Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Thad with a short first amendment refresher regarding PEN America’s lawsuit against Trump:

Reminder for the slow class:

The First Amendment restricts the government from punishing speech.

The President is part of the government.

The President is not allowed to punish people or organizations for saying things he doesn’t like.

This is completely different from Techdirt, or Twitter, or Facebook, or Google, or any other private entity, punishing people or organizations for saying things they don’t like. That’s legal. Because those are not government organizations.

(Pedants who think they are being clever may note that the First Amendment only mentions Congress; it doesn’t say anything about the President. Well, here’s the thing about that: if Congress is not allowed to make a law giving the President the power to punish people for speech he doesn’t like, then the President doesn’t have that power.)

In second place, we’ve got an anonymous comment musing about what could be a significant factor in lots of police abuse and justice system failures:

I believe a part of this attitude is caused by people believing in the Hollywood version of law enforcement. In which the Hero Cops are never wrong and a trial is just a formality in which the Bad Guy only ever gets acquitted if his Sleazy Lawyer gets him off on some technicality.

That was in reference to an accidental admission by NYC prosecutors that they abuse the bail system to punish innocent people, and for editor’s choice we’ve got two more thoughts on that from some regular commenters. First, it’s That One Guy with an additional question:

‘They’re a serious threat to the public… right until they pay’

In addition to what they inadvertently admitted, that they are deliberately(and illegally) setting bail too high in order to keep people in jail until trial, the argument that posting bail is a threat to public safety merely brings up another question:

If someone is an actual danger to the public, why would there be a bail amount set at all? If someone is suspected or assault and/or murder can they walk until trial so long as they have enough money?

If someone is a demonstrable threat to those around them the simple act of paying does not magically make them not a threat, so if there is real evidence that someone poses a threat to the public why would any level of bail be set, rather than a case made to the judge that the accused presents a threat to those around them and as such it would be much safer to have them behind bars until trial.

This is of course a rhetorical question, as it’s pretty clear that they don’t think the people are actually threats, the point is instead that even assuming they were being honest they’d still have a hole large enough to drive a semi through in their argument.

Next, it’s That Anonymous Coward expanding on the impact this has:

One of the other reasons to keep them locked up is so they take the plea.
Locked up you need to get someone to cover rent, watch kids, feed pets, beg your boss to not fire you… gee all of those pressures seem like a reason innocent people might take a plea to have hope of salvaging their life before it gets destroyed waiting for their day in court where they roll the dice with an underpaid overworked public defender who might have all of 2 minutes to look at your case & no time or budget to actually put on a defense.

The punishment starts with the accusation and gets multiplied at every step to keep the system churning quickly. There can be video of you 5 states away, but that won’t matter until you get a day in court and that could be months away. You get a hearty GTFO, dumped on the street & have to find out what happened to your stuff & try to rebuild your life.

What people think the justice system is & how it works is so very different than the reality. Some people are mad their tax dollars give the accused a public defender, because they wouldn’t be in jail if they were innocent (because the 15 times I heard about people released from jail after being found innocent were flukes & that never happens now).

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is murgatroyd with a reaction to the appeals court ruling saying that Georgia’s laws are not protected by copyright:

Oh, great. Because of this, Georgia no longer has any incentive to create new laws! I hope Mr. Malamud is happy.

In second place, we’ve got a quick anonymous response to another commenter’s utterly baffling rant about “open source” and China:

Let’s add open source to the veritable dictionary of words you don’t understand. Along with veritable, dictionary, and words.

For editor’s choice, we start out with a reaction from Vidiot to the tiny class action settlement payout for Vizio customers:

$13? That’s one of the biggest class action awards I’ve seen. Still holding a check from TD Bank that’s supposed to make amends for lobby-located coin counting machines that chronically undercounted the contents of my pickle jar full of pocket change. I haven’t needed the 56 cents yet.

Finally, we head back to last week’s comment post, where I noted that stderric‘s winning comment was passing along a John Oliver joke. He defended himself, asserting:

Think what you will, but I consider “Humor Curator” to be an honorable enough pursuit 🙂

(As the person putting this post together right now, I agree!)

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Author: Leigh Beadon

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