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1943 Supreme Court ruling means Trump is violating free speech

I was an unwilling participant in the Jehovah’s Witnesses publishing company religion when I was a kid. I was not allowed to salute the flag in school. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have to listen to it but I was not compelled to salute. Children being children, you can only imagine how respectfully and gently my classmates treated my tender feelings. In other words, not.

Singling your kid out like that is quite possibly one of the worst things a parent can do. Yeah, don’t feed me bullshit about separating the kid from the world as a means of saving them. I could go on and on about the gross indignities forced upon minor persons held hostage to authoritarian fundamentalist high control groups. But I digress.

The reason I bring this up is because back in 1943, the JWs brought a case before the Supreme Court asking that their children not be compelled by the state to salute the flag because it goes against their religious beliefs to not worship symbols of the state. At that time, JW children were frequently expelled from school for refusing to salute the flag. The USSC in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnetteruled in favor of the JWs. Here are the money quotes from the ruling:

the flag salute was “a form of utterance” and “a primitive but effective means of communicating ideas.” “Compulsory unification of opinion,” the Court wrote, was doomed to failure and was antithetical to the values set forth in the First Amendment. The Court eloquently stated: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

But that didn’t stop our president (well, not MY president) from weighing in today, calling the Colin Kaepernick and other protestors “sons of bitches” for not standing during the flag presentation and anthem and saying their owners should fire them.

By the way, is this the speech that makes him “presidential”? Just curious.

He’s stepped over the line so many times it’s hard to know how to assess this assault on free speech.

I’m just going to assume that he’s trying to distract us all from the news dump yesterday that the DHS sat on the report that 21 states’ voting systems were the target of hackers last year.

Yep, the flag thing is a headline at WaPo while you have to search for the story about DHS sitting on its election hacking report for OVER A YEAR.

It’s probably just a coincidence that he’s determined to undermine a constitutional amendment just as it looks like his legitimacy as a president is seriously called into question.


The DHS finally confirms that 21 states’ voting systems were compromised.

Funny how only the blue states are furious. The red states are remarkably sanguine that someone, *cough*, Russia, *cough*, tested the locks on the software.

Oh, fa-la-la!, says Colorado’s Secretary of State, they were just funnin’. Nothing happened, gimme a break. {{rolling eyes}}

It sure looks different from Pennsylvania. And the California election official sounds livid, not that California was going to make much of a difference anyway.

But if I recall correctly, Hillary was asked REPEATEDLY in each debate how she would handle defeat, especially if she turned out to lose Pennsylvania. Let’s just say that there was a little too much of that sort of inquiry last year, as if the Trump faction was trying to get her on the record that she would not challenge the election results in Pennsylvania.

Hmmmm…. I wonder why that is…?

Nope, can’t think of a reason, says Iowa’s Republican Secretary of State. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

I’m surprised how far down below the fold the NYTimes buried this story. Maybe that’s because we still don’t know the full extent of the breach. And maybe DHS is concerned that if there *is* proof of vote switching in PA, well, so much for the smooth transition of power. Is it better to rip that all up and toss the Trumps out, including their ultra conservative Supreme Court nominee or should we just grit our teeth and bear with them for 3.30 more years? Which would be a greater threat to Homeland Security?

As a voter, I’m intensely interested. As a Hillary voter in Pennsylvania who worked my ass off for a better president, I’m ready to take to the streets if it turns out that it can proven that even one vote was changed. And I know I’m not alone.

Maybe this is a subject that Preet Bharara can tackle in an upcoming podcast.