This Ferguson thing must be very confusing to the itty-bitty minds of many of the good citizens of the USA. Oh, sure, there are questions being formulated in said minds – like, “How come those damned black people are getting away with this shit?”, predictably, asked by white people. And, if you’re black, the question might be “How come these effing white people keep getting away with this shit?” Each may be a valid question, but it entirely depends on who you are. The better question to ask is probably “How the HELL did we get here?”
Well, thanks to ongoing cognitive research, we have the answer! We got here, to exactly this place, BECAUSE WE ARE PEOPLE! We aren’t descended from dogs, who would have sorted this all out right quick and gone back to business as usual, peeing on trees and sniffing butts. No, we are descended from primates, who bluff, overpower, kill, remember, form opinions, always think they’re right, and absolutely cannot fathom why someone else would not totally buy into their personal point of view. Almost incidentally, each one of us makes ourselves the star of our own reality show, with our brains performing as gatekeepers, subtly rearranging our perceptions to match what we are already prepared to believe, while simultaneously making us look special and wonderful to ourselves. Where seldom is heard a discouraging word! Where the skies are not cloudy all day!
As you might surmise, this is not helpful. We do the stupidest, most vile things under the auspices of “principle”, which is just belief on steroids. The term “true believer”, coined in 1951 by Eric Hoffer, addresses this fundamental human character flaw, which reflects today’s Tea Party as well as today’s extremist Islam offshoot, ISIS. Does some American Christian nutbag yelling about how you’re going to roast in Hell have any significant difference from some jihadist yelling about how how everyone in America is going to roast in hell? I would say – not really. They each think they are RIGHT, which is the most dangerous, most progress-retarding, most wasteful notion that ever Nature placed into the human head. That’s how American politicians can claim torture is okay. It’s how a whole segment of our American society can be systemically, brutally repressed, murdered with depressing regularity, and incarcerated in massive numbers.Their victimizers “stand on principle”, which is to say they found something that already agrees with their basic orientation towards doing whatever must be done to impose their beliefs upon the world and thus validate their own fictional stories about themselves.
Let’s talk about “confirmation bias“. Basically, this is the all-too human tendency to accept and remember ONLY evidence that agrees with one’s preconceptions, and devalue or ignore everything else. That’s why tons of Americans still to this day believe that in the first Gulf War, when Iraq first threatened to invade Kuwait, the U.S. said it would take no action. Yet a huge majority falsely “knew” that the U.S. said it would support Kuwait militarily. Apparently, the need to feel wonderful about America being noble n’ stuff took precedence over reality.
I actually had an acquaintance once ask me “why we can’t just accept that America is a great place instead of hearing negative stuff about it all the time.” Hm. I was not aware that reality generated a negative spin. Unless, of course, said “negativity” did not agree with her carefully groomed preconceptions of America as the place that is noble and free and untroubled by confirmation bias of its citizens because it doesn’t exist in her version of reality. The abysmal treatment of the black minority in America doesn’t exist. The Native American genocide doesn’t exist. The stupidity of invading Iraq doesn’t exist. There’s a separate story in every head that accommodates those factual occurrances, twists them, and throws right out the window that which doesn’t agree with a person’s preconceived notions of the “shining city on the hill”.
Here’s another massive failure of the American ability to interpret reality: Ronald Reagan. From many conservative accounts, he was a saint, perfection, godlike in his prescience and political acumen. From many liberal points of view, he was an overrated hack, already falling prey to his Alzheimer’s disease early in his Presidential tenure, and about as bright as Clever Hans, the numbers-tapping horse. I suppose I should point out that, being human myself, I am prey to the very confirmation bias that I explore here, and thus tend to drift towards the liberal perspective. But how, exactly, do conservatives defend the view of Reagan being a fiscal conservative when he ran up the deficit to unheard-of heights? By the time he left office in 1989, Ronald Reagan more than equaled the entire debt burden produced by the previous 200 years of American history. And how about the 2nd Amendmenters? How do they maintain their concept of Reagan as a stout guntotin’ cowboy-for-justice when, before the National Rifle Association became what it was today, Reagan worked with them to ban guns? Aieee! Major cognitive dissonance! Solution: write that stuff out of your personal database, or at the least, morph it into something that DOES match your preconceived notions of who and what Reagan was. It’s easy! People do it every day!
And now, to the elephant currently standing in everyone’s living room: climate change. The climate is changing, boy-o. Projections indicate that after 2047, the mean air temperature worldwide will exceed even the highest annual temperature from 1860 to 2005. The industrialized world has pumped 365 BILLION metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere between 1751 and 2012. How, exactly, is it possible to ignore that? But, there you go! If you already have a conservatively-inclined temperament – that is, one that fixes incoming information to match how you view yourself rather that reality – weeeell,the result is, you can ignore stuff like that, or at the very least, rationalize it.
The worst part of all this? None of these people are ever going to consider themselves accountable for their erroneous role in guiding public policy, in which countless citizens of this planet will likely die horrible deaths as a result of. Research shows that the only people who are actually able to have an unbiased viewpoint of the world are the severely depressed. Depression somehow frees the mind of all the constraints, such as unsubstantiated optimism and the concept that it is somehow possible to completely disdain and disregard science while simultaneously assuming science will save your ass. Well, in my opinion, we need more depressed people in public office. Thomas Eagleton would’ve been so much better a choice for us than, say, that doofus Ronald Reagan.
But Reagan made us feel so GOOD about ourselves. Through evidence collected by cognitive scientists, it would appear that we all think we are special and wonderful people and always have been, but it took Ronald Reagan to recognize just how special and wonderful we are, despite the fact that he was completely cooked-ass crazy on practically everything. That’s some serious acting, convincing so many people that only Jesus Reagan truly understood them, when in fact, he was just telling them what they wanted to hear.
We don’t need a pill to fix depression. We need a pill to induce it.
Here’s some good ol’ boys from Open Carry Texas exercising their right to scare people and be uncivil. Consequence: pretty much nothing.
Here’s Josh H. Crawford, shot dead at Walmart for apparently waving around a pellet gun he picked up while in the toy aisle.
Gosh, what could possibly be the difference between these guys?
OOOOOOH, I GET IT. Only one of them is BLACK.
Matt Shea, in case anyone cares, is currently representing the Spokane Valley’s 4th district in Olympia. THANK GOD he is up for reelection this term, and hopefully he will be replaced in said workspace at that time! Because, he is a freaking head case! Granted, the Valley has an uncomfortable propensity to vote overwhelmingly for anybody with an “R” or “GOP” after his name (and it is invariably a “he”). But, come on, Valleyites! You can do better! Write in your dog’s name!
Matt is a totally clean-cut white boy, pure as the driven. He likes to spend his vacation down on the ranch – Clive Bundy’s ranch, that is. Clive, in case you haven’t been buffeted by this news yet, is an unapologetic racist. In fact, I don’t think he even reflects on some of the stuff he says as kind of, out there. Like the “Black people were better off as slaves” remark. That seems a little loaded, but he felt totally fine about laying it out there, because he doesn’t get it. “Not getting it” isn’t stupid exactly, but it’s somewhere in the ballpark. It’s only when you don’t learn from the reception of your egregiously asinine comments that you prove yourself irredeemably stupid. Clive is not a learner.
Matt isn’t much of a learner either. In 2009 Larry Stickney and Gary Randall founded a new organization to try to repeal Washington’s recently passed domestic-partnership bill, according to records filed with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. They called the group “Protect Marriage Washington”. Three lawmakers joined them on the board: one of whom was Representative Matt Shea (R-4).
I guess “Protect Marriage Washington” wasn’t a winner, because the last time anybody posted on their official site was 2012. But the tone of the whole thing was decidedly homophobic, in that the gays had a “lobby” and were gonna inundate good God-fearing government representatives like Matt Shea.
Plus, you’d think that Matt would’ve soured on the whole marriage thing because of his knock-down, drag-out divorce with wife Lisa. Lisa had to invoke not one, not two, but three restraining orders against pro-marriage dude Matt, plus a protection order. In Washington, restraining orders tell you to stop doing something that is bugging another person. Protection orders tell you to stop hurting another person, which, I suspect, includes saying threatening things to that person that scare the shit out of them and makes them think they’re gonna die.
So, Matt loves marriage so much (and hates gays even more), he wants other people to experience the delights and pleasures therein, such as fear, threats, and legal intervention. Long story short: Matt is a domestic abuser.
Then there was the messy election cycle of 2012, where a cute little CPA name of Amy Biviano decided to run against him. Things deteriorated. In May of 2012, Shea’s campaign signs were vandalized with swastikas and profanity, and he saw it as a hate crime, kinda like lynching black people and sending Jews to concentration camps. (Just so you know, it doesn’t make the cut.) “This is clearly an attempt to threaten, harass and intimidate me and my family,” he wrote on his campaign site. Biviano later accused Shea of “intimidation” when he posted photographs on Facebook of himself smiling outside her house and refused to remove them.
So let’s see here. A bunch of wild cards run around the streets drawing graffiti on Matt’s signs. Okay, but I doubt Amy Biviano was on her knees in the weeds with a spray can full of black Rustoleum, and probably had nothing to do with the vandalization. Judging from the amazing things Republicans do and then blame other people for – like starting the impeach-Obama natter that promptly backfired on them big time, so they had to offload responsibility in a hurry – it would not be a stretch to think some of his own people did it, just to make the news cycle.
But the Facebook thing? Maximum creepiness. Controlling, smug, self-righteous, and completely unprofessional.
But then Matt IS creepy, controlling, and self-righteous. There was that gun thing, remember? In November of 2011, Shea “pulled a gun during a confrontation with another motorist…in what police reports describe as a road rage incident.” As this speeder guy Leroy approached the stop light at Main/Monroe, where the street widens to four lanes, a truck-drivin’ Matt Shea sped up and cut him off. Leroy honked his horn and cut in front of Matt, who then flipped him off. Leroy said that the truck then pulled behind him and he could see Matt pointing his finger at him. As Leroy described Matt pointing his finger, Matt simulated a gun with his index finger and thumb. Leroy told us that when he saw Matt pointing his finger at him, Leroy flipped Matt off.
Okay, stupid driving, guys flipping each other off. Happens every day. But then …
Leroy said Matt pulled into the lane beside him and reached behind the passenger seat of his truck. Leroy saw Matt pull what he believed to be a gun, out from behind the seat. Leroy described it as a “black, semi-automatic” handgun. Leroy said, “I freaked out”. . .said he was driving, “crazy”. . . When Leroy saw the gun, he accelerated and began swerving around cars to get away from Matt. Leroy said that he feared for his life and his only goal once he saw the gun, was to get as far away as possible. Leroy said that he broke the law in his attempts to get away because he was scared.
With little or no concern for the safety of other motorists, pedestrians, or kids playing in neighborhood, Republican State Representative Matt Shea chased Leroy with his illegal handgun up South Monroe to 29th Ave. The gun was loaded. One or both cars were traveling through the residential area in considerable excess of the speed limit.
That’s the important part. And doesn’t mention til later that Matt’s weapons permit was years out of date, and thus, invalid. Of course, Matt engaged in the usual slimy-politician game of claiming another witness that would repudiate all the worst stuff about him, but Matt never was able or willing to produce this mythical person. But the bottom line? MATT SHEA WAS BEING A TOTAL JERK. Just who I want making laws for me – a guy who doesn’t follow laws AT ALL.
Gosh, sometimes people get caught up in the heat of the moment, y’know. But sometimes there’s a pattern, too. Like: Shea has also been the focus of news articles related to angry outbursts at his legislative office and a report that he was disarmed by a commander while he served in Iraq due to anger management issues.
This is one pissed-off hombre. And now, the latest on Matt Shea: In a criminal investigation “done by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office last month, police records show a woman was dining at the Rancho Viejo in June when she overheard a group of men talking. She told investigators they were talking about “the Bundy Ranch, the Militia, snipers, special forces, churches [and] Oath Keepers.” She says they were talking about a “thermal night-vision monocular and were passing it around for everyone to look at.” The woman says she heard the names Stewart Rhodes and Ryan Payne and upon searching them on Google, she found Rhodes was the man doing most of the talking. Rhodes is the founder of the Oath Keepers. According to the report, the woman “didn’t hear all of the conversations, but said she heard enough that it concerned her and she thought maybe these guys were planning some kind of attack.” The woman took pictures of the group, which includes Matt Shea and Rhodes, and reported the incident to sheriff’s deputies. The sheriff’s sergeant who investigated wrote in his report that he was passing on the information and pictures to the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Jeepers. They tell us all the time, “See something? Say something!” I salute this fine citizen for trying to look out for my best interests! Because I would’ve been totally creeped out too! Shades of Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing, which killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others, in case you forgot!
Matt Shea. In the news AGAIN. What the HELL does it take to convince people that he is the WORST kind of politician to crawl out from the scum and scurf of the slimy-politician’s muckhole? It is DISGUSTING.
Quadruple ick with extra vanilla. ICK ICK ICK ICK ICK.
And the big question is: WHY OH WHY does anybody VOTE for this character? He’s a horror show. Just because he sports an “R” does not make him worthy of office.