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General News    H3'ed 3/16/12

Using the "F word" against Fox News

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The word is "Fascism," and I used in the title, "Fox Flag Fascism," on a Dailykos essay that got a large response.  I will post it here, but since the posting yesterday I've had some second thoughts, and now feel that I may have done what I detest in others, those who call President Obama a "socialist who will lead us into communism."   Is there an equivalence?  And even if the points that I make about Fox news are correct, is it fascism or just stupid bullying.  I look forward to comments that address this question.


Fox Flag Fascism

The uniformed authorities pounded on the door, and the woman opened it. The man said in a strong voice, "that flag you have is against the code." The woman responded, "this is private property, please leave." The man demanded, "Take it down, NOW!"

Back to the national television feed, and the panel discussion of this event. Sean Hannity smiled, and said, "She got the message, and took it down." The panel was made up of three guests, two men who echoed the host, and a single young women, appearing partly African American, who was speaking for the left, or everyone who rejects the thrust of this program. The flag in question had a picture of President Obama replacing the field of thirteen stars in the upper left hand corner.

It turns out that the authorities I described at the door was a member of veteran's group, and only gave the appearance of an official, yet, the message conveyed in the tone of the interaction at the door and of the panel discussion was that this was the law. Hannity's right wing panelist chimed in, "This flag is against the code." and they agreed that such a picture of Obama is like in North Korea, where the leader's face is everywhere.

We can disagree on the wisdom and propriety of a Democratic club flying such an altered flag. I would have opposed it, personally. Yet, this little vignette played out on Fox was about much more than this event. Both the video and the conversation of the panelists gave the impression that because this was, in fact, contrary to the federal flag code, that it was illegal. This is what the code says about this:

Thus, the Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include enforcement provisions; rather the Code functions simply as a guide to be voluntarily followed by civilians and civilian groups.

Cases which have construed the former 36 U.S.C. - 17521 have concluded
that the Flag Code does not proscribe conduct, but is merely declaratory and

Do you feel better now that you know that the pounding on the door and the implied threat of the order to take down the altered flag was bogus. I wouldn't be too reassured. The real police or the would be vigilantes who are incensed by this TV program will not bother to read the actual federal law on this issue.

And even fewer of those incensed by this program will bother to explore the Supreme Court decision that decreed that not only political alteration such as this, but desecration, including burning the flag, is still protected by our constitution as freedom of speech. You know, the same first amendment provision that in "Citizen's United" gives corporations unlimited right to flood the political channels of communication.

While corporations freedom of expression seems pretty safe, internal political dissidence is on more shaky grounds. The Supreme Court decision to protect desecration of the flag was decided by a single vote, as did the vote stopping the constitutional amendment to override that court decision in the Senate.

We are closer to Fox News fostered fascism, where police power is used to protect the symbol of government authority than we know.

As I was exploring the flag code, I came across this from Paragraph 8:

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel,
firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag
represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing
. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

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Retired Commercial Printing Executive, developer of I.T. systems for the industry. Advanced degrees in Social Psychology, now living in Southern California
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