Donald Trump Opposes Flag Burning, Supports Burning The Constitution

Donald Trump resurrects an old debate and desecrates the Constitution in the process.

Renewing a debate that seemingly had been closed nearly thirty years ago, President-Elect Donald Trump took to Twitter early this morning to argue that burning the American flag should be illegal and that one should be punished by jail time and/or loss of citizenship for committing such an act:

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened loss of citizenship or jail for those who burn the American flag, saying such protests — which the Supreme Court has declared to be free speech — should carry “consequences.”

Trump offered his thoughts in an early-morning post on Twitter, saying, “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag.”

Flag burning was ruled to be constitutionally protected speech under the First Amendment in a 1990 Supreme Court case, United States v. Eichman, that struck down a law seeking to prevent its desecration. Moreover, a 1967 Supreme Court decision rejected the practice of stripping U.S. citizenship as a form of criminal punishment.

Trump did not say what inspired his proposal, but it comes just days after a college in western Massachusetts decided to stop flying all flags, including U.S. flags, after someone there burned one in protest of Trump’s election victory over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Hundreds of veterans and others gathered Sunday to protest the decision by Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., to remove the flag.

Trump’s latest interest in curbing First Amendment protections follows several other actions related to free speech, including his blacklisting of reporters who fell out of favor with his campaign and a suggestion that he would “open up” libel laws to make it easier to sue the news media.

Trump’s tweet also demonstrated an ability that has continued beyond his campaign to divert public attention from other issues of the day. Earlier this week, he caused an uproar by asserting on Twitter, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally for Clinton.

During a television appearance Tuesday shortly after Trump’s tweet, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggested that Congress is unlikely to move on the issue of flag burning.

“We have a First Amendment right, but where I come from, you honor the flag,” McCarthy said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “If someone wanted to show their First Amendment right, I’d be afraid for their safety, but we’ll protect our First Amendment.”

Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller defended his boss’s position during an appearance on CNN.

“Flag burning should be illegal,” he said repeatedly on the CNN’s “New Day.”

Trump’s tweet revives a debate that was settled in the courts more than 25 years ago.

Here’s Trump’s tweet:

The flag burning debate goes back some thirty years to 1989, when the Supreme Court issued its decision in Texas v. JohnsonIn that case, the State of Texas prosecuted a man who had set fire to the American flag during a protest outside the Republican National Convention in Dallas in 1984. The State of Texas arrested and prosecuted a protestor named Gregory Lee Johnson under the state’s law making it a crime to burn the American flag. Johnson was convicted on the charge, which at the time called for a fine of up to  $5,000 and/or up to one year in jail. Johnson appealed his decision through the Texas courts and, eventually, his conviction was overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest state court for appeals in criminal cases, on the ground that the statute violated the First Amendment. That ruling was appealed by the State of Texas to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the Court of Criminal Appeals ruling and ruled that flag burning was protected political speech under the First Amendment and that laws against such activity were unconstitutional. The 5- 4 Court ruling, in which the states liberal Justices at the time were joined by none other than Reagan appointee Antonin Scalia, quickly proved to be controversial and soon became something of a rallying point for conservatives seeking to attack Democrats in vulnerable seats. Almost immediately, there were calls for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the decision, but despite the fact that polling showed widespread public disapproval of the decision, there were clearly insufficient votes in Congress or the states to amend the Constitution. Instead, Congress passed a Federal law purporting to outlaw burning of the flag nationwide that supporters claims could get around the Court’s decision. Very quickly, though, that law was also struck down along much the same lines in United States v. EichmannAfter that decision, the issue of flag burning pretty much died off as quickly as it had risen, although there have been several attempts by Republicans to push through a Constitutional Amendment, the most recent being during the Administration of George W. Bush. All of those efforts have been unsuccessful, of course, but it has been clear each time that the real point of the proposed Amendment was to score political points against Democrats rather than actually amend the Constitution. Other than that, though, the issue has been a political dead end for since the Eichmann issue and was rarely talked about until Trump revived it this morning.

If Congress or any of the states attempted to pass another law banning the American flag as Trump suggests, that law would clearly be struck down yet again, both because of the Supreme Court’s decision that is now nearly thirty years old and because it is obvious that burning the American flag as part of political protest is protected speech under the First Amendment. The fact that flag burning is an activity rather than speech is irrelevant, of course, because the Supreme Court and other courts have repeatedly held that activity that is meant to be expressive is just as protected as speech itself, so that dispose of one of the more frequent arguments that people who have supported Trump’s position have advocated in the past. Additionally, the fact that the flag is a national symbol of the what the United States stands for and those who have fought and died for is also irrelevant for First Amendment purposes. There is no exception in the First Amendment that makes it acceptable for Congress or any other body to create an exemption that applies to national symbols, and there is quite simply no good reason why such as an exception should be created. Finally, advocates of laws against flag burning have attempted to argue that the laws can be upheld because the activity is “offensive,’ but this argument similarly fails to pass Constitutional muster. As the Court has ruled in numerous cases involving everything from people protesting outside of a military funeral to a law that makes it a crime to lie about having received military honors, offensive speech deserves First Amendment protection just as much as speech that does not offend.

Additionally, the other part of Trump’s announcement, that burning a flag should result in loss of citizenship, is similarly Constitutionally suspect:

Even if Mr. Trump could persuade Congress to enact a criminal statute, a dramatic shift in the balance between government power and individual freedom, anyone convicted and sentenced under it could point to clear Supreme Court precedents to make the case for a constitutional violation.

The obstacles include the precedent that the Constitution does not allow the government to expatriate Americans against their will, through a landmark 1967 case, Afroyim v. Rusk. They also include a 1989 decision, Texas v. Johnson, in which the court struck down criminal laws banning flag burning, ruling that the act was a form of political expression protected by the First Amendment.

(…)

The 1967 case involving the stripping of citizenship traces back to a 1940 law that automatically revoked the citizenship of Americans who took actions like voting in a foreign country’s election or joining its military.

The case centered on a man who had been born in Poland, became a naturalized American citizen, and later went to Israel and voted in an election there. When he subsequently tried to renew his American passport, the State Department refused, saying he was no longer an American citizen, and he sued.

In a 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court called citizenship and the rights that stem from it “no light trifle to be jeopardized any moment” by politicians’ attempts to curtail it. The court said that the 14th Amendment, which guarantees due process of law, does not empower the government to “rob” someone’s citizenship. Americans, the ruling explained, can only lose their citizenship by voluntarily renouncing it.

“The very nature of our free government makes it completely incongruous to have a rule of law under which a group of citizens temporarily in office can deprive another group of citizens of their citizenship,” Justice Hugo L. Black wrote.

In a case in 1980, Vance v. Terrazas, the Supreme Court extended that precedent by a vote of 6 to 3. That case concerned a man who was born with both American and Mexican citizenship, and who as a student took an oath of allegiance to Mexico, renouncing his American citizenship in order to obtain a Mexican citizenship document.

When the State Department said he had thus surrendered his American citizenship, he sued. The court majority said he was still a citizen because the government had to prove that he specifically intended to relinquish it, rather than having said those words with a different motivation, like fulfilling his desire to obtain the certificate.

The reality, of course, is that Trump is proposing something that is quite simply not going to happen, not only because of the Supreme Court’s emphatic rulings on the First Amendment in the past and its current position on so-called “offensive” speech but also because there clearly isn’t any desire on the part of a Congress controlled by Republicans to resurrect an issue that, in the end, isn’t very important. In response to Trump’s tweet, for example, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy have said that they support the Supreme Court’s decision and would oppose any effort to attempt to overturn it. As with the mostly Republican politicians who used the Court’s decision in Johnson as a political weapon, though, it seems rather obvious that Trump doesn’t really care about the fact that what he’s proposing could never actually be enacted. Instead, he seems intent on using the idea as a political weapon and a means to rally his supporters, who likely support the idea of making flag burning illegal, behind him. The fact that this proposal came out at the same time that Trump’s transition team is being forced to deal with repeated reports about infighting about the possibility that Mitt Romney could be appointed Secretary of State as well growing questions about the numerous conflicts of interest that Trump will face upon becoming President even if he turns over operation of his companies to his children is not coincidental either since it matches the pattern he established during the primary and General Election campaigns of saying or doing something controversial in order to take attention off of an unfavorable item in the news. That doesn’t make Trump’s proposals any less dangerous, of course.

As The Washington Post and California attorney Ken White both put it, ideas like the one Trump expressed today are particularly dangerous. Here’s how White put it:

The flag-burning cases are important, like the crush videos case was important, because they draw a crucial line between having a few strictly limited exceptions to the First Amendment, on the one hand, and having as many exceptions as we feel like having, on the other hand. Flag burning isn’t speech that’s uniquely valuable or important to protect. What’s important is that we protect the principled method by which we determine which speech is protected and which isn’t.

The argument that flag burning should be outside the First Amendment can be applied with equal force to just about anything — “hate speech,” “cyber-bulling,” “revenge porn,” “pro-ISIS speech,” or whatever the flavor of the month is. If think the majority was wrong in the flag burning cases, here’s what you’re saying: “the Supreme Court makes bad judgments, and I want to give that Supreme Court the power to decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether the harm of speech outweighs its value. I don’t want the courts to be limited to established, well-defined categories outside of First Amendment protection.”

I put the matter in much the same way when I wrote about this issue all the way back in 1990 when the public reaction to Texas v. Johnson was fresh:

In adopting the position of the opponents of the Supreme Court decision, one would have to accept the seemingly contradictory idea that in order to protect the symbol of a nation founded on individual liberty, one must restrict individual liberty. Taking this position also leads one into dangerous territory in relation to other areas of action or thought and the effect that they might have on the rest of society. After all, if flag burning can be banned because a majority of the public are offended by an attack on what they believe to be a sacred symbol, then why not extend the ban into other areas where an individual’s actions might be offensive to others? If we ban flag burning, then why not ban movies or books that depict in an offensive way religious figures or other subjects considered to be sacred? Why not ban magazines, films, or groups that offend the sensibilities of women, blacks, Jews, or any other minority group?

A person who opposes flag burning may argue that he would not extend his logic as far as that in the above examples. But the reasoning behind these examples and that behind flag burning are of the same majoritarian parentage: the belief that if a sufficiently large number of people find an activity offensive then they can use the coercive power of the state to regulate or, preferably, to ban that activity.

The problem, then, with taking the position that the flag should be protected even at the expense of individual liberty is not that flag burning or any other activity deemed to be offensive has some sort of redeeming value, or that symbols such as the flag are unimportant, but that in banning these activities, one is accepting a principle that is ultimately destructive of a free society. By accepting this principle, we are allowing for the creation of a society wherein appropriate expressions of patriotism, appropriate forms of artistic expression, and appropriate activities are decided by a process of majority rule that, rather than minimizing conflict in society, heightens it to a dangerous degree.

(…)

It is undeniable that to most Americans, including those who value liberty, flag burning is offensive. We do not like to see someone set fire to a banner that is a symbol of freedom, especially when that person rejects the freedom the flag symbolizes. However, we must not allow our love for the flag-as-symbol to blind us to the reality that a law banning flag burning or desecration would be as much a restriction on individual liberty as would be a law banning publication of a book that seems to denigrate a religion. Neither must we forget that the moment one concedes that certain activities should be banned simply because they offend other people, one is allowing for the creation of an environment in which no one is safe to do what he might, lest he offend someone and bring down on him the heavy hand of the government.

Little did I know that we’d still be talking about this issue nearly three decades later. The good news is that we are nowhere closer to banning flag buring while desecrating the Constitution now than we were then. Indeed, outside of Trump and his followers, I tend to doubt there are very many people who care about this issue anymore.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. J-Dub says:

    He wants to revoke the citizenship of flag burners. What does that even mean? Do you get deported? To where?

  2. dxq says:

    I have friends in south Georgia. Their facebook feeds are full of people talking about how if someone burns a flag they’ll beat their ass for disrespecting the troops etc.

  3. CSK says:

    Trump’s Tweet does not surprise me. Putting aside the fact that Trump uses Twitter as a means of expressing whatever he’s feeling at any given moment, he has recently expressed a desire to abrogate the First Amendment in order to make it possible to sue reporters who criticize him, no matter how legitimate the criticism may be. Apparently if you say mean things about Trump. even if they’re true, you should be punished.

    Since he’s an ignoramus, he probably has no idea that Scalia upheld the right to burn a flag, even though Scalia regarded flag-burners as detestable.

  4. J-Dub says:

    The only definitive answer is found in the US Flag Code. TITLE 4 > CHAPTER 1 > Sec. 8(k). It states:

    “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning”

  5. C. Clavin says:

    And on top of that…Congress is apparently out of that pesky “checks and balances” business.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/11/the-gop-congress-is-out-of-the-checks-and-balances-business.html

  6. CSK says:

    @J-Dub:

    He has no idea what it means. (So what else is news?) Is he going to revoke the citizenship of a 10th generation American? A 3rd generation American? A naturalized American? Don’t ask him.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @J-Dub:

    If I burn a flag do I get to pick the country I’m exiled to? And will I be able to upgrade to business class?

  8. C. Clavin says:

    The reality is that this flag-burning stuff is simply a distraction from the myriad other fwcked up things going on with the Trump transition. Dismantling Medicare. Massive corruption and unethical behavior; the normalizing of Kleptocracy. Talking to foreign leaders on un-secured phone lines. Hiring Washington insiders to staff his outsider administration. The only thing he has done right, is to consult Obama 5 or 6 times already.

  9. CSK says:

    @J-Dub:

    I edited out this comment because it was published above, for some weird cyber-reason I can’t explain.

  10. Terrye Cravens says:

    I don’t think that Trump has much understanding or respect for the Constitution. He is all about himself.

  11. RM says:

    You do remember that Hillary Clinton sponsored a flag burning bill in 2005 that would have jailed flag burners

  12. grumpy realist says:

    I think it’s time for this to get posted again:

    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    May that idiot aide end up rooming with someone who thinks that large amounts of plutonium need to be dumped in the orange juice to balance his chakhras.

  13. Davebo says:

    Burning a flag is a peaceful and respectful way for citizens of this great country to voice their displeasure. Very powerful.

    Donald Trump tweet from 2/28/2011

  14. James Pearce says:

    Why is Trump even talking about this?

  15. CSK says:

    @RM:

    I do remember that. She co-sponsored the bill with Bob Bennett, to make punishable with a $100,000 fine or a year in prison burning the flag to incite violence or disturb the peace. The NY Times accused her of pandering, and I agree with them that it was opportunistic and unlikely to be based on any deep conviction about the sanctity of the flag.

  16. Davebo says:

    @RM: I do remember that. However it was quite different than what Trump proposed.

    The law would have prohibited burning or otherwise destroying and damaging the US flag with the primary purpose of intimidation or inciting immediate violence or for the act of terrorism.

    That said, it was a stupid bill.

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @James Pearce:
    See my comment above:
    @C. Clavin:

  18. C. Clavin says:

    And then there is the NRA vision for ‘Mericuh…which Trump will give them on a platter.
    http://www.fox4news.com/news/220303480-story

  19. Clinton’s bill was pandering nonsense that would have been found unconstitutional had it passed. It seems rather obvious that she proposed it as a means to pander to voters both in connection with her re-election bid in 2006 and her intended run for President in 2008.

  20. M. Bouffant says:

    @James Pearce: Apparently FOXNews was covering this today:

    Veterans protest at Massachusetts college that removed US flags

    so ol’ Trumpy decided he had to express whatever his opinion is right now (as opposed to what it’s been or may be).

  21. @RM: Which she should not have done for reasons noted by several folks here.

    What does that have to do with Trump?

  22. James Pearce says:

    @C. Clavin: While I appreciate the distraction element*, I’m just curious why he decided to start tweeting about flag burning.

    He was up watching Youtube videos or something?

    * Just saying…maybe we should just start accepting that he’s not “distracting” us from anything. Perhaps his agenda really is this stupid.

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    Why is Trump even talking about this?

    Go to your nearest zoo. To the apes. Watch an immature male gorilla as he bounds around throwing scat and trying to bone every female in the habitat. The silverback sits and watches and considers how much to let the fool jabber before putting him in his place.

    Unfortunately, we have no silverback, he’s term-limited, so we’re stuck with the poo-throwing adolescent.

    Donald wants desperately to become a silverback. But of course he’ll never make it, no matter how much money he makes or what titles he holds, because he’s a cramped, stupid, narcissistic psychopath devoid of human empathy. He’s too damaged to ever be what he imagines. Deep down in the shallows of his brain he knows he’s second rate and will always be second rate. Every time he tries to make it, to become accepted, to rise to what in his warped mind is the upper crust, he runs into sneers and scorn.

    I mean, you have only to look at the frustrations of his early years when he was trying to make it as a painter in Austria, but the real artists knew he was. . . oh wait, that’s a different guy.

  24. Mikey says:

    offensive speech deserves First Amendment protection just as much as speech that does not offend

    One could say in certain contexts offensive speech is the only speech that’s truly relevant to the First Amendment.

    I can say burning the American flag upsets me. The flag gains a lot of special meaning when you see it draped over a friend’s casket. I would never burn it in protest.

    Still, I understand burning the flag as an expression of protest is protected by the First Amendment and I served 20 years in the military to guarantee that right. I will support the right of anyone to do so even though I personally would not.

  25. CSK says:

    @James Pearce:

    Trump is embarking on his victory tour this Thursday, so he needs to publicize those rallies in advance by Tweeting remarks that will get all the Trumpkins jazzed and ready to yell “Heil Trump” in a massive stadium.

  26. C. Clavin says:

    @James Pearce:
    Because some kids at Hampshire College in Western MA (a bastion of liberalism with Smith College, Amherst, UMass Amherst, Mt. Holyoke College, and Hampshire College – essentially all in the same town) allegedly burned a flag to protest Trumps election.
    Trump is all about squelching dissent and criticism of himself…Constitution be damned.
    The Trump brand is more important than the Constitution. At least now it is with Congress rapidly abdicating its role in oversight.

  27. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Dude, I think two or three years from now when Trump is suggesting yet another stupid thing, and we say it’s stupid, there will still be people saying “But Hillary did…”

  28. Pch101 says:

    @dxq:

    I have friends in south Georgia. Their facebook feeds are full of people talking about how if someone burns a flag they’ll beat their ass for disrespecting the troops etc

    I’m guessing that those are the very same people who think that it was perfectly cool to shoot at US troops and seize their military installations back during the 1860s.

  29. Pch101 says:

    @RM:

    You probably don’t remember that Clinton was trying to use that proposal to derail the flag burning amendment that had passed the House from being passed by the Senate.

    I have my doubts that Fox News is going to make any effort to remind you of that, either.

  30. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    Trump pulls the strings, and the monkeys dance to his tune…

  31. JohnMcC says:

    Granted that no such bill or amendment will be passed still we are seeing clearly that he is no conservative but instead is an authoritarian. The difference should be noted and plastered across the Repub-party forever.

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    You must have missed this on the other thread, so I’ll re-post it for you:

    Simple yes/no question for you Jenos: Do you believe that there were in excess of 2 million illegal votes cast. Yes or No?

  33. CSK says:

    @Mikey:

    You are a good person.

  34. Paul L. says:

    If only we had someone who Doug believes is qualified and more deserving to be President unlike the current President Elect.

    The Flag Protection Act of 2005 was a proposed United States federal law introduced in the United States Senate at the 109th United States Congress on October 24, 2005, by Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and co-sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

  35. Mikey says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: What Hillary Clinton advocated in 2005 is IRRELEVANT. YOUR guy won. HE’S the one advocating wiping his butt with the Constitution. Hillary has fvck-all to do with it.

    If your answer to some idiotic Trump proposal is always “But Hillary…” YOU LOSE THE GODDAMN ARGUMENT.

  36. Paul L. says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Yes, there were in excess of 2 million illegal votes cast.
    Why would the Democrat fight so hard against Voter ID and transparency in the Election process.

  37. Pch101 says:

    @Paul L.:

    You didn’t read my post, apparently.

    Are you not aware that the House had passed a flag burning amendment to the Constitution and that Clinton was trying to use that law to stop the amendment?

  38. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @michael reynolds: Do you believe that there were in excess of 2 million illegal votes cast. Yes or No?

    I think it’s possible, between felons, illegal aliens, dead votes, multiple votes, and other forms of voter fraud.

    I also think that if Hillary keeps pushing this recount crap, Trump will demand recounts in states where Hillary won, and find quite a few illegal ones.

    Two million out of 135.6 million being illegal? Well within the realm of possibility.

  39. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Mikey: Hillary has fvck-all to do with it.

    If your answer to some idiotic Trump proposal is always “But Hillary…” YOU LOSE THE GODDAMN ARGUMENT.

    And you lose your shit over it.

    Keep dancing, little monkey.

    Considering Trump’s real estate background, it’s no wonder he’s figured out how to live, rent-free, inside the left’s heads.

  40. Mikey says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Hahaha…whatever, you sad little man.

    You go ahead and enjoy whatever puny little point you think you just scored. I’m glad I don’t have to live the failure of a life you do.

  41. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Mikey: I’m chuckling a little, at your temper tantrum. You’re really mad you got trolled so hard, aren’t you?

    You simply don’t get it, do you? This is…

    Nah. I could explain it to you, but you wouldn’t admit that you got it, and that you got got, and I would rather enjoy your ongoing temper tantrum.

  42. Mikey says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Again…whatever. If this is how you get your jollies, I pity you.

    And the whole “I trolled you, hurr durr” after you got called out…what is that? What are you, 14? That shit is so old and tired.

  43. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Paul L.: if you claim that, serve up the evidence, please. And no, something claimed by some jackass in Texas doesn’t count.

  44. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Good. I wanted you on record lying to remain faithful to your Dear Leader. You don’t believe any such thing. It’s going to be fun tying you up in Donald’s knots.

    Continue.

  45. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Mikey: I didn’t troll you, Mikey. Trump did. (I just enjoyed it.) And you just made sure everyone knew you got trolled.

    Why would you want to publicize that so loudly?

  46. barbintheboonies says:

    As much as I find flag burning very disrespectful, I do not feel it should be a crime to burn unless it was in a place where it is dangerous to do so. I do feel people should be treated with disdain from their peers and the media who cover it. Applauding behavior like this only encourages worse behavior. Donald Trump only adds to this. He needs to stop tweeting BS like this. Last night on the news in a college in Hampshire Ma. The president of the school took down the American flag because it was offending some of the students. That offends me.

  47. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @barbintheboonies: I do not feel it should be a crime to burn unless it was in a place where it is dangerous to do so.

    Also, if the flag doesn’t belong to the burner. Or it’s done somewhere that the burner has no business doing things. (On someone else’s private property, for example.)

    But I actually like it when I see someone burning the flag. It shows them to be a moron, AND it always generates far more backlash than support.

    Kind of like this….

  48. Tony W says:

    Folks – this is a red herring. You’re supposed to freak out. Liberals will now burn a flag and it will resonate with middle America – playing into Trump’s hands.

    The best response here is to burn a Confederate flag. Watch the bigots who claim it’s just a piece of cloth freak out.

  49. Bill says:

    @Doug Mataconis: but she did actually support that, trump has done nothing formal about it or actually said he supports burning the constitution (your words).
    Granted, free speech and burning flags aren’t the same thing to most people ….
    Be grateful Doug, you have 4 years of trashing the president without being called a racist!

  50. Liberal Capitalist says:

    In other news…

    Looks like the deplorables have increased their number of hate crimes.

    Just the other day, it was 701… today, nearly 900.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/splc-reports-nearly-900-hate-incidents-after-election

    Looks like the deplorables are really proud of their racism and ignorance.

    Thank god we have a representative here of the deplorable ilk, or else we would never fathom the proud racism and ignorance that fuels this fire.

    These “Mericans. They are really something.

    (for the gratuitous “both sides”: I think the violence to Trump supporters is around 25.)

  51. Paul L. says:

    @Pch101:
    She thought a Constitutional Amendment went too far. But the Supreme Court had “evolved” enough to allow the law.
    The NY Times said at the time.

    The bill attempts to equate flag-burning with cross-burning, which the Supreme Court, in a sensible and carefully considered 2003 decision, said could be prosecuted under certain circumstances as a violation of civil rights law.

  52. wr says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: ” You’re really mad you got trolled so hard, aren’t you?”

    Here’s the thing you don’t seem to be able to grasp, little boy:

    When you “troll someone so hard,” that’s fine. It’s what you do. It’s all you do. You exist to annoy people and sometimes you succeed, and if that’s what makes you feel all warm in your pants, so be it.

    Donald Trump isn’t a loser internet troll. He’s the president of the USA. When he makes a casual suggestion, thousands of eager government employees start working on bringing it into reality in order to please their boss.

    What he does and says matter. If you say “Hey, I think all white men should have the right to kill any three black men who piss them off,” the only difference it makes is that people think you’re a dick. If the president tweets exactly the same thing, you will see blood in the streets.

    So yeah, people are concerned if they’re getting “trolled” by the most powerful man on earth — since he seems to have no conception of what he’s doing or what it means.

  53. Mikey says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: You just keep telling yourself that. The rest of us know what actually happened.

  54. Pch101 says:

    @Paul L.:

    Instead of posting weak sauce on the internet, you should learn how the legislative process works.

    The bill was introduced, and then it died through inaction. She was participating in the creation of a decoy so that there would be a beefy-sounding Senate alternative to the flag burning amendment, which appeared to have momentum in the Senate that it had not had during previous sessions.

    To pass laws in the US, they have to be approved by both the House and the Senate. The House would never have passed her bill, since it would have diluted the amendment that they had passed. Which was the point.

  55. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I was wondering when someone would bring up that bogus “report.”

    From the actual report, not secondhand spin:

    The 867 hate incidents described here come from two sources — submissions to the #ReportHate page on the SPLC website and media accounts. Incidents were limited to real-world events; the count does not include instances of online harassment. We have excluded incidents that authorities have determined to be hoaxes; however, it was not possible to confirm the veracity of all reports.

    (emphasis added)

    I was surprised they mentioned this incident:

    In Chicago, a white motorist was assaulted by black teenagers who shouted, “It’s one of them white boy Trump guys!” after a reported traffic altercation.

    I guess that, since it was caught on video, they couldn’t ignore it.

    I can’t say I read every single word of the report, but the only time I noticed any qualifiers on any of the alleged incidents was in the “anti-Trump” section. Every other one I read stated the incident as factual.

  56. wr says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: “It shows them to be a moron,”

    And then Baby Jenos doesn’t feel so alone!

  57. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Oh, and what is REALLY important?

    1) Billionaires, Wall Street Bankers and Corporation toadies are being appointed. (“Drain the swamp” must mean “and put them in DC”, eh?)

    2) Their past documented statements are clear: Reduce taxes on the rich, shift burden to middle class and poor.

    3) According to their plans, ACA is dead, as is Medicare, and social security. Right now the estimate is that about 5 million that voted for Trump will lose their medical coverage. (… wont THAT be a surprise!)

    4) bringing jobs back to America means destroying the middle class income and eliminating the minimum wage.

    Everything else is noise meant to make the uneducated not realize that they are being fleeced. Like they say: “If you don’t know who the mark at the table is… IT’S YOU ! ”

    .

    Funny thing: The most outspoken liberals on this board are millionaires.

    For me, my holdings have increased in value, and I am anchored into a previous employers retiree medical plan. If I decided to retire tomorrow, I could, without worry. I’m planning a trip to P.R. to look at ocean side property. (And I am an immigrant’s kid that owes his success to the social safety net… so does my sister, the VP in healthcare, and my brother a CEO & president of his own company in advertising)

    Yet here we are, expressing concern and proposing altruism, while those without are voting away everything that previous generations have fought for… except their freakin’ bootstraps.

    Yes, a fun next few years.

  58. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @wr:

    That’ll teach me to get the store-brand batteries…

  59. Slugger says:

    Libby-lib here. I have no problem condemning Hillary for lots of things including the flag burning law attempt. It was wrong, period. Trump is wrong on this issue, period. Soon he will hold the reins of our government. I would like to emphasize our government. We have a duty to remind him when he strays.

  60. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I was wondering when someone would bring up that bogus “report.”

    From the actual report, not secondhand spin:

    The 867 hate incidents described here come from two sources — submissions to the #ReportHate page on the SPLC website and media accounts. Incidents were limited to real-world events; the count does not include instances of online harassment. We have excluded incidents that authorities have determined to be hoaxes; however, it was not possible to confirm the veracity of all reports.

    Why not include the next part of the quote, or is this YOUR selective editing?

    The incidents documented here almost certainly represent a small fraction of the actual number of election-related hate incidents that have occurred since November 8. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that two-thirds of hate crimes go unreported to the police. The underreporting problem is surely more severe when it comes to hate incidents that may not rise to the level of criminal violations and that are being reported to a new, little-known repository established by a private organization.

    Source: https://www.splcenter.org/20161129/ten-days-after-harassment-and-intimidation-aftermath-election

    Now, if you read some of the reports, which I did at the SPLC report as well, you would understand that the reports are very realistic. And did the SPLC verify each report? No, they are not a police force. Likely many Americans are unaware of the SPLC.

    However, you seem to find it easier to believe…

    Two million out of 135.6 million being illegal? Well within the realm of possibility.

    Going back to the previous comment thread: If you so strongly believe in 2 million fraudulent votes, then you must support a recount effort.

  61. Paul L. says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    From the source

    however, it was not possible to confirm the veracity of all reports.

    Of course the hate group SPLC does not include the attack of Trump supporters with the assistance of the Police in San Jose as a hate incident.

    If you so strongly believe in 2 million fraudulent votes, then you must support a recount effort.

    Sure let us have one in California.

  62. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Paul L.:

    Of course the hate group SPLC does not include the attack of Trump supporters with the assistance of the Police in San Jose as a hate incident.

    Did you look at the link? Even Jenos quoted part of it.

    The ANTI-hate group, SPLC does include Anti-Trump issues:

    Of the 867 hate incidents collected by the SPLC, 23 were anti-Trump. In the days following the election, there were far fewer reports of anti-Trump harassment and intimidation than there were of the other types of harassment catalogued in this report; however, the small number of anti-Trump incidents may also reflect the fact that Trump supporters may have been unlikely to report incidents to the SPLC.

    Many of the reported anti-Trump incidents were characterized by a connection between the targets and the Trump campaign. In Denver, for example, Trump campaign headquarters were vandalized with the word “No” the day after the election. Harassers also targeted people holding Trump signs or wearing Trump campaign paraphernalia, such as “Make America Great Again” hats. In New York, a man wearing a Trump hat was reportedly grabbed around the neck while riding the subway, and, in Connecticut, a man was assaulted after a verbal altercation over a Trump sign. In Chicago, a white motorist was assaulted by black teenagers who shouted, “It’s one of them white boy Trump guys!” after a reported traffic altercation.

    As to your comment of SPLC being a hate group…

    The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.

    So, I guess, if one was a white nationalist, then yeah, it would be a hate group.

    Just like the ACLU is a bunch of commies… right?

  63. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Paul L.:

    Sure let us have one in California.

    Paul, I will ABSOLULUTELY support your right to do so, and will even kick in on the effort.

    I strongly urge you to petition the President-Elect to make that happen before The electoral college deadline of Dec 19th.

    Transparency in government is a cornerstone of Democracy.

  64. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Mikey: And two of them will be named Jenos and Guarnari.

  65. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    “That is so old and tired.”

    Which is why I keep reminding people that there is really no Jenos. It’s only a character played by someone on the internet.

  66. Paul L. says:
  67. wr says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: If you ever meet an actual woman, you won’t keep running out of batteries. Although with your constant series of man-crushes, maybe female companionship is not what you need.

  68. wr says:

    @Paul L.: “Sure let us have one in California.”

    Not a big fan of Jill Stein, but she didn’t just mewl and puke about wanting a recount — she went out and raised seven million bucks to pay for it.

    What are you doing?

    I mean, aside from beating up small guys who look like they might be Mooslims?

  69. Hal_10000 says:

    Scalia’s decision on flag-burning had one of my favorite quotes:

    If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag. But I am not king.

    That, to me, encapsulate this debate. You can hate flag-burning all you want. But we have a strong and important tradition of free speech in this country. We let Nazis talk. We let the Klan talk. We let the Alt-Right talk. And, yes, flag burners get to talk.

    I am also displeased with the talking point that soldiers “died for the flag”. Our soldiers swear a very specific and unique oath. Not to the flag, or to Congress or the President or even the country. They swear to defend the Constitution.

  70. Dave Schuler says:

    Doug, you’re hyperventilating.

    In 1897 Illinois, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota all enacted laws preventing flag desecration after Congress’s failure to enact a federal law. In 1907 the U. S. Supreme Court found state laws preventing flag desecration constitutional and by 1932 all 48 states had such laws.

    In other words laws preventing flag desecration were thought to be consistent with constitutional protections for longer than they’ve been thought to be inconsistent and it wasn’t thought to be a grave violation of civil liberties.

    To clarify my own position I may disagree with everything you say but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it and that includes burning, defacing, or otherwise desecrating the flag.

  71. James Pearce says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Because some kids…allegedly burned a flag to protest Trumps election.

    There’s the context I was looking for, thanks.

    Kids…
    @michael reynolds:

    Deep down in the shallows of his brain he knows he’s second rate and will always be second rate.

    He might have convinced himself by now that he’s the best. You know he sits up in his tower thinking, “I’m king of the world.”

    It’s just truer now.
    @wr:

    mewl and puke

    Ha! Colorful turn there. I was going to use it as my band name, but now I think it’ll just be the title of the album.

  72. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Paul L.:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    The SPLC would condemn any group that directly caused a shooting as a Hate Group.

    Southern Poverty Law Center website triggered FRC shooting

    1) your fist link does not prove the point that you are trying to make.

    2) The second link is weak sauce. You may as well call libraries hate groups as well, as they have lists of organizations.

    But that’s OK… We’ve got that you are a proud deplorable.

    Let us know how the white supremist nationalist dreams play out in the next wo years.

    I’ve got a feeling that when Trump reneges on his campaign promises, you will be there saying that was the plan all along.

    OK, enough fun… got to get back to planning my December travel. I’ve got to get 5K more miles to hit AA’s Exec Plat level, cause this liberal loves those free first class upgrades! 🙂

  73. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: If you so strongly believe in 2 million fraudulent votes, then you must support a recount effort.

    Look, you’re not dealing with an idiot as simple-minded as wr or cliffy. I said I find it plausible. You’re not going to bait me into playing that stupid game.

  74. Ravi says:

    Oh bloody hell. I can’t believe everyone is falling for this. The flag-burning is both an amplifier and a distraction. But not a distraction from policy horrors and corruption, but from the slow normalization of citizenship-stripping.

    And this is a huge thing. From anchor babies to the deportation force, the entire immigration agenda is turbo-charged by citizenship-stripping. And those precedents are vulnerable. We already know that Trump takes a narrow view of the 14th amendment and birthright citizenship. How much do you want to bet that his judicial nominees wiill feel the same way? With Sessions in the selection process and Bannon trying to promote a white ethnostate where only property owners vote, I think it is pretty much guaranteed.

    How many Supreme Court justices will it take? I don’t know. I could see the current court as anything from a 4-4 deadlock (son of Shelby County) to 8-0 against (too big a break from the text and precedent). As a birthright citizen and the child of legal immigrants, I’m terrified.

  75. Mikey says:

    @wr:

    Donald Trump isn’t a loser internet troll. He’s the president of the USA. When he makes a casual suggestion, thousands of eager government employees start working on bringing it into reality in order to please their boss.

    This.

    A President’s words can crash markets. A President’s words can deploy divisions. A President’s words can launch thousands of nuclear warheads. A President’s words could literally end the human race.

    Trump’s words are bad enough, but the way he lowers himself to the level of a vapid, teenaged Internet troll is so far beneath the office of the Presidency that it indicates an utter lack of respect for that office.

    We as Americans should expect more of our President, and of ourselves. Sadly, the Trump campaign has failed our country, and many Americans have as well. Trump has taken this country down into the mud, and I’m sure he will plumb ever darker depths during the next four years.

  76. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Slightly OT, but:

    I am anchored into a previous employers retiree medical plan.

    That’s what I thought as well when suddenly my former employer decided to cancel the retiree plan completely and replace it with a fixed donation to a health savings account.

  77. Paul Hooson says:

    He too much represents all of the instincts of wanting to be a dictator if the Constitution didn’t put restrictions on his powers. This is the absolute worst man ever elected to this office. – When he was the host of THE APPRENTICE, I could at least turn him off or change the channel. I haven’t liked him for the last 30 years, but I’m really amazed at just how awful he is as a candidate, and now much worse, a president-elect. God save our nation…

  78. Paul Hooson says:

    He too much represents all of the instincts of wanting to be a dictator if the Constitution didn’t put restrictions on his powers. This is the absolute worst man ever elected to this office. – When he was the host of THE APPRENTICE, I could at least turn him off or change the channel. I haven’t liked him for the last 30 years, but I’m really amazed at just how awful he is as a candidate, and now much worse, a president-elect. God save our nation…

  79. anjin-san says:

    My, my. Janos is certainly strutting his stuff.

    It’s a bit like the 98 pound weakling doing his “We are the champions”, victory dance after his team wins the big game.

    He’s still a 98 pound weakling, but in his mind, at least until reality intervenes, he gets to be big, strong, talented and rich.

    Until reality intervenes.

  80. mannning says:

    Two comments:

    1. We must uphold the Rule of Law;

    2. However, I will exercise my freedom to disassociate with anyone that debases our flag, and I believe that most citizens would do the same. Shunning can be most effective.

  81. anjin-san says:

    @mannning:

    Shunning is fine, if you choose to go that route. In the meantime, the rule of law is not as robust as it was just weeks ago.

  82. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @t:

    Overseas? Be prepared to answer questions..lots of them.

    No. Just Texas and Georgia… Hey, come to think of it, considering I’m traveling from Colorado, those two are very much a different country.

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Look, you’re not dealing with an idiot as simple-minded as wr or cliffy.

    You are right. Clearly, you have made it obvious that we are dealing with a completely different type of idiot.

    Sorry Jenos, you just teed that one up. 🙂

    Try the veal, tip the waitresses, I’m here all week… G’night folks!

  83. mannning says:

    @anjin-san:

    Without citing any specifics, I feel that the Rule of Law has been compromised over that past years of the current administration. Perhaps there will be more compromising ahead, but I feel that there will also be some much-needed corrections to what has transpired.

  84. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    I also think that if Hillary keeps pushing this recount crap, Trump will demand recounts in states where Hillary won, and find quite a few illegal ones.

    Two million out of 135.6 million being illegal? Well within the realm of possibility.

    Then we should recount in every state. Democracy is important, and we should make sure the vote is legitimate. Don’t stop are recounts though — crosscheck every voter to make sure they were legally registered, and didn’t also vote somewhere else. Let’s use this election to see if there really is fraud.

    Democracy deserves no less.

    Also, you would need close to three million for Trump to win the popular vote, but who’s counting?

    (Given the way recounts tend to go, with more undercounted votes in the cities than the rural areas, it is possible that Clinton’s popular vote win would be 3.5 million by the time it is all done, but I doubt it would affect the electoral college)

  85. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Squirrel!

  86. Franklin says:

    @James Pearce: That was my first reaction. He easily gets off on tangents, like Miss Universe or families of Muslim soldiers.

  87. An Interested Party says:

    Without citing any specifics, I feel that the Rule of Law has been compromised over that past years of the current administration.

    Ahh, so in other words, you just make stuff up out of nothing, just like Trump…

  88. Tony W says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Yet here we are, expressing concern and proposing altruism, while those without are voting away everything that previous generations have fought for… except their freakin’ bootstraps.

    I’m beginning to come around on this – I can only be gracious and generous so long before I simply give up and join the other team.

    If middle America can’t be bothered to understand what they’re voting for, but simply wants to go vote against the blacks or Muslims or gays or whomever they hate this week, well then maybe I just let the R’s lower my taxes and destroy social security. I really don’t need SS anyway, my investments will carry me through.

    I’m about out of energy to spend trying to help those who won’t be helped. I might do better spending that energy getting the red states to stop collecting my blue state tax revenue and make ’em fend for themselves.

  89. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher: Probably the only possible effect on the EC would be in Michigan, where Trump only won by about 10,000 votes. There were almost 90,000 ballots where down-ticket votes were cast but not votes for President. This is likely due to people not wanting to vote for either candidate, but it’s also possible their markings were faint enough the machines weren’t able to read them. So the Stein campaign is filing for a hand recount.

    But even if Michigan eventually got moved to Clinton’s column it would only change the balance of EC votes, not the result, because that state doesn’t have enough electors to get Clinton to 270.

  90. barbintheboonies says:

    I cannot for the life of me understand why most of you people here think it is a good thing to burn the symbol of your country, You spit in all American faces. I said I do not believe it should be a law against it, and what Trump said was foolish at best. We look like a bunch of cowards defending this behavior, of burning flags. The funny thing is if we lived in some other countries you could be punished severely. I get people are frustrated, but destroying other peoples` property is a crime. For the kids of this country be very careful. The government puts you on a watch list when you are caught doing such things. You may forget about them, getting older, but they do not.

  91. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    I think it’s possible, between felons, illegal aliens, dead votes, multiple votes, and other forms of voter fraud.

    And you’re an admitted freeloader on the health care system.
    So you are delusional and a dead-beat.
    Carry on.

  92. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    I cannot for the life of me understand why most of you people here think it is a good thing to burn the symbol of your country, You spit in all American faces.

    I have participated in a protest where the American flag was burned at the end of the protest.

    The protest was in response to a Lithuanian-Russian Citizen that defected from a Russian ship to an American ship, requesting asylum, in American waters. The captain of the Vigilant allowed Russian seamen to board the boat (US Territory) and drag Simas back to their ship while beating him.

    America failed, and the protest organizers saw it as a way to make the point. Yes, it did spit in the face of America, as America was wrong.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Defection_of_Simas_Kudirka

    We look like a bunch of cowards defending this behavior, of burning flags. The funny thing is if we lived in some other countries you could be punished severely.

    We live in this country, where we have the rule of law, Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    First, it was the Texas Court of Appeals that recognized the first amendment issue:

    Johnson was charged with violating the Texas law that prohibits vandalizing respected objects (desecration of a venerated object). He was convicted, sentenced to one year in prison, and fined $2,000. He appealed his conviction to the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas, but he lost this appeal. On appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals the court overturned his conviction, saying that the State could not punish Johnson for burning the flag because the First Amendment protects such activity as symbolic speech.

    And on review, The supreme court agreed (5-4):

    The Court found that, “Under the circumstances, Johnson’s burning of the flag constituted expressive conduct, permitting him to invoke the First Amendment. … Occurring as it did at the end of a demonstration coinciding with the Republican National Convention, the expressive, overtly political nature of the conduct was both intentional and overwhelmingly apparent.” The court concluded that, while “the government generally has a freer hand in restricting expressive conduct than it has in restricting the written or spoken word,” it may not “proscribe particular conduct because it has expressive elements.”

    (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._Johnson )

    For the kids of this country be very careful. The government puts you on a watch list when you are caught doing such things. You may forget about them, getting older, but they do not.

    No. We do not yet live in a police state. Close, but not yet.

  93. J-Dub says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    1) Billionaires, Wall Street Bankers and Corporation toadies are being appointed. (“Drain the swamp” must mean “and put them in DC”, eh?)

    The swamp is full of middle-men, like legislators and lobbyists. They were dragging their feet so Trump is merely draining the swamp and giving power directly to the ultra-rich.

  94. KM says:

    @barbintheboonies :

    Because it’s a symbol, not the real thing. My great-uncle earned his Medal of Honor so people could have the right to do that. My grandfather charged up Juno beach, my father and uncles ran through jungles in SE Asia and my cousins stalk the deserts in the ME for *America*, not a damn piece of cloth. Freedom is ugly – it means people can do what you don’t like and you still need to stand there and let them make asses of themselves if they want. Are you OK with them burning it if it was their flag, bought legally and burned legally on their own property? All ordinances observed, flag made in the USA to save a job, nothing illegit – just watch the Stars and Stripes go up in flames? It’s just your opinion then and like a-holes, everyone has one.

    I personally don’t care. It’s a piece of colored cloth. What matters is people are free to tell the government FU without worrying about snipers or hit squads. We are free to rage against injustice (real or imagined) and dance around a burning slight, an insult to the most powerful people in the world and *LIVE*. Nothing bad happens to you and the day moves on. Outrage expressed and all that was lost was some cheap rayon.

    *That’s* freedom and that’s worth fighting for, dying for. Every solider worth their salt understands that America is an ideal, not an idol. Idealists get disrespected everyday by reality but they keep on truckin’. Because that’s what idealists do.

  95. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Tony W:

    I’m beginning to come around on this – I can only be gracious and generous so long before I simply give up and join the other team.

    Interesting comment, and insightful, as I just ran across the VERY interesting article:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-baby-boomers-became-the-most-selfish-generation-2016-11

    …Milton Friedman, who persuaded a generation that selfishness was the natural state of humanity and that selfishness ultimately would lead to the best possible society, when all the empirical data shows exactly the opposite: that people are capable of prosociality and that pro-social societies do better,”

    Toward the end of the 1960s and early 1970s, Friedman was the champion of a school of thought in economics called neoclassical theory.

    According to this theory, every human action is motivated by selfishness. As such, all humans can be motivated into doing anything as long as there is an economic incentive for it. In fact, no one does or should look out for the good of the collective — corporations should worry only for their shareholders, not for their workers or customers, for example. Individuals should only think about their own bottom line. It’s all that matters to them really, anyway — the me, here and now.

    It took some work for this ideology become mainstream, though, because Americans didn’t always think this way.

    From the 1920s to the 1960s corporations were expected to take care of their workers and their communities. And citizens were encouraged to do the best for their country. Taxes were high, workers were well paid, the middle class was built, and America prospered.

    The rest of the article is worth a read.

  96. dmhlt says:

    @Davebo:
    Snopes documents that Trump never Tweeted that:
    http://www.snopes.com/trumps-flip-flop-on-flag-burning/

  97. James Pearce says:

    @mannning:

    but I feel that there will also be some much-needed corrections to what has transpired.

    You may be right.

    A few months before the election, I went to an event with James Ellroy, author of LA Confidential. He’s known as kind of a right wing nut, “the white knight of the far right” in his own words, and when I asked him about the anti-police protests and such, he went OFF. Paraphrasing, he said, “Mark my words. The candidate who shows they care most about law and order will win.”

    During the debates, when Trump responded to a question about racial inequality, and he answered with that very phrase: “Law and order,” a lump formed in my throat. I had been operating under the old familiar lefty idea that “law and order” meant police brutality, racial strife, and all that other crap.

    I’m not sure I understand it that way anymore. Let me put it this way: “Law and order” types might oppose oil pipelines, too. They might not “Stand with Standing Rock” though…

  98. Tyrell says:

    The latest flag flap (pardon the pun) occurred at Hampshire College in what can only be described as a bizarre series of events, set into motion by misguided actions of the college president. It seems that he had the flag put at half staff to somehow calm the post election “trauma” of some of the student body (remember this is the “participation award” generation, over-protected by helicopter parents). Then some kook took the flag and burned it. The college president then decided not to put another flag up. Then word got out and a huge crowd of people, including a lot of veterans showed up waving flags. This is a very good lesson and a better result than arresting someone.
    But in this case charges could very well be brought for trespassing, vandalism, destruction of school property, and burning without a permit. I would say; however, that if someone is caught, the college president will probably let them off with writing a sentence 50 times or an essay on something like “My Favorite Food”. I would just hope that no taxpayer money goes to that school.
    “Flag burners need to be fast runners.”

  99. al-Alameda says:

    I find it interesting that many Americans care more about the flag than they do about the Constitution.

  100. Tony W says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Great article – thanks for sharing.

  101. Gavrilo says:

    Flag burning is protected political speech. The Supreme Court said so in Texas v Johnson. Anyone who disagrees, like Donald Trump, wipes his ass with the Constitution.

    Independent political expenditure by corporations is also protected political speech. The Supreme Court said so in Citizens United v FEC. But, it’s totally fine to disagree with that. You can trash it during the State of the Union while the SCOTUS is sitting in front of you. You can run campaign ads against it. Hell, you can even put overturning it in your party’s platform.

    I think I get it.

  102. barbintheboonies says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Don`t kid yourself.

  103. Mikey says:

    @Gavrilo: Trump didn’t merely disagree, Trump is the President-Elect proposing a penalty that might include (somehow) stripping a flag-burner of their American citizenship.

    That’s a few orders of magnitude beyond simple disagreement.

    Also, there have been a few SCOTUS decisions that were bad. Pointing out that Citizens United is bad, while also saying the vaguely similar decision in Texas v. Johnson is not, doesn’t constitute hypocrisy. Each case can be taken on its individual merits.

  104. al-Alameda says:

    @al-Alameda:

    I find it interesting that many Americans care more about the flag than they do about the Constitution.

    Also, I find it interesting that the region that cared least about the flag from 1860-1865, and ‘left’ the Union to express their dissatisfaction, is arguably, most in favor of clamping down on dissidents who burn the flag.

  105. sam says:

    @James Pearce:

    ” I went to an event with James Ellroy, author of LA Confidential. He’s known as kind of a right wing nut”

    A bit OT, but in his novels, at least the ones I’ve read, the powerful and those in positions of authority come off as thoroughly corrupt — and corrupted by their position. I’ve often wondered, if one of the characteristics of the right-wing mind is respect for authority (verging on authoritarianism), how he’s come to have that reputation.

  106. James Pearce says:

    @sam:

    A bit OT, but in his novels, at least the ones I’ve read, the powerful and those in positions of authority come off as thoroughly corrupt

    I don’t want to speak for the guy, but he doesn’t consider a cop who would plant evidence on or beat a suspect to be “corrupt.” He seems to really believe that his corrupt cops are heroes.

  107. @Dave Schuler:

    In other words laws preventing flag desecration were thought to be consistent with constitutional protections for longer than they’ve been thought to be inconsistent and it wasn’t thought to be a grave violation of civil liberties.

    But, the justice or injustice of a given law is not correlated to the longevity (or lack thereof) of said law.

  108. Moderate Mom says:

    @C. Clavin: And yet the left and the media, one and the same, keep falling for it like Pavlov’s dogs. And what happened next? A group of five idiots outside of one of Trump’s buildings set a couple of small flags on fire while some crazy woman screamed into a megaphone.

    At what point will people stop falling for his trolling on twitter and ignore it?

  109. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    You do understand that a natural-born citizen could not have his or her citizenship revoked unless the 14th amendment was first repealed, right?*

    I would ask that you go easy on the false comparisons. Then again, I suppose that would be the same as asking you to give up being a right-winger…
    ____

    *Since they don’t seem to teach this one in the right-wing reeducation camps: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

  110. Mikey says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    At what point will people stop falling for his trolling on twitter and ignore it?

    When he stops being the President.

    When the President–even the President-Elect–says something publicly, it’s important. It’s going to warrant a response. The President of the United States of America will never be ignored. The Presidency is simply too important for that. Like I said upthread a bit…a President’s words could literally end the human race.

    Trump knows this, and keeps tweeting all this garbage. His “trolling” demeans and degrades the Presidency and shows he has no respect whatsoever for the office and will without a doubt be the worst President in American history.

    And he hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. Heaven help us all.

  111. wr says:

    @Gavrilo: “Hell, you can even put overturning it in your party’s platform.”

    All true. What you can’t do, however, is put someone in jail or strip him of his citizenship for spending money on political speech once the supreme court ruled it a first amendment issue. Trump is threatening to do exactly this — not to argue against flag burning being legal, but to treat it as a crime even though the supreme court said it was legal.

    I guess I can’t expect you to understand the distinction. You’re a Trump voter.

  112. mannning says:

    @An Interested Party:

    That is truly an amazing retort! It implies that you do not have any knowledge of the failures of Obama in violating the Constitution. I suggest you GOOGLE “Obama constitutional violations list”, and have a thorough read.

    To enter into a discussion here about each of these violations could be considered high jacking this thread, especially since there are apparently over 75 of them. So would discussion of Obama’s long list of lies, which is also in Google.

    Have a nice evening.

  113. Pch101 says:

    @wr:

    The right wingnuts love to talk about the Constitution, original intent and “the Rule of Law” while knowing nothing about any of them.

  114. Pch101 says:

    @mannning:

    I suggest you GOOGLE “Obama constitutional violations list”, and have a thorough read.

    Link to the right-wing National Review. STRIIIIIIIIKE ONE!

    Link to the completely insane right wingnuttery Info Wars: STRIIIIIIIIKE TWO!

    Link to the up-and-coming right-wing generic regurgitation machine IJR: STRIIIIIIIIKE THREE! YOU’RE OUUUUT!

    It will be difficult for you to learn something useful if you insist on reading garbage.

  115. mannning says:

    @Pch101:

    As expected, you disparage the sources, not the information content. Sidestepping the real issue that way is infantile. I have nothing further to say here to such abominations.

  116. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pch101:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that, for a right-winger, “unconstitutional” equates to “I disagree with it”. These are people who still, for reasons passing understanding, believe that the 1A affords them protection from private infringement.

    Accordingly, I’ve stopped expending time or effort trying to educate them otherwise. Something about trying to teach a pig to dance comes to mind.

  117. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @mannning:

    In other words “I have no argument”

    Thanks for playing. See Janice for your parting gifts.

  118. Pch101 says:

    @mannning:

    As expected, you disparage the sources, not the information content

    Bad sources provide bad information. You should skip them because they aren’t trustworthy.

    Fox News viewers know less about current events than people who don’t follow the news at all because they aren’t just ignorant, they are misled and misinformed. You’re gullible suckers for propaganda and not smart enough to know better.

  119. Pch101 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that, for a right-winger, “unconstitutional” equates to “I disagree with it”.

    Yep. It’s a lame attempt to create a veneer of authority for a crappy argument. They don’t just want to admit that they simply have a personal visceral distaste for whatever it happens to be, yet can’t support their views with anything more than “me no likey.”

    As a general rule, if some right-winger claims that something is unconstitutional or illegal, it is almost certainly constitutional and perfectly legal.

  120. 5.79.68.161 says:

    ” I suggest you GOOGLE “Obama constitutional violations list”, and have a thorough read.”

    Yeah, no.

    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

    I don’t know how things operate where you’re from, but in my neck of the woods, shifting the burden of proof is a tactic used by fools, cowards, liars and losers who are either unwilling or unable to support their own claims

  121. al-Ameda says:

    @mannning:

    That is truly an amazing retort! It implies that you do not have any knowledge of the failures of Obama in violating the Constitution. I suggest you GOOGLE “Obama constitutional violations list”, and have a thorough read.

    Yes, it is appalling isn’t it?

    To be honest, I’m surprised that Republicans did not initiate impeachment proceedings against Obama. The House would have impeached him, however the Senate would not have convicted. We’ve been there before, recently in fact.

    I suppose they were too busy running multiple investigations of Benghazi and email servers to get around to it.

  122. wr says:

    @barbintheboonies: “We look like a bunch of cowards defending this behavior, of burning flags. ”

    Would you like to elaborate on the notion that standing up for the right of people to express unpopular opinions or to express them in unpopular ways is cowardice? Seems to me it’s just the opposite. But then, I tend to understand what words actually mean — wondering what you could have meant here.

  123. Pch101 says:

    Hey Mannning, I want to learn something about Judaism. Should I skip over this Stormfront white power website because smart people know that bigots have a habit of being dishonest about the religion, or is that website worth my time because I found it on Google?

  124. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @mannning: I’ll give you more credit that HL did and say that you’re argument is that even sources that are thoroughly discredited on some specific topic are not wrong 100% of the time. While I would agree that the assertion is true, what I used to tell my students was to find more credible sources that provided the same info in order to not have their argument discredited by relying on nut-case sources.

    Still, HL is correct about people interchanging “unconstitutional” with “I disagree with it,” and you seem to gravitate in that direction.

  125. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: They know better. But a large number of them are fundamentalist/Evangelical Christians, so this sort of “proof texting” is common to them and acceptable practice in dealing with those who they see as enemies.

  126. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: I remember reading some comments during the Obama birther hoo-ha which made me realize that for a lot of these people, “The Constitution!” isn’t even the actual Constitution. It’s a Platonic ideal of a Constitution that exists in their own tiny minds and nowhere else. You can quote SCOTUS decisions supporting something they disagree with until you’re blue in the face and the only answer you will get back is “but it’s UNCONSTITOOOSHUNAL!!!!”

  127. Pch101 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    I’m pretty sure that they don’t know better.

    This hatred for the mainstream press (which they discredit by inaccurately referring to it as “liberal media”) and for expert opinion comes from the fact that they don’t like anything that doesn’t support their gut feelings.

    And because their gut feelings are contradicted by reality, they think that the problem is with reality. Facts are to be rejected because they interfere with what feels right.

    This is ultimately about the desire to satisfy emotional needs that cloud good judgment. People who want to believe that 2+2=22 will want to be reassured that they are correct. Since that reassurance can’t be provided by reliable sources, they have no choice but to rely on the fake ones.

  128. mannning says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    The interesting thing is, there are basically two groups in the country; one that lives in a leftist bubble, and the other in a right-leaning world. It is apparent that no one in the leftist bubble would ever accept information that originated in the right-leaning group, and probably vice versa. So be it!

    The worst thing is that those in the leftist bubble are quite prone to establishing their own sources and contexts, so that any attempt to puncture their bubble brings out the most nastiness imaginable from them, and, any info not properly vetted by the gods of the left is rejected out of hand. Maintaining the bubble is all important ..never mind the truth.

  129. al-Alameda says:

    @mannning:

    The worst thing is that those in the leftist bubble are quite prone to establishing their own sources and contexts, so that any attempt to puncture their bubble brings out the most nastiness imaginable from them, and, any info not properly vetted by the gods of the left is rejected out of hand. Maintaining the bubble is all important ..never mind the truth.

    Congratulations, you completely avoided mentioning that the Right establishes their own media sources and contexts, and that, to quote, “… any attempt to puncture their bubble brings out the most nastiness imaginable from them.”

    I’ve always thought that the biggest problem in our Social Commons today is that most people on the Left and the Right do not regularly interact with each other, we generally do not live in the same communities, each side is in a bubble of its own making.

    This is not a one-way or one-sided street as many on the Right would have us believe.

  130. Pch101 says:

    @mannning:

    So now you’re playing the false equivalency game.

    Out here in the real world, there is plenty of media that is neither left nor right wing. But in a delusional right-wing world where everything is black-and-white, anything that isn’t to the right of Breitbart is “leftist” by default.

  131. Kylopod says:

    @mannning:

    The interesting thing is, there are basically two groups in the country; one that lives in a leftist bubble, and the other in a right-leaning world.

    That’s where you’re wrong.

    There is a left-wing bubble and a right-wing bubble. There is also a white nationalist bubble and a black nationalist bubble, a pro-Zionist bubble and an anti-Zionist bubble, an anarchist bubble and a fascist bubble, a 9/11 truther bubble, an anti-vax bubble, a bubble for those who think the moon landings were faked. There are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist bubbles, there’s a Mets bubble and a Red Sox bubble, a Han Shot First bubble and a Greedo Shot First bubble.

    You know what all these bubbles have in common? They’re all accessible via a Google search.

    If you’d backed up your original statement about Obama by linking to a piece from National Review or Breitbart or wherever, would most of the commenters here have dismissed it out of hand simply because of the source? Probably. But at least you’d have been putting something on the table that could be evaluated and discussed. You didn’t do that. All you did was refer to a Google search without specifying a source. The impression you gave is that you believe something must be true due to the mere fact that there are people out there who have alleged it on websites that can be picked up on Google. The same exact sort of hand-waving answer could be given by anyone, from the Roswell freaks to the Holocaust deniers, from the birthers to the truthers. On the one hand you’re complaining about bubbles, and on the other you’re doing everything to ensure yours remains sealed.

    What’s most ironic about all this is that you’re essentially denying the existence of objective truth–a philosophical position most commonly associated with academic leftists.

  132. DrDaveT says:

    @mannning:

    The interesting thing is, there are basically two groups in the country; one that lives in a leftist bubble, and the other in a right-leaning world.

    And… which of those groups includes, like, actual science?

    Take your time.

  133. anjin-san says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    The funny thing is if we lived in some other countries you could be punished severely.

    I’m not sure if it’s “funny”, but it is kind of the reason that America exists. For the time being, anyway.

  134. 5.79.68.161 says:

    @Kylopod: What’s most ironic about all this is that you’re essentially denying the existence of objective truth–a philosophical position most commonly associated with academic leftists.

    Outside the postmodernist academe, the group most likely to hold this position is Republican Politicians. From Karl Rove’s “we create our own reality” to the shiny new Trump Administration:

    “I think it’s also an idea of an opinion. And that’s—on one hand, I hear half the media saying that these are lies. But on the other half, there are many people that go, ‘No, it’s true.’ And so one thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch, is that people that say facts are facts—they’re not really facts. Everybody has a way—it’s kind of like looking at ratings, or looking at a glass of half-full water. Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth, or not truth. There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.”

    “And so Mr. Trump’s tweet, amongst a certain crowd—a large part of the population—are truth. When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some—amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up. Those that do not like Mr. Trump, they say that those are lies and that there are no facts to back it up”

    To be fair, there are differences between the academic left’s philosophical position that objective reality might not actually exist in the form most people believe and the political right’s actual, active, position that it doesn’t matter if objective reality exists or not so long as they can get enough people to believe their facile lies to keep pockets lined and their titles intact, not the least of which is the fact that only one of them will be driving the policy decisions of the United States Government for the foreseeable future

  135. mannning says:

    Oh yes, of course there are rightist bubbles, and many others, some in fact conjoined right and left and fractionated in its interior as well such as in the field of science.

    As for a reference inside the Google set, I believe Truth Seekers lists the violations most succinctly.
    All four pages of the printout. Not being a constitutional scholar, I cannot make a definitive true or false statement about their list, so I leave that task to those more qualified. But, I am convinced that there is enough presented in TS and other sources to consider serious investigation to determine the truth.

  136. Kylopod says:

    @mannning:

    As for a reference inside the Google set, I believe Truth Seekers lists the violations most succinctly. … Not being a constitutional scholar, I cannot make a definitive true or false statement about their list, so I leave that task to those more qualified.

    I had to look this up. The author of the post provides no information about him/herself beyond identifying by the name “Truth Seeker.” The post was first written in early 2013 (and updated since then) and is the only post on the entire blog. While specifying parts of the Constitution and laws that Obama supposedly violated, it contains no citations to the work of legal scholars commenting on these charges.

    If you are not qualified to assess the charges, then why would you bother listening to someone completely anonymous who presents no qualifications of his/her own?

  137. mannning says:

    LOL: You are overly concerned with sources rather than the facts presented. Either the individual statements are true or false. Since there is such reluctance to assess the violations, in favor of playing the source game over and over, I must assume that there is sufficient truth contained in the list to put most liberal intellectuals way off from tackling the issues, instead of always impugning sources. That way they can avoid the pain of realization that Obama has used illegal and dictatorial methods throughout his terms.

  138. Grewgills says:
  139. Kylopod says:

    @mannning:

    You are overly concerned with sources rather than the facts presented.

    Hey, you’re the one who brought up “qualifications,” not me. Your premise seems to be that legal expertise is required in order to assess charges of criminal conduct but is not required at all to make the charges in the first place. How convenient.

  140. al-Ameda says:

    @mannning:

    That way they can avoid the pain of realization that Obama has used illegal and dictatorial methods throughout his terms.

    L O L !

  141. mannning says:

    Yes, it is quite convenient to find a post that attempts to list Obama’s violations of constitutional law. The trick is to have qualified and impartial lawyers investigate the list and provide the public with the truth. So long as no one does this, Obama will not be brought to a reckoning. It seems, however, that one state is calling for impeachment over one of the accusations–Oklahoma. Others have also considered impeachment next year now that there is a Republican congress and a Republican President-Elect. So there are others who believe at least some of the list of violations are worthy of serious action. While I doubt that any of these will be carried out, I do believe that the vetted list of sins, if it ever happens, should be made public for all to read, including the names of the lawyers that performed the vetting. .See Google: Impeachment of Obama.

  142. Pch101 says:

    @mannning:

    You should sue your high school for malpractice. Social promotion did you no favors.

  143. mannning says:

    @Pch101:

    That is exactly the sort of comment dearly loved by libs when one of their own is attacked. It smacks of the childish “I’ll get you back!” retort so favored by 8 year olds.

    But the accusations still stand there against Obama asking for either a full conformation or refutation.