4/21/15

Super-patriot Todd Starnes

Solidly 'Christian' all-American flag-waving super-patriot Todd Starnes is at it again.

Starnes is of the same ilk as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. All are far right muckrakers who are not overly concerned with fact, who rely on half-truths and outright falsehoods to stir the right into paroxysms of Outrage!™©

Brother Todd's latest is over the apparently left-wing supporters of flag-desecrators at Valdosta State University.

It seems some students were tramping upon a US flag that they had put on the ground.

Michelle Manhart, another self-styled super-patriot, was incensed by this, and took the flag, refusing to give it back. She was then arrested.

Starnes and his supporters have been going off the deep end over the horror of this.

Well ... the Supremes have long ruled that flag-burning and other forms of protest are protected speech. If you examine the opinions handed down by the justices in these cases, you can see that their reasoning is Constitutionally solid.

You may not like such means of protest - I certainly do not - but the fact remains ... this is protected speech. It's not a particularly effective means of protest; not many of us are going to be won over to a point of view that relies on these behaviors to make a 'point.' But, it is protected speech, and it should be, if we are going to live up to the values inherent in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

But Manhart basically stole the protestors' flag, refused to give it back, and disrupted a lawful assembly. Until she showed up, it was a peaceable assembly, too.

The Starnesians are fond of going on about the US Flag Code when they go off the deep end over these matters.

But here's the thing. Manhart, a USAF vet, posed in her uniform - or bits and pieces of it - for Playboy magazine, and in some shots, she was draped in the US flag, with part of the flag lying on the floor. She got her knickers twisted pretty good by USAF, too. She was demoted, and then discharged.



Starnes doesn't see anything wrong with this. Nor, apparently, does he see anything wrong with this:

All-American super-patriots

all of which makes a mockery of his beloved flag code. Apparently everyone in these photos, wearing the flag as some kind of garment, is a 'true patriot' so it's OK to engage in a bit of patriotic flag desecration.

Why is that? Why is this OK with Starnes and his supporters ... yet the lefties at Valdosta are un-American losers?

It's just when you don't agree with Starnes and his brethren's political and religious views that it becomes an 'issue.'

More hypocrisy from the super-patriot flag-waving 'Christian' right ...

Starnes and his accomplices bring truth to the old saw, “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

4/3/15

Tumbleweeds

Having just spent the last hour or so pitchforking tumbleweeds, huge piles of tumbleweeds, out of the yard, I cannot help but think that any governing body in this part of the state - or anywhere, for that matter - that votes to expend tax dollars to gather up these damned things, spray them with fire retardant, paint them, and then have city utility crews stack them up as a Christmas tree ... deserves to be impeached.

Do we not have anything better to do with the money that the government filches out of my wallet than to make a monument out of one of the state's most noxious, water-wasting weeds? Why not plant Russian olives and tamarisk in our public parks while we're at it.

Do we have to take every cockamamie idea from "The Creative Crowd" and "The Idea People" and inflict it upon the rest of us as though it were coming down from God himself?

Here is a reprint of "All that glitters ..." from last year, when "The Creative Crowd" was in full cry over this nonsense:

Glendale, AZ, has an annual bit of festivity they call 'Glendale Glitters.'

Here is a the link to Glendale Glitters imagery on Google:

Glendale Glitters images

We've been there. It's quite enjoyable. Festive. Wouldn't this be a nice look for the Santa Fe Plaza? Especially if we could get a couple of stores to stay open?

We really like Glendale Glitters. They have shops, restaurants, etc open all around the square, and back a block or two. Sadly, many of the doo-dad shops sell a bunch of Chinese crap, but there is still a good selection of local goods. The restaurants and coffee shops are generally quite good.

Note there are no tumbleweed trees.

The Anthem Christmas tree is another favorite, especially for the kids. You can't miss it as you come into Phoenix from the north, on I-17.

The Anthem Christmas Tree

I don't suppose we need a 112 foot tree, but a 'real' tree of some size down yonder at Santa Fe Plaza would be nice, don't you agree?

If Our Beloved President can speechify whilst lighting the national tree ... I would think local politicians would leap at a similar chance on a local scale.

But we aren't looking at that. We have a bug up our butts over a tumbleweeds Christmas tree.

I suppose a tumbleweeds Christmas tree would be a bit of a novelty in the urban setting, but personally, I see a tumbleweed tree, here in an agricultural community on the high plains, as incredibly poorly advised. But if we are going to be the laughingstock of every rancher and farmer between here and the Nebraska line ... let's do it right. Let's include some Russian olives (bare branches decorate well, as we see in Glendale Glitters) and tamarisk along with the tumbleweeds tree. That way, we can have three of the most noxious water-wasting weeds in the state, on which millions of tax dollars are spent every year for eradication and control, representing our commitment to conserving our water and protecting and preserving our shortgrass prairie. The rest of eastern Colorado - except for recently arrived transplants from California or the east coast, and locals who have taken complete leave of their senses - can ROTF LTAO at us, along with the goofs who buy this stuff:

Extra Large Tumbleweed

Note how the sale is pitched to appeal to the urban drone. Me, I'd add that it was 'organic' and a non-GMO item as well.

But that's just me. And Leece. And what do we know. Other than we're going to start collecting tumbleweeds and sell them to clueless urban hipsters. With free shipping, of course.

For a nominal charge, Leece will even throw in a crocheted prairie dog spare toilet paper roll cover. Very rustic.

The oppression of Christians in the United States

So there's all this hoo-hah over the various 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' bills. You know, the ones that will give God-fearing 'Christians' freedom from the frightful repression and persecution they suffer in These United States.

Meanwhile. one of the 'Christian' companies at the heart of the argument, Hobby Lobby, a paragon of corporate 'Christian' values, stocks its shelves with cheap goods from the most oppressively anti-Christian regimes on the planet. If you haven't yet done so, take the opportunity to walk through a Hobby Lobby and pick up the items and look at the country of manufacture.

Now, is that hypocrisy, or what.

This is the Gao Brothers' "Execution of Christ in China."


More on the Gao brothers:

Zhen and Quiang Gao

Rumor has it that you can get a cheap 'made in China' copy of "The execution of Christ" in most Hobby Lobby stores. They should be right next to the 'made in China' US flags and 4th of July patriotic goods.If they aren't, Hobby Lobby is missing a great sales opportunity.

4/1/15

A study in Civics

Some of you old farts might remember "Civics." It was a course in government. Back in my time, it was a class in 7th grade. You didn't make it to junior high in those days without at least a basic understanding of what was meant by the term "American values." Whether that understanding stuck through later life was another 'issue' altogether, but the basics were there.

Mike Huckabee, that darling of the flag-waving bible-thumping Christian Right, serves as one of the best examples of how the concept of "American values" can be twisted into an unrecognizable state. Huckabee believes that Americans should be held at gunpoint and brainwashed with debunked creationist David Barton's garbage:



Huckabee gives truth to that "When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

Over in the fishwrapper article on the latest shenanigans of our La Junta/East Otero R-1 school board, we find this:

"... Craig also said although some people were afraid of their jobs being on the line if they showed support, she isn't one of them and adamantly supports Noll's leadership."

That gives some interesting insight into the perceptions of at least some of the the public's view of the school board's understanding of "American values."

If you open your mouth, and express an opinion over matter of public interest - your job is in jeopardy.

Given some of the reactions of some of our political 'leadership' to what they perceive as challenges to their self-importance and political prerogatives, that is probably more than just a perception. I suspect there is a good basis in fact for holding that view, for harboring that fear.

The Smile Hi has more self-styled All-American pledge-reciting flag-waving super-patriots than anywhere I have ever lived. An unfortunately significant percentage of these are people who will shove the Bible and the flag down your throats in an instant if you disagree with them. They are the sorts who will fly into a rage over perceived 'insult' to the flag, going so far as to slap kids who fidget during the pledge and agitate for jailing those who do not share their particular brand of reverence.

I think what the school board should do is make available an adult civics course, so as to refresh some understandings of 'American values.'

They could start with a tour of Fairview and Calvary. There are a substantial number of veterans' headstones there. Perhaps they could finish up with Fort Lyon.

Does any political body in this city really believe that all those people died in the service of this nation so that people could live in fear for their jobs for voicing an opinion about the behavior and decisions of our elected officials or their pals and buddies?

After that cemetery tour, perhaps a forced reading of de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" would be helpful. "Forced reading?" Sure. That's in keeping with that darling of the flag-waving Religious Right's views on how Americans should be indoctrinated with American values. I think I'd draw the line at all-American flagwaver Huckabee's 'at gunpoint' thing, though. 

After Mike Huckabee and the school board have a refresher in 'American values," I'd suggest the Urban Renewal Board also have a re-read of that 7th grade civics textbook, and then de Tocqueville.

What those who are in fear for their jobs are afraid of exercising is called 'freedom of speech.' It is a God-given right, not something allowed at whim by politicians, and it was paid for in blood, real blood, and lives, real lives, lives ended far too soon. It is not to be trifled with and cheapened by podunk politicians who are a bit too big for their britches.

My own participation in making payments due on those 'American values' thingies, though the connection is nebulous at best, saw more than 58,000 of our compatriots dead, hundreds of thousands maimed, and unknown numbers PTSD'd for life.

So I tend to find political arrogance that trivializes and discounts all that blood-letting and sacrifice somewhat vexing, particularly so when such arrogance is on the part of self-styled super-patriots who never served, other than themselves at the local buffet.