One Vote Away From Limiting Freedom

It came so close to passing this time.

Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a sponsor of the flag desecration amendment, actually said this: "What we would be doing is sending a message to the [Supreme Court], you cannot usurp the power of the Congress of the United States."

Astonishing in its arrogance, isn't it? In striking down statutes prohibiting flag burning, the judicial branch did not alter the Constitution; it lived up to its duty to ensure that no one -- most especially the federal government -- violates the rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

The First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

By wasting time picking and choosing certain acts of free speech to condemn, Congress has again abdicated its responsibility to the people it serves -- including the veterans who fought valiantly to protect our freedoms. Congress belittles that contribution with its juvenile attempt to spite the Supreme Court and weaken the Bill of Rights.

Think every member of the Senate who voted in favor of this should be voted out at the earliest opportunity? Speak up. Think flag burning is an epidemic poised to bring our great country to its knees? Use your freedom of speech to say so.

But Congress's repeated attempts to prohibit flag burning use our flag in a much more sinister way -- as part of a politcial ploy. If any sort of flag desecration amendment should be passed, it should be to prevent the use of America's symbols of patriotism as tools to limit the very freedoms they represent.

By Emily Messner |  June 28, 2006; 8:29 AM ET  | Category:  National Politics
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You expect more from a Congress that cannot tell the difference between symbolism and service? Indeed, without symbolism this current crop of dolts wouldn't even be in power. Were they to suddenly seek to actually SERVE the people they represent, they would be carried out of office on a rail.

Gays vs. Healthcare
Flags vs. Incompetence In War
Death Tax vs. Debt
Graft vs. US Infrastructure
Moralism vs. Education

You name it, they have a symbol to divert your attention. And when all else fails, they have FEAR.

Simpletons who cannot see beyond black and white live on your emotions. If they were to appeal to one's intellect they would be exposed for the charlatans that they are.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 09:42 AM

EXAMPLE

This is what happens to the FEW competent people they choose to put on the payroll. The stooges and cronies they usually get are happy to collect a paycheck and say all of the Fred Luntz approved phrases; the ones who want to SERVE are ignored because SERVING would mean exposing the incompetence of this administration. Can't have that. So, let's TALK about Cyber Security, but then ignore it like everything else that won't effect the next elections.

-----

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13589858/

U.S. cybersecurity chief abruptly resigns
Complained about lack of attention paid to computer security issues

WASHINGTON - The government's cybersecurity chief has abruptly resigned from the Homeland Security Department amid a concerted campaign by the technology industry and some lawmakers to persuade the Bush administration to give him more authority and money for protection programs.

Amit Yoran, a former software executive from Symantec Corp., made his resignation effective Thursday as director of the National Cyber Security Division, giving a single's day notice of his intention to leave. He kept the job one year.

Yoran has privately confided to industry colleagues his frustrations in recent months over what he considers the department's lack of attention paid to computer security issues, according to lobbyists and others who recounted these conversations on condition they not be identified because the talks were personal.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 09:56 AM

Oh...not too mention, if he did his job TOO well it would make their domestic data sweeps that much harder to conduct.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 10:02 AM

AfghanVet wrote:

"You name it, they have a symbol to divert your attention. And when all else fails, they have FEAR.

Simpletons who cannot see beyond black and white live on your emotions."
________

Coincidentally, waking up in a dreamstate on Monday this week, it occurred to me to write down all the major decisions in my life that I could recall (about 50 in total). Next to each I identified them as primarily being driven by emotion, expertise, or trust. Then I tabulated them up as good or bad decisions.

A pattern emerged. My bad decisions were driven in overwhelming proportion by emotions (although a couple of key good decisions were also driven by emotions). About 4 out of 5 good decisions were driven by expertise. Although fewer of my bad decisions overall were driven by trust, a much higher percentage of my decisions driven by trust were bad than decisions driven by emotion.

It turned out to be an enlightening personal exercise. Others may want to try it.

I agree, bad representative decisions are based on public emotion and trust.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 28, 2006 10:05 AM

The hardcore republicans are at it again!!! They figure the only way they can continue to hold on to their seats in the congress is to pick the hot button issues that are their base's pet peeves ie: Abortion, "Activist Judges", Gay Marriage, Flag burning, etc. With the 4th of July coming next week, what better time to start with this issue. They know that banning Flag burning is illegal, that it violates the Free Speech ammendment, but they can run home to their base and say: "See we tried to pass a law banning it but those damn democrats wouldn't vote for it, They are a buch of left wing traitors, I can hear McCarthy's speech about hollywood actors being "Communists" all over again. What we need to do is for everyone start writing letters to their home town newspapers and make sure none of these bunch of liers and crooks don't get re-elected. Look at what the republicans are saying about campaign finance and ethics in both houses of congress. the public doesn't care how well we get our pockets lined because nothing has been brought up on the subject recently.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 28, 2006 10:05 AM

Bill Frist proves yet again that he has nothing but contempt for the hillbillies, rednecks and yeller dawg democrats who put him in office in the first place: After pushing through an immigration bill that goes against both the beliefs and the economic interests of most of the Tennesseans who voted for him, does he really think he can regain our trust and loyalty by waving red flag issues like gay marriage and flag burning? Or perhaps having made Wall Street contributors happy with the immigration bill, he's now pandering not to the voters but to the organized religious right like Focus on the Family, the Catholic Bishops, and other apostates who he thinks can turn out foot soldiers as well as contributions for his presidential aspirations.

Posted by: Mike Deal | June 28, 2006 10:19 AM


www.gregpalast.com
www.wsws.org
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info
otherside123.blogspot.com


TREASON: "FIRING SQUAD" FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES?

Published by Greg Palast June 27th, 2006 in Articles

By Greg Palast

The Right Wing has gone hog-ass wild over the New York Times' "shocking" report that the Bush Administration is actually tracking terrorists' money transfers. Oh my!

The fruitcakes are in flames! "Stand them in front of a firing squad or put them in prison for the rest of their lives," says one pinhead on Fox TV.

For what? The stunning news that the government is hunting the source of al-Qaeda's cash? "Osama! You must stop using your ATM card! Condi Rice is reading our bank statements!"

Somehow, I suspect bin Laden already assumes his checkbook is getting perused.

It is worth noting that the fanatic screeching for a "firing squad" is a guy who claims to be a former CIA agent. No one can confirm his claim of course, but this character, Wayne Simmons, has made his career blabbering away juicy intelligence secrets to sell himself as an "expert," stuff far racier than the Times' weak report. Well, hypocrisy never stood in the way of the Foxes in the news house.

You want to talk "treason"? OK, let's talk treason. How about Dick Cheney telling his creepy little hitman 'Scooter' Libby to reveal information that led to the naming of a CIA agent? Mr. Simmons, do you have room in your firing squad schedule for the Vice-President?

And no one on Fox complained when the Times, under the by-line of Judith Miller, revealed the secret "intelligence" information that Saddam was building a bomb.

Yes, let's talk treason. How about this: Before the 9/11 attack, George Bush's intelligence chieftains BLOCKED the CIA's investigation of the funding of al-Qaeda and terror.

The "Back-Off" Directive

On November 9, 2001, BBC Television Centre in London received a call from a phone booth just outside Washington. The call to our Newsnight team was part of a complex pre-arranged dance coordinated with the National Security News Service, a conduit for unhappy spooks at the CIA and FBI to unburden themselves of disturbing information and documents.

The top-level U.S. intelligence agent on the line had much to be unhappy and disturbed about: what he called a "back-off" directive.

This call to BBC came two months after the attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Towers. His fellow agents, he said, were now released to hunt bad guys. That was good news. The bad news was that, before September 11, in those weeks just after George W. Bush took office, CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) personnel were told to "back off" certain targets of investigations begun by Bill Clinton.

The agent said, "There were particular investigations that were effectively killed."

For the rest go to:
http://www.gregpalast.com/treason-firing-squad-for-the-new-york-times

Posted by: che | June 28, 2006 10:59 AM

The worm, it is turning...

Supreme Court Overturns Part of DeLay-Engineered Texas Redistricting Map

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,201327,00.html

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 11:03 AM

Although it pains me deeply to have this particular vermin in my state, I do find this amusing:

Delay Still Causing Trouble

A federal judge says it sounds like former Texas Congressman Tom DeLay withdrew from the House race when he resigned from the House, meaning that Republicans may not be able to replace him on the November ballot.

Lawyers for DeLay argue that the former majority leader didn't withdraw, but made himself ineligible by moving to Virginia, a distinction that would allow the party to select a new nominee.

But after hearing arguments for both sides, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said he thinks Delay "is not going to participate in the election and he withdrew." Sparks says he'll issue a formal ruling in the case early next week.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 11:09 AM

Emily,

What part of free SPEECH do you not understand? SPEECH is not the same as free ACTION (as in burning a flag - even though the Supreme Court in its muddled state has declared that it is) and what part of "PEACEABLY assemble" does burning a flag fit?

Posted by: Blanche Brick | June 28, 2006 11:21 AM

Blanche Brick-

Holding up a poster with a message on it is an action, though it is the kind of action intended to be protected by the First Amendment. Many actions are expressions of speech and are thus protected by the Constitution.

It is unclear why you think that fire precludes the peacefulness of an assembly. Is it because fire is really hot and therefore dangerous?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 28, 2006 11:29 AM

If you want to have flag burning regularly on street corners, than by all means pass the Flag-Burning Amendment. That would be the result. My understanding is there have been 4 incidents of flag burning this year in a country of 290 million. This amendment is a mammoth waste of time

dal

Posted by: dal | June 28, 2006 11:33 AM

We seem to have a Chris Ford wannabe that has deceided to join this blog. They can only think the way that Rush Limbaugh, Carl Rove, Dick Cheney, etc. tell them that they can think. anything that deals with abstract thought or issues can not be comprehended. if it doesn't fit their definition it's wrong and those bad activist judges need to be taken out and hung, at least in their way of thinking.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 28, 2006 11:45 AM

There are laws limiting how fast I can drive, what drugs I can buy and use, what I can say in an airport, how much clothing I have to wear, even what words I can use in refering to other people, etc, etc, etc. Why should I care whether there is a law prohibiting me from burning our flag? I don't think that 1 person in million wants to express his opinions that way, or would feel his freedom severely limited without that option. Freedom is not the issue here - its just politics - on both sides of the argument.

Posted by: AJ Meyer | June 28, 2006 12:04 PM

Blanche Brick-

If free speech only means the spoken word then you are saying that the vocally challenged (ie, mutes, disabled, etc) don't have free speech rights.

Just devalue and dehumanize an entire portion of the population why don't you!

Posted by: Rhiannon | June 28, 2006 12:14 PM

oops... wrong person, I meant "Will in Texas". Sorry Blanche!

Posted by: Rhiannon | June 28, 2006 12:15 PM

no, wait.. I was right the first time... my brain no worky right now.

Posted by: Rhiannon | June 28, 2006 12:17 PM

"What part of free SPEECH do you not understand? SPEECH is not the same as free ACTION (as in burning a flag - even though the Supreme Court in its muddled state has declared that it is) and what part of "PEACEABLY assemble" does burning a flag fit?"

The problem is that the prohibition would be for that particular symbol. Symbols are the same as speech. They carry meaning. Burning anything is an ACTION, but what the amendment proposes is that burning a particular SYMBOL is to be constitutionally prohibited. By limiting the particular ACTION as to a particular SYMBOL, you have a limitation on free expression. The fact is that there are plenty of other rules which can apply to flag burning or any type of protest method that gets out of hand such as laws against disturbing the peace, or arson laws, or laws against destruction of property, or laws prohibiting burning of anything in particular places or at particular times. Watch the debate and read the reasons this amendment was proposed -- it was specifically to prevent DISRESPECT toward a SYMBOL. This is plainly within the realm of free speech, which is why the Supreme Court, packed with Republican appointees and not exactly known for liberal sympathies, was so united in its ruling.

What sickens me about all this is that rather than address the truly pressing issues before this nation such as our staggering national debt, our overstretched military bogged down in factional civil war in a foreign land, our woefully inadequate health care system, our looming environmental catastrophes, our elected representatives would rather argue about symbols and personal relationships.

Posted by: Carla | June 28, 2006 12:17 PM

AJ Meyer-

"Why should I care whether there is a law prohibiting me from burning our flag?"

Because that law was passed and deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States whereas the other laws you mention do not directly violate the greatest document in American history.

But your point is well received, I do not take kindly to political ploys by either side and my life would not be affected really either way by this amendment. I view it with cynical apprehension because it does appear to be a transparent ploy by the majority party (which determines what gets debated in Congress) and I refuse to participate in their favor.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 28, 2006 12:24 PM

It may shack a journalist like Ms. Messner, but the Constitution was not written with the 1st Amendment as it's core, it's centerpiece. That is why it and 30 some other "Oh, yeahs!" had to be added to fix the original document's screwups or add new features. The Constitution recognized the Right of the People to Amend - so any time the people want to - that is their freedom - and anyone calling it "destroying the Constitution" has no clue. The Federalist Papers showed that modifications were expected to better serve the Goals as time passed - Goals being those largely defined in the Preamble. Amending the 1st is no worse than Amending the Original with the 1st.

To hear some Lefties talking...they profess such faux reverence for it that they sometimes sound like Islamoids hearing someone wants a minor revision to the Holy Qu''ran. (Their phony reverence ends with the 2nd Amendment).

Emily gets idiotic - "it lived up to its duty to ensure no one -- most especially the federal government -- violates the rights guaranteed in the Constitution."

Emily. Emily. Emily. It isn't a dang Contract with immutable language - effectively fixing a democratic state into eternal prohibition of any change. It's a Constitution! Constitutions are reviewed and modified ALL THE TIME!!!! By the Will of the PEOPLE!!!!

As for flags, the All-Wise Lawyers in Robes who some imagine Rule over the People have set up the inconsistencies.

The black-robed ones, in their infinite wisdom over the masses, say:

It is OK to burn a flag in a community as guaranteed under the 1st, but SCOTUS has said that the same community can bar respectful display of the flag by zoning laws. And it is legal to display or burn the US flag on public land, but burning the "gay flag" is a hate crime, a provocation, and a disturbance of the peace. As is burning a cross. Or displaying the cross without ACLU say so.


Posted by: Chris Ford | June 28, 2006 12:30 PM

Chris-

"It is OK to burn a flag in a community as guaranteed under the 1st, but SCOTUS has said that the same community can bar respectful display of the flag by zoning laws. And it is legal to display or burn the US flag on public land, but burning the "gay flag" is a hate crime, a provocation, and a disturbance of the peace. As is burning a cross. Or displaying the cross without ACLU say so."

I tested your hypothesis by displaying a burning cross draped in a "gay flag" (I didn't know what this meants so I found rainbow fabric and wrote "GAY" in big letters on it) and waited for the ACLU shock troops to arrest me. They have yet to show up so I'm skeptical. And I haven't been cited for hate-crimes yet.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 28, 2006 12:34 PM

Hey Ford,
I know a bunch of places that display a cross and big ones at that without the ACLU's say so, they are called churches. By the way do you know the proper way to destroy an old and tattered flag? By Burning that is how. How many of these ford wannabes know that it is illegal for displaying a flag past sunset to sunrise without a light shining directly on the flag. that's right all you right wing holier than the rest of us, limbaugh lover are breaking the law. Just as are the ones that put it in their pick-up windows or on their car antenna's
Just thought you might like to know a little flag trivia.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 28, 2006 12:50 PM

"I (insert name), having been appointed a (insert rank) in the U.S. Army under the conditions indicated in this document, do accept such appointment and do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God."

------

Hmmm...nothing about protecting symbols or said freedom or country.

Can anyone tell me how you retire a flag?

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 12:53 PM

Hey afghan,
I think I did in my previous post, but I did leave out the part about the cutting away of the stars from the stripes though

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 28, 2006 12:56 PM

By the way I seem to remember saying something like that just before they shipped my ass off to boot camp at Ft. Dix New Jersey.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 28, 2006 12:59 PM

Chris,

It must drive you crazy to have to support dopey garbage like this. However, I suppose it shouldn't be surprising coming from someone who's defining character trait is fear. Hell you ARE the demographic poster-boy.

I'm sure an Amendment to outlaw flag burning will look gloriously appropriate next to all of the other Amendments. Women's suffrage, freeing slaves, free speech...flag burning. Yup, our Founding Fathers would be proud.

Personally, I fought for the freedoms that ALLOW one to burn a symbol in protest; I don't think I would fight to restrict such a thing.

Of course, your impassioned defense of such rediculous tripe says that you either are truly ruled by your emotions or you are just another political pawn carrying out the Luntz/Rove marching orders.

Which is it?

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 01:05 PM

It's good to hear that some people still care about free speech.

For all Ford's talk about how stupid it is to be offended that people are trying to change the consitution, he forgets that the constitution is one of the most important documents in the country. He can whine and name call all he wants, but that won't change people's opinions on the strength of the first amendment. Just because something can be changed, doesn't mean it should be, or that it is any less important. Just because drug laws *could* be appealed doesn't make the current laws on them any less valid.

Until it is changed, I will consider it my right. And if it is changed, I will continue to fight for the right that was guaranteed by our founding fathers.

Sorry Chris, you can't have my rights. I'm still using them.

Posted by: Freedom | June 28, 2006 01:21 PM

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1306
AUTHOR: Samuel Johnson (1709-84)

QUOTATION: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

ATTRIBUTION: SAMUEL JOHNSON

RELATED QUOTATION: "In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first."--Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, at entry for patriotism, The Collected Writings of Ambrose Bierce, p. 323 (1946, reprinted 1973).

RELATED QUOTATION: H. L. Mencken added this to Johnson's dictum: "But there is something even worse: it is the first, last, and middle range of fools."--The World, New York City, November 7, 1926, p. 3E.
SUBJECTS: Patriotism

Posted by: smafdy | June 28, 2006 01:33 PM

Of course, W wants the bill to pass because he can just ignore it with a signing statement anyway.

Signing Statement Database:

http://www.coherentbabble.com/signingstatements/signstateann.htm

Read and be disturbed.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 01:34 PM

It's ALL about SAYING it, not DOING it. It's all about emotions.

------

Al Gore: When Dana asked whether then-Gov. Bush's 2000 campaign pledge to limit CO2 emissions was a smart strategic move, Gore replied thusly: "'Well, if you define the word 'smart' in an antiseptic and clinical way that excludes any ethical dimension, then, yeah, I guess it was smart,' says Gore. 'Smart, if you're willing to say things that you know are not true. But that's what Karl Rove is known for. Bush's whole pose as a compassionate conservative was fraudulent. His budget was fraudulent. Even the idea that he would be staunchly opposed to nation building was fraudulent. I don't mean that he actually knew at the time of the campaign that he was going to invade Iraq -- because I don't think Cheney had told him yet [laughs]. But the statement on global warming, and the specific pledge to reduce CO2 emissions with the force of law, was part of a larger pattern. He was completely fraudulent from head to toe.'" From Rolling Stone, not out yet.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3449870/

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 01:38 PM

one more...

"You believe that flag burning shows disrespect towards those who have fought to preserve our freedoms. Punishing protestors shows an even more profound disrespect for the ideals that these people died for. An intact flag is worthless if it no longer stands for freedom. A flag burned to ashes challenges us to remember just exactly what freedom is." (Dr. Mary Ruwart, The Liberator Online)

Posted by: smafdy | June 28, 2006 01:47 PM


What we can spect at the November elections.

Breaking news!!!!!!!

For uncensored news please bookmark:

www.wsws.org
www.takingaim.info
www.onlinejournal.com
otherside123.blogspot.com

Diebold's Walden O'Dell, a top Bush fundraiser, publicly committed himself to delivering his home state Ohio's votes to Bush. At Diebold, the election division is run by Bob Urosevich. Bob's brother, Todd, is a top executive at "rival" ES&S. The brothers were originally staked by Howard Ahmanson, a member of the Council For National Policy , a right-wing steering group stacked with Bush true believers. Ahmanson is also one of the bagmen behind the extremist Christian Reconstruction Movement , which advocates the theocratic takeover of American democracy.

The four companies are interconnected; they are not four "competitors". Ahmanson has large stakes in ES&S, whose former CEO was Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. When Hagel ran for office, his own company counted the votes, and his victory was considered "an amazing upset". Hagel still has a million dollar stake in ES&S.

Sequoia is the corporate parent of a private equity firm, Madison Dearborn , which is partner in the Carlyle Group . (Also see here .)

Meanwhile, SAIC is referred to a "shadowy defense contractor". They have gotten into the vote count game both directly and through spinoffs by its top brass, including Admiral Bill Owens, former military aide to Dick Cheney, and Carlyle Group honcho Frank Carlucci and ex-CIA chief Robert Gates. SAIC's history of fraud charges and security "lapses" haven't prevented it from becoming one of the largest Pentagon and CIA contractors, and will doubtless encounter few obstacles in its entrance into the vote counting business.

The mad rush to install these unverifiable computers is driven by the Help America Vote Act, signed by Bush! The chief lobbying group pushing for the act (while we dumb asses sat out here and thought, 'That sounds like a good idea!') was a consortium of arms dealers including Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin .

For the rest of this article please go to:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHI411B.html

Posted by: che | June 28, 2006 04:23 PM

Flag burning? Geez, its just a cheap political gimmick that gets trotted out every year, goes down in defeat every year, and is so utterly stupid an exercise that I'm surprised anyone even gets their panties in a twist over it.

Burning the flag is an act of political expression and as such, protected by the first amendment.

Political theater, nothing more.

Posted by: D. | June 28, 2006 04:44 PM

country it might sad or even laugable.


I've paid taxes, I've worked too hard to watch this tomfoolery and feel much else but a deep and abiding hatred of all things bs.........


these people would black-ball you or use your sexual predeliction to ostracize you within the United States of America...


and even if they don't personally believe in it create a cloud of hatred towards you that might cause you to sustain personal injury....


and not even feel or think a thing about that aspect of their pandering to demagoguery....


any more than they cared about the 12,000 that died from firearms the year the made it against the law to file suit against gun manufacturers...

or how they made it illegal to buy drugs from Canada and Mexico just before they reduced Social Security benefits for medicine by $30 per taxpayer per month...to protect your pharmaceutical companies...


funny, these guys couldn't vote a better bill in to save their lives, and they don't obey the laws that they pass...


check the bush family ranches for _illegals_ Jeb most especially, since he'll be the next member of the bush royal family to be your boss...

.

Posted by: If it were someone else's | June 28, 2006 05:14 PM

e-mail all the universities to see if there
was ever a president of the United States
that was more mentally defficient then
jorge butch.

Posted by: Peter Scialabba | June 28, 2006 07:39 PM

it's always weird to hear Congress rail against non-existent problems (US flag-burning) while doing little about things that are life-and-death ... like the incompetently designed and executed war in Iraq ... natural disaster response in the US ... port security in the US .. . power plant security in the US .... highway safety ... energy generation and efficiency ... illegal use of firearms in the US ... domestic violence ... tobacco subsidy by the government that criticizes it's use ... et cetera

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | June 28, 2006 08:17 PM

The United States of America has a flag code and usually comes with the purchase of a U.S. flag, but a lot of people never read it. I guess all of you look at Old Glory as a rag, to use anyway you wish, to wipe your rear with, to spit on, to shine your shoes with, to use as a rug so you can walk upon it. I see it as every thing this country stands for and what every man and woman have fought and died for to give you, the freedoms you enjoy today. You can't go out and burn, vandalize monuments that are symbols without getting arrested and probably punished. You people would rather tear down anything right with America and that is why there is so many problems today, because you won't stick up for American values, like respecting and seeing that the American flag is protected, but it would be people like you we are protecting it from.

Posted by: ottumwaiowa | June 28, 2006 08:41 PM

Chris wrote:

"It may shack a journalist like Ms. Messner, but the Constitution was not written with the 1st Amendment as it's core, it's centerpiece."

The core of the constitution is the structure of the American democracy, but in my opinion the first amendment protects the right that was most integral to establishing our democracy in the first place and remains most integral in protecting it now and in the future. The colonists were left mostly to themselves by England until after the French and Indian War. That's when England started levying taxes without regard for the colonists they were taxing. The colonists were very used to running their own affairs and had legislative bodies that worked with governors appointed by the King to run the colonies. Many of the members of these legislatures were very well educated and progressive. It was the time of the Enlightenment and the exchange of ideas at the time was relatively unimpeded. The well educated of the day read, discussed, and wrote about the philosophies espousing human rights, freedom, and ideas on governing. That fertile environment combined with the opression by the King and Parliament triggered the events that led to the American Revolution.

Before the colonists ever took up arms against the King, expression of ideas was necessary to foster the opposition movement, coordinate the opposition movement, and to allow it to grow into a movement for independence.

Time and time again its freedom of expression that tears down tyranny, sometimes aided by the force of arms as in our revolution and sometimes not as in India led by Ghandi, our civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., and South Africa led by Nelson Mandela.

Any attempt to undermine our freedom of expression, no matter how dressed up in patriotic sentiment, should be vigorously resisted.



Posted by: DK | June 29, 2006 12:32 AM

Glory be! D. posted an independent thought.

Meanwhile, I think its time to send a bottle of Harry Potter bone growing serum to Arlen Specter and pray he grows a spine sometime soon, as he appears to be all that stands between us and unlimited executive power. Or I could send him some of my mom's osteoporosis medicine.

Posted by: Constitution | June 29, 2006 12:55 AM

As much as I'm a traditionalist, and I truly and deeply value American heritage, I would like to have the option of flying the stars and stripes upside down if I feel the country is in distress -- and not be imprisoned for doing so.

I also would rather have some punks burn the flag than burn down a building (with folks in it), too.

Patriotic Americans can take the act at face value, they can protest it, and they can launch a counter demostration (have an early Flag Day). But even though I've carried the colors, cared for them and honor them, I also understand the flag isn't some mythical symbol. I won't go on a rampage if al-Qaeta stomps on it, or demand the execution of some Left wing nuts because they burned it on the steps of the Supreme Court. The USA is much more than a flag, a symbol that, in time, will likely change it's shape and style (as it has over our history).

To criminalize the ability to protest distaste in the government, in a visual way that leaves little guesswork, would've been wrong. One's loyality isn't to a flag, it's to our country and Constitution -- that sacred document that guarantees rights, not take them away.

Now burn the Constitution, and I'd kill the thug with my fingernails.

SandyK
Proud member of the C.L.A.W. V^^^^V

Posted by: SandyK | June 29, 2006 01:12 AM

Lab Rat wrote:
===========================================
"How many of these ford wannabes know that it is illegal for displaying a flag past sunset to sunrise without a light shining directly on the flag."
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I'm old fashion and would bring it down at sunset. I also won't let it be rained upon (which is also the traditional way to respect the flag).

There's other curtesies for those in the military, like cased colors and such, but I've seen way too many flags in disrepair, and up on a rainy night.

When I was in school, we had to run clear across campus to take down the flag when it rained, even while class was in progress. If kids can do it, what's the excuse for grownups not too?

If folks truly care about the flag, take care of it, not let it be rained upon all night under a lamplight. That's disgraceful and sad.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 29, 2006 01:28 AM

D: "Burning the flag is an act of political expression and as such, protected by the first amendment."

Circular logic. There are 10 or so major problems with the Constitution that should be fixed by Convention and Amendment before we ever got into low-level stuff like Flag burning....major problems that we have pushed off for generations as other countries + our towns and states do regular Charter/Constitution revisions.

Essentially, we have developed a "no change ever" faction of Constitution venerators that resemble the Islamists who claim the Qu'ran is the One Perfect Document that must never be reappraised given the passage of time. D's argument that the 1st Cannot be changed to bar Flag burning rests on fear of heresy and blasphemy - the 1st cannot be changed simply because it is the 1st, and was Divinely Inspired.

Major important changes needed given we are the country with the longest time between a revision and thus stuck with ossification and refusal to fix bad or obsolete ideas???

Some vital changes and debate needed:

1. `Clarity that the Judiciary is not above the People. This is not Israel, and SCOTUS is not the Sanhedrin. Language needs to be clear on where the Courts are limited from legislating from the bench, overriding the People. No more "emenations from penumbras of nonexistent law".

2. War powers need to be brought into the 21st Century. We are diplomatically prohibited from declaring war, or issuing letters of Marque. Coherent, new language is needed to adress how we will satisfy the demands of the Preamble in the modern world.

3. Clarity is needed on what war powers the Congress has, what are reserved to the Executive.

4. We made a bad mistake giving lifetime appointments in the manner of aristocrats past practices, to Federal Judges. No other country does that. Long fixed terms of 5-10 years have been found adequate to insure independence everywhere else.

5. We lack provisions for continuity of government in an era unforeseen by the Founders where an attack on DC with WMD could leave us with a successor President from the Cabinet with no executive experience and Congress neutralized from governing for at least 3 months due to Constitutional quorom requirements and lack of rapid succession. Meaning martial rule might be the default if a decapitation attack on DC is large enough - without a clear succession of government plan put into the Constitution.

6. We are the only remaining modern nation that allows birthright citizenship to illegals. The 14th must be altered. We are the only nation where the practice of abortion was never sanctioned by the Will of the People. Roe should be overturned and the usurpation of the voter's prerogatives ended with the matter given to the States to legislate.

7. The Judiciary issues mandates with no heed for the tax impact on the people. Mandates should be subject to voter review to approve or disapprove the added taxes or debt incurred. Congress & the Presidency must be held in check with a Balanced Budget component of the Constitution - except in national emergency and only then when borrowed funds are repaid in a specified time period so future generations are not burdened with debt they never voted to take.

8. The 2nd Amendment should be clarified. What are the clear limits to the Federal right of citizens anywhere in the USA to keep and bear arms? What arms are they limited from? Similarly, what does the 10th protect the States from, by way of blocking encroachments by an Imperial Federal Gov't.

9. Next to Israel, we have more lawyers per capita than any nation. The explosion of litigation paralyzes America globally compared to more nimble and free competitors, and adds a huge financial cost to each citizen. Reforms to the Constitution are vital. Meaning "loser pays" in tort lawsuits and the state reimburses accused found innocent, the accused DO have a right to a speedy trial measured in weeks, not years, and other measures that are rooted in the Constitution that give America a 2nd class legal system compared to other nations.

10. 230 years old, the Constitution has spun off a vast industry exploiting the confusion and interpretation woes about it's sometimes ill-written and archaic sections. Whole sections of the Constitution have become obsolete with time. Any revision seeks to make a document clearer and purge out the obsolescent matter. No nation has gone as long as the US has without a thorough review and revision of it's guiding documents. Again, this is not the immutable, holy Qu'ran we are taking about...

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 29, 2006 02:17 AM

Don't even think of touching the Constitution, Chris. That document stays as is and only there to guarantee rights.

The Constitution isn't about censorship, allowing more privacy invasions, giving the executive branch more power (if you want that you want a King, and our country rebelled against such dictators).

Some things are sacred, the flag will change in time (like when another state is admitted), but the Constitution only has been amended a few times for a GOOD reason -- keep your bloody paws off it and the country works. Add prohibitionary amendments and watch crime and more develope.

I don't want to live in a hell hole where laws are broken to get by, and I don't want ANY group changing that document for some fair day or "hip" cause.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 29, 2006 02:29 AM

I see SandyK is a Constitution-venerator in the same way the Muslims believe their 1400 year-old Holy Book is the perfect document to structure their society. They ignore that what worked well for them in AD 800 didn't work well in AD 1900 - so locked in were they against any reform or revision to their guiding document.

SandyK appears to have a similar view about the Holy Prophets that penned the one, perfect Document.

She ignores that States and towns in America periodically must revise and reform their Constitutions or Charters to make them reflect the reality of the times. And foreign nations do so every 70-80 years or so. That we haven't been forced yet so far to do it with our Constitution is a testimony to how well it was originally written 220 years ago after the 1st Constitution the same people wrote failed miserably.

But as time passes, the flaws and ossification of the Constitution grows, it's Holy Writ (to SandyK at least) less able to guide America optimally through new challenges - as I pointed out in my 10 suggestions for areas of badly needed reform & revision that make flag-burning trivial in comparison.

Worry not, SandyK. Because the only way we fix the accumulating flaws is when America gets deeper into it's decline as a well-functioning nation, and where critically needed revisions are realized and accepted by people from all spectra of society, and the bipartisanship that must come when America is seen as failing and in need of repairs is obvious to all but the most fanatical of the Constitution fundamentalists.

In a way, it's like with fundamentalist Islam, as it tries and fails to order modern life off the words of an archaic document - ignorance is the ultimate shield in preventing reform. An illiterate, poor Yemeni living in a hut made from goat dung sees no need to change the Holy Founder's dictums. Those seeing how badly reliance on obsolete words and law have made Islamic civilization fail with respect to the rest of the world, on the other hand, have to choose between reforming and revising Islam or accepting the perfection of the Holy Founder and seeking to destroy the modern world.

The last time we had Constitution-venerators blocking needed change to a flawed Constitution that was splitting the Country over the absolute 5th Amendment Right to property (i.e. - slaves) we paid for it with a Civil War that cost us 660,000 lives.

Now we are in gridlock over recurring crisis generated by flaws in the Constitution over War Powers flubs made 220 years ago, how we eventually created a Sanhedrin, not a judiciary, and numerous other matters that are unsolvable until the Constitution is revised and fixed. Scholars say the Civil War gave opportunity to fix some of the worst errors, but not all as consensus broke down quickly under Andrew Johnson. The same scholars said that the Constitution was in serious need of repair by the early 1900s, but has limped along until recently by the undemocratic creation of a "shadow Constitution" of those new rules and laws that are supposed to be compelled by the Constitution, but do not exist in words in the body of that document. The entities that are revising the Constitution informally have been the Ruling Elites, the expanding Federal bureaucracy by claims their new agencies derive from "emenations" of the Constitution, and of course the activist judciary considering rulings that revise the Constitution within their power - all of course bypassing the Will of the People. That worked until the last 40 years, whereupon we have been locked into recurring struggles about war powers, abortion, and a dozen other items that cannot be fixed until the Constitution is fixed. The Ruling Elites have split over everything but remaining rich, the Federal Gov't was made a junior partner by the American Sanhedrin, and the All-Wise Sanhedrin itself is no longer considered the Ultimate Power by most of the American People...

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 29, 2006 06:51 AM

So, Chris - Why are any of the points you touched on important to this debate? Are you claiming that we should change the Constitution just because we can? Because it's old? Do you support a ban on flag burning, and if so, on what grounds? Why not amend the doc to expand rights? How about the ERA? Maybe you want to rewrite the whole thing? Ar ye fer it or again' it?

When they ("they" can be anyone you want) start rolling back the other rights guaranteed therein, how will you protest?

Tell ya' what: If I see someone burning a flag on TV, it isn't something I favor, but it won't keep me up at night. If these bumbling snake oil salesmen ammend the constitution to remove a right (especially a right to protest), it would bother me to my core. I might never get a good night's sleep again.

You wrote. "...America is seen as failing and in need of repairs is obvious to all but the most fanatical of the Constitution fundamentalists...". Exatly what are these "obvoius" repairs that are needed, and why? They don't seem too obvious to me. Failing? Things seem to have gone pretty well under this horribly flawed document that only you seem to see.

Please - propose changes, and tell us why they are vital to the continuation of our Republic.

Windbag.

Posted by: smafdy | June 29, 2006 07:23 AM

Make the flag a document like a Treasury Note, two or three sizes, made of non-combustible fabric, very expensive and illegal to counterfeit or be used in clothing of any kind. Sorry for the politicians that love to surround themselves with flags and sorry for the used cars lots merchants. Maybe a crazy idea... however, the proceeds may be used to help balancing the budget.

Posted by: Entrepreneur | June 29, 2006 08:30 AM

Chris:

I must have scrolled right past your top 10 changes list. Sorry for jumping the gun, but the gist of my last post stands.

"low level stuff like flag burning..."

Exactly. Why are we even debating this? because of the Presidential/congressional bufoons you so blindly support - that's why.

As for the top 10:

1. The current crop of SCOTUS judges are pro government, anti-individual rights. How does that help "the people"?Nonetheless, not counting Clarence Scalia's two guaranteed votes, the people's laws have been interpreted by the justices, as is their function under the Constitution. They overturn Unconstitutional laws, and support those that fit. You want this to stop? Why not just do away with the courts altogether and make crime and punishment and determination of rights an administrative function?

2. I don't get your point on this one. However, Congress, your Congress, shirked their Constitutional duty, and now we're in Iraq. So much for giving these guys fewer restrictions on their ability to march us in to a steaming pile... We seem to have gotten into a war just fine without Constitutional authority. How's that workin' out?

3. The language clearly specifies these powers. Do you want them all shifted to the executive? First we need to stop calling every military intervention a "war" (although all military interventions could and should be viewed as acts of war). On second thought, we might want to start calling every militaty intervention a war.

4. "No other country does that." I seem to remember you complaining when the SCOTUS looked to european law to help guide them in making decisions, and now you're doing the same. Flip flop. I would tend to agree when it comes to Clarence Scalia, but that's just fear talking. I support our system for getting us here.

5. Yes. If our government is destroyed, we won't have a government. If there's really a threat there, wouldn't it be easier and more prudent and responsible to disperse our reps?

6. Birthright citizenship is one of the things that make us what we are. Why do you hate our country so? Roe was sanctioned by the Will of the People. The government doesn't have the right to tell a woman that she must carry a fetus. Furthermore, the relationship between a person and their own body as well as the relationship between doctor and patient are sacrosanct. You just don't like it. Stay away from the document.

7. Not a Constitutional issue. Unfunded mandates (examples, please)? You are now advocating referendums (or is it referendi)? That's very unRepublican. Balance the budget? These deficiencies can be fixed by fixing the other two branches. Saddling our progeny with debt? Who is th Borrow and Spend party? At least the Dems had the stones to levy taxes to pay for their bloated programs.

8. Not Constitutional issues. First part: that's a decided question. We get guns, but not nukes. Imperial Federal government? Iraq comes to mind. The Union trumps the states. It's that simple. this strikes at the core of "conservative" thought, what with their hereditary angst over loosing the war (the Civil War, that is). Our states are not Sovereign nations.

9. Not a Constitutional issue, but oh do I ever agree with this sentiment. However, we can easily fix the system without touching the Constitution. Removing the requirement for bar membership to practice law would be a good place to start. Cameras in every courtroom would also be good.

10. No, it isn't perfect, or in some cases relevant to modern times. It is, however the best Constitution ever created, and we'd be hard pressed to "improve" it (especially by removing rights of the individual). It's the Mona Lisa of law - sure we could repaint her dress because no one dresses like that any more, but I doubt the result could or would be interpreted as an improvement.

You should quit throwing the Qu'ran and Islam into everything you don't like.

Posted by: smafdy | June 29, 2006 08:47 AM

I'd have to say that I find it insulting that Republicans are throwing around "rally" issues to get middle America back in line for the elections. With all of the problems we face right now, do we really need to be focusing on flag burning? I'm of the opinion that flag burning can wait until we've resolved other, more pressing issues.

I think it's sad that Republicans will be going back to to their home states with cries of "traitor" when discussing the flag burning vote and the views of Democrats on our present situation in Iraq. I am going to puke if I hear someone use the term "cut and run" again in an interview.

Ultimately the most depressing part of these "rally" issues is that they still work, and a large percentage of this country are sheep, and the Republicans know exactly how to get them back in line.

Just in time for November.

Posted by: MXX | June 29, 2006 09:20 AM

Emily, the most astonishing thing about all of this--and the most frightening--is the cavalier, almost resigned nature of the American electorate. They don't even seem to care that such a measure--a law passed by the Congress of the nation that boasts of the Bill of Rights. a nation that arrogantly preaches to other nations about their own superior values and even at times insists that other nations ought to adopt similar Constitutional values--flies insultingly in the face of our Founding Fathers and what they bequeathed to us.

In a recent Star Wars motion picture a member of the Senate of a democratic society much like our own uder assault from a malevolent force laments as follows: "So this is how liberty ends? To the sound of resounding applause?" Indeed, as another poetic minded critic once observed, patriotism really is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Posted by: Jaxas | June 29, 2006 09:45 AM

The cry that we were one vote away from some dictatorship is bunk. Put away the
"Revenge of the Sith" DVD and get real.
I've already seen the U.S. flag stylized in many ways and worn, but to burn it in protest is itself and effront to the very Veterans who fought (and some died) fot the people, their hopes and dreams, their very humanity, of the nation the flag represents. To burn it in protest...or to support those alien ideals that call for sugjugation, terror, and mindless murder of any freedom-loving people? The mask is off those who decry our Standard. We know what you really are, who you're allied with, and what you really want for yourself and those who oppose you. Pass the Amendment, and let our defamers flee from the Light of Truth because of whom they really are.

Posted by: John of Denver | June 29, 2006 09:54 AM

I am grateful this didn't pass. Patriotism in this country is all about symbology.

Show your love of country by flying the flag, affixing a bumper sticker to your car, or even wearing a piece of clothing that has the flag on it or is made from an entire flag. Six or seven years ago I witnessed the following from an E-9. In his farewell speech he draped himself in the U.S. flag and talked about his love of country. Besides being totally improper it hid the true hypocrite he was, a serial philanderer who hit on any woman in sight, even the wives of his friends.

Patriotism has become a billion dollar industry in this country. From coffee mugs to t-shirts to flags to bumper stickers. Ask those same patriots if they support a draft and the majority will tell you NO. Ask those same patriots if they will encourage their children to enter the military and go to Iraq and the majority will tell you NO.

Ask those same patriots who is the enemy and they will you it's godless, leftist Democrats.

I understand why politicians voted in favor of this amendment, but they have to realize what they are doing is akin to selling their soul to the devil.

They would better serve themselves and their constituents if they explained why they cannot support such an amendment. They would do better if they showed their support for this war by reinstituting the draft or encouraging their own children to enter the military.

They won't do this but will instead pander to the people who believe patriotism is a symbol, not an action.

Senator Feinstein should be ashamed of herself along with the other sixty plus who voted in favor of this amendment.

What Americans of all political beliefs should take away from all this is you are now seeing who has integrity and who doesn't. Cast your votes for the persons of integrity, not the ones who pander to the least common denominator and says to hell with the Constitution when they need votes.

Posted by: Robert | June 29, 2006 09:57 AM

As for you Chris Ford, if we listen to you, the Constitution is nothing more than fickle words that can be changed on the whim of whatever the electorate of the moment deems hot. Right now, George W. Bush and his asinine neoconservative viewpoint that as long as we are at war he is pretty much exempt from the Constitution.

People like you sicken me. You have this wretched ideology that mimics the likes of Tom Delay--an arrogant, Bible thumping moron whose education informs him that the earth is no more than 10,000 years old, that man was created whole out of the dust of the earth by some Supernatural being, that his Texas variety evangelical claptrap is destined to rule the world and that anything--anything!--that he and Bush and Cheney and Limbaugh and the rest of the dead-from-the-neck-up holy-assed crusaders do is blessed and legitimate.

Like one of their idiots over at the White House told Ron Suskind: "We create our own reality over here!" Right. And I do mean right.

Posted by: Jaxas | June 29, 2006 09:59 AM

What I find even more tragic is Senator Hatch deriding the Supreme Court for usurping the will of the people while the executive branch treats the legislative branch with contempt.

The greatest threat to this country comes from the executive branch its abuse of power.
Speaking of the Washington Post's priorities why did it dedicate so much to the flag amendment and nothing to the Democratic Intelligence Committee hearings on pre Iraq war intelligence?

One of the panelists said it was "The Vice President" who orchestrated the falsification of intelligence while another said that members of the administration did commit perjury when testifying before Congress.

If you want heroes, look no further than Congressman Jones from North Carolina and Senator Dorgan from North Dakota. They are both class acts, patriots our forefathers would be proud of.

Posted by: Robert | June 29, 2006 10:06 AM

The only "affront" here John of Denver is you--and others like you--who strip away our freedoms with a stinking, jingoist philosophy masquerading as patriotism.

There are too many "patriots" like you who trully do sully the real meaning of the flag. Read your history and stop sucking at the hind end of manipulative morons like Rush Limbaugh who pop illegal pain pilols while preaching morality to the rest of us.

Your kind is known in this town. We are onto you.

Posted by: Jaxas | June 29, 2006 10:06 AM

Smarfdy - "low level stuff like flag burning..." Exactly. Why are we even debating this? because of the Presidential/congressional bufoons you so blindly support - that's why."

No, we both agree flag-burning is minor compared to other Constitutional conflicts raging. What frosts me is how many people don't argue the merits of how to resolve those conflicts, but take a Fundamentalist Qu'ranic Scholar's approach, opting for a stultifying stasis instead: "The Holy Words as written by the Divine Founders must never be tampered with!!"

The Constitution is a sort of operating manual for American society. It exists simply to achieve the goals of the Preamble, primarily, along with some items enumerated within....basically by following instructions and doing such and such.

It is not Sovereign over "We the People". It is a piece of paper. "We the People" are the Sovereign Ones. We follow the paper's instructions, but retain the right to update, revise, or change it.

The claims of "Venerators" that they love it so much, with such religious zeal that they don't believe we should change a word of it as blasphemy or sacreledge...despite real problems emerging in using an obsolete operator's manual....are ridiculous.

The rebuttal of the 10 points I made simply dismiss what is current Constitutional scholars debate about the 10 leading problem areas tied up in Constitutional questions that prevent resolution.

If you wish to say the major matters of high concern to scholars are silly, that's your call.

But just to educate you a bit:

1. Decapitation strike of our government concerns and fixing the Constitution has had high level hearings in Congress and a Continuity of Government Commission is still working through opposition from Holy Constitution fundamentalists that AGREE that we would likely be under military rule and worse or with a non-functional House at best if DC was hit without warning by a WMD attack - but who still oppose any change to the Constitution as a diminishment to the Geniuses Who Wrote the Holy Script.

2. Birthright citizenship is one of the things that make us what we are. Why do you hate our country so?

Crap. It was written in 1868 to give citizenship to slaves who were born in the US, with any new arrivals thought to be best packed off to Africa. That was the intent, as scholars looking at the debate transcripts determined.

3. Roe was sanctioned by the Will of the People. Crap. It was decided by a 5-4 vote based on words not even in the Constitution but imagined as "an emenation of a penumbra of the privacy right, itself, the Founders kept cryptic. It is a societal issue the people of only a few States were allowed to weigh in on before their vote was usurped by lawyers in robes.

4. You deny or are ignorant of the inherent conflict between Article II and Article III War Powers.

Frankly, I could argue on each of the 10 points because all you can manage by way of rebuttal is the usual Lefty ideological gibberish that the judges are right, the document Holy, and no problem needs to be fixed....just debated on endlessly without resolution.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 29, 2006 10:10 AM

Jaxas - "People like you sicken me".

And from my side, we are not too fond of anti-American, enemy rights sympathizers like you.

Not that you could understand why. Or why your sort of people are so distrusted by the American electorate when it comes to national security.

You would think after 40 years of hugging N Vietnamese, sticking up for terrorist's "rights", burning flags, and the hateful, personal language the Left became habituated to under Marcuse you would have learned. Or developed thicker skins as ordinary Americans have finally tired of one-sided "racist, Islamophobic, bigoted, sexist, imperialist, etc." taunts, and started throwing well-deserved slurs back at you and other gutless traitors.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 29, 2006 10:23 AM

Chris Ford-

From many of your posts I feel safe in saying that you consider yourself a patriot. Can you tell me why? I'm not saying you shouldn't be, or you aren't; I just want to know what it is about America that compels your love and loyalty.

Posted by: wiccan | June 29, 2006 10:49 AM

John from Denver-

Please feel free to respond also.

Posted by: wiccan | June 29, 2006 10:54 AM

Hey Afghan Vet,
do you want to know something that I find quite amusing? Ford and the rest of the Right wing nuts can preach all their B.S. but they can't go and do what you and I did. Because we did our military service to our country therefore we should have the say about Flag Burning, because we put our asses on the line and had them shot at. So if anyone should have a say it should be us. Good old Bush made sure no VC or NVA regulars every invaded texas, and Cheney was so banged up he got a 4F waiver so he didn't have to worry about getting his ass shot at. These right wing bible thumpers that all they can do is preach their doctrine and send someone elses kid off to a war we should have never gotten ourselves into. They want to pay no taxes to support this country or its troops, they won't enlist in the military (That's a hint Ford) even after they moved the age requirement up again or encourage their relatives to join. All they can do is shoot their mouths off and call anyone who doesn't agree with them unpatriotic. I say since they like war so much that they re-instate the draft and no school deferments, no pull because their parents are rich or know someone and that they have to pull a manditory tour in a combat zone.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 29, 2006 11:13 AM

Just curious, Ford, but why do you think banning flag burning should be implemeneted? You seem to yell at anyone who says it shouldn't as it quells free speech, comparing them to Islamic fanaticals with their treatment of the Qu'ran. However, you don't actually debate the point all that much. Meanwhile, the people you are saying are too fanatical about the constitution are actually arguing why it shouldn't be banned, rather than simply saying 'its the constitution, you can't change it,' as you claim.

Give me a good reason that flag burning should be banned, and I may be willing to agree with you. Keep using this topic as a soapbox for your normal "Lefties are killing the world, but I can't prove it" speech and I'm more likely to laugh at your attempts at arguing your points.

Posted by: Freedom | June 29, 2006 11:14 AM

Oh no, Lab rat said Ford won't fight for his country...... wait for the stories of pushing buttons!

Posted by: Freedom | June 29, 2006 11:19 AM

The Wizard of Oz in running the country.
Lessee, shall we discuss the war, erosion of civil liberties, the flat-lining economy, the ENVIRONMENT...?
Nah! That's too boring. Let's make a big fuss about the FLAG until people are sick of that and then go back to making a big fuss because people with matching genitals fall in love. Then we'll make some moving speeches about soldiers and terrorism that show when know b-all about either and hope a disaster strikes so we have more photo opportunities.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

Anyhoo, Activist Judges ahoy:

http://news.yahoo.com/fc/world/guantanamo_detainees

Posted by: NII | June 29, 2006 12:11 PM

Chris the traitor wrote:
===========================================
"I see SandyK is a Constitution-venerator in the same way the Muslims believe their 1400 year-old Holy Book is the perfect document to structure their society."
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There's few things I'd kill for, and one of them is the Constitution...

*******************************************
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;"
*******************************************

Notice the line, "I will bear TRUE faith and allegiance to the same"? If you ever gave that oath, Chris, you can't pick and choose what parts of it to esteem. You consider the whole document true, and you put your heart in it to defend it.

We don't need al-Qaeta, we have our own home grown terrorists that think the Constitution is some sheet of paper to be used as toilet paper (and they want clean amendment sheets for every wipe).

>:(

I don't worry about flag burners (very easy to contain), I do worry about angry white guys who use the Constitution like those dorks used Jim Crow laws.

Stay out of the Constitution. The country works, and will work, if the Neros don't fiddle with or go mad and absolve it.

Your talk Chris is stuff treason is made of. >:(

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 29, 2006 12:36 PM

Chris the traitor wrote:
===========================================
"Scholars say the Civil War gave opportunity to fix some of the worst errors, but not all as consensus broke down quickly under Andrew Johnson."
===========================================

In case folks didn't know the real meaning of those words, that's code in Neo-CONFEDERATE (and angry white conservative guy) circles for abolishing these enacted amendments, that went into effect when Andrew Johnson was president...

===========================================
13th amendment (Abolishing slavery):

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
===========================================

And what they REALLY hate (especially the sections below):

===========================================
14th amendment (The government can't force any law that would erode the rights of citizens -- Due process clause; and citizens who honor the Constitution can't give assistant to the enemies of this country/Constitution [successionists and militias that rebel]):

Section 1. 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. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


[...]

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
===========================================

Now you know why I consider these bastards traitors? They want to fiddle with the Constitution to revoke the 13th and 14th amendments. Then they can go right back to even BEFORE Jim Crow laws.

Just look at Chris Ford's speeches, if he could get away with it, he'll pepper his posts with the "N" word and other filthy racial language. Tolerant folks don't use such language, only the racists among us.

Traitors need to be drawn and quartered, especially home grown terrorists.

SandyK

Posted by: | June 29, 2006 01:11 PM

The typical leftist been on the political and cultural losing side all his adult life. He's tired of it. And he's found a website like daily Kos or Democratic Underground which, at last, makes him feel empowered. He is, in short, the typical member of the so-called netroots: the left-wing movement, organized around blogs, that seeks to "take back" this country from its usurpers. The netroots is a movement born of desperation and a sense of embattlement at being on the losing side of historical forces. It sees itself as the inheritor and the guarantor of true American tradition and identity, and it seeks to restore those things to their rightful primacy in national life. Critically, it choose to not merely fight its foes, but emulate them. It sees the prime virtue of its enemies as their ability to win, and if they can just crack the code -- if it can grasp the very methodology of victory -- then they will turn the tables, and victory will be theirs.
Sound familiar? It is -- to us. To the left, it's all very exciting, and all very new. And so we see the self-proclaimed netroots go through a trajectory very much like what the Birchers went through, albeit in highly compressed time. The elements are all there: the resentment, the conspiracy-mindedness, and especially the leaders with stupefyingly poor judgment married to Napoleon complexes. I've noted before that they are "frank proponents of outright mimicry of the mechanisms of GOP ascendacy." Add to this the horrifying, alienating statements ranging from the mockery of dead Americans at war to the derision of political opponents' personal sorrows. Add to this the demonization of the very people who should, in a sane world, be their friends and the formula is complete. Messianism and paranoia marry to make this.

Posted by: haha... | June 29, 2006 01:32 PM

Goto "The Fix" blog. It's the one that was covering YearlyKos (and ask Chris if he was in Marky's "Townhouse" too).

Daily Kos is going down, not because of the Republicans, out of sheer greed. Marky's been taking lessons from Abramoff and Nero, and got caught (with his buddy) with his hands in the till.

Worse, Marky's not even a Lefty ideologue (Kossacks got rimmed good over that one -- he talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk [he just dances in his "Townhouse" plotting the next Democrat failure, instead]).

And just like a netkook (don't you just love these "net" terms?) he goes around yelling about lawsuits, too. The only thing he didn't mention (yet) is he has a secret friend in the FBI to help him out too (if he starts flaking on cabals, well, he's ready for the nut farm next).

Oh, retribution is sooooooo sweet! :)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 29, 2006 01:50 PM

Freedom - "Give me a good reason that flag burning should be banned, and I may be willing to agree with you."

My position, as I elaborated to Smarfdy, is the Constitution now has major flaws in it that from lack of proper revision and update to it that are badly damaging our country.

Matters far more important than flag-burning, which would be way, way down on my own personal list of critically needed fixes.

My beef with those that oppose flag-burning as (1)The pinnacle of freedom of expression; (2)Constitutional fundamentalism - is that they are hypocrites on the Left that want to make cross-burning a major felony or fools that have attached some bizarre religious substitute fundamentalism to their belief that the Constitution is our Secular One Perfect Document that should NEVER be changed, defiled from what the Holy Founders wrote..

SandyK reflects that fanaticism on change as blasphemy:

===========================================

There's few things I'd kill for, and one of them is the Constitution...

Stay out of the Constitution. The country works, and will work, if the Neros don't fiddle with or go mad and absolve it.

Your talk Chris is stuff treason is made of.

*******************************************
The old twit then gets deranged and accuses me in her delusion of frequently "using the "N" word" (no, unlike her I come from an educated family where the "N" word is not spoken and tobacco is not chewed by women) and being against the freeing of slaves (13th) and all the stuff in the (14th), when all I want is an interpretation that the 14th was not intended to give every illegal spawning here a US citizen anchor baby so half a dozen or a dozen relatives can stay or come here. The woman is pathetic....and stupid of course......

==========================
Anyways, on flag burning. If all the vital corrections of the Constitution get done - which Congress won't do until the signs of American decline, partially generated by having a Constitution that is becoming obsolescent, become obvious to all Americans.....THEN....I would support some clarification. It's not worth a whole Amendment on it's own. IMO. But if we have to revise America's operating manual because the society and world we live in doesn't fit the Founder's well written operating manual drafted for a very different age 200+ years ago - then the Amendments should included with the rest of it in an overall revision.

Specifically, flag burning can be part of an overal cleanup where "protected political speech" is clearly distinguished from speech aimed at enraging and causing a riot. Someone who says they will be assembling, petitioning and protesting with a flag burning or a black hung in effigy is protected. Someone going into a black neighborhood and just hanging a black manniquen up or showing up at a Marine funeral burning a flag in their faces is not protected...but inciting riot...and deserves the violence beating or arrest arising from their public disturbance and riot-provoking.

But again, not to worry. America has big problems that are not being fixed in part to brainless "Venerators" who act like Islamists do when you suggest the Koran might need to be tweaked to allow Muslims to have a modern society. We will have to decline much further before we are compelled by events to fix the dysfunctional parts of the Constitution.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 29, 2006 02:12 PM

Hey nana...

You're joking - right?

Everybody knows that messianism and paranoia marry to make THIS:

The Bush Administration and its failed policies.

Where have you been?

Posted by: Smafdy | June 29, 2006 02:22 PM

"I see SandyK is a Constitution-venerator in the same way the Muslims believe their 1400 year-old Holy Book is the perfect document to structure their society."

I must admit that I always find Chris Ford's posts rather confusing. But, um... am I the only one who finds this one goes WAY beyond strange? Chris "My Patriotism is bigger than yours" Ford seems to miss the entire point of the Constitution. Guess what? It WAS created to be the perfect document on which to structure society (I am refering to the United States of America for those of you who are a bit muddled). One wonders why s/he thinks the Constitution was written in the first place.
This is my problem with anyone who clings to an idea set no matter what evidence others may present to the contrary. It requires mental contortions that are painful to watch.
Since I've started reading The Debate I've watched CF go from accusing people who disagree with the war in Iraq as being un-American to attacking some one who supports the document that shaped America.

I would say that way madness lies but some of us have already passed through madness and out the other side.

And one wonders what CF will do for the 4th of July.

Posted by: NII | June 29, 2006 02:23 PM

Chris Ford-
"My beef with those that oppose flag-burning as (1)The pinnacle of freedom of expression; (2)Constitutional fundamentalism - is that they are hypocrites on the Left that want to make cross-burning a major felony or fools that have attached some bizarre religious substitute fundamentalism to their belief that the Constitution is our Secular One Perfect Document that should NEVER be changed, defiled from what the Holy Founders wrote."

Sir, I am unaware of any incidents where the burning of the American Flag was used to inspire terror or fear for one's life. Cross-burning cannot make the same claim.

On your second point, the Constitution HAS been changed, 27 times in fact. These amendments granted or clarified the rights of the people. The only amendment that could be conceived of taking away rights was the 18th, which was repealed by the 21st.

What exactly are the changes you would make to the Contstitution?

Posted by: | June 29, 2006 03:07 PM

Chris Ford-
"My beef with those that oppose flag-burning as (1)The pinnacle of freedom of expression; (2)Constitutional fundamentalism - is that they are hypocrites on the Left that want to make cross-burning a major felony or fools that have attached some bizarre religious substitute fundamentalism to their belief that the Constitution is our Secular One Perfect Document that should NEVER be changed, defiled from what the Holy Founders wrote."

Sir, I am unaware of any incidents where the burning of the American Flag was used to inspire terror or fear for one's life. Cross-burning cannot make the same claim.

On your second point, the Constitution HAS been changed, 27 times in fact. These amendments granted or clarified the rights of the people. The only amendment that could be conceived of taking away rights was the 18th, which was repealed by the 21st.

What exactly are the changes you would make to the Constitution?

Posted by: wiccan | June 29, 2006 03:09 PM

Chris-

There is already an existing process that hashes out whether or not an act constitutes "free speech" or a threat to public safety such as incitement, rioting, etc.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 29, 2006 03:23 PM

Chris Ford writes:

"Specifically, flag burning can be part of an overal cleanup where "protected political speech" is clearly distinguished from speech aimed at enraging and causing a riot."

Similar arguments have been used to limit speech by totalitarian regimes the world over. In a silly decision a long time ago the Supreme Court decided that speech could be limited. This is where we get the famous "shouting fire in a crowded theater" phrase. It is possible to say that you have a right to say that freedom of speech (expression, etc.) is still absolute. Shouting "fire" in a crowded theater can cause enough harm to other rights, such as property rights that it still doesn't make sense to make laws limiting speech. If you're interested read Schenk v. United States and Holmes' majority opinion and Hugo Black's arguments against Holmes but I digress. It was overturned anyway.

Any individual person who's willing to accept a limit on any kind of speech needs to sit down and think hard about what they're saying. The point of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was for the majority to rule but also to protect the fundamental rights of minorities. Speech, especially policical expression, is a fundamental right.

Congress is asking for the power to limit expression in this amendment. I think Congress can screw enough up with the real and implied powers it has without it being given more power.

Posted by: Midwest Review | June 29, 2006 03:34 PM

Every year this comes close to passing but it never passes because the Repubs. don't want it to pass. They always get a couple of their tribe to vote against it "on principle". A principled Republican, what a larf! It's just red meat for their base. Will their base ever wake up to the fact that they're being played? Naah, they're too stupid. I hope the amendment passes. If I cut a star out of the flag and burn it, can I be prosecuted? Lets see the courts determine what defines a symbol.

Posted by: Turnabout | June 29, 2006 04:53 PM

Turnabout wrote:

"Every year this comes close to passing but it never passes because the Repubs. don't want it to pass."
__________

Once it's passed what would they do two years hence?

Too much time has passed to rerun Willie Horton, although some new stereotype could be identified and substituted, perhaps a bald-headed white guy who served in Vietnam, which would seem to be totally PC. The one with hair (Kerry) has already been worked over.

Texas-trained politicians have no particular limitations on low-life imaginations to manipulate the herd. The only surprise would be a real issue popping up on the agenda before an election

Like "anti gay marriage" this one about flag burning was designed to fail. They got want they wanted.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 29, 2006 05:15 PM

"Emily, the most astonishing thing about all of this--and the most frightening--is the cavalier, almost resigned nature of the American electorate. "

Thankyou Jaxas. How is this happening?

How is it that our fathers and grandfathers were not paralyzed by their fear when American was attacked on December 7, 1941. Did they bleed and die on the beaches or Normandy or Anzio or Okinawa or Iwo Jima defending freedom, just so their kids and grandkids could hear the likes of Chris Ford saying a real American patriot must now be so paralyzed with fear that they must blindly surrender their freedom? Why don't we just go to Normany and spit on the American cemetery there?

Posted by: Constitution | June 29, 2006 06:54 PM

smoke and mirrors,

to notice that they soldiers of the United States are being used by the Bush administration and cronies to make themselves rich....

everyone in bush's cabal, more correctly termed family has been working with his father for the last 55 years to make _this_ happen...


using the United States Government as a family resource....sort of like Nixon building his home in Florida and billing the government for it....


the soldiers think they're fighting terrorism, what they're really doing is paying for the development of beachfront condos on the Red Sea and Mediterraenean in about 7 years...


NSA/Negroponte/CIA/IRS/IRA/exceptional/cheyney...

hope you're looking boyz, these creeps need to go home,

help them.

.

Posted by: people are too busy dancing to the spinning | June 29, 2006 08:06 PM

Chris the liar wrote:
===========================================
"The old twit then gets deranged and accuses me in her delusion of frequently "using the "N" word" (no, unlike her I come from an educated family where the "N" word is not spoken and tobacco is not chewed by women) and being against the freeing of slaves (13th) and all the stuff in the (14th), when all I want is an interpretation that the 14th was not intended to give every illegal spawning here a US citizen anchor baby so half a dozen or a dozen relatives can stay or come here. The woman is pathetic....and stupid of course......"
===========================================

lololol

Any regular on this blog knows you're a racist, Chris. You're the only person here (who's not a sockpuppet anon) who uses phrases like "Jap".

Only ill-bred trailer trash use such language, as they have to be taught to hate (let alone why to say it). So thanks for letting us know more about your own background, let alone your taste for women.

When caught red handed (and trying to snow the readers), you go into a frenzy and doing exactly what you're projecting, too (as you go into these little meltdowns whenever you're in a box). Point is you don't expect another conservative to call you on your little racist gig (the appeal of the 13th and 14th amendments which is a hot topic among conservatives on their boards). Sucker, the difference is I'm an TR conservative, not some commie Neo-con, who'll sell our country off to the highest bidder.

It must burn that you can't get away with that trash, but it's called accountability -- and I'll pull on the carpet conservatives as well as libs who mess with Constitution, especially to REVOKE rights.

I take that oath dead seriously, Chris. I'll defend it against al-Qaeta, and I'll defend it from Neo-Con trailer trash that would throw our Founder's vision into a Gestapo prison.

Don't fear the libs, sucker. Fear other conservatives when you want to change not only a 230 year tradition, the heritage of the United States of AMERICA (that's AMERICA, not Israel).

Hang your head in shame, Chris.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 29, 2006 08:18 PM

SandyK, the last five years have given me a new understanding of why the oath is to "protect and defend the Constutition of the United States against all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC".

Chris Ford and his ilk are the DOMESTIC part.

Freedom is defended by the blood of patriots. Rather than inciting Americans to courage ("the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"), this administration incites FEAR. Rather than reminding Americans of who we are and what we stand for, this Congress rolls over and plays dead while the executive branch destroys the checks and balances that our freedoms stand on. It is left to SCOTUS to remind Americans of what makes this country worth dying for. Thank God the BA hasn't been able to destroy SCOTUS...yet. ONce they do they'll make themselves legal dictators.

Posted by: Constitution | June 29, 2006 09:17 PM

burn the cobwebs of deceit!

clear them from your eyes!

good show, pip pip!

.

Posted by: I say, | June 29, 2006 09:32 PM

Constitution,

Years ago I saw the writing on the wall of this new Republican party, locally, when Neo-Confederates linked up with Libertarians (also "Sons of the South") to win elections. It's how Sonny Perdue became the first Republican governor in GA since the Reconstruction.

I learned then that it's many coalitions involved in this swing Right movement. On a national level everything is squeakly clean, and they polished off the corners to make the message look civil (like revoking AA because Blacks have triumphed over discrimination type deals). On a local level, the world didn't see the picketing at the local Black college with stars and bars from these Civil War enactors. Or how everyday politics is divided on race, too (and done so on purpose to divide and conquer).

So now in 2006 when the message of Andrew Johnson and all peeps out from the veil, suckers like Chris Ford are exposed of their roots. For those who don't follow that rhetoric it's over the head, but those who followed that crappy "The South will Rise Again" junk, spot it instantly.

Yes, I'm hypersensitive to that junk, because it's local, and I've seen what divisiveness it causes and it's hate firsthand.

Rereading what I wrote seems strong, but I won't pull any of what I said. I terribly dislike this militia; Neo-Confederate; successionist; Supreme Court stocking to revoke the 13th and 14th amendment -- thought it was only about abortion????; freedom reducing movement. It's dangerous traitor talk (you just need to read a 1/4 of what these twerps write), and I hope they're caught and tried as traitors as well (before they become actual terrorists).

BTW, way too many arms and explosives have been missing from Ft. Benning. Not just a few rifles and grenades, either. They just don't disappear in the "everything in triplet" Army supply system.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 30, 2006 02:55 AM

Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Chris Ford, John of Dever, and a smattering of other Bushphiles on this blog reflexively refer to those of us who do not drop to our knees and apply generous smoochings to the royal Bush hiney as "traitors".

Traitors to what? To an incompetent buffoon who blusters about an "activist" Supreme Court--the same activist Supreme Court that put his worthless behind in the Oval Office. A man of character, a statesman, would have acknowledged that he was not the choice of a majority of his countrymen and conceded the election. But not this fraud. He didn't care that it would rend the copuntry and divide us for a generation. He didn't care that he came out as second choice among the people.

In the final analysis, George W. Bush did what he always does when he loses. He snivels, whines, stamps his feet, falls down on the floor and roles over demanding that he be given what he wants. All of his miserable, pathetic, little priviledged, pampered life, he has had buttkissing sycophants running around like crazy to ensure that whatever little Georgie wants, little Georgie gets.

Well, that ended yeaterday when five grownups finally threw up their hands and said "No!" And that left the right's precious little pumpkin sputtering about how he had only gotten a "drive-by briefing". Wanna take any bets where the little pumpkin got his "drive by" phraseolgy? From his favorite Unkie Rush--you know, that old ped who wants to have Bush's baby.

Posted by: Jaxas | June 30, 2006 10:42 AM

They seem to have conveniently forgotten that Kennedy, Souter and Breyer, the majority of the majority on this decision, were appointed by Republican presidents.

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 30, 2006 12:43 PM

CF:

Man! You're taking a beating. Sorry to say, you deserve it.

I don't really have the time to do this, but, oh well, the real world will have to wait.

A few things:

1. Re: the Constitution -
It should never be amended to remove the right(s) of an individual, especially if that right regards freedom of thought (regardless if the thought is held only by a single individual and patently offends every other man woman and child in the nation), expression (reiteration of previous paren.), due process (a government that can swallow a person without a trace would result), or separation of powers (the branches should be downright antagonistic towards one another).

To remove a right by Constitutional ammendment based on the fact that that act is offensive is antithetical to the Constitution in general, the Bill of Rights in particular, the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg address (I have a feeling that this speech is much too sentimental for you), and our oft touted "freedoms".

2. Re: You being labeled a racist -
You do seem to have presented yourself as such in many of your postings. Specifically, your constant use of the term "Islamoids" (the "oids" part is what's important) seems to indicate a classic element of the mind-set of racism: the ability to reduce a person or group of people to less-than-human status. Several of my past posts in rebuttal to your statements have pointed this out. It can be quite offensive, yet I support your rights to free thought, free speech, and free expression. Keep in mind - just because you're free to do something, doesn't mean you should.

3. An observation -
The more I read blogs, and the more I converse with and debate my long-time conservative friends, the more I see a deep rooted Southern resentment against their Yankee oppressors to the north. This theme, or something very similar to it, got some traction in this debate. Maybe this is why they hate America so.

Posted by: smafdy | June 30, 2006 12:47 PM

Since when is flag-burning a form of free 'speech'?? Burning a flag is an act that can, and should, be regulated. Communities across this country prohibit certain activities they may deem dangerous (.e.g., setting off fireworks) or lewd/offensive (public nudity). I believe if citizens of a community find burning a flag repulsive, they should have the right to ban it without having the ACLU getting its panties in a bunch. Also, remember that 66 senators voted for this bill...doesn't sound like just a fringe wing of the Republican party to me.

Posted by: Mr Right | June 30, 2006 12:57 PM

of evile flatulence, I say burn it..

and Mr. Right, you're just plain wrong...but I think you know that but like holding in a fart, you're incapable of using logick when gas will suffice.

.

Posted by: if it represents the current cabal | June 30, 2006 03:29 PM

OK, here's my question

Does anyone seriously think Cheney and Addington are going to be stopped by a little tiny thing like the Supreme Court? Who says they have to obey SCOTUS? Congress? Please, I'm ROTFLMAO. So far this Congress is a walking advertisement for needing Viagra.

We have a real problem here, folks. Dick Cheney can do anything he wants and it does not appear that anyone is going to stop him. Congress is impotent, there are no riots in the streets. Somehow, this nation has been brainwashed into believing that it must turn its back on a 200 year history of who we are and what we stand for in order to be "saved". I agree with Constitution - we might just as well go to a military cemetery in Europe and spit on the graves of our war dead who died for the American way of truth and justice exemplified in their oath to protect the Constitution of the United States.

So now they say this decision makes it likely that SCOTUS would also rule against the evisceration of the FISA court. So,if they do, whose going to make the BA start using FISA? With no oversight, how would we even know whether they did or not? Respect for Rule of Law is all that holds a democracy together. And this administration has none, and worse, has somehow convinced Americans that having it will hurt them. And we the people, instead of showing the courage that made this nation great, are suddenly too scared to remember who we are.

There is nothing that can stop this administration short of a big change in Congress in November.

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 30, 2006 03:34 PM

Whine and seethe.
Seethe and whine.
The Lefty's light
No longer shines

Posted by: | June 30, 2006 04:18 PM

me that there were 66 senators on their knees voting for "gay," rights with their lips, as they sacrificed their manhood for image...

is that what you're saying mr. right?

and you're one of them too?

Posted by: it would seem to | June 30, 2006 04:24 PM

you're not man enough to stand on your own?

that you need a label to protect you?

are you afraid of me? that's right.

Posted by: are you saying that | June 30, 2006 04:28 PM

"We can't be scared out of who we are."

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift

patriot1957-

There were enough people who weren't scared of Sen. McCarthy, and helped bring his house of cards down. I believe there's enough people who aren't scared of Cheney or his terrorist bogeymen to bring down his house of cards too.

Posted by: wiccan | June 30, 2006 05:04 PM

Thanks wiccan

But I wonder if the McCarthy episode might have had a different outcome if the US had actually been attacked by Russia and if McCarthy had his own Karl Rove and Frank Luntz at his side.

If you read the headlines in Froomkin's column today it is very depressing that a good deal of the media is firmly in the pocket of the "fearmongerers for profit" camp. The question is, is the guy from the NY paper who chose to repeat the "enemy like none we ever saw before" horsedung an Ellsworth Toohey swaying with what he thinks the pulse of America is willing to pay to read, or is he (along with the other right wing media) truly in the pocket of the crony gang? That is, if those brave enough to stand up to Cheney begin to turn the tide, will there be a sea change in the media or a more desperate attempt to rule by fear?

I do not believe that if America really took a good look in the mirror and saw the bunch of scared whiny sissies we've become, that people wouldn't remember the sacrifices of past generations and sit up and demand their checks and balances back. And it does seem that more and more people are starting to get it. But the town squares are still empty, and the airwaves are still full of fearmongering.

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 30, 2006 06:08 PM


For uncensored news please go to:
www.wsws.org
www.takigaim.info
www.onlinejournal.com
otherside123.blogspot.com

http://www.infowars.com/articles/sept11/flight_77_eyewitness_report_skewed.htm

Proof That 'Flight 77' Eyewitness Report Skewed
'I saw faces of passengers' man furious with newspaper for twisting his words

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com | June 30 2006

Many Flight 77 skeptics who believe that an American Airlines Boeing 757 did not hit the Pentagon on 9/11 scoff at eyewitness testimony which claims to describe intricate details about the alleged commercial airliner. In at least one case those doubts have now been validated.

James R. Cissell, an eyewitness to the object that struck the Pentagon on September 2001, is furious with a Cincinnati newspaper for falsely attributing quotes to him that he never made.

The Cincinnati Post reported Cissell's comments in a September 12 story headlined, 'I saw the faces of some of the passengers.'

Here is how the Post quoted Cissell in full.

''Out of my peripheral vision,'' Cissell said, ''I saw this plane coming in and it was low - and getting lower."

''If you couldn't touch it from standing on the highway, you could by standing on your car."

''I thought, 'This isn't really happening. That is a big plane.' Then I saw the faces of some of the passengers on board,'' Cissell said.

For an earlier article, we undertook a simple video analysis in which a low flying American Airlines Boeing 757 was speeded up by four times to approximate what eyewitnesses would have seen.

It's plausible they could have identified the jet as a large American Airlines Boeing 757, but comments about seeing intricate details of the plane as it zoomed past at over 500 MPH are outside the realm of possibility.

We concluded the analysis by commenting,"The video and any degree of common sense suggests that Cissell could not possibly have seen the faces of the passengers on board. Even when the video is reduced to normal speed, four times slower than the reported speed of Flight 77, you can't see passengers in the windows."

That conclusion has now been proven accurate in a development that will cast more suspicion on embellished accounts of what eyewitnesses saw crossing the Pentagon highway before it ploughed into the building.

James R. Cissell contacted us to express his anger at the newspaper for taking his comments completely out of context.

"The Cincinnati Post article, which you refer, angered me greatly after reading it. It is almost completely fiction based loosely on an interview I did with a Cincinnati Post reporter Kimball Perry who called me in response to an on air phone report that I did for Channel 12 in Cincinnati."

Cissell relates what he actually told the reporter.

"The reporter took extreme creative license not only with the title but also with the story as a whole. Why he felt the need to sensationalize anything that happened on September 11 is beyond me. My words to the reporter were, "I was about four cars back from where the plane crossed over the highway. That it happened so quickly I didn't even see what airline it was from. However, I was so close to the plane when it went past that had it been sitting on a runway, I could have seen the faces of passengers peering out."

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Here's the Post quote again.

"I saw the faces of some of the passengers on board.''

Compared to, "Had it been sitting on a runway, I could have seen the faces of passengers peering out."

Cissell's comments were taken so far out of context that this seems to be a deliberate attempt at sensationalism or even an effort at lending bias towards the assumption that the plane was a large commercial airliner with passengers on board.

Cissell has himself worked in media and expressed his incredulity at the sloppy journalism betrayed in the article.

His numerous calls, e mails and letters to the Post went unanswered and though he was promised the online version of the article would be removed, as of June 30th it is still online without retraction.

Regarding the speculation that something other than Flight 77 hit the Pentagon and alternate explanations behind the event, Cissell is not certain that the plane was as large as a 757, but at least as large as a 727.

"As far as the size of the plane, it happened very quickly. What I can say is that it was a passenger plane at least as big as a 727 maybe bigger. From the time I heard it over my left shoulder and turned to see it I had one thought, 'he's off course'; I was used to seeing planes fly along the Potomac on the other side of the Pentagon to land at national airport just a mile or two away. My next thought wasn't a thought, it was the realization of what was happening and that happened moments or even a moment before the plane struck."

"Later I found it remarkable that someone even saw what airline it was from. The plane was coming from left and behind of me - I guess if you were on the other side of the highway and facing the plane as it came in you would have had a lot more time to react," said Cissell.

These comments cloud the accuracy of the eyewitness reports of people who claimed to have seen clear markings which would have irrefutably identified the aircraft, such as Christine Peterson, who claimed that the plane was "so close that I could read the numbers under the wing."

Did Peterson really say this or was she also taken out of context?

Why would reporters need to sensationalize one of the biggest events in world history? Was its scope not gargantuan enough?

Cissell disagrees with some aspects of how the official version of events describes the approach of the aircraft.

"Looking at the trajectories in the diagrams they have online seems off to me. I remember the plane coming in more directly at the side of the building than at an angle," said Cissell.

Cissell makes it clear that speculation that the object was a missile or that there was no plane at all is off base.

"With regards to conspiracies in general, I think the conspiracy people need to be focusing on is the one where Bush and his administration leveraged the tragedy of 911 to enter a war for money and oil that cost the lives of who knows how many civilians, a couple thousand soldiers and undid 30 years of progress in a region that was slowly healing itself."

Posted by: che | June 30, 2006 07:12 PM

Che, everyone knows that eyewitness accounts are often skewed Usually honest and poorly accurate. They have done experiments where they've had streakers run naked through a room - the people sitting in the room don't even always agree on the gender of the streaker.

Now really, if Ted Olson's wife was really alive and stashed somewhere, do you seriously believe she could possibly be kept quiet with Hillary's name being bandied about as a presidential wannabe? Now way! That woman would have sawed through the strongest chains with her nail file or clawed her way out of the deepest hole to make sure a Hillary campaign never saw the light of day. Face it che, the woman's no longer on the planet.

BTW - anyone read Olden's oped in the Post yesterday? Chalk up one more for the Bush shills who are starting to crack. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/28/AR2006062801983.html

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 30, 2006 07:47 PM

CAn't type today

Its Olson's op-ed, not Olden.

For anyone just beamed onto the planet, Olson was Bush's solicitor general for a while, a position that is sometimes a stepping stone to the Supremes. Even the legally blind could read between the lines in his letter.

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 30, 2006 07:53 PM

Here's a sample from the Olson letter. This guy is Bush's former head lawyer for the US government, Solicitor General. No wonder he's "former". Wiccan is right - they're out there, and they're starting to whisper. Would that they would dare to shout.

"Reporters do not expect to be above the law. But they should be accorded some protection so that they can perform their public service in ensuring the free flow of information and exposing fraud, dishonesty and improper conduct without being exposed to an unanticipated jail sentence. A free society depends on access to information and on a free and robust press willing to dig out the truth and spread it around. This requires some ability to deal from time to time with sources who, for one reason or another, require the capacity to speak freely but anonymously.

Posted by: Constitution | June 30, 2006 07:59 PM

I often wonder why it is so easy for thepeople to sit back and allow our freedoms to be taken away. One of the resons is that many do not believe or know that it is being done. if you speak out you become a subversive instead of a patriot. If we allow our 1st ammendments to go the same way the 4/14 and 2nd did under the disguise of 9-11 then surely we will lose our rights. Just today WRAL in Raleigh,NC asked views if the confession of the man that is being tried should have been thrown out as the judge stated. The man asked for a lawyer when he was given his miranda or when he started to be questioned. As horerendous as the crime was I had to agree with the judge that his basic right was violated. Any rookie should have known to allow this man his lawyer. Sadly the people voted against the decision that the judge threw out the confession. What does this mean? The people obviously were thinking with their hearts and not their heads because the next time someone may charge them or someone they know and public opinion may result in some idiot on Capitol Hill thinking he can get elected by agreeing to take away your miranda rights. The Judge did us a favor and the public did not recognize it. None of us want to see a murderer go free and I am sure that there was much more evidence than a confession. Usually that is the icing on the cake and not the ingrediants in it.

Posted by: Janis Lanham | June 30, 2006 10:22 PM

I often wonder why it is so easy for thepeople to sit back and allow our freedoms to be taken away. One of the resons is that many do not believe or know that it is being done. if you speak out you become a subversive instead of a patriot. If we allow our 1st ammendments to go the same way the 4/14 and 2nd did under the disguise of 9-11 then surely we will lose our rights. Just today WRAL in Raleigh,NC asked views if the confession of the man that is being tried should have been thrown out as the judge stated. The man asked for a lawyer when he was given his miranda or when he started to be questioned. As horerendous as the crime was I had to agree with the judge that his basic right was violated. Any rookie should have known to allow this man his lawyer. Sadly the people voted against the decision that the judge threw out the confession. What does this mean? The people obviously were thinking with their hearts and not their heads because the next time someone may charge them or someone they know and public opinion may result in some idiot on Capitol Hill thinking he can get elected by agreeing to take away your miranda rights. The Judge did us a favor and the public did not recognize it. None of us want to see a murderer go free and I am sure that there was much more evidence than a confession. Usually that is the icing on the cake and not the ingrediants in it.

Posted by: Janis Lanham | June 30, 2006 10:23 PM

It's not that we're never been there, it's that libs were and are ever trying to stereotype and lump everyone together. In ignorance they got what they got now, too.

Read on.

Way long before the 2004 election conservatives knew Bush wasn't conservative. They also noticed he'll trade the very freedoms we hold dear for more executive branch power (let alone sell it to foreigners).

True conservatives see that the focus with these Neo-Cons is on "judicial activism", meanwhile they'll steal power from both the judicial and legislative branches -- and condone it. That's wrong, it's always been wrong. From FDR stacking the Supreme Court, to Reagan diverting monies to Contras.

When the branches are leveled, everyone knows each is checking the other, and overt abuse is avoided. But if the Legislative branch launches an outright attack to supercede the Judicial branch, to hand over more power to the Executive branch (a man of their choosing), that's a bloodless coupe of robbing citizens of their rights.

None of you guys spotted the real agenda, all busy on city politics and Iraq. Not the darn MSM, not the progressives. It's one of those little OPEN secrets that come up to bite people on the butts, because it's a "local" issue and not worth the time paying attention too. Yeah it's local, and the Borg merged with other locals from GA to Kansas, and now you have your collective in Washington.

Don't even bother to pay attention to Marky and Dean, they're completely out of the loop, too.

They hope folks are too dumb about the 14th amendment. Concentrate on the 1st all you want, but it's the 14th that keeps these busybodies from using the legislative branch to supercede even the Constitution. GET IT NOW??

They skirt all around it with other social issues (like gay rights and abortion), as a means to bypass the due process clause (and test the Judicial branch decisions). GET IT NOW????

Most folks are illiterate on the Constitution. Most folks just know the 1st (and only know what's been spoonfed to them). Ask anyone what's the 1st and you'll get a good reply, ask anyone about the 14th, and you'll pull blank stares.

That's the Republicn/Neo-Con's little secret. They'll send you on wild goose chases, while they undermine the 14th one right at a time.

And they bet that the conservatives that do rat on the thugs, the Dems will think is a plant, and do what Marky does, ignore it. I warned his little group back in 2004, but nooooooo, they just know the landscape better (yeah, after fleecing more pockets. Clueless of the long born American politics, that long was in place before he ever set foot here).

All of you need to go back and take a critical eye at the landscape (scan their hideouts for the 14th amendment). Do some serious digging, instead of just mouthing. Remove the partisan blinders, and see the real ugly mess before you. We have domestic terrorists right in front of us, not any better than OBL, and they're taking away every right they can, because the object is to revoke mainly the 14th (if they disenfranchise everyone but them, they can change the Constitution without a fight). With that, it's open season to reverse every social policy change since Reconstruction.

I hope everyone sees the real agenda now. Iraq and the terrorism war is a sidetrack, and excuse to do what would've been much more difficult otherwise. Under the cloak of an foreign enemy, the inner enemy can take one right away, as they're one of us, and who would suspect that the traditional stalwarts would revoke our own Constitution?

I'm not a party member because who's doing this junk are ex-Crackers, ex-Dixicrats and their minions. All former Democrats. I don't trust either party, since Dems weren't paying attention or cared less (like Marky and Dean's little side show) and keeled themselves, and the Republicans are overrun by these thugs. Both are working to destroy this country, inside out. One out of ignorance and affiliation, the other out of hate and affiliation.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 30, 2006 10:26 PM

Patriot1957 wrote:
===========================================
"Does anyone seriously think Cheney and Addington are going to be stopped by a little tiny thing like the Supreme Court? Who says they have to obey SCOTUS? Congress? Please, I'm ROTFLMAO. So far this Congress is a walking advertisement for needing Viagra."
===========================================

It's because of the legislature the Prez can get his power to do what he pleases. They can't control SCOTUS. But if their stack congress, they can do the 2/3 override.

They knew the game, and they're playing it -- right under everyone's nose.

When one branch is willing to hand over their branch of power, you know a coupe is going. They're putting their own power at risk, because that's the agenda.

Got to overturn the 14th somehow. Be it doing their best with stacking the court (they're so pissed at Souter and Kennedy it's not funny), or trying to get congress to give the executive to do it for him (he's only in office 8 years, and once gone, can't be prosecuted).

Politics, boys and girls, is a real dirty game. And folks play for keeps. These game tactics aren't explained in any Civics 101 (or 301) course -- as it's illegal, by the 14th.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 30, 2006 10:47 PM

A frivolous Friday night suggestion:

A pattern emerges, and I think it will help battle the Pseudo-Conservatives & Bushophiles scuttling through the White House and Congress right now.

P-Cs hate everything the people they perceive as "Liberal" like. (And by liberal I mean anyone who disagrees with the P-Cs.) If P-Cs disapprove of something, a Supreme Court ruling, an article in the paper, a law, a book, an Amendment to the Constitution, thinking logically, you name it: Liberal Egro Mal. It is Liberal, therefore it is bad (profuse apologies to Latinist). So, I propose the "Liberals" - whether you are in fact a liberal or a REAL conservative or just plain disgusted with what the Admin. is doing to this country - make a list of things they love so P-Cs will hate and avoid them.

I will go first:

My name is JK, I am a liberal and I simply adore oxygen.

Posted by: NII | June 30, 2006 11:27 PM

The problem is the complaining is coming from the Right of the Neo-Cons. Although wings like us Traditionals can link up well with old line Liberals, there's few populist old guard Leftists left, if they're not extinct yet. It's now "progressives" who might as well be Martians, or the Zig Zags that might as well be liberal Neo-Cons. That makes it very difficult to reach across the aisle, as there's no one there to take the handshake.

[It's why parties should never expell wings or let them die. Because when coalition building is needed, the bridge is broken].

How both sides can off these Neo-Cons, I don't know (maybe appeal to Pat Buchanan's old line roots). But I'm as tired of them as a Democrat would be. They need to begone before they destroy this country.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 1, 2006 12:43 AM

While the harassment has not stopped I decided to talk about other freedoms. Today on the Internet WRAL asked a question based on a judges decision to throw out a confession in the murder of a little girl in Florida. The poll asked you to make a choice between (a. Yes, the Judge should have thrown out the conviction and (2 No, the Judge should not have. The law enforcement officers read the man his Miranda rights but when he asked for a lawyer, he was ignored and the officers continued to take his statement. I cast my vote of YES, THE JUDGE WAS RIGHT. I was then directed to a page where I could see the result of the poll. I was not surprised to see that I was among the minority. I thought about this and I came to the conclusion that most people do not think when it comes to our Constitutional Rights unless theirs are trampled on. Any rookie should have known that the questioning should have stopped and the man be given a lawyer. The policemen were probably having mixed emotions because a child was involved and maybe not thinking clearly. The people taking the poll were casting their votes based upon what was in their hearts for this child. But if we are to protect what few freedoms the Patriot Act has not taken away or the NSA/CIA/FBI and Homeland Security then we must be protective of even the lowest form of human being's rights. If we are so willing to violate this man's rights then it will not be long before some congressman decides to eliminate that right that states we have the right to a lawyer and if we ask for one at any given time during an interrogation the questioning must stop. Being a victim of this psychological testing that the military is doing on me WITHOUT my permission makes me more aware of what if any rights I have left. This technology (non-lethal weapons)allows this government to get inside our heads without our permission thus removing any guaranteed rights that I was promised by being a citizen of the United States. I did not ask to be a part of any experiments on my BRAIN. I did not even get the chance to make that choice. I am not compensated by anyone and I can only hope these morons are aware of the damage that they are doing to this country. On the Psychotronic Research Laboratory page that promotes and tells you all about this technology there is a statement made by a Russian that says this" A knife in the right hands can cut a sausage, in the wrong hands it can kill someone. Well, we know of deaths that are suspicious that we believe are direct results of these morons testing this technology. After all to them we are expendable. Of course this is MILITARY TECHNOLOGY and I am not in the service and I happen to believe our soldiers should be fighting for us and not against us. I am not a subversive and I do not want to be treated such. The problem is if you criticize the President, military or Attorney General, FBI, CIA and NSA they use their POWER to make people think you are wrong. But if we lived in a world where we could not speak out and voice our opinions then how would our Senators and people we put in office know what the majority of the people want? Just because a President sends our boys to war and we may disagree it does NOT make us anti American. It does not mean we don't support our boys (as the President would like you to think). It means that we do not support the WAR. We support our troops no matter where they go to fight...we just don't support the President's or Congress's decision to send them there. Back to the main issue. As unpopular it may be to speak out about issues that we don't agree on without the right to speak out we would be under the rule of a dictator. Calling people un-American because they don't agree with you actually makes you the un-American because the people that speak out do so to keep your rights as well as their own.

Posted by: MidnightladyNC | July 1, 2006 12:59 AM

[twilight_zone_music]
Oh, brother, the wackos are coming out of the woodwork now too.

Next will be black helicopter talk, then all about Area 51 and "grays"
[/twilight_zone_music]

I'll stick to playing Deus Ex if I want a dive into conspiracy stuff (interesting game if you haven't played it -- it was released in 1999. It's NYC Liberty Island skyline has no WTC (the creators said that by 2050 it would've been destroyed). The villian government agency is, get this, FEMA. The world is filled with terrorists, a virus, and more. All released in 1999).

Play the game, and stay clear of the MKULTRA stuff, as it can get really weird when these "I was abducted by aliens!" people get started. ;)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 1, 2006 01:32 AM

SandyK, what you smokin tonight?

Posted by: | July 1, 2006 02:25 AM

use labels.

liberal, conservative, neocon, ALCU_as_a_swear_word, dems, repubs

I could care less what you call yourself if you tell me the truth.

you lie to me, I'll take you apart like you were never together...

I get with bored to people that think that the world is _one_ way

(hard to believe I would write that way on purpose, eh?)


when it's multiple things working together simultaneously.


part of the reason that I post the way that I do is because people have to stretch themselves to read it...most find it irritating...too ambiguous, too many half finished ideas...leaves them wondering...stretching

most people can't/couldn't come up with anything significant to post but what someone else said...

that's what adhering to pattern is about...training


you want to dispell the illusion, you penetrate it by destroying the training.


the most significant thing goin on now is that the people are actually beginning to see what they're dealing with...


a group of people using the United States Government as their personal toy...


the military as their rentacops and the people of the United States as their serfs...that they owe nothing to..

and that's what they'll be paying you for your fckuing patriotism....beleeme

and we still have a chance, it hasn't ended in a screaming nightmare yet...

hopefully, some very _nice_ people will be executed for treason. Some congress people and some members of the executive branch and the president/rumsfeld/cheyney/negroponte will go before the Hague on WAR CRIMES...it seems _real_ possible...


and that makes me smile, it's lovely when I smell evile frying...crisping up

break out the pliers, we'll be eating some long pig afore this month is over....

with greens...

Posted by: people that can't deal with standing on | July 1, 2006 02:37 AM

there's some interesting stuff out there...

but most really don't have a clue at what they're looking at...

it's sort of like the "Contact" movie with Jodie Foster, where she realizes that the data is coming in embedded with codes...actually it was repeating patterns in four dimensions that had be interpredted that way...

parallel, most people can't think in parallel...

they're all into serial, and even that is divided up into sentences and paragraphs according to the existing syntax...each portion of time has an extension into the language...blah blah blah


predictable cliches, most people use the same 600 words over and over again in predictable patterns, most people can't follow more than, hold more than seven thought processes coexistently...

it's a limiting factor.

if you learn to flow, to let the world arrange itself, you don't have to hold onto anything, reality arranges itself

you learn to shift focus/attention

you only have "so much" attention, what are you going to spend it on, "the pattern," or "seeing the pattern,"


most people spend it on "the pattern," meeting expectations, staying with the currently accepted standard of behavior, "being right,"

or left or conservative or goth or tatooed or whatever...

patterns to adhere to

just think of me as a human box cutter

you're welcome

.

Posted by: actually | July 1, 2006 02:48 AM

that we're still fighting what the original patriots were fighting...

monied families...


and them gaining control of government resources to their advantage and to everyone elses' disadvantage...


that is why there are term limits, so one man or family can not _stay_ in so long as to become _the system_

papa bush was in for over 50 years, making friends making connections, little georgie inherited it all, or they inherited him and he gave them the keys to run the country.

that is what royalty does.

they run countries, they use peasants, they kill, murder and asassinate those that don't listen to them...

democracy? right, they believe in that as much as communism

what was McCarthy on about? well what about all the money that was lost to George H.W. Bushes Uncle in Cuba, his holdings in the West Indies trading Co....no small piece of cheese...and the MAFIA had BIG gambling casinos in Cuba

think they lost any money?

Who was George H.W. Bush working with to kill Castro? CIA/MAFIA that seems like a familiar pairing, doesn't it?


.
.
.
.

Posted by: the thing is | July 1, 2006 02:59 AM

there are 14 dimensions existent simultaneously,

some of them are embedded in the others, or enfolded...

gravity is resonance, quantum flux is the flow

.

quantum flux is also an allusion to probability of existence

it is possible to change the past now and then.

.

.

Posted by: ps. | July 1, 2006 03:03 AM

that can see intent,

is not defeatable,

if they have clarity.

Clear light, there is no difference between your intent and that of the being ness of reality...

as an entity...

you are the same, destinies dancing

punching through time

Posted by: a person | July 1, 2006 03:14 AM

Whoever wrote:
===========================================
"SandyK, what you smokin tonight?"
===========================================

Some Brits. ;)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 1, 2006 04:42 AM

For the anonomys poster who wrote "'Whine and Seethe..." I offer up the following:

Hiss and Titter,
Prick and Sip,
Whinny and Barf
Hock and Snort,
Those on the Right,
Are led by a Fort.

A Blast of a Fort,
That Comes from Behind,
That Reeks in the Wind,
Thus Boggling the Mind,
No Solace to Find.

Posted by: Jaxas | July 1, 2006 09:56 AM

The flag burning issue seems similar to the discussion of religious idolatry. Where sometimes the use of symbols are used negatively to distort or manipulate.

Posted by: Wayne P | July 1, 2006 12:56 PM

I got this a couple of years ago, as I was talking to some Tibetan Buddhists about bush...

I wondered at the validity of it then, but it seems to be another link...

forgive the intrusion, but it may be important...


I received this a few years ago, and I wondered at the validity of it...it's about Afghanistan and GITMO

not, surprisingly, Iraq per se

> >From Karl W. B. Schwarz

> President, Chief Executive Officer
> Patmos Nanotechnologies, LLC
> 10-13-2004


> By Email, By Facsimile to White House


> Mr. President,


> I am a Conservative Christian Republican that has no intentions of
> voting for you in this year's election and many other Conservative
> Republicans are following me.


> America demands the TRUTH and not after the elections; this nation
> demands the truth from you RIGHT NOW! This letter and an identical email
> will be going out to hundreds of thousands by me, millions by others. The
> following content was sent to the White House by facsimile earlier today
> from Ground Zero in New York City.


> 1. I demand as an American citizen that you lift the "gag order"
on
> Sibel D. Edmonds and let Americans know what foreign names and what
> AMERICAN NAMES she uncovered in her FBI translations that were
> involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and the financing of 9-11.
> Her facts and your "official story" lies do not add up. Americans demand
> the truth on that matter before the election.


> 2. I demand to know what energy companies were in that Cheney
Energy
> Task Force meeting and what discussions there were as to the steps that
> would be taken to remove the Taliban and Bridas Corporation as the last
> remaining obstacle to the United States controlling the Trans-Afghanistan
> Pipeline. I met that company in 1999 and have known since then about the
> Bridas v Unocal, $15 billion interference of contract lawsuit in US
District
> Court, Southern District of Texas. I also know about the Fifth Circuit
Court
> of Appeals decision on September 9, 2003 that upheld the Bridas $500
million
> arbitration settlement and the March 22, 2004 denial of Writ of Certiorari
> at the United States Supreme Court, Case 03-1018, Turkmenneft v Bridas.


> 3. I demand to know how many prisoners are being held at GITMO and
> other places that are either BRIDAS EMPLOYEES or are persons that know all
> about Bridas Corporation and what your administration did to get control
of
> that Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.


> 4. I demand to know how many board meetings Condoleezza Rice and
> Thomas Kean sat in on at Chevron and Amerada Hess where it was discussed
> how they were going to deal with making the billions in "Big Oil"
> investments
> into a land locked Caspian Basin and how to get rid of the Taliban and
> Bridas so they could turn those investments into cash flow. How many times
> did Big Oil ask for military force to complete a commercial transaction
they
> could not get under their control, and on what exact date did you agree to
> provide such military force - prior to 9-11? Isn't it true Mr. Bush that
the
> Cheney Energy Task Force discussed that attack on Afghanistan and removal
> of the Taliban / Bridas obstacle once and for all - and did so well in
> advance
> of 9-11?


> 5. I demand to know why you appointed 10 persons to the 9-11
> Commission, 8 of which are directly benefiting by the Taliban / Bridas
> "contract" obstacle being removed - breached with military force, and the
> big Caspian Oil deals that are now coming to market. No, America does not
> 'thank you' for that nor do we hold such despicable conduct up high.


> 6. I demand to know what US Oil Company stepped up as the sponsor
of
> that OPIC and Asia Development Bank funded Trans-Afghanistan pipeline and
> what US company is constructing that pipeline right now, and what US firms
> are supplying the key components and their relationship to your
> administration.


> 7. I demand that you identify the company and persons who were
going
> around Bridas to be "natural gas suppliers" to the US owned natural gas
> electrical generation plants in Pakistan (Dynegy - Illinova /Tenaska, El
> Paso (2 OPIC financed transactions) and others.


> 8. I demand to know why you have not been truthful with the
American
> public that your GWOT and military policy are protecting the Caspian Basin
> Oil and Gas deals for many of your Bush Pioneers, some $9.6 trillion in
oil
> and about $3 trillion in natural gas, now mostly in the hands of your
elite
> wealthy contributors and some elite Liberals to keep this all quiet.


> 9. I demand to know what role the post-bankruptcy ENRON (Prisma
> Energy International, Cayman Islands) is playing in the Caspian Basin
area,
> the same Enron that uses the law firm of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw [Richard
> Ben Veniste, 9-11 Commission] that established the offshore SPE's for
assets
> that were never under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.


> 10. I demand to know why you appointed Richard Ben Veniste to the
> 9-11 Commission when it was his law firm that was stalling Bridas
> Corporation at the Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals in the matter of
Bridas
> Corporation v. Turkmenneft and his law firm is directly involved in
> Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and your administration.


> 11. I demand to know the exact date of the order that had our
> military practicing in early 2001 the invasion of Afghanistan to take out
> the Taliban and Bridas Corporation and make that pipeline under control of
> US interests, many of your Bush Pioneers, and the exact date that our
> military started practicing and preparing for that invasion.


> 12. I demand to know who Remington Holdings Ltd is, and Western
> Acquisitions, Inc, both Baker & Botts clients and the lucky recipients of
> OPIC financing to acquire oil and gas deposits in Pakistan.


> Who are the parties involved in those entities by name and
benefited
> from such governmental magnanimity? Is this transaction a payoff? Since
> American taxpayers are footing the bill, we have the right to know - right
> now.


> 13. I demand to know why you could not find 10 people to sit on
the
> 9-11 Commission that are not directly benefiting from the actions you have
> taken and the lives you have cost or otherwise ruined. Why would you
select
> people not motivated to find the truth for that would impact "their bottom
> line"?


> 14. I demand a full disclosure from your administration as to the
> Citibank / IFTRIC / OPIC / Export-Import Bank financing of American /
> Israeli based deals in Islamic nations on behalf of your major campaign
> contributors.


> "IFTRIC and Citibank have an agreement allowing Citibank to
finance
> approved IFTRIC-backed transactions. Citibank Israel CEO Nandan Mar said:
> 'The Citibank branch, and the Structured Trade Finance Group, view
IFTRIC's
> program as a basic product for the bank's domestic activities.'"


> I see distinct differences between "terrorism" and "outrage"
> (Shurtan II) at your policies.


> 15. I demand to know why you wanted an entire new division of the
> CIA for Argentina. As an American citizen I take umbrage to your
> belligerence towards a nation that is not an enemy of the United States by
> any stretch of the imagination, except possibly yours. It is abundantly
> clear that your intentions were solely to intimidate Argentina and
Argentina
> based Bridas Corporation into silence and that is NOT AMERICA. That has
> every appearance of the United States acting as the terrorist and a state
> sponsor of terrorism. Yes, you are wrapped in a flag but I clearly see
that
> it is not the one you purport it to be.


> 16. I demand to know why your administration has never disclosed
> that DynPort Vaccine, LLC, owned by DynCorp and now owned by Computer
> Sciences Corporation, a Bush Pioneer, is a possible source for where the
> weaponized Ames Strain of anthrax came from that was used against this
> nation. How did your administration manage to miss one of your campaign
> contributors and a company doing large volumes of business with your
> administration and even being known euphemistically (DynCorp) as The
> Mercenary Company? Who put that Contract on America?


> 17. I demand to know how you can claim a pretense of being a
> Christian while sponsoring and condoning the torture of prisoners,
> including
> sodomizing children, at Abu Ghraib prison.


> 18. I demand to know how your administration can send firms
overseas
> as "representatives of this nation" that were convicted of running a flesh
> trade in little girls in Bosnia, specifically one DynCorp. Convicted in
> Texas and the United Kingdom according to reports I have seen and
apparently
> detested in Afghanistan. You do recall that DynCorp is the company
providing
> security to protect your puppet Karzai in Afghanistan and your other
puppet
> Zalmay Khalilzad is deterring anyone from running for President in that
> bogus "free" democracy?


> 19. I demand to know why your administration keeps running the
name
> and photos of Adnan G. El Shukrijumah as the "dirty bomb boogeyman" and on
> March 25, 2003 the FBI knew exactly where to find him and did not go after
> him.
> That telephone call was made from my telephone by a Canadian friend that
> was
> in Little Rock on that date, Mr. Bush, so do not pretend "national
> security" with me.


> I am "first person" on this matter and all of America deserves to
> know the extent that your administration has been and is lying to us all -
> and someone that is not Al Qaeda is probably "dropping a suspect name" as
> they set up a dirty bomb attack. Sure have pushed up the oil and gas
prices
> with your strategy though, guess we can consider that another "Mission
> Accomplished".


> 20. I demand to know why your administration keeps referring to
> Adnan G. El Shukrijumah as a "Saudi" when the FBI knows full well he is
not
> Saudi. His family is from Guyana in South America and they have lived in
> Florida since 1986 without incident. His grandparents were from Yemen,
> moved
> long ago to South America and his mother is from Trinidad & Tobago.


> 21. I demand to know why you alerted India, Pakistan and "Axis of
> Evil" member Iran of your intentions to attack the Taliban / Bridas well
> before 9-11, and not notify the citizens of this nation. That matter was
> reported on June 26, 2001 in India newspapers.


> 22. I demand to know the exact date that the first meeting, first
> page of the Patriot Act was started by your administration.


> 23. I demand to know why it is you, your backers, certain
Democrats
> that apparently "hate our freedoms" more than these purported GWOT Islamic
> fundamentalists, hence the Patriot Act that treats all Americans with the
> same degree of contempt and disdain you treat all non-wealthy Americans.


> 24. I demand to know why Homeland Security is protecting this
> government and not protecting this nation.


> 25. I demand to know why any dissent or objections to your
> Orwellian, imperialistic, pro-corporate agenda is referred to the Homeland
> Security Counter-Terrorism Division.


> 26. I demand to know why you defile everything you touch and try
to
> twist it into something that is pro-Bush Backers and anti-American
citizens
> and then try to alter our rights as Americans via Patriot Act measures
that
> are designed to force America into submission and does nothing to protect
> this nation, only this government.


> 27. I demand to know why your administration is planning a
"pro-Bush
> Pioneers pharmaceutical program" derived from TMAP (Texas Medical
> Algorithm Project) and PENNMAP (Tom Ridge, Pennsylvania) to have
> Americans tested under guidelines prepared by your Bush Pioneers and
> force psychotropic drugs on Americans.


> 28. I demand to know why your administration keeps injecting our
> troops with an anthrax vaccine known to be deadly and harmful to the
health
> of our soldiers and now apparently wish to inject that into all Americans
> under Project BioShield and martial law. Is that why you have no concern
> whatsoever for the 3 million jobs lost, for between your TMAP lunacy and
> Project BioShield lunacy, well over 3 million Americans could perish if
the
> same statistical rates hit the general population as has hit our military?
> Can you explain away Holocaust with "brilliant strategy policy" driven by
> unmitigated greed?


> 29. I demand to know why Li Ka-shing was denied Global Crossing on
> national security grounds (very public) yet allow him in the back door in
> Savi Technology (not disclosed), the RFID technology company that is
> purportedly protecting our ports from insertion of a nuclear bomb into
this
> nation via "ocean going containers". How many doors are left wide open by
> your administration in this GWOT Fable?


> 30. I demand to know why you search the world for mythical
> terrorists and cannot find robber barons and financial terrorist right
under
> your nose. That many of them are Bush Pioneers and even backers of the
> Democratic Party, and have plundered the investors, workers and citizens
of
> this nation, is very apparent to Americans and not very pro-family on your
> part.


> Christians do not lie, Mr. Bush, for that is an affront to God. A
> Christian would not willfully mislead this nation, nor send our troops
into
> Harm's Way for a lie while your wealthy contributors take over a $9.6
> trillion oil, $3.0 trillion natural gas deal and already maneuvering for
> Africa. You are proving to the world that you are terrified of the truth
and
> have impeded every investigation into the truth.


> Your actions prove that you are not an upstanding Christian, nor
are
> you a Conservative Republican worthy of that designation.


> Your position as President does not make you unaccountable to the
> citizens of this nation, nor does it entitle you to act as a tyrant, an
> emperor, or serving only those Americans that dole out money for your
> political ambitions and agendas. I see no "stewardship" in your conduct
> whatsoever.


> You have "Mission Accomplished" three times - the removal of
Taliban
> / Bridas to control that pipeline, radically escalated the price of oil
and
> gas for some of your major backers, and the death and maiming of many due
to
> your lies. Your "Iraq Strategery" makes perfect sense to me, since all of
> you needed a diversion away from Afghanistan, the Caspian Basin and what
you
> did to Bridas Corporation to get control of that $9.6 trillion in oil, $3
> trillion in natural gas.


> Go back home and wrap yourself in the flag of Texas and the shame
> you alone are responsible for creating. Your resume is your doing and
yours
> alone.


> If you were running against me this year, you would not have the
> guts to stay on the stage in a debate with me.


> Shame on all of you, both sides of the aisle that have lied to
> America and gotten so many killed and maimed for a lie, and no, I am not
an
> antiwar person. Just adamantly opposed to what you stand for, for that is
> lower than Clinton on his worst day.


> Sincerely,


> Karl W. B. Schwarz
> President, Chief Executive Officer
> Patmos Nanotechnologies, LLC


just curious.


I'd like to shed some light on the subject...

Posted by: just curious.... | July 1, 2006 03:59 PM

it's my understanding that the detainees were the litigants...

in the fax above.

.


Posted by: by the by | July 1, 2006 10:17 PM

A letter to the editor in my local paper today has really stuck in my craw. I've been thinking about it all day. A woman wrote that it was OK if the BA "erred" on the side of keeping her safe instead of following the Constitution because, after all, its not a crime to make us safe.

I wondered, is this what Patrick Henry had in mind when he said "give me LIberty or give me death". I wondered, is this what people had in mind in the cold war when they said "better dead than red". I wondered, is this what Ronald Reagan had in mind when he charged us to be the "shining city on the hill"? Is this what constituted the last thoughs of the greatest generation when they died on the beaches of Normandy defending freedom?

Somehow, I think not.

Does the woman who wrote that letter really speak for America? Could it be true that the majority of Americans are too afraid to defend freedom? Are we going to be the first generation of Americans to toss Rule of Law and the Bill of Rights out the window because it required courage to stand on it? All you posters out there who state that torture and extraordinary rendition and warrantless surveillence are OK with you if they make you "safe", what happened to you that you would rather live in tyranny than die defending freedom? Do you really believe that freedom isn't worth dying for? Because if that's true, our days as a great democracy are numbered.

I simply don't believe it. I don't believe that America could have truly lost her courage. I think this nation has merely been taken for a ride by fearmongers.

Where is there a leader who can again remind us that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"? Who can exhort America to courage instead of fear. His (or her) time has come.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 2, 2006 12:54 AM

where are a couple of cops to arrest the president along with his Joint Chief of Staffs and Vice President...

_that_ would be appropriate, anything less is inappropriate...


just looking over the email above and Negropontes' history is enough to convince me that I've been too nice....


and you _know_ I've not been nice at all...


what about the possibility that some of the people are in GITMO because they got in the way of an OIL DEAL...then you go nahhh...

but looking at what Negroponte covered up in Central America, it's the same thing with thousands being killed in order to maintain economic control of a region, including teaching nuns how to fly...

Even Argentina is mentioned in the email above...too many corroberations

_this_is_evil_

and actually I think going up to the Hague for WAR CRIMES is light.

...just call me reasonable

I thought he was just caste concious, selfish and stupid, not truly evil.

.

I was wrong, let him burn.

.

Posted by: eff, that | July 2, 2006 02:50 AM

what item #3 says above, it implies that some people imprisoned in GITMO may be employees of Bridas..or knowledgeable of the TransAfghanistan Pipleline and being silenced/held incommunicado...

.

Posted by: that's | July 2, 2006 02:53 AM

"Patriot" 1957 writes - "A woman wrote that it was OK if the BA "erred" on the side of keeping her safe instead of following the Constitution because, after all, its not a crime to make us safe."

"I wondered, is this what Patrick Henry had in mind when he said "give me LIberty or give me death"."

I imagine it had something to do with Henry's support for locking up Loyalists without trial and using sale of their property without a lawyer in robes saying "let it be so!". Then again, it could be support of General Washington's military tribunals. When someone says "Give me liberty or give me death" and truly means it - not only are they willing to die personally, they are willing to kill the enemy without mercy.

" I wondered, is this what people had in mind in the cold war when they said "better dead than red"."

Yes, to the point where we cleaned out the Communists in the Federal Gov't, schools, Hollywood, and even the ACLU itself. A time never forgotten by Jews, who the cleansing affected the most (over half the Soviet loyalists blacklisted were Jewish).

"I wondered, is this what Ronald Reagan had in mind when he charged us to be the "shining city on the hill"?"

Pretty much, because it was Reagan who understood the citizens liberties were greatly diminished and threatened by out of control criminal thugs at home and Communist conquest abroad. Reagan kept reminding his listeners and later, supporters that security was absolutely essential to making "that shining city on a hill".

" Is this what constituted the last thoughs of the greatest generation when they died on the beaches of Normandy defending freedom?"

But most didn't die. Only one beach head had serious opposition. Because complete surprise was achieved. It was achieved in part because Eisenhower told the reporters covering the war that he would summarily execute any reporter feeding secrets to the enemy. The British did their part by monitoring every phone call, letter, and telegram sent to or from the UK. All HAM radio operators were vetted by the Crown and under threat of sedition charges if they denounced the war effort, treason if they broadcasted secrets the enemy could hear. Back then the Sulzbergers were a loyal Family. Though they whitewashed Communism through reporters like Duranty, once Hitler was on the March, they abandoned their love affair with Marxism and supported America strongly.

"Somehow, I think not."

Somehow, I think you don't think.

"Does the woman who wrote that letter really speak for America? Could it be true that the majority of Americans are too afraid to defend freedom?"

It is a hallmark of the Left that they project the one thing they fear being called - namely gutless, unpatriotic cowards that seek to appease the Islamic enemy - onto the "Fear" other Americans have for "Liberty".

Posted by: Chris Ford | July 2, 2006 06:42 AM

Increasing Congress seems to be in its own little bubble world of non-reality.

Time for a change.

Clean Sweep.

Happy Independence Day.

Posted by: Richard Katz | July 2, 2006 01:27 PM

Chris Ford wrote:

" . . . to the point where we cleaned out the Communists . . ."
____________

True-believing Communists, similarly Flag burners (even though they would not seem to have actual beliefs to express), need to be kept around. Public display is the best antiseptic. For instruction of the sprouting generations it's always valuable to have some specimens out there to provoke questions and answers about how America is different.

In 1998, I visited Irkutsk, Siberia, with my young daughter and we stayed with an excellent young family there. They exhibited strong positive character in terms of inventive self reliance, frugality, loyalty to extended family, cheerfulness, joyful sharing, intense interest in new experiences as opposed to accumulation of stuff, and deep husband-wife devotion. I could see how each of these qualities would support survival in an oppressive and intrusive system of government.

My explanation of communism for juveniles is that it's a model that can work well in very small and trusting groups but it never works on a large scale.

Posted by: On the plantation | July 2, 2006 01:48 PM

Ford, you forgot to include a twisted explanation of "we have nothing to fear but fear itself".

I don't personally think most Americans are too yellow to defend freedom, they just haven't yet taken their blinders off to grasp the extent to which it is under attack. Of course the people of post WWI Germany didn't get it until it was too late either, but I still have hope that a leader will emerge that will rouse our courage instead of our fear.

But you did teach me the meaning of Domestic, as in defending America from enemies foreign and domestic.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 2, 2006 02:22 PM

Plantation - "True-believing Communists, similarly Flag burners (even though they would not seem to have actual beliefs to express), need to be kept around. Public display is the best antiseptic."

Agreed. Same with Islamists and Hate America Lefties.

Just as long as they are out of positions of power or positions where they pose a physical danger to ordinary Americans.

We do have to keep in mind that it was necessary to get Communists out of positions of power and influence in academia and the media just as much as it was to keep them away from military inteligence and assets. Something we overlook with Islamists & Leftists intent on bringing America and Western Civilization down. Their danger is not just a military one, but if they are in positions to subvert education, mass media, and the legal system.

Another display that will be quite antiseptic is to put the caught bribers and "pay to play" lobbyists from both Parties on display. The corruption of American politicians - legal or illegal - is reaching Latin American or African levels. The corruption of lawyers in America exceeds any country as they use torts to seek the wealth of others. Wall Street is a den of Boeskys, Levins, Fast Andy Fastows, Kenny-boy Lays, and Jack Grubmans - still.

Those that thought the days of Democrats like Roestenkowski and Harry Byrd were over when a reformist Republican Congress won in 1994 had not counted on Republican greed being as bad or worse than the Democrats. In 10 years we saw creatures like Grover Norquist and Jake the Snake Abramoff ruling K street like arrogant Viziers.

On K Street, the most underpaid man there, or in all of DC - is Billy Tauzin, the Louisiana Congressman who cooked up the 13 trillion dollar Bush prescription drug subsidy, then left to take a 2 million dollar a year job with Big Pharma. A mere 2 million is inexcusible, given his efforts at obtaining taxpayer money...

The legal system is all about how to make corruption legal. The politically and monetarily ambitious DAs and AGs join with trial lawyers to extort billions from industry. Grateful trial lawyers get most the money, but return the favor with huge campaign contributions and instant senior partnerships once the DA or AG bails out of the revolving door...

Yeah, it would be nice to have them all on public display, but out of positions of power and influence.

Posted by: Chris Ford | July 2, 2006 02:44 PM

that's

what item #3 says above, it implies that some people imprisoned in GITMO may be employees of Bridas..or knowledgeable of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipleline and being silenced/held incommunicado...

.

Posted by: repeat until done... | July 2, 2006 04:20 PM

to quit talking about his sock,

and spend more time addressing the issue..


that he needs to have a sock to appear to be a man.

.

thanks so much.

.

Posted by: chris ford needs | July 2, 2006 04:23 PM

anyone that needs a "rant," to make a point,

came from a home with abusive parents.

.not "the world is not safe unless we destroy someone," as a tagline.

Posted by: the point is | July 2, 2006 04:25 PM

CF wrote:

". . . keep in mind that it was necessary to get Communists out of positions of power and influence in academia and the media . . . "
________

Do not underestimate the powers of perception of undergraduates today. Generation X paved the way. The best of the contemporary generation can size up the conceptual bull skaters in academia, and correct to plot their own professional lives on astonishingly no-nonsense paths. I'm not to worried by the conspicuous idiots, academia or media; it's the sneaky ones to watch out for.

Posted by: On the plantation | July 2, 2006 04:27 PM

One has got to give Israeli leaders credit for dedication to exponential escalation of force. It leads to either complete victory or a huge loss.

But, frankly, I have more an affinity for the approaches of Asian martial arts. The concept of "degrees of force" appropriately applied at every level of the conflict tends to show control and balance the equation more exactly, and with less of a lingering residual. Usually, "all or nothing" fights are more akin to immature school yard squabbles, dragging in others with nothing ordinarily at stake.

Posted by: On the plantation | July 2, 2006 04:53 PM

arts one doesn't employ force as a warning, as it implies

creating a cycle.

one does not attack unless one intends to win,

permanently. decisively.


I have found the most effective use of force is to show someone their death,

but not to give it to them.

.

Posted by: in the martial | July 2, 2006 05:06 PM

I would ask forgiveness and simlutaneously be unyielding...without being rigid...

you would have to ride the wave, not confront it...and release the "spirit of anger," from both sides...leading to diffusion of cultural hatred.

.

Posted by: ps. if I were the israelis | July 2, 2006 05:09 PM

Bottom line:

List one: I'm not scared of terrorism, or comunists, ot flag-burners, or homos, or the war on Christmas, or God's wrath. And I don't know anyone else who feels personally threatened on a regular basis by any of these things (outside the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic event).

List two: I am afraid of my government, generally, Specifically: Waco, Ruby Ridge, lack if accurate foreign intelligence despite untold treasure being wasted on same, desire to increase domestic surveillance, Terry Schiavo, antagonism toward stem cell research in particular and science in general, corruption and graft and the aid and abettment of corruption and graft in business and industry, pandering to the Religious Right, self-hating neoconservatives, support for state sanctioned values and morals, ignorance of ethics in government or business, state-sanctioned torture of protected combatants and othes similarly situated but whose whereabouts and alleged crimes are unknown to anyone (the disappeared - we invented it) a leader who believes he is motivated by god, a leader who says he has spoken to god, an administration dedicated to debunking global warming, commitment to national debt both public and private which is passed-off as a strong economy, chickenhawks, failure to address the real security issues regarding the citizenry's protection via the strict control of people and material across our borders, 13,000,000 illegal and undocumented foreign-speaking non-citizens, a population that seeming does not "get it" regarding the value of protecting each and every natural right guaranteed it by its own Constitution.

Look around the next time you're in public, Anyone look scared to you?

Why do we keep buying the lies of these people?

CF: What about the Hate America Rightists and the Love America Leftists. What about centrists of either persuasion?

You act as if we are actually at war, and as if we have an enemy in the military sense of the word. I say bunk to that idea. Who is our enemy? The Iraqi people? How will they learn of our leaks (what with the popularity of HAM radios today) when they have no power, no food, and no water? Once they do learn of our secrets (face it - nothing stays secret for long in the information age), where do the get the weapons and transportation to attack us (as opposed to fighting us in their own country simply because we are thare)? Osama? Is he our enemy? Last I heard, Bush wasn't reeally worried about him (wasn't to worried about him before 9-11, either). Straw men "Islamoterrorists" (the vaguest of vague terms - the phantom enemy lurking in the shadows - somewhere else). "Insurgents? Insurging against what?

I correct my former post. You don't sound like a racist, you sound like a misanthrope.

Posted by: Smafdy | July 2, 2006 11:34 PM

Chris Ford wrote:
===========================================
"When someone says "Give me liberty or give me death" and truly means it - not only are they willing to die personally, they are willing to kill the enemy without mercy."
===========================================

Actually, if YOUR morals/ethics are that low that's would YOU do. But for those who have some still intact in this modern age, it means to kill with justice, not with wanton destruction.

What's wrong is so many now don't have any moral/ethical training. Either their church doesn't do that job (as they're too busy preaching hate); or their parents never learned it, and Johnny and Jackie won't learn it too.

Now which example is your background, Chris?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 3, 2006 03:50 AM

Smafdy,

You were going good there until you mentioned Schiavo. That was murder, any way it was sliced, as there was no justice for her as the public viewed her as disposible and a "nonhuman". She also was denied her Constitutional rights.

The hypocrisy is that folks care about even thugs rights more than someone who can't defend themselves. Who were tried, judged, and executed in the court of public opinion.

I'll never will forget Schiavo, as that case showed how much the USA has sunk into the "MEMEME" age, and not giving a damn for anyone but themselves -- you guys judged her by your standards of what is human, but you showed no humanity by doing so.

For shame.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 3, 2006 03:56 AM

Speech is, of course, more than the spoken word. Text, rude gestures and (God help us) mime are obvious examples of nonverbal acts that constitute speech. Any attempt to communicate qualifies.

Comparing zoning restrictions, "hate crimes", and other offences to flag burning fail by order of magnitude. The 1st amendment exists to prevent those who oppose the government from being silenced by that government.

Should their speech violate fire codes, disturb the peace or pose a physical threat to others then let them be jailed for that. But no punishment from the hand of our government can be permitted to fall on someone for insulting it. It is too big, too powerful and should be too wise for that.

Posted by: John S Poteet | July 3, 2006 04:32 AM


TRUTH WILL PREVAIL!!!!!

911 Case Study: Pentagon Flight 77

A short animation with video and photos illustrating the final moments of Flight 77 on September 11, 2001.

http://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/swf/pentagon_en.swf

WWW.WSWS.ORG
WWW.ONLINEJOURNAL.COM
WWW.TAKINGAIM.INFO
OTHERSIDE123.BLOGSPOT.COM

Posted by: che | July 3, 2006 05:45 AM

Emily,

It's now Monday. What is this message that you posted that you'll explain of why you've been missing in action?

It's like over a week, and it's noticeable that you're gone. Crap, I'm posting elsewhere now to fill the time (and they don't even get into any good debates -- crap, not even a good computing row).

Come back, come back, where ever you are!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 3, 2006 05:45 AM

Flag burning, like gay marriage and the "war on christmas" are all republican money making schemes used during election years to highten people's personal fears and get them to contribute to the republican party. These schemes are safe since they do little harm to anyone. You may feel, as I do, that prohibiting flag burning is an afront to the constitution's first ammendment, but to republicans it does not limit the freedoms of anyone in any real way but it effectively gets the checks written.

What is important to understand is that to make this scheme work it REQUIRES those who value the constitution to yell and scream that the constitution is being violated and we should allow flags to be burned, gays to marry and christmas to be prohibited in schools. This drives the fears and thus the political contributions.

Maybe what should be done is to stop feeding the scheme and thus the fears of many. What instead should be done is to teach the constitution. Teach what it says, what the circumstances were when it was written, and that it is a document that provides and guarantees freedoms and was written in an era of 18th century tyranny and insecurity that would scare the bejesus out of anyone today. Back then they voted the constitution's freedoms over heavy handed security. It seems to me that few understand this today. Teach that to be American and to value the flag is to value the constitution and its guaranteed freedoms and liberties.

Is being free to burn a flag so heart wrenching that the constitution needs to be changed? When I was a child most adults were involved in some way with WW2 and the thing I heard most from them was:
"I may not like what you say but I'll die to preserve your right to say it".
I don't hear that refrain much anymore. Today republicans would say it as:
"I may not like what you so I'll change the constitution to prevent you from saying it". That message needs to be spread.

Today republicans are working to restrict constitutional rights and drumming up personal fears to feed their political machine. Yelling at them won't stop it. Yelling at those who support them won't stop it. Only the light of the truth will work. Read the constitution and read it to your children. Quiz those who favor outlawing flag burning about the constitution. Ignorance is feeding the republican's drive to restrict the constitution. Spread the truth of the constitution and the ignorance feeding them will go away and starve it.

Posted by: Sully | July 3, 2006 10:18 AM

Mr. Right wrote:
"Since when is flag-burning a form of free 'speech'??"

The Constitution says so as affirmed by the supreme court. Here is a little history lesson below:

Outside the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Gregory Lee Johnson burned a flag in protest against President Ronald Reagan's policies. He was arrested under Texas' flag desecration statute. In its 5-4 ruling in Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court struck down flag desecration laws in 48 states by ruling that flag desecration is a constitutionally protected form of free speech.

In 1989, the U.S. Congress protested the Johnson decision by passing the Flag Protection Act, a federal version of the already-struck state flag desecration statutes. Thousands burned flags in protest of the new law, and when two protesters were arrested, the Supreme Court affirmed its previous ruling and struck down the federal statute.

Congress has made seven attempts to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court by passing a constitutional amendment making an exception to the First Amendment in order to allow the government to ban flag desecration. In 1990, when the amendment was first brought up, it failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority in the House. After the Republican congressional takeover of 1994, it has consistently passed the House but failed in the Senate.


Posted by: Sully | July 3, 2006 10:42 AM

In addition to the seven attempts to pass a flag burning amendment cited by Sully, this Congress has started a new and much more worrisome tactic - court stripping bills.

Congress has considered at least 5 "court stripping" bills, bills forbidding the Supreme Court to rule on their constitutionality. These bills passed the House, and at least one was believed to be close to passing the Senate until all hell broke loose and Hagel and Snowe et al stopped wiping Bush's butt every time he crapped. But its not over yet, and Republican moderates like Chaffee are being pushed out in the primaries in favor of candidates more willing to toe the party line. No one seemed to take notice of the portent in the 04 election when "Bush" was backing the chosen (read most controllable) candidate in the primaries!

This "unitary exectuve" thing is a fancy word for dictator. Now, if Congress makes SCOTUS irrelevant with court stripping legislation at Dick Cheney's direction, then what will happen when the court rules the court stripping bill unconstitutional? If neither Congress nor the President are willing to abide by the SCOTUS decision, who could make them?

The Rule of Law is all that stands between us today and tyranny.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 3, 2006 12:21 PM

Here is a good source of information on "court stripping":
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Court-stripping

Posted by: Sully | July 3, 2006 12:43 PM

not to interrupt your feelings about things..


but when they did an autopsy on Schiavo's brain they found that there was tissue deterioration, since the accident...

someone that is "enjoying a life inside a paralyzed body" doesn't get tissue degeneration of the brain...

.

Posted by: dear SandyK | July 3, 2006 02:20 PM

her number one pet peeve as an emergency room nurse and ambulance worker was that people...


kept other people alive, because they didn't have the balls to say let them die in dignity...

somewhere away from the victim, and viewing what the victim was going through they made the decisions to use extraordinary life saving measures....usually with very strong repercussions for the soul that would have passed other wise....and been pain free


the other thing is this, costs are extrememly high, because of these procedures....as a knee-jerk option....very few people are informed as to the repercussions, they make an emotional decision based upon not wanting to be a "murderer"

I know a lot of hospice workers, this isn't an opinion from a movie.

.

Posted by: ps. I dated a nurse for awhile... | July 3, 2006 02:25 PM

Schiavo was a joke. 12+ years in a coma no consciousness to speak of and horribly unnatural life through science. This is murder? When they pulled those plugs Jesus didn't come down and touch her forehead to do a welcome back cartwheel. She passed as God intended. Christianity is becoming the new klan with apostates all over the place (red states). Follow the bible and ban divorce!! Put your money where your mouth is and stay out of my room.

It's almost a guarantee these days to have pro-lifers willing to bomb a clinic and then turn around and scream for the right to execute a retarded teenager. Nice values huh? Right to hypocrisy....

Posted by: Mike | July 3, 2006 02:44 PM

che gives another unrelated response:
"911 Case Study: Pentagon Flight 77"

Che,
Here is a link for you to educate yourself:
http://www.geocities.com/someguyyoudontknow33/witnesses.htm

Considering all the eye witness accounts no one uses the word "missle" or "military aircraft" as your video concludes. Che, please go away. Its one thing to spout about topics unrelated to the topic at hand. Its another to spout off-topic conspiracy theories that have no basis in reality.

Posted by: Sully | July 3, 2006 03:10 PM

It's amazing how conservatives like Hatch only embrace judicial activism and review when they agree with the outcome. You are left wondering if any of these people have actually read the Constitution, and recognize that it exists to protect the minority from the oft-incorrect majority.
This issue is all about politics and their base, and has nothing whatever to do with patriotism--if it did, would flag desecration include wearing flag underwear & bikinis? painting NACARS? If they want to show support for the troops: first, bring them home instead of leaving them to die for a country that couldn't care less about their sacrifice; second, stop the Administration from cutting VA benefits, increasing copays for needed precription drugs, and closing veteran mental health centers.
Those so eager to wrap themselves in the flag have seldom served their country for it. Only those wishing political benefit would seek a basic alteration of our founding document to address a "crime" that occurs less than 10 times a year. Grow up

Posted by: Dan W | July 3, 2006 03:20 PM

have you ever worked in Washington DC?

do you know anyone in Special Forces?

have you ever worked for companies that had direct dealings with people from the areas in question, or have friends that are from those countries?


or know ambassadours or ambassadours children, or know any JCS members?

what part of fabrication do you not understand?

"reality,"

there is no reality behind this war on "terrorism," unless you call Halliburton losing 9 Billion somewhere reality

please, having any credulousness makes you look foolish.

.

Posted by: no basis in reality? | July 3, 2006 03:41 PM

With regard to flag burning, I think Scalia got it exactly right. It is much constitutionally protected speech as any verbal utterance could be. Scalia voted with the majority in Texas v. Johnson to hold the flag-burning statute unconstitutional, and any attempt to allow the suppression of flag burning extinguishes everyone's free speech rights, even if only by a little bit.

Posted by: Zathras | July 3, 2006 04:25 PM

Joint Chief of Staffs members

Posted by: JCS | July 3, 2006 04:42 PM

about the Nixon Era, was they thought they might have to use force to stop his coup....


and why is the National Guard overseas? because that's what they were created for?


hardly.


terrorism? what terrorism.

Posted by: the interesting thing | July 3, 2006 04:44 PM

and your erosion of rights, loss of funds, veterans benefits being cut in "occupation time," as well as pay for soldiers being reduced is _proof_ of it...

none of that makes ssense unless you're president is


stealing from the country....


who'll pay the bill to China?

who in power cares? their golden parachute is the money that they make now, before they bail


you fools.

.

Posted by: there has been a coup... | July 3, 2006 05:19 PM

Sandy K:

Murder?

Please.

Shameless, revolting and macabre Republican stunt.

The horror.

Posted by: smafdy | July 3, 2006 06:01 PM

ramblin' dude's posts seem to be having an effect on my writing style...

...must...


....fight.......

aaaagrrrrgh...

..

.

Posted by: smafdy | July 3, 2006 06:04 PM

"Patriot" 1957 "This "unitary exectuve" thing is a fancy word for dictator. Now, if Congress makes SCOTUS irrelevant with court stripping legislation at Dick Cheney's direction, then what will happen when the court rules the court stripping bill unconstitutional? If neither Congress nor the President are willing to abide by the SCOTUS decision, who could make them?"

The point is that 9 appointed lawyers in robes accountable to no one are not above the other 2 Branches. This is not Israel, where a Judiciary of hereditary caste Priests reigns over all other instruments the State, makes up what is legal as they go along since Israel lacks any Constitution to restrain them - and has the Final Word on all matters.

A big part of the problem is the judges have not been content to interpret the Constitution but use it as a rough template to impose their own views on the people. Creating legal abortion, gay marriage, ability to seize land for non-public purposes, now, taking war powers from the Executive and Legislative Branches and declaring terrorism and unlawful combat are OK under Geneva unless a "crime is proven" in some court.

Just as the Court acts as a balance on an overreaching executive, the Prez on a dysfunctional Congress, and the Legislative on the President --- both Branches have a Constitutional duty to corral an out-of-control Judiciary.
=====================================
SandyK - In case you missed it, America has 42 trillion in unfunded medical entitlement liabilities and even Teddy Kennedy will admit that it is not a question of if medical care will be rationed, but how much.

While some of that looming 42 trillion can be lowered through diverting civil servants in useless jobs elsewhere in the buraeucracy into health care and IT and electronics offer savings - when rationing decisions must be made - ending free care for vegetatives has to be right at or near the top of the list given states and communities are only going to have X dollars to address 2X the medical needs seeking those dollars.

Posted by: Chris Ford | July 3, 2006 06:33 PM

Chris Ford wrote:

". . . ending free care for vegetatives has to be right at or near the top of the list . . ."
______________

Are you referring to "civil servants in useless jobs" here, or did you shift thoughts into medical care?

The problem of obligations to the dying is tiny in comparison to the other problem, which actually in not an obligation at all.

It's so strange that we always format our issues of social priorities in financial terms. Practically all economic training emphasizes dollar signs, and forgets any analysis based on the real economy.

Our society produces or imports lots of stuff and possible services. Probably an order of magnitude greater than required for a healthy life for everyone for their natural lifespan.

The problem of economic security is not one of scarcity; it's one of anxious over-grasping, and inability to envision a limit on what one feels entitled to take.

We could cut out all the social services system except for prisons, and yield a huge net savings, simply by giving an ample floor income to everyone, from sorry slackers and winos to CEOs. It grates on values of most people, but in reality, it would be cheaper and more libertarian.

Posted by: On the plantation | July 3, 2006 07:27 PM

appear smart,

are not the same thing as actually being effective...

winds blow, tides erase, carefully scripted events...disperse with ease...

a kiss on the cheek of a loved one moves them to another place...which is with you..

time is a passage of events, place is a metaphor, there is no distance ever

only seperating events

Posted by: carefully scripted replies to make you | July 3, 2006 07:55 PM

If Schiavo was junk, look at your own comedy in the mirror, since you judged another by your own reflection. That is another subject is called discrimination. It's the same thought (or should I say non thought) process that goes on in racism.

You're disconnected from those that aren't like you, and feel you can judge them by some mysterious universal standard. Your choice is your own, but don't be like the Republicans on abortion and stem cell research, and try to push your beliefs on others -- especially ones that murder another human being, for you're but hypocrites and doing exactly the same wrongs yourself.

A lot of guilt in Euthanasia because too many of you put things down, including your families and even pets. Which makes you even less civilized, let alone humane, as you watched, helped and participated putting a bullet in their brains (which effectively what Euthanasia is). I hope you Euthanasia types live with the horror your loved ones suffered when their soul was robbed from them ON PURPOSE, too. Hang that head in shame.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 3, 2006 10:12 PM

Chris Ford,

Good, I hope some Neo-Con vegetables get planted 6ft under for taking money away from healthcare, and using it to buy bullets. What they should've done was buy one, and use it to enter it through the roof of their mouths. Not only will that end the world's suffering, it will save 300 million from being killed, too.

A human society that no longer takes care of it's own, is no longer human. They're also not animals, since even animals TRY to protect their own. Such folks aren't even pond scum, for even pond scum has a purpose for existing -- human predators don't.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 3, 2006 10:49 PM

I am a medical professional who has "pulled the plug" on more children than I care to share with you.

I was able to deal with brain dead children, but shutting off the premature newborns with hopeless lung disease bothered me. Then one day I was asked to review a chart of a premature infant who died at nine months of age in a nursery that didn't believe in pulling the plug - they wanted to know if the child had a genetic lung disease to explain why his lungs were so bad. When I reviewed the record I saw that he had an X ray finding associated with prematurity at less than 24 hours of life, a finding that we used as the indication to pull the plug. Then I understood why. They tortured that baby for nine months when it was clear by 24 hours that he had no shot at life. He was too unstable to lie in his mother's arms. He was too unstable to nurse. He lived on a ventilator with tubes coming out of his body and he was so unstable he turned blue from human contact, even a diaper change. The people who tortured that baby should rot in hell. Whose interests were served by torturing that baby?

I have never seen a pulling of the plug that went like the Schiavo case. Families may start out in different places on this, but with good counseling they usually end up making a joint decision. I found the choice of starvation in the Schiavo case to be very odd, especially since it was distasteful to her parents. The whole thing smelled bad. In situations like this where families cannot agree to remove medical care, they can often agree not to add more, that is, to provide "comfort care" only. Vegetative people get lots of infections - especially pneumonia. You can opt not to give antibiotics for the next infection. Pneumonia is often called the "old man's friend". It doesn't have the well described timeline of starvation/dehydration, but it would have taken a lot less time in the long run (years of court battles as well as the drawn out dehydration death). With the appropriate counseling and pure hearts on the parts of all family members, this could have come to a much better resolution.

Posted by: pig in a poke | July 4, 2006 01:17 AM

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 29, 2006 02:17 AM

Chris,

It was nice of you to outline these 10 areas of the USC for debate.

1. "Legislating from the bench". This has become the catchy phrase describing the Court doing what someone doesn't like. Outside of politics, it has very little practical use in characterizing the actual decisions and opinions of the Court. What is needed here is an example of the Court "over- riding the People". The Oregon assisted suicide case comes to mind, as an example where the Court was asked to override the express will of the People of Oregon as measured by a statewide vote on the very issue in question. Is this the kind of thing you were thinking about? Or was it something else?
2. "War Powers". I'm not sure that I agree with you. The War Powers Act was supposed to address this very problem and by and large has done so. More fundamentally, we as a nation seem to lack a common understanding as to when we should and should not use military force to achieve our purposes. Isn't it just a bit odd that Bush I had a closer vote in Congress re Iraq than did Bush II on that very question? This despite having a far more compelling case for war? What does need some clarity is what we mean by the term "War" in the first place. To the extent that we insist in twisting its meaning to encompass non-traditional things like the "War on Terror", "War on Poverty", "War on Disease", "War on Illiteracy", "War on Crime", etc., etc., we enter an eternal state of War and accordingly, we may as well rewrite the Constitution as a permanent Wartime document. As you know, I am of the opinion that, given our aggregation of dominant military power on this globe, we need not and should not use our military force offensively for any purpose other than actual self-defense (i.e., scrap the pre-emptive crap).
3. "Balance of War Powers". Case on point here is Hamdan where SCOTUS essentially told the President that he could not legislate his tribunals from the Oval Office; he has to go the Congress for such legislation. And he has been informed that he is not Commander-in-Chief of the nation, just Commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He should also be aware that a State of War does not suspend the laws enacted by Congress unless such suspension is written into law and he is as bound to follow them in wartime as in peacetime. The problem here is not in the Constitution; the problem is this President's tortured reading of it.
4. "Lifetime appointments". I don't agree with you that this was a mistake. Lifetime terms accentuate two characteristics, political independence and stability in constitutional law, at the expense of the passing political passions of the day. It diminishes the amount of change that can be wrought in the judiciary by the executive while extending the effective duration of such change as he might make. It seems a reasonable tradeoff from that point of view and, as a practical matter, serves the fundamental underlying design principal of our form of government, check and balance.
5. "Government Continuity". This one puzzles me. The last I heard, VP Cheney has ample executive experience, as did Secretary of State Powell when he was in line (Condi is arguable from my point of view though lots seem to think her an acceptable Presidential candidate for 08). Hastert? Well, Gerald Ford did pretty well being appointed VP out of the House of Reps and as President following Nixon's resignation. In fact I thought he did so well I voted for him in 76. Frankly it seems a bit odd to be bringing this up at this particular time. We are at much less risk today of a DC WMD attack than we were been between say 1960-1995 or so. The comparable risk today is actually miniscule.
6. I agree with you that citizenship by virtue of geographical birth site is not rational given modern travel and transportation systems. As for Roe, I must admit that you have formulated the question in a very unique manner; at least I have never seen this particular construct before. It is founded on the implicit assumption that the practice of abortion is prohibited and can only be sanctioned by a vote of the people, that a law is required to make it possible. It skips over what it is that makes abortion prohibited. For that one can appeal to various religions and/or cultures that have positions on the subject, which are also not sanctioned by a vote of the people. So round and round it goes. The fundamental issue here is just where, in the biological development path to life, do we recognize a new and unique human being and accord him or her independent human rights. Technology has all but made picking any point fruitless, as we have conception in petri dishes, and embryos stacked away in liquid nitrogen. Yet to come, but coming, cloning from nothing but the DNA in a single cell, sperm no longer necessary. The question I think must be addressed coherently and rationally is where and when does the government (Federal or State) have a compelling interest limit the choices and freedoms of individuals in this area.
7. I'm not sure what you are thinking of in terms of "judicially" imposed tax mandates. I suppose you to be thinking of bussing for desegregation; or possibly decisions that directed equalization of educational spending across rich and poor school districts. I would agree that we need a Balanced Budget amendment but I would prefer a rolling multiyear mechanism for flexibility rather than "Emergency Spending". It is amazing what finds its way into our present day emergency supplementals. Never underestimate the creativity of Congress.
8. "Bearing Arms". Well, the kind of arms sort of takes its definition from what would be necessary to a "well-regulated militia" I suppose. What is more interesting is how you formulate the issue; i.e. "What are the clear limits to the Federal right of citizens anywhere in the USA to keep and bear arms?". You want the Constitution to provide "clear limits" to the right of citizens. I want the Constitution to provide clear limits on government's power to infringe on citizen's rights and freedoms.
9. "Legal costs". These don't flow from the Constitution, they flow from the laws enacted by Congress and the Administrative Rulings by Agencies created by Congress. In addition, lawyers are largely in charge of making the laws that make lawyers rich.
10. I don't think the Constitution is immutable or perfect. On the other hand, I have enormous difficulty coming up with practical improvements. There are areas that do, in my opinion, need improvements. I would like it to enumerate my right to autonomy and to privacy. I would like it to include fiscal controls on government. I would like to see a more narrowly drawn "commerce clause". I would like to see "public use" clarified to mean what it says; eminent domain is getting well out of hand and well beyond what was intended. But it remains my fundamental view that the basic purpose of the Constitution is to define the powers and structure of the government and limit their application to its citizens. Such application infringes on certain rights held by each individual. Each individual retains all other rights.


Posted by: Cayambe | July 4, 2006 04:01 AM

pig in a poke,

courage has many forms...souls transition as their bodies release....it's not your choice to fight that, it is called transition for a reason...lessons are learned by being present for what_is_there,

not be current mores, dictated by belief systems...clarity is clear light of conciousness and present within that is spirit...the answer is always present as a relationship, not as a recipe...that is why even the xtian Jesus spoke in parables, they contain relationship...not static answer

Posted by: thanks for posting | July 4, 2006 11:36 AM

For uncensored news please bookmark:

www.wsws.org
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info
otherside123.blogspot.com

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1150885916460&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

CIA closes unit for capturing bin Laden

By JPOST.COM STAFF

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) closed the unit charged with catching Osama bin Laden and his senior deputies, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Established in 1996 and known as "Alec Station," the unit was dismantled at the end of 2005 and its employees reassigned in the CIA Counter-terrorist Center; however, its dissolution was publicly announced only recently.

The decision was a milestone for the agency and indicates a significant change in perspective regarding bin Laden's place in Al Qaida in particular and in the international terrorist infrastructure in general.

Whereas the belief until now was that Al Qaida was a purely hierarchical organization and that killing off its leader would put an end to its activity, the new reality required the agency to change its assumptions.

Currently, the CIA's main concern is small, scattered terrorist groups which, although influenced by Al Qaida, operate entirely independently and don't receive their instructions directly from bin Laden.

Senior CIA members emphasized that catching bin Laden is still a priority, and that closing the unit does not signify the total neglect of that goal.

"The efforts to find Osama bin Laden are as strong as ever," said CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise Dyck. "This is an agile agency, and the decision was made to ensure greater reach and focus."

Posted by: che | July 5, 2006 03:57 AM

Is "The Debate" now officially closed? It's no longer a featured blog, and it's removed from the column blog listings.

Emily is the vacation now permanent??!!

:(

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 5, 2006 05:40 AM

Chris Ford wrote:
"The point is that 9 appointed lawyers in robes accountable to no one are not above the other 2 Branches."

Right, but they are not below them either. The three are co-equal with their own sets of powers designed to balance each others powers. You say that they are not accountable to anyone, but who is Bush now accountable to? He, like the justices, can only be removed through impeachment. This "unaccountable" argument holds little water and is used to distract people from the real issue, the Congress and Executive's violations of the constitution and their resistance to a court using their powers to hold them to the constitution.

You gave the seizing of property as an example of an out of control judiciary yet this can be overridden by acts of Congress. Don't blame the courts for decisions you feel unfavorable if your legislative representative does not act to change the laws or even the constitution to "fix" what you see as something that is wrong. Its a balancing act. If one branch is out of control, which I would call the current Executive and Congress, a third branch can balance it. Democracy is ugly, but it eventually balances out power which we must remember is in the hands of human beings, the most mistake-prone power-hungry animals on the planet.

Chris continues:
"Just as the Court acts as a balance on an overreaching executive, the Prez on a dysfunctional Congress, and the Legislative on the President --- both Branches have a Constitutional duty to corral an out-of-control Judiciary."

That's right, but they cannot just ignore the courts or otherwise deny their power because they disagree. Under the constitution they can impeach judges. That's pretty much it. Tom Delay threatened it, but no one has been impeached. If the out-of-control courts are such a problem, why has no justice been brought up for impeachment?

Posted by: Sully | July 5, 2006 09:40 AM

Chris-

Supreme Court Justices are beholden to both branches of Congress as well as the electorate. The people elect a President who is responsible for nominating Justices. One of the reasons some Americans supported Bush was their understanding that he would nominate Justices that had similar political philosophies as them.

But Americans also elect Senators who ultimately approve of Supreme Court Judicial Nominees.

Thus Americans have access to Supreme Court Justices twice; once during Presidential elections and once when electing Senators.

Voters have further oversight in that their elected bodies can amend the Constitution which is ultimately the guiding document for Supreme Court decisions.

What you seem to mean when claiming that the Judiciary is beholden to none is that it has disagreed with you on a specific decision (probably Roe but likely others?). Your disagreement with a particular decision would warrant a discussion about that decision, not a reworking of the Judiciary branch. After you've established that you are right and 9 nominated, approved, and sworn in Justices were wrong, then we can proceed with fixing the Judiciary.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 5, 2006 11:21 AM

Chris Ford wrote:
"A big part of the problem is the judges have not been content to interpret the Constitution but use it as a rough template to impose their own views on the people. Creating legal abortion, gay marriage, ability to seize land for non-public purposes, now, taking war powers from the Executive and Legislative Branches and declaring terrorism and unlawful combat are OK under Geneva unless a "crime is proven" in some court."

The courts pretty much concern themselves with two things:
1) Existing Law
2) The constitution.
If a law exists and there is no constitutional challenge, then it is what the justices go by. If the law is "bad" but constitutional, they follow it. But if the law in their opinion is unconstitutional, then they by their powers must declare the law unconstitutional thus checking the legislative branch from making unconstitutional laws.

You say the courts created "legal abortion" but what actually happened is they declared the law maling abortion illegal unconstitutional. There is a difference. You can read the justices opinion here:
http://www.tourolaw.edu/Patch/Roe/#rop

You say the courts created "gay marriage" yet they have only stated in some states that the state constitutions do not prohibit gay marriage. Again, there is a difference and some states are moving to ammend their constitutions.

Seizing land by governments is again something the legislature can "fix". The problem is not that the justices moved to create new law, they found existing law lacking.

I'm not sure what you mean by "taking away powers". If a power is used improperly (i.e., warrantless domestic spying which is against the 4th ammendment) the courts have power to stop it. That's their job in the checks&balances world of this democracy. The fact that you may not like the constitution is not an issue though you may lobby your representatives to change the constitution to your liking. But don't blame a justice that is sworn to protect and defend the constitution for not looking the other way when he/she sees the constitution or laws being violated.

As for "unlawful combatants", I am surprised this is such a hard area for the administration and the justices. During almost every war there have been those who fight for a cause on their own, out of any uniform and unknown to any government. They have usually been treated in the same respect as those who were fighting in uniform. So why al qaida is considered different from the Taliban is beyond me. Why the Bush administration considers the Geneva conventions as "qaint" and "obsolete" should be shocking to everyone and we should all be thankful their is a court at an equal level of government that is looking after our laws and constitution to prevent this or any administration from violating our nation's most precious treasure, the constitution.

Posted by: Sully | July 5, 2006 11:22 AM

Sully - ". During almost every war there have been those who fight for a cause on their own, out of any uniform and unknown to any government. They have usually been treated in the same respect as those who were fighting in uniform. So why al qaida is considered different from the Taliban is beyond me."

You're one crazy Lefty.

Do your strong sympathies for spy, saboteur, & terrorist rights lead you to believe that?

Do you understand what happened to Nathan Hale?
Do you understand what the Union and Confederate Armies did to any soldier caught out of uniform?
Do you know what happened to the Nazi saboteurs?
Do you know what our troops did to Germans trying to infiltrate our lines in dead GI's uniforms?

NO nation since the treaty of Westphalia has behaved as you depict military conduct to be.

Does your love of the enemy or "enemy rights" blind you to the fact that the reason there are rules and POW treatment for uniformed combatants was mainly to provide structures in wartime that would protect more civilian lives? Mainly - to allow opposing forces to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants? Because the alternative is to kill every male in the enemy population you encounter on the premise they MIGHT be a lethal foe....

And that is how war is done.

=================================
Your SCOTUS cooments are drivel.

Posted by: Chris Ford | July 5, 2006 12:24 PM


the thing is,


we're still fighting what the original patriots were fighting...

monied families...royalty, le roi


and them gaining control of government resources to their advantage and to everyone elses' disadvantage...


that is why there are term limits, so one man or family can not _stay_ in so long as to become _the system_

papa bush was in for over 50 years, making friends making connections, little georgie inherited it all, or they inherited him and he gave them the keys to run the country.

that is what royalty does.

they run countries, they use peasants, they kill, murder and asassinate those that don't listen to them...

democracy? right, they believe in that as about as much as they believe in communism...


WHAT WAS SO SCARY ABOUT COMMNUNISM?

if you were rich and someone was going to take your money and give it to the poor, and you didn't know how to anything except control people...how would you feel?

what EXACTLY was McCarthy on about, what triggered him? well what about all the money that was lost to George H.W. Bushes Uncle Walker in Cuba, his holdings in the West Indies trading Co....no small piece of cheese...and let's not forget that the MAFIA had BIG gambling casinos in Cuba

think they lost any money?

Who was George H.W. Bush working with to kill Castro? CIA/MAFIA that seems like a familiar pairing, doesn't it?


.
.
.
.
civil liberties are the essence of what the American Revolution was about,
being against

1. having your civil liberties suspended

2. your country sold out from underneath of you...at whatever price they can get...

is the essence of patriotism...

you fought for this country, the liberties that are enjoyed by all that live here now, such as they exist and _built_ the companies, that became successful and are leaving their employees behind as a debt load to the rest of the country, moving factories overseas, and selling your jobs...with no thought to _your_ future.

this is _your_ land

not some intimidating aholes', with his freaky Director of Intelligence that backs throwing NUNS out of helicopters, an administration and complicit congress that wants to sell you faulty election machines so they don't have to actually get elected...or sell you homophobia as a tactic, or a gawd that _they_ don't believe in...

so that you lose what you have as their income increased to record highs...poverty is on the rise _now_

take your country back, make them pay you with what they've stolen, legally confiscate their properties, imprison them for their crimes...legislate laws that will make them culpable if they pass laws that profit them, but not the country, let their properties fill the coffers of the General Fund, remove the stain of their greedy, hateful, putresence from the soul of this nation...

defeat ugliness of their soul by confronting them...with who and what they are...


don't be shy, just say it, "you're greedy, unpatriotic, back stabbing mofos..."

and then eat their pets...

.

long pig barbecure...

.

Posted by: abracadabara...you're mine... | July 5, 2006 12:43 PM

Dear Emily,
RE: your article, "One Vote Away From 'Limiting' Freedom"... why don't you ask those Veterans you metion.."who fought so valiantly," what they think of an amendment to prevent flag burning?
I find it interesting what you said about the "arrogance" of the US Congress. It seems that everyone has their "little part" of the Constitution that they like. Either way... the people, through Congress, has the right to change any part of the Constitution that it wants! There are already amendments to it. The "arrogance" you allude to, applies more to the 9 persons on the US Supreme Court! It may be their job, but that can be changed in this FREE society of ours, if we so wish! Radical, of course, but it can be done.

Posted by: Warren Church | July 5, 2006 01:02 PM

Chris Ford wrote:
"Does your love of the enemy or "enemy rights" blind you to the fact that the reason there are rules and POW treatment for uniformed combatants was mainly to provide structures in wartime that would protect more civilian lives?"

Sure I understand that. You need to understand that America signed on to the Geneva conventions and its military law incorporates some of its conditions. Article 4 gives a broad definition of prisoner of war.

If you capture one of these fighters not in uniform does that give you the right to execute him after capture? Not according to American military law. Does it allow the executive to make up law on how to treat them or do what it likes? The courts have just ruled no.

My point is that since al qaida was fighting with the Taliban, those captured al qaida should be considered POWs. And since the war is not over, they should not be released, nor should they be allowed to challenge their detension in civil court. They are POWs pure and simple. When the war is over they should be repatriated. All I want is to see Bush apply the rule of law and not his own made up rules to these people.

Posted by: Sully | July 5, 2006 03:33 PM

Warren Church wrote:
"the people, through Congress, has the right to change any part of the Constitution that it wants!"

Well, not just through Congress. Three-fourths of the states must ratify any ammendment.

Posted by: Sully | July 5, 2006 03:43 PM

having an opinion doesn't make it right...

being a cracker and a bigamist doesn't mean you don't have a right to your opinion, it just means that if you insist on taking the high ground...you won't be able to...get it?

.

Posted by: hello Warren | July 5, 2006 04:04 PM

No Sully, the same 5 idiots in robes that are trying to defy the Executive and Congress, rewrite the Geneva Convention and make all Islamoid terrorists "honorable POWs" have also, in their divine wisdom, said that the Islamoid terrorists have access to our civil courts.

And of course their are tons of enemy lovers or enemy rights lovers amongst your fellow Lefties that demand their release from any US holding facility since it is "cruel and unusual" to hold "possibly innocent human beings" without being able to excercise their "full human liberties" and demand criminal trials.

More lessons in blood must be administered to Americans until no person who loves enemy rights above American rights to life and liberty is left in any position of power or influence.

Posted by: Chris Ford | July 5, 2006 04:43 PM

Chris Ford-

"And of course their are tons of enemy lovers or enemy rights lovers amongst your fellow Lefties that demand their release from any US holding facility since it is "cruel and unusual" to hold "possibly innocent human beings" without being able to excercise their "full human liberties" and demand criminal trials.

More lessons in blood must be administered to Americans until no person who loves enemy rights above American rights to life and liberty is left in any position of power or influence."

Alright, Chris, put up or shut up. Name these "Lefties" and tell us exactly what they said or did to commit this treason. You have quotes in your previous post; where did these quotes come from? Who are these people of "power or influence"? What have they done to go beyond the laws of America and the treaties she has ratified?

Posted by: wiccan | July 5, 2006 05:28 PM

may be litigants in a case against the United States...


it appears that the people being held in GITMO filed suit against the president for using military action to solve a civil problem...

something that bullies and mafia types do...


that would pretty much sum up the stuart family background....

slavery as a way of getting what they want from the world...

and some of you are enslaved to your socks...right chris...you need some inflamed rhetoric to make you feel that you're not back in prison?

.

Posted by: the "so called Islamoid terrorists," | July 5, 2006 06:41 PM

advocating more CIA attacks against the United States by your hero, when you, crissy ford, say:

"More lessons in blood must be administered to Americans until no person who loves enemy rights above American rights to life and liberty is left in any position of power or influence."

is that right, crissy?

so you're advocating more false flag attacks by the CIA to convince Americans that they need to give up their rights?

is that it?

.

Posted by: so you're | July 5, 2006 07:59 PM

Here you go Chris Ford:

The Associated Press
Thursday, July 6, 2006; 9:06 AM
ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York's highest court rules gay marriage is not allowed under state law.

Maybe now you might just have some faith in the courts and the constitution, which makes the courts co-equal with the other branches of government. If you cannot handle that because un-elected judges overturn your favorite laws and policies of the other two branches for constitutional reasons, maybe you want to find another country, which keep their courts in line and powerless, to live in.

Posted by: Sully | July 6, 2006 09:19 AM

Such an Amendment is fundamentally un-American since it restricts rather than preserves freedom.

As ugly as flag burning may be, it is not something that is rampant in society today, not a pressing issue like health care, the Government's continue non and malfeasance with regard to fiscal policy and general incompetence of our Government to actually make America a better place for everyone.

Certainly the Republic will not collapse if the Constitution is not amendment forthwith and with all do haste to prevent nefarious individuals from expressing their displeasure with the policies of our always right, never made a mistake Government that is current driving the Great Nation into bankruptcy, both morally and fiscally by failing to govern for the common good.

Clearly Congress has wasting their valuable time with this issue for self-serving political reasons rather than attempt to solve their many failures.


To be is to do - Voltaire

To do is to be - Jean Paul Sartre

Do be Do be Do - Frank Sinatra


I could not resist.

Posted by: Richard Katz | July 6, 2006 10:34 AM

I don't know if you are still out there Chris Ford but quite honestly your views on the Supreme Court are wretchedly partisan. I recently watched a sort of mini-debate on CSPAN between Justices Breyer and Scalia wherein Sclai made some of the same intellectually indefensible comments you have made. Breyer responded in that cool, unflappable manner of his: "And isn't it convenient that my friend always seems to find that the benefits of 'originalism' inevitably come down on the conservative side of the political spectrum?"

The point os course is that all of this criticism of "activist" judges is nothing more than naked partisanship. Any decision that does not meet with the partisan political approval of the beholder is deemed to be activism and making law instead of interpreting it. Were the justices "making law" when they overtunred the "separate but equal" provisions in the Brown Decision? Or were they merely enforcing what was written in the Constitution and grounded in our own Declaration of Independence, to wit: "All men are created equal."

In your narrow and conveniently partisan way of looking at the Constitution Chris, much of the Progressive advances that have made America the envy of the world and a beacon for human rights, would be deemed "making law" and presumably unconstitutional. Don't you see the danger of any one man--like Scalia--laying claim to the unimaginably arrogant presumption that only he--or someone else from the socially conservative movement that spawned him--is qualified to ascertain what the original intent of the Founders were?

Well. Why even have a Supreme Court? All we have to do is refer all disputes to Antonin Scalia. Or to Chris Ford. They apparently have a psychic connection to the Founding Fathers that is unavailable to the rest of us.

Posted by: Jaxas | July 6, 2006 11:33 AM

Jaxas wrote:
"Breyer responded in that cool, unflappable manner of his: "And isn't it convenient that my friend (Scalia) always seems to find that the benefits of 'originalism' inevitably come down on the conservative side of the political spectrum?"

Not to get too far off subject here but Scientific American has a great article on how people can see the same information yet draw totally differing political conclusions:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=13&articleID=000CE155-1061-1493-906183414B7F0162
Basically, when politics is involved, some of us stop thinking with reason and instead use emotion. Reasonable arguments are dismissed. Overwhelming evidence is poo-pooed. My guess is we all do this, some more than others. Your example of the exchange between Scalia and Breyer seems like a typical example with Scalia being the more emotive thinker.

Now, back to flag burning. Trying to keep things on a more reasoned level and not emotional, what harm does burning a flag do? I admit those who burn the flag in protest are sending a message directly at those who figuratively wrap themselves in the flag. But that would constitute speech. I have heard that not all speech is protected. Bombing a monument might be a form of someone's speech but it is not protected since it breaks a law against property damage. So is burning the flag distruction of property as bombing a monument would be? Is the flag, all American flags, a monument in need of protection? I have heard this as well with one blogger responding that flying the flag on his lawn should get him the monitary benefits of being a national monument site. But it seems a stretch to call the flag I bought at Wal-Mart (made in China) a national monument. I can see burning the flag flying over a monument a crime, but that is already covered under property destruction laws.

So though I personally would never burn an American flag (except to dispose of it as the boy scouts taught me), I have to wonder why seeing one being burned would so offend me that the person burning the flag should be punished. So, while using your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, can anyone tell me the harm done when an American flag is burned and how punishing those who burn the flag makes things better without violating the 1st ammendment?

Posted by: Sully | July 6, 2006 12:39 PM

The funny thing about Ford's arguement is that he based it using Roe as an example. He neglects how abortion came to be banned. It wasn't illegal from the get go. I believe it wasn't until 1823 that the first state banned it after it was decided that it was too dangerous for the expecting woman, based on abortion practices at that time. Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic church didn't ban all abortions until around 1867- before then abortions were allowed up until quickening. It was only around then, with increases in science and change in religious thought, that people actually began to attribute the concept of life to the fetus.

It was never really put to a vote of the people Ford... I'd assume Roe would have made you happy for striking down a law imposed without the will of the people.

Posted by: Freedom | July 6, 2006 12:43 PM

me that the sort of anal over control ususally attributed to "conservatives," is actually the manifestation of parental control, in the form of abuse, foisted on the


"conservatives," as children that they have rationalized as right/correct, as they

parents wouldn't lie to them.


That explains their ease at lying in the face of overwhelming proof that they are...


with no chagrin.

.

Posted by: it would seem to | July 6, 2006 01:53 PM

christianity is actually the manifesting of the


Holy Roman Empire controlling that is forcing the indigenous populantion to submit to _their_ rule, regardless of the truth,


since gawd was on their side...

one of the first things the Romans would do upon entering a land was send out priests to convert the existing societal infrastructure into one that glorified _theirs_ and _verified_ their viewpoint...

turn the other cheek, works well when the Romans are kicking your a s s down the street....it works well for the Romans that is....


that's why being politically correct in the face of heinieous behavior is really the reverse of what you should do....

this is the reason "painting within the lines," when dealing with satan is kinda stupid....

try and understand this:

"

If I were Satan and I wanted to rule the world and keep it broken,

I would create multiple institutions, and I would tell the leaders of each, that they were my favorites....above all others

I would return to them each occaisionally and send them strong feelings of righteousness, to let them know I cared for them....

I would feed off of the hatred and polarization that they created with their jealousies....

I would be full of the fear of those who could not stand and recognize me for what I was...I am destroyer of worlds...

"


belief systems depend upon belief, show them the truth....they try to kill you, then they disappear....show em the truth.

.

Posted by: what passes for controlling in | July 6, 2006 02:03 PM

thing as being part of an institution if you

use that institution to have courage,


if you have courage, you don't need an institution to keep you safe...


to speak more freely, to have your own self as the truth that you support puts you into alignment with that which is all, it is defensiveness that prevents you from standing in the light that pervades all being ness...

.

there is no truth that may be owned

it is existent and supports itself in it's being ness.

.

it is a process, the process of self realization in the true sense not the codified sense...

synchronization with the truth of self is highest leading to all truths at once...


you can't see if you're distorted, speaking from distortion all words that issue forth carry that,

by speaking what you feel, the essence is that intent to speak honestly, and transforms even distortion

you can't speak the truth from a static place, the world is about flow

Posted by: having a position is the same | July 6, 2006 02:15 PM

in martial arts,

kat a is not the same thing as violent interaction...


if you can not be present with yourself during a conflict honestly,


you can not address the mayhem in front of you with effectiveness...


what works works,


When asked by a cleric to explain what sufism was, the sufi master replied:

"what you are pleased to call sufism, is no more sufism than the tracks in the sand of a fox that walked that way the night before are the fox...

it is merely marking the passage of the interaction of a master with on e on the way...

it is not sufism,

sufism is what brings a soul closer to self realization, that which lead s to unfoldment...

when a cloak ceases to keep you warm, it is no longer a cloak, but something less, sufism is that which leads to self enlightenment, anything less is not sufism...

.

"

the same could be said of democracy


.

Posted by: a reification | July 6, 2006 02:37 PM

not a nice guy, I am what I am...toot toot

Posted by: ps. I'm | July 6, 2006 02:43 PM

"More lessons in blood must be administered to Americans until no person who loves enemy rights above American rights to life and liberty is left in any position of power or influence"

Well this is a surprise coming from Chris Ford - he thinks Americans should have liberty? Sure couldn't have figured that out from his prior posts.

I wonder which Americans he means? White ones? Christian ones? Muslim ones too? Black ones?

I wonder which liberties he means? Freedom of the press? Freedom of speech? Wouldn't quite fit with his prior posts though

There's medicine for people like you know Chris. You really should try to remember to take it.

Posted by: Constitution | July 6, 2006 06:13 PM

Freedom stupidly writes:

I believe it wasn't until 1823 that the first state banned it after it was decided that it was too dangerous for the expecting woman, based on abortion practices at that time.

Before that, it was a most reviled and uncommon practice. It was only when it started becoming more prevalent that States felt the need to codify their objections.

Then Freedom gets even stupider:

"It was never really put to a vote of the people Ford... I'd assume Roe would have made you happy for striking down a law imposed without the will of the people."

Hmmmn, Freedom. Explain to me again how State laws get passed in a Republic without the vote of the people and their direct elected representatives?

Remember, we are not counting activist judges legislating from the bench as is the current Leftist/Jewish activist lawyer prediliction.

By the way, why is it that Lefty Posters that revile certain values like freedom, military service, patriotism, the Constitution without imagined text - insist on giving themselves misleading handles like "Patriot", "Freedom", Constitution", and "Afghanvet"????

Is it guilt?

Posted by: | July 6, 2006 06:31 PM

talking to me?

you're not?

why is that?


don't like getting your bottom kicked with my size twelves...


c'mon bea man...


step up and let me feel ya little yellah

.

Posted by: are you | July 6, 2006 06:37 PM

certain posters that have never served in the armed forces

like cheyney, rumsfeld and bush

use words like patriotism like they invented them


ollie?

you pissant...drugs for money scum...

.

Posted by: why is it that | July 6, 2006 06:39 PM

than that little bellicose piece of trash makes it out to be.

Posted by: William Bennet, well the world is different | July 6, 2006 06:41 PM

let's do it, I'll be wearing you before the day is over...like a rag...

Posted by: c'mon big man | July 6, 2006 06:42 PM

coward

Posted by: you big mouthed | July 6, 2006 06:46 PM

Checked my sources when I got off work... sorry, it was 1858 I was thinking about for the state.

Ford comments:
"Before that, it was a most reviled and uncommon practice. It was only when it started becoming more prevalent that States felt the need to codify their objections."

Really? Thats news to a lot of people, seeing as it was already prevalent back then. Not to mention that the NJ supreme court, commenting on the state law said it was only for the safety of the mother, as attempts at abortion had such a hich mortality rate at that time. Also, its funny you say that everyone saw it as so bad even though it has been around since as far back as anyone can tell.

Ford continues:
"Hmmmn, Freedom. Explain to me again how State laws get passed in a Republic without the vote of the people and their direct elected representatives?

Silly me Ford. I didn't know that you weren't talking about actual votes of the people, but instead about actions of elected officials vs appointed judges. I guess the fact that these elected officials approving the supreme court justices after they are chosen by the President has no bearing on this discussion whatsoever. I mean, god forbid choices of the government be seen as choices of the people. Wait...
Isn't that what you're arguing in this case?

Ford Whines:
"By the way, why is it that Lefty Posters that revile certain values like freedom, military service, patriotism, the Constitution without imagined text - insist on giving themselves misleading handles like "Patriot", "Freedom", Constitution", and "Afghanvet""


Perhaps it's because instead of revilling the values you post, as you'd like everyone to believe, we actually care about them most of all? Perhaps that, unlike you who constantly calls for an end to freedom, useless and unwarranted changes to the constitution, we actually value the beliefs that this country was founded on. Perhaps that, unlike you, we think all US citizens should be able to excericise their constitutional rights, rather than just allowing those that fall in line with your way thinking have them.

Sorry Ford, but out of any poster here, you tend to be the one most likely to spit on American values.

Posted by: Freedom | July 6, 2006 10:25 PM

You said it good Freedom.

I remember looking at the picture of the lone guy vs the tank at Tiannenman Square and thinking "where does courage like that come from?"

Now that my country is teetering on fascism right under my very eyes and my very own freedoms are at risk, I am starting to understand it.

And it scares the hell out of me.

I'm starting to think the second amendment wasn't such a bad idea after all. After all, "a patriot must at all times be prepared to defend his country from his government'. (Edward Abbey)

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 6, 2006 10:42 PM

Just so y'all know, challenging someone to a street fight on a blog doesn't work, as you can't really "take it outside...".

Now, calling someone else a coward is appropriate, in certain conversational situations, although it usually results in an invitation to "step outside...". I prefer callin' chickenhawks pu**ies, but you can't do that here anymore.

It's a cryin' shame.

To the anon poster who posted at 06:31 PM:

Man, you sound like Chris Ford on meth.

First: Abortion has existed since the dawn of time (or for for as long as there has been poverty), and in all cultures. Forever. Get over it. Understand this: an American woman is free to rid her body of a fetus. Good, bad, or indifferent - it is her right. The only safe way to do this is via a medical procedure. Doctor-patient confidentiality is sacrosanct in our free society. Making abortion illegal won't stop abortion. It will only make it more dangerous. Stop throwing your fakey Judeo-Christian angst all over everybody else, open your mind, mind your own business, and do something useful.

Then, you so inanely continue, "...Remember, we are not counting activist judges legislating from the bench as is the current Leftist/Jewish activist lawyer prediliction.Remember, we are not counting activist judges legislating from the bench as is the current Leftist/Jewish activist lawyer prediliction."

First of all, the judges are there to enforce the Constitution. To keep the voting public and their representatives from lining up the minorities and marching them into ovens. We have a Republic for just that reason - so that the rights of all people are respected despite what the majority wants. Even the most minor of minorities. We call them god-given rights. Only when laws are written that subvert constitutionally protected rights do judges get involved. This isn't judicial activism - it's judicial responsibility.

The "Leftist-Jewish" comment is ludicrous. And racist. And bigoted. And stereotypical (of your ilk). Why don't you post a spiel about the Jewish bankers and the Trilateral Commission next?

Your next bloviation states, "...By the way, why is it that Lefty Posters that revile certain values like freedom, military service, patriotism, the Constitution without imagined text - insist on giving themselves misleading handles like "Patriot", "Freedom", Constitution", and "Afghanvet"????"

All of the aforementioned's posts seem perfectly freedom-loving and patriotic. They seem to be conscientious Americans to me. Don't know about military service. How 'bout you?

Your comments make me want to invite you outside, Oh well.

Posted by: smafdy | July 6, 2006 11:15 PM

Damn, smafdy, I like your style.

Seems to me that the folks who preach the most about American freedoms and rights are the ones who get the most upset when some poor soul tries to use them. I have never figured that one out.

Posted by: wiccan | July 7, 2006 11:25 AM

For the record, I don't revile the words "freedom", "patriotism", etc. I revile those who wallow in those terms nakedly nlike pigs wallowing in feces, then laying claim to having a monopoly on such virtues.

Politicians and partisans generally revert to the usage of such terms when their political arguments fail to persuade.

Posted by: Jaxas | July 7, 2006 11:33 AM

Sinclair Lewis sais, "When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross".

Posted by: wiccan | July 7, 2006 11:42 AM

Dear Mr. Lewis - its here, just like you predicted.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 7, 2006 12:24 PM

Thank you, wiccan. Your posts of late have also been very keen and apropos.

Posted by: smafdy | July 7, 2006 02:20 PM

I agree - real American values should be real freedoms and liberty, not "liberty" forced on other countries at the end of a gun. But what keeps me up nights, is this question: WHEN (IF EVER) will Americans wake up? Will they ever wise up to Rove's bait and switch, dog and pony show. I mean how stupid can we all be? Here look at gay marriage, the flag, immigration. (and there goes the attention span and the Iraq war is out of our field of vision) And whats the deal with the media, talk about a facism, talk about propaganda??? I mean, literally, lets talk about it. What happened to the media, is it simply corporate greed controlling them or does the administration have their loves ones locked up in an underground bunker somewhere???? What happened to investigative journalism. Oh, yeah, the slander campaign directed toward the NY Times. Thats what happens. I wouldn't put anything past this administraiton, nothing less than murder, oh yeah, 2500 and counting.

Posted by: Jan | July 8, 2006 07:02 AM

Any jackass can wave an American flag and call themselves a patriot. Real American patriots abide by the Constitution, for it is that document, not a flag, that has made this country great.
Every country in the world has a flag; Only one country has the Constitution of the United States. To desecrate our Constitution is a far worse affront to America than desecrating our flag.
Time, power, and corruption has caused America to stray from it's original purpose, as is what happens to all empires. Our president is a joke, our congress is a joke, our press is a joke, and our electorate is a big fat lazy complacent joke. No wonder the First Amendment is under attack these days. The day our flag becomes more important than our Constitution is the day jingoistic nationalism replaces the rule of constitutional law in America.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 8, 2006 12:44 PM

Any jackass can wave an American flag and call themselves a patriot. Real American patriots abide by the Constitution, for it is that document, not a flag, that has made this country great.
Every country in the world has a flag; Only one country has the Constitution of the United States. To desecrate our Constitution is a far worse affront to America than desecrating our flag.
Time, power, and corruption has caused America to stray from it's original purpose, as is what happens to all empires. Our president is a joke, our congress is a joke, our press is a joke, and our electorate is a big fat lazy complacent joke. No wonder the First Amendment is under attack these days. The day our flag becomes more important than our Constitution is the day jingoistic nationalism replaces the rule of constitutional law in America.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 8, 2006 12:47 PM

Well said ErrinF, well said.

Posted by: Sully | July 9, 2006 07:52 AM

For uncensored news please bookmark:
www.wsws.org
www.takingaim.info
www.onlinejournal.com
otherside123.blogspot.com

And then there was just Skilling . . .

By Jerry Mazza

If Ken Lay's sudden death Wednesday from a massive coronary at 64 shocks one, it also raises the queasy questions, was the heart attack really the culprit? Or was Kenneth Lay a man who knew too much, and was therefore too dangerous to live?

In fact, in the wake of his passing, comes another bizarre twist, that Lay's death can void the guilty verdict against him, even spare his survivors financial ruin, and challenge the government to seize his remaining real estates and financial assets.

What's more, the LA Times yesterday reported (Death Puts Lay Conviction in Doubt), "Beneath the surface, hard feelings continued to fester, as shown by the reaction of some callers to news radio KTRH-AM (740) in Houston scant hours after Lay's death. More than one caller expressed doubts that Lay really was dead and wondered whether the reports of his demise weren't part of an insurance scam."

Additionally, Lay's death echoes the equally shocking death of Enron's vice chairman Clifford Baxter on January 25, 2002. Baxter was found by police inside his Mercedes at 2:23 a.m., near his home in the wealthy Sugar Land, Texas, suburb, dead supposedly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head

Yet under Baxter's EVIDENCE OF INJURY, page 3 of the coroner's report notes "The defect is stellate and, when the wound edges are repositioned, measures 7.2 centimeters in the horizontal direction and 4.5 centimeters in the vertical direction." As apfn.org reports, "This suggests a wound inflicted by a starburst of rat shot pellets which were far enough from the muzzle of the weapon to have separated from one another by as much as 2.83 inches. Who would, or could, shoot themselves in the temple like this?"

This leaves at the very least a reasonable doubt that Baxter committed suicide. After all Baxter had helped disguise Enron's losses to keep the stock price high and had personally sold 577,436 shares of Enron Stock for $35.2 million. It is likely there was a lot he could have said about a lot of things had he lived to face prosecution.

Lay, facing bankruptcy and sentencing most likely for 20 years, posed the same threat conceivably to those in high political places involved with the Enron debacle. In a separate, non-jury bank fraud trail regarding Lay's personal banking, US District Judge Sim Lake found the Enron founder guilty of both bank fraud and false statements to banks. Judge Lake had held back his verdict in Lay's bank fraud case until the Lay-Skilling jury presented its verdict.

Also, between these two tales of death, on January 14, 2004, Andrew Fastow, who designed the off-the-books deals that drowned Enron, in a deal with federal prosecutors, pleaded guilty to wire and securities fraud and his wife, Lea, to filing a false joint tax return in 2000. Fastow agreed, too, to help them build a case against the corner office executives, former chairman Ken Lay (affectionately called "Kenny Boy" by President Bush, now a mere acquaintance among many) and CEO Jeffrey Skilling, the heavy left standing.

In fact, 10 years in prison for Fastow might be the safest place to be, although one never knows.

And as Skilling awaits sentencing, no exoneration is apparent. At 52, he was also convicted of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud after three months of testimony from 54 witnesses, and six days of jury deliberation in the fraud/conspiracy trial. If I were him, I'd keep my back to the wall, hire a body guard and a wine taster, at least until sentencing.

The Larger Implications

As the Washington Post's Mike Allen reported on August 26, 2003, in the GAO cited Corporate Shaping of Energy Plan (read Enron and others). "The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said in the report that Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham privately discussed the formulation of Bush's policy 'with chief executive officers of petroleum, electricity, nuclear, coal, chemical and natural gas companies, among others.'

"An energy task force, led by Vice President Cheney, relied for outside advice primarily on 'petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, electricity industry representatives and lobbyists,' while seeking limited input from academic experts, environmentalists and policy groups, the GAO said.

"The task force was one of Bush's highest priorities after his inauguration and was launched on his 10th day in office. None of the group's meetings was open to the public, and participants told GAO investigators they 'could not recollect whether official rosters or minutes were kept,' the report said . . .

"Among the previously disclosed meetings were private sessions for Kenneth L. Lay, then the chairman of Enron Corp., the Texas energy trading company that collapsed in the nation's largest accounting scandal. Lay was given a 30-minute meeting with Cheney and a conference with a top aide for the task force."

What exactly went on, was promised, and decided remains unknown. "Of the 77 pages Cheney's office provided the GAO, two-thirds contained no cost information and the remaining third included 'miscellaneous information of little or no usefulness . . . '" And the VP's office said that was it for information.

Something Bigger Ticking in the Silence?

As Ron Callari wrote in the Albion Monitor on February 22, 2002, "Could the Big Secret be that the highest levels of the Bush administration knew during the summer of 2001 that the largest bankruptcy in history was imminent? Or was it that Enron and the White House were working closely with the Taliban -- including Osama bin Laden -- up to weeks before the Sept. 11 attack? Was a deal in Afghanistan part of a desperate last-ditch 'end run' to bail out Enron? Here's a tip for congressional investigators and federal prosecutors: Start by looking at the India deal. Closely.

"Enron had a $3 billion investment in the Dabhol power plant, near Bombay on India's west coast. The project began in 1992, and the liquefied natural gas-powered plant was supposed to supply energy-hungry India with about one-fifth of its energy needs by 1997. It was one of Enron's largest development projects ever (and the single largest direct foreign investment in India's history). The company owned 65 percent of Dabhol; the other partners were Bechtel, General Electric and State Electricity Board.

"The fly in the ointment, however was that the Indian consumers could not afford the cost of the electricity that was to be produced. The World Bank had warned at the beginning that the energy produced by the plant would be too costly, and Enron proved them right. Power from the plant was 700 percent higher than electricity from other sources." Sounds like California in 2000-01, when Enron used various trading schemes to drive up prices while squeezing supplies.

"Enron had promised India that the Dabhol power would be affordable once the next phase of the project was completed. But to cut expenses, Enron had to find cheap gas to fuel it. They started burning naphtha, with plans that they would retrofit the plant to gas once it was available.

"Originally, Enron was planning to get the liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar, where Enron had a joint venture with the state-owned Qatar Gas and Pipeline Company. In fact, the Qatar project was one of the reasons why Enron selected India to set up Dabhol: it had to ensure that its Qatar gas did not remain unsold. In April 1999, however, the project was cancelled because of the global oil and gas glut. With Qatar gone, Enron was back to square one in trying to locate an inexpensive LNG supply source." And so on and on, Enron.

What's Up, Doc?

And, as the sun sets on Enron's saga, its shell games, corrupt executives, its wheels and deals, its on and off book companies, the questions still remain, including what will happen with Lay gone. And many of the answers still rest in the White House, recipient of mucho Enron donation dineros, including GHW Bush as well as Junior. It will be interesting to see who goes down next of natural or unnatural causes. And what the coroners have to say about it all, if anything.

The real sadness, though, is not that several ruthless executives lost their assets and life-styles, and one his life, but that Enron's bankruptcy cost thousands of workers their jobs and confirmed our worst suspicions about stock market corruption, and finally forced lawmakers to come up with the toughest regulations for corporate practices in years. Frankly, I see them as drops in the bucket of corruption, which includes not only that of corporations, but the government itself, partners in crime with the best of the corporatos, including the deadly military-industrial complex and their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Somehow all that cumulative blood and guts makes Skilling look like a small potato, albeit hanging in the wind on a string.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at gvmaz@verizon.net.

Posted by: che | July 9, 2006 04:17 PM

Like a good many other contributors to this blog, I served in the U. S. armed forces (Navy) during a military conflict. I would describe my association with my country as "patriotic" and encourage an understanding of our values, political system, and rights in my children. However, the First Amendment seems to intend (as was pointed out earlier) that citizens are protected in their speech or other efforts to gain the attention of government in the hope of redress or their grievances.

Such action would include trying to get a recalcitrant President and Congress to recognize that they have shirked responsibility to the people, or have engaged in military actions recklessly, or have abandoned or ignored the people of Lousiana and Mississippi in their time of need. I think that other actions may be more effective than burning a flag, or a representation of a flag made of paper. Should such a burning, to get Congress or a President to pay attention, be declared un-Constitutional? Preposterous!

I think many, probably most, of our Congressional representation is weak, masquerading with bluster to make up for their individual lacks. It echoes human weakness in governance over centuries of recorded history; when one values party over conscience or truth or even dedication to serving the public, we have these tired war-horses of "decency" dragged out again. And they always seem to find popular voices in "Chris Fords" or cowardly publishers or broadcasters.

So the Constitution and it's "bill of rights" was created to help avoid (or at least limit) these times of social weakness. To let the citizenry know that we can retain our power to decide our own national fate through the ballot, through good representation, through peaceful protest, speech, and publication. It was not a "liberal" plot; it was a progressive ultimatum to tyrany.

This country was indeed founded with a progressive outlook. It was founded with the understanding that people (they called them "men" in those days, but we know what they meant) could rise to exemplify the best in themselves. They knew that greed and selfishness (even disguised as "ownership" - as in ownership society) needed counterbalance by a just ordering governance. I hope my words are not to big for you. Government of the people is the counterforce to "big business", "the trusts", and inherited wealth (power). That's just the way it is.

If you take away the Constitutional establishment of balance in government and you take away the grant of civil rights, you basically gut the U. S. Government and it is no different from any other system dominated by money, power, and military strength. But I begin to ramble. You can sort it out for yourselves, I'm sure.

Posted by: Jazzman | July 9, 2006 05:07 PM

As Led Zepplen would say Jazzman, "Ramble on ..." - you sound pretty good to me.

Hey what happened to Emily? Is she not running this feature any more?

Emily, are you out there?

Posted by: DK | July 9, 2006 08:15 PM

Our country these days is more concerned about money, power, and military strength than with the Constitutional principles that are the basis for all the money, power, and military strength we have gained throughout our history. Hence we get a flag-burning amendment proposed even though suggesting such an amendment is an affront to our First (and most important) Amendment.
The polticians in power simply want to promote and retain the status quo that keeps them on top. There was never any real concern or effort for passing a flag-burning amendment... it was simply another political ploy to keep back any REAL progress in our modern day America by focussing on bogus issues that serve the self-serving politicians' interests. Is there anything Congress does lately that is real, not just symbolic and non-binding? This is one of the worst, most corrupt, do nothing Congresses EVER. What a joke our government is, and it's only going to get worse if the voters don't start turning things around SOON. The elections of 2006 are a good starting point for us to begin putting the corruption and political manipulation of the Bush years behind us. Let party loyal Republicans continue to be blind fools when it comes to Bush and the GOP Congress... Let the mainstream press continue to put lipstick on the pig that is our government nowadays... the rest of us need to ignore their collective ostrich act and get this country back on track.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 9, 2006 10:48 PM

Posted by: Chris Ford,

"It is OK to burn a flag in a community as guaranteed under the 1st, but SCOTUS has said that the same community can bar respectful display of the flag by zoning laws. And it is legal to display or burn the US flag on public land, but burning the "gay flag" is a hate crime, a provocation, and a disturbance of the peace. As is burning a cross. Or displaying the cross without ACLU say so."

Only you would compare a burning cross to a fictional gay flag. My KKK friend are you telling us you were busted for burning a cross on someones lawn?


Posted by: Jamal | July 9, 2006 11:05 PM

a congresswoman,

in the "debate," about whether to say


"yeah, buddy." about bush and Iraq...


as a way of hiding the pea, in this "shell game,"


ssaid that 6 American OIL ROBBER BARRONS, had signed up to get Iraq's oil....EXXON, and 5 others....who did Cheyney havea privet conference with?>


about six (6) months before there was a vote on a new government....


not to mention that controlling

MEXICO
SAUDI
KUWIAAT
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
MEXICO
JAPAN
UNITED STATES
as well as IRAQ, and perhaps EGYPT

gives those countries quite a bit of,

weight..acting together

gives those countries the ability to control markets....


NOT JUST THE FRIGGIN OIL MARKETS


and maybe reap some benefits, do you think having supercomputers that are analyzing stock markets and cash flow transactions that are able to compute algorithms in seconds that other countries take several minutes to analyze might give them an _advantage_ in the financial market place...

since poppa bush, still receives information from the CIA, at his request,


that is a "presidential courtesy," that _no_ one else has ever received....


could he be soliciting stock, oil or strategic resource informations that would give him and his friends a competitive edge in the world of finance...


who does he work for again, Carlyle Group, Halliburton you say....stock holder?

what the eff is he doing getting information as a _private_ businessman, that can give him the edge in a business competition?


can you say MOB? can you say, "controlling countries to profit _families_"

while the citizens experience hell on earth?

had your family murdered lately, so they could rape your daughter?

.


Posted by: actually | July 9, 2006 11:28 PM

in case I wasn't plain enough,

the United States Government, has computing power in_excess of any closest competitor....


originally, that was for security purposes.

Do you think _this_ government would _use_ that to

make their lives a little better?


while ignoring yours?


sounds pretty far fetched doesn't it?


I mean, they, they evil dark ones, are just tracking financial transactions to catch non_existent terrorists aren]t they?


would they fabricate terrorist attacks?


would they let 2,000 citizens die, and an additional 20,000 citizens with severe injuries


as a coverup, probably


it parallels nicely the similar lack of caring evidenced in the thoughless sending of inexperienced, National Guard Troops to Irack who were without _real_ combat training

and without sufficient armor, while leaving 20,000 tons of explosives

unattended.

and telling those same troops that the Iraqis' were complicit in the bombing of the WTC

when it was the Saudi's and the UAE's who are bush's _oil_ buddies

tribe/family you're not in.

.

Posted by: ps. | July 9, 2006 11:42 PM

SMAFDY wrote:
"First of all, the judges are there to enforce the Constitution. To keep the voting public and their representatives from lining up the minorities and marching them into ovens. We have a Republic for just that reason - so that the rights of all people are respected despite what the majority wants. Even the most minor of minorities. We call them god-given rights. Only when laws are written that subvert constitutionally protected rights do judges get involved. This isn't judicial activism - it's judicial responsibility."

I can't quite agree with your description here, in important ways actually.
1. Judges are not there to "enforce" the Constitution. They have no enforcement powers themselves. They depend entirely on enforcement agencies in the executive branch to implement their orders and the willingness of others to follow and abide by their decisions. Their job is really to interpret the statutes legislated by Congress, resolving conflicts between or within them, and on more rare occasions, resolving whether statutes or government actions actions are permissible and coherent with the Constitution as written. The method for doing this is to consider actual cases, one by one, brought before them and argued. Judging and settling cases is not the same thing as legislating.
2. Actually, it is not the purpose of Justices "to keep the voting public and their representatives from lining up the minorities and marching them into ovens." That is one of the purposes of the Constitution, which it accomplishes mainly thru the equal protection and due process clauses. It isn't that justices have no role here, they do. After all we had those clauses long before the slaves were freed. For some reason it was acceptable that the Constitution didn't apply at all to these black folk then, and only partly applied later.

I just finished my first scan of the Hamdan case; the opinion of the District Court, followed by the opinion of the Third Circuit of Appeals Court, followed finally by the opinions of SCOTUS. The thrust of the SCOTUS majority opinion is guided by the doctrine of the "separation of powers". Congress creates through legislation. The Executive executes what Congress has created. The Judiciary interprets these laws and resolves statutory or constitutional conflicts. Bush's version of Military Commissions are found to lack Congressional authorization, i.e. we have the President legislating from the Oval Office, something the Constitution does not authorize. In particular, the President's Commissions depart from the US Military Code of Justice as legislated by Congress in unacceptable ways. The Defendant can be excluded from proceedings. Secret evidence, unknown to the Defendant may be used without his knowledge at the discretion of the Court.

It pleases me no end that these trials were stopped in their tracks by this Court and for these reasons. In my view, every accused person is entitled to a fair trial, and fairness requires that the defendant have the opportunity to confront and cross-examine ALL of the evidence presented against him. Without that it is simply not a trial, but rather a kangaroo court, outcome predetermined.

Hamdan's appointed military counsel deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor for taking this case to the Supreme Court as he did. It takes a pair of heavy juevos to set yourself on a collision course with your Commander-in-Chief, and then win the contest. The guy is a genuine hero; his career no doubt undone as his reward. We ought take pride that we've a few such people still.

To anticipate you, Chris, this is not really a question of "enemy rights". What is at stake here are our principles, our ethical standards, our values. I see no reason why we must sacrifice the admirable and well-respected procedures of a court-martial as laid out in the Uniform Code. Why must we stack the deck so heavily against these buggers? It's a real mystery.

I think it was Rumsfeld who said all of these Gitmo guys were "the worst of the worst". No doubt there are really bad people down there. But I doubt if all of them are. I'm sure there is at least one guy who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and was kidnapped and sold to the CIA as a terrorist. By some accounts there are a lot of such lost souls. By administration accounts there weren't any. It's a real puzzle trying to figure out how much chaff is in with the wheat but it seems real likely it is not a negligible amount.

What I don't understand is, with all the really bad guys to select from, why go after such a lightweight as UBL's driver? Who is next? His babysitter, his barber, the maid? If the purpose is to come up with an execution, why not go after someone that is worth executing? I am baffled by this administration's policies. Why go after Moussoui when you have Khalid? Why railroad people when you have people you don't need to railroad? I just don't get it.

I also read the dissent by Justice Thomas (Scalia also). Chris Ford has anticipated his line of argument often enough in the past so he is not without respectable support. Thomas would have the judiciary give great deference to the President, even unto deferring to his interpretation of treaties. In the end what matters is your sense of the appropriate balance of powers, executive, legislative, and judicial. I'm comforted that this Court in this decision has come to a position that matches my personal sense of the appropriate balance.


Posted by: Cayambe | July 10, 2006 04:40 AM

The Court has NO authority to make laws even in the course of reviewing the constitutionality of other laws. Redefining language easily transverses that boundary. The Court are NOT ELECTED. They are NOT representatives of the public or protectors of the public good no matter how vaulted their self-opinion is. They are supposed to be an invisible, impartial screen dedicated to preserving definitions as written. Doing more is itself UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Posted by: George Rox | July 10, 2006 08:37 AM

What about the people's right to determine the laws under which they will be governed? Article V is the people's "checks and balances" to correct a bad decision by the Supreme Court. Five justices reversed judicial precedence in Texas v. Johnson in 1989. These five justices "legislated" rather than "interpreted" the Constitution. 48 state legislatures and the Federal government had flag desecration laws on the books that were declared unconstitutional. Look at the big picture -- who is really in charge -- Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, or we, the people?

Posted by: Steve Robertson | July 10, 2006 08:45 AM

Steve Robertson wrote:
"What about the people's right to determine the laws under which they will be governed? Article V is the people's "checks and balances" to correct a bad decision by the Supreme Court. Five justices reversed judicial precedence in Texas v. Johnson in 1989. These five justices "legislated" rather than "interpreted" the Constitution."

No, they did not legislate. Legislation is the creation of a law. The justices ruled an existing law to be unconstitutional and thus was not permitted under the constitution. Funny how we never hear how judges who strike down legislation to restrict handgun ownership are "legislating from the bench".

But there is a bigger problem, one I have not heard discussed. The 9th ammendment states:
"The enumeration in the constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
If we all believe that we have a right to free speech, within limits that do not cause harm to others (yelling fire in a theater, bombing buildings, etc...), then how can a flag burning ammendment NOT be construed to deny or disparage the right of free speech. In other words, if a flag burning ammendment was to pass, it would deny or disparage the 1st ammendment's guarantee of free speech. It would itself violate the 9th ammendment and have to be ignored by the courts. The 1st ammendment would supercede a flag burning ammendment because of the 9th ammendment. The only way around this would be to include in a flag burning ammendment a statement that it modifies the 1st ammendment. I think this would be difficult to get passed. So as I see it, unless a statement that the 1st ammendment is modified, a flag burning ammendment could not be enforced due to the 9th ammendment.

Posted by: Sully | July 10, 2006 09:59 AM

Why in the world would anyone who is a loyal citizen of the US, want to allow our flag to be descrated in any way, is beyond me. For all you who says it's a freedom of speech issue, I say hogwash. Is killing someone also considered freedom of speech? Because when you desecrate our flag, you're not just hurting the flag itself, you're hurting what it stands for.

We as a nation, right now, need the symbolism of the flag more than we ever had, in my opinion. There shouldn't even have to be a law prohibiting it's desceration...it should be a given...an understanding that if you tread of our flag, you are treading on our nation as a whole.

Don't people know this??? Are we so involved with rights and loss of rights that we don't even know right from wrong anymore?

I just hope I don't catch anyone hurting my country's flag. I just hope I don't!

Dreemer in Arizona

Posted by: Dreemer | July 10, 2006 11:06 AM

Sully: The amendment reads: The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. That's it. It does nothing to the First Amendment, but rather restore the authority to Congress and the people to correct the Court's bad decision.

The First Amendment never, ever guaranteed absolute freedom of speech. I hope we can agree on that point, if nothing else. There are limits to every constitutional freedom.

Posted by: Steve Robertson | July 10, 2006 11:20 AM

Dreemer- The difference vetween burning a flag and killing someone is that one is an expression of views that does nothing to physically or harm someone, while one actuallys kills someone. To make it plainer, one does not encroach on the rights of another, while the other does. If you can't see that, I am deeply sorry for you.

I'm also wondering why any loyal US citizen would be willing to desecrate the constitution by striking down free speech. The act of burning a flag is in itself an expression to show the feelings of an individual or group, while harming no one. If you feel the strength of the flag is such that by burning it, we 'hurt what it stands for,' then perhaps you should re-evaluate what it currently stands for. When freedom of speech is limited to protect what America stands for, obviously America's values are already too far gone to save.

And with the line of thinking from your post, I'm wondering if the "dreemer" spelling was intentional or not.

Posted by: Freedom | July 10, 2006 11:24 AM

Dreemer,

I agree that I hate to see that flag desecrated in any way. I hated to see it burned during the Vietnam war in protest. But you need to understand that there are a lot of things you and I do not like and would like to see people stop doing. I think we can agree with those things that are harmful should not be allowed. The question comes to those things that are not harmful, except to our sensibilities. Flag burning as well as other speech comes into that catagory.

The constitution guarantees you those rights. The constitution does not GIVE them to you. It guarantees the rights you already have, just by being a human being. In other words, rights are not granted by the government, you had them when you were born. These rights are prevented from being taken away by the government. In America, we recognize that all people have rights they are born with. The Bill of Rights is a shield to prevent the government from taking them away.

Now, some people protest this and other governments in many ways. Holding signs that say things we agree or do not agree with. Shouting at presidents and other officials during press conferences, etc... It makes me mad in some cases, but you and I have to remember that the rights of speech are not granted by the government, you always had them and always will. The government, via the constitution that all office holders are sworn to defend, is prevented from taking away your rights of free speech. No office holder swears to protect the flag. Protecting the flag is no where in the constitution.

So it does not come down to whether you and I see flag burning as disgraceful, or repugnant. It comes down to whether you consider it a form of speech, a freedom that you and I and others are born with. Consider that laws prohibiting the burning of the national flag exist only in Cuba, Iran and China. Should the US join this group of freedom loving countries and prosecute Americans who burn the flag as a statement of speech?

Posted by: Sully | July 10, 2006 11:31 AM

Steve Robertson wrote:
"Sully: The amendment reads: The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. That's it. It does nothing to the First Amendment, but rather restore the authority to Congress and the people to correct the Court's bad decision."

Yes we can agree not all forms of speech are protected. But you will need to show me where flag burning is harmful as say throwing a rock. Please provide an example of speech that is unlawful that would be at the same level of harm as burning a flag.

The wording of the proposed ammendment is significant. "Congress shall have power to prohibit" would put this ammendment in a special catagory of ammendments only share by the 18th ammendment where people's freedoms are supressed. The 18th ammendment was overturned by the 21st ammendment. You should ask yourself why an ammendment to give Congress a "power to prohibit" should be in the constitution especially when what it would prohibit has been deemed by multiple courts to be a form of speech protected by the 1st ammendment.

Posted by: Sully | July 10, 2006 11:40 AM

Dreemer -
"Because when you desecrate our flag, you're not just hurting the flag itself, you're hurting what it stands for."

What do you think it stands for? Most of us think it stands for freedom. Freedom to do that which we please which does not hurt another. To worship as we please, to vote as we please, to speak as we please.

It appears you have a choice, desecrate freedom itself, or a symbol of freedom. Your choice says a lot about whether you truly believe in freedom or not, or whether you are one of the closet fascists gaining control of our goverment who believe that other people should be free to do whatever they want, so long as you approve of it.

Yeah, I know it goes against the grain to see people desecrate a flag. But restricting their freedom to do so makes the flag meaningless, doesn't it?

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 10, 2006 11:53 AM

Every country has it's nationalists. The problem with ours in America is that they are so stupid that they value symbols of nationalism over our actual national principles. Too stupid to grasp the concepts of constitutional freedom and liberty that are fundamental to our country, these morons blindly shout "USA! USA!" and pledge allegiance to a flag over our Constitution. Thing is, flag burning is protected by our First amendment, and there's not a damn thing you impotent idiots can do about it, besides your usual whining, which is about as effectual as our current President (approval rating 35%) and Congress (approval rating 31%). We could all burn all the US flags we like, and there's not a DAMN thing Chris Ford and his like can do about it. HA HA HA HA HA! What a great country we live in wherein we can laugh in the face of authoritarian idiot types... and be backed up by the law of the land to do so! Those who oppose flag burning just don't understand what this country is about... a revolutionary spirit that defies all despots, including the tin pot armchair despots that seem to make up the base of the Republican party these days.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 10, 2006 12:37 PM

ErrinF wrote:
"Every country has it's nationalists. The problem with ours in America is that they are so stupid that they value symbols of nationalism over our actual national principles."

Its a little more than that. The republicans have not engaged in honest debate over many things. They use the power of media, such as Rush using his free speech, to spew propaganda saying that flag burning should be unconstitutional and basing it on most people's gut reactions to seeing it. They spew this to many who are not educated in the constitution or our history. Our schools teach the constitution but it gets lost with time, pressures to get a job, make money, pay the bills, meet a spouse, have a family and all the other things we are all preoccupied with. I really do not blame them. I blame those who oppose the amendment who are not speaking out, not teaching those who have forgotten American values, and not standing up to a political party which uses gut feeling to make law, launch wars, and amend the constitution.

Our forefathers thought long and hard about what to put in the Constitution. They fought more battles over saving the American flag than anyone today yet they did not put anything in the constitution about protecting the flag. They knew that protecting freedom was more important than protecting symbols, even symbols of freedom. Those who support a flag desecration amendment to the constitution are unAmerican and blind to its principles of freedom and liberty. They should all be voted out of office by all patriots. The democrats, if they had a spine, would stand up and expose the republican's ugly anti-Americanism, but they are weak. They should be voted out. Its just as contemptable to try to restrict freedoms as it is to stand quiet on the subject, or worse, to vote for the amendment, as many democrats in congress did. Shame!

Posted by: Sully | July 10, 2006 01:10 PM

You Go ErrinF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Lab Rat | July 10, 2006 01:26 PM

I agree 100% Sully, That's what's wrong with this country. One party is out for itself and seeing how much it can make for it's members, while the other waits like cowering animals waiting for some leftover scraps, hoping to regain their place at the feeding trowel.

Posted by: Lab Rat | July 10, 2006 01:31 PM

Chris Ford spouted:
"It is OK to burn a flag in a community as guaranteed under the 1st, but SCOTUS has said that the same community can bar respectful display of the flag by zoning laws. And it is legal to display or burn the US flag on public land, but burning the "gay flag" is a hate crime, a provocation, and a disturbance of the peace. As is burning a cross. Or displaying the cross without ACLU say so.

1) Zoning laws are laws to manage a community so it functions properly. They are not prohibitions against displaying the flag. You are comparing apples with lemons.

2) Please point out a reference to a "gay flag". Never heard of one but I'll defend your right to burn it in protest, assuming you bought it and your not burning someone elses property.

3) Your only legitimate argument is cross burning. Assuming no other laws are broken you can argue that cross burning is protected speech. It however is not speech directed at the government but directed at individuals, specific individuals. I do not know the legal underpinnings of the laws against cross burning, but I do understand that it is different than burning a flag in protest. The only similarity is the fire.

4) Displaying a cross is done every day. Where do you live, Cuba? I see a cross every morning at home, on my way to work in my and many other cars, in my church, around many people's necks ... please, tell me the ACLU is not trying to stop the cross from being displayed in all of these places! If you want it displayed in your government buildings however, read the first amendment and think about a president who is a Hindu and be thankful you will not have to see statues of Budda and Ganesh in your government buildings and parks nor your children taught about them in school. You can thank the establishment clause of the first amendment and our forefathers who put it there for that.

Posted by: Sully | July 10, 2006 01:35 PM

email from a the CEO of Bridas Corporation, an Argentinian firm...


the "prisoners" in GITMO, may be _business competitors" to the


bush administration family, that


complained about having the Trans Afghanistan Pipleline

stolen from them to the tune of $3 TRILLION dollars....


are _YOU_ getting ANY of _that_ money, or are you

financing their rent-a-cops to the tune of $345 BILLION dollars...


is there some disparity betweens the


haves, and as bush so aptly said the have-mores

and you/the havenots?


wake up and smell the coffee burning,


it's not about patriotism, it's about manipulation....


plain and friggin simple.


How would you feel about being imprisoned in GITMO, because you were competing in a business deal?

how would you feel about your government manipulating the stock market?

are they sharing with you, or stripping you of your hard earned dollerros and selling you democracy as an empty slogan?

.

Posted by: according to an | July 10, 2006 02:25 PM

Sully posts:
"Your only legitimate argument is cross burning. Assuming no other laws are broken you can argue that cross burning is protected speech."

I wouldn't even argue this is a legitimate arguement. One of the arguements against cross burning was that it was generally seen as a threat, meant to intimidate and scare people away from certain areas or promise harrassment and/or physical violence to come. Often, it was also erected on private property (ie, people's lawns). While it was a form of expression, it could be argued that based on many instances, it was a form of intimidation, which actually inhibits another's rights.

Posted by: Freedom | July 10, 2006 02:36 PM

The Amendment garnered four days of debate in Congress, despite the fact that much more pressing matters face our nation every day. Four days because an entire day was devoted to each individual instance of flag burning that occurred this year.

That is quite an amazing fact. In a country filled with (as we are reminded by Ford and others) traitors and terrorists and liberal enemy symps and communists with 300 million people only four actual Americans saw fit to desecrate one of our national symbols. 4 out of 300 million.

That truly speaks to the greatness of this country and to the enormous respect the flag as a national symbol carries. Could we say, the day after a Flag Burning Amendment, that 300 million people held the flag in reverence because they loved this country and what that symbol stood for? Or would we have to admit that the flag was respected for fear of legal recourse?

I'd be a prouder American the day before the Amendment.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 10, 2006 02:41 PM

It is very unfortunate that the citizens of the world have to resort to flag burning to get their point across.Citizens in almost every country are having their constitutions either amended or struck down in a way that will leave us all without proper representation for our freedoms and rights. This is all being done by promoting and instilling fear with absolutely no or very little facts.

Posted by: Terri Robson | July 10, 2006 02:50 PM

Freedom,
Read this:
http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/04/07/scotus.cross.burning/
The issue in VA was whether a 50 year old law against cross burning was constitutional. A lower court ruled against the law saying cross burning was free speech. The supreme court split 5-4 in favor of the law but did not agree with its contention that all cross burnings were acts of intimidation. So it seems to me cross burning and flag burning can be compared in some respects when it comes to the 1st amendment protections. I don't agree flag burning should be banned as cross burning is, just the legitimacy in Chris bringing it up, unlike his other examples where I saw no legitimacy.

Posted by: Sully | July 10, 2006 03:10 PM

it's all about the money,


complicit congress, coup by the Executive branch....serfdom as a way of life....


what's left over is what you'll get, nothing more....

Capitol Ones CEO is one of the highest paid execs in Washington DC...


He closed down customer service operations in Fredriechsburg Virginia, laid off 3,000 people with no notice and shipped Customer Service to India....while

he's using the name "Capitol ONE"


like he's for Americans....proof is in the pudding, and in this case the pudding is made up of secret in-greed-ients.

Posted by: you're talking to the distraction | July 10, 2006 03:15 PM

What a NON-issue this flag burning amendment is. The vast majority of us who support flag burning as free political expression would never actually burn the American flag. We may support flag burning as constitutionally protected free speech, but that shouldn't be misconstrued as promoting the actual act of flag burning.
Which begs the question: Just what percentage of Americans actually burn flags? It has got to be a VERY small number of people, such a small amount that it could even be deemed negligible. So what the hell is Congress doing wasting our time and theirs was such a trivial issue? What the hell is Emily Messner doing by wasting our time on what we all know is a cheap political distraction? How typical of the Washington press to facilitate and aid the distractive games politicians play with the public. With all the topics we can discuss, why is Emily busy playing along with the Republican playbook for distracting the electorate in 2006? Too many followers and not enough leaders when it comes to American journalists these days. One wonders if they are deliberately working with the politicians, or are just really easy to manipulate (with or without their collusion).
OUR CURRENT CONGRESS IS A DO NOTHING CONGRESS; THAT SHOULD BE PAINFULLY OBVIOUS TO EVERYBODY AT THIS POINT. Our corrupt, incompetent Congress can try to pass all the non-binding solutions and bogus constitutional amendments they like; It won't distract us voters from the fact that they are one of the worst Congresses ever, serving along with one of the worst Presidents ever. Flag burning is the least of our problems.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 10, 2006 03:42 PM

Freedom of speech means that literally. Flag burning is not a verbal act. It is not protected. Courts need to only interpret the constitution not create new rights. Congress has the authority on this one. The rest of her comments are just more dribble.

Posted by: tcvegas | July 10, 2006 03:50 PM

Sully writes:
"I blame those who oppose the amendment who are not speaking out, not teaching those who have forgotten American values, and not standing up to a political party which uses gut feeling to make law, launch wars, and amend the constitution"

In other words you blame those who agree with you. Your statement can be interpreted to discribe the actions of every political party ever known. What are "American values"? Who defines them? Who enforces? Who teaches? If amending the constitution is so bad, should women not have the right to vote? Should slavery still be legal? Should congress not have the ability to tax? Should you and I have the right of free speech, right of assembly, right of religion,...? The Bill of rights were all amendments, perhaps we should just cancel them and every other amendment out and go back to the origional.

I wish to pose 1 question to all of you opposed to the amendment, just what right of speech would be restricted? Try though I might, I cannot find agreement in just what is the message of burning a flag. Personally, I think there is too much wasted energy on both sides of the argument, but what exactly is meant by the burning? Could not the same message still be expressed in other ways? If it is possible, it is by the way, where is the outrageous limitation on "free speech"

Limits on the freedom of speech have long be constitutional and accepted by American society, purjury, slander, libel all fall within these restrictions. For that matter, what we label as hate crimes also fall within these limitations. Then you have the limits on how you may expess your right of free speech including yelling hijack while on a plane or at an airport, Fire in a crowded theater, sending bombs through the mail to your ideological opponents, robbing banks due to the bankers are stealing monies from the people, etc. are all restricted. There are many more, by the point is made, limitation on free speech and what forms that expression may take is constitutional, so why the fuss? Why is it an issue?

The obvious answer is that the question is only a political statement in and of itself. So should not those who wish flag burning to be unconstitutional not have their freedom of speech permitted and have their views expressed in the halls of congress or are only the rights of those you agree with allowed?

Posted by: Rick in Colorado | July 10, 2006 03:53 PM

Sully,
Thanks for pointing that out. Though with Ford's position on 'activist judges' and the validity of similar court rulings, you've got to wonder if that actually legitimizes his claim =).


tcvegas writes:
"Freedom of speech means that literally. Flag burning is not a verbal act. It is not protected."
Wow. So, does your freedom of speech carry into the typed realm? How about sigh language? Protesting could be considered non-verbal, depending on the type and the signs being used. All those truck billboards with exaggerated aborted fetus's? Not really verbal either.

Burning a flag does in fact relay a message to anyone that sees. It's just as much a form of communication as any of the aforementioned types. Where would you draw the line on what can or cannot be covered under free speech?

Posted by: Freedom | July 10, 2006 03:58 PM

tcvegas-

"Freedom of speech means that literally. Flag burning is not a verbal act. It is not protected. Courts need to only interpret the constitution not create new rights. Congress has the authority on this one. The rest of her comments are just more dribble."

The Supreme Court has repeatedly addressed the question of whether or not speech applies only to the spoken word. The binding conclusion they made is that such a limitation is ridiculous as it actually protects very little.

From Texas V. Johnson:

The Court of Criminal Appeals began by recognizing that Johnson's conduct was symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment: "Given the context of an organized demonstration, speeches, slogans, and the distribution of literature, anyone who observed appellant's act would have understood the message that appellant intended to convey. The act for which appellant was convicted was clearly `speech' contemplated by the First Amendment." Id., at 95. To justify Johnson's conviction for engaging in symbolic speech, the State asserted two interests: preserving the flag as a symbol of national unity and preventing breaches of the peace. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that neither interest supported his conviction. [491 U.S. 397, 401]

Seeing as how Texas V. johnson was the case that made unconstitutional state laws banning flag burning, that case would be the most relevant SCOTUS ruling. They do not deny the above Court of Criminal Appeals claim that the act in question was in fact protected by free speech.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 10, 2006 04:03 PM

dealing with this issue must include within their argument, or position:

"what is the intent?"


this is very cogently addressed in the first post on this thread...


any thing else is disingenuous....


point of law? right, sure.

.

Posted by: any person | July 10, 2006 04:11 PM

Rick in Colorado,
In your last paragraph, you seem to be arguing from a standpoint claiming that it's their right to propose the amendment. And it is. No where has anyone said that they cannot actually say these things or bring them to congress. People have argued its a waste of time and pointless/anti-constitution, yes. But that they cannot propose it? No. If they have, please point them out and I will argue against them.

You also argue that there are good choices to the constitution that have been made in the past. And with that, I'm sure we will all agree with you. However, that doesn't mean we can't argue against future changes. I'm sure that for every good change to the constitution, there have been many proposed bad ones. And they were stopped by dissenting voices. Comparing good proposals as a justification for approving bad ones is a silly arguement.

Your arguement on limitations on freedom of speech all seem redundant, as they only seem to deal with one thing; speech/expression that has potential to harm others and infringe upon their own rights. An individual's freedom of speech is guaranteed so far as it does not encroach upon and inhibit the rights of another.

Finally, your argument that there is no message in burning the flag seems to be hindered by your inability to even attempt to perceieve it as a form of speech. There does not need to be an 'agreement' by all on the message. Like a picture, the act itself can and will have different meanings to different people. You suggest that this meaning can be expressed by other means. I ask you, how? With the concept of freedom of speech, the act/conveyence is theoretically not the problem, so much as the intent behind it. If you can convey the same message as flag burning by differing means, you should still have the same response. If not, your message has been distorted somewhere between the methods of conveyence.

Posted by: Freedom | July 10, 2006 04:15 PM

Being that our current Congress seems hellbent on doing nothing this year, may I suggest the following as ways for them to kill time in 2006. Don't worry; I won't suggest anything crazy like passing a BINDING resolution rather than a NON-BINDING one, or trying to pass a Constitutional amendment that actually has a chance of being ratified. Nor will I use such unpopular terms as LEGISLATE, REFORM, PROGRESS, THE PUBLIC INTEREST, or KEEP THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH IN CHECK. Instead, these are more appropriate suggestions for THE worst do nothing Congress in recent US history:
1) Pass a non-binding resolution supporting the sky being blue
2) Propose a Constitutional amendment granting leprechauns the right to vote
3) Pass a non-binding resolution in support of the Crimean War of 1854
4) Propose a Constitutional amendment to designate all Martians as unlawful combatants
5) Pass a non-binding resolution in support of snipe hunting
6) Propose a Constitutional amendment banning polygamy among albino midgets
7) Pass a non-binding resolution in support of Mom and apple pie
8) Propose a Constitutional amendment that will make it a felony to be Chris Ford
9) Pass a non-binding resolution in support of proposing Constitutional amendments that have no real chance of being ratified
10) Propose a Constitutional amendment to pass non-binding resolutions

Feel free to add your own suggestions, though I doubt our do nothing Congress will do anything about it either way.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 10, 2006 04:21 PM

Rick in CO wrote:
"I wish to pose 1 question to all of you opposed to the amendment, just what right of speech would be restricted? Try though I might, I cannot find agreement in just what is the message of burning a flag. Personally, I think there is too much wasted energy on both sides of the argument, but what exactly is meant by the burning? Could not the same message still be expressed in other ways? If it is possible, it is by the way, where is the outrageous limitation on "free speech" "

It doesn't matter what the message is. It is likely to be different in most cases. In the 60s and 70s it was mostly meant to protest to the Vietnam war but I remember some protesting CIA activity against US citizens. Most simply show disgust at the US, the administration or a particular US policy. But it really does not matter. It is speech and as long as it is not hate speech, meaning as long as it is not meant to intimidate or threaten or directly hurt, it is speech and is thus a protected freedom.

You cannot go around making law that violates the constitution. Now you gave a good list of instances where speech is banned. All have a common theme, that the speech causes violence or harm to people through panic or the direct action of the speech. The constitution also says that government has to protect the general welfare, so that trumps the first amendment in these cases. But how does flag burning harm anyone?

I again ask ANYONE in this blog what harm burning the flag causes. If you cannot come up with a reasonable reason to ban flag burning it is a right under free speech. As I said before and must say again, freedom is not granted by the government. The government does not give you your freedoms. Freedom, as recognized by the constitution is god given, and the constitution protects us from the government taking it away. If you cannot come up with a good reason to take away my right to speek through flag burning then the government to take away that particular form of speech is unconstitutional.

Your rights are yours to keep, not the government's to hand out! The government needs solid reasons to ban certain forms of speech before they can take away your god given right to that speech. And it doesn't matter that there are other ways to get a message across. That is not the point. The point is freedom. Get it? Freedom you have that no government gives you but is yours, to burn a flag, burn a cardboard tank, burn a Chinese flag (here, not in China, they'll arrest you in China where it is illegal). As long as there is no harm then the first amendment guarantees this right and the government cannot take it away constitutionally.

Posted by: Sully | July 10, 2006 04:32 PM

To the moron that thinks flag burning ISN'T free speech because it's not verbal (GMAFB, oh desperate one), you seem to be missing ENTIRELY that it is indeed protected free speech, else the Congress would have tried to pass a new LAW concerning flag burning rather than a new Constitutional AMENDMENT. Get it? They don't try to pass amendments to the Constitution unless they have to... they had to this time because flag burning is recognized as free speech and is therefore protected by our First amendment. For a ban on flag burning to become the law of the land, ONLY a Constitutional amendment will work. Otherwise, such a ban would be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. For you not to understand something so basic when it comes to America and it's Constitution just goes to show that the jingoistic nationalists in support of banning flag burning have very little grasp or understanding when it comes to the Constitutional principles that have made this country great. Again, any idiot can wave a flag and claim to support their country; Real American patriotism involves a little more depth and reason.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 10, 2006 04:36 PM

Rick in Colorado-

"I wish to pose 1 question to all of you opposed to the amendment, just what right of speech would be restricted?"

Right to dissent strongly with the policies of one's government. While I find this particular form of dissent despicable, the intentions of the participant are quite clear and the meaning of the action easily determined. In other words, it's about as clear an expression of speech as one could possibly engage in.

"Try though I might, I cannot find agreement in just what is the message of burning a flag."

I don't know if you are being difficult or if you are sincerely confused about the message of a person burning a flag. Your position is absurd if the former because if you find no message in the burning of a flag what possible umbrage would you take from it? If there is no possible message in burning a flag what possible harm can it do?

But again, the Supreme Court recognized in Texas vs. Johnson that the intent of the participant in a flag burning is clear to all those witnessing it. Your ignorance of this intention is not evidence of anything, really, besides the contents of your skull.

"Could not the same message still be expressed in other ways? If it is possible, it is by the way, where is the outrageous limitation on "free speech""

Any form of speech can be expressed a multitude of ways. There is no logical means by which we can distinguish the most reasonable form of expression of a certain idea. Even if we could, however, the Constitution makes no distinction between the methods of speech. It only announces that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech..." This is actually a very limited issue because it implies a limitation on legislatures. It doesn't really grant anyone any rights in so far as it limits another entity (Congress) from infringing on existing rights. It is fairly straight forward.

Nor does the Constitution only consider "outrageous limitation on free speech". It considers merely whether or not a legislative body has preformed a particular action, precisely, that it has passed legislation that restricts a certain kind of act.

Returning to the "aren't there other ways to express oneself" issue, sure that's true. There were other ways of protesting Vietnam than wearing black armbands to school in Vietnam, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., better ways of expressiong a view than displaying a redflag in Stromberg v. California, better ways of insulting your country than stitching a small US flag into the breeches of your pants in Smith v. Goguen, yet the Supreme Court treated each one of these instances as expressive conduct subject to Constitutional review.

Texas Vs. Johnson makes the case more convincingly:

That we have had little difficulty identifying an expressive element in conduct relating to flags should not be surprising. The very purpose of a national flag is to serve as a symbol of our country; it is, one might say, "the one visible manifestation of two hundred years of nationhood."

Thus it really is hard for me to imagine a serious person asking what possible message the burning of a flag might have, especially since that person attached such symbolic reverence to a piece of cloth that they would amend a piece of paper to prevent the burning of the former. But really, are you confused or just being difficult? I ask that seriously.

"Limits on the freedom of speech have long be constitutional and accepted by American society, purjury, slander, libel all fall within these restrictions."

These are not limits on speech but limits on certain types of criminal behavior. The First Amendment makes no claim about Congressional authority to legislate against criminal endeavors. The burden is on you to provide what valuable "expressive purpose" perjury has. If the intent of the action is to deceive than the expression is, at its core, dishonest. When asking whether "[a]n intent to convey a particularized message was present, and [whether] the likelihood was great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it..." we would necessarily have to deny the above because the purpose of slander, libel, and perjury is to convey a false message. In fact, these crimes depend upon a (victim) viewer FAILING to understand the message.

"There are many more, by the point is made, limitation on free speech and what forms that expression may take is constitutional, so why the fuss? Why is it an issue?"

And these are all dismissed as non practical protections because they all represent threats on safety. And this test is always applied to Constitutional scrutiny by the Supreme Court because dangerous acts are not acknowledged as protected. The question then is whether or not flag burning qualifies, as these other actions do, as a dangerous act. The issue was investigated and answered unequivocally in Texas Vs. Johnson because, as a matter of fact, the burning of a flag did *NOT* result in a disruption of peace. The State's argument that the burning represented a "breaches of the peace" (as shouting fire in a movie theatre might) was untenable because it depended on a hypothetical scenario that failed to play itself out in the real world. Johnson did in fact burn a flag and the peace was not disrupted as a result. The State's argument is historically retarded.

"The obvious answer is that the question is only a political statement in and of itself."

Obviously you are wrong.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 10, 2006 04:59 PM

hmm. If buring a flag means you are desecrating that which it stands for, what does burning a cross mean?

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 10, 2006 05:09 PM

Just got back from a long vacation and noted this is comment #245 on this thread, so I didn't read the first 243 - no doubt all brilliant insights deserving to be carved on the insides of time capsules.

I like #244, but then again, aren't cross-burners actually (if not intentionally) indeed performing such a desecration?

Anyway, to tie the two thoughts together: we have Judas selling out Jesus for some Roman pieces of metal, now Orrin (Booby) Hatch and others doing the same to their nation for a few shreds of colored cloth. The more things change, etc.

Posted by: JUDGITO | July 10, 2006 07:02 PM

Cross burn is symbol of American Racism.

Flag burning is not such a symbol.

It is quite unfair and nefarious to equate the two my friend.

JMO

Posted by: Richard Katz | July 10, 2006 10:25 PM

No, unfair and nefarious is deliberately playing on people's fear in hard times to control them, and then try to pull the wool over their eyes about what's important, spending days debating flag burning amendments and gay marriage and phony "wars" on Jesus while the nation's future burns.

1942 - The only thing we have to fear is fear itself (FDR)

1992 - "And whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts." (Ronald Reagan)

2006 - You don't have civil liberties if you're dead. (Senator Pat Roberts)

Which side of the fence are you in Mr Katz? The side of brave Americans who would face this adversary with courage, remembering those before them who shed blood to defend American liberty and values against "foreign" values like torture, first strike aggression, extraordinary rendition, and rape and pillaging of civilians? Or the side of scaredy cat Americans fed a steady diet of fear until they are afraid of their own shadow and made willing to roll over and give up what it means to be an American in exchange for a false promise of security?

PS - I was going to use "better dead than red" as well, but I have since learned it was coined by Nazi propagandist Joeseph Goebbels when he was fear mongering to create a common enemy to scare the bejeesus out the Germans to get them to hide behind the Nazis for a false promise of security. Those who fail to learn from history will repeat it.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 11, 2006 01:07 AM

I am a pragmatist.

I love the promise of America.

To me, the ideals of America are so strong, so right, so truthful... "we hold these truths self evident that all men are created equal.." that flag burning is an act of impotence.

America the Beautiful that I believe in is uneffected by a flag burner.

It means nothing.

There are more important issues for Congress to attend to.

In fact, in my view, Congress has done America great disservice by wasting its time with this silly, unAmerican Amendment.

Anyway, when was the last time you saw an American burn our flag?

It's not a real life issue.

Posted by: Richard Katz | July 11, 2006 07:45 AM

It is impossible to legislate morals or ethics, but it is not impossible to legislate what is immoral or unethical. 5 unelected Justices ignored judicial precedence and said the physical desecration of Old Glory was speech.

When the young man defecated on the flag at a golf course (Appleton, WI), with nobody around, how is that speech? Speech involves both the transmission and reception of a message. I find it hard to believe even the Supreme Court would rule that bodily functions is speech. But he and his lawyer said that it was so the State's flag desecration law was ruled unconstitutional based on Texas v. Johnson.

Since 1989, do you now feel more empowered to communicate with the right to physically desecrate Old Glory? I think not. Sorry, acts of physical desecration is vandalism. There is already a vehicle for expressing distress internationally -- flying Old Glory upside down. Don't need the constitutional right to defecate, urinate or other wise defile the national symbol. Other more suitable ways to have a temper tantrum.

Posted by: Steve Robertson | July 11, 2006 08:22 AM

So Steve Robertson, which freedom would you be taking away from me and my fellow Americans in order to protect the flag? Remember, its freedom you are taking away by "protecting" the flag. Are you freedom loving or flag loving? You cannot make burning the American flag illegal and call it protecting freedom. It reduces freedom.

Posted by: Sully | July 11, 2006 08:44 AM

Oh and another thing Steve Robertson, remember that unelected judges stopped the recount of the Florida election results in 2000. If you are going to disparage the "unelected" judges, you cannot do it only when rulings do not go in your favor. And how is purchasing a flag and burning it vandalism?

I agree vandalism ought to be prosecuted. I have a flag hanging on my house right now. If someone took it and burned it or defecated on it I would call the cops and they would call it vandalism as they would had it not been the flag but my car, or bicycle. The flag burning amendment is not meant to stop vandalism. It is meant to stop free speech. How is it different from burning an effigy of Uncle Sam? Is that vandalism assuming I made the effigy?

Posted by: Sully | July 11, 2006 08:54 AM

Sully: Until 1989, 48 states and the Federal government had laws prohibiting physical desecration. Up until that point, did you feel your freedom of speech was in peril?

Libel, slander, disturbing the peace, plagiarism, and many other forms of speech are clearly illegal; therefore, who makes the call -- the Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, or We, the people. You know the rules -- if you chose to libel someone -- you exercise that form of speech and you break the law. If you chose to disturb the peace (in your own front yard at 3 AM in the morning) and you break the law.

Congress writes the laws, the President enforces the laws, the Supreme Court interprets the laws, but We, the people are responsible for the Constitution. If We, the people think the Constitution needs clarification with regard to slavery, women's right to full citizenship, or the protection of Old Glory, it is We, the people that make that call through the amendment process. The Supreme Court upheld slavery and restrictions on women's rights until the amendment process made it clearer the intent of We, the governed.

This amendment restores the right to protect the flag from acts of physical desecration. It will be up to Congress to write the laws, the President to enforce the laws, and the Supreme Court to interpret the laws -- seems like a constitutional republic to me.

This constitutional amendment allows We, the people to resolve this 5-4 decision. If it is ratified or not, that ends the debate. We, the people have spoken. What is so wrong about that process.

Posted by: Steve Robertson | July 11, 2006 10:26 AM

Steve Robertson,

I have no issue with the process. But I think you made my point. You said:
"This amendment restores the right to protect the flag from acts of physical desecration."
This amendment gives rights to the flag by taking away my freedom to burn it. That is what is wrong with this amendment. Do not inject acts of lawbreaking such as vandalism, disturbing the peace or violence. We are not talking about associated illegal acts. Burning a flag may not involve those acts but they are used to cloud the issue by amendment supporters. If I burn my flag on my lawn I have broken no laws yet I could go to jail under this proposed amendment. Our founding fathers would have been appauled.

Look, I love Old Glory. If I saw someone burn it I'd probably give them a Zidane headbutt. But there are a lot of things that I don't like to see or hear such as Rush Limbaugh's show and Fox News, but the first amendment allows them cherry pick and sanitize the news. Am I ok with the first amendment allowing this, sure! Because I believe that the American people are the final arbitors of truth, not the media or any single individual or group. I trust the People and I trust the People who see Old Glory burned in protest to understand what that protest says, whether they agree with its statement or not. It is speech and speech should not be supressed unless it causes harm.

AGAIN, WHAT HARM DOES BURNING A FLAG IN PROTEST CAUSE THAT WE NEED LAWS AND SUPRESSION OF THE FREEDOM TO BURN A FLAG TO PROTECT OURSELVES???. No one will answer that without bringing in other lawbreaking that may or may not be associated.

Old Glory is given no special protection by our founding fathers. The flag which they fought so hard for is not mentioned in the constitution, anywhere. Yet freedom of speech, which burning a flag in protest is, is listed in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights. So which is more important, preventing a flag from being burned in protest or preventing freedom of speech from being supressed?

What is really sickening is that this amendment is not being proposed to address a real problem since only 4 people have been prosecuted under flag burning laws. It is being done in an election year to get people to think with their guts and emotions and not their heads. Republicans hate to see people actually think because if they did, they would all be voted out, in jail or both.

Posted by: Sully | July 11, 2006 11:12 AM

Steve Robertson-

"Libel, slander, disturbing the peace, plagiarism, and many other forms of speech are clearly illegal; therefore, who makes the call -- the Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, or We, the people."

Libel, slander, and plagiarism do not fall under the protection of the first Amendment because such actions have failed Judicial Review. Here is the measure the Supreme Court uses to determine whether or not some action demands consideration under the 1st Amendment, disagree with this principle if you will, but I find it very convincing. From Texas V. Johnson:

---

In deciding whether particular conduct possesses sufficient communicative elements to bring the First Amendment into play, we have asked whether "[a]n intent to convey a particularized message was present, and [whether] the likelihood was great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it." 418 U.S., at 410-411.

---

We immediately recognize why Slander, Libel, Plagiarism, and Perjury would not qualify for judicial review. All three are deceptive acts and thus require and necessitate that the (victim) viewer does NOT "understand" a "particular message". In fact these crimes are contingent upon a viewer being duped into misunderstanding a message; slander/libel require the person to make untrue statements with the intent to convince an audience. Plagiarism requires that you convince a victim into believing work is yours that is not. Perjury requires you lieing to authorities. None of them are "expressive conduct" subject to First Amendment review.

Regarding Disturbing the Peace, shouting fire in a movie theatre, and other such cases, these are clear threats to societal well being and are thus subject to CAREFUL CONSTITUTIONAL SCRUTINY.

This argument was presented by the State in Texas Vs. Johnson and the Supreme Court considered whether or not his particular actions constituted a "breech of the peace". The court used the following principle, challenge it if you will though I find it confusing:

---

Thus, we have not permitted the government to assume that every expression of a provocative idea will incite a riot, but have instead required careful consideration of the actual circumstances surrounding such expression, asking whether the expression "is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447

---

The state asked SCOTUS to consider merely the POSSIBILITY of a breech of peace. The Supreme Court denied this measure, of course, because it is utterly ludicrous. An incident regarding a Danish Cartoon should show us why such a miniscule burden would empower the person offended by an expression of speech to degrees untenable with a free speech defending society.

In any event, when Johnson actually desecrated an actual flag in an actual crowd in front of an actual Political Convention, actual people failed to actually incite themselves to riot. In fact, one onlooker politely picked up the flag, took it home and buried it with the respect it deserved.

So in that PARTICULAR case the state's argument was absurd; they argued that an actual event presented a hypothetical incitement scenario that actually failed to present itself.

Just because an action ACTUALLY incited riots, however, is not by itself reason to restrict the action. All that means is that the Supreme Court should carefully review such actions to determine if the action necessarily prompted violence. EVEN IN THE EVENT that an action necessarily prompts violence, we should not consider it prima facie unlawful. As a large group of Muslims proved, the actual incitement to violence that a Danish cartoon produced would not be binding on any American to prevent them from producing future cartoons of Mohammed.

"If you chose to disturb the peace (in your own front yard at 3 AM in the morning) and you break the law."

This issue was addressed in Texas v. Johnson. Have you read the ruling? It can be found at http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/texas.html

"If We, the people think the Constitution needs clarification with regard to slavery, women's right to full citizenship, or the protection of Old Glory, it is We, the people that make that call through the amendment process."

I don't know if you've boned up on your Constitutional theory lately, but it is the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA that is ultimately responsible for interpreting the Constitution. We, the people, can make it as explicit as possible so as to preempt disputes that may arise from archaic language or unique circumstances. But ultimately what you are calling in this one particular instance "legislating from the bench" is precisely the purpose the Supreme Court is designed to fufill -- as stated by the Constitution of the United States of America. And IF we passed a flag burning Amendment, and a state passed an amendment that legalized flag burning, the Supreme Court would likely defend the Federal Amendment and rule the state law unconstitutional. That is precisely what they did in Johnson when they determined that 48 states enacted laws that were inconsistent with the first Amendment. You want to change the first Amendment, which is fine. That's your deal, not mine. But the Supreme Court's argument in Johnson was CORRECT and the desecration of the flag is CURRENTLY protected as a form of free speech as outlined in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

"The Supreme Court upheld slavery and restrictions on women's rights until the amendment process made it clearer the intent of We, the governed."

No one has argued against the Amendment process, which is vital to our interests as a nation. In fact, everyone who has thus far attacked the Flag Burning Amendment has done so because the Supreme Court has already determined that any such law already violates ANOTHER Amendment, one that we all hold dear. This First Amendment is precisely why many of us feel the United States Flag deserves reverance. By passing a new Amendment that is incompatible with the first, as ruled by the Supreme Court, is a much larger insult to my Country and my Flag than any idiot defacating on it or setting it on fire.

"This constitutional amendment allows We, the people to resolve this 5-4 decision. If it is ratified or not, that ends the debate. We, the people have spoken. What is so wrong about that process."

Nothing is wrong with this process. But in case you missed it, the Amendment didn't pass. No one has here argued that Amendments should be outlawed, merely that the current Amendment is stupid. And we are as entitled to our opinion as you are to yours. But we are on the winning side of that process and are happy because of it.

If you have a problem with Supreme Courts interpreting the Constitution, which is precisely why they exist, then explain how you felt the arguments in Texas vs. Johnson got it all wrong. But stop waisting our time with the libel/breech of peace non-sequitors and the "legislation from the bench" "We, the people" bla bla bla rhetorical nonsense.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 11, 2006 11:13 AM

OH MY GOD FREAUDIAN SLIP!

Change: "The court used the following principle, challenge it if you will though I find it confusing:"

To:

"The court used the following principle, challenge it if you will though I find it CONVINCING:"

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 11, 2006 11:15 AM

I would point out that anyone who holds the United States Flag in holy reverance now has no historical evidence to suggest that such reverance is always demanded. The brilliance of our Founding Fathers is that they recognized safeguards to tyranny; but no one is perfect. Never should we assume that our country is above tyrannical corruption or seizure. Though we all recognize that the flag is symbolic of our great nation and thus emotionally reject the burning of it, it would be foolhardy, naive, and shortsighted to think that one day such an expression will be utterly warranted.

And if that horrible day comes we won't refer to flag burners as the despisable individuals that they are now, but rather we will refer to them as patriots. Which precisely what we considered our Founding Fathers who routinely burned effigies of King George and the UNION JACK in protest of a tyrannical government worthy of dissent.

And then some other stuff happened and America was born.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 11, 2006 12:19 PM

Man i'm making all kinds of mistakes this morning:

"it would be foolhardy, naive, and shortsighted to think that one day such an expression will be utterly warranted."

Should be:

"it would be foolhardy, naive, and shortsighted to think that one day such an expression would never be warranted."

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 11, 2006 12:21 PM


For uncensored news please go to:
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www.takingaim.info
www.onlinejournal.com
otherside123.blogspot.com

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_976.shtml

Bring me the head of "Kenny Boy" Lay: Another convenient death invites new investigations of Enron-Bush crimes

By Larry Chin
Kenneth Lay, world-class Enron criminal, long-time Bush family friend and crime ally, was pronounced dead on July 5, allegedly of a heart-related condition.

Lay's name can now be added to the list of dubious Enron-related deaths, which include the alleged 2002 shotgun suicide of Enron Vice Chairman Clifford Baxter (also see analysis here, and here).

Lay's hasty exit, which comes as he faced 45 years of prison for conspiracy and fraud charges (the barest tip of the iceberg of his true crimes), has sparked rampant speculation. Initial mainstream reports on the cause of death have been confusing at best: "heart attack," "heart failure," and "heart disease" are distinct and different conditions.

Lay, who was reportedly depressed and embittered, has now been conveniently removed before receiving punishment (elite criminals rarely get what they deserve). Charges against Lay and his estate may be conveniently tossed (leaving his squirreled assets available for new uses). The Bush administration, and Congress, is conveniently protected from any possibility of a damning testimony or revelation.

Lay's supposed demise, however interesting, is ultimately irrelevant. Far more important is the fact that Enron is still an open criminal case: the true crimes of Enron remain unaddressed.

More importantly, the apparatus that Ken Lay and Enron set into motion is alive and well. It still shapes the fabric of daily geopolitical life.

Ken Lay's living legacy in our faces

Lay, affectionately named "Kenny Boy" by the Bushes themselves, has in recent years gone from a leading Bush policy architect to the family's number one persona non grata. From a Wall Street darling, to a pariah and the poster child of malfeasance, shunned by those whose pockets he once lined.

His public treatment notwithstanding, the Bush administration, and the New World Order's inner circle, must privately worship Lay for the way he wielded Enron as a geostrategic weapon of mass destruction. Consider what Lay has left the world:

1. Lay and Enron not only helped create the Bush administration's energy and war policies; it brought them nightmarishly to life, in every corner of the planet. Ken Lay's fingerprints can be found, today, in every resource-rich hot spot that Enron infiltrated and conquered, from Central Asia and India, to Colombia and the Far East. The invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as plans to control domestic energy supplies and prices (and the lives of Americans) are a direct result of Ken Lay's machinations.

Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force, the infamous and secret US National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG), the probable "rosetta stone" of 9/11 that documents the motives behind the Bush administration's world energy conquest, has remained the subject of intensive and illegal stonewalling. Ken Lay was there: official memos have amply documented Lay's direct links to Cheney and Cheney's energy plan.

2. The practices pioneered by Enron and pushed to spectacular and creative extremes -- financial fraud, pro-forma accounting, money laundering, offshore funneling of illegal monies, shell companies, "off the books" transactions, energy gaming, etc. -- continue to be quietly used by corporations everywhere. It is business as usual on Wall Street.

3. Globalization, the brand epitomized by Enron, thrives. Multinational corporations continue to function as quasi-military-intelligence arms of the US, and other allied predatory governments, working alongside the intelligence agencies and militaries themselves. Witness the operations of Halliburton, DynCorp and AIG.

4. The financial institutions, banks and investment houses that assisted Enron in its schemes, domiciled in the US as well as offshore, continue to feed like engorged tapeworms from trillions of dollars of looted funds. Perhaps you still bank with one of these institutions. Perhaps your pension fund is under the control of one of them now. You can thank Ken Lay for that.

5. The manipulation of energy and the fleecing of consumers also continue to this day, in more shaded and sophisticated forms, as does "deregulation." The occasional cries of foul from certain politicians in victimized regions has changed nothing. As energy prices soar, as Peak Oil and Gas makes itself felt in earnest, and new "energy crises" erupt, the ghost of Ken Lay will be there, grinning. He -- it -- still presides over this nation's energy grids and energy trader's "gaming" rooms.

6. Enron is not dead and buried, any more than BCCI was ever destroyed. There is no cause for celebration. The Enron corporation itself even lives on (as does BCCI) in the form of renamed, acquired and merged entities.

The Enron players hiding in plain sight

Legions of politicians fed at Enron's trough, Republicans and Democrats alike. The same members of Congress who received fat Enron checks are still in Washington.

The George W. Bush administration, that Enron helped install and push into power, has two more years to expand its world war, seize remaining energy supplies, squeeze profits from Peak Oil for their own constituents, and deepen the militarization of the United States.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of California. His direct Enron connections scarcely mentioned, or even acknowledged. He will likely be re-elected (or re-selected) this fall, continuing the Republican plunder of California -- not ironically the target of Enron's first crimes in 2000.

The former chairman of Enron's finance committee, Herbert "Pug" Winokur, the wolf in the Enron fold, is still out there, untouched. As noted by Michael C. Ruppert in Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil:

"Aside from playing a major role in the looting of Russia, Harvard University also seems to have deep connections into the domestic economy of crime. Catherine Austin Fitts connected the dots in a 2002 article which told us that not only had Winokur chaired the Enron finance committee and escaped federal scrutiny, he was also a lead investor in, and creator of, a company called DynCorp (now CSC-DynCorp) that has lucrative vaccine and biowarfare contracts . . .

"So ubiquitous is DynCorp that we will see its hands all over the map in connection with 9/11 and the ruling of America. DynCorp is everywhere. It manages the Congressional telephone system. Along with Lockheed-Martin, it does the computerized bookkeeping for a dozen federal agencies including the DoD and HUD, which have lost (or allowed to be stolen) trillions of taxpayer dollars. It also has a contract to manage the police and court systems in US-occupied Iraq.

"Winokur's connections to Enron, DynCorp and the Harvard Endowment (which during the Clinton years saw its assets increase from $3 billion to $19 billion) demonstrate that quite often the key players escape mainstream scrutiny altogether . . . Among other revelations were the facts that Harvard had made direct financial investments bailing out an ailing Harken Energy Corporation, then run by George W. Bush, and that, through its investment arm, Highfields Capital, it had dumped large quantities of Enron stock just before it crashed: insider trading at its best. " There is no doubt that "Kenny Boy" Lay, the founder of Enron, was there every step of the way with "Pug."

Where, indeed, are the trillions of missing taxpayer dollars that were bilked by Enron?

For the rest of this article go to the link above.

Posted by: che | July 11, 2006 12:43 PM

It ain't the flag's fault.
What other country's citizens in the entire world are humbled by the simple presence of their country's flag passing by. When I look at our flag I see Death and Sacrifice. In one glimpse of the flag I immediately think of the millions of our men & women who have died and those who were physically and mentally crippled while serving this country. I believe that any USA citizen who is involved in a desecration of our flag is filled with hate for all man kind. If a person can burn a piece of cloth that represents what I have outlined above, it makes one wonder how intense their hatred is toward the rest of us. Burning our flag is certainly not a sign of love for country and neighbor, or do some USA citizens believe it to be?

Posted by: Bob in Texas | July 11, 2006 12:54 PM

It is too bad that you do not understand the difference between "free speech" and "free action." Speaking against a policy is "free speech." Destroying physical objects, like the flag, is "free action." Where do you draw the line on "free action?" Would the bombing in Oklahoma of the Federal Building be considered "free speech" in your dictionary?

Posted by: Blanche Brick | July 11, 2006 01:18 PM

Che-

I don't care if we haven't heard from Emily for two weeks. Post links, not articles, and STAY ON TOPIC!

Posted by: wiccan | July 11, 2006 01:19 PM

Blanche Brick-
...
AHAHAHAHAHA. Best laugh I've had all day.

Wow. I honestly am surprised that proponents of banning flag burning can do no better than comparing speech/expresion that harms no one to physical violence or speech that threatens, intimidates, or otherwise encroaches upon the rights of others.

For the last time (I hope), free speech is guaranteed so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others. Desroying someone else's property, threatening them, putting them in danger through speech (yelling fire in a movie theater), or physically harming someone is not considered free speech because the rights of one then infringe upon the rights of another.

Posted by: Freedom | July 11, 2006 01:23 PM

Blanche Brick-

I do not blame you for not reading through 260+ posts, however the issue of "free speech" vs. "free action" has been outlined exhausitvely here. I will reiterate the main points.

1) The Supreme Court has REPEATEDLY recognized actions as considered "free speech" as protected by the US Constitution. The current accepted Jurisprudential litmus test is "[a]n intent to convey a particularized message was present, and [whether] the likelihood was great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it. 418 U.S., at 410-411."

Here are some examples from Texas v Johnson where the Supreme Court recognized FREE ACTIONS as protected under the FREE SPEECH clause in the 1st Amendment:

- The waring of black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 505 (1969)
- A black sit-in in a "white only" estbalishment in Brown v. Louisiana, 383 U.S. 131, 141-142 (1966)
- Wearing of a US military uniform in a "dramatic fashion" in protest of Vietnam in Schacht v. United States, 398 U.S. 58 (1970)
- Picketing in Food Employees v. Logan Valley Plaza, Inc., 391 U.S. 308, 313-314 (1968); United States v. Grace, 461 U.S. 171, 176 (1983)

Here are some more relevant examples that relate to the treatment of the flag as expressions of speech. Again, all the following were recognized by the Supreme Court as protected forms of SPEECH though they are all ACTIONS:

- Attaching a peace sign to an American flag in Spence, supra, at 409-410
- Refusal to Salute the flag, Barnette, 319 U.S., at 632
- Displaying a red flag Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359, 368-369 [405] (1931)
- Stitching the flag into the backside of pants in Smith v. Goguen, 415 U.S. 566, 588 (1974)

Hence:

---

"[T]he flag salute is a form of utterance. Symbolism is a primitive but effective way of communicating ideas. The use of an emblem or flag to symbolize some system, idea, institution, or personality, is a short cut from mind to mind. Causes and nations, political parties, lodges and ecclesiastical groups seek to knit the loyalty of their followings to a flag or banner, a color or design." Barnette, supra, at 632.

---

The bombing or otherwise defacement of Federal Property is a crime and thus never are defacements of Federal Property, especially by way of bomb, ever considered protected by the First Amendment. When you ask the asinine question "where do we draw the line" the line is quite obvious to the rest of us perfectly reasonable people: CRIMINAL CONDUCT.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 11, 2006 01:33 PM

Bob in Texas wrote:
"Burning our flag is certainly not a sign of love for country and neighbor, or do some USA citizens believe it to be?"

I think most believe it to be a protest for the US government, usually the one in power but in some cases for the USA in general. I also find it disgusting since when I see the flag I see the Constitution this free land is based on. But Bob, do you agree with the sentiment that though I may not like what you say, I'll defend your right to say it? Americans value freedom over having to see and hear things they do not like? We defend each others rights to speek freely even though we may not like the content of the speech. Thats part of what makes America so special, so free. Flag burning has been ruled over and over again a form of speech except when the burning is intended to damage property or harm people.

Only three other countries value their flag so much that you can be arrested for burning it:
Iran, China and Cuba
One does not wonder why their flags are protected from their populace. Maybe we should wonder why we feel the need to protect our own in the same way.

Posted by: Sully | July 11, 2006 01:48 PM

Blanche-

Try as I might, I could not find a legal concept of "free action". And comparing flag burning to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City is a roundabout way of saying "I love my country more than you do because I find flag burning as heinous as killing innocent people to make a political point".

Please see Sully's post of 1:48: "We defend each others rights to speek freely even though we may not like the content of the speech".

Posted by: wiccan | July 11, 2006 02:02 PM

Blanche Brick wrote:
"Would the bombing in Oklahoma of the Federal Building be considered "free speech" in your dictionary?"

Wow, I never looked at it that way. You mean if people are free to burn the flag they can burn anything? They can burn my house and get away with it?!! How did this state of affairs come to be? You would think those bozos at the supreme court could distinguish between burning a flag at a protest to bombing a federal building killing many people.

Hahaha - a little tongue-in-cheek there.

Blanche, if you are going to compare freely burning the flag with freely bombing a building, you should sit back and read the constitution. Have you read it? Do you understand what the Bill of Rights says? Are you for or against the constitution? Do you have a right to protect the flag that I bought with my money that I burn on my lawn?

Think long and hard Blanche then think about those in China who are in jail for burning their country's flag in protest. Do you support China jailing chinese who burn their flag when they want to protest their government? How about Cuba or Iran? Do you think they should rot in jail for disparaging their flags to protest their governments? Also Nazi Germany and Iraq under Saddam had that law. Today a free Iraq has no such law.

And when you get through thinking about that, ask yourself why no other freedom loving nation has such a law on its books? Go to Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Italy and freely burn their flag in protest. Just remember that when you come home you may have go to jail for doing the same in the land of the free.

Posted by: Sully | July 11, 2006 02:07 PM

How can you ban flag burning without diminishing the freedom for which it stands?

If you ban flag burning, how will you dispose of tattered flags? The town dump? Dissolve them in acid?

If I take a tattered flag and go to the town square and burn it, should I be arrested? If I say I was burning it because it was tattered even though as it burned I was cursing my government for torturing in my name, would it still be an illegal act? Or would several unelected judges have to decipher my intent? Good to burn a tattered flag becuase its tattered, but bad to burn a tattered flag because my government has acted against every principle that we used to believe America stood for - you know, when we used to think we were the good guys in the white hats who didn't torture and use extraordinary rendition and lock people up without legal representation or even charges because they were the chauffeur of one of our enemies or someone turned in because we coveted their land or were just mad at them. The latter two used to happen in jolly old England every day/

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 11, 2006 02:22 PM

Anyone read John Dean's new book? Talk about the zeal of the convert.

He puts into words what most of us have been screaming about.

So, this is what I want to know - how are they still getting away with rule by fear? How is there not a single Democratic (or honest Republican) leader who can stand up and slap America awake? Are we the land of the free and the home of the brave, or are we the land of the pseudo-free and the home of the scaredy cats who will give up their freedom cause they're too scared to defend it?

Neocons, your 5 minutes of fear mongering are up, as soon as we can find an Edwin R Murrow to cut your mike.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 11, 2006 04:42 PM

This being my very first venture I have no intention in getting into a push and pull on the internet. Sully, you and I are using our freedom of speech as it was planned for us to do. Soooo, you continue to see what you see and I'll do the same from here.
By the way thanks for reminding me about the flags from those other three great democracies, nice comparison.
Stay cool Sully

Posted by: Bob in Texas | July 11, 2006 06:27 PM

Bob in Texas-

Ignoring that Iran is a "Democracy", you've missed Sully's point. The reason those countries must enforce flag burning laws is because the people have plenty of reasons to hate their governments. Least of which being that they do not allow popular elections. Least of which being that they restrict freedoms -- such as banning the free expression of political dissent via flag burning.

That's where you whiff completely. You've forgotten that the only type of country that would need to create laws to prevent mass desecrations of its national symbols are the types of countries hated by the people who inhabit them. The reason America only has 4 flag burners a year is because we happen to be a truly amazing and awesome country worthy of salute and appreciation. And we are (currently) so secure in our greatness that there is no need to enforce flag burning measures because 99.9999% of Americans love their country.

Are you so certain that America will always be great and noble and revered? Would you honor the flag if one day it represented oppression and tyranny? Why do you think our founding fathers burned effigies of King George and the Union Jack in protest of England's governance? Were these men patriots?

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 11, 2006 06:40 PM

Sure seems to be a lot of hysteria and extremism among the anti-flagburning crowd. Not much reason or respect for the Constitution, but plenty of hysterical mindsets. What a bunch of laughable jingoists.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 11, 2006 06:42 PM

Bob in Texas-
Just because you're using your first amendment rights doesn't mean you cannot be wrong and/or stupid. I respect your right to make these comments, but that doesn't automatically make you as justified as Sully's defense, with little or no real argument other than:
"I believe that any USA citizen who is involved in a desecration of our flag is filled with hate for all man kind. If a person can burn a piece of cloth that represents what I have outlined above, it makes one wonder how intense their hatred is toward the rest of us. "
This argument can't even be substantiated as you have no citable sources other than your own biased opinion. To put this on the same level as Sully's liberally cited cases is the same as me trying to justify claiming the world is flat just because the horizon looks level.

That said, it seems rather asinine to try to justify your opinions based soley on your right to say them; the very right you wish to inhibit.

Posted by: Freedom | July 11, 2006 06:50 PM

Sadly, we do represent repression and tyranny to some in the world. And, as Bush and the GOP have demonstrated, even democratically elected officials can be repressive and tyrannical (and let's not fool ourselves into denying there are repressive tyrannists among the Democrats too).
What keeps such repression and powermongering in check is our Constitution, not our flag. It makes complete and utter sense that in a land of free people, we would be free to burn our own flag. If our flag was suddenly to be given more importance than our freedoms, that flag would lose it's importance and meaning. What makes our country great is not that our flag is above being burned... it's that we are free to burn our own flag, yet we choose not to. The vast majority of us wave our flag in pride, or salute it in appreciation of our nation and our freedoms. In order for our positive expressions of patriotism towards the flag to have any real meaning, people must also be allowed to use the flag for negative expression if they disapprove of our country or our government. To do anything else is to dilute our American way of life.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 11, 2006 06:56 PM

I would have to disagree with calling Bob In Texas 'asinine'. His position on the subject seems honest enough... many Americans revere the flag and can't grasp why anybody would want to desecrate it. What bugs me about the whole issue is that people such as Bob are basically being manipulated by politicians. If the flag being desecrated was really so important to the Republicans, why did they wait until an election year in which they were struggling to address the issue?
This flag burning amendment is so typical of our politicians in Washington DC. They look for issues to divide and manipulate the public with in their various power plays to stay in their fat cat positions. So little flagburning actually goes on in our country, yet the politicians have hyped up the issue because they know the image of an American flag being burned is a powerful one to manipulate voters with. Notice how the press is always there to facilitate the politicians in their divisive manipulation of public.
This flagburning amendment never had a chance of being ratified, and our corrupt, self-serving polticians knew that from the start. They are simply desperate and grasping for any issue that might turn their fortunes around so that they might further stay in power. Such politicians are more of a threat to our American way of life than burning our flag will ever be.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 11, 2006 07:29 PM

about Enron...


I worked in Washington DC for 20 years or more...


BCCI World Bank SCANDAL


Paul Wolfowitz...

this is not "off topic," it's connecting the dots...


it's called edu effing Kation...

Posted by: I enjoyed Che's post | July 12, 2006 12:19 AM

I'm listening to TV. Rummy is saying that the increased violence in Afghanistan is "seasonal", and partly due to our "better abilities to record these sorts of things".

As I have posted here before, about a year and a half ago I talked to guys posted in Afghanistan. They told me then that they did not have enough troops to accomplish their mission, and that since the invasion of Iraq when we pulled our troops out of there, the US/coalition withdrew to the more highly populated areas and let the Taliban come back and take over the rural areas. They said the areas they control were shrinking daily while the Taliban was creeping back daily. Said one "unless we do something fast, its all going to come down around our ears there" . Yet these guys were waiting to go back to accomplish their mission and protect their buddies, even knowing it was probably futile.

Who does Rumsfeld think he's kidding? Are American people such sheep-ul that they're still buying his BS? I believe the soldiers. Afghanistan's going to hell in a handbasket right along with Iraq.

I predict we're going to declare victory and get out, rather than get bogged down in a Soviet style quagmire. But we won't be cutting and running or anything. No no, it will be a victory.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 12, 2006 12:27 AM

it's called complicity.

the question was:

"
How is there not a single Democratic (or honest Republican) leader who can stand up and slap America awake?
"


it's not just the Republicans, they wouldn't be where they were if Kerry hadn't let them by.

Posted by: it's simple | July 12, 2006 12:28 AM

Patriot1957

I did not read all your posts before I fire off my missive and therefore misunderstood your post of July 10, 2006 05:09 PM. My mistake.
We are in violent agreement.
Sorry for the delay in correcting this oversight but with a house full of teenagers and only one computer, my screen time is limited, particularly since they seem to have a 24/7 schedule.
Ahh to be young.

Posted by: Richard Katz | July 12, 2006 12:40 AM

Ah yes, youth is wasted on the young, isn't it!

To the multinamed poster:

I don't know what Kerry was supposed to have done. He said fighting terrorists was police work and they pilloried him - yet, that is pretty much exactly how we have caught every terrorist to date.

Kerry said we were making a mistake by failing to protect our ports and borders and by ignoring, even inflaming, problems with Iran and North Korea. They laughted at him and called him soft.

Kerry lacked the common touch, something that is needed as our nation is dumbed down to lowe and lower levels. But if he had said that the BA were a bunch of nascent fascists out to grab power, strip the courts, and spy on citizens for political gain, who would have believed him? The American people weren't ready to hear it.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 12, 2006 01:10 AM

ErrinF wrote......
Every country has it's nationalists. The problem with ours in America is that they are so stupid that they value symbols of nationalism over our actual national principles. Too stupid to grasp the concepts of constitutional freedom and liberty that are fundamental to our country, these morons blindly shout "USA! USA!" and pledge allegiance to a flag over our Constitution.

__________________

I actually agree with you Errin.

The most precious freedoms we have are the freedom to think as we will, to believe as we will, to express ourselves as we will. Freedom of thought and freedom of speech, of the expression of thoughts and beliefs, are inseparable. Whether done symbolically, artistically, or verbally is irrelevant. If it offends, tough; that is the price of a free society. What you do, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. You may believe abortion is evil and wrong, but you may not blow up the clinic.

The poor Supreme Court is caught between hypocrites. Consider these folk who complain to high heaven that the Court is legislating when it finds that flag burning is "speech"; and then praise it to high heaven when SCOTUS also finds that campaign money is "speech" and cannot be limited. On the other hand, there is another set of hypocrites who rail at the latter while praising the former.

We are all free to object to and/or disapprove of flag burning, cross burning, swastika tattoo's, American flag bathing suits, Che Guevarra T-shirts, whatever. We may not prohibit these by law. It is no crime to think, whatever you might think, and it is no crime to express what you think, whatever that might be.


Posted by: Cayambe | July 12, 2006 03:00 AM

Regarding Flag Burning - Isn't it interesting that it is a hate crime to burn a cross even on your own property, but an execise in 1st amendment rights to burn a flag. As offensive as it is if we are going to be allowed to burn flags then crosses should be allowed as well. Both, however, should require burning permits issued by 3/4 of both houses of congress for each cross or flag burned. This would reduce it to a "safety and environmental" issue, not a 1st amendment one.

Posted by: Harry | July 12, 2006 08:24 AM

Harry,

There has been a lot of discussion on cross burning versus flag burning. You might want to look at the postings starting with Chris Ford's June 28, 2006 12:30 PM post (wow this topic is old, where is Emily?). In a nutshell, the courts have struggled over both and come down on opposite sides mainly because cross burning has been used as a means of intimidation and terror of individuals. Flag burning has been used as a means of political protest aimed at the government.
Both are speech. The question is whether intimidation/terror speech should be free versus political speech.

I have no idea why you think congress should hand out burning permits for safety reasons. Read the constitution and see what the job of congress is. You might wonder what this congress has been doing, or not doing, after you read their job description, which the constitution is, such as oversight of the executive branch. Spending time during a war to amend the constitution to prohibit flag burning while the executive tortures, breaks FISA laws that Congress passed, picks through American's phone call records and checks Americans financial records without a warrant is like whistling past the graveyard.

Posted by: Sully | July 12, 2006 09:01 AM

Sully:

You forgot to list Israel and Japan among nations with enforceable flag desecration laws.

In Israel, it is against the law to desecrate not only the Israeli flag, but the flag of any nation friendly to Israel.

In Japan, the flag of Japan is not protected, but the flags of nations friendly to Japan are protected.

As far as the number of flag desecrations, there are two points:
* frequency is not a criteria of legality.
* since flag desecration is legal, it really isn't very newsworthy.

On June 23, 46 American flags were desecrated in Richfield, UT. The Salt Lake Tribune didn't report on it until June 28 (the flag amendment vote was on June 27 -- power of the press).

The most recent event that I am aware of was on July 7 across the street from the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

Since it is legal, who reports on people stopping at stopsigns?

Some events, like the guy that defecated on the flag, are so bizarre and outrageous that they become newsworthy and the bar of indecency and incivility is raised.

Freedom of speech is not absolute -- you just can't do it because you want to protest the government.

We, the people have the constitutional obligation to correct the Supreme Court when they get it wrong.

In Street v. New York in 1968, former Justices Warren, Black and Fortas saw no conflict between Free Speech and the right of States and the Federal governments in protecting Old Glory from acts of physical desecration. These three justices were First Amendment purists.

In Texas v. Johnson, even Justice Stevens voted with the minority. Why Justice Scalia voted with the majority is still extremely hard for me to understand.

Posted by: Steve Robertson | July 12, 2006 09:46 AM

And maybe, just maybe, flag desecration isn't reported that often because, Richfield, UT, notwithstanding, it's actually still quite rare.

What might change that? Maybe a flag desecration amendment. Should we risk that?

No.

As soon as desecration is outlawed, it becomes newsworthy and a method of choice for civil disobedience. Currently, being legal, reaction to such an event would not be by the police, but by the a populace that wouldn't constrain itself like law enforcement professionals. So other forms of civil disobedience are more inviting.

So even if you, like me and other veterans, don't want to see the Stars and Stripes desecrated, there are other reasons beyond the First Amendment--that we veterans have fought for--to not support this nonsensical amendment idea.

Posted by: Joe Don | July 12, 2006 10:22 AM

Steve Robertson wrote:
"In Texas v. Johnson, even Justice Stevens voted with the minority. Why Justice Scalia voted with the majority is still extremely hard for me to understand."

I think it is the difference between thinking with the gut and thinking with your head. Bush likes to think with his gut as many republicans do. But thinking with the gut has often lead many to make a wrong decision. Lets think with our heads eh? We should not rely on emotion to make our laws in a free land.

I don't think the press is not reporting on flag burning because it is as legal as stopping at a stop sign. Many legal protests are covered by the media. Flag burning is just not that frequent an event.

Its noteworthy that Japan allows its own flag to be burned but not those of other countries. Do you know why? I'll start researching that...

You wrote:
"Freedom of speech is not absolute -- you just can't do it because you want to protest the government."

I agree freedom of speech is not absolute nor should it be. But that means there is a line, or a test, to which you should compare the speech and say it has crossed the line or has not met the test. Most people would claim that the line/test is that the speech destroys property, causes violence or incites violence. That was the line used in the VA case of cross burning. Cross burning had a history of intimidation, direct violence and inciting violence and therefore it was the state's duty to regulate it through law. I will ask again: WHAT HARM DOES BURNING A FLAG IN PROTEST CAUSE THAT WE NEED LAWS AND SUPRESSION OF THE FREEDOM TO BURN A FLAG TO PROTECT OURSELVES???. No one has answered that.

One argument I have heard is that the flag is a symbol in need of protection. That its reverence be forced upon us through laws. Frankly I find that unAmerican. Love of flag and country is not something to legislate, especially in a free land where our forefathers burned their government's flag in protest, the British flag. To hoist the flag to the level of idolitry is unsettling. The constitution, which the flag represents, is given no such protections making me wonder whether those who revere the flag to the point of throwing those into jail who burn it revere the constitution as well. To threaten fines or jail for burning one's own flag makes me sick to my stomach. Freedom is the question here. Do we in America love it, or do we want to regulate it so we don't see things we do not like. How can you be free when people are in American jails for burning their own flag in protest?

Posted by: Sully | July 12, 2006 10:22 AM

I guess I would ask what public good would be served by prohibiting flag desecration? I mean, what REAL harm is done when someone protests by burning the flag?

I have not taken a stance on this. I am fresh out of college and trying to learn more on this issue.

Posted by: Trent | July 12, 2006 10:24 AM

Steve Robertson-

"On June 23, 46 American flags were desecrated in Richfield, UT. The Salt Lake Tribune didn't report on it until June 28 (the flag amendment vote was on June 27 -- power of the press)."

The flags were not desecrated, they were vandalized. The flags were placed respectfully in honor of the troops by boy scouts and the people who did it are under investigation.

This is a crime. This is not an act of free speech. This is NOT what the flag burning amendment addresses; when someone burns YOUR flag or someone else's flag it is an act of vandalism, not speech protected by the first amendment.

The discussion warranted an apples to apples comparison.

"Freedom of speech is not absolute -- you just can't do it because you want to protest the government."

You're right, it is treated on a case by case basis. In the past the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized mistreatment of the flag as legitimate political speech. So long as this mistreatment is not done in a criminal manner it is, in fact, a legitimate form of protected speech. This is why you are proposing an Amendment, to change specifically one act of currently protected protest by making it illegal via Amendment.

You lost that fight in Congress.

"We, the people have the constitutional obligation to correct the Supreme Court when they get it wrong."

Bla bla bla bla

"In Street v. New York in 1968, former Justices Warren, Black and Fortas saw no conflict between Free Speech and the right of States and the Federal governments in protecting Old Glory from acts of physical desecration. These three justices were First Amendment purists."

You mean 1969. In any event, the fact you left out was that the Supreme Court, without Warren, Black, and Fortas, or White, reveresed the New York Court of Appeals decision and granted Street an appeal. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the freedom of speech.

If you have a specific problem with this ruling, feel free to share it. I find the arguments presented by 5 justices more convincing than the 4 dissents. The case can be read here: http://www.esquilax.com/flag/street.html

Unless you are willing to produce an argument against that ruling, or in support of White, Fortas, Black, or Warren's defense, then you aren't willing to have a debate. Merely assigning the banal label "first amendment purists" to people you happen to agree with won't do the trick. And I have no problem placing the burden of proof on you seeing as how the Supreme Court has ruled on the matter with a simple majority, which is precisely what is required.

"In Texas v. Johnson, even Justice Stevens voted with the minority. Why Justice Scalia voted with the majority is still extremely hard for me to understand."

Your attitude about Texas V. Johnson is very revealing about your jurisprudential theory. You feel that Justices should make their decisions based off their political background. In this case you act surprised that Scalia would vote in favor of speech freedoms because he is a Conservative and typically agrees with you. You use Stevens, a person who typically disagrees with you, as evidence that the dissent is correct (afterall, if EVEN Stevens voted against it, it must be true?).

This is contrary to the Constitution of the United States which creates, as best it can, a NEUTRAL Judiciary. The process of confirming judges is not arbitrary. It requires a Presidential nomination, approved by Congress, followed by a lifelong seat on the highest Court in the land. The executive cannot appoint anyone he pleases; they must be approved by another popularly elected body. Furthermore these justices are not subject to political influence because their position is protected by lifelong appointments.

That you feel the Supreme Court needs to be decided by the political leanings of a particular justice shows an utter lack of Constitutional understanding on your part.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 12, 2006 10:33 AM

Thanks Erin
This will be my last comment.
I can see now that Sully and maybe yourself was misled by my statements.
I do not agree that we should have to have a decree of any kind to protect our flag. I do not blindly support any political party. Maybe I am to mushy with my respect for our flag. A respect for our flag should be 100% voluntary. My feelings for people in general and their personal opinions are not based on bias. I am 77 years old and in excellent health and I am not asinine. I have been around politics all my life, my father was a chief of police. I have worked with local government both as an employee and a consultant and I can assure you nothing changes, it all stinks. Does not matter whether you are democrat or republican if you are not unfaithful to your newly elected job, you soon will be. They all fall into line. The first thing a politian thinks of after his/her first elected office is who to please and who to kiss inorder to get re-elected. I am sick of polticians and their hypocritical voices.
Please don't make anymore of my statements than what you read. I am sincere in my love for my country and our flag and yes I am bias regarding this issue.
Nice talking to you guys. Fighting politics is similar to a person having a flat tire on a deserted road with no spare. They know the tire is truly flat but unable to fix it. Just keep voting the bad ones out and replace them with another bad one. I believe there must be a instructional booklet for politicians that teach them how to deceive with a smile. As I said before "It ain't the flag's fault" it is always our politicians. This country was formed in the correct way but those basics have been unfortunately manipulated by lawyers and politicians to suit their personal agenda. Remember Mr. Clinton when he was asked a particular question on national TV? His answer was a run around, he said it is according to what the defination of that word really is.
Remember "In God we Trust" ???? What is the real meaning of this term? Spend some of your time doing just that.
regards to all and goodbye
Bob

Posted by: Bob in Texas | July 12, 2006 10:36 AM

An interesting sidenote: I have been reading other sites discussing flag burning and a few have offered the question, "What is the definition of a flag". If I burn a flag with 49 stars and 12 stripes am I desecrating the American flag? Could laws be passed to prohibit not only American flag desecration but similar flags? Would that be constitutional? How can anyone prove I was burning a real American flag if the proof goes up in smoke?

As someone else has pointed out, passing an amendment against flag burning will likely increase the number of flags burned in protest over the amendment. Why are the republicans doing this? Why is no republican thinking past the amendment. I guess, just like Iraq, they have no plan after the battle is won.

Posted by: Sully | July 12, 2006 11:20 AM

Sully-

"Could laws be passed to prohibit not only American flag desecration but similar flags? Would that be constitutional?"

Laws can be passed but they would likely be appealed and, ultimately, deemed unconstitutional. If the revered American flag's desecration is considered legitimate political speech protected by the first amendment, it's hard to imagine why someone else's flag, or a variation of the American flag, would be any different. In fact it's more likely since these other emblems aren't considered near holy objects by large numbers of Americans.

I think no is the answer to your question.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 12, 2006 11:54 AM

The flag burning amendment had nothing to do with public policy; It had to do with just one thing: Politics! With a sort of national election in about four months, the amendment was meant to make Democrats
look bad for November. "See, they are against the flag and the freedoms it represents."
I am savvy enough in my more than middle aged politics to see things like this for what they are! Doesn't Orrin Hatch have anything better to do with his time? I guess not!

Posted by: Tom Ontis | July 12, 2006 11:55 AM

what is the "real meaning of this?"


"
"In God we Trust"
"


it means don't question us, it means we don't allow you to look at what we're doing to your liberties behind the curtain...it's called rape.

.

Posted by: what is the real meaning of this? | July 12, 2006 12:41 PM

this,

gawd doesn't take sides, and he certainly doesn't manipulate the stock market or start wars...

write Umberto?

.

Posted by: the point is | July 12, 2006 12:45 PM

It's difficult to understand how the act of burning the flag can be construed as speech.

The flag is a representation of the nation - to burn it is to burn and disrespect the nation in which we live. In the military we'd probably have called that treason.

As someone who wore a military uniform for well over 20 years, it's appalling that any citizen would show such disrespect to the nation, its people and certainly the defenders in uniform. Burning the national flag made (makes) those in uniform wonder why am I defending freedom for some jerk like that - slobs who do that defecate on the grave of all who serve the nation by their actions.

Since it doesn't quite seem appropriate to boil the burners in oil, then let them burn the flag. But pass the law that says if you dislike and disrespect your country to that extent, get the hell out and go someplace else. By the way, that rumbling sound heard when a flag is burned is all the men and women in military uniform asking "why am I risking by life for jerks like that flag burner (and we all know it's the love of country, the flag and the millions of people who don't burn flags).

Flag burning is not free speech - it's a kick in the teeth to all of those who do love and respect their country - certainly to every person who has ever worn a military uniform after taking an oath to defend the country while standing under that flag that represents the nation. We don't have to agree with policy, we may dislike some of the methods and the people who run the government; we may find certain laws offensive. Fine, those are issues we can rant and rave from the soap box as long as our voice lasts.

A great many people have given their lives for this country so that our flag can continue to fly and represent us all. Burning that flag is not free speech, its total disrespect to all of the people of the nation and a desecration of the graves of those who gave their life for that flag.

I do not believe that the founding fathers intended that the free speech guaranteed by the first amendment include the burning of the flag that represents our nation. I grieve for anyone sick enough to disrespect their homeland by so doing. (Unabridged take-off of a well known biblical verse - Forgive them God, for their sanity is warped).


Posted by: Chip O'Connor | July 12, 2006 02:10 PM

Chip O'Connor-
You may not believe that the founding fathers meant to allow the burning of the flag as free speech. Apparently, the Supreme Court has, time and time again.

You state:
"As someone who wore a military uniform for well over 20 years, it's appalling that any citizen would show such disrespect to the nation, its people and certainly the defenders in uniform."

As someone who has loved his country for his entire life, it's appalling that any citizen would show such disrespect to the nation, it's people and certainly the defenders in uniform by trying to bastardize the constitution and what this country stands for by limiting free speech. You don't think its speech? Please actually read the last 50 or so posts. It's been discussed again and again. If you've got anything to add that contradicts the arguments already brought up, please bring it up.

On that note, Chip's post has made me disgusted with a good many people in this nation, as it's allowed me to perceive this anti-freedom of speech proponents in a new light.

Comments like this, "Since it doesn't quite seem appropriate to boil the burners in oil, then let them burn the flag. But pass the law that says if you dislike and disrespect your country to that extent, get the hell out and go someplace else," are horrible.

Anyone remember the outrage many American citizens had at the muslim reaction to depictions of Muhammed in cartoons? Remember their outrage and anger that something so sacred to them was attacked and belittled? Luckily, no one here has taken the same approach. But the sentiment seems very much the same, by calling for people to be arrested or thrown out of the country. I'm disgusted. Anyone calling for this end to flag burning should be ashamed.

Posted by: Freedom | July 12, 2006 02:35 PM

Well said, Freedom, well said. The Paper is mightier than the Cloth. Someone, I wish I could remember who, said we should recite the Preamble to the Constitution instead of the Pledge of Allegiance:

"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

"I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

I agree. If we recited the Preamble, we wouldn't have this confusion over which is greater, the flag or the ideals it represents.

Posted by: wiccan | July 12, 2006 03:11 PM

I guess you're "so rigid," after 20 years in uniform, which means you retired to do something else, once you'd locked in your benefits....

buddy.


that if you were serving in the British Army and the yeare is 1776 and they were burning the British flag, that you would shoot them...

an American flag, as used by this complicit congress, is nothing more than a tool to manipulate


unthinking masses into committing murder for profit, their profit....

and you're part of that team.

thanks for bein not so bright.

.

Posted by: so | July 12, 2006 03:12 PM

regarding Kerry, you said many things including this:

"
The American people weren't ready to hear it.
"

I agree, and I also _know_ there's complicity in congress and he is essential to it....there are many levels of belonging


there are ways of talking about it as "heart based," class-based caste-based, there are secret societies one can belong to


but being honest and working for the truth is straight ahead incursion into whatever happens next based upon


intent,


not position. If you examine his intent, it is constrained by making things work in a fashion that he has been trained in, not in fact in making things work.


I make things work.


and I undo training.

.

Posted by: hello patriot1957 | July 12, 2006 03:20 PM

Or perhaps an amended Oath of Office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter (or: I will well and faithfully discharge my duties as a citizen), So help me God.

Posted by: wiccan | July 12, 2006 03:22 PM

Chip-

"It's difficult to understand how the act of burning the flag can be construed as speech."

It's impossible to understand how a serious person could utter such an unbelievable assesment.

More amazing still is that, immediately after stating how difficult it would be to construe the act of burning a flag as a expressive conduct you... describe it as a type of expressive conduct:

"The flag is a representation of the nation - to burn it is to burn and disrespect the nation in which we live."

So somehow you find it difficult to understand how burning a flag can be considered expressive conduct yet you acknowledge one possible message burning a flag would have -- disrespect for the nation. Now you (and I) may not agree with this message, however the first Amendment does not have a "agreeable only" clause regarding speech.

"Burning the national flag made (makes) those in uniform wonder why am I defending freedom for some jerk like that - slobs who do that defecate on the grave of all who serve the nation by their actions."

As Alfred Tennyson said:

Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die.

And, as a matter of fact, you swore an oath when you joined the armed forces where you pledged to protect the Constitution; whether or not you agreed with it is immaterial. It is not your right to reason why.

That the mere burning of a flag is enough for you to question your service to this great nation really does speak volumes about you as a person, however. Al Quaeda must be terrified of soldiers like you who would defend freedom... unless someone burns a flag boo hoo hoo.

Followed by rants where you insist without evidence supporting it that "flag burning is not speech" ad infinitum despite the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States, the governing body that exists to interpret the Constitution, has determined repeatedly that flag burning is not only a form of speech but is a form of speech worthy of First Amendment protections. I would be happy to cite a long list of cases and circumstances where the court has so ruled but it's unlikely the point would hit home.

"I do not believe that the founding fathers intended that the free speech guaranteed by the first amendment include the burning of the flag that represents our nation."

It's hard to imagine the founding fathers held the flag in such divine reverence seeing as how they were burning Union Jacks and effigies of King George in the 1770s.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 12, 2006 03:25 PM

Chip O'Connor wrote:
"It's difficult to understand how the act of burning the flag can be construed as speech."

This statement explains the rest of your posting so I'll try to address just this point. The flag is a symbol. I hope we can agree on that. It is a symbol that covers many things, our nation as a whole, our history in its stars and stripes, the constitution our government is based on and its guarantees of freedom and liberty, our current government, its leaders, its policies, etc... It is the symbol of America as a whole.

Would you consider it "speech" to burn an effigy of president Bush or is that treasoneus? What if someone was burning an effigy of bin Laden? Do you consider these to be speech in the forms of actions used to get a message across to people?

I believe that many who burn the flag over a single policy (e.g., Iraq, Vietnam, etc...) burn the same flag of the nation holding policies they agree with. Its sort of like someone trashing their whole family because their son broke a window. Its extreme. But you need to understand that as long as no laws are broken it is speech, extreme and in my view wrong, but speech just the same.

Consider when you see on TV people in foreign lands burning the American flag. This is usually seen on TV without any audio or translation of words accompanying the burning of our flag, yet you understand the message. That is why it is speech. It is an action that gets a message across and as long as that action does not break other laws such as vandalism, it is protected under the first amendment of the constitution. You and I have gut reactions to seeing it burn, but we also have gut reactions to a lot of things we see that the constitution protects. But speech is protected under the first amendment. That is why the KKK can march in our streets. That is why there are gay marches.

That freedom is not a freedom handed out by the government. The constitution says its yours, by being a human being and a citizen, and the constitution protects the government from taking your freedoms without cause. That is why me and many others are so upset. We do not want to see the flag burned but what is much more important is we do not want to see free speech prohibited by the constitution, the constitution many soldiers fought and died for. I remember Vietnam. It ended when I turned 20 and my lottery number was high enough that I wasn't drafted before that. I remember soldiers talking about anti war demonstrators burning the flag in protest. I remember many saying they hated to see it but that was the freedom they were fighting for. That's what America is about, not protecting its symbols but protecting what the symbols stand for, freedom and liberty.

Posted by: Sully | July 12, 2006 03:32 PM

Hey, didn't this blog used to be run by somebody? I think her name was Melanie Essmer, or Emily Messner, or something like that. Must have been a figment of my imagination.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 12, 2006 04:58 PM

Oh, wait... now I remember her name: It was M.I.A. Messner. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | July 12, 2006 05:00 PM

If you teenager gave you the finger, you wouldn't allow him to use "but I never said anything wrong" as a defense. He communicated a message to you in gestures instead of words.

If a spy tapes his lips together and points on a map to a secret location, did he commit treason? After all, he didn't speak any secrets. Will you act as his defense lawyer and say gestures aren't speech?

If you spit on something, is your disrespect for it not sending the same message as "you swine, you are the lowest of the low. I detest and denounce you".

Surely you are old enough to remember the brainwashing you got in school. Japan and Germany and North Vietnam tortured prisoners, while the US treated prisoners humanely. Japan and Germany engaged in first strike war for unust reasons, never the US. Public officials in America must respect Rule of Law, even if it means the embarrasment of impeaching a president. The KGB spies on its own citizens, never the US government. We are the beacon of democracy, the "shining city on the hill'. We are the good guys in the white hats who come to the rescue. You know, that's why guys like you took an oath to defend the Constitituon and the American Way, because we're the good guys.

Think about it this way - when the government of the Unites States of America commits torture, ignores federal law, and passes court stripping bills, threatens judges, denies citizens the right to charges, trial or legal representation, or wages first strike war, they spit on the Constitution and on the flag that represents it. When I burn that flag, I am desperately trying to remove the stain of their spittle, disposing of that desecrated flag according to code (yes, that's how old and tattered flags are supposed to be disposed of).

Instead of passing laws to stop flag burning, why don't you tell your government to stop spitting on it so that I don't have to burn it?

But I have one overriding question for you. When you wore the uniform for 20 years what were you defending? Were you defending my freedom to live as I think I should, or my freedom to live as you think I should? Were you defending "I strongly disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it" or were you defending only the communications you approve of? Were you really fighting for freedom?

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 12, 2006 06:38 PM

Speech can take many forms. Verbal as well as non-verbal. For example, the Supreme Court found that naked girls dancing around was speech and therefore strippers are protected by the First Amendment. Oliver Wendle Holmes wrote the pioneering opinion and he was a big fan of Burlesque. I believe he is quoted as saying there is nothing like the turn of a beautiful woman's ankle. I am sure Larry Flinn would agree.

In fact the First Amendment protects freedom of expression, which is more expansive than just speech.

Now do we see an Amendment in the hopper banning strippers? No, because the strip club industry has loads of cash and they lobby Congress and would make a big fuss over such an Amendment.

Where is the flag burning lobby?? There is none which is further evidence that for Congress to spend all this time and our money (Federal and State Governments) on a Flag Buring Amendment, when we have so many other pressing problems with our Nation, is totally stupid.

Any Congressman who voted for this Amendment needs to be kick out of office for fraud, waste, and abuse of Government time, property and our taxpaper dollars.

On another matter, did you see Israel invaded Southern Lieberman or was it Lebanon.

Posted by: Richard Katz | July 12, 2006 08:57 PM

this _is_ patriotism...


make them give back what they have stolen from us,

ourselves....shake them until our change falls from their pockets...


kick some ess....
.

Posted by: now | July 12, 2006 10:26 PM

people for _gain_


I used to work in programs having to do with security....


_you_ are not allowed to have computers that can outdeliver what the military has...


therefore, they can compute what would take you 3 hours in a matter of seconds...plus they have the greatest algorithm writers in the _world_

think of the hit show NUMBERS....


what can they predict and track besides your friendly quakers?

money flow, stocks, market indicators, commidity drifts, futures, the smell of pizza


would they give this information to their friends?


does the opep hsit in the woods?


are sbears catholic?


could this be _UNFAIR?????_

yes

pleaes you amuzwe me

.

Posted by: nascent fascists spying on | July 12, 2006 11:29 PM

Has no one on this blog been watching Colbert?

Everynight he hauls out a piece of flag merchandise - tonight a flag decorated pillow to muffle a scream. The other day draping in one like a shawl to celebrate the World Cup. Too bad the subtlety is lost on those who would most benefit from it.

Face it, we sew flags on the back of jeans so that we sit on them, decorate cakes with them made out of strawberries and blueberries (and then eat them), put them on car antennas where they are subjected to 70 mph highway speeds and shredded. I once had a pair of underwear with a flag on them. But is there nary a peep about this flag "desecration" committed by "conservatives"? No. Apparently it is OK to put a flag on your crotch out of "patriotism", but not OK to burn the dishonor out of it to protest your government engaging in war crimes, torture, flaunting federal law, threatening judges, and spitting on the Constitution.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 12, 2006 11:54 PM

For uncensored news please go to:
www.wsws.org
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info
otherside123.blogspot.com

Michelle Malkin's Neo-Con Blog Fears Bruce Willis Now 9/11 Truther
Laments "truly, truly depressing news"

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com | July 12 2006

Following our exclusive yesterday about A Scanner Darkly director Richard Linklater's efforts to spread 9/11 truth within the film making community, including formerly 'die-hard' Neo-Con Bruce Willis, a Bushist blog has voiced its fears that Willis has left the fold of the government apologist crowd.

Hot Air is a popular video blog, founded by Neo-Con poster child Michelle Malkin, created to challenge the supposed liberal domination of the Internet streaming video market.

Calling Willis' apparent re-think on his political stance, "Like Schwarzenegger converting to Islam," Hot Air quotes from our story.

Linklater said he had handed out DVD's on set which carried claims that 9/11 was perpetrated by the US government to erect a police state to Bruce Willis, one of the stars of Linklater's upcoming Fast Food Nation.

"He said it put him in such a head space that he will be quiet on issues of national policy."

Linklater said Willis had told him in an e mail that the videos had changed his entire political paradigm.

Complaining that Willis is now, "believing the plots of his own movies," Hot Air calls the development, "truly, truly depressing."

Noting that Willis is producing a "pro-war film in which American soldiers will be depicted as brave fighters for freedom and democracy," according to the Times, Hot Air laments that Willis"could have his brain turn(ed) so easily to oatmeal."

The Blog says that it contacted Michael Yon, on whose book Willis' film is based, to gage exactly what Willis' opinion of the Alex Jones DVD's he received from Linklater is.


Posted by: che | July 13, 2006 04:17 AM

"If any sort of flag desecration amendment should be passed, it should be to prevent the use of America's symbols of patriotism as tools to limit the very freedoms they represent." That would be an effective way to shut-down at least 2 branches of our government.

Posted by: Robert Williams | July 13, 2006 10:11 AM

"If any sort of flag desecration amendment should be passed, it should be to prevent the use of America's symbols of patriotism as tools to limit the very freedoms they represent." That would be an effective way to shut-down at least 2 branches of our government.

Posted by: Robert Williams | July 13, 2006 10:15 AM

Although I despise flag-burning, I am in agreement that this freedom must be protected. Some people can only write and speak with limited effectiveness, yet feel a strong need to express their deep dissatisfaction with decisions and actions of our leadership. I don't endorse using this form of expression... but I understand it to be a basic Constitutional freedom of opinion expressed by actions... actions that should be heard as loudly as glid-tongued politicians. Seldom are these actions meant as dishonour to the dead soldiers. Such isolated incidents should be ignored as being sick-minded and childish. Amendments that remove freedoms actually harm the American citizen, and open new doors we should never enter. Shame on the many politicians that voted "yes" to appease a block of constituents, for they do not support the US Bill of Rights.

Posted by: Robert Williams | July 13, 2006 11:02 AM

It should be noted that had that one vote been made in the Senate to pass the flagburning amendment by 67 votes (instead of failing at 66 votes), it still would have had to be passed by 2/3rds of the House and ratified by 38 of the states. It had a LONG way to go, so Emily's kind of jumping the gun when she claims we were 'onr vote away from freedom'.
The main reason I bring this up is because I think Emily is missing the point in that there was never any real chance of the flagburning amendment becoming reality. Instead of pretending that this flag amendment vote was a close call we barely escaped, Emily should have seen this political ploy for what it was... a symbolic gesture to fire up the GOP base, NOT a serious effort to get a Constitutional amendment passed. Is the press really so clueless when it comes to politicians and their political games? The majority of us see right through them, but it seems that time and time again Washington journalists are either clueless to the game being played on the public, or are willingly playing along with it. It's hard to say which would be worse: a journalist lacking in savvy that is easily fooled by the 'game face' of politicians, or a journalist that has their own 'game face' on while playing along with and facilitating the games politicians play.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 13, 2006 05:36 PM

ErrinF-

Actually there were over 40 states willing to ratify. Keep in mind that, the day before Texas v. Johnson, 48 states had outlawed flag burning.

Had the vote reached 67 it would have in all likelihood been ratified. Reversing that decision would be impossible politically, at least in our lifetime.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 14, 2006 12:01 AM

You can look under the "voted in favor" link Emily kindly provides in her article above to see which dems and reps voted which way. Do you know who voted in favor or not in favor of this amendment? Which way did your senator vote? According to the Post here are the democrats who voted FOR the amendment:

Max Baucus
Evan Bayh
Mark Dayton
Dianne Feinstein
Tim Johnson
Mary Landrieu
Blanche Lincoln
Robert Menéndez
Ben Nelson
Bill Nelson
Harry Reid
Jay Rockefeller
Kenneth Salazar
Debbie Stabenow

I believe that since this was a wedge issue brought up by republicans that any democrat falling for it fell for a political trick of the republicans. These guys should be punished for going against their party's and America's principles. I don't necessarily mean vote them out, but they need to hear that voting for restricting speech is not a democratic value. Republicans should be equally ashamed. They have wrapped themselves in the flag so tight there is no room for the constitution. I'm glad to see my state, MD, can hold its head high. But my neighboring state, VA, should hold its head low. VA is the state of Thomas Jefferson who once wrote: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." What those senators in VA and those 14 democratic senators voted for was tyranny to mussle one form of free speech. Shame on them.

If they succeeded, I wonder what would have been next, calling boneheaded Bush a "bonehead"? Ann Coulter, a favorite of the republican right, has made the following statement according to CBS News:
"(Liberals) are always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let's do it. Let's repress them. ... Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment,"

Were are always only a few steps away from tyranny. Any effort to change the constitution to reduce liberty WILL eventually lead to the promotion of tyrrany. Thank God we have the constitution. Its the only thing protecting this great country from the Coulter's of this world. Protect it with your life and hold those who want to reduce its guarantees of freedom and liberty to account.

Posted by: Sully | July 14, 2006 09:33 AM

Outlawing flag burning and ratifying a new Constitutional amendment to alter the First amendment are two completely different things, Will. Remember the Equal Rights Amendment? It got an 'almost but not quite' result when it came time for the states to ratify it. A flag burning amendment to the Constitution is never going to happen for as long as there is at least 34% of the population against tampering with the First amendment. Getting enough senators, congressmen, and states to ratify such an amendment is near impossible. The GOP knew this, and the recently shot down flag burning amendment was nothing more than a political ploy to fire up their base, as the Republicans know they are about to lose their majorities in Congress come November. The good news is that every ploy they've tried so far has failed and/or backfired. If the Republicans in Congress want to continue with their counterproductive shenanigans, I say let them continue to dig their own graves. The American public wants a better Congress than one that is only interested in symbolic gestures such as non-binding resolutions and proposed Constitutional amendments that never had any real chance of passing. Like a person trapped in quicksand, the GOP Congress will continue to make their situation worse by struggling foolishly,

Posted by: ErrinF | July 14, 2006 09:47 AM

Regardless of the outcome of the vote...they succeeded in their mission...to distract you from what really matters. All of the time and effort and brain power we put behind discussions of this should be placed on what really are the problems of this country:

WAR

- Unecessary war that has limited our ability to respond to real threats.
- North Korea.
- Iran
- Resurgent insurgency in Afghanistan
- Mortgage on our future to take care of all of the vets returning from the most psychologically damaging form of warfare.
- Where the hell is OBL? Come on, do they REALLY want to catch their boogey man?

ECONOMY

- Debt. Debt. More debt. Hey, it's only your kids who will have to pay for it.
- Minimum wage...hey who can't live on $200 and change for 40 hours of work...seriously?
- Destruction of the middle class.
- Trade deficit.
- Production deficit...do we actually make anything anymore?

CIVIL RIGHTS

- Say it with me...I LOVE BIG BROTHER...HE KEEPS ME SAFE.
- Religious fanaticism...ours, not theirs.

ENERGY

- Hey, you MUST buy gas and oil 'cause my buddies need to be really, really rich.
- Corn...it only takes TWICE as much energy to produce ethanol from corn as sugar...but damn it, they contribute to my campaign.

HEALTHCARE

- Nah...it's not a security issue that we cannot even handle urban violence, much less a major attack...or flood.
- Who pays for the uninsured?
- Healthcare for profit...no, it's not an oxymoron.
- Billion dollar boner pills...but I'll be damned if we'll let them cheap foreign drugs in this country; hurts my ability to pay my lobbyists.

ENVIRONMENT

- Chaos theory.
- We have no stinkin' global warming.
- God gave the planet to us...right?
- Science...ehh...it's just a theory.

As long as all of us allow our emotions to rule our thoughts, we will continue to live under the yolk of charismatic idiots. Enjoy.

Posted by: AfghanVet | July 14, 2006 09:47 AM

Lieberman didn't vote for it? He would have if he didn't have Lamont nipping at his heels.
Thanks for that list, Sully. I'll be writing my senator Feinstein about my displeasure with her vote on this matter.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 14, 2006 10:01 AM

ErrinF-

"Outlawing flag burning and ratifying a new Constitutional amendment to alter the First amendment are two completely different things, Will."

I agree. However, had the Amendment received one more vote in the Senate it would have passed down to state legislatures which are run by elected officials. Prior to Texas V. Johnson, 48 of these State Legislatures had passed flag burning laws.

You are right that a Senator is not a state legislature. But a State's Congress willing to pass a flag burning law is precisely the type of legislature that will ratify an amendment. And 48 out of 50 is far above the threshold for ratification.

"Remember the Equal Rights Amendment?"

Apples to oranges. The kinds of states unwilling to pass the Equal Rights Amendment are precisely the kinds of states that would pass a Flag Burning Amendment. And many of the states that did ratify the ERA would pass the Flag Burning Amendment. This specific debate hinges on the types of states willing to ratify the Flag Burning Amendment, not the kinds unwilling (or willing) to ratify the ERA.

"A flag burning amendment to the Constitution is never going to happen for as long as there is at least 34% of the population against tampering with the First amendment."

Unfortunately I think you are wrong. Amendments are not subject to popular vote, so it is quite (functionally) irrelevant what percentage of the population feels on a particular issue. Furthermore I think polling puts the flag burning amendment as supported by over 66% of the population, but I'll have to dig up some polls to substantiate that.

Again, though, it wouldn't matter what the population thought. What matters is that 2/3rd of Congress approve and than 2/3rd of the States ratify such an Amendment. How the other 1/3rd feels, or the American electorate for that matter, is really immaterial.

"Getting enough senators, congressmen, and states to ratify such an amendment is near impossible."

Impossible enough to happen 27 times. Here's the reality: had one more senator voted in favor of the Flag Burning Amendment there would be 28 Amendments to the Constitution. Be glad that they did not.

"The good news is that every ploy they've tried so far has failed and/or backfired."

In what sense? They've gotten 14 Democratic Senators to play along. The general American public isn't particularly interested in the nuances of a Supreme Court ruling and, thus, finds the entire debate ridiculous. As evidenced by many posters in this thread, the idea that someone should be able to burn a flag is so deplorable that they aren't capable of seeing the consequences of violating the First Amendment. That's reality, and it sucks.

As for State Legislatures, I count 19 Republican Legislatures that would likely ratify. I count 6 UNQUESTIONABLY ratifying democratic legislatures: Lousiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and West Virginia. I count 4 split legislatures that would definitely ratify: Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Kentucky. And I count Nebraska's non-partisan legislature as a definite vote for as well.

That's 30 already. The other 8 would come likely from: Minnesota, Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, New York, Washington, and Oregon. Although some could drop out of there and be filled by others.

But, not that this counting is important because from http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-06-25-flag-senators_x.htm

"Because all 50 state legislatures have endorsed the flag amendment in non-binding resolutions, "this will move very quickly through the state ratification process," the ACLU's Schroeder says."

One vote away indeed.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 14, 2006 10:58 AM

Will:

You are right on target. We, the people are in control of the Constitution. In 1990, the flag amendment only got 54 Senators to vote in support. In 1995, we got only 63 to support it. In 2000, we got only 63, but two Senators (Byrd and Bryan) switched their votes. This year, we got 66 votes.

Rather than focusing on the ratification process in all 50 states, now the focus will return to the electorial process. This issue made a difference in the Allen-Robb race in 2000 and in the Thune-Daschle race in 2004. Who's next?

There were also three Republicans that voted against S.J. Res. 12 (McConnell, Bennett, and Chafee). Chafee faces a tough re-election -- and this could easily be an issue.

Since all 50 state legislatures have passed memorial resolutions asking Congress to send this amendment to the states for robust debate and ratification is unprecedented. The will of the governed is hard to ignore in a constitutional republic, especially in an election year.

The very fact that this issue is still "hot" cannot be ignored. It is ironic that immediately following the vote in the House in 1990, former Speaker Foley commented that this was the last time we would be dealing with the flag amendment. Former Speaker Foley voted against the amendment in 1990 and was voted out of office the following election.

In our checks and balances sytem, the govern can exercise its checks and balances at the polls for elected officials. The only recourse we have for checks and balances with the U.S. Supreme Court is the amendment process outlined in Article V of the Constitution.

The problem is if you can't amendment the Constitution to correct a bad decision. The next option is to replace the "bench" with like-minded justices. A much longer process with collateral damage -- a monolithic bench. Personally, I prefer the amendment process.

Posted by: Steve Robertson | July 14, 2006 11:42 AM

Will in Texas wrote:
"Because all 50 state legislatures have endorsed the flag amendment in non-binding resolutions, "this will move very quickly through the state ratification process," the ACLU's Schroeder says."

Not only that, the bill gives a 7 year time limit on ratification. That's a lot of time.

What is needed is some education. Give a list of examples to people, say your friends, of protected speech and ask them whether it is protected speech. How about this list:

1) Burning a flag on the steps of congress to protest funding the Iraq war.
2) Carrying a sign outside the White House calling Bush stupid for starting the war.
3) Burning an effigy of Bush.
4) Yelling "Bush is a lair" during a speech he gives at a news conference.
5) Giving Bush "the finger" when his motorcade drives through a town.
6) Writing a blistering column stating that Bush is in violation of American law and should be put in jail.
7) Having a bumpersticker on your car saying "No Blood for Oil" to protest the Iraq war (three people were ejected from a public social security rally in CO for this speech. Here's a link talking about it and other similar supression of speech by Bush et al http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Comment/JoshMarshall/040705.html).
8) Flying a plane over a Bush rally trailing a banner saying "Bush is a Lair".

For your republican friends, replace "Bush" with "Hillary Clinton".

Posted by: Sully | July 14, 2006 11:52 AM

Steve Robertson wrote:
"Personally, I prefer the amendment process."

You do understand don't you that by amending the constitution to restrict a freedom American's have enjoyed for 230 years and itself violates the first amendment will make America a less free land. So far no one has shown me the harm done by burning the flag in protest. NO ONE! Its a sad day when America's symbols are more important than what they represent.

Nationalism is replacing Constitutionalism in the USA. And this will not be the last attempt to limit freedom and liberty through the amendment process. The direction is clear. One day republican sponsored amendments will nullify the Bill of Rights entirely. We have seen journalists threatened, peaceful protestors hauled out of PUBLIC forums and warrantless searches. And the blame will be on those who let it happen, the American people themselves who are letting the republicans use fear to attack the constitution bit by bit with their support.

Posted by: Sully | July 14, 2006 12:08 PM

Steve Robertson-

"The problem is if you can't amendment the Constitution to correct a bad decision. The next option is to replace the "bench" with like-minded justices. A much longer process with collateral damage -- a monolithic bench. Personally, I prefer the amendment process."

Why do you think the decision was bad? Because you happen to disagree with the outcome or do you truly believe it was reasoned poorly? If so, please provide an argument against the ruling in Texas V. Johnson that hasn't already been presented here.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 14, 2006 12:10 PM

Steve-

I'll add I think you've reached the high water mark. It's hard to imagine Republicans gaining seats in this year's election and, should Chafee lose his primary the Republicans will lose the General Election in RI.

Had the Republicans shown restraint and devoted 4 years to Flag Burning, rather than 4 minutes once every 4 years, maybe they would have gotten something done. Instead they are poised to lose seats and state legislatures because of irresponsible leadership. As a result the "flag burning" crusade will take a few steps backwards. Congrats on reaching 66, a truly terrifying number for the First Amendment, but I consider it a high water mark.

Agree to disagree, though?

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 14, 2006 12:15 PM

Will in Texas,

I think the republican's problems are not caused by the flag burning issue. They are using it to gain votes after all. Their real problem is they tried to trash social security and they really screwed up the medicare prescription benefit to the point where all the elderly I know hates their representive who voted for it. The realities of Iraq today and the statements before and just after we went in are making even the loyalest republican think twice about the republican's ability to lead. Katrina just made it all obvious. Flag burning has little to do with their problems but shows the type of people they are, people who will use simpleminded issues to gain the votes of the simple minded. Guns, Gays and Old Glory.

Posted by: Sully | July 14, 2006 12:25 PM

Sully-

"I think the republican's problems are not caused by the flag burning issue."

We are in agreement. I described their failure merely as "poor leadership" because I did not have the time to outline the many failures of bicameral Legislative rule and Executive control by the Republican Party. You've identified a few of their specific failures, all of which I think fall firmly under the "poor leadership" umbrella.

I truly hope that flag burning remains a protected form of speech. I would rather honor the flag because my own free will compels me to recognize as virtuous any symbol that stands for a Government insuring the freedoms and liberties of all its citizens rather than honoring it because of legal compulsion or dictate.

Just me.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 14, 2006 12:58 PM

I appreciate the points you are making and the tactful way you go about it, Will, but you are misconstruing the points I have made, albeit not deliberately.
I never said anything about some sort of popular vote being made to pass an amendment. My point was that if there is at least 34% of the electorate opposed to the flag burning amendment, then it is highly probable that at least 34% of the House, 34% of the Senate, and 34% of the states will also be against it. As it were, this time around 34% of the senators were against it so the amendment failed. In this particular instance, my 34% theory was proven correct. It is a representative democracy after all, so the make-up of the Congress is commonly an accurate reflection of the electorate.
I never claimed that there will never be ANY Constitutional amendment ever passed again. I claimed that no flag burning amendment will ever pass because it is in conflict with the First amendment, that the tough process of amending the Constitution becomes near impossible if you're trying to alter one of the original Bill Of Rights amendments. Of all the amendments we have had throughout our history, have ANY been in conflict with the First amendment? I don't think so. I would hope you would agree that Americans are very hesitant to do anything that might contradict our Founding Fathers' design. Most amendments have built on the Bill Of Rights, not opposed it.
As for my mentioning the ERA, yes, there are differences, but it still comes down to the fact that the states get a little pickier come the actual time to ratify than when they passed a non-binding resolution before ratification. Non-binding resolutions are all fine and well, but ratification is when push comes to shove. 13 states is all it takes to block ratification of a flag burning amendment, and, unless all those non-binding resolutions were passed fairly recently, there would definitely be a fight to see if the electorate still felt that way when people realize the Constitution and the First amendment would be altered FOR REAL, not just hypothetically. Perhaps if they were binding those resolutions would guarantee ratification, but you have already stated that they are all non-binding, which makes sense as they'd currently be unconstitutional if they were binding.
While I'm sticking to my guns, I will concede that the flag burning amendment passing isn't as farfetched as I originally presumed, based mainly on what you have posted. Had the Republicans been a little more consistent and persistent with the issue in recent years, there probably could have been a strong push to ratify, though I still think it would fail when it came down to the wire (as the ERA did, which I recall got pretty damn close to ratification). Besides the arguments I have made, there also is the fact that Americans value tradition over progress, so many would balk at the amendment just because it was a change. I also think I have a point in that the GOP didn't care so much the amendment passing as it just being brought to a vote so it could be an issue to rally their conservative base. Since the amendment process is a tough process, one could argue that you have to go into the process REALLY wanting to win in order for the amendment to become a reality. If you're just going through the motions using the amendment process as part of a political ploy, you aren't going to have what it takes to win the ratification battle. In this particular case, they couldn't even win in the Senate.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 14, 2006 01:27 PM

I hope the flag burning ban never becomes an amendment also, because then I would have to support it once it became part of the Constitution. Banning flag burning would be 100% acceptable to me if it went through the consitutional process and succeeded in being ratified, as that is our very Constitution at work, and that has what made our country great and afforded many of us the peace and prosperity we currently enjoy. I would of course do my best to pass another amendment to end the ban. Overall, though, I'm still convinced that it will never become a part of the Constitution because it compromises the First amendment, which is first for a reason. It's not only first in the Bill of Rights, it's first in the hearts and minds of the American people.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 14, 2006 01:38 PM

ErrinF-

For both our sakes let's hope you are correct both that a) 34%+ of the electorate agrees that Amendments designed specifically to bypass the First Amendment are unnecessary and should not be passed and b) the Amendment process is responsive to the will of those 34%+.

My main concern is complacency. I truly do believe that our Constitution was one Senator short of a detrimental Amendment. Furthermore I think a country that can produce 67 (or even 66 or even 50 for that matter) Senators willing to vote for the Flag Burning Amendment is the type of country that will not quickly repeal such an Amendment. I view it as a challenge to the Constitution that will not be changed in my lifetime.

Likeminded folks, like us, should view the Flag Burning Amendment for precisely what it is -- a pernicious attempt to change the meaning of "freedom of speech" to suit a particular political philosophy, namely, that one's own country can never be criticized in the severist of protest. We should also recognize that such an Amendment is terrifyingly close to ratification, closer now than it was 10 years ago. Recognizing this trend is necessary to reverse it.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 14, 2006 01:44 PM

That works for me, Will. While I still feel this time around wasn't a very close call, and I also feel that there will never be 2/3rds of Americans (or their elected representatives) that will support the dilution of our First amendment in even the slightest way, I would have to agree with your overall assessment that it is better to be vigilant than complacent. As much as I think there definitely was a bit of a shell game going on by those proposing the amendment, and as much as I think that the amendment wouldn't have passed all of the stages it would have needed to pass in order to be ratified, I can't help but concur with you that the Senate missing the first stage of the process by only 1 vote is indeed somethng to be concerned about. I guess I'll have to rescind my criticism of Emily on this one. She was right to be pro-active in opposition to the 66 votes coming so close to endangering our precious First amendment.
Thanks for your input and the informative debate, Will.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 14, 2006 03:56 PM

ELECTIVE DICTATORSHIP

"What we would be doing is sending a message to the [Supreme Court], you cannot usurp the power of the Congress of the United States." Thank goodness for the Supreme Court! Had this statute been passed it could have led to the situation whereby legislators could change laws at a whim - which is the situation here in Britain. As James Madison wrote 'An elected despotism was not the government we fought for;'

Posted by: Michael from SCOTLAND | July 14, 2006 04:26 PM

I pledge allegiance to the Bill of Rights of the United States of America, and to the universal freedoms it promotes and protects, for all mankind, by virtue of natural right. Liberty, equality, and justice for all.

Don't tread on me.

Posted by: smafdy | July 15, 2006 08:57 AM

world as it is, I express honestly and remove the stain of fear from my being

it is essential that honesty be a part of our government....not as a ploy but as an intent

destroy evil, by being who you are as a way of being for your own sake the world will be made whole the essence of wholeness is allowing yourself to feel what is going on and being present with it as an effort of truth finding/expressing


emptiness


meeting the world with your beingness and leaving no stain

Posted by: allowing myself to experience the | July 15, 2006 02:19 PM


For uncensored news please go to:

www.wsws.org
www.takingaim.info
www.onlinejournal.com
otherside123.blogspot.com

http://www.gregpalast.com/why-democrats-dont-count#more-1452


WHY DEMOCRATS DON'T COUNT
Published by Greg Palast July 14th, 2006 in Articles

Lessons from the Un-Gore of Mexico
[Watch "Florida con Salsa," Palast's 15-minute investigative report from Mexico City for Democracy Now!]


The Exit polls said he won, but the "official" tally took his victory away. His supporters found they were scrubbed off voter rolls. Violence and intimidation kept even more of his voters away from the polls. Hundreds of thousands of ballots supposedly showed no choice for president -- like ballots with hanging chads.

And the officials in charge of this suspect election refused to re-count those votes in public. Everyone knew full well a fair count would certainly change the outcome.

You've heard this story before: Gore 2000. Kerry 2004.

But Lopez Obrador 2006 is made out of very different stuff than the scarecrow candidates who, oddly, call themselves "Democrats."

For six years now, I've had this crazy fantasy in my head. In it, an election is stolen and the guy who's declared the loser stands up in front of the White House and says three magic words: "Count the votes."

This past Saturday, my dream came true. Unfortunately, it was in Spanish -- but I'll take what I can get. There was Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, presidential challenger, standing in the "Zocalo" -- the square in front of Mexico's White House, telling the ruling clique inside, "Count the votes!"

Most important, his simple demand was echoed by half a million pissed-off, activated voters chanting with him, "Vota por vota!" -- vote by vote.

And you know what? I think they are going to have to listen. I suspect that the rulers of Mexico, a vicious, puffed-up, arrogant elite, may well have to count those votes. But, for that to happen, someone had to ask them to do it -- in no uncertain terms.

Traveling the USA, I'm asked again and again 'Why don't Democrats stand up when their elections are stolen?'

The answer: for the same reason jellyfish don't stand up... they're invertebrates.

I'm beginning to find that answer a bit too glib (though darn funny). Because it's not about electoral cojones; it's about a devotion to democracy deep in the bone. Yet weirdly, candidates that call themselves "Democrats" seem kind of, well, indifferent to democracy.

Why? Elections are the radical tool of the working class -- the great leveler of the powerless against the too-powerful. But the candidates themselves, both Republican and Democrat, tend to come from the privileged and pampered class. Votes are just the surfboards on which their ambitions ride.

Right now in Mexico's capitol, nearly a million ballots sit in tied bundles uncounted. That's four times the "official" margin of victory of the ruling party over Lopez Obrador. Supposedly, they're "votos nulos" -- null votes, unreadable. But, not surprisingly, when a few packets were opened, the majority of these supposedly unreadable votes were Lopez Obrador's.

If you think that's a Mexican game, think again. Because that's exactly what happened in Florida and Ohio.

In Florida, 179,855 ballots supposedly showed no vote for President. A closer look by the US Civil Rights Commission statisticians showed that 54% of those Florida "votos nulos" were cast by African-Americans. Did Black folk forget to vote for President, couldn't make up their minds or, as one TV network implied, were too dumb to figure out the ballot? Not at all. Machines can't count some ballots. But people can. For example, several voters wrote in, "Al Gore," which the machines rejected as his name was already printed on the ballot. The write-in could fool a machine but a human has no problem figuring out that voter's intent.

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reviewed all 179,855 "uncountable" votes and found the majority attempted to choose Gore. And they would have been counted -- but Florida's Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, ordered a halt.

So Bush was elected not by counting the votes but by preventing their count. And he was reelected the same way in 2004 when a quarter million votes were nullified in Ohio.

But why fixate on Florida and Ohio? Here's a nasty little fact about voting in the Land of the Free not reported in your newspapers: 3,600,380 ballots were cast in the November 2004 presidential election that were never counted. In 2000, the uncounted ballots totaled just under two million.

And where were the Democrats? In 2004, behind the huge jump in uncounted votes was a mass challenge campaign aimed at poor, Black and Hispanic voters by the Republican Party -- pushing these voters, mostly Democrats, to "provisional ballots." They could have been counted, if someone had fought for it. Hundreds of lawyers were on stand-by but the head of the biggest legal team told me in confidence -- and in frustration -- that the Kerry campaign told them to stand down.

Recently, Al Gore was asked if the election of 2000 was stolen. "There may come a time when I speak on that, but it's not now," said the beta dog. (I suspect that if Al Gore were found bleeding in an alley, he'd answer the question, Who shot you? with "There may come a time when I speak on that...").

Lopez Obrador is of a different breed. At the rally last Saturday in Mexico City, he played video and audio tapes of the evidence of fraud on a screen eighty feet tall. Imagine if Gore had projected the "scrub sheets" of purged Black voters on a ten-story-high screen in front of the White House.

Lopez Obrador put political force behind his legal demands by calling on voters from every state in Mexico to march to the capital. Two million are expected to arrive this Sunday. The result: the word among the political classes is that the election may be annulled. Even the conservative Financial Times has warned Mexico's elite not to "fool itself" by ignoring the demand for a full vote count.

North-of-the-Border Democrats just don't get it. The Republican Party is pushing "provisional" ballots, pushing voter ID requirements, compiling secret challenge lists, scrubbing voter registries and selling us vote-nullifying ballot boxes: they get it completely. The GOP knows the key to their electoral domination is not in winning over their opponents' votes, but in not counting them.

The un-Gore of Mexico City has a lesson for the Blue-party gringos. Either the Democrats demand that all votes count, or the Democrats will count for nothing.

**********
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "ARMED MADHOUSE: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War." Go to www.GregPalast.com.

Palast's report, "Florida con Salsa? Vote Fraud in Mexico" was filmed and produced by Rick Rowley and Jacquie Soohen (Big Noise Films). Matt Pascarella, in Mexico, contributed to this investigation.
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Posted by: che | July 15, 2006 04:10 PM

Out damn spot.

Posted by: Spot | July 15, 2006 10:50 PM

may I walk with beauty before me,
may I walk with beauty above me,
may I walk with beauty behind me,

may I walk in Beauty,

dineh

Posted by: may I walk in beauty | July 16, 2006 12:27 AM

Let's see: It's about a month since Emily last posted and no sign of her. Her blog isn't listed anymore, and folks are still gnawing on a June 28th topic?

Some folks need to get a life. This is o---l---d news now.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 16, 2006 05:11 AM

Posted by: SandyK

"Let's see: It's about a month since Emily last posted and no sign of her. Her blog isn't listed anymore, and folks are still gnawing on a June 28th topic?

Some folks need to get a life. This is o---l---d news now."

SandyK

Well said Sandy!

Chris Ford, your a red neck idiot neocon-weenie.

Will, hope you got a burn permit for your flag and cross burning, I wouldn't want you to break the law.


Posted by: Jamal | July 16, 2006 10:17 PM

Sandy,

You think this is the next topic;

Stem Cells In Senate Spotlight

By David S. Broder

Sunday, July 16, 2006; Page B07

This week's Senate debate on stem cell research will be freighted with consequences -- for the future health of humanity and for the politics of 2006 and 2008.
To deal with first things first: When the House passed stem cell legislation in May 2005 by a margin of 238 to 194, 50 Republicans joined with almost all the chamber's Democrats in support. The House bill would expand the supply of embryonic stem cells by allowing federally funded research on cells derived from embryos created for fertility treatments or donated from in vitro fertilization clinics. Those embryos would have to be in excess of the clinical needs for infertility treatments and otherwise destined to be discarded. They would have to be obtained with written consent and acquired without any payment to the donors.

http://view.atdmt.com/RMG/iview/wpnxxhsb0050000105rmg/direct/01/6063479?click=http://ad.doubleclick.net/click%3Bh=v6|3425|3|0|%2a|y%3B40134923%3B0-0%3B1%3B11526049%3B255-0|0%3B17391561|17409456|1%3B%3B%7Eaopt%3D2|1|250068%3B%7Esscs%3D%3f


Posted by: Jamal | July 16, 2006 10:43 PM

Ah cmon' Jamal. According to Newt we are in the beginnig of WWIII and you want to talk about stem cells?

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 17, 2006 01:55 AM

Will in Texas:

As a fellow Texan, you should know, some folks will keep fighting for what they think is right -- that's what makes this constitutional republic great.

I could care less about flag burners, what I do care about is the process. The Court was wrong and I am glad that there are enough Americans engaged in the process to challenge the Court ruling. Since 1989, I have been engaged in this true grassroots effort. For me, getting it to the states for consideration is the goal -- letting We, the people have the final say.

Then, you vote cancels mine!

Posted by: steve robertson | July 17, 2006 08:22 AM

steve robertson wrote:
"I could care less about flag burners, what I do care about is the process. The Court was wrong and I am glad that there are enough Americans engaged in the process to challenge the Court ruling."

Now steve I know this has been asked before but it seems to be ignored by you and others who would limit our freedoms. Where in the decision do you see a flaw in the ruling? Here is alink so you can study Texas vs Johnson and explain where the legal flaw(s) are. Among its many explanations for the ruling is this:
"If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable." Do you disagree like most Americans or disagree like communists and dictators?

Since NO ONE has submitted anything about the harm flag burning does I will state here that flag burning causes NO HARM to anyone, and any harm that may be associated with flag burning such as disturbing the peace or endangering people is covered under existing laws. Lets face it, there are people in America who do not value the constitution, do not value freedom and liberty and wish to change the constitution that has served this country and protected its citizen's freedoms and liberties for 230 years, all so they can feel better.

Now there are a lot of things people, especially right wing republicans do not like about America, its freedoms being one. They also do not like dissent when a republican is in office. Here are some laws or changes to the constitution I would expect right wingers to push for as they stay in office longer and longer:

-Prohibitions on speech that demeans the government since it deflates the abilities of the government and is thus not allowed.
-Prohibitions of speech that questions the correctness of governmental policy since such questioning of policy gives aid and comfort to our enemies.
-Use of warrants when illigality is resonably suspected is not required by law enforcement since warrants impead the abilities of law enforcement.
-There is no "right to privacy" in the constitution and so is no longer a valid expectation of citizens.
-The majority of taxes should be paid by those who use the majority of governmental services, the middle and lower income classes.

A few more years of this bunch in power will surely change America to the point where our mothers and fathers no longer recognize it.

Posted by: Sully | July 17, 2006 09:25 AM

Sorry steve, here is the link I left our of the above post:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=491&invol=397

No coffee yet...

Posted by: Sully | July 17, 2006 09:26 AM

What is most frightening is that the US Constitution/Bill of Rights is not being taught to our children in our public school system.

Posted by: | July 17, 2006 10:21 AM

I am a US Army Veteran, who served in Berlin, Germany 26 years ago. I dont think I have to remind you what I saw or up against, because if you would look at your history books you would know. When I read that the Supreme Court has made our flag a symbol of desecration, I am angered and frustrated to know that the symbol of freedom that persevered over Communism and tyranny should become something less than what it is.
I am not against burning the flag per-se, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. I support the Flag Burning Amendment because it would correct what the Supreme Court says is the wrong way to burn it. That is as a symbol of hate and desecration, isnt it bad enough that people in other parts of the world, namely Islamic Countries have desecrated the flag by stomping and burning it.

Posted by: Joseph I. Weiss | July 17, 2006 10:52 AM

When pondering the issue of "flag-burning" most citizens envision evil terrorists with hatred in their hearts for the US, Her citizens, and all that She stands for. Generally speaking, people feel a sense of seperation and don't stop to think about how an amendment such as this might affect their family. Do you have a son or daughter in college or nearing that period of life? A realistic scenerio might well come from a simple college protest (not an uncommon occurance)... In this scenerio, perhaps this group contained several 19-25 year-old kids that were protesting about... about whatever might be popular and timely... In the midst of passionate insults, a US flag gets burned... Police arrive, some heads get mildly pounded and after a few stitches instead of going home, the kids are arrested and taken to jail... charged with a felony... go through a costly trial... guilty of "flag-burning"... imprisoned... and now carry a felony conviction for the rest of their lives. There was no rape. There was no murder. There were no drugs involved. There was no destruction of property, public drunkeness, breaking-and-entering... NOTHING! Just a bunch of kids expressing an emotional surge in a strong and passionate manner that happened to be an offensive sight to the less-tolorant. Is this a scenerio you wish to become a reality? This is "no-joke"... it almost happened. You may argue otherwise, but shamefully, far too many of our legislators failed to protect our basic freedom of speech (expression). At best flag-burning is equal to, but not greater than "swearing". How many people do you know have imprisonment records for foul language? Have we become so arrogant that we refuse to turn a deaf ear or blind eye to that which offends us? Maintaining freedom includes an implied "tolorance".
Robert Williams

Posted by: Robert Williams | July 17, 2006 11:37 AM

Joseph I. Weiss wrote:
"I am a US Army Veteran, who served in Berlin, Germany 26 years ago. [...] I am angered and frustrated to know that the symbol of freedom that persevered over Communism and tyranny should become something less than what it is."

I fear Joseph that you have forgotten you oath of enlistment. You can refresh yourself here:
http://www.army.mil/CMH/faq/oaths.htm

All soldier's oaths (enlisted and officer) pledge to protect and defend the Constitution. The is NO mention of the flag.

By supporting a flag burning amendment, which will restrict the freedom of speech of Americans as outlined in the first amendment, you are not defending the Constitution but demeaning and desecrating it. Read the constitution you swore to protect, especially the first amendment and try to understand that by limiting anothers freedoms you limit all our freedoms. By limiting anyone's liberty you limit all our liberties. For America was founded on freedom and liberty, not the ability to stop people from freely saying what they wish so you are not offended.

And after you have refreshed yourself on your oath and the constitution read the supreme court decision here:
http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/texas.html
and tell us all how they got it wrong. Tell us how statements made by the majority like"
"If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable."
were wrong headed and how prohibiting the free burning of the flag supports the Constitution YOU swore to protect and how it protects our freedoms and liberties. Please, explain it to us all.

Posted by: Sully | July 17, 2006 11:38 AM

Mr Weiss

When you were nobly serving our country, what were you risking life and limb for? Freedom?

It must feel like a knife in the back to see people desecrate the flag. But the flag stands for the freedom to say things you don't like or agree with. If you make it so people can't do that anymore, then the flag doesn't stand for freedom anymore, does it?

"I will defend to the death your right to say things that don't criticize our government or make me feel like you don't appreciate her or my service to her" doesn't have quite the same ring, does it?

Try to wrap your mind around this. The flag is a symbol of American honor. When our government behaves dishonorably, that flag is defiled. The proper means of disposal of a defiled flag is burning. Burning a flag is the most public and potent way that a patriot can show their government the extent to which it has defiled our flag. Remember the words of Ed Abbey "A citizen must all ways be prepared to defend his country from his government".

When our government engages in gratutious torture, extraordinary rendition, and imprisons the innocent without even charges or legal recourse, they defile the flag. When they spy on American citizens without warrant or oversight, they defile the flag. When Orrin Hatch says the Supreme Court has no right to check Congress to keep them in accordance to the Constitution, he defiles the flag. Checks and balances ARE the Constitution, whether Orrin Hatch likes it or not.

Try a new network for your news. The Red Cross said 70-90% of the people in Abu Ghraib were innocent. Go back and read the news from around that time. After the scandal broke we let about 2/3 of the prisoners there go. If they were terrorists we must be protected from, why were they let go? If they were innocent, why were we incarcerating and abusing them? And how is it that suddenly, when our actions were made public, we could suddenly tell the difference between the terrorists and the innocents? That defiled our flag.

We had to have Gitmo to protect us against evil terrorists, no? And some of the guys there are evil terrorists. But a majority of them were just guys turned in by someone for the bounty, or to get then out of the way to gain access to their land or wealth, or to turn suspicion away from themselves. We've already let a substantial number of them go. ONe or two turned up on a battlefield fighting us afterward - wouldn't you do the same if conditions were reversed? Didn't you read last fall that it finally came out that Jee, the Muslim chaplain at Gitmo was cleared of all treason charges? Turns out he was writing letters trying to tell his superiors about conditions at Gitmo, yes, even desecration of Korans, so they rewarded him with treason charges that of course didn't holdup. Hmm, maybe your news channel skipped that story of how our government defiled the flag there.

But the worst defiling of the flag is the fearmongering your government is doing. Telling you that you must accept Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and warrantless spying and an executive who spits on Rule of Law because its being done to make you safe. When you put on the uniform you took an oath to the Constitution, not to the Commander in Chief or to a political party. Tell me Mr. Weiss, are our former soldiers such scardeypants that they are willingly violate their oath to protect the Constitution because they're afraid that the bogeyman is coming to get them? That's the biggest desecration of all, isn't it, turning Americans into a land of cowards too scared to defend the Constitution and the honor of America.

Mr. Weiss, America and our flag are being dishonored by this government. INstead of worrying about the piece of cloth, why don't you worry about getting America back to the Rule of Law, and start defending your oath to protect the Constitution. You had the courage to put on the uniform 26 years ago, I'm sure you still have that courage within you to defend the Constitution not only when it's easy, but when the going gets rough, too. Even when the Constitutional freedoms you defend seem distasteful to you.

Posted by: patriot1957 | July 17, 2006 11:52 AM

Joseph,
If we were to amend the US Constitution to remove a freedom simply for symbolic reasons, we have protected nothing... we have gained nothing... we have simply abandoned a freedom that so many (including yourself) fought valiantly to obtain and maintain.
Robert Williams

Posted by: Robert Williams | July 17, 2006 12:30 PM

I've got to laugh at these 'The Supreme Court was wrong' types. There is no real explanation from them on just HOW the Supreme Court was wrong for saying flag burning is free speech and therefore protected by the First amendment. The Supreme Court was RIGHT; You just don't want to except their judgement.
Now, I know the war against 'activist judges' is a convenient contrivance among many on the Right, but the bottom line is that these people are undermining our rule of constitutional law wherein our judicial branch is given the power to interpret the constitutionality of all our laws. Perhaps the lower courts may be 'wrong' at times, but the Supreme Court can NEVER be wrong. The Supreme Court has final say on what is constitutional; If they DIDN'T have that final say, our entire constitutional system would unravel. It is thoroughly un-American to undermine the authority of the Supreme Court; You may disagree with their decisions, but it is COMPLETELY out of line to say they were wrong in their decisions. You that oppose the Supreme Court are the ones that are wrong. I would assert once again that those that support the flagburning amendment are blind nationalists that have little grasp of the US Constitution.

Posted by: ErrinF | July 17, 2006 01:51 PM

In basic training I was taught that the only proper way to dispose of a soiled or worn flag is by burning it. So it is not the act that is problem, but the opinions and intent that they are objecting to.

The goal is to limit freedom of speech and opinion. OK, the actual goal is to keep us misdirected look at the left hand while the right is busy redirecting our wealth and spilling our blood.

Posted by: Vietnam Vet | July 17, 2006 02:14 PM

hold these truths to be self evident,


apparently not all of us do.


..

.

.

Posted by: we | July 17, 2006 02:19 PM

in simple debating, or logical refutation...


it's called "appeal to emotion,"


invoking gawd, mom, apple pie


and it is the tool of choice when robbing the store....

who is buying gold, three weeks before a crisis?


who is getting rich off of oil?


who made oil the focus of the G8 conference?


who is friends with the Military Industrial Complex and Oil rich shiieks of Araby?


who doesn't give a rats a ss about you or the National Guard going overseas w/o COMBAT TRAINING?


who gets to snort coke and be an alcoholic with no credibility and still gets to be president.....because he lets them into the store that is being robbed?

Posted by: yes | July 17, 2006 02:27 PM

Sully:

Where's the harm? What does it hurt? It causes me great emotional distress. It stirs a Pavlovian response to physically defend or rescue. Under current law, that makes me a criminal -- denying the malcontent, derelict, or pervert -- its constitutional freedom. Before Texas v. Johnson, I would have stopped an act of civil disobedience -- unacceptable conduct. That is because for 39 years of training that it was against the law!

I have presented too many of flags to family members of deceased comrades. I have stood reveille on foreign soil. I have heard Taps too many times! But more importantly, I swore to "uphold and defend the Constitution." It is my constitutional responsibility as an American citizen to take a stand when I believe any branch of this constitutional republic has erred -- the Court (in this decision) erred.

The only way I walk away from this issue is when the American people choose not to ratify the proposed constitutional amendment -- then it is over because We, the people will have had the final say. Then and only then am I relieved of my duty.

I have a simple test -- would I teach my children to physically desecate a flag in protest of a Court's bad decision? Not no, but hell no. Would I teach them to protest? Absolutely! This, amending the constitution, is the ultimate protest against the established Federal government, by constitutional definition (First Amendment -- "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Posted by: steve robertson | July 18, 2006 11:27 AM

The proper method of disposing of a used flag is by burning it in a reverent manner. I doubt this includes lighting it off and tossing it on the pavement. Also for those who consider the Constitution to be a sacred writing handed down from on high never to be tampered with except "for good reason". Who is to determine what is good reason? With that logic slavery would probably be alive and well, and women would still be standing outside the voting booths. A reading of Article III, Section 2, last sentence of Para 2 of the Constitution would indicate that the Congress may provide exceptions to appelate review of the Supreme Court of specific legislation.
I wonder if given some of the thinking of this forum that flag burning would still be ok if the flag was still attached to a house, and in the name of free speech flag burning the house went up with the flag. The flag is a symbol, the bald eagle is a symbol, why is it proper to protect the bald eagle and not the flag.

Posted by: Harry Chamberlain | July 26, 2006 09:55 AM

Harry Chamberlain wrote:
"The flag is a symbol, the bald eagle is a symbol, why is it proper to protect the bald eagle and not the flag."

The American flag will not disappear from the earth if it burned but bald eagles might seeing as they declined in population over the past 50 years though THANKS to liberals it is on its way back due to being put on the endangered species list, a list right wingers decry constantly.

Funny how you did not mention speech, the prime reason burning a flag should be allowed. Is it too hard to mention speech. Yea, the constitution is just a document and it has been altered through the years, but only to ENHANCE freedom. The only time freedom was limited was prohibition, which was repealed with the 21st ammendment. All other ammendments enhance the freedoms of Americans as you noted with your examples of slavery and women voting. Limiting an American's freedom to speak by making flag burning a crime demeans not only the constitution's guarantees of freedom, but demeans all that America stands for.

If you can't handle seeing or hearing speech you dislike, go somewhere it is not allowed. I'd rather live in freedom and hear what I don't agree with than live under tyranny and only hear what I agree with. Your wish to limit someone elses speech because it offends you makes you a poor example of an American. Americans love freedom and have given lots of blood to preserve it here and spread it elsewhere. Freedom of speech is either sacred or any form of speech can be limited. Maybe we should limit any speech that demeans an elected official. Is that a good idea? Lets see, I really get mad when I hear people talk about how the military is a bunch of gun-toting savages. Maybe we should limit that speech since it offends me? I could go on. Hopefully you will get the point.

Suck up your anger and be happy Americans can burn a flag in protest. Maybe if everytime that you see a flag burned you think of America's freedoms instead of America's symbol you will feel better.

Posted by: Sully | August 5, 2006 05:20 PM

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