My three opinionated thoughts on the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia:
1) A man is dead. So what? I've read many progressives saying that no one should be mean about it, because of 'his family' or 'his work efforts' or his 'commitment'. That's muddled and confused. Life is a sexually transmitted terminal disease. A man is dead. However, this was a man who had inordinate power to positively or negatively affect the lives of every person in this country. He no longer has that. By "celebrating" his death, people aren't rejoicing in his passage; they are rejoicing because he no longer has the power to hurt them, many of those he has hurt before. I say, let them celebrate. A request to show respect for one many see as their abuser is to ask for people to lie about the hurt done them, showing hollow respect for a legacy of abuse. The man is dead, and that isn't where people are finding their joy. It's that the inevitable has removed him from the Supreme Court. He was not the worst SC Justice ever, and likely won't be comparable to the worst we see in the future. But he no longer has power over any of us. The man is dead. More to the point, his legacy, his power to affect us, is over.
2) At work yesterday, I spoke of his death to 9 of the 11 student employees I shared the store with on that Saturday. Not one of them knew who Antonin Scalia was. Not one. Scalia, with others, made rulings that will powerfully impact the futures of these young people, and apparently he did it completely in the shadows as far as they are concerned. I can't describe my disappointment. I will, however suggest this: If the Supreme Court is to have such power, perhaps we as citizens shouldn't be allowing them to hold it in such obscurity.
3) In contrast to the disappointment I feel in the young folk who don't recognize the tools used to control their lives, I am laughing at the 'true progressives' and 'real liberals' who 4 years ago told us all how evil the re-election of Barack Obama would be. One of the strongest arguments for his re-election was his Constitutional obligation to appoint Supreme Court Justices. Despite the caterwaul coming from Republicans and FAUX News already, this is a Constitutional obligation of the sitting President, not the President they wish they had. Scalia has not been dead for 72 hours and the anti-Constitutional wail from the right has already begun. That will play out over the next year. What satisfies me, most personally, is how short-sighted and wrong the "True" progressives have proven. Given the almost unbelievable power the SCOTUS has been granted (including the power to define their own role) any suggestion that a vote for President because of his nomination duty is meaningless proves the vacuous ignorance of those who suggest such a thing. These are the same idiots who think we are stupid for paying attention to what they foolishly assume is only 'partisan politics'. The Supreme Court handed Dumbya Bush the Presidency, by vote of 5-4. That's a decision that Sandra Day O'Conner has admitted to regretting. Dumbya nominated Roberts and 'Sc'Alito, neither of which acknowledge that the founders MEANT for the Constitution to change to suit the nation. The SCOTUS handed Corporations the financial keys to our 'Democracy' by a vote of 5-4, based on a biased clerk's statement over a hundred years ago. The next SCOTUS could reverse the century old opinion that corporations are 'persons', if only the right people sit on the court. It's time to thumb the nose at those who think Presidential elections don't matter when it comes to the power of the Supreme Court. Hey, progo-kids, we were right and you were wrong. Whine all you want, but we have Kagen and Sotomeyer and will soon have another reasonable progressive on the SCOTUS. Withholding your vote from the evil Obama, what have you accomplished?
By now, I haven't a doubt that y'all have seen the picture all over the media (social and otherwise) of the good citizens of Baltimore in a line "defending" a line of police officers. I quote that word because it's used in every single presentation of that image. That snapshot is supposed to make us all feel 'good' about the fine people of Baltimore, or the nobility and resilience of the human spirit or some such crap. Blame it on my curmudgeonly bad attitude, but all that picture does is confuse me. Every time I see it, it reminds of the picture from Ferguson of a young black man, arms raised in capitulation, facing off against what could pass for a military special forces strike unit, complete with machine guns and armored tactical vehicle.
I have too many questions. It's broad daylight, so who exactly are these unseen forces that the citizens are defending armored and heavily armed police from? Al qaeda? Since the point of the protests, which EVERYBODY sympathizes with, is that institutional racism and authoritarian thuggery has led to the explosive situation between communities and the cops paid to 'protect' people, how is it "good" in this country of free people that we have to stand in defense of those police? Yes, I know, most cops are good, blah blah blah. I also know, as everyone else should, that those *good* cops stand silently and let the bad ones that the good certainly know about violate public trust at every turn, leading to death and destruction. I'm not saying that it should be open season on police. But for Dogs sake, they should at least be fired for not doing the job. Instead, I'm being told that it's 'heartwarming' when a betrayed citizenry stands in defense of the betrayers? You see my confusion, yes?
Indulge me here. To me, this photo is a desperate plea from a desperate people to not be judged harshly. 'See, the rioters aren't US, they are them. WE are on the good side. See how non-violent we are protecting the violent who have made no effort at reconciliation or even effort to fulfill the oaths they took to us?' It strikes me that the very goddamned problem is that any of them are being judged at all in the media, or on Facilebook, or on blogs talking 'bout 'Murika the Great. The officers who murdered Freddie Grey haven't been exposed, much less subjected to a public hearing. The National Guard now protects significant authority structures in Baltimore and is 'assisting' in enforcing a curfew. Not one effort appears to have been made to address the grievances of the citizens of Baltimore, but Facebook is being told that we should have renewed faith in the human spirit because a bunch of people stood in a line and said backhandedly, 'we don't want to be dead at the hands of public opinion which supports the thugs behind us'.
Nope. Pundits and posters can keep on telling me how proud, supportive, and warm I'm supposed to feel because these 'persons guilty of living in Baltimore' are doing the right thing, and passifying the judgment of all us right-thinking (white) folk. Sorry, I'm not feeling it.
Read this. Go ahead and read it. It's the transcript from Meet the Press on Sunday, with *special guest star*, Dick Cheney. Yes, it's about torture, specifically about the United States of America using torture, or not since "real torture" is talking to your kids before you die horribly (not an outcome guarenteed, except the death part) when you are an American attacked by ... THEM. Waterboarding? Not torture. Ramming a tube up somebody's ass, and pumping goo into their colon? Not torture. Forced sleep deprevation? Not torture. Chained by the wrists such that you can't stand or actually sit in a room at sub-50 degrees and forgotten for days until you die of hypothermia? Not torture. According to Cheney, REAL TORTURE is being an American afraid of the other. Read it. That is his very message. In the Home of Brave, real torture is being afraid of those others.
As goofy as it sounds, that's a powerful message, and a complete fricking lie. There have been many posts around the Intertubes on them nancy wimp librul sites, dissecting Dick's arguments, rating which are the worst, or attempting to generate horror at the obviously deranged and inhuman sociopath, the Beast that Came from Wyoming. All of it, for the most part, is quality writing and instills the proper degree of horror. But what struck me was the obvious: Dick.don't.care. He knows he's lying, and he knows that anyone paying attention will know he's lying. He is reducing the most heinous abuses that can be perpetrated on a human being to just a lie told to an audience. It's an offering, a taste of impotent superiority. "I know that Dick is lying", we cry. "We tortured and that's wrong", people will say. "His arguments don't make sense", we will ponder and assert.
But I have to ask, why would a guy who is worth more than all readers here and Daily Kos and Pumadog Lake put together put himself in front of a camera to defend torture with obvious lies? He has his millions, his retirement and he has thrown his 'boss' and compatriots under the bus already. He has as much as admitted to war crimes, but isn't afraid of that at all (a lesson I fear he learned from Kissinger.) That might be the very key. Cheney is being honest with his lies. Not honest about the US using torture or it's effectiveness, mind you. He's being honest that we can't do one single thing to stop any of it. That was his message. Regardless of whether we are afraid of losing the moral high-ground, regardless of whether we are afraid of the Muslamic Terrists, we need to be afraid of each other because people like him run the show, and they can and will decide who gets tortured and how.
That's actually rather brilliant on his part. People are distrusting the authority of the banks as they pass their liabilities onto us. They don't trust the police who murder young black men for no reason other than that they will get away with it. They certainly don't trust Congress or that 'man' in the White House (pick which side of the prism you wish to view that distortion from.) We don't trust each other, at all. Fear is all we have and Cheney is the sysmbol of that fear which doesn't fear us, or much of anything, the sociopath which brings order through obvious lies. Dick didn't need to go on MTP to defend himself. He needed to go on the network to prove that we can't do one singl;e thing to stop him, or even slow him and his down. While defending a practice we find intolerable, he quite clearly made the statement that we will tolerate what 'they' tell us to tolerate and we can't do shit about it. Admit it, that's kind of brilliant.
The lack of trial for Darren Wilson following his homicide of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. does not surprise me at all. It does however break my heart just a little bit more. Before any asshole comes bopping on in here to tell me the obvious, that Wilson is "innocent" of Homicide, no that shithead is not. He has been exonerated from the legal charge of Homicide, but y'all had best brush up on the language. Homicide is the deliberate killing of another human being, and that is to the very f'ing letter what Wilson did. He drew his sidearm and shot an unarmed human to death, then calling for 'backup' with no thought to the human being he had just slaughtered on a street. That's homicide. A grand jury has now stated that he will not be held accountable for that shooting, but that does not change the fact that he killed a person, and other persons that he couldn't kill are now dealing with the loss of Michael Brown. That is heart breaking.
What makes me angry and sick is that Wilson likened Brown to a "demon". He looked like a DEMON, Wilson claimed. This from a 'police officer', one who is supposed to protect us from crime, not from his fear fantasies. A DEMON. You don't have to be a genius to see that as code for a pissed off black man. Why on Earth would anybody give a gun to such a chickenshit and charge him with protecting human beings when he has delusions of DEMONS? Throughout this lengthy 'investigation' process, I have rationally tried to give Wilson the benefit of the doubt. He was afraid for his well being. He was threatened and attacked. There is no doubt left. Wilson was being a coward, terrifed of his DEMONS, and he shot a young man to death because he was a coward with a gun. The portion of humanity not terrified of demonic dark skinned folk, or who really don't believe in 'demons' are left distinctly disastisfied with that bullshit ass-covering from a coward.
According to what is obviously the most corrupt 'prosecuting' attorney we know currently serving in the US (he was prosecuting the victim, not the demonologist who shot him), Wilson had "severe contusions" on his face, from the attack by Brown. Severe. Right ... Anybody who has a brain cell left can see that Ezra Klein is absolutely correct. Wilson's story, and McCulloch's support of it, is unbelievable, improbable, utter bullshit. Peytin Manning gets a worse "contusion" on his forehead from wearing a helmet every week than Wilson got from Brown. Seriously, and with all temperence, is a fucking pathetic and light bruise a reason to shoot someone to death? To the Grand Jury in Missouri, apparently so.
So, Ferguson blows up over night. Rioting, looting, arson ... I would suggest revolting, as in revolution. Chickenshit backwardsass 2nd amendment cowards who've been talking smack about using their violence against the Negro in the White House are now suddenly all about law and order, happily telling those dark-skinned folk how they *NEED* to accept the Grand Jury's verdict. No, they really fucking don't. For reasons that are sooo goddamned obvious, these people should be pissed off. They've just been told that the country doesn't serve them, it serves white order, where terrified little pasty demon believers get to shoot young black men with impunity and claim that being bitch slapped less than most frat boys have been can be adequately responded to with homicide.
Aaron Flint posted the stupid tweet of the day (if not the decade):
That's about the dumbest fricking thing ever written. No "American" should act like that, except the people who dressed as 'injuns' and threw tea in a harbor. Or those who instigated a riot and caused the Boston Massacre. Or those who have rebelled against oppresive rule since July 4 1776. Dumbass 'journalists' like Flint don't get to tell the people how to behave. They will behave as free people will, including burning upside down flags to show that our nation is in serious trouble when cowards are given lordship over us, and military might defends their ability to do so. We have us a problem, people. The US is becoming an oppresive police state that favors cowardice and pale skin. I sympathize with Ferguson, tonight. My heart is broken for their loss, and all of our own.
I've made it no mystery that I adore the so-called "gun-control" debate. That's not because it's a debate. It's hardly anything of the sort. I adore it because it exposes deep feelings, harsh realities of life and lunacies To myself, it's the 'debate' that is of interest. Both camps, armed as they are with pseudo-facts and pride and bullets and hubris, claim the moral high ground and wail almost incessantly about the lack of respect that they so obviously deserve, when very few on either side have earned any sympathy or empathy at all. Both sides, because there seem to be only two, call for Reason while offering every dodge, hustle, intimidating threat and stupid factoid available. There is little reason to be had, and I adore that for the simple amusement of it all.
I work with a man whom I respect a great deal who believes very simply that we should only be allowed manual action rifles and shotguns for hunting and defense of stock. There is no debate with him, no defense of holy rights or talk of 'efficiency' in putting holes in crap, or any political action to defend his view. Simply put, if he were dictator for a day, he would establish law that we not have the best means to kill ourselves and others. I respect his view because it's reasonable, if unrealistic. He doesn't have to defend his view because it makes perfect sense, even in the modern world. That it won't happen is beside the point. He is reasonable about what would work to protect humans from themselves and others.
I haven't a doubt that some gun advocates reading this will be all butt-puckered about what I just wrote. "You can't have that, and you don't have the right and TYRANNY!" they would scream. ~sigh~ That doesn't make their side of the debate any more reasonable, just more shrill. It isn't reasonable at all. We aren't having a 'reasonable discussion', and likely won't. Both sides want what they want, and will engage in any amount of intimidation, manipulation and silliness to get it.
Trust a self-described "comedy website" to be reasonable about this shouting match.
2) No one really knows why nuts let loose with firearm destruction, and some have an interest in keeping it that way.
3) Gun control would help solve a whole big bunch of gun deaths.
4) Too many people on both sides talk shit about what they don't understand, and
5) Guns are toys, not tools. Outragasms don't address anything other than fear. Stop that bullshit.
This isn't rocket surgery. It's a cultural problem, not a gun problem. There are things we could do, like background checks. But the arguments against those are always handy ... TYRANNY!!!! As long as this 'debate' exists, I will continue to enjoy the silliness. Hey, it's what I do. But I sincerely hope that we come out of it a better country, and a better species.
In response to my last post, Craig Moore attempted, poorly, to catch me up in some kind of hypocrisy and he missed my point completely. That's not very surprising. He has an agenda and I was being deliberately obscure, though using terrific music in the effort. So, for those few who might want to know what I was thinking, I just figured I'd explain it.
Back in 2004, the 'Brady Bill' assault weapons ban on sale was set to expire. Both Presidential candidates in debate waffled about their support for such a thing, politically blaming Congress for what at the time, amounted to inaction concerning a 'hot button' issue in the great culture war between right and left. A few things have happened since then. An asshole with two handguns and a lot of loaded clips became the most prolific mass shooter in American history at Virginia Tech. An asshole who looks like Sideshow Bob dressed in combat gear shot 70 people in a theater, killing 12. And an asshole walked into a school and killed 20 six and seven year old children, as well as 6 adults trying to save those lives. As Craig pointed out, in 2004 I called the gun control debate trivial. It isn't trivial anymore. Things do change. For one, the NRA has convinced a remarkable amount of America that gun control means gun confiscation. For two, we've elected a black President, a President that many including the NRA have worked to convince people wants to take your guns to spur racial fear. (It should be noted that Obama is the first President elected twice by a majority of the popular vote since Dwight Eisenhower.) And three, oh yes, assholes are mass killing our children.
Here we are in 2013 having the gun control debate again. The political will has shifted, but it seems the arguments never do. That fascinates me more than any policy change. Policy follows the wind of culture, but culture follows the desires of those who make it. Since the St. Reagan endorsed 'Brady Bill' passed, FAUX News has become the dominant source of TV misinformation. The Tea Peeps have risen. The NRA has shifted focus from promoting gun safety and responsible ownership to lobby support for gun manufacturers and universal ownership of their product, regardless of qualification. The SCOTUS has decreed a right to keep arms, though still refuses to address the qualifying clause. We have the Bush doctrine of foreign policy which says 'get them before they get you'. And our culture, politics and policy has become increasingly divided, antagonistic and extreme. Yet the arguments concerning gun control really haven't changed that much, save in decibels.
Since the Newtown shootings, I've had several arguments with my brother concerning efforts of gun control. These haven't been policy arguments. On policy, we probably are fairly much in agreement, though I think he would favor a more extreme interpretation of such. No, our arguments have been about 'the opposition'. He recently posted a Facebook update about the ill-use of his good reason at the hands of "liberals". His reasoning was okay, for what it was, but he is doing the same as those awful "liberals" are doing. He is striving in all righteous victim-hood against those most extreme who influence policy the very least. He paints all gun control advocates with the very same brush. They are going 'take his guns'. Of course, they are arguing against gun-nuts, gun addicts, redneck shooters, holding my brother to a standard of wacko that isn't even remotely applicable, which is exactly the same mistake as he makes with them. That's the part of the argument that fascinates me.
The progression of the argument is lamentably historic: You can't talk about this tragedy because it's still raw and people are emotional. But people do and they should. Of course, removed from the tragedy, people are still emotional, both sides attempting the high moral ground. Both sides hold that the very worst of the other is the norm. Gun Grabbers! Gun Addicts! Shortly after the Newtown shootings, I posted on Twitter that anyone who brings up 'penis' isn't really interested in discussing gun control. They are interested in demeaning gun owners. I attempted, gently, to point out to others that those who are concerned about gun crime will never, ever, come to take your guns away. EVER. But that is where the argument has gone and will continue to go, nonetheless. ~sigh~
Which brings me back to the previous post and my point in posting it. Common ground. This should be the point of discussion but I have no confidence it will be. 'Gungrabbers' want to protect their children, their families, their property and their society. 'Gun-nuts' want to protect their children, their families, their property and their society. It doesn't matter if you use a Broadsword or an AR-15 or legislation. You want the same things, people. Get a fricking grip.
Apparently, the Intertubes are not rightly focused on football, AS THEY SHOULD BE, but rather focused on things like 'gun control'. The arguments are fierce and angry, and pretty much all over the map. We should arm kindergartners. We should arm janitors! We should make all our actions so dangerous that no, NO ONE, would dare make a dangerous move. We should take away anything dangerous. We should protect minds from the concept of doing anything dangerous. We should protect people from the very concept of danger! Right ...
USian thought is what it is. We've known this for a while, at least if we would take time to breath and think about it. We are a violent culture, and somehow must come up with rules for living with one another without resorting to violence. If you don't believe that this has been on the minds of folk for a while, then let's step back to 1986, 24 years ago.
I would embed the video, but every company is owed their pound of flesh. We, the people, are allowed no ounce of enjoyment without paying for it to an overlord. I wonder, could that be what makes us so angry? So willing to commit violence? That every thought, every creation, every fear has a price tag? Just consider it.
Regardless, enjoy some '80's metal. It's a really good video.
Not that it much matters at this point, but my personal webspace turned 9 years old last month.
As I spent time this afternoon attempting to put together a new Halloween playlist, I kept gravitating towards one particular song. It's dark, and angry and I love it for its honesty. Way on back in the early 1980s, Rush recorded the album Moving Pictures. I've purchased it on vinyl, which I still have, and purchased it on CD. Terrific as it is for it's better known songs, it is my favorite for the song Witch Hunt.
This year, more than 28 some years ago, the message of that song rings true.
The righteous rise, with burning eyes of hatred and ill will.
I have been lead to believe that many of the intelligentsia don't like the band Rush all that much. Too bad. This song is terrific Halloween music, and it makes a point that should sink home to any who will blindly excuse the religiously gullible. Evil doesn't control us, manipulate us or create us. It comes from us, is suckled and is fostered by us. Often it is supported by those who willfully ignore one thing in favor of others.
On this Columbus day, there are many who would hold that one man was a genocidal maniac when actually all he did was change the make up of how humans would create their future. It shouldn't really be celebrated but doesn't need to be denigrated either. I know many folk who believe in Pagan magic, but seem oblivious to the idea that if their idea of magic worked, hundreds of millions of Christians would already have brought the rapture. Well over a billion Muslims would have seen infidels destroyed. At least dozens hope that what they hold as a Kumbaya will defeat candidate X, Y or Z. OR ... it could simply be that we are humans who overlay what has been with what we would want, a very thin veneer of righteousness, and gosh aren't we individually cool?
Rush will likely be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame this year. Yes, I am one of the assholes who's lobbied for this honor, because they truly deserve it.
As the amount of local, county and state regulation increases, the ability of Montana citizens to exercise their rights under Montana’s Constitution Article II “of pursuing life’s basic necessities” has become increasingly difficult. While we understand the state’s interest in protecting the public through regulation, we also understand that the regulatory corpus becomes outdated, ineffective, and presents barriers to entry for people working in their own interest and it needs continual review for rationality, cost effectiveness and process efficiency in order to provide for the economically disadvantaged to rightfully earn a living in the economic pursuit of their choosing.
We are convinced that the regulatory burden falls disproportionately hard on individuals who hope to create and trade products and services who are in the initial start-up or early expansion phase of small business enterprises and that certain regulations are in place either from a poor understanding of the risks posed to the public or by regulatory capture of special interest who, under the banner of public interest, gain by limiting the entry of new competition and market participants. Additionally, over time the bureaucratic processes of regulation become equally prohibitive for new and growing market entrants and increases in perpetuity for the convenience of the regulators at the expense of the regulated.
Thus, the goal of The Montana Regulation Project (The Project) is to reduce the regulatory barriers to entry for first stage growth and other small enterprises to the greatest extent possible without damaging the public interest.
This is not a bad effort at all. The socialist demon which possesses me tells me that they will likely not find the wealth of bad regulation that they hope. But there certainly is some out there, and it needs to be exposed, discussed and changed if possible. That is the point of advocacy, and kudos to Dave and Gregg for taking this beast to task.
(Bonus points if you know the origin of that quote.)
Tim Tebow is coming to Montana; Kalispell, more specifically. He's the carrot for a Christian school fundraiser in March. He will speak of football, his life experiences and his faith. Given his obvious charm, he will no doubts enthrall the assembled donors. I've no problem with that.
But he is my quarterback, for good or ill. And I'm already tired and annoyed by the attacks against Tim Tebow the person hidden within complaints against his football skill. So lets get a few things clear, 'kay?
Tim Tebow is mostly what Christians aspire to be. He's also what many of us wish Christians in general would be. He is (as indicated) charming, humble, humorous, giving of himself, thankful, faithful, very hard working and committed. There are those who've asked many times and I ask the same question: What's not to like? He's a good man, who may or may not ever become a great NFL quarterback. American sensibilities have changed somewhat about what is a good man, and I think most would have been pleased if he had entered the news confab after the Pittsburgh game, muscular arms spread wide, screaming "Are you not entertained?" (Small points if you know that quote.)
There are those who absolutely must point out that "Tebow worships a magic sky fairy ~snicker~" Uhm, fine. I would ask this: Tebow doesn't deride you to accept his religion. Why would you deride him to accept yours?
Then there are those who want desperately to believe that Tim Tebow makes them feel bad. These are mostly the ones who just wish he would quit talking about his faith. I see no reason why he would or he should. It's still magical thinking. 'Tebow gives credit to his God but he should make that private because somehow it will be bad - while he wins games. Personally, I don't give a crap if he gives credit to his toilet bowl, as crazy as that would be. Tebow followed his path and he likes it, so others want to believe that he's looking down on them because their results weren't as stellar or what-have-you. That's mostly fear and jealousy. If you feel bad because Tebow wears his faith in the open, then I suggest you commit to your path as he has committed to his.
There are those already who suggest that Tim's Christian piety is an act, a hustle, a grift. Show what you know. Tim Tebow works his ass off, and people aren't as stupid as one would expect. If Tebow were running a hustle he would be exposed as simply as Ryan Leaf or as complexly as JaMarcus Russell. Tebow wins games. He competes. If he is running a hustle to give God the credit, then all power to him. I'm a Bronco fan. I like the Broncos winning games. And most high-profile wide receivers are grifters anyway ... (So what did happen to Randy Moss and Terrell Owens? ...)
I like Tim Tebow and look forward to seeing him after 7 months of working with John Elway. John Fox should be the Coach of the Year (though Jim Harbaugh likely has that won.) If Tebow wants to come to Montana to raise money for schooling then good on him. I truly don't care. His faith is part of what makes him an exciting draw to watch. For me, he is my quarterback. So, bring on New England.