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Veterans demonstrating to expose VA Misconduct undermines Veterans Healthcare says Government?

Veterans Robert Rosebrock, left, and Larry Kegel at the plaza gate in front of the VA facility in Brentwood. For more than a year the veterans hung an American flag union side up on the fence as part of their outreach effort. But in the summer of 2009 they began hanging the flag union side down to signify their view that the property was in distress. The VA plans to turn the 16-acre site into a park. The protesting veterans feel the site should be used for the care and housing of veteran, especially those who are homeless


In response to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Federal District Court by the ACLU on March 16, 2010 on behalf of Plaintiff Robert Rosebrock who alleges that employees of the Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) violated his first amendment rights to free expression by “chilling” his rights to free speech, the Government filed its answer to the lawsuit on April 12, 2010.  The Courts final ruling in this case will be a landmark decision of epic proportion for or against our rights to free speech without censorship, because If freedom doesn’t ring for Veterans – then for whom shall it ring?

Here is a paraphrased summary of the Government’s answer and defenses:  That the VA does not seek to prohibit Rosebrock from expressing his viewpoint through his protest demonstrations, but makes a limited request that he refrain from hanging anything on the fence as part of his protest demonstrations, because hanging the American Flag union side down on the VAGLAHS fence erodes VAGLAHS credibility with its patient population which is necessary for it to provide medical, surgical, and psychiatric care to Veterans. 

That restrictions placed on expressive conduct in a non-public forum (like a VA Medical Center) must be “viewpoint neutral.”  That the government has the right to make distinctions in access on the basis of subject matter and speaker identity, as long as the distinctions are not in an effort to suppress expression merely because public officials oppose the speaker’s view.  That (based on all of the above) the Government had reasonable, legitimate and strong interest in restricting expressive conduct by Rosebrock and his group of Veterans who were demonstrating just outside the VA’s gate because they compromised or undermined the VA’s primary mission which is to provide healthcare services to Veterans, especially the very sickest, and especially those Veterans with mental health problems. 

That the VA’s ability to provide quality care in such a setting (as stated above) relies on patients having trust in the VA and its caregivers.”  That the Government’s rights to restrict expressive conduct (as stated above) were backed-up by Ninth Circuit Court Precedent.  By the way, do any of you really believe that the VA can remain “viewpoint neutral” while a group of seasoned Veterans just outside their gates are accusing them of being a bunch of crooks? 

In her Court Declaration, Lynn Carrier who is the Associate Director of Administrative and Support Services at VAGLAHS stated in pertinent part that she received numerous verbal, telephone and electronic communication complaints from Veteran-patients and other Veterans that the display of the American flag union side down/upside down hanging on the VA’s gate offended and upset these Veterans.  I will bet that if those Veterans would have also been offended and upset to know that the reasons Rosebrock, et al were displaying the American flag union side down was to let Veterans and the rest of the world know that this Veterans’ land was “in distress” because certain employees of VAGLAHS were Co-Conspirators with Veterans Park Conservancy (VPC), a puppet non-profit for the wealthy Brentwood neighborhood bordering VAGLAHS who are leasing and developing that land for commercial money-making schemes. 

They are also intentionally denying the building of new Veterans homes for the estimated 20,000 homeless Veterans in the Greater Los Angeles area because they think it will depreciate the values of their multi-million dollar homes and commercial properties.  These Citizens Against Decency (CADS) (this is one of the nick-names I am coining to call these Conspirators from this day forward) should remember that it is America’s Veterans who make it possible for all Americans to live in a Free Country and to garner wealth without fear of it being taken away by a despotic government.  By the way, it should be duly noted that even the VA’s own website;  Guidelines for Display of the Flag  

(See Page 4 “Other Things Not to Do with the Flag”) states there is an exception to flying the flag union down and which states in pertinent part that: “Out of respect for the U.S. flag, never display it with the union down, except as a signal of distress.”  Additionally, at the beginning of this same VA website it states in pertinent part that the federal code contains no penalties for misusing the flag and that a Supreme Court Ruling in a 1990 decision said that the Flag Protection Act violates the First Amendment free speech protections.  


If the Government and the VA really believe that certain expressive conduct like that of Rosebrock, et al, could really compromise or undermine its said healthcare mission, and since they say the have Ninth Circuit Court backing, then they should immediately restrict, censor or ban from all its Healthcare Systems/Medical Centers all television broadcasting from all of its TV sets it provides for Veteran-patients to watch, especially news broadcasts; all radios; all Internet access; and any kind of newspapers or other news media from being bought, sold or distributed free, or brought on the property or read or listened to by Veterans or anyone else on VA property because all these medias have and may again broadcast or print the story about Rosebrock, et al demonstrations and the fact that they displayed the American Flag union side down on the VA fence.  

Additionally, said Medias may also contain other controversial news about other VA Misconduct against Veterans by the Government/VA which may also offend or upset Veteran-patients at VAGLAHS and all other VA Healthcare Systems/Medical Centers nationwide.  Otherwise, reasonable minds would have to ask the Government and the VA how could their Court documented and stated VA System-wide and nationwide Policy  of restricting the above said expressive conduct which they say could compromise or undermine VA’s ability to provide healthcare service to Veterans apply to Rosebrock et al, but not apply to restricting said expressive conduct of all of the other above said news and other media available at VAGLAHS and all other VA Healthcare/Medical Centers properties? 

The said Ninth Circuit Court Precedent is a dangerous Precedent and must be reversed by the Judge in the Rosebrock case in Federal District Court and then in an Appeal to the Ninth District Court again for a reversed ruling by them in this matter. 


The Government’s claim that it restricts certain expressive conduct at all of its Healthcare/Medical Center properties for the reasons it states is a cover-up for the real reasons which is that the Government/VA do not want demonstrating Veterans just outside the gates of any of its Healthcare facilities exposing VA Misconduct where it will get a great deal of News Media attention like the Rosebrock, et al demonstrations have.  Having said all this, how can the VA expect Veteran-patients and other Veterans to have trust in the VA and its Caregivers when the Government/VA continuously perpetrate these all these kinds of Wrongful Acts and Omissions against Veterans?

View the original article at Veterans Today

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