Can You Say "Pander"? I Bet You Can

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Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen has a good article today taking Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) to task for co-sponsoring legislation to criminalize burning the U.S. flag. Senator Clinton is apparently eager to throw the First Amendment over the side as she paddles as swiftly as she can to the middle of where she thinks mainstream voters are. Watch for her to sign onto a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning when it turns out that merely criminalizing flag burning doesn't persuade conservatives and moderates to vote for her when she runs for president in 2008.

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  1. Either she’s deluded enough to think she has the 2008 nomination wrapped up, and doesn’t have to worry about offending Democratic primary voters,

    or she’s posititioning herself to be the ticket-balancer for the liberal Democrat who will eventually get the nomination.

  2. I understand that John Edwards plans to publicly stone a gay couple after poll testing showed it would increase his standing among likely voters in South Carolina by 5%.

  3. I understand that John Edwards plans to publicly stone a gay couple after poll testing showed it would increase his standing among likely voters in South Carolina by 5%.

  4. Sorry for the double post. After I tried posting the first time, the server squirrels sent me a message saying my post was being held for moderator approval. >:(

  5. I propose a constitutional amendment: you can’t be president if a member of your family has already been president.

    Would have spared us Dubs, the future Presidents Clinton II, Bush III (Jeb), Clinton III (Chelsea), Bush IV (that vaguely hispanic nephew or whatever he is), etc.

  6. OY! This is disappointing. Not enough to start drinking over, but still. You’d think Hillary would know better. Looks like Bill was the brains all along. Who’d a thunk it?

  7. Yeah, because a law prohibiting flag burning will totally hold up in court.

  8. Sheesh, burning a flag isn’t speech, it’s behavior — also protected under our Constitution. As long as you do it on your own property. Burning your flag — or anything for that matter — on my property is a crime and should be illegal. Burning it (or anything) on government (our) property should also be illegal, not because it’s a flag, but because you are burning stuff on property owned by everyone. I don’t care if it’s a flag or a malatov cocktail. It’s the same principle. Why is this concept so difficult to comprehend?

  9. Uncle Sam-

    I hate to break it to you, but burning stuff on somebody else’s property without the owner’s permission is already illegal.

    Flag burning laws aren’t about arson.

  10. Because no one’s proposing laws to ban burning of any kind of public land? Because this law singles out one specific burn for criminal prosecution based on – wait for it – the politicl message conveyed by burning that object?

  11. Hey. Who took my moniker?
    I’m the real Uncle Sam. And I did not write the above.

  12. No kidding, brainiac. That’s what “is a crime” means.

  13. Okay, I’ll come up with another one.
    I think I’ll come back as “kgsam”.
    Uncle Sam

  14. Bill was the brains all along. Aside from her name, she’s been quite unimpressive as a senator. I sincerely hope that the Democrats can nominate a more able and principled candidate than her. Not to mention that anyone who votes for yet another relative of a former president should have a flag burned in his yard. I prefer moderates as a general rule (as long as they are moderate in the right way), but her clumsy attempts to find “the middle” have shown why she’s not presidential material.

    joe, as someone with leftish leanings, who would you like to see nominated? By the Democrats, I mean. Isn’t there anyone with experience, reason, and relative principle out there? I feel a sense of deja vu, because I was asking the same question of the GOP when GWB somehow ended up as the nominee. That’s the best they could come up with?

  15. This is classic Clintonian triangulation. She needs an issue where she appear to be on the Right because she knows she is going to be forced to move further to the left on the war in Iraq if she wants the nomination. Flag burning probably wont even register on the radar screens of the portion of the party that will crucify her over her current position on the war.

  16. Uncle Sam, your post has the potential to be confusing. You mixed first person with third person.

  17. The fact that she and her husband both have law degrees makes this all the more vile. heh. Hillary = Panderella. Can’t wait to hear what position(s) Joe Biden takes as ’08 nears.

  18. Uncle Sam (the first, fake one), I am not sure how to judge what you wrote. What does your argument have to do with a proposal to change the US Constitution to ban the burning of the American flag? Are you saying that the change would be redundant? I eagerly await your clarification.

    Perhaps Hillary will next tip off reporters that she plans to attend a screening of The Chronicles of Narnia, so they can photograph her strolling into the theater. Either that or that stoning idea.

  19. I’m sorry if I misinterpreted the 11:25am post by Uncle Sam (or whatever the new moniker is).

  20. Brian, your amendment would have spared us every president since at least Lincoln…except Richard Nixon.

    [Holds up depressing genealogical chart.]

  21. The good news is that the anti-flag-burning folks who voted against Bill will trust Hillery when hell freezes over.

    The bad news is that there are enough people on the Right who don’t understand what’s wrong with a flag-burning law, for her tactic to work for someone else.

  22. Laws that specifically target flag burning as opposed to anything burning are facially unconstitutional, unless they are very narrowly tailored. The problem is that they usually end up constituting viewpoint discrimination (e.g., burning the U.S. flag is illegal, burning the Confederate flag is okay).

    The whole issue is nonsense, of course. Burning anything in public is likely to get you in trouble. Flag burning is relatively rare, as well. If the flag is being burned in such a way as to directly incite violence, then the cops can take action just as they could if someone used words to incite violence–they don’t need any anti-flag burning laws.

  23. Pro L, there are a lot of good choices. I’m still convinced John Kerry would make the best president, but my confidence in his abilities as a candidate have endured a setback of sorts.

    John Warner’s ok. Russ Feingold’s ok. Bill Richardson’s ok. Janet Napolitano would be an interesting choice. Wesley Clark wasn’t ready for prime time last time, but we’ll see what he’s been up to. Montana’s governor Sweitzer? is an attractive dark horse.

    I really haven’t made up my mind. I’ll have to see how the primary campaign plays out.

  24. Flag burners are inarticulate hooligans who substitute shock value for reason. Anyone can burn a flag. Not everyone can write an effective speech. But burning a flag is still behavior. Elevating it to the level of “protected speech” invites these pointless and time-consuming court cases. If flag burning is speech, then what isn’t? Abortion? Smoking? Isn’t all behavior then “protected” speech? Treating it as such derails the greater concepts involved.

  25. Yeah, because a law prohibiting flag burning will totally hold up in court.

    Wasn’t that the rationale behind McCain Feingold and look where that got us. Where’s Brother Souljah when (Sir Edmund) Hillary need one?

  26. I have a freidn who claims he’sheard it several times from women – both Democrat and Republican – that were Hillary to get the Democratic nomination, they’d vote for her just to have a woman president.

    I don’t know how accurate that is. I myself live in a fairly conservative city and have NEVER heard a Republican woman say anything nice or admirable about Hillary. She’s frequently derided by most men I know, as well.

    As for myself, while I don’t share the venomous and laughably unsubstatiated hatred for her that some other do, I find little to admire, as well. As venal and cynical as Bill was, at least he had style and was a terrific speaker. Hillary, by contrast, is downright dowdy.

    Still, it’s interesting to ponder the idea that Hillary could go from the polarizing figure in the partisan arena that she already is, to a polarizing figure in the gender arena with a completely different (and as of yet unknown) landscape of people, issues and opinions.

    The mind reels

  27. Warner and Richardson both seem like reasonable candidates to me. Feingold’s okay, I guess, but I still have that whole campaign-finance anger to deal with. I might vote Democratic in the general election if the GOP candidate is bad enough, and if the Democratic candidate doesn’t offend me too much. I don’t agree at all with you about Kerry, but I think he’s dead, anyway, so it’s a moot point.

    I can’t figure out who I “like” on the right side of the equation. Although I’ve been rather impressed with Governor Bush, there’s no way in hell I’d ever vote for him–two are enough. Besides, he pissed me off with that illegal nonsense in the Schiavo case. I wish the Republican Liberty Caucus actually had enough clout to find me a good libertarian to vote for in the primaries, but that ain’t going to happen.

    Most likely, I’ll vote LP again in the general election out of frustration.

  28. If flag burning is speech, then what isn’t? Abortion? Smoking? Isn’t all behavior then “protected” speech?

    No, I don’t think so, at least not in the way you mean. A burning flag has an obvious and accepted meaning–you can get a point across with this powerful symbol. In general, this is not true of the other behaviors you mention. Of course, whether something constitutes speech is dependent in part on the context of that behavior. I can imagine instances in which a burning flag might be a pro-America message, for instance. I can also imagine instances in which smoking a cigarrette might be a very powerful image that conveys a lot of information. It would seem that by your reasoning all the nonverbal arts should not be protected speech. Am I misunderstanding you?

    Flag burners are inarticulate hooligans who substitute shock value for reason. Anyone can burn a flag. Not everyone can write an effective speech.

    The use of symbols, like speech writing, is a talent. There will be some who are good at it and some who aren’t. One can imagine creative and eloquent uses of the symbol of a burning flag just as one can imagine insipid prose. It may be the case that, so far, flag burners have been ineloquent–but that doesn’t mean that the flag burning should be illegal.

  29. “I have a freidn who claims he’sheard it several times from women – both Democrat and Republican – that were Hillary to get the Democratic nomination, they’d vote for her just to have a woman president.”

    that’s my office in a nutshell. however, i have the good graces not to laugh at them when they suggest this will somehow end war and hunger.

    i forget – and am painfully reminded every four years – that some people have far more faith in the puppet millionaires of the would-be world controllers than i do.

  30. In fact, US Grant, the bill, and similar bills, don’t ban flag burning. Burning a folded flag is still the federal-law-endorsed method of disposal.

    The laws ban desecration of the American flag, including desecrating it by burning it. So what is the difference between legally burning a flag and violating this law? Why, it’s the political message transmitted by the act. That, my friend, is why this law violates the Constitution.

  31. Burning your flag — or anything for that matter — on my property is a crime and should be illegal. Burning it (or anything) on government (our) property should also be illegal, not because it’s a flag, but because you are burning stuff on property owned by everyone.

    Well, no. This principle would make smoking, lighting candles, or driving an automobile illegal.

    Burning someone else’s property without their permission is arson, and illegal. Burning your own property and making an insurance claim is illegal. Burning carelessly, as in during a burn ban or where prohibited for safety reasons is illegal. Burning a flag you own isn’t and shouldn’t be.

    Other than the above, the only restriction on where you do it would have to involve trespass law. If you warned flag-burners (or anyone else) to leave your private property and they refused you’d have a trespass case. That’s a lot harder to implement on publicly-owned property which is normally open to the public, for instance a courthouse lawn.

    Burning an American flag is an expression of rage against the U.S. and thus a Constitutionally protected expression under the First Amendment.

    “Because the Flag still stands for Freedom, and they can’t take that away.”

    <shock>I agree with Joe.</shock>

  32. Having a no-flag-burning Amendment is like amending the constitution to pass a law that you can’t say “Fuck America!” It’s stupid and pointless and police-statish.

    If idiots want to burn the flag, that’s their problem. We don’t need the Feds to investigate it.

  33. I’ll bet flag burning would be OK if it were a hemp flag.

  34. Didn’t the USSC strike down a anti-flag-desecration law back in the early 90s? Good grief, that’s mighty posturing.

    But then, it’s just posturing. So far, she’s still better than McCain on free speech, if it comes down to them.

  35. If they want to pander to me they can start with an amendment that forbids Senators and members of Congress wiping their ass with the Constitution.

  36. I used to be proud that i lived in a country where burning the flag was legal ( even if in bad taste) its just a symbol its not like burning the flag brings down the republic

  37. The bad news is that there are enough people on the Right who don’t understand what’s wrong with a flag-burning law, for her tactic to work for someone else

    Actually, support for an anti-flag-burning amendment typically polls in the 50-65% range, depending on how the question is phrased. Support for anti-flag-burning laws is higher still.

    So it isn’t just the Right that’s the problem here. Supporting restrictions on flag burning, like supporting national health care or restrictions on partial-birth abortion, or opposing marriage benefits for gays, is something that polls very well with a solid majority of the electorate.

  38. So according to The Wise, I may smoke a cigarette in the halls of the Supreme Court and fully expect this action to be interpreted as protected speech, so long as I’m doing it to protest cigarette bans?

  39. I agree with TallDave’s 12:27 comment.

    As to:
    I’ll bet flag burning would be OK if it were a hemp flag.

    Depends on whether or not you inhale the smoke.

  40. Depends on whether or not you inhale the smoke.

    Correct Thoreau, because then it’s no longer a matter of “freedom of speech, but “interstate commerce.”

  41. Didn’t the USSC strike down a anti-flag-desecration law back in the early 90s? Good grief, that’s mighty posturing.

    United States v. Eichman, I think.

  42. Having a no-flag-burning Amendment is like amending the constitution to pass a law that you can’t say “Fuck America!” It’s stupid and pointless and police-statish.

    Somehow this idea doesn’t seem that far-fetched these days.

    I’ll bet flag burning would be OK if it were a hemp flag.

    Depends on whether or not you inhale the smoke.

    I thought hemp used for fabric did not have THC in it?

  43. but my confidence in his abilities as a candidate have endured a setback of sorts.

    Well said, my good man. Cheerio.

  44. This always reminds me of the episode of Mr. Show where David Cross is a performance artist trying to shit and urinate on a flag. Turns out the founding fathers actually designed the flag the way it was because it sends a signal to the brain that won’t let you shit or urinate on it.

    So here’s the plan for Congress if they’re oh so concerned about the rash of flag burning that must be occuring if they’re sticking their fucking holier-than-thou noses in it: mandate that all commercially manufactured flags must be made from non-flammable material. You wanna burn a flag? Fine. Sew it yourself.

  45. Hillary is opening up a panderous box.

  46. Stevo, that’s Hillaryous.

  47. So according to The Wise, I may smoke a cigarette in the halls of the Supreme Court and fully expect this action to be interpreted as protected speech, so long as I’m doing it to protest cigarette bans?

    No, that doesn’t follow.

  48. So I guess burning tobacco is not protected speech, but burning cotton is.

  49. I still think the perfect compromise on flag burning was passed by the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1990. The proposed law said, “You can burn a flag, but if I beat you up over it, I just get fined $25.”

    Everyone’s happy. You get your rights, I get mine, and the state takes $25.

  50. “You get your rights, I get mine, and the state takes $25.”

    ahh, but there’s a catch – rednecks are flammable too!

  51. Everyone’s happy. You get your rights, I get mine, and the state takes $25.

    people have a right to pummel someone who exercises a right that they don’t like?

  52. If Democrats weren’t such statist, gun-grabbing busybodies, they might make a good alternative for libertarians.

    As far as Hillary goes, she only tends to get in trouble when she opens her mouth. Shouldn’t be a problem for a presidential candidate…

  53. Here’s my observation on flag-burning.

    What does it mean when a quasi-governmental agency, through regular business, “cancels” thousands of US flags daily? I speak of the images of flags on stamps, which the USPS cancels with their rubber stamps in bulk.

    That’s where these laws need to start.

  54. From joe’s list:

    John Warner’s ok.

    You must have meant Mark Warner.

  55. Depends on whether or not you inhale the smoke.

    I thought hemp used for fabric did not have THC in it?

    True. But that doesn’t make any difference to the Drug Warriors. It’s for the children.

  56. As venal and cynical as Bill was, at least he had style and was a terrific speaker. Hillary, by contrast, is downright dowdy.

    Hillary has adopted the “shout in monotone with an extra pause in between each word” style of oration, which I find dreadful. It’s supposed to convey passion and excitement, but it just sounds idiotic.

    Perhaps, regardless of who runs, the Democrats should use Obama as a sort of Designated Hitter for oration.

  57. Well, if she swallowed instead of talking with a grimmace on her face all the time, maybe her husband would have never been impeached?

    Here is a thought experiment: If she does get elected, will she be the first US president who ever gave a blowjob? From what I have read recently, that honor probably belongs to Lincoln. But, she probably will be the first US president who ever gave a US president a blowjob.

  58. What, did Lincoln and Buchanan have a “thing”?

  59. So I guess burning tobacco is not protected speech, but burning cotton is.

    What? Your tall-buildings-with-a-single-bound approach is leaving me behind, I’m afraid. I don’t think that the debate about flag burning turns on the type of material that is being burned (the above hemp debate nothwithstanding). In determining whether something should be protected speech, it is not enough merely to determine that it is speech. Obviously the form of speech, to be protected speech, should not be harmful to others. Tobacco, it is claimed, is harmful to others. Thus, even if it is speech (and I am not saying that it is), smoking can be restricted.

    Take a silly example: Writing “McDonald’s Must Die!” with a blowtorch onto the bodies of fat people is plainly an act of speech, but should not be protected speech, because while you have the right to express yourself you do not have the right to do so with behavior that is harmful to others.

    For future reference, here is a (nonexhaustive)little chart regarding burnings and the First Amendment.

    I. Burnin’ that should be protected speech:

    1 flags
    2 pictures of the Pope
    3 drawings of Bono
    4 draft cards
    5 bras

    II. Burnin’ that should not be protected speech:

    1 fags
    2 the actual Pope
    3 Bono (well…)
    4 draft dodgers
    5 adult females

    SEE THE DIFFERENCE???

  60. Edit: “fags” should be in quotation marks, to denote that I am merely mentioning a word that others use but that I do not use, for obvious reasons.

  61. Program on the emergence of civilization.

    “14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
    13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
    None from the sub-Saharan African continent. ”
    Favor.
    And disfavor.

    They point out Africans? failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it’s applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

    The roots of racism are not of this earth.

    Austrailia, aboriginals:::No domesticable animals.

    The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.

    AIDS in Africa.

    Organizational Heirarchy/Levels of positioning.
    Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:

    1. MUCK – perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as “god”
    2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management
    3. Evil/disfavored aliens – runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere

    Terrestrial management/positioning:

    4. Chinese/egyptians – this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds
    5. Romans – The seamless transition between Cleopatra and Julius Ceasar may be a clue alluding to a partnership.
    6. Mafia – the real-world 20th century interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality
    7. Jews, corporation, women, politician – Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.

    Movies foreshadowing catastrophy
    1985 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake.

    Our society gives clues to the system in place. We all have heard the saying “He has more money than god.” There is also an episode of the Simpsons where god meets Homer and says “I’m too old and rich for this.”

    This is the system on earth because this is the system everywhere.

    20 cent/hour Chinese labor, 50 cents for material.
    An $80 sweater costs less than a dollar; homage, tribute kicked upstairs vindicates the creative accounting.

    I don’t want to suggest the upper eschelons are evil and good is the fringe. But these individuals become wealthy exploiting those they hurt.

    They have made it abundantly clear that doing business with evil (disfavored) won’t help people. They say only good would have the ear, since evil is struggling for survival, and therefore only the favored could help.

    The clues are there which companies are favored and which are disfavored, but they conceal it very hard because it is so crucial.

    I offer an example of historical proportions:::

    People point to Walmart and cry “anti-union”.
    Unions enable disfavored people to live satisfactorly without addressing their disfavor. This way their family’s problems are never resolved. Without the union they would have to accept the heirarchy, their own inferiority.
    Unions serve to empower.
    Walmart is anti-union because they are good. They try to help people address and resolve their problems by creating an environment where there are fewer hurdles.

    Media ridicule and lawsuits are creations to reinforce people’s belief that Walmart is evil in a subsegment of the indistry dominated by the middle and lower classes.
    Low-cost disfavored Chinese labor is utilized by corporate america to maximize margins. They all do it. Only WalMart gets fingered because they are the ones who help, and those who seek to create confusion in the marketplace want to eliminate the vast middle class who have a real chance and instead stick with lower classes who may not work otherwise. So they dirty him up while allowing the others to appear clean.

    The middle class is being deceived. They are being misled into the unfavored, and subsequently will have no assistance from their purchases with corporate america.

    The coining of the term “Uncle Sam” was a clue alluding to just this::Sam Walton’s WalMart is one of few saviors of the peasant class.

    They desire a system based on duality:::good and evil. They seek to set up a system of two participants and assign them polar opposites:::
    Coke and Pepsi (?)
    BestBuy and CircutCity
    Energizer and Duracell
    Coors and Budweiser
    Republican and Democrat
    The list goes on:::
    AMD and Intel
    Microsoft and Apple (?)
    Lowes and HomeDepot
    Sam’s Club and Costco
    WellsFargo and BofA
    Pier1 and CostPlus
    Borders and Barnes&Noble

    Amercia is a country of castoffs, rejects. Italy sent its criminals, malcontents.
    Between the thrones, the klans and kindred, they decided who they didn’t want and acted, creating discontent and/or starvation.
    The u.s. is full of disfavored rejects. It is the reason for the myriad of problems not found in European countries. As far as the Rockafellers and other industrialists of the 19th century go, I suspect these aren’t their real names. I suspect they were chosen to go and head this new empire.

    Royalty is the correct way to organize a society. Dictatorships and monarchies are a reflection of the antient’s hierarchical organization.
    Positions go to those who have favor with the rulers, as opposed to being elected.
    Elections bring a false sense of how the world is. Democracy misleads people.
    Which is why the disfavored rejects were sent to the shores of America::To keep them on the wrong path.

    Jewsus Christ is a religious figure of evil. He teaches of a begnign, forgiving god when quite the opposite is true.
    The seperatist churches formed so they could capture the rest of the white people, keeping them worshipping the wrong god.
    And now they do it to disfavored people of color, Latinos and Asians, after centuries of preying upon them.

    Since Buddism doesn’t recongnize a god, the calls are never heard, and Asian representation is instead fully selected by the thrones.
    Budda was the Asian’s Jewsus Christ::: bad for the people. It was a clue they both emerged at the same time. Timing may be a clue alluding to ranking.

    Simpson’s foreshadowing::Helloween IV special, Flanders is Satan. “Last one you ever suspect.”
    “You’ll see lots of nuns where you’re going:::hell!!!” St. Wigham, Helloween VI:::missionary work, destroying cultures.
    Over and over, the Simpsons was a source of education and enlightenment, a target of ridicule by the system which wishes to conceal its secrets.

    The advent of the modern Christmas was a brilliant move. It creates a vested interest among those who would prefer the Church of Evil be destroyed::::
    As goes the Catholic Church so goes the majority of annual retail sales.
    The similarity between the names “Santa” and “Satan” is no coincidence.

    Jews maim the body formed in the image of “god”, and inflicted circumcision upon all other white people.
    I think about how Jews (were used to) created homosexuality among Slavics, retribution for the Holocaust.
    Then I think of the Catholic Church and its troubles.
    What connection is here between Jews and the Catholic church???
    If it is their sinister motives that?s behind the evil that is Jesus Christ are they being used at all?
    Perhaps it is them who are pulling strings.
    Their centuries of slavery in Egypt proves their disfavor.
    For their suffering the Jew leaders were granted the right to prey on the up-and-coming Europeans to try to fix their problems with the ruling elite, a recurring aspect of the elite’s methodology.
    Jews were ostracised for a reason.

    Retribution for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, the Korean War got the disfavored United States into this socially depraved environment in the latter 20th century because we attacked an antient, revered peoples. Our continued presence keeps us in trouble.
    When the disfavored americans attack the wrong people again, as they suggested they will, in Korea or elsewhere, they will pay dearly.

    All peoples are ranked in terms of favor and disfavor. And when the disfavored abuse those with favor there is hell to pay.
    All the groups mentioned throughout are necessary to justify the will of the managing species. They conceive a strategy, devise a plan yet need a way to implement it, and without these groups the managing species would be exposed in the course of execution. So, based upon their rank they are assigned goals to accomplish and are rewarded with favors.

    Mumia Abu-Jamal
    Dhoruba Bin Wahad
    Assata Shakur
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    Malcolm X
    Che Guevara
    Black Panthers
    Black Panther Party

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