December 1, 2016

4 reactions to Trump's flag-burning tweet.

2 days ago, Trump tweeted:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
I've had a series of reactions:

1. Stern criticism of his disrespect for the right to freedom of speech: "Trump flaunts disrespect for American freedom of speech."

2. In an update to that post:
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.
3. Observing that his tweet was effective in doing something he may have intended: Even more anti-Trump protesters will burn the flag, and their antics will be self-defeating.

4. Trump is the anti-Dukakis. He was doing exactly what Dukakis failed — disastrously — to do when he was asked the question  "Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?"



It seems like a crazy question, but I think it was intended to give Dukakis a chance to show that he was a human being, with genuine emotion. But Dukakis gave a legal, passionless answer: He's opposed to the death penalty. That is, making it personal doesn't change his answer: This is no time to show that I lose my mind when I feel deep anger.

I'm one of the few people who liked that about Dukakis. He stayed on track and proved his devotion to law. But just about everyone else seems to think he made a fatal error in not putting law to the side and showing his deep love for his wife and intense outrage at rape and murder.

Donald Trump, by contrast, reacting to some recent flag burning, not even confronted with a question, seized the occasion to get theatrically emotional about his love for the flag and his rage at its desecration.

Yes, there's important law that could be talked about, but he's not going there. He's the man of staunch feeling, not a robot like Dukakis.

200 comments:

rhhardin said...

There's people like me who are completely indifferent to the flag and baffled by other reactions to it.

rhhardin said...

Maybe it's like burning the Koran, another popular outrage that baffles everybody.

Comanche Voter said...

I'n not certain that Dukakis proved anything but his unswerving devotion to liberal orthodoxy.

Ann Althouse said...

"There's people like me who are completely indifferent to the flag and baffled by other reactions to it."

I suspect Trump is the same, but he sees the value of affecting the minds of the people who he can see do react to it.

rhhardin said...

When generals command the troops not to burn the Koran, who is not disgusted by their spinelessness.

Same with flags.

mockturtle said...

What amazes me is that so many people--and the MSM--assume that flag burning has always been considered a protected exercise in 'free speech'. There are many reasons flag burning should be protected but 'freedom of speech' is not one. One could extrapolate a decision like that to include a lot of what is considered 'hate speech' by many, and under some laws. But I doubt that the ACLU would rise up to defend it.

rhhardin said...

Who would guess that you'd have to tiptoe around self-appointed patriots.

n.n said...

Dukakis supported the death penalty for wholly innocent human lives. He opposed the death penalty for abortionists and rape-rapists. He was Pro-Choice.

Bay Area Guy said...

Made my day! I remember that Dukakis-Bush debate, and how Bernard Shaw (yes of CNN), opened it with that haymaker that knocked Dukakis out of the race with one question!

Oh yeah, flag burning:

1. It's a protected form of speech under the 1st Amendment.
2. It's a horrible act. The people who do it (mostly irate Leftists), should not be beaten or arrested, but should be ostracized.


rhhardin said...

I suspect Trump is the same, but he sees the value of affecting the minds of the people who he can see do react to it.

Well, I don't mind it as sand-in-the-gears for the MSM, something Trump can teach everybody about; but Trump ought to be teaching realism, not exploiting the opposite.

rhhardin said...

Next they'll be making burning leaves illegal.

n.n said...

The precedent for free speech was set with burning Christian crosses, destroying Buddha statues, etc. It's very Democratic. People are concerned about the Taliban progression.

Nonapod said...

One of the most significant human failings is our inability to consistently separate our immediate strong emotional reaction to an event from our more rational, reasoned thinking and analysis that we can do after the initial reaction. We seem to put to much stock in impulsive, reactive emotionality.

Trump seems to understand reactive emotionality on a deeper level than a lot of people, and he knows how to exploit it better than probably any person I've ever seen. One big hope I have with regards to Trumps presidency is that after a few years people may actually begin to put less stock in first reactions, both their own reactions and those of others.

Roger Sweeny said...

I remembered watching it live and thinking he should have answered, "I'd go and kill him myself." Then stopped as if composing himself, and said, "That's how I would feel but ..." and launched into the answer he actually gave.

Mel Plontz said...

Does Kitty still prefer cleaning products?

n.n said...

Dukakis was emotionless and inconsistent within a scientific and moral frame of reference. He was selective.

traditionalguy said...

A flag is first a banner over the area free volunteers are defending to the death the conquest by an Empire's paid professional military killers. The winners live and the losers die.

As a show of support, school Kids used to pledge alleigance to that Flag of their fathers. So sorry we are offending liberal Democrats.

rhhardin said...

What makes Americans Americans is agreement on the rules, namely the Constitution.

Even the flag burners agree on those. That makes them American.

That Betsy Ross came along sometime along the way and knitted some banner doesn't change anything. No flags in the Constitution, no anthems. Just the rules we agree on.

Which incidentally why you might want to admit no Muslims. They don't agree to the rules, sort of in advance.

traditionalguy said...

I thought the 1960s draft dodgers all gave up their citizenship when they ran away to Canada and Sweden. But they seem to have come back and took over rulership of Academia.

DavidD said...

If the comment I saw yesterday with what was purported to be a later Trump tweet re: ISIS flag and Koran burning was legitimate then the whole episode would be another example of master-level trolling--Trump as a chess Grand Master, always thinking several moves ahead.

rhhardin said...

Agreement on the rules is what Althouse misses in judicial revisions of the Constitution. Suddenly somebody isn't an American any longer, the rules not having been followed.

But the country actually depends on that agrement or it won't survive.

Mike said...

TIWTW

Brando said...

"I suspect Trump is the same, but he sees the value of affecting the minds of the people who he can see do react to it."

The same could have been achieved by simply saying "people who burn flags are disrespecting this country and are vile scum" without actually suggesting some unconstitutional reaction to his baiters. But instead now it's a game of who can bait who, forever.

This is the game now--two-way trolling. If you want anything more than that, you can't feed them.

rhhardin said...

The traditional immigrant saying America is the land of opportunity is talking about the American rules. He's not in love with the flag.

Martha said...

Dukakis' passionless response is similar to a responses to anti-American actions by no drama Obama.

I find Trump's passion for the flag and all things American refreshing.


Sebastian said...

"seized the occasion to get theatrically emotional." Right. Likely to be Trump's MO. Expect more of the same. Refreshing change from the theatrically unemotional O, who of course continually baited the opposition himself.

cubanbob said...

Flag burning is more than just a micro-aggression. Its deeply offensive and is hate speech. It must be banned immediately along with other forms of hate speech.

readering said...

Trump was likely watching tv and reacted without thinking much. And he long ago decided lots of followers want to know about the little thinking he does.

rhhardin said...

The flag is a military thing. Sacred duty, line of command. You have to operate as a team, not as individuals. Reverence of the flag makes sense to drill in there.

The citizens at large don't have that function at all. They have no chain of command, quite the opposite. They're supposed to be bottom-up, not top-down as in the military.

That politicians wrap themselves in the flag is a good reason for the expressiveness of burning the flag. It's an opinion of the politicians of the moment with respect to some topic or another. You don't want to prohibit that, even if you could.

It's American rules or the flag, choose one. You can't have both.

Chuck said...

I'm like you, Ann. There was no way I was ever going to vote for Dukakis, but I could never figure out what was wrong with his answer to the "Kitty gets raped" question. I could never even figure out why it was even a halfway-good question to begin with.

Owen said...

Nonapod: "...Trump seems to understand reactive emotionality on a deeper level than a lot of people, and he knows how to exploit it better than probably any person I've ever seen. One big hope I have with regards to Trumps presidency is that after a few years people may actually begin to put less stock in first reactions, both their own reactions and those of others."

Agree: very insightful. I am not a Tweeter but I see it as opening a more-emotional channel. It invites the "hot take" which can lead to a quick shot of dopamine (aren't I clever, thinks the Tweeter) and lasting misery (where will I find work now, thinks the Tweeter). I think people are still adapting to it. Trump's personality (to the extent I read him accurately) is sensitive to that "hot take" and he has identified an ideological/emotional area where he can exploit the Tweet technology. I don't know if he's just an impulsive idiot or a master of the OODA loop, or sui generis. But if he's an idiot, he's a mighty successful one.

I share your hope is that people will calm down, not take the bait every single time he says something. It's how he probes his audience, throwing out some outrageous stuff and seeing what breaks cover. That his opponents are so in love with stereotyped abuse ("racist!""fascist!""misogynist!") makes it almost trivially easy for him.

cubanbob said...

If Dukakis had answered that while he opposed the death penalty as public policy he in such circumstances would have personally administered death to his wife's rapist and murderer and then submit himself to the law for punishment, he just might have won the election.

rhhardin said...

Rilke in some poem or other, "Ich fahre die fahne!" I carry the flag, from a soldier writing home proudly.

Possibly misremembered at a great distance of time.

Unknown said...

The idea that the burning of a flag is enshrined FOREVER as freedom of speech is really pretty silly. Laws are overturned every day (as democrats certainly hoped they would be with the Scalia replacement).

Flag-burning is a little bit more than standing on a corner with a bullhorn. It is arguably an act of renunciation of citizenship.

rhhardin said...

It is arguably an act of renunciation of citizenship.

What is that argument?

It seems more like an affirmation of citizenship.

Bob Ellison said...

Dukakis is a lying asshole. He lied about the Massachusetts economy in a crappy effort to get elected POTUS, and then admitted the truth just a few days after he lost the election.

JPS said...

Roger Sweeny, 11:10:

Pretty much what I would answer if I opposed the death penalty and were challenged as Dukakis was: Of course I'd want to kill the bastard myself. But that doesn't mean the law should let me, and it doesn't mean the state should do it for me.

But my own position's a little simpler.

n.n said...

Trump exposed his critics: the Christian cross burners, the class diversitists (e.g. institutional racists, sexists), the female chauvinists (anti-woman, man, and baby, too), the anti-nativists (foreign and domestic), the Pro-Choice/death penalty advocates, the "peace"-mongers (i.e. progressive wars, political assassinations, trials by sodomy and abortion, opportunistic regime changes), the immigration "reformers" (e.g. refugee crises, mass emigration, excessive immigration), the urban ghetto managers (e.g. welfare and social industrial complexes), etc.

Chuck said...

cubanbob -

Are you just pulling our legs, or are you being deliberately obtuse?

Because the act of flag burning, under the right factual circumstances, really could be a crime. The 2005 Bennett/Clinton Flag Protection act tried to walk that line. (Not in any "hate crimes" sense, although that could have been a part; but rather a "public insurrection/clear and present danger" sense.)

I really do get the raw emotional appeal of Trump and his supporters. I just don't buy all of the technically dumb aspects. Presidents are supposed to be great speakers, leaders, communicators. Trump is a drunk in the bar at closing time, on matters legal.

mockturtle said...

Next they'll be making burning leaves illegal.

Rhhardin raises an important point here. What about the carbon emissions involved in flag burning? And those made from synthetic materials could emit harmfully toxic and environmentally damaging chemicals. :-D

rhhardin said...

Book burning has gone out of fashion.

A side effect of Kindle.

Birches said...

I wish that kind of gotcha question was still asked of politicians with D after their names.

Fabi said...

What would George Wallace do? Lulz

rhhardin said...

Whatever happened to Confederate flags. Talk about a sudden hatchet job.

Unknown said...

Blogger rhhardin said...

It is arguably an act of renunciation of citizenship.

What is that argument?

That argument is that you hate the country enough to burn it's flag and try to influence others to hate the country as well. It easily can be argued as an act of either defiance or inciting protests against the country. All it takes to renounce you citizenship is to go up to an official and sign a paper. Burning a flag is a pretty big matza ball there.


It seems more like an affirmation of citizenship.

So ISIS burning the american flag is an act of citizenship? Seriously?

bagoh20 said...

It depends. Are these flags made in China? What if they are really small like the Mexican ones they put in Margaritas? What about all those little lawn flags that end up in the gutter, and then later the trash of a landfill? What if you don't burn an actual flag, but make a cartoon depicting the burning? What if you burn a photo of a flag? What about the flag shirts, bikinis, and thongs? Do I have to salute my thong? I mean, I often do, but never at half mast.

Mattman26 said...

I always felt Dukakis screwed up not by failing to show passion about his wife's fictional rape/murder, but by failing to show passion that Bernie Shaw asked such a tacky fucking question.

BTW, if memory services, Dukakis also took shit for vetoing a bill that would have required the schoolchildren of Massachusetts to say the Pledge of Allegiance (speaking of the flag).

Jupiter said...

Maybe the reason people didn't like Dukakis answer was that they don't like his preference for the welfare of criminals over that of innocents. Dukakis wasn't just saying he favors letting criminals rape and murder his wife, he was saying he is in favor of letting criminals rape and murder everyone. He is saying he favors policies which will lead directly to the rape and murder of many innocent women, and he isn't just OK with that, he's giving himself a big pat on the back about it. God-DAMN I'm just one Hell of a virtuous guy! Too bad about Kitty, but there's plenty more where she came from.

Gahrie said...

Lifelong Republican Chuckles is our own version of Justin Trudeau.

rhhardin said...

So ISIS burning the american flag is an act of citizenship? Seriously?

Nobody cares if an Iranian burns a flag.

The American who does it is relying on American rules to reject what he intends to reject, say a political outcome. He intends to stay and agitate.

n.n said...

The left-wing activists stopped burning Christian crosses when it conflicted with a more lucrative proposition to penalize breathing. The American flag burners could be penalized under the Left's progressive regulatory regime, or a liberal legal penumbra, without technically crossing the First Amendment. Tax Talibanesque expression to mitigate the orientation.

Chuck said...

As a trial lawyer, it occurs to me that this subject (among a great many) demonstrates why jury instructions are so important. Ordinary folks need to be told in no uncertain terms what the law is. So clearly and simply, that they can't possibly screw it up.

Most people should never, ever be judges.

rhhardin said...

Down with freedom of speech is seldom a flag burner's point, though you perhaps could come up with a thoughtless case.

Szoszolo said...

Roger Sweeny, JPS:

That's basically what Mario Cuomo answered when asked about, IIRC, the rape and murder of one of his daughters -- that as a father, he'd want to kill the guy with his own hands, but that he didn't think the law should embody the emotional reaction of a grieving family member. That was the response of a lawyer who knew how to talk like a human being.

Chuck said...

Mattman26 said...
I always felt Dukakis screwed up not by failing to show passion about his wife's fictional rape/murder, but by failing to show passion that Bernie Shaw asked such a tacky fucking question.

One of those few things that I like about the current Newt Gingrich is that he wouldn't have taken the question. He'd have turned it on Shaw, and won the debate.

Brando said...

"One of those few things that I like about the current Newt Gingrich is that he wouldn't have taken the question. He'd have turned it on Shaw, and won the debate."

Nah, a better response to Shaw's question would have been "What are you planning to do to my wife, Bernard???" Of course you have to have an established sense of humor to pull that one off, and Dukakis did not have that.

I don't think that one question killed him, though. He lost for a host of reasons.

Virgil Hilts said...

Trump and Kellyanne in action, planning the bait:
https://twitter.com/TonyVilla89/status/803984494009184259

exhelodrvr1 said...

He is pointing out the hypocrisy of the liberals in regards to their politicians(i.e. Hillary's proposal) and the ridiculousness/hypocrisy of the PC culture, with it's hate speech/safe spaces for things the liberals are afraid of.

It's too subtle for the far left to appreciate, but some of those in the middle understand it.

bagoh20 said...

It is the stupidity about the idea of freedom that makes ISIS or anyone else think that when they burn a flag they are actually accomplishing something. My reaction to ISIS or anyone else when they burn a flag is laughter at their stupidity. They are cretins who think everything is an offense: drawing Mohammed, showing the bottom of your shoe, being gay, showing a woman's face, and on and on. Leftists who burn them are the same: offended at anyone's freedom to be different than them. Idiots burn flags. I'm not offended that they choose to tell the world they are freedom-hating fools. I'm offended that they hate freedom enough to think such an action hurts me like it would them.

mikee said...

I'm one of the few people who saw the picture of Dukakis in a tank, and thought he looked like he was having more fun than I'd ever seen him exhibit as a candidate.

I know I'd have an idiot grin on my face if I got to faunch around like a peach-orchard boar in an M-1 tnak, and I'm glad he did, too.

Still, glad he lost the election. He was a horrible politician with horrible policies.

Chuck said...

Gahrie said...
Lifelong Republican Chuckles is our own version of Justin Trudeau.


Riiiight.

So I'm equated with the Castro-loving Trudeau? For my having taken the Antonin Scalia position on this dispute? Instead of the position that Scalia equated with being a "king"? The "king" position that Castro would likewise have taken? (Try burning a Cuban flag in the Plaza of the Revolution.) Scalia, the Trump-proclaimed model for judges?

You Trumpkins can be happy that your guy won, but you're still dumber than shit.

bagoh20 said...

"So ISIS burning the american flag is an act of citizenship? Seriously?"

Well, yea! Just not American citizenship. It's like pledging allegiance in the caliphate.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Rhhardin, it's well known that you are not a normal person, but let me try to reply in a way that you may understand.

What speed is burning the flag? What does it say?

What is my reply? What can I burn or otherwise injure or desecrate that you will understand or react to?

Is speech that cannot be answered really speech?

Owen/nonapod,
One big hope I have with regards to Trumps presidency is that after a few years people may actually begin to put less stock in first reactions, both their own reactions and those of others."

Agree: very insightful.

Er, why the impulse to uproot us from our instincts? First reactions are how we avoid the bear. How we decide to let, or not to let, the young fellow manage our money or date our daughter. "Ooh Ooh I have a reaction but I must suppress it so that someone else's judgment can inform me, or until I can attend a symposium treating the issue ad nauseam"

Sam L. said...

Mr. Trump is a 1000th-degree Black Belt Troll Master. He KNOWS what bait to attach to his hook to troll for Leftists.

bagoh20 said...

The Shaw question was extremely valid. If this is your policy, this is what it means to real people faced with that real situation when it happens, so how would you like being under your policy? The problem wasn't his answer, but his policy, and what it forces upon innocent people. When the public saw the face of that, they saw the consequences of his ideology and rejected it...rightly.

Gahrie said...

So I'm equated with the Castro-loving Trudeau? For my having taken the Antonin Scalia position on this dispute?

No for defending a Democrat yet again.

rhhardin said...

Rhhardin, it's well known that you are not a normal person, but let me try to reply in a way that you may understand.

What speed is burning the flag? What does it say?

What is my reply? What can I burn or otherwise injure or desecrate that you will understand or react to?

Is speech that cannot be answered really speech?


If the dems arrange a turkey drop to kick off Trump's thank you tour in Cincinnati, that's speech.

Burning a flag works the same way. The poetry of everyday life.

The right reply to flag burning is indifference, if you want my plan.

boycat said...

Democrats sure love burning things, flags and crosses and such. What's up with the pyro fixation?

bagoh20 said...

Burning a flag is also a first instinct. So is road rage. First instincts are fight or flight, and they are designed to protect one from imminent harm. Any time you have more time than that, you should use it wisely.

Jim Gust said...

Although the question put to Dukakis might seem like a "gotcha" in hindsight, now that we know his answer, it really wasn't. It was an attempted lifeline being tossed tossed to him by CNN. Dukakis was reeling from the Willie Horton story, a murderer in prison with no chance of parole who was released on a weekend furlough. Horton didn't come back from the furlough, he went on a crime spree. Massachusetts should have ended the furlough program immediately, but they didn't, Dukakis actually defended the program.

With the question about the hypothetical murder of his wife, Dukakis had a chance to prove he was not soft on crime. Instead, he proved he was soft in the head. Thank goodness he never became President.

rhhardin said...

Didn't firemen have to rescue a flag burner from flames in Cleveland? I've forgotten the details.

Poetry can backfire on you.

Hagar said...

I am fond of the American flag, and I do not care to see it insulted, but I do not react to it the way I do to the Norwegian flag that I grew up with.
I suspect many, if not most, native born Americans feel about the American flag the way I do about the Norwegian.
The intent with burning the flag or otherwise desecrating it as a "protest" is not to make a statement regarding the issue du jour, but to provoke just that visceral reaction, in other words, "hate speech."

So, why is it not treated as "hate speech" along with burning crosses, displaying nooses, etc., etc.?

Bad Lieutenant said...

Speed >> speech

Hagar said...

Chuck as a trial lawyer would make me, as a juror, strongly tempted to exercise my right to "jury nullification," and invite him to try doing something about it.

Brando said...

" My reaction to ISIS or anyone else when they burn a flag is laughter at their stupidity. They are cretins who think everything is an offense: drawing Mohammed, showing the bottom of your shoe, being gay, showing a woman's face, and on and on. Leftists who burn them are the same: offended at anyone's freedom to be different than them. Idiots burn flags."

I see it more as they're displaying their impotence--they can't do anything to America so they burn its symbols. A pathetic gesture worthy of our contempt. Of course if they get us to sully our own values by curtailing liberty in reaction to them, they accomplished far more (and got far more attention than they deserve) than they would have by just burning the flag.

"So, why is it not treated as "hate speech" along with burning crosses, displaying nooses, etc., etc.?"

It is hate speech, and just like hate speech it should be protected speech.

A specific threat to a specific individual though (say a noose left on your doorstep, or a burned flag on your doorstep) may be a different matter. So I don't advise doing either of those!

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve uhr said...

Trump just likes being always talked about and in control of what the media reports on. The "millions of fraudulent votes" wasn't going over well, and put into question the legitimacy of his victory, so he changed the subject to something that almost everyone supports. Even Hillary sponsored an unconstitutional law outlawing flag burning. That shows you how safe the issue is.

Bad Lieutenant said...

So the problem with rhhardin is the same as the problem with Dukakis:

Robots don't make policy, and robots don't vote.

Meade said...

My blood boils whenever Trump, in crowded theaters, shouts "YOU'RE FIRED!"

rhhardin said...

So the problem with rhhardin is the same as the problem with Dukakis:

Robots don't make policy, and robots don't vote.


I'm a programmer, not a robot. In charge.

rhhardin said...

Shortest path through the thesaurus from master to slave

master instructor adviser helper servant slave

(if done right, any 3 in a row mean the same thing; any 4 don't.)

Chuck said...

exhelodrvr1 said...
He is pointing out the hypocrisy of the liberals in regards to their politicians(i.e. Hillary's proposal) and the ridiculousness/hypocrisy of the PC culture, with it's hate speech/safe spaces for things the liberals are afraid of.


The 2005 Senate flag protection bill wasn't a "liberal" bill. Bob Bennett of Utah was Hillary's co-sponsor.

No; the 2005 bill was a "pandering/political opportunism" bill. Shameless politicians, catering to their less-well-educated electorates. Hillary was after the upstate New York vote, and the Hannity/Bolling/O'Reilly Factor/Queens vote. Bob Bennett was (rightly) worried about getting primaried some day. Which is exactly what happened.

Trump is now doing that same sort of pandering.

rhhardin said...

Flag protection bills involve careful vote counting, to see who can vote for it without it getting passed. The pols who most need the pandering vote get to vote for it.

A better approach is cogent argument against it. The trick is to convince your opponents.

Lem said...

If flag burning was a real issue with most Americans, the market would be selling a little more expensive fire retardant flag.

rhhardin said...

Some Egyptian died outside the American Embassy from toxic fumes from a fireproof American flag.

Alex said...

I agree with Trump. Prison and expulsion for flag burners!

rhhardin said...

The trouble with flag burners is that they burn their own flags, which are the flammable variety. No use your having a fireproof one.

Chuck said...

Jim Gust said...
Although the question put to Dukakis might seem like a "gotcha" in hindsight, now that we know his answer, it really wasn't. It was an attempted lifeline being tossed tossed to him by CNN. Dukakis was reeling from the Willie Horton story, a murderer in prison with no chance of parole who was released on a weekend furlough. Horton didn't come back from the furlough, he went on a crime spree. Massachusetts should have ended the furlough program immediately, but they didn't, Dukakis actually defended the program.


You could be right, Jim. If only Dukakis had Donna Brazile working for him, he'd have known the question in advance.

But I am honestly curious; what would have been the best answer to that question?

Alex said...

I do not think burning a flag is speech, it's a physical act of intimidation and should be illegal.

Sammy Finkelman said...

rhhardin said...

There's people like me who are completely indifferent to the flag and baffled by other reactions to it....Maybe it's like burning the Koran, another popular outrage that baffles everybody.

With the Koran, at least it is a religion. Who holds the United States flag to be holy?

But troops who fought in war fought over thr flag and this happened particularly during the Civil War.

Anyway, back when this controversy first got a lot of attention, circa 1989. Joe Bidedn came up with something like this idea:

There are American symbols that (liberals I guess) would value a lot. The Liberty bell. The Statue of Liberty. The constitution. Now say we declared there to be a national flower. Who would want to put somebody in jail for desecrating it?

I know it would be pretty hard to track down exactly what he said but it was around that time..

Fred Drinkwater said...

Meade:
Your blood SHOULD boil only if Trump FALSELY shouts "You're fired!" in a crowded theater.

rhhardin said...

I do not think burning a flag is speech, it's a physical act of intimidation and should be illegal.

There ought to be something that you can burn to express this.

Matthew Sablan said...

Dukakis could have said: "Yes. I would be angry. I would WANT to take revenge. But, the law and what I want are not the same thing."

He could have won the argument AND kept his preferred policy. He flubbed a question back when question flubbing mattered more.

Bad Lieutenant said...

You can't even show a Confederate flag anymore, but you can burn an American flag, and you can proudly wave ISIS and Mexican Flags at your rally.

Still not understanding why a moderate degree of violence against flag-burners isn't also speech. Some people talk with their hands.

rhhardin said...

But troops who fought in war fought over thr flag and this happened particularly during the Civil War.

The military is another matter. Revernece for the flag part of training for unity as a team.

Civilians have an almost opposite status.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I mean, fine, the government can't beat you up or tar and feather you, but why can't well meaning private citizens?

JPS said...

Szoszolo, 12:03:

I didn't know that. Somehow it doesn't surprise me about him.

Brando:

"they can't do anything to America so they burn its symbols."

I think Jonah Goldberg made the point about instantiation: They can burn all the copies of the flag they like; the flag and what it stands for still exist. 25 years ago if someone burned a flag in front of me they'd have succeeded in enraging me. If they did it now, they'd pretty much get a bored "OK, you're an asshole"; go ahead and burn that one, loser.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I mean, fine, the government can't beat you up or tar and feather you, but why can't well meaning private citizens?

rhhardin said...

Still not understanding why a moderate degree of violence against flag-burners isn't also speech. Some people talk with their hands.

It is speech but also assault and battery. Being safe in their persons.

Titus said...

Today I just found out that my Indian UK Husband doesn't know what a record or record player are.

tits

rhhardin said...

The Constitution mostly is based on no force and no fraud, and government is assigned to arrange that while maximizing opportunities for trade.

n.n said...

The Supreme Court will need to depart from its Pro-Choice orientation and rule on the destruction, immolation of significant symbols including Christian crosses, Rainbow flags, Christ figurines, American flags, tribal artifacts, etc.

Chuck said...

Bad Lieutenant said...
You can't even show a Confederate flag anymore, but you can burn an American flag, and you can proudly wave ISIS and Mexican Flags at your rally.

Still not understanding why a moderate degree of violence against flag-burners isn't also speech. Some people talk with their hands.

1. Yes, you can show the Confederate flag. You can put a Confederate flag bumper sticker on your pick up truck next to your Trump-Pence bumper sticker. You can wave a Confederate flag over your Trump yard sign.

2. You can burn an American flag if it is purely a matter of speech. The same sort of speech that allows you to wear your Make America Great trucker hat inside of the Trump National Bedminster clubhouse even though every self-respecting club in America would require gentlemen to remove their hats inside.

3. You can't legally burn an American flag under a vast array of circumstances. Nine times out of ten, flag-burners could (and probably should) be arrested for starting a fire of any kind on public property in urban settings. They could be burning books, or a Koran, or charcoal briquettes; no matter. They are most likely all illegal fires.

4. Yes, you can wave ISIS, and Mexican, and even Ohio State flags at events.

5. "A moderate degree of violence" is often tolerated or at least not prosecuted. Ask Corey Lewandowski.

isthmus legend said...

I don't think it's joke or a distraction. It's a systematic technique. Trump sees the media as his Frenemy. He's said so many times. Trump draws the media out to attack him and makes HIS targets the collateral damage. He does this fluidly and continually.

Alex said...

Even though Ben Shapiro doesn't think so, Trump is playing 4-D chess.

eric said...

5. "A moderate degree of violence" is often tolerated or at least not prosecuted. Ask Corey Lewandowski.

Wait.

I thought this was straight up assault. As she said, the candidates employee shouldn't try and throw people to the ground!!

Chuck said...

eric, since Corey never even met her, and since President Trump thought it was all made up, I have to say that nothing ever happened at all. Screw the videotape. Nothing at all. Justice was served!

I just wonder if Steve Bannon will testify in Michele Fields' lawsuit versus Breitbart.

Fabi said...

You can only shout "You're fired!" in a crowded theater if you're actually firing someone.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Chuck,
Reading comprehension is apparently not a strength of yours. I didn't say the 2005 bill was a "liberal" bill. I pointed out that Trump is using this issue to point out the the hypocrisy of the current group of liberals.

Meade said...

"You can only shout "You're fired!" in a crowded theater if you're actually firing someone."

To quote Justice Brandeis, "... the remedy to be applied is more tweets, not internet silence."

eric said...

Blogger Chuck said...
eric, since Corey never even met her, and since President Trump thought it was all made up, I have to say that nothing ever happened at all. Screw the videotape. Nothing at all. Justice was served!


Sarcasm aside, it's true. Bumping into someone isn't meeting them. It's definitely not assaulting them. The police agree with me.

And once again Trump was proved right. It was all made up. The best thing that could come out of this is Michelle Fields never gets a serious career in journalism.

Fabi said...

How is sponsoring a flag burning bill shameless pandering to their less-well-educated electorate? Are you saying that the well-educated electorate wouldn't support such a bill, Chuck?

Brando said...

"You can't even show a Confederate flag anymore, but you can burn an American flag, and you can proudly wave ISIS and Mexican Flags at your rally."

Who says you can't show a confederate flag? I'm not aware of any law preventing you from displaying one, but such a law would also violate the First Amendment.

"Still not understanding why a moderate degree of violence against flag-burners isn't also speech. Some people talk with their hands."

Not sure exactly what a "moderate degree of violence" is, but any act of assault by a private citizen would not invoke the First Amendment, only tort law.

"25 years ago if someone burned a flag in front of me they'd have succeeded in enraging me. If they did it now, they'd pretty much get a bored "OK, you're an asshole"; go ahead and burn that one, loser."

It's like any form of real life trolling--what they want most is attention and the worst thing for them is to be ignored. Then all they are is an idiot with a burned piece of cloth with a country too resilient to even bother with them.

They're baiting Americans the same way Trump is baiting the Left. After a while it's sort of "do you do any other tricks, or is this just it?"

Todd said...

Brando said... [hush]​[hide comment]
"One of those few things that I like about the current Newt Gingrich is that he wouldn't have taken the question. He'd have turned it on Shaw, and won the debate."

Nah, a better response to Shaw's question would have been "What are you planning to do to my wife, Bernard???" Of course you have to have an established sense of humor to pull that one off, and Dukakis did not have that.

I don't think that one question killed him, though. He lost for a host of reasons.

12/1/16, 12:08 PM


Well this didn't help: http://dailycaller.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Dukakis-Tank-Ad-e1384898913712.jpg

Fabi said...

Brandeis was an early investor in Twitter. True fact -- the guy knows technology.

Brando said...

"You can only shout "You're fired!" in a crowded theater if you're actually firing someone."

Sounds discriminatory towards movie ushers, getting fired all over the place and such.

Chuck said...

exhelodrvr1 said...
Chuck,
Reading comprehension is apparently not a strength of yours. I didn't say the 2005 bill was a "liberal" bill. I pointed out that Trump is using this issue to point out the the hypocrisy of the current group of liberals.

And so how exactly is he doing that? Because all that I can see is Trump making an ass out of himself, contradicting his supposed judicial hero, Scalia.

Liberals would say, "We believe flag burning is an acceptable expression of speech, against the outrageous abuses of government that Trump espouses. We have always felt that way. And Mrs. Clinton's bill acknowledged the legal principle involved, and it respected Justice Scalia's vote in Texas v Johnson, and the Bennett-Clinton bill would not have banned "pure speech" flag burning and instead would only have banned flag burning as a means to insurrection/rioting."

I think you've got a very hard case to make, for "liberal hypocrisy." On the other hand, it is fall-down easy, to make the case for "Trump stupidity."

Brando said...

"Well this didn't help: http://dailycaller.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Dukakis-Tank-Ad-e1384898913712.jpg"

Yeah, it was part of a rich tapestry for that guy. Everything about him came across "know it all" and "smug leftist", but also had no sense of command. You couldn't see him leading anything (even though he, and not Bush, had been a chief executive of a state).

Plus, the economy was going strong, Reagan's ratings were high, and his coalition was by and large for Bush. I doubt even a better politician version of Dukakis would have won that year.

Chuck said...

Sarcasm aside, it's true. Bumping into someone isn't meeting them. It's definitely not assaulting them. The police agree with me.
No, the police preferred an assault charge. The prosecutor -- a friend of Trump's -- agreed with you.

And once again Trump was proved right. It was all made up.
Trump was proved wrong, along with Lewandowski. Lewandowski grabed Michele Fields and pulled her away. Irony of ironies, Michele was asking Trump a hard question about Trump's criticism of Justice Scalia in the Fisher II oral arguments!

The best thing that could come out of this is Michelle Fields never gets a serious career in journalism.
I wouldn't want to bet on that. She's very young, and she has pissed off all of the right people.

eric said...

He grabbed her arm and pulled her away?

OMG, thank God the prosecutor is a friend of Trump's. Otherwise a slam dunk case!

If someone ever grabbed me by the arm and pulled me away, I'd need a safe space, a serious prosecution, years of imprisonment, oh, and an apology.

No one has ever touched my arm before, let alone pulled on it.

What a terrible shock to the system that would be.

Chuck said...

eric, what if I grabbed you, and pulled you away, and then afterward when you posted about it here at the Althouse blog, I wrote, "eric is making it up. I've never met eric, much less grab him." ?

I know what I'd do, if I were you in that case. I'd say; "I am now going to make a police report on that son of a bitch. He called me a liar, when I know damn well what happened, and I am going to now try to make this hurt for him."

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

What is the principle, other than Pro-Choice, that enforces disparate legal treatment of diverse symbols?

mccullough said...

Dukakis was like Romney. He couldn't connect with voters and presented himself as a technocrat but was just another douchebag from Harvard law school.

HW Bush was a bit patrician and aloof but he had Reagan's 8 years behind him and stellar service during WW2. HW was elected because Reagan was immensely popular.

Robert Cook said...

"When generals command the troops not to burn the Koran, who is not disgusted by their spinelessness."


????????????

Ron Winkleheimer said...

So, Chuck is going with "Trump is da stooopid."

Whatever gets you through the night Chuck, whatever gets you through the night.

Fabi said...

I'm sure Fields is really going to make it hurt. Lulz

SDaly said...

rhhardin -

You hinted at the problem with your to be an American is to agree on a set of a rules, the Constitution formula. Am I un-American if I disagree with the Supreme Court's view of the rules?

SDaly said...

To say that agreement with a set of rules = being an American is actually a very, very dangerous position.

Chuck said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...
So, Chuck is going with "Trump is da stooopid."


I am indeed going with that. I have not changed in that regard. But as you know I voted for him, and I am as relieved as I am surprised that he won.

Now, inasmuch as I think that the government of the United States will be managed by people like Jeff Sessions, Mitch McConnell (and Mitch's wife!), Paul Ryan and perhaps even Mitt Romney, with Trump as a feckless chairman of the board, I am even happier than before.


Roughcoat said...

Trump exposed his critics: the Christian cross burners, the class diversitists (e.g. institutional racists, sexists), the female chauvinists (anti-woman, man, and baby, too), the anti-nativists (foreign and domestic), the Pro-Choice/death penalty advocates, the "peace"-mongers (i.e. progressive wars, political assassinations, trials by sodomy and abortion, opportunistic regime changes), the immigration "reformers" (e.g. refugee crises, mass emigration, excessive immigration), the urban ghetto managers (e.g. welfare and social industrial complexes), etc.

Thank God for that "etc."

traditionalguy said...

That darned Bombastic Monster Psychopath Trump just sewed up Indiana's vote for the next 50 years. Trump is having accidents again.

Calling for Scott Adams! How can any one stop him?

Robert Cook said...

"I'm like you, Ann. There was no way I was ever going to vote for Dukakis, but I could never figure out what was wrong with his answer to the "Kitty gets raped" question. I could never even figure out why it was even a halfway-good question to begin with."

It wasn't "even a halfway-good question," it was salacious and sensational, meant to appeal to Americans' blood-lust and love of revenge. I also remember it.

Dukakis' answer was "bad" in that blood-lusting Americans perceived his answer as that of a wimp and a coward, or of someone without any human feelings. (We like our presidents to be feeling men). He should have answered that, as a man and as a husband, he would feel great anger toward his wife's killer, and would not know if he would desire the killer's death, but that it was possible he would. However, he should have continued, the law is not meant to be and should not be used as an instrument of social or personal revenge, but as a means for society to collectively determine just punishment for those who commit crimes, and, as one who believed killing was morally wrong, society had no right to kill killers, so, despite whatever his personal emotions might be in that instance, he would want to adhere to his belief in the law as an instrument of justice, not revenge.

Or words to that effect.

Brando said...

"To say that agreement with a set of rules = being an American is actually a very, very dangerous position."

Depends on how far you take it. If you believe that being an American means simply being a legal citizen and nothing more, then yes, the set of rules don't really matter--you can prefer the laws of Soviet Russia but still be an American in that sense. But if we're talking "an American" in the sense of sharing this national identity, and if that identity has to do with shared values (as opposed to ethnic identity as you have in say Italy) then at the very least we can define "American" as believing in the rule of law, representative democracy, and certain basic rights at their core (while disagreeing on details and specifics).

Bad Lieutenant said...

I know what I'd do, if I were you in that case. I'd say; "I am now going to make a police report on that son of a bitch. He called me a liar, when I know damn well what happened, and I am going to now try to make this hurt for him."

12/1/16, 2:08 PM


But Chuck, you are a spiteful cunt. What was Fields' excuse? if you grabbed my arm when I was doing something inappropriate like bumrushing the candidate, my reaction would probably not be to whine about it. Assuming I didn't go for you, because you are twice my size or because I realized I was in the wrong.

The thing that gets me about you going on about this is if he said I grabbed her and I'm proud of it, I wouldn't see that she had any kick coming either. Stay the fuck off my candidate.

Unknown said...

Remember your post awhile back about how Trump's supporters take him seriously, but not literally? This is consistent (as is your interpretation). Trump talks smack and some people get it, some don't.

Bad Lieutenant said...

And please don't give me any crap about Corey isn't the security guard. If I was Robert Kennedy's campaign manager and I was walking with him through the hotel kitchen and I saw Sirhan Sirhan pull out a gun, I don't think I would wait for the designated parties to stop him.

Maybe that's you. The upside is that you would live longer, but the downside is that you would have to live with yourself longer.

Robert Cook said...

"I do not think burning a flag is speech, it's a physical act of intimidation and should be illegal."

You think wrong, but more to the point, what you think doesn't trump the constitution or the law. Burning the flag is an expression of an idea, which is the essence of "speech," (not opening one's mouth and emitting sounds).

Brando said...

"It wasn't "even a halfway-good question," it was salacious and sensational, meant to appeal to Americans' blood-lust and love of revenge. I also remember it."

What was so bad about the question? It was simply taking Dukakis' opposition to the death penalty, and giving him a chance to address in human terms how to explain that opposition to a victim's loved one who understandably may want the killer executed. Whether you support the death penalty, have some reservations about it (as I do), or oppose it outright (as Dukakis did) you can surely understand that a purely academic answer may not cut it, and it gives him a chance to address the feelings of those who simply cannot understand why one might not want to execute a killer.

Salacious might have been "Governor, we just got word there was a bloodbath at your house, many killed and blood smeared on the walls reading 'you're next' but 'next' was misspelled. Before you rush home to clean up the blood and identify the victims, can you tell us why you wouldn't want the murderers executed, even though I'm sure your family would have at least avenged you?"

Chuck said...

traditionalguy said...
That darned Bombastic Monster Psychopath Trump just sewed up Indiana's vote for the next 50 years. Trump is having accidents again.


Incentives. Da Corelo- er, Trump family has got a lotta incentives.

Brando said...

"If I was Robert Kennedy's campaign manager and I was walking with him through the hotel kitchen and I saw Sirhan Sirhan pull out a gun, I don't think I would wait for the designated parties to stop him."

RFK? Screw that guy, let him wiretap his way out of that jam.

Besides, if you'd saved him, they would have had to come up with another name for RFK Stadium in DC. Do you really want that on your conscience?

Chuck said...

Bad Lieutenant, don't give me any bullshit about how Corey Lewandowski was a security guard for Trump. Michelle Fields was a known, credentialed reporter. A reporter, from fucking Breitbart! There were Secret Service agents all around Trump who clearly thought nothing of her presence, and her asking Trump some questions. They didn't grab her. The bitch Lewandowski grabbed her.

Now, Lewandowski could have manned up and said, "Yes, I grabbed her because I felt she was a security threat. Or being inappropriate. Or violating press-area rules. Or because I owed it to the press who remained behind our press line, to not let Michelle get the advantage of an exclusive question."

Lewandowski did none of that. He was a lying bitch, who said he had never met her.

n.n said...

Roughcoat:

It seems to be a liberal progressive condition. So, yes, an et cetera as a future projection is warranted. Fortunately, more people are aware and oppose the inconsistency, and the corruption and dysfunction it engenders, and are forcing a reconciliation that is stirring the establishment, Left, Right, and wavering Center. So, we have the cross burners exposing their orientation in public.

Robert Cook said...

"What speed is burning the flag? What does it say?"

It expresses disgust or anger at the United States, for whatever reasons the flag-burner has.

"What is my reply? What can I burn or otherwise injure or desecrate that you will understand or react to?"

Your reply is whatever your reply is: "Go to hell!" "Right On!" or variations thereof and covering the spectrum between, including ignoring the flag-burner. Who says your reply must be in kind with the means of expressing an idea chosen by the flag-burner?

"Is speech that cannot be answered really speech?"

Of course, but then, who says there is any "speech"(expression of an idea) that cannot be answered? If a given individual lacks for an answer, that does not mean there is no answer that can be made.

Pookie Number 2 said...

Dukakis' answer was "bad" in that blood-lusting Americans perceived his answer as that of a wimp and a coward, or of someone without any human feelings.

One day, maybe Cook will notice that all of the evil traits he projects upon his political opponents only manifest themselves in people who share his beliefs.

Onward, Comrade!

DanTheMan said...

>>What you think doesn't trump the constitution or the law.

Apparently you haven't been on a college campus in the last decade.



Ron Winkleheimer said...

I suspect Trump is the same, but he sees the value of affecting the minds of the people who he can see do react to it.

Exactly, Trump is a populist. Pontificating about the SC and saying he is "da stoopid" completely misses the point. He is not looking for the approval of George Will. He is inflaming the passions of his supporters.



And the fact that he is a populist explains why he is claiming that the popular vote is an illegitimate measure of his support. Populists derive their legitimacy and mandate from the people, by-passing the organizational structures that limit their freedom to act.

Anyone hear ever hear about Julius Caesar? Huey Long?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Caesar
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huey_Long

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Chuck

"Da stooopid" people simply don't become billionaires who got their start in developing real estate in New York. And sure his dad got him started off, but if he was as hapless as you seem to think the sharks would have eaten him alive long ago.

He also seems to have a pretty good grasp of what people want, good enough to have created and starred in a hit reality TV show.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Chuck

Trump is now doing that same sort of pandering.

Of course he is. The amazing thing is that there people who are thick enough not to see it and actually go out and burn the flags.

Chuck said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...
...
Exactly, Trump is a populist. Pontificating about the SC and saying he is "da stoopid" completely misses the point. He is not looking for the approval of George Will. He is inflaming the passions of his supporters.

I agree, Ron. Trump is inflaming the passions of his ignorant, poorly educated supporters. His supporters who would continue to support him even if he shot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue. His supporters who couldn't name all nine Supreme Court justices, and who couldn't name three important Scalia decisions. George Will is of course not a concern of Trump's. George Will is a political historian who has a love of language and political philosophy, whereas Trump seems to have contempt for both.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Chuck said...
Bad Lieutenant, don't give me any bullshit about how Corey Lewandowski was a security guard for Trump. Michelle Fields was a known, credentialed reporter. A reporter, from fucking Breitbart! There were Secret Service agents all around Trump who clearly thought nothing of her presence, and her asking Trump some questions. They didn't grab her. The bitch Lewandowski grabbed her.

Not according to the law, it seems. Or according to the Secret Service, who no doubt would have been powerful witnesses in Fields' favor. Or any other witness except the one she brought along for witnessing/vouching purposes.

Now, Lewandowski could have manned up and said, "Yes, I grabbed her because I felt she was a security threat. Or being inappropriate. Or violating press-area rules. Or because I owed it to the press who remained behind our press line, to not let Michelle get the advantage of an exclusive question."

Lewandowski did none of that. He was a lying bitch, who said he had never met her.
12/1/16, 2:42 PM

If you will grant that "grabbing, brushing, bumping, touching, or being touched by some woman whom you apparently only saw once from behind" does not comprise "meeting" as in "Hello, Lieutenant, my name is Chuck, how do you do," had Fields and Lewandowski ever been socially acquainted at any other time? If not, if he literally did not recognize her or know her, how is he lying?

What would the percentage be in his saying, "Why, damn my soul, there is a friendly lady reporter, let me hurt her and burn down a major media ally?" Cui bono, Chuck? What is his fucking angle, will you tell me please? Your whole gloss makes no sense!

If it was a candidate you liked, such as "Mrs. Clinton," or perhaps Romney, you'd be turned all the other way around on this. You're just "who, whom."

robother said...

Maybe, as with the US immigration and drug laws and the Supremacy Clause, States could opt out of Ist Amendment Flag protection, creating a Flag Sanctuary State, where flag burning would be prosecuted under State law and Trump's Ag would provide a letter allowing it.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

His supporters who couldn't name all nine Supreme Court justices, and who couldn't name three important Scalia decisions.

Which is, of course, the true measure of any man.

Perhaps some sort of test could be given to prevent such oafs from polluting the voting pool. Certainly their incapable of understanding their own interests. Those people of superior intellect, breeding, and education should manage their affairs for them and keep the ship of state steered on the proper course.


Excuse me why I uncork this port.

tim maguire said...

Bad Lieutenant, here's what my former-journalist Clinton-voting, Trump-hating wife had to say about the Michelle Fields getting grabbed by Lewandowsky: "So what? I've had worse done to me. Every political reporter has. I bet Michelle Fields has. Getting roughed up occeasionally is part of job. What's she whinging about?"

Brando said...

"Of course he is. The amazing thing is that there people who are thick enough not to see it and actually go out and burn the flags."

That's not so amazing when you consider that the people burning the flags aren't the kind of people trying to do anything more than get attention and bait the Right. They're playing the exact same game.

Meanwhile the normals get to watch our flag desecrated while others talk of curbing our First Amendment to get back at the first group. Today's America, kids.

Chuck said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...
"His supporters who couldn't name all nine Supreme Court justices, and who couldn't name three important Scalia decisions."
Which is, of course, the true measure of any man.


Not the "true measure of any man" generally, but when you get a bunch of boorish assholes arguing about the constitutional law concerning flag-burning... Yeah, it matters.

Personally, I'd be happy with a strict and difficult U.S. governmental literacy test, before one could register to vote in federal elections. We'd wipe out about 75% of Trump supporters, and about 80% of Democrats.

n.n said...

So, what the cross... flag burners are arguing, is that symbols, artifacts, speech (e.g. crosses, Buddha statues, Bald Eagles, Rainbow flags) are not protected when the response to their immolation, destruction, denial will disrupt the environment (e.g. chanting "elective abortion" in a crowded theater).

Todd said...

Chuck said...

I agree, Ron. Trump is inflaming the passions of his ignorant, poorly educated supporters. His supporters who would continue to support him even if he shot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue. His supporters who couldn't name all nine Supreme Court justices, and who couldn't name three important Scalia decisions. George Will is of course not a concern of Trump's. George Will is a political historian who has a love of language and political philosophy, whereas Trump seems to have contempt for both.
12/1/16, 3:03 PM


I would stack any dozen average Trump supporters against the same number of average Obama or Hillary supporters in that regard. The Right holds no monopoly on stupidity nor the left on knowledge. The only difference is that the left thinks it is high-humor to point out right leaning "idiots" while the left leaning "idiots" run higher-education and the media.

viator said...

If flag burning is free speech is Koran burning free speech?

buwaya puti said...

Chuck,

You'd likely wipe out most of the actually useful people with such a test, useful in that they are the sorts you couldn't easily do without. A minority, I think, of those who could pass your test would qualify as those we couldn't do without.
A government by government fans and obsessives isn't likely to be good government.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Personally, I'd be happy with a strict and difficult U.S. governmental literacy test, before one could register to vote in federal elections.

Yeah, good luck with that Chuck.

when you get a bunch of boorish assholes

Still using that famous Chuck charm to convert people to your point of view I see.

rhhardin said...

You hinted at the problem with your to be an American is to agree on a set of a rules, the Constitution formula. Am I un-American if I disagree with the Supreme Court's view of the rules?

No, that's the problem with SC activism. It tears the country apart precisely because people no longer recognize the rules they agreed to.

If it's voted in, that's just losing a political fight. But if the SC decides even against all the voters to do something, that's unAmerican, as far as Americans are concerned, except Althouse (=you lost deal with it), who sees the law technically without seeing its sociological underpinnings.

Brando said...

"If flag burning is free speech is Koran burning free speech?"

Yes.

rhhardin said...

To say that agreement with a set of rules = being an American is actually a very, very dangerous position.

Elaborate this. It seems basic to me.

FullMoon said...

Chuck said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Ron Winkleheimer said...
So, Chuck is going with "Trump is da stooopid."

I am indeed going with that. I have not changed in that regard. But as you know I voted for him, and I am as relieved as I am surprised that he won.

Now, inasmuch as I think that the government of the United States will be managed by people like Jeff Sessions, Mitch McConnell (and Mitch's wife!), Paul Ryan and perhaps even Mitt Romney, with Trump as a feckless chairman of the board, I am even happier than before.

Remarkably ridiculous triumphant trial lawyer Chuck is only now catching on to the basic understanding that the leader does not need to be the smartest guy in the room. He has to hire the best people to run the business. Most Trump voters expected and understood that from the get -go, duh!

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Buwaya Puti

Chuck does not appear to be a believer in the wisdom of crowds.

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

In any event, such a system would only exacerbate the issues that brought about the ascendancy of Donald Trump. The government is losing legitimacy in the eyes of a great number of people because it refuses to take into account and respond to their concerns.

Chuck is clearly a technocrat. Technocratic government is why we are at the point we are. Turns out lecturing people on whats best for them and that their preferences don't matter, are anachronisms, and immoral anyway is not that great a way of inspiring loyalty. Who knew?

buwaya puti said...

As for George Will, National Review and the like -
These all, like myself I admit, are politics and history fans. Just like baseball fans (Will is of course a famous baseball fan). We are the sort who would purchase volumes of baseball statistics.

But put us down on the field and we couldnt pitch, or hit, or catch balls to save our lives. And I doubt that Will or most of us would even be good team managers.

Its the hubris of the aficionado, the fan, not the player. We think what we know is what matters, or that it matters a great deal, but it isn't and doesn't.

mockturtle said...

"If flag burning is free speech is Koran burning free speech?"

Yes.


Unless you happen to be a guard at Gitmo or a member of the armed forces. Or just about anyone in the employ of the government at any level.

mockturtle said...

Damn, buwaya! You are smart!!! :-)

JPS said...

mockturtle,

"Unless you happen to be...a member of the armed forces."

Well, we voluntarily submitted to constraints on our freedom of speech. I could get in trouble for expressing my unvarnished opinion of certain elected officials, though in practice I'd probably have to make it very public.

Roughcoat said...

n.n.:

etc., etc., etc..

robother said...

"If flag burning is free speech is Koran burning free speech?"

Sadly, I suspect the answer is no, if only because followers of Islam would predictably react so violently that it would create a clear and present danger to the public peace.

Native born Americans have become so civilized that the SCOTUS can take it for granted that American flag-burning (as opposed to Koran or even Mexican flag burning) is protected speech.

Mark said...

2 days ago, Trump tweeted:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!


I've had a series of reactions:

You and the entire left "seized the occasion to get theatrically emotional."

How about when someone says something outrageous simply ignoring it???

rcocean said...

Hey Rh, why don't you go to Israel or Mexico and burn one of their flags in public.

And then when you get assaulted and/or thrown in jail - tell 'em its just a symbol, blah de blah.

rcocean said...

People get upset at burning the flag because its not an act of hate, not "speech".

Somehow, people and the SCOTUS didn't think burning a flag or a cross was "speech" protected by the 1st Amendment for about 200 years, but now all the "smart people' are just aghast that some of the peasants don't "understand" what the Constitution REALLY means.

Read the Federalist Papers. Read the words of the 1st Amendment. There's no more a constitutional right to burn a flag, then there is to have an abortion.

Its all politics masquerading as "constitutional law".

Obadiah said...

Concerning the claim that noncitizens' votes tipped the popular vote to HRC, there is an excellent article on this in today's wall street journal (December 1) by Hans von Spakovsky and John Fund at
http://www.wsj.com/articles/do-illegal-votes-decide-elections-1480551000
"There's no way to know. But the evidence suggests that significant numbers of noncitizens cast ballots."

mockturtle said...

rcocean says: Read the Federalist Papers. Read the words of the 1st Amendment. There's no more a constitutional right to burn a flag, then there is to have an abortion.

Or for a person to marry someone of the same sex.

Chuck said...

You guys aren't even any good at ridiculing me. Why have none of you confronted me with the words of my hero, Bill Buckley, who famously said that he'd rather be governed by the first 400 names in the Boston telephone book, than the faculty of Harvard College? (Buckley was a Yalie, which may have helped with that pronouncement.)

Of course, I don't think I contradicted Buckley. The Harvard College faculty is presumably 80%-90% Democrat. Good reason for Buckley to oppose them. And I already supposed that my constitutional literacy test would eliminate 75% of populist Republicans and 80% of the usual Democratic voters. I think the advantage goes to Conservative/Republicans.

Jupiter said...

Robert Cook said...
"...the law is not meant to be and should not be used as an instrument of social or personal revenge, but as a means for society to collectively determine just punishment for those who commit crimes..."

Cookie, you seem to imagine that there are acts which are, inherently, crimes, and outcomes which are, inherently, punishments, and the problem is to match the two columns up so as to arrive at justice. But in fact, the desire for revenge is a product of evolution. Lambs don't seek revenge on lions, but clans seek revenge on those who harm clan-members. The judicial system asks us to repress our natural desire for revenge, and allow the State to serve the same function. Well and good, if that function is served. When a preening jackass like Dukakis says that the life of a rapist and murderer is more important than the life of his own wife, he inspires contempt and repugnance. When he expressed a credible intention to force the rest of us to abide by his disgusting moral posture, he inspired something quite a bit stronger.

Jupiter said...

Chuck said...
"I already supposed that my constitutional literacy test would eliminate 75% of populist Republicans and 80% of the usual Democratic voters. I think the advantage goes to Conservative/Republicans."

Why not simply eliminate all voters other than yourself?

Chuck said...

rcocean:

You seem to be taking the position of "flag burning isn't really speech." That's okay, and you are free to make that argument. That would be free speech, for you to do that.

But your problem is that Justice Scalia pondered this question, and while he might like very much to arrest persons who burn flags, the Constitution of the United States does not permit it. That is his considered view. You -- and Mr. Trump -- are free to disagree with the late Scalia (again, free speech and all) but then Mr. Trump needs to explain his stated admiration for Scalia. I can think of very few conservative legal scholars who disagree with Scalia on this issue and the Texas v Johnson case.

Jupiter said...

It is kind of amusing to see how upset all you Constitutional Absolutists are getting about Trump exercising his First Amendment rights. Pretend he was just burning a flag or something. Ignore him.

Chuck said...

Jupiter said...
...
Why not simply eliminate all voters other than yourself?


It would take a constitutional amendment. An amendment that I would support.

Jupiter said...

Chuck,

You say you voted for Trump. Why didn't you write in Scalia?

rhhardin said...

Hey Rh, why don't you go to Israel or Mexico and burn one of their flags in public.

And then when you get assaulted and/or thrown in jail - tell 'em its just a symbol, blah de blah.


We run on American rules. That's what makes us American and not Mexican or Israeli.

Milwaukie guy said...

If someone burned the flag of Scotland, I would have to call it an ethnic hate crime as well as anti-Presbyterian agitation. Even though George III once called his America problem that damned Presbyterian rebellion. That's my fucking identity group.

Chuck said...

rhhardin said...
"Hey Rh, why don't you go to Israel or Mexico and burn one of their flags in public.

"And then when you get assaulted and/or thrown in jail - tell 'em its just a symbol, blah de blah."

We run on American rules. That's what makes us American and not Mexican or Israeli.


I'm having a bit of trouble understanding rhhardin tonight, but I think I am in agreement with him. The supporters of a Trumpian brand of punishment of flag-burners would make America just like Cuba, or Iran, or North Korea, or Saudi Arabia or the other myriad places where (I am presupposing) you'd get thrown in jail for burning flags. We are less distinctively American, when we go down the path of jailing flag-burners. We are adhering to a broad and generous reading of the First Amendment of our Constitution, when we resist state punishments for flag-burning based on that Amendment. We are more American for doing so.





mccullough said...

Brennan wrote the opinion in Texas v. Johnson and US v. Eichman. They were both 5-4 decisions. Kennedy is the only Justice left on the Court (and like Scalia, Marshall, and Blackmun he joined in Justice Brennan's opinion). Both HW Bush and Clinton said they agreed with the dissenting opinions in those cases. Reasonable people disagree on the issue.

Congress can always require fire resistant flags under its power to regulate interstate commerce and pass all laws necessary and proper in furtherance of this power.

mockturtle said...

Hyperbole, Chuck. Not policy.

rcocean said...

"We run on American rules. That's what makes us American and not Mexican or Israeli."

In terms of flag-burning, we ran on different "rules" for 200 years. Its only because of few split SCOTUS decisions that the "rules" changed in the last 20 years.

And I disagree, that following the "rules" is what makes us Americans. By that logic, a SCOTUS could impose Sharia law and we'd all have to follow the new "rules" or be Un-American.

n.n said...

There's no more a constitutional right to burn a flag, then there is to have an abortion.

There is a restriction to commit elective abortion. First, in the preamble: "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". The right to commit elective abortion was invented through the denial of the second party, "Posterity", first to the unalienable right to life, and second to the protections established in The Constitution. Then there is the Eighth Amendment, which establishes the State's role in policing "cruel and unusual punishments". The dismemberment and abortion of a human life deemed unworthy of life would qualify as a violation. The First Amendment does not recognize the right of a quasi-religious sect, Pro-Choice, to take life for casual and expedient causes, nor does it offer carte blanche to citizens to "burn crosses", let alone to terminate wholly innocent human lives.

n.n said...

SCOTUS could impose Sharia law and we'd all have to follow the new "rules" or be Un-American

And before that The Constitution was interpreted to normalize elective abortion, involuntary exploitation, class diversity including institutional racism and sexism, and "=" or selective exclusion. It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is. With a twilight religion, anything is possible, and America is slouching leftward and will be ruled by either a democracy or a minority regime.

Trumpit said...

Trump is a serial draft dodger. See:http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/02/us/politics/donald-trump-draft-record.html?_r=0. That is hardly being patriotic. What he really objected to wasn't flag burning, it was that they were protesting against him. That is was I believe based on Trump's bad character, and lack of integrity. If things get out of hand with his obnoxious presidency as is likely, expect million-man marches on Washington before the end of his term demanding that he resign or be impeached.

Danno said...

It is really stretching my memory to remember Dukakis and his cockamamie ideas. All I remember is the Willie Horton episode.

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Todd Roberson said...

Hey Chuck -

My claim: Water's wet.

Tell me why I'm wrong.

Go!

Robert Cook said...

Jupiter @ 7:25 PM completely misreads Dukakis' response to the question about his wife. No surprise.

rhhardin said...

Hey Chuck -

My claim: Water's wet.

Tell me why I'm wrong.

Go!


High surface tension.

Chuck said...

mockturtle said...
Hyperbole, Chuck. Not policy.


Well, yes. It is "hyperbole" from Trump, because Trump would never get away with any executive action which put such statements into actual action.

So, Trump is bullshitting. Yes, I get that.

But once again I say; don't complain that the media is being unfair to Trump when they report on this as an episode of Trump (1) espousing unconstitutional nonsense and (2) contradicting the late Justice Scalia. The media has it right in this case, and Trump is floundering in a swamp of misinformation and misguided patriotic hysteria.

I have already said that I agreed with Professor Althouse's prediction and observation about how this would be, and was, a street-level political winner for Trump, among people who do not understand the law of flag-burning. I'm not trying to build anything, or win any votes. I just want to be right.

Bad Lieutenant said...

FTR I am not aware that burning the flag is a crime in Israel.

Chuck, you say you want to be right, but you don't want to believe that which is right, you want that which you believe to be considered right. You want God to be with you, not to be with God.