Don’t Equate Protest With Disrespect

President Donald Trump catapulted the issue of growing numbers of athletes opting to “take a knee” during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner before their contests further into the limelight this past weekend, jumping in on the side of the hyper-patriotic conservative reactionaries who have been, predictably, popping gaskets over this form of protest since former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick first decided to sit out the anthem around this time last year. Trump spewed a typically vindictive, smirking and self-satisfied incitement, urging NFL owners to respond to protests by terminating any player who dares to take a knee.

“Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

The president doubled down on Twitter Saturday afternoon.

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect. … our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

I wanted to write about this, but where to start? A sitting President who, already widely accused of white nationalist proclivities, profanely demands the revocation of fundamental rights for a prominent group of predominantly black young men who dare to speak up for a righteous cause? The now-customary Trump tactic of purposefully throwing a polarizing, divisive tantrum on the heels a a particularly bad news week? The pride-inspiring response of the NFL which, from top to bottom, demonstrated an admirable front of solidarity?

No, what gets me is the cheap rhetorical trick of equating the flag with veterans, and common protest with disrespect for veterans–a false equivalency that trivializes both the symbol of our nation and the men and women who have stood up to defend it or, too often, project its ideological will.

If one insists on waxing symbolic over the stars and stripes, it is compulsory to understand that the flag stands for so much more than military service, representing the core values–the unrealized ideals–upon which this nation was founded. Not just what we are, but what we purport to be, what we must aspire to be. Chief among these is free speech, particularly free speech in dissent.

The glory of the flag is that even the most disrespectful act against it as a symbol and, by extension, the institutions it represents, is turned into a sign of the strength. A protester burning a flag is at once showing her anger and disappointment while simultaneously demonstrating the freedoms the flag represents. In burning the flag, one proves its inviolability. You can’t really destroy the flag–burning its fibers only proves what it is supposed to stand for.

The flag does not need defense against committed young men who kneel before it to express their legitimate frustration and discontent in an inherently gentle act. Indeed, the flag protects them like a shield. In the same way, our veterans do not need to be protected from peaceful citizens who clasp hands, take a knee, and bow their heads quietly. Those veterans fought to preserve the right for these men to do so and, what’s more, both flag and fighting men and women are stronger than an imagined insult.

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Autumn Coming: Time For Pumpkin Flavored Everything

We recently had the first crisp evening that hinted at the changes to come, that feeling in the air that native Westsylvanians recognize as “a Football Night.” In the verges, the annual flora are showing wear, the color of goldenrod lines country roads and the counts of our prolific whitetail deer seen dead along the highways, stirred to their violent ends by the hormonal surges of the rut and the the instinctive understanding that food will soon be much less abundant. In the trees, the earliest leaves are already beginning to flush, and in the bars and coffee shops, restaurants and bakeries, the taps and pitchers and shelves are suddenly and predictably weighted by food and drink flavored with “Pumpkin Spice.” If you expected me to offer consolation, I apologize. I have none to give. Indeed, the words that might help are these: be strong and resolute. Like all tribulations, this too will pass.
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D.A.H.O.F. Returns: Blake Farenthold, Masterduelist

House GOPNobody  ever accused Mrs. Farenthold of raising a gentleman, and unconventionally telegenic Blake Farenthold, apparent owner of website http://www.blowme.org and republican congressman from east Texas best known for a particularly unseemly sexual harassment complaint lodged against him (click here, beware eeeww factor), is not content to rest on his laurels. He likes to say that ethics investigators dismissed that charge, but only after he reached an undisclosed out of court settlement with the victim.

In a recent interview, the former right-wing radio schlock jock wanna-be lashed out at Duckythe failure of the dysfunctional Trump government’s inability to conjure up sufficient support to pass its deeply flawed repeal-and-replace of the Affordable Healthcare Act, placing the blame on “some female senators from the Northeast,” according to The Associated Press. Unable to muzzle his drooling yapper, the dashing troglodyte suggested what he felt was an appropriate solution. “If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” he bragged.

First of all: no, he wouldn’t. As Democratic Senator commented to Maine Republican Susan Collins, one the targets of Farenthold’s bile, “”Trust me — you know why he challenged you to a duel? Because you could beat the shit out of him.” Other Republicans who have come out strongly against the deeply flawed “TrumpCare” scheme include Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), either of which could easily thrash their corpulent colleague from way down south in Dixie.

True to form for all loudmouth bullies, Farenthold changed his tune once the story went viral, insisting that his venal rhetoric was all in good fun, his comments reflecting that ““Like the President, I am sick and tired of the left-wing biased media trying to make something out of nothing. This was clearly tongue in cheek”

Note the key phrase there: Like The President.

Plenty more to read about Farenthold, another one of those redneck republicans too full of themselves to even try to hide and hold back the stupid from foaming out of their mouths, and for this, Blake Farenthold has been  nominated to the “back in business” Dumb Ass Hall of Fame.

*The Dumb Ass Hall of Fame regrets squandering the opportunities presented by the current democratically elected leadership of the United States of America and is, once again, welcoming nominations.

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Fake News Busted! Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

“The framed copy of Time Magazine was hung up in at least four of President Trump’s golf clubs, from South Florida to Scotland. Filling the entire cover was a photo of Donald Trump….”

“At 5 p.m. Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Time said that the magazine had asked the Trump Organization to remove the phony cover from the walls where it was on display.”

Hilarious.
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Heartless Killers….

Ever look at a headline and you think wow, someone found that interesting enough to write about? (Quit smirking. This one doesn’t count.)

Screenshot_13I knew these brats were up to no good. But who knew J. Crew was still a thing? Their crap never fit me and always cost too much, but the pictures were pretty. I looked at the web site and was surprised how “mall cheap” the stuff they’re trying to peddle looks. Back in my day J. Crew was all full of khaki and muted pastels, clothes that models wore on pretend sailing adventures and picnics by the river, soft cotton sweaters that looked like they’d feel really nice between one’s hand and a preppie pixie’s left breast.

And Millennials, soulless destroyers that they are, are strangling all that. Just out of spite, I’m sure. It’s the pent-up fury of a generation’s collectively denied sexual dysfunction. Probably.

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Why Teachers Suck …

Source: Why Teachers Suck …

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Thanks, Mom

My mom just had a birthday, but we’re not celebrating it until tomorrow since she was away on the actual day. We’re going to get out the grill, burn some food, have something bad for us for desert. By coincidence, one of my nephews posted this on his facebook* page:

I DON’T THINK MOST GIRLS REALIZE HOW HANDSOME MY MOM SAYS I AM.

My immediate response was laughing agreement, “I know, right?” But then I got to thinking: It’s been a long time since I paid any attention to how women respond to me, because the best part of being old (though not as old as my mom….

…is just not caring what anyone thinks about anything. The default response of most mature folks over 50 is “Screw you, assclown!” 

But who among us hasn’t thought after some chick (or dude, if that’s how you roll) does that snotty tongue-click “tch” thing, that the obviously blind jerk needs a sit down with mom?

I actually believed I was handsome well into my teenage years, thanks to my mom, until that day that I really looked in the mirror and was, like, “Oh, so that’s what the problem is.” Fortunately, by that time, I’d already started to not give many damns–and if girls are attracted to anything, it’s guys who just don’t give a damn. The less damns you have to give, the more what you do have are in demand.

And hey, mom: thanks for that.

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Trump: The Joke That Keeps on Giving

So much for being the most powerful man on earth, the Great Yuge Orange One has irrefutably become nothing more than a laughingstock the the other leaders in the world, a punchline to the kind of not-really-funny dirty joke that just makes folks wince.

Here are Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Juha Sipila, Bjarni Benediktsson, Erna Solberg and Stefan Lofven, the prime ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden respectively, getting their goof on at the USA’s expense.
Sweden's PM Lofven with his counterparts Rasmussen of Denmark, Solberg of Norway, Sipila of Finland and Benediktsson of Iceland hold a soccer ball during their meeting in Bergen

And here is more, just they never old. Not ever.

 

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The Closer You Look, The Weirder….

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Hellbenders Fighting In My Back Yard

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Grant Township Photo shamelessly pilfered from The Indiana Gazette, my favorite small town newspaper. Gazette

There is a nice article right now in Rolling Stone on a historic and heroic struggle that is happening just a few miles up the road from me. A while back, a big corporation came to a tiny little community and said, “we’re going to dump all our pollution here.” A lot of the good country folks who live there said “No, please.” The giant corporation said. “Shut up. We’re a corporation. We have human rights and we’ll do as we please!”

So the people went to the state and the Department of Environmental Protection agency said, “What we protect is the rights of corporations to use the environment as they see fit.” And so the people said, “Okay, we’ll do it ourselves.” So the corporations sued them and, to add insult to injury, the government sued them and still this group of renegade rural folks is standing strong, like real Americans, conscientious, committed, and courageous. The people of Grant Township Pennsylvania, and the East Run Hellbenders Society should have songs written and movies made about them. And maybe they will, in the end.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-a-small-town-is-standing-up-to-fracking-w482577

You’ll be hearing more about this. In the meantime, if you don’t know what a hellbender is, behold its awesomeness.

 

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