Forum Discussion

Letter to the editor = sedition (February 10, 2006 8:11 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
Laura Berg is a clinical nurse specialist at the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, where she has worked for 15 years.

Shortly after Katrina, she wrote a letter to the editor of the weekly paper the Alibi criticizing the Bush Administration.

After the paper published the letter in its September 15-21 issue, VA administrators seized her computer, alleged that she had written the letter on that computer, and accused her of "sedition."

Here's what her letter said. if you can even believe this:
"I am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence of this government," it began. "The Katrina tragedy in the U.S. shows that the emperor has no clothes!" She mentioned that she was "a VA nurse" working with returning vets. "The public has no sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of post-traumatic stress disorder," she wrote, and she worried about the hundreds of thousands of additional cases that might result from Katrina and the Iraq War.

"Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Brown, and Rice should be tried for criminal negligence," she wrote. "This country needs to get out of Iraq now and return to our original vision and priorities of caring for land and people and resources rather than killing for oil. . . . We need to wake up and get real here, and act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit.

Otherwise, many more of us will be facing living hell in these times."

Her computer was seized, Berg wrote a memo to her bosses seeking information and an explanation. Mel Hooker, chief of the human resources management service at the Albuquerque VA, wrote Berg back on November 9:

"The Agency is bound by law to investigate and pursue any act which potentially represents sedition," he said. "In your letter . . . you declared yourself `as a VA nurse' and publicly declared the Government which employs you to have `tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence' and advocated, `act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit.' "

Berg, who is not talking to the press, is "scared for her job" and "pretty emotionally distressed," says Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico.

"We were shocked to see the word `sedition' used," Simonson tells The Progressive. "Sedition? That's like something out of the history books."

What a country we live in!!! You write a letter to the editor critisizing the administration and you are charged with sedition. I guess a lot of republicans should be charged with critisizing Clinton.

Letter to the editor = sedition (February 11, 2006 11:58 AM)
Posted by: Ben Sebaugh
Sedition = Sedition
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 11, 2006 12:02 PM)
Posted by: Ben Sebaugh
>"We were shocked to see the word `sedition' used," >Simonson tells The Progressive. "Sedition? That's >
>like something out of the history books."

The Progressive, hmm sounds like a good read. I'd love to know what she really had on that computer. I'm sure they used the tame stuff for the article.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 11, 2006 2:37 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
Err..
Do you know what the charge of sedition is?
Sedition is charge of attenting to VIOLENTLY overturn the current government. A letter to the editor is not sedition. What you think she would do it by paper cuts?
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 15, 2006 1:04 AM)
Posted by: Invader Jim
Is using force to remove a government NOT violent?
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 15, 2006 1:45 AM)
Posted by: Good Will
Jim? She wrote a letter to the editor. She did not advocate violence in at at all. Or any force.

Read it please and show me the violence part taht warrants being charged with sedition:
Here's what her letter said. if you can even believe this:
"I am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence of this government," it began. "The Katrina tragedy in the U.S. shows that the emperor has no clothes!" She mentioned that she was "a VA nurse" working with returning vets. "The public has no sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of post-traumatic stress disorder," she wrote, and she worried about the hundreds of thousands of additional cases that might result from Katrina and the Iraq War.


Letter to the editor = sedition (February 15, 2006 1:13 PM)
Posted by: Invader Jim
And goes on to say "We need to ... act forcefully to remove a government administration ..."

That's advocating using force to remove the government. It's not advocating going to the polls or calling your congressman.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 15, 2006 2:20 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
>act forcefully
That does not mean to use force.
It means act with determination and with a purpose of removing.
If you guys want to pick on people grammar I could have a field day, hell a field year with gramatical and vocabulary errors with Bush's speeches, and you will all yell thats not what he means.
I know I tend to mystype, since I never been properly trained but there is nothing wrong with my English comprehension skills. And believe that argument of your will never fly in court.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 16, 2006 12:29 AM)
Posted by: Ben Sebaugh
Nah, it won't fly in court, and it's not really sedition, you can make fun of Bush all you want, why would I care? Nobodies yelling about his public speaking skills that I have heard, I think they're funny. You have to admit though it was pretty stupid to use a government computer to write such a letter. They said they didn't have proof that she used it but how did they trace the letter back to her if she didn't? Sounds like she got caught by software on their system. Now, back to sedition. Did you hear What Al Gore was saying in Saudi? Sedition if ever I heard it!
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 16, 2006 12:59 AM)
Posted by: Steven McAllister
//You have to admit though it was pretty stupid to use a government computer to write such a letter.//

Yeah, if you want freedom of speech the last place to try to excercise it is anywhere where the government can tell who you are. As for the "forcefully" argument, it's pretty clear that "forceful" in this context is not advocating violence, but rather determined action. Webster's defines forcefully as "possessing or filled with force : EFFECTIVE", and defines force as "(1) : strength or energy exerted or brought to bear : cause of motion or change : active power <the forces of nature> <the motivating force in her life> (2) usually capitalized -- used with a number to indicate the strength of the wind according to the Beaufort scale <a Force 10 hurricane> b : moral or mental strength c : capacity to persuade or convince <the force of the argument>" Pay specific attention to "cause of motion or change" and "capacity to persuade or convince." The nurse said "act forcefully to remove," not "forcibly remove" or "remove by force." Subtle differences in structure that have WORLDS of implication for the meaning.
If someone had written a letter years back that "the nation should act forcefully to get a liar like Clinton out of the White House," and that person had been accused of sedition, you lot would have pointed at the First Amendment and screamed bloody murder.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 16, 2006 11:48 AM)
Posted by: Good Will
>You have to admit though it was pretty stupid to use a government computer to write such a letter.
You know what the fun part is? They do not know if she did use her work computer. Nor did they find anything on her computer to prove that.

>. They said they didn't have proof that she used it but how did they trace the letter back to her if she didn't
Um...her name was in the letter to the editor. THE LETTER WAS PUBLISHED!!! IT HAD HER NAME AND HER POSITION ON IT.

DID YOU ACTUALLY READ THE FIRST POST?
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 16, 2006 5:49 PM)
Posted by: Anthony Zarrella
//>You have to admit though it was pretty stupid to use a government computer to write such a letter.
You know what the fun part is? They do not know if she did use her work computer. Nor did they find anything on her computer to prove that.//

You know what part's even more fun? If it was a government computer, they have every right to take it from her and/or search it at any time, with or without a warrant, and with or without *any* charge at all.

THEY OWN IT! When using someone else's property to communicate, you have no privacy or free speech rights as they apply to that particular communication. If I use a library computer, the library has every right to log my activities for example, and if I wanted privacy, I should have used a private computer. Likewise, if I use my friend's phone, that he pays for, he has a right to know who I'm calling and what I'm saying.

Therefore, if she wrote the letter on a computer owned by a government agency, they can seize that computer *for any reason*, even if that reason was "we suspect you of selling national secrets to Mars", unless there is some specific agreement they made in her contract or something in which they surrendered their right to do so.

Now, terminating her employment is a whole other kettle of fish, but as far as the post says, they haven't done that yet. In order to do *that*, they would likely have to actually prove sedition (they would not, however, have to prove that the letter was typed on that computer... the government is an employer, sedition is an act that causes harm to the government, and an employer can fire an employee for harming the company).
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 16, 2006 10:03 PM)
Posted by: Steven McAllister
//THEY OWN IT! When using someone else's property to communicate, you have no privacy or free speech rights//

Every e-mail you send and phone call you make passes through other people's servers and switchboards. In fact, you are using government property everytime you put a letter in your mailbox...so, does the government have the right to inspect every piece of mail you send or recieve? For that matter, can a company control what you say while you are on their property? After all, the communication is occuring on their premises.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 16, 2006 11:49 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
Thats right!!!! can not argue on the case!!! SWITCH TOPIC!!!! SWITCH TOPIC!!!! SWITCH TOPIC!!!!

Lets talk staying the course. Thats right staying the course on topic!!! I though you guys are good with staying the course and keeping focus.

The topic is her being Charged with SEDITION!!! NOT WHICH COMPUTER SHE USED, though that is of course interesting.

Explain to me why was she charged with SEDITION? Cause she MAY or MAY NOT have used a government computer for writing, and they have no evidence that she did.


Letter to the editor = sedition (February 17, 2006 2:36 AM)
Posted by: Anthony Zarrella
Steven - there is a big difference in all the cases you try to draw a parallel with. In the case of talking on company property, you're still communicating wholly *by means of* your own property (your mouth, your cell phone, whatever). In the case of things going through switchboards, servers, and the mail, the major difference is that you *pay* for those services, and therefore you have a *contractual* right to privacy. If a government agency offers to pay my postage, on the other hand, and I accept, then they *do* have the right to know what I'm sending (unless, again, the terms of my agreement with them preclude that). The mistake you seem to be making is in assuming that the government - when operating *as a business and/or employer* - does not enjoy the same rights as any other business and/or employer.

Good Will - It seems to me that *both* topics, the sedition accusation *and* the computer seizure are present in the topic post, but perhaps I'm hallucinating due to having left my Liberalvision (tm) Glasses in my other coat. Furthermore, she has not been *charged* with sedition, merely accused. There is, as of the moment, no criminal case pending. Moreover, I even agree that "sedition" is a word that should be used *very* carefully, and that it is *not* an appropriate term here. She may be guilty of *something*, and even if she is 100% innocent, they still had a right to seize her computer, *but* she's not guilty of sedition.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 17, 2006 3:27 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
>I'm hallucinating due to having left my Liberalvision (tm) Glasses in my other coat
See have you said that phrase without that sentence I would not have to say the word "villification" again.

So tell em, is it ok for you job supervisior accuse you of sedition because you wrote a letter to editor expressing you non-violent political opinion?
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 17, 2006 3:50 PM)
Posted by: Steven McAllister
Anthony...I see what you're saying, but if the government is a sort of business, it DOES have a contractual obligation to us...the Constitution. And while they do have control over government systems (although on a tangent I have to ask where to draw a line...can public university computers be seized without warrant or notice? Personal computers purchased with federal student grants?) there is also the question of should a government agency react to criticism of the current administration in a hysterical and over-the-top way? Since it's clear the nurse was NOT advocating the the violent overthrow of the government, her statements were only harmful to one party's political maneuvers, to which the day-to-day government is supposed to be blind.
And Good Will, give it a rest with the "villivication" thing. Nobody cares, apparantly, and continuing to harp on something you can't change makes you look weak. See the Democratic party for a painful example.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 18, 2006 4:25 PM)
Posted by: Ben Sebaugh
>Yeah, if you want freedom of speech the last place to try to excercise it is anywhere where the government can tell who you are.

If she wasnít using the V.A.ís computer she couldnít be charged with anything!!! You donít have freedom of speech when you are accepting compensation to act on an employerís behalf! And I said if she used their computer to write the letter it was stupid because of the conflict of interestsí it presents, not because they could tell who she was! You canít put bumper stickers on your company vehicle advertising the competitions product! Anyway, if she used her personal computer to write the letter, which I donít know, maybe she did, she can sue them. Only the most incompetent Barney Fife would have filed charges of sedition based on the letter written on her personal computer. Thus my question, I wonder what else was on her computer! The algore dig was aimed at G.W.

>Um...her name was in the letter to the editor. THE LETTER WAS PUBLISHED!!! IT HAD HER NAME AND HER POSITION ON IT.
>DID YOU ACTUALLY READ THE FIRST POST?

Yes, I did and I donít see where it sayís that she signed the letter under her name. You can't send a letter to the editor and request your name to be withheld?
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 18, 2006 4:34 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
>Yes, I did and I donít see where it sayís that she signed the letter under her name. You can't send a letter to the editor and request your name to be withheld?
Letters to the editor are not anonymous. She included her name and that she was a VA nurse.

>And Good Will, give it a rest with the "villivication" thing. Nobody cares, apparantly, and continuing to harp on something you can't change makes you look weak.
I call it as it is. Smears and Personal attacks deserve to be pointed out. Just because people continue to do it, its not reason for me not to point out.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 18, 2006 8:36 PM)
Posted by: Patricia Gruffs
"Just because people continue to do it, its not reason for me not to point out."

Funny, you get pissed and shriek "vilification"
when I point out how retarded the left is. You're like some little kid that doesn't agree with the rules and throws a fit thinking you'll get the other kids to play your way...moron.

The fact is she said in her letter that "we need to act forcefully" to remove our government. Hell yeah she needs to be investigated.

An army general was fired for calling Bill Clinton a draft dodging pothead at a military school graduation. You tell me how what he said is worse than this nurse's declaration. For all we know she was some Al Queda operative, telling them to attack now. Obviously, she's no strategist, though.

And to make sure I fill my "vilification" quota, Good Will, I'm guessing she was once a potsmoking crack head, hippy...maybe like your mom. That's just a guess though <good-natured wink>
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 19, 2006 5:38 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
>when I point out how retarded the left is
Really? All of it? All those millions are wrong, bad and retard and you are right, good and smart?

>The fact is she said in her letter that "we need to act forcefully" to remove our government. Hell yeah she needs to be investigated.
Ya seee...in English language "act forcefully" is not the same "forceful act".

Meanwhile, if I recall correctly:
Bill O'Reilly said that terrorist can blow Coit Tower in San Fransisco and we should not do anything to stop it.
Awwww....can you spell treason and sedition now, Ms. Patricia?
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 19, 2006 7:45 PM)
Posted by: Patricia Gruffs
"you are right, good and smart?"

See how simple that was to admit, Will? Once again with a little more conviction...unless you don't have any conviction of course...with anything but pretty fifty cent words. By the way, it's me and the MILLIONS on the conservative side. over 58 million, compared to the 51 million of the retards, and if math proves right...that's about 7 million different...majority rules, you're a retard, Will.

"Bill O'Reilly said that terrorist can blow Coit Tower in San Fransisco "

Bill did a satire piece, (that means comedy), again something over your head and beyond your sensibilities, because you have, in fact proven yourself to be a dumbass. San Francisco wants to ban troops from recruiting in high school, and Bill simply said(quite tongue in cheek), if they don't want military protection, they shouldn't expect help when terrorist come blow up the Coit Towers.

This treasonous nurse, said straight up that force should be used to overthrow our current adminstration. I don't want a traitorous bitch treating our wounded warriors. She might be desperate enough to put strychnine in their I-V's.

That'll vilify me about 10, right?

When we get to zero, are you going to start over again, Dumbass?


Letter to the editor = sedition (February 19, 2006 11:13 PM)
Posted by: Invader Jim
Wow. So many posts since my last reply. Well, I apologize if I repeat something said in those subsequent lengthy posts...

Good, I will grant that she could have meant "forcefully" as "with determination". But, as Mel Hooker wrote, "the Agency is bound by law to investigate and pursue any act which potentially represents sedition..." And like it or not, advocating acting "forcefully to remove a government" is going to get some guys in suits knocking on your door.

Lots of people have written letters to the editor, commentaries, Cartoon Forum posts, etc., saying how they dislike the president. And they didn't get hauled away.

This letter was different... or at least it might be.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 19, 2006 11:13 PM)
Posted by: Anthony Zarrella
//>I'm hallucinating due to having left my Liberalvision (tm) Glasses in my other coat
See have you said that phrase without that sentence I would not have to say the word "villification" again.//

Actually, I apologize. I was tired, and I didn't realize I had actually typed that. :-P

//So tell em, is it ok for you job supervisior accuse you of sedition because you wrote a letter to editor expressing you non-violent political opinion?//

I answered that already... no, it isn't. "Sedition" was very much the wrong word for them to use. However, if your employer is the federal government, then it *is* OK for them to investigate you to find out if you used *their* property to undemine them (and yes, I know it's not proven that she did... hence them investigating the computer to find out for sure). It's the same as if my father, who owns a small (about 100 employees) market research company found out that one of his employees was emailing clients from a company computer and telling them how bad his company is and how they should switch companies. He'd have every right to fire that employee. In fact, he could fire him/her if he found out s/he was sendint such emails *even if* s/he was doing it from a *home* computer. I fail to see why the government, as an employer, should have to tolerate employee activities that *no other business* would tolerate. And don't say "First Amendment" either... that only covers *laws*, not business operations ("Congress shall make no *law* that...").

Steven - I completely agree. The Constitution is the government's contract with us. However, it only says (as noted above) that *laws* restricting freedom of speech cannot be passed. It does not say that an employer (even the federal government) is prohibited from restricting speech *as a condition of a contract*. A standard condition that is implied if not explicit in every employment contract is that you will not act against the interests of your employer. Since the Department of Veteran's Affairs is an executive department, that means her "CEO", so to speak, is George Bush. This doesn't mean she can't criticize him, but it does mean she can't do it "on the clock" or using government property. As for university comps, or those bought with federal grants, they would not be subject to the same conditions, because their terms of use fall under an entirely different contractual agreement (either the college's Acceptable Use Policy or the terms of the grant).

Ben - I agree with you wholeheartedly. The term "conflict of interest" is exactly what I was trying to come up with, but was drawing a blank.

Good Will - I agree that she likely did not mean the actual use of force. However, the phrase "act forcefully" is still suspicious enough to warrant investigation if it's a government employee who's saying it. As far as O'Reilly, in spite of her poor judgment in choosing to pepper her post with invective and vitriol, Patricia is right. He was making a sarcastic comment, equivalent to saying, "Fine, but when sh*t happens, don't come crying to the guys you threw out." He wasn't actually suggesting that he'd be pleased if the university were hit by terrorists, *or* that he would not support full military response... only that he'd have a certain sense of schadenfreude (sp?).

Oddly enough, by the way, I even *agree* that the army general should have been fired for calling Clinton a "draft-dodging pothead" (even though it was true). I'm not even *in* the military, and even *I* know that you *do not* insult your superior officers, and the President is the superior of every enlisted man and woman. This means that from the time they enlist to the time they're discharged, they forfeit their right to publicly criticize the President (they can criticize the President's party and/or policy, but not the man himself).
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 22, 2006 1:30 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
>Actually, I apologize. I was tired, and I didn't realize I had actually typed that. :-P
Happens to all of us.

>I'm not even *in* the military, and even *I* know that you *do not* insult your superior officers, and the President is the superior of every enlisted man and woman.

Actually thats not true. Despite his rank of "Commander in Chief", the president is a civilian figure.

>This means that from the time they enlist to the time they're discharged, they forfeit their right to publicly criticize the President (they can criticize the President's party and/or policy, but not the man himself).
I hope you can see how that statement is wrong. The president has the most unique position when it comes to being Commander in Chief, with that comes unique authority, and unique responsibility.
He is a civilian authority that exercises control over the army. His Title of Commander in Chief places him in the chain of command on top, but he is still a civilian. I agree thats it is really bad form for a general to call a president names in public, but I think I'd be ok with the average grunt or even an officer callign a president dumbass in private company. Basically its grey area. Interestingly enough a VA nurse (not to be confused with army medic) is not part of the army. She is a civilian. Just because she is employed by teh government she gives up none of her rights. I once did a contract job for the city, did nto stop me from calling a mayor a "dumbass" for somethign really stupid he did (it was about parking stuff, nothing major do not freak :)

>However, the phrase "act forcefully" is still suspicious enough to warrant investigation if it's a government employee who's saying it.

I call semantics on this. :-P

>As far as O'Reilly, in spite of her poor judgment in choosing to pepper her post with invective and vitriol, Patricia is right. He was making a sarcastic comment, equivalent to saying, "Fine, but when sh*t happens, don't come crying to the guys you threw out."

Still a really bad thing to say. Much worse then "act forcefully".
I happen to think that gun banning law is aginst the 2nd amendment and should be (and I believe will be) overturned. But still, "blowing up Coit tower" thing...is way over the top.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 22, 2006 3:30 PM)
Posted by: Anthony Zarrella
//Actually thats not true. Despite his rank of "Commander in Chief", the president is a civilian figure.//
True, but he's still the superior "officer" (even though "officer" is the wrong term) of every soldier, because he is at the top of the chain of command.

//I agree thats it is really bad form for a general to call a president names in public, but I think I'd be ok with the average grunt or even an officer callign a president dumbass in private company.//
And there's the distinction. *Anyone* can say *anything* in private company. It's when you speak publicly that you're sometimes subject to strictures. Besides, military or not, anyone can be fired for publicly badmouthing their boss (barring "whistleblower" protections). If I'm working as even something as simple as a go-fer for a State Rep, for instance, and I go on TV or speak at an event and badmouth him, he can fire me (and he should). Why is it any different if your boss happens to be the President? Certainly he can fire any of his personal staff for badmouthing him... or a Cabinet member... or basically anyone except the head of an IRC.

Incidentally, this is what applies to the VA nurse too. I knew she wasn't military, but her boss is still the President because Veterans' Affairs is an Executive Branch department (and not an IRC).

//I call semantics on this. :-P//
Well, that was my point ;-) *We*, being very literate and well-educated, assume the difference between the two phrases. However, when it comes to national security, the government cannot *assume* that the woman knew the difference, and must instead investigate to make sure.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 22, 2006 4:10 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
>Why is it any different if your boss happens to be the President?
Because its not a private enterprize. Because politics affects everyone. Because as a voter, she is Mr. Bushes boss :)

>Incidentally, this is what applies to the VA nurse too. I knew she wasn't military, but her boss is still the President because Veterans' Affairs is an Executive Branch department (and not an IRC).
Her boss is not the president. Again, I did just for the city, it does not mean I owe it to the mayor to be quiet about his political decisions.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 22, 2006 4:35 PM)
Posted by: Anthony Zarrella
//Because its not a private enterprize. Because politics affects everyone. Because as a voter, she is Mr. Bushes boss :)//
No... not when the government actually employs her. If you use this argument, then the same applies to the President's private staff, and it's indubitably clear that he can fire *them* for publicly criticizing him.

//Her boss is not the president. Again, I did just for the city, it does not mean I owe it to the mayor to be quiet about his political decisions.//
Major difference... you said you did a contract job. That means the city hired you out, not that you were an actual city employee. If you actually worked at City Hall, the situation might be different. For instance, would the mayor not have a right to fire his aide if s/he publicly spoke against him?
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 22, 2006 6:06 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
I think firing people for publicaly critisizing someone is shaky ground. Especially if its not related to your actual job. For example if my job is oh lets say, a janitor, or a computer programmer, I can still critisize my boss lets say, parkign across two spots. No? That does not even involve my job. I think you confused doing the job with company loyalty.

>No... not when the government actually employs her
Think of the VA is the contracted agency. Its not under direct authority of the president, more over he is nto the sole boss, the funding for it for example comes from the Legistlative branch. Or a judge can order a VA to do something to. Not really a clear cut boss situation.

> For instance, would the mayor not have a right to fire his aide if s/he publicly spoke against him?

Not really. Employees at the city halls are there for years, through different mayors. I dare say if you are a mail guy for the building and get fired for voicing your political opinion that you do not liek and did not vote for the mayor, a wrong termination is in progress. I mean what if you are campaigning agains the current mayor, or what if you are voting against them. Is that critisism.
I really think your mistake is that you look at VA as a private enterprize. Its not really one.
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 22, 2006 6:09 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
P.S.
Contract employee usually just means you get paid differently, and it has some additional stipulations for health and responsibility. You are still an employee of the vity during that time. Unless there is a clause in the contract that I shoudl critisize him politically it none of it applies. And even that is on thn ice. Usual employees have acontract too, I'll ask a friend who work for the city but I bet good money there is no "do nt critisize the mayor clause". Also remember cities have Councils. So you do not just work for teh mayor, but for his political opponents too (unless you are specifically on his staff or something...gray area).
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 22, 2006 11:55 PM)
Posted by: Anthony Zarrella
//I think you confused doing the job with company loyalty.//

Yes, company loyalty is what I meant.

//Think of the VA is the contracted agency. Its not under direct authority of the president//

Yes... in spite of the fact that funding comes from Congress, the Department of Veterans' Affairs is under the sole control of the Executive branch. The whole department is run by the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, and that Secretary (like all the others) serves at the sole pleasure of the President.

//Not really. Employees at the city halls are there for years, through different mayors. I dare say if you are a mail guy for the building and get fired for voicing your political opinion that you do not liek and did not vote for the mayor, a wrong termination is in progress. I mean what if you are campaigning agains the current mayor, or what if you are voting against them. Is that critisism.//

I admit, the mayor analogy was a poor one because unlike the federal government, on the local level the branches share employees, so they are not under the sole control of the mayor. On the federal level, you are not simply a "government" employee. You are an "executive" employee, or a "congressional" employee, etc. If you are an employee specifically of the Executive branch, then your sole boss is the President.

//I really think your mistake is that you look at VA as a private enterprize. Its not really one.//

No, that's exactly my point... if it were a private enterprise, no employee could be disciplined or fired for expressing a political opinion unless it specifically broke a company rule. They could, however, be fired for bashing the company. In the case of the VA though, the government *is* the company.

//Contract employee usually just means you get paid differently, and it has some additional stipulations for health and responsibility.//

Sorry, I thought you meant you were an independent contractor - like you got a city construction contract for your company or something.

//Also remember cities have Councils. So you do not just work for teh mayor, but for his political opponents too //

See above, re: mayor was a bad analogy ;-)
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 23, 2006 3:47 PM)
Posted by: Good Will
>You are an "executive" employee, or a "congressional" employee, etc. If you are an employee specifically of the Executive branch, then your sole boss is the President.
I am betting that only applies to the immediate staff.

I am going with government is not a private enterprize. It really is not you know.I mean how many business actually collect taxes from their employees to run their business?
Letter to the editor = sedition (February 23, 2006 3:58 PM)
Posted by: Anthony Zarrella
It's *not* a *private* enterprise. That doesn't mean it's not still a business with an employer/employee relationship.

Basically, when the government is acting as a governing body, it is restricted by both the lack of any powers that are not granted in the Constitution, and also by the specific prohibitions placed upon it by the Constitution. When it is acting as a business (i.e. hiring and firing, making promotions, etc.) it has all the same privileges and restrictions as any other business.

The Constitution only mentions the Government *at all* in its governing capacity and in its law enforcement capacity, not in a business capacity. Now, either that means that the government does not have the power to act as a business at all (which would be crippling to the entire system), *or* that its activity as a business occupies the same class as all other businesses, rather than being specially regulated.
Letter to the editor = sedition (March 7, 2006 12:43 AM)
Posted by: Good Will
>On the federal level, you are not simply a "government" employee. You are an "executive" employee, or a "congressional" employee, etc. If you are an employee specifically of the Executive branch, then your sole boss is the President.

How is a local mayorality different?

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