Infernal Infringements

After not having blogged for months, i'm on a roll...2nd one today.

I was reading "reader emails" on cnn.com about flag burning, and it literally makes me feel like i'm going to throw up in my mouth.

Take this one: "I am completely against being able to burn our flag in protest. Our flag is a symbol of freedom and when I see it flying, it reminds me that I am an American, proud and free. If you are that unhappy with America and what she stands for, then find another country and leave, but leave my flag alone!
P. Proctor, Statesville, North Carolina"

Do a lot of Americans really believe this? Even if most Americans are reminded of their freedom ,and feel uncontrollable patriotism and love for America when presented with a flag, do they not see the disconnect? Isn't it blindingly obvious that restricting the desecration of one inanimate object is a slipperly slope that would lead to further restrictions of first amendment rights?

If flag burning became illegal, how many of these acts would also become illegal?

- burning a photograph of a flag
- burning a home-made flag that is not made to "correct specifications", say missing a star
- burning a picure of the President, or the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights
- shredding, deficating on, painting, or otherwise desecrating a flag

Clearly, it would be preposterous to amend the Constitution to outlaw this one specific act. I am not saying I support flag-burning, but I support the openness of the constitution, and the freedoms that it guarantees to every American.

And to these true "Patriots" that are in favor of amending the constitution, take a moment to think about what you are asking the Congress to do. The freedom you enjoy today would be slightly limited if this were allowed, and it could lead down a dangerous path of further rights infringements.


The Wealth Of Nations (or, Individuals, or What is Republicanism anyway?)

Time for a quiz. Guess where this quote came from earlier this week:

"I love it when I'm around the country club, and I hear people talking about the debilitating effects of a welfare society," he said. "At the same time, they leave their kids a lifetime and beyond of food stamps. Instead of having a welfare officer, they have a trust officer. And instead of food stamps, they have stocks and bonds."

A) A bleeding-heart liberal on the Bush administrations tax cuts to the wealthy
B) A billionaire investment mogul
C) A professional golfer
D) A New York Times editiorial interview with the president of MoveOn.org

Well, the answer is B - Warren Buffett - during an interview discussing his plans to give away over $30 BILLION dollars to charity.

Why is this noteworthy? Warren Buffett is a famous liberal Democrat - he opposes tax cuts, he is pro-estate tax, he complains that the taxes he pays on his home in Nebraska are too low, he supports welfare and public services - yet he is the worlds 2nd richest man, and is indirectly supporting the original intent of the Republican Party's agenda. He is giving his money to the foundation of the worlds richest man, Bill Gates (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), further supporting this idea.

Per Wikipedia, "In broad terms, Republicans believe the private sector is better suited than the bureaucratic government as the trust of a nation's direction and purpose." Essentially, the believe is that individuals more efficiently allocate funds to needy sectors of society than the government can, making taxation for this purpose ineffective. Furthermore, "the party founders adopted the name 'Republican' to indicate it was the carrier of 'republican' beliefs about civic virtue, and opposition to aristocracy and corruption." How far has Rebublicanism moved from this original mantra?! Conservatism, Rebublicanism - today they stand more for aristocracy, corruption, and greed than ever before, and it is the Democrats that have taken the moral high ground.

Is this a broader role-reversal? Are liberal Democrats the New Republicans? It's worth a few moments of pondering at least.

It would be nice of the Middle Eastern oil billionaires to act in the same way as their American counterparts and allocate even a fraction of their vast fortunes to their own societies. That's an entirely different blog...