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Consistency In Expectations

  1. Feb 16, 2006 #1

    SOS2008

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    Perhaps expectations in this forum need to be made more clear, and hopefully will be consistent for all. To begin, what is worthy of political discussion? Suppression of dissent seems to be a very legitimate topic, and very applicable at this time in our country.

    Also, I disagree that the responsibility to make a case lays with the OP only. When one debates in an academic forum, and someone questions a position, they too are expected to substantiate why they question it. This has been an ongoing mentality in this forum that is nonsense.

    In regard to the Give Me Liberty thread, I provided links, first to the news story from MSNBC (and other sources), then to a former CIA official running for congressional office, and so forth, which is far more than most opening posts provide in this forum. Also, I assume members in this forum are more intelligent than the average bear, so don’t need an elementary explanation.

    BobG provided a link to the content of the letter in question. Is this letter deserving of sedition (advocating the overthrow of the government?). I feel sedition is a very strong accusation with serious penalty. I find it particularly odd that members who are educators do not see the significance of this topic, because most professors I know would be in jail along with this VA nurse.

    Without physically going to the library, unfortunately I (and other members) are limited by what is available on the Internet (e.g., has there been any update to the Sedition Act). If I wonder about something like this, I try to see what I can find. If members would like to read some more scholarly work on the subject, here are a few as a quick start:

    Free Speech, Sedition and the Constitution
    Robert McCloskey

    Perilous times : free speech in wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the war on terrorism
    Geoffrey R. Stone

    Repression, Incorporation, Lustration, Education: How democracies React To Their Enemies
    Giovanni Capuccio

    Please, let's not suppress opposing views in this forum. We have enough of this going on in our country at this time.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2006 #2
    This is a post of mine from the thread NY Times discloses secret Executive a long time ago:



    It looks like it's becoming reality now russ?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2006
  4. Feb 16, 2006 #3

    SOS2008

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    A point in this particular case is that since the VA nurse is a government employee her dissent is considered treasonous. The claim that Bush has committed impeachable offenses in view of the constitution and rule of law has been made by most Democrats and even a few Republicans. Last I checked they are government employees too.

    There are different levels of sedition, but at the minimum this woman is afraid of losing her job. If I write a letter on my personal time expressing my political views (that Bush should be impeached) and could lose my job because of it, there would be no doubt of fascism in the U.S.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2006
  5. Feb 16, 2006 #4
    http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/02/16/134230.php

    Sadly this woman, who gives care to disabled veterans, was accused of sedition for doing something that tens of thousands have given their lives and limbs to protect; her liberty to do exactly what she did.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2006
  6. Feb 16, 2006 #5
    The Seditious Letter

    http://www.alibi.com/editorial/section_display.php?di=2005-09-15&scn=news#12767

    From my own experience doing volunteer work at the local VA hospital , I would think that a V.A. administrator would have better things to do with his time than to pursue this as being sedition. God has it really come to this??
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2006
  7. Feb 16, 2006 #6
    As far as I am concerned, Ms Berg has merely put into words what many foreigners, including myself have in mind about the current administration and political climate in the USA. If a public letter to a newspaper, urging serious review of Bush's policy and effectiveness as the president and written with a poignance that any right-thinking Americans should understandably feel about the state of affairs, can be considered seditious, then there are a lot of us who must be considered enemies of the state by America.

    What is most worrying though is that the head administrator of the VA has taken such a political stance in his/her handling of the matter, when his legitimate concern should not go beyond whether VA's right as the employer has been infringed by Ms Berg and her letter, in terms of use/abuse of organisation resources. To go beyound that and report the case to the FBI shows at least the first sign of abandoning ethical concerns in a bid for personal perservation or gains. It is this abandonment that is most frightful, for in the context of cronyism that is quite manifest in the US administration, one cannot see it as an isolated incident but a sign of rottenness extending from the head to the rest of the body.
     
  8. Feb 17, 2006 #7

    SOS2008

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    I'm amazed her letter was printed. However, I'm disappointed that the mainstream media hasn't reported the story, or has reported it as a minor story. My guess is suppression occurs on various levels some place each day without public knowledge.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006
  9. Feb 17, 2006 #8
    From skimming articles on this while looking for the original letter printed in whole (Thank you Polly :smile:) it seems that this whole thing started out internally. Some how her boss or some higher up found out about the letter, didn't like it, and decided to investigate her for misuse of work resources. It seems to have spiralled out of control from there. So far it seems that there are no actual charges against her. The jerk off that mentioned sedition seems to be the sort of small person that when they are wrong only strengthens their protests instead of demuring with an apology. This ofcourse is mostly speculation on my part but it just seems liek a relatively small matter of an employer making a big deal out of what really amounts to nothing getting blown way out of proportion. I think that he would like to have fired her, and may still find some technicality on which to do so, based mainly on apearances.
    At most jobs they look down on publicly defaming your employer in or out of the office. My employers were recently sued and had a very big problem with the acreditation commitees at that same time. It wound up in the papers and was found out that employees here had spoken with the media. They made a point of telling us all that "it would be best not to talk to the media" but I'm sure we all knew that it wasn't just a suggestion since they were trying desperately to find out who it was that was spilling the beans. They also talked about "leaks" and started enforcing stringent policies regarding any sort of written communications and document retention.
    In a government job I'm sure it's alot harder to justify reprimanding employees for such a thing. More than likely if one could get away with it it should be only when it's directly linked with their own work place rather than so far above one's head. I'm thinking that the initial prompt for what happened was likely aimed at this sort of infringement. She did say where she worked and added her name.
    I think that she should seriously look for a new job.
     
  10. Feb 17, 2006 #9

    Bystander

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    "As a VA nurse ...." - Laura Berg. All she had to do was omit reference to VA, as she was instructed to do when she went through her "new employee" orientation, as testified by her signature on a piece of paper in her personnel file to the effect that she has read and understood the employee handbook.

    Okay, a newspaper editor asks her to insert the phrase to lend veracity to her rantings, someone sees it, calls VA for an interview, the hospital supervisor says, "Who? Why?" and is informed of the content of the letter. That's when things hit the fan. Berg's an idiot, the Alibi's run by idiots, she needs firing, and they need to be sued by her.

    Media business as usual, make news where there is none.
     
  11. Feb 17, 2006 #10

    Moonbear

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    So, is this thread about taking cheap shots at mentors or the charges of sedition against a letter writer? The previous thread was not closed due to dissenting views, but due to lack of any clear argument presented on anyone's part. It has been the case for some time now that we delete or lock threads that begin with nothing but quotes and links to other sources without any supporting discussion/argument by the OP, or any clear statement of why the links are being posted for discussion.

    The only reason I am allowing THIS thread to stay open is that the subsequent discussion has developed a thesis for the thread and I can't see any clean way to split off the more focused discussion from the unfocused, original post here.
     
  12. Feb 17, 2006 #11

    Evo

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    No one is suppressing views, your original thread was locked because the opening post was unclear and as a result the thread was floundering.

    edit: I see Moonbear already posted exactly what I was going to post.
     
  13. Feb 17, 2006 #12

    Evo

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    If she wrote this during work hours on a work computer, she certainly could and probably should, be fired. Not too intelligent.
     
  14. Feb 17, 2006 #13

    Astronuc

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    It is one thing to express one's political view as a private citizen, but it is another to mention one's employer, industry or other affiliation. That certainly would cause problems.

    If the Ms. Berg used resources and work time to write the letter, that again is an issue, and the employer would certainly be entitled to terminate her employment, especially if Ms. Berg's actions violated conditions of employment.

    IMO, the invocation of sedition is going overboard. :rolleyes:


    And please be fair to the mentors. I have not seen any mentor suppress dissent at PF. What I have seen are reasonable requests to support one's position with evidence, sources, etc.
     
  15. Feb 17, 2006 #14

    SOS2008

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    A lot of the original information was in the other thread, such as Berg did not write the letter at work. Mentioning your employer can cause problems with the employer, and also if she had done so during work. But none of the content or actions justify sedition.


    I agree there could have been more commentary providing a clearer thesis. I am just stating that all OPs should be treated in a consistent manner. I've seen many OPs with far less that were never locked. I provided a definition, sources, and an argument was made, which is that sedition should be one of alarm against values of free speech and democracy. Several other members understood this clearly. Interestingly those who feigned confusion obviously made no effort to even read any of the links (we can't provide full articles), and have had a record of antagonism toward me. I believe that if the thread had not been hijacked with their attacks a discussion as seen here would have ensued.

    So going forward, I will expect that all OPs will meet certain criteria, one of which is a clearly stated thesis. Fair enough if so, and I look forward to any new OPs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006
  16. Feb 17, 2006 #15
    Yet there are times when a simple one sentence post with a link can be quite thought provoking as with:

    I occasionally notice a post which on first glance appears to be a lemon can be turned into lemonade.:smile:
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006
  17. Feb 17, 2006 #16

    Moonbear

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    Sometimes a single sentence is all it takes to convey the purpose of the discussion. Note that the original thread was not deleted, just locked; you can see for yourself just how many people understood what topic was intended to be discussed and how clearly it was stated. It's about as clear as the original post in this thread.
     
  18. Feb 17, 2006 #17

    SOS2008

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    One of the quotes in the OP was this:

    This was the entirety of the report by MSNBC on this particular story. Apparently they felt it was enough for their viewers to understand. I know I understood it completely. Are you saying PF members are less intelligent than the average television viewer?
     
  19. Feb 17, 2006 #18
    She has been a VA nurse for 15 years.

    VA administrators have turned into a crock of "B U S H I T E" in recent years, as have many other career government workers at the management or supervisory level. The guy who investigated her letter was probably looking for a promotion.

    Your opinion of the "Alibi", in which the letter was printed is irrelevant.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006
  20. Feb 17, 2006 #19
    I can see your point. The OP's really caught my eye because, through the DAV, I do a lot of volunteer work at the Tucson VA hospital. It seems like in recent years I am spending a lot of time in the Patient Adovcates Office raising hell on behalf of Vets.
     
  21. Feb 17, 2006 #20

    Moonbear

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    The title of your thread was "Give me liberty or Give me death" and three links were included, any of which could have been a separate topic each on their own. You can't expect us to be mind-readers to figure out which one you are emphasizing and wish to discuss, and which are supportive, or if there is any point to it at all! If you have a complaint about moderation, take it up in feedback, not in P&WA.
     
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