Tag: First Amendment

My thoughts about flag burning

A little over 30 miles from my home, a flag-burning case is all over the local news.

In Urbana, Illinois, Bryton Mellott, 22 years of age, was booked by local law enforcement for burning the U.S. flag as a form of political protest. Specifically, Mellott was booked for disorderly conduct and violating the Illinois flag desecration statute, which officially classifies flag desecration as a felony in Illinois.

I want to share my own thoughts about flag burning.

Unless there are aggravating circumstances in a particular case (such as flag burning on government property of any kind, flag burning on private property not owned by the individual burning the flag without permission from the property owner, or causing a broader public danger by burning the flag (such as igniting a wildfire or setting fire to something other than the flag)), flag burning should be considered a form of protected free speech. As someone who comes from a family that has had many family members serve in our nation’s Armed Forces, I regard the U.S. flag as a very important national symbol, and burning the U.S. flag is something that I would never do. If I wish to air some kind of grievance that I have about politics or government policy, I will write a blog post, either on this website or another website, about it. However, as long as no damage is being done to property other than the flag itself, the flag in question is the property of the individual burning it, and the flag burning is taking place on one’s own private property or, if on someone else’s property, with permission from the property owner, I don’t believe that flag burning should be a criminal offense of any kind. Keep in mind that I don’t personally approve of burning the flag as a form of protest, and it is something that I would never even consider doing. If you wish to dispose of a U.S. flag in a proper and dignified manner, I recommend contacting an organization like the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for information before disposing of the flag.

Also, I strongly disapprove of making violent threats towards people, even people who are convicted or accused of criminal activity. We have a judicial system in this country that is built on the principle of due process, not vigilantism.

While Illinois lacks a state budget, Bruce Rauner holds a religious event on state property

Showing complete disrespect for the separation of church and state that is mandated by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner held a prayer breakfast at the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield earlier today.

It’s bad enough that Rauner chose to hold a religious event on state government property. It’s even worse that Rauner chose to do so while Illinois lacks a state budget due to Rauner’s right-wing hostage politics of demanding anti-worker policies designed to drive down the wages of working Illinoisans in exchange for a state budget.

I hope that Illinois’s next governor decides to end the unconstitutional tradition of holding a state prayer breakfast.

Donald Trump launches an attack against this blog, blogging in general, and freedom of the press

This is an actual quote from Donald John Trump, the likely Republican Party nominee for President of the United States:

I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money — I’m not taking their money. So we’re going to open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before.

What Donald Trump is saying goes against everything that this country stands for. Many of the people who helped build this country in its earliest years fought for, and won, freedom of the press, which is enshrined in our nation’s Constitution as part of the First Amendment. What Trump is proposing is an idea straight out of a fascist society…the idea that, if one merely criticizes someone, even if that criticism is factual in nature, the person or entity being criticized can file a defamation lawsuit and get money out of it. That is absurd, frightening, undemocratic, and likely unconstitutional.

I will assure you, that, in the coming days, weeks, and months, I will be writing a ton of blog posts criticizing Donald Trump, and I will assure you that every one of my criticisms of Trump will be absolutely 100% factual in nature.

Time to abolish the United States Embassy to the Holy See – Tempus soluere Iunctus Civitas Legationem ad Sanctam Sedem transmittat – È ora di abolire la ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso la Santa Sede – Tiempo para abolir la Embajada de los Estados Unidos ante la Santa Sede

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: This article, originally written by the administrator, was originally published to DailyKos.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: This article is provided in four languages: English (the author’s language), Latin (the official language of the Vatican), Italian (the official language of Italy, which completely surrounds the Vatican), and Spanish (the de facto national language of Argentina, the birth country of Pope Francis). English is the primary language of this article, whereas the other three versions of the article are translations of the English-language article, courtesy of Google Translate.


With Pope Francis visiting the United States tomorrow, I’d figure that I’d take this opportunity to call for the Embassy of the United States to the Holy See, also called the United States Embassy to the Vatican (although the embassy is physically located in Italy) to be eliminated by the federal government.

The Vatican is a sovereign country, but it’s not your typical sovereign country. The country is a tiny country, measuring only 110 acres in area, that serves only one purpose: serve as the world headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, which the Pope is the head of.

The fact that the United States is spending taxpayer money on an Ambassador and an embassy to a country that serves exclusively as the headquarters of an organized religion blatantly violates, in my interpretation, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(Establishment Clause shown in bold print)

While I’m not an attorney, I find it sickening that American taxpayers’ money is being spent on an ambassador and an embassy to the headquarters of the Catholic Church, which has repeatedly tried to shove its anti-abortion, anti-equality, and anti-science political agenda down the throats of everyone in this country, especially under previous popes. Furthermore, the Establishment Clause in our constitution could easily be interpreted as prohibiting the United States from engaging with diplomatic relations with a country that serves exclusively as the headquarters of an organized religion.

It’s time for President Obama and Congress to do the right thing and abolish the United States Embassy to the Vatican.


In Iunctus Civitas visitare Franciscus Pontifex cras hac occasione ego vellem dicere, quod instar pro Iunctus Civitas Legationem Sanctae Sedis in Iunctus Civitas Legationem etiam Vat (quamvis corporaliter Legationis sita in Italia) tolli per foederati imperium.

Vat potitus est, sed ne eam patriam summi ordinis. Depopulata est regio exiguo metientes solis CX acres in area, nisi in ordine ad finem mundi, ut sit principium, quo sancta Romana Ecclesia, quae caput est papa.

Quod an legatus Civitatum Foederatarum exigens pecuniam et legatos Arpinis purgantibus servit unice patriam et effrenate violat religionis praetorio ordinat in interpretatum Primo Emendatione Constitutionis Civitatum Foederatarum:

Congress faciet an nihil de instauratione religio, aut prohibendo liberum exercitium eius libertatem vel minuere vel typis vel ius convenire pacem populo, et orare pro publica censerent querellis.

(Ostensum est in instauratione Clause audax litteris)

Sed non sum Advocatus, invenio quod sensus American coeperat pecunia consumpta est legatione fungor in praetorium et Ecclesiae catholicae, quod saepe conatus rutila rerum agendarum ordinem politicae contra abortum, consilia cogitationesque contra aequalitatem quandoque deveniunt, inter obstantis et scientia per medium iugulumque in patria praecipue universum Orbem. Praeterea facile intelligi materiam Establishment clausulam in prohibendo confligendi publicas rationes cum Civitatum Foederatarum a patria religione ordinat praetorio exclusive sicut ministrator.

Praesent tempus Praesidis Obama Civitatum Foederatarum Congressus facere rectum abrogandi Legationem Vaticano agro.


Con Papa Francesco visitare domani negli Stati Uniti, mi piacerebbe capire che mi piacerebbe prendere l’occasione per chiedere l’Ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso la Santa Sede, chiamata anche la ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso il Vaticano (anche se l’ambasciata si trova fisicamente in Italia) ad essere eliminati dal governo federale.

Il Vaticano è un paese sovrano, ma non è il vostro paese tipico sovrano. Il paese è un piccolo paese, che misura solo 110 acri nella zona, che serve un solo scopo: servire come sede mondiale della Chiesa cattolica romana, che il Papa è il capo.

Il fatto che gli Stati Uniti stanno spendendo i soldi dei contribuenti in un Ambasciatore e un’ambasciata di un paese che serve esclusivamente come la sede di una religione organizzata palesemente viola, nella mia interpretazione, il Primo Emendamento della Costituzione degli Stati Uniti:

Il Congresso non potrà fare alcuna legge per il riconoscimento della religione, o per proibirne il libero esercizio; o per limitare la libertà di parola, o di stampa; o il diritto del popolo a riunirsi pacificamente, e di presentare petizioni al governo per la riparazione di ingiustizie.

(Clausola Istituzione indicato in grassetto)

Mentre io non sono un avvocato, lo trovo disgustoso che i soldi dei contribuenti americani viene speso un ambasciatore e un’ambasciata alla sede della Chiesa cattolica, che ha ripetutamente cercato di spingere la sua opposizione all’aborto, l’opposizione alla parità, e opposizione alla scienza agenda politica giù per la gola di tutti in questo paese, in particolare sotto papi precedenti. Inoltre, la clausola stabilimento nella nostra Costituzione potrebbe essere facilmente interpretato nel senso che vieta agli Stati Uniti di impegnarsi con relazioni diplomatiche con un paese che serve esclusivamente come la sede di una religione organizzata.

E ‘il momento per il presidente Obama e il Congresso per fare la cosa giusta e abolire l’Ambasciata degli Stati Uniti in Vaticano.


Con Francisco de visita en Estados Unidos mañana, me imagino que me gustaría aprovechar esta oportunidad para llamar a la Embajada de los Estados Unidos ante la Santa Sede, también llamada la Embajada de Estados Unidos en el Vaticano (aunque la embajada se encuentra físicamente en Italia) para ser eliminados por el gobierno federal.

El Vaticano es un país soberano, pero no es el típico país soberano. El país es un pequeño país, que mide sólo 110 acres de superficie, que sirve sólo un propósito: servir como la sede mundial de la Iglesia Católica Romana, que el Papa es la cabeza de.

El hecho de que Estados Unidos está gastando el dinero de los contribuyentes en un embajador y una embajada a un país que sirve exclusivamente como sede de una religión organizada flagrantemente viola, en mi interpretación, la Primera Enmienda de la Constitución de Estados Unidos:

El Congreso no hará ninguna ley respecto al establecimiento de religión, o prohibiendo el ejercicio libre de la misma; o que coarte la libertad de expresión o de la prensa; o el derecho del pueblo para reunirse pacíficamente y para pedir al gobierno la reparación de agravios.

(Cláusula de Establecimiento muestra en negrita)

Aunque no soy un abogado, me resulta repugnante que el dinero de los contribuyentes estadounidenses se gasta en un embajador y una embajada a la sede de la Iglesia Católica, que ha intentado varias veces para empujar su oposición al aborto, la oposición a la igualdad, y la oposición a la ciencia agenda política en las gargantas de todos en este país, sobre todo bajo los papas anteriores. Por otra parte, la Cláusula de Establecimiento en nuestra constitución fácilmente podría interpretarse como una prohibición de los Estados Unidos de participar con las relaciones diplomáticas con un país que sirve exclusivamente como sede de una religión organizada.

Es hora de que el presidente Obama y al Congreso a hacer lo correcto y abolir la Embajada de Estados Unidos en el Vaticano.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh violates First Amendment rights of public employees at the behest of the U.S. Olympic Committee

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has signed a decree, at the behest of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), prohibiting Boston city employees from speaking against the Boston bid for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad, commonly known as the 2024 Summer Olympics:

If you’re a Boston city employee, there’s now an official decree: Don’t badmouth the Olympics.

Documents obtained by the (Boston) Globe through a public records request to City Hall show Mayor Martin J. Walsh has signed a formal agreement with the United States Olympic Committee that bans city employees from criticizing Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

The “joinder agreement” forbids the city of Boston and its employees from making any written or oral statements that “reflect unfavorably upon, denigrate or disparage, or are detrimental to the reputation” of the International Olympic Committee, the USOC, or the Olympic Games.

Instead, the USOC and the Walsh administration must “work cooperatively together to manage, complete, and promote” the city’s bid to the International Olympic Committee. Boston city employees “shall each promote” the city’s bid “in a positive manner,” the agreement adds.

Make no mistake about it, this is a blatant violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution that is part of an ongoing War on the First Amendment by Republicans, corporate Democrats, right-wing judges, political elites, and now the U.S. Olympic Committee. For Marty Walsh, who was supported by Elizabeth Warren in his 2013 Boston mayoral campaign, to do the USOC’s bidding and effectively censor the voices of public employees for political reasons is a disgusting backstab to those who voted him into office.

This is the kind of authoritarian politics I expect from Republicans like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, not from Democrats like Marty Walsh.

The Progressive Midwesterner’s 2014 Person of the Year: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I promised you that I would pick someone very notorious to be The Progressive Midwesterner’s 2014 Person of the Year.

Well, I’m proud to announce that my 2014 Person of the Year is…Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Ginsburg, widely thought of as the most liberal of the nine justices on the conservative-controlled Supreme Court, has earned a loyal following among progressives, feminists, and reproductive rights supporters after the conservative majority on the court ruled that businesses owned by people who want to shove their religious beliefs down the throats of their employees, such as the arts and crafts store chain Hobby Lobby, could deny their employees health insurance coverage of contraception, even if they have a medical need for it. Ginsburg, in her dissenting opinion of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, blasted the court’s conservative majority for allowing employers to shove their religious beliefs down the throats of their employees:

The reason why is hardly obscure. Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community. Indeed, by law, no religion-based criterion can restrict the work force of for-profit corporations. […] The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight.

Ginsburg earned such a loyal following among progressives, feminists, and reproductive rights supporters in this country after her blistering dissent of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, she became known as The Notorious RBG, and “join the dissent” became a rallying cry for supporters of women’s rights.

For bravely standing up to a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court that has dismantled religious freedom and has tried to take reproductive rights away from women, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has earned my 2014 Person of the Year award.