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Vol. #44 - September 04, 2020

Not much of an intro this week. I have, as you will see below, been rather preoccupied with the political situation in the country and it is managing to throw a lot of the other stuff in my life off. I will say that I finally finished season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery and it was amazing and infinitely better than season 1.  My barren but ever-enlarging tomato plant continues to impress me with both its mass and its lack of tomatoes. While out on a random walk I happened to pass by a place with a rooftop performance space that was featuring standup comedy. I walked up and was part of a live standup comedy experience for the first time in 6 months. It was only as an audience member but it had a profound effect, and sparked something in me and I do believe I'll need to open mic for the first time in half a year soon. I am very very tired, and I don't feel great about the world in general right now (can you believe it?) but I am determined to enjoy the rest of the warm weather while it lasts and I'm keeping my head up.

Be kind to each other, I love you all.
WesRecs is the weekly newsletter where I (comedian/storyteller/TV Host) Wes Hazard recommend a bunch of cool content (recs) to YOU (the person reading this). There's no particular reason for this other than the fact that I love curating stuff and I'm always excited to share items that I personally have found worthwhile, exciting, or necessary. If you like what you see please be sure to subscribe to get each week's edition delivered straight to your inbox and if you know someone else who might be into it definitely share with them. You can check out all past issues HERE.
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WES Around the WEB

Make A Plan Now

On Getting Your Mind Right For November

OK, we're all having a monster of a year here.

WesRecs, as the name suggests exists, as a way for me to share the articles, videos, books, movies, memes, ideas, etc. that I'm personally excited about or invested in on a given week. No one asks for any of this of course, but I enjoy putting it out there and if a few people happen to find it worthwhile then I really do get a kick out of that. If you've been subscribed since the beginning you know that I've always been fairly political here and pretty to the left. I've definitely noticed that that's become a bit more strident/overt in the last few months and that's due both to 1.) me just seeking out and engaging with more political/radical content in my random reading & watching and 2.) a rapidly deteriorating sociopolitical hellscape in this country that occupies more of my psyche on a daily basis.

I guess all this preface is kind of a warning/justification/explanation for the urgency in what I'm trying to highlight here. I think about this for literal hours everyday at this point, not because I want to but because it seems prudent to do so and foolish to not. In another time this sort of apprehension might be seem a little tin-foil-hattish or overly exaggerated, or unrealistic or whatever, and I would LOVE for that to turn out to be the case but I don't think that's where we're going here.

Basically American democracy is on the ropes and it's looking grim, and we might be able to avoid the worst but it sure does look like we are in the early stages of an autocratic dictatorship. Like for real for real. Not idiomatically dictatorial in the way that we tend to throw that term around as an insult against authority figures we don't like, but actually dictatorship in the way of a government-monitored press, the absence of free elections, the segregation and brutalization of minorities, an abandonment of the rule of law, etc etc etc. Like not quite Nazi Germany, but definitely (at least) modern Russia where there are "elections" and a "press" but if you fall out of line you stand a decent chance of being thrown in a prison on bogus charges or at least losing your job and housing and be roughed up by goons.

Maybe you dismiss this all out of hand as paranoia, maybe you feel the same. Either way here's where my head is at laid out as plainly as I can.

The Election:

So it seems to me there are 3 basic scenarios here:
  1. Trump wins re-election outright. I don't think most people in this country who vote will vote for him but given the way the electoral college works whether or not that happens isn't particularly relevant. This win would involve the usual amount of Republican voter suppression, Russian social media/fake news influence, and will be incredibly hindered and confused by pandemic related mail-in voting system stresses, delays etc. But in the end, as in 2016, enough people in the right states check his name and he gets elected like he did 4 years ago.
  2. Trump "wins" but there is clear/persuasive evidence of outright fraud, ballot tampering, election official misconduct, premature claims of victory, counting interference, etc. There are congressional calls for an investigation, protests, court actions, etc etc.
  3. Biden actually pulls it off and Trump is officially defeated. Not quite a landslide but seemingly clear.
You need to understand that in ZERO of those scenarios does Trump admit defeat and walk into the sunset. In scenario #1 he'd have no reason to and we're just f**ked. Should #s 2 or 3 happen you are 100% delusional if, at this point in the game, you believe that this dude would ever "do the right thing", or concede defeat, or bow to tradition/propriety/the national interest/opposition pressure and simply leave office. Not a chance.

Remember the day after the election in 2016? That is an election which he won mind you, and he immediately started making baseless claims of millions of fraudulent votes cast because his ego, despite having officially been the winner, could not handle the fact that more Americans preferred his opponent over him. What do you think he'd have done if he lost? Now what do you think he'll do if, as the incumbent, he should happen to lose, or else the vote counts get delayed and it's up in the air for a bit like in 2000? Here's a hint: he's already spent months on ever platform available to him preaching the baseless claim that the upcoming election is rigged and that if he loses it's a sham. In scenario #2 he will do everything possible to block/undermine/disrupt any recount or verification process, and if such a process were to declare ultimately that Biden was the winner he would reject it as a "crooked fraud" and simply not leave office. In scenario #3 he will keep up the message he's been saying all this time, declare Biden's victory a fraud and not leave office.
The State of Affairs:

"But! But! He can't do that!" you say. "What about the constitution?!" Yeah. What about that huh? This is the essence of what I'm trying to get at here: He will not leave office willingly and no one is coming to save us. I want you to ask yourself, if we did have an autocratic dictatorship led by a leader with a cult of personality among his followers what would that look like and how would it differ in essence from what we have right now?
  • Trump has publicly admitted that he is seeking to thwart adequate funding and preparation of the Post Office in order to limit mail-in voting which he (correctly) perceives to be disadvantageous to him in the election. We are all aware of this and its implications yet his unqualified donor-crony is still the Postmaster General and the USPS is still being actively weakened. Congressional hearings on the matter have done nothing to stop this other than lip-service.
  • Trump has inserted militarized federal law enforcement officers into cities where people are protesting police violence. These agents wear no standard uniform and do not display badges, name tags, or the insignia of the agencies they represent. They have abducted (not arrested) people from the streets into unmarked vehicles without the reading of their rights or the filing of charges.
  • Trump has stated that he plans to place these same federal paramilitary storm troopers at polling places in Democratic locales which constitutes unambiguous voter intimidation
  • Trump has attacked the free press more or less every day of his time in office and at every moment works to legitimize any questioning or criticism of this essential element of a free democracy.
  • Trump urged his followers (at least in North Carolina) to break the law by engaging in fraudulent voting practices.
  • Trump removed congressionally mandated oversight personnel from their positions in monitoring the uses of federal COVID relief funds.
  • Trump has dismissed warnings from his own intelligence service about Russian interference in the 2016 election and done nothing to prevent their continued interference in the upcoming election.
  • During the ongoing COVID crisis, in addition to his gross ineptitude and insensitivity in its handling Trump unambiguously stated that his deployment of Federal aid to states in need would be contingent on their governors being nice to him.
  • The U.S. has 110 Federal prisons with 226,000 inmates. That's just a small fraction of the total U.S. jail/prison population with far more people in state prisons and local jails but..that's still enough to call it a gulag system and it can expand at any time.
  • Trump (and his Republican enablers in the senate) simply danced around the primary check that this "democracy" has against an unfit executive: impeachment. He was impeached for withholding congressionally approved military aid from a U.S. ally in order to force that ally to dig up/make up dirt about his political rival in the upcoming election. That is wrong on so many levels and an impeachable offense. That he did it is not in question since both he and his chief of staff admitted as much. However the Senate refused to hear relevant witness on the matter or review relevant materials and he was cleared of something that...again...he himself said he had done. That was the one silver bullet aside from the ballot box that this country has to remove a president. And the issue over which it was attempted was exactly his unethical manipulation of the ballot box outcome.
I could go on but I think you get it. Whatever a dictator does (at least in the period that they're consolidating power) is 100% what Trump is doing right now. This isn't a what if? As Americans we grew up with starry images of defeating the British, and "liberty and justice for all", and "this is a free country!", and Rocky IV and all the rest of it. Our entire national self-image is based on FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY (often at the point of a gun and always on the backs of the poor and melanated...but who am I to nitpick?) so we our wildly unprepared to recognize real threats to that when they are right in our face and wrapped in a flag while occupying the highest office of the land but...that's what this is. No doubt. (And let's just say he did leave. Not going to happen, but let's just say: he will still have tens of millions diehard supporters (many of them heavily armed) and he will still have a massive platform with which to disseminate lies/hate/conspiracy theories. In the *best* case scenario we still have a massive national threat.

Again, no one is coming to save us. Congress is the natural check on the president but as you can see they have had zero effectiveness ( the case of Republicans, willingness) in stopping him. The military is often cited here but given Trump's free hand in withdrawing troops from Syria, ignoring the incredibly serious issue of Russian bounties on US forces, and his consistent undermining of their values and their chain of command with no concrete effects I really don't think you can guarantee that they'll be effective against him (if they even tried). And let's not forget Trump's army: that unmarked ragtag (but still heavily armed and very scary) collection of CPB, ICE, and Federal Bureau of Prisons guards that showed up in Portland will do what he says. And then there's the militia: the individuals and groups of gun-loving, body armor hoarding, war games playing, zealots & boogaloo boys who see him as their fastest ticket to the race war and federal overthrow that they've been jonesing for years. I don't know how many of these guys there are, but if there were 20,000 in the whole country that would be...scary. What do you do against all that?
Again, I have never hoped to be wrong more in my life and if I am I will welcome it with more relief than I can imagine...but I don't think I'm wrong here. And what I'm predicting is not a reflection of either baseless paranoia or any kind of special prognostication talent. Everything I say and dread here is based on nothing more than:
  • Reading History
  • Reading The News
  • A basic understanding of human nature and the specific understanding of a specific person who is neither difficult to read nor shy about expressing himself.
So what do you do aside from voting, which, while not meaningless, doesn't really help with any of the above scenarios except maybe Biden winning in a an incontestable landslide which...yeah...won't happen.

I recommend structuring your life and behavior as if you are already living in a fascist dictatorship and working to resist it while still maintaining the safety and well-being of your loved ones. That includes things like:
  • Have a way to feed yourself that doesn't rely on your local supermarket being stocked and open.
  • Know your neighbors and be part of aid networks that can reciprocally provide the members with food, shelter, medical care, defense, and information as needed.
  • Tool up.
  • Review and tweak the security settings on your social media and communications tools. Anonymize your online activity as much as possible.
  • Read relevant histories in order to get a sense of what to expect and how to resist it. (Weimar Germany is particularly appropriate here).
  • Get it into your head that this is happening, and much of it already has happened. The point isn't to fall into despair but rather to get you past the supremely unhelpful "Well that will never happen here!" mindset and into the "how do I survive this and defeat this?" mindset.
At the same time I think it's important to step back, enjoy the small things in life, really appreciate, and take a while each day to not think about this. Again, as time goes on it feels harder and harder to justify things like reading a book for pleasure or watching Star Trek, or researching grilling techniques and different BBQ preps. I find myself both feeling bad about these kinds of activities when I "should" be doing something...anything to fight the evil I see coming AND wanting to do them more than ever because who knows if they'll even be an option in a year or 2.

This has been an extremely long and very strident section of WesRecs, I know. But this is what's occupying so much of my days now and while I'd love more than anything to be wrong, I don't think that's the case and I'm really just trying to order my own thoughts in the face of this reality. I love you all and we'll face what happens.
Can anything change Americans’ minds about Donald Trump? - Vox

38-42% approval is far too high for whatever it is we're witnessing. If you're riding for this guy now, in late 2020, then there is literally *nothing* that will ever to get you to stop. Know that. I won't speak for anyone else but that 40% does not accept the same facts as I do and is, to a great degree, heavily armed. Let that marinate.
"On August 27, 2019, President Donald Trump held a 41.3 percent approval rating and a 54.2 percent disapproval rating, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll tracker. During the 365 days that followed, Trump became the third president impeached by the House of Representatives; America assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; more than 200,000 Americans died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus; the unemployment rate rose from 3.7 percent to 10.2 percent; the US banned incoming travel from Europe, China, and Brazil; an estimated 12 million people lost health insurance coverage; Trump pardoned Roger Stone, who was facing jail time for dirty tricks on the president’s behalf; and George Floyd’s murder sparked a nationwide movement protesting for racial justice — to which officials responded by tear-gassing demonstrators in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, so Trump could take a photograph holding a Bible."


"That is, of course, a bitterly incomplete list of a grimly consequential year in American history. But you’d never know it simply by following Trump’s poll numbers. On August 27, 2020 — one year later, and the day Trump used the White House as a backdrop for his convention speech — FiveThirtyEight had Trump at 42.2 percent approval and 54.3 percent disapproval. Everything had happened, and politically, nothing had mattered. Or, at the least, not much had changed.

“It’s really remarkable,” says Jennifer Victor, a political scientist at George Mason University. “The stability of Trump’s numbers are almost unbelievable.”"


"That is to say, most Americans who approve of Trump broadly also think he’s doing a good job responding to the coronavirus. And who’s to say he isn’t? Few of us have true, firsthand knowledge of the government’s response to the pandemic. What we know of it is mediated by the information sources we choose and trust. “The nature of the crisis is perfectly set up for perception to matter a lot and be manipulatable,” says Marquette University political scientist Julia Azari. “Far more people know they had to stay home for two months than were directly affected by Covid-19 (so far, at least). Narratives that this has been a lie, a hoax, or an exaggeration, are very powerful for some people.”"
Mail-in voting turned Tuesday’s primary election in Massachusetts into a thing of beauty - The Boston Globe

Always bet on Massachusetts. Mail-in voting can be done well. Will that be allowed to happen in November? Mail-in voting and ranked choice voting should be standard but they won't be anytime soon.
"Donald Trump and his enablers have openly admitted that suppressing votes is central to their electoral strategy. To that end, the president and his ethical nightmare of a US Postal Service chief have been messing with the mail service. You can’t count votes that don’t make it to city halls on time, right?"


"Still, vote-by-mail is clearly great, and we should do it in every election, even after the pandemic has passed. And while we’re perfecting democracy, let’s also add ranked-choice voting to make sure those elections truly reflect the will of the most voters."


"But this isn’t about individual candidates: It’s about electing leaders who fully reflect voters’ wishes. A bonus: With ranked choice voting, anybody with a yen to run could do so, without risking becoming a spoiler, or of splitting progressive or conservative votes.

I want to live in that world. If you do too, you can bring ranked choice voting to Massachusetts by voting Yes on Question 2 on the November ballot."


Race & Policing

Towards The Reduction Of Harm

I Was a U.S. Diplomat. Customs and Border Protection Only Cared That I Was Black. - The Cut

This was a sad and infuriating read. It reflects so much of what is wrong with the U.S.: both the petty interpersonal racism of prejudice and loathing and the built-in systemic racism of institutions. It also highlights a scary thing we need to get more and more prepared for: the smirking/sneering/sadistic/petty malevolence of a small person with a small mind who's been given a gun and a uniform and license to enact their prejudices in the course of their official duty. If you give people a gun and some power and place them in opposition to groups of people that they've been taught to believe are worthless or evil or somehow less than deserving of full humanity you are going to get conduct like that described here. It might just be immigrants or POC feeling the brunt of this now but trust me, the systems that allow behavior like this to flourish are hungry, and they will always find more and more fresh meat by widening the circle of people that are prey. If they're not coming for you just yet they will be before too long.
"This is called “secondary inspection,” and sometimes being picked out for secondary inspection is just arbitrary, like a random check by the Transportation Security Agency at an airport. It's rare for U.S. consular officers to be regularly pulled over; in addition to having a SENTRI card, we carry diplomatic passports. Some of my fellow diplomats have told me they had not once been pulled into secondary inspection after living in Juarez for years. One told me he was always greeted with, “Welcome home to America, sir.”

But in the time I'd lived in Juarez — less than one month — I'd already been flagged for secondary inspection four times. This would be the fifth."


"CBP is the largest police force in the country, and one that I was learning operates with some autonomy—a lot of rules that apply to other law enforcement agencies don’t apply in their zone, including rules on searches and seizures. They don’t have to get warrants to search you or your car."


"One time, an officer told me, which I wrote down: Just because you say you work at the consulate does not mean that you are not smuggling drugs into the country. I asked him to explain. He responded, I don’t know, but I do know what drug dealers and smugglers look like. He stepped forward, crossed his arms, looked at me up and down, and said: You know what I mean."


"Later that day, I met with security officers who said they would contact CBP supervisors. However, I can distinctly remember feeling that they didn’t understand. I remember trying to convince them that what I was experiencing was real. At one point that day, a State Department official told me that what I was experiencing wasn’t racism, because personally, he had no issues crossing the border as a white man. I couldn’t figure out what he meant by that. Would I need to explain to him that you can’t experience racism as a white man crossing a border staffed largely by white CBP officers? Would I need to explain the concept of racism?"
The Abolition Movement - Vanity Fair

This is maybe the most comprehensive and understanding mainstream media exploration I've yet seen about the prison abolition movement. Nuanced, but straightforward, packing a significant amount of historical context, and uncompromising in its rejection of "reform". The price was high and is always increasing, but I could have never foreseen such an understanding and big platform treatment of the subject a mere year ago.

"And while procedurals may paint a picture of cops chasing serial killers weekly, the actual face of police is more mundane. In June, the New York Times culled available data and estimated that police spend roughly 4 percent of their time addressing “violent crime.” Most of their time is spent dealing with noncriminal matters. And yet no matter the call—the loud party next door, the permit for a parade, the expired car tags, the escort for a funeral procession, the elderly welfare check, the frolickers barbecuing in the park, the schoolyard fight, the opioid overdose, the homeless person outside in the cold, the stray dog—the state’s answer is to respond with armed agents blessed with the near unimpeachable right to kill."


"Abolition seeks to eradicate this Jim Crow system of public safety—not merely a two-tiered system, but a system where one tier benefits by extracting from the other. To “reform” policing, to subject it to bias training of dubious import, to push for the return to an illusory past where Officer Friendly provided sanctuary, is to attempt to patch up the more nefarious features of a system that should be obsolete. Without the history of policies and practices that make up white supremacy, without enslavement and slave patrols, without black codes and miscegenation laws, without poll taxes and courthouse lynchings, without redlining and housing segregation, without mass incarceration, policing as we know it would not exist."


"But more than an array of solutions to discrete, isolated issues, abolition envisions something more fundamental—entirely different values. A world where the resources put into not just policing but our robust system of prisons and jails is invested in the people to eventually render the present justice system obsolete. This is a world focused on the reduction of violence and harm. Certainly you would still need professionals responsible with holding accountable those who violate the social contract in the extreme—rape or murder—and an improved investigative system to catch the perpetrators. But even in that case, ensuring society’s protection should look very different. Even in the most extreme circumstances, it would demand an end to the conflation of public safety with public vengeance. Removing someone from society to stop them from enacting violence does not require subjecting someone to the current prison system, where solitary confinement, assault, sickness, torture, and rape are par for the course."
tweet from Amy Dentata that says "Yes, even criminals are people. That's how human rights work"
From a very common sense thread about humanity vs. "criminality" that unfortunately is routinely forgotten in America, the country that jails 2.2M people. Remember a "criminal" is just someone who has been determined to have broken a law. That label says nothing about every other thing that person has done in their life. Nor does it say anything about the fairness/logic of the law, the type of people who made the law, the reasons for why the person may have broken it, or whether they actually did break it.
Fear of a Black Uprising - The New Republic

America is a young country. Its history has been brief but wildly eventful. One day the majority of Americans might actually come to an understanding of that history. I will not hold my breath but it would be nice.

"The reflexive treatment of erratic outbreaks of looting as a more ominous threat than the organized massing of state terror also speaks volumes about the nation’s real civic priorities. Consternation over the loss of goods rather than the incalculable loss of eyes, limbs, and lives points to the bedrock realities on which modern policing is built. It was not simply that the vicious response of police to the mass protest (while the entire world was watching) was unexceptional. It was the violence-enabling pearl-clutching about looming social disorder that reminded us yet again that mainstream thinking is just as powerfully organized around the fear of the bogeyman as the nightmares of childhood are. This particular bogeyman is a phantom born of slavery, a fear embedded in the DNA of post-slavery society grounded in the recognition that orchestrated and professionalized violence might not be enough to preserve the shaky foundations of racial hierarchy."

"Such episodes are all-too-vivid reminders that the hopeful talk about the current reckoning may well return to its familiar and limited outlines when the fundamental question is raised: How can we imagine a better future without first contending with the darkness that underlies the pervasive fear of Black people? In a white supremacist society, that fear is like muscle memory. When the baseline of the social order is slavery, when the freedom-seeking self-help behavior of running away was called theft, how can any policing be anything more than fundamentally racist—regardless of who is playing the role of the police?"


"What many liberals unschooled in this basic history are wholly unwilling to say now is that the core function of the police isn’t to protect every person from a randomized form of personal and property trespass but rather to protect white people against the larger population of subordinated people."
Slave Bible From The 1800s Omitted Key Passages That Could Incite Rebellion - NPR

As a Black American who grew up in the Christian tradition I've always had conflicting feelings and observations about the church and what it means (and has meant) to Black people in this country. In no particular order some big picture stuff includes:
  • The Black church has, since slavery, provided a bedrock of hope, protection, organization, education, & community for African-Americans. Church meetings were some of the only places where free Blacks during slavery could congregate and were often used to plan abolitionist activities and provide assistance to runaway slaves. A people that had had their autonomy and education stripped from them were able to use the church to teach & feed their children and build up organizational power and networking. The leaders of the first stages of the civil rights movement were largely clergy and meetings, volunteer networks, resistance actions were often organized in churches or in the homes of members. Blacks are responsible for the development of almost every form of American popular music and a huge portion of that is rooted in gospel. In times when blacks were completely shut out of government assistance programs the church was the institution that could most be counted on for aid. The oral tradition of preaching and signifying gave Black people a platform and a voice and a place to express themselves when it was curtailed damn near everywhere else. You could go on and on.
  • At the same time Christianity is the religion of the oppressor/enslaver and it has been used from the beginning to justify slavery and as a form of cultural imperialism to eradicate Black/African culture among the people who were brought here. I remember reading Roots in 8th grade and how much it pained Kunta Kinte to give up (publicly) the devout Muslim faith he'd been born with and be forced to adopt what he considered to be pagan White Christianity. Read any period defense of slavery by a southern plantation owner or congressmen, it won't fail to cite the great Christian mission to save the souls of the benighted savages by bringing them to Jesus as a justification for the brutality the whip and and auction block. I grew up in a Christian tradition. Whatever that may mean, whatever effects (good or bad) that it may have had, the ultimate reason for that cosmic turn of events is slavery.
This is an extraordinarily brief/reductive/incomplete reflection on this but all this is to say that perhaps the perfect artifact to express this conflict is this redacted slave bible that I read about this week. Any single-volume general history of slavery will have a section about the religion and Christian education on the plantation, so I've had some familiarity with a lot of this but seeing this specific item examined like this was really interesting.

Basically slave owners took the King James version of the bible, removed any parts that might give slaves ideas about rising up from slavery (goodbye Exodus!) and left in everything else. Nothing was added, only redacted. I'm not galled by the theological desecration but more by the blatant abandonment of any purported moral rectitude that is is highlighted in this action. SO MUCH of the justification for hereditary chattel slavery in the new world was based on it being for the spiritual good of the enslaved and the institution of slavery being condoned by the almighty. But the minute you take scissors to your holy book and cut out any parts that are inconvenient to the wildly brutal practice that makes your fortune you show yourself and everyone that God ain't have nothing to do with it...except maybe your desire to role play as him. Fascinating and infuriating.

Also, your boy had to flex his research skills a bit since the most cursory search only reveals the digital version of this 200+ yr old historical text that Amazon wants to charge you $8 bucks for, but if you're resourceful you can find the FREE digitized version of one of the only 3 extant copies. Enjoy.
"About 90 percent of the Old Testament is missing [and] 50 percent of the New Testament is missing," Schmidt says. "Put in another way, there are 1,189 chapters in a standard protestant Bible. This Bible contains only 232."

Schmidt says passages that could have prompted rebellion were removed, for example:

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28

And verses that reinforced the institution of slavery, including "the most famous pro-slavery verse that many pro-slavery people would have cited," says Schmidt, were kept.

"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ." Ephesians 6:5

Why Bibles Given to Slaves Omitted Most of the Old Testament -

"The first Slave Bible was published in 1807, three years after the Haitian Revolution ended. That revolution was the only slave revolt in history in which enslaved people successfully drove out their European oppressors to formed a new nation, and it increased American and European paranoia that the people they oppressed would one day rise up against them."


"The Haitian Revolution could have been a motivation for publishing a Bible without the part where Moses tells the Pharoah to “Let my people go.” Missionaries and planters may have thought that Christianity—at least, certain parts of it—would protect against revolutions by teaching enslaved people to respect their masters."


"The Slave Bible doesn’t include Moses leading the Israelites to freedom, but it does include Joseph’s enslavement in Egypt. In the U.S., some sermons aimed at enslaved people portrayed Joseph as someone who “accepts his lot in life, keeps his faith in God and in the end is rewarded for it,” Schmidt says. The Slave Bible may have wanted to impart a similar lesson to its audience."

🎵To The Left! To The Left!🎵

On That Commie Pinko Tip

Happiness [Animated short by Steve Cutts]

This is a very well done and very bleak but quite entertaining short about the rat race. I'd say it was cynical but if the cynicism is accurate...

Still, I will say that you should be taking your happiness where you can get it in the next few months. We just might look back on now as "the good old days" terrifying.
Amazon Is Hiring an Intelligence Analyst to Track 'Labor Organizing Threats' - Vice

I can, ethically, only talk so much shit about Amazon because I pay for prime myself and have ordered from them within the past week (working on that). But yes, as convenient as they are they have a horrible track record in terms of worker exploitation, union crushing, environmental degradation, and being more or less the standard bearer of modern American consumerism. You almost have to applaud their boldness in including ant-union surveillance and corporate thuggery in public job descriptions (since removed).At some point in the future I will do a whole WesRecs feature on Jeff Bezos & co. But in the meantime here's this.
"Amazon is looking to hire two intelligence analysts to track "labor organizing threats" within the company.

The company recently posted two job listings for analysts that can keep an eye on sensitive and confidential topics "including labor organizing threats against the company." Amazon is looking to hire an "Intelligence Analyst" and a "Sr Intelligence Analyst" for its Global Security Operations’ (GSO) Global Intelligence Program (GIP), the team that's responsible for physical and corporate security operations such as insider threats and industrial espionage."


"After this story was published, Amazon deleted the job listings and company spokesperson Maria Boschetti said in an email that "the job post was not an accurate description of the role— it was made in error and has since been corrected." The spokesperson did not respond to follow-up questions about the alleged mistake. The job listing, according to Amazon's own job portal, had been up since January 6, 2020."

Things Read

Worthwhile Words

I Don't Want to Believe - Affidavit

In the end I'm not sure I "liked" this piece (it's payoff was far short of its promise and style) but I couldn't stop reading it and I bought this guy's book based on it so I guess it did the trick. Singular.
"Once in Vancouver, my goal was to understand what had gone wrong with my life, and what part I’d played in that wrongness. As in the series, I found monsters, poor writing, inconsistent narratives and rampant duplicity. As in the series, as soon as I thought I’d solved the mystery of one particular clusterfuck from my past, I found myself embroiled in a new one. On moving to a city with the largest open drug market in North America, my putative quest for self-discovery quickly stopped, and I returned to what I knew best—self-annihilation, addiction, productivity and destructivity. Getting up and falling down had defined my adult life. More specifically, a woman would assist me in getting up, and in her attempts to keep me up, I’d cause that same woman to fall back down with me. Now 46 years old and sober for eight years, I live outside of the X-File that was my life. In revisiting the series, I feel more like a writer providing commentary on a DVD box set of the show instead of feeling like Mulder, or one of the multiform chimeras he and Scully spent nine years pursuing, only to end up with a mutant child and a lengthy contract dispute."
As noted in the above article: David Duchovny got banned from the only strip club in downtown Vancouver for complaining about the city's wet weather in the media. The owner of the club took out a prominent newspaper ad to inform him that he was no longer welcome. This is petty on a level most mere mortals can't comprehend.

Things Seen

Watched Recently By Wes

A collage of vintage skins for the 90s PC media player winamp
Only the real ones will appreciate this. And by "real ones" I mean anyone who stayed up late into the night writing perfectly crafted AIM away messages and downloading thousands of songs one by one from Napster/Limewire/BearShare after hearing them on the radio and using Lycos to search for the half remembered lyrics.

I don't know why they've done, it but someone has compiled a library of tens of thousands of old skins from your favorite media player of the era: Winamp. They're all in one place and you can infinite scroll through them down a memory abyss of late 90s/early 00s horror and glee.
Following on the heels of WesRecs 40's video on the intricacies of asphalt I now present to you the most interesting video you've ever watched about potholes (what they are, how they form, how they're treated and repaired). It's from the the same YouTube channel and i really admire the way they take engineer topics that I would never imagine myself being interested in and make them must-see viewing, great stuff.
Random Viewing:
Pros & Cons of being the first 3 humans to orbit the moon, observe an “Earthrise”, and take a picture of the whole Earth:

PRO: Epic. Historic. Awe-inspiring.

CON: You get the space shits, your ride smells like puke & diarrhea for the rest of the trip and there’s poop on your walls and consoles (also, inevitably, some in your mouth).

PRO: Your boys like you enough to try and keep that (literal) shit on the DL by telling as few people on the ground as possible.

Word of The Week

Up That Vocab Game

hypermnesia, n.
[ hahy - perm - NEE- zhuh ]

Meaning:   the condition of having an unusually vivid or precise memory.

Somebody Said This

Words To Admire

“If you curse someone, dig two graves.”
       -Japanese Proverb

Fun Facts

Trivia To Bend Your Brain

  • The flag of Mozambique is the only one to have modern weapon on it (AK-47)
  • Our maps of Mars are more complete than our maps of the ocean floor.
  • Red eye in photographs is caused by the camera flash illuminating the rich blood supply of the connective tissue at the back of the eye.
  • Polaroid camera don’t have butteries. Rather, each film cartridge was embedded with its own single use battery that would last long enough to take all of the included shots.
  • You are seeing your nose every moment that your eyes are open but your brain essentially ignores it.
Copyright © 2020 Wes Hazard -- Comic. Poet. Performer., All rights reserved.

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