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?
I'm getting very pissed off that I continue to get the mewling demands for money from the Montana Democraptic party while I remain banned from commenting at their media wing website, MTCowgirl. This, after 12 years of blogging in their favor. I'm extremely pissed off that the state party hasn't changed one iota and thiniks that I am so afraid of their losing I will front funds for their losing. Losing seems to be most of what they are charging head-first towards. The message they offer is tripe, and they have no real plan for countering the stupidity that is sweeping the nation with Republicant control. But they want my money, my effort and my time, while insulting the very honesty that I have to give them.
No. I will give not one red cent to Montana democrats. I feel no shame that can manipulated into giving such. Screw you, Montana Democratic party. Show me that you're worth a shit, and I will reconsider.
That is a terrific question, isn't it? It's been asked about a billion times, but we never come up with an answer. Just supposing, but that might be because we are Democrats and thinking about it all wrong. 'We' think that people should favor ideas that favor 'we'. That's not a bad idea, and actually should be a winner. So why do Montana Democrats lose?
Norma. People like Norma. People who think that the 'right' is the same as the popular, and worse, vice versa. People who think that disagreement is cause for alarm. Democrats too frightened to tell their 'strong' supporters how full of shit they are when they drive hundreds of others away. In her first run at state legislator, Norma scored only 3 percentage points behind the President in her very red county, and only 3 points behind the federal Democratic Representative candidate on the ticket. Her second run, she scored 10 points behind the Democratic Representative candidate, and garnered a whole 18% of the vote in her county. Yet still, at the Democratic wing website of MT Cowgirl, she is protected, and many others silenced, regardless of how offensive and stupid her comments are. It seems like it, but I'm not actually blaming Norma. I'm blaming the Montana Democrats who strangely think that embracing Norma while pushing actual progressives away is a good idea. No, it's really not.
So you tell me, folks. Why do Montana Democrats lose?
It's possible that with the discussions of the last week that my irony meter is a little over charged. A commenter at Don's thoughtful and exceptional website, while railing against the symbols of the racist American "losers" of the most formative conflict the country has ever faced, had this to say:
Our state does have the sin of racism, whether it be our black history, or our redmans history( whites tried to erase it). What went wrong years ago in a less civilized world, can be made right today. and should be as an olive branch to the future of all mankind.
A religious pronouncement, for certain. Fundamentally exceptionalist, what with us being all more civilized and all, absolutely. But no, what flipped the laughter switch was the term "redmans (sic) history". When I was growing up, Redman was a loose leaf chewing tobacco, grown in them there loser Souther states, whose name has come under fire for many years from the Indigenous people of America for it's racist nature. It's brand recognition has shrunk considerably due to advertising restrictions and the decrease of tobacco use, so much so in fact that it is hardly recognizable outside of that 'loser' South. Disney, the megacorp, has restricted the distribution of the movie Peter Pan, in no small part because of it's portrayal of the 'red man'. "What makes the red man red?' Still, those of us who have worked and striven to get the Washington NFL team to change it's name sense something dirty when we see reference to the "red man".
What makes this comment so ironic is that screeching about how "loser" symbols matter to racism completely ignores the obvious. The symbols most precious to human kind are words. They inform us and shape our reason. We should know, since we are all so civilized now, that black people don't like being called African Americans. They aren't African. They are simply black Americans. This is a message conveyed even by our President, a black American, who strangely the racists still wish to be African. Anecdotally, I haven't met one single Native American, or Indigenous person or member of the First Nations who liked being called "red". (That is with one exception. I knew a young Crow man in college who had red hair and freckles because his daddy was white. He loved to refer to himself as the only 'redman' in America.)
I am certain, and I mean that sincerely, that the person whose comment I am harshing on here has little understanding of the Faux Paux I refer to. 'Redman' was just an innocent little bit of racism, ignorant but not malicious. I completely accept that. I would however point out that this person while attempting to shut down another she accused of racism in the past blatently stated that Lewis and Clark encountered 'brown people', Hispanics, when traipsing through Montana. Well it's named Montana, right? Certainly the Spanish explorers came here, right? No, they never did. The ultimate irony is demanding correct opinion from others when engaging in the "sins" they commit. I won't call that hypocrisy, due to the ignorance of the offense, but I will certainly laugh my ass off at the irony.
I am much happier, now. Here, have a picture of a puppy:
Throughout my hiatus, there was one thing I really did miss, and that's railing against assholes who really really deserve it. Not because 'they believe the wrong things'. If I did that, I'd be writing at Cowgirl. No, the ones who usually most deserve it are those who believe that only they and theirs believe the right things, and to them, everyone else commits bad think, and is an an asshole to be shunned, vilified and silenced.
There's a lot of folk out there who have believed for years that I am a 'good Democrat', often with derision, of course. Certainly I'm thought of as a good democrat by the people who send me two to three emails a day, (often more) in support of cause X or petition Y, always with a request for money. In truth, I am a good democrat, it's just that so many others keep using that word. I don't think it means what they think it means.
Way way on back, I spent a couple of weekends gathering signatures for the ERA. (For any younguns reading this, that was a proposed Equal Rights Amendment which actually would have codified in our Constitution that all people are deserving of the same legal rights. That right there should indicate to you that no, that wasn't in the Constitution, and still isn't today ...) Over the years, I've thought a lot about that experience, pondering what I'd learned, or if there was anything from it to learn. The message that came through the loudest is that people, Montana people at least, don't like being told how to think. That seems simple enough on the surface, that no one likes being told what they should think, but that isn't how I phrased it, or consider it to this day. The simple (and erroneous) idea that offering competing ideas to people isn't problematic is probably correct. Where the push-back starts is when you begin telling them how to think about something to arrive at the conclusion you want. The mere threat that you want to change someone's thinking, not their conclusions but the very way they embrace their conclusions, sparks anger. It is a threat to identity, it is a threat to basic authority over one's own reason.
Certainly most folk don't come to the right conclusions. That's why we blog, right? ~wink~ But when we step back and take a look, we find that they are coming to the right conclusions, for them. They have reason, or at least what passes for it in the human animal. They have experiences, biases, myopia and blind spots; we all do. But we don't all consider them in the same ways. Except at the basest electromechanical level, we don't all think alike. We have different, sometimes wildly different, data sets which we call experiences and memories. Some folk inspire imagination and connections between disparate ideas by reading fiction, others not. Some read fact after fact after fact and draw rock solid conclusions (given there are no facts that they have failed to consider.) Some people just plain like having conclusions handed to them so they can process the minutia of the day.
Not one bit of this is new, obscure or revolutionary information. And to me, that fact is what makes assholes really assholes. The one conclusion that is wrong 100% of the time is that there is a right way to think and that others are doing it wrong, monstrously wrong. I wrote the post "Monsters" 10 and half years ago. I wrote at the end of it "If I can work up the give-a-shit, I'll write more on this later." Now THAT, my friends is epic procrastination. A lot has changed in those 10 years. I'd love to say it's for the better, but that would be a bit of a lie, wouldn't it? I certainly won't repeat the litany of everything that has gone wrong, but you won't have trouble finding that listicle if wish. Others repeat it almost daily. Still here's some things that should be on that list and aren't: More Americans are disenchanted with our politics, though how in the hell that happened transitioning from a Bush Presidency to Obama should give everyone a bit of pause. I suggest there is some wisdom to be found there. More Americans are convinced that the government is our enemy, whether by purchase of corporation or from a liberal Kenyon gay-agenda takeover. There's empirical evidence for those opinions, but here's one that just seems a broad observation related to those. In our social media connected information overload world, people seem far more concerned with identifying wrong thinkers and pointing out how monstrous they *really* are.
We've entered a great Ad Hominem phase of democracy, if you can even call it that anymore. Here's what I've noticed about Democrats in Montana. With ever more frequency, they apply the right-think test to people, and have lost ground in the legislature since I wrote Monsters 10 years ago. A lot of ground. I tried to point that out at another blog a number of years ago and was told I wasn't thinking right because Democrats held all five major positions in state government, the state Supreme Court (in a thoroughly non-partisan way, of course), and both Senate seats. I'm stating the same here, and to any who wish to defend the stratagems and right thinking of Montana Democrats with the same argument? Well come at me, bro'. Tim Fox is our Attorney General. Our legislature falls increasingly under the control of the worst elements of bat-crap crazy. And about those Senate seats ... Here's the real takeaway that tends to send me over the edge. For ten years the argument has been made that people will tire of the Republican Monsters and then Utopia. To those so thoroughly convinced that if we just boycott, silence and vilify anyone who doesn't think the right way, how's that plan working out for you? Another website tried their level best to turn Art Wittich into a monster. Yes, he's an awful human being and represents the worst of governance. He also almost single handedly blocked the best job creation infrastructure bill the Montana leg has seen in quite some time. The monster punked us all
I am a democrat because I am convinced that the only way we can have a functioning society that works for all is if all voices are heard and represented, even the wrong-thinking ones. (Irony alert!) Please don't think I'm putting on holy airs, here. I'll argue til the cows go to slaughter, and I don't always observe social niceties. It is fun to misbehave. But I try very very hard to let people think for themselves, even if I think they are idiots. You can't have a democracy where certain ideas themselves become an evil, and getting along becomes a greater goal than social justice and rule of law.
To anyone who has been blogging for a while, I strongly suggest taking a hiatus. It does offer some decent perspective, if not clarity or wisdom. When fun stuff happens while reading blogs, you begin to sit back and examine, without the urge to 'fight the good fight', and get your two cents in before anyone else.
As many good liberal thinkers here in Montana re-fight the Civil War with rhetoric to define who the "bad guys" really are, in vainglorious attempt to end racism in 1865, certain arguments stand out as both amusing and juvenile. My favorite to make fun of is the middle school argument "they started it". Technically, yes, the Confederate state of South Carolina did fire the first shots of the Civil War on a Union held fort within South Carolina. It doesn't matter what era you live in, an enemy holding within your borders is a threat. Faulting the Confederacy for reacting to the provocation of such a threat is the same as crying to mommy that your sibling 'touched you'. The argument that 'they started it' is simply a way to pass blame onto another, a foolish way that denies any complexity to the situations presented to people by history.
At another good liberal Montana website, pointing out that a complex situation is not subject to juvenile ignorance is cause for the equally juvenile threat of being banned. There's a significant problem with that. As James Conner notes, only education will teach people the history and import of the Civil War, and any understanding that is coerced into a particular view is only subject to the correction of time, generations learning facts and truth. I don't have to suggest; I can state with absolute certainty that replacing one form of propaganda with another equally foolish does nothing to advance education. The South removed itself from the Union because the inclusion of Kansas as a free state would have given Congress the ability to dictate the Southern economy built on slave labor. The balance of power was shifting such that a Constitutional Right would no longer be guaranteed, as the Southerners thought. Tell me again, who fired first?
It is in no way surprising that Democrats want to use coercive learning to advance what they see as their causes. Faux 'News' has been doing that successfully for years. Sadly, people aren't as stupid as many, agenda driven, think that they are. The argument "they started it" doesn't really wash anymore, with anyone save the dimmest who have forgotten the wise words of the Bible's chapter of Proverbs:
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
I've spent so very long digging into the minds of Republicants. It's only been recently, like maybe the last 12 years, that I've used greater synaptic effort to figure out the minds of the left. Confession: I'm no where near done with either effort. But I do notice things. For instance, in reading the words of many leftists online, I find traits that show particular class bias. I'm not writing about party here; so get the word "Democrat" out of your head. Most of the the folk I notice wouldn't be caught dead being seen as a "Democrat". This isn't about party and it isn't about voting. It's about people and the distinctions that define where they stand to judge others.
I've noticed this: Many good leftists feel an immense sense of accomplishment when they perform menial but complex tasks like carpentry, or electrical or plumbing. They have challenged and conquered the realm of the low brow and isn't that special. I don't often see it as such. It's an accomplishment, no doubt, and worthy of praise. But that isn't what most of these folk are looking for, praise of accomplishment. It's rather praise for their superiority over the lesser, those who do such things for a living. Rather a bold statement: 'I know more, I can do more'. No they can't, because it's not about what was done but the doer. The focus should have been what needed to be done.
I know many people of resource, and most of the good ones feel a sense of accomplishment and gratitude when they can get someone of competence to fulfill their needs. That is actually to be respected, in my view. I know too many people who have competence and their sense of pride (what a dreadfully not sin) comes from being able to do for those in need. They have the competence because they have done the necessary when they had to, for money or otherwise. Yet, here in 'Merica, we have a discourse so unreal, about job creators and the working folk, the middle class. What is missed is so very basic. Who fulfills needs and what is the value of doing for ourselves?
This stuff is so obvious, and basic and in your face. The right knows what they have to lose. But the left lies to themselves constantly about who is worthy and who isn't. I could go off on a screed right now about Baby-boomers and their delusions, but I haven't the time or interest. It's just this, people are who they are and all value should be equal to effort. You're not a stud because you once used a tape measure or watched a home improvement show. And you certainly aren't more liberal fighting for minimum wage or against income inequality while looking down on the people who do the very things you're so fricking awesome for doing once.
I graduated from Montana State University in 1992 with a BS in Philosophy, Honors Highest Distinction. This should not be an issue.
Four times in the last three years I have been called a liar, a phony, because certainly a white trash rural product couldn't be that smart. Three out of those four are Baby-Boomers, so much more intelligent than the rest of us that they can read the abilities of all around them. Why not, it was those same people who couldn't understand that a Nigra could become President of these United States.
I'm tired of having my abilities questioned, so here it is. I graduated college in 1992, the first of my surname to do so. That's my diploma, and all you doubters can go fuck yourselves. For four years I worked for a despicable alcoholic to pay for that schooling. It cost me that respect of family and two wives. That may not have been the greatest of life choices, but I still did it. Listening to assholes online tell me I couldn't accomplish such a feat is so very infuriating, not because of anything I've done, but rather because the privileged think that a degree is philosophy is only the domain of their effort.
I didn't have announcements made, so I can't scan those. This is the graduation booklet proclaiming the graduating class of 1992. Notice please right there. That's my name. Robert Lynn Kailey. I have a few symbols after my name. Here's what they mean:
University Honors, Honors Program highest distinction. I wore the gold brocade as one of the happiest moments of my life. When you grow up blue color, told by your father that "Our family doesn't go to college" and realize that you've done something special? You feel a sense of pride. You feel that you've done something well.
But no. A couple of privileged assholes who don't have any idea what struggles you worked through are more than welcome to tell the world how you've lied about that accomplishment, so small and yet so important. Fine. I think that's the nature of the Intertubes anymore. Anything that can be writ will be writ. Of course it's true because people read it on the Internet. What shocks me and saddens me the most is how so many 'good' liberal and progressive' folk are willing to attack with class bias such that if you don't agree with them you must be 'low brow', a 'mouth breather', a loser and a liar. They will happily tell you how much we need to raise the minimum wage such that their waitress makes a living wage, but spew nothing but venom and lie at that waitress should she actually disagree with them on any particular point. How dare someone of working background actually think themselves a human equal? There is no competition for intellect. You either have it or you don't, and neither is a moral failing. The only fail is to think there is such a standard, a willful stupidity. And sadly, it's on the left that this most prevalent.
It seems apropriate to point out that what the conspiracy theorists care about is every bit as deep and significant as what they accuse others of. Climate denial seems based on the profit scientists can garner. The killing of Osama Bin Laden seems based on what witnesses can garner. To some, everybody's got an angle, except themselves. Uhh, no.
Rob Kailey wrote this. Rob Kailey stands behind this. Rob Kailey thinks this the truth, or at least as close as most of us come to such a thing. Believing in conspiracy theories doesn't make you important, or special. It makes you the very thing you tend to revile: human.