Ryan Zinke Violates Department of Defense Policy Again

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It seems like Ryan Zinke just can’t help getting himself into ethical and legal messes. Whether it’s something as trivial as crashing a campaign bus or something as serious as outing the Navy SEAL Team that killed Osama bin Laden or coordinating illegally with a Super PAC to win an election, Zinke just never seems to know when to stop.

The latest? He’s once again using the insignia for the Navy SEALS to promote his political candidacy.

Back in 2012, when Zinke was the chairman of Special Operations for America, reporter Adam Weinstein inquired about that organization’s use of symbols for American military forces. It turns out that candidates and political groups simply can’t do it:

According to the Department of Defense, each service branch’s symbols are trademarked, and their commercial and political use is tracked closely by military officials to prevent any appearance of the military’s endorsing a partisan or for-profit cause. The officials said they will be contacting the group and asking them to stop using the insignia or face potential legal action.

It would appear that Senator Zinke forgot that lesson, as his campaign bus uses the insignia for the Navy SEALS, as this picture from the Zinke Twitter account shows. To its right is the SEAL insignia.

zinkeUS_Navy_SEALs_insignia

In his campaign ads, Senator Zinke repeatedly talks about the values he learned from his ancestors who settled Montana. Surely those people had the integrity to respect the non-partisan role of the U.S. military and the regulations that protect that.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

48 Comments

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  • Seems a certain appointed senator Walsh loves to flash around in his camouflage clothing, but he has a ‘D’ by his name so earns a pass here. These boy soldiers demand our respect for no reason in particular.

    “He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” (Einstein)

    “My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military.” (Smedley Butler)

    So these military chumps think they got something special going on because they wore the uniform. Not hardly. They are lesser life forms. That’s all. One’s a D, one’s an R, both are easily forgotten, best ignored.

    • I know reading is not your strong suit, Mark, but perhaps you can read the post again and give it another shot.

      Good luck.

    • It read it, Don, beginning to end. Your complaint is about Zinke using a trademarked military emblem as part of his campaign. Walsh does the same, less brazen, and neither are worth the time it takes to spell their names. They are military zombies, better fit for sewer work than politics, but I repeat myself.

      Mencken had choice words for military dullards too. His quote was too long. I knew you would not read it.

      The underlying message here, Don, is that you are also taken in by shiny medals and crew cuts, and you think that serving in the military confers some special status on people. That’s dumb. This is why I wrote what I did. I did not trouble to tell you that we have no evidence that anyone killed Osama in 2011, Navy Seal or otherwise, but that takes capacity for critical thought, which you lack, oh teacher you.

  • I saw this big bus yesterday and immediately noticed the insignias and just couldn’t believe my eyes! I had to take pictures and send them to my friends! I noticed he posted it on his FB page but quickly removed after asking all of his followers “WHO’S ON BOARD”? My husband and I supported Zinke through his state senate campaign, even through his weird Lt Governor campaign and started out supporting him through this campaign. However, he has proven himself over and over and over again, to just not follow the rules! Sure, some of them are small rules, the posting of campaign signs when he wasn’t supposed to, using military logos on his Super PAC website etc. Some are large. Like his “alleged” (even though we all know it’s true), coordination with his Super PAC. Over the past few months, I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt, but just yesterday, I read he posted campaign sign illegally in a neighborhood in Santa Barbara, California, why he’s posting signs in Santa Barbara, California I don’t know, and now this? It’s just too much. He either isn’t fair or he isn’t smart. I’m flabbergasted by his blatant disregard for rules. No matter where he goes! He does NOT have my vote.

    • Does this bus have a disclaimer on it? That’s the difference, Mark. Also, the blatant truth is that other Navy SEALs can’t STAND Zinke because he breaks the first rule: using his time as a Navy SEAL for personal gain.

      Zinke never actually talks about what he did as a SEAL because he was hundreds of miles away from the action. He just insinuates.

      On the other hand, Walsh was int eh thick of it.

      Differences.

      • One of the paradoxes of life, HI, is that the qualities that make a person a good soldier also makes that person unfit for public office. Good soldiers follow orders and do not think independently. Neither Walsh nor Zinke is fit for public office, in my opinion, Walsh especially as I’ve yet to see an iota of original thought form him. He’s a dullard.

        Navy Seals, Osama, all of that, very confusing. The military keeps a tight lid on things and knows how to keep its secrets, but with that mission has encouraged people to talk out of school. Why?

        Here is what I gather from evidence: The Seal Team sent to capture Osama was murdered that night by teh US military, an explosion that sprayed body parts everywhere. Later, other Navy Seals were murdered aboard a National Guard helicopter that crashed in Afghanistan, probably because they knew too much.

        Osama himself died in 2001. Why the decided to “kill” the propaganda image I do not know – perhaps because the rest of the world saw through it even as Americans cannot. Our propaganda is not terribly effective abroad, not like it is here under the bubble.

          • Difference between you and me: Evidence. I have it. You do not.

            Belief without evidence is called “faith.” It’s OK if you are religious, but for politics, you really need to use your head.

          • Helena your giving tree nuts a bad name by insinuating something so magnificent as a tree would throw out such a product such as Mark…Squirrels wouldn’t collect anything that is just a shell, with no meat inside just horse manure. Try insane, illogical, downright embarrassing, or quite dull. but whatever you do don’t answer his Bullspit, cause he just upchucks more!

          • I think that qualifies as a personal attack. Beware, Norma, that I don’t reciprocate, and you’ll find if I do that I am much better at it. I can actually land blows. You would be wise to leave me alone.

            • Actually, I’d recommend you not do it, Mark. Your bluster is less amusing than your infantile politics. It (and threats) aren’t welcome here.

              • For anyone interested, I responded to a personal attack from Norma, advising her that if I were to attack her personally, that I know how to do it, so that she’s wise just to leave me alone.

                All I would do is say things about here that are true. That is the secret to the insult game.

                Don seems not to notice that Norma attacked me, but was right there when I responded to her.

          • I notice about you and Norma both, Don, that you normally answer me by means of insult. I take it to mean that you lack depth, both of you, and so put up the insult attack as a front to shield your ignorance. You are both walking around in a cloud of self-delusion about your own abilities.

            And the “threat” of course is nothing more than to answer a personal attack with a personal attack. That you tolerate Norma’s infantile politics and demeanor while so quickly attacking me speaks volumes.

            • Again, Mark, I’ll ask politely. You can post whatever you like on my site about politics, no matter how wrong or repetitive your observations are, but I won’t give you a platform from which to post personal attacks.

              Your choice.

              • I actually feel kind of embarrassed that I have not seen it before, that “Pogie” is the Celtic word for “Charles” as in “Charles the Simple.” As we all know it was Charles who allowed the Norsemen to settle in what at is now France, in effect allowing them control of the coast, and eventually the ability to invade England. So Pogie in effect enabled the Norsemen, and because you are so damned clever, I now see that you also go by the name “Norma.”

                Pogie and Norma are the same person. Why did I not see it? You sound the same, write the same, are the same. Silly me.

                • You are certainly a thinker. I hope you enjoy a week’s timeout to do some more thinking. Maybe you can post at 4and20blackbirds in the meantime. Oh, wait.

        • I said “US Military” had done the murders – more likely US intelligence operation. The NG helicopter crash, which you could look up if you were in the least curious, was probably done to kill the names. This is SOP – that when intelligence operatives die in operations, they are formally “killed” by other means later. This goes all the way back to Vietnam. SO the Seals died on the night of the supposed ‘killing” of Osama, and were formally killed later.

          Pardon the expression, but no way would Navy Seals be caught dead on a National Guard helicopter.

          • Zen dictum: “Great doubt: great awakening. Little doubt: little awakening. No doubt: no awakening.” Why should I do your legwork for you when you have no doubt, and hence no curiosity of your own?

            Since you are a man of faith, and not skeptical or vigilant, credulous, actually, I doubt any evidence will trigger any curiosity. But there is lots of it. Just the fact that he had a kidney disease and was in constant need of dialysis ought to raise an eyebrow.Or that the “Osama’s” seen in video releases after 2001 are obvious impostors; that a Swiss firm did voice track analysis and found his voice had not been used since a 2001 video (in which he denied involvement in 9/11). Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said in 2009 that he was dead (later backed away form comment under US pressure), and Benazir Bhutttos said in an interview with David Frost that he was dead, murdered. The date of death was December 13, 2001.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MBTd5QNGB0

            That ought to be enough to make a curious man investigate further. Maybe you too, Don?

          • And on the other hand, evidence that he died in May of 2011: No photos, body buried at sea, DNA not independently verified. All you have is faith in authority, the military mindset. That is no way to live.

  • Back in reality, it will be interesting to see if Zinke actually gets called out for his overuse of the Navy SEAL symbol.

    • I love how clueless people refer to ‘reality’ as if having clues. I ask again you, Helena Insider, which institution is it that you are inside? From your tone and low information level, my guesses are 1) Bullock Administration, 2) local newspaper.

    • Helena, The Seals will write some letter to him like last time, and it will magically disappear from his bus.

  • I’ve got Google Adsense on my homepage so if you visit there’s a good chance you’ll see some Zinke advertising. This is responsive advertising that will react to whatever you’ve been viewing online, or perhaps where you are geographically.

    I find this rather funny, since I’m running for office as a Democrat. I guess I could take it down.

    I can’t really tell, but I think it’s gotten 1 click.

  • Zinke must be polled as the biggest threat in the general election, he takes way more abuse here and at Streetfighter than the other three stooges. He doesn’t seem nearly enough of a yahoo to win the primary against R. Lee Rosendale and the rest of the gang.

    • You think Rosendale can win? I think he’d be the favorite of Cory weren’t running. But Corey will likely pull a good percebtage from Matt and allow Zinke to win.
      But then Zinke has another problem: a very unenthusiastic far right base.

  • INBREDS ON PARADE!

    bwhahahahahahahhahaaa!

    Sorry, that slipped out. But can someone out there tell be just WHERE all these Montans Inbred Militia dudes are from??? ‘Specially that old fart who’s got his DEPENDS in a horrific knot over the federal gummint!

    One other question. Can someone out there tell just HOW much hated gummint money ol’ clivescum bunghole STOLE from the hated federal gummint to raise his fourteen kids?! FOURTEEN KIDS ferrschrissakes! For you see, a common tactic among Moron poly pigamists is to poop OUT as many little Moron girls as you can molest, and have the hated federal gummint RAISE them with your tax dollars! True story. Check it out. It’s ALL in there in John Krakauer’s great book, Under the Banner of Heaven. Read it. And THEN, if you still wanna be a Moron, have at it! You may as well vote for MR, Matt Rosey palmdale! Because you’re hopeless!

      • Protecting your freedumb down there in the front lines of the new civil war at Bungholeville!, your “Montana militia”…..

        bwhahahahahahahahahahahaa!

        Sorry, that slipped out.

        But really, listen to what the locals are saying. They are NOT real happy with the freedumb fighters down there in Bungholeville!

        • More fun from the inbreds at Bungholeville, where cliven scumby is holed up with his Kockhsie’s Army of the First Inbred Irregulars. Heck, they’re just regular Murcan patridiots, as evidenced in another video that has surfaced. Nice guys, right???

          • Here’s a tip that will help you better understand American politics: You only know the name Koch because you are meant to know that name.

            The strategy, which is right out of the PR industry, is known as “Make them look here, not there.” They feed you demons to focus your hatred on, allowing you to ignore the ones who are really harming you, in your case, the Democrats.

          • And you spent HOW many nights on a mountain in vision quest to see that your head is stuck up your ass???

          • I think that qualifies as a personal attack. Beware, Schmidtbreath, that I don’t reciprocate, and you’ll find if I do that I am much better at it. I can actually land blows. You would be wise to leave me alone.

  • Kockhsie’s Army??

    http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/thom-hartmann/55682/cliven-bundys-friends-have-become-the-koch-brothers-useful-idiots

    Why SHORE it is! The Big Kockhs jus’ luv them some morons who will do their bidding. Makes things so much easier for them. The inbreds in the mlisha don’t know their history. (plus, they ain’t real bright to begin with!) They really SHOULD read about Coxey’s Army! Now THERE was a real Montana Militia!

    You see, education matters. If you are a complete MORON and imbecile, you will willingly do things against your own self interest. It’s lazy to pick up a gun and pretend to fight for something you don’t understand. But these inbreds do it!

    • I know that mlisha inbreds ain’t to good at book larnin’, so’s I provide this video to educate them on some boys who really DID take on the federal gummint! And note, they were NOT, fat, lardassed, pork bellied inbreds totin’ assault rifles! They were lean, hungry, hard working WORKING men! Miners, loggers, farmers, etc. Not a fat bastard in the bunch! And smart too! Compare them with the inbreds down there at Bungholeville! BIT

      • Oops! cont. BIG difference! I give you Coxey’s Army!

  • Tempest in a teapot.

    This what really matters.

    We’ve made the case that the 2014 election is shaping up like the 2006 election. In 2006, 71 percent of incumbents who were under 50 percent in the on year lost in November. Let’s take a look at the vulnerable Democratic incumbents in 2014:

    Polling shows Mark Pryor stuck in the low 40?s.
    Polling shows Mary Landrieu’s stuck in the low 40?s.
    Polling shows Kay Hagan stuck in the low 40?s.
    Polling shows Mark Begich stuck in the mid-40?s.
    Polling shows interim Senator John Walsh in the mid-30?s.
    Polling shows Mark Udall stuck in the low-to mid-40?s.
    Polling shows Jeanne Shaheen in the mid to upper 40?s.
    Polling shows Al Franken in the mid to upper 40?s.
    Polling shows Mark Warner in the high 40?s.
    Polling shows Jeff Merkley in the high 40?s.

    Johnny boy is the bottom feeder of the bunch.

    • I’d hate to see Franken go.

      If Republicans take the Senate, the Democrat base wakes up and starts paying attention and making noise. Be careful what you wish for. You’re far better off with cloaked Republicans than real ones, who tend to act out and piss people off when elected.

      The House is so gerrymandered that it will stay Republican for years to come even as more people vote Democrat than Republican.

      Crazy country, we are. Just plain corrupt down to the socks and shoes.

  • Intelligent Discontent for a shoutout for this article from Chuck Johnson on NPR on Friday. Nice work.

  • @Helena Insider  As retired US NAVY officer, I can tell you that if he was member of Seal Team Six he was one hell of an operator. Most of there missions are highly classified. To even be selected for team six training you have a hell of a record. Every retired Seal that I know proudly displays the Trident emblem.

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