Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Freedom of Speech?

The Constitution protects Freedom of Speech. Especially political speech. I thought. Now along comes a California legislator with a bill which states:

SEC. 2.

 Section 18320.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:
 It is unlawful for a person to knowingly and willingly make, publish or circulate on an Internet Web site, or cause to be made, published, or circulated in any writing posted on an Internet Web site, a false or deceptive statement designed to influence the vote on either of the following:
(a) Any issue submitted to voters at an election.
(b) Any candidate for election to public office.
 Well I guess if one says, "Your mother wears combat boots!" off to Lompoc you go in California. You see California is a strange place. Before the TSA started taking control of our lives at airports the California law required that you have and show upon demand by a police officer a form of personal identification satisfactory to them. If you refused or did not have it they could arrest you as a vagrant.
 The EFF makes a strong point against this proposed law. They state:
This bill will fuel a chaotic free-for-all of mudslinging with candidates and others being accused of crimes at the slightest hint of hyperbole, exaggeration, poetic license, or common error. While those accusations may not ultimately hold up, politically motivated prosecutions—or the threat of such—may harm democracy more than if the issue had just been left alone. Furthermore, A.B. 1104 makes no exception for satire and parody, leaving The Onion and Saturday Night Live open to accusations of illegal content. Nor does it exempt news organizations who quote deceptive statements made by politicians in their online reporting—even if their reporting is meant to debunk those claims. And what of everyday citizens who are duped by misleading materials: if 1,000 Californians retweet an incorrect statement by a presidential candidate, have they all broken the law? 
It is truly amazing how some Parties are dealing so loosely with the rights which remain. Perhaps California should BRexit as they so desire. Better yet, the Treasury could swap California with the PRC in lieu of all payments due, plus a bit more. We could dramatically reduce the debt. Most likely the deficit as well.
This is truly one of the most poorly crafted, offensive, and unconstitutional laws yet!

Perhaps, this is just a supposition and not "fake news", this law may make it illegal for the NY Times to operate in the State of California?  Just a thought.