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Are all Flag Code violations equally disrespectful?

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On Saturday, a Twitter thread went viral after citing portions of U.S. Flag Code which, the writer asserts, are regularly violated by the average American.

Leftist media sources like Huffington Post and Quartz leaped at the opportunity to mock flyover Americans for their alleged hypocrisy, and a quick topical search of “Colin Kaepernick” on HuffPo shows that they’ve supported him and other kneelers over and over and over again, not simply in their right to protest but the overarching claim that an unjust America doesn’t deserve such reverence.

Quick digression: no one (intelligent) has made the argument that the Kaepernick crowd has no constitutional right to sit or kneel or otherwise peacefully protest the national anthem. However, I’ve heard several of my Leftist friends who are incapable of making a legitimate argument set this up as a strawman in order to pick apart an easy target. Of course he has a right to kneel, just as I have a right to call him an ungrateful moron for doing so. We have the right to do a great many stupid things in America, but that doesn’t mean that the proper response is to do every stupid thing at our disposal. The right to burn the American flag should not be celebrated by burning the American flag, just as the right to drink alcohol shouldn’t result in a constant state of inebriation. But back to the thread.

The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.

The intent of this thread is clear: to equate touting a t-shirt with the image of an American flag with actively protesting America’s honor and virtue by kneeling during the national anthem and claiming that the country systematically “oppresses black people and people of color,” as Kaepernick has.

Many Leftists are branding this an epic “gotcha!” moment, but it operates on two flawed premises: 1) that all violations of Flag Code are inherently equal, and 2) that the tweeter’s interpretation of Flag Code is factually accurate.

When discussing apparent violations of U.S. Flag Code, there are three things that absolutely must be considered, assuming the intent is to have a reasoned, intelligent conversation.

As much as possible, I want to limit this discussion to the legal question at hand, shelving the broader debate concerning how the NFL, Colin Kaepernick, ESPN, Donald Trump, and the average American should respond. The NFL has already been clear that this is a political issue for them, not one of free speech. Their bias in selective enforcement of uniform policy, for instance, is obvious. So I’ll try to shy away from the politics of the debate and stick to the facts.

Here are the three steps to use in evaluating Flag Code:

1: U.S. Flag Code Is Empty Law

By this, I mean that it is unenforceable. As such, you might say that the provisions are more guidelines than actual rules. The Supreme Court decided in United States v. Eichman (1990) that the criminalization of flag burning was unconstitutional, making anything less (and almost anything else is less) unquestionably justified from a First Amendment standpoint. This also means that, should you and I disagree on how to interpret existing Flag Code, which is certainly plausible, there is no jurisprudence to back up either of our claims. If we can’t convince each other, we’ll have to agree to disagree; there’s not much clear-cut right or wrong here.

Additionally, as we’ll see in a moment, since Flag Code bears no legal weight, its adherence has traditionally become more of attitude than of action.

2: What Does the Code Actually Say?

Interpretations aside, several of the claims made in the Twitter thread are factually bunk. Some are true, and we’ll identify those as well. But it’s essential that we approach this topic truthfully.

One of the tweets includes this misleading statement: “Not covered in the ‘Respect for Flag’ section; standing/kneeling/sitting. That’s considered a conduct violation, not disrespectful.” The flawed premise here is that only violations of the “Respect for Flag” section are considered disrespectful, which is simply untrue; all violations of flag code are considered such. The tweeter assumes that because one item falls under Title 36, Chapter 10, §171. Conduct During Playing, and the other Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag, that the two categories should not be measured equally.

But let’s address each claim individually, each from subsections of Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag:

The first claim cites, “(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free” and features images of the popular spreading of a large flag across a sporting field. This is accurate, but it will be discussed in my third section. Factually, it is valid.

Next, “(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery,” with images of flag-stamped clothing, such as shirts, socks, swimwear, etc. I take issue with his interpretation here, as I see a legal distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.” A pair of pants made from a retired flag, for instance, would be inappropriate. A pair of pants bearing the image of the flag, I disagree. A more legitimate grievance for this section could have been the practice of Olympic champions to drape the flag around their shoulders following victory, though even this might not qualify as “wearing apparel” or “drapery.” This claim is murky at best.

The following excerpt is separated into three tweets: “(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”

On advertising, I would again cite “the flag” vs. “the image of the flag,” although “any manner whatsoever” could arguably include both. The embroidery and printing/impression of the flag undoubtedly refer to the image, as these designs are inherently artistic reproductions of the flag, not the flag itself. Thus, for the three tweets in subsection (i), the first is arguable, and the other two are valid.

Lastly, “(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.” Again, there is a legitimate distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.”

3: What Is the Intent?

If you see no distinction between burning a flag and putting its image on a throw pillow, you’re an idiot. I don’t know how to tell you more subtly that your brain cells are likely on the brink of extinction.

Flag Code states that the flag should be hung “union left,” meaning that the stars should be in the upper left corner, vertically or horizontally. So if a woman hangs her flag vertically but (mistakenly) simply rotates it 90 degrees, making it union right, is she disrespecting the flag? Legally, yes. But in her heart, not remotely. This is not the ideal, and it is technically inappropriate, but her intent is clearly to honor her country.

What if a man posts his flag just before leaving for work, rather than at sunrise as suggested? Again, this is not the ideal, but his intent is to honor the flag and display American pride.

Spreading the flag across the outfield at a baseball game, though technically inappropriate, is intended to declare the same message as the playing of the anthem itself: reverence, loyalty, and unity.

These infractions are in no way comparable to outright protest against the flag and the republic for which it stands. I would love to see the Left characterize kneeling, sitting, or stretching during the national anthem as a manifestation of love and reverence for America, or even a desire to unify the public around its ideals.

As a black, liberal, retired Marine expresses in Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” it is undeniably your right to protest the flag and the anthem, but don’t pretend for a second that it makes you equally patriotic with those who stand at attention with hand over heart.

The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.

Unlike the writer of this viral thread, I won’t conclude by suggesting that Leftists look in the mirror, as I support their Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. But I will say this: if you want America to be Europe, go to Europe; if you want to show your love for America, display the flag proudly and don’t mislabel its mistreatment as heroism; and if you want to sound intelligent, read a book.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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The Expanse season 4 is coming soon. Time to binge on the first three seasons.

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The Expanse season 4 is coming soon Time to binge on the first three seasons

One of the most commented on part of my list of 12 binge-worthy shows was having The Expanse at #2 ahead of stalwarts like Peaky Blinders, Sherlock, and Stranger Things. Invariably, those who complained about it being so high on the list were people who hadn’t seen it.

Don’t make that mistake. Don’t assume the show, which started on SyFy and is now being produced by Amazon, is just another run-of-the-mill science fiction hodgepodge of lasers and poorly conceived aliens. This show is political, dramatic, and tense without having to rely on scientific psychobabble to make its point.

News broke yesterday that Amazon will start streaming it next month with the highly anticipated season 4 slated to be released later this year. It’s time to get caught up on this show, but don’t binge too quickly. You’ll want to minimize the agonizing wait to see what happens next in season 4.

Here’s my review:

Binge-worthy show: The Expanse is the best sci-fi show on television now… and maybe ever

http://noqreport.com/2018/11/26/binge-worthy-show-expanse-best-sci-fi-show-television-now-maybe-ever/The stakes get higher with each season. Thankfully, the storytelling matches nicely with the series title. As problems are solved, bigger problems pop up. As opportunities are realized, bigger opportunities present themselves. The scope and scale of the series is expanding with each new season. This can be a problem for stories that end up getting too big because the stakes are increased as the story progresses, but it fits nicely in The Expanse. In fact, the transition from the initial answering of a distress call in season 1, episode 1 all the way through to the exponentially more encompassing problems faced at the end of season 3 seem natural.

What makes The Expanse so amazing is that it’s not a science fiction show. It’s a suspenseful drama with the future as the backdrop. It’s every bit as character-driven and emotionally satisfying as any Grammy-bait historical drama.


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Oscar nominations demonstrate how bad 2018 movies really were

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Lady Gaga A Star is Born

Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture by the Academy Awards last year, I’d seen six of them before the nominations were announced. This year’s batch of eight nominees has two on my list to watch later and two that I’ve already seen. I’m nobody. I’m just a guy who loves watching movies. And the only movie I really loved this year didn’t get nominated, so I’m annoyed.

No, it wasn’t First Man. I didn’t see it and I’m glad it wasn’t nominated. I loved A Quiet Place. I’ve been meaning to write a review on it but I enjoyed it so much I want to do it justice, so I’m waiting to watch it again first.

As for this year’s batch, let’s see how some of them did by critics’ standards. Bohemian Rhapsody, which won one of the two Best Picture Golden Globes, scored a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes. Green Book, the other Golden Globe winner, did better with an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Both were Oscar-bait movies, so even an 82% should be considered low.

Vice, the politically charged hit piece on Republicans, should have been a darling among critics, especially with Christian Bale’s satanically inspired performance. But it rang in at an abysmal 64%.

The other five did well with critics, scoring in the 90s.

Oscar nominations demonstrate how bad 2018 movies really were

Still, there were no standouts. Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards would all be favorites to win if they went up against the eight from this year. Throw in Darkest Hour and Get Out as possibly better than anything in this year’s crop and it’s clear 2018 was a weak year for critically acclaimed movies.

Back to A Quiet Place. This wasn’t just the best suspense flicks of the year. It was one of the best of the decade. For it to be pushed aside for some of the dregs that got nominated is a complete joke. Was it political? Does Hollywood secretly have something against their soft spoken power couple, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt?

As we quickly approach blockbuster season at the theaters, I’m hopeful that there are critical gems being put forth that make up for last year’s horrid output. Hollywood needs an infusion of quality. We all do.


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US singer Chris Brown detained in Paris after rape complaint

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US singer Chris Brown detained in Paris after rape complaint

PARIS (AP) — U.S. singer Chris Brown and two other people are in custody in Paris after a woman filed a rape complaint, French officials said Tuesday.

The Grammy Award-winning singer was detained Monday on potential charges of aggravated rape and drug infractions and remained in custody Tuesday, a judicial official said. Investigators have another two days to decide whether to let him go or file preliminary charges.

Brown’s publicists at Sony Music would not immediately comment on the complaint or say what Brown, 29, was doing in Paris.

Brown has been in repeated legal trouble since pleading guilty to the felony assault in 2009 of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. He completed his probation in that case in 2015, but has continued to have run-ins with police.

The woman who filed the complaint said she met Brown and his friends overnight Jan. 15-16 at the club Le Crystal in the 8th arrondissement near the Champs-Elysees, and then they all went to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel near the Concorde Plaza in central Paris, according to the official.

One of Brown’s bodyguards is among the others detained in the Paris investigation, according to the official. Neither official was authorized to be publicly named discussing the investigation.

The detention was originally reported by French gossip magazine Closer.

Brown is best-known for hits in the 2000s such as “Run It” and “Kiss Kiss.” He retains a hard core of fans, including nearly 50 million followers on Instagram. He posted an Instagram photo Monday from Paris appearing to show him at a night club.

He released a new single earlier this month and has a new album coming this year. Six of his albums have gone platinum.

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