Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Pressure Grows: Raise That Flag

Amherst Select Board will stick heads in sand and hope flag controversy goes away

So as usual I crossed that line between journalist and activist -- which, after 30 years I do pretty well -- and asked the Amherst Select Board during their 6:30 Public Comment segment to get involved with the Hampshire College flag fiasco by pressuring Jonathan Lash to do the right thing.



Since it was public comment their policy is not to discuss or engage with the speaker but I notice a few hours later just before they adjourned Chair Alisa Brewer brought it up because she wanted to give some "direction" to Town Manager Paul Bockelman, a Hampshire College graduate.

Ms. Brewer found the appearance at the rally of Springfield Mayor Sarno "weird" since he has no connection to Amherst in general or Hampshire College in particular.  She struggled with the idea of attending because she is after all Amherst's highest elected official but decided it would be "awkward."



Andy Steinberg pointed out each of the five Select Board members are kind of like one fifth of a Mayor so it's hard to act like an actual mayor aka  Mayor Domenic Sarno.

None of the five Select Board members expressed interest in now getting involved in the dispute since Hampshire College is a private tax exempt facility.

Although that would be some leverage since unlike Amherst College who pays the town $120,000 Payment In Lieu Of Taxes for Amherst Fire Department services Hampshire College pays the town nothing.

Thus this internationally embarrassing flag flap is now only going to get worse.  I told the Select Board another rally was planned for December 10th but now I see from my Facebook feed that one will also be held this Sunday as well.



Maybe this time Chair Alisa Brewer will attend to experience the power of people rising up in defense of the America way.   Even in Amherst.





75 comments:

Anonymous said...

How would the town put pressure on Hampshire? Are you saying they should withhold AFD services?

Larry Kelley said...

No of course not.

They could simply shame them over it from their bully pulpit.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me the "American Way" is the right to fly the flag, or not.

Larry Kelley said...

Yep. Or burn it or not.

But it''s also my right to call you an asshole for doing it.

Anonymous said...

I disagree vehemently with HC's decision, but support their right to make their reprehensible decision.

Anonymous said...

Nobody shames today.

Larry Kelley said...

Oh we will see. I've only just begun to fight.

Anonymous said...

"Flag burning was ruled to be constitutionally protected speech under the First Amendment in a 1990 Supreme Court case, United States v. Eichman, that struck down a law seeking to prevent its desecration. Moreover, a 1958 Supreme Court decision rejected the practice of stripping U.S. citizenship as a form of criminal punishment..."

Larry Kelley said...

Yep.

And you can wear a jacket with "Fuck the draft" into a state or federal courtroom.

Dr. Ed said...

"Although that would be some leverage since unlike Amherst College who pays the town $120,000 Payment In Lieu Of Taxes for Amherst Fire Department services Hampshire College pays the town nothing."

Which is why Brewer is wise to stay out of it.

Otherwise any future attempt the town may make for a PILOT or other compensation will be viewed as retaliation for this and not compensation for expenses incurred.

Think about it for a minute, Larry.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't pressuring people to fly the flag seem, well, unAmerican?

Anonymous said...

sad, what small world views some folks have when they think not flying the flag is a big deal. Its not, not even close to the insanity of our incoming president. Folks, you are in for a heap of dysfunction and loss, none caused by a failure to fly the flag.

Larry Kelley said...

You're entitled to your opinion. Even if it is Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

"I've only just begun to fight."

That's a catchy little phrase. You should consider doing some writing.

Larry Kelley said...

You should consider studying history so you are not "doomed to repeat it".

(Although the exact quote may be "I Have Not Yet Begun to Fight."

Anonymous said...

Trump is already commenting on it!

Anonymous said...

It is great to see people finally getting involved in civics. I hope this blog will let us know when and where to find the mandatory flag armband distribution centers.

Larry Kelley said...

Don't worry, Cowardly Anon Nitwits will be exempt.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you stop in at the VFW on Main Street and ask them!

Anonymous said...

The pro-Trump/Pro-Flag protestors have violated the law by blocking both public/ private ways-any Alt-Rightesr would water canon Indians in the Dakota pipeline protest in a jack flas-where are the paddy wagons-arrest for these right wing disgruntles ???!$&@

Anonymous said...

The USA spends well over half a trillion dollars on it's military-industrial complex-for workfare-welfare. This type of abusive allocation and quashing the right to dissent it-led Nazi Germany to World War II - tell me how that will " Make America -Great Again "...China will overtake America as premier world super-power this decade-NOT a fight we can afford to pick ...Sooooooooo...Just Say'n !!!???$$$

Anonymous said...

In the vein of "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not actually out to get me" - I can't think of a funnier or more apt nightmare to be visited upon this town:

Insane, left leaning lunatics in Amherst spend three weeks hallucinating about Trump "coming after them" with one fantastical imaginary scenario or another. Then, out of the blue - President Elect Trump puts the cross-hairs on Amehrst and says "I'M COMING FOR YOU, YOU AMERICA-HATING BASTIDS!" It's just beautiful.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, I'm kind of hoping he shows up this Sunday with a flag in hand.

Anonymous said...

Hampshire college is a private institution. The Select Board getting involved seems a bit too unconstitutional to me.

Larry Kelley said...

Well that did not seem to stop Stan Rosenberg from getting involved.

Walter Graff said...

I support Hampshire's right to not fly a flag. Many men shed their blood so people have that right. Go find that in another country. They have no obligation to fly it. While I would fly it if I was in charge, I'm happy they are using their freedom to do what they want to do. I love this country and I respect others, even though I don't always agree with them. That is what makes America great.

Anonymous said...

Stan is a little " Mixed up " a little demoguery provides a good smokes screen for normality - but as unethical as his support for drug abuse-whateva !?$&@!!?

Anonymous said...

"Here’s where we explain what shouldn’t need explaining. Flag-burning is constitutionally protected speech. The Supreme Court has made this clear, in a ruling joined by Mr. Trump’s favorite justice, Antonin Scalia. It’s popular to want to punish flag-burners — pandering politicians, including Hillary Clinton, have tried. But the First Amendment exists to protect unpopular, even repulsive forms of expression. As the Supreme Court said in a 1990 decision finding a federal law against flag-burning unconstitutional, “Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering.”

New York Times, 11/30/16

Anonymous said...

Unwittingly, your desire for attention and to bring national spotlight to Amherst has put the Hampshire students' cause in the center of this national story, which is exactly where we want to be with it. You couldn't have helped our cause more if you tried. So thanks for rolling up your sleeves and getting all this media attention to the cause. Now we can keep it alive and well. Mr. Kelley, you may be just what us leftists need, a real loud mouth who loves to put his sleepy little town in the news. Bravo! Keep up the good work!

Just another anonymous, red blooded American standing firmly with the U.S. Constitution

Larry Kelley said...

You're welcome.

Just wait until Sunday!

Anonymous said...

"Why don't you stop in at the VFW on Main Street and ask them!"

Translation: "You better not go into a federally subsidized tavern you fuck1ng hippy. The patrons will beat the sh1t out of you."

This my least favorite thing about the alt-right: thinly veiled threats of violence. A bunch of freakin' bullies. Please get out of our town and go somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't these rallies held on the front lawn of Lash's house? I think the point would be driven home a lot faster.

Anonymous said...

Larry, your croney capitalism is an utter embassment to all human kind, let alone America.

Rick Brandon.

Anonymous said...

I'm more concerned with the Republican attempts to privatise Social Security, cut back on health care, war mongoring, cut taxes on the wealthy, deny climate change and limit womens' right to control their bodies. But that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Rumors of a protest Sunday at the same time in front of Larry's house with a March to the VFW....this is getting out of hand. I think it may be time to stop this hoopla and move on with real life. All these crowds and senseless passion has the potential to create a real conflict, and my sense is that no one really wants that. Someone, perhaps even a child, could get hurt because of their parents' fanaticism in the crowds of lunies from both sides...and now folks are talking of taking it to private residences on both sides, Larry's and the head of Hampshire?

Please stop this and just let people be people, let folks be passionate about flying the flag and let others not be. Why do we have to agree on this? What is the value?









Anonymous said...

as aonon@9:12 says it, reality is a much bigger deal than symbolism. Petty people

Anonymous said...

The Court was wrong. But we have to live with that until it can be overturned somehow.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't hurt to apply pressure. Aren't you always being pressured? To vote for her or for him or for this or for that?

Anonymous said...

You already had the loss. And the dysfunction of the current administration is ending. Not a moment too soon.

Anonymous said...

Suddenly you're all for the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court got it wrong. Time to overturn that. Even Hillary Clinton is on record as saying flag burners should be punished.

Anonymous said...

How do you define alt left? Or alt right for that matter. Please educate us.

Anonymous said...

Also why is not flying the flag or even burning for that matter an attack on veterans? It seems like people have to take an active jump to get there. This wasn't a protest against veterans or any war. The only people making that jump were the veterans protesting. It was about the election.

Anonymous said...

You know what is really an attack on veterans? Abysmal VA healthcare. How about standing out in front of the VA hospital?

Anonymous said...

I love the flag, Larry, but these pressure tactics here by you and your ilk are repulsive.

Larry Kelley said...

Go back to your safe space.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for Making America Great Again, but putting Hampshire College students in jail?

This is almost too good to be true.

Anonymous said...

Larry, conservatives like yourself crack me up. All about getting government out of our lives until it comes to a women's right to choose, marriage equality or in this case, a private college's refusal to fly the flag.

I disagree with those people over at Hampshire College but it is not at all the place of the Amherst Select Board to have to comment on it. If they do, great. But to demand that they must is off base.

Larry Kelley said...

That's what "leaders" do.

But their days (and Town Meeting) are numbered.

Anonymous said...

...Most leftist city in the country, that's what Bill O'Reilly just called your town Kelley.

Larry Kelley said...

Well, 12 years ago when he covered the Vagina Monologues embarrassment he called us "the Village of the damned."

Anonymous said...

http://nypost.com/2016/11/30/flag-burning-challenge-launches-after-trumps-tweet/

Anonymous said...

Who the hell cares what Bill O'Reilly or Faux News thinks.

Anonymous said...

Again, who cares.

Anonymous said...

Well, I certainly don't care what you think.

Anonymous said...

Great I hope O'Reilly and Kelley keep getting the news out about our tiny little town. Then fewer right wing haters will move into town because they will know people here don't like hate and we do like to defend to constitution. Then maybe the rest of the right wing haters will leave town. God only knows why they stay.

So, please keep up attention getting behavior. Plan your next big march from Larry's tree fort over to Spanky's mom's back porch and then over to Squeaky's cage and finish at the ice cream shop, where you can all get a nice treat!

Anonymous said...

Why do you think that Fox News puts the spotlight on Amherst whenever the town shows its true colors: West Side Story ban, Vagina Monologues, 9/11 Flag Ban, Hampshire Flag Burn/Ban?

Because these actions are so far out of the mainstream as to belong in the Asteroid Belt. Because viewers all over the country find these incidents to be ridiculous, pathetic and laughable. Because like Bozo the Clown, Amherst social actions are just humorous entertainment to normal observers.

And to see Jesse Watters hounding Johnathan Lash on Fox last night was priceless. Priceless!

Dr. Ed said...

""Why don't you stop in at the VFW on Main Street and ask them!"
Translation: "You better not go into a federally subsidized tavern you fuck1ng hippy. The patrons will beat the sh1t out of you.""


I don't think so.

As a group, combat veterans are less inclined to violence then their demographic peers -- they've already seen too much of it.

"This my least favorite thing about the alt-right: thinly veiled threats of violence. A bunch of freakin' bullies."

The bullies are on the left. Anyone remember "Justice for Jason" and the very-thinly-veiled threats of mob violence?

Dr. Ed said...

Who the hell cares what Bill O'Reilly or Faux News thinks.

The people considering hiring Hampshire College graduates.

Anonymous said...

This is what a Hampshire College degree is worth

http://www.gettyimages.com/.../toilet-paper.../183245820

Anonymous said...

Hampshire College students have been receiving homophobic and misogynistic death threats on social media. The flag issue has been hijacked by white supremacists, both locally and nationally. Whatever your feelings about the flag- pro or anti- I hope that you will all stand against this kind of hateful violence in our community. If you are pro-flag (and I think you have every right to protest), please make it clear to hate groups that we may argue about a lot of things in Amherst, but we will not tolerate racism or homophobia, and we will always protect our youth.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Pro Trump. Pro American. Wasn't it your losing candidate who declared that Republicans are the enemy? How'd that work out?

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear!

Anonymous said...

The Vagina Monologues. Oh the shining example of American Theater.

Anonymous said...

Funny, we think the left wing are the haters. Please cite an example of hate on the right. I cite your comment as an example of alt left hate.

Anonymous said...

The lefties fake many of these threats. Don't you Carol?

Anonymous said...

Shame on the college and shame on the town for supporting black lives matter movement but never showing any support for its hard working first responders and for the great country that this town is located in.

Anonymous said...

According to the news (WWLP) tonight, Lash was the only one to make the decision to remove the flag. The board had no say in the matter.

Larry, any truth to this?

Anonymous said...

How would he know?

Anonymous said...

I have found that republicans, conservatives, right wingers, democrats, liberals and lefties all share one very common trait.

They are very willing to meet non-violence with violence, outright taking or threats there of that will be fulfilled if compliance is not achieved. This is rampant on the left and in the core of the right.

Protest sure, but going to town meeting to get force behind this conflict, utter cowardice of the right.

But the left and at times Larry, brings you endless oversight of your home and lives in all the codes and requirements that people pretend are normal on both sides.

In the end it is forceful collectivism and it really embarrassing. It is literally like everyone is being childified. I know most of us learned how to live in the schoolyard, but we don't still need to act like we are still there.

But again, going to town meeting to force an end to this issue, ughh.

I do not think that Larry is best described as Right or Left, I think he is better described as an authoritarian. I do not think of that word when I think of America, or rather the way we are supposed to be.

Anonymous said...

I musta missed where he said that. More fake news, eh?

Anonymous said...

What IS the students' cause, anyway?

Anonymous said...

The election? Isn't funny that when Trump said he would let us know after the election was over whether he would accept the result, Hillary said he was tearing at the very fabric of our democracy. And now that she's not accepting of it...Well that's what Democracy is all about. Such hypocrisy. Mind boggling.

Anonymous said...

Leave Larry's ilk out of this. Lol. You and your ilk are spoiled children.

Anonymous said...

Violence on the right? Where? Dems are the party of thee KKK. George Wallace was a Dem. BLM calls for the death of cops. (And there's a BLM Club at the middle school. Ugh.). The '68 riots were left-wing. But enough. America first.