Oh, the humanity . . . ! Do I smell burning martyr?

The First Amendment — “Separation of Church and State” and Freedom of Expression

By Dave Eagle, August 8, 2017

One of the fundamental principles of the American experiment is the idea that We, the People, should be allowed to express our opinions and ideas freely and openly, without interference from government forces and without fear of suppression and retaliation by those in power.  Those of us who bothered to study our civics and government curriculum (in bygone days when these subjects were actually taught in public schools) may remember discussing some of the concepts inherent in our First Amendment.

We should welcome disagreement and political discourse.  We should encourage robust and heated debate, in order for us to ferret out all ideas so that we may be afforded an opportunity to arrive at the truth of the matter based upon careful examination, research and reasoned argument.  Sometimes we will disagree.  That is okay.

But today, disagreement is not allowed.  Today, having a different opinion is verboten.  Today, if you disagree with such things as the current state of affairs with our public school system in Texas, the manner in which public education is financed, and the disproportionate number of administrators and bureaucrats versus teachers, you subject yourself to being shouted down by those in power and, even more disconcerting, being threatened with some sort of feigned legal consequences if you refuse to shut up.  You will be metaphorically tarred, feathered, drawn and quartered.

We hear many folks tied to the public school system cry out time and again the phrase “Separation of Church and State – Separation of Church and State” – any time they feel that some religious leader or some religious idea is presented in context to a political discussion or in context to the public school classroom.   Once such a cry is made, the echo chamber will begin to fill with the gnashing of teeth, beating of chests, wrenching of hands, and the wailing and moaning of the brainwashed parrots.

For instance, right here and right now, we have seen the Hood County Pastor Council publish a two-part OpEd in the Hood County News entitled “Conservative Values in Public Schools.”

The main purpose of the pastors’ two-part OpEd is to point out some of the inadequacies of the current public school system in Granbury and to make a plea for conservatives to run for the school board.

The two half-page two part OpEd was bought and paid for by the Hood County Pastor Council, a private group of pastors and ministers.  These “paid ads” express the opinions and concerns of some of those who sit on the Hood County Pastor Council.

Based upon the outrage these two installments have generated within some folks who are currently on the school board, it appears that the Pastors’ Council has gotten extremely close to home.  As one of my military friends has told be before, “If you are taking a lot of flak, it is only because you are flying directly over the target.”

Whatever the case may be, it appears that certain school board members demand that the folks on the Pastor Council who dare express an opinion different than theirs be silenced.  Hiding behind their perceived banner of “Separation of Church and State”, these anti-constitutional tyrants intend to silence anyone who disagrees with them.   Rather than welcome open and honest discourse regarding the current state of affairs of our public schools, they want to totally silence any dissent.  I would add, parenthetically, that they immediately painted themselves as victims.  Even though no names are mentioned in the Pastors’ OpEd, it appears that some school board folks are taking this as a personal attack.  Oh, the smell of burning martyrs!  Feeling a little guilty, are we?  If the shoe fits . . .  

The purpose of this OpEd is to discuss the narrow-minded hypocrisy displayed by these types of arguments.

First — the First Amendment. – Establishment Clause

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . . ”

The preceding statement seems to be simple and to the point.  One would think these school board members who are so intent on silencing these pastors might have read this part of the First Amendment before.  Since they completely misconstrue what this clause means, I can only conclude that they must be products of the public school system and either they were not taught the Bill of Rights in school or they did not pay attention to class on the day the First Amendment was discussed.

I do not see one word in the “establishment clause,” as it is called, that spells out separation between church and state.  Moreover, there is not one word or phrase in the Declaration of Independence or in the Constitution that speaks to the concept of “Separation of Church and State.”  The concept of “separation of church and state” is one of the biggest fallacies ever perpetrated upon the masses, all mainly as a result of government-run public education.  No one can even trace its exact origins, though many point to a letter written in 1801 by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists where he posits that the First Amendment has “erected a wall of separation between church and state.”  Interestingly enough, as much as the progressive left tends to hate Thomas Jefferson, they cling to his words as written in his private letter to the Danbury Baptists.

Opponents of free speech love to use the so-called Johnson Amendment as a stick to beat the church into submission and to coerce a church body to “stay out of politics or else.”  I say, bring it on with your 501(c)3 argument.  The Johnson Amendment is blatantly unconstitutional and I would like to see nothing more than its constitutionality tested in court.  To this date, not one church has been sued by the US government under the Johnson Amendment.  Why?  Because they know it is unconstitutional and they are not willing to actually revoke a church’s 501(c)3 based on that provision.  So – I say, bring it on!  Let’s get this one behind us once and for all.  File your lawsuit, Mr. Democrat chairman.  Let’s get this one to the 5th Circuit – the sooner the better.  That way, all churches may learn that they can actually speak to a political idea, whether it aligns with the church or not.

The First Amendment continues

            “. . . or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

This clause, regarding the freedom of speech and of the press, are cornerstones of this nation.  Yet, decade by decade, year by year, since the ratification of the First Amendment, the powers that be have continually tried to suppress and silence dissent, either by marginalizing dissenters, or by down right calling for the dissenters’ political heads on a platter.  A perfect example of this is the Facebook feeding frenzy that is going on over there on some of these school board members’ Facebook pages.  Of course, all the usual suspects can be seen posting snide comments on these recent posts.

Notice how the clauses regarding freedom of speech and freedom of the press are connected to the right to assemble and to petition.  What this means is that we, the People, have an unalienable right to speak our mind, to write about it in a public forum and to call out our government when we disagree with what the government is doing.  This is exactly what these pastors did when they published their OpEd.  Yet three sitting school board members have openly attacked these pastors for expressing their opinions.  I’d say that sitting school board members who openly attack certain pastors in our community should remember that they are public officials.  What kind of example are you setting for our children with that type of behavior?

Interestingly, these folks have not cornered the market on the way things ought to be and they are certainly not the final arbiters of the truth.  However, if you dare to disagree with them or call into question what they are doing, you better watch out.  They are all for Freedom of Speech as long as it is their speech.  With regard to your speech that might disagree with them, not so much.

The Texas Constitution

Art. 7, Sec. 1 of the Texas Constitution calls for the State to “establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an EFFICIENT system of public free schools.”  What does that mean?  I do not see that the Texas Constitution excludes private schools, home schools, charter schools, or other organizations to provide for an education.  I also do not see in this provision that the state of Texas gets to maintain a monopoly on educating children.  One thing is for certain, more money does not equate to improved efficiency.  Our current public school system is living proof of that.

Reach down deep into your psyche.  Do you really believe, deep down, that our children in our public schools are being provided the most efficient AND effective education available?  If so, why are so many folks taking their children out of the public school system and either taking their kids to private schools or homeschooling?  If so, why do folks like me look at the dismal statistics published each year about our public schools and wonder: Could we be doing a better job educating our children in the public schools?

I don’t know about you, but I do not see that the public school system is working in an efficient manner.  Other people I know do not see that the public school system is working in an efficient manner.  I realize that I do not live in the little snowflake bubble world where those on our current school board reside.  But just because they live in a little snowflake bubble world, does not mean they have cornered the market on the best path to take regarding our public school system.  Yet, on top of everything else, they want to force their will upon all Hood County residents, like it or not.  My question to you is this:  Is this what YOU want? 

Might I suggest you take a good long look at Inside American Education: The Decline, The Deception, The Dogmas, by Thomas Sowell, first published in 1993, wherein Mr. Sowell charges that our educational establishment is not only morally and intellectually bankrupt, but American education constantly utilizes “technically sophisticated brainwashing techniques” to steer our children into the collective. 

One has to merely read the Facebook posts made recently by some of our sitting school board members to understand that these “brainwashing” techniques were not only utilized on them, but were quite effective in the results.

Conclusion

Interestingly, these sitting school board members allege that the pastors who allegedly penned the subject OpEd were somehow influenced by the local Republican Party and/or TEA Party to write and publish said OpEd.  No offense, school board members, but my guess is that these pastors have minds of their own and have the free will to think for themselves and express their respective opinions for themselves.  Just because you do not have minds of your own and are there to do the bidding of James Largent, the head public school lobbyist, I mean school superintendent, please do not project your collective mindlessness upon these brave pastors who had the courage to speak out in a public forum.

Frankly, I see the constant drum beat being played by the public school administrators, the school boards, the teachers’ unions and the Joe Straus democrats as representing anything but a shining example of efficiency.  They just want more money.

If the Pastor Council’s two-part OpEd made the folks on the school board uncomfortable – if this OpEd makes the folks on the school board uncomfortable – then maybe it is time for you on the school board to take stock in what you are doing.  Maybe it is time you reach in there and find minds of your own rather than robotically doing the bidding of James Largent.  Maybe it is time for you to take the best interest of the children to heart rather than the best interest of you and the administrators and the superintendent.  Maybe you should consider taking your collective egos out of the equation.  After all, it’s all about the children, right?  Or is it?

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Where is the Public Servant?

Subject:  In response to the Op-Ed published in Saturday April 29th, 2017, ‘Where’s the due process?’

After some careful reflection on the Op-Ed published last week by Hood County Commissioner Butch Barton in the HCN, I was compelled to pen a response.  Several points troubled me about the perspective relayed to the public by Commissioner Barton.  In fact, the very first line sets the stage for concern – that this Op-Ed is his very first ever.  That should trouble Commissioner Barton’s constituents in Precinct 2.  In today’s political environment, one might consider him a “Poster Child” who represents numerous local elected officials who live in their own little bubble, oblivious to their constituents.

How often have you seen communications from him or other elected officials informing the public about the actions they are taking to improve the ‘Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness’ of their constituents?  In the rapidly expanding world of social media and electronic communications, one would think that it would be easier and easier for an elected official to communicate with his constituents.  However, what you see is exactly what happens with Commissioner Barton – not much.  Sure, he attends some selected social functions, but what effort does he make to truly communicate current issues with his constituents?  Based on that alone, it is no wonder that there might be complaints lodged against the Hood County Commissioners related to open and transparent meetings.

The second thing that troubled me about the tenor of Commissioner Barton’s article is the perspective he exhibits as a “poor little innocent victim.”  I am not a lawyer but I know some very good ones and I suspect that the first thing they would tell you is that if the Attorney General requests a Grand Jury it is not just a political witch hunt.  The AG’s investigators would not have wasted their time and money if they thought there was nothing of concern there.  Instead of decrying the perceived unfairness of it all, perhaps Commissioner Barton would be better served by reflecting inwardly why people in the county would think that he is not conducting himself in an open and transparent manner.

The last issue that is troubling goes to Mr. Barton’s insistence on discovering who made the allegations “against him.”  It appears he is not really aware that in his role as an elected official, he is considered a government entity and as such there are specific reasons why certain ‘whistleblower’ laws were put in place.   Among those reasons is to protect a concerned citizen’s identity and to encourage folks to come forward if they see wrongdoing.  Whistleblower laws were also put into place to protect citizens from retaliation by an out of control government entity.  Mr. Barton, if anyone, should be cognizant of the disproportionate power the government has when dealing with an individual.

At the end of the day, perhaps it would be better for Commissioner Barton to chalk this off as a learning opportunity to improve his relationship with his constituents.

Yours in Liberty,

Jim Logan

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RE: HCN, April 29, 2017 Letter to Editor — “Where’s the due process?”

Released on behalf of Dave Eagle, Hood County TEA Party Vice President.

—————————————————————————————-

Mr. Roger Enlow, Editor

Hood County News

P.O. Box 879

Granbury, Texas 76048

         RE: HCN, April 29, 2017 Letter to Editor — “Where’s the due process?”

Dear Mr. Enlow:

            Sometimes one cannot sit idly by and not speak out.  Now is such a time.  I reference a letter to the editor published in the April 29, 2017 edition of the HCN entitled “Where’s the due process?” penned by Lloyd “Butch” Barton, Hood County Commissioner, Pct. 2.

            In his letter, steeped with recalcitrant indignity, Mr. Barton bemoans the fact that the Hood County Commissioners were recently the subject of a 12-18 month Texas Attorney General’s investigation for alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act.  Mr. Barton goes on to lament that he suffered some sort of due process atrocity because the AG’s office dared to take a look at whether the Commissioners were complying with the Open Meetings Act and to question whether the Hood County Commissioners routinely conduct their business in an open and transparent manner.

            Question:  If you are doing everything you are supposed to be doing in an open and transparent way, then you should welcome and encourage outsiders to come in and take a look at what you are doing and how you are doing it.  Having someone look over your shoulder should not be an issue if you are open and honest.  After all, Texas has enacted statutes that mandate open and transparent government.  If my memory serves me correctly, Mr. Barton was required to at least take a couple of hours of training on the Texas Open Government Act.  Who oversees this?  The Texas Attorney General.

            According to the Texas Open Government Act, “the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees.”  (Tex. Govt. Code § 552.001).  What that means is if John or Jane Q. Taxpayer sees what he or she believes is a violation of the Texas Open Government Act, that citizen has a right to call that to the attention of the governing authority and to call out the government official for that perceived misconduct.  If the government official who is the recipient of this scrutiny does not like that, I’d suggest he go find a job in the private sector.  But I digress.

            Let’s explore due process for just a moment.  Amendments V and XIV of the US Constitution speak to the legal concept of due process, which dates back at least to the Magna Carta’s signing at Runnymede in 1215.  Since the enactment of the US Constitution, there are likewise mountains of case law that explore, explain and define due process.  So — What is due process?

            “Due process” is a legal term of art that breaks down into two different components — procedural due process and substantive due process.  The first question Mr. Barton needs to answer is whether he is complaining that some feigned substantive due process right was violated or whether some feigned procedural due process right was violated.

            Substantive due process relates to the government’s limited power to infringe on one’s individual rights to life, liberty or property based upon narrowly defined parameters.  Procedural due process has to do with the methodology which the government must follow to get to one’s life, liberty or property.

            In Mr. Barton’s case, I don’t think that either of these forms of due process come into play.  Someone, according to Mr. Barton, made an allegation to the attorney general’s office that the commissioners had conducted one or more illegal meetings in direct violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.  Apparently those allegations were enough of a presentment that the attorney general’s investigators deemed it necessary to investigate the matter further.  Apparently those investigations uncovered enough information to justify a presentment of allegations to the District Attorney.  Apparently the District Attorney deemed that the allegations were enough to take the matter to a Grand Jury.

            Although Mr. Barton’s pro bono attorney sloughed off the allegations as a waste of time, apparently the AG’s office did not think it was a “waste of time” or they would not have conducted the investigation.  In addition, what would you expect to hear from a criminal defense lawyer who makes his living defending folks who are accused of all kinds of high crimes and misdemeanors.

              Based upon the evidence that was presented to the Grand Jury, according to Mr. Barton, the Grand Jury “no billed” him.  That should resolve the matter and Mr. Barton should feel exonerated.  Mr. Barton’s perceived “due process” rights were never called into play.

            On the other hand, had the Grand Jury moved forward with an indictment, then Mr. Barton’s constitutional right to procedural and substantive due process would have attached at that point in time.

            Based on Mr. Barton’s long-winded whine to the HCN, it appears that he does not like it when a citizen calls into question some of the activities in which he participates as an elected official.  We’re supposed to trust him and “let him do his job,” right?

            It’s sad to see that someone who holds an elected office such as the County Commissioner’s seat has no more knowledge of the law than Mr. Barton.  This is even more troubling in the fact that he also was an officer in the Air Force, which, by the way, I am grateful to him for his service to our country.  Be that as it may, based on Mr. Barton’s background, one would assume that he was at least offered a minimal classroom education on Constitutional Law and the meaning of due process via the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution.  Apparently this County Commissioner skipped out on those classes.

            John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, said it most succinctly:

“Every member of the State ought diligently to read and to study the constitution of his country, and teach the rising generation to be free . . . By knowing their rights, they will sooner perceive when they are violated, and be the better prepared to defend and assert them.”

            Mr. Barton wants to know, “Where’s the due process?”  It’s there.  It’s been there the whole time.  Mr. Barton just doesn’t know it.  I respectfully suggest that Mr. Barton learn what due process is before he makes a claim that his due process rights have been violated.

            Thank you for your attention to this.

            Sincerely,

            Dave Eagle, Citizen for Open and Accountable Government

cc:        Mr. Jerry Tidwell

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Clinton Cash the Movie – A Must Watch!

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Concerned About Election Integrity – – Here’s what to do!

Concerned about election integrity? Have you heard about potential incidents of votes flipping on electronic voting machines, or glitches? What if it happens to you?!? What do YOU do about it?

 **DOUBLE CHECK YOUR BALLOT BEFORE CASTING YOUR VOTE**

If something doesn’t look right on the machine while you are voting: 

  1. Call the Election Judge over immediately to address the issue. Problem solved? Great! No farther action needs to be taken. Not solved? See #2.
  2. Let the Election Judge know that you would like to report the irregularity. (Document the number of the troubled machine for reporting.) *Ask to cancel your vote on that machine and to vote on another machine.

What else should you do?

  1. Call your Hood County Election Administrator to report the issue:

Jenise Miller

Elections Administrator

County Voter Registrar

Ph: (817) 408-2525

Email: jmmiller@co.hood.tx.us

…. Follow up.

2.  Call your Hood County Republican Party office to report the issue and ask what their procedure is to resolve, or report, it.

    Contact Information

PH: 817.573.1944

Email: Info@HoodCountyGOP.com

3.  Call the RPT Election Integrity Hotline: 512-766-4597

4.  Report the incident to the TX Secretary of State.

Email: elections@sos.texas.gov

       Phone Numbers 1.800.252.VOTE (8683) 512.463.5650

5.  If you want to take it a step farther, report it to the TX Attorney General‘s office.

      Main Agency Switchboard

(512) 463-2100

*Document, document, document! Who, what, when, where, and how…. then follow up.

Check out the Republican Party of Texas Ballot Integrity Manuel for more information!

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Hood County TEA Party 2016 Voter Recommendations

hood-county-tea-party-voter-guide-2016-general-election-final

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Hillary Clinton – Career Criminal (In case you forgot all the corruption the first time she was in the White House)

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Continued Concerns Over Ignorance in Our Election Process

election-integrity

Several months back the Hood County TEA Party tried to bring to the attention of the Hood County Election Commission and Hood County Commissioners Court concerns over possible problems with Electronic Voting.  At that time both Darrell Cockerham, County Judge, and Jenise Miller, Election Administrator, pled ignorance (perhaps willful) to any issues and stated that they were following the Secretary of State recommendations.  At the conclusion of that meeting neither individual followed up on their promise to investigate further.

It has recently come to my attention that there are continued issues within the Election Administration office for Hood County.  An issue was brought to Jenise Miller’s attention that the staffing of the polling locations was not following recommended guidelines from the Secretary of State.  It is also widely perceived that Jenise Miller shows favorability to the Democrat Party.  As can be attested too by the fact that it appears she has used the tactic of loose coordination with the Propaganda Minister from the Hood County News, Kathy Cruz, to site that she is in disagreement with the recommendation since it is not ‘fair’ to the Democrats.

It appears that Ms. Miller has also used a Democrat tactic of continuing to contact the Secretary of State’s office until she ‘allegedly’ got an answer that coincided with her point of view.  The first two times their office told her she was incorrect but the THIRD time was the charm and the one which she is running with.

I am aware that the Republican Party of Texas has requested the Secretary of State to provide an official ruling on whether she is in compliance with their directives.

Since Hood County Government has shown a track record of blatant indifference to complying with the codes of the State I would ask all members to contact the Secretary of State’s office at the number below and request their office expedite their ‘official’ ruling on whether our Election Administrator is performing her job within the guidelines of State Code.

Elections Division

Secretary of State

P.O. Box 12060

Austin, Texas 78711-2060

Phone Numbers 1.800.252.VOTE (8683)

512.463.5650

And just for good measure I encourage the membership to Contact the Willfully Ignorant Judge Cockerham and let him know you are not amused by his preference for ‘fairness’ as much as whether we comply with the State Codes (ie the Law)!

Judge Cockerham

dcockerham@co.hood.tx.us

Ph: (817) 579-3200

lifes-not-fair

Yours in Liberty,

Jim Logan

President Hood County TEA Party

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Exposing the Lilliputians of Hood County….now known as Social Media Trolls and their Minions

Some of you may have read Gulliver’s Travels in high school or seen the various screen adaptations in the past but some may not have forgotten one of the points Jonathan Swift was making with the story.

One of the unique terms to come out of the book was Lilliputians.

By the time Jonathan Swift had finished Book I there was a stark contrast drawn between the diminutive, petty, and sometimes vicious politician (Lilliputian) and the normal but sometimes gullible person (Gulliver). The politician was always portrayed as the midget in contrast to Gulliver.

Its focus was to denote how petty and small the politicians had become in relation to the average person. Well since the Hood County TEA Party has become more active in local political issues the premise of Jonathan Swifts book has played itself out tenfold. There has been no more glaring example of this than the recent decision by the Hood County TEA Party’s VP, Dave Eagle’s decision to run for G.I.S.D. School Board.

lilliputians

Continue reading

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Secretary – Sherri Reynolds

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Our Mission

To unite like-minded citizens to stand up for our God given Rights, educate the People on the Rule of Law, actively engage in restoring our Constitutional Republic, and protect the future of this country as One Nation Under God.forefather-emblem-2

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