[Homestead] Flagburning bullshit

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Mon Sep 13 13:26:18 EDT 2004

Anything to divert voter attention from matters that seriously affect 
their lives, another Red Herring accompanied by a flood of Red Herrings 
from the cynical right wing looneys..

The flag going up on Iwo was gratifying, though almost all the 
flag-raisers died within days.  But back home, where the flag is used 
primarily to wrap politicians and other dead fish, you have to be really 
brain-dead to give a flag "desecration" any consideration whatsoever.


*washingtonpost.com* <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>
*Kerry, Edwards and Daschle May Face Vote on Flag*

By Helen Dewar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 13, 2004; Page A19

For some Republicans it is the perfect political storm: a Senate vote on 
a constitutional amendment to protect the U.S. flag that would put 
Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, running mate John Edwards 
and Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle on the spot just a few weeks 
before the Nov. 2 elections.

The Senate GOP leadership has not scheduled a vote on the proposed 
amendment, but Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) noted last week that 
it is a high priority for veterans groups. Other Republicans say a vote 
is likely before the Senate's Oct. 8 target date for adjournment.

As senators, Kerry (Mass.), Edwards (N.C.) and Daschle (S.D.) have voted 
against the amendment and are described by colleagues as still opposed 
to it. But Kerry and Edwards, who rarely leave the campaign trail for 
Senate votes, are not expected to show up for the flag debate unless it 
appears their votes would be decisive.

As it appears now, the vote could be close enough to focus attention on 
Kerry and Edwards if they do not suspend campaigning to return for the 
roll call or if they do return and their votes turn out to be critical 
in defeating the amendment. Similarly, if Daschle turns out to cast the 
make-or-break vote, Republicans will almost certainly use it against him 
in his close race for reelection in South Dakota.

Some Republicans believe the three Democrats' votes against the proposal 
-- or absence when the roll is called -- can be used against them 
effectively at a time of war, terrorism threats and heightened 
patriotism. If Kerry and Edwards vote against the amendment or fail to 
show up for the vote, "they're going to have to explain why," said Sen. 
John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a key backer of the proposal.

But Democrats describe the GOP strategy as a cynical ploy that could 
backfire among voters who are fed up with "gotcha" politics and 
congressional inaction on other issues. They also say such divisive 
initiatives could dash any prospects for serious business being 
accomplished over the next month.

"All they're doing is setting the stage for 30-second ads for the 
campaign," said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), a foe of the measure.

Amendment supporters contend the flag deserves special protection as an 
important national symbol, while opponents, including Kerry, have argued 
that flag desecration can be punished under criminal statutes without 
tampering with the Constitution.

The flag proposal, which would empower Congress to ban desecration of 
the U.S. flag, would be the second GOP-sponsored constitutional 
amendment to come to a vote in the Senate this year. A measure to bar 
same-sex marriages drew 48 votes in a procedural showdown in July, 
nearly 20 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to amend the 

The flag amendment has considerably more support, though it has yet to 
garner enough votes for passage, senators on both sides of the issue say.

When it was considered in 2000 (another presidential election year), the 
amendment got 63 votes, four short of the 67 needed when all 100 
senators are present. Based on statements and previous votes, both sides 
count 64 senators in support of the amendment this year.

Without Kerry and Edwards, the number required for approval would drop 
to 66, or even lower if other senators also were absent. The reason is 
that two-thirds of the senators present and voting are required to amend 
the Constitution, rather than two-thirds of the full membership of 100. 
Kerry and Edwards could come under heavy pressure to return if it 
appears that the amendment might pass in their absence.

The House has already approved the amendment. If the Senate follows 
suit, the proposal will go to the 50 states for ratification. Approval 
by three-fourths of the states, usually by legislative action, is 
required to amend the Constitution.

*In Memoriam: *Two Democratic House members want the Capitol Rotunda to 
serve as a temporary memorial for the more than 1,000 U.S. military 
personnel who have died in Iraq.

But the idea of placing the dead troops' names and photos at the 
geographic center of the deeply divided Congress a few weeks before 
Election Day strikes some lawmakers as overtly political, and House 
leaders are responding warily.

Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Jim Turner (D-Tex.) proposed the idea 
last week to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Emanuel, noting 
that the Bush administration has barred news photos of military coffins 
returning to U.S. soil, said in an interview, "I'm asking them to make a 
gesture to the families" of the dead.

He said Hastert suggested a memorial event on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. 
That would be nine days after the election, and Emanuel is pressing the 
GOP leadership to act more quickly. Hastert's office said the speaker is 
weighing the request.

*The Week Ahead:* The Senate will try to finish work on the homeland 
security bill for next year. The House also will take up the 2005 
appropriations bill for the Treasury and Transportation departments, 
which includes a 3.5 percent pay raise for civilian federal employees, 
and also legislation to penalize those who file "frivolous" lawsuits.

The Senate and House do not plan to conduct any votes after Wednesday 
afternoon in observance of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, although 
the Senate plans to be in session without votes through Friday.

/Staff writer Charles Babington contributed to this report./

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

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