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Buzz Cut:
• Confederate flag Rorschach test
• Hillary goes heavy for gun control
• Power Play: Walker wades in
• Trump: Re-birther of a nation
• No charge for the chalupa scent

CONFEDERATE FLAG RORSCHACH TEST 
Looking back in 20 years, we would not likely remember 2015 as they year in which the Confederate Battle Flag was removed from the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse any more than we will remember it as the year of the white black woman or the year we changed the $10 bill.

It might be recalled as the year of the Pearl Harbor of cyber warfare or the year that that Islamic State took root or the year when the new Cold War with Russia heated up.

But that’s not to say that all of our current distractions are created equal.

Talking about life in the South, William Faulkner famously wrote “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

So it is particularly admirable that both sides of this struggle have shown goodwill and respect. It is a moment of true patriotic grace when the descendants of Confederate soldiers and the descendants of slaves can reach these terms on their own “with malice toward none and charity for all.”

What Reconstruction and federal legislation could not do, decency and neighborliness have achieved.

Goosebumps.

Contrast that with the miserable condition of Congress in which Democrats looking to ban the decoration of the graves of Confederate war dead by their descendants hector and shame those who would leave some space and some dignity for those families.

There is an enormous difference between the government of a state flying a flag of rebellion and individuals decorating graves. Pretending otherwise is not only dishonest but also foretells of a larger culture of shaming that threatens much of our history.

Which other symbols and figures will be marked for expunging? The flag of the United States flew for 90 years over a nation with legal slavery. The flag of New York flew over a city in which as many as 20 percent of 18th century inhabitants were slaves.

But more than anything, this is a question not of how you see the past, but rather how you see the present and the future.

If you see America as a great nation and the greatest force for good in human, you are more prone to see our imperfect story in the context of the making of, to quote Lincoln again, “the last best hope of earth.” You would be prone to think that it is good that we fell short so that we would rise to greater heights.

If you see America as a bastion of intolerance and as a force of oppression, then our past is a shameful thing that ought to be expunged. If you believe that America is an instrument of evil, then its past ought not just be forgotten but also reinvented in keeping with modern political aims.  

The issue of the flag makes for a useful political Rorschach test for our time. 

HEAD OF AGENCY TO BLAME FOR MASSIVE HACK ATTACK WON’T BUDGE
Fox News: “The government’s personnel office chief is rejecting bipartisan calls for her to step down following revelations that hackers stole the personal information of more than 21 million people on her watch. Katherine Archuleta, director of the federal Office of Personnel Management, said she has no plans to step down and is committed to continuing her work for the agency. The White House, which had previously stated that President Barack Obama was confident in her leadership, said there were no plans to change its position despite the calls for her resignation. The increased calls for Archuleta to be replaced came as the Obama administration disclosed Thursday that the number of people affected by the massive data breach was far higher than previously reported.”

A firing is not enough, says Sasse - Republican Senator from Nebraska Ben Sasse has an op-ed on the OPM breach where he lays out the big questions he want answers to. Sasse, a member of the Committee on Homeland Security says, “…the federal government is failing to protect its own sensitive information. This government is failing to protect the American public.”

HILLARY GOES HEAVY FOR GUN CONTROL
WaPo: “Gun control is one of the few issues on which Clinton has a more left-leaning record than Sanders, who represents a rural, pro-gun-rights state and has voted in the past for legislation to protect the firearms industry…The issue also fits neatly into the overall narrative Clinton is trying to present. She can stake out a bold stance on an issue that plays well with the liberal base while arguing that she would break through the partisan stalemate in Washington.”

Wonder why? - NYDN:Bernie Sanders defended his past opposition to some gun control measures in a testy exchange Thursday night. The Vermont senator and fast-rising progressive primary challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination doubled down on his past votes to block people from suing gun manufacturers and allow people to check guns in their baggage on Amtrak trains…’If somebody has a gun and somebody steals that gun and shoots somebody, do you really think it makes sense to blame the manufacturer of that weapon?’ Sanders said.”

[Bernie’s secret son - Politico dives deep on Sander’s early life struggles including a love child.]

To the left, to the left - Reuters: “U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will meet privately this month with leaders of the nation's largest labor federation as she seeks to prevent a revolt by union members infuriated by her cautious stance on a looming trade deal, labor sources told Reuters. Leaders with the AFL-CIO…will press her on issues such as trade, infrastructure and the types of officials she would name to the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors.”

Power Play: Biden his time? Could there be a Joe Biden run in the wake of Bernie-mentum? Chris Stirewalt sits down with Yahoo! News’ Meredith Shiner and Washington Examiner Political Editor Jim Antle to read the tea leaves on the likelihood of a Biden bid. WATCH HERE.

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
The villain of our time is the creep – one who’s poorly concealed and inappropriate desires are apparent to all but him. He’s up to no good, but doesn’t think you know it. What does that say about our era and those of us who believe ourselves to be non-creeps? The New Yorker’s Nathan Heller explores: “Are creeps, and their defining quality—creepiness—to our age what anxiety was to postwar life? The proposition is embarrassing, but, then, so is everything the pruney fingers of creepiness touch. Half a century ago, there were squares and libertines, stalwarts and histrionics, private lives and public personalities. Today, in our self-scrutinizing, liberated time, these categories have got scrambled, and distinguishing between a charmingly revealing Instagram post and a bomb of oversharing requires daunting feats of judgment. Looming behind many missteps is the threat of creepiness: a fear that, out of all the free paths open to the modern social actor, you have picked the one that is invasive, obviously needy, and perverse.”

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or the LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 46.6 percent//Disapprove – 49.7
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 31.2 percent//Wrong Track – 60.0 percent

POWER PLAY: WALKER WADES IN
Scott Walker is in good position in the polls, but he enters a crowded, roily GOP field. Meredith Shiner, political reporter for Yahoo! and Washington Examiner Political Editor Jim Antle join Chris Stirewalt to discuss what’s ahead for Walker. WATCH HERE.

Walker strengthens the team - The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes reports that Walker has hired Michael Grebe, former counsel to the Republican National Committee, as his campaign chairman. Hayes writes that Grebe is a big coup for Walker, and that, “If Walker is sometimes his own top political adviser, with an abiding interest in campaign tactics, Grebe will fill the role of senior adviser with an eye towards big picture decision-making. That is a strength.”

Set to sign late-term abortion ban - NYT: “The bill goes to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature. Mr. Walker, who is set to announce his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on Monday, will sign the bill into law, a spokeswoman has said. The bill, which makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, was passed by the Republican-led State Senate in June.”

BUSH MEGA-MONEY ALREADY IN MOTION
TIME: “On Thursday, Bush’s campaign announced it raised $11.4 million over just 16 days. An hour later, Right to Rise USA released its fundraising haul: a record $103 million haul, with $98 million cash on hand…Early indications were that the super PAC could have branched into field work on behalf of Bush’s campaign, much like how fellow Republican candidates…The Bush super PAC has already started spending its money, beginning this week with a $47,000 digital effort opening salvo in Iowa and New Hampshire to boost Bush and attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

Rubio makes his pro-life pitch - head of Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., jumping into the race on Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., seeks to to bolster his standing with social conservatives. Rubio attends the annual National Right to Life Convention in New Orleans today along with fellow Republican contenders Ben Carson, former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. Rubio’s presence at the convention seeks to establish himself as a strong social conservative among voters who may be swayed by a preacher’s son from Wisconsin.

[Watch Fox: Ben Carson joins “Your World with Neil Cavuto” today at 4 p.m. ET.]

Both sides now - After his time with the social conservatives, Rubio will appear at the libertarian conclave FreedomFest in Las Vegas tonight. Donald Trump hits the strip for the event on Saturday.

Carly continues to make her case in N.H. - Boston Herald: “Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina made a plea for more cash at a house party last night…‘I need your help,’ Fiorina said to a small crowd seated in an ornate backyard here [Thursday] night. ‘As a citizen who is running for office, I don’t have years of email lists or years of donor lists. I have to do this from a standing start. I have to build it day after day after day.’”

[Fiorina continues her swing through N.H. with two meet-and-greet events.]

NYT bars Cruz from bestseller list - The Hill: “The New York Times will not include Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) new book ‘A Time For Truth’ on its bestsellers list, even though the book’s sales would qualify it for the list…‘We have uniform standards that we apply to our best seller list, which includes an analysis of book sales that goes beyond simply the number of books sold. This book didn't meet that standard this week,’ a Times spokesperson reportedly wrote.”

Trump: Re-birther of a nation - CNN: “Trump is still not totally convinced that Obama was born in the country. ‘I don't know. I really don't know,’ he said. ‘I don't know why he wouldn't release his records.’ In 2011, Obama released his original long-form birth certificate in response to speculation about his birthplace.”

Guess who said Romney lost for being ‘mean-spirited’ about illegals - National Review’s Rich Lowry looks at Donald Trump’s changing stance on immigration, including Trump’s particularly tough critique of 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Straight Talk Express, redux - In his first television ad “Leadership” Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., highlights his image as the straight-talker who can get things done. The nearly $500,000 ad is set to air in New Hampshire and Boston-area markets for four weeks.

FOX NEWS SUNDAY: MCCONNELL EXLUSIVE
Bret Baier
steps in to give Mr. Sunday a week off and snares an exclusive interview with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Also on the show: 2016 candidates Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., and former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va. “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Fox News. Check local listings for air times in your area.

[#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz and his guests break down all the media madness from the 2016 campaign. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.]

NO CHARGE FOR THE CHALUPA SCENT
KABC: “Several hours after dropping his car off at a Nissan dealership, an employee at a Taco Bell in Moreno Valley found two mechanics in his vehicle in the drive-thru lane…He had taken his Nissan 350Z to the Raceway Nissan dealership in the 6000 block of Sycamore Canyon Boulevard in Riverside earlier in the day to have some work done…The dealership told Eyewitness News the mechanics did violate policy. Their standard test-drive route is 4.8 miles, and the two mechanics drove Jones' car a distance of close to seven miles. Raceway Nissan did not want to appear on camera, but the service manager told Eyewitness News he's bent over backward to make Jones happy, and that the two mechanics have since been fired. Raceway Nissan towed Jones' car to another dealership, where the work was completed for free.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace."  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.