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Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment

The Senate began debate on the flag-burning Amendment yesterday. It's within a vote or two of passing and already has passed in the House. If it passes by a 2/3 vote in the Senate, it must be ratified by 38 states during the next seven years and then will become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution is not a rough draft. We don't need to amend it, particularly for something that would serve as precedent for further restrictions on our First Amendment rights.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) differed. "The danger of this amendment is that it would strike at the values the flag represents and the rights that have made this nation a vibrant democratic republic in which we have enjoyed freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of expression and freedom to think as individuals," he said.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said the GOP is pushing the amendment to fire up its base this fall. "The real issue isn't the protection of the American flag," he said. "It's the protection of the Republican majority."

Debate is expected to last most of the week. As for the text of the Amendment, the Washington Post reports:

The proposed amendment, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, reads: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

The list of co-sponsors on Thomas, includes Democrats Diane Feinstein and Ken Salazar.

It's not too late to take action and fight for the flag. Tell your Senators to:

  • Please vote "no" on the Flag Amendment. This amendment violates every principle the flag represents.
  • The Flag Amendment would, for the first time ever, restrict freedoms granted to us by the Bill of Rights, setting a dangerous precedent that puts all of our liberties at risk.
  • A free country can stay free only if citizens have the right to voice their opinions. The flag amendment is the first step in curtailing that right.
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  • Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:43:53 PM EST
    What a joke. That these 'grownups' would waste time and taxpayer money on such a non issue shows how truly pathetic our government is.

    Somebody remind me. When was the last time an American flag was burned in this country? Early seventies, maybe? Help me aout, I just can't remember. I'm sure there must be a flag-burning problem if 65 or so Senators say so.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#3)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 11:15:37 PM EST
    Just both parties (one in particular) little way of saying to us all: "Yes, we think you're dumb."

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#4)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 11:26:35 PM EST
    Still no proposals for a cross burning amendment though. You'd think the faith-based folks would be all over that.

    The last time a flag was burned and the act got attention was in Dallas in 1986, which lead to the decision in Texas v. Johnson in 1989. After that decision upheld flag burning as protected speech, there were a couple of test cases as flags were burned and burners prosectued, but none of the convictions held.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 02:30:27 AM EST
    this, like the proposed marriage amendment, is a solution in search of a problem. interestingly, the texas case that spawned this nonsense, was based on the wrong law. the defendent actually stole the flag that he subsequently burned, a theft he was never prosecuted for. instead, the local DA decided to grandstand, and charge him under a statute that his own people told him had no hope in hell of withstanding judicial scrutiny. it was a law passed, again, by a legislative body seeking publicity over substance. this would be an amendment, proposed by a party (republicans) more interested in pre mid-term election publicity, than in the hard work of substantive legislation. two basic questions need to be answered, before any legislation is proposed: 1. how will this benefit the country as a whole? 2. how will this benefit the citizens of the country? this amendment fails on both.

    By 1986, I of course meant 1984 (at the Republican National Convention).

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#8)
    by teacherken on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 05:11:42 AM EST
    I have decided that I cannot politically support any candidate who does not oppose this amendment. I made that clear in this diary at dailykos which was widely read and on the recommended list for quite a while. I also sent a message including a link for the diary to all of the Democratic congressional candidates with whom I have been working. To date 5 have answered me directly, only one of whom is supporting the amendment. In addition, yesterday Jim Webb's Senate campaign issued a statement of his opposition to the amendment, which can be read here. This is not a single issue litmus test. This is basic, and I describe in detail in my dailykos piece why I feel that way.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#9)
    by roxtar on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 05:56:59 AM EST
    Would burning a Bible be any less offensive? Maybe we need an Amendment to prevent that, too. What if you simply point at a flag and call it horrid names? Quick, Robin! To the Amendmentmobile! We are a nation of idiots, governed by morons. Mencken was right....just about every time.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#10)
    by dutchfox on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 06:04:04 AM EST
    When I was a youth, I remember my mother taking out an old, torn, frazzled "Old Glory" into the back yard and burning it. She said that was how the flag was supposed to be respectfully "laid to rest." Isn't that the "legal" way to treat the US flag after it's no longer used?

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 06:11:28 AM EST
    Yes...congress must think we are dumb. Sadly...they might be right.

    Again, trust the amendment process. A proposal that doesn't have the *widest* appeal will not survive the grueling amendment process. Although I'm in the "no amendment necessary" camp, I might be in the minority here. And there comes a time when you have to recognize that your personal views, no matter how vehement they are, might not be in line with the majority of Americans.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#13)
    by Beck on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:01:17 AM EST
    A local columnist, Dick Feagler, wrote an excellent column on this topic in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Burning Issues Have Nothing To Do With The Flag From the article:
    Our congressmen, who don't tackle real problems, are about to consider a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning. Again. Of course, that's just to show off for voters. And to snatch a piece of cheap patriotism.
    Wouldn't you think they'd know by now that you can't burn the flag? Oh, sure, you can burn a flag. But not THE flag.
    The flag has been fireproof and bomb-proof. If some nut sets a flag afire, the flag protects the nut. That's why we love it.
    And for all of the lawyers here:
    There are two things wrong with an anti-flag-burning amendment. The first one is a simple matter of law. So simple that the folks we send to Congress - a lot of them lawyers who know their loopholes - ought to understand.
    Suppose it was a federal crime to burn the flag. OK, what's a flag?
    If I draw a picture of a flag with Crayola crayons and then set it ablaze, am I in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America?
    Suppose my kid comes home from school on Flag Day with a drawing of a 12-star flag on an aqua field? Do I throw that in the garbage? Or must I give it proper burial honors?
    What is the flag?
    Is a flag those little toothpicks in midget weenie rolls at a picnic with tiny flags stuck on them? After the party is over and I'm left with them, can I put them in the trash? Or am I obligated to hold a ceremony and blow "Taps" over them before I bury them in the disposal?


    And so the idiocy in DC goes on unabated by anything as unimportant as, for example, passing the 13 major appropriations bills required by October 1 of this year. Rather than do their legally mandated jobs, our brave representatives are waging a battle against the dreaded scurge of "flag burning". Lord I feel safer just knowing they're on the ball; don't you? I do find the quip "The Constitution is not a rough draft. We don't need to amend it, particularly for something that would serve as precedent for further restrictions on our First Amendment rights" odd though, Jeralyn. The First Amendment itself is just that, an Amendment to the Constitution. If that document was not a rough draft, why did we need to add ten amendments to it immediately, and why have we had to amend it 17 more times since? What other amendments do you feel should not have been made, and when will you begin advocating their repeal? Should women by denied the right to vote? How about blacks? Personally, I'm all in favor of an amendment which can gain the support required to be passed through the entire process, and I'm in favor of the process because we've already shown that we can make mistakes in this process and correct them later (Prohibition, anyone?). But making blanket statements about the Constitution requiring no amending at all seems to be an odd thing to find here.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#16)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:12:17 AM EST
    Let's burn down the WH instead. Jondee, Just both parties (one in particular) little way of saying to us all: "Yes, we think you're dumb." Exactly.

    But making blanket statements about the Constitution requiring no amending at all seems to be an odd thing to find here.
    Odd and quite uninformed. I too was off-put by the obtuse statement. I have a feeling that a revival of the ERA would be met with trumpets and cheers rather than hisses and jeers. Criticizing the amendment process itself is nothing more than a political agenda masquerading as principle.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#18)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:33:58 AM EST
    Justpaul, My impression is that constitutional amendments are written to secure and solidify the freedoms of the populace, or to restrict the power of government over the populace. Prohibition is a classic example of a constitutional attempt at restricting freedom, and it died a relativley quick death. This amendment, like the gay marriage amendment, seeks to restrict the freedoms of the populace and expand the restrictions by the government. This is in direct contradiction to the very purpose of the constitution, and the amendments that were added later. I cannot see how any legitimate court would rule in favor of this amendment. My mother used to read cheap romance novels that had more social relevance than this idiocy. It's all just to take our minds off of more pressing issues, like the war and voting fraud.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:48:39 AM EST
    Dutch - You are absolutely correct, flags that are tattered, worn and if they touch the ground, should be destroyed by fire. I guess if it becomes law that you cannot burn it in protest, you can always say that it touched the ground and you were acting only in accordance with proper handling of a desecrated flag. I wish there were thousands of flag burnings every day so that we could really justify having this issue up for debate, but when we have to go back to 1986 to find a fire it sounds rather desperate. Elections must be coming.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:50:27 AM EST
    et al - From the post above let us see what the amendment says:
    "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."
    So burning is not an accurate description. Now, who you think would desecrate a US flag? Link.
    A group of American Muslims produced a video that shows its members on a New York City street corner declaring Islam's dominance over America as they tread on a U.S. flag and then rip it apart. ..... In the video, released by the New York-based Islamic Thinkers Society, one of the Muslims is shown placing a sign on the flag that says, "Oh Muslims! Do you know your enemy? Isn't it obvious.... The five-minute piece begins with a man speaking in clear English: "Just to show where our loyalty belongs to - you see this flag here? It's going to go on the floor [sic]. And to us, our loyalty does not belong to this flag, our loyalty belongs to Allah ... ."
    The standard argument by those that oppose the amendment is that it is free speech and is protected. Interestingly, many, of not all, of those that oppose the amendment support the restriction of money used by political candidates, even though the act is clearly as much freedom of speech as desecrating the US flag. Giving money to your favorite candidate is wrong. Tearing up a US flag is okay. Go figure, eh? Squeaky - I assume you also defend tearing up the flag on the freedom of speech issue, yet a few days ago you were calling for me to be banned because I had the nerve to question Juan Cole and link to an article that also questioned him. Would you think that to many of our citizens flag desecration is as offensive as asking questions about a bloger's writings? Et al - I wouldn't worry about a child bringing home a bad copy of the flag, or if you can burn one to properly dispose of it. Those arguments are just sophistry masquerading as logic, and instantly recognizable by everyone. Me? I am conflicted on the issue. I don't think it is free speech, anymore than giving money to political candidates is free speech. Is the government becoming too intrusive, too controlling? Certainly no more than saying a smoker can't smoke in a bar. And much less than the speech codes now in place in many universities. What I think is...that it is hateful actions by someone with no regard for their fellow citizens. And I think it a shame that our society has become so balkanized that we even need to talk about this. So, if you are not concerned about the hatred and ill feelings caused by flag desecration then you shouldn't be worried about the use of certain other words and actions that cause the same reactions on the other side. And if you are willing to protect one, then you should be willing to protect the other.

    Che, Are you saying that your impression of the 16th amendment ensures the freedom of the people or restricts the power of the government? How so? How about the 20th? Or the 22nd? Or the 25th? This is in direct contradiction to the very purpose of the constitution, and the amendments that were added later. So is the 16th Amendment, which overturns a general ban on income taxes. So does the 17th Amendment, which changes how Senators are elected. So does the 20th Amendment, which changes the dates of the terms of office holders. So does the 22 Amendment, which limits Presidents to two and one-half terms in office. Every one of those Amendments overturned part of the existing Constitution, and few of them have anything to do with ensuring our freedoms. The 16th Amendment is particularly galling, as it upset the foundation of our tax system and gave us the idiocy we have now. I cannot see how any legitimate court would rule in favor of this amendment. Of course not, since you see every court that disagrees with you as somehow illegimate. I too am opposed to this Amendment, but if enough people in this country are i favor of it to get it passed, you and I will just have to get over it until people realize how much of a mistake they have made and reverse themselves. But that's no reason to declare the Constitution a final draft, unamendable. Plenty of people would have said the same about the 15th Amendment, and did, but it was still passed. This flag burning amendment is just stupid politics played out large, and it is likely to backfire, as few people in this country truly believe we have a problem with a flag burning epidemic. If you are opposed to the status quo is DC, you should applaud those pushing for this amendment, as it will only serve to help bring them down.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#22)
    by scribe on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:04:33 AM EST
    For those so inclined, please explain to me how we need an amendment to the Constitution to ban burning the flag? Here's the problem I'm confronting: There are so, so many in or supporting the Republican party, who argue that 'Murca's a Christian Nation and that our Constitution was (if not handed directly by the Almighty, then surely) inspired by te Almighty. We all know that God don't make imperfect things - everything He makes is made just the way He wants it. That, therefore, means the Constitution He (handed down or) inspired was made just the way He wanted it. Why do we need to change it, then? Pretty arrogant of us, telling the Almighty he made a defective product, no? Please discuss....

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#23)
    by roy on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:17:25 AM EST
    Somebody remind me. When was the last time an American flag was burned in this country? Early seventies, maybe?
    Last week. You can find a catalog of incidents here. Obivously a biased source, but the two stories I bothered to double-check look legit. Most seem to involve theft or vandalism of others' flags, so they're illegal without an Amendment, if not illegal enough for some, like Bob Bennett and Hillary Clinton.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:19:32 AM EST
    Scribe - See "sophistry," etc. Or were you just trying to be sarcastic?

    I cannot see how any legitimate court would rule in favor of this amendment.
    Don't ponder this too much, Che: no court will be ruling on this amendment should it be passed. And scribe - I'll reappropriate the above arguments to answer you. The Constitution was inspired and informed by Judeo-Christian values. I don't think anyone seriously alleges the Constitution was "handed down directly" by the Almighty. However, it's foolish to ignore the influence of Christianity on our Founding Fathers and how that translates into our founding documents. The Founders understood that, from time to time, additional provisions would need to be written into the Constitution. They knew a founding document that did not permit change would likely be scrapped and rewritten when such a time came if they failed to include an amendment process. On the other hand, they wanted changes to made only when they reflected the values of the entire nation. To ensure only the most widely supported causes were written into the Constitution, they devised a truly grueling procedure.

    If some nut sets a flag afire, the flag protects the nut. That's why we love it.
    What irks me more than having to remind flag wavers of this essential quality (?) of liberty in this country is that i can go down the street and find more symbolic representations of the the flag in the form of stickers, ribbons, signs, hats, shirts, keychains, ad nauseum...so that since 911 the flag is now the most recognizable logo, next to say, Apple, Nike, or Coca Cola, for crying out loud. how much meaning to do attribute to those logos? (hint: i tend to filter out overdone marketing schemes...) a flag burning amendment won't help build the brand any more than any of these cheap pseudo-patriotic gimcracks the party stores sell. the very people who seek to strengthen the "meaning" behind symbol of the flag have watered it down so that it has to fight with the Taco Bell, daily lottery, and casino gambling billboards for eye-time. disposable symbol of a disposable ideology. and amending the constituition to this questionable end only cheapens that particular "symbol" as well.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#27)
    by marty on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:33:22 AM EST
    "What a joke. That these 'grownups' would waste time and taxpayer money on such a non issue shows how truly pathetic our government is." Not quite..it shows how pathetic REPUBLICANS are.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#28)
    by swingvote on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:39:41 AM EST
    Not quite..it shows how pathetic REPUBLICANS are. Not quite, Marty. 77 Democrats voted for it in the House. If you wish to split hairs, this just shows that there are more "pathetic" Republicans than thare are "pathetic" Democrats, but I'm sure plenty of people woule argue against such a reading of the facts. Anybody know where John Kerry stands on this?

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#29)
    by Pete Guither on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:43:30 AM EST
    Jim, You say:
    The standard argument by those that oppose the amendment is that it is free speech and is protected. Interestingly, many, of not all, of those that oppose the amendment support the restriction of money used by political candidates, even though the act is clearly as much freedom of speech as desecrating the US flag.
    First, definitely not all (I oppose both). Second, I don't know that it's "clearly" the same in everyone's mind. Third, I don't believe that there has been a strong push for a constitutional amendment to ban political spending.
    Giving money to your favorite candidate is wrong. Tearing up a US flag is okay. Go figure, eh?
    That isn't even the question, and you know it. The question is whether the government should have the power, through criminal or civil penalties, to ban financial contributions or flag desecration, not whether those actions are right or wrong. That's an important distinction, and it's very sloppy to ignore it.
    Squeaky - I assume you also defend tearing up the flag on the freedom of speech issue, yet a few days ago you were calling for me to be banned because I had the nerve to question Juan Cole and link to an article that also questioned him.M
    More sloppiness. I assume that Squeaky didn't ask for a Constitutional amendment to ban you from posting on a private site. Banning from a private site isn't a free speech issue.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 09:09:12 AM EST
    I notice Jim couldnt let the moment pass without slipping in a little more anti-muslim warmongering. The luxery of the eternal non-combatant, Chickenhawkus Americanus.

    Interesting that the text of the amendment only gives the Congress the ability to prohibit flag desecration, so state laws would still be unconstitutional abridgments of the First Amendment.

    KCinDC - I'm pretty sure the intent to the amendment is to authorize a federal ban on flag desecration, thereby making state prohibition unnecessary. Wouldn't you say?

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 09:28:48 AM EST
    Pete G - My point was, and is, that if you support flag desecration, which enrages many people, then you should support removal of other bans on activities and speech that enrages the other side. You can't have it both ways. And my comment to Squeaky was just pointing that out, not equating the two. I don't know why you consider that sloppy, especially since I used a specific example and a specific person. And I noted that not all oppose one and support the other. That you do not is fine, but I believe it is correct to say that the majority of those on the Left oppose the amendment while supporting the politial spending ban(s). et al - Please don't tell me that you do or don't or ask for proof. That is a OPINION. Disagree or agree, your perk. The flag represents many things to many people. That is why those who are in active disagreement with the country, some acting in hate, sometimes desecrate the flag, as a symbol of the country. That they do so is shameful, but I'm not sure that I would want to make it illegal.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#34)
    by desertswine on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 09:34:13 AM EST
    This amendment would tend to make the flag more important than the values it represents.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#35)
    by swingvote on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 11:30:27 AM EST
    As it turns out, Kerry is against this amendment. Good for him.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#36)
    by Dadler on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 12:15:21 PM EST
    Jim, Money can be used to buy elections, commercial time, and ACCESS TO POLITICIANS -- that is the argument against unlimited campaign contributions. Flag-burning is a personal act that has no effect on anyone who disagrees except mental discomfort. And guess what? If you can't hadle a lot of mental discomfort on a daily basis, a genuinely free country is no place for you. I'll say it again, the proper way to dispose of a flag is by burning it. So it's not the burning it's the IDEA behind the burning. What other IDEAS would you like to make illegal? And don't hit me with intent being factored into other crimes, other crimes HAVE ACTUAL VICTIMS. A piece of cloth is not a victim, nor is the discomforted mind of weak Americans who'd rather be like China, Iran and Cuba on this. The whole argument is pathetic electioneering, as predictable as the sun coming up, but much less natural and healthy. I am burning a flag in my mind, arrest me. After all, our bodies and minds and thoughts are made up of the same stuff as the rest of the universe. This is SOOOOOOOOOOOO laughable.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#37)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 12:20:00 PM EST
    Squeaky - I assume you also defend tearing up the flag on the freedom of speech issue, yet a few days ago you were calling for me to be banned because I had the nerve to question Juan Cole and link to an article that also questioned him.
    How unbelievably pretentious of you make this comparison. First of all first amendment rights and your right to comment on TL have nothing in common. Secondly your smear of Juan Cole had to do with aligning yourself to a hate group that would love to eliminate Juan Cole et al from public debate and Academia. You yourself never even read Cole but posted a hate site's smear on him. I think that that is a despicable and cowardly act and were it my blog you would be banned for colluding in a character assassination meant to eliminate free speech and constructive debate regarding Israel. Your McCarthy like participation on the issue is vile. If you want to assemble with your hatemongers and carrying a sign calling for Juan Cole's resignation from MU so be it. I would not attempt to limit your free speech in the public sphere. Knock yourself out.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#38)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 12:37:47 PM EST
    Dadler writes:
    And guess what? If you can't hadle a lot of mental discomfort on a daily basis, a genuinely free country is no place for you.
    Works for me. Now, can I assume you will also NOT support the various speech codes. no smoking areas, hate crime laws that make the other side uncomfortable? And the amendment is not "burning" but desecration, and yes, that's pretty easy to see. Also see my comment about sophistry and arguments. Squeaky - Speaking of things not known... You have no idea of how much of Cole I have read. Why do you make such an unsupported claim? Is that the best you can do? And what proof do you have that the site is a "hate site?" Can you link us to something that demonstrates the accuracy of your claim beyond their disagreement with Cole? And I was not comparing your inane attack with first amendment rights, but rather demonstrating that you are happy to defend actions that make others unhappy, while at the same time, attacking me for actions that make you unhappy. See the disconnect??? Aw, go ahead and claim you don't, but everyone knows better. Can we put you down as "I believe in free speech as long as you agree with me?"

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#39)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 01:01:33 PM EST
    We celebrate and publish photos of our dead enemies and are all up in arms about desecrating a flag. What would Christ say? I think in Second Opinions 3:16 he said it best "It is righteous to kill your enemies and put their heads on sticks and blasphemous to desecrate man's symbols of freedom. It is ordained that freedom is the will of God and those that do not serve the righteousness of freedom shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven."

    This idiotic display by both parties in Congress should demonstrate that our government now exists to represent its own best interests, not the interests of the people. (But I must admit the Dems are still slightly more palatable that the Repugs). We have a situation where George Bush and his operatives stole two elections, allowed 9/11 to happen (either through negligence or intent), illegally attacked two nations (thus committing war crimes), authorized torture of POWs (also a war crime), illegally spied on the American people through the NSA wiretap program, and outted a covert CIA operative for political advantage. Yet Congress thinks our nation is more threatened by flag burning than this rogue "president." It's obvious that the Flag issue is simply a PR stunt by its supporters. It's also obvious that the United States is being run by a criminal administration and a complicit legislature and judiciary. What's not so obvious is why the people of this country continue to tolerate this state of affairs.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#41)
    by Peaches on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 01:28:01 PM EST
    Jonathon, Second Opinions? I am only familair with King James Version. I am not a biblical scholar but, the verse you cite does not sound like any passage from Christ I have come accross. Little more help, please?

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 01:46:14 PM EST
    Peaches, it is from the Koreshian bible......

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#43)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 02:24:14 PM EST
    I read it every Sunday at my congregation, Bedside Baptist.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#44)
    by Peaches on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 02:27:54 PM EST
    David Koresh?

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#45)
    by BigTex on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 02:29:19 PM EST
    This amendment would tend to make the flag more important than the values it represents.
    That is perhaps the only reasonable argument against the amendment offered here to date. This is an election issue because many democrats also favor this amendment. Why the desire to burn the flag? Flag burning isn't a protest, no matter how badly people want it to be. Can anyone point to an example of someone going out and burning a flag as a protest? People can point to that as a part of a protest, but how about someone simply going out and burining a flag and nothing else? The flag bruning is speech, but it is speech intended to incite a hostile reaction. The liberals should be supporting this amendment. After all, liberals are all for changing the meaning of the constitution to fit with the times. Just look at Brennan, Warren, et al and their disgusting abuse of power as Justices upon the Court. A majority of the country supports this amendment. I suspect had Clinton proposed the amendment liberals would embrace it with open arms.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#46)
    by Dadler on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 02:33:10 PM EST
    Jim, Burning is burning, this sad attempt is about outlawing the IDEA behind it and experssed in it. This is as clear a case of just how free a country is, if it wants to make extreme but ultimately victimless dissent something to be feared and prosecuted. Sorry, not in my free country. No harm...then NO FOUL. But let's use your word "desecrate", a word which certainly has meaning in a vandalism case, but that's not what we're talking about here. I mean, what other personal but revered things belonging to the accused person, which in their desecration will not reasonably harm anyone or cause any larger damage, would you like to protect by law. Burning your own cross? Your own Star of David? Your own Crescent Moon & Star? And what about your state flag? Or art that DEPICTS burning flags? To me it's all nonsense. Plenty of things are much more offensive and I would never look to make them illegal. Like stupidity. And no, I'm not a fan of any laws that punish more severely based on WHOM you harm. Which would include hate crimes, harsher sentences for people who harm police, judges, etc. As for "speech codes", I don't know where we'd begin that one, or what you're starting point would be, tho I hope you know I tend to err heavily on the side of freedom.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#47)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 02:37:55 PM EST
    Peaches, there is no II Opinions, it is all tongue in cheek, I thought you would catch the sarcasm in the Koreshian comment or the Bedside baptist......

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#48)
    by Sailor on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 03:18:00 PM EST
    The standard argument by those that oppose the amendment is that it is free speech and is protected. Interestingly, many, of not all, of those that oppose the amendment support the restriction of money used by political candidates, even though the act is clearly as much freedom of speech as desecrating the US flag.
    That is a rather lame argument. Trying to equate free speech that anyone can perform with 'free speech' that lets the rich scream louder than everyone else is specious. And please cite stats that show being against one is being for the other. Yet another indefensible strawman.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#49)
    by kdog on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 03:31:04 PM EST
    I guess we paid off the debt, brought all the troops home, reduced terrorism worldwide, made quality health care readily available to all, and found viable alternative energy sources since our leaders elected to work to solve these problems have gotten around to this proposed amendment. Morons all who voted for it...D and R alike. Or maybe I'm the moron who can't grasp that crap like this is what wins elections...not leadership or character.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#50)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 03:53:58 PM EST
    Jl - Sorry to hear that, I was looking forward to hearing something from VI Gripes, XII Rants, and IV Non Sequiters.

    After all, liberals are all for changing the meaning of the constitution to fit with the times. Just look at Brennan, Warren, et al and their disgusting abuse of power as Justices upon the Court.
    Tex...what did they do specifically, to piss you off? Just curious. To me it seems they made this a more humane country, and in fact a more 'Christian' country, if I understand the teachings of Jesus correctly.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#52)
    by roger on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 04:41:59 PM EST
    Yeah, ending segregation was sooo wrong! And how did Warren dare to try to ensure that trials were at least halfway fair? This amendment would not affect your ability to cheer W, nor say things that are popular. What's the problem?

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 05:13:47 PM EST
    Sailor - If you would read complete comments before attacking you would find that I was making a general comment. I later said:
    Me? I am conflicted on the issue. I don't think it is free speech, anymore than giving money to political candidates is free speech. Is the government becoming too intrusive, too controlling? Certainly no more than saying a smoker can't smoke in a bar. And much less than the speech codes now in place in many universities.


    I don't think it is free speech, anymore than giving money to political candidates is free speech. PPJ, in the case of the smoker in the bar, the idea is to minimize physiological harm caused in others who would breath the air that he pollutes with his habit. I will grant you that the idea of worrying about the health of those who spend time in bars is risible, and I think that requiring non-smoking areas would serve the same purpose, without 'branding' the smoker. As to a flag burning amendment, are you asserting that the government has the right to tell people what they can do with their property because it might cause strong feelings in others? In that case, why stop at the flag? Why not include religious icons, religious texts, scripts of popular soap operas, novles in the Battlefield Earth series encyclopedias, music scores, etc?

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#55)
    by Sailor on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:43:20 PM EST
    So ppj, are you saying you didn't say those things or you didn't mean them? Just like you didn't say/mean this, or this after you said I choose to give Clinton a pass.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#56)
    by Peaches on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 05:56:27 AM EST
    Jonathon, I get it now. I am such a dope. That's funny, though.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#57)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 06:03:54 AM EST
    Peaches, dope? I was thinking you were setting me up for a joke to include my post as you are usually a step ahead of me so I was waiting with much anticipation for the joke. Kept checking online and checking and checking assuming it was going to be a good one. Jondee, nicely done.....

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#58)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 11:54:56 AM EST
    And what proof do you have that the site is a "hate site?"
    You don't think that Iranian Badge story cooked up by Banador Associates was about hate. I do.
    Speaking of things not known... You have no idea of how much of Cole I have read. Why do you make such an unsupported claim?
    You have never presented any shred of evidence that you have read Cole, save bits that you picked up from wingnuttia. You have smeared him, though, and postured as if you had primary knowledge of his writings, position, etc. As a long time reader of Cole it seems clear to me that you know zero about him from his writings.
    And I was not comparing your inane attack with first amendment rights
    Just a non sequitur in order to live up to your legendary troll status then? A mere attempt at distraction, hijacking? I think not. Your attempt was to knit together two superficially related issues in order to defend an very weak argument. Calling it sloppy thinking would be kind.

    Re: Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning Amendment (none / 0) (#59)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 12:06:00 PM EST
    Peaches - Dont feel bad, I have about a dozen moments a day on the average like that.