November 29, 2016

Trump flaunts disrespect for American freedom of speech.



What focused him on this unnecessary-to-the-transition topic?

I guess it's the flag-burning that's accompanied some of the post-election protesting:
On Veterans Day, just a couple days after Election day, a group of about 150 [Hampshire College] students burned an American flag in the middle of campus during the dark of the night. “I don’t think anyone here was angry about it (flag burning),” says junior environmental studies major Aaron Rollins. “Emotions were running high after the election and people weren’t happy. We don’t support anything about Donald Trump.”
And:
Students at American University in Washington, D.C., torched American flags in protest of Donald Trump’s win in Tuesday’s presidential election.
If Trump's enthusiasm for punishing flag-burning arises out of vengeance toward his political antagonists, it only makes it worse.

Flag-burning and freedom of expression were one of Justice Scalia's favorite subjects. He joined the majority opinion in Texas v. Johnson, which said there is a free-speech right to burn the flag as symbolic expression, and he loved — in his public performances — to say things like:
“If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag. But I am not king.”
Donald Trump also is not king. And I'd like to see better evidence that he knows the scope of the job the people have given him, which is to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, including the First Amendment.

AND: I see the way this — like that "millions of people who voted illegally" tweet — may be simply a trick to bait his antagonists and amuse his fans. It's just junk, a distraction, and it's funny the way we jump at what should be nothing. Does he think the presidency is his plaything, some kind of joke? To ask that is to be distracted, but from what? Perhaps from how serious he really is.

116 comments:

Brando said...

Maybe he's trying to distract attention from his conflicts of interest problem. Though I don't know what he's worried about--the GOP will cave as they always do, and he'll get to do as he likes. He's got a pretty wide open four years of impunity.

And if someone wants to burn the flag, let them. Better we should know what sort of people they are. Their petulant display isn't enough to get us to undermine the freedoms it represents.

tim in vermont said...

We were fucked either way. At least he can't actually do this.

MPH said...

That Twitter account is going to get him impeached.

President Pence, where are you?

tim in vermont said...

The Tower?

surfed said...

It's going be an interesting 8 years. Just the thought of Althouse in high dungeon alone will be worth the price of admission.

Sydney said...

And I'd like to see better evidence that he knows the scope of the job the people have given him, which is to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, including the First Amendment.

That's something I have wished repeatedly the past eight years.

Jay said...

Renqhuist, Stevens, O’Connor dissented. Did they "disrespect free speech"?

Trump's opinion is in the majority in America and Trump isn't pretending to be king as he isn't threatening to jail anyone.

What a silly post.

PB said...

The US flag is burnt so often in protest that the act has lost impact.

David Hampton said...

Tell that to the Somali student who was exercising his right to feel like an outcast in the U.S. as he drives his vehicle into a crowd of students at OSU then pulling a knife cutting an stabbing his saviors. He shares something in common with the flag burning "snowflake" students who are also feeling left out. Approaching the same problem from different perspectives? When does one violate free the speech provision become inciting a riot? Which one of these groups cross the line? The both yelled "FIRE" in a crowded theater, so to speak, the difference being the type of fire that resulted.

David Begley said...

AA

He's running for 2020. This topic has always been red meat for the base. This has nothing to do with governing.

mezzrow said...

I'm surprised you find it so hard to identify the rope-a-dope here.

Do you know how many images on the news of protesters burning flags this will create?

"Don't y'all light those flags up in front of the camera, now..."

He's going to disappoint his base on something, perhaps soon, and this is just binding them closer to him in preparation. He'll sacrifice a few law professors along the way. No, this is not presidential. Go long popcorn futures, as much as you hate the frivolity of that phrase.

Law profs aren't his base. Trump understands his base. Let his opposition demonize itself. They're doing a heckuva job so far, you have to admit.

rehajm said...

I thought talking about flag burning was a clear signal they were all voting themselves a pay raise or passing some other unsavory legislation.

rhhardin said...

Yeah well that's not Trump's best moment.

Sharc said...

You act as though Trump can wave a wand and go from being a business tycoon to a legal scholar simply because of his new title. That's like expecting him to know how to diplomatically hedge during interviews. In fact, his gut instinct is apparently the same as Scalia's -- burning the national flag is contemptible. Give him a day or so to hear (for the first time) and to appreciate your more enlightened view that even contemptible speech is free speech, and he'll probably agree with you. I think most new presidents are in this position at first -- you just are more aware of it now because Trump uses Twitter to communicate his thoughts directly rather than having courtiers massage his message.

AReasonableMan said...

tim in vermont said...
We were fucked either way. At least he can't actually do this.


And so the distancing begins ...

rhhardin said...

Still, I think democrat politicians have more flags in the background than republican ones, in photo ops. I'd say a patriotism competition is in order.

rhhardin said...

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the fibers of flags.

rhhardin said...

Reverence for the flag is something you want in the military, not in the populace.

The two groups don't have the same function.

Lauderdale Vet said...

Mezzrow is spot on.

rhhardin said...

That politicians attach to the flag is what makes flag burning expressive.

William said...

Burning the flag has lost its shock value. It's banal. Those on the left committed to making America a better place have to up their game. I recommend that the protesters take a dump on the American flag, wipe their ass with it, and then throw such shit laden flags at disabled veterans who protest their antics. Only in such a way can they demonstrate that America is truly a free country.

Hagar said...

Burning the flag as a "protest" is just mindless hooliganism right up to the point where you try to make it illegal.

David said...

Who says Trump is expressing the inner thoughts of the majority? Flag burning makes me angry. It's hugely disrespectful of millions of people, living and dead. But I don't want to jail people who do this. Let them make fools of themselves. It's a free country.

William said...

What if some alt-right types started burning Mexican flags at La Raza demonstrations? Is that covered?......How about burning the Koran at Keith Ellison rallies?......Why are some demonstrationsof free speech considered hate speech and other demonstrations considered provocative?

Ann Althouse said...

"He's running for 2020...."

So he's going to do the Obama thing of acting like he's still a candidate — the perpetual outsider, acting as though he doesn't have power....?

Great.

Lyssa said...

Frustrating. It's things like this that were why I couldn't faithfully support the man for president (not that Clinton was better on this issue).

When we studied Texas v. Johnson in law school (2008, I think), I was really shocked at how many of my classmates were inclined towards Texas's side. This has always seemed to me to be a no-brainer; if you believe in the principle of freedom of speech at all, you must believe that flag burning must be allowed.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Trump's Twitter is not making law or establishing policy. Lighten up, Francis. If and when he pushes this in the execution of his duties in office, feel free to criticize.

Robert Cook said...

"We were fucked either way. At least he can't actually do this."

Sez who? The way we're headed, either he or a successor down the road will be able to do this.

MisterBuddwing said...

It's going be an interesting 8 years. Just the thought of Althouse in high dungeon alone will be worth the price of admission.

I'm no language Nazi (at least, I don't think I am), but you obviously meant to say "dudgeon." Although the mental image of the professor trapped in a high tower in her princess get-up does give me pause. (Sentence fragment, I know.)

Robert Cook said...

David Hampton @ 6:55 AM:

A rather hysterical over-reach, to say the least.

AllenS said...

Trump is a citizen and can say what he thinks. It's not against the law.

Robert Cook said...

"...burning the national flag is contemptible...."

Why?

David Begley said...

AA

Mezzerow is onto something. Trump will disappoint his base on something and he is building political capital with his base with this flag burning issue. His attack on flag burners also shows his performer's ego and mindset. He loves the praise he gets. It is a cheap applause line. Fox constantly runs the flag burning stories too. Ratings. Roger Ailes. Steve Bannon.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

“I don’t think anyone here was angry about it (flag burning),” says junior environmental studies major Aaron Rollins.

So nobody cares about the carbon footprint of flag-burning?

Brando said...

"So he's going to do the Obama thing of acting like he's still a candidate — the perpetual outsider, acting as though he doesn't have power....?"

He's not going to change a single thing in how he acts for the rest of his presidency. What you saw in the campaign is what you're going to get. And why should he change? It's not like anything happened to make him re-think.


Oso Negro said...

Ha ha ha, Althouse! The faithful execution of the laws by the executive branch fell by the wayside long ago. You are simply not accustomed to a populist troll exercising them. I do not recall you complaining so much about Obama's lapses in faithful execution fo the law.

Trumpit said...

I'm tired of looking at rhhardin's bum. There ought to be a law.

rhhardin said...

Bernard Goldberg says tweeting is unpresidential.

exhelodrvr1 said...

This is obviously a way to criticize those on the left who have been making such exaggerated claims about what he will do as a president.

Sebastian said...

"What focused him on this unnecessary-to-the-transition topic?" 1. As others have noted, building cred and capital with his base. 2. Unnecessary doesn't mean useless: Trump is a see-what-sticks opportunist. 3. Nationalism is the glue of the new conservative coalition. Get ready for more.

mezzrow said...

So he's going to do the Obama thing of acting like he's still a candidate — the perpetual outsider, acting as though he doesn't have power....?

Great.


He's a quick learner. Of all the things Obama has done, which one has worked best for Obama?

He's even more of an outsider than the former representative from Illinois. He's just a businessman and a patriot, bringing some common sense to that beltway la-la land. An old-school "dollar a year" man.

Is that a flag you're holding? Do you have a lighter in your pocket?

I believe that Donald Trump understands the zeitgeist better than I do.

Hagar said...

@Robert Cook.
So, if I were to, say, spray-paint the MLK memorial, that would be OK as "just a protest?"
After all, no real damage would be done; the paint is easily removed.

Trumpit said...

Suppose you were stranded in the snow at -20 below and you were freezing to death. And miraculously you found a box, a box of American flags, a box of Snickers, and a box of matches. You would start a bonfire, and burn all the flags for warmth and to signal your location to the rescue squad. You would thank your lucky stars and stripes to be alive.

MayBee said...

Get ready.

Donald Trump/President Trump is going to say a lot of stupid stuff over the next 4 years.

JPS said...

Lyssa,

"if you believe in the principle of freedom of speech at all, you must believe that flag burning must be allowed."

I don't know. My position back in the day (just a layman, then and now) was that we could outlaw flag-burning, but shouldn't (see Brando's first post). Somewhere along the way I came around to the view that no, such a prohibition isn't just ill-advised, it's not constitutional. My belief in free speech hasn't changed.

PJ O'Rourke mentioned a southern state that, in response to the SCOTUS decision, passed a law making assault on a flag-burner punishable by a $25 fine. He added, "But that's pinning a Kick Me sign on the backside of the majesty of the law." He's right, but I still like the spirit better than Trump's in this case.

Unknown said...

Instead of making flag burning illegal, how about making those universities that participate in political activities involving abuse of the U.S. flag (like direct or indirect university-sanctioned flag burning or flags at half-mast in solidarity with protest movements) not eligible for federal funds? I suspect if the universities are held accountable for the disrespect they harbor then they will teach something different.

I am especially incensed at half-mast for political purposes; it smacks of Westboro tactics.

"Freedom of speech does not relieve one of all consequences. FLYING THE FLAG AT HALF-STAFF: The pertinent section of the Flag Code says, "by order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory."

JPS said...

Robert Cook:

"...burning the national flag is contemptible...."

"Why?"

Among other reasons, because it's lazy. I mean, hey, why make an argument when you can just say "f%^& you" in a way that's guaranteed to get people riled up?

In fact, like the old joke about the F-word, and echoing Brando above: "It will identify the quality of your character immediately."

Rae said...

Flag burning isn't even a protest anymore; it's a tribal signaling ritual. You could consider it the left's haka before the soccer game starts.

Curious George said...

"Donald Trump also is not king. And I'd like to see better evidence that he knows the scope of the job the people have given him, which is to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, including the First Amendment."

Where were you the last 8 years?

Bruce Hayden said...

Burning the flag has lost its shock value. It's banal.

So, they do it on Veterans Day. Which is a stick in the eye for those who fight and were wounded, or had loved ones die, in defense of this country.

No one should be surprised though that it was at Hampshire. They call it Hippie U. When in college, my kid visited a friend from HS there, and it makes the rest of elite academia look pretty conservative. Pot everywhere, probably even eclipsing CU Boulder. This is where the really way out rich kids go. This kid grew up with two Doctors Without Borders parents, and went on to grad school in public health, apparently concentrating, of course, on third world health issues (which, I know, is noble, but also very political).

Robert Cook said...

"@Robert Cook.
So, if I were to, say, spray-paint the MLK memorial, that would be OK as 'just a protest?' After all, no real damage would be done; the paint is easily removed."


It's not the same thing at all. It would cost money to clean off the paint. Also, the monument is a unique physical object, and is public property. American Flags are mass produced. If someone buys and burns a flag, they're merely destroying their own property. If someone wanted to protest Martin Luther King, the appropriate analogous action to burning the flag would be to deface a photograph or other mass-produced image of MLK, or of the MLK monument.

Darrell said...

I am going to advise Trump to issue an Executive Order requiring all U.S. flags to be made of Nomex fiber. The name alone will tie up the Media for eight years, at least.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned that if your side has slogans such as "hate speech is not free speech", is willing to fine and imprison bakers and photographers for exercising their right to not engage in speech they disagree with, and is backing away from a law protecting freedom of religion that was at one time enthusiastically backed by Evangelicals and the ACLU, then you don't have a lot of room to talk about how important the first amendment is.

Most of us have figured out that is just a scam.

Free speech for me, but not for thee. And democracy is a bus. And all that.

readering said...

Trump has flag fetish. He erected oversized flags at golf clubs on both coasts and claimed 1st Amendment in response to allegations of land use violations. And used Trump Foundation funds to settle one of the disputes.

Bruce Hayden said...

Thing is, this is, again, a class thing. Trump's real base is working class (esp) whites, who tend to be both patriotic, and form the bulk of the tip of the spear in the military, all out representing their portion of the citizenry. They are the ones who fight and die for the country. (And, yes, many are the Scots-Irish that Trump claims as his own heritage). Burning American flags on Veterans' Day is a stick in the eye for this demographic, esp. by rich, entitled, hippies going to an expensive small liberal arts college in Amherst. So, what needs to be remembered is that this is red meat for his base. Nothing more.

Ron Snyder said...

No Veterans approve of the BS decision by the Supremes that burning the flag is okay. Doubt that the Founding Fathers would agree with the Supremes. This stupid and unAmerican decision will be reversed, one way or another.

Robert Cook said...

@JPS:

Your remarks don't explain why burning the flag is contemptible, they explain why it has become largely an empty gesture.

Bad Lieutenant said...


Ann Althouse said...
"He's running for 2020...."

So he's going to do the Obama thing of acting like he's still a candidate — the perpetual outsider, acting as though he doesn't have power....?

Great.
11/29/16, 7:20 AM

Well, Trump hopes so. Because you LOVES you some Obama. You never fail to say so. Why shouldn't Trump emulate your hero? Wouldn't you have voted for a third term of Obama if only you could? Maybe Obama advised Trump to do this.

But I don't want laws. I want unofficial patriotic delegations to step in their shit. Not as simple as it sounds but surely this Aaron could be found, and his undivided attention gotten?

Gee, I guess that would be wrong...?

Robert Cook said...

"My position back in the day (just a layman, then and now) was that we could outlaw flag-burning, but shouldn't (see Brando's first post). Somewhere along the way I came around to the view that no, such a prohibition isn't just ill-advised, it's not constitutional. My belief in free speech hasn't changed."

Apparently, your understanding of what free speech entails has changed, becoming more expansive. As a belief in free speech must be.

Bruce Hayden said...

Note that I wasn't the one who came up with the name of Hippie U for Hampshire. The students there, as well as the other students in the area, apparently call it that. But, it does hearken back to the Vietnam era where long haired hippies would spit on returning draftees, who had fought, been wounded, and seen friends die, in a war that they, themselves, were mostly exempt from fighting, essentially because of their social class.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Cook, all empty gestures are contemptible.

tcrosse said...

As Prof. Reynolds pointed out, the advantage of a Trump presidency is that we can hold his feet to the fire and vigorously criticize him without fear of being called Racists, Misogynists, Homophobes, or cis-gendered Chauvinists. Not only that, but the Press can be depended on to be on his case like stink on shit.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Burning American flags on Veterans' Day is a stick in the eye for this demographic,

Which is why a reasonable case could be made that it is "hate speech."

If I wasn't a Christian I would have to seriously consider the concept of karma.

To be clear, I am and have always been against any and all laws restricting free speech, even during the Obama years when that was not cool. However, the fact that Trump is throwing some red meat to his base is not exactly surprising. Its what politicians do.

Steve Uhr said...

Ron - Hate speech is not illegal. Again, the pesky First Amendment gets in the way ...

SDaly said...

BTW - Hillary Clinton introduced a flag protection act in the U.S. Senate.

DKWalser said...

Trump is a mixed bag. Many who opposed his nomination were afraid of this kind of thing. He doesn't appear to have a good understanding of how our constitutional government is supposed to work (as opposed to the way it has been working). This makes him an unlikely vessel for returning our country to that path.

On the other hand, many of his picks to staff his administration have been much better than I had expected. So, in the mixed bag, there's more good than I'd hoped for.

SDaly said...

"The Flag Protection Act of 2005 was a proposed United States federal law introduced by Senators Hillary Clinton and Robert Bennett. The law would have outlawed flag burning, and called for a punishment of one year in jail and a fine of $100,000."

David Hampton said...

Robert Cook; Ever wonder what effect the flag burners actions have on newly arrived muslim immigrants? That includes physical acts of violence on symbols of their of their adopted country? May I suggest you put yourself in the shoes of the recently deceased his confusion and ideological upbringing in Somalia and the history of Mogadishu viv-a-vis the U.S.?

MadisonMan said...

I'm very disappointed to see this tweet, but as to what it means? Who can really tell with Trump?

I hope no one is burning flags in Gatlinburg today. What a nightmare for that town.

Jay said...

Just too funny

"Hillary Clinton is co-sponsoring a bill to criminalize the burning of the American flag.
...
Senator Clinton says she opposes a constitutional amendment to outlaw flag-burning."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Ron - Hate speech is not illegal. Again, the pesky First Amendment gets in the way ...

Yeah, I know. That's why I posted this:

To be clear, I am and have always been against any and all laws restricting free speech, even during the Obama years when that was not cool.

The fact is that the left has burned through any credibility it ever had on the issue of free speech. The people running the Democrat party were all perfectly happy to restrict the free speech and religious rights of people that oppose them. But, now that the unthinkable has happened, and they are out of power, they suddenly find that free speech is an absolute right.

You'll forgive me if don't feel like listening to lectures about free speech from people who, a few short weeks ago, complained about free speech fetishists.


Fabi said...

I remember our current president freaking out when someone threatened to burn a Koran -- was there a post about that and its free speech implications?

Rusty said...


"Your remarks don't explain why burning the flag is contemptible,"

Arlington National Cemetery.

mikee said...

"If Trump's enthusiasm for punishing flag-burning arises out of vengeance toward his political antagonists, it only makes it worse."

Two words: Hate Crimes.

When leftists get that beam out of their own eye, I might let them start working on the mote in mine.

n.n said...

Once upon a penumbra... It's a Pro-Choice thing.

If it wasn't true, it would be invented. Trump is leading the news cycle. The professionals need to up their game.

traditionalguy said...

A Flag is the rally point in the fog of war. You yearn to see it still there after a night's smoky battle for survival from attack by a savage enemy. That experience instills an affection for our Flag in men and a resolve to STAND UP for victory in men.

Women and children cannot understand this. But Trump signals he understands it. I guess that is bad if women and children do not understand it. The women of both sexes on the SCOTUS are all that count.

JAORE said...

The question was raised,is burning the Koran protected speech?

IIRC the Supremes ruled burning a cross is not protected.

Is this the type of decision best left to Rage Boy?

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scientific Socialist said...

A-squared is right that Trump is chumming the waters with his flag burners tweet. Moreover, many of his tweets should be regarded as such (e.g., millions of illegals costing him a popular vote victory).

Hagar said...

It's not the same thing at all. It would cost money to clean off the paint. Also, the monument is a unique physical object, and is public property. American Flags are mass produced. If someone buys and burns a flag, they're merely destroying their own property. If someone wanted to protest Martin Luther King, the appropriate analogous action to burning the flag would be to deface a photograph or other mass-produced image of MLK, or of the MLK monument.

OK. So, if I buy some large MLK posters and deface and burn them on the Civic Plaza, you are OK with that?
And how do you think the Evening News would report it?

coupe said...

Male Tomboy on Flags (Eddie Izzard)...

Martin said...

All the "smart" people keep trying to evaluate Trump as if he is just another conventional, ca. 2000 political animal, when clearly he is not.

He knows that the Supreme Ct has held flag burning to be protected speech. But he also knows that millions of people detest flag-burning. This tweet helps the bond between him and them, giving him a bit more cred with them and therefore a bit more flexibility in doing things they may not like so much. He knows he will be beaten down by people reminding him that flag-burning is protected, and that, too, will sharpen the difference between him and "the elites" in the eyes of many millions of people who supported him and some who didn't.

Trump's modus operandi has always been about improving his options and this helps him do that.

Mike said...

Maybe he is testing the limits of how speech-limiting the Dems actually are. I mean they went all-in for reversing Citizens United because it was critical of Hillary. They hate the 1st and 2nd amendments. That's why the DNC-academic-media complex enforces speech codes so stringently. They hate non-leftist speech.

Trolling the left apparently will be part of his mission.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

And how do you think the Evening News would report it?

As hate speech, of course. And the talking heads on TV would be very, very concerned, concerned I tell you, about the lack of civility in our public discourse. Incivility unleashed by Trump's intemperate and inflammatory language.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

So, now that the left is out of power and is fearful it might be their speech that may be criminalized, I expect to see a lot less use of the phrase "free speech fetishist" in articles decrying hate crimes against Muslims such as publishing cartoons of Mohamed.

Mike said...

YES!

Blogger Sydney said...
And I'd like to see better evidence that he knows the scope of the job the people have given him, which is to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, including the First Amendment.

surfed said...
It's going be an interesting 8 years. Just the thought of Althouse in high dungeon alone will be worth the price of admission.That's something I have wished repeatedly the past eight years.


Blogger Jay said...
Renqhuist, Stevens, O’Connor dissented. Did they "disrespect free speech"?

Trump's opinion is in the majority in America and Trump isn't pretending to be king as he isn't threatening to jail anyone.

What a silly post.

coupe said...

Trump avoided the draft, and these people are prone to hyper-patriotism. They feel guilty for escaping the danger as a coward. So they over-compensate.

Lyle said...

Trump is being sly. The first tweet about the voter fraud is to show he will lie or exaggerate if the Democrats lie or exaggerate (the Russians hacking the election?). The flag burning tweet forces the Democrats to come out in support of free speech, which is not something they really believe in, but forces them to agree with the free speech status quo.

mccullough said...

Trump is just trolling again. If people were serious about banning flag burning, just pass a law saying a person can't set anything on fire in a public space. I can't burn my raked leaves. That law would not be unconstitutional.

Kevin said...

As usual, Glenn Reynolds nails it:

ONCE YOU’VE DECIDED THAT MICRO-AGGRESSIONS, “MISGENDERING,” AND “HURTFUL” CHALKING CAN BE PUNISHED, WHAT GROUND DO YOU HAVE TO STAND ON when criticizing Donald Trump for wanting to outlaw flag-burning? Sure it’s a dumb and unconstitutional idea, but Dems have been on board with lots of those where speech is concerned.

I mean, pretty much the entire Democratic party supports overturning Citizens United — a case in which a filmmaker faced punishment for criticizing Hillary Clinton — so what free speech principles are they invoking now?


You can't "bring the country together" if we're going to have one set of rules for some folks and another for the rest. So what's it going to be, free speech for everyone or not?


buwaya puti said...

Coupe,

Re Eddie Izzards piece - just a quibble

Most of those characters that the British stole countries from did actually have their own flags. The Mogul Imperial banner (dating to the 14th century) would have been flown over the field of Plassey, and the Maratha one over Assaye, and the Khalifa's black flag over Omdurman.

Flags as we know them today were an import into Europe. Flags are Asian.

n.n said...

American flag, Rainbow flag, Confederate flag...

Richard Taylor said...

"No Veterans approve of the BS decision by the Supremes that burning the flag is okay. "

Well, I'm a retired Marine, conservative, and I'm of the mind that flag burning is protected speech. In fact, I think it's such a free speech issue that I can't believe we're having this discussion.

Yancey Ward said...

Trump is trolling the Left here- blindingly obvious to anyone with a brain.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Trump is trolling the Left here- blindingly obvious to anyone with a brain.

Yep, burning flags and standing up for the right to burn flags isn't going to convince any Trump supporter to abandon him, and could convince some people to support him.

Does anyone on the left understand that this is how Nixon ended up winning two elections with overwhelming support? Or Reagan?

SDaly said...

Saw this on Twitter, accurately describes state of free speech in USA thanks to modern universities:

Trump should just have said flag burners should be doxxed, boycotted by employers, expelled from universities. That's how free speech works.

mikee said...

Jaore, burning a cross on a residential lawn is, in the US, an immediate threat to the lives of the occupants from the cross-burners, based upon the history of the Democrats who made up the KKK since just after the US Civil War. Thus it is not protected speech. Neither are any other threats.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Professor Althouse is right: our President should have more respect for the 1st Amendment and the American idea of freedom of speech (including speech others find distasteful).

A good President would have said something like "the future must not belong to those who burn American flags." We all know statements like that are just fine with nice liberals who love and respect the 1st Amendment.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula could not be reached for comment.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Oooh, hate speech is back to being free speech again! Man, that Trump guy gets results!

Gahrie said...

Burning the flag is an action, not speech. I will defend your right to speak against the flag, but if you try to burn it in front of me, I will stop you.

It wasn't all that long ago that some on the Left, including Hillary thought that flag burners should go to jail.



Robert Cook said...

"Burning the flag is an action, not speech."

The first amendment's protection of "free speech" is a protection of the free expression of ideas. Burning a flag is an expression of an idea. Therefore, burning the flag is protected speech.

I can't believe someone actually has to school you on that.

BJM said...

@Ron Winkleheimer Trump is trolling the Left here-

Exactly, it's also a bit of mischief aimed at Clinton and the media.

http://tinyurl.com/hbubvw3

n.n said...

American flag, Rainbow flag, Christ figurines, Statues of Buddha... Very Talibanesque.

Robert Cook said...

"OK. So, if I buy some large MLK posters and deface and burn them on the Civic Plaza, you are OK with that?

"And how do you think the Evening News would report it?"


I don't know how the Evening News would report it; what's that got to do with anything? The perpetrator would probably be vilified by many, just as flag burners are.

As for your burning or defacing some large MLK posters, on the Civic Plaza, I don't object to your right to do it and it wouldn't offend me at all. Whether I agree with the idea you have expressed, or the way you have expressed it, it is your right to express your ideas.

David Begley said...

Rush Limbaugh just read the Scalia quote and the gave his take. He should have added Althouse's last comment. This stuff is just cover for the serious stuff he is going to do. Left and MSM remain clueless.

mockturtle said...

It was not until 1989 that the SCOTUS, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that flag burning was 'freedom of speech' [Texas vs. Johnson]. While I personally don't think it should be a crime, I fail to see how burning anything should be deemed 'freedom of speech'. Freedom to burn one's own property, yes. However, burning anything in a public square is going to make a mess and possibly risk injury. So flag burning should only be allowed where fires are allowed or on the burner's own property.

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

"'Your remarks don't explain why burning the flag is contemptible.'

"Arlington National Cemetery."

Nope.

The flag does not represent "fallen soldiers;" it represents the country and its ethos and actions. When the country goes wrong, when it permits objectionable behavior by some of its citizens against others of its citizens, or when it uses its military to expand its political and economic power in the world, or when it transgresses its laws and constitution in any way, it deserves to be condemned for that.

Most soldiers who have died fighting for America have not died fighting for freedom or to defend our nation. Most have died fighting for America's political or economic ends. WWII is the only modern war that can be justified as an actual defense of our nation against a possible existential threat. No others can be. Unfortunately, many soldiers have died believing they were fighting for the right reasons, for good causes, or for our defense, but they were lied to by the government that sent them to fight.

If a soldier dies fighting to defend our country, then he dies fighting to defend the right to burn the flag.

buwaya puti said...

Robert,

Most countries don't take this position. The flag represents the nation, not the nations politics. In Mexico, the Philippines or France the idea of burning the national flag as a protest against a condition of politics would be absurd.

I can understand cases where irredentist or separatist elements would do so, in Spain for instance, as the objection is to the rejected nation, but the US political symbolism is very strange. I dont understand where the urge to do this comes from.
Narcissism expressed as self-hatred ?
Alienation from the volk ? This I think would be a form of extreme vanity.
Possibly an implication of ideological loading of the flag, turning it into a symbol of an ideology and not the people ? If so, this may be a zombie meme left over from the Cold War.

clint said...

Definitely trolling -- when he picks *exactly* the penalties prescribed in Senator Hillary Clinton's flag burning bill.

William Chadwick said...

I believe one has the right to burn any flag one owns. Same with books.

khesanh0802 said...

Trump is making fools of a lot of people. Even Ann gets all in a huff when he trespasses on her superior knowledge of the Constitution. The SC may have decided but in the hearts of a majority of the Americans the burning of our flag is, at the very least inappropriate, and to most it feels a bit like treason.

Look carefully at my icon. That flag is flying over the fire direction center of my battery at Khe Sanh. It may not bring a lump to your throat, but believe me I was damn proud to fly it even briefly. I only wish I had the Marine Corps colors flying at the same time.

traditionalguy is absolutely right. The flag symbolizes our country - particularly for those who are required to fight for the country. Disrespect the flag, you disrespect the country and the men and women who protect your freedoms.

khesanh0802 said...

@Coupe You are right in one sense: most men who have died in combat have been fighting for their buddies nothing more. They generally have no opinion on the larger questions of politics or economics, because they don't have time to worry about that shit. The political/economic questions are usually screwed up on the home front by those who have never heard a shot fired in anger.

Strongly suggest you do a little reading to get a better feel for what combatants think about. You could start with SLA Marshall's "Men Under Fire", or John Keegan's "Face of Battle" which will give you a better insight into what makes a frontline soldier tick. Probably one of the most "down and dirty" views of the infantryman's war is Eugene Sledge's "With the Old Breed on Peleliu and Okinawa".

I get irritated when someone who has probably never been closer to the military than Camp Randall Stadium tries to tell me what men fight for. (In case you did not know Camp Randall served as a muster point for WI units during the Civil War.)

Unknown said...

And you people voted for this doofus.

Rusty said...

khesanh0802 said...

You're wasting your breath. Bob has the wisdom of the anointed. There is only one path to salvation. Bobs path.

I personally don't care what you do with what is yours. Fly it, burn it, eat it. BUT. Don't be surprised if someone takes exception and tries to save that symbol from the fire. Age doesn't often bring wisdom. The aforementioned Bob being a good example, but it does make you appreciate the sacrifices others have made on your behalf.