The bravest vote on the so-called Flag Desecration amendment in the Senate earlier this week was probably that of Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.
McConnell is a died-in-the-wool conservative who I doubt the Curmudgeon has much in common with. But darned if he didn't vote against the flag amendment--and since it failed by just one vote, McConnell's may have been the most important.
Better yet was McConnell's reasoning, which is the best the Curmudgeon heard from anyone. "The First Amendment has served us well for over 200 years. I don't think it needs to be altered," said McConnell. "Our Founding Fathers wrote the first amendment because they believed that, even with all the excesses and offenses that freedom of speech would undoubtedly allow, truth and reason would triumph in the end," he added.
Of course, for voicing those thoughts he will earn the ire of right wing excrement such as Coulter and her fellow travellers (some of whom have already announced a campaign to "target" McConnell and a few others).
In the end, it is precisely the freedom to express ourselves, even in such a dramatic fashion as flag-burning, that make this country so special.
And what about George Bush Allen? He says our flag "signifies the valor of those who have gone before us and those who are fighting for our freedoms even today." Yep, and one of those freedoms is the First Amendment. So what Allen is saying is that all those who fought in the past for our freedoms today--most notably, the First Amendment--should have their memories desecrated by a bunch of legislators who really don't give a damn about the grunts they're sending over to Iraq to fight for those "freedoms."
Allen, who has never served his country in uniform (unless a football uniform counts), also took the opportunity to criticize his Democratic opponent, Jim Webb--who served many long year in uniform and distinguished combat--for opposing the amendment. While Allen tried to lump Webb in with various "liberal Democrats", we'll point out that Webb's reasoning was just about identical to that of McConnell.
If Allen really cared about the valor of our troops, he'd lambaste Bush and start seriously working on getting them home.
Net Neutrality--Which Part of "Big Telecom" Don't You Get?
Yesterday, the Seanate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted down a bill to assure "net neutrality", i.e., to make sure Big Telecom can't charge some internet service providers more than others to use the internet infrastructure.
Republicans, who opposed the net neutrality amendment, were typically disengenuous about it. Our favorite was Sen. Ensign, from Nevada, who must not watch the evening news. He said, "[w]e're attempting to legislate on a problem that doesn't exist and potentially make other problems in the process." He added that if the telecom companies do start charging higher fees, "I'd be the first to stand up and do something about it."
Yeah, right. Gee, Senator Ensign, have you noticed all those ads on television every night from the giant telcos where they defame Google and say that net neutrality is intended to prevent telecom companies from charging for use of the internet? Exactly what do you think they plan to do? My guess--just a hunch--is that they're spending millions on this enormous lobbying campaign so they can charge the heck out of internet users.
George Bush Allen, of course, voted against the net neutrality provision.