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Comment Re:Not a great headline (Score 1) 176

There have been restrictions based on calling, but there's general agreement that calling somebody is a form of speech, and deserves some form of protection, although by no means unlimited protection (hence you have the TCPA, the do-not-call list, etc.). The do-not-call list has held up thus far partly because it's limited generally to commercial calling, and commercial speech receives less protection, in general, than other kinds of speech.

Comment Not a great headline (Score 3, Informative) 176

The judge didn't rule that political robocalls couldn't be banned, but rather that you couldn't JUST ban political robocalls. Generally, content-based restrictions on speech face a much higher hurdle than form-based restrictions. If the law had banned ALL robocalls, it might still have been overturned, but by only trying to ban SOME robocalls, the law was banning speech based on its content (political vs. charity message), and that's a very tough hurdle to get over.

Comment Re:Reaching the limits of the unlimited (Score 1) 421

Verizon stopped selling new unlimited plans five years ago (mid-2011), a couple of months after they launched their first LTE phone. The use case for the unlimited plans when people signed up for them was web browsing, email, Google maps, etc, since the 3G network wasn't reliably fast enough to do decent quality video, and certainly not video of sufficient quality for in-home use. Also, Verizon has never offered free tethering on unlimited plans.

Comment Re:Reaching the limits of the unlimited (Score 1) 421

Who knows why they didn't do it sooner? Maybe the number of customers using really high (for mobile broadband) amounts of data on these plans has risen enough to make it an issue worth dealing with, maybe they hadn't dug into the data to look at the share of data being used by share of customers. Don't really know. Again, though, the fact that they offered this plan in the past creates no obligation for them to offer it in the future.

Comment Re:So that makes it OK then (Score 1) 694

"promise that once that candidate is in office large donors will receive political appointment in a federal government position" Not OK, but there has to be an explicit quid pro quo (i.e. the candidate has to offer the position in exchange for the support). Offering someone a position who has supported you in the past doesn't violate the law, unless you can show beyond a reasonable doubt that the support was conditioned on the offer. If this weren't the case, then it would be virtually impossible for any politician to fill political appointments with anybody but opponents. "So, you went out and campaigned on my behalf? Sorry, can't nominate you for a cabinet job." In other words, it would be illegal for Bernie Sanders to tell Elizabeth Warren "endorse me, and I'll make you Secretary of the Treasury." It would NOT be illegal for Sanders, having been endorsed by Warren, to then say "I appreciate your support in our efforts, now that I've won the election, I want you to be Secretary of the Treasury.

Comment Re:America (Score 1) 694

The Democratic party has a huge problem. It's also a pretty simple problem: If the US equivalent of the Australian Electoral commission got caught picking a favourite between one of the two major parties there would be a royal commission and a complete overhaul of our political system.

It's really not comparable. The Democratic Party is, fundamentally, a private organization. While I agree that, in principle, the DNC shouldn't favor one candidate over another in the process of choosing who the Democratic candidate for a particular office will be, it's entirely different from the actual election to a public office. As an analogy, the DNC is like a team's manager, not the referee.

Comment Re:So that makes it OK then (Score 1) 694

No Hatch Act violations that I've seen - none of these are federal employees. There are pretty clear standards on what the Hatch Act requires/prohibits, and it doesn't prohibit elected officials (or gov't employees) from engaging in political activity, just restricts how they do it. The selling federal appointments question is a stretch - needs to be a quite explicit quid pro quo, and I haven't seen any evidence of that here. At the federal level, libel/slander isn't a criminal act, it's a civil tort. For a public figure like Sanders, the threshhold to qualify as libel is VERY high. To be liable for it, the alleged libeler/slanderer has to be proven to have engaged in "actual malice" - he needs to have known that the statement was false (as well as being defamatory) and published it anyway, with the intent to harm. Libel also requires a statement of fact, not opinion.

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