I never saw combat, but we are still family. No matter where you fall politically, remember that we served for reasons that are entirely our own.
Civilians and politicians will say that you fought for the military industrial complex, for American imperialism, for oil, for poppy seeds, for freedom, to “make the world safe for democracy,” for God, the Flag, mom, and apple pie, for duty, honor, or country.
In the end, you fought for each other.
Civilians will never understand why we served or why you fought; however, our misanthropic family of misfits will.
If you’re having a difficult time with how quickly events in Afghanistan have unfolded, and the manner in which they unfolded, please consider reaching out to your dysfunctional family, your battle buddies, or to The Veterans Crisis Line.
Your mission in Afghanistan has ended. Your newest and most important mission is to heal, live, drive on, and, if you choose, to tell your story to the next generation of Americans.
Donald Trump lost the election for the Office of the President of the United States of America to Joseph Biden.
It’s over, so we can relax now, right?
There is a lot of talk about “coming together,” and “reaching across the aisle,” and even speculating that Biden should pardon that rat.
On the one hand, pardoning requires acknowledgement of one’s crimes, and admitting one’s guilt; otherwise, there is nothing to pardon. Getting it on record may be an important step and faster than an actual courtroom trial and a federal pardon still does not, in any way, absolve one from state level prosecution for the same crimes. It also won’t be seen as heavily partisan as other options.
The rat couldn’t easily scream “witch hunt” if the Feds pardoned him and let him twist in the wind before state charges.
But it would not amount to a full public reckoning for and full rejection of that rat and his cult.
Allowing the judicial process to take place, on the other hand, will allow for digging deep and a very public exposure of one’s alleged crimes. A deeply damaging case can be laid out, in full, for the public to see. Just as entire towns and villages were made to walk into and through the various concentration camps in their jurisdictions and forced to confront the evil that many claimed having no knowledge of, forcing the United States to bear witness to the full rot committed by the MAGAt cult is an important and necessary step if we want the possibility of a complete repudiation and rejection of it.
But it carries an enormous risk.
A warning from history
On trial for treason after the Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler was given a very public platform for his beliefs in the courts and he took full advantage of it. The unfortunate effect of the trial was his greatly increased celebrity, and the legitimacy his beliefs were granted, by allowing him such a public forum. His sentence was incredibly light, and he was given plenty of liberties that, again, he took full advantage of. During his time in prison, he dictated his manifesto and put his beliefs down in writing.
The MAGAt’s biggest liability and advantage is his own mouth, unfortunately. The rest of us will hear his dottering gibberish, incoherent rambling, nonsensical non-sequiturs, and insane conspiracy theories and will naturally recoil but his cult — his fanatics? They will hear him, loud and clear, as they always have and they will make a martyr out of him no matter which direction a trial may go.
Trump consolidated multiple groups with similar beliefs, created a platform, and legitimized all of them with his weaponized Twitter account and his coast to coast mini Nuremberg rallies, and birthed a fanatical anti-American movement. What he did was no different than what Dietrich Eckart and Alfred Rosenberg did in Wiemar Germany. They set the stage. Hitler took the spotlight and, eventually, Germany.
Another thing to consider is that if Trump ultimately faces federal prosecution for any crimes he may have committed before, and during, his time in office, remember how many friendly judges the GOP rubber-stamped into the federal judiciary?
The danger has just begun
November 3, 2020 was only the beginning of the most dangerous period United States of America has faced in at least a century and a half.
Trump may have lost the election and been voted out of office but rumor is that he is already looking at a 2024 run. If not him, someone with his blessing will run. The next one, embracing that rat’s MAGAt platform will have far less of their predecessor’s mental liabilities and all of his cruelty.
Are America’s institutions stronger than the Wiemar Republic’s was? We are certainly much older, but they have never been tested quite like the last 4 years, and counting, have tested them nor have they faced the potential enduring threat that Trump’s MAGA cult will continue to be for a long time to come.
Do you remember when a Presidential speech didn’t insult your intelligence?
Or didn’t whine about how unfair/fake/complicated/difficult things ere?
Or didn’t complain/brag about water pressure/washers/faucets/toilets?
Do you remember when a Presidential speech left you feeling energized not exhausted, inspired not dejected, filled with hope not dread, valued not anxious, and proud of America not ashamed?
Do you remember when a President could undeniably reject white supremacists and dictators, while giving no relevance to crackpot conspiracy theories, infomercial hucksters, insane medical advice, or a stupid baseball cap?
That criminally incompetent buffoon, his cronies, his enablers, his sycophants, his family, his ideals, his values, his legacy, and his grossly un-American platform must be rejected — rejected loudly, rejected unquestionably, rejected totally.
Get out there and vote for an America that we can all be proud of, again.
It irritates me to no end to see the United States Flag used as a patriotic virtue-signaling fetish object by multiple photographers. Meanwhile, kneeling during the National Anthem is still seen as disrespectful.
To begin with, I do not mean anything US Flag styled, an embroidered flag, a lapel pin, or any representation of the flag itself. For example:
Flag-pattered bikini? I’ve no issue. It’s not the flag, itself.
Got a shirt with red, white, and blue and stars? Same. It’s fine.
Repeating flag patterned leggings? Bogan, but still acceptable.
I do mean an actual honest-to-God, Stars and Stripes Forever, Iwo Jima planted, Star Spangled Banner, I bleed red, white, and blue from my asshole United States Flag.
Are you conducting a beachside implied nude-shoot only the flag for “modesty?” You’re tasteless.
Did you wrap your teeny-bopper kid with an actual flag in a high-school senior portrait photo session and love how people simp and fawn over how beautiful the photo of Becky is? You’re indulging in gross fetishism on several levels.
Did you just beat the shit out of a Russian machine that destroys anything it touches, and use the Flag as a towel over your shoulders while preaching to those godless Commie bastards about how we can all change? You’re obviously a palooka from Philly.
Speaking of Disrespecting the Flag and Russians
Are you wearing a tiny flag lapel-pin for the cameras because it makes you a patriot in the eyes of your cult of morons while, you know, simultaneously sniveling as Vladmir Putun’s lap-dog Russian puppet? You’re definitely this guy:
Are you screaming orgasmically in a bizarre attempt to suck up to your boyfriend’s is-he-or-isn’t-he incestuous father while gesticulating loudly to an empty room in front of a wall of flags, there to serve as a simplistic visual aid for the Cult of Morons’ benefit? You’re Kimberly Guilfoyle, and I’ve got nothing else for you. Get help.
BuT AdRiAn wHaTaBoUt bUrNiNg tHe fLaG????????
In 1989, The United States Supreme Court upheld that burning the flag is protected speech under the 1st Amendment. I may not always agree with it, and it sometimes makes me uncomfortable to see as a Veteran; however, that’s the point and it’s exactly why the 1st Amendment exists.
On paper, no one is at risk of life, limb, liberty, and property by the Government for exercising free speech. It’s a power left to The People, as it should be.
One could argue that wrapping your sister with a flag for a quick portrait shoot is an exercise of artistic free speech, (which it is) but free speech is not an absolute right. Depending on circumstance, and context, your expression could be subject to laws concerning commercial activity, defamation, false advertising, copyright infringement, privacy, pornography, and more.
If You Disrespect The Flag, Are You Actually A Traitor or Treasonous?
I really am not sure what the point of all this is, as there are much more immediate and pressing issues. Black lives still matter, Trump is an incompetently malignant cancer, COVID-19 is still rampaging across the United States, and children are still in ICE custody.
No component of the US Flag Code is enforceable, and thankfully it cannot be. No statutory penalties exist for violating any of the strongly-worded suggestions contained with in because if they did exist, the Flag Code would be unconstitutional.
The United States Constitution left it, again, as a Power for the People to decide for themselves about how the Flag, or any other National symbol, may ultimately be used, as it must be. No soldier or politician or “peace” officer ever swears an oath of loyalty to any piece cloth, book, or impeached president. They swear to support, defend, and bear true faith and allegiance to the document guarantees that their own government will never call free-expression, journalism, art, photography, Satanism, and saying that “Donald Trump is a munted cunt who absolutely must be removed from office,” an illegal act. It is also absolutely not treason; however, constantly betraying your oath to bear true faith and allegiance, and to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, for Russia’s benefit is, according to the letter of the law.
Also, Be Grateful This Song Exists
Conclusion and Stance on Flags
My stance is simple. I won’t ever support arresting people for burning a flag, or fining them for wearing a flag as a diaper in an adult-baby photo shoot, or blowing their nose in Made In China flag-tissues, but at the same time, I will I never call any of them traitors and scream about treason.
I will, however, absolutely base my judgement of you, good and bad, on what you choose to do in that grand old Flag’s name.
Trying to challenge Q-Anon and MAGA is an exercise in pointless futility, just like confronting any abuser directly or trying to intervene with a friend enthralled in an abusive relationship. They will only continue to dig in. They want to wear you out intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
Challenging Q-Anons Is Like The Siege of Troy
I once got into a discussion with one of my professors during a class about epic poetry (specifically we were on the Iliad and the Siege of Troy) on how to confront UMass Administration more effectively than marching into the building and making a loud spectacle inside. At the time, UMass had multiple sexual assaults that were getting covered up, or ignored, and students were expressing their frustrations about how they would write messages out in chalk that would get washed away daily and that maybe they should march to the admin building and stage a sit in.
I pointed out that direct assault on a fixed and fortified position was always the worst idea, given a choice, and the building was designed in the style of a classical fortress when you looked at it carefully. Look at the Greeks attacking Troy; it was going on for ten years already by the time the Illiad started. A siege is a horrible waste of time and resources.
My prof asked what I meant, so I explained that it was on raised ground, exterior walls are difficult to climb, and the primary entrance was via a long ramp that funneled all foot traffic into a very narrow approach, etc.
He asked how I figured that and I said I had just gotten out of the Army a year earlier, and those were the details I noticed. Prof Freeman then asked, “Okay, so how would YOU take on the Admin building?…I said it was simple. Sun Tzu has already figured it out.
Use The Art of War, by Sun Tzu to Counter Q-Anons and MAGA
Staging a sit in was fighting the last war (relative to 60s era styled protests) and the Admin building was designed to fight the last war. Don’t ever go direct. Starve them out. You don’t write chalk messages that can easily be washed away cuz UMass doesn’t care about you, the student. They already have your tuition. If they were to protest, do it right in front of the walking tours for prospective students from high school. Target your messages to them. Make them question whether their children (daughters specifically) will be safe at UMass while they are evaluating where to pay for school with the threat of missing out on incoming students the next year.
It’s the same with Q-Morons and MAGAt Red-caps. Never confront them directly. Mentally, that is what they want. They will make you try to prove over and over and over how wrong they are while laughing at the effort you make to convince them until you wear yourself out in mental exhaustion.
Even if they start throwing “bUt iTs a DeEp StAtE pEdO rInG aNd TrUmP iS gOnNa eXpOsE tHeM aLL dO YoU aGrEE WiTh PeDoZ?????” don’t take the intellectual bait. Don’t try to have a rational discussion or dO sOmE rEsEaRcH to support your side. It’s what they want you to do so they can wear you down. They will never be open to actual discourse.
The only way to handle them is to find ways to go over, above, below, and around them. Out vote them. Out organize them. Out think them. Out flank them. Out last them.
Aim your message at people not already in their orbit, and cut off their ability to “supply and sustain” themselves in the field. Isolate them and render them as irrelevant as they deserve to be and counter the relevance that they have been given.
Do Not Confront Q-Anons or MAGAts
They are desperate for any confrontation. It feeds their cravings for self-victimization and reinforces their narrative and sense of self-importance as a result.
I was thinking about that MAGA moron’s recent tweets lately, in particular the recent “14 words” tweet.
Although he is a moron and probably didn’t think this up all on his own, if a coded dog whistle was indeed the goal he happens to be surrounded by sycophants who are much more intelligent and literate than he is.
But first, something to keep in mind is that there is a defense policy funding bill, the NDAA, that is currently working its way through Congress to the White House, but you are barely hearing about it.
It is not out of the question that someone wrote out his “14 words” tweet, and handed it to him to knowing full well that as long as it was presented as “if you tweet this it will piss off a lot of people and get them all talking, meanwhile, we will strip out the requirement to report any offers of foreign assistance to your re-election in the $740+ billion dollar military funding bill that you’re gonna sign,” that self-serving puppet won’t hesitate to tweet anything and he won’t even bother to actually read it.
That tweet is the distraction. Here’s another example. Do not doubt there will be more in order to keep all your attention focused on his overt racism and “14 words” tweet etc, and not the stripped provision, or any other activity that will benefit him and the Republican Party.
No matter how much he bleats and tweets about not signing the bill because he is against “rEnAmiNg R gReAt ArMy bAsEs,” do not believe him. He will sign the bill because the requirement to report foreign interference has been stripped from it. It opens him, and the GOP, up to receiving all the foreign assistance money can buy, and they don’t have to disclose a god damned thing.
That is how Trump will try to cheat the election in 2020.
I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out directly, and express my gratitude for your support over the last couple of months, and to update you on a couple of things.
I am seeing some delays on product orders getting fulfilled, primarily with my printed t-shirts, tank tops, crop tops. So far, the average fulfillment times have increased to between 14-21 days due to COVID-19’s effects on global supply chains. I’ve added printed t-shirts on my Teespring and Redbubble shops where their fulfillment times are generally a little better in most cases. I also put up some fractal art patterned products. Some items are political in their message. Other items are photography related, while others are snarky, or just plain ol’ weird. Kinda like me. 😀
Speaking of “politics”…
About George Floyd, Riots, and Police Brutality:
Like a lot of you, I am subscribed to several email marketing lists from different companies. It seems like, lately, I’ve received quite a few long winded statements from those companies with massive legal teams that have helped them to craft the perfect on-brand statement concerning current events. I did not want to be left out, so I felt it was time to make one of my own.
I am releasing the following statement in order to let you know where I stand unambiguously and without question as a person, a photographer, a citizen of the United States of America, and human being after consulting with my vastly underfunded legal team, friends, family, higher power(s), God, the quantum state of 4th dimensional time, my root through crown chakras, my conscience, ancestors, AND my mother:
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
If you would like to support this very important movement, please consider donating your time or resources to the following organizations:
About Face Veterans – Post 9/11 Service-members and Veterans
Website — aboutfaceveterans.org/who-we-are Facebook — facebook.com/VetsAboutFace Twitter — twitter.com/VetsAboutFace Donate — aboutfaceveterans.org/donate Tell Troops to Stand Down for Black Lives – aboutfaceveterans.org/take-action-now-veterans-tell-troops-to-stand-down-for-black-lives
I have been watching the protests, riots, and anger of the last week, couple of months, and even over the past several years and wanted to chime in, but in a very limited manner because it is not my place to really opine on it.
I am a first generation Filipino-American citizen who doesn’t even like to use that designation. My background and heritage is Filipino but I have been raised to be an American, first. It took a long time to understand that being raised “American,” usually means to be raised to fit into a predominantly white, cis, Christian, and male-friendly society. Because of that, in my heart and mind I am an American citizen who, looking back, has been raised with a variety of social privileges that this nation has systemically and structurally denied or made far more difficult to attain than many of my fellow American citizens.
Are the opportunities to attain them there? Of course. The “American Experiment” is on going, and ever evolving by design, but that does not mean that everyone has an equal path in front of them, nor do they have equal resources available to help them. Some people don’t even get an opportunity to begin from the same social starting line.
My perspective, even if I am POC isn’t really relevant to Black Lives or to other POCs’ experience in the United States because my experience is, frankly, white; therefore, my opinion on <insert modifier>LivesMatter only serves as an irrelevant distraction to real, justifiable, and righteous anger felt by a segment of the population whose experience I cannot ever fully relate to.
Where I can make a firm stand, however, is in my getting out of the way as much as possible whenever possible. I strongly suggest that others — those who are unsure of what they themselves feel, or agree with, or are on the fence over, or even don’t agree at all — do the same and take yourselves out of the picture if it’s not your pain, your anger, or your lived daily experience. It’s not about you, and it will never be about you.
I refuse to tell black lives how to feel, protest, mourn, or live. I suggest more of you start doing the same. Shut the fuck up and listen to the voices of your fellow citizens. They are all around you, and they are in immense pain.
You’re being asked to wear a cloth mask to cover your face to reduce the majority of the droplets you exhale from combining with the droplets that other people exhale, in a community effort to lower the overall risk of contagion to others.
It will absolutely not 100% protect you from inhalation of droplets, and that is entirely the point of making it a shared effort to reduce the total volume of respiratory droplets in the same air breathed by everyone. Less droplets exhaled leads to less droplets inhaled.
Photo #1: I am wearing a polyester neck gaiter as a simple, single layer, face mask. Even though it is not intended to act as protective personal equipment, or a medical grade filtered mask or respirator, that’s not the point. It helps to reduce, not eliminate, the droplets that I exhale. It’s not perfect, nor is it the most effective, but it is better than nothing. I can breathe just fine, and go about shopping at a local Asian market for what I need to stock up on, where everyone else is masked. The risk is there, of course, but greatly reduced for everyone present. With my asthma, I never felt restricted in any way, never felt my breathing was compromised, and could easily function with very minimal impact to my oxygen levels.
Photo #2: I was wearing a chemical protective mask and full chemical protective suit designed to filter out or reduce the impact of a variety of airborne contaminants, sprayed droplets, or vaporized hazards including: mustard gas, CS gas (tear gas, for you civilians), a variety of nerve agents, blister agents, weaponized anthrax spores and some biological hazards, and toxic chemicals due to fire and smoke and it was still was not 100% effective against every threat out there. It just reduced the risk to a much greater extent and for a longer period and I would have needed a fully sealed suit with its own air supply to be completely protected against all contaminants.
At the time the photo was taken, it was August, around 3pm, during a training exercise in Georgia. It was hot, miserably humid, and I had been wearing the full suit for about two hours with another 2 hours to go before someone gave the “All Clear.” The mask absolutely could not be removed until then. I could hydrate through a tube at the opening of the mask, connected to my canteen. Otherwise, physically, I had to still carry out the training mission, fully dressed in the suit and mask (MOPP Level 4), during the hottest part of day, and the hottest day of the year, in a Georgia swamp, at a high tempo, until whenever someone in charge decided that the exercise was over.
The point is, even under conditions most civilians whining about masks will never face, MOPP-4 did not kill me. Although it made me miserable, overheated, and exhausted over the course of 4-6 hours, MOPP-4 was designed to protect me from an incredibly contaminated environment. The biggest risks I faced during that particular exercise was dehydration and possible heat stroke. Imagine, now, having to wear MOPP-4 in a real combat environment.
By comparison, a face mask is not meant to protect you from the contaminants within that environment. It is only meant to help reduce the contamination to a shared environment by reducing everyone’s exhaled droplets. It’s the same as trying to get everyone to reduce their collective carbon footprints (and we know how well that is going), only this time it is trying to get everyone to reduce their COVID-19 footprints.
For the majority of you, certain health conditions aside, even an improvised face mask is not going to cause any risk to you, outside of a slight inconvenience to your pride. Realistically, listening to Donald Trump will more likely get you killed, assuming that rat has convinced you that “mAsKs r A dEmOcRaTiC tAcTiC 2 gEt U 2 GiVe Up Ur FreEdUmBz MAGA!”
If a training exercise with the US Army 3rd Infantry Division for several hours under MOPP-4 conditions during the hottest part of a brutally hot and humid day in a Georgia swamp did not kill me, wearing a simple cloth mask to go grocery shopping for 20-30 minutes will not kill you.
Bernie Sanders is out, and has ended his presidential campaign today.
I know a lot of you are disappointed. Some will go so far as to either not vote or vote 3rd party rather than cast a vote for Biden.
That’s perfectly valid. Vote as you will in the national elections, but remember that some states, no matter what, will fall red and some will fall blue barring an absolute shocking turn of events.
Here’s something to think about:
It will be more important, and much more productive, to channel that anger and frustration into the so-called battleground states, because that is where the election will realistically be decided.
Of even more importance will be to vote for the Democratic Senate, House, and Governorship candidates. If you are a staunch “vote blue no matter who” kinda person this post isn’t specifically directed at you, but should still be something to keep in mind. On the other hand, if you are a “Fuck Biden,” Progressive, then remember that the key would be to flip the Senate while keeping the House anyway, regardless of whomever becomes the next puppet in the White House.
Would you prefer that Biden wins while we end up with a Congress that retains the GOP and Mitch as the Senate Majority Leader or the Senate retains majority and the House flips, or would you prefer that Trump wins again but this time with a fully Democratic majority in the Congress, and with no Sycophant Party protection?
It shouldn’t have to be this way, and in different times, we wouldn’t have this degree of insane and toxic two-party-system partisanship, but here we are.
The choices moving forward are simple and have always been the same with or without Bernie, and with or without Biden: (i) vote and get rid of Trump in November, or (ii) vote and have that moron rendered politically impotent at worst and in far more legal effective jeopardy than he has ever faced, at best.
What, you don’t think that a fully Democratic Congress won’t immediately act to remove him from office anyway?
The most important factor in this year’s election for President of the United States of America is getting rid of that fucking moron.