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Nothing's more American than an anime girl in a flag bikini
Nothing’s more American than an anime girl in a flag bikini

Hooray! The spirit of McCarthyism is alive and well in Hastings, Nebraska, where for the first time in ages, the local school district has asked all its teachers to comply with a 1951 state law requiring all teachers to sign a loyalty oath. After teachers complained, the ACLU warned the district that it’s begging for a lawsuit, but the school’s attorney advised the superintendent that the law is still valid and probably should be followed. Besides, isn’t Real Americanism all about making people pledge to support democracy and freedom, whether they want to or not, and also judging whether they’re patriotic enough?

The ACLU of Nebraska’s legal director, Amy Miller, wrote to Hastings School Superintendent Craig Kautz to advise that the Supreme Court actually outlawed loyalty oaths way back in 1964, in the mellifluously named case of Baggett v. Bullitt, which only sounds like it should be a movie with hobbits and a kickass car chase, but actually held that states can’t require employees to take vague oaths that might deter free speech.

For his part, Kautz says that the school district’s attorney said the 1951 law requiring the oath wasn’t invalidated by the nasty Baggettses, since there’s no actual penalty for teachers who refuse to sign.

Kautz told the Associated Press that his preference would be for the state legislature to resolve the issue by re-examining the 1951 law and maybe tossing it out as the Red Scare relic it is. “I just hope we don’t get dragged into something that’s above our level.” Nice try, there, Superintendent.

Oh, hey, why did Kautz decide that he had to start enforcing a McCarthyist loyalty pledge law that he’d never heard of, anyway? Because of a one-man campaign for Patriotism and Americanism pursued by Lincoln businessman Richard Zierke, who “asked the Nebraska Board of Education to enforce the law,” according to the Lincoln Journal Star. Mr. Zierke isn’t only a businessman — he’s a get-in-everyone-else’s-business man who loves to make sure that American Patriotism gets its due. In addition to pushing the resumption of the loyalty oaths in Hastings, Zierke also persuaded Millard school board member Paul Meyer of the wisdom of insisting that teachers sign the oaths:

“I think teachers should be signing this pledge,” Meyer said. “I think the administrators should be signing this pledge, because they are paid with public school funds.”

“I would sign it,” he said.

It seems that Zierke is simply bursting with projects to fix America’s lack of Americanism. In 2014, he lobbied Lancaster County to spend $18,000 to place brass markers on all military veterans’ headstones at a Lincoln cemetery, because that’s the right (American) thing to do.

In 2011, the former Marine, whose day job as a hotel sales manager no doubt interferes sometimes with his hobby of policing other people’s patriotism, persuaded a state legislator that what Nebraska really needed was a law mandating that all schoolchildren begin the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. He was shocked, shocked to discover, while “doing research one day for a flag-folding ceremony he does for school children” (!!!), that Nebraska was one of six states (plus the District of Columbia) that didn’t force children to mindlessly mouth the words of a patriotic America Prayer every morning.

“I said, ‘This is crazy,'” Zierke told the Journal Star, and so he went to rightwing state Sen. Tony Fulton to complain. Fulton agreed that the madness had to stop and introduced the bill. And what beautiful thoughts Zierke has about the Pledge!

Reciting the pledge teaches patriotism, Zierke said. It instills American exceptionalism. In that moment that kids are saying the pledge, they are thinking about their country. At least that’s the hope.

In Zierke’s mind, it’s also a stepping stone to young people making decisions about how they could serve their country, he said, including stints in the military.

“I don’t want to say my country is slipping away, but teaching patriotism and the flag is not being done,” he said.

He also made it his mission to call and visit schools all over the state to ask if they were already having students recite the pledge, even without a state law. You have to wonder how the hotel’s sales did during that part of his mission. While the law failed, Zierke and other patriots persuaded the state Board of Education in 2012 to mandate the Pledge, although teachers and children are allowed to opt out instead of being shot like the cowards and commie scum they clearly are.

And now Zierke’s pushing the loyalty oath, a wonder of 1951 paranoid American jingoism, which is the best jingoism there is:

I, ………., do believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; an indissoluble nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I acknowledge it to be my duty to inculcate in the hearts and minds of all pupils in my care, so far as it is in my power to do, (1) an understanding of the United States Constitution and of the Constitution of Nebraska, (2) a knowledge of the history of the nation and of the sacrifices that have been made in order that it might achieve its present greatness, (3) a love and devotion to the policies and institutions that have made America the finest country in the world in which to live, and (4) opposition to all organizations and activities that would destroy our present form of government.

Now how could anyone object to that? Teachers should probably have to sign that daily, just to be sure.

[RawStory / Lincoln Journal Star / Education Week / Omaha.com / Journal Star (2014) / Journal Star (2011)]

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  • Dr.Zoidberg

    If those teachers won’t take that oath, why, just beat that patriotism into them!

  • PubOption

    I’m sure that kids in North Korea have to recite some kind of pledge every day, or risk being shot.

    • Blank Ron

      Why then is North Korea not the 51st sate?

  • Lizzietish81

    You know who else required blind loyalty?

  • bozilingus

    Shouldn’t the Stars and Bars be flying behind the young lady in the picture? Because Amurica!

  • AngryBlakGuy

    …so let me get this straight! It’s too much to ask churches and other religious organizations to just sign a piece of paper stating that they don’t want to provide contraception to their female employees. But forcing teachers to sign a “Oath” of allegiance is fine

    • Jared James

      Because the First Amendment consists of the Free Exercise clause and the right to bear arms and something about states’ rats.

  • Jack_Carter_USA

    Nothing says “freedom” quite like making someone take a loyalty oath or else.

  • Me not sure

    Any attempt by the government to force any political orthodoxy on any US citizen is unconstitutional and has been since WWII. We can thank the Jehovah’s Witnesses for clearing that up.

  • “Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in
    full flower, and Captain Black was enraptured to discover himself spearheading
    it. He had really hit on something. All the enlisted men and officers on combat
    duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map cases from the intelligence
    tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their flak suits and parachutes from the
    parachute tent, a third loyalty oath for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor
    vehicle officer, to be allowed to ride from the squadron to the airfield in one
    of the trucks. Every time they turned around there was another loyalty oath to
    be signed. They signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance
    officer, to obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian
    barbers. To Captain Black, every officer who supported his Glorious Loyalty
    Oath Crusade was a competitor, and he planned and plotted twenty-four hours a
    day to keep one step ahead. He would stand second to none in his devotion to
    country. When other officers had followed his urging and introduced loyalty
    oaths of their own, he went them one better by making every son of a bitch who
    came to his intelligence tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four;
    then he introduced the pledge of allegiance, and after that “The Star-Spangled
    Banner,” one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses. Each time
    Captain Black forged ahead of his competitors, he swung upon them scornfully
    for their failure to follow his example. Each time they followed his example,
    he retreated with concern and racked his brain for some new stratagem that
    would enable him to turn upon them scornfully again.”

    • Jared James

      Not even General Scheisskopf, in all his illustrious career, was ever such a shithead.

      Even when he wouldn’t spank his wife.

      • Malaclypse

        Nebraska – turning feathers in the cap into black eyes since 1964

  • HobbesEvilTwin

    won’t someone please think of the children!?

    • Blank Ron

      Just as long as it isn’t Huckabee.

  • Lefty Frizzell

    Would be interesting to get the southerners to sign on to the “a perfect union, one and inseparable” bit…

  • Brother Yam

    Where’s Major ________ de Coverley when you need him?

    • Nounverb911

      Help him.
      Help who?
      Help the bombardier.
      I’m the bombardier.
      Then help, him!

    • doktorzoom

      Gimme Eat! Give EVERYBODY eat!

  • Nounverb911

    “begin the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.”
    Does the pledge still include the line “One Nation, under Canada”?

  • exinkwretch

    A loyalty oath is useless without automatic weapons to ensure that everyone recites it. I think the NRA needs to weigh in here.

  • Peripatetic Poltroon

    I am deeply suspicious of any loyalty pledge that doesn’t require guns.

  • Belasaurius

    whatever it takes to protect our precious bodily fluids

    • Antimassacree

      Yes, Zierke drinks only rain water collected in his old Marine poncho to prevent fluoridated water from contaminating his Purity of Essence.

  • Tom Wilder

    Asking teachers to inculcate the hearts and minds of children? Sounds kinda gay to me.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      That’s because no one ever inculcated you with the meaning of inculcate.

  • I pledge allegiance to the Ideals of the United States of Paranoia
    And to the Republicans, for which we stand down and toil,
    One Nation, under the Fundamentalist God Who Totally Didn’t Really Mean to Hit Us,
    Invisible, with Lawsuits and Jailtime for All Non-Male WASPs.

    • Malaclypse

      I thought they liked the female WASP’s, but wanted to lock up all those with higher melanin content.

  • Spotts1701

    For his part, Kautz says that the school district’s attorney said the 1951 law requiring the oath wasn’t invalidated by the nasty Baggettses, since there’s no actual penalty for teachers who refuse to sign.

    Sure there isn’t. And I’m sure no one would be keeping a list of those who refuse to sign it, so that the next time a Reduction In Force is required all the ones who refuse are mysteriously the ones laid off. Right, Superintendent Chalmers Kautz?

  • PirateCafe

    This issue would be addressed awesomely by Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. Dang!

    • janecita

      Don’t despair, we still have John Oliver.

      • Anarchy Pony

        And even if you don’t get HBO, they post all his best segments on the youtube.

        • bozilingus

          Google VidBull…

        • cynmac

          Hulu

      • PirateCafe

        Tis true!

      • SterWonk

        Shouldn’t that be Father John Oliver now?

        • janecita

          Reverent John Oliver

    • Callyson

      I am impatiently waiting for Jessica Williams to get her own show. Come the fuck on, Comedy Central…

  • Jared James

    When this one became a Marine, they gave him a baby food jar to cram his head into.

  • Tio_Doidinho

    So:

    (4) opposition to all organizations and activities that would destroy our present form of government.

    He’s talking about Congress, right?

    • PirateCafe

      And anything that gets in the way of states rights.

    • bozilingus

      Just the Republican Party.

      • Blank Ron

        Enh, the Dems are not exactly guiltless in all of this.

  • Lizzietish81

    I feel that people who demand this kind of symbolic show of patriotism would be the first to out their neighbors to the secret police of any kind of dictatorship.

    Like the people who are super Christian? Would totally be Fundie Muslims if they were born in another part of the world.

    • Lefty Frizzell

      Of course! A pledge made under duress is no pledge – it’s simply a demonstration of dominance.

      • Latverian Diplomat

        Feature, not bug, for these folks.

        • Blank Ron

          Yup. They don’t care who’s a patriot, they care who’s going to be the bottom in the relationship.

    • JohnR

      Right, very insecure in their own belief, must project it onto others to feel in control. It’s only a matter of time before Zierke’s secrets are exposed.

    • Lot_49

      Allahu Ak—I mean, Jesus is Lord!

    • RevZafod

      Did a search at the site worldnames.publicprofiler.org for Zierke, and the highest concentration is in the old communist East Germany. Zierke’s a mole!

    • TheBidenator

      RW authoritarians are always the same even if their stripes change. To me, that’s what makes authoritarianism so fascinating to study is even a ‘godless’ left wing commie place like the Soviet Union had numerous authoritarians running around who were just as right wing as our wingnuts- they are the ones who attempted the coup when Gorbachev tried to give up the ghost on the Soviet Union, for instance.

      • Anarchy Pony

        That’s why your left/right graph also needs a libertarian(in the real sense)/authoritarian axis.
        authoritarian
        Left—————right
        libertarian

    • Anarchy Pony

      It’s like those suckers from the deleted comments this weekend, talking about how the left will be dealt with for their sedition and tyranny, that’s the sort of thing you’d hear in Pinochet’s Chile. Fascists, the lot of them.

  • Reddishrabbit

    Reading the oath, does that mean anyone who wants to change the constitution can not sign? I mean, adding sections about marriage, non direct election of Senators, birth citizenship etc.would all require a change of our current government.

  • ArgieBargie

    Sign the pledge or go home, you dirty Ruskies!

    • Skwerl King

      Yeah go back to Mexico you damn dirty Ruskies!

  • Indiepalin

    Hey! Preacher! Leave those kids alone.

    • SterWonk

      <applause>

  • JohnnyZhivago2

    Florida and Arizona: Watch your back, Nebraska is coming for ya!

  • Anarchy Pony

    America’s so exceptional that it ranks behind all other developed countries in every important category. Worse healthcare, worse education, more militaristic, it goes on and on.

    • Antimassacree

      Imperviousness to facts is the heart of ‘American Exceptionalism.’

    • Lefty Frizzell

      Leads the world in incarceration per capita though!

      • Anarchy Pony

        Innovation!

      • Querolous

        But only fifth in executions!

  • Fly

    Conservatives hate teachers because the more children learn, the less likely they will believe in their parents right wing ignorant bullshit.

  • Logic of Color

    Baggett v. Bullitt did someone shoot a hobbit?

  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    This country is so fucked.

  • Patriotism pledge:

    It’s what keeps America, and Nebraska teachers, clean and pure.

  • Callyson

    Reciting the pledge teaches patriotism, Zierke said. It instills American exceptionalism. In that moment that kids are saying the pledge, they are thinking about their country.

    Um, Zierke? Doing that teaches kids that going along with the crowd and chanting slogans that may or may not have any meaning to them, while they think about what they are going to do during lunchtime.

    You know what teaches patriotism and makes kids think about their country? Actually learning about American ideals, the history of what happened when the United States did not live up to them, and the good things that happen when Americans get together and work for the common good of the nation.

    Oh, never mind…

    • Antimassacree

      Pearls before swine. I mean Zierke, of course, not your fellow Wonkeputians.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Commie!

    • Blank Ron

      Climbing a flagpole to pull down the Dixie Swastika? Patriotism.
      Reciting a pledge of allegiance? Wasting time in first-period math.

  • Angry_Cop

    Is that a loyalty oath or Teabagger jackoff material? Really couldn’t tell.

    Amazing that these jerks haven’t changed one bit since 1951. I guess the seeds of America’s doom have been planted for a really long time.

    • willi0000000

      we have been on that road since the first incorporation was allowed . . . there should never have been a law allowing a group or individual to be sheltered from responsibility . . . civil and criminal penalties should apply to company executives and stockholders.

      • James Christopher Owen

        You might like Ted Nace’s Gangs of America, freely readable and downloadable here.

  • Toomush_Infer

    “That’s just crazy!”…..mmmhmmmm….

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    If “there’s no actual penalty for teachers who refuse to sign”, how is this being “enforced”?

    • marxalot

      Sign it “I. P. Freely” or “Ima Hogg”

      • leemoder

        Hu Flung Pu.

        • marxalot

          Charles Ulysses Farley.

          • mailman27

            Mike Hunt

          • Duckbudder

            Carri Hunt, also, too.

    • nmmagyar

      It will be an anvil hanging over them for the rest of their careers.

      • Blank Ron

        Which is pretty much the whole point.

    • jmk

      It’s just a note in their Permanent Records.

  • marxalot

    I love how super-patriots throw the term “American exceptionalism” around like it’s not serious sidemouth from old Uncle Joe.

    • Thaumaturgist

      It’s the dictatorship of the time share salesmen.

  • dslindc

    I bet Mr. Zierke drives a pickup with truck nutz hanging off the trailer hitch.

    • drbloor

      I’m thinking big-ass, gas-guzzling old-guy Oldsmobile with flag decals.

      • Querolous

        Humvee. The real thing, not one of them silly civilian knock-offs.

  • MrBlobfish

    When I was a wee lad, I thought “for which it stands” was “for Richard Stands”. I wasn’t patriotic enough to ask who that was. So much for teaching, uh, American, uh……….

    • Lefty Frizzell

      “Blessed are the peacemakers!”
      “Blessed are the cheesemakers? What’s so special about them?”
      “No, no, I think he means any manufacturer of dairy products”

    • Antimassacree

      “…with Liberty and Justice for all.”

      Just so you know, kids, some artistic license was taken in order to get a Big Finish.

    • Zyxomma

      Richard Stands drove the bus in Olive, the Other Reindeer, a fun Xmas cartoon starring and produced by Drew Barrymore. You and Mrs. Blobfish should see it.

  • Usedtobeyellerdawg

    Wait…a nation inseparable and indissoluble? Doesn’t he know that all the REAL patriots are preaching secession? And what about the part that says you can’t belong to an organization bent on destroying our present form of government? So much for the Tea Party. Shouldn’t he be complaining about living under Sharia style communistic fascism instead?

  • AntiDerpomeme

    Because nothing says “We are a bunch of exceptional Americans!” more than everybody robotically pledging some words about how great we are and how we should never ever change. Because progress is bad?

    • Toomush_Infer

      Actually, the part that used to rankle me was the feeling of a hand squeezing the back of my neck to make us all recognize the power of their faked “patriotism”, by which they meant raw power, not the patriotism that I felt in my heart akin to friendship to fellow human beans… those days have passed…

  • Latverian Diplomat

    For his part, Kautz says that the school district’s attorney said the 1951 law requiring the oath wasn’t invalidated by the nasty Baggettses, since there’s no actual penalty for teachers who refuse to sign.

    So his claim is that if you pass through the valley of the shadow of harmful stupidity, to the promised land of harmless stupidity, you get to be born Constitutional again?

  • Logic of Color

    Blind patriotism is harmful. Demanding blind patriotism from children is worse.

  • crunchyknee

    Nothing screams “FREEDOM!!!11!” more than being forced to do something.

  • Lizzietish81

    You know who else wouldn’t salute the flag?

    • Toomush_Infer

      Jesus?….

    • clubseal

      The drummer from Def Leppard?

    • doktorzoom

      Major _____ DeCoverly?

      • Amy!

        Isn’t that a country dance in a regency romance novel?

    • sw19womble

      Confederates?

  • JohnR

    Lincoln Nebraska must be a cancer cell of right wing nut jobbery, I have been hearing about bull shit from this place my whole life.

  • Toomush_Infer

    Could that pledge include the obligation to vote?…

    • Antimassacree

      Just like the bastion of democracy North Korea. The people have spoken! 110% for Kim Jun Un!

  • JustPixelz

    “Reciting the pledge teaches patriotism.”

    A better way to teach patriotism is to have a lovable nation people.

    • vivian

      Imagine that! A people united by the common goal of improving everyone’s lives. Spending time and resources to clean things up, repair the crumbling infrastructure, preparing the young for a lifetime of meaningful contribution to a society that will reward them for their hard work and participation…

      • Blank Ron

        If you know of a place like that, do tell us, please. They might be getting a LOT of immigration applications soon.

        • jmk

          Iceland?

          • Blank Ron

            Worth a thought. Should I start a GoFundMe to pay for an exploratory visit? Three weeks ought to be enough.

          • jmk

            Bring a sweater…

        • dshwa

          All the Scandinavian countries.

  • kindasorta

    “Inculcate” is a Communist word if ever there were one.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      It was coined by Saul Alinsky, no doubt.

  • chicken thief

    “…(1) an understanding of the United States Constitution and of the Constitution of Nebraska…

    Which, if the author had such an understanding, would have jettisoned the idea of penning the oath.

    • Antimassacree

      (First Amendment not included, except for the religion part.)

    • Thaumaturgist

      I personally carry a copy of my state constitution in my shirt pocket, right along with my shirt pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution. Doesn’t everyone?

      • Querolous

        The Oregon Constitution.pdf is 95 pages. I’ll need a bigger shirt.

  • MrBlobfish

    Dear Starts and Stripes, there are not enough loyalty pledges these days. Please add three. I am NOT a crackpot.

  • Lot_49

    “…teaching patriotism and the flag is not being done.” Maybe teaching patriotism is not being done because patriotism is not something you are taught, like spelling or organic chemistry, but rather something you grow to feel as a result of studying your nation’s culture, geography, and history. You know: all that squishy social-science stuff the commies are so fond of.

  • diogenez

    Arbeit macht frei….

    • jmk

      More like Wodehouse’s Roderick Spode…

      “’Roderick Spode is the founder and head of the Saviours of Britain, a Fascist organization better known as the Black Shorts. His general idea, if he doesn’t get knocked on the head with a bottle in one of the frequent brawls in which he and his followers indulge, is to make himself a Dictator.’

      ‘Well, I’m blowed!’ I was astounded at my keenness of perception. The moment I had set eyes on Spode, if you remember, I had said to myself ‘What ho! A Dictator!’ and a Dictator he had proved to be. I couldn’t have made a better shot, if I had been one of those detectives who see a chap walking along the street and deduce that he is a retired manufacturer of poppet valves named Robinson with rheumatism in one arm, living at Clapham. ‘Well, I’m dashed! I thought he was something of that sort. That chin…Those eyes…And, for the matter of that, that moustache. By the way, when you say “shorts”, you mean “shirts”, of course.’

      ‘No. By the time Spode formed his association, there were no shirts left. He and his adherents wear black shorts.’

      ‘Footer bags, you mean?’

      ‘Yes.’

      ‘How perfectly foul.”

      • JohnE_o

        I totally had Hugh Laurie’s voice in my head while reading that!

        • jmk

          The ONLY way to read it!!

  • Skwerl King

    Reciting the pledge teaches patriotism, Zierke said. It instills American exceptionalism. In that moment that kids are saying the pledge, they are thinking about their country.

    I have to wonder, do these idiots remember what they were thinking of when they recited the pledge? I was thinking about anything other than my country. Mostly thinking about boobs. We said them every day so they were rote words, meaningless. Boobs had meaning.

    And when I did hear the words they were because the joker next to me was reciting, “I pledge an allegiance to the fags of the Gay States of America, and to the butt-plugs, so big I can’t stand. One nation under Dog, with titties and blowjobs for all.”

    • AntiDerpomeme

      Were we classmates?!

      • Skwerl King

        I think there was one in every classroom.

  • chicken thief

    Zierke is quite the salesman. I hope he picks up on my idea of banning bras in the workplace.

    • Steverino247

      And turning the AC down way low?

      • Querolous

        Or the furnace way, way up!

    • bobbert

      What’s all this about Bra Banning?

  • nmmagyar

    Hey motherfucker, until you take “under G-d” back out of the pledge you cannot force its recitation

    • willi0000000

      so . . . back to “…one nation, a prime number…” . . . ?

      • Logic of Color

        With some liberty and justice?

        • doktorzoom

          Offer void where prohibited.

        • beatbort

          for some

    • doktorzoom

      Didn’t have room for it in the piece, but Zierke is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, the very group that got that inserted into the Pledge. So, hey, consistency at least.

      • nmmagyar

        Because of course he is

      • Blank Ron

        What I said in that earlier post about ‘consistency,’ then.

  • Lot_49

    Hey wait a minute, if the United States is “a perfect union, one and inseparable” as that loyalty oath says, that would mean that those who sought to break up that perfect and inseparable union were disloyal. Hope they don’t use this oath in al Abama.

    • stevola

      That and “a democracy in a republic” make me wonder if they’ve read this thing.

  • FauxAntocles

    A true subversive makes every appearance of being a true patriot – only liberals and free-thinkers would ever object to this kind of bullshit, which is probably why Rethuglicans love them so much.

  • clubseal

    If that guy can’t see the problem with forcing people to sign an oath that is a verbal knob slob of the country they’re in, I’ve got a villa in the USSR to sell him.

    • Enfant Terrible

      That would be a dacha, comrade.

      • SigDeFlyinMonky

        That would be a dacha, TOVARISHCH!

        • proudgrampa

          Just how is that “SHCH” pronounced, anyway?

          • Blank Ron

            Like really need to clear your bronchial tubes.

          • Amy!

            Say “fresh cheese”. Sounds like the “sh ch” in that.

            Now say “Pshenichnaia.”

            :-)

            It’s the best vodka, so it’s worth learning (if you’re ever somewhere that you can get some).

      • georgiaburning

        AKA a shack out in the country where you grow vegetables

        • Blank Ron

          You’ve been to my house?

  • “(4) opposition to all organizations and activities that would destroy our present form of government.”…like The John Birch Society and jag-off TeaBaggerism(?)

    • DoILookAmused2u ?

      That’s what I was thinkin’.

    • SuspectedDemocrat

      Teachers are vowing to take on the Oath Keepers, 3%ers, and various private militias. As if we don’t already have a teacher shortage.

  • Thaumaturgist

    I’m cool with the right kind of patriots sacrificing their lives for our freedom, but this bit in the pledge about sacrificing our fortunes for freedom makes me nervous.

    • proudgrampa

      That already happened: Crash of 2008. Fed bailed the banks out, we got nothing.

  • JustPixelz

    “Zierke and other patriots persuaded the state Board of Education in 2012 to mandate the Pledge, although teachers and children are allowed to opt out…”

    They can opt out because the Supreme Court said so … in 1943 (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette) while we were at war with motherfucking Nazis. And yet, to this day, students are still penalized for exercising their First Amendment rights: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/05/09/teen-suspended-for-refusing-to-recite-pledge-allegiance/

    • stevola

      And that’s just the official punishment. You don’t want to be the one kid who refuses to stand for the pledge in a small town.

  • kindasorta

    Also, I have to say that if I were a Communist sent to infiltrate American society and weaken it from the inside, I would hope not to get Nebraska. Or at most to get it as a one-year remote tour with the follow-on state of my choice. Because holy shit, Nebraska.

    • Lizzietish81

      Clearly you have not seen Manchurian Candidate (the original) it turns out the die hard McCarthys are the easiest to manipulate into a communist dictatorship.

      • kindasorta

        Sure, but I’d have to live in Nebraska. How much should any man have to suffer for Communism?

      • So how many Communists are there in congress, Senator Iselin?

        • Steverino247

          There are exactly 57 Communists.

          • FauxAntocles

            And they’re all from Nebraska!!!1!1!!

          • sw19womble

            Heinz sauce libel!!!!

      • georgiaburning

        They’re 3/4 the way there already

  • Lazy Media

    If that guy had served in the Marine Corps recently, there would be a Duffel Blog post based on him.

  • MALARKY MEMORIES DEPT:
    In the third grade we a this kid who was a Mormon or some other kind of weirdo/scary religion who would not say The Pledge with the class. So every morning Teacher would march him straight to the closet and lock him in good and tight while the rest of us did our PATRIOT DUTY – presumably preventing any of his Communism to rub off on anyone else.

    He and his family moved away later that year, presumably back to Ubecky-ecky-stan or California or where ever they allow that sort of mooslim godlessness. I wonder if he ever tells the story about this crazy ass teacher in Alabama he had this one time to his friends.

    • Msgr_Moment

      See? That is how love of country is taught. I bet s/he spent all that quality closet time thinking about what a wonderful country this is.

  • beatbort

    The only pledge I will sign is to kick Richard Zierke in the nuts if our paths ever cross.

    • sw19womble

      Pledge drive?

      • Blank Ron

        I’d be happy to contribute my spare driver. Oversize titanium head, too.

  • chicken thief

    If those teachers were armed Zierke would know they were true American Patriots and they would not have to sign the oath.

  • UnsaltedSinner

    People like Zierke don’t seem to realize it, but if someone goes around saying: “I’m really, really great!” all the time, it usually doesn’t make others think: “Well, if he’s saying it so loudly and often, it must be true.” And the same is true when nations do it.

    • Enfant Terrible

      There’s a saying in baseball that playing great baseball is more important than being a great baseball player. Is American playing great baseball right now?

      • UnsaltedSinner

        Well, given that Americans are pretty much the only ones who play baseball, I guess American baseball will always be the greatest.

        • SigDeFlyinMonky

          But… Republicans have never won the presidency in years when a Canadian team won the World Series!

          • Why don’t the winners of the World Series have to play off with the Japanese champions, which would actually make it a “World” Series?

          • bozilingus

            The Japanese have smaller bats and balls. ;-)

          • Well, they could compromise on the size – like when Australia plays Ireland at “International Rules Football”, an insane mix between Gaelic and Australian Rules.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIuMyeoR8f8

          • Querolous

            The post season schedule was released today. The WS could leak into November. I don’t think anyone wants to play baseball ’till New Years Day.

        • Enfant Terrible

          Japan LIBELZ!!!

    • Blank Ron

      Someone should really let the Klown Kar’s inhabitants know that.

  • Steverino247

    Someone should point out the Won/Loss record of the ACLU on such cases. I’m pretty sure they’re undefeated and still champions of civil liberties.

  • Enfant Terrible

    “The feeling of nationhood, which hitherto was considered something high and beautiful, has become like a spiritual syphilis that devours the brains and grins out through the empty eye sockets in senseless hate.”
    — Danish composer Carl Nielsen

  • bozilingus

    Will teachers have to sign an Abstinence Pledge, also, too?

    • Blank Ron

      Yes but they don’t have to keep it.

      – Bristol ‘Oops, I did it again’ Palin

  • Ilgattomorte

    You know this really doesn’t go far enough. If you want to instill a sense of patriotism and exceptionalism in students you need to add precision and uniformity. Sure the oath for teachers is a good start but you need to put the kids in uniform. I’ve always been partial to earth tones, so maybe brown shirts and or slacks or something.

    Then while the kids are reciting the pledge you could have them salute in some kind of synchronized fashion. It doesn’t have to be much, just something to show respect. Maybe just raising a hand or thrusting an arm forward all at the same time, together. Jeez, wouldn’t that look cool. Oh yeah, and marching! Marching is great exercise that promotes precision and focus.

    This is what we need to promote American Exceptionalism. I call it the New American Zeal Initiative.

    All I need now is a catchy acronym.

    • Blank Ron

      I declare you today’s winner of teh Internetz.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      I believe you have one ready to go!

      • Ilgattomorte

        Ya’ think? … I just don’t see it.

        • dshwa

          For a thought experiment, we should try pushing for this on some right wing web sites and see how far we can get them to take it… before we pull the reveal.

          • Suttree

            I’m afraid that they would miss the punchline.

          • Ilgattomorte

            Oh, I love the way your mind works.

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      I think little bandannas tied around their necks would be cute too– maybe red to contrast nicely with the earth-tone shirts.

  • Brewerofbeers

    Nothing says freedom like forced loyalty oaths!

    • AmusedAmused

      One can say every society on earth has freedom of speech — even North Korea. Wherever you are, you are free to speak within the boundaries determined by the ruling elite.

  • AmusedAmused

    Reminds me of that time back in Ye Olde Soviet Union when my mother came home from work, sat down at the kitchen table and buried her face in her hands.
    The local Party Organization at her junior college ordered the faculty to rewrite all their lectures and lesson plans to incorporate the principles of Marxism-Leninism into their teaching. They were to submit the new lesson plans to the Party within a month. My mother taught mechanics and material science.

    • TheBidenator

      Oh right I read about that…wasn’t it Soviet realism or Marxist realism? I know they ruined Russian art and literature with that crap as well.

      • AmusedAmused

        I can understand mandating a certain ideological esthetic in art. It blows, of course, but at least it’s doable and has a certain logic to it. But how would you incorporate political ideology into friggin’ physics??
        Speaking of Soviet realism, it wasn’t even that. People had their works suppressed and even found themselves imprisoned simply for not meeting the aesthetic preferences of some censor. A lot of artists and writers in USSR got in trouble for creating stuff that you would strain to explain as offensive or threatening to the regime. Alexander Galich was assassinated by the KGB even though (as far as I know), none of what he wrote was hostile to the regime, and most of his poems were actually quite patriotic. Someone in power just plain hated his poetry enough to send an assassin to the West to dispatch him. And that’s just one example. In a country where people were afraid to express their minds, censorship was less about ideology and more about individual plutocrats’ subjective quirks and likes. Most notably, someone in power sometime in the 1960’s mandated that every Soviet movie — regardless of genre or subject matter — must be a part-musical. So, for example, there was a serious period-drama piece made in the 1980’s about Mikhail Lomonosov, set in the 18th century, with high production values and a plot that was both historically accurate and tragic … and there is a scene in the movie, where all of a sudden and for no discernible reason, all the characters break out into a light-rock song-and-dance routine, complete with an orchestra in the background. It’s exactly as bizarre as it sounds, but some senile vulgarian on that censorship committee really liked him some musicals, and so decreed that henceforth, every movie shall be one.
        But back to Nebraska, I really don’t get how science teachers are going to incorporate patriotism lessons into their curricula.

        • Blank Ron

          AA wondered:

          But how would you incorporate political ideology into friggin’ physics??

          It’s been tried. Look up ‘Arische Physik‘ some time. Or ‘Lysenkoism’ in the biological sciences.

          For that matter, isn’t this what the Thuglicans are trying to do with any science that disproves their narrative?

          • Lizzietish81

            The leader of the Arische Physik movement was Philipp Lenard was a rival of Einstein.

          • Blank Ron

            But I am SURE it was nothing personal. Right?

        • TheBidenator

          Oh that’s easy, the laws are all renamed after ‘patriotic’ names such as Newton’s first law of AMERICA ROCKS EVERYONE! and then everything else is reclassified as ‘godidit’. This is just begging for a serious, YOOGE plan like Trump’s “immigration” idea which consists of his hair strangling a luchador.

  • TheBidenator

    Right because just like that other patriotic freedom loving Republic…what was it’s name? Oh yes, Maoist China where you had to be THIS PATRIOTIC or they purge you. Because when I think about the principles of America the first thing I think of is “love it or leave it.”

    Wingnuts have several screws loose….

    • Villago Delenda Est

      They’re authoritarian assholes. The religious ones are jealous of the Wahhabist assholes of Saudi Arabia, who get to have a “religion police” to enforce their totalitarian godbotheredness.

  • TheBidenator

    I’m thinking Richard Zierke overdosed on some Fox news and went out on a jingoist bender…this has all the signs: being all up in people’s faces demanding they pledge to America, salute the flag and recite the pledge of allegiance daily whilst also demanding that anyone who refuses be punished for it. Driving around with an American flag hanging out the back of your pickup and wearing ugly assed flag gear and turning your home into fourth of July. I’d tell him to go drink until he’s back to a normal level of indifferent cynicism but I fear this case may be too acute for that treatment….

  • Tom_Has_Doubts

    “opposition to all organizations and activities that would destroy our present form of government.”

    Yes. The neo-liberal corporate klepto paradigm must be preserved at all costs…

  • DoILookAmused2u ?

    I’ve had to sign a few things that included stating that I have never been a member of the Communist Party over my work history.

    Of course, I’ve never been a member of any party as I just think that encourages them.

    • proudgrampa

      I would never be a member of any organization that would have me as a member.

  • Candy Apple

    As an American, my opinion of my country soured somewhat once I started to learn its actual history, such as its policy of overthrowing democratically-elected South American leaders and installing fascist dictators in their place. But I’m going to guess that’s the kind of history that makes people like Zierke (sounds foreign; maybe he should sign a few extra oaths) even prouder of the U.S. of A.

    • georgiaburning

      Brave words founded this country, but our progress towards fufilling them has been slow. The challenge for each generation is to protect and advance that progress.

      • House0fTheBlueLights

        I’ll drink to that!

    • Villago Delenda Est

      That sort of history does indeed make the tiny peckers of peckerwoods like Zierke hard.

  • bobbert

    A remarkable thing about that loyalty oath is that it doesn’t contain a any reference to God. That’s because it dates from 1951, which was a couple of years before the God-botherers got all hot to update the Pledge of Allegiance to distinguish us from the godless commies.

    All of the God-n-country fetish we endure now dates from the mid-fifties.

  • Blank Ron

    “I said, ‘This is crazy,’” Zierke told the Journal Star…”

    Well, he’d know.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      So call me maybe, Mr. Zierke?

  • Bitter Scribe

    I think every guest of every hotel this guy reps should be required to take that same oath. First thing in the morning. In front of the maid, or else they get no clean sheets.

  • William_C_Diaz

    Djingoism Unchained?

    Have a great day!

  • A Bashful Nobody

    Poopy-head alert!

  • motmelere

    Have the Obama administration require that on a federal level, sit back & watch teahadi heads explode all over Faux News about tyranny and unconstitutional overreach.

  • Mick_Pearson

    Ahhh sweet memories of attending Longfellow Elementary in Hastings.
    Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance each morning, my eyes tearing up from….hay fever.

    • eddi

      Going to a Catholic school and reciting the Pledge. Too bad it seemed normal. I might have learned about cognitive dissonance at an earlier age.

  • Doug White

    Can’t someone tell us WHICH hotel this clown works for so we can all call them, start to book a reservation and then exclaim “Wait… aren’t you guys the hotel that Richard Zierke works for?” and then cancel the reservation….

    • cynmac

      He’s easy to find in Google. His Linkedin profile is public and lists all his RWNJ activities.

  • thirdeblue

    I’d wipe my ass with it and dare someone to fire me.

  • “an indissoluble nation of many sovereign states” – you mean this oath rejects Texas’ right to secession? FASCIST TRANNY!!!

  • James Christopher Owen

    Instead of pestering teachers and kiddies with loyalty oaths, pledges and other jingoistic silliness, one would think a person who really wanted folks to passionately love ‘Murka would just teach them civics and history…

    Ah. I think I see the problem…

    • eddi

      Who’s version? Zierke’s? Texas style? 1960s textbooks (all they can afford with those Commie teachers needing to be paid)?

  • data_ninja
  • Paperless Tiger

    … (4) opposition to all organizations and activities that would destroy our present form of government.

    What’s he got against the GOP?

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      And the Tea Party, and the conservative clowns who want to take down our present form of government (Obama) and those nice nazi guys who stopped by last week to get buttseched…..
      Has it against a lot of wingers, don’t he?

  • dshwa

    Gotta scroll and find the “Say, you know who else comment,” if it was allowed.

  • Jen_Baker_VA

    Wait, this dude is a salesperson…what fucking kids under his care are there besides his own?

  • Um do people NOT understand that we when our society talk about “American Exceptionalism”, it’s considered a BAD thing? Sheesh!

  • Stuart Pace

    I was required to sign a loyalty oath in 2007 to teach 1st & 2nd Grade in Redwood City, CA.

    The law is still in effect:
    “Redwood City Municipal Code
    Sec. 2.1. – LOYALTY OATH—REQUIRED; CONTENTS:
    Every person who is appointed to an office or position in the service of the City must, before entering upon the duties of his office or position, take and subscribe the oath prescribed by section 3 of article XX of the State Constitution.

    (Ord. No. 606, § 1)

    “California State Constitution, Article 20

    SEC. 3. Members of the Legislature, and all public officers and employees, executive, legislative, and judicial, except such inferior officers and employees as may be by law exempted, shall, before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:

    “I, ___________________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.
    “And I do further swear (or affirm) that I do not advocate, nor am I a member of any party or organization, political or other- wise, that now advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means; that within the five years immediately preceding the taking of this oath (or affirmation) I have not been a member of any party or organization, political or other-wise, that advocated the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means except as follows:

    (If no affiliations, write in the words “No Exceptions”) and that during such time as I hold the office of ___________________

    I will not advocate nor become (name of office) a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means.”

    [ Source: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_20 ]

    • Michael Toledano

      When I worked at a community college in Orange County, they had me sign something similar, but if I remember correctly it specifically listed the Communist Party.

  • Ryan Denniston

    As a former Nebraskan, I’m glad to finally discover why I became a liberal (all those commie teachers). Also too, Nebraska has statewide public power.

  • Michael Toledano

    Still cracking up about “nasty Baggettses.” It’s been almost a whole day.

  • JB

    Make Lancaster County pay $18,000 for brass head stone markers on all soldier head stones? Zeirckes a Marine right? Then shame on him! He should already know that the families can request one for free to add to their loved one’s tomb stone if they did not already receive a free VA headstone. I’m just a lowly Retired Army Captain and I knew it!

  • Joe J

    The ACLU is Satanic and they have supported Satanists (in the Oklahoma lawsuits, for example). Satan is deceptive, he attacks while camouflaging himself as being good.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ explains that Satan is a liar:

    “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

    He also says you can judge people by their fruits:

    “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit” John 7:16

    Since the ACLU’s fruits are the promotion of Satanism, you can tell that they are evil___..

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