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Archive for the ‘fake patriotism’ Category

I’ve been working 16 hour days the past few days fixing some stuff that needed fixing ASAP. Not going to talk more about that, other than to mention that Amazon has killed the performance of their platform with fixes intended to improve security, and move on.

So anyhow, we learned this week that Cheeto Mussolini doesn’t know the definition of the word “treason”. In case you’re wondering, it’s the one and only crime defined in the Constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

So basically: If you’re giving aid and comfort to our nation’s enemies in some overt act, then it’s treason. So, let’s see what Cheeto Mussolini thinks is treason:

Not clapping along with the Republicans during the State of the Union address.

Err…. looking for that in the Constitution… not finding it….

But hey, the Constitution is just a piece of paper anyhow, right? Right?!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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Yes, the above quotes are accurate. John Wayne (real name: Marion Robert Morrison) really did say those things.

My father detested John Wayne. But not because of the above quotes in support of white supremacy, which my father likely agree with until the last decade of his life when my father realized he’d been wrong. Instead, he had a more personal beef with John Wayne: “He’s a goddamn coward”, my dad always said, and also regularly referred to him as “Marion”, implying that he was womanly.

Thinking more about it, I think it was the fact that John Wayne was this pro-war icon that most people thought was a war hero (though he never served) that chaffed my father most. My father volunteered and served during the Korean War, like his older brothers had volunteered and served during WW2. But my father never pretended to be something he wasn’t because of that. My father never pretended to be a war hero, he was quite clear that the reasons he joined the Navy were a) to avoid being drafted into the Army and sent to charge up Hamburger Hill, and b) to learn a skill for civilian life. He did his duty, he learned a skill, he got out at the end of his enlistment (and the papers I found say that they wanted to retain him and even offered him a sizable retention bonus for the time but he wouldn’t re-enlist), he even reported back for duty when called up as a reservist during the Gary Powers U2 war scare, but he never claimed to be a war hero.

Then there was this total *fraud*, John Wayne, who never outright stated he was a war hero but implied he was one without having ever served… my father wasn’t a fan of fakes and frauds. My father was a deeply flawed man, but that wasn’t one of his flaws.

So anyhow, basically the only time we ever saw John Wayne movies was when we went to other people’s houses. When a family friend bought the first color TV in our circle of friends, we all went over there to watch a movie, and it was a John Wayne movie. My father enjoyed chortling at the color on Marion’s face. “Look at that nose! What a drunkard!” he said. “And those rosy cheeks? What a little girl!” I have a suspicion that this family friend didn’t appreciate the color commentary (pun intended).

But anyhow, that’s my story of why I grew up not being an admirer of John Wayne. What I’ve learned since then has made me detest the man even more. Just out of curiosity… what was your impression of John Wayne when you were young? Just curious.

– Badtux the Curious Penguin

Added: An appropriate song by the Drive-by Truckers, Patterson Hood singing about his great-uncle George and the sands of Iwo Jima.

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Thought for today:

Nobody ever died for a piece of fabric. People have died for their country, for their buddies, or just because God is an iron, but never for a piece of fabric.

A piece of fabric is just that — a piece of fabric.

— Badtux the “Symbolism is overrated” Penguin

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Gregory Burleson gets sentenced for pointing a gun at Federal employees.

Sixty-eight years. And you have to serve at least 3/4ths of your sentence in Federal prisons, so he’s not going to get out until… well, he’s 53, so let’s just say “dead.”

Good.

– Badtux the Vicious Penguin

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The South gave the North two options after the Civil War: draconian rule by the North enforced by hundreds of thousands of soldiers that would be resisted by guerrilla warfare, or they could allow the South to re-join the Union on an equal basis as long as they pretended to no longer have slavery and pretended to be part of the United States. Given that one option meant generations of Union soldiers in the South and the other option meant peace, it’s no wonder that in the compromise of 1876, the North accepted the South’s offer of the second option.

Still, during the ten years that the North attempted to enforce democracy in the South, they should have taken the opportunity to hang the whole lot of traitors who were the top military and civilian leadership of the Confederacy by the neck for treason. Instead they let those people go free and create the legend of the “Lost Cause” where it wasn’t about slavery, it was about a way of life, and the North won not because they had better generals and better political leadership (which, at the end of the war, was 100% true — Lincoln had weeded out the weak leadership ruthlessly and arrived at a team that was ludicrously effective), but because of sheer industrial might.

The reality is that the South had better guns and powder for most of the war, and if everybody who had been drafted had shown up to fight, would have been able to match the North man-for-man. The South lost because of failures of its political and military leadership, not because of lack of manpower or lack of weapons — but by allowing the traitors to live, the North allowed the traitors to re-write history to where they were the valiant victims of Northern industrial might, rather than incompetents who lost the war through their own stupidity and arrogance. By allowing the traitors to live, the North gave credence to their arguments that treason was an ordinary and respectable thing. Thus the North, eventually, lost the Civil War, if not in 1876, then most certainly when a tool in the pay of the Russians became President with Russian help because treason — accepting the aid of a foreign power in expectation of quid pro quo — has been rendered an ordinary and respectable thing.

— Badtux the Geopolitical History Penguin

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So last Sunday was Flag Day, and I spent it annoyed. Why? Because it’s bullshit, that’s why.

First of all, I want to put to rest the bullshit that a flag “represents our country.” If you look at the history of flags, for the vast majority of history, including ours, they served one purpose, and one purpose only: identifying which side was which on a battlefield by sticking up above the masses of men so that you could see who was who. And that’s pretty much how they are in most of the rest of the world. Nobody outside of the United States flies flags. Hell, you probably see more American flags in Iran than Iranian flags, albeit they have the words “Death to the Great Satan” inscribed above them.

So why do we have a flag fetish here in the United States? That seems to have been part of the militarization of American society surrounding the World Wars and the Cold War. The flag is representative of the military. The military is to be fetishized as better than the rest of society. Ergo, we must worship the flag as a corporal reminder of the military. Thus President Woodrow Wilson issuing a presidential proclamation of Flag Day in 1916, on the eve of WW1, and Congress formally declaring Flag Day in 1947 in the wake of WW2 and the beginning of the Cold War.

Thing is, I was raised around vets and military people, and volunteered myself. I know goddamn well what the military is or is not. It’s people doing a necessary job, a job that’s damn messy and dangerous, sure, but a job, not something to fetishize. And the thousands of homeless vets here in California, I’m sure they’re really happy that the flag they fought under has a day all its own. Right between eating a meal at the soup kitchen and crawling into a dirty sleeping bag under the bushes by the creek, I’m sure they, like, are just happy as clams that there’s a day all about celebrating the military by flying flags. Or maybe, just maybe, they wish that we cared enough about our military people to, like, make sure they got food and shelter after they get out of the service? ya think?

America is not its military, and a day devoted to fetishizing the fantasy that America is its military is a day I don’t really find a lot of joy in. Maybe that’s just me, though. What say you?

– Badtux the Grumpy Penguin

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