The Freedom Cities Campaign: Resistance through Progress at … – ACLU (blog)

On Saturday night, people at more than 2,200 events around the nation tuned in for the inaugural event of People Power, a new platform harnessing nationwide grassroots resistance to the Trump administrations assault on our Constitution and our values. At the event, we announced Freedom Cities, a campaign that provides a concrete plan for the People Power team to play offense in cities and towns across the country.

Watch the Recording

Even before Freedom Cities, our grassroots activism has borne fruit, as evidenced by the incredible protests around the country that brought defeat to President Trumps first attempt to ban Muslims and refugees. We will resist with equal strength Muslim Ban 2.0, along with any other unconstitutional and un-American policies that flow from the White House.

While we resist, however, we must also play offense, and work to paint a picture of the type of country we want to be. More than 170,000 people have already signed up on the People Power platform ready to lead the movement we need. And the Freedom Cities campaign provides a playbook for tackling some of Trumps most harmful policies.

Freedom Cities encourages and supports grassroots activism aimed at driving policy change at the local level. It allows individuals and groups to come together to actively shape how we treat vulnerable communities, how we cherish and safeguard fundamental freedoms, and how we respond as a society to the needs of our families, friends, and neighbors.

Make the place you live and work a Freedom City, or a Freedom Town, or maybe a Freedom County. In doing so, you can help win the fight to protect our civil liberties and promote equality and justice in the age of Trump one neighborhood at a time.

Freedom Cities is a sustained, multi-issue campaign that strives to generate tangible and lasting policy change change that reaffirms our values and counters backward ideas that undermine the Constitution and American values. Freedom Cities will help advance issues we hold dear, like the protection of LGBT communities, equal pay and fair housing, and policing reform.

The first issue the Freedom Cities campaign will tackle is immigration.

President Trump has already caused massive harm through his immigration policies. He has outlined, through executive orders issued his first week in office, a blueprint for a mass deportation machine, which will pull families apart and uproot hard-working, law-abiding individuals who have lived here for decades. The impact of this agenda is plastered in our newspapers daily, whether through the detention of a father of five U.S. citizen children who has only worked hard and obeyed the law since his arrival 15years ago, or a domestic violence victim in Texas, who sought protection through our judicial system, but fell prey to Trumps henchmen apparently based on a tip provided by her abuser.

The Freedom Cities campaign will allow us to make American communities welcoming again.

Building on the work of countless groups around the country who have labored for years on these issues, and with the guidance of law enforcement leaders who are committed to smart policing and placing local communities first, we have developed model local policies that we hope to see adopted in every city and town nationwide. Instead of scrambling to react to each outrage that sees our neighbor hauled away to a privately run detention camp, we will systematically work to disable Trumps deportation machine. Some of these model policies and rules are already on the books in certain places around the country, yet there are plenty of ways for most cities, towns, and counties to become more immigrant-friendly. And even once a community has adopted the full set of rules, activists will have additional opportunities to lend a hand on related issues or in neighboring communities.

During the March 11 event livestreamed from Miami, we provided a Freedom Cities Action Guide to the People Power team, which included a plan for activists to use in their local communities, along with useful strategic and tactical advice. This roadmap is meant to get people started, but the movement is yours. The United States has always been, and remains, what we make it.

So if you have not already joined the People Power team, the door is open. Sign up, receive the Action Guide, and take the first step in the plan. I have a hunch that a big group of people is waiting to tag team with you in your neighborhood.

Lets do this.

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The Freedom Cities Campaign: Resistance through Progress at … – ACLU (blog)

Just hours from freedom, Mosul’s civilians die under the bombs of their liberators – Telegraph.co.uk

That anyone still lives in the ruins is a measure of how desperate the situation has become. The Iraqi army says it has carried out 3,780 sorties against Isil in northern Iraq since the offensive to liberate Mosul began, which averages out to almost 30 a day. The US, which is supporting Iraqi forces, has conducted more than double that.

They dropped leaflets over the city telling us not to worry about the strikes, saying that they were extremely precise and would not hurt the civilians, says Mr Ahmed, 47. Now it feels like the coalition is killing more people than Isil.

He said he thought as many as 300 people had been killed in raids during the battle to liberate Samood and his late brothers neighbourhood al-Mansour. It was difficult to immediately verify the claim. A recent report by Airwars, a UK-based organisation which monitors international air strikes against Isil, suggested as many as 370 civilian deaths could be attributed to coalition raids in the first week of March alone.

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Just hours from freedom, Mosul’s civilians die under the bombs of their liberators – Telegraph.co.uk

Word of the Day: Cory Booker explains ‘freedom’ to Bert – Mashable

Word of the Day: Cory Booker explains 'freedom' to Bert
Two of your favorite SXSW attendees, Senator Cory Booker and Sesame Street's Bert, just shared a touching moment live on Twitter. After his eventful panel, Booker stopped by Day Two of "The Mashable Show" an exclusive 90-minute Twitter live stream of …
Newly woke Muppet blown away by Sen. Cory Booker's linkage of freedom and health care coverageTwitchy

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Word of the Day: Cory Booker explains ‘freedom’ to Bert – Mashable

Colours of freedom: Vrindavan widows play Holi – Times of India

MATHURA: A riot of colours took over the 400-year-old Gopinath temple here, as hundreds of widows clad in white sarees, smeared hues of reds, yellows and greens on each other.

Braving the morning chill, elderly women from Vrindavan and Varanasi gathered at one of the oldest Krishna temples in the crowded Gopinath Bazaar earlier this week, to shun taboos and celebrate Holi.

The ritual of widows celebrating the festival of colours among themselves began only in 2013, before which they were allowed to play Holi only with Thakurji (Lord Krishna).

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Colours of freedom: Vrindavan widows play Holi – Times of India

"Give Me Liberty": Exhibit highlights how African Americans fought for freedom during the Revolution – Virginian-Pilot

One night in July 1775, slave Joseph Harris slipped from his Hampton home and made it to the HMS Fowey, anchored in the York River. Colonists and British forces had already clashed in the north at Lexington and Concord. Now, Virginians were seething after Lord Dunmore, the Colonys royal governor, had hinted about freeing the Colonys slaves and arming them to fight with the British.

Dunmores headquarters was now the Fowey, and Harris knew hed have a chance at freedom if he could work with him. He was a harbor pilot and knew the local waters better than any other man.

The British welcomed him and others who followed, and in late October the Royal Navy attacked Hampton in the Souths first contest of the Revolutionary War.

Much has been written about slaves who found freedom along the Underground Railroad or who jumped behind Union lines during the Civil War in the 1860s.

But their fight for freedom started a century before. It is being explored in the Hampton History Museums latest exhibition, Give Me Liberty: Fugitive Slaves and the Long Revolution Against Slavery. It looks at the lives of more than 30 fugitive Hampton slaves who became known as Black Loyalists and joined the British navy and army during the Revolution. During the War of 1812, they were called refugees.

The yearlong exhibition includes artifacts such as the swivel gun from the HMS Liberty, a British ship that ran aground in Hampton a month before the attack on the town. The exhibit also includes items on loan from Europe and Canada, where thousands of African Americans settled after the wars.

Beth Austin, registrar with the Hampton museum, said it wanted to resurrect Harris story after the institution produced a re-enactment two years ago and realized it was little-discussed history. The museum had also received donated documents that shed light on the role of escapees during the War of 1812.

We realized the story of slave resistance is something thats a much bigger story than maybe weve told before, and the usual story that gets told, Austin said. We wanted to connect the dots and draw the line of the revolutionary movement.

A portrait of Olaudah Equiano, a leader in England’s abolition movement or his friend and fellow abolitionist Ottobah Cugoano is part of exhibit titled “Give Me Liberty: Fugitive Slaves and the Long Revolution Against Slavery.” The exhibit opened Feb. 25, 2017, at the Hampton History Museum. According to a title under the portrait “He was also well-connected to the Black Atlantic. He traveled widely as an enslaved sailor, a free man, and in the Royal Navy. He settled in London and worked tirelessly as an antislavery activist. The man in this portrait is unidentified but probably Equiano or his friend and fellow abolitionist Ottobah Cugoano.

The exhibition shows how the local waterways made escape and passing along information among slaves easier. It also explores how the talk of resistance and revolution among Colonists ignited the subjugated population. Then, as slaves took responsibility for their freedom, more Virginia Colonials wanted theirs from Britain. But they did not want to end slavery.

It highlights the more complicated story of the Revolution, Austin said.

Slaves ran, knowing they would return to harsher circumstances if caught. But the idea of a better existence was enough. For many, however, that wouldnt come to pass.

More than half a million African Americans lived in the 13 Colonies by 1775, most of them enslaved, most born here.

The British attack on Hampton wasnt simply to quell the rebels fervor, Austin said. It was tinged with the issue of slavery.

When the Liberty beached in a hurricane that September 1775, Harris helped the British commander on board flee with the help of a slave. Local patriots then pillaged the ship and burned it. The British demanded their supplies back, but Hampton fighters refused: The British needed to return their slaves.

The British not only said no but attacked in late October and also skirmished with militia across the water in Norfolk.

In November, Dunmore stayed true to his threat and issued a proclamation offering freedom to slaves or indentured servants in the Colony who would fight for the Crown. Within a month, hundreds flocked to the British, with some slaves coming from as far away as New Jersey, said Jason Farmer, senior interpreter for The Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown, Nova Scotia. These escapees formed Dunmores Ethiopian Regiment.

In December, the unit, whose shirts bore the words Liberty to Slaves, joined the British in attacking rebels at the Battle of Great Bridge in present-day Chesapeake. Repelled, the British retreated to Norfolk, but African American men continued to join the ranks.

Tom Davidson, senior curator with the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, said its impossible to know how many enslaved people fought with the British. It is estimated that as many as 80,000 to 100,000 looked for sanctuary with the British, but that includes women and children.

Ed Ayres, historian at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, said most of the African American men who fled were used in support roles, such as cooking food and building reinforcements.

The British were as reluctant to give arms to the blacks as the South was during the Civil War, Ayres said.

In 1779, a British declaration out of New York offered freedom to enslaved people throughout the Colonies in exchange for their help. Promises of resettlement and land came later. Thousands swarmed to join the ranks.

The exhibition has a panel about a slave known only as Tom. He escaped from his Hampton master but was recaptured after the Battle of Hampton and sent to work in lead mines in Fincastle, Va. He was later sold in Antigua in 1776 by the state to buy gunpowder and war supplies.

Joseph Harris, who had joined the Royal Navy, died within a year of his escape, likely from disease.

Many of the members of the Ethiopian Regiment, Ayres said, died from smallpox once they mingled with the British, who had been exposed to it back in England. Those English who survived smallpox had a natural inoculation.

Still, the enslaved left, including women and children, who were of little use to the British.

Historical accounts describe British Maj. Gen. Charles Cornwallis and his troops developing an entourage of women and children as his men moved through Virginia in 1781, Ayres said. Cornwallis marched to Portsmouth seeking to establish a base but thought the area was too swampy. He then moved to fortify Yorktown.

He basically left the women and children in Portsmouth, Ayres said. You can bet the minute they left, the Virginians took them back and put them into slavery.

The siege of Yorktown began in September, and the British were surrounded by Colonial forces and their French allies. As supplies got low, the British expelled the former slaves and left them to be re-enslaved or killed by unsympathetic Colonials.

Weve treated these people very cruelly, a British soldier wrote in his journal, Ayres said.

After the British surrendered, Black Loyalists evacuated with them, primarily from New York. Some slaveholders, including Gen. George Washington, demanded their property back.

Washington and others were denied.

The names of the Black Loyalists were written in the Book of Negroes. It included information on each person, like Rachel Fox, 42, thin weakly wench, formerly slave to James Moorfield, late of Norfolk, Virginia; came from thence with Lord Dunmore.

Replica of the homes Black Loyalists would have built once they resettled in Birchtown, Nova Scotia after the Revolutionary War. It is called a pit house and starts by diggin a hole in the ground and using what could be found around them for the roof.

Black Loyalists were put on ships and deposited wherever the ships landed, a few in England and some in the West Indies, but more than 3,500 went to Canada. Most settled in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, which became the largest settlement of free blacks outside of Africa.

The promises of land did not come to pass. Heads of households were to get land for farming and a smaller lot for a home, with supplies from the British until they could live independently. The British dispersed land by rank and, first, to white loyalists who had also left the states. Former slaves were on the last rung; only about a third got land, and it wasnt the full amount promised, said Farmer, the Canadian historian. They were often left with the dregs, land too rocky to farm. In 1792, about a third left to go to a colony being established in Sierra Leone in Africa.

That community became the countys current capital Freetown.

When the British and Americans came to blows again in 1812, slaves again were offered freedom by the British.

In 1813, Bray and Milly Cooper of Hampton were the property of John Cooper, who had recently died. The couple and their five children fled on July 18 to two British ships. Other Cooper slaves ran, too. Coopers widow got on one of the ships and tried to talk Bray and Milly into returning. They wouldnt and later settled in Nova Scotia.

More than 4,000 slaves found freedom during the short-lived war. The refugees produced another wave of migration for Nova Scotia, Farmer said. About 2,000 settled in an area of Preston, about 2 hours north of Birchtown. Others were taken to Trinidad, where they were each given 16 acres of land. They called themselves Merikans.

Farmer descends from a Black Loyalist, a slave who had escaped from bondage in New Jersey. He learned that one of his ancestors, Jupiter, changed his last name from his masters Harmer to Farmer once he made a home in Nova Scotia.

It was a pattern among escapees.

They were trying to forget about their old life, a life of enslavement, he said, and start a new one where they would be free.

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"Give Me Liberty": Exhibit highlights how African Americans fought for freedom during the Revolution – Virginian-Pilot

Will Obamacare repeal break the Freedom Caucus? It depends on Trump. – Washington Post

The internal Republican battle over replacing the Affordable Care Act has become the GOPs first chance to break the House Freedom Caucus, the bloc of more than two dozen conservative lawmakers who have frustrated leadership for two years.

And President Trump is likely to play a leading role.

Trumps intervention in the debate over an unpopular ACA revision put forth by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has left both the partys leadership and its rebels convinced that they have an ally in the White House. The president has told conservatives he is open to negotiating changes to the bill, but after Trump met with GOP leaders Friday, his press secretary, Sean Spicer, said the opposite.

Doctors, hospitals, insurers and seniors have all weighed in against the Ryan plan, framing the broader debate over Obamacares fate primarily on how many Americans could lose coverage. Republicans, however, are selling their revisions as phase one in a three-phase repeal, so they are less focused on whether the bill could work. For them, the question is whether the GOP can govern without a right-wing litmus test blocking the way.

In news conferences, interviews and PowerPoint presentations, Ryans sales pitch has been directed not at industry opponents, but at the Freedom Caucus. Nor has he focused much on the substance of the proposal. On Thursday, he offered his conservative colleagues a binary choice between partial repeal of the ACA or total failure. On Friday, he suggested that some were simply being obstinate.

This reflects a Republican consensus, and thats the point. Its a consensus bill, Ryan told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Were going through the growing pains of being an opposition party with Barack Obama to actually being a governing party with a Republican President Donald Trump. And that means we have to reach consensus on Republican priorities and principles. This reflects that.

[Trump stands with House GOP on proposal to revise Obamacare, spokesman says]

Members of the caucus, which has never revealed who belongs but includes at least 30 Republicans, have relished the attention the most theyve received since playing a key role in forcing out former speaker John A. Boehner in 2015.

Theyve won praise from conservative media. Theyve gotten face time with the president and vice president of the United States.

Theyve surmised that the American Health Care Act, as Ryans proposal to revise the ACA is called, cannot pass without their votes. And they say they think that the White House is working around Ryan to meet at least some of their demands. The result, as they see it, is a speaker talking tough while committee chairs listen to the caucus.

At the same time, there are few signs that the conservatives demands will actually be met. Ryan has made clear that revisions to please the Freedom Caucus would make the proposal less palatable to moderates and probably doom it in the Senate. At least some members of the Freedom Caucus appear to be considering supporting the proposal anyway.

What we hear from the White House is, this is a work in progress, said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), the sponsor of Freedom Caucus-backed alternative legislation. [Office of Management and Budget Director] Mick Mulvaney came here and talked to the Freedom Caucus two nights ago and he said this is a work in progress and were going to be open to amendments that you have to offer. Then we hear from leadership take it or leave it.

The question is whether the caucus is being given a seat at the table or being snowed.

There hasnt been the old days of lets do a rah-rah and try to run everyone over, said Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), a Freedom Caucus member who voted to advance the American Health Care Act in committee. Remember, one of the reasons we became a group was because we wanted to be able to have a voice. We wanted to be able to have amendments. We wanted to have this.

[Is that not correct? Male GOP lawmaker asks why men should pay for prenatal coverage]

Conservatives see the elevation of former caucus member Mulvaney to the Office of Management and Budget as an advantage for them. Others see it as a way to fracture the group by giving the new president a broker they trust.

Similarly, conservatives say they see the past weeks huddles with Trump and his aides more, including a get-together at the White House bowling alley, are coming as evidence that the administration is working with them. Others see it as a classic instance of good cop salesmanship.

President Trump is fully in the game, but hes doing velvet glove, Hewitt said in his interview with Ryan. Its pizza and bowling.

Trump is an X factor hovering over all of it. His popularity in virtually all of the Freedom Caucus members districts gives him enormous influence over the deliberations. If Trump tells the country that the Ryan plan is the way to go, conservative House members could think twice about saying otherwise.

Will the iron fist come out? Hewitt asked. And will he put people up to run in primaries if they obstruct what is, I think, a moment-killing obstruction at this point? Weve got to get this, or the rest doesnt follow.

Its worth noting that the 2016 elections did not go as well for the Freedom Caucus as its members had hoped. Their public membership was reduced after several lost primaries or simply retired. And overall, the GOPs six-seat loss was less than many caucus members expected, causing the counterintuitive result of limiting the caucuss influence and ability to block bills. Republicans who say they think that the caucus will fracture on the AHCA point out that only eight or nine of them need to come over to pass the bill, assuming no other defections.

The president endorsed the AHCA, giving many the impression he favored it as is. Then, he concluded meetings with a group of grass-roots conservatives seemingly offering a concession, by suggesting that he is open to moving up the end of the ACAs Medicaid expansion from 2020 to 2018. Then, on Friday, Spicer said negotiations are off the table.

All of it preserves uncertainty about what actually will happen and who will get what they want.

When he gets information from everybody, before the final decision is made, somebody might say, Well, I had a great conversation with him, said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus. Then hell go and go in another direction and have another great conversation. Thats how business people make decisions.

In many ways, the debate resembles one that has bedeviled Democrats since the passage of the ACA, and especially since its implementation began in 2013. Progressives favored several plans that would have essentially expanded Medicaid and Medicare, bringing tens of millions of Americans into a single-payer system.

That idea largely lost out to a combination of insurance exchanges and tax subsidies, which provided Republicans with years of horror stories about costly premiums and disrupted care. On the left, especially among those who supported the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), its taken for granted that Democrats would have been in a stronger position had they endorsed the bolder plan.

The more resolute Freedom Caucus members, who largely represent safe seats, argue that voters will punish them if the ACA is not obliterated.

The AHCA keeps the cuts to Medicare spending that Republicans made infamous in campaign ads. It introduces new, refundable tax credits, promises lower premiums, extends a Medicaid expansion and cuts taxes for wealthier Americans with no pretense of paying for any of it.

On Tuesday morning, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) told reporters that the ACA had been written in the dark of night and rushed through Congress. Days later, his committee voted out the AHCA at 4:30 a.m. With each development, Freedom Caucus members see evidence that they, and not the party leadership, are doing what voters had asked of them.

I might be the last person trying to prevent the Republican Party from being responsible for the largest welfare program in our history, said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.). The people in my district get it. They understand the risk of a debilitating insolvency. They understand that were looking at a $600billion deficit this year. They understand that were blowing through the $20trillion debt mark. They understand that within six years, were going to embark on a trillion dollar a year deficits indefinitely until such time as we collapse.

That may change. The American Action Network, a 501(c)(4) thats already spent $8million on ads supporting the Republican majority in the health-care fight, went on the air this week with commercials urging Freedom Caucus members to support President Trump and back the AHCA.

Some conservatives appear to understand the potential power of such messaging.

My sense is that the president doesnt care about the particular policy, said Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.). He cares about fulfilling a campaign promise to repeal and replace. Anything thats presented as repeal and replace, and makes it through Congress, hell be happy to sign.

Read more at PowerPost

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Will Obamacare repeal break the Freedom Caucus? It depends on Trump. – Washington Post

Yet Another Assault On Freedom Of Contract And Property Rights – Forbes

Yet Another Assault On Freedom Of Contract And Property Rights
Once cornerstones of America, freedom of contract and property rights are being reduced to rubble by federal, state, and local officials. A case arising out of an ordinance passed in Seattle is illustrative of the trend. On January 1, a new law took

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Yet Another Assault On Freedom Of Contract And Property Rights – Forbes

WATCH: College Students Support Freedom For Muslim Singers But Not Christian Photographers – National Review

Alliance Defending Freedom asked students at the University of Wisconsin if they thought a dress designer should have the freedom not to design a dress for Melania Trump. They said absolutely.

The students also thought a Muslim should have the right to turn down singing at a Christian church. But when they are asked if a Christian photographer should have the right not to photograph a same-sex wedding, their answers uncomfortably change.

The powerful point is clear as can be:

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WATCH: College Students Support Freedom For Muslim Singers But Not Christian Photographers – National Review

No, Professors’ Academic Freedom Should Not Be Virtually Unlimited – The Federalist

Last December, I wrote an article for The Federalist entitled Oberlin College Did the Right Thing by Firing Joy Karega. There, I argued that the American Association of University Professors 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure (hereafter, Statement) and 1970 Interpretative Comments (hereafter, Comments) contain contradictions that lead, in part, to confusion about the limits of academic freedom.

My article advocated for a measured approach to academic freedom that balances rights and privileges with duties. The Statement declares that when professors speak as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship; however, their position as professors requires special obligations, including accuracy at all times, exercising appropriate restraint, showing respect for the opinions of others, and making every effort to indicate they are not speaking for the institution. These obligations are sometimes referred to as the responsibility standard.

Later in 1940, the AAUP adopted clarifying statements to the original statement. This clarification added that only when a college thinks a professor has not observed the admonitions on extramural utterances and that the expression has raised grave doubts about the teachers fitness can the administration act against the professor.

The 1970 Comments, adopted after a controversial faculty firing at the University of Illinois and a revised interpretation of extramural utterances by the AAUPs Committee A, assert that a faculty members expression cannot constitute grounds for dismissal unless it clearly demonstrates the faculty members unfitness for his or her position. The Comments also argue that extramural utterances rarely bear upon the faculty members fitness for his or her position.

In my view, the two statements create conflicting standards that leads to confusion for faculty, administrators, and practitioners, who use the AAUPs precedents and documents to determine what protected speech is and what it is not. I wrote in my article that the Comments created an additional, hard-to-satisfy standard for judging whether such speech affects a faculty members fitness for employment and that the newer standard gobbled up the special obligations in the Statement. The result of this contradiction has been a murky definition, at best, of academic freedom and the inconsistent application of academic freedom standards.

Within a few weeks, the AAUPs Academe blog published an article criticizing my conclusions entitled, On Extramural Expression: A Response to Jonathan Helwink. In his reply, Hank Reichman, AAUPs first vice president and a former history professor at California State University-East Bay, wrote that no contradiction exists between the Statement and the Comments.

While persuasive in parts, Reichmans argument overlooks two key points. First, he ignores the dramatic departure from previous AAUP precedent embodied in the Comments, examined well by the AAUPs John K. Wilson, whom Reichman relied upon for the historical context of his response. In Wilsons history, he argues the Comments were a radical new principle that rejected the notion of a common academic ethic that binds the behavior of professors, on and off campus.

Second, Reichman does not start his analysis at the beginning of the AAUPs precedent. It is important to view the Statement in light of the complete precedent that created it, the 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure (hereafter, Declaration). In light of the Declarations approach to professors speech as citizens outside the classroom, the Statement tracks much more closely to the Declaration than the Comments do, including the insistence on standards of behavior regarding extramural utterances. When viewed in this larger historical context, the sweeping changes the Comments embody are indeed, as Wilson says, radical, and do, in fact, contradict prior AAUP precedent.

To begin his argument, Reichman points to the 1940 clarifying statement adopted in November 1940 after the Statement. Reichman affirms that in it the AAUP called attention to the special obligations of the Statement, but added an important caveat: the fundamental issue was not the special obligations, but instead fitness for position and that teachers are citizens with the freedom of citizens. (I will address this freedom of citizens issue in a future article.) If Reichman is correct when he asserts that the special obligations in the Statement were already being limited in the year of its adoption, then his interpretation should appear in subsequent applications of the Statement, including the case of Leo Koch, on which he relies. Unfortunately, the history does not bear out Reichmans conclusion.

In 1963, Thomas Emerson, a famous First Amendment scholar from Yale Law School, would lead AAUPs ad hoc investigative committee on the Koch case. Emerson concluded that when making extramural utterances, the Statements standard of academic responsibility was not a valid basis for discipline. In For the Common Good: Principles of American Academic Freedom (Yale University Press, 2012), Robert Post points out that Emersons conclusion was consistent with a recent AAUP investigation.

In 1956, an AAUP report entitled Academic Freedom and Tenure in the Quest for National Security concluded that removal of a faculty member could be justified only on the grounds, established by evidence, of unfitness to teach. The report seemed to imply that unless a professors extramural utterance evidenced an unfitness for research, teaching, or institutional citizenship, the faculty member could not be disciplined.

Despite Emersons efforts, however, Committee A did not agree. Instead, faithful to the language in the Statement, the committee agreed with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Senate Committee on Academic Freedom, which concluded that a professor has the obligation to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraints, and to show respect for the opinions of others. The Senate Committee added that academic freedom did not mean unlimited license in speech.

AAUPs Committee A also wrote that they disagreed with Emersons conclusion that the notion of academic responsibility, when the faculty member is speaking as a citizen, is intended to be an admonition rather than a standard for the application of discipline. In short, Committee A refused to give up the responsibility standard in the Statement, even though they found Kochs firing appalling.

The language Committee A and the UIUC Senate employed tracks closely to the language of the 1940 Statement, not the later clarifying statement. The conclusions regarding the facultys special obligations to be accurate, exercise restraint, and show respect for others is directly out of the Statement. The behavior of Committee A in this case shows that, despite what Reichman concludes about the clarifying statement, Committee A and the UIUC Senate enforced the understanding of extramural utterances as contained in the four corners of the Statement.

The Koch case was deeply controversial and had a profound effect on the AAUP, spurring major changes in AAUP policy. This history brings us to the 1964 Committee A Statement on Extramural Utterances. Reichman offers, and I agree, that the 1964 Statement is the foundation of the organizations current position on extramural utterances. However, where we disagree is whether current AAUP approach to extramural utterances conflicts with the 1940 Statement.

The 1964 Statement declared: The controlling principle is that a faculty members expression of opinion as a citizen cannot constitute grounds for dismissal unless it clearly demonstrates the faculty members unfitness to serve. Adding: Extramural utterances rarely bear upon the faculty members fitness. The question remains whether this 1964 Statement is an evolution of the 1940 Statement, thereby creating no contradiction, or whether the 1964 Statement marks a radical break with precedent that culminates in the 1970 Comments.

John K. Wilsons article on the Koch case and its aftermath contains telling remarks on this issue. Wilson argues, correctly, that the Koch case forced the AAUP to review its guiding philosophies and precedents. As a result of this, Wilson states that the AAUP moved forward with a new approach to extramural utterances.

Furthermore, Wilson argues that, by 1964, the AAUP accepted a radical new principle on extramural utterances. (Emphasis added.) He continues that through the 1964 Statement, the AAUP unilaterally changed the meaning of the 1940 Statement in a dramatic way that had never been intended by the original drafters a quarter-century earlierand which Committee A had itself rejected only a year earlier in the Koch case.

Wilson continues that to get around potential enforcement of the Statement, Committee A simply redefined the terms of the Statement and added a new requirement and a new standard, which Wilson states was a nearly impossible standard to meet considering that Committee A had just declared that extramural utterances rarely have any connection to a professors fitness to serve.

Wilson and I agree that by the mid-1960s the AAUP had broken in a radical direction away from the Statement. By redefining terms and creating a nearly impossible standard to discipline faculty, the AAUP had decided against the measured approach of balancing the protection of extramural utterances with the special obligations of the Statement. The result was to create a brand new standard that, indeed, gobbled up the obligations in the 1940 Statement.

Wilson writes that from the Statement to the Comments was the most important turn in the AAUPs history with regard to academic freedom.

This brings me to the Comments. Wilson states that the AAUP, as a result of the Koch case and through a general desire to update the Statement, adopted an interpretation of it to allow the AAUP to update the languages meaning without the burden of getting a consensus for a new statement and its adoption. This decision was reached, in part, because the leading college and university associations were not interested in expanding academic freedom by addressing the responsibility standards contained in the Statement.

Wilson writes that the AAUP was sensitive to the danger of having the Statement abandoned or potentially replaced by something worse. In fact, the AAUPs success in getting the Statement into so many campus codes was now a barrier, Wilson writes, to the AAUP wanting to alter its fundamental model of academic freedom.

Wilson writes that from the Statement to the Comments was the most important turn in the AAUPs history with regard to academic freedom. Wilson concludes that the Comments were amendments to the Statement which nevertheless often transform all previous interpretations of the words or effectively nullify them altogether and, at times, are directly countering the 1940 Statement.

In light of Wilsons well-documented history, I fail to understand how Reichman could conclude that no contradiction could exist between the Statement and the Comments. It is unclear to me how this redefining of terms and radical new principle does not constitute a contradiction. In fact, I would go further than my previous work for The Federalist. Not only do I continue to find a contradiction between the 1940 Statement and Comments, but I view the 1964 Statement and the Comments, like Wilson, as radical departures from previous AAUP policy including the Statement and the venerated 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure.

It is the principles enshrined in the 1915 Declaration that make it revered, not its age.

Interestingly, Wilson, whom I have extensively quoted above, identifies a worrying trend. He states, in another article for the Journal of Academic Freedom, AAUPs 1915 Declaration of Principles: Conservative and Radical, Visionary and Myopic, that while the Declaration is one of the most influential definitions of academic freedom that forms the foundation of AAUPs doctrines, the Declaration is largely forgotten within the AAUP. Wilson states that the Declaration remains beloved by conservatives, stating that for conservatives, its greatest virtue is, perhaps, its oldness.

As a historian, I can appreciate oldness. However, it is the principles enshrined in the 1915 Declaration that make it revered, not its age. Quoted in relevant part, the Declaration states: Since there are no rights without corresponding duties, the considerations heretofore set down with respect to the freedom of the academic teacher entail certain correlative obligations. This language provides the precedent for the special obligations of the Statement.

Regarding extramural utterances directly, the document states that teachers are under a peculiar obligation to avoid hasty, unverified, or exaggerated statements and to abstain from intemperate or sensational modes of expression. J. Peter Byrne, of Georgetown Law, wrote the committee that drafted the Declaration rejected any view that academic freedom implied an absolute right of free utterance for the individual faculty member. The Declaration continues:

It isin no sense the contention of this committee that academic freedom implies that individual teachers should be exempt from all restraints as to the matter or manner of their utterances, either within or without the universityIt is, in short, not the absolute freedom of utterance of the individual scholar, but the absolute freedom of thought, of inquiry, of discussion, and of teaching, of the academic profession, that is asserted by this declaration of principles.

In sum, the Declaration created the foundational precedent that academic freedom is a consideration with an accompanying duty. Even while he is critical of an individual academic freedom and of the nexus between rights and duties the Declaration seems to create above, Harvard professor Frederick Schauer concludes that it is no error to believe that special legal rights, like academic freedom, may impose on the right-holder special non-legal responsibilities.

Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego School of Law, writes that academic freedom is a privilege of academics that carries with it a responsibility, namely, to act as academics, following truth wherever it leads, within the guidelines of the professors academic discipline.

The Declarations language can be tracked directly into the Statements special obligations of accuracy, restraint, and respect. The Declaration makes no mention of only pursuing discipline against a professor if grave doubts about the professors fitness is raised, nor does it contain the controlling principle of the 1964 Statement, nor does it state that extramural utterances rarely bear upon the faculty members fitness.

When viewed in the totality of their historical context, it is in fact the 1964 Statement and the 1970 Comments that are outside the AAUPs precedents.

When viewed in the totality of their historical context, it is in fact the 1964 Statement and the 1970 Comments that are outside the AAUPs precedents. The Declaration and the Statement advocate for a similar approach of measured academic freedom that balance the privileges of additional speech protections with accompanying duties. I think this is the preferred approach.

So, in conclusion, after evaluating the AAUPs precedents and Reichmans article, I still believe a contradiction exists between the Statement and the Comments. As a practitioner, I see the value of trying to rectify the difficult issues between the documents. I understand the desire, on the part of an administrator or legal counsel, to try to glue common ground between the two competing conceptions of academic freedom to enforce any standards to hold faculty accountable.

With that being said, there is still a disconnect in AAUP precedents that needs to be addressed. Nearly unlimited academic freedom, as advocated by Reichman, Wilson, and the current AAUP, damages the credibility of the institution and, in the words of Mark G. Yudof of Berkeley Law: If academic freedom is thought to include all that is desirable for academicians, it may come to mean quite little to policy makers and courts. Until the contradictions are resolved, academic freedom will remain, as Byrne wrote, a doctrine [that] floats in the law, picking up decisions as a hull does barnacles.

Jonathan Helwink is a history professor at a college in Chicago. He is also an attorney licensed to practice law in Illinois. His academic interests include the intersection of law, history, tradition, and contemporary politics in American higher education. Reach him at jhelwink@gmail.com.

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No, Professors’ Academic Freedom Should Not Be Virtually Unlimited – The Federalist

Trumpcare will see some Americans lose health coverage because… ‘freedom’: Neil Macdonald – CBC.ca

Years ago, when Republicans tried to weaponize the term “Obamacare,” Barack Obama smiled that big toothy, socialist smile of his and neutralized it with a few words.

“I like it,” the socialist-in-chief proclaimed. “I don’t mind it being called Obamacare because it’s true. I do care.”

In that spirit, and as a tribute to President Donald Trump, who is after all a pretty darned caring fellow himself, his new plan should, without question, be known as “Trumpcare.”

Trumpcare is the “beautiful, beautiful plan” that Trump promised will bring not only greatly improved coverage, but much lower premiums.

Anyone who understands the basics of health care economics should be able to understand that. Trump will convince America’s insurance companies a bunch of ferociously aggressive profit-generators whose business model is to maximize revenue and minimize spending, and who find any excuse to turn down or slow a claim to provide much more expensive care for far less money.

Oh, and also freedom. That’s actually a talking point.

Trumpcare will deliver freedom to miserable Americans chained up by Obama’s statist squid of a system, which, in the words of Ben Carson, one of Trump’s cabinet secretaries, was the “worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

Obamacare to be repealed and replaced1:14

The thing about Obamacare that enslaved so many Americans, in the eyes of rightist Republicans, was what’s known as “the individual mandate,” which is a bureaucratic way of saying “the government trying to force everyone to obtain health insurance.”

The individual mandate idea was rooted in the basic concept of insurance: when more people buy insurance, the risk is spread more thinly, and everyone’s premium drops as a result.

Trouble is, young people hate buying medical insurance, because they know they don’t get sick much. They prefer to wait till they’re old to buy insurance, at which point they get very angry if the premiums are too high, and then start demanding that young people buy insurance, too, because if all young people buy insurance.well, you get the idea.

So Obamacare imposed a tax penalty on anyone who decided to remain uninsured. Just like slavery.

Even so, many young people preferred to pay the penalty, buying their way out of slavery and screwing the older people, whose premiums pretty soon began rising drastically, which Republicans then held up as Obama’s socialist failure.

Under Trumpcare, which is all about freedom, people will be free to buy no insurance. They will also be free not to be able to afford insurance. Because, well, liberty.

But anyone who has insurance and lets his or her coverage lapse, for any reason (even losing a job) shall face a 30 per cent premium increase if that person tries to renew.

Trumpcare actually directs insurance companies to tack on the big surcharge, not that they need convincing.

This way, the government shifts the job of penalizing from the IRS to the insurance companies, thereby replacing slavery with liberty. If it’s government screwing you, like Obama did, that’s socialism. If it’s a corporation screwing you, and profiting in the process, well, that’s the American way. Freedom.

Which is why it’s so strange that some of the loudest opposition to Trumpcare is coming from his own party; congressional Republicans who call themselves the Freedom Caucus, joined by right-wing activist groups like Heritage Action and the Club for Growth.

These insolent, disloyal buggers are running around proclaiming that Trumpcare is just “Obamacare Lite” or “Obamacare 2.0,”and there are easily enough of them to kill Trumpcare before it ever reaches the president’s signing desk.

Mark Sanford, a deeply religious Freedom Caucus member the fellow who was forced to resign the governorship of South Carolina after admitting he’d lied about going hiking and had instead flown to South America to hook up with his mistress says the bill is just another form of entitlement, which is a poison word to Republicans. Sen. Rand Paul flatly says the slavery-like individual mandate is still in the new law.

The Freedom Caucus has other issues with Trumpcare, too. Like Obamacare, it socialistically prevents insurance companies from doing the things they used to do: dumping a sick patient whose costs get too high, or refusing to insure someone who has a “pre-existing condition.”

Some Republicans also aren’t too keen on Trumpcare’s rollback of Medicaid, the program that provides care to the indigent and poor. Obamacare expanded Medicaid, paying states to extend the program to tens of millions of uninsured Americans. Trumpcare would cut that money off.

The trouble is, a majority of Medicaid beneficiaries in the Republican states that expanded Medicaid voted for Trump, meaning they probably voted for the Freedom Caucus types, too. And Trumpcare would also cut tax credits most heavily for older and lower-income Americans, especially in rural areas. Guess who most of them voted for?

If Trumpcare becomes reality, those people will quickly discover that freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, to quote Kris Kristofferson. And then they won’t like Trumpcare very much.

Jason Chaffetz suggests not buying an iPhone and spending the money on insurance instead. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Anyway, Jason Chaffetz, another conservative congressional Republican, says Americans need to understand that under Trumpcare, it’ll be time for people to take some personal responsibility for their medical care; he suggests not buying an iPhone and spending the money on insurance instead.

You can imagine how that went down in iPhone-loving middle America.

Rep. Roger Marshall, another House Republican, chimed in that poor people “just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

What has the president said about all this? Not much. He just wants the damn thing passed without too much discussion. Next week would be good.

It’s also a safe bet that this beautiful, beautiful new plan is one of the few things on this earth Donald Trump doesn’t want to see his name on.

This column is part of CBC’sOpinion section.For more information about this section, please read thiseditor’sblogandourFAQ.

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Trumpcare will see some Americans lose health coverage because… ‘freedom’: Neil Macdonald – CBC.ca

UNAM’s Female Freedom Exhibition Celebrates International Women’s Day – Rivard Report

Arts & Culture By Andrea Kurth | 14 hours ago

Andrea Kurth for the Rivard Report

The exhibition celebrates feminity in many ways, from a portrait of artist Frida Kahlo in “Pasional y soadora (Mi Frida)” to many representations of the female form.

A new exhibition celebrating International Womens Dayopened on Thursday at the San Antonio campus of Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico(UNAM) in Hemisfair Park. The exhibition,Female Freedom,features the works of 18 women artists17 Mexicans and one Cubanand celebrates the artistry of women and their freedom in creativity.

After the success last yearof a similar exhibition featuring many of the same artistsat UNAMs Chicago campus, the university asked curator Alejandro Dorantes to exhibit at the San Antonio campus in 2017. Female Freedom is part of a rotating crop of exhibitions at UNAM, which showcases different works of visual and performing arts featuring Mexican and local artists each month.

The artists inFemale Freedom expressedthe equality and capacity of the female gender, Dorantes said. The 18 works, mostly oil and mixed media on canvas, depict the theme of woman as creator of children, nature, and artistic expression. Although the artists were constrained by the size of the canvas, they had freedom in expressing femininity through their artwork in their own particular way, Dorantes said.

The colorful canvases measuring 3 ft. x 2 ft.line the walls of the schools foyer, each expressing a different take on femininity. Although the subject matter of each painting varies, the female form from shadowy silhouettes to feminine faces presents itself in many of the works. The paintings also pay tribute towomens many relationshipsas mothers to their children, as keepers of the natural world, and as those who commune with the spiritual world.

Weve taken this opportunity to show what the women of Mexico have to offer in the world of art, said Jake Pacheco, who coordinates the art events at UNAM every month.

The university serves as an educational and social diffusion center for Mexican culture, and Dorantes envisioned using the exhibit as an outlet to present the work from Mexico City artists whodont have the resources to exhibit in big galleries in the United States, Pacheco said.

We have the feeling of crossing the wall that sometimes people want to put between us, Dorantes said about transmitting Mexican culture to Texas.

In addition to the curator, five of the exhibitors traveled from Mexico for the event and spoke about their works and their participation in the show.

Where women get the strength to make art is an enigma, said Pilar Maza, who exhibited her work entitled Enigma.Many times we are strong against adversity, and I think now is the right time to be strongespecially for women.

My position here is very important, said Marisol Gonzalez Valenzuela, the only Cuban artist exhibitor at the show. She said that although she is Cuban by heritage, she feels Mexican in many ways. Gonzalezcreated her work Symbiosis to represent the cooperation needed between women in order to improve the world, she said.

I wanted to demonstrate that Mexican women are valiant, she said. And the women of the whole worldwe are important. We can say beautiful things. We can transmit beautiful sentiments. My work Symbiosis signifies that we all need each other. One country to another, one person to another, we all cooperate to make a better life.

Female Freedom will be on display at UNAM until April 1. Other exhibitions planned at the school for this spring include a show featuring portraits of women from each Mexican state, as well as an exhibition for UNAMs childrens festival that features San Antonio artists Momo and Pompa, whose colorful sculptures are a mainstay ofthe citys art scene.

Andrea Kurth moved to San Antonio as a young child, and spent most of her life exploring the suburbs of the city. She graduated from UT in 2014 with degrees in journalism and economics. Since then, she devoted her life to exploring Asia and Australia until returning to Texas in 2017. These days, you can find her exploring the art scene in San Antonio or doing acro yoga at the Pearl.

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UNAM’s Female Freedom Exhibition Celebrates International Women’s Day – Rivard Report

Freedom Caucus head fires Obamacare warning shot – Politico

Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows said he is confident that conservatives will be able to negotiate with President Donald Trump. | AP Photo

By Kyle Cheney

03/10/17 11:35 AM EST

Updated 03/10/17 01:22 PM EST

If Republican House leaders are counting on conservatives to cave and back their version of an Obamacare replacement bill, they should think again, a top conservative lawmaker warned Friday.

That would be a faulty assumption, said Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

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The caucus two-dozen members have enough clout to sink any pending Obamacare replacement bill, but theyre under heavy pressure from GOP leaders to back the current version, which conservatives say doesnt go far enough to undo Obamacares mandates and Medicaid expansion.

Some allies of Speaker Paul Ryan are confident that the House’s conservative wing will ultimately support the bill in whatever form it takes. And in fact, at least two Freedom Caucus members Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) voted to advance the bill this week when it cleared two crucial committees. But conservatives have indicated they expect to negotiate for changes that could move the bill to the right.

Meadows, who met Thursday with President Donald Trump, said hes confident that the president is willing to negotiate in good faith with conservative lawmakers who would like to see changes to the pending legislation.

Do I expect all of the issues that many of the Freedom Caucus members would like to have will be in a final bill that passes? The answer is no, he said. And so its about a good-faith negotiation and I think all of our members are willing to do that.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and his top allies are warning that theres no room to make major changes to the bill, which relies on scaled back tax credits and a multi-year phase-out of Medicaid expansion to alter Obamacare. If they push the bill too far to the right, they risk losing support of House moderates, and the bill is already facing an uphill climb in the Senate, where only three GOP defections could sink its prospects.

Asked about leaderships reluctance to accept changes, Meadows said they may want to reconsider.

If thats the best that they can do then perhaps they have a different whip count than I do, he said.

Still, Meadows acknowledged that if Trump mounts a lobbying effort aimed at individual conservative members, he may make inroads.

“It would be disingenuous to suggest that a call from the president doesnt make a difference,” he said. “The policy differences are so strong right now that its not just a little nudge. It would have to be a shove to get us there. … Thats why we have committed to the president to negotiate in good faith to find a reasonable compromise that makes both moderates and conservatives happy.”

Asked about the Freedom Caucus’ reputation for always saying no to major legislation, Meadows said in his previous occupation he used to run a real estate development company “I only got paid for a yes.”

“So maybe thats what we have to get back to,” he said, “only getting paid if youre a yes.”

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Freedom Caucus head fires Obamacare warning shot – Politico

House Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash breaks vote streak after blasting Ryan, health care bill – CNN

Rep. Justin Amash apologized to his followers on Twitter after missing his first vote in 4,293 while talking to a group of reporters outside the House chamber Friday.

Amash, who has dubbed the House Republican health care plan “Obamacare 2.0,” was criticizing House Republican leaders for tightly controlling the crafting of the Obamacare replacement during an extended discussion with reporters.

At one point Amash, a House Freedom Caucus Member who was instrumental in former House Speaker John Boehner’s departure in 2015, implied he wished he had Boehner back instead of Ryan.

“At the end of the day, the people at home are seeing this is run in a top-down fashion, that you have a few people who tell everyone this is what we’re going to do and that’s it. And … the place may have been more open under Speaker Boehner, sadly,” he said.

Rep. Steve Womack — an Arkansas Republican probably best known for formally adopting the rules at the Republican Convention last year that cleared a path for President Donald Trump’s nomination — quickly boasted about overtaking Amash as holding the perfect voting record in the House — now at 4,298 and counting.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve my constituents and thank God that no personal hardships have kept me from representing them on a single vote since taking office,” Womack said in a statement Friday shortly after Amash’s missed vote.

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House Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash breaks vote streak after blasting Ryan, health care bill – CNN

Health care, GOP? Try freedom — it works! – WND.com

OK. I guess my four-step plan to end Obamacare was too difficult for the GOP, so let me make this easier. There is one thing you guys need to do to save medicine and therefore health care for Americans: Restore freedom. Its really that simple. Sadly, thats not what you in Congress do. Every move you make, every rule you adopt and every law you write whittles away at the liberties our forefathers tried to insure. So lets back up.

Step 1: Repeal Obamacare. Last I looked, you have a majority everywhere, and you therefore control the purse and the bills coming out of Congress. Just renounce Obamacare as the unconstitutional mess that it is. You said on the campaign you would do it. You have bills to do it. Just do it. We the American people who voted for Donald Trump expect you to honor that commitment.

Step 2: There is no step 2. You wont succeed in replacing one egregious law with another. There is a reason government medicine always fails of its own ponderous weight. All you self-proclaimed smart guys in Congress cannot know the facts of day-to-day medicine better than the doctors and patients who interact in the process of health care.

This is the same principle proposed by Adam Smith and reiterated by Hayek and other free-market economists a few people at the top cannot do as well as the millions and billions of participants in figuring out the best economic options for their daily lives. The principle that separates statism/communism from liberty is a simple one it is who makes decisions about your life. You? Or the government?

Weve seen for hundreds of years the problems when a few people at the top make economic decisions for the populace. The Soviets starved because the Politburo could not accurately predict how many tractors would be needed for harvest (among other errors). But the many farmers individually on a minute-to-minute basis know what to do. So too, all the Medicare bureaucrats and all the presidents men cannot figure out what health care should be worth. They cannot accurately predict how many doctors to train yet they try all the time by limiting money for graduate education. They try to set drug prices and surgery prices and regulate every sponge that is placed on every patient. We are drowning in over 160,000 pages of regulation and thats before we got to Obamacare! And now the Republicans think they are smarter than everyone who has tried to regulate medicine before?

We have a great food supply because (thank God!) Congress has not tried to control it. For now, food in America is cheap and abundant. It is sheer hubris for the gang of 535 to presume to direct knee replacement surgery or blood pressure care through the bureaucracy of Health and Human Services. And it is based on the false belief that before government there was no health care. In fact we built the finest health care in the world prior to 1964 because government was NOT involved. We treated the poor and the rich. We built charity hospitals and private hospitals. We didnt think we needed you government bureaucrats. But you came in anyway, and its been downhill every regulation since.

So heres the answer, GOP. Get the heck out of the business of health care. And it will correct itself. Just like the grocers who tailor their products for the area in which they live and work, doctors and hospitals and all health-care providers will figure ways to stay afloat and compete in a free market with lowered prices. Let Medicare patients choose to opt out for the free market. Get out of the insurance business. End the FDA control over our drugs. Freedom actually works. Give it a try.

Get Dr. Hiebs manual for living under a centralized health-care system order Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare

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Health care, GOP? Try freedom — it works! – WND.com

China Vs. Taiwan’s Academic Freedom – The Diplomat

Last month, Taiwans government and mediacelebrated its accomplishment of perfect scores in the political rights and civil liberties categories on Freedom Houses 2017 Freedom in the World report. It was the first time that Taiwan has been able to earnthe highest rating in the two categories in 11years. The main reason for this achievement, according to Freedom House, was due to demonstrations of media independence and academic freedom in recent years.

Ironically, almost exactly a month after the release of thereport, news emerged that threw Taiwans recently-lauded academic freedom into question.

On March 2, media outlets began reportingthat in December, Shih Hsin Universitys School of Lifelong Learning signed a so-called One China pledge with several Chinese universities. In the pledge, Shih Hsin University promised to not offer classes containing politically sensitive activities or discussions pertaining to one China, one Taiwan or Taiwanese independence. The agreement was signed prior to the arrival of 11Chinese exchange students to Shih Hsin University. Since then, five other universities have been confirmed, and almost half of all Taiwanese universities aresuspected, to also have signed similar pledges to exclude politically sensitive topics from classes offered to Chinese students.

Of course, it can be said that this controversy over the state of academic freedom in higher education institutions in Taiwan is inevitable. Taiwans dramatic increase inuniversities during and after the mid-1990s has seen university acceptance rates rise to more than 90percent in 2006, among Asias highest. However, low birthrates and an aging populationover the pastdecade mean thatuniversities, particularly lower-ranked, private, and remote ones, face student shortages. With the threat of closure looming, universities are accepting an increasing number of international students. Chinese students, since they were allowed to enroll in Taiwanese universities in 2011, have been the main contributor to the surge in international students. In 2016, Chinese students made up more than one-third of all international students in Taiwan.

Taiwanese universities are eager to take in more students, and China seems happy to supply them. However, ideological disparities and diplomatic grievances between local and Chinese students create tensions that sometimes erupt in very public manners. Incidents such as Chinese students cussing at the Taiwanese student representative who referred to exchange students as Chinese rather than mainland, and the immense public pressure piled on a mainland student who hoped to run for her schools student government all point toward deep mistrust and differences between people on both sides of the strait, particularly in the area of higher education. The most recent controversy highlights again the existing problems.

To Sign or Not to Sign

There was immediate outcry and outrage following the revelation that Shih Hsin University and five other higher education institutions have signed the so-called One China pledges. While all six universities have made statementsannouncing that the agreements had in no way breached the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, the declarations have done little to quell public anger and anxiety. Premier Lin Chuan noted that academic freedom should not be limited for political reasons, while Mainland Affairs Council Minister Katharine Chang criticized the request from Chinese universities to restrict speeches in the classroom as unnecessary, inappropriate, and unreasonable. Minister of Education Pan Wen-Chung went as far as to label the agreements illegal. Numerous academicsprotested against signing One China pledges as they see it as a step backwards on academic freedom.

This reaction is far from surprising. Freedom of any kind was hard-won in Taiwan, and any move seen to be curtailing free speech in classrooms and in research would invoke a backlash. Added to this is the growing tensionin cross-strait relations after the election of Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-wen, and the rising percentage of Taiwanese who identify themselves as exclusively Taiwanese and neither Chinese nor both Chinese and Taiwanese. The fact universities are seemingly foregoing academic freedom in order togain more Chinese students is understandably troubling to the majority.

Academic freedom is undoubtedly important, but it is also important, for universities and citizens on both sides of the strait to ask some crucial questions. If signing One China pledges is the absolute precondition for enrolling Chinese students, should universities still be allowed to enter into such agreements based on their discretion? Moreover, what in reality could happen with the singing of such pledges?

There are many arguments to be made as to why higher education institutions should not sign One China agreements. For one, Taiwans robust democracy and freedom in the classrooms have allowed students to become critical thinkers who are increasingly more aware of and active in social movements and political causes. In fact, academic freedom as a whole is a fundamental element of a free and open society, a fact not lost on the protesting scholars, students, and the public. That the restrictions to what could be taught within a classroom seem to have come from China just added salt to the wound. Taiwan has suffered through numerous bullying incidents by China, from the missiles aimed at the island down to cyberbullying by Chinese netizens of a young Taiwanese pop star because she waved a Taiwanese flag on television. Any perceived attempts to influence, belittle, or coerce Taiwan would not be looked upon favorably, let alone what seems to be an outright attempt to control the academia.

On the other hand, there does not seem to be any real-world impact yet. Despite having signed the agreements some time ago, there have been no reports by students of their lecturers deliberately avoiding politically sensitive topics. Of course, self-censorship by professors would be very difficult to detect, but no faculty at the six named schools have reported any attempts by the administrations to influence their research and teaching as of now. The universities have also pointed out that the pledges are informal and non-binding, which gives the hope that perhaps the universities only entered into the agreements to appease their Chinese counterparts and nothing more.

This then raises the question of what the Chinese universities could gain from the pledges. It is tough at this moment to see what the Chinese higher education institutions (or the Chinese government) could possibly hope to gain. Of course, it could be that the Chinese universities simply hope to create friendly learning environments for their students, or that they wish to preempt any situation that may put Chinese students in a difficult position. Or, as some commentators suggest, the Chinese universities may have the more nefarious aim of attempting to influence directly with academic freedom in Taiwan.

Either way, even if the Taiwanese universities follow the pledges down to the letter, which seems almost impossible given the public outcry and restrictions of existing laws,it will have limited effect. Bysimply being immersed in the Taiwanese society, Chinese students are already being exposed to democracy and debates on the future of cross-strait relations. To avoid subjects deemed too politically sensitive, Chinese students would have to never visit bookstores that have numerous works banned in China, never get too close to billboards on the streets that bear giant posters of both DPP and KMT politicians, and never turn on the TV or visit restaurants, where the locals sometimes talk about politics with great gusto. Exposure to politically sensitive materials for Chinese students in Taiwan is inevitable. Therefore, it is very difficult to see any tangible benefits forthe Chinese administration and universities in pushingfor such pledges. In fact, it may even cause the Taiwanese to further be suspicious and wary of Chinese students, an attitude that may not be helpful for China in the long run.

Maintaining principles such as academic freedom is imperative for a modern democracy to function. Yet it is also important for the Taiwanese government and public to consider whether signing pledges may actually ultimately be more beneficial. Compromise on paper has so far not yet translated to compromise in reality, and if this is the absolute precondition the Chinese government will ask for before sending their students across the strait, Taiwan should carefully consider the proposition. After all, what is going on outside of classrooms has as much, if not more, influence on students aslectures or textbooks.

When Chinese students see, and even experience, protests, open criticisms of the government, free debate in parliament, and the dynamic media, their views of Taiwan and of democracy may be changed. Interactions with locals in their daily lives could also help Chinese students understand how Taiwanese see themselves and the cross-strait issue and foster friendly relations. Therefore, it may be that in reality the controversial agreements have been more beneficial to fostering understanding and acceptance of the Taiwanese peoples desire to determine their own futures among young Chinese students on the island.

A pledge on a piece of paper has many political implications. What is clear, however, is no matter what the Chinese government or universities were trying to achieve when they asked for the agreements, they will not be successful in obtaining the goal. Ultimately, regardless of what actions areeventually taken by the Taiwanese government or by individual higher education institutions, the very public debates and discussions, criticisms, and reflections in light of the controversy have shown just how far Taiwan has managed to come in terms of democracy. Just decades ago, such a public defense of and impassioned and rational deliberations on academic freedom would not have occurred. That is something that Taiwan could be proud of and should hold onto as it grapples with the challenges a lager number of international students bring.

Pei-Yu Wei graduated from New York University with a Masters degree in politics. She is a Fulbright Foreign Studies Grant candidate for 2017-2018.

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China Vs. Taiwan’s Academic Freedom – The Diplomat

Suspect in Freedom Park attack has history of sex-related crimes, police say – Las Vegas Sun

Metro Police

Officers escort Joseph Warren, 34, into the Clark County Detention Center on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, after his arrest in the sexual assault of a woman at Freedom Park on March 1, 2017, according to MetroPolice.

By Ricardo Torres-Cortez (contact)

Friday, March 10, 2017 | 6 p.m.

Investigators used DNA to link a registered sex offender to a sexual assault of a woman at Freedom Park last week, according to a Metro Police arrest report released today.

Joseph Warren has a history of arrests on suspicion of sex-related crimes that date back about a decade, police said. He was linked to an incident in late January in which he was seen masturbating in the driveway of a home about half a mile from the scene of the crime.

That case remained open at the time of the attack on the woman he encountered walking near the park in the early hours of March 1, according to police.

The arrest report states that the victim was walking, smoking a cigarette and carrying a bag of fast food when Warren approached her and engaged in small talk: First he asked for a cigarette and then asked what she was doing out so late.

Warren continued talking and followed her through the park, police said. He told her he wanted to hang out and to hold up because he needed to use the bathroom.

When she told him she was going to keep walking, Warren pulled her from behind as he choked her, police said. He then pulled out a meth pipe and forced the victim to take a hit, she told detectives.

The attack lasted several minutes in which Warren kept telling her that she was making it worse than it needed to be, according to the report.

A woman sleeping at the park later told police that she’d heard a woman’s screams for about 20 minutes and later saw what appeared to be the shadow of a man running from the bathroom area, police said.

The victim summoned police to the park, 850 N. Mojave Rd., about 3:30 a.m., immediately after the attack, according to the report.

Authorities had obtained Warren’s DNA profile after a Las Vegas sexual assault case from 2006, police said.

Warren registered as a sex offender after a 2006 conviction in a sex assault case for which he was ordered to serve at least two years in prison on one count of coercion, court records show. The sexual assault charge was either amended or dropped, records show.

After Warren’s latest arrest, he was identified as a suspect in a similar sexual assault case from last April, police said. Detectives were awaiting results of a DNA analysis to move forward.

In 2011, he was arrested for failing to register a new address with Metro Police, according to the report.

In October 2015, Warren was arrested in North Las Vegas on suspicion of peeping through the opening of a home, according to the arrest report. Information on the status of that case wasn’t immediately available.

A few months later, he was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with a two counts of open and gross lewdness for a similar incident, police said. That case was later closed and the outcome of it wasn’t clear, according to court records.

Metro said on Thursday that they released his photo to the public in an effort to try to identify other possible victims, spokeswoman officer Laura Meltzer said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Metro at 702-828-3421. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or online at crimestoppersofnv.com.

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Suspect in Freedom Park attack has history of sex-related crimes, police say – Las Vegas Sun

ACLU launching People Power to resist Trump immigration policies … – The Guardian

The ACLU is hosting a People Power action event on Saturday, when it will issue specific guidelines to activists on how they can have an impact on immigrant rights at a local level. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

The American Civil Liberties Union is launching an ambitious plan to create a swath of freedom cities capable of resisting Donald Trumps immigration policies.

The civil rights organization, which has emerged as one of the Trump administrations major foes, plans to leverage individual cities local authority to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The ACLU will reveal the freedom cities effort during the official launch of its new grassroots online platform, People Power, on Saturday. It will distribute a set of ordinances to activists, encouraging them to pressure local sheriffs and police commissioners to adopt more lenient policies on undocumented immigrants.

As Donald Trump does what he does, the greatest political power is in the cities and towns across America, said Faiz Shakir, the ACLUs national political director.

Because constitutionally, cities have sovereignty rights unto their own.

The ACLU is hosting a People Power action event on Saturday, when it will issue specific guidelines to activists on how they can have an impact on immigrant rights at a local level. The event will be live-streamed, and Shakir said ACLU supporters had already set up 2,300 watch parties across all 50 states.

Essentially we want people to think of their cities as cities of resistance, Shakir said. The ACLU will issue nine ordinances to activists on Saturday, and ask them to present them to their local officials.

The ordinances resemble a pledge that could be made by local sheriffs or police commissioners. They include a commitment to require a judicial warrant before detaining people at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and to not authorize or engage in surveillance of a person or group based on their perceived immigration status.

We will be asking people to arrange a meeting with their sheriff or their police commissioner or their local precinct commander and raise these draft ordinances at that meeting, Shakir said. And have them discuss what their policies are with respect to immigrants. That would form the basis for follow-up meetings and follow-up policy advocacy.

Activists will be encouraged to submit details of their meeting to the People Power website, Shakir said, enabling more people to attend. The ACLU has tripled its membership since the night of the November election, according to the Washington Post, and collected more than $80m in donations.

In planning the action, Shakir said he had deviated away from the theory that [political action] needs to be simple.

Im saying, OK, people are fired up and Im going to test that and give them something a little bit difficult and hard and complex but has meaningful impact.

The freedom cities plan represents a new foray into grassroots organizing for the ACLU, which has traditionally focused more on legislative action.

Shakir, a former senior adviser to former speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former Senate minority leader Harry Reid, joined the ACLU on 20 January Trumps inauguration day to kick off the organizing effort. He has hired people who worked on Bernie Sanders campaign and for the White House under Barack Obama to work on the project.

The initial focus is on immigration, Shakir said, but the ACLU plans to expand, and have activists lobbying local officials on LGBT rights, womens equality, police surveillance and other issues.

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ACLU launching People Power to resist Trump immigration policies … – The Guardian

EU Brexit chief: ‘Let Britons keep freedom of movement’ – The Guardian

A number of UK citizens have expressed a strong desire to maintain close ties to EU countries despite Brexit. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

British citizens should be able to choose to keep various benefits of EU membership, including freedom of movement, the European parliaments chief Brexit representative has said.

Guy Verhofstadt said he hoped to convince European leaders to allow Britons to maintain certain rights if they apply for them on an individual basis.

His comments come as Theresa May attends the final EU leaders spring summit in Brussels on Friday before she is expected to trigger article 50, which could come as soon as next week.

Boris Johnson has urged the prime minister to reject EU demands for a divorce bill estimated at up to 52bn, but a Conservative MEP said the UK was very close to an agreement on the costs of Brexit and the rights of expats.

Verhofstadt told BBC Radio 4s Today programme: All British citizens today have also EU citizenship. That means a number of things: the possibility to participate in the European elections, the freedom of travel without problem inside the union …

We need to have an arrangement in which this can continue for those citizens who on an individual basis are requesting it.

But the former Belgian prime minister said the European parliament was committed to ensuring that countries outside the EU did not have a better deal than member states.

He also warned that the parliament would have the power to veto any deal brokered between the UK and European commission.

Verhofstadt claimed to have received more than 1,000 letters from British citizens who do not want to lose their relationship with European civilisation and criticised the remain campaign for speaking only about economics rather than voters emotional connection to the continent. Some Britons felt they were losing a part of their identity by having their EU citizenship taken away, he said.

He described Brexit as a tragedy, disaster, catastrophe for the EU and said the rights of UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in Britain would be his first priority for negotiations after article 50 is triggered, beginning the formal process of Britain leaving the bloc.

EU and UK citizens cannot be the victim of the political games we have seen, Verhofstadt said. Reaching a deal on their futures would be the first chapter of a withdrawal agreement that needs to be finalised by November or December at the latest, he added.

The agreement will also include a deal on the size of the divorce bill and transition arrangements, he said. The remainder of the two-year leaving period will be spent starting to define the nature of Britains future partnership with the EU.

Verhofstadt ruled out a return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, warning that this could threaten the peace process. What cannot happen is that we destroy all the efforts that have been undertaken [in] the last 20-30 years to have peace there, so no hard border, we cannot return to the hard border, he said.

The Brexit representative had previously said the EU needed to be open and generous to individual British citizens and that politicians were considering how to enable them to maintain their ties to the continent.

He told an audience at Chatham House in January: We are scrutinising, thinking, debating how we could achieve that. That individual UK citizens would think their links with Europe are not broken.

In Brussels, the idea of EU citizenship rights for Britons has already been dismissed as a non-starter, with EU insiders pointing to vast political, legal and technical hurdles.

The EUs 27 remaining member states, which are in charge of Brexit negotiations, would have to rewrite treaties, which governments have repeatedly ruled out in recent years. Several senior EU experts have previously told the Guardian such a plan has no chance of success. This proposal is absolutely not serious, one former ambassador said, describing the idea as very vague and for the distant future.

EU diplomats also stress that Verhofstadt has no power to put the idea on the agenda of Brexit talks. The Liberal MEP is the parliaments Brexit representative, but will not have a place at the negotiating table, although the parliament will be informed and consulted.

The former Belgian prime minister hopes to use the parliaments right to veto the deal a blunt, but potentially deadly instrument to set the agenda. But he may face difficulty in winning support from the parliament to hand out meaningful EU citizenship benefits to Britons. MEPs from other political groups believe he would struggle to convince the two biggest groups, the centre-right bloc and the Socialists, to back his idea.

Verhofstadt, who leads the Liberals, the fourth-largest group, does not have unqualified support among MEPs. Privately, some senior MEPs from rival groups have dismissed his claim that the parliament would veto a deal it does not like. A member of one of the largest groups told the Guardian that MEPs would fall into line with their governments once a deal has been reached between EU leaders.

Formal negotiations cannot begin until May triggers article 50, which she has promised to do by the end of March, but the Conservative MEP Vicky Ford told the Today programme the UK and EU were nearing agreement on a potential Brexit divorce bill and the rights of Britons living in other EU countries.

Both sides are very close on the money, Ford said. The EU are saying they will only ask us to contribute what weve committed to and the prime minister is saying we dont walk away from commitments. If that principle is agreed, then we can move on.

On Thursday, Johnson, the foreign secretary, called on May to emulate Margaret Thatcher and resist EU demands for money, but the Irish taoiseach, Enda Kenny, was among the EU leaders supporting a fee.

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EU Brexit chief: ‘Let Britons keep freedom of movement’ – The Guardian

Getting freedom from health – Jackson Hole News&Guide

Whats the rush on repealing Obamacare? Its true President Trump did promise speediness during the campaign. (Youre going to end up with great health care for a fraction of the price and thats gonna take place immediately after we go in. OK? Immediately. Fast. Quick.) But that was before he discovered that health care was complicated.

This sort of thinking will send us back to discussions about how our president has no permanent convictions on any subject except the inferiority of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a reality show host. Lets move on. We have a national disaster to watch unrolling.

Under orders to do something immediatelyfastquick, the House has begun to race through what Republican leaders hope will be Obamacare repeal and replacement so swift their membership will hardly notice its happening.

They just want to get it out and get it on, grumbled Rep. Frank Pallone, of New Jersey, the leading Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which rejected a proposal to hold the bill until Congress got the requisite estimates on how much the whole thing would cost and how many people it would leave uncovered. Details shmetails.

We can act now or we can keep fiddling around and squander this opportunity to repeal Obamacare, and begin a new chapter of freedom for the American people, said Rep. Kevin Brady, of Texas, the chairman of another committee thats pushing the bill through at lightning speed.

This offers us our annual opportunity to recall when Janis Joplin sang that freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose.

The GOP replacement bill is very big on freedom.

Theres freedom for wealthier Americans not to pay taxes that help subsidize health insurance for their low-income fellow citizens. Freedom for those who can afford coverage to refuse to buy it. Freedom for insurance companies to hike their prices for middle-aged customers. Freedom for the states to stop providing Medicaid-backed health insurance for maternity care, when nearly half of all the births in the country are currently covered by Medicaid.

It gives power back to the insurance companies to discriminate against womens health care, which is more expensive, said Sen. Patty Murray, of Washington.

Our new health and human services secretary, Tom Price, is very big on the freedom of doctor-patient relations. Price, a surgeon, talks constantly about keeping the government from stepping in. (You need to know that what your doctor is recommending for you is exactly what he or she believes is right for you based upon education and science, not based upon what Washington is telling them he or she must do.)

Unless, of course, the doctor and patient are deciding whether or not she wants to terminate a pregnancy.

Price is a longtime opponent of abortion in all shapes and forms. He twice co-sponsored bills to establish that the Constitution protects the rights of zygotes from the moment of fertilization. That would ban not only abortion but also morning-after pills and, according to some advocates, birth control methods like IUDs.

The Obamacare repeal bill makes it much less attractive for insurance companies to cover abortions in their policies and includes a ban on federal funds for Planned Parenthood. Lately, it seems as if everything the House touches includes a ban on funds for Planned Parenthood. Someday soon you will learn that there was a Planned Parenthood amendment attached to a measure renaming a post office in Nebraska after a recently deceased World War II veteran.

You wouldnt think getting rid of an organization that provides crucial services like breast exams, family planning and checks for cervical cancer would be a major fixture of a health bill. But this is an administration that wants to fight terrorism by defunding the Coast Guard to pay for a wall. What can I tell you?

Planned Parenthood does not get federal funds for abortions, but it does get a lot of money for its other work with underserved poor and rural Americans. Trump has let it be known that hed support the organization if it just stopped providing abortions, period. Planned Parenthood refused, under the theory that women need, um, the freedom to make that choice on their own.

So youve got two sides here, people. One believes all Americans should have the freedom to make their own decisions about their bodies. The other believes all Americans should have the freedom to not have health insurance. You pick. But do it fast.


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Getting freedom from health – Jackson Hole News&Guide

Home away from home: Freedom Christian Fellowship hosts international students – The Herald Journal

Come over to Revs. Ron and Karen Flessners home in Logan on Wednesday nights and you can be sure to experience a hearty dinner, followed by song, prayer and Bible study.

Its all part of Freedom Christian Fellowship, a multicultural, multi-ethnic, non-denominational effort by the native midwestern couple.

Our mission is to love God with all of our heart, soul and strength, said Karen Flessner, co-founder, executive director and associate pastor of the fellowship.

Story continues below video

Freedom Christian Fellowship welcomes anyone in the Cache Valley community, but places emphasis on international students from Utah State University.

That emphasis is reflected in the Flessners basement, where worship takes place every week. Small flags from different countries sit on a table. Framed pictures of past congregations from places like Africa and South Korea hang on the walls.

That is who we are, that is what we are, said Karen Flessner as she gave a tour around the basement.

Ron and Karen Flessners lives and their spiritual evolution are part of the story of how Freedom Christian Fellowship came to be.

Ron was born and raised in Illinois. His father was a pastor, but Ron claimed he really didnt believe the gospel until he was 16 years old.

It was one summer during the middle of his teenage tears when he found God, after he participated in a tent meeting service in central Illinois. Ron received his master of divinity degree in his native state, and began serving a mission in Illinois and Michigan in 1980.

Karen was born and raised in a Muslim country where her family practiced Taoism and Buddhism. She left her home country in 1995 to come study at Western Michigan University. Describing herself as a first generational curse breaker in her family, she converted to Christianity the same year. Karen became a professional minister and clinical Christian counselor.

Ron and Karen first met in February 1998 at a campus ministry retreat in Michigan. The following November, they were married.

The Flessners came to Logan in 2006 to start Freedom Christian Fellowship.

This came about through prayer, Karen Flessner said. The Lord called us.

Flessner said the goal of Freedom Christian Fellowship is not to entertain, despite the fact that on most Bible study nights, the family might break out the guitar or bongos to accompany their singing.

We are here for God, Karen Flessner said. We are dependent on God to lead us. We dont do anything on our own.

Get along with each other

Ron talked about the importance of bringing international students into Freedom Christian Fellowship.

God our creator loves us no matter the color, ethnicity or nationality, he wrote in an email to The Herald Journal. While here in Logan, Utah, we need to learn how and to practice how to understand and get along with each other.

But having international students over for dinner and worship goes beyond learning and understanding the Bible or God, Ron Flessner said.

When someone is new in town, especially in a new culture, that person needs to learn how to play by the new rules and how to be successful in their new daily lives, he wrote.

The Flessners expressed their support for the international students in their congregation.

We believe international students, scholars and their families should not feel alone or left out while they are in Logan, Ron Flessner wrote. If permitted, we would like to be their friend and family away from family. We would like them to feel at home, while away from their home.

Jinsu Choi, a USU graduate student majoring in civil environmental engineering, hails from South Korea.

Its been a big transition. I couldnt speak English at all when I first came here, Choi said. Ron and Karen gave me a lot of help.

Back home, when he was growing up, Chois family would attend church, but he did not.

I came here with a lot of challenges and maybe thats why I became a Christian, Choi said. Ron and Karen gave me a lot of opportunities.

He said got involved in the Freedom Christian Fellowship when he started playing guitar for the Flessners in their weekly Bible studies.

I started to read the Bible and I pray before eating. I go to church every Sunday, Choi said. Previously, my friends were any people, but today my friends are people in a church.

Samuel Serrano, a sophomore majoring in graphic design, came to Logan last year from Colombia. He heard about the Freedom Christian Fellowship through a fair on campus, where he met Ron Flessner.

I was looking for a Christian church because Ive been Christian my whole life, Serrano said. There are a million Mormon ones and a couple Christian ones.

He said joining Freedom Christian Fellowship has been a great experience.

Youre building your relationship with God the more you know about him, the better it makes you as a person, Serrano said.

Bible study with the congregation is great, he said, but the weekly dinners and togetherness with the Flessners is something else.

I feel like Im part of the family, he said.

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Home away from home: Freedom Christian Fellowship hosts international students – The Herald Journal