Stolen Valor, Gross Capitalism Version: “Our Business Supports the Troops”

more than youI went to rent a car. Because I’m  in the Reserves, I look for military discounts. I don’t feel entitled to them. I volunteered, I get paid for showing up for training, and best of all, I get TSA Pre-Check! so if no one offers me a discount, no big deal.

I would never think that a business that doesn’t give a military discount is against the troops. But conversely, I don’t think that just because a business says that they “support the troops” that it’s actually true.   The phrase “I support the troops” has become an essentially meaningless trope, a sort of verbal lapel-pin (made in China by underpaid workers!) and proof of nothing real, except perhaps the desire to fit in with the ‘right’ folk and show that one adheres to the accepted orthodoxy.

But I get it. I understand the reflexive need for Americans to say they support the troops. Someone else–less then 1% of the families in the US have any skin in the game–is doing all the heavy lifting, and enormous amount of guilt can be assuaged and responsibility shirked merely by uttering the mantra, “I support the troops.”

We all know, of course, that except for those who actually do something —help their neighbors who have a deployed family member, or volunteer in VA hospitals, offer a discount, or engage their elected officials in meaningful discussion (fat chance), etc.– that no one’s really supporting the troops in any significant way. Not that they have to: no one has to support the troops. It is a volunteer army. Morevoer, in a country with a strong First Amendment like ours, it’s anyone’s right to say,  Hey, I’m not supporting people who take part in a system whose basic function seems not to be defending ourselves, but pushing an American agenda on other parts of the world, and is willing to have our own children and the children of others die as a consequence. That doesn’t bother me. Hypocrisy does. It makes sense that if you don’t support war, you wouldn’t support the military-industrial complex. (It’s more complicated than that, but that’s not today’s discussion).

But my point–remember that I did start out this post with one–is that if you say that you support the troops, get off your fucking ass and support the troops. (NB: A discount does validate the claim.)

So when I click on Enterprise’s link to it’s we-love-the-military page, enterprise rent-a-car

and then click on the link to get my “military promo code”, please don’t have it be the same fucking price as I would have gotten anyway.

It’s dishonest.

Epilogue: I called up Enterprise Customer Service, and I told them–politely–what I said here. I didn’t ask for any discount, upgrade, or special service. I just said that if they say they have a military promo then they should actually have a military promo.

When I went to get my rental, I got the ridiculously low weekend rate, which normally would have been useless, except they gave me unlimited miles, making the rental the best deal I’ve had in a long time.

I’m glad they did right by me. They should now do the same for everyone else.

Do You Know What Your Elected Officials Think About a Draft? No? Well, Neither Do They.

Today I called up the offices of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA).

Our current administration seems to be heading us towards more armed conflict rather than less. In order to have any fair discussion about the use of the military, the country needs to have a fair discussion about making everyone pay the price for using it.

So I called some legislators in my state

From Elizabeth Warren’s office: The kind person on the other end of the phone had no idea what Ms. Warren’s position was. She said they would get back to me.

From Edward Markey’s office:  The kind person on the other end of the phone had no idea what Mr. Markey’s position was, but maybe I should check the website. I said I had and had not been able to find a policy statement.  She said they would get back to me.

From Seth Moulton’s  office (Mr. Moulton is a veteran): The polite person on the other end of the phone said that she was an intern and could not give out policy positions. She did not offer to get back to me. I asked her to do so, and  I left my phone number and email address.




Meta-Bug readers like cute doggie stories, less motivated by calls for the Trumplets (Ivanky, Ericky, and Donny Jry) to join the military.

So few people read this virtual rag that statistics are probably useless. However, we did go over 100 views for ENTIRE WEEK! I realize that more millions more people than that will watch a cute cat video in the time it takes to read this paragraph. I can live with that.

I am too smart to eat chocolate cake. I am cat.


And I’m glad that you’re interested in the thrilling story about Genius Mutt defying death after eating a chocolate cake.

But people! In all of this political talk flying around, NO ONE is talking about the proper use of the military. It would be nice to have this discussion before we get stuck in another stupid quagmire that costs the lives and health of those willing to sign on that line.

It is the unanimous view of the Meta-Bug editorial staff that the draft needs to be reinstated. We don’t like the draft. We don’t like the fact that having a large standing army tends to get overused. We wouldn’t like the increased military spending that would accompany a universal draft. We don’t like the possible militarization of society that could occur with a universal draft. We don’t like having permanent military bases in places where they are not wanted or not necessary. We think that young Americans should be supported in becoming the adults they want to be, and that it should be done through education, that the money would be better used paying for universities and trade schools rather than uniforms, food supplied by contractors, and weapons.

Above all, I don’t want my children in the military.

But we are in love with our military might. For a large number of Americans, being big and powerful is part and parcel of our patriotism. We stand astride the globe, ready to go anywhere at a moment’s notice (damn the exit strategies!).

If that is going to be the case, everyone needs to take part. Senators’ sons. Kids of Congressmen. The President’s Progeny. Especially the President’s Progeny. And they shouldn’t be dragged off to the draft board kicking and screaming. They should be at the recruiter’s office, waiting at the door ten minutes before opening time. (On time in the military is 10 minutes early.)

Will they answer the call?


Dear Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr.: Join the Army or the Marines; lead by example and show your patriotism by your willingness to sacrifice.

We now have ample evidence that the United States–even in the absence of declared wars, state-to-state conflicts, and serious threats from an invading army–will continue to be a heavily armed country that relies on the use of military advantage to push our agenda in the world.

Call it what you want, but the reality is that we are going to enforce a Pax Americana and whatever the Republican-majority Congress and the Commander-in-Chief feel is an American view of the world. We will do it as much and as far as we are able. We are the modern version of Rome, by design or default.

What we are not–for better or worse–is Sparta. We engage in pieties to assuage our guilt over our “all-volunteer” armed forces. We use them without really thinking about the consequences of sending them into harm’s way. Fewer than 1% of American families have any skin in the game, and as I’ve so often heard, “Well, they signed up for it.” The last time there was a draft, the country was in the street. The idealist in me would like to say that it was over an unjust and unjustified war. The cynic in me says that the only reason anyone cared was because it was their own lives on the line that time.

tRump is pushing an agenda that could easily lead us into war. He is backing both the US and Iran into a corner. If he’s  a tenth of the man he says he is, and if his offspring are not just fleas on those 10% coattails, he will encourage them to join the Armed Forces. Not the Air Force (too cushy) or the Navy, but boots-on-the-ground expeditionary forces, either the Marines or the Army infantry.

Let’s see how patriotic these plutocrats are.

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