican Party? The former House Speaker has a new book coming out writes David Corn, and the @nytimes, which obtained an excerpt, reports that in this memoir Boehner denounces Trump for having “incited that bloody insurrection” at the Capitol on January 6 and bemoans that his Grand Old Party has been taken over by “whack jobs.”⁠

“In the book, Boehner, who skedaddled out of the House in 2015, complains that Trump’s “refusal to accept the result of the election not only cost Republicans the Senate but led to mob violence.” He blasts Trump for “the bullshit he’d been shoveling since he lost a fair election.”⁠

“What he did not say in this excerpt is that he shares the blame for the rise of extremism in the Republican Party that led to Trump’s 2016 victory—and, subsequently, the bloody and seditious attack of January 6.⁠

“Boehner became speaker in 2011 because of the tea party. This right-wing movement, fueled by the big money of the Koch Brothers, swept the Republicans into control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 2010.⁠

“The tea party was an amalgamation of various constituencies, including the religious right, anti-government GOPers, and what Boehner would call “whack jobs.” In 2010, Boehner wanted to exploit the extremist anger of birthers and conspiracists and ride it into power.⁠

“In November 2009, he hosted an anti-Obamacare tea party rally on Capitol Hill, during which the crowd shouted, “Nazis, Nazis” when referring to Democrats. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. At another tea party protest at the Capitol opposing Obama’s health care legislation, protesters shouted the n-word at Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the civil rights icon. And some yelled a homophobic slur at Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).⁠

“Dear Mr. Boehner, what is this “Republican sanity” of which you speak? When did it reign? Not on your watch. You invited in the crazies and gave them a big bear-hug.⁠”

It was from a piece written by noted journalist and opinion writer, David Corn. I’ve been reading him for years and he has been a voice of reason and facts for about three decades. And in this case I have to agree with Corn. Boehner was happy to have the tea party, the precursor to the Trump Cult, give him power as Speaker of the House. Why didn’t he try to stop the insanity then?

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That’s about it. Most senior citizens in this nation have been fully vaccinated and about 25% of adults total. We could all be fully vaccinated by the end of July, maybe sooner. President Biden said all adults could be eligible to get in line for e COVID-19 vaccination by the end of this month. That’s good news. We need to start looking at vaccinating the rest of the world. Brazil is the worst right now, recording over 4,000 deaths in one day this week.

Grateful Distancing
Photo by Tim Forkes

In the United States over 31 million people have been infected over 560,000 have died. It’s hard to know exactly how many people will have long-term health issues as a result of contracting COVID-19.

COVID cases in California have been falling and vaccinations are going up so Governor Gavin Newsom said the entire state should be fully “open” by mid-June. That’s good news for all of us, but for the time being, despite being fully vaccinated for nearly a month, I will continue to wear a mask and practice Grateful Distancing. I would like to attend Dead & Company’s “Playing in the Sand” gig in Mexico next year.

Sorry (not sorry) for the bathroom selfie. It was short notice.