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Category Archives: FREEDOM OF SPEECH

The resignation of avowed communist Van Jones has plenty of people feeling that the future of the country is a bit safer. And it is an interesting “coincidence” that the attendees of the Cincinnati Tea Party demanded his resignation on Saturday, and then it was announced on Sunday.

The newest threat to the free market system and to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, according to many conservatives is the appointment of Cass Sunstein as the regulatory czar. describes him as “left of center, ” and has reported that he is as a, “progressive. ” Some of his academic writings apparently favor animal rights above human rights to the point of arguing the defense of animal rights over human rights in a court of law.

He’s not known for being a supporter of the second amendment, which is the right to keep and bear arms, and that disturbs ranchers who want to protect their cattle, those who are interested to have a gun on hand to protect their family, and those who are hunters. has also stated that, Sunstein has “spent years delving into the obscure issues of regulatory law and behavioral economics,” which is a deep concern for conservatives who are supporters of the free market system, and the fact that he has, “embraced a controversial ‘senior death discount’ ” is of great concern to those who are pro life. Somehow, the words ‘senior death discount’ sounds an awful lot like the death panels in the healthcare bill.

Interestingly, reported on Wednesday that Representative Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), “called for President Obama’s ‘czars,’ or appointed high-level advisers, to testify before Congress about their ‘authority and responsibilities’ in the executive branch.”

The question of the legitimacy of their authority is a good one. Especially since Article II section 2 of the Constitution states that, “…he (the President) shall nominate, and  by and with the Advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law” (emphasis added). In other words, the czars need to be confirmed by the Senate. And if the Senate doesn’t confirm them, they have no business standing in the positions to which they have been appointed.

To make matters even more interesting, there is a bill named HR 3226, also known as the “Czar Accountability Act of 2009.”  This particular bill states that, “appropriated funds may not be used to pay for any salaries or expenses of any task force, council, or similar office which is established by or at the direction of the President and headed by an individual who has been inappropriately appointed to such position…without the advice and consent of the Senate.”  The bill was introduced in the House on July 15, 2009 by Rep. Jack Kingston and is being supported by many in the House. It would be in the best interest of “We the People” to demand that it be made into a law.

Similar Articles:

Tea Party attendees demand Van Jones resignation, and it happens
Socialism in America is unconstitutional
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Websites of possible interest: (HR 3226: Czar Accountability & Reform)


Now this is just my opinion–but the only politicking that should be done on public school property (property paid for and maintained by tax payer’s money) are class elections and student body elections.  City, county, state and Federal  elections need to be kept personal and private while being paid by the parents of the students.  Mock elections??  Definitely, with teachers and other staff members remaining neutral advisers and mediators.  For teachers and other staff members to push personal agendas on tax payers time is WRONG.







by Emily Jane Goodman
October 2008

Photo (cc) by Marilyn M

In the final days of the hotly contested and contentious presidential campaign, three New York City public school teachers and their union president commenced a federal lawsuit claiming a violation of their constitutional rights. The question was whether the school chancellor could bar plaintiffs from using union bulletin boards in schools to post political material; whether candidate-based political materials could be placed in mailboxes in Department of Education buildings; and the hot button issue of whether teachers could wear political campaign buttons in school.

The answer from a federal district judge in Manhattan was yes and no. Yes, the Department of Education can ban the wearing of buttons, and no, teachers and their union cannot be banned from displaying or disseminating political material on candidates in school on their bulletin boards in schools or among themselves. The result is that the judge denied in part and granted in part a request for an injunction against the city’s enforcement of its regulations.

The school chancellor’s regulations state that “while on duty or in contact with students, all school personnel shall maintain a posture of complete neutrality with respect to all candidates.” Another section of the regulation says, “No material supporting any candidate … may be distributed, posted or displayed.”

The Legal History

Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed, and the city did not dispute, that an unconstitutional infringement of First Amendments rights would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs and all teachers. However, citing a series of cases that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the judge concluded that the plaintiffs would be unable to establish that their freedom of speech or expression had been denied if they could not wear buttons on the job.

The judge referred to a case in which Supreme Court held that a public school could restrict a teacher’s speech regarding matters of public concern only if the speech would harm the school’s ability to operate efficiently or the teacher’s ability to perform his or her job. That case involved a teacher who was fired for writing a letter to a newspaper criticizing the school system. The court found that the letter writing, which did not take place in the school, did not interfere with the school’s mission.

Kaplan also looked to Tinker v. Des Moines, a famous case in which the issue was whether students, while in class, had the right to wear black armbands to protest the war in Vietnam. There, the Supreme Court concluded that the constitutional rights of the students could not be stopped “at the schoolhouse gate,” and found in their favor, with the warning that free expression could be limited only if it interfered with school work or with other students. In a third case, which, as Kaplan put it, the plaintiffs invited him to follow, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a high school teacher could not be suspended for wearing a black armband in a similar protest of the Vietnam war, since it did not disrupt the educational mandate.

Kaplan took a different view, relying on another line of cases which concluded that school boards have the right to determine what is inappropriate in their classrooms and that reasonable restrictions could be imposed where they relate to legitimate pedagogical concerns. He emphasized the determination that students should not be exposed to views that they might attribute to the school rather than to an individual teacher.

In his ruling, the judge adopted this more recent reasoning, rather than the cases plaintiffs relied on. The judge borrowed the language of a California case that also involved teachers wearing political buttons during working hours. “Public school authorities may reasonably conclude it is not possible to both permit instructors to engage in classroom political activity and at the same time successfully disassociate the school from such advocacy” without the school board having to establish the disruptive nature of the activity or the wearing of buttons, Kaplan said quoting the California Court of Appeals.

Kaplan also looked favorably to a 2007 case in which another federal court upheld a school board decision not to renew the contract of a probationary elementary school teacher who had taken a political position in class. There, the court reasoned that students are a “captive audience,” and said as an aside that a teacher’s views could lead to “indoctrination.”

Official Position?

In the recent New York case, known as Weingarten v. Board of Education of New York City, the school system feared that some students would misunderstand the personal nature of the buttons, and that the greater goal was to avoid “the entanglement of their public educational mission with partisan politics.” The judge found no evidence that political buttons appearing in the classroom would lead students or their parents to the conclusion that they were expressing the views of the school system. Still, the question remained as to what authority the Department of Education has, and the opinion in Weingarten is that the buttons “might reasonably be perceived to bear the school’s imprimatur or otherwise interfere with the accomplishment of defendants’ public role.”

In other words, the prevention of that possible perception would trump the First Amendment argument. This is based on the theory that the department has the expertise to determine the “needs, capabilities and vulnerabilities” of the school population, although the judge cautioned, in a kind of risk benefit analysis, that there was a balance to be achieved, which had to include the “sensitivity of [the department’s] judgment to First Amendment values.”

As far as the wearing of buttons, Kaplan concluded that the restrictions were reasonable and “reflect a good faith judgment by the defendants in their professional capacities about the impact of teachers’ political campaign buttons in the school rather than a covert attempt to favor one viewpoint over another or a willingness to paint with too broad a brush.”

Further, the judge decided, that in this instance, the Department of Education deserves the court’s deference. To counter that, the teachers and their union would have had to have shown there was a likelihood that they could establish that the ban on the button was unconstitutional. Kaplan decided they had not done that and so he denied the plaintiffs an injunction against the ban.

On the question of disseminating information to teachers in the school building but not in the classroom and not to students, the court reached a different temporary conclusion that will be considered as the litigation continues after Election Day.

Emily Jane Goodman is a New York State Supreme Court Justice

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Obama’s Whining and Attacks on Free Speech are Getting Tiresome

By Guest: Mary Mostert on Oct 14, 08

Rep. John Lewis’ attack on Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain over the week-end, Senator McCain’s response, combined with the amazing 900 plus rise in the Stock Market on Monday seem to have unleashed a barrage of just plain whining and attacks on free speech in the Obama camp.
By way of background, the first we heard about John Lewis in this race was in August during the Saddleback Church interviews of the candidates. The Rev. Warren asked John McCain to name the “three wisest people that you know that you would rely on heavily in an administration” and without hesitation McCain named Gen. David Petraeus, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), and eBay CEO Meg Whitman. It struck me at the time that it was quite a nice compliment to Rep. Lewis for McCain to have named him, a democrat, a black man and a Civil Rights leader during the Selma March as a “wise” man. However, it appears that Rep. Lewis not only does not reciprocate McCain’s respect and admiration, but would like to stop him from speaking freely.
On Saturday Rep. Lewis issued the following statement about McCain and Palin:
“As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.”
“During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.”.
“As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.”
By pointing out that “four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama” was John Lewis, perhaps, suggesting something similar might happen to Sarah Palin if she didn’t shut up? Or, was Rep. Lewis suggesting that Sarah Palin and John McCain might end up like Governor George Wallace, who was shot five times by a would be assassin, which left him paralyzed and in constant pain for the rest of his life?
When John McCain heard Lewis’ statement, he literally stopped what he was doing and immediately issued a statement in defense of Governor Palin and himself as follows:
“Congressman John Lewis’ comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale. The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama’s record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign. I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I’ve always admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the right track.
“I call on Senator Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments that are so clearly designed to shut down debate 24 days before the election. Our country must return to the important debate about the path forward for America.”
What, exactly, was Rep. Lewis talking about? What comments made by Gov. Palin or Sen. McCain did he consider to be “sowing the seeds of hatred and division?” Why didn’t he tell us what he was talking about?
The most quoted statement used by Obama’s apologists in the media following Lewis’ statement have identified a comment made by Gov. Palin as “sowing the seeds of hatred and division.” The Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn wrote: “Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of ‘palling around with terrorists’ because of his association with a former 1960s radical, stepping up the campaign’s effort to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters.
“Palin’s reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, during the tumultuous Vietnam War era four decades ago.”
Now, exactly what part of Sarah Palin’s comment was either inaccurate or “sowing the seeds of hatred and division?” Bill Ayers WAS one of the founders of the Weather Underground, a terrorist organization in the 1960s and 1970s. His wife, Bernadine Dohrn, served time in prison after being convicted as a terrorist and after refusing to apologize for her activities as a terrorist. To this day, they freely take credit for bombing the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol during the 1960s.
In the 1990s, Bill Ayers and Barack Obama were neighbors in the Hyde Park area of Chicago and both were involved in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995-1999. Obama was founding chairman and president of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge during those years and Ayers was a co-chairman of the Chicago School Reform Collaborative that received, and spent, Annenberg’s $49.2 million in grants given to him by Obama’s board to improve Chicago public schools.
It was in 1995 that Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn hosted a gathering at their home in Hyde Park to launch and raise money for Barack Obama’s first political campaign for the Illinois State Senate in 1995. In my 60 years in politics, I never knew of ANYONE helping to launch a political campaign for someone they barely knew. It was also 1995 when Barack Obama’s first book Dreams of My Father was written. Some believe it was either ghost written by Bill Ayers, or heavily edited by Bill Ayers, since the writing is very similar to Ayers’ books and different from the style from Obama’s writing.
What, exactly were the results of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, funded by billionaire Walter Annenberg, distributed under Barack Obama’s chairmanship in grants to Bill Ayers’ School Reform board to improve Chicago public education between 1995 and 1999? According to an August 2003 final technical report by the Consortium on Chicago School Research, the schools supported by the Annenberg Challenge while Obama was its chairman and Ayers group was getting the grants “had little impact on school improvement and student outcomes, with no statistically significant differences between Annenberg and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain, classroom behavior, student self-efficacy, and social competence.”
Whenever anyone looks for or asks for some kind of proof that Barack Obama actually has some kind of record of success in bringing about change for the better in his past endeavors, what we get in response are accusations that Obama is being attacked because of his “race” – which, incidentally, is mostly white and Arabic, with something like 6% actually black African. He was raised by his white mother and his white, American grandparents. He is a graduate of Harvard. It is a bit silly for him, or his supporters, to try to protect him by accusing anyone who questions his competency of being “racist.”
All we are asking is – where ARE his records of actual accomplishments? If elected, are we going to have to listen to him whine for the next four to eight years about how he is being mistreated because of his “race” every time the public expects him to actually DO something?
Mary Mostert

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