Thursday, March 12, 2015

Propaganda 2: Old Glory, More right wing emotional flag-related deception, dishonesty, and manipulation of the ignorant

We have laws defining what constitutes an actual American flag -- what size, proportions, etc.

It's not a free-form flag, where anyone can make up their own version. It is quite specific what is and is not a proper United States flag.  We have a body of law that defines how that flag can be displayed, and a body of court decisions regarding those laws.

In April 2008, the Congressional Research Service updated these into a single handy reference pdf, which can be found here. lists the actual legal basis for what defines the flag - and what is excluded, like blue lines or bars, hose nozzles, and any lettering.  (scroll down to US Code, Title4, Chapter 1 The Flag).

Not a flag, and not consistent with flag law

First, the real news, factually reported, about judges conscientiously following flag law:

From Viriginian Pilot, Portsmouth/Hampton Roads, :

Flag made of firehoses sparks dispute in Portsmouth
At first glance, the display in a courthouse security office looks like an American flag.
Alternating red and white firehoses comprise most of the piece. A thin blue line runs through its middle in support of law enforcement and emergency personnel. That makes it a work of art, said Chief Circuit Court Judge Johnny E. Morrison.
Sheriff Bill Watson wanted it to hang in a courthouse hallway, but the city’s four circuit judges put a stop to it. They filed an order to remove the display from public areas of the judicial center.
Now it hangs in the window of a courthouse security office that looks out on the commons area. Watson is fuming that the display – which he says is a flag – can’t be hung in the commons area, said department spokesman Capt. Lee Cherry.
“To say he can’t put up an American flag is just blowing everyone away,” Cherry said. “Bill Watson is about as much a true American as you can be. ... If you cut him in half, he bleeds red, white and blue. This just drove him nuts.”
Watson hung up the phone when reached by The Pilot on Wednesday.
This brought out the right wingnut pseudo-super-patriots in hysterical droves. All across the right wing propaganda bubble there was forced, faked expressions of outrage, including -- as usual -- Fakes News, the Washington Times, the Inquisitr, the Daily Caller, the Blaze, etc .  Watson told Fakes News:
Watson said, “I just can’t believe that they don’t want to display the American flag in a courthouse, I mean that’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”
And we have Megyn Kelly, one of the dumb blondes on cable Fakes News reporting the sheriff  telling anyone who will listen how he's willing to go to jail over this (but not talking to the actual courts involved):
The Sheriff countered saying he would prominently display Old Glory on his office’s window, asserting he would be willing to be incarcerated over the flag dispute.
Let's be clear here; there are proper U.S. flags ALL OVER the courthouse, and there is a U.S. flag in every court room.  So claiming the judges object to the display of the American flag is patently false, a lie, right wing nut propaganda that follows a continuing theme of false claims and propaganda.  It is not an isolated incident.

To continue with the FACTUAL reporting:
Cynthia Morrison, Portsmouth’s Circuit Court Clerk, said she considered the display art, not a flag.

It bore a sign that read “In support of public safety,” she said.

Judge Morrison said Watson asked Rae Oliver, who is in charge of building maintenance, to hang the firehose display in the commons area. Oliver told Watson he had to get the approval of the judges to do so.

The judges deemed the piece to be artwork in support of a specific group – law enforcement and emergency workers – and not a flag.

“He can ask City Hall to hang it, he can go to a fire department and ask that they hang it, he can hang it in his own office, but a judicial complex should not advocate for any particular group,” Judge Morrison said.

People rightly expect neutrality from the courts, said Cynthia Morrison.

“People come to the courthouse for justice, we have to maintain ... neutrality. If someone comes with a lawsuit pending against police and saw that, would they feel as though we had a preference for police over citizens? Courts can’t do that,” she said.Cherry countered that the court allows a display of a picture of members of the city’s bar association.

“That is something totally different,” Judge Morrison said. “I would think that he has more intelligence than that.”

The photo depicts lawyers in the local bar association and does not support a group that might come before the court in a case, he said.

Judge Morrison said he tried three times to reach Watson earlier this week. Watson did not respond. That’s why the court order was issued Wednesday, Morrison said.

American flags hang throughout the courthouse, including in each courtroom. It’s wrong to insinuate that the judges are trying to remove an American flag, he said.

“I don’t know why the sheriff or someone in his organization would call the public or media to intimate that judges asked him to remove a flag from the court building,” Judge Morrison said. “It’s not a flag.”

Morrison said he has no problem with the display hanging in Watson’s office.

“I don’t report to Lee Cherry,” Judge Morrison said. “He needs to get his facts straight. We did not ask him to take down a flag. We all know what a flag looks like and he should know, also.”

We have the sheriff grandstanding to every local media that will give him time and a microphone, but neither he nor the right wing media is correctly reporting the decision. Then additionally, we have this sheriff refusing to answer the phone when the judges try to contact him, adding to the childishness of his little temper tantrum, and his implied threat that now he and his staff will refuse to do their duty in responding to threats against the judges or in their courtrooms. He should be removed from office for this threatened refusal to do his duty, the duty he took an oath to perform and for which he receives a taxpayer funded compensation.  Further, it appears that the Sheriff is a tad bit confused over who has final authority over decisions, and who does not.  Hint -- it is NOT the sheriff.

The court knows the law and follows it.  So should the sheriff.

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