Trump Supports Flag Burning Amendment

Today President Donald Trump declared support for a new constitutional amendment to allow Congress to override the First Amendment and criminalize the burning of the American flag. The legislation for the amendment was reintroduced by Sen. Steve Daines (R- Montana) and Sen Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota). While I consider flag burning (of any country) to be deeply offensive, there is no need for such an amendment to combat the extremely few incidents of flag burning. It is certainly a popular political cause, but we should not amend the Constitution to reduce free speech, particularly given the low number of flag burnings.

 Trump tweeted “All in for Senator Steve Daines as he proposes an Amendment for a strong BAN on burning our American Flag. A no brainer!”

Is the opposite of a “no brainer” a “brainer”? If so this is a brainer. Many of revere the flag and consider its burning to be a terrible act of contempt for those who gave their lives in its defense. It is the same reason that I oppose those protesting during the anthem. However, I do not think that we should clutter the Constitution with such narrow exceptions. I also do not support amending a constitution to limit rather than expand free speech. Free speech is already under attack in the West. We should not open the door to insular exceptions to this defining right.

What do you think?

118 thoughts on “Trump Supports Flag Burning Amendment”

  1. The flag is a symbol of what America stands for under the Constitution which of course has a provision for free speech – you know free speech – not limited by anything other than libel and slander laws. Be sure to protect the speech, even if the act or speech offends the flag because as the Supreme Court has said, “the freedom to differ is not limited to that which does not matter much”.

  2. Even Scalia…back in the day…

    Even Scalia Opposes Flag-Burning Amendment

    The arch-conservative Supreme Court justice is quoted in this Jonathan Alter column as saying that banning flag-burning would “[dilute] the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered.?

    Mr. President, when you find yourself to the right of Antonin Scalia, you’ve crossed over into crazy town.

    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/even-scalia-opposes-flag-burning-amendment/

    1. I do not support the flag burning law. I think we should be moderate between the twin foolishness of idolatry on the one hand and iconoclasm on the other.

  3. How do we oppose the left for stupid infringements on freedom while demanding to stupidly infringe freedom ourselves ?

    This is a “no brainer” – It is specifically BECAUSE Flag burning is so intensely offensive expression that it must be protected.

    Just like ever single thing that the left calls “hate speech” and wants to ban.

    If you do not have the right to express yourself offensively, you do not have the right to express yourself at all. Every expression offends someone.

    1. “If you do not have the right to express yourself offensively, you do not have the right to express yourself at all.”

      This is correct. Although I might quibble with the notion that every expression offends someone. If, for the sake of argument, we could find some expression that was entirely inoffensive, it would certainly be true that such expression would have no need of protection.

      One of my favorite writers on the contemporary situation in the UK and North America, Brendan O’Neill, has a collection of essays entitled “A Duty to Offend.”

      If you’re not willing to protect expression you find offensive, then you don’t believe in free speech. North Korea has that much respect for free expression. So do the Saudis. We’re better than North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Yes, better. There, I said it, you perpetually offended SJW knuckleheads. The US is better than theocratic or marxist totalitarian dictatorships.

      It used to be the case that a statement like “women don’t have penises,” was, if not entirely inoffensive, completely uncontroversial. Now, if someone should be so callous as to make a youtube video asserting such a thing, he or she would be de-platformed.

      Let us not follow the left into intolerance. If such an amendment should pass, then what’s next? An amendment to ban NFL players from kneeling at the anthem? An amendment to forbid athletes from boycotting White House ceremonies? We liberals and conservatives would end up no better than the neo-totalitarian left.

      While I am completely opposed to such an amendment, it deserves to be pointed out that supporters of the flag-burning amendment at least understand that banning flag-burning would require amending the constitution, whereas the neo-totalitarian left believes that banning the endlessly growing catalogue of items that they regard as “hate speech” merely requires them to engage into acts of performative outrage and occasional violence. That’s no way to run a civilization.

  4. While I do not like the act of burning the flag, it is part of our freedom of speech and should not be outlawed. I agree it is a “brainer”!

  5. Protests like those in Hong Kong are highly unlikely in the U.S., no matter how egregious the crimes of the state. We’re a nation of mice. Whatever the government wants to do — either to us — or on our behalf — we’ll remain silent and passive, and take it sitting down. (And a good number of us are willing to assist the government in its efforts.)

    https://www.apnews.com/c19a52474a1343858ad86de126a3078f

    1. “The Women’s March[13][14][15][a] was a worldwide protest on January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Tensions rose due to statements made by Donald Trump, considered by many as anti-women or otherwise offensive.[13][20] It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.[19……Between 3,267,134 and 5,246,670 people participated in the marches in the U.S.,[25] approximately 1.0 to 1.6 percent of the U.S. population. ”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Women%27s_March

            1. How sad that the Democrat-leadership fawming mass media has totally ignored her candidacy.

              Why’ there’s other women who fit their list of particulars better like Kamala and Warren the other nonentities

        1. Anonymous,
          They got out of the house and got some exercise, although the film footage that I saw looked more like they were just milling around rather than “marching”.
          Still, I don’t know if it can be said that they accomplished “nothing” if they got out into the fresh air and got even very limited amounts of exercise.

          1. PS You were the one claiming Americans don’t get in the streets, so whatever is achieved is another issue. The achievement of that march was the politicalization of many who previously may have thought elections don’t matter.

            1. “The achievement of that march was the politicalization of many who previously may have thought elections don’t matter.”

              They don’t — not in the ways that really count in the long run.

              Let’s look back at the days of “hope and change”:

              Obama’s abuse of the Espionage Act is modern-day McCarthyism

              John Kiriakou

              Shame on this president for persecuting whistleblowers with a legal relic, while administration officials leak with impunity

              https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/06/obama-abuse-espionage-act-mccarthyism

              This is but one small example.

              1. Anonymous:

                That Guardian article would have us believe that Bradley / Chelsea Manning is worthy of sympathy. He / She isn’t. At times of war the last thing we want is low-ranked personnel stealing files. That can’t be tolerated. ..No way..!

                Obama would have looked like a squishy liberal had his administration shown leniency to Manning. And Obama was smart enough to know that.

                  1. Correction:

                    naivete

                    And you ignored the thrust of the thrust of the Kiriakou’s article:

                    “The Obama administration’s espionage prosecutions are political actions for political reasons, and are carried out by political appointees. The only way to end this or any administration’s abuse of the Espionage Act is to rewrite the law. It is so antiquated that it doesn’t even mention classified information; the classification system hadn’t yet been invented. The law was written a century ago to prosecute German saboteurs. Its only update came in 1950, at the height of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. The law is still so broad and vague that many legal scholars argue that it is unconstitutional.

                    “The only hope of ending this travesty of justice is to scrap the Espionage Act and to enact new legislation that would protect whistleblowers while allowing the government to prosecute traitors and spies. This would require congressional leadership, however, and that is something that is very difficult to come by. Giants like the late Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Frank Church, and the late Representative Otis Pike, who boldly took on and reformed the intelligence community in the 1970s, are long-gone. Until someone on Capitol Hill begins to understand the concept of justice for national security whistleblowers, very little is likely to change.

                    “The press also has a role to play, one that, so far, it has largely ignored. That role is to report on and investigate the whistleblower’s revelations of illegality, not on the kind of car he drives, the brand of eyeglasses he wears, where he went to college, or what his nextdoor neighbor has to say about their childhood.

                    “The attacks on our civil liberties that the whistleblower reports are far too important to move off-message into trivialities. After all, the government is spying on all of us. That should be the story.”

                    Again:

                    “The attacks on our civil liberties that the whistleblower reports are far too important to move off-message into trivialities. After all, the government is spying on all of us. That should be the story.”

                1. Obama commuted his sentence. See also Berghdahl. He didn’t disapprove of what they did, either.

            2. I didn’t say that “Americans don’t get in the streets…” You misinterpreted what I said.

              I said the following:

              “Protests like those in Hong Kong are highly unlikely in the U.S., no matter how egregious the crimes of the state.”

              1. thanks to anonymous for covering that important news when I was on my turley break over the weekend. well done!

                1. No. I said this:

                  “Protests like those in Hong Kong are highly unlikely in the U.S., no matter how egregious the crimes of the state.”

                  You misinterpreted it.

      1. “Between 3,267,134 and 5,246,670 people participated in the marches in the U.S.”

        These numbers are, strangely, extremely precise and extremely imprecise simultaneously.

        I therefore deem them suspect on their face.

  6. The U.S. Government’s Crusade Against Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

    JUNE 13, 2019

    https://www.democracynow.org/2019/6/13/the_us_government_s_crusade_against_julian

    By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan

    “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech or of the press,” reads the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Yet, for the first time ever, a publisher is being prosecuted under the World War I-era Espionage Act. Julian Assange, co-founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, is facing 170 years in prison if he is extradited to the U.S. from the United Kingdom. The case could deal a monumental blow to the free press in the United States.

    The U.S. first charged Assange in April with attempting to help a U.S. Army whistleblower break into a military computer system, for which Assange would face up to five years in prison. Then, on May 23, the Justice Department released a superseding indictment, adding 17 espionage charges. The new charges, The New York Times editorial board wrote on the day they were announced, “could have a chilling effect on American journalism as it has been practiced for generations. It is aimed straight at the heart of the First Amendment.”

    The New York Times was one of many news organizations that partnered with WikiLeaks in publishing material that it was provided anonymously. From its launch in 2007, WikiLeaks proved to be a reliable source for critical, documentary evidence of corporate and government malfeasance.

    In 2007, WikiLeaks released a secret manual from the Guantanamo Bay prison, written in 2003, that instructed guards to deny prisoners access to the Quran and bar Red Cross visits in order to “exploit the disorientation and disorganization felt by a newly arrived detainee” — a violation of international human rights law. Not long after, the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center produced a secret document — subsequently leaked to and released by WikiLeaks — that called WikiLeaks “a potential force protection, counterintelligence, operational security, and information security threat to the US Army.”

    In April 2010, WikiLeaks made international headlines when it released a video showing the indiscriminate targeting and killing of civilians in Baghdad. The video was recorded July 12, 2007, by a U.S. military Apache helicopter gunship, and includes audio of military radio transmissions.

    Two Reuters employees — Iraqi journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh — were killed in the attack, along with at least eight other people. Two children were critically injured. The radio transmissions show not only the utter callousness of the soldiers, laughing and swearing as they kill, but also the strict procedure they follow, ensuring that all of their attacks are clearly authorized by their chain of command.

    Reuters had repeatedly requested information from the Pentagon related to the death of its two employees, but had received nothing. It took one brave whistleblower and WikiLeaks to reveal the horror of that helicopter attack, clear video evidence of a possible war crime.

    The whistleblower was eventually identified as Pvt. Bradley Manning. Manning was jailed in solitary confinement in conditions that the United Nations described as tantamount to torture, then prosecuted and convicted. Immediately after being sentenced to 35 years in prison, Manning announced a gender transition, changing her name to Chelsea. President Barack Obama eventually commuted her sentence, and she was released from prison in May 2017.

    Her ordeal was not over, however. In February 2019, she was called before a grand jury to testify about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. She said that she had testified fully during her 2013 court-martial, and so refused to testify. For that, she was jailed for two months. She was then called before a second grand jury. Refusing to testify again, she has been imprisoned since May 16.

    As for Julian Assange, he had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, where he had been given political asylum. He fled to the embassy, fearful that he would be extradited to the United States. On April 11, British authorities entered the embassy and forcibly arrested him. He is now serving a 50-week sentence for violating the terms of his bail in a separate case.

    Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, said after visiting Assange in the British prison where he is being held that he “shows all the symptoms of a person who has been exposed to psychological torture for a prolonged period of time.” Assange was unable to appear in his most recent court hearing due to failing health.

    Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said of the new indictment: “For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges against a publisher for the publication of truthful information. This is an extraordinary escalation of the Trump administration’s attacks on journalism, and a direct assault on the First Amendment.”

  7. It certainly doesn’t belong in the Constitution, in my opinion. It would probably behoove us more to start asking why entitled little brats want to burn the flag in the first place. We have created a generation of monsters, and they are going to bite eventually, one way or another.

  8. Trump has accused the NYTimes of treason for publish 1. that the US is using cyberwarfare to attack the infrastructure of Russia (an act, if done to us by Russia is considered an act of war punishable by the nuking them, so a little bit of hypocrisy there perhaps? and 2. that Bolton and other neocons overlords did this w/out their bootlicker (Trump’s) knowledge.

    Bolton has his little placard proclaiming himself president. Funny how no one remembers his name on any ballot for this office. This cabal is committing crimes against the American public and the people of many nations. To have no concerns or protest against a 1. fake govt. who commits war crimes led by unelected cabals while 2. having the hired lackey scream the press is committing treason for pointing out information the public has every right to know, in fact we must know this while freaking out about flag burning.

    This nation is confused. We don’t even have an elected, civilian govt.

  9. Dakotas can pass that law on the own if they so wish. I can’t remember it being a right granted to the federal government.

  10. Had me wondering for a while. Burning the flag is the ‘legal’ way to ‘bury’ those too old and tattered … aye tear it down long has it waved….as this will be the first Trump initiative backed by the left though not for the same reasons. FINALLY he has given the left a reason to exist, a platorm and one plank.

  11. Donal Trump would like to burn actual journalists (not courtiers of the deep state) and publishers and their sources at the stake. See Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, but they aren’t the only ones.

    In every way, Trump has trashed our Constitution so this cynical position isn’t exactly a surprise.

    What I am really getting fed up with is people who cannot distinguish a symbol that was manufactured by a state (religion) with actual rights of our people. In reality Trump and people like him are burning our rights to the ground.

    Until our rights are fought for by the people of this nation, people who will not accept the burning of our rights by this “government”, the flag should be burned. To do so is to show that real things are being destroyed–our civil liberties, our rights, our society.

    Do not confuse a symbol with reality. To worry about the symbol and using it as an excuse to burn the rights, we are making a grave error as citizens.

    Trump is one cynical person. He sends our soldiers to fight his fake wars and when (if) they return all messed up, his henchmen at the VA couldn’t care less. Then he claims he’s a patriot. I cannot believe people even buy this crap for a second.

    1. Manning is a felon, and belongs in prison. People like you simply do not disapprove of what he did. Our society would benefit if you were absent from it.

      1. “Our society would benefit if you were absent from it.”

        Some might say the same about you.

        I know some of what our government wrongly does and keeps under wraps. Do you?

          1. Which only tells us what an idiot “TIA x 8” is. He or she is clueless, but likes to pretend otherwise.

            1. There is no way to verify any of these stories. You subscribe to them because it pleases you.

            2. There is no way to verify any of these stories. You subscribe to them because it pleases you.

              n

              1. “There is no way to verify any of these stories. You subscribe to them because it pleases you.”

                Nothing could “please” me any less. But sit in your La-Z-Boy and keep pretending that you actually know how the world really works.

                You obviously don’t.

                Plenty of “these” sorts of “stories” have been “verified.” It just serves your purposes to pretend otherwise.

                1. But sit in your La-Z-Boy and keep pretending that you actually know how the world really works

                  There’s a fellow named bill mcwilliams who posts here with the same attitude. Do you trade in 9-11 truther material too, or just Kennedy assassination gobbledygook?

                  1. As I said, just keep on pretending and/or believing that you understand how the world works. And when all else fails, shout “conspiracy theorist” as a mindless, empty retort.

                  2. i did not post these things which anonymous did over the weekend– that was not me i almost never post over the weekend– but you discredit yourself by dismissing them so easily.

                    the astroturfing campaign was verified and there is a CIA history of influencing mass media not the least of which was Operation Mockingbird.

                    they also leak on a regular basis, strategically.

                    but if the leaks are unauthorized boy there’s hell to pay, ask John Kiriakou

              2. ” x 9″ now.

                Even the spam filter knows that there’s something “off” about you “This is absurd x 9.”

              3. And by the by, you old goat:

                I subscribe to what I know to be true. That you don’t know what I know only means that you’re ignorant. Just imagine a world in which “TIA x ?” doesn’t know everything — in which “TIA x ?” is actually wrong about something.

            3. that story is verified.

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

              Operation Earnest Voice
              From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
              Jump to navigationJump to search
              Operation Earnest Voice is an astroturfing campaign by the US government.[1] The aim of the initiative is to use sockpuppets to spread pro-American propaganda on social networking sites based outside of the US.[2][3][4][5] The campaign is operated by the United States Military Central Command (CENTCOM), thought to have been directed at jihadists across Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries the Middle East.[2]

              According to CENTCOM, the US-based Facebook and Twitter networks are not targeted by the program because US laws prohibit state agencies from spreading propaganda among US citizens as according to the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012.[6] However, according to the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, dissemination of foreign propaganda to domestic audiences is expressly allowed over the internet including social media networks.[7] Isaac R. Porche, a researcher at the RAND corporation, claims it would not be easy to exclude US audiences when dealing with internet communications.[5]

              Contents
              1 Details of the program
              2 Statements
              3 See also
              4 References
              5 External links
              Details of the program
              The US government signed a $2.8 million contract with the Ntrepid web-security company to develop a specialized software, allowing agents of the government to post propaganda on “foreign-language websites”.[2]

              Main characteristics of the software, as stated in the software development request, are:

              50 user “operator” licenses, 10 sockpuppets controllable by each user.[3]
              Sockpuppets are to be “replete with background, history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent”. Sockpuppets are to “be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world.” [3]
              A special secure VPN, allowing sockpuppets to appear to be posting from “randomly selected IP addresses,” in order to “hide the existence of the operation.”[8]
              50 static IP addresses to enable government agencies to “manage their persistent online personas,” with identities of government and enterprise organizations protected which will allow for different state agents to use the same sockpuppet, and easily switch between different sockpuppets to “look like ordinary users as opposed to one organization.”[8]
              9 private servers, “based on the geographic area of operations the customer is operating within and which allow a customer’s online persona(s) to appear to originate from.” These servers should use commercial hosting centers around the world.[8]
              Virtual machine environments, deleted after each session termination, to avoid interaction with “any virus, worm, or malicious software.”[8]
              Statements
              USCC commander David Petraeus, in his congressional testimony, stated that Operation Earnest Voice would “reach [a country’s] regional audiences through traditional media, as well as via Web sites and regional public-affairs blogging,” as an effort to “counter extremist ideology and propaganda”.[2] However, his successor, James Mattis, altered the program to have “regional blogging” fall under general USCC public-affairs activity. On how they would operate on these blogs, Petraeus explained: “We bring out the moderate voices. We amplify those. And in more detail, we detect and we flag if there is adversary, hostile, corrosive content in some open-source Web forum, [and] we engage with the Web administrators to show that this violates Web site provider policies.”[9]

        1. “I know some of what our government wrongly does and keeps under wraps. Do you?”

          Spoken like a true conspiracy theorist.

          By the way, if you know what they’re keeping under wraps, then they aren’t doing a very good job of keeping it under wraps.

          1. Said like a crazy idiot — and there are too many of you.

            You’re clearly not the bright bulb, “JAY.”

          2. you guys surely must have heard of Operation Mockingbird. an older CIA effort to influence media by the CIA. not a conspiracy theory, just a conspiracy fact.

            Armonk, NY (2004). “MOCKINGBIRD, Project”. Encyclopedia of intelligence and counterintelligence (First ed.). Routledge. p. 432. ISBN 0765680688. A Cold War-era CIA propaganda campaign, Project MOCKINGBIRD was begun in the late 1940s under Frank Wisner, director of the Office of Policy Coordination. Project MOCKINGBIRD sought to manipulate media coverage of the Cold War by recruiting foreign and domestic journalists to serve as clandestine propaganda agents for the United States. Enjoying mixed success in the late 1950s and 1960s, the program was ended in the 1970s due to mounting popular opposition to the CIA’s cover operations and domestic activities.

        1. I’m not a pacifist. Neither am I a pacifist as far as the American or Israeli military is concerned and all for any kind of violence when some mascot group of the phony pacifist does it.

          1. “Two Reuters employees — Iraqi journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh — were killed in the attack, along with at least eight other people. Two children were critically injured. The radio transmissions show not only the utter callousness of the soldiers, laughing and swearing as they kill, but also the strict procedure they follow, ensuring that all of their attacks are clearly authorized by their chain of command.

            “Reuters had repeatedly requested information from the Pentagon related to the death of its two employees, but had received nothing. It took one brave whistleblower and WikiLeaks to reveal the horror of that helicopter attack, clear video evidence of a possible war crime.”

            https://www.democracynow.org/2019/6/13/the_us_government_s_crusade_against_julian

            “It’s a reasonable wager” — as TIA x 8 likes to say — that TIA has never been to war. In the main, one might “wager” that she or he is a coward.

            1. Let me reword that — and it bears repeating, anyway:

              One might “wager” that TIA is a coward, in the main.

            2. Yes, warfare conducted in areas where people live will result in the death of civilians. There is no way around this. There is also no way around the necessity of war in select circumstances. Either you’re playing dumb or it’s not an act.

              1. Said by TIA x 9…: “Yes, warfare conducted in areas where people live will result in the death of civilians. There is no way around this. There is also no way around the necessity of war in select circumstances.”

                Reasonable people understand this.

                You’re the one who’s either “playing dumb”…or “it’s not an act.”

  12. If burning an American flag is free “speech” why isn’t throwing red paint on the Washington Monument free “speech”? Words aren’t actions and vice versa. It’s mushy thinking that makes mushy law.

    1. Did the justices who made that ruling ever offer a set of principles to distinguish between torching a flag and torching Mr. Justice Brennan’s chambers? They could try making a distinction on the basis of property rights, but that would have a mess of knock-on effects in jurisprudence, no?

      1. Did the justices who made that ruling ever offer a set of principles to distinguish between torching a flag and torching Mr. Justice Brennan’s chambers? They could try making a distinction on the basis of property rights, but that would have a mess of knock-on effects in jurisprudence, no?

    2. mespo, you’re a lawyer, correct?

      Assuming one burns a flag they own and not someone else’s property, there is no comparison legally between that act and defacing public property.

      Of course this has nothing to do with the issue of free speech and flag burning, something I don’t ever see myself doing but which right I support.

      1. No one simply burns their own flag. They want to burn one in public to create a stir. You wanna burn your own flag in private, have at it. You do it in public to incite folks, it’s not free speech it’s a crime. No different than attacking any other symbol of patriotism with the intention of breaching the peace. “The case has nothing to do with ‘disagreeable ideas.’ It involves disagreeable conduct that, in my opinion, diminishes the value of an important national asset,” Justice Stevens, dissent in Texas v. Johnson. It was a 5-4 decision.

        1. Mespo, not really worth arguing over a stupid and inconsequential point. My guess is that most flag burners bring their own with them to wherever they are demonstrating. If they didn’t they would likely not find one to burn. There is no question but that the Wahington Monument is not the personal property of any demonstrators, but of the US government, so the comparison does not hold.

          1. mespo, I apologize for implying you were stupid. Though I rarely agree with you, I don;t think you are and that was partly my surprise at this argument you are advancing..

            1. I know you don’t. Texas v. Johnson is a closer call than my critics will allow. There are salient arguments this isn’t free speech and pretending otherwise wont make that a fantasy.

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