The Obama Administration Inserts Provision Into UN Security Council Measure To Protect Mercenaries From War Crimes Prosecutions

The recent United Nation Security Council decision to freeze the assets of the Gaddafi family was heralded as a high-point of international cooperation to fight authoritarian abuse. What has gotten less press attention is the role of the United States in drafting the resolution. The Obama Administration insisted on adding a provision that barred the punishment of mercenaries for war crimes committed in the country — out of concern that the same principle could be used against U.S. contractors in places like Iraq.

The U.S. move is consistent with President Obama’s policy of the last two years in barring the prosecution of any U.S. officials for ordering or carrying out torture of detainees in violation of a host of international agreements. His Administration has also worked to bar any prosecution of U.S. contractors accused of murdering citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. provision states:

6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State.

In one article, French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud responded to a torrent of criticism over the provisions by explaining

“that’s, that was for one country, it was absolutely necessary for one country to have that considering its parliamentary constraints, and this country we are in. It was a red line for the United States. It was a deal-breaker, and that’s the reason we accepted this text to have the unanimity of the Council.”

Obama’s contribution at this high point of international cooperation is to insert an ignoble provision barring war crimes prosecutions in Libya. We have now come to this. While we once were the leader in war crimes prosecutions, we are now viewed as an enabler of such conduct. What is striking is that none of these individuals — or the victims — are U.S. citizens. While the measure does not prevent prosecution by host nations, it blocks the most likely forum for punishment. The United States has shown how a nation can simply refuse to prosecute individuals who admit to acts that constitute torture or war crimes. Thus, when it allows for mercenaries to “be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction” of their own country, the Obama Administration has already shown how such nations can protect people accused of war crimes and has taken steps to prevent other nations from enforcing international agreements on torture.

We are now viewed as not just hypocritical on human rights, but effectively making war crimes prosecutions as discretionary matter for nations.

In this case, the Obama Administration will guarantee that those mercenaries from Algeria, Ethiopia and Tunisia would not be prosecuted in Libya — the scene of the crimes including gunning down unarmed civilians and other atrocities. It continues a controversial policy of President George W. Bush.

Source: Telegraph

Jonathan Turley

245 thoughts on “The Obama Administration Inserts Provision Into UN Security Council Measure To Protect Mercenaries From War Crimes Prosecutions

  1. That language looks like it covers more than mercs, to whit: “…nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside…”

    It makes me wonder exactly why we are so worried about protecting foreign nationals that are aid a dictator. What dogs do we have in that fight?

    I wonder how they’re going to get Mr. Davis off the hook?

    “Raymond Davis ‘was acting head of CIA in Pakistan’
    A US intelligence agent arrested after shooting dead two men was the acting head of the CIA in Pakistan and had been gathering intelligence for drone attacks, according to intelligence sources.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8340999/Raymond-Davis-was-acting-head-of-CIA-in-Pakistan.html

    Pakistan Tried to Trade CIA Contractor for ‘Lady al Qaeda’

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/raymond-davis-case-pakistan-trade-lady-al-qaeda/story?id=13018457

  2. I don’t know which is worse: the use of mercenaries, the use of mercenaries that could be charged with war crimes, or the foreign policy that all of it possible.

  3. Neither Libya nor the US have ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

    [There is presently bipartisan consensus that the United States does not intend to ratify the Rome Statute. [24] Some US Senators have suggested that the treaty could not be ratified without a constitutional amendment. [25] Therefore, US opponents of the ICC argue that the US Constitution in its present form does not allow a cession of judicial authority to any body other than the Supreme Court. In the view of proponents of the ICC there is no inconsistency with US Constitution, arguing that the role of the US Supreme Court as final arbiter of US law would not be disturbed. Before the Rome Statute, opposition to the ICC was largely headed by Republican Senator Jesse Helms.[26] Other objections to ratification have included that it violates international law, is a political court without appeal, denies fundamental American human rights, denies the authority of the United Nations, and would violate US national sovereignty.

    Although the US originally voted against the adoption of the Rome Statute, President Bill Clinton unexpectedly reversed his position on 31 December 2000 and signed the treaty,[27][28] but indicated that he would not recommend that his successor, George W. Bush, submit it to the Senate for ratification.[29] On 6 May 2002, the Bush administration announced it was nullifying the United States’ signature of the treaty.[30] The country’s main objections are interference with their national sovereignty and a fear of politically motivated prosecutions.]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_Parties_to_the_Rome_Statute_of_the_International_Criminal_Court#United_States

  4. What exactly makes him think that Libya gives a fig for the language of the resolution? That should the revolution succeed that enemies, official and mercenary alike, won’t simply disappear?

  5. @eniobob: What is going on ???

    We are in the process of becoming a police state, run on behalf of an elite class (those that possess political power and/or the money to buy it). We elected an authoritarian elitist wolf in liberal Democrat sheep’s clothing. We’ve been tricked, and now we are paying the price.

    Obama gives us a few scraps that the rich don’t care about, like repealing DADT, or not enforcing DOMA, and gives the military-industrial-Wall Street-Financial complex everything it wants. Tax breaks, gutless “health care reform,” budget-cutting of social services in the name of deficit reduction, ruthless prosecution of the whistleblowers he praised as a candidate, and the most draconian curtailment of American civil rights and the chilling of free speech in history; including the Bush/Cheney administration.

    It is not just liberals that have lost a battle, Americans have lost the war against the rich. They want to exploit you and condemn you to a second class of citizenship, subject to different laws, different taxes, and with far fewer civil rights than they have. Now they shall. The White House, Senate and Congress are all on their side. Other countries are on their side, out of either fear or a shared vision of subjugation. So you shall be subjugated, because by the time a majority of people realize they are subjugated, it will be too late. I think it is probably already too late.

  6. Gerard Araud,

    For future reference:

    When the deal breaking provision is solved by allowing criminals to run free?

    You should not only let the deal break, you should trumpet to the world why it was broken and by whom.

    That is all.

    P.S. Screw you, “President” Obama. For being an aider and abettor to high crimes. But also, thank you. For further illustrating what campaign finance has bought this country over the years both sides worked to get the rules further and further relaxed: an illegitimate government.

  7. Tony C, You are right in that we have have lost the war against the rich, but I will wager that most Americans don’t want a war against the rich. They continue to elect crooked billionaires to office like Rep Rick Scott of Florida. Do you think liberals should sit out the 2012 elections as you suggested they do in 2010? I remember how strongly anti-Feingold you were. Do you think the tea party members that were elected in Wisconsin are an improvement?

  8. Oh goodie….I can kill without prosecution…. Just so long as I am doing it for what the others say is good…Nice..

  9. I want everyone to mentally amend my post to include everything Buddha said.

    How dare he say what I’m thinking before I remember too. Psychic copy cats are the worst.

  10. Elaine, There is one important reason to support Obama and that it is if he loses, a woman’s right to chose is history. I will join my friends at Planned Parenthood and SEIU and support him. All of the alternatives are anti-choice, anti-union and anti-gay.

  11. S M

    Maybe not all the alternatives, but any with a chance of winning? For sure.

    I’m still confused about how the President can follow policies that must be (and are not) approved by Congress. As in the DADT controversy. Just because a person wins a presidential election doesn’t mean he/she can act like a dictator and ignore the other two branches of government.

  12. @Swarthmore: Then you remember incorrectly; my record is there for anybody to read. I was against anybody that enabled an assault on civil liberties, and Feingold was one senator that did less than he could have done, as a senator, to prevent the passage of civil liberty curtailing laws. He could have used their tactics against them, putting anonymous holds on the laws, filibustering the laws, etc. He did not. Why did he not fight to the political death against the most egregious violations of our constitutional rights? I don’t know what he would say and I don’t care what he would say, he didn’t do it.

    But no, he was not the worst of them. As for the current crop in Wisconsin: Why do you stubbornly insist on the “relative good” I have repeatedly rejected?

    It may be, for a liberal agenda, these Wisconsin Republicans ARE a good thing for us. They are blatantly and stubbornly acting against a majority (61%) of their own constituents, and they are blatantly and stubbornly insisting on the most illogical bullshit. They cut taxes on the wealthy by $161M and claim they have to decimate unions to plug a $137M budget hole; with no sense to the argument at all — The unions have already agreed on the financial end.

    Even if they win, I suspect their victory will be short-lived, because they have provoked people into the street and in 2012 (or before by the Wisconsin right of recall) they will be replaced with pro-union players that will pass pro-union laws. This will backfire on them.

    That is exactly what I was talking about back then; that we had to clear out the half-corporatized Democrats to make way for true blue liberal Democrats. It was exactly what I argued for back then, that we’d have to suffer through an egregious Republican asshole leadership for a term or two, but by getting rid of complacent lifelong Democrats and showing them there was punishment for failing to deliver liberal policy to match their liberal lip service, the next round of Democrats would take us seriously.

    So yes, the chance for a really liberal politician fueled by an angry liberal base is worth just about whatever goes down in Wisconsin. And the only way this could happen is by throwing out the liberal-on-the-stump, corporatist-in-office politicians we had before (and are still plagued with).

  13. Swarthmore mom,

    I understand your position. Still, the President makes it ever more difficult for a person of conscience to support his candidacy for a second presidential term.

  14. From TPMDC
    Report: U.S. Has Wasted Tens Of Billions Of Dollars On Contractors In Iraq And Afghanistan
    Susan Crabtree | February 28, 2011
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/report-us-has-wasted-tens-of-billions-of-dollars-on-contractors-in-iraq-and-afghanistan.php?ref=fpb

    Excerpt:
    A new report from a bipartisan commission set up to scrutinize the unprecedented use of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan concludes that the United States has wasted tens of billions of the nearly $177 billion that has been spent on those contracts and grants since 2002.

    The report, titled “At What Risk? Correcting Over-reliance on Contractors in Contingency Operations,” said its estimate may even understate the problem because it may not take into full account ill-conceived projects, poor planning and oversight by the U.S. government, as well as criminal behavior and blatant corruption by both government and contractor employees.

    “For many years,” the report says, “the government has abdicated its contracting responsibilities – too often using contractors as the default mechanism … without consideration for the resources needed to manage them.”

    The commission, chaired by Michael Thibault, former deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and former Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) holds a hearing Monday to review the new report’s findings.

    About 200,000 contractor employees are working in Iraq and Afghanistan — a number roughly equal to the American military forces deployed there, according to the report. Their work includes guarding bases, building facilities, providing food and laundry services, escorting supply and personnel movements, and translating local languages.

    The current unprecedented reliance on contractors reflects a reduction in support functions the military provides and urgent needs in the two combat zones, but it occurs at a time when federal capabilities for managing and auditing contracts have suffered from years of staffing cuts and weak inter-agency coordination, the report says.

  15. eniobob
    1, February 28, 2011 at 10:03 am
    What is going on ???

    ==================================================

    It must be a lot worse than even we imagined. The cover-up is almost desperate in its intensity.

    I suspect that numerous governments, not just our own, would be destabilized should prosecutions take place for, once opened, the spigot of documents, images, and testimony would gush across the world like a giant tsunami.

    I further suspect that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama at the beginning of his term was not at all what it appeared to be.

    “The committee said it honored Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

    “Obama said he viewed the decision less as a recognition of his own accomplishments and more as “a call to action.”

    In my opinion the real message was “shut the f**k up and we’ll make your life easy.” Obama’s “call to action” was the promise of “no action”.

    In other words, “Message sent and received.”

    It would make a very interesting novel.

  16. True enough, Elaine, but I don’t think a republican victory and a hard turn to the right will help. The republicans will get more court appointments and the setback will be insurmountable in terms of women’s rights.

  17. @Swarthmore: For political reasons, Demcorats in the House and the Senate have refused to stand up against infringement on abortion rights; even in their latest “signature” effort, the Health Care Bill. They put politics before principle, even when they have an overwhelming majority.

    That will continue to be the case, and if you think they won’t throw abortion rights under the bus for political expediency, you are sadly naive. The crop of Democratic politicians we have now are mostly weeds that prevent real liberalism from growing; they have moved further to the right than Nixonian Republicans just for campaign cash and to please corporate donors. THAT is what relative-good politics gets you, creeping financial corruption in the name of “practical” politics and a complete abandonment of all principle.

    Abortion rights are not in danger from Republicans, they are more in danger from Democrats that are afraid to stand up to Republicans on behalf of basic civil rights.

    So yes: If the right to abortion gets infringed, people will suffer and die until we start to stand up for our rights. Politics is a life and death game, and this relative-good argument is going to cost lives already. In health care, in heating aid and food aid and educational aid to the poor. Lives will be ruined, and people will die. That is where relativism in politics has brought us, and will continue to deliver us, and in the end it is clear that Democrats will not defend abortion rights at all, they have already proven time and again they will back away from that fight in a heartbeat.

  18. Another example of whats up is down and whats down is up:

    “The Obama Administration Inserts Provision Into UN Security Council Measure To Protect Mercenaries From War Crimes Prosecutions”

    Heres another,I heard this one this morning:

    “THE HILL POLL: On shutdown, more voters would blame Democrats
    By Erik Wasson – 02/28/11 06:11 AM ET

    Twenty-nine percent of likely voters would blame Democrats for a government shutdown, compared to 23 percent who would hold Republicans responsible, according to a new poll conducted for The Hill.”

    http://thehill.com/polls/146361-the-hill-poll-more-voters-would-blame-dems-than-gop-for-shutdown
    What??

  19. Sarthmore Mom,
    You are correct, in my opinion, that voting for any of the current crop of right wing candidates will set the country back even further. The war on women that we have discussed on these threads will become a blitzkrieg on women.
    Lotta,
    I am very interested in your comment about dog does the US have in the Libya fight. Is it possible that we have significant CIA exposure in the Libya demonstrations?
    Blouise,
    I hope your idea for a novel is not accurate. It is too scary to imagine.
    Elaine,
    You are right when you say Obama makes it harder every day for progressives to back him. I will be happy to support a progressive candidate who has a legitimate chance of winning in 2012, but if none is found, Obama, even with these faults, is better than the bottom feeders on the Right.

  20. Blouise

    I’m strapped for time and this should probably be on another thread, but if you’re going to the Columbus rally tomorrow (or any other time) maybe you could give us the name of a Pizza Parlor where we could order pizzas for the troops.

    I can’t march, but I can buy pizzas. Just a thought. The organizers should always include this on their websites. :-}

  21. Typical for an administration who’s greatest claim to fame is the continuance of the previous criminal enterprise posing as a presidency.

  22. Raff, Elaine, and Swarthmore

    Back when Obama was still Sen. Obama, I made a choice to never vote for somebody that has broken, or advocates breaking the UN Convention against torture. In my opinion “barring the prosecution of any U.S. officials for ordering or carrying out torture of detainees in violation of a host of international agreements.” Sure seems to fit that bill.

    http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html

    “Article 12
    Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committee in any territory under its jurisdiction.”

    I consider human rights important. Regardless of the gender of the person in question. When the choice is between somebody who wants to violate a woman’s rights, or somebody who wants to violate a foreign national’s rights, the answer is: neither.

  23. @Swarthmore: I guess you know more about abortion rights that NARAL.

    I guess I know more about human psychology, sociopathy, and understanding the criminal mindset than either you or NARAL. Perhaps both of you are irretrievably niave. This whole idea of relativism, once again put forth by rafflaw that “Obama is better than the bottom feeders on the right” is what has led us to this impasse: A President that openly asserts the right to kill American citizens without either charges or trial, a President that protects torturers, tortures whistleblowers, and has redefined the justice system so that the government cannot lose (“If we can win a trial, we try them, if we can only win a military tribunal, we’lll do that, if we have no evidence at all, we will just ‘detain’ them indefinitely.”)

    We have a President that, to reduce a deficit, will throw under the bus aid for the neediest and most fragile of citizens, in order to shower political and financial favors on the least needy and least fragile of citizens.

    We have a President that lied about transparency, lied about deals with pharmaceuticals and insurance companies. We have a President that asserts the right to read your every email and posting, record your every phone call and monitor your every financial transaction, without limit, without warrant, without suspicion.

    His administration asserts the right to strip search you without warrant before you board an airplane, and if you do not submit you can be fined, arrested, and imprisoned.

    We now have a President and administration so authoritarian, unfair and vindictive that common people are afraid to donate to causes they believe in, like defending Wikileaks or Bradley Manning.

    This is where the relative-good political argument has led, to the point where this pathetic excuse for freedom is better than the “alternative.” What you have here is proof that this stubborn refusal to ever take a temporary loss in order to make a principled stand will inevitably lead to a complete loss of all principles.

    As before, I agree completely the bottom feeders are worse. But in 6 years the Democrats will be worse than the current bottom feeders, because they will embrace every ugly policy of Obama’s and a slew of new ugly policies besides. The bottom feeders in 6 years will be even worse than those guys, to provide the necessary relative-evil needed to get them elected. There is no stopping point, it is an infinite descent, powered by this same cowardly “relative-good” argument, that thinks a half loaf is better than nothing, so a quarter loaf is better than nothing, so a slice is better than nothing, so a crust is better than nothing, so a half a crust is better than nothing, so crumbs are better than nothing, so promises of future crumbs on the next loaf are better than nothing.

  24. Tony C, Let’s have this discussion after the republican primaries when your alternatives to Obama become more clear. You might like Ron Paul.

  25. @Swarthmore: I have already provided enough detail and outrage on this thread to prove I won’t vote for Obama no matter WHO the alternative is, or HOW much worse they may be. (Ron Paul, for all the dumbfuckedness of his ill-conceived libertarian dogma, at least has principles and has been willing to both speak and vote his principles regardless of the political blowback he knows he will suffer.)

    You simply do not comprehend the failure of your relative-good system! I frankly find that level of shallowness in logical thinking incomprehensible, and the fact that you still think you were right to bring the Trojan Horse inside the gates after the soldiers are out and slaughtering the citizens, and you are prepared to do it again, is simply astounding to me.

  26. Tony c, I do fully comprehend the “relatively good system”. Al Gore was “relatively good” compared to Bush. I don’t think he would have invade Iraq. I don’t think Ron Paul received any blow back from his Texas district. He sticks with them on social issues. Vote for whomever or write someone in.

  27. @Swarthmore: I said the failure of your “relative-good” system.

    Shall I add illiteracy to your list of faults, or is this just you refusing to acknowledge that your foolish system of never ever punishing any Democrat anywhere for being an unprincipled corporate shill has now produced a complete civil rights and progressive policy disaster in this country?

  28. Tony C Your strategy worked. The democrats were punished and Scott Walker was elected. Are you closer to you goals? I still haven’t figured out what they are.

  29. Ron Paul receives plenty of flack and derision from the media on his views, and has been booed on stage for stating his policy positions. In fact, openly stating his positions has probably cost him higher office, including any chance at the Presidential nomination in 2008. The media labeled him a “fringe candidate” due to his openly stated libertarian views, and then treated his comments and debate points as examples of crazy talk. The blow back is what has blocked him thus far from having any real chance at higher office. It is hard to elect an honest man; certainly if Obama had been honest I would not have voted for him, and now that I know the truth, I will not vote for him again.

  30. @Swarthmore: My goal is a country where people are free and the corporations, government agencies, and the military are prevented from exploiting them, lying to them, putting them in harm’s way, blackmailing them, holding them hostage, ripping them off or fucking them over. In addition, my goal is to share the high cost of this governance by equalizing the pain of sharing the cost, which demands those with the greatest assets pay the largest percentage and those with the least in assets pay the least percentage.

    Oddly, my goals are probably closely aligned with yours, you just think you can somehow get there with magical thinking, and I do not believe in magic.

  31. Just got back from my 3 mile bike ride to pick my daughter up from school. Man it is absolutely gorgeous in N Fla. The U.V. rays are kickin. It won’t be long now til da lady’s b saying,

    Bdaman you gots some beautiful skin, as they run days hand up my baby oiled arms. :)

    Do yourselves a favor spend some time in the great outdoors.
    Get some fresh air.

    Buddha the boys are back in town and they took down my post.

    Want me to put it up there again? :)

  32. Buckeye,

    (I posted this message but it didn’t show up so I’m posting again)

    I have passed on your suggestion (putting info directly to the site) to the appropriate people.

    The Ohio office for the AFL-CIO is located in Columbus and you may call them at 614-224-8271. You may also go on line to the mail AFL-CIO web site and click on the tab “Get Involved” which will take you to a map wherein you may find the state’s web site with numbers and names etc.

    Anyone who would like to help can do the same for any state wherein protesters are gathering … find it on the map and call to see what they need. Just because you can’t be there doesn’t mean you can’t help those who are.

  33. Blouise,
    Can I get a pizza delivered to me, here in Woodstock, Illinois?? I haven’t had lunch and now I am getting hungry reading about these pizzas!!

  34. SwM,

    You do a good job of ignoring the needless hyperbole and staying with the point of the discussion … remaining calm in the face of deliberate provocation is not on your “list of faults”. :)

  35. rafflaw
    1, February 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm
    Blouise,
    Can I get a pizza delivered to me, here in Woodstock, Illinois?? I haven’t had lunch and now I am getting hungry reading about these pizzas!!

    ============================================

    You, sir, are a scam artist … how about a nice floral arrangement?
    \^*^/
    |
    =

  36. Protect Mercenaries,and your knees are starting to buckle after the long and bitter health care fight,What is going on??

    WASHINGTON — White House officials insisted on Monday that President Barack Obama’s embrace of a provision that would give states the right to opt out of his health care law three years earlier then is currently allowed was a function of policy preferences and not due to ongoing legal drama.

    Behind the scenes, however, defenders of the legislation quickly began an aggressive push to see if the new provision, which moves the opt-out date from 2017 to 2014, could alter the balance of arguments taking place both in the courts and the realm of public opinion.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/28/obamas-embrace-of-health-care-opt-out_n_829314.html

  37. This comment on the above post hits it:

    “Dana1982 1 minute ago (4:01 PM)
    75 Fans
    Obama shouldn’t be weakening a plan that was hard fought by our Democrat congressme­n last year. This fight caused many good people to loose their seats to a highly charged, misinforme­d public. If anything, President Obama should be pushing to close the gap and provide us with the public option so our health care needs will be free for everyone. I have to say I’m disappoint­ed at his actions.”

  38. bdaman, You claim that Obama is so unpopular, but why hasn’t a decent republican stepped up to run against him? BTW, I don’t like country music or honkytonks.

  39. “You claim that Obama is so unpopular, but why hasn’t a decent republican stepped up to run against him? ” (SwM)

    bada bing, bada boom

    No decent republican is going to run against Obama in 2012 because the loss is guaranteed … 2016 is where all the real effort and money will go

  40. Blouise,
    with all of this Citizens United money flying around, President Obama may have a tough battle, but you are correct that with the people who have announced their intentions to run or are likely to run, he should win.

  41. Another one where I don’t have anything to add. The idea that the United States would support this, much less spearhead it, in the midst of mercenaries reportedly committing war crimes in Libya is staggering.

  42. We protect these mercenaries so that we may protect our own. If we did not have mercenaries in Iraq, Afghanistan etc, etc, we would need to institute a draft to conduct our wars of empire.

    We continue to hire mercenaries from companies that have committed crimes, to include murder. Therefore, we must not allow any accountability or our own murderers might be on trial.

    Like Tony C. I fail to understand how this can be made acceptable to anyone. It is dangerous for all the reasons Scahill has well laid out. Mercenaries are loyal to their paymaster. They will do anything and they already have. That our govt. continues to employ people who murder and torture, let alone actively shield them from prosecution, should scare the shit out of our population.
    It won’t because it’s that nice man Obama doing the shielding and the hiring, but it should.

  43. “Republics and princes that are really powerful do not purchase alliances by money, but by their valor and the reputation of their armies.” – Niccolo Machiavelli, “The Discourses”, Book 2 Ch XXX

  44. BIL,

    We are a very weak nation. I’m not a fan of finding a nation’s strength in its military, but we are on the brink of financial collapse. By this I don’t mean the ginned up “fiscal crises”, I mean the real one. The speculation by Wall Street never stopped, even after the disaster of 08. The next collapse will finish us off as a nation.

  45. @Blouise: I wouldn’t be surprised if an indecent Republican ran against him, though. Palin, for example. Just my opinion; but I think she doesn’t want to win; and is just sociopathic enough to want to run for the publicity and money she thinks she can con out of the tea party and dummies.

    I very seriously expect some unprincipled, fear mongering rabble rouser to run, not to win, but to make a few million off the racism and bigotry ginned up by FOX and friends at the behest of Republicans. As we have seen recently, the controls on campaign finance are essentially non-existent. Candidates can do anything they want with that money. How can Palin resist it? Screw the polls, winning isn’t the point and she doesn’t want the job, the point is the celebrity and campaign donations she can use to live like royalty and use for political influence. And divert into her bank account; there are a hundred ways to do that now with virtually zero oversight, if SHE is at the top of the ticket.

  46. yes, it seems we have two choices when we go to the polls:
    The Republicans will kill us fast and painfully. Third world banana republics will surpass us soon.
    OR
    The Democrats will kill us slowly. Third world banana republics will surpass us in a few years.

    I know Obama was not a liberal when I voted for him but I had no idea he was a closet imperialist on a par with Boy Blunder.

  47. Yes rafflaw,

    People are waking up! It’s hard going because of all the propaganda but still, it’s happening. Look at WI. Even in Ohio we had protests at the bogus govt. budget cutting and Ohio is a very conservative state.

    This is why I feel telling the truth is so important. It may be scary, hell to me, it’s terrifying, but on this matter the bible is correct, “The truth will set you free”. We will be lost if people cannot acknowledge what is really going on. As hard as it is, as much as it may hurt, we must face reality–that is our only chance. We have to face down wrong doing by this corrupt govt. We cannot do this if we keep ignoring how corrupt it is. Once we overcome the hurdle of disinformation and our own desires to shirk from reality, we can take real corrective action.

    People are powerful. Look at Egypt. Those people confronted a heavily armed, internationally connected, completely corrupt govt. It’s not over and they know it, but they were brave, they are still brave and they are willing to put everything on the line for their freedom and a good society. If the Egyptians can do that, so can we!

  48. bdaman, You are right. Time is on your side. You can just be anti- obama until the primaries start next year. Then you and the rest of the anti-Obama people will need to step up and be for someone.

  49. Don’t really want the military to take over in the USA as they have done in Eqypt. They already have too much power. Has Obama been a dictator for 30 years? I don’t think so.

  50. Jill,
    It makes me feel good to see you more hopeful! It won’t be easy and people just may be waking up to the reality of the corporations and the wealthy and their control of this country.

  51. bdaman, You are right. Time is on your side.

    To be honest I think time is running out. I think they want the whole or much of the world to collapse to bring it back as one. A one world government. Scares the shit out of me to think the headline, The Fall of the United States.

  52. Bdaman,
    that one world government stuff is just crap right out of the JOhn Birch Society and the Koch’s. It is meant to scare the little folk like us into listening to what the new world Royals are telling us. In other words, the wealthy and corporate interests want you to believe that nonsense so that they can control everything else that they don’t already control now.

  53. rafflaw,

    I agree it won’t be easy but it can be done! Hope is never built on lies to self or others, but always on a clear understanding of a situation. A clear understanding of the situation in the US isn’t pretty. That doesn’t mean we can’t make it right. Understanding is the necessary condition of making it right. I’m sorry that I was not conveying those feelings on my part. I thought I was, but evidently did not.

  54. bdaman, I think things are getting better. The economic data certainly shows it. The Chicago PMI was way up today.

  55. Tony C.,

    In my opinion your analysis is about as close to a true prediction of upcoming events as we are going to get … at least based on knowing what we do right now.

    Someone like Palin will do it for the money, or someone will fall on his sword for the party as Dole did, or someone will do it simply to be a footnote in the history books (pure ego-drive), but no smart pol will do it to win.

    I’m all about the states in 2012 and I think the Democrats will be able to regain some seats based on the disaster that is the teabaggers and the fact that many will be in the booth voting for Obama … coattails. 2010 governors will still be seated but state reps will change based on the same facts as I just mentioned.

    The year 2014 will be gearing up time for the Republicans and 2016 will be the big push. That is going to be one hell of an election … and worth debating for the choice will be real.

    Right now, as far as I’m concerned, the Presidential election of 2012 isn’t worth the breath it takes to debate … what’s going on in the states is.

  56. Jill,

    Mine, and more directly Machivelli’s, statement has more to do with the impropriety and poor tactics of relying upon mercenary armies. I’m not a fan of militarism either. A military should be big enough to defend you country and no larger. When they are larger, then someone will eventually be tempted to start wars of aggression. Like, say, invading Poland or Iraq. Excess militarism is a huge waste of resources that society could better apply elsewhere.

  57. The fact that people are in the street in Wisconsin and people in solidarity with them are marching in other cities are there specifically because Scott Walker is the new governor. This is the fact that informs my political view of the upcoming election.

    Americans don’t march until they are personally threatened or harmed, and even then they are reticent. We don’t have a current national tradition of dissent or peaceable assembly. The civil rights movement and Viet Nam were a long time ago.

    The people that marched then got old. We (most of us) are old fuckers and many of us simply aren’t physically able to march much farther than a slow stroll to the end of the block to buy a paper- on a good day. Generations of people have been born that have no firsthand experience with the public form of dialogue with our politicians.

    Two of the most hopeful things I’v seen in several years is one, the crowd that assembled for Obama’s swearing in: if they will travel in joy perhaps they will travel for rage. Two, the spontaneous demonstration that took place on Wall Street when it was announced in September 2008 that the government would bail out the banks, there were only about 100 people that gathered (if that) but they gathered without prompting or organization. They were just angry and showed up. That’s how it’s supposed to start.

    There’s a good argument to be made for going the berserker route, not only to not vote for crumbs from the lesser of two evils but voting for the worst possible candidate specifically to instigate so much shared abuse that it forces people to rebel. I’ve been thinking about the berserker model for quite some time. I’ve never voted using that model before but there’s always a first time.

  58. Swathmore MoM consumer confidence is also at a three year high but will have to wait til the gas prices start hitting everyone’s pocket book. Hope your right!!!!!!

  59. BIL,

    I understood your quote and apologize if that wasn’t clear. I thought it was a very good point to make and I agree with your expansion of it as well.

  60. Raff in case you missed this. The entire article is worth the read when you click the link it plays a video. Try to navigate away from the page and it will ask you if you want to stay then it gives you the text.

    In short, I believe that we as Americans are about to see a major, major collapse in our national monetary system, and our normal way of life.

    Basically, for many years now, our government has been borrowing so much money (very often using short-term loans), that very soon, we will no longer be able to afford even the interest on these loans.

    Again… I say these things as an expert in accounting and financial research.

    You may not think things are THAT BAD in the U.S. economy, but consider this simple fact from the National Inflation Association:

    Even if all U.S. citizens were taxed 100% of their income… it would still not be enough to balance the Federal budget! We’d still have to borrow money, just to maintain the status quo.

    That’s absolutely incredible, isn’t it?

    Yet I’ve never seen this fact reported anywhere else.

    Even as late as the 1970s, America was the world’s largest creditor. But by the mid-1980s we’d become a debtor to the world. And since the late 1990s we’ve been the world’s LARGEST debtor.

    Today, our government owes more money to more people than anyone else in the world.

    And that was before the financial crisis!

    Just think about the price of oil…

    Access to cheap oil has been America’s #1 gift of owning the world’s reserve currency.

    This has made gas cheaper in the U.S. than almost anywhere else in the developed world. I know you may think gas prices have skyrocketed in recent years… but look at how much less we pay than other developed nations…

    * United States: $2.72 a gallon on average

    * Oslo, Norway: $7.41…….. (172% higher)

    * Berlin, Germany: $6.82…. ( 151% higher)

    * London: $6.60…………….(143% higher)

    * Rome, Italy: $6.40…………(135% higher)

    * Paris, France: $6.04………..(122% higher)

    * Tokyo, Japan: $5.40……….(98% higher)

    * Toronto, Canada: $3.81……(40% higher)

    And here’s the thing…

    If oil is no longer priced in dollars, the price of oil for Americans will skyrocket immediately. It will change our lives, overnight.

    Airline travel will get much more expensive. The cost to ship goods by truck to grocery stores around the country will get much more expensive. Farming itself will get a lot more costly… so will commuting to work… taking a taxi… just about everything we do will suddenly get much more expensive.

    And just remember: In order for prices to start skyrocketing, all that has to happen is that other countries start preferring payments in something besides U.S. dollars.

    The U.S. dollar has been the world’s currency for decades now… so most Americans don’t have a clue about what the repercussions are of losing this status.

    You can read the rest here: http://www.stansberryresearch.com/pro/1011PSIENDVD/PPSIM251/PR

  61. Rafflaw,

    I’m not sure how this got from “War Crimes Prosecutions”, to Abortion, to campaign funding, but what the heck let’s just go full circle. Eventually the political merry-go-round should get us back to the get go.

    It’s kind of hard to see all of the Citizens United Money flying around, amidst the $600 million unaccounted for Dirty Union Money swirling around the Whitehouse and the State and Federal Capitals.

    That’s an awful lot of monetary influence coming from a handful of groups, which only represent 11.9 percent of the workforce, as stated in the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

    Personally, I don’t understand why there should be any donations allowed in the Presidential elections?

    The networks have no problem shelling out tens of billions each year for the rights to televise sporting events, why not require them all to pay for the right to televise the political games we call our elections.

    Then the corporate media and their crony sponsors would be forced to use their money to support our elections, rather than be allowed to financially profit from buying it off.

    I must admit that I have a sincere problem with any group that does not represent all citizens, being given such a powerful status for negotiation in our government affairs.

    I personally have always had a problem with the fact that private sector Unions are notorious for their membership discrimination against women. However, it is even more disturbing to see the disparity between public, and private sector Unions.

    It is quite clear that those who control these Unions seek to control those with-in the government sector at a rate of 6:1.

    Even though there is a sizable difference in the overall volume in total, it still warrants a serious degree of suspicion in regards to an underlying motive.

    The union membership rate for public sector workers is (36.2 percent) while the rate for private sector workers is a mere (6.9 percent)

    The union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union–was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

    It is evident from the numbers that they target the public sector more so than the private sector. They also reflect that they overwhelmingly use their advantage in favor of a single political ideology.

    If there is one place the Unions could best serve the public as a whole, it is in the Private sector. Therefore, if there is one place the Unions could best serve themselves, it is in the public sector.

    Perhaps the real reason for granting immunity to mercenaries is so Obama can secretly send Union Mercenaries into Wisconsin to commit some war crimes against the non-union pro-life forces hiding out in the Libyan Embassy.

    When there is no longer room for levity, we shall all go insane.

    How’s that for full circle LOL?

  62. Bdaman,
    Thanks, but I don’t agree with you. First of all, the average gas price in the U.S. is way over $3.00. I pay $3.49 here in Northern Illinois right now. How the heck did we get on this subject anyways on this thread?
    marionnc,
    You must have missed one important part of the Republican strategy against Unions. They have been fighting private sector unions and public sector unions. This started full time during Reagan’s time and President George W. Bush also went after them. That is why the union membership has decreased. The Right wants unions removed because of their support for progressive candidates and causes. The Right doesn’t care about the unions except for the power they have to provide the Left with some money and manpower to battle the corporate money that is now overflowing the election process. The union funds are a drop in the bucket when compared to the secret funds from Corporations and the Chamber of Commerce. When you mix attempted levity with unsupported claims, I do not see any humor.

  63. @BdaMan: Even if all U.S. citizens were taxed 100% of their income… it would still not be enough to balance the Federal budget! We’d still have to borrow money, just to maintain the status quo.
    That’s absolutely incredible, isn’t it?

    Um, perhaps it is not credible because it is not true.

    Our budget is 3.5T. We have 153M adults capable of work, and 137M currently working. One T is M*M, so dividing out, the average adult owes $23K for the budget.

    At the end of Jan 2011, the average weekly earnings of each adult was $781.81, which works out to about $40,600 per year. So on the face of it, this is not true; $23K is less than $40K.

    Further, individual income is not the proper measure: National income (GDP, roughly) is. The aggregate individual income in this nation is $6.2T, but our GDP is $14.5T. So it is only 43% of the total income, and your scenario suggests absolutely zero taxes on any corporate or investment income.

    If individuals and corporations and investors shared the burden equally, the individual share would drop from $23K to $9.9K, or about 24% of income.

    That of course is to support the federal government, not the state or local government. So people also pay sales taxes, property taxes, license fees, tolls, fines, tickets, state income taxes, gasoline taxes, and make other payments or purchases (like lottery tickets or gate receipts at a stadium or waste disposal fees) that amount to revenue for the various levels of government.

    However, the claim that our budget cannot be balanced by our income is false; our income is four times the national budget.

    As for our total debt: That is about the size of our national income; but that should not alarm anybody. Almost anybody that has ever bought a house borrowed over one year’s worth of income to get it, and probably three or four year’s worth of income.

    We can argue politically over why we are borrowing and what we are getting for it (pointless wars and bank bailouts mostly, IMO) but the level of the deficit is not alarming at all in terms of what we each owe.

  64. Tony C.

    This is an excellent analysis. I appreciate your posts. I am still thinking about the Cox post by JT and what you wrote about it. I’m trying to find more information as to what actually happened in that case and trying to test my own thinking before making any conclusion. I thought you made a strong argument there as well as many strong arguments on this thread. I always carefully consider what you write. Thanks for putting down your thoughts here.

  65. @Jill: In the Cox case, I reject the logic that his statements somehow show him to be of the wrong temper or whatever (due to Buddha, I think, but I didn’t have time to reply there).

    So this is just about ME and how I think: No, I don’t want my prosecutors to be bigoted or racist. I also don’t want them to be anti-union, or opposed to gay marriage, or anti-welfare, or anti-education, or anti-science, and I don’t want them to grow a mullet, or smoke, or drink alcohol, or to advocate against helmet laws, and on and on and on.

    I think people can have opinions (or exaggerate their opinions for dramatic effect, as Cox claims he was doing) that do not impact their job, and I believe people should be considered innocent until there is at least sufficient evidence to raise suspicion. Has anybody shown that Cox let his personal feelings about Wisconsin influence his job in any way? I don’t think there is a shred of evidence of that, and firing a public employee because his behavior or speech is evidence of “bad character” is, to me, simply too weak a justification. If we can do that, can’t we claim an employee doesn’t drive a nice enough car, or we are offended she doesn’t shave her legs every day, or her refusal to attend the office Christmas party is anti-social, and any of these betray character flaws we find unacceptable? What if the prosecutor were attempting to write a novel or screenplay in his spare time, and had a fictional character he invented rape and kill a child? Would those “thoughts in his head” committed to paper disqualify him for public service?

    I am not a racist, but it is legal to be a racist in this country, or a sexist, or a religious bigot, or even a novelist. I think firing people for what is in their head is wrong, unless and until what is in their head causes them to fail to do their job, which includes specifically discriminating against those they are hired to serve equally.

    That is how I think about it, anyway.

  66. Except it wasn’t in his head nor was it in a work of fiction, Tony.

    It was a public utterance that considering the man’s employ could have been taken as being under the guise of authority and reflected poorly upon his duties to office to seek justice and not promote tyranny. In 98% of the cases, you might have a point, however, good character is a requisite of the job of DAG as is respecting the Constitutional rights of others. Shaving your legs or not attending the Christmas party are false equivalences. Cox said, “You’re damned right I advocate deadly force” on the protesters. Word choice is important and “advocate” has specific legal meaning. No one is saying that he shouldn’t have been able to say it. That is his right. It’s also his right to say something so stupid and contrary to the duties of his position that he can be fired over them. There is no Constitutional protection against self-inflicted stupidity.

  67. Tony C.,

    If it spills over into action that is definitely a tipping point. I’m still trying to gather more facts to this particular case. And I still want to think about it.

    What for example, do you think of words that encourage people to shoot those who work at abortion clinics? People who hate women often post names and addresses of abortion clinic providers/volunteers and talk about how those people should be dead. It’s words, and I believe JT supports this as free speech. Having been on the other side of those words, I consider them threats. What do you think of that situation? Do you relate it in any way to Mr. Cox’s situation?

  68. @Buddha: According to the article, Cox did not out himself or claim to be a public employee of any kind; he was “outed” by a reporter that did research. I don’t understand how this statement can be considered “under the guise of authority.”

    As for “reflecting poorly upon his office,” that is precisely the mindset I think is flawed, I think you are judging his character and declaring him guilty of a bad mindset, regardless of whether there is any evidence, in his official duties, of failing to seek justice or prevent tyranny.

  69. […] The Obama Administration Inserts Provision Into UN Security … By jonathanturley We now have a President and administration so authoritarian, unfair and vindictive that common people are afraid to donate to causes they believe in, like defending Wikileaks or Bradley Manning. This is where the relative-good political … jonathanturley.org/2011/02/28/the-obama-administration-inserts-provision-into-un-security-council-me… […]

  70. Tony,

    I have three words for you: appearance of impropriety.

    How he got “outted” is irrelevant. If he had gone on TV wearing a mask and said the same thing only to later have his identity revealed because his mask tore, he would still be just as culpable for his own stupid statements that even post utterance could be taken as his official view once he is known. Had he said in “private/secrecy”, “I really hate niggers and think they should all just be found automatically guilty of any crime charged”, would that be more acceptable to you? Or less? He’s an official talking about abusing the civil Constitutional rights of others in a serious tone. Not a work of fiction and not in jest. Just because he desired to keep his identity secret does not obviate him from the duties of his office or his duty toward the Constitution as sworn member of the bar and officer of the courts. Whether is words are reflected in the performance of his job are irrelevant. He created the perception that he endorsed civil rights violations by direct statement. That his identity was exposed was merely bad luck for him and good luck for the people of Indiana who would have had to pay the price if he carried this “private” viewpoint into how he conducted his job.

  71. @Jill: I think inciting violence against people engaged in legal activity or commerce, even though it is currently constitutionally protected free speech, should not be protected. Again, it rises to action: Simply getting up in somebody’s face, without any contact, can be a legal assault (assault by intimidation, I think; I donate to a battered women’s shelter that has used this law to prosecute enraged husbands).

    I think in the case of abortion clinics, the fact of the murders and gunshot wounds and sabotaged cars and even thrown tomatoes and such all suffice to at least meet the threshold of “preponderance of evidence” that the hate speech is resulting in violence and should be legally curtailed. If the doctors and clinic employees and patients are frightened there will be violence, and a judge or jury concludes that is a reasonable fear, I think that intimidation exists and people should be prosecuted for inciting violence and / or committing assault by intimidation.

    I don’t think it should be illegal to say “I wish X were dead,” but I also think we are allowing domestic terrorism when abortion clinic employees are, literally, being terrified.

    To relate to Mr. Cox’s situation, I would have to express a hateful opinion my employers found offensive or embarrassing. I do express such hateful opinions here (in regard to Republicans, free marketeers, anti-tax fools, sociopathic corporations and politicians) and I comment anonymously, on purpose. I do not serve the public in any way; I am a full-time scientific reearcher, but I think I can relate to Cox a little bit.

  72. @Elaine: I agree with JT, she has a right to free speech, after hours and off the job. She was venting about her job. I don’t think she named any students in particular; if she did they should sue for defamation or something.

    I think if you want teachers to comport themselves as complete professionals 24/7 you should pay them for 168 hours a week, which would about quadruple their salary.

  73. Tony C.,

    On one of her posts, Natalie Munroe admitted that she was blogging at work. I’d say Munroe was venting more about her students than her job.

    I’m a retired teacher. I was a public school educator for more than three decades. IMO, Natalie Munroe doesn’t appear to have the right temperament or attitude that one needs if one is going to work with children. Of course, that’s a judgment call on my part. I would not want an individual like Munroe, who showed such little respect for her students, teaching a child of mine. I think Munroe showed she isn’t a true professional. In addition, one has to wonder what kind of teacher Munroe was if she had such trouble with her students.

  74. @Elaine: Well, how can you be certain that her “attitude” translates into harm to the kids? Perhaps venting about the kids is cathartic for her, and gives her the mental elbow room to deal with them without resenting them so much that she disses them in person.

    Not everybody thinks the same as you (or me) and not everybody deals with stress in the same way. This idea of pre-emptively firing a person because there is some chance her attitude will adversely affect her actual teaching performance is troublesome to me; it sounds like the thought police.

  75. I have decided that I am no longer a fan of Jill’s. I think it is best that I change my name so I don’t get imagined that I am like the other one by by name. I think she is anti union, a homophobic and a antichrist. She attacks people for not agreeing down the line with her. It is her social club and I do not want to play with her no more.

  76. All right now. Newt Gingrich, the family values champion of the Right is going to join the fray and make a public spectacle of himself. Wasn’t he forced to resign??

  77. Tony C.

    Please note that I said it was a judgment call on my part. Did you read all the comments Munroe made about her students that I posted in the comments on the other thread? I do know how to make a deduction. I worked with a few teachers over the years who had a bad attitude and who didn’t particularly like kids. They were not very effective in the classroom.

    I was a teacher for more than three decades. I know how irritatting children can be at times. If I needed to vent my frustrations, I did so with other teachers in a classroom or the teachers’ room–or at home. That said, there was never a time when I viewed my students in such a negative light as did Munroe. Maybe Munroe should do a little soul searching to see if she may be part of the problem.

    BTW, Munroe was not fired. She was suspended with pay.

  78. Blouise

    I tried but couldn’t get through on any sites. I finally emailed the president of Ohio AFLCIO (they had no event listed for 3/1) but got no reply. I might have done better by mapping it and picking the closest Pizza place. I still think it’s a good idea and maybe one they will use in future. Thanks for your interest.

  79. @Elaine: Okay. No, I didn’t read her comments; I did not think Turley would leave out anything particularly pertinent. The point isn’t your experience, or my (hopefully permanent) lack thereof, or whether I approve of her comments, I am sure I would not. I also find racist and sexist and anti-semitic comments repellent.

    I believe the question is whether they rise to the level of a crime, and if punishment can be unilaterally exacted by employers for such speech made as a private citizen, then such speech has been effectively criminalized; and free speech rights are abrogated for anybody with an employer.

    That is my opinion, that without some tangible proof of harm being done by a person’s speech, their speech should not be punished just because others don’t like it, even a vast majority of others. To me this is the nature of free speech, we are not censored. We can be held responsible if we incite or provoke a crime, but “hurt feelings” over something said is not a crime.

    Now in Munroe’s case, writing this stuff while on the clock may muddy up the “private citizen” vs. “official capacity” question. But the point isn’t about Munroe specifically, the point is about whether we shall have a creeping takeover of our private lives and private speech by corporations and institutions imposing financial consequences upon us for impolite or offensive speech.

    They’ve already done that for the mainstream media; they are so afraid to make any offense that might cost them advertising or their lucrative access that they have abandoned all but the pretense of actually reporting those ugly facts. Since they have had such a great success there, maybe it’s time to roll that out to the citizenry at-large. They can start with these distasteful cases, but eventually on this path, criticizing our government or protesting the corpocracy in general will just get us fired.

  80. Hi Tony C.,

    Still thinking! The reason I asked about the abortion clinic is because like that case, I’ve done protests. I belong to groups which the govt. doesn’t like–peace/social justice and counter recruitment groups. So I’ve had some fun adventures with the govt. including having my picture taken for being at a school board meeting. I’ve also physically seen my name (and others in the group) on a govt. list where it was checked off as I entered a meeting. That means they knew I and other people planned to be at the meeting in advance. (This happened under the reign of Obama BTW.)

    Gov. Walker had seriously considered hiring thugs to stir up trouble in a peaceful protest, something every two-bit dictator will always do if they can get away with it. So when Mr. Cox recommended live ammunition whose use would likely be occasioned by the plan to hire thugs, I’m not happy with one public “servant” recommending live ammo against the public to another public “servant”.

    I’ve seen govt. surveillance up close and I’ve seen agent provocateurs in peace groups. That surveillance and those provocateurs are both engaged in illegal actions. I think Mr. Cox knows about this type of govt. illegality because of his job. Therefore, I don’t think he should be recommending live ammunition when he fully knows what his state, other states and the Federal govt. does on a regular basis–try to incite violence and crack down on peaceful demonstrations.

    I’m listening to what you write so don’t think I’m not, but that’s how I’m leaning as of now.

  81. @Jill: Except, Cox never claimed to be part of the government, and never tried to act as a government functionary, and has said he purposely used provocative commentary to stir up outrage, and he purposely commented on national news stories well outside his jurisdiction (and outside his state) specifically to avoid a conflict of interest in commenting on anything that might remotely be in his wheelhouse.

    So I think your characterization of his action — One government official recommending something to another — is completely off base. It was on a blog, he probably had no idea or expectation that a governor of another state (a position three or four layers of management above his own) might be reading his little rants.

    That would be like me writing a blog and thinking that College Presidents (about four layers of management above me) from other states are reading my blog for advice on how to run their university. That’s delusional conspiracy theorist territory.

    I am far more inclined to think he was “inspired” by the Libyan government using live ammo on their protestors, and callously thought it would be funny to pretend to advocate the same thing against union protesters. I doubt he even considered the prospect of being taken seriously, I’d bet it was a stupid joke when he wrote it. Simple mindedness is common as dirt and would explain these actions completely.

    On the other hand, your explanation does not sound realistic: If he truly intended to seriously recommend that somehow gunfire break out and violence be incited, don’t you think he might do that covertly, instead of posting the recommendation under his own name on a public forum? That sort of advice, when given seriously, is whispered lips to ear.

  82. “That sort of advice, when given seriously, is whispered lips to ear.”

    Unless you’re an idiot.

    Again, there is no protection from self-inflicted stupidity.

  83. Tony C.,

    I beg to differ. It IS about Munroe. It is about whether or not she is fit to be teaching our children. What she wrote about her students called into question her judgment, her temperament, her attitude about her students, and her professionalism.

  84. Tony C.,

    You’re right to point out that is would be done covertly if we didn’t live in an open state of lawlessness for officials. From much of the behavior of our “leaders” I cannot say I believe they even bother to care whether they are publicly exposed or not–see open admissions of war crimes by Dick and George for example. These people know nothing will happen to them, so they can admit to and perform the most horrific crimes with impunity. Some of what you argue may or may not be true because it is only based on Mr. Cox’s statement (as JT mentioned). This is why I would like to investigate information from Mother Jones and other sources to better understand what may have transpired.

    Let me do that and I’ll catch you on another thread where we can return to this topic. I appreciate your arguments.

  85. “That would be like me writing a blog and thinking that College Presidents (about four layers of management above me)” (Tony C)

    Was that a humble brag? :)

  86. @Blouise: Was that a humble brag?

    Ha! Absolutely!

    No, I was trying to emphasize the corporate distance. The closest I have gotten to our President is his signature on my appointment letter, and I doubt he even read my name while signing it. Just another one in the batch….

    Which is where Cox sits in relation to Walker; and why I find the idea that Walker is taking notes from Cox so ludicrous.

  87. @Jill: Let me pick this apart a little, I think emotionalism is clouding your judgment.

    … if we didn’t live in an open state of lawlessness for officials.

    Not for all officials, the lawlessness is for celebrity officials. And celebrity in general; look at the lawlessness of Charlie Sheen, Bill Mahr, etc. The law is (largely) circumvented or diminished for those that can command the spotlight of the media, and the longer they can hold it, the more lawless they can be. Power today is the power to get the TV cameras rolling.

    To be clear, that power has to be evident to all before the crime is committed, not after.

    These people know nothing will happen to them, so they can admit to and perform the most horrific crimes with impunity.

    Obviously Cox does not fall into the class of celebrity pol: He was fired. Something did happen to him. He was neither a celebrity or leader when he made his blunder. Which, I repeat, was not a crime.

    If somebody can be fired for doing something that is not a crime, they obviously do not have any impunity; Cox can’t even get the machine to defend his Consitutional rights!

    The people you are talking about have extra-Constitutional rights; Cheney (and Obama) flout international treaties and the Constitution as if these things were never written.

    Some of what you argue may or may not be true because it is only based on Mr. Cox’s statement (as JT mentioned).

    I disagree. It is based upon Mr. Cox’s statement with a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Or at least until there is some evidence that he committed a crime, which on the face of it and with the evidence thus far, he did not!

    This is why I would like to investigate information from Mother Jones and other sources to better understand what may have transpired.

    Waste your time as you see fit. Nobody disputes his version of the story; nobody has identified a crime or how a crime might have been committed; not even a misdemeanor on his part. This was protected speech (and as the Supreme Court has held, even violent speech is protected).

    I think you desperately want to justify punishing people for speech you find offensive, and that vindictive emotion is driving you to conflate a dim-witted minion (Cox) with the evil sociopaths that really are immune from prosecution. But attacking Cox plays into their hands, because they don’t like free speech either.

    The founders were right; free speech and the right to put it in writing are the primary dangers to this protected class. Information and organization and concerted action (as in Egypt) can break their hold and bring them down. It is why they are spending millions to chill Wikileaks, and billions to try and get a handle on the oceans of emails, tweets, and other postings. The more excuses you hand them to suppress speech and frighten people away from speaking out, the happier they are.

    You may think you are advocating for a more civil union by allowing that just maybe, Cox deserved to lose his job, but instead you are enabling the royal court by helping them to chill free expression. When people fear losing their job, which in turn may mean losing their house, career, and savings — The royals don’t need a law, they don’t need to worry about that pesky Constitution, because a massive deterrent is already in place, and you will have helped build that wall.

    I believe in free speech, and I think there has to be evidence that a crime was actually committed and somebody’s speech was partially responsible for that crime being committed before any action is taken to punish the speaker.

    We punish crimes in this country. Not hyperbole, and not hypothetical crimes that might happen if somebody took the nutcase literally.

  88. Tony C.

    Back off. I’m not your enemy. I am sincerely trying to understand how I feel about this issue and the hostility in what you’re writing isn’t helping me!

    I mostly agree with you and I may end up agreeing completely on this issue. I need to come to my own conclusions through a process that makes sense to me, one that has served me well over time.

    When I can look up information then I will have a better idea. When I have time to think about this, I will come to a conclusion. You should quit making statements like I am vindictive. That’s not true, and I resent it. I was having a sincere conversation with you and that’s what I’d like to keep it at! O.K.?

  89. Tony C.,

    You wrote the following…

    To me: “I believe the question is whether they rise to the level of a crime, and if punishment can be unilaterally exacted by employers for such speech made as a private citizen, then such speech has been effectively criminalized; and free speech rights are abrogated for anybody with an employer.”

    To Jill: “I disagree. It is based upon Mr. Cox’s statement with a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Or at least until there is some evidence that he committed a crime, which on the face of it and with the evidence thus far, he did not!”

    **********

    Are you saying that unless an employer has evidence that a public employee has committed a crime that the employer has no right to fire the employee? What if the public employee’s written/spoken words show evidence that he/she may be unfit for his/her job–or may be prejudiced against certain racial/ethnic groups?

    **********

    Did you read the Mother Jones article? Cox also had a blog.

    Excerpt from the MJ article:

    As one of 144 attorneys in that office, Jeff Cox has represented the people of his state for 10 years. And for much of that time, it turns out, he’s vented similar feelings on Twitter and on his blog, Pro Cynic. In his nonpolitical tweets and blog posts, Cox displays a keen litigator’s mind, writing sharply and often wittily on military history and professional basketball. But he evinces contempt for political opponents—from labeling President Obama an “incompetent and treasonous” enemy of the nation to comparing “enviro-Nazis” to Osama bin Laden, likening ex-Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Service Employees International Union members to Nazi “brownshirts” on multiple occasions, and referring to an Indianapolis teen as “a black teenage thug who was (deservedly) beaten up” by local police. A “sensible policy for handling Afghanistan,” he offered, could be summed up as: “KILL! KILL! ANNIHILATE!”
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/indiana-official-jeff-cox-live-ammunition-against-wisconsin-protesters

  90. @Jill: I wasn’t attacking you; I was stating my position. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word “you,” but I wasn’t referring to you personally. So here is a correction:

    I think that people may think they are advocating for a more civil union by allowing that just maybe, Cox deserved to lose his job, but instead they are enabling the royal court by helping them to chill free expression.

    As for the rest, it is my opinion that you are letting emotion cloud your judgment; if my opinion offends you, then I think you take offense where none is intended. Me failing to point that out would not be a “sincere conversation,” would it?

    I don’t think you are vindictive, I think you are mistaken, and I am trying to convince you that the mistake I think you are making is, ironically, just the sort of mistake that hands power to the enemy. To me, it is like trading a queen (free speech) for a pawn (Cox).

    There is no hostility in what I am writing; I think perhaps you infer hostility because my conclusions do not sit well with you. It is true I disagree with and disapprove of people that entertain the idea of limiting free speech, but disapproval is not automatically “hostility.”

    You do what you want, but how people “feel” about free speech isn’t the issue, my whole point is that if they thought instead of feeling, they would logically defend the principle even if they hated the speech.

    Now that is sincere, I double-checked, and if my sincerity offends you, I am not inclined to do anything about it.

  91. @Elaine: Are you saying that unless an employer has evidence that a public employee has committed a crime that the employer has no right to fire the employee?

    No. I have fired about a dozen people in my management career, about half of them for incompetence. An employee is hired to do a job, if they are incompetent, careless or physically or mentally incapable of doing that job correctly, they should be fired.

    What I am saying is that, to my knowledge, Cox showed no such incompetence or inability at his job, and if people can be fired for voicing their privately held opinions then we do not have any meaningful right of free speech.

    Elaine: What if the public employee’s written/spoken words show evidence that he/she may be unfit for his/her job–or may be prejudiced against certain racial/ethnic groups?

    May?!? You think we should punish people for what they might do? If that were true, anybody working should be fired immediately. Because they might steal, or might screw a client, or might start killing people in their office, even if they have never done anything remotely like that in the past. It has happened, hasn’t it?

    Employees should be fired for actually screwing up on the job, not because we think they might screw up on the job. If Cox screwed up on the job, like denying justice to a kid he disliked, he should be fired for that, not for something embarrassing he said on a blog post, where there is zero evidence that repellent statement actually influenced his job performance in any way.

  92. Quit being mean to the Jill. Tony C., you are being watch and every word you say from now on is being recorded to be used against you. You have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to ignore. You also have the right to disagree. But if you agree with a Jill you give up that right. Now before you give up that right do you understand that everything you say will be used against you. Are we clear. You may proceed now at your own risk.

  93. Tony C.,

    MAY! MIGHT! I think you KNOW exactly what I meant. I apologize if my word usage isn’t up to your high semantical standards. I remember the time you tried to educate me about my use of the word “expatriate” some time ago.

    I wrote: “What if the public employee’s written/spoken words show evidence that he/she may be unfit for his/her job–or may be prejudiced against certain racial/ethnic groups?”

    I’ll rewrite that for you:
    What if the public employee’s written/spoken words show evidence that he/she IS unfit for his/her job–or IS prejudiced against certain racial/ethnic groups?

    Does that change your opinion?

  94. Tony C.

    Here’s part of what you wrote: “I think you desperately want to justify punishing people for speech you find offensive, and that vindictive emotion” That’s unacceptable. It’s not just stating an opinion, it’s assuming you know that I have vindictive emotions and desperately want to punish people.

    I’m still going to look into the matter because an honest assessment of a situation is important to me. But I don’t need to discuss things with people who can’t be decent towards me. It’s not your opinions on the subject that I find offensive, it’s your statements such as the one above that I find unnecessary and quite frankly, nasty.

  95. @Elaine: I don’t see how expressing an opinion about unions in another state can possibly make somebody unfit for duty.

    @Jill: You are correct, I did write that, and it was not a lie: I wrote “I THINK” and I did think that. That is the sense I gathered, inferred, concluded, deduced from your writing; that the reason you are “undecided” and have to “think about” this and “seek additional evidence” is because you don’t believe in free speech, which directly implies that you believe it is proper for employers to punish their employees for expressing opinions, on their own time and in their own name without involving their employer in any way, that the employer simply finds distasteful. That is a vindictive mindset, it is allowing people to exact financial punishment on people for speech they find offensive.

    Do you or do you not believe in free speech? From what I can tell, the only reason you can be on the fence about Cox being fired for his blogging is if you do not. Now if you find that conclusion “nasty,” well, that is something we agree upon, even if for different reasons.

  96. Tony C.,

    Thank you for owning up to what you said. You are wrong about me. I earlier said I was thinking about the situation and could be letting my own prejudice get in the way of my thoughts on this issue. Why would you slam a person who was honestly seeking out the ideas of people who did not agree with her?

    Have you ever had to confront your own thinking and see if it’s makes sense or not? If so, wouldn’t you do so by talking to people who make good arguments for their thinking but have a different take on a situation than you do? That’s what I did.

    The problem arises in saying all kinds of things that you couldn’t possibly know about me, which are in fact nasty things to say to another person. What did you get from doing this? You alienated a person who was actually listening to you. That seems really stupid and mean spirited to me. What I’m telling you is, that if you truly want to speak to others who don’t agree with you, if they haven’t shown any nasty or insincere behavior, why treat them as if they have? It’s not a good technique. You should change how you argue to people of good will. I am a person of good will.

  97. Tony C.,

    Did you read everything that I’ve posted in my comments? It seems you’re choosing to look at only part of the story about Cox and his firing.

    I believe in free speech. With free speech come responsibilties. The second amendment gives Americans the right to own arms. That doesn’t mean Americans can take their guns and do whatever they want with them.

    I think that some of the things that Cox tweeted and posted on his blog called into question his fitness for his job. He was a deputy attorney general. Cox tweeted that one should use live ammunition on peaceful protesters who were exercising their free speech rights. He posted on his blog that a black teenager deserved the beating he got from police. I’d say that goes beyond “expressing an opinion about unions in another state.”

  98. @Elaine: Finding an excuse after the fact is a weak excuse; Cox was specifically fired for expressing an opinion on the union protesters, and (in my view) an obviously hperbolic opinion not intended to be taken seriously, and on top of all of that he strove to do so as a private citizen without the slightest bit of allusion to his office.

    I have not read everything you posted in your comments and do not intend to do so: If he should have been fired for the other offenses you think you found, they should have cited those.

    I do not subscribe to the view of dirty cops that some guys are undoubtedly guilty of somethin’, so it is okay to help some evidence into their pockets. If Cox deserved firing, he should have been fired for the deserving reason. He was not. Everything else is extraneous and immaterial; I really don’t care what other crimes he may or may not have committed, THIS incident was an exercise of free speech as a private citizen, and his firing chills and diminishes the free speech rights of all employees, and that is wrong.

  99. Jill,

    Just so you know–in the past, Tony C. has “gathered, inferred, concluded, deduced” things from my comments too. He was, however, often incorrect in the deductions and inferences he made and in the conclusions he drew about me. He also read into some of my comments things that I had never implied. In addition, he denigrated my intelligence. I’m not sure why he feels the need to do such things when arguing his points.

  100. Tony C.,

    “Finding an excuse after the fact is a weak excuse; Cox was specifically fired for expressing an opinion on the union protesters…”

    From TPMDC (2/23/2011)
    Indiana Dep. AG Loses Job After Advocating ‘Live Ammunition’ For WI Protesters
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/indiana-dep-ag-loses-job-after-advocating-live-ammunition-for-protesters.php

    Here’s the full statement from the Indiana Attorney General’s office on Cox’s firing:

    Today the Indiana Attorney General’s Office announced that Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Cox is no longer employed by this agency.

    The Indiana Attorney General’s Office conducted a thorough and expeditious review after “Mother Jones” magazine today published an article attributing private Twitter postings and private blog postings to Cox.

    Civility and courtesy toward all members of the public are very important to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.

  101. Hi Elaine,

    I did notice that and I was sorry about it because you are a person of good will and truly open to ideas that are different from your own. I hate it when people who should be allies act badly towards one another. Besides that, I think Tony C. makes important contributions to this site.

    Thank you for doing more research on this topic. I appreciate your work/posts.

    Jill

  102. Jill,

    I’ve found myself in agreement with Tony on a number of occasions. I’d agree that he makes contributions to this blog. I don’t always agree with the tactics he uses when he’s arguing over an issue with another poster.

  103. @Jill: The problem arises in saying all kinds of things that you couldn’t possibly know about me,

    No I didn’t, I said all kinds of things I inferred about you, that was the purpose of the “I THINK” qualifier. To signal to readers that this is not something I know, but something I have concluded.

    Jill: Have you ever had to confront your own thinking and see if it’s makes sense or not?

    Since my job is to figure out things I don’t know, and in fact nobody knows, I am confronted hourly with thinking that doesn’t work, or is based upon unjustifiable assumptions, or has missed important details, or has just come to a dumb conclusion. Most of that thinking is my own. Sometimes it is the thinking of others, in which case I explain to them what I think they were thinking, and they tell me what they were actually thinking, and we correct that failure and move happily on to our next bone-headed error. We call that “progress.” :-)

    Jill: What did you get from doing this?

    What I hoped to get was to shock you into realizing the mistake you are making and the consequences thereof. What I got instead is, I don’t have to continue a conversation with somebody so emotionally fragile that I have to triple-check my posts and censor them before hitting enter. I see little point in changing that, it is too taxing to argue with people that are thin-skinned.

    Do you believe in free speech or don’t you?

  104. @Elaine: We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.

    Ha! Obviously they do not believe in the First Amendment rights. And we should strive for civility? How about telling the truth, you will be civil or be fired, even in your private life, as a private citizen, 24/7, you shall not express an uncivil opinion.

    Their actions speak louder than their words. This is lip service to the First Amendment while they rape his First Amendment rights. Cox wasn’t speaking as a public servant or on behalf of his office, and in fact there is no law defining this “higher standard” to which these public servants should be held.

    What hypocritical assholes these are, the only “higher standard” they should be held to is to vigorously and scrupulously defending First Amendment rights, not abrogating them.

  105. Well Tony,

    You have failed to shock me into anything. I think a great deal less of you than before and believe you are more interested in being arrogant than an actual discussion of ideas. I’m happy to discuss actual ideas with anyone who doesn’t add insults into their discussion and I’ll leave it at that.

  106. Yeah Tony, don’t you know WE Jill’s are the most knowledgeable. You suffer in your ignorance. I just can’t believe that you did not know that. Fool.

  107. Well gosh, Tony. I guess some of us assholes just understand that with rights, especially when coupled with power, comes heightened responsibility. So how’s your people skills workin’ out for you lately? That was rhetorical, because I can see they are operating the same as they ever were.

  108. @Elaine: Do you believe that a public employee should never be fired no matter what he/she says or writes publicly outside of the workplace?

    I think it depends on what they are talking about. I suppose it is possible for somebody to say something publicly that makes it impossible for them to continue to do their job, particularly if they are saying something about their job, like (being over the top to be perfectly clear) “I try to give as little aid to non-Christians as I can get away with.”

    I think a statement like that causes problems in the office; because now a whole class of clientele doesn’t trust the employee, and has a reasonable basis for claiming discrimination by the entire office. It invites class action.

    If they are disclosing “insider” information, meaning information they can only have gleaned by working in the office, or they are talking about an issue over which they wield actual influence (like who gets aid and who doesn’t), then their public statements are inextricably linked to the workplace, and may be actionable.

    What I do NOT believe in is punishing people for what others perceive as a personality flaw or character flaw. I THINK (meaning I have concluded) that is what YOU, Elaine, are willing to do, and if my conclusion is correct I think you are wrong to think that way.

  109. @Buddha: Rights do not necessarily carry responsibility at all, in fact in this case that is illogical. A right to say anything I want does not automatically carry its negation, some responsiblity to be careful about what I say.

    My former right to habeas corpus did not carry a responsibility, it was simply a right. More specifically, a restriction on what the government could do to me. (Sadly gone, nowadays).

    My former right to life did not require a responsibility to die, my former right to be free from unwarranted search did not require a responsibility to permit search anyway.

    My still existing right to spend my take-home pay as I see fit does not carry any demand I spend or save responsibly.

    You sure are a rigidly rote thinker, Buddha.

  110. Tony C., Do you think we are kin? Is your last name Chavez? That is ok if it is not. You are pissing on the powers that are or were but are now here.

  111. Tony,

    “Rights do not necessarily carry responsibility at all, in fact in this case that is illogical. A right to say anything I want does not automatically carry its negation, some responsiblity to be careful about what I say.”

    Oh, but it does. Speech, like all actions, can have consequences – both bad and good. That is not a negation of the right. That is a reflection of the rules of cause and effect.

    “My former right to habeas corpus did not carry a responsibility, it was simply a right. More specifically, a restriction on what the government could do to me. (Sadly gone, nowadays).”

    Your right to habeas corpus did come with a responsibility. The responsibility to stand up for and insure that that the right of habeas corpus is not abused. This responsibility does not negate the right. It reinforces it.

    “My former right to life did not require a responsibility to die,”

    No, but it goes with the responsibility of protecting your life from those who would take it.

    “my former right to be free from unwarranted search did not require a responsibility to permit search anyway.”

    No, but it, like habeas corpus, comes responsibility to stand up for and insure that that the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized is not abused.

    “My still existing right to spend my take-home pay as I see fit does not carry any demand I spend or save responsibly.”

    No. Once again, there is no protection from self-inflicted stupidity.

    “You sure are a rigidly rote thinker, Buddha.”

    Project much? For if you have demonstrated anything Tony, it is that your ego keeps you from exhibiting any flexibility of thought.

    Nice try though.

    Thanks for playing.

  112. @Ms. Chavez: I doubt we are kin. Do you hail from Brooklyn, or NYC? Three of my grandparents were all immigrants that stayed there, right around WW-I. My maternal grandfather was a crazy Irish sailor/gambler married four times, and was successively while I was growing up: a trucker, a truckers-restaurant owner, a co-owner in a dude ranch, a coastal fishing boat captain, the owner of a movie theatre, and then back to trucker (but not a driver, he owned a firm with five trucks and did the selling). So if that guy sounds familiar, it is entirely possible we are related!

  113. @Elaine: I think racism and bigotry are learned; and since I believe they are founded in flawed principles and misinformation, and yes, I do think such prejudices are personality flaws. That said, I also think there is a difference between holding a prejudice and acting on it.

    I do not think that people that hold prejudices, secretly or publicly, are incapable of self-control.

  114. @Buddha: All of your “responsibilities” are just more rights. I have no “responsibility” to defend my life against those that would take it, I have a RIGHT to defend my life against those that would take it. If somebody succeeds in killing me because I did not defend myself, the jury is not going to say, “OH, well, Tony ignored his responsibility to defend himself, we can’t convict this guy of murder. I mean, he wouldn’t have murdered Tony if Tony had just, you know, shot him first — But Jesus, Tony wasn’t even carrying a gun! How irresponsible can a person be? LET THIS MAN GO!”

  115. Tony C.,

    You said: “What I do NOT believe in is punishing people for what others perceive as a personality flaw or character flaw. I THINK (meaning I have concluded) that is what YOU, Elaine, are willing to do, and if my conclusion is correct I think you are wrong to think that way.”

    *****
    I’m going to do some thinking and concluding of my own.

    My response to you: I think that a deputy attorney general who thinks that it’s okay for police to beat up a black teenager in their custody has a definite character flaw. I think that if you think that a deputy attorney general who thinks that it’s okay for police to beat up people in their custody isn’t a problem for his department and that his expressing such thoughts publicly (whether on his own time or not) doesn’t call into question that person’s fitness for his job–then I think that you are wrong to think that way.

  116. Ooooo. Argumentum ad absurdum, Tony. Careful you don’t get any of that absurd on you. See, the problem with that form of argument is you have to know what the Hell you are talking about to make it work. The responsibility to protect yourself is owed by you to you, sport. Not all responsibilities are owed to the law even if they are created from duties founded in law. Just like the responsibility for saying or not saying stupid things that could bite you in the ass is owed by you to you and is a consequence of the right to free speech. If you fail in that responsibility, there are going to be consequences. If you hold certain public trusts, like that of a DAG, that duty has commensurately higher levels of responsibility and possibly more severe personal and professional consequences for failing in exercising that responsibility responsibly.

    But please, try to argue against the fundamental principles cause and effect as related to choices in actions. It’s not only funny. It’s the very portrait of absurd.

    Oops. Looks like you got some on you anyway. Thanks for playing.

  117. @Buddha: Talk about absurdities; a responsibility owed “to me by me”? It’s a good thing you are laughing, Buddha, because that is a pretty comical load of crap. You are trying to twist the meaning of the word into pretzels, and I’m not buying pretzels today.

    My right to life carries absolutely zero “responsibility” with it; a responsibility is a burden that, if I fail to carry, loses me a right. I cannot LOSE my right to life by refusing to defend it; a man does not even have to KNOW he has a right in order to have that right (for example, a right to a public defender, or Miranda rights, or a right to a trial). Your definition of “responsibility” is ludicrous. If people have rights they don’t even know they have, do they have responsibilities they don’t even know they have?

    And, what exactly makes if a “responsibility” that is attached to the “right” if it is impossible to lose the right by failing to meet the “responsibility?”

    Thanks for the laugh.

  118. No, Tony, thank you for continuing to prove your ego prevents you from thinking properly.

    That’s always amusing.

    As to the right to life, you are correct in that you cannot lose the right by failing to defend yourself. What you neglect to realize is that such failure is an abject failure of your responsibility to yourself to protect that right.

    The only thing I see ludicrous around here is the sheer staggering size of your ego. Well, in truth it’s not the only ludicrous thing I see, but it is pretty damn funny.

  119. @Buddha: Ha! How pathetic you get when you cannot admit you are wrong. There is no responsibility attached to the right to life, no obligation to do anything to keep that right. I have admitted I am wrong on these comments several times; while I do not recall you ever doing that. I think the inflated ego belongs to you, not me.

    @Elaine: Has it not occurred to you that if Cox received such a case, he could recuse himself, or ask one of his 143 fellow attorneys to trade assignments with him? When a judge recuses himself, it doesn’t disqualify her from being a judge. Look at Kagan, I think she’ll set a new record for recusals (just snarking, I don’t know what the record is).

    Demanding that public employees have zero prejudices and zero political opinions and never get emotional and never say anything politically incorrect is simply impossible, they are humans and can’t help it.

    Demanding that they suppress these feelings in public, 24/7, may actually produce more harm than good: Because then we would have a greater concentration of closeted racists, misogynists and bigots running our public services. But to me that possibility is besides the point.

    The real point to me is this: Ever since I served in the military, it has seemed to me that a system of rights that demands public employees give up their rights is paradoxical. It creates a caste system of citizens with diminished rights (and in the military, even a different justice system with fewer protections) and citizens with full rights.

    I believe all citizens should be equal under the law, including politicians, prosecutors, teachers, cops, soldiers and civilians. I was a soldier for a few years, and saw no good reason other than authoritarian tradition to strip me of my rights. I’ve consulted for both city and state public services offices, and see no reason for those employees to be stripped of rights either.

    What people say is not proof of what they will actually do, by a long shot. When someone says, “Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out,” they are joking, it is hyperbole, and there is no reason to believe they will ever take a step to make that happen. Pretending that a joke reflects a true intention is the lie and the real crime, like prosecuting such a guy for conspiracy to commit murder.

    That is what happened to Cox. There is no evidence that anything he said was reflected in anything he did on the job.

  120. Tony C.,

    “The real point to me is this: Ever since I served in the military, it has seemed to me that a system of rights that demands public employees give up their rights is paradoxical. It creates a caste system of citizens with diminished rights (and in the military, even a different justice system with fewer protections) and citizens with full rights.”

    Are you implying that people who work in the private sector have more rights than people who work in the public sector…that people who work in the private sector can’t be fired for things they say? Really?

    *****

    Kagan really had to recuse herself from some cases because she had served as Solicitor General for the Obama Administration. That’s quite a different story from a deputy attorney general who thinks it okay for police to beat up citizens.

  121. Tony,

    When I’m wrong, I’ll admit it and I have admitted it, your recollections not withstanding. I’m just not wrong this time. No one is demanding that Cox suppress anything. He can say what he likes, when he likes. He is also free, just like you are, to be as stupid as he wants to be but he is not free to be free of the consequences of his own stupidity. Stupidity like saying that he’s for the draconian and violent suppression of others Constitutional rights when he is a sworn defender of said Constitution. Stupidity like inserting the premises of absolutes into my argument where they do not exist. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    As to overheated egos? Well, your posts speak for themselves, Projection Boy.

  122. Buddha,

    “No one is demanding that Cox suppress anything. He can say what he likes, when he likes. He is also free, just like you are, to be as stupid as he wants to be but he is not free to be free of the consequences of his own stupidity. Stupidity like saying that he’s for the draconian and violent suppression of others Constitutional rights when he is a sworn defender of said Constitution.”

    *****

    Amen to that!

  123. @Elaine: Certainly people that work in the military do not have the rights of people that work in the private sector. Do you not believe that? And it is YOU that thinks a teacher must self-restrict her own free speech rights to less than, say, a Starbucks employee (no disparagement of Starbucks employees intended).

    It is YOU that thinks a teacher (and I am not talking about Munroe here), even on her own time and even on her own dime must maintain a 24/7 public facade of loving caregiver or whatever, that it is “unprofessional” of her to even pretend to tell parents their kids are the spoiled brats they are.

    It is YOU that thinks a public employee should be stripped of the right to complain in public about her charges, and should be fired if she reveals her actual attitude.

    It is YOU that wants to punish people for their thoughts instead of their actions, not ME.

  124. Tony C.
    1, March 2, 2011 at 7:09 am

    @Blouise: Was that a humble brag?

    Ha! Absolutely!

    No, I was trying to emphasize the corporate distance. The closest I have gotten to our President is his signature on my appointment letter, and I doubt he even read my name while signing it. Just another one in the batch….

    =============================================

    I know … I’ve been saving that phrase hoping there would be a perfect place to use it but it had to be with a poster who had a sense of humor and a thick skin.

    Keep on keeping on …

    I particularly enjoy the debates you and Elaine have and I always learn something no matter what the subject you two are discussing. (I hope you take this as I mean it to be … a constructive criticism … sometimes you needlessly insult her which takes time away from the valid points both of you are making)

  125. Except they cease to be thoughts when verbalized, Tony. Speaking and writing are both verbs. You remember verbs, right Tony? They are action words because they connote action. He wasn’t penalized by firing for thinking like a draconian douche bag. He was fired for speaking – e.g. acting – like a draconian douche bag.

  126. @Buddha: I do not argue there are no consequences to speech; my argument is that those consequences should be social, not financial. What you advocate is a completely empty right of “freedom,” it is the exact equivalent of saying, “Sure, say whatever you want, and we will just fine you $1000 every time you say it.”

    If financial punishment is the “consequence” then the speech was certainly not free, it costs money. The whole point of free speech is that government cannot punish you for it, and that is precisely what you are advocating in the Cox case, that his superiors in government have the right to strip him of his livelihood and destroy his career for something he said, with zero proof that his speech led to any shortcoming in how he was performing in his day job.

    You and Elaine are advocating for government-enforced thought police. And you don’t see anything wrong with that? No wonder our legal system is so fucked up, I have to get to the level of Turley or Greenwald to find a lawyer that can actually think.

  127. Tony C.,

    I wrote: “Are you implying that people who work in the private sector have more rights than people who work in the public sector…that people who work in the private sector can’t be fired for things they say? Really?”

    You replied: “Certainly people that work in the military do not have the rights of people that work in the private sector. Do you not believe that?”

    *****

    I wrote public sector–not military. Can YOU read and comprehend my questions?

    *****

    You wrote: “And it is YOU that thinks a teacher must self-restrict her own free speech rights to less than, say, a Starbucks employee (no disparagement of Starbucks employees intended).”

    I’m not sure what you’re attempting to say in that sentence. That a teacher doesn’t have to restrict her free speech rights as much as a worker at Starbucks? Can you clarify that comment for me?

  128. @Swarthmore: I think if Palin announces her numbers will spring back. I think her base is still loyal. Candidates like Huckabee, Newt, Romney, etc, the old-time politicians, they just have too much old video and votes to paper over. Some of them actually want to win, or at least avoid humiliation. Palin isn’t afraid to just be her despicable self. I think it is impossible to humiliate her, and I honestly don’t think she would want to win, she would be much happier with first runner up — and the fame and tens of millions of dollars that go with it.

  129. Blouise. If Mitch Daniels is the nominee, he might have a good chance at being elected. I am not sure if people really want a Baptist preacher president.

  130. @Elaine: A military enlistee is a government employee. I’ve been one. I got paychecks. I talked about the military in a previous post, in fact.

    You understood the other sentence correctly. You think a teacher that blogs about her students deserves to be fired for having the wrong “attitude.” Forget her record, or whether this “attitude” actually makes her students any worse in class, just her voicing an opinion is enough to fire her.

    And yes, I think Starbucks employees, or bank tellers, or convenience store attendants, or whatever other entry level common job you care to pick, have more free speech rights than what you think teachers are entitled to. You want to restrict their free speech, 24/7, over their attitude or temperament whether it is on the job or not, whether it impacts their performance on the job or not.

  131. Apparently you cannot grasp the concept of either responsibility linked to duties or heightened professional responsibility any better than you grasp the difference between thought and action.

    But keep inserting premises that are blatantly false into your rebuttals. That never ceases to be funny. For example, neither Elaine nor myself have advocated thought police. We have in fact gone out of the way to get it through your thick skull ego that he is free to think and say what he likes, but he is not free from the consequences of his actions if they are stupid and ill thought out.

    Your main gripe seems to be that his stupidity cost Cox money. Well, too bad. A fool and his money are soon parted. Losing money can be a consequence of stupidity. Ask any Wall St. trader or confidence man and they’ll tell you this is true. What Cox said – an action – is prime facie inappropriate behavior from a DAG. It’s just as inappropriate as if he’d said, “I’m all for racial discrimination” or “I’m all for torture”. That you disapprove of his firing on financial grounds is irrelevant. He committed a professional wrong that speaks directly to his competence both as an attorney and to do his job as DAG. As to him losing his job for it? Well cry me a river.

    You are simply wrong no matter how many false premises you try to insert in others statements.

  132. Tony C.,

    Buddha wrote: “Except they cease to be thoughts when verbalized, Tony. Speaking and writing are both verbs. You remember verbs, right Tony? They are action words because they connote action. He wasn’t penalized by firing for thinking like a draconian douche bag. He was fired for speaking – e.g. acting – like a draconian douche bag.”

    Buddha also wrote: “Apparently you cannot grasp the concept of either responsibility linked to duties or heightened professional responsibility any better than you grasp the difference between thought and action.”

    **********

    I agree with Buddha. I think Jeffrey Cox and Natalie Munroe should both have understood that what they said publicly could call into question their professionalism and their fitness for their jobs.

    **********

    Natalie Munroe’s derogatory blog comments–a number of which were laced with profanity–about her students showed her lack of respect for the children who were in her charge. They were also indicative of her lack of good judgment and common sense because she expressed those opinions on a public blog.

    Just because you have the right to do something–it doesn’t mean that you should do it.

  133. Of course, Buddha never proves any of my premises are wrong, he just asserts that without proof, even though THAT is wrong.

    Speech is not action; we have the right to say anything we want, express any opinion we want. Obviously both making a statement and having a thought involve physical components, we are living beings and do not have thoughts without consuming oxygen. Saying something is not an “action” against another person any more than thinking is an “action” against another person. Speech is conveying an idea, or a THOUGHT, and THAT is what is being protected by the freedom of speech: You can think and express whatever you want and the government cannot stop you, or punish you for that. They can’t fine you, they can’t imprison you, they can’t blackball you or intimidate employers into not hiring you.

    Our freedom of speech is a constraint on the government, and if the government can fire people that work for them for what they say in public as private citizens, that is precisely what the First Amendment was written to prevent: The government cannot chill the free speech of its citizens.

    Cox’s speech in this case was not an “act” in the legal sense and I think Buddha knows it, it was a hyperbolic expression of hatred or bigotry, neither of which are illegal.

  134. Just because you have the right to do something — It does mean you shouldn’t be punished for it by the government. If an act carries the threat of punishment, you don’t really have the right to do it! You guys are twisting the meaning of the word “right,” by your definition I have the “right” to rob the bank as long as I’m willing to face the punishment. That is ridiculous. If there is governmental punishment it implies there is a crime, and if it is a crime then it isn’t a RIGHT.

  135. My proof is the English language and the self-evident, Tony. Speech is indeed action. Both linguistically (as pointed out already “speak” is a verb) and physically (the brain sends a signal and your vocal chords vibrate setting up a wave pattern in the air recognizable by the ear as speech or your fingers type a message that is recognized as written communication equivalent of speech). Contrast with with a thought (the past and past participle of “think” and a verb in its own right):

    think \ˈthiŋk\, v.t., v.i., thought\ˈthȯt\think·ing

    transitive verb

    1: to form or have in the mind
    2: to have as an intention (thought to return early)
    3a : to have as an opinion (think it’s so) b : to regard as : consider (think the rule unfair)
    4a : to reflect on : ponder b : to determine by reflecting
    5: to call to mind : remember
    6: to devise by thinking —usually used with up (thought up a plan to escape)
    7: to have as an expectation : anticipate (we didn’t think we’d have any trouble)
    8a : to center one’s thoughts on b : to form a mental picture of
    9: to subject to the processes of logical thought (think things out)

    intransitive verb
    1a : to exercise the powers of judgment, conception, or inference : reason b : to have in the mind or call to mind a thought
    2a : to have the mind engaged in reflection : meditate b : to consider the suitability (thought of her for president)
    3: to have a view or opinion (thinks of himself as a poet)
    4: to have concern —usually used with of (a man must think first of his family)
    5: to consider something likely : suspect (may happen sooner than you think)

    Note that nowhere in the definition of “think” is there an action relating to expression of thought. Why? Because we have separate and distinct verbs for that kind of action – namely “speak” and “write” but also others like “communicate” and “express”.

    The difference between thought and action is recognized in the law in the distinction between mens rea (guilty mind) and actus reus (guilty act). You are free to think killing some politicians and businessmen would make the world a better place. You are not free to take actions in furtherance of your thoughts. Again, he’s free to think what he wants but he is not free to take action upon those thoughts without consequence. Actions – including speech – have consequences. This is whether you like it or not.

    But you keep making arguments to the absurd since absurd is the very nature of your misunderstanding of rights, duties and professional responsibility as it relates to the legal profession but especially as practice relates to holding an office of public trust and power. Also absurd is your failure to distinguish between thought and action. Again, no one said he can’t think what he pleases nor did anyone claim he doesn’t have a right to express himself, but the fact of the matter is that once he puts thought (mens rea in disregarding the Constitutional rights of others) into action (actus reus in expressing those opinions as both a professional sworn to uphold the Constitution for all and enhanced by his holding power in public trust as a function of his job as DAG), Cox becomes responsible for the consequences of his actions.

  136. And besides being free to think that killing some politicians and businessmen would make the world a better place, the First Amendment gives you the right to say that, without being persecuted or punished by the government for saying that. Do you deny that the Supreme Court has upheld that right, multiple times, including the right to call for the violent overthrow of the government?

    Clearly under the law the “action” of speaking is protected from consequence by the government. Do you deny that Cox was fired by the government?

    It is you making an absurd argument, trying to equate Constitutionally protected speech with an “action.” You are supposed to be a frikkin’ lawyer, Cox did not commit an actus reus because that is a “GUILTY ACT” and he is not GUILTY of any defined crime. It is not a guilty act without a crime to be guilty of, dufus.

  137. Tony C.,

    Here’s a comment I posted some time ago on the Natalie Munroe thread:

    FROM ACLU

    FREE SPEECH RIGHTS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS
    Speech Outside of School

    Teachers do not forfeit the right to comment publicly on matters of public importance simply because they accept a public school teaching position. Teachers cannot be fired or disciplined for statements about matters of public importance unless it can be demonstrated that the teacher’s speech created a substantial adverse impact on school functioning. A teacher’s off-campus statements regarding the war or participation in an off-campus political demonstration are not acceptable bases for job discipline or termination.

    http://www.aclu-wa.org/news/free-speech-rights-public-school-teachers

    *****

    Some questions to consider:

    – Would Natalie Munroe’s blog posts about her students be considered a matter of public importance?
    – If so, did those blog posts create a substantial adverse impact on school functioning?
    – If what Munroe wrote about was not a matter of public importance, can she claim censorship of her free speech rights if she is fired?

  138. Tony,

    Cox did commit a guilty act. He violated his oath as an attorney by expressing prejudicial and biased enforcement of the Constitution as preferable when he has a duty to protect the Constitution for all citizens, thus creating the appearance of impropriety, and he showed poor judgment in expressing those opinions publicly considering his office carries carries a heightened level of responsibility as a public servant entrusted with the power to prosecute – which by the way, his prosecutions are supposed to be valid under the doctrine of equal protection, not just in favor of his preferred “side”. That his employer is the government is irrelevant other than they have an employer/employee contractual relationship. Because of the nature of his job, he bears more responsibility for his actions in public as his actions in public can – and did – damage the credibility of the office. What he said goes directly to the nature of his employ and his suitability for said employ. It’s analogous to a beer sales man being fired for going in public and saying “the brewery I represent sucks and so does their beer”. It’s his right to say it. It’s his employer’s right to fire him for cause too. This is not some random firing or prosecution of a citizen for spouting nonsense hostile to the Constitutional Rights of fellow citizens. This is the firing of a guy who’s very job is defending the Constitutional rights of ALL citizens because he said he was for unequal treatment and endorsed using violence to support that unequal treatment. One’s ability to prosecute cases in an unbiased manner as required by law is called directly into question by the expression of bias.

    The only thing absurd here is the size of your ego that blocks you from seeing the distinction between thought and speech and that some people in society have higher duties of care in their behavior as a consequence of their employ in a position of public trust. Not all rights are absolute, Mr. Binary Thinker, and the terms of certain kinds of employ mean more restrictions than “normal joe’s” are subject to and this includes attorneys in general but those who hold prosecutorial powers especially.

    Be as wrong as you like.

  139. @Elaine: Munroe wrote on one her blog posts that she was writing the post while at work.

    When I directly managed employees, I had a written policy against personal work while on company time, or company premises, or using company equipment (including company cars). So I would have disciplined her for that regardless of the content; and if done more than once, I consider it a firing offense (and have fired at least one person for it).

    Do you know if the school had a written policy prohibiting this behavior? Is it uniformly enforced on other teachers? Are the blogs and tweets of other teachers monitored for offensive content? When they sign their contracts, are they informed that a condition of their job is a policy of political correctness 24/7? Has the principal or board let this kind of behavior slide for teachers they like or teachers that are more popular than Munroe?

    I am just wondering. Laws or rules or policies that are not uniformly enforced are the gateway to abuse of power. Discretion in application is what lets principals, cops, judges, district attorneys and attorneys general all exercise their racism, political disapproval and prejudices at will.

  140. @Buddha: Oh, his oath! Like Bush and Cheney and Obama and virtually every Congressman and Senator for the last 20 years have been violating their oaths?

    Sounds like selective, elitist enforcement to me: If a guy is small enough to through under the bus, his oath matters, but if he ranks highly enough, oath shmoath, do what I say or I’ll have you waterboarded….

    It sounds like you are grasping at straws to me. Is there any evidence his prosecutions were not conducted with respect to equality under the law? Is there any chance his purposely provocative speech does not reflect his actual beliefs or conduct, and in fact his entire online personality is just a fabricated role-playing persona? My nephew plays World of Warcraft and is a killing machine online, but has killed very few people in real life. (joke. He’s never even been in a fist fight in real life.)

    Cox was not making statements under color of office. I do understand your heightened responsibility argument, but times have changed. Thirty years ago, Cox could not have spoken in public, to a wide audience, without having to presume they would know his job and position. Today he can and did: Nobody knew he was a DAG until the magazine investigated and told people that.

  141. Ooooo. Times have changed. To which I say a resounding, “So what?” The job and responsibilities attached to it have not. The only person here grasping at anything is you grasping at some rationale not to look like a total fool in your gyrations over Cox losing a job.

    Like I said, be as wrong as you like, Tony. The only person you’re convincing you’re correct is you. I don’t see any of the other regular posters with legal backgrounds rushing to jump on your lil’ bandwagon of one, now do I, Tony? Maybe that’s because, like me, they know you’re full of crap. Cox was fired for cause and that cause was legal. What he did was inappropriate. Just because you don’t understand why isn’t too surprising considering your previous inability to understand basic underpinnings of law like social compacts.

    But you keep telling yourself you’re right, Tony. Marching to your own beat. It’s what you do best. Like a lone tuba player wandering about the field after the game is over.

  142. Tony C.,

    Why don’t you educate yourself on the case of Natalie Munroe? Maybe then you wouldn’t have to ask me so many questions and could determine whether the school officials were within their rights to suspend her with pay. I’m not your research assistant.

  143. @Elaine: I was asking rhetorical questions to illustrate that I don’t think it is as clearcut as you apparently think it is. I did not expect you to answer or care if you did. I think they are probably unanswerable by anybody but her co-workers under oath.

    Which I think is exactly how they should be answered, because for public employees I think unilateral punishment by a boss without a fair hearing in front of a professionally impartial judge or mediator is wrong.

    I do not like our public services politicized. I do not like them becoming the private fiefdoms of some tiny tyrant, and that is what we enable when we give discretionary and unaccountable powers to a general manager (like a principal, or university President, or state attorney general, or mayor or governor or city manager or chief of police, or whatever the title may be). I am not claiming that is what happened with Munroe; but I don’t see how we can know with the information we have.

  144. Tony C.,

    You have drawn your conclusion with the information you have. I drew my conclusion with the information I had.

    I think it best if one has questions about a situation to seek out information on the subject before coming to a conclusion. I did quite a bit of research on the Internet and read more than twenty news stories about Natalie Munroe. I also watched some news videos about the subject.

    BTW, I do know the answers to a number of your rhetorical questions.

  145. @Buddha: Yes, times have changed, and your resounding “So What?” sounds just like the country bumpkin response to global warming.

    The only thing I am grasping for is some way to help you understand how mistaken you are. What Cox did was vile, but I don’t think he was fired for that, I think he was fired because he embarrassed a politician.

    What is the original reason for these rules? To hold public officials to a higher standard of conduct, because failing to do so would create unrest among citizens that felt they were being treated unfairly.

    I don’t think that is a good idea; to me hidden bias is worse than open bias because it adds disinformation to the bias, but my opinion on that is besides the point: My point is that Cox claims he wrote the blog with permission from his superiors, he claims he told his superiors what he was writing on numerous occasions, and he claims he specifically avoided any issues in his own state, and he claims he never said he was an attorney or DAG.

    So yes, times have changed. The people he was addressing did not know who he was or what his job was; he could not have incited unrest with his postings. Even his name is not enough: Google “Jeff Cox” before the Mother Jones article and pick one:
    Jeff Cox: Major League Baseball Third base coach
    Jeff Cox: Staff Writer at CNBC
    Jeff Cox: Best Selling Author in Management
    Jeff Cox: Author, 17 books on wine and food.
    Jeff Cox: Biologist on the faculty of University of California, San Francisco.
    Jeff Cox: One of the 25 professionals named “Jeffrey Cox” on LinkedIn.

    And on and on, with over two million results.

    So YES, times have changed: Jeff Cox the Indiana Deputy Attorney General was posting anonymously even when using his actual name, because his actual name is rather common.

    Which in turn means those posts could not have created any impression of bias by the Indiana AG office, because nobody knew they came from that particular Jeff Cox.

    Personally, I think anonymous speech is one’s right, and MJ violated his privacy by outing him. After the MJ article I’m not sure what should have been done, but summarily firing him because of embarrassment, which is what I think happened, seems out of bounds to me. Perhaps a public apology for this anonymous role-playing online, I don’t know. But I believe in free speech, and I believe people have a right to speak anonymously and have a right of privacy to remain anonymous, as long as their speech does not violate any established law (like soliciting a crime). Also, when speaking anonymously, without regard to anything they do not reveal in their anonymous speech (like their profession, or elected office).

    Even the founders exercised their rights to anonymous, pseudonymous speech in pamphlets and letters, presumably to focus debate on their reasoning and to avoid the color of authority.

    But times have changed, technology permits a level of anonymity and reach of speech I do not think politicians ever contemplated even fifty years ago. The rules and the law should adapt; they are not a religion and were never intended to be carved in stone.

  146. Tony C.,

    “The people he was addressing did not know who he was or what his job was; he could not have incited unrest with his postings.”

    *****

    So…an individual can’t incite unrest with his words if people don’t know the identity and professional position of the person writing the postings?

    *****

    “Even the founders exercised their rights to anonymous, pseudonymous speech in pamphlets and letters, presumably to focus debate on their reasoning and to avoid the color of authority.”

    *****

    Yet, our Founding Fathers could focus debate when they wrote pamphlets and letters anonymously.

    *****

    I think you may be contradicting yourself.

  147. As you hoist yourself upon your own contradictions, Tony, it is apparent that while some people can grasp the concepts of professional ethics and the resultant appropriate behavior, the idea simply eludes you.

  148. @Elaine: an individual can’t incite unrest with his words if people don’t know the identity and professional position of the person writing the postings?

    He can’t create a belief that the AG office is biased or unfair if nobody knows he works for the AG, can he?

    It is perfectly legal to use speech to incite unrest as a private citizen, or don’t you understand that “free speech” includes that right?

    @Buddha: As usual, you are reduced to assertions of my illogic or contradictory statements which you cannot prove or defend; and claims of what “eludes” me that you cannot possibly know.

  149. Tony C.,

    I didn’t mention anything about the attorney general’s office. I think that a deputy attorney general shouldn’t be trying to incite violent unrest–that is, suggesting the use of live ammuniton on peaceful protesters. It doesn’t matter whether Cox did it anonymously or not. I would call inciting violence and condoning police brutality (as Cox did in one of his blog posts) to be conduct unbecoming a deputy attorney general.

    **********

    Conduct Unbecoming definition: Conduct on the part of a certified professional that is contrary to the interests of the public served by that professional, or which harms the standing of the profession in the eyes of the public.

  150. Indeed, I think a pretty strong argument can be made for the view that the Founders included free speech and a free press in the First Amendment specifically to legalize the incitement of unrest, as a check on government.

    As for your definition of “Conduct Unbecoming,” his conduct could not harm the standing of the profession in the eyes of the public if the public did not even know his profession! At the time the conduct occurred all the way up to the MJ article, the public did not. If MJ had not violated his privacy, they still would not.

  151. Tony C.,

    I see that you like to read selectively. Here’s the other part of the “conduct unbecoming” definition: “Conduct on the part of a certified professional that is contrary to the interests of the public served by that professional.”

    *****

    A deputy attorney general tweets that live ammunition should be used on peaceful protesters who are excercising their right of free speech–and you consider that a check on the government?????

  152. As usual Tony, you have your head firmly up your own ego.

    You can think inciting violence and derogatory statements against the Constitutional rights of others isn’t inappropriate for lawyers all you like.

    The bottom line is this: it is inappropriate behavior for a member of the bar acting as a prosecutor. As a DAG, there is the likelihood that any such cases involving protesters in Indiana could fall within his purview. His statements were an extrajudicial expression of bias. The Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct states that prosecutors “except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.” Rule 3.8 (f). His remarks were prejudicial and indicative of unacceptable bias in his willingness to fairly prosecute labor relations cases for the State of Indiana. That he had no current case at bar is irrelevant. Also, the AG in Indiana has “the power and authority to remove any deputy at any time.” IC 4-6-5-1, Sec.1. Although you’re simply wrong about the appropriateness of Cox’s behavior as a matter of professionalism, this does not change the fact that the DAG job is by law an employment at will situation. The AG doesn’t legally need a reason to fire him although Cox’s conduct indicated a bias unseemly and unfitting in a prosecutor – a more than substantive reason for firing him. Had these remarks gone unnoticed until such a later time as a labor relations case was being prosecuted by Cox, they would have been a show stopper at trial upon their revelation and an even greater embarrassment to the the Office of the Attorney General.

    The firing is legal and appropriate.

    Like I said, you’re free to be as wrong as you wanna be, wanna be.

    Both mespo (mespo727272 1, February 24, 2011 at 8:20 am – To me, the relevant inquiry is whether or not Mr. Cox has the requisite judgment to represent the interests of his client. Given his “vile” statements and the abundant proof of the conscious deliberation of their import both before and after their publication, I am reasonably certain that he does not. In saner times, his law license would be in question as we once believed that the profession charged with representing the causes of the public and honoring the highest ideals of reason and civility while doing so required persons of sterling character. Like so much in the modern times, that time-honored notion seems on the decline.”) and raff (see above), both with legal backgrounds, agree with my assessment and nobody agrees with yours. Maybe that’s because we know what we’re talking about and you don’t. Would you like to ask Bob, Esq. or Mike A. what they think about the matter? Because I’m certain they’ll tell you that you’re wrong too.

    Not that that would penetrate your massive ego either.

    Enjoy your tuba.

  153. @Buddha, as always, your simpleton claim that I am alone in this, and no lawyers agree with me, is refuted by one of the Top 500 lawyers here.

    In that article, he says, and I quote,

    “In my view, these facts (if proven) would make for a strong free speech claim. […] The connection made in this context to the office was not apparently made by Cox but by Mother Jones magazine. Cox has since closed his blog and regrets causing the controversy. The question is why he was not simply given a warning about such comments and how they reflect upon the office. […] There is obviously a great deal of anger over these comments, but the real question is whether a public employee like Cox has any protection for comments made as a private citizen.”

    It appears I am not the only person marching in this band.

  154. So what? Someone disagrees about a free speech claim. Lawyers disagree all the time and that doesn’t make either of you right. As a prosecutor and sworn member of the bar, Cox is held to a higher standard. The issue is was his behavior sufficient to merit firing. And the bottom line is still IC 4-6-5-1, Sec.1. and Cox’s duty not to prejudice proceeding that might come before his office under Indiana’s Rules of Professional Conduct. The free speech issue is ultimately moot as the AG could fire Cox because he simply didn’t like his taste in ties.

    Move those goal posts all you like, Tuba Boy. You still wouldn’t know professional ethics if they bit you on the ass. So you and Cox have that in common. That and neither of you know when to shut up.

  155. Tony C.,

    I think a number of people who post comments at this blog disagreed with Professor Turley’s opinion on the Citizens United case–as did many of his colleagues. As Professor Turley wrote on his post about the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case: “Many of my friends are on the other side and I understand that this is quite a blow. People of good faith can disagree on such issues.”

    http://jonathanturley.org/2010/01/21/supreme-court-rules-5-4-against-campaign-limitations-in-the-hillary-the-movie-case/

  156. Right, so what. You claimed my position is due to my ignorance of the legal profession. Your “proof” is that two lawyers agree with you. You speculate other lawyers will agree with you. Your entire argument is that lawyers agree with you, and I am the only one posting my position.

    The I show you a lawyer (Turley) that is making, in every essential respect, the same argument as me, on the same blog as me, and then you say that lawyers agreeing with ME makes no difference, it only makes a difference if lawyers agree with YOU.

    This is hypocrisy of the first order, Buddha. You are just full of double-think standards, aren’t you?

    Then to top it off, you want to declare the issue moot, because Cox can be fired for anything. Of course that wasn’t the question in the first place! He wasn’t fired for his tie, he was fired for his comments, which both I and a non-ignorant lawyer opine should have been protected speech. THAT was the point under discussion; not whether Cox could be fired for a bad haircut.

    Just keep squirming; you grow more hypocritical and hysterical with every post.

  157. And more to the point, Elaine answered your “question”.

    You also are ignoring the issue you brought up was his firing rightful for this reason. Some say yes, some say no (wrongly).

    “I do solemnly swear or affirm that: I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Indiana; I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers; I will not counsel or maintain any action, proceeding, or defense which shall appear to me to be unjust, but this obligation shall not prevent me from defending a person charged with crime in any case; I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me, such means only as are consistent with truth, and never seek to mislead the court or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law; I will maintain the confidence and preserve inviolate the secrets of my client at every peril to myself; I will abstain from offensive personality and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged; I will not encourage either the commencement or the continuance of any action or proceeding from any motive of passion or interest; I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless, the oppressed or those who cannot afford adequate legal assistance; so help me God.”

    In encouraging the violation of others civil rights, Cox broke this oath to defend the Constitution by, duh, attacking the Constitutional rights of others.

    The bottom line is still the following phrase: employee at will.

    Repeat it until you understand it.

    And you can still blow me.

  158. @Elaine: I think a number of people who post comments at this blog disagreed with Professor Turley’s opinion …

    I think they did too. Did Buddha call Turley an ignorant, stupid, illogical, contradictory, addle-brained buffoon that knew nothing about the law or professional responsibility, and should keep his childish opinions to himself? Or any words to that effect?

    Or did they respectfully disagree with Turley and leave it at that? In Buddha’s only response on that thread directly to Turley’s post, (as opposed to sparring with other posters) he made his point without calling into question the intelligence, motives, expertise or legal acumen of Turley. And yes, rafflaw, mespo and others agreed with him; but also did not heap opprobrium or derision on Turley.

    This is hypocrisy in action, they are elitists. They hold their tongues when speaking to power, and let fly with their emotional invective when speaking to me about the exact same logic.

    Why? I think because for them it isn’t about content or logic, it is about the class they are in; and they see themselves as peers of Turley, and superior to me. Funny, right?

  159. @Elaine: As long as we are talking and before I forget, I owe you an apology for the “expatriate” rant. I did not learn the word correctly and I guess I was being ornery. But upon reflection you were right, and I was wrong. So, belatedly — Sorry.

    (That is not said to sway you in the current argument in any way; you just brought it up again, which makes me think it still bothers you, which I feel compels me to admit I was wrong.)

  160. Awwwww. Boo hoo.

    If you don’t think I’ve ever collided with the Prof? You’d simply be wrong. I just choose my battles carefully as this is his house, not yours. Plus the Professor always does something you never do. He always treats others with respect so he always always gets it. But more on that in a bit.

    I do play nice with you until you give me a reason not to play nice. I’m that way with everybody, no exceptions, no excuses. And do please note that you called anyone talking about a higher standard of conduct “hypocritical assholes” before I started clubbing you over the head. To paraphrase the Buddha, “Don’t start none, won’t be none.”

    As to superiority? That’s pretty funny coming from a raging ego maniac, but that said being created equal and equally created are not the same thing. The reason I call your intelligence and logic into question is that they are often suspect and truly backed by little more than your ego. See? When you act like a perpetual douche bag, I’m going to treat you as if you are acting like a douche bag. That’s what caused the communication breakdown over social compacts, Mr. Always Has To Be So Right He Dismisses The Underpinning Of A Profession He Doesn’t Properly Understand. Only that time it was you acting poorly towards others that inspired me to give you the finger. So if you don’t like that you’re getting the sharp end of the stick? That’s the price you pay for having poor people skills, Tony. If that makes you feel inferior, well, that would be your problem to fix, now wouldn’t it, sport? But if you want to play victim, I’m more than happy to laugh at your bruised ego.

  161. See, I knew that “sport” was coming! This is Buddha’s emotional safe corner; some condescending boy’s nickname used by a father. Here’s some more for you, Buddha: Chief, Slugger, Bucko, Champ, Little Man. I’ve heard “Wing Man,” but I’m not sure it has the right condescending tone.

    Anyway, mix it up a bit, Sport.

  162. You got nothin’, hypocrite. No decent arguments, no decent slurs, just a bunch of empty paradoxical authoritarianism without meaning. I don’t want you to treat me like an adult; or any other kind of superior. I’m pretty good at playing with petulant children, so feel free to stay just the way you are.

  163. Tony C we are trying, to get away from this type of language.

    We may not always be perfect so hold everyone accountable when they don’t met your standards.

  164. @Bdaman: Oh we are? I must have missed the memo. Besides, read the posts, I am responding in kind. In this thread, Buddha cast the first insulting remark here.

    That was after I said I rejected his argument, but that is not an insult except to children. I responded to his insult with a purposely mild reprovement; and he chose to escalate rather than call it a draw. I have a right to self-defense, dude.

  165. Awwww.

    More boo hoo. ROFLMAO

    Well gosh Tony, maybe I didn’t like being called a “hypocritical asshole” in your comment that was a response to because I had said attorneys are held to a higher standard.

    Like I said, “Don’t start none, won’t be none.”

    You sure do project a lot, you simple tantrum throwing child.

    Come on. Yell and scream some more. It’s funny.

  166. And what I got from you, by the way?

    Is exactly what I expected from an egomaniac.

    So please! I’m laughing so hard I can barely breathe! Do continue to prattle.

  167. This . . .

    “I do solemnly swear or affirm that: I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Indiana; I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers; I will not counsel or maintain any action, proceeding, or defense which shall appear to me to be unjust, but this obligation shall not prevent me from defending a person charged with crime in any case; I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me, such means only as are consistent with truth, and never seek to mislead the court or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law; I will maintain the confidence and preserve inviolate the secrets of my client at every peril to myself; I will abstain from offensive personality and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged; I will not encourage either the commencement or the continuance of any action or proceeding from any motive of passion or interest; I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless, the oppressed or those who cannot afford adequate legal assistance; so help me God.”

    In encouraging the violation of others civil rights, Cox broke this oath to defend the Constitution by, duh, attacking the Constitutional rights of others.

    Plus this . . .

    [I]t is inappropriate behavior for a member of the bar acting as a prosecutor. As a DAG, there is the likelihood that any such cases involving protesters in Indiana could fall within his purview. His statements were an extrajudicial expression of bias. The Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct states that prosecutors “except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.” Rule 3.8 (f). His remarks were prejudicial and indicative of unacceptable bias in his willingness to fairly prosecute labor relations cases for the State of Indiana. That he had no current case at bar is irrelevant. Also, the AG in Indiana has “the power and authority to remove any deputy at any time.” IC 4-6-5-1, Sec.1. Although you’re simply wrong about the appropriateness of Cox’s behavior as a matter of professionalism, this does not change the fact that the DAG job is by law an employment at will situation.

    Still equals this . . .

    The AG doesn’t legally need a reason to fire him although Cox’s conduct indicated a bias unseemly and unfitting in a prosecutor – a more than substantive reason for firing him. Had these remarks gone unnoticed until such a later time as a labor relations case was being prosecuted by Cox, they would have been a show stopper at trial upon their revelation and an even greater embarrassment to the the Office of the Attorney General.

    The firing is legal and appropriate.

    That’s what I got.

    What you have, Tony, is this . . .

  168. Tony C sometimes you have to be the bigger man. :)

    Buddha I’ll say this.

    You good boy ( long pause )

    Damn good
    :)

  169. Bdaman,

    Thanks and . . . thanks.

    That was a particularly moving rendition of “The Muppet Show” theme.

  170. What you got is nothing, because you don’t answer the central question, first put forth by Turley, as to whether a prosecutor has ANY right to free speech as a private citizen. You keep going to the existing law, which, of course, by your interpretation, says No. You say, “He took an oath!” You say, “Look at the rules on the books!”

    But, what we are debating here is whether this law is Constitutional or NOT. Not what the law says now, and not whether the Indiana AG has the right to fire Cox. The question is whether Cox should have the right, under the Constitution, to speak as a private citizen. On the face of it, the 1st gives ALL citizens that right and says NO law shall be passed restricting it. The Supreme Court cases relevant to that law, outlined by Turley, not me, fail to address the question because they specifically refer to public servants speaking as representatives of their office or the government.

    These are the issues you are ignoring. You can’t answer to these issues by pounding your fist on the current law, when the question is whether the very law you are quoting is or is not Constitutional.

    So you aren’t answering the question. I don’t think Cox should have been fired, I doubt even the At Will clause allows the Indiana AG to fire people for constitutionally protected acts like voting, or for being, say, female, or black, or disabled. Even if it does, that would be a reprehensible act, so if Cox’s speech should be Constitutionally protected, then his firing should be deemed reprehensible as well.

    I understand what the law says, I think the law is wrong and unConstitutional.

  171. What you fail to understand is that I have not said he didn’t have the right to say whatever he pleased.

    I said he doesn’t have the right to be free from negative repercussions of said speech.

    You are free to go to court and tell a judge to go screw him or herself. That is your right. It is also within the judges power to put you jail for contempt. There are legal Constitutional restrictions on free speech too aside from the duties of an attorney. Copyright is a form of free speech restriction. So is the rarely applied Miller test for obscenity from Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973). It is illegal to incite violence or panic although this is usually governed by local statutes that have been tested. In the Constitution itself there is a prohibition of fermenting sedition.

    That being said, there are also unconstitutional restrictions on free speech, namely the much abused “free speech zones” imposed by the Patriot Act and the manifestly unconstitutional DHS which are used as a form of censorship and public relations management to conceal the existence of popular opposition from the mass public to the actions of elected officials. However, none of these exceptions other than the notedly prime facie unconstitutional “free speech zones” are illegal.

    The right to free speech comes with responsibilities whether you like it or not and those responsibilities are higher for members of the legal profession than they are for the general public.

    What you got is your overheated ego preventing you from seeing the reality of the situation and the laws. I deal in what is, not what should be, to answer the Professors question.

    If you want to be pissed off about unconstitutional limitations on free speech? You are aiming at the wrong target. The oath and a positive duty not to bias cases before prosecutors are not unconstitutional.

  172. Oh . . . and lest I forget, restrictions on advertising are also a permissible restriction of commercial speech.

  173. @Buddha: Those are empty definitions of freedom; something is not free if the government can punish you for it, fine you for it, jail you for it, or restrict your ability to do it.

    That is what the government does for crimes, not rights. You might as well say I have the right to rob banks, as long as I’m willing to serve time if caught! A definition of “acts you are free to take” that can be used just as easily for “act you are not allowed to take” is no definition at all, it provides no distinction between those two acts, it imparts zero information about whether one should refrain from the act.

    That is why the “free speech zones” are unconstitutional and reprehensible, my speech is not “free” if my government tells me I can say anything I want as long as I am, for example, not within a 50 mile radius of a government building or elected official.

    Freedom of speech and press are recognized as fundamental rights by the U.N. with the USA as a signatory; the definition being rights without presumption or cost of privilege.

    Because these are denied to some citizens and not others, this violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, which applies to any person within the jurisdiction of the state.

    I am dealing with what is, presuming we agree the Constitution exists, and the 1st and 14th Amendments exist. You also deal with what should be, by declaring free speech zones (which are in use, and therefore “exist” now) prima facie unconstitutional. So you do not restrict yourself, here or elsewhere, to only what the law currently says, you are often weighing in on what SHOULD BE. You are no mere reporter, Buddha, you are a thinking person that understands the difference between right and wrong from a position outside the law, just as all thinking persons do. That is why we can see acts that are legal and should not be and we acts that are illegal but should be legal. In fact this is the only way a legislator could ever pass a new law or repeal an old law, by realizing that the state of law is not as it should be.

    I am not saying we agree from our various idealistic positions, we do not. I am saying you have one; and from my position of what should be, these laws restricting the free speech of people speaking as citizens are wrong, and further I am saying I don’t think they can be justified by any reading of the constitution that doesn’t redefine the word “freedom” into empty rhetoric.

  174. Tony,

    Oooo. The argumentum ab absurdum rises again. I’ve already explained why your bank robbing example is facile.

    Not all rights are absolute, Mr. Binary. It’s a balancing act between your rights, the rights of others and public safety. If you think your right to free speech is absolute, why not try advocating overthrowing the government and see how well that works out for you. Art. III, Sec. 3 of the Constitution defines treason as “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” This includes acts of sedition and insurrection by definition. To be clear, you are free to ferment sedition as a matter of free speech, however, it is constrained by the fact that advocating open war against the government is defined as treason. Just like telling a judge to screw himself is allowed by free speech and constrained by the crime of contempt of court. You have a right under free speech to yell “fire” in a crowded theater, but if there is no fire, you are constrained by the crime of incitement of panic (or mayhem or whatever the particular jurisdiction calls it). Just like you are free to advocate violence but constrained by the crime of incitement to riot and/or incitement to cause imminent physical harm. Just like an attorney is constrained by his oath to defend the Constitution and not advocate violence against those utilizing their Constitutional rights to free assembly and petition. Your rights end where others rights begin. If you’re an attorney and bound by your oath, your right to free speech ends where the Constitutional rights of others begins too, but because you are bound by your oath and sworn officers of the court with a duty to defend the Constitution for ALL, your free speech right has an additional level of responsibility. A heightened responsibility. Just like other professions utilizing expert knowledge have heightened responsibilities owed the public, such as doctors, that may constrain their personal actions.

    Since were dealing with the Constitution and American jurisprudence, you should read what I’m going to say about the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the context of the following word’s relevant definition:

    aspiration \ˌas-pə-ˈrā-shən\, n.,

    a : a strong desire to achieve something high or great b : an object of such desire

    The right of free speech is found in the Preamble to this document, which reads:

    “PREAMBLE

    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

    Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

    Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

    Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

    Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

    Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.” [emphasis added]

    The right to free speech under the U.N. Universal Declaration are aspirational, Tony, not absolute. Also note the generally aspirational language of the last paragraph of the Preamble. The valid Constitutional restraints upon free speech are tested by jurisprudence and are there to protect others from harm. Contrast this to the manifestly unconstitutional restraint of “free speech zones”, which serves no valid purpose but censorship and repression of dissent – which protects no one but criminal politicians – and under a proper SCOTUS (not the fascist bastards sitting today) any such challenge to “free speech zones” would be found a violation of not just freedom of speech, but freedoms of assembly and petition as well.

    Thrash about all you like, Tony. Absolute free speech is an aspiration – a goal – not the law of the land. In insisting that the right is absolute in matters of employment and for those with professional responsibilities to the Constitution greater than the average citizen, you are not helping matters related to the aspiration toward absolute free speech by attacking issues already addressed in jurisprudence and found to be reasonable and socially desirable upon examination. You are taking your eye off the ball, sport. Because under the heightened responsibility restriction on attorney’s – if it were equally enforced – Yoo and Bybee would be facing dismissal and disbarment for advocating torture under color of authority. Now while Cox’s stupidity doesn’t rise to the level of meriting disbarment (although it would have had his color of office been expressly used for it), it does merit firing as he has an affirmative duty by law not to prejudice potential cases before him in is role as a prosecutor.

    You are simply wrong about the nature of the right to free speech being absolute. It is very broad, there are few exceptions and in many cases such as this one you can say what you will and not face criminal sanction, however, such statements may carry other repercussions like professional repercussions. Like losing your job as a prosecutor after you’ve shown bias in expressing a willingness to use violence to repress the Constitutional rights of others. Constitutional rights you are sworn to uphold equally and for all regardless of your personal feelings toward the parties.

    Wave your flag and be as jingoistic as you like.

    You’re wrong. It is your right to be wrong. That doesn’t change that you are still wrong.

  175. No, you are wrong. It is your right to be wrong. That doesn’t change that you are still wrong. The Supreme Court has ruled that radical speech is protected unless it poses a “clear and present danger.” Yelling “Fire” in a theatre does that; joking about using live fire on protesters does not, advocating for the death and annihilation of people resisting US troops in “war” (if we can call it that) poses no clear and present danger, and especially when the speech is as anonymous as Cox’s certainly was.

    And, jingoistic? Really? My foreign policy is get the fuck out of there; I think we should cut our military budget by 70%. I’m not sure what you mean by using “jingoistic,” but I am no war monger. I hail from the socioeconomic class in this country that fights our wars. I lost a cousin in Vietnam three days after he arrived there, and I have a 19-year old nephew that is a Marine in Afghanistan now. I am hoping he lives through that, I’ve been to enough god damned pointless funerals. I am no armchair chicken hawk, Buddha. So fuck you.

  176. Whatever, ego-bag. You’re also wrong about something else. You’ve mistaken me for someone who cares what you think.

  177. Tony C.,

    @Elaine: As long as we are talking and before I forget, I owe you an apology for the “expatriate” rant. I did not learn the word correctly and I guess I was being ornery. But upon reflection you were right, and I was wrong. So, belatedly — Sorry.

    (That is not said to sway you in the current argument in any way; you just brought it up again, which makes me think it still bothers you, which I feel compels me to admit I was wrong.)

    *****

    Just so you know–it doesn’t bother me. I’m a big girl…and things like that don’t really get under my skin. I brought it up for a reason. I’ll let you draw your own conclusion as to what my reason was.

    You say Buddha is wrong. I think you’re wrong. I agree with Buddha.

    Even the ACLU notes an exception to the free speech rights of teachers outside of school:

    FROM ACLU

    FREE SPEECH RIGHTS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS
    Speech Outside of School

    Teachers do not forfeit the right to comment publicly on matters of public importance simply because they accept a public school teaching position. Teachers cannot be fired or disciplined for statements about matters of public importance unless it can be demonstrated that the teacher’s speech created a substantial adverse impact on school functioning. A teacher’s off-campus statements regarding the war or participation in an off-campus political demonstration are not acceptable bases for job discipline or termination.

    http://www.aclu-wa.org/news/free-speech-rights-public-school-teachers

  178. @Elaine: It looks to me like the only exception they acknowledge is if speech “can be demonstrated that the teacher’s speech created a substantial adverse impact on school functioning.

    There was no demonstration that Munroe’s speech caused that. She upset some students, but the school kept functioning. Did they refuse to attend classes? Was there a public uprising? Did other teachers refuse to serve with her? No, no, and no.

    I don’t think the ACLU is as much on your side as you presume; or I think you read something into these statements you want to hear and they aren’t actually saying.

  179. @Elaine: It is just my opinion, but I think that fundamentally what you are Buddha are advocating for is to actively mislead others. As I understand it, Buddha says prosecutors are free to be racist, free to be prejudiced, they just shouldn’t let anybody know they feel that way. You say (and correct me if I have misread) that teachers bitch about their students, and can feel like a student is a loser or an unteachable dummy, they just shouldn’t let anybody know they feel that way. In both cases, they should keep up the pretense of impartiality or the pretense of being non-judgmental to present the appearance of fairness, whether the underlying reality is fair or not.

    As a scientist both by profession and by my fundamental disposition and approach to life, I have a reflexive dislike of actively misleading people. As a believer in personal liberty, I have a reflexive dislike of controlling the speech (or attitude) of others without any concrete evidence that their speech or attitude has done actual harm to others substantial enough to warrant punishment. Hurt feelings by a student aren’t sufficient to me; students get their feelings hurt if you give them a “B” they deserve instead of the “A” they wanted.

    That is the ground I am defending, I see no gain in defending this idea that some pretense or facade of impartiality is more important than the real-world realization of impartiality regardless of the public servant’s underlying feelings.

    As one example, Shirley Sherrod overcame her self-admitted race-based bigotry and saved the property of poor white farmers and poor black farmers alike. How people feel and what they say does not dictate how they will act. What people say may alert us to look at what they then do, but ultimately I think we need to judge people not on what they say, but on what they do.

  180. Tony C.,

    “There was no demonstration that Munroe’s speech caused that. She upset some students, but the school kept functioning. Did they refuse to attend classes? Was there a public uprising? Did other teachers refuse to serve with her? No, no, and no.”

    Do you have proof of that?

    *****

    A group of students organized a protest calling for Munroe’s ouster. Outraged parents asked that Munroe be disciplined. Parents packed a school board meeting in February where school officials responded to them about the teacher’s blog. The superintendent said that no student should be subjected to such a hostile educational environment. Parents interviewed by news media said they do not want the teacher back in the classroom. The district superintendent has said that it will be impossible for her to return to teaching at the school.

    I worked for many years as a public school teacher so I have some idea what must be going on in that school system at the moment. Munroe has definitely caused a problem for the school district and its administration. Now they have to spend valuable time addressing their “Munroe problem.” If Munroe is allowed to continue teaching at that school, administrators will have a constant headache dealing with parents who demand their children not be placed in her class–and with students who will not want her for a teacher. Some of her colleagues will most likely have to teach larger classes because of that.

    You may be of the opinion that what Munroe did has created/will create no adverse impact on school functioning. I think otherwise.

  181. Tony C.,

    I take great offense at your remark that I’m trying to mislead people!

    *****

    “You say (and correct me if I have misread) that teachers bitch about their students, and can feel like a student is a loser or an unteachable dummy, they just shouldn’t let anybody know they feel that way.”

    I NEVER felt a student of mine was a loser or an unteachable dummy! I treated ALL my students with respect and kindness.

    You evidently have not read all the comments that I have written about Natalie Munroe on the other thread.

    Students are disappointed if they get a “B” and not an “A” on a test. It doesn’t hurt their feelings. A teacher treating a child with disrespect does more than hurt a child’s feelings–whether you think so or not.

    *****

    You have completely misread my position on this subject–but misreading what other people write in their comments is nothing new for you.

    I’m not going to speak for Buddha. I’ll just speak for myself. I believe that what Munroe wrote on her blog and what Cox wrote in his tweets and on his blog reflect poorly on their professionalism and show evidence that they may be unfit for their jobs.

  182. Elaine said, “I believe that what Munroe wrote on her blog and what Cox wrote in his tweets and on his blog reflect poorly on their professionalism and show evidence that they may be unfit for their jobs.”

    Yep. I agree. And as to what people think? People are free to think what they like. Not only are there not Thought Police and such a concept is political correctness run amok and a very bad idea, the law only deals with motivations in very narrow circumstances such as premeditated murder. Even then that has more to do with sentencing than with culpability for the act which can be proven without addressing motive. People can think all kinds of crazy things. The problems come when they act upon those thoughts – actus reus. In this instance, Cox’s action was to speak his mind which, as Elaine said, reflected poorly on his professionalism and showed evidence that he was unfit for his job.

  183. @Elaine: Alright, I did not read everything about Munroe, but if all that happened then I will concede the Munroe argument; on the grounds that school operations were indeed substantially impeded. That is something that actually happened and can be proven.

    You said: “If I needed to vent my frustrations, I did so with other teachers in a classroom or the teachers’ room–or at home.”

    Offended or not, if you advocate that people have the right to feel vent-worthy emotions toward students as long as they do not express it in public speech, then you advocate for demanding pretense over substance. You say you never felt what Munroe felt — I don’t understand why you’re behavior as a teacher should be considered the national minimum. I’d presume, without any other knowledge about you, it was ‘average’, which would mean that on one side of you, there is room for worse behavior that could still be considered acceptable.

    Further, the idea of generalizing this to “reflecting poorly upon professionalism” is pure crap, speech is not a “guilty act” because there is no crime in speech by virtue of the First Amendment. A Guilty Act must further a crime. The First Amendment also protects freedom of religion: Is attending a mosque service, which is clearly an act, also an actionable “actus reus”?

    That would make the rule, “You can worship as you please, but if we see you doing it you will be fired for it.” Clearly an empty right.

    Of course I expect Buddha will use his power of asserting things without any evidence or proof whatsoever and call this an absurd argument without any logic to back up his claim.

    That will mean precisely nothing, I counter-assert it is NOT an absurd argument. The only thing that can show somebody is unfit for their job is an inability to DO their job, or their actions interfering with their co-workers or organization doing ITS job.

    If Cox’s speech had done that, it would have been reflected in his work or the functioning of his office near the time that he said it. It was not, and there is no evidence it was, because at the time he said it, the people hearing it had no idea where he worked, and he could have been any one of the several dozen Jeff Cox’s in this country — And for all his readers knew, even “Jeff Cox” might have been a made-up name.

    Judging whether somebody is “fit” for a job, without a shred of evidence they have screwed up their job, is judging their THOUGHTS.

    The only “guilty act” Cox could make is to let his bigotry cause him to act improperly on the job, or to interfere with his job or office, and there is no evidence that happened. THAT would be a crime, but it is a crime that never happened, and punishing somebody because they might commit a future crime should remain firmly in the realm of science fiction.

  184. Tony C.,

    I never vented the way Natalie Munroe did. I never used words like f*ck, a**hole, etc., when talking about my students. I never made comments suggesting that I thought my students were worthless or unteachable dummies. There are different levels of frustration…and different ways of expressing one’s frustration. In fact, I vented a lot more about my administrators than my students.

    Let me add this: Teachers often have to deal with students who insult each other and call each other names. Munroe insulted her students and called them names.
    I’d say she was acting immature when she wrote what she wrote…and that it showed poor judgment on her part. I’m not saying that’s a reason for firing her…still, it’s one thing to think about when considering her teaching competence.

    **********

    You wrote: That would make the rule, “You can worship as you please, but if we see you doing it you will be fired for it.” Clearly an empty right.

    Bad argument.

    Where you worship…what church you belong to has nothing to do with your job. What Munroe wrote on her blog was a manifestation of how she felt about her students and the low regard in which she held many of them–including special needs students. What she wrote definitely related to her work. It cast a very poor light on her attitude about her students, the lack of respect she had for them, and called into question her ability to deal with the challenges of teaching English to high school students. One does not have to commit a crime to prove one is unfit for one’s job.

    Again, Munroe was NOT fired. She was suspended WITH pay while the administration is investigating the matter. I think its their responsibility to make sure that the teachers working in their school system are competent, treat all children fairly, and can handle the challenges that they are faced with in the classroom.

  185. @Elaine: Where you worship…what church you belong to has nothing to do with your job.

    Not for you, or me (I’m an atheist), but for some people it carries a great deal of meaning. The same thing goes for homosexuality, whether a gay teacher is fit to teach is an open question for many people (not for me).

    This whole “calls into question” and “poor light” and “unprofessionalism” argument is my whole point, it is far too subjective and leaves far too much room for abuse. Somebody should have to commit an unfit ACT to prove one is unfit, and expressing an opinion does not count as an ACT when given the protection of the First Amendment.

    Again, you are holding yourself out as the minimum, and punishing her for how she FEELS about her students and her LOW REGARD for her students. You advocate punishment for her THOUGHTS, or punishment for her failing to PRETEND.

  186. Tony C.,

    Some Catholics use birth control, support the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, have sex outside of marriage. So what?

    *****

    I believe some parents and administrators in the Central Bucks School District feel that Munroe’s “profanity-laced” blog and the things she wrote about their children/her students are proof that she is unfit for her job.

    Are you suggesting that the school district has no right to suspend Munroe with pay while they investigate the matter? I would assume that the school district has a contractual grievance procedure in place. I have no idea, however, whether Munroe filed a grievance.

    *****

    You wrote: “Alright, I did not read everything about Munroe, but if all that happened then I will concede the Munroe argument; on the grounds that school operations were indeed substantially impeded. That is something that actually happened and can be proven.”

    *****
    I’ll repost this for you again:

    Even the ACLU notes an exception to the free speech rights of teachers outside of school:

    FROM ACLU

    FREE SPEECH RIGHTS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS
    Speech Outside of School

    Teachers do not forfeit the right to comment publicly on matters of public importance simply because they accept a public school teaching position. Teachers cannot be fired or disciplined for statements about matters of public importance unless it can be demonstrated that the teacher’s speech created a substantial adverse impact on school functioning. A teacher’s off-campus statements regarding the war or participation in an off-campus political demonstration are not acceptable bases for job discipline or termination.

    http://www.aclu-wa.org/news/free-speech-rights-public-school-teachers

  187. @Elaine: Are you suggesting that the school district has no right to suspend Munroe with pay while they investigate the matter?

    No, I think that is appropriate.

    Elaine Says: Even the ACLU notes an exception to the free speech rights of teachers outside of school:

    Okay, I will re-iterate: Their standard is, and I quote, “unless it can be demonstrated that the teacher’s speech created a substantial adverse impact on school functioning. “

    In other words, their threshold is pretty high. Munroe may have cleared it; but it is a pretty high bar: It must be demonstrated a substantial adverse disruption actually occurred.

    Further, statements regarding the war or political demonstration are not the only forms of speech protected by the First Amendment, nor should they be. The fact that they singled these out does not restrict the teacher’s rights to just these forms of speech; just as the Supreme Court ruling that one can carry a concealed gun into a restaurant would not automatically exclude one’s right to carry a concealed weapon into any venue besides a restaurant.

    It seems to me that both you and Buddha want to punish speech you find hateful or disturbing, which is specifically the urge the founders were rejecting with the First Amendment; that the government does not get to decide what is or is not politically correct speech (although of course that term had not been coined back then, but I think it accurately describes their sentiment).

  188. It seems to me you don’t understand the concept of “appearance of impropriety” and the related professional duty, Tony.

  189. Tony C.,

    I believe I proved my case.

    *****

    You wrote: “Further, statements regarding the war or political demonstration are not the only forms of speech protected by the First Amendment, nor should they be. The fact that they singled these out does not restrict the teacher’s rights to just these forms of speech; just as the Supreme Court ruling that one can carry a concealed gun into a restaurant would not automatically exclude one’s right to carry a concealed weapon into any venue besides a restaurant.”

    *****

    I NEVER said teachers’ free speech rights were restricted to specific subjects. I just posted that statement from the ACLU website to show how an organization that is a champion of free speech rights believes there are cases where a restriction can be put on a teacher’s right to free speech.

    I do find it disturbing that a public school teacher exhibited such disrespect for her students and lack of empathy for children with special needs when she wrote about them using profane and vulgar terms on a public blog. I find that evidence of her unsuitability for the teaching profession.

  190. @Buddha: It appears to me you do not comprehend that there can be a difference between what is and what should be. It appears to me you believe lawyers should be legally obligated to pretend impartiality to give citizens the illusion of safety, without regard to the fact that this lie puts the citizens in danger. It appears to me you are fully on board with public employees becoming second-class citizens with different rights and obligations of other citizens, even in their private life, even if acting anonymously, and even if some citizen retiree could have done exactly the same thing with impunity.

    It appears to me you are a hypocritical pretentious fool, full of yourself and your imagined superiority, and hostile to the very idea of equality under the law.

  191. It appears to me that you still don’t know what the Hell you are talking about either, sport.

  192. Tony C.,

    So in your world a teacher can write ANYTHING–no matter how hateful, vile, racist, disgusting–on a public blog and never be called to account for it???

    A hypothetical: A teacher writes the following on a public blog: “Black kids are intellectually inferior to white kids and should be placed in separate classes so they don’t slow down the educational progress of superior white children.”

    If you were a school administrator and that came to your attention and parents and children were angry about it, what would you do?

    *****
    I’m not talking about politically correct speech.

    A teacher may harbor ill will/prejudice toward and disgust for her students. Unless those feelings/thoughts are expressed no one knows that. Munroe expressed her feelings about her students on her blog and made them public. Parents and students were rightfully upset and let the school district know it. Now it is up to the school district to decide what has to be done in the Natalie Munroe case. As far as I know, Munroe hasn’t been fired yet. Evidently, the school system is being very careful before it comes to a final decision about what is to be done with this teacher.

  193. A Hypothetical: If you were a school administrator and that came to your attention and parents and children were angry about it, what would you do?

    First, if people are angry about it (as I would be) and the teacher is not writing anonymously (I am presuming that is part of the hypothetical) THEN I think this is likely a disruption of the school operations; and I assume it can be argued the teacher has made a public statement “under color of office” and ruined any ability to teach (at that school) without generating controversy and unrest. So (like the Munroe case, which I know is so far just a suspension) I think removal is an acceptable response.

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