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I’ve believed that John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County District Attorney, was a vindictive partisan prosecutor long before George Will wrote this column. Will’s column chief contribution is that it focuses attention on several key points that should receive additional highlighting. Here’s one such point:

The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.

Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred in an unlikely place. This attempted criminalization of politics to silence people occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility.

That’s what the threats and intimidation wing of the Democratic Party looks like. John Chisholm is a thug with institutionalized authority to ruin innocent people’s lives. He’s the ‘leader’ of the Wisconsin chapter of the Democratic Party’s threats and intimidation wing.

In collaboration with Wisconsin’s misbegotten Government Accountability Board, which exists to regulate political speech, Chisholm has misinterpreted Wisconsin campaign law in a way that looks willful. He has done so to justify a “John Doe” process that has searched for evidence of “coordination” between Walker’s campaign and conservative issue advocacy groups.

On Oct. 14, much too late in the campaign season to rescue the political-participation rights of conservative groups, a federal judge affirmed what Chisholm surely has known all along: Since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago, the only coordination that is forbidden is between candidates and independent groups that go beyond issue advocacy to “express advocacy”, explicitly advocating the election or defeat of a particular candidate.

Why Wisconsin ever passed these John Doe laws is inexplicable. It’s authority to start a fishing expedition, something that’s contrary to the principles of probable cause and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Chisholm’s goal might’ve already been achieved:

But Chisholm’s aim, to have a chilling effect on conservative speech, has been achieved by bombarding Walker supporters with raids and subpoenas: Instead of raising money to disseminate their political speech, conservative individuals and groups, harassed and intimidated, have gone into a defensive crouch, raising little money and spending much money on defensive litigation. Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.

I’ve written before about weaponized government. Chisholm’s investigation (I hate using that term in this context) fits that description perfectly. It’s the personification of weaponized government.

It’s worth noting this sentence:

Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.

I’ve seen nasty forms of weaponized government but this is the nastiest form of it. Law enforcement officials participating in this should be investigated, too. Their actions furthered this unconstitutional exercise of abusive government. Hans Spakovsky’s op-ed nails it:

Oral arguments were heard Tuesday before the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in O’Keefe vs. Chisholm, the so-called John Doe investigation in which local prosecutors in Wisconsin tried to criminalize political speech and activity on public issues. The 7th Circuit should uphold the lower court decision halting this Star Chamber investigation that violated basic First Amendment rights.

The fact that such a secret persecution of citizen advocacy organizations even occurred ought to be an embarrassment to a state that prides itself on being a progressive bastion of individual freedom. It is more reminiscent of a banana republic than the world’s foremost democracy.

Chisholm should be disbarred for intentionally violating private citizens’ civil rights. Then he should be tried and, hopefully, be convicted, then incarcerated for many years. He’s a nasty person helping the Democratic Party chill political speech. Saying that his actions are intimidating and that his tactics are the type that would be approved of by Joe McCarthy is understatement.

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Part I of this series highlighted a timeline of events that led to the termination of Todd Hoffner, the head football coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Part II highlighted some of President Davenport’s rationalizations for terminating Coach Hoffner. This post will highlight the substantive complaints from Coach Hoffner’s attorneys. This paragraph is particularly noteworthy:

Second, in that same section, the OLA report devotes an entire paragraph to President Davenport’s justification for his reaction to the charges against Coach Hoffner and, specifically, the description of the Pennsylvania State University sex scandal. No comparable explanation from Coach Hoffner is included, nor is the fundamental distinguishing fact that the alleged conduct that MSU Mankato investigated had nothing to do with sexual abuse or similar conduct with respect to MSU Mankato students.

Comparing the Hoffner situation with what happened at Penn State is foolish. According to a footnote in the OLA’s report, Penn State’s high-level administrators, including Penn State’s president at the time, “were indicted for endangering the welfare of children, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury. They are awaiting trial.” In Coach Hoffner’s case, he didn’t exercise good judgment. Still, the Blue Earth County judge that dismissed the charges said that “the children acted silly, playful and age appropriate.”

There’s a little bit of hyperbole in this paragraph:

To omit from the OLA’s report even the most basic of facts in this regard is misleading and profoundly unfair. The notion that a person could equate Coach Hoffner with Jerry Sandusky is absurd, and that a person could draw such a comparison exemplifies why that person should not have the authority to make life-changing employment decisions affecting others.

First, Hoffner’s attorneys went a little overboard in saying that President Davenport shouldn’t “have the authority to make life-changing employment decisions affecting others.” That being said, Hoffner’s attorneys are right in saying that comparing Coach Hoffner’s actions with Sandusky’s is absurd. They aren’t close to being similar, much less close to being the same thing.

Jerry Sandusky is serving a minimum of 30 years in prison. According to Wikipedia, which I realize isn’t always the most accurate website, “Specifically, Sandusky was convicted of the following charges and counts: eight counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, seven counts of indecent assault, one count of criminal intent to commit indecent assault, nine counts of unlawful contact with minors, 10 counts of corruption of minors and 10 counts of endangering the welfare of children. Cleland immediately revoked Sandusky’s bail and remanded him to the Centre County Correctional Facility to await sentencing.”

It shouldn’t be difficult for university presidents to differentiate between a man who was investigated and had charges dropped and a man convicted of “eight counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, seven counts of indecent assault, one count of criminal intent to commit indecent assault [and] nine counts of unlawful contact with minors…” I’m betting that most high school students could differentiate between the two.

Simply put, this would be a disaster for President Davenport if the MnSCU Chancellor, aka Davenport’s boss, were a principled man or if the DFL-chaired Higher Ed committees took their oversight responsibilities seriously. Since neither is the case, it isn’t likely that this will hurt President Davenport.

That’s the biggest of disasters in this entire situation.

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Something kept gnawing at me after I wrote this post. Here’s what kept bothering me:

That probe, begun almost 18 months ago, had centered on whether the university failed to return federal financial aid money it was required to return if the students whose grades were changed became ineligible to keep that financial aid.

I’ve finally figured out why that bothered me. The transcript scandal was pushed by the Faculty Association during their monthly Meet&Confer meetings with President Potter and members of his administration. If the FA hadn’t pushed the subject, it wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

That’s proven by the verifiable facts surrounding the scandal. First, as I wrote here, SCSU administration doesn’t think that an investigation is needed:

FA: I have a clarifying question. I heard you say this is a preliminary investigation at looking so once you do your preliminary then am I hearing you say then you will decide what your next step is going to be in terms of your going after other data collection for the past four years before this?

Admin: Sure so then we have as to what kind of data is relevant and we go there and we can collect the information so that it makes sense for you. The other thing is I won’t call it an investigation I would call analysis. So it’s a data analysis to understand if there is a spike and then understand whether it is due to factors outside our control or if it is factors of the band of discretion becoming wider.

Second, Potter’s administration hasn’t talked with professors who’ve reported students’ participation in their class deleted:

Chemistry Prof. Tamara Leenay also noticed discrepancies in 2012 and gave the documentation to McKenna. “It was just odd, all of the sudden, these grades are being changed,” she said.

Leenay said she has been out of state on vacation and did not meet with federal investigators. She also said that since she discovered the discrepancies and shared them with McKenna, no one from the administration has talked to her about the issue or asked for her records.

These incidents are proof that the Potter administration isn’t interested in investigating this scandal. This isn’t open to various interpretations. There’s just one explanation for the Potter administration’s inaction. They weren’t interested in the transcript scandal.

That’s important to the claim that “the probe” “had centered on whether the University failed to return federal financial aid money.”

Think about this. Why would professors worry about something that’s the administration’s responsibility? The professors consistently spoke out about the disappearing grades. LFR has covered this story extensively and exhaustively. LFR has reported more details about this scandal than all the other news agencies in the state…combined. While it’s true that professors I’ve interviewed on background were curious if SCSU had returned federal financial aid money, that was always a secondary issue. Transcript integrity and the damage done to SCSU’s academic reputation always topped their list of concerns.

That’s as it should be. Professors have enough responsibilities. They shouldn’t be required to monitor whether the administration has dealt with financial assistance from the federal government. That’s the administration’s responsibility.

The University’s insistence that the transcript scandal was always about “whether the university failed to return federal financial aid money” is pure Potter spin. That’s consistent. One of the things that’s been consistent from the Potter administration about this scandal is their spin. The other thing that’s been consistent about the Potter administration’s behavior during the transcript scandal is that they’ve refused to conduct a serious investigation into this major breech of academic integrity.

The only thing that’s worse than the Potter administration’s dishonesty is the St. Cloud Times’ gullibility.

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After reading this Our View editorial, it’s clear that the St. Cloud Times doesn’t understand what the transcript scandal at St. Cloud State is about.

That probe, begun almost 18 months ago, had centered on whether the university failed to return federal financial aid money it was required to return if the students whose grades were changed became ineligible to keep that financial aid.

That isn’t how the scandal started. That came months later. By the time the US Department of Education showed up on the SCSU campus, along with the FBI, members of the FA had started questioning the Potter administration about why students’ participation in classes were disappearing from SCSU’s official transcript system. By the time the FBI and the DoE visited SCSU, the Potter administration had told the Faculty Association that they didn’t view the transcript scandal as an investigation. The Potter administration said that they thought of it as data analysis:

FA: I have a clarifying question. I heard you say this is a preliminary investigation at looking so once you do your preliminary then am I hearing you say then you will decide what your next step is going to be in terms of your going after other data collection for the past four years before this?

Admin: Sure so then we have as to what kind of data is relevant and we go there and we can collect the information so that it makes sense for you. The other thing is I won’t call it an investigation I would call analysis. So it’s a data analysis to understand if there is a spike and then understand whether it is due to factors outside our control or if it is factors of the band of discretion becoming wider.

It’s clear that the Potter administration, including Devinder Malhotra, then SCSU’s Provost, and Adam Hammer, President Potter’s spokesman, spun the situation:

In addressing this concern at a meet and confirm meeting conducted amongst university professors and administration, Hammer said the cause for concern primarily dealt with late drops and withdrawals.

Recently, questions about student registration and transcript changes, specifically late withdrawals and drops, at St. Cloud State University have been reported in a few media outlets. — Devinder Malhotra

Here’s what Tamara Leenay said about the scandal:

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Last spring, Tamara Leenay, a chemistry professor at St. Cloud State University, was reviewing grades when she came across the transcript of a student who failed an organic chemistry class she taught a couple of years earlier.

“I noticed the course was not even on his transcript,” Leenay said. “There was no ‘F.’ There was no course number…It was completely gone. And I have [a] record that he was in my class and that I gave him a grade…and I was never notified of any of these changes.”

The St. Cloud Times either doesn’t know about this video or they simply chose to not report on it:

In the video, Dr. Tracey Ore explained how easy it is to scrub grades from students’ transcripts:

PROFESSOR: How long, um, how, Tracy, how long will it be ah, I guess she got the grades off of there. Is that, is that a semester-long process or is that a short process?
DR. ORE: It can happen in a day.
PROFESSOR: Oh, ok.
DR. ORE: When I did it last year, Sue wanted to meet with me and say here’s my documentation and it might have to check with disability student services, check with the math department, check with whoever else. Considering all this, yeah…

I wrote that in late January, 2014. The St. Cloud Times has never reported on this tape. I know they have it because professors who met with them told them about it.

Contrary to the St. Cloud Times’ Editorial Board’s editorial, this isn’t about the Faculty Association making additional suggestions. It’s about the Potter administration’s admitting that people within the administration, starting with Dr. Tracy Ore, started altering students’ transcripts without justification. It’s about the Potter administration conducting a thorough investigation into what really happened. That thorough investigation must start with interviewing Dr. Tamara Leenay, Dr. Phyllis VanBuren and other professors whose students had their transcripts altered to remove failing grades after they’d completed their classes.

Finally, it’s time the St. Cloud Times stopped accepting everything President Potter, Bernie Omann and Adam Hammer said as gospel fact. It’s time they started questioning their statements because their statements are questionable, if not laughable.

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If there’s any message that President Potter wants to get spread far and wide, it’s that the US Department of Education just closed its investigation into the SCSU transcript scandal:

The department was investigating whether St. Cloud State failed to return federal financial aid money it was required to return if the students whose grades were changed became ineligible to keep that financial aid.

Federal officials were on campus in the summer of 2013, asking questions of current and former employees. Officials were investigating allegations that school administrators had changed poor or failing grades to drops or withdrawals on the transcripts of mostly minority students, affecting their ability to remain enrolled as full-time students.

The original allegation was that many of the students whose grades were altered were receiving some form of federal assistance through grants or loans and that money was not returned to the Department of Education as it should have been.

According to the Meet and Confer minutes from the Oct. 18, 2012 meeting, the FA, aka the Faculty Association, didn’t mention anything about federal grants or loans. Here’s what they did mention:

So officially what we would like to do is have data for FY07 through 12 of each semester and summer session the number of late withdrawals that are signed off after and the number of late withdrawals that faculty were not involved in. I saw three in one day in my department where the faculty were not consulted last spring and so I know its happening. Perhaps an even more concerning issue of the faculty is the number of transcript, and I don’t know a way to describe it but I am going to use alterations where students are removed from being listed as having been enrolled.

Though it’s legitimate to worry if federal financial aid money was handled properly, it’s clear that that wasn’t the FA’s initial concern. The FA’s worry was that grades were being deleted from the students’ transcripts and that those deletions weren’t justified.

At least according to Meet and Confer minutes, it didn’t have anything to do with breaking federal laws.

What’s important is what the US Department of Education didn’t say. The US DoE didn’t say that transcripts weren’t deleted. The US DoE didn’t say that the grades that were deleted were justifiable. The US DoE didn’t investigate whether SCSU followed long-standing policy or whether SCSU improperly deleted records of a student’s participation in a class.

Tamara Leenay knows about that:

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Last spring, Tamara Leenay, a chemistry professor at St. Cloud State University, was reviewing grades when she came across the transcript of a student who failed an organic chemistry class she taught a couple of years earlier.

“I noticed the course was not even on his transcript,” Leenay said. “There was no ‘F.’ There was no course number…It was completely gone. And I have [a] record that he was in my class and that I gave him a grade…and I was never notified of any of these changes.”

That’s the heart of the SCSU transcript scandal in a nutshell. A student took a class, did all the work for it and still failed. Then the student’s participation in the class was deleted from SCSU’s official transcripts.

The thing that President Potter doesn’t want to talk about is whether a student who simply fails a class should be able to get that F permanently deleted as though it never happened. Certainly, there are justifications for late drops and withdrawals. There isn’t a justification for deleting a student’s failing a class.

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It isn’t that Dave Unze’s article for the SCTimes isn’t accurate. It’s that it doesn’t speak to the initial, central complaint. Here’s what I’m talking about:

The U.S. Department of Education has closed an investigation at St. Cloud State University without a finding of wrongdoing after looking into changes to students’ transcripts.

The Office of Inspector General determined that “there appears to be no federal violation” of student loan rules and the “case is recommended for closure,” according to information provided to the St. Cloud Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The department was investigating whether the university failed to return federal financial aid money it was required to return if the students whose grades were changed became ineligible to keep that financial aid.

It’s true that the US Department of Education visited SCSU’s campus. Likewise, they visited because they’d gotten complaints that some federal laws might’ve been broken. Still, it’s misleading to suggest that that’s the heart of the scandal. It’s what the Potter administration has worked hard to portray as the heart of the scandal but it isn’t close to being the heart of the scandal. This gets to the heart of the scandal:

Two years ago, a student in my class completed all requirements but the final, requesting to take the final in early January. She did not then nor in April, when another faculty member contacted me on her behalf for yet another chance. Her grade for the semester was a solid F — even if she would have earned 100 percent on the written final.

However, a year later, she requested a withdrawal for all her courses. I provided detailed evidence that she had completed the semester and reasons for denying the appeal. I later received an email that her request had been granted despite my recommendation. I contacted the registrar’s office to learn that two professors had denied her request and two had complied. Yet a W was awarded for all four classes. My prompt reaction re-instated the earned grade for my class.

That isn’t the only example of the Potter administration trying to pervert SCSU’s transcript system. MPR’s article documents what’s at the heart of the Potter-SCSU transcript scandal:

Last spring, Tamara Leenay, a chemistry professor at St. Cloud State University, was reviewing grades when she came across the transcript of a student who failed an organic chemistry class she taught a couple of years earlier.

“I noticed the course was not even on his transcript,” Leenay said. “There was no ‘F.’ There was no course number … It was completely gone. And I have [a] record that he was in my class and that I gave him a grade … and I was never notified of any of these changes.”

That’s the heart of the Potter-SCSU transcript scandal. It wasn’t that transcripts were getting changed without a professor’s permission. It’s that people who had taken courses, completed their assignments, then failed their class talked the Potter administration into eliminating a student’s participation in a class from their transcript.

I’m happy to hear that SCSU didn’t break federal laws while corrupting their official transcript system. Unfortunately, students’ grades were deleted from St. Cloud State’s transcripts after they’d done the work but failed the classes.

If a student does all the work for the class, then fails, that student shouldn’t have the right to petition the administration to have that grade removed. Deleting a student’s participation in a class from the transcripts is dishonest.

The investigation determined that a “large amount” of the transcript alterations were from “a backlog of late-withdraw requests, not no-show students, and that most of the transcript alterations affected students that attended classes for some time and were thus eligible to keep a portion or all of the Title IV aid they received.”

President Potter, former Provost Malhotra and spokesman Adam Hammer have tried portraying the situation as being about late drops and withdrawals. Nobody protested the fact that late drops and withdrawals were appropriate in certain situations. The faculty’s protests were about students who had their participation in class scrubbed from their official transcripts after the student failed the professor’s class.

President Potter still insists that that there never was a problem and that this was all about some professors venting. It’s unfortunate that President Potter didn’t take this seriously. It’s worse that the SCTimes didn’t do a real investigation. What’s worst is that the SCTimes just took President Potter’s word hook, line and sinker.

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Gov. Dayton’s MNsure problems just got bigger. KSTP’s investigation into MNsure has led them to “emails between Minnesota House Research staff and the Minnesota Department of Health” that show state officials and MNsure have known that MNsure was placing people incorrectly on Medicaid:

Internal emails obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS show MNsure and other state officials were aware people who made too much money were placed on Medicaid, which is for low-income people.

We first reported Tuesday the Minnesota Legislative Auditor was investigating complaints that MNsure was placing people incorrectly on Medicaid. Now, we have emails between Minnesota House Research staff and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) that show state officials and MNsure have known about this problem since January of this year.

Mike Franklin is one of those people. Franklin and his wife combined make more than the $65,000 limit for dependent children to qualify for Medicaid, yet Franklin says he received notice from MNsure that his children had been placed on Medicaid without his consent. Franklin says he even received notices that Medicaid had paid some medical bills for his two children, even after he asked MNsure to discontinue the coverage because he did not qualify. Franklin says it took six months and action by an Administrative Judge to discontinue the Medicaid policy.

Now that we know what happened, it’s time to find out why this happened. Why would MNsure and the Department of Human Services knowingly put the Franklin’s children into Medicaid when they should’ve been put on the Franklins’ private insurance policy?

Why wouldn’t MNsure and the Department of Human Services want people on private insurance plans? More importantly, why would MNsure and/or Minnesota’s Department of Human Services obey the law? The $65,000 limit isn’t a suggestion. It’s the law. Don’t Lucinda Jesson and Scott Leitz think that the laws pertain to them? Is it that they think that they know what’s best?

DHS declined an interview request and issued this statement: “We are closing cases (Medicaid) every day and will continue to do so.”

TRANSLATION: We’ll obey the law the minute we’re caught.

The Dayton era of mismanagement and corruption keeps rumbling along.

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Cleta Mitchell’s tireless work on the IRS scandal has turned up some interesting information:

Cleta Mitchell, who testified Wednesday to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, pointed out to Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer that IRS employees belong to the National Treasury Employees Union, which has directed 94 percent of its contributions to Democrats this election cycle.

The union, she said, has given to 11 of the 18 Democrats on the House Oversight Committee.

“And, every time there is a hearing on any aspect of this investigation about the IRS targeting,” Mitchell said, “the Democrats come in one by one and say the same thing over and over again. ‘Let’s shut this down. Let’s shut this down.’”

This fits perfectly into the Democrats’ culture of corruption method of operation. A special interest organization or a government employees union contributes to a powerful Democrat’s campaign and, suddenly, that union’s scandal disappears. It hits the proverbial black hole, never to be seen again for the rest of eternity.

This type of quid pro quo enables corrupt bureaucrats to continue their corrupt practices because they know they’re protected if they’re ever caught. Why wouldn’t the IRS let their ideology get in the way of their professional responsibilities? If their corruption ever got caught, Elijah Cummings would just get in front of a camera and complain that this is a partisan witch hunt, that Republicans were selectively leaking information that lacked proper context, etc.

It isn’t a stretch to think that the IRS’s campaign contributions contributed to the Democrats’ change in tone. When the investigation focused on “rogue agents in Cincinnati”, Democrats were outraged at the IRS’s activities. The minute that people figured out that it wasn’t confined to Cincinnati, the Democrats’ storyline changed. I don’t know when the IRS started contributing to the Democrats’ campaigns but it wouldn’t surprise me if their contributions coincided with the Democrats’ change in tone.

That isn’t proof but it isn’t implausible either.

The Democratic members of the committee pressed the theme that the IRS also targeted progressive groups, though little support for that argument was received from the witnesses.

If I were advising Chairman Issa, I’d authorize Rep. Cummings to put an official committee report that a) listed the specific progressive groups that the IRS targeted, b) highlights what additional scrutiny the IRS gave to these progressive organizations and c) reported how long it took for these progressive organizations to get their applications approved.

Further, I’d impose a deadline that the report is due by. Finally, I’d tell Chairman Issa to prepare a chart listing a) all of the TEA Party organizations that the IRS asked intrusive questions of and b) whether these organizations’ applications were approved and how long it took to get their applications approved.

That way, there could be a detailed, side-by-side comparison between the IRS’s targeting of TEA Party organizations and the alleged ‘targeting’ of progressive organizations.

Imagine the visual contrast if it’s shown how intrusive the additional IRS questions were for TEA Party organizations, how many of the TEA Party organizations still hadn’t gotten their applications approved after 2 years and how the allegedly ‘targeted’ progressive organizations got their applications approved in a short amount of time.

That’s something the Democrats and the IRS couldn’t explain away. That’s because the IRS scrutiny of TEA Party organizations was stifling, improper and possibly a violation of their civil rights.

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Andrew Napolitano’s op-ed for Fox News is a great history lesson of the Nixon administration’s and the Obama administration’s attempts to suppress political speech. It’s today’s must reading. Here’s Judge Napolitano’s illustration of how the Nixon administration suppressed speech:

Classic examples of “chilling” occurred in the 1970s, when FBI agents and U.S. Army soldiers, in business suits with badges displayed or in full uniform, showed up at anti-war rallies and proceeded to photograph and tape record protesters. When an umbrella group of protesters sued the government, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, ruling that the protesters lacked standing, meaning, because they could not show that they were actually harmed, they could not invoke the federal courts for redress.

Here’s what Judge Napolitano highlighted about the Obama administration’s attempt to suppress political speech:

So, what has the Obama administration done to stifle, or chill, the words of its detractors? For starters, it has subpoenaed the emails and home telephone records of journalists who have either challenged it or exposed its dark secrets. Among those journalists are James Risen of The New York Times and my colleague and friend James Rosen of Fox News. This is more personal than the NSA spying on everyone, because a subpoena is an announcement that a specific person’s words or effects have been targeted by the government, and that person continues to remain in the government’s crosshairs until it decides to let go.

This necessitates hiring legal counsel and paying legal fees. Yet, the targeting of Risen and Rosen was not because the feds alleged that they broke the law, there were no such allegations. Rather, the feds wanted to see their sources and their means of acquiring information. What journalist could perform his work with the feds watching? The reason we have a First Amendment is to assure that no journalist would need to endure that.

To his credit, Rosen hasn’t stopped asking tough questions while reporting on the touchiest of subjects. Though there’s no question that Mr. Rosen and his family have felt pressured by the government, Mr. Rosen has continued doing his job.

I suspect that that’s due in large part to his bosses, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, have told him that they have his back. Further, I’m certain that his co-workers, people like Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, Greta van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Fox’s correspondents, have showed him that they’ve got his back, too.

The point is that people can withstand a tyrannical administration’s attempts to chill political speech if a) they’re suppported by their colleagues and b) they’re willing to show that administration that they won’t be intimidated.

That’s the lesson in this tyranny. There’s nothing that’ll send a stronger message to a tyrant than saying that you can’t be intimidated. Admittedly, that’s easier said than done. Still, the rewards can be tremendous and the respect gained from colleagues immense. It’s what’s needed in stopping a bully like this:

Two weeks ago, a notorious pot stirrer in Norfolk, Neb., built a mock outhouse, put it on a truck and drove the truck with permission in a local Fourth of July parade. In front of the outhouse, he placed a mannequin that he claimed looked like himself, and on the outhouse, he posted a sign that stated: “Obama Presidential Library.”

Some thought this was crude, and some thought it was funny; yet it is fully protected speech. It is protected because satire and opinion about public figures are absolutely protected, as well as is all criticism of the government. Yet, the Department of Justice has sent a team to investigate this event because a local official called it racist. Such an allegation by a public official and such a federal investigation are chilling. The reason we have a First Amendment is to ensure that the government stays out of investigating speech.

There’s no question that President Obama and his chief henchman bristled when they saw this. President Obama has the thinnest skin of any American president in my lifetime. It’s one thing to not like it when people poke fun at you. It’s quite another to start a federal investigation when someone pokes fun at the president.

President Obama’s history has been to eliminate his political opponents whenever possible. When that isn’t possible, he’s resorted to Gestapo-like tactic. Threats and intimidation are definitely part of his ‘weaponry.’

The most indespensible tool in fights like this, again, is to show people you’re willing to stand up to their bullying tactics. Another great tool is to get people rallying around you. That’ happened in Rosen’s case. What hasn’t happened, though, is that Democrats haven’t shown they’ve got the integrity required to stand up to a thug in their own party.

The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to permit, encourage and even foment open, wide, robust debate about the policies and personnel of the government. That amendment presumes that individuals, not the government, will decide what language to read and hear. Because of that amendment, the marketplace of ideas, not the government, will determine which criticisms will sink in and sting and which will fall by the wayside and be forgotten.

This is one of those times when the best defense is a great offense. Nothing stops a bully as quickly as giving them a bloody nose or taking out their knee. That’ll send the message that you’re prepared for battle. That, more than anything else, will give a bully pause.

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Yesterday, I wrote this post to highlight how the media is letting the people down. In this instance, I criticized the St. Cloud Times for their kid glove treatment of SCSU President Earl Potter III. This part especially upset me:

The struggle to fill St. Cloud State University’s Coborn’s Plaza, high-end student housing, needs to be viewed as an opportunity, not a blame game.

In my commentary, I said that that type of thinking is what helps people continue making terrible decisions. Anytime the media doesn’t question decisionmakers’ decisions, the media breaks their trust with We The People. That’s unacceptable. In fact, it’s downright dangerous.

It’s aggravating that the Times couldn’t even publish accurate information before making their editorial statements:

To the former, from fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2015, the annual subsidy is projected to decline from $1.348 million to $937,800. While that’s progress, it only amounts to an annual decline of about $105,000. So how much longer will it take to break even?

Had the Times read my post on that matter, they wouldn’t have asked that question:

At the April 30, 2013 meeting of the Budget Advisory Committee, Patrick Jacobson-Schulte, Associate Vice President for Financial Management and Budget, informed the committee that, even under the best scenario of 100% occupancy, Coborn’s Plaza would lose between $50,000 and $150,000 annually.

This brings us to two important questions. First, why didn’t the Times learn about this information? Second, why did the Times hesitate in affixing blame on President Potter? They certainly didn’t hesitate in criticizing former SCSU President Saigo.

This isn’t meant as a critique of Dr. Saigo. Frankly, I didn’t pay that much attention to St. Cloud State prior to Potter’s administration. I won’t use this post to praise or criticize him. I’ll just use this post to highlight the fact that the St. Cloud Times frequently criticized Dr. Saigo but they refuse to criticize President Potter. What’s up with that?

It isn’t like President Potter hasn’t made lots of questionable decisions. For instance, he spent $50,000 on the Great Place to Work Institute’s Trust Index Survey. Here’s what the Trust Index Survey found:

Even after seeing these results, the Times insisted that both sides needed to ask themselves what they can do to make SCSU a better place to work. When 26% of respondents say that management delivers on its promises, there isn’t much that the faculty can do to change that figure, with the exception of lying. When 24% of respondents say that “management’s actions match its words”, it’s management’s responsibility to fix that crisis.

It isn’t the Times’ responsibility to say that ‘both sides can do better.’ It’s the Times’ responsibility to accurately state that it’s President Potter’s responsibility to fix the problem. Each time that the Times takes a on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach, it lets President Potter off the hook.

More importantly, the Times lets down the community by not giving people the information they need to make informed decisions. Each time the Times deflects attention away from President Potter, it’s taking sides. That, in turn, helps him pretend that he’s doing a good job.

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