Flag Day and other Memory Lapses

Happy Flag Day.

Metaphorical version of the Betsy Ross Flag

First, let’s review the happy ending to last night’s edition of Pointless Political Kabuki Theatre [emphasis added]:

[CNN’s JOHN] KING: We’re down to our last minute. I want to try to get to everybody. I want to start with you, Senator Santorum. What have you learned in the last two hours?

[DO NOT GOOGLE] SANTORUM: I think what Hermann said. We have a great field of candidates. I was very impressed by what I heard. I hope everybody else was. These are folks that answered the questions that were asked of them.

KING: Congresswoman?

[KNOWS WHERE CAMERA IS THIS TIME] BACHMANN: In the last two hours, I’ve learned more about the goodness of the American people — from the question from John, his three sons that are serving in the Navy, his wonderful service. Everyone who asked a question has talked to me about —

KING: Don’t mean to interrupt you.

[EYE OF NEWT] GINGRICH: I think once again, New Hampshire is proving why it’s first in the nation as the primary, because the questions are so good.

KING: Governor?

[I BELIEVE IN WHATEVER WILL GET YOUR VOTE] ROMNEY: And New Hampshire is proving that the issue people care most about is getting this economy growing again, so that we can have rising housing prices again. People can have the kind of incomes they deserve. They don’t have to wonder whether the future is brighter than the past. People in New Hampshire love the future.

[FORMERLY FRINGE NOW TEA PARTY MAINSTREAM RON] PAUL: I’ve learned with the group here that disagrees on some issues, we can talk about it and be civil to each other. [sentence is sic]

KING: Governor?

PAWLENTY [OF NOTHING]: I learned that if you trust the people, our future is bright and I learned that the Boston Bruins have more heart than the Vancouver Canucks.

KING: Mr. Cain?

CAIN [UNABLE]: What I’ve learned is that all of these candidates up here share one thing in common. And that is, it’s not about us. It’s about the children and the grandchildren. We’re not that far apart on all of the big issues.

KING: I want to thank all seven of our candidates tonight. I want to thank “The Union Leader,” WMUR and St. Anselm College for having us. We have a feisty campaign to come. Please pay attention at home.

I want to thank everybody here. I’m John King. I’ll see you tomorrow on “JOHN KING USA.” Anderson Cooper continues our coverage. Post-debate analysis right now.

Yup. It’s ALL about marketing. The hokey insincerity cloys and chokes; saccharine even reduced to the cold malevolence of the written transcript.

The Dems have a rather hilarious (because it’s true) rapid response video.

On YouTube HERE

And the Nostradamnation of yesterday’s “The Soul of the New Machine” can be read, if you’d like to compare prediction with reality. Today, at least, Nostradamus is batting 1000.

Click for page

Speaking of CNN, here’s the Blogosmear’s latest contribution to the national Debate. You’ll notice that one blog, “Moonbattery” has “battery” right there in the blog title. (One assumes that “assault” wouldn’t fit.)  And, of course, Mitch McConnell, GOP Senate Minority Leader, decided to remind us how much we venerate the Bill of Rights, and why President Obama has been unable to close the moral monstrousity that is Gitmo:

McConnell wants 2 Ky. terrorism suspects sent to Guantanamo

1:26 PM, Jun. 14, 2011
Written by James R. Carroll
Louisville [KY] Courier-Journal

Local News

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Obama administration should send to the military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the two suspected terrorists arrested recently in Kentucky….

In a Senate floor speech, McConnell said he wanted to “get these men out of Kentucky.”

“Send them to Guantanamo where they belong,” the Senate Republican said. “Get these terrorists out of the civilian system — and out of our backyards. And give them the justice they deserve.”

Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi were arrested May 25 in Bowling Green, where they were living. They have pleaded not guilty to 23 charges of terrorism.

According to the Justice Department, the two Iraqi nationals allegedly plotted to send missiles, guns and money to Iraq for attacks on U.S. forces there.

“I think it’s safe to say that a lot of Kentuckians, including me, would like to know why two men who either killed or plotted to kill U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq aren’t sitting in a jail cell in Guantanamo right now,” McConnell said. “When it comes to enemy combatants, our top priority — as I have said repeatedly — should be to capture, detain and interrogate. That wasn’t done here.

“These men are foreign fighters — unlawful enemy combatants who should be treated as such,” he said…

McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, accused the administration of not making intelligence-gathering from suspects its top priority and of treating the two men as “common criminals.”

“The administration seems fixated on the idea that once we’ve caught terrorists, the goal isn’t to get as much intelligence out of them as quickly as possible to prevent further attacks on soldiers and citizens, but to prove that we can treat them the same way we treat everybody else,” McConnell said.


McConnell said he believed Americans do not want suspected terrorists tried in the civilian court system.

“Anyone who has taken up arms against U.S. forces in the field of battle is an enemy combatant pure and simple, and should be treated like one,” the senator said. “They should be hunted and captured, detained and interrogated, and tried away from civilian populations according to the laws of war.”

McConnell has been one of the leading congressional opponents of the administration’s plans to close the Guantanamo facility, where al-Qaeda and Taliban combatants captured in Iraq and Afghanistan have been detained.

“Detained.” Right. Just like “detention” back in school.

And there you have it. One Constitution, two separate sets of legal systems, one extralegal. Let’s Rally Round the Flag, Boys!

What other ways are we honoring our flag — a symbol so precious to the American psyche that criminalizing the burning of same had been accomlished in 48 out of 50 states, famously struck down in 1989 in Texas v. Johnson?


Oh. Remember the Maine!

From the Kennebec (ME) Journal:

OUR OPINION: Why waste time solving problems we may not have?
June 8, 2011

… On Monday, the House passed a pair of bills on essentially party line votes that would make it more difficult for people to vote. L.D. 199 requires voters to present a photo ID before they can cast a ballot. L.D. 1376 would, among other things, eliminate same-day voter registration, a feature of Maine law for 38 years.

The Republican backers of both bills say they are needed to protect the integrity of Maine’s elections, which is something worth protecting. But they don’t tell us what the process needs protection from, and they offer no evidence other than a hunch that voter fraud might be occurring.

Since the proposed protections would discourage an unknown number of eligible voters from casting a ballot, the bills’ supporters ought to come up with more than just a hunch

Well, never fear, the Senate had already passed the registration bill. This follows a national GOP trend to try and make it as difficult as possible to vote, invariably citing the “integrity” of the vote, without ever showing more than a handful of instances, and never a single election in the nation in which a “fraudulent” voter changed the outcome.

Hmmm. Wonder why all the “integrity” fever for the 2012 election?

I’m sure that “integrity” is what the GOP is concerned with, after all. What with their recent electoral history and all.

And, I thank this Daily Kos blogger for saving me the trouble of writing it. It begins:

The proper word for it is “sabotage”

When President Obama took office, the Republicans announced their strategy quite openly.  It was not to rule as the minority party, to contribute an opposing point of view to the debate.  It was not to counter any radical tendencies that might crop up when the White House and Congress are in the same hands.  It was not to help deal with the worst economic crisis of the past 75 years.  No, it was simpler than that.  It was to make the Obama presidency fail.  No matter what.

And they’ve been executing their plan rather well….

Bravo “K. S. LaVida.” (A meaningful pseudonym.)

Anything else? Oh. Flag Day:

In the United States Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.[1] The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date; Congress adopted “the American continental army” after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775. …   [Wikipedia]

President Obama, as is traditional, made the proclamation. Don’t worry. Nobody else read it either:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 10, 2011
Presidential Proclamation–Flag Day and National Flag Week

On June 14, 1777, the Second Constitutional Congress adopted a flag with thirteen stripes and thirteen stars to represent our Nation, one star for each of our founding colonies. The stars were set upon a blue field, in the words of the Congress’s resolution, “representing a new constellation” in the night sky. What was then a fledgling democracy has flourished and expanded, as we constantly strive toward a more perfect Union.

Through the successes and struggles we have faced, the American flag has been ever present. It has flown on our ships and military bases around the world as we continue to defend liberty and democracy abroad. It has been raised in yards and on porches across America on days of celebration, and as a sign of our shared heritage. And it is lowered on days of remembrance to honor fallen service members and public servants; or when tragedy strikes and we join together in mourning. Our flag is the mark of one country, one people, uniting under one banner.

When the American flag soars, so too does our Nation and the ideals it stands for. We remain committed to defending the liberties and freedoms it represents, and we give special thanks to the members of the Armed Forces who wear our flag proudly. On Flag Day, and during National Flag Week, we celebrate the powerful beacon of hope that our flag has become for us all, and for people around the world.

To commemorate the adoption of our flag, the Congress, by joint resolution approved August 3, 1949, as amended (63 Stat. 492), designated June 14 of each year as “Flag Day” and requested that the President issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance and for the display of the flag of the United States on all Federal Government buildings. The Congress also requested, by joint resolution approved June 9, 1966, as amended (80 Stat. 194), that the President annually issue a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as “National Flag Week” and call upon citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim June 14, 2011, as Flag Day and the week beginning June 12, 2011, as National Flag Week. I direct the appropriate officials to display the flag on all Federal Government buildings during that week, and I urge all Americans to observe Flag Day and National Flag Week by displaying the flag. I also call upon the people of the United States to observe with pride and all due ceremony those days from Flag Day through Independence Day, also set aside by the Congress (89 Stat. 211), as a time to honor America, to celebrate our heritage in public gatherings and activities, and to publicly recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


Oh, and there was one other thing about that debate. As noted yesterday, even those covering it know it’s fundamentally trivial and meaningless … but they cover it ANYWAY. Chalk another one up for Nostradamus.

June 14, 2011, 12:40 AM
Debate Swings Door Open for Perry, Closed for Palin
New York Times

Most people have better things to do than to watch a presidential debate eight months in advance of the Iowa caucuses. So when considering a debate like the one that took place among Republican candidates in New Hampshire tonight, it’s important to be mindful of the following:

First, the debate serves mostly to influence elite opinion — including partisan strategists, the news media, local party leaders, major donors and bundlers and the candidates and their staffs. Much less so ordinary voters, who are not yet tuning in.

Turns out the term (intended as a Frank Luntz-style political slur, a la “Death Tax”) of “Obamacare” was mentioned, by my count, 24 times in the “debate”/love fest amongst the weasels.

And that’s how we honor the flag in 2011.



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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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