Thursday, December 1, 2016


President-elect Trump on flag-burning: The crisis of American democracy

President-elect Trump on flag-burning: The crisis of American democracy

By Joseph Kishore 

1 December 2016
President-elect Trump on
flag-burning: The crisis of American democracy
By Joseph Kishore

1 December 2016
On January 20, Donald Trump is due to take the
oath of office for president of the United States and will affirm, in language
spelled out in Article II of the Constitution, that he “will to the best of my
ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Just over seven weeks before this is to occur,
Trump issued a 136-character statement on Twitter making clear that he will do
nothing of the sort. “Nobody should be allowed,” he wrote, “to burn the
American flag—if they do, there must be consequences—perhaps loss of
citizenship or a year in jail!”
The constitutionality of flag-burning is not a
new issue. The attempt to prohibit this long-established method of protesting
the actions of the government has been extensively litigated, with the Supreme
Court deciding conclusively, in 1989 and again in 1990, that it is a form of
speech protected by the First Amendment.
The assertion that an appropriate punishment for
the burning of the flag is the revocation of US citizenship displays, if
anything, an even greater contempt for Constitutional rights. The Fourteenth
Amendment, ratified in 1868, declares that all persons “born or naturalized in
the United States” are citizens. While it applied to freed slaves, the
amendment had universal significance: neither the federal government nor the
states have the right to restrict or abrogate citizenship or any rights
conferred by this status.
In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled, in a decision
written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, that denationalization violated the
Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. “There may be
involved no physical mistreatment, no primitive torture,” Warren wrote. “There
is, instead, the total destruction of the individual’s status in organized
society. It is a form of punishment more primitive than torture, for it
destroys for the individual the political existence that was centuries in
The proposal that punishment for a crime—or, in
this case, the exercise of free speech—should be the removal of citizenship is,
in effect, a proposal to eliminate all constitutional protections. It is a
statement of arbitrary executive power. It is also in line with the raft of
anti-democratic proposals coming from Trump: the resumption of torture, a
national registry for Muslims, the removal of all constraints on domestic
spying and other measures.
Trump’s tweet on flag-burning has been
criticized by sections of the Democratic Party and its media spokesmen for its
undisguised disregard for constitutional principles. There is a certain amount
of tut-tutting, while ignoring the fundamental issue: That a man who is about
to become president can make such a statement speaks not only to the
authoritarian disposition of the individual, but to the far-reaching decay of
bourgeois democracy in the United States.
The New York
, in its editorial on Wednesday, wrote that when Trump pledges to
defend the Constitution, “we the people will have good reason to doubt he knows
what he’s talking about.” Of Trump, they write, “He tweets, he posts, he
incites. He trolls. He commands a global platform and will soon be America’s
commander in chief. But it has to be said, and said again: This is not normal.
It demeans the presidency.”
There is something new and dangerous in a Trump
presidency, but to present him as an aberrant intruder in the pristine garden
of American democracy is a political fiction. Trump’s attitude toward
democratic rights is a continuation and extension of an authoritarian tendency
in the American ruling class that has developed over several decades, supported
by both Democrats and Republicans.
On the particular question of flag-burning, 14
out of 44 Senate Democrats supported a Republican-backed proposal in 2006 to
amend the Constitution to allow Congress to “ban desecration of the American
flag”—that is, to give it the power to pass a law that conflicts with the First
Amendment. The proposal failed to achieve the required two-thirds
super-majority in the Senate by one vote.
Then-Senator Hillary Clinton opposed the
amendment but co-sponsored a law (that never came to a vote) to criminalize the
burning of the flag if it were done to “incite or produce imminent violence or
a breach of the peace” or “intentionally threaten or intimidate any person or
group of persons”—language broad enough to encompass anything. The sentence she
and other Democrats proposed for this act was: a year in jail. If the flag
belonged to the US government, flag-burning under any circumstances would be
punishable by up to two years in prison.
For the past fifteen years, the “war on terror”
has been used, by both the Bush and Obama administrations, to systematically
and deliberately undermine, abolish and repudiate every significant democratic
It was the constitutional law professor Obama,
who established the principle that the president of the United States has the
authority to assassinate, without due process, any American citizen that he
determines to be a “terrorist” and threat to national security, a power that
Attorney General Eric Holder declared applies on US soil. His administration
has used this power to kill at least three US citizens, along with thousands of
other individuals incinerated by drone bombs around the world.
Obama has preserved, and in some ways expanded,
illegal spying by the National Security Agency. He has persecuted journalists
and whistleblowers who have exposed government crimes, including Edward
Snowden, who remains exiled in Russia; Julian Assange, who is trapped in the
Ecuadorian embassy in London; and Chelsea Manning, who has attempted suicide on
more than one occasion as she serves a brutal 35-year sentence in a maximum
security prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
On virtually every occasion, Obama has invoked
executive privilege and the “state secrets” doctrine to block efforts to use
the courts to hold Bush administration torturers accountable, or challenge such
unconstitutional practices as illegal domestic surveillance, indefinite
detention without due process, drone assassination, rendition and military
With a Trump-led government, a regime of a new
type will take power in the United States, in which military-police violence
and authoritarian methods of rule will more openly predominate. As Obama wishes
Trump every success, and Democrats pledge to work with the incoming
administration, Trump is packing his cabinet with individuals who have as much
contempt for democratic rights as he does.
Yet this government arises out of and expresses
social contradictions in American society that are exploding the
circuit-breakers of bourgeois democracy. It is the response of the American
ruling class to the extreme growth of social inequality. If the ruling class is
prepared to jail people for burning the flag, what will it do about mass
protests against war, police violence and the destruction of health care?
The defense of democratic rights cannot be
entrusted to any section of the ruling class or its political representatives.
It depends entirely upon the development of an independent movement of the working
class, in opposition to the political establishment and the capitalist system
that it defends


The FDIC paid OneWest $1 billion,
which Stein said went to 
“billionaire investors … to cover the close
of foreclosing on 
working class, everyday American folks.”
“But the bank came under fire for its foreclosure practices as housing
advocacy groups accused it of being too quick to foreclose on struggling
homeowners. In 2011, dozens of demonstrators descended on Mnuchin's $26.5
million home in he wealthy Bel Air neighborhood to protest OneWest's eviction
tactics, according to the Los Angeles Times.”


from Trump’s demagogic claims that he would 'drain the swamp,' the corrupt
nexus between Wall Street and Washington is tighter than ever."

 IMPOSES  OBAMA-CLINTONOMICS:  Cut Federal Pensions and Medicare to Cover Tax
Cuts For the Super Rich
is not the initiator of this class war against working people. It has been
underway for decades, beginning in earnest with the election of
Ronald Reagan in 1980 and continuing under every
succeeding administration, including the eight-year tenures of
Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The colossal redistribution of
wealth and income from the bottom to the top of American society reached
record proportions under Obama, whose legacy of falling
living standards and worsening economic crisis for tens of millions
of workers was a decisive factor in the victory of the fascistic demagogue
and con artist Trump."

THE ADDICTED: 1 in 7 are addicted
BIGGEST EXPORTS TO U.S.: Heroin, Criminals, Anchor baby breeders for 18 years
of gringo-paid welfare.
in 7 are addicted

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