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Posts tagged Reno


I’ve got to hand it to Charles Lawson at the Reno Gazette-Journal. This may be the single most ideologically confused — and confusing — pair of declarative sentences that I have read in my adult life.

Getting back to [filmmaker Michael] Moore, he’s nothing more than an anarchist in liberal clothes. As a socialist, he’s following the lead of Nazi Germany, which many don’t know started out as a socialist state.

— Charles Lawson, Reno Gazette-Journal (2009-10-09): In My Opinion: Jail project snafu in the making, ‘idiot’ unmasked…

You may simply take this as an object lesson in how low the intellectual standards for Op-Ed page political tirades are, or how carelessly many people throw around temrs without regard for their meanings (even when those meanings are not only different, but opposite from each other) once they start trying to make political digs. But for me, the remarkable thing about this passage is that it serves as a masterpiece of the efficient use of language: how many passages do you know where the author can utter only 2 sentences, asserting only 3 simple propositions between them, and yet manage to pack in at least 6 different errors about politics, history, and contemporary pop culture?

More Veterans for Vandalism and Petty Thieving

Jim Brossert is a deranged bully who is apparently prone to violence when he doesn’t get his way. Most recently, he barged into a private place of business with an army combat knife, defaced the bar-keep’s private flagpole and stole his American flag, used his status as a retired soldier to justify his violent tantrum, and then hollered a challenge for unarmed bystanders to fight him while still wielding a huge knife.

For this act of vandalism and petty theft, Sarge praises Jim Brossert as an American Hero.

At Shirley Buxton’s blog, commenter Maverickti, who describes the American flag as holy, says I am a baptised Roman Catholic, serving my 19th year in the Army. When I saw Jim doing what he did, I cheered!

At Lone Star Blog, commenter John Harbaugh suggests trespassing in a private place of business and harassing or intimidating the barkeep and his customers, in order to drive the bar out of business: I think that the INS should visit the bar owner. Once or twice a day until his clientèle quit coming. … If I lived in Reno, I would start showing up myself. I am also a crazy Vet.

Also, Maverickti shows up again to say hoo-rah! for Jim Brossert and the Holy American Flag once more: to Mr. Jim Brossert: You make me proud! You are the ideal that I enlisted to protect. Know that I am sending your video to everyone I know to show how a TRUE AMERICAN acts when he sees what is not right. That was truly a heroic deed. In response to an earlier commenter who has the temerity to point out that taking somebody else’s flag is, you know, stealing, and that maybe these freedom-loving types might not want to associate themselves with that sort of thing, Maverickti adds George, it's a free country, you can leave any time. The sooner the better.

J.F., Command Master Chief, US Navy (retired), believes that freedom of speech and expression includes the right to express yourself by vandalizing and stealing other people’s private property: So now, the Soviet Socialist State of NV along with it Socialist Commandos, the ACLU, want to prosecute the U.S. army vet for exercising his First Amendment which protects every American’s right to speak and express themselves, Reno city counsel has the authority to enact an ordinance if not already on the books that would deescalate these types of situations but, the question is, did they and will they?

A.B. thinks Having the Mexican flag diplayed above our beloved American flag is a personal insult to myself and all my fellow veterans.If you love Mexico so much go back! Apparently stealing other people’s stuff and challenging them to fight you for it — when they are unarmed and you have a big combat knife in your hand — is an appropriate response to a personal insult.

C. W. GMC(SW/AW) USN Ret. thinks To those who think that vet was wrong, why don’t you ask a vet what flag means to them before you condemn him. … Sure maybe that Vet could have handled it different but as far as I’m concerned he handled it was the way many more of us should have the courage to do. Next time you see a vet why not let them know that what they did truly means something and it was appreciated.

S.E. of Shingle Springs, California claims that it is treason — a federal crime punishable by death — not to conform to voluntary guidelines based on military etiquette when you fly a flag on your own property: Mexican Flag flying over USA flag being cut down by vet…GOOD FOR HIM. It is TREASON to fly the flag of another country above our own. You are in our country and must show the proper respect as such. This is the USA , not Mexico, if you must fly your countries flag, thatn do it repctfully and in accordance with DOD guidline of proper flag etiquette. You can look up the BSA’s website on proper flag etiquette if you are unsure. As a retired member of the armed forces I am very proud of the vet that cut it down-god bless him.

J.C. from Tahoe, whose family is full of LEGAL immigrants AND veterans, is sick of people coming to the US and demanding we give them rights.

Please note that not all retired soldiers are crazy or violent creeps, or cheerleaders for crazy, violent creeps. Many are perfectly decent people. But please also note that these particular veterans, these apologists and sycophants for vandalism, petty thieving, and vigilante censorship, who associate the cause of America and their beloved flag with the freedom to intimidate and steal from people who offend you, and who display not the slightest bit of concern for private property or freedom of expression when it comes to their delicate sensibilities about Patriotic Correctness, are exactly the same bunch of whiners who petulantly demand a clap on the back and a validation of the awesome superiority of their personal career choice at every opportunity, because, after all, they Defend Our Freedom.

From what, exactly? With defenders like these, who needs attackers?

Veterans Against Individual Freedom

Usually, if somebody chooses to decorate his business in a way that you don’t like, there are a lot of ways that you could try to deal with the situation. You could grit your teeth and ignore it. Or you could try to have a talk with the business owner. Or you could mount a pressure campaign or a boycott of the business.

Or you barge your way onto somebody else’s property, whip out a huge knife, and use it to deface their private property in order to fix the problem.

Normally, if you acted like this just about everyone would figure you for a two-bit thug and dangerous nut. As well they should.

Unless, of course, you’re an Anglo dude defacing a Hispanic bar-owner’s private property in order to force everyone to follow your own military etiquette towards the flag of the United States. See, there’s this Hispanic bar up in Reno, and a few days ago the local news got a tip that something terrible was happening there. To wit, the owner chose to fly a Mexican flag above an American flag on his own private flagpole. After they rushed out to cover this absolutely riveting breaking story, local two-bit thug and dangerous nut Jim Brossert decided to deal with the situation by grabbing his old army knife and going down to the bar, with a camera man following him. Against the owner’s will, he cut down the flags, then stole the bar owner’s American flag and threw the bar owner’s Mexican flag down onto the ground. Just for good measure, he went on a tirade for the camera about how having been a soldier gives him the right to trash other people’s property for the sake of his flag-worship power trip, and, just for good measure, he bellows that he wants one of the (unarmed) bystanders to fight him. All the while swinging his huge combat knife around.

I’m Jim Brossert and I took this flag down in honor of my country with a knife from the United States army. I’m a veteran, I am not going to see this done to my country. if they want to fight us, then they need to be men, and they need to come and fight us, but I want somebody to fight me for this flag. They’re not going to get it back.

Of course, this bit of inquisitorial theo-nationalist violence has earned this unhinged prick a sympathetic mention from InfoWars and a steady stream of praise from the Great Americans at the local news station’s message board, on Digg, etc., who apparently believe that, in the Sweet Land of Liberty that they are so keen to defend, this barkeep’s right to freely express his own cultural or political priorities is worth less than nothing against the delicate sensibilities of a retired government thug about how flags that don’t belong to him ought to be displayed. Along the way, several of the bellowing blowhard brigade dutifully cite their own military records, as if that proved anything. Several are appalled by the local authorities’ statements that Brossert could be prosecuted for his actions, if the barkeep presses charges, and indignantly assert that Brossert has a First Amendment right to express himself by destroying or stealing other people’s property.

Almost all of the commentators insist on repeating a lie, which originated with the local news report, to the effect that the bar owner was violating federal law by flying another flag above the United States flag. (One of them goes so far as to say that the bar owner is guilty of the federal crime of treason.) In fact there is no such federal law. The Federal Flag Code (4 U.S.C. §Â§ 4–10), which has no enforcement section and assigns no penalties for non-compliance, explicitly states that it is a set of voluntary guidelines for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States. Now, if there were any federal law against flying your own flag however you see fit to fly it, that law would be an obvious and stupid form of tyranny, and every one of us would have a perfect right to defy and resist such a law on our own property. But the fact that so many of the self-appointed Home Guard have a manifest felt need to believe in a State that can and will use violence to punish offenses against the dignity of their flag, the visible incarnation of the State, should tell you something about what sort of America these creeps hope to protect against the scourge of peaceful migrant workers.

Ten years ago, Timothy Madigan interviewed Barbara Ehrenreich for Free Inquiry, on Blood Rites, her recently published book on the religious roots of war. Along the way, she had this to say about the emergence of the civic religion in modern Europe, Japan, and America:

EHRENREICH: … With the invention of the gun, of course, the foot soldier became preeminent. It was the end of the mounted elite warrior, and so the religion of war had to change, too. It had to become much more inclusive. … Ordinary people were encouraged to identify with a new kind of deity–the nation-state.

FI: This, as you point out, models the conventional religions.

EHRENREICH: And can replace them. In my book there are two very striking cases that I look at briefly. One was state Shintoism in Japan in the 1930s and 40s, where you have an existing religion, Shintoism, that sort of grafts onto it European-style nationalism to form something new. It becomes emperor worship. It has the old religion in it, but it really is something new. In the case of Nazism, Hitler displaced Christianity. He very consciously set out to make a free-standing, new religion out of nationalism, which would be centered on him, just as the Japanese were centered on their emperor.

FI: You say the American version is not as virulent as Germany or the Shinto case, but I wonder if you could just talk a little bit about what you call the cult of the flag?

EHRENREICH: We make a fetish out of our flag; we treat it as an object of veneration. Every year a proposed amendment to the Constitution comes up that would make it illegal to desecrate the flag. Fascinating word, desecrate.

I think that, like the Japanese and the Germans in the 1930s and 40s, we are equally wrapped up in nationalism as our unofficial–and unexamined–religion.

We certainly saw that coming to a frenzied peak in the Gulf War with flags being waved everywhere. It became actually dangerous or at least perhaps just a little awkward to express dissent because there was such a powerful onrush of feelings at that moment.

–Timothy Madigan and Barbara Ehrenreich, Free Inquiry. (1997-12-22): Dissecting the passions of war

There is an elaborate and formalized liturgy of theo-nationalist rites surrounding the military colors of the United States–a liturgy replete with hymns, recited creeds, high holy days, and solemn processions officiated by a uniformed military priesthood. The liturgy is instilled and practiced with great care through government schools, in federal bureaucracy buildings, and (of course) throughout the intensely ritualistic culture of the government’s military cadres. But that is hardly enough for the state and its minions. Busybodies and prigs ensure that an officious and rigid reverence for the flag, based directly on military etiquette and codified by the federal government, is practiced in social clubs, sports matches, and even carried into putatively Christian churches, where the flags of a worldly nation often occupy more visual space in the sanctuary than the Cross. Any lack of reverence for these arbitrary rites is painted as the most despicable sort of vice, and indeed an affront to all the true believers, if not an outright crime against God Himself.

Update 2007-12-03: Minor edits for clarity.

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