“We are joining forces with all persons affected by Parens Patriae to include parents, extended family, foster parents and father's and mother's rights groups. While this is a difficult endeavor due to various divisions, the focus will be on challenging the system with the unified goals and commonalities that each is suffering under in family courts and through CPS.” (See Definition Parens Patriae) Become an Advocate for your State Learn More ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~Our Families are in Trouble~ Just a few articles for Your Consideration
If your inbox is anything like mine, you're getting a lot of emails about how SCARY health reform is. From allegations about rationing care to wild reports of government-sponsored euthanasia, the rumors just keep getting crazier.
And I've had enough. Enough of the fear-mongering. Enough of the myths and unfounded rumors. Enough of the interest groups twisting the truth to stop health reform.
I'm fighting back – and I'm asking for your help!
Below I've debunked some of the common myths going around. Will you forward this email to your friends and help get the truth out about reform?
The truth is real reform is at risk because opponents are using scare tactics and slogans to gin up fear and misunderstandings. Don't let that happen.
Barry Jackson AARP Online Advocacy Manager
P.S. Let's make sure everyone gets the truth. After you've forwarded the message below, please share these myths and facts on Facebook if you have an account, or post them on other networking sites. If you're active on Twitter, please tweet the truth now.
******Delete the text above and forward this message to friends and family ******
My inbox has been flooded with emails spreading crazy rumors about health reform so I wanted to share some facts from AARP about what's really going on. Please join me in forwarding these facts to everyone you know. Print them out and pass them around at your social gatherings and other places where people are discussing the issues of the day.
FACT #1: Medicare will not be ended, and no benefits or services will be cut.
Your services will not be ended, nor will your benefits be cut. AARP's position on this could not be clearer. And we have sent this message loud and clear to Congress. While the current proposals include savings in Medicare by cutting out fraud, abuse, waste, and inefficiency, we're standing up and making sure benefits for Medicare recipients are not only fully protected, but are improved.1
FACT #2: No legislation currently in Congress would mandate the rationing of care. Period.
Our staff has read all of the legislation circulating in Congress and there are no provisions in these bills that would ration care for our members. None. If any ever did, we would vigorously fight to stop that legislation.2
FACT #3: There is no provision of any piece of legislation that would promote euthanasia of any kind.
The rumors out there are flat out lies. Right now Medicare does not cover counseling for end-of-life care. The portion of the bill in question would simply provide coverage for optional end-of-life consultations with doctors, so that the patient can be aware of all of the treatment options on the table. It is not mandatory and it has nothing to do with euthanasia.3
FACT #4: We have not endorsed President Obama's plan.
In fact, we haven't endorsed any plan. We are supporting reform of our health care system, something that AARP has pushed for many years. We're working closely with Republican and Democratic members of Congress to lower health care costs and to ensure quality affordable coverage for older Americans – and we want reform legislation passed and signed by the president this year.4
So what is AARP fighting for in health reform?
Stopping insurance companies from charging older Americans unaffordable premiums because of their age.
Ending the practice of excluding people from insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
Holding down health costs and making insurance coverage more affordable for all Americans.
Making prescription drugs more affordable by narrowing the Medicare doughnut hole, bringing generics to market faster, and allowing Medicare to negotiate better drug prices.
A political-economic oligarchy has taken over the United States of America by Prof. John Kozy
A political-economic oligarchy has taken over the United States of America. This oligarchy has institutionalized a body of law that protects businesses at the expense of not only the common people but the nation itself.
CNN interviewed a person recently who was seriously burned when his vehicle burst into flames because a plastic brake-fluid reservoir ruptured. Having sued Chrysler, he was now concerned that its bankruptcy filing would enable Chrysler to avoid paying any damages. A CNN legal expert called this highly likely, since the main goal of reorganization in bankruptcy is preserving the company’s viability and that those creditors who could contribute most to attaining that goal would be compensated first while those involved in civil suits against the company would be placed lowest on the creditor list since compensating them would lessen the chances of the company’s surviving. This rational clearly implies that the preservation of companies is more important than the preservation of people. Of course, similar cases have been reported before. The claims of workers for unpaid wages have often been dismissed as have their contracts for benefits.
But there is an essential difference between a business that lends money or delivers products or services to another company and the employees who work for it. Business is an activity that supposedly involves risk. Employment is not. Neither is unknowingly buying a defective product. Workers and consumers do not extend credit to the companies they work for or buy products from. They are not in any normal sense of the word “creditors.” Yet that distinction is erased in bankruptcy proceedings which preserve companies at the public’s expense.
Of course, bankruptcy is not the only American practice that makes use of this principle. The current bailout policies of both the Federal Reserve and the Treasury make use of it. Again companies are being saved at the expense of the American people. America’s civil courts are notorious for favoring corporate defendants when sued by injured plaintiffs. Corporate profiteering is not only tolerated, it is often encouraged. The sordid records of both Halliburton and KBR are proof enough. Neither has suffered any serious consequences for their abysmal activities in Iraq while supplying services to the troops deployed there. Even worse, these companies continue to get additional contracts from the Department of State. “A former Army chaplain who later worked for Halliburton's KBR unit . . . told Congress . . . ‘KBR came first, the soldiers came second.’" [http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/news/deyoung.html] Again, it’s companies first, people last. But Major General Smedley Butler made this point in 1935. [See http://www.scuttlebuttsmallchow.com/racket.html] And everyone is familiar with the influence corporate America has over the Congress through campaign contributions and lobbying. For instance, “the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has earmarked $20 million over two years to kill [card check].” [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-card-check4-2009jun04,0,7195326.story?track=rss] Companies expect returns on their money, and preventing workers from unionizing offers huge returns. And on Thursday June 4, 2009 USA Today reported that, “Republicans strongly oppose a government run [healthcare] plan saying it would put private companies insuring millions of Americans out of business. ‘A government run plan would set artificially low prices that private insurers would have no way of competing with,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said . . . .” (Kentucky ranks fifth highest in the number of people with incomes below poverty. Why is he worried about the survival of insurers?)
The profound question is how can any of it be justified?
President Calvin Coolidge did say that the business of America is business and the American political class seems to have adopted this view, but the Constitution cannot be used to justify it. The word “business” in the sense of “commercial firm” occurs nowhere in it. Nowhere does the Constitution direct the government to even promote commerce or even defend private property. The Constitution is clear. It was established to promote just six goals: (1) form a more perfect union, (2) establish justice, (3) insure domestic tranquility, (4) provide for the common defense, (5) promote the general welfare, and (6) secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Of course, the Constitution does not prohibit the government from promoting commerce or defending private property, but what happens when doing so conflicts with one or more of its six purposes? Shouldn’t any law that does that be unconstitutional? For instance, wouldn’t it be difficult the claim that a bankruptcy procedure that protects business and subordinates or dismisses the claims of workers and injured plaintiffs establishes justice? How can spending trillions of dollars to save financial institutions and other businesses whose very own actions brought down the global economy be construed as establishing justice or even promoting the general welfare when people are losing their incomes, their pensions, their health care, and even their homes? These actions clearly conflict with the Constitution’s stated goals. Shouldn’t they have been declared unconstitutional? Although the Constitution does provide people with the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, it does not clearly provide that right to organizations or corporations and it certainly does not provide to anyone the right to petition the government for special advantages. Yet that is what the Congress, even after its members swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, allows special interest groups to do. Where in the Constitution is there a justification for putting the people last?
How this situation could have arisen is a puzzle? Haven’t our elected officials, our justices, our legal scholars, our professors of Constitutional Law, or even our political scientists read the Constitution? Have they merely misunderstood it? Or have they simply chosen to disregard the preamble as though it had no bearing on its subsequent articles? Why have no astute lawyers brought actions on behalf of the people? Why indeed?
The answer is that a political-economic oligarchy has taken over the nation. This oligarchy has institutionalized a body of law that protects businesses at the expense of not only the common people but the nation itself. Businessmen have no loyalties. The Bank of International Settlements insures it, since it is not accountable to any national government. (See my piece, A Banker’ Economy, http://www.jkozy.com/A_Bankers__Economy.htm.) Thomas Jefferson knew it when he wrote, “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gain.” Mayer Amschel Rothschild knew it when he said, "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws." William Henry Vanderbilt knew it when he said, “The public be damned.” Businesses know it when they use every possible ruse to avoid paying taxes, they know it when they offshore jobs and production, they know it when the engage in war profiteering, and they know it when they take no sides in wars, caring not an iota who emerges victorious. IBM, GM, Ford, Alcoa, Du Pont, Standard Oil, Chase Bank, J.P. Morgan, National City Bank, Guaranty, Bankers Trust, and American Express all knew it when they did business as usual with Germany during World War II. Prescott Bush knew it when he aided and abetted the financial backers of Adolf Hitler.
Yet somehow or other the people in our government, including the judiciary, do not seem to know it, and they have allowed and even abetted businesses that have no allegiance to any country to subvert the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Constitution does not define such action as treason.
America’s youthful students are regularly taught Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and are familiar with its peroration, “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” If that nation ever existed, it no longer does. And when Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” he answered,“A Republic, if you can keep it.” We haven’t. What we have ended up with is merely an Unpublic, an economic oligarchy that cares naught for either the nation or the public.
To argue that the United States of America is a failed state is not difficult. A nation that has the highest documented prison population in the world can hardly be described as domestically tranquil. A nation whose top one percent of the people have 46 percent of the wealth cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to be enjoying general welfare (“generally true” means true for the most part with a few exceptions). A nation that spends as much on defense as the rest of the world combined and cannot control its borders, could not avert the attack on the World Trade Center, and can not win its recent major wars can not be described as providing for its common defense. How perfect the union is or whether justice usually prevails are matters of debate, and what blessings of liberty Americans enjoy that peoples in other advanced countries are denied is never stated. A nation that cannot fulfill its Constitution’s stated goals surely is a failed one. How else could failure be defined? By allowing people with no fastidious loyalty to the nation or its people to control it, by allowing them to disregard entirely the Constitution’s preamble, the nation could not avoid this failure. The prevailing economic system requires it.
Woody Guthrie sang, “This Land Is My Land, This Land Is Your Land,” but it isn’t. It was stolen a long time ago. Although it may have been “made for you and me,” people with absolutely no loyalty to this land now own it. It needs to be taken, not bought, back! America needs a new birth of freedom, it needs a government for the people, it needs a government that puts people first, but it won’t get one unless Americans come to realize just how immoral and vicious our economic system is.
John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who blogs on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site's homepage.
We just took a huge first step to curb the credit card banks. But most of the shady financial products and practices that brought down our economy are still perfectly legal!
We need a new sheriff to clean up the mess -- a Consumer Financial Protection Agency whose job would be to crack down on crooks, and look out for us as we borrow to buy homes and cars, and invest our money for retirement or a college education.
Three major developments—all of them ominous—have occurred in the last several days.
1. On June 1 and 2, Georgetown University Law School hosted a two-day symposium entitled "The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC): Why It Is Time to Ratify."
This well-funded conference was held to organize a new coalition effort by American internationalists to seek ratification of the UN child's rights treaty.
2. In the second week of June, a major study was released by the British education ministry calling for dramatically dangerous increases in the regulation of homeschoolers in that nation.
This study concludes that the UN CRC requires that the government enter every homeschooling home and privately interview each homeschooling child to determine "the child's wishes" regarding his or her education.
3. On June 17, at the UN headquarters in Geneva, the UN's Human Rights Committee—which oversees all human rights treaties—announced that it was forming a committee to draft a new "protocol" for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Under this new addition to the CRC, individual children would be able to file a formal legal complaint if they believe that their rights had been violated. It would give this new international tribunal the right to determine if the child's treaty rights had been violated by any person.
The internationalists believe that this is their moment in history.
They have millions of dollars in their coffers. They have the media. They have the powers of government. They have the entire apparatus of the United Nations.
We have some assets as well.
Our arguments resonate with the American people—the vast majority of Americans believe that Americans should make our own domestic laws and that parents, not government, should make decisions for children.
Leaders at the Georgetown conference publicly admitted that logic and facts will not defeat our arguments. What do they plan to do?
They plan to use emotional arguments. They said so in open public sessions. At the Georgetown conference, the UN officials and other foreign experts were constantly censored by their American handlers. Why? Because these foreign experts acknowledge that this treaty would be supreme over American law.
The American child's rights propaganda machine denies that we would forfeit American sovereignty—even though they do not have the legal arguments to back their rhetoric. They did everything they could to silence their guest speakers when they strayed from the sanitized version of their message.
We are in a race. It is a race for the future of the American family and American self-government.
The question is: Will the lies of the internationalists be heard by more Americans than the truth of those who believe in families?
I wish that I could look each person reading this right in the eyes. It is incredibly difficult for written words to explain how serious this situation really is.
The real battle is being fought right now. Our opponents are preparing for a vote in the Senate sometime ahead—as soon as they feel they have laid the groundwork for victory.
Because the internationalists possess the reins of government, have millions of dollars at their disposal, and have powerful allies in the mainstream media, they can build momentum much faster than we are able to do.
We have to get our message out to others and we have to do it today.
I have been leading grassroots political efforts for over thirty years. Without any fear of contradiction, I can tell you that we are going to win or lose the battle over the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the next few months. The key to victory lies in the stage of preparation.
Will we have adequate preparation to win?
The annual budget of Parentalrights.org is less than $500,000. They have millions and millions of dollars at their disposal.
We must raise money right now to employ professionals who can help us get our message out in the media.
We must also raise money right now to employ experienced people to work the halls of Capitol Hill on our behalf.
I cannot do these things alone. We have to have a quality team if we expect to stop the combined power of Geneva, New York, and Washington.
This is the time to decide whether you are willing to take meaningful action.
There are just two tangible things I would ask you to do.
1. Give a gift of $10 or more right now to parentalright.org (PRO). Membership in PRO is just $25 a year. Sustaining membership is just $100. We have to raise a substantial amount of cash or we simply cannot keep up.
2. Please recruit at least three other people to sign up for our online email alerts. We have over 100,000 people who are a part of this team. We need to get to 4,000,000 supporters before the battle starts. We have to dramatically pick-up the pace of recruiting people if we are going to have any hope of beating the other side in the greatest grassroots battle in American history. We need to be doubling our numbers every couple months to get our team in place.
You are the best recruiters we have. Please pick up your phone right now and call a friend and tell them that they need to read the email you are about to send them and that you really need them to become part of the team. This kind of personal attention will work.
In less than two years, American social workers may be in a position to inform all our children that if they have any conflict with their parents over any decisions at all then they can file a formal complaint in an American court to vindicate their international rights. And ultimately, once this new protocol is in place, if they don't like the outcome from the American courts, there will be a new UN tribunal to hear their complaint.
Moms and dads, we have to get ready. The battle for American liberty is about to begin.
Economists want consumers to spend wisely so we can start helping our economic recovery. But we can’t manage our budgets when the credit card companies keep socking us with interest rate hikes and new fees on our cards, driving us further into the red.
By April 1st, you and most other Americans will see a small increase in your paycheck--money that officials hope you will spend. But you can't spend it if you have to turn around and give it to your credit card company.
Your emails launched a consumer movement to convince the Federal Reserve to crack down on the card companies. New rules would stop interest rate hikes on your existing balances for no reason whatsoever, and help you pay down high-interest debt sooner. But the rules won’t go into effect until July 2010 -- too late to help families’ fragile budgets and our stalled economy.
Michael Farris Answers "Why Do We Need An Amendment?" A Response to Those Who Would Prefer a State or Federal Legislative Action
Eighty years ago the Supreme Court declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).
Thirty years ago the Court continued this line of reasoning with the pronouncement that the “primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.” Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972).
Yet in 2000, when the State of Washington gave any person the ability to override a good parent’s decision about visitation by simply claiming that it would be “best” for children to allow the third-party to have visitation rights, in the Supreme Court:
·There were six separate opinions and none reached a five-vote majority
·Justice Thomas was the only Justice to clearly state that parental rights receive the same high legal standard of protection as other fundamental rights
·Justice Scalia held that parents have no constitutionally protected rights whatsoever
Support for a high-view of parental rights has been seriously undermined by the current Court.
As a consequence, numerous lower federal courts refuse to treat parental rights as deserving of protection as a fundamental right.
At the same time, America is poised to adopt the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. President Obama supports this treaty. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a leading advocate of this treaty for over twenty years. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has “promised” that this treaty will be ratified during this term of Congress.
If this treaty is ratified:
·The laws of all 50 states on children and parents would be superseded by this international law by virtue of a specific provision of the US Constitution which expressly declares treaties to be supreme over state law. Virtually all law on children and parents is state law.
·Good parents would no longer be entitled to the legal presumption that they act in the best interests of their children. Instead, the government would have the authority to overrule all parents on any decision concerning the child if the government believed it could make a better decision.
·Parents could no longer spank their children.
·Children would have the legal right to choose their own religion. Parents would be permitted only to give advice.
·America would be under a binding legal obligation to massively increase its federal spending on children’s programs.
The only kind of law that can override a treaty is the Constitution of the United States. State laws or state constitutions cannot override treaties. There is no guarantee that federal statutes could override treaties—moreover, we enter a binding legal promise to obey a treaty when we ratify it. America should not promise to obey a treaty and then claim it is appropriate to obey the treaty only when we want to. America of all nations must respect the rule of law.
There is only one possible solution for the eroding support for parental rights in the Supreme Court that can also stop the encroachment of international law.
We need to place the time-honored test of parental rights, as recognized by the Supreme Court for over seventy years, into the explicit text of the Constitution.
We cannot wait until our rights are formally demolished. We must act now to stop international law and protect these two key principles:
·Fit parents should be allowed to direct the upbringing of their children.
·American legislators, not international tribunals, should make the public policy for America on families and children.
If you believe these two principles, become a supporter of parental rights by signing the online petition at www.parentalrights.org.
Other Items of Interest from Parental Rights
Tracking Our House Sponsors The number of Representatives committed to sponsoring the Parental Rights Amendment legislation this term has reached 30. Track the sponsors and look for your Congressman on our Sponsors List. Become a 10-and-2 Volunteer We need many, many more volunteers to reach our goal of 10,000 signatures in each Congressional district. We need you to join us! Download all you need and sign up on line at parentalrights.org/join-the-fight. ChildRightsCampaign.org Refuted If you've seen their website with all their "myths" and "truths", then you know something is not quite right, but maybe you can't quite say what it is. Dr. Michael Farris has addressed the article point-by-point with full documentation to prove that their "myths" are true, and their "truths" are just as unsupported as they appear. Read it here.
Parental Rights Conference Held Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA, hosted the event Feb. 20. Read the review.
FoxNews.com Features Mike Farris ParentalRights.org President Michael Farris was featured in an interview posted by FoxNews.com on Wed., Feb. 25. Read our note and get linked to the Fox story here.
Oklahoma's Children's Cabinet In Europe, Children's Cabinets under the UN Convention are a possible nightmare. See why ours are nothing like theirs in this report.
Minnesota Joins "Sovereignty" Movement Minnesota joins a growing list of states demanding the federal government respect the Tenth Amendment and stop over-stepping its bounds. Read more.
On Kenya, Corporal Punishment, and U.S. Sovereignty According to this report, it's not about whether or not to spank, but about who gets to make that call for Americans. Are we self-governing, or are we not?
Why the $700B Senate Bailout Bill Will Fail Taxpayers
In this FREE investor's report, a top analyst details the $700 Billion Bailout
Well… the bailout plan passed.
And it further proves that our financial firefighters in the Senate, House and Treasury have no problem having taxpayers foot a colossal $700 billion bill.
Worse, the bailout plan fails to address the reasons this whole mess started.
This report outlines – in plain English – what’s wrong with the bailout bill and reveals eight solutions that would take the burden off us taxpayers.
Full report: Access to the remainder of our free investor report is reserved for Money Morning subscribers, who receive in-depth news and expert investment advice every day, free of charge.
NO-SPAM PLEDGE: We will NEVER rent, sell or give away your e-mail address to anyone for any reason. You can unsubscribe from Money Morning anytime with just a few clicks.
Parents play an irreplaceable role in the lives of their children. This vital relationship positively impacts a child's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The right of parents to maintain a strong involvement in their children's lives has been continually upheld by Supreme Court doctrine. It is deeply valued by millions of American families.
We call upon Congress to pass a constitutional amendment which will secure the vital liberty of parents to raise their children, both for ourselves and for future generations of American families.
PROPOSED TEXT OF THE AMENDMENT
SECTION 1 The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.
SECTION 2 Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.
SECTION 3 No treaty nor any source of international law may be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.
~~Our Families Are in Trouble~~ Below are recent emails I received, and other information, that I want to share with all Families. We are in trouble, as families. Please let your friends know how you feel
Vote today for your favorite illustration--and help a young artist teach others about the dangers of debt! Voting ends Friday!
We need your votes for the best cartoons in our “Dangers of Debt” contest, in which young Americans depict their struggle with cards, student loans and more. The top vote getter wins a cash prize and their cartoon will be used to illustrate our campaigns.
Young adults from across the nation portrayed how their generation is dealing with the current debt crisis, made worse by massive student loans, multiple credit cards and spiraling interest rates.
Their artwork illustrates how credit card companies and student loan lenders prowl for youthful customers to increase their profits.
One recent survey found a quarter of graduates leave college with $5,000 in credit card debt. Student loan debt has doubled in the past decade, with the average graduate carrying a $19,200 school bill.
The next generation needs to learn how to avoid this debt, which is our ultimate goal. By voting, and forwarding our contestants' efforts to others, you can help educate other students about the dangers of easy credit.
Local and state child abuse prevention advocates say a recent state court ruling is blurring the line between child abuse and parental discipline.
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled last month that a Marion County mother acted with reasonable force when striking her child multiple times with an electrical cord or belt.
The case involved a Marion County woman who in 2006 was convicted of battery for whipping her 11-year-old son, leaving multiple bruises on his thighs, arm and buttocks. Sophia Willis admitted she used a belt to strike her son five to seven times after he stole some of her clothes and gave them to a classmate, then lied about it, court documents state.
The boy, known as J.J., told the school nurse his mother made him drop his pants before she gave him a “whooping” with an electrical cord. Willis appealed the conviction, but the state Court of Appeals upheld it. On June 10, four of five justices with the state's highest court ruled the mother's form of discipline did not cross the line into criminal conduct.
“This ruling really concerns me because of what it may do to the ability of (child welfare) workers to do their investigations,” said Rachel Tobin-Smith, executive director of SCAN Inc., which works to prevent child abuse and neglect. “My concern is we are at a point when our DCS system is doing the best job it has in years of really responding to the reports of abuse and neglect. I think this is a step backwards.”
Parents have the right to discipline and should do so, Tobin-Smith said, but noted, “Discipline and punishment are two different things. When you realize this kid had bruises from a belt or a cord, then you know this parent has crossed the line.
“One of the hallmarks we've always said of child abuse (is) the markings, the bruises or cuts. … (If) it left marks, it always meant there had been lack of parental constraint and it was abuse.
“Now that just got grayer with the Supreme Court. … My concern is that the public will be afraid to report abuse. If I were a caseworker, it would surely make me second-guess when doing an investigation,” Tobin-Smith said.
The lower court judge in the Willis case said in his ruling, “This is a tough area of the law … because you know that a person's intent was not to do the wrong thing. … I don't have a good answer for you as to where to draw the line.”
What the state court said
The Supreme Court judges said: “The (Indiana) Code does not explicitly demand that the use of force be reasonable. Second, under the Code, so long as a parent acts for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child's welfare (including the specific purpose of preventing or punishing misconduct), the parent is privileged in using force, unless the force creates a substantial risk of death or excessive injuries.”
Yet the justices concurred with the Appellate Court that there is “precious little Indiana case law providing guidance as to what constitutes proper and reasonable parental discipline of children, and there are no bright-line rules.”
DCS standards unchanged
Michelle Savieo, director of the Allen County Office of Department of Child Services, said the Supreme Court's ruling in the Willis case will not change the way caseworkers investigate allegations or how they define evidence of abuse or neglect.
“We continue to look at the same standards as we always looked at in investigation, Savieo said. “We've always gone with the belief that if the parent leaves bruises on a child, then they've crossed the line and that is child abuse.”
Child Protective Services' role, she points out, is to investigate allegations. It is a prosecutor's responsibility to decide whether enough evidence exists beyond a reasonable doubt to warrant a criminal charge.
Neither does the ruling change state law on reporting abuse, Savieo said.
“The law is very clear in Indiana that if you have suspicion that a child has been abused or neglected, you are a mandated reporter,” she said.
Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards said the Willis case illustrates the importance of each case being evaluated individually and that what is reasonable discipline of an 11-year-old is not reasonable for a 2-year-old.
“We're supposed to prove that the force was unreasonable,” Richards said.
The justices said the physical and mental condition of the child must be factored into what is “reasonable force” and “serious harm,” as should the nature of the child's offense and motive.
What is serious harm?
“One of the greatest challenges in Indiana is defining serious harm,” said Sharon Pierce, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana and The Villages in Indianapolis, which provides foster care, adoption and family services.
Said Richards, “If the child in this case would have said he was in severe pain or it would have required medical attention,” the ruling might have come down differently.
The boy said the whipping hurt “for a minute,” according to court documents, and no medical care was needed.
The justices said, “there is nothing in the record concerning (J.J's) physical or mental condition,” a point Pierce cites when she questions how they could have made a ruling without such evidence. “The boy may have been 11 in age, but is he emotionally 8 or 9?” she asked.
The bigger picture in this is, “How can we work to prevent getting to this point?” Pierce said. “How do we as caring communities help parents have a tool box, if you will, to have strategies, to set limits? As parents our role is to teach and not to threaten.”
It's never been against the law for parents to discipline their children, even spank them, Richards said. “But you're still not supposed to injure your child when you discipline them.”
♦To get help for yourself or someone who is struggling with everyday demands of parenting, call the Network For Safe Families at 1-800-752-7116. ♦To report abuse or neglect, call 1-800-CHILDREN (1-800-244-5373), or the Department of Child Services at 1-800-800-5556.
Indiana's 2007 child abuse and neglect deaths
♦17 - Child fatalities in Indiana due to abuse. ♦19 - Child fatalities in Indiana due to neglect. ♦9 - Child fatalities occurring in families that had at least one prior Child Protective Services substantiated investigation. ♦5 - Child abuse deaths due to skull fracture. ♦4 - Child abuse deaths due to shaken baby syndrome. ♦3 - Child medical neglect deaths (one in lack of oxygen for respirator-dependent child, one from cardiac arrest due to lack of seizure mediation and one massive infection). ♦2 - Child neglect deaths due to poisoning (one alcohol and one methadone). ♦1 - Child abuse death due to methadone. ♦2 - Child deaths from gunshot wounds (one abuse and one neglect).
Source: Indiana Department of Child Services Child Fatality Report for state fiscal year 2007
I was told about Mr. Common Sense early in my life and told I would do well to
call on him when making decisions. It seems he was always around in my early years but less and less as time passed by. Today I read his obituary. Please join me for a moment of silence in remembrance. For Common Sense had served us all so well for
so many generations.
Common Sense Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. He declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Aspirin, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student; but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live when the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when one couldn't legally defend oneself in ones own home for fear the burglar could sue for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman, failing to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge cash settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I-Know-My-Rights, Someone-Else-Is-To-Blame, and I'm-A-Victim.
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.
Massachusetts Spanking Ban Would Criminalize Good Parents Thomasson: This bill equates loving, corrective discipline with hateful, harmful abuse
Sacramento, California – This morning on FNC’s Fox & Friends, Campaign for Children and FamiliesPresident Randy Thomasson debated Rep. Jay Kaufman, whose bill banning spanking is scheduled for a hearing today in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
House Bill 3922 states “it shall be unlawful” for a parent to provide corporal punishment to their own children. Taking direct aim at good parents who occasionally spank to correct rebellion, the bill specifically bans “the willful infliction of physical pain,” even temporary pain to a child’s buttocks.
“This bill equates loving, corrective discipline with hateful, harmful abuse,” said Thomasson, who earlier this year helped lead the opposition to a similar California bill by Democratic Assemblywoman Sally Lieber. “Just as California’s proposed spanking ban was stopped cold, Kaufman’s bill should be rejected by lawmakers who respect the sanctity of the home. Why are Democrat politicians like Jay Kaufman so intolerant of parents who occasionally spank? Do they have something against good, responsible parents who teach their children to respect authority? This bill would turn most parents into suspected child abusers.”
“This punish-you-if-you-spank-your-children bill is intrusive, unenforceable, and a blatant violation of parental rights,” said Thomasson. “What’s next, jail time for parents who raise their voices at their children? We already have enough legitimate laws prohibiting physical abuse of children, and this proposal is certainly not one of them.”
“This nonsensical bill injects the big nose of government into the family home, where it doesn’t belong,” said Thomasson. “Some parents spank and some parents don’t, and that’s their right as parents. Government regulation of parents’ discipline wipes out the right of parents to raise their own children. This is wrong. God gave children to parents, not to the state.”
“Appropriate spanking is not ‘beating’ or ‘abusing’ a child, which is a ridiculous and offensive comparison,” continued Thomasson. “When appropriate spanking is lovingly administered, it greatly helps a disobedient youngster to become a well-adjusted adult who respects authority. But the lack of parental discipline and a philosophy of permissiveness can produce a rebellious, compulsive teenager. There are untold numbers of Americans who testify that being spanked has made them a better person in life -- I’m one of them.”
Top child development experts teach that children under 15 or 18 months old should not be spanked because they don’t understand it, but that appropriate spanking of rebellious children between ages 2 and 10 “is the shortest and most effective route to an attitude adjustment.”
“Being a parent carries no right to slap and intimidate a child because you had a bad day or are in a lousy mood. It is this kind of unjust discipline that causes some well-meaning authorities to reject corporal punishment as a method of discipline,” writes Dr. James Dobson, a child psychologist and best-selling author of The New Dare to Discipline (1996) and the Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide (2000).
“Just because a technique is used wrongly, however, is no reason to reject it altogether,” Dobson said. “Many children desperately need this resolution to their disobedience. In those situations when the child, aged 2 to 10, fully understands what he is being asked to do but refuses to yield to adult leadership, an appropriate spanking is the shortest and most effective route to an attitude adjustment. When he lowers his head, clenches his fists, and makes it clear he is going for broke, justice must speak swiftly and eloquently. Not only does this response not create aggression in children, it helps them control their impulses and live in harmony with various forms of benevolent authority throughout life.”
“There is no excuse for spanking babies or children younger than 15 to 18 months of age,” Dobson added. “Even shaking an infant can cause brain damage and death at that delicate age! But midway through the second year (18 months), boys and girls become capable of knowing what you’re telling them to do or not do. They can then very gently be held responsible for how they behave. Suppose a child is reaching for an electric socket or something that will hurt him. You say, “No!” but he just looks at you and continues reaching toward it. You can see the mischievous smile on his face as he thinks, I’m going to do it anyway! I’d encourage you to speak firmly so that he knows he is pushing past the limits. If he persists, slap his fingers just enough to sting. A small amount of pain goes a long way at that age and begins to introduce children to realities of the physical world and the importance of listening to what you say.”
“Through the next 18 months,” he wrote, “you gradually establish yourself as the benevolent boss who means what you say and says what you mean. Contrary to what you have read in popular literature, this firm but loving approach to child rearing will not harm a toddler or make him violent. To the contrary, it is most likely to produce a healthy, confident child.”
You're a good parent. You love your children and want them to grow up to be morally sound citizens who are caring, responsible, and respectful. You've decided to raise them using healthy and traditional parenting methods that are proven to work.
Sometimes you have to show tough love to correct misbehavior, disobedience, and outright rebellion. For many parents with traditional values, discipline may, on occasion, mean a few swats on the bottom with a small paddle, a wooden spoon, a little stick, or some other implement. This is to teach good behavior, virtues, and respect for authority to your beloved children.
But if AB 2943 is approved by the Democrat-controlled California State Legislature and signed by liberal Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, good parents who occasionally spank with an implement will be arrested as suspected child abusers. If you spank your children this way, AB 2943 means you will be handcuffed and taken to the police station for a mug shot. Your children will probably be taken away and placed into the severely overburdened foster care system.
If charged with using "an implement" to spank, your guilt or innocence will be decided by a jury. If convicted of violating AB 2943, you will be ordered into "nonviolent parental education." You could also be sent to jail for up to a year. Perhaps this is why the California prison guards union supports AB 2943. Good, loving parents will be punished the same as hateful, harmful child abusers. And this, when there are already enough laws on the books punishing the actual physical abuse of children.
Urgent Update: AB 2943 will be heard this Wednesday, April 30 by the committee that examines the fiscal impact of bills, the California Assembly Appropriations Committee. AB 2943 has already passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly Public Safety Committee.
Please take immediate action. Do your part to stop this radical, unnecessary government intrusion into California families. Take a few minutes right now to call and email the Appropriations Committee members. This is a new alert and the second committee battle for AB 2943. Please participate right now, because time is short.
1-My Response(I only wish I could have added my words first, instead of last)
Thank you for using Campaign for Children and Families Mail System
Message sent to the following recipients:
Fiona Ma Jose Solorio Mark Leno Mimi Walters Anna Caballero Mike Davis Mark DeSaulnier Bill Emmerson Warren Furutani Jared Huffman Betty Karnette Paul Krekorian Doug La Malfa Ted Lieu Alan Nakanishi Pedro Nava Sharon Runner Governor Schwarzenegger ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ email April 29, 2008 [recipient address was inserted here] Dear [recipient name was inserted here],
Last year, the Appropriations Committee shelved the anti-spanking bill because of its harmful effect on good parents and the high cost of enforcement. Please oppose AB 2943 this year for the same reasons, including these:
If AB 2943 becomes law, police and sheriff departments will have a large increase of cases to investigate. District Attorneys will also have a large increase in cases to review and prosecute.
CPS workers will face a significant increase in reports of alleged abuse to investigate and petitions to be filed in Juvenile Courts. Criminal and Juvenile Court judges and their staffs can expect to see a significant increase in their workload.
Most of these cases will involve innocent parents who have been arrested or reported because they lovingly disciplined their children. As a result, state and county funding will have to be significantly increased.
Good parents will be arrested, handcuffed, and charged with criminal child abuse if AB 2943 becomes law in California. This isn't right. Innocent parents who occasionally and lovingly correct their children should not be criminalized as child abusers. But that's what AB 2943 would do.
In light of California's $10 BILLION state budget deficit, California can't afford AB 2943. At the same time, the unjust harm this bill would do to good parents should not be supported. AB 2943 mixes loving, corrective discipline with hateful, harmful abuse in the law. AB 2943 has an high enforcement cost, and is a disservice to good parents in California. These parents are raising their children with traditional values, but are in no way physical abusers as this bill unfairly charges.
~My words below~
How far must we go to control the Rights of a Family to raise their children??
There are legal definitions of Child Abuse. Not to mention children are taken from their families on False Allegations. Taken by CPS on alleged Child Abuse of which many were not Child Abuse at all, but just False Allegations by another Family member or Neighbor.
Passing of this bill will only weaken the techniques a Caring Parent can use with their children. What next, shall we consider it Child Abuse if a Child Can not watch enough TV????? This may sound ridiculous, but think about it, as far as the True Definition of Child Abuse Has been stretched.
I am an advocate for Family Rights and member of a Foster Parent Group and they are against this legislation.
YES FOSTER PARENTS CAN'T SPANK FOSTER CHILDREN. But they realize abolishing spanking will weaken what loving parents can do.
Please visit our site
http://rScrapZ.com/NFPCAR/ and see how False Allegations, assumed Child Abuse, have ruined lives of families and children. Plus, how CPS has taken advantage of this.
It’s often said that California is a trendsetter. Ideas that begin in California have a habit of making their way across the country.
Currently, many families have been alarmed at the recent California Court of Appeal ruling that prohibits homeschooling unless the parent is a certified teacher.
In just 10 days, more than 250,000 people signed the Home School Legal Defense Association petition opposing this decision. Not all these families were homeschoolers. James Dobson of Focus on the Family says the ruling was an “all-out assault on the family.”
The good news is that the Court of Appeal has granted a request for a rehearing of its decision on homeschooling, which by law, automatically vacates the decision, meaning it’s no longer binding.
The court has solicited a number of public school establishment organizations to submit amicus briefs, including the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, the California Department of Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and three California teachers unions.
Although there is no guarantee the outcome will be different after the rehearing, The homeschool community welcomes the opportunity to file an amicus brief advocating that the court retain the current method of homeschooling in California through the private school exemption.
Just when things seemed to be settling down in California, on April 3, Assembly Bill 2943 was introduced by assembly member Sally Lieber. This bill would have the practical effect of making a noninjurious spanking with an object such as a ruler, folded newspaper or small paddle illegal in California. The bill is identical to Assembly Bill 755, which failed to pass the assembly last year.
This bill amends Penal Code section 273(a), which makes it a crime to cause unjustifiable pain, harm or injury to any minor child. If the bill passes, spanking with an object such as a stick, rod or switch would be lumped in with throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child.
Striking a child with a fist. Striking a child under 3 years of age on the face or head. Vigorously shaking of a child under 3 years of age. Interfering with a child’s breathing. Brandishing a deadly weapon upon a child. These are all factors that a jury could use to conclude that a defendant in a criminal case has inflicted unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering.
What the bill would do is to equate discipline administered via an implement with the above conduct, which obviously is abusive behavior toward a child.
This likely will have several negative unjustifiable consequences in California. Prosecutors could end up filing criminal charges against parents for simply spanking their children with an object even though reasonable, age-appropriate corporal discipline is a protected right of parents in every state.
Secondly, by the mere fact that jurors in criminal cases would be instructed that they could consider spanking with an implement to be criminal conduct would imply that the legislature believes that this type of conduct is abusive conduct. Finally, if this law passes, it will have a chilling effect on parents who reasonably exercise discipline through the use of spanking with an implement.
Although this is not a homeschool issue, it is a parental rights issue. One of the foundations for the right to homeschool is based upon the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
The erosion of parental rights is a dangerous trend. If California continues to push to have homeschooling parents be certified teachers and limit heretofore well-established disciplinary tools of parents, it will be asserting the view that the state knows what’s best for children, thereby limiting the authority of parents to raise their children in a responsible way.
Defending parental rights is apparently going to be an uphill battle in California. Now is the time to take a look at amending the U.S. Constitution to protect parental rights.
Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at (540)338-5600; or send email to media@....
Thomas M. Dutkiewicz, President Connecticut DCF Watch Civil Rights Advocates For Families P.O. Box 9775 Forestville, CT 06011-9775 860-833-4127 Admin@... www.connecticutDCFwatch.com
P.S. Check out our web site for the FREE handbook on parental rights. There is also a manual on "reasonable efforts" with sections for Attorneys, Judges and Agencies.
(WE AT CONNECTICUT DCF WATCH ARE NOT ATTORNEYS AND ARE UNABLE TO OFFER ANY LEGAL ADVICE. ANY INFORMATION OR OPINIONS CONTAINED IN THIS EMAIL OR FROM CT DCF WATCH AND ITS MEMBERS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE ANY INFORMATION, YOU DO SO BY YOUR OWN CHOICE, CONVICTION AND RISK. WE ONLY OFFER UP AN OPINION FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DECISIONS YOU CHOOSE TO MAKE OR FAIL TO MAKE. BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISIONS, SEEK LEGAL ADVISE FROM AN ATTORNEY IN THE AREA OF LAW YOU WISH TO PURSUE.)
Good parents will be arrested, handcuffed, and charged with criminal child abuse if AB 2943 becomes law in California. Please take action to protect the God-given rights of parents who spank with a little paddle or a wooden implement to correct their child's misbehavior.
Randy Thomasson, President, Campaign for Children and Families (CCF)
I left the hearing room with anger building inside me. The Democrat chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee had announced he would support AB 2943, the anti-spanking bill. And indeed he did, along with the rest of the Democrats on the committee. Also supporting AB 2943 were lobbyists representing the California Teachers Association and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.
The two mothers that Campaign for Children and Families had brought to the April 15 committee hearing did very well as citizen activists. They and their teenage girls told TV and radio reporters that a spanking was sometimes necessary to correct misbehavior, and that spanking is definitely NOT child abuse. The radio reporter "got it"…and one of our mothers, Sarah Berke, was on KFBK 1530 AM, Sacramento's top radio station, three times Tuesday afternoon, going head-to-head with sound bytes from AB 2943 author Sally Lieber. The Fox 40 TV reporter got it too, broadcasting a strong two-minute story Tuesday night. The station's online poll found that more than 90 percent of their viewers oppose banning spanking.
As I exited the committee room, catching me at the door was a reporter of a big-city newspaper. The reporter understood correctly that AB 2943 would change the law to label parents who spank with an implement as child abusers subject to arrest. But the story didn't run, apparently because the truth about AB 2943 could defeat both the bill and the newspaper's liberal agenda.
Thank you to everyone who called, emailed, and showed up to oppose AB 2943. We expected a defeat in the liberal Assembly Public Safety Committee, which is dominated by Democrats, who ALL supported the anti-spanking bill. The two Republicans on the committee voted no, but that wasn't much help. Both men missed the AB 2943 hearing and their voices were silent. Now AB 2943 is lunging forward. Pro-family Californians must keep the faith and fight for the defeat of this very bad bill.
The good news is that God allowed CCF to begin the process of publicly exposing the anti-spanking bill in the media. CCF worked hard to get parents and children to the committee, invited the media who came and did interviews, and kept persevering after the hearing, issuing a strong news release and doing more interviews, including the Jaz McKay Show on KNZR 1560 Bakersfield.
After the vote, a pastor's wife asked me, "Why is this bill back after being stopped last year?" I said the anti-family forces are trying to wear us out. "They think we'll eventually retreat, stop standing for righteousness, and give up when the going gets tough," I told her. "But people who care must not allow AB 2943 to become law. To prevent good parents from being arrested and their children taken away, we must increase, not decrease, our efforts against this intolerant, anti-family bill."
April 10, 2008: The legislator who wants to arrest and jail good parents who occasionally spank their children is back with a vengeance.
Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, the termed-out Democrat Speaker pro Tempore from the San Jose area, has gutted and amended her bill AB 2943, tranforming it into last year's highly-controversial bill punishing any parent who uses an “implement” to spank their children.
AB 2943 would label good, loving parents -- who occasionally use a little paddle, a ruler, a little stick, or a brush to correct their youngster's misbehavior -- as official "child abusers" in the eyes of the law.
Under AB 2943, police officers, district attorneys, juries, and child protective services will view ALL parents who spank as suspected child abusers worthy of investigation.
This bad bill would mean good parents could be arrested and spend the night in jail. Their children would be removed from the home and placed in foster care for "protection." If convicted of using an "implement" to spank their child (even if it was only one time), the parent would be ordered into "nonviolent parental education" and their children could be taken away for four years or more.
PLEASE ACT NOW
AB 2943 is scheduled for a hearing and vote Tuesday, April 15 in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. There are four Democrats and two Republicans on the committee. If this ratio holds firm and one Democrat votes "no" or abstains, AB 2943 would be stopped.
Your immediate action is needed. Please contact all the committee members and your own representatives too.
1. Contact the committee members and your own elected representatives in Sacramento
2. Bring yourself and your children to the April 15 hearing at the State Capitol. The committee members need to see and hear from good mothers and good fathers that AB 2943 would tranform into suspected child abusers. We need California moms and dads and their children to pack out the committee room!
Please rearrange your schedule, cancel other activities, put aside your fear, put on faith, and show up to the committee room on Tuesday, April 15. Be prepared to go to the microphone to say your name and why you’re opposed to AB 2943. Ten seconds of speaking is all that is needed. Yes, you can do it.
State Capitol, 10th and L Streets in Sacramento Room 126 on the first floor near the north side entrance Assembly Public Safety Committee begins Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 9 a.m. (Plan to park by 8:15 a.m. and get to the committee room by 8:30 a.m. for limited seating; the committee hearing is expected to last until lunchtime)
President Bush has again requested "emergency" funding to continue the occupation of Iraq. He has asked Congress to appropriate more than one hundred billion dollars for fiscal year 2008 to pay for continuing the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
By pressuring Congress to provide billions of dollars in "emergency" war funding each year, President Bush has tried to hide the true cost of the Iraq occupation by not including it in the Pentagon's operating budget. After five years and five hundred billion dollars sunk into this invasion and occupation, our elected officials should stand up and say "no more."
Records changedafter librarian reported porn~'The county actions in firing Brenda Biesterfeld are inexcusable'
April 3, 2008
Personnel records used to justify the dismissal of a librarian who reported to police a man viewing child pornography on a public computer were changed after her dismissal, according to a law firm working on behalf of Brenda Biesterfield.
That, however, hasn't stopped the county from justifying its actions and citing the changed records.
"The actions of Tulare County officials in firing Brenda Biesterfeld are simply inexcusable," said Mathew D. Staver, founder of
"She should be reinstated and compensated for the injustice done to her," he said. "The Tulare County Library ought to adopt clear policies informing their staff of the duty to report child pornography to police authorities. Just as taking crack in a library cubicle is illegal and must be reported, even more so should child pornography be reported. It is an unspeakable crime against children."
was dismissed from her position as a librarian without explanation two days after police found a library customer allegedly viewing illegal child pornography on a library computer. They had been alerted by Biesterfeld.
The county later wrote to Liberty Counsel's Stephen M. Crampton in response to his letter protesting the dismissal and demanding her reinstatement. The county reported an internal review by its administrative office "led to the conclusion that Ms. Biesterfeld was terminated for legitimate business reasons and not because of any report she made to the Lindsay Police Department…"
However, county officials cited "confidentiality laws" that prevented them from disclosing the reasons. So Liberty Counsel obtained copies of Beisterfeld's personnel files, redacted private information, and posted them
The files demonstrate "she was indeed fired for reporting to police that a patron, Donny Lynn Chrisler, was viewing child pornography on a library computer," the law firm said.
Liberty Counsel said a performance evaluation given Jan. 15 by Judy Hill, the supervisor who fired Biesterfeld, stated she was performing satisfactorily. As the sole employee at the Lindsay branch, she was entrusted with managing the entire branch library, the firm noted.
"The evaluation also mentioned additional training that was coming up in March and stated: 'In April 2008, the 'new' Lindsay Branch Library will be completed. When it gets closer to the date of completion we will go over the move and floor plan,'" Liberty Counsel quoted.
"On Feb. 21, Biesterfeld was visited by the entire management of the Tulare County library system, all of whom reiterated that Biesterfeld would very soon assume responsibilities for this brand new facility. A few days after that visit, Biesterfeld was asked what color bookends she wished for the new facility," Liberty Counsel said.
But when the pornography case suspect was arrested, Hill "was upset and demanded from police the name of the person who reported him. Hill terminated Biesterfeld two days after the arrest, when Hill learned it was Biesterfeld who called police," the law firm said.
After the dismissal, Hill then placed "new items" in Biesterfeld's personnel filed without telling Biesterfeld, a violation of county library policies that require employees be notified and given an opportunity to respond, the organization reported.
"The new information placed in her file after the termination discusses minor issues regarding shelving books. Even this new, after-the-fact information fails to justify the wrongful termination of Biesterfeld," Liberty Counsel said.
"The fact is that Judy Hill sought to ignore the serious crime committed in the library when Chrisler viewed child pornography," the law firm said. "She was allegedly concerned more about Chrisler having a right to view child pornography. In fact, there is no right to view child pornography, even in the privacy of the home, let alone a public library."
Staver told WND Biesterfield – or any librarian – really had no choice in the matter and that most states have similar laws requiring those in a position of trust, such as teachers or pastors, to report any suspicion of child abuse, which could include child pornography.
He said the laws he's reviewing don't specifically mention librarians but do include adults who work with children.
"It could apply to a librarian; they have children coming into their facilities. They have a duty, obviously," he said.
Staver said anyone who would refuse to report such activities possibly could be cited, should a prosecutor decide to take on such a case.
The county also, however, volunteered to let the issue go to mediation to reach a resolution.
"The board has arranged for an independent investigation to be performed by retired Superior Court Judge Kenneth Conn … In an attempt to address your concerns and resolve this matter as expeditiously as possible, the board is willing to participate in mediation before Judge Conn," said the letter from attorney Michael Woods on behalf of the county's managing board.
Conn already had been requested to investigate and report to the county, the letter said.
"Following consideration of Judge Conn's findings the board will respond to your demand that Ms. Biesterfeld be reinstated to her former position and that she be compensated for her lost wages and damages," the letter said.
Biesterfeld previously was honored by city officials in Lindsay and the
Liberty Counsel reported it was Hill who signed off on a "satisfactory" evaluation for Biesterfeld before the confrontation over the pornography and who, after the fact, rasied other complaints about Biesterfeld.
It also was Hill who, when police made the arrested and confiscated the computer, told officers they had no business enforcing the child pornography law within the library.
"Our goal is to get Brenda's job back, to institute a new library policy that has no tolerance for obscenity and child pornography, and to send a nationwide message that child predators will not be allowed to 'do their thing' in libraries," he said.
Thomasson said the local battle has significant national implications.
"We're also defending children nationwide," he said. "You see, the
American Library Association, which is the controlling influence over libraries nationwide, views pornography and obscenity as 'intellectual freedom.' Because of this, many libraries in the U.S. allow child pornographers to use their Internet system undetected and unreported. Is it any wonder why child molestation has become so common?"
it is not the work of a library to protect children from material that is "legally obscene."
"Governmental institutions cannot be expected to usurp or interfere with parental obligations and responsibilities when it comes to deciding what a child may read or view," the ALA says.
It also defines "intellectual freedom" as the right to see material "without restriction." Those who object to obscenity and its availability are "censors," who "try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate."
"Each of us has the right to read, view, listen to, and disseminate constitutionally protected ideas, even if a censor finds those ideas offensive," the ALA states.
"Censors might sincerely believe that certain materials are so offensive, or present ideas that are so hateful and destructive to society, that they simply must not see the light of day. Others are worried that younger or weaker people will be badly influenced by bad ideas, and will do bad things as a result," the ALA said.
That was the point Steve Baldwin, a former California lawmaker, was making when he penned a column citing a report from the
"A 2000 report by the Family Research Council details how its researchers sent out surveys to every librarian in America asking questions about access to pornography. Despite efforts by the ALA to stop its members from responding, 462 librarians did respond. Their replies revealed 472 instances of children assessing pornography, 962 instances of adults accessing pornography, 106 instances of adults exposing children to pornography, five attempted child molestations, 144 instances of child porn being accessed and 25 instances of library staff being harassed by those viewing pornography. Over 2,062 total porn-related incidents were reported by a mere 4.6 percent of our nation's librarians so one can assume the number of incidents is probably twenty times higher," he reported.
He wrote that the "bias" of the ALA is obvious.
"When parent groups have offered to place books in libraries with conservative themes or are critical of the left, the ALA's claims of being First Amendment guardians suddenly look fraudulent. When one parent tried to donate George Grant's book, 'Killer Angel,' a critical biography of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, the library sent a letter stating that 'the author's political and social agenda…is not appropriate.' Huh? A biographical book with zero profanity is banned but books that feature the 'F' word a hundred times are sought after with zeal. Go figure," Baldwin wrote.
Thomasson called on librarians across the country to report child pornography to law enforcement whenever it happens.
"The liberals who run the library system in America must stop violating the federal law because they regard child pornography as 'free speech,'" he said. "All pornography is immoral, but possession of child pornography is a federal crime. No librarian should fear reporting child pornography to the police, but libraries that fail to report these crimes should be very afraid. Brenda Biesterfeld will get her job back, and more."
Those are two words that would get anyone’s attention. They certainly caught my attention!
But those are the words that millions of Americans could hear if Congress passes the SAVE Act.
The SAVE Act would require every employer in the U.S. to use so-called “electronic employment verification,” cross-checking all current and potential employees’ citizenship status against databases that the government itself knows are filled with errors and inaccuracies.
And what if the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security get it wrong and can’t verify a person’s citizenship or right to work using their buggy database? Tough luck. That person is out of a job, with no right to appeal. I thought you would like to know about this and would want to do something about it. To take action, just follow the link below.
Your support has never been more important. If Congress does not do the right thing, older Americans will be forced to pay even higher premiums on top of their already skyrocketing out-of-pocket health care costs.
Time is running out, and we cannot let our Members of Congress stand by while Medicare premiums continue to rise. Let them know that you want to keep premiums fair.
Use the link below to help us double our impact and sign the KeepMedicareFair.org petition today!
Please forward to pro-family Californians and Americans
What the library war in the little city of Lindsay, California means for the entire nation.
Librarian Brenda Biesterfeld is being helped by Campaign for Children and Families and Liberty Counsel See the news reports
A significant war has erupted in a very conservative part of California's Central Valley. When librarian Brenda Biesterfeld spotted a child pornographer using the library computer in the city of Lindsay, she called her supervisor, who, strangely, instructed her not to call police.
But Brenda, feeling a moral obligation to stop the felon before he could molest young boys, called the police anyway. They nabbed the child pornographer in the act of downloading more pictures, and arrested him. The same day, police found even more pictures of children in his mobile home trailer.
Brenda's anti-family supervisor was very upset with her and the police. But the local community saw her as a hero. Then the ax fell. Two days after police arrested the child pornographer, Brenda was fired. This valiant lady, a single mom who is now jobless, is being punished for doing what's right.
In the face of this obvious battle between pro-family and anti-family values, the community is rallying behind Brenda Biesterfeld. So is Campaign for Children and Families and Liberty Counsel. We've come alongside her, providing media training and legal representation. Our goal is to get Brenda's job back, to institute a new library policy that has no tolerance for obscenity and child pornography, and to send a nationwide message that child predators will not be allowed to "do their thing" in libraries.
This has been the top story in the Fresno area since Friday, building even bigger on Monday and Tuesday. "Inside Edition" did a story, and The O'Reilly Factor called to say they're going to cover it too.
Attorneys Mat Staver and Steve Crampton and I are helping Brenda, but we're also defending children nationwide. You see, the American Library Association, which is the controlling influence over libraries nationwide, views pornography and obscenity as "intellectual freedom." Because of this, many libraries in the U.S. allow child pornographers to use their internet system undetected and unreported. Is it any wonder why child molestation has become so common?