Friday, May 23, 2008


no federal agency has the authority to issue 'official' rulings legally binding on civilians or civilian groups. Consequently, different interpretations of various provisions of the Code may continue to be made.


Barak Obama must be seen as the man to beat these days, or at least the man to slime. I've been getting an increasing number of e-mail screeds excoriating him for singing the National Anthem without his hand on his heart. Sometimes the story has him pledging allegiance. Often it includes his appearing without the plastic patriotism pin or pledging to give the country away to "the ragheads."

The latest issue includes references to the flag Code which show Obama to be in violation for not making the required salute, although of course that code clearly states that these rules do not apply to and cannot be made to apply to civilians and any behavior is acceptible as long as respect is shown. Just a little bit of information makes the lie go down, to paraphrase the song.

Much is being made of Michelle Obama's “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” It's really impressive to watch the faux outrage build up to an hysterical psychodrama. I'm having trouble remembering the last time I was really proud of this country and of course her adult lifetime rivals the age of my favorite shoes. Sure, I'm proud of the part we played in the two World Wars, I'm proud that we landed on the moon, but I'm not proud of Slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, the Trail of Tears, Wounded knee, the battle of Little Big Horn, Joe McCarthy, the internment of Japanese American citizens, the Gulf of Tonkin hoax, the training of the Central American death squads to rape nuns and murder peasants, the sale of weapons to Iran while they were holding US prisoners, and yes, the invasion of Iraq and its attendant hoaxes. Being unable to feel shame is the mark of the sociopath, not the patriot.

So I guess Michelle and I along with her husband aren't Patriotic; at least as long as patriotic is defined by being overwhelmingly proud and elated at every foul, stupid and misguided thing our government has done.

I've yet to receive any of these sneering, cynical and indignant assaults on John McCain, not that there aren't any outraged opponents of the man who waffled about torture and has steadfastly promoted a war while steadfastly opposing anything designed to improve health care benefits for those returning from it. John McCain voted against veteran's benefits in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 and continues to vote against anything designed to benefit the VA hospitals even when (and perhaps because) the bill would be payed by closing tax loopholes.

But John McCain is a patriot - he wears a pin to prove it. He supports the troops as long as it doesn't require putting Halliburton's money where his mouth is.

The VA hospital system is said to be the best health care system, public or private, in the country but the privatization pirates, wearing their patriot pins and waving flags, have been trying to board it and sink it for years. John would rather have veterans go to private health care providers, the same ones who regularly bilk Medicare and deny claims that eat into profits. Why? Ask the lobbyists for the health care industry, the lobbyists for the Cerner Corporation, for instance, who have replaced a high functioning, open source electronic information system with a private, closed source package at the expense of veterans. Why? Could it be because the VA is admired world wide for efficiency and thus contradicts the Great Buffoonicator's proclamation that Government can't do anything?

Who cares? The web of Republican reasoning isn't worth unraveling and there's only a spider at the middle of it anyway. Needless to say, those who scream about flags and pins and national pride the most have their agendas, and one man's patriotism is another man's treason. Oh, and yes, While McCain sold out the vets again, Obama voted for improved benefits. Tell me again about how patriotism is about pins and flags.


d nova said...

'sfunny, when i was a kid we got taught in school 2 put hand on heart during pledge but not during anthem. guess they changed the custom, but i didn't know till i followed ur link.

it occurs 2 me that also when i was a kid almost everybody complained often n openly about the govt. now, apparently only gops are allowed 2 criticize. everybody else who dares say anything negative is anti-american.

one mo memory: in late '80s some reporter found a videotape of a meeting of top planners for reagan's '84 reelection campaign. they made a decision to focus their strategy on fear, trust, n symbolism. far as i know, the news report disappeared after one day.

Capt. Fogg said...

I wonder about people who put so much store in these petty flag rituals. It seems to border on religion and a lot of it is more recent than people realize, but if that's the measure of patriotism, we might as well erase the word from the dictionary.