Tagged: commercial speech

Law 17: The American-Algerian War

English (I) and French (II).

For the title section you must scroll down to the French part of this post, sorry, but you can also google the phrase to know more about this little-known event (from 1815 AD).

I

Meet the Reactionaries

Texas is First US State to Adopt IHRA Definition of Antisemitism. (i24news June 16, 2021)

This comes after Amawi v. Pflugerville Independent School District (April 2019), “a case in Texas where the plaintiffs had all faced potential or real loss of employment with the State of Texas for being unwilling to sign contracts promising not to participate in boycott activities against Israel.”

The Texan District Court held that “content based laws…are presumptively unconstitutional” and that “viewpoint-based regulations impermissibly ‘license one side of a debate’ and ‘create the possibility that the [government] is seeking to handicap the expression of particular ideas.’ It further asserted that the law the State had relied on, HB 89, was unconstitutional under the First Amendment.” (Wikipedia)

Governor Greg Abbott couldn’t have “his” anti-BDS law stand the judicial test (it was eviscerated) so he “adopts” a new definition of antisemitism. So what? As far as legal value is concerned his adopted definition is nonexistent. He could have repainted the state capitol instead and that would have been exactly as relevant in terms of positive law (with the difference that it would be something useful as buildings need new paint once in a while). Any attempt to give a positive legal value to the definition will be a major infringement on First Amendment rights, just like his anti-BDS law.

ii

As far as the American Jewish Congress’s remarks on … [a social platform beside Twitter and Facebook] in a Newsweek opinion called We need to stop Marjorie Taylor Greene’s online extremism before it gets violent are concerned, the authors examine two solutions.

One –the second discussed by them– is transparency about online fundraising. Why not? Yet do the authors really believe that transparency would be of any use against what they claim is their concern, namely that online speech incite violence? I fail to see how this would work (to be sure I only read the first two paragraphs, which were screenshot, of their paper).

Before looking at their second proposal, let us remember that under the American Constitution even speech that incites violence is protected if it is not “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and likely to incite or produce such action” (Brandenburg v. Ohio 1969). In my opinion that excludes all online speech to begin with, since then the people get the message through electronic devices, mostly sitting in a room with a computer, so the imminence criterion is lacking altogether (although with smartphones things could change in the future, if for instance we could see such a thing as a mob where individuals are both absorbed in their smartphones’ content and committing violence at the same time, which would be peculiar still).

The authors’ second proposal is to ban the platform. They write: “There are precedents in law where exceptions to the First Amendment regarding hate speech exist. ” I have no idea what precedents they have in mind (they do not name them here, if at all) but I know the current state of the law is Brandenburg v. Ohio, which does not support the idea of a ban. In fact there are no currently valid precedents at all. They would have to resort to the Espionage Act, as has been done with Julian Assange, but this is not even credible.

What they call for, then, is reviving precedents long fallen into disuse, in the spirit of the Sedition Act. I can see no other alternative. This is the most reactionary stuff I have read in a long time.

iii

As to the Anti Defamation League’s call to investigate … [same platform as above] “for possible criminal liability in Capitol attack,” it is preposterous. A platform cannot be held responsible for the content its users publish: this is SECTION 230 (as if people had not been talking at length about it recently!) (the section “provides immunity for website platforms from third-party content”: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”). So even if some people on … had posted content that was “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and likely to incite or produce such action” (the Brandenburg v. Ohio requirement for prosecuting speech), which must be what ADL has in mind, with the “lawless action” being the Capitol attack, Section 230 prevents the Justice Department from even considering to investigate … The slightest step in that direction would be a civil liberties case against the state.

This being said besides the fact that platform content cannot even be fancied to be “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and likely to incite or produce such action.” The Justice Department would have to prove that an internet post was likely to produce the Capitol attack by a crowd of people gathered on the spot. In any world with stable judicial rules of evidence this is not conceivable.

*

Coloradans Not Wanted

Many Companies Want Remote Workers—Except From Colorado. After a new state law that requires employers to disclose salaries for open positions, some are advertising jobs available anywhere in the U.S. but Colorado. (Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2021)

Companies must reveal salary information in job ads if Coloradans are eligible, so they now advertise their job positions in this way:

“This position may be done in NYC or Remote (but not in CO due to local CO job posting requirements” (DigitalOcean’s online post)

Yet seven states (unnamed in my source below) have laws that prohibit advertising discrimination based on “race, color, or creed”:

“Jews were denied welcome at hotels, resorts, public accommodations, and schools. In 1907 a hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, declined accommodations to an American Jewish woman. She complained to Louis Marshall, a lawyer and president of the American Jewish Committee. Marshall drafted a law that barred the printed advertising of discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of race, color, or creed. Enacted in 1913, this statute did not require hoteliers to rent rooms to all comers but prohibited the publication and dissemination of statements that advocated discriminatory exclusion. By 1930 seven states had adopted versions of the New York statute, making group rights a nascent category [nascent or rather stillborn] in First Amendment law.” (mtsu.edu First Amendment Encyclopedia: Group Libel [nonexistent])

This means in all other states you can advertise your business’s discriminatory choices legally. How common is this? And, in fact, why is this not more common? Is it ignorance of the law? Do people mistakenly believe they cannot make such advertisements?

ii

What about the constitutionality of these laws?

Here the author is quite obscure. She says: “Throughout the 1930s the laws remained untested in the courts. Marshall apparently preferred to field inquiries from resort owners about the legalities of their advertisements than to file lawsuits.”

In her first sentence “throughout the 1930s” seems to be saying that the laws were tested by courts but later, otherwise why limit the talk to the thirties? However the author says nothing about results of later constitutional challenges.

The second sentence seems to be saying, correct me if I’m wrong, that there never was any lawsuit based on one of these 7 (or 8, actually, the New York state law plus seven copycats, I’m not sure how to read “By 1930 seven states had adopted versions of the New York statute,” if that means 7 or 8 in total) and notwithstanding the fact there was not a single challenge in courts this man managed to have all such advertisements removed forever. Quite a feat indeed…

At that time commercial speech was not protected by the First Amendment, so constitutional challenges were bound to fail, the laws would have stood the test. This could explain why the hoteliers etc did not care to go to courts to defend their advertising and instead complied with the “inquiries” fielded by said lawyer. Today it is different: commercial speech is protected speech (at least it receives partial protection, not as broad as political speech but still) so, assuming these laws are still around (and this is more likely than the reverse, isn’t it?), challenging their constitutionality is more open-ended today.

*

American Child Labor

Conservatives would legalize child labor again if they could.

Child labor is legal in the U.S. at the date of this post.

“These regulations do not apply to agricultural labor because of outdated exemptions”: “Estimates by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity programs, based on figures gathered by the Department of Labor, suggest that there are approximately 500,000 child farmworkers in the United States. Many of these children start working as young as age 8, and 72-hour work weeks (more than 10 hours per day) are not uncommon. … Today’s farmworker children are largely migrant workers” (American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO)

Besides, “Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), workers under the age of 16 cannot work between 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., except during the summer. From June 1 to Labor Day, the prohibited hours are from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Once you’re 16, federal law no longer restricts what hours you can work.” Only the night shift is illegal for child workers.

ii

“Today’s farmworker children [estimated 500,000] are largely migrant workers.” Conservatives don’t have to legalize child labor again, they’ll keep crying about the border crisis while overworking Mexican children on their farms.

They legally work children below 14 in farms, family businesses, private homes for “minor chores,” newspaper delivery, and more sectors undisclosed in the sources I quoted.

A 14-year old is not a child according to U.S. labor law, while the International Labour Organization (ILO) has a 15-year old threshold.

While the federal minimum wage for adults is $7.25 per hour, for children it is $4.25 per hour. (See also prison inmates work, given the rates of inmates in the states: “By law, incarcerated workers do not have to be paid. Some states take this to heart. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas do not pay incarcerated workers for most regular jobs performed within the prison. Inmates in other states are not much better off, as most state prisoners earn between $0.12 and $0.40 per hour of work. Even if an inmate secures a higher-paying correctional industries job – which about 6% of people incarcerated in state prisons do – they still only earn between $0.33 and $1.41 per hour.” (Corporate Accountability Lab, Aug 2020)

American companies outsource a large part of their industrial activity to China where “About 7.74 percent of children between the ages of 10-15 are laborers.” (The Borgen Project, Aug 2019) American law prevents Americans from knowing the figures of American companies’ job outsourcing.

*

Erasure of History Forum

Who remembers the Anti-Masonic Party?

The Wikipedia page lists more than 40 Congress members, including earlier President of the United States John Quincy Adams (MA)†, 2 state governors, William Palmer (VT) and Joseph Ritner (PA), and a host of other officials such as lieutenant governors.

†John Quincy Adams belonged to the Anti-Masonic Party from 1830 to 1834, he was a member of the Congress’s House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1831 to 1848, and President of the United States from 1825 to 1829.

II

Collectivisation : L’exemple de la santé

L’État français a un argument en béton pour rendre la vaccination contre le covid obligatoire : c’est que la sécurité sociale est collectivisée. En admettant (par hypothèse) que le vaccin est efficace, ce sont ceux qui refusent de se vacciner qui continueront de tomber malades. Ils représentent un coût pour le système collectivisé.

L’individu dont les dépenses de santé sont prises en charge par un régime collectivisé n’est pas libre de refuser un vaccin. La pandémie pourrait donc ouvrir le débat sur le démantèlement intégral de la sécurité sociale.

ii

Dans un État libéral, quand quelqu’un tombe malade, il n’attend rien de l’État. S’il est assuré, c’est auprès d’une compagnie privée, et s’il ne l’est pas (et n’a donc rien prélevé sur ses revenus entre deux dépenses de santé nécessitées par la situation), il a intérêt à avoir des économies ou bien il faut qu’il s’endette (comme quand il a acheté une voiture et un écran plasma).

Dès lors, on ne comprendrait pas qu’il y ait des obligations vaccinales dans un tel pays, les dépenses de santé étant privées. En effet, quand les dépenses de santé sont privées, les choix sont forcément individuels et on ne voit pas de quel droit l’État imposerait le vaccin puisque ceux qui le refusent en seront pour leurs seuls frais s’ils tombent malades tandis que ceux qui sont vaccinés sont immunisés par hypothèse. Si mon voisin est vacciné, il ne peut pas moralement me demander de l’être aussi puisqu’il ne risque plus rien et que mon refus n’emporte aucune conséquence pour lui.

L’obligation vaccinale est un pur produit de l’étatisation. Je souhaite que l’on reconsidère de manière très approfondie le principe même de la sécurité sociale au regard de cette collectivisation rampante.

(Je ne parle pas spécifiquement ici des vaccins anti-covid, dont certains dénoncent la supposée nocivité, mais de la question de l’obligation vaccinale en général, et ma conclusion est que, même en admettant que tous les vaccins sont toujours efficaces, l’obligation ne peut se justifier que dans des systèmes étatisés de sécurité sociale collectivisée.)

iii

Objection : Les caisses primaires d’assurance maladie (CPAM) ne sont pas des organismes d’État.

Réponse : Les CPAM remplissent « une mission de service public définie par l’État, telle que par exemple les services d’immatriculation et d’affiliation. » Ce qui est défini par l’État est étatisé.

O. Le droit des contrats est défini par l’État. Donc, selon cette logique, les contrats entre personnes privées seraient étatisés?

R. Le droit des contrats repose aussi sur la coutume commerciale et la définition de mon interlocuteur (« le droit des contrats est défini par l’État ») est en soi de l’étatisme pur.

« Le projet de loi de financement de la Sécurité sociale (LFSS) est déposé par le gouvernement au plus tard le 15 octobre à l’Assemblée nationale. » La question ici porte sur les raisons qui font qu’un régime « paritaire » a son centre opérationnel dans un texte de loi (la LFSS annuelle). La réponse ne peut être que la suivante : c’est parce que le régime est étatisé.

D’ailleurs, la Caisse nationale qui chapeaute les CPAM est un établissement public administratif (« définissant au niveau national la politique de l’assurance maladie en France »).

Mais je pourrais en réalité me passer d’introduire la moindre considération sur la LFSS. La comparaison de mon interlocuteur avec le droit des contrats est tout simplement fautive car ce droit a bien des origines tandis qu’une mission de service public est entièrement définie par l’État.

Que les CPAM aient une certaine latitude de gestion va de soi, de même qu’un particulier chasseur mandaté par la préfecture pour exterminer des renards et autres « nuisibles » (mission de service public) s’y prend comme bon lui semble (dans le cadre des lois). Cela ne change rien à la question.

*

Un délit réservé aux Arabes et aux Noirs

Le délit d’incitation à la consommation de stupéfiants continue d’être poursuivi et condamné en justice. Mais seulement pour les rappeurs (Mister You, affaire de Villeurbanne 2020, affaire de Grenoble 2020, etc).

On pensait que ça n’existait plus, au moins depuis le non-lieu dans les années 90 pour le groupe (blanc) Billy Ze Kick et les Gamins en Folie, dénoncé pour sa chanson Mangez-moi ! (2e place du Top 50, explicitement sur les champignons hallucinogènes : « la chanson du psylo »). Mais non.

Montrez-moi un seul Blanc puni de ce crime ! –

Inspiré par l’achat du recueil Déplacements Dégagements du grand poète Henri Michaux, dont la présentation se lit : « Ses livres, proches du surréalisme, et cependant tout à fait singuliers, sont des poèmes, des descriptions de mondes imaginaires, des inventaires de rêves, une exploration des infinis créés par les substances hallucinogènes » (Présentation anonyme, Collection L’Imaginaire/Gallimard).

Qui d’entre nous, marchant au crépuscule sur la Colline du Crack et ressentant la mélancolie de sa finitude humaine, peut dire qu’il n’a jamais rêvé d’explorer les infinis ?

ii

La référence à la Colline du Crack doit être comprise à la lumière des précédents billets, où j’en ai déjà parlé (Law 9 et suivantes, en anglais).

Alors que la justice condamne l’incitation à la consommation, condamne des artistes, devant le problème de la Colline du Crack à Stalingrad (Paris 19), les autorités ne trouvent rien de mieux que de distribuer des pipes à crack et de payer des chambres d’hôtel.

iii

Un interlocuteur me transmet un jugement de la Cour d’appel de Niort.

À supposer que ce Nicolas R., condamné pour avoir mis à la vente à Niort des tee-shirts Cannabis Legalize It (c’est-à-dire un message reprenant l’un des points du programme d’au moins un parti politique représenté à l’Assemblée nationale et dans divers exécutifs locaux, cette condamnation signifiant en réalité qu’il n’est pas permis de demander de changer la loi, car c’est le sens des mots Legalize It, or aucune loi ne peut comporter une clause prévoyant l’impossibilité de son abrogation et par conséquent le jugement doit être cassé car c’est de l’instrumentalisation politique de la justice), soit Blanc, mon interlocuteur apporterait un démenti au titre de cette section. – Je répondrais que c’est l’exception qui confirme la règle. (Il faudrait demander à l’expert judiciaire Gabriel Matzneff ce qu’il en pense. Mais Nicolas R. ayant en fait été relaxé en appel, mon titre reste sans démenti pour ce qui est des condamnations.)

Mon interlocuteur évoquant par la même occasion le climat actuel, il m’offre l’opportunité d’évoquer une certaine affaire, pour un autre abus de procédure, bien que ce climat soit précisément opposé à toute forme d’expression telle que celle que je vais à présent oser.

Il s’agit de la condamnation d’un rappeur noir, Maka, à 15 mois de prison pour apologie de terrorisme, pour une chanson appelée Samuel Paty.

Le journal La Marne du 27 nov. 2020 (x) indique que la chanson « cherche selon eux [selon les juges] à ‘surfer sur la vague pour faire du buzz’ ». Il est donc totalement incompréhensible que cette personne soit condamnée pour apologie de terrorisme, les juges faisant eux-mêmes remarquer que la finalité de la chanson est tout autre, à savoir « faire du buzz ». L’incohérence est redoutable.

iv

Or demander de légaliser le cannabis, ce qui est forcément légal comme je l’ai souligné et comme la Cour d’appel l’a reconnu (la condamnation en première instance reste très choquante, tout comme l’étaient les poursuites), est une façon indirecte de promouvoir sa consommation. Car il n’y a eu que l’Église nationale danoise pour promouvoir en 1969 la légalisation de la pornographie (premier pays au monde) au prétexte que c’est parce qu’elle était interdite qu’elle attirait les gens et que donc ceux qui étaient contre la pornographie devaient demander sa légalisation.

Ainsi, la promotion de la légalisation ne pouvant s’exclure d’une forme de promotion de la consommation, la loi est d’une abominable stupidité car elle interdit et autorise en même temps la même chose. À bas toutes ces lois.

*

Au temps des manifestations #GiletsJaunes, le gouvernement cherchait à lancer des débats sur qui est journaliste. Je propose la définition suivante, d’une imparable logique interne :

Est journaliste toute personne condamnée en droit de la presse.

*

Histoire d’un mariole

Je reproche à Victor Hugo d’avoir écrit Napoléon-le-Petit. Je veux dire ce titre qui, en appelant Napoléon III le petit, laisse entendre que Napoléon Ier était grand. Non.

Il est certain que vous n’avez jamais entendu parler des guerres américano-barbaresques. Elles furent au nombre de deux : la première de 1801 à 1805 et la seconde, également appelée guerre américano-algérienne, en 1815. Dans la première les États-Unis d’Amérique et la Suède et dans la seconde les États-Unis seuls combattirent les États barbaresques d’Afrique du Nord (nos futures ex-colonies).

Les États-Unis d’Amérique et la Suède luttaient ainsi contre la piraterie en Méditerranée pendant que l’autre fou, qui avait causé la perte de notre flotte à Aboukir (1798), courait dans tous les sens en Europe et cherchait à faire un « blocus continental » pour empêcher les navires anglais d’aborder sur le continent.

Les États-Unis d’Amérique (!) – et la Suède (!) – devaient lutter contre des pirates maghrébins en Méditerranée, la mer qui borde nos côtes (!), pendant que nous avions un EMPIRE.

*

Si demain la France et les États-Unis se faisaient la guerre, je pense que l’on pourrait dire à l’avance en combien de minutes l’armée française serait anéantie. C’est pareil pour le droit. #FirstAmendment

Law 12: The Lunar Breeze Effect Flag

The Lunar Breeze Effect Flag

For full understanding of the following, read section The Latest on Wikipedia’s Moon Landing Hoax Debunking in Law 10.

“Neil, it’s cool you went on the Moon but… a good artistic picture is what matters.”

“One that ties the room together.”

So you take the French Wikipedia version for granted. Yet the English Wikipedia version is different: “The flag was rippled because it had been folded during storage – the ripples could be mistaken for movement in a still photo.” Here there is no word about an intention to tie the room together, the ripples are accidental, they are folds due to storage which turn out to make the flag look as if it were fluttering in the wind.

As if the authors of the English Wikipedia page dared not confess what my interlocutor endorses wholeheartedly. As if, namely, they doubted it was judicious to fake a flag fluttering in the wind in a picture shot on the moon. As if they dared not confess it because of the issue involved in taking people for idiots.

NASA Picture With Lunar Breeze Effect Flag
Chinese Flag Without Breeze Effect (Source: BBC Dec 4, 2020 “China becomes second nation to plant flag on the Moon”)

*

Crack Hills Have Eyes 2

See Law 11.

Politicians make laws (lawmaker=the legislative power) and they also enforce laws as executive power (from which police take their orders).

What my post denounced about Crack Hill is that politicians qua executive power do not enforce the law politicians vote qua legislative power. That is, as taking crack is a criminal offence, politicians qua executive are taking a very light view of the law when they enforce it by distributing pipes and paying hotel rooms to criminals. If this is their idea of the issue, then they must take the initiative of a legislative debate to repeal the law and decriminalize crack consumption, and stop telling people they enforce the law by ignoring it.

This is a huge problem, because when executive officials do not want to enforce the law, they don’t bother to have it repealed, they just instruct the services (police etc) to ignore it, or to do as they please.

A crackhead in France may live in a free hotel room with new pipes every Thursday or behind bars, it all depends on the police’s mood.

There’s no rule of law anymore.

ii

Government protectionism of the black market.

Yes, government and police protectionism of the black market, since without police forces the government could do nothing, so the police are always responsible (if only by abiding) whereas one may imagine cases where only police are responsible while the executive authorities know nothing of what is going on.

Now, as my interlocutor compared enforcement of Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act (Prohibition) with the contemporary war on drugs, let me add the following. The same politicians who in France are implementing the briliant crack plan I have just been talking of, eschewing enforcement of national drug laws, are eager to point at the figures of prison inmates in the U.S. (highest rate of prison inmates per inhabitant in the world, so they say) as a reason why they ought not to follow the same path. In several other, perhaps most European countries, we hear the same discourse.

But these fellows dare not repeal their own national drug laws, and the result of this slighting of the law is that these countries are not rule of law countries anymore. The prison inmates figures are the price the United States are paying for upholding the rule of law. God Bless America. In Europe they are leaving everything at the discretion of the bureaucracy. Whether one will be punished for consuming drugs depends not on the law (which still says they must be punished) but on how they were perceived at some point by some guy in the bureaucracy, some cop, who will have them prosecuted in spite of the unwritten rule of bureaucracy saying that those poor devils should be left alone.

The poor devil who did not please the cop will be prosecuted, a judge will hear him and, say we are in France, a country of written law, the judge, although he has heard of the bureaucratic rule, will open the legal code at the page where the article laying down the penalties for consuming drugs is, and he will condemn the poor devil. (Compared to the functionarial nonentity that a French judge is, American judges are intellectuals.)

This is what European politicians are so proud of – the fact that no one knows what to expect. They revel in a world of arbitrariness.

*

Biden supports suppressing online “misinformation,” press secretary says.

Was it on his electoral platform or does he just add it now as an extra?

*

Justin Trudeau dismisses critics of internet censorship bill as “tin foil hats.”

The same guy explained that derogatory speech is the same as shouting fire in a crowded theater – the classic example in SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) case law that would serve to send his bill to the garbage can.

*

“Free speech” lawyer argues “lying” should be an impeachable offense.

The levels of nincompoopery in academia (“law professor at George Washington University”) are staggering. To think that these fellows are comfortable talking about truth and lies as they do… they really have got no clue. Let me take an example. Husband and wife want to divorce because it turns out they don’t see things the same way. One issue to settle is who will keep the kids. Why is it an issue? Because husband and wife both want to raise the kids according to his or her own views and ideas, according to how he or she sees things. Will you ask a law professor at George Washington University to tell the judge whose ideas are truths and whose are untruths, calling the latter lies, before taking a decision? Nonsense. If an amicus curiae talked like that (within an acceptable margin in the frame of the society – as expressing some ideas, like belief in witchcraft or alien abductions, would probably be detrimental in the case to the party expressing these ideas) he would be dismissed at once, as trying to impose his or her own set of preconceived ideas.

ii

What I wrote may sound confusing, at least for two kinds of people in America. Some will remember that experts in American courts are experts of the parties, who try to sustain their party’s position, whereas I seem to be talking of experts of the courts, which exist in civil law (as opposed to common law) countries, experts who had rather remain as neutral as possible in order not to fall into disrepute.

Others will remember that in America jury trial is the rule in civil trials and I seem to omit the fact completely. In fact, divorce trials by jury are rare even in the U.S.:

« Only a few states allow for any type of jury trial in a divorce case.  Even then, those states limit the issues that can go before a jury. For example, Texas, which has the most liberal rules concerning jury trials in divorce cases, is the only state that allows juries to decide which parent gets custody of the children and where the children will live. » (rightlawyers.com)

Unless most divorces occur in Texas, the majority of divorced American parents must abide by a decision on who is to keep the children which was not taken by a jury.

Still, my point was, if an expert smugly told the judge, like some professor of George Washington University, that the kids cannot be in custody of the father, for instance, because he voted for Trump and Trump is a liar so you cannot rely on such a one to take care of kids, she would be laughed at or I do not know my judge. Yet she writes books like that, which tells you what a tyrant she must be in her classroom even if people shrug shoulders at her in most other circumstances.

Now, judges are probably more of an official’s profile than the majority of people, so the fact that divorce trials are not decided by juries is also more likely to be detrimental to parents who hold certain ideas, even not so fringe as belief in alien abductions. I should think a parent known to be a Gab user, for instance, is likely to lose his kids in a divorce court when a divorce is filed. Correct me if I’m wrong.

*

UK government accused of promoting a “nanny state” with proposed online ban on high calorie food ads.

Is commercial speech speech or rather the polluting of speech? Commercial speech wasn’t protected in the US before the 1970s (Virginia State Pharmacy Board v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, 1976). This is the kind of view that makes authoritarian regimes comfortable with their speech suppression systems, as they can say to their people: See, we’re protecting you and your free thinking from the relentless, nauseating pushing by unthinking business whose sole aim is profit.

In any case, while the US Supreme Court has found that commercial speech is speech, it does not grant it the same level of protection as non-commercial speech, so the UK policy here described could be implemented in the states too within the law.

*

Bonkers About Lèse-Majesté

Prince Harry complains about online “misinformation” calls First Amendment “bonkers.”

Prince Harry: “I’ve got so much I want to say about the First Amendment; I still don’t understand it, but it is bonkers.”

No surprise: “In 2013, the Ministry of Justice admitted that the Treason Felony Act 1848 had accidentally been ditched. The 165-year-old law threatens anyone calling for the abolition of the monarchy with life imprisonment.” (The Sun, Oct 20, 2016)

Information about lese-majeste legislation in UK is deceptive: they make all sorts of claims, so much so that nobody can know what the legal situation is. (They call that rule of law?)

On Wikipedia page Lèse-majesté, for UK they write: “The Treason Felony Act of 1848 makes it an offence to advocate for the abolition of the monarchy. Such advocation is punishable by up to life imprisonment under the Act. Though still in the statute book, the law is no longer enforced.”

Yet the source for that is a Dec 2013 paper by The Guardian, “Calling for abolition of monarchy is still illegal, UK justice ministry admits,” with subtitle “Department wrongly announced that section of law threatening people with life imprisonment had been repealed.”

The government spreads misinformation on the issue. That the law be no longer enforced does not mean it will not be enforced in case someone violates it (they make it an entirely discretionary decision of prosecuting authorities), only it turns out nobody dares speak freely on the issue (except, probably, ‘accredited’ cartoonists trained in the art of sycophancy under the guise of joking, i.e. court jesters).

ii

As Harry has in his native country a history of blundering (google “Harry the Nazi”), I think it relevant to stress that his calling American First Amendment “bonkers” is not one more blunder according to British royalty’s etiquette but on the contrary full compliance with it.

The extraordinary sequence of the British government claiming lese-majeste laws void and then retracting, claiming to have repealed them and then denying, is the (one may say comical) confirmation that deep within these people see no wrong in punishing speech with life imprisonment.

The appalling statute, worse than the classic example of Thai monarchy (where offensive speech about the King is punishable with a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, compared to 3 years for the Sultan of Brunei), and whose status is at best uncertain, that is, of which nobody can say it is not part of British law any longer because British lawmakers won’t make such a declaration without denying it at once, is among other things what shapes Prince Harry’s animus.

iii

Now, that “Department wrongly announced” the repeal of the lese-majeste law is big lese-majeste, if you ask me, and should be punished with hanging because if they haven’t hanged people for a while it must be due to some misunderstanding.

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None of Your Business

The US will join the “Christchurch Call” to eliminate extremist content online. (May 2021)

“New Zealand man jailed for 21 months for sharing Christchurch shooting video.” (BBC News, June 2019)

Making it a crime to share this video amounts to claiming that the government must be the only source of truth. The only source of truth will be at the same time the agency that restricts access to evidence.

Under a constitutional regime the government can make no claim to be an authority as to what the truth is. Hence, by restricting access to evidence it overrides its constitutional function and mocks constitutional liberties.

Here is how the government proceeds. You learn what happened in Christchurch and then the government tells you that, given what happened in Christchurch, they are going to carry out a set of policies that will curtail your fundamental liberties for the sake of peace and order. Then, when one citizen says “Okay, so let’s see what happened in Christchurch” and makes the video of the shooting available online, he’s punished with 21 months imprisonment for inciting violence (or whatever fallacy they used).

Thus, what happened in Christchurch is none of your business even though based on this particular event you are going to lose big in terms of freedom, or more simply you are going to lose your freedom. – What happened in Christchurch is the governement’s business and you have no right to ask for evidence. “The only source of truth will be at the same time the agency that restricts access to evidence.”

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Axiom

Independent judges versus employees of the king. In the common law tradition, judges are fully independent. In the civil law tradition, judges are no more than employees of the king. They are strictly monitored by higher courts, which are in turn monitored in a remarkable extent by the central government.” (Gerrit De Geest, American Law: A Comparative Primer, 2020)

It should be stressed that this describes, as far as the civil law tradition is concerned, police states, because the state is entirely absorbed in the government. The axiom is therefore that civil law countries are police states.

ii

“the French, with their centuries-long tradition of presenting case law as pure interpretations of codified law.” (De Geest, 2020, p. 64)

Granting it is true of the judicial judge, it is not so with the administrative judge, which has originated much of the administrative law in France, whole parts of which are judge-made (« droit d’origine jurisprudentielle »). – The political cartel is fond of leaving to the judge all lawmaking that crushes individuals under the boot of the police state.

De Geest is excusable, however, from a common law viewpoint, for overlooking that the administrative judge is a judge at all: “Believe it or not, the Conseil d’État, that is, the French supreme court for administrative law, belongs to the executive branch, not the judicial branch!” p. 86)

It’s not about believing and joking but about what common law countries do to bring police states to reason.

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“A plea bargain in a criminal case is the equivalent of a settlement in a civil case.” (Gerrit De Geest, American Law: A Comparative Primer, 2020, p. 70)

No. Plea bargaining is a modality of prosecution, not its eschewing. It has nothing to do with the debate on compulsory prosecution vs. principle of opportunity, and by the way De Geest wrongly associates compulsory prosecution with the civil law tradition; in major civil law countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the principle of opportunity obtains.