How COVID-19 is affecting society

Arkady Arkright

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What for, though? He's not inciting racial hatred, or hatred based on religion or sexual orientation, or glorifying terrorism, or harassing people, or anything else I can immediately think of that could get him sent to prison for distributing leaflets.
I read that brochure as anti-semitic.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I read that brochure as anti-semitic.
And quite possibly it is, but publishing antisemitic materials is not, in itself, illegal in the UK. The offence is inciting racial or religious hatred, which is, quite rightly, very difficult to prove.

The offence involves using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to stir up racial hatred, so the prosecution would have to point to the "threatening, abusive or insulting words" used in the pamphlet, and they would also have persuade the jury so that they were sure that Corbyn either intended that they should stir up racial hatred, which a far stronger term than simple disapproval or dislike, or that he knew or should have known they were likely to have that effect.

That's why his brother has to worry about being expelled from the Labour Party rather than about being sent to prison for a few years.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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If they're considering charges under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, then they'll have to prove, among other things, his state of mind when he published the leaflets -- in particular, that his intent was "to cause distress or anxiety" to its recipients ("malicious" -- meaning that he actually intended to cause these emotions in the document's intended or likely readers -- in this case, anyone who might reasonably be expected to see it online, I guess). It's an either-way offence, punishable by 6 months in the Magistrates' Court or 2 years in a Crown Court.

There's a weird grey area in English communications law, which hasn't really ever properly caught up with answering machines and faxes, let alone the internet and social media, so it tends to treat messages posted online as being addressed to personally to anyone who might see them (so the entire readership of Twitter or Facebook), in the same way it would treat a letter, email or phone call.

If you recall, there were several contentious prosecutions a few years ago (several while Keir Starmer was DPP, as it happens) which brought some clarity to what's lawful and what's not -- remember the Robin Hood Airport twitter bomb threat case? -- which sought to clarify the matter, which they did to some degree, and while there may be a Malicious Communications Act offence to answer, depending on the exact words complained about (though I doubt they could proved intent to the necessary standard), I wouldn't give much for its chances if a prosecution ever materialises.

Since I've not seen the leaflet in question and don't know the facts surrounding its publication, apart from what I've read here, obviously I don't know what there is for the prosecutor to consider, but she or he will doubtless have in mind para 34 and following of this CPS guidance (still in force, AFAIK) when considering the file and whether to prosecute:

In these circumstances there is the potential for a chilling effect on free speech and prosecutors should exercise considerable caution before bringing charges under section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and section 127 of the Communications Act 2003. There is a high threshold that must be met before the evidential stage in the Code for Crown Prosecutors will be met. Furthermore, even if the high evidential threshold is met, in many cases a prosecution is unlikely to be required in the public interest.
ETA: The more I think about it, the larger seems the legal can of worms this prosecution would open. I'd be very surprised if the CPS want to pursue it, because of the Human Rights Act implications.
 
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Sredni Eel

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I just got an apology letter from Kaiser Permanente. In a nutshell, it was a two page letter explaining that they can't buy vaccines from the source, but must get them from the Federal Government. And while that process is being streamlined with the current administration, they don't expect to have enough vaccines to administer all their patients before Summer. If I read it in Alex Trebek's voice, it can be summed up in two words:

"Nuuuu soarry."

Meanwhile, I'm getting at least one email a week from the Principal that someone in our school is now in quarantine because they got exposed to someone who was either symptomatic or someone who tested positive.

Oh, and one of my friends caught Covid back in March. He now has it again. With a vengeance. Fever of 105 for a bit there. And vomiting this time. He and his husband are both on their second bout of this virus, so I'm beginning to think it's mutating faster than we can administer vaccines for "herd immunity".

Then this other person I know bought some sort of $300 hyperbaric chamber for her face because she's terrified of going out, yet somehow insists on trying to go to Disneyland in France or Tokyo or some bullshit.

Wanna know what my doc said when I asked her, "Will I be able to go back to work in person once vaccinated?"

"Let's talk when you're vaccinated." Reading between the lines, I'd say I'm probably going on disability even if I'm vaccinated. Which isn't gonna happen much before Summer anyway, as I'm only a lowly student attendant with underlying health issues.
 

Innula Zenovka

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I found it offensive, disrespectful, & would bet any with family members who endured Auschwitz or survived the holocaust may well do so too.
I agree it's a disgraceful document, but nevertheless it doesn't come anywhere close to meeting the tests required to justify prosecuting it as incitement to racial hatred, and the Court of Appeal has rightly warned against trying to use other pre-social media laws about malicious communications and harassment to prosecute this kind of material.

It's a very real problem, as we saw during the debate here some years ago about criminalising incitement to religious hatred and incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, which many normally left-wing and liberal comedians opposed on the grounds of free speech (though I could never get a satisfactory reply from anyone on social media to my requests for an example of the sort of joke they wanted to tell about Muslims that they feared would land them in court, bearing in mind the kind of racist material about Pakistanis and Indians that Jim Davidson and Bernard Manning had been using for years without difficulties).

In the US, pretty much anything goes, which is wrong, at least to my mind. But if we accept that some speech should be forbidden by law, deciding what kind of speech should put the speaker at risk of prison and what, though it's thoroughly objectionable, we're prepared to tolerate, isn't that easy.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Rep. Ron Wright, a Texas Republican, died Sunday after testing positive for the coronavirus, his campaign announced in a statement on Monday.

He is the first sitting member of Congress to die after being diagnosed with the virus.
Definite right-winger, serious anti-abortionist, preferred to ignore the science on COVID, member of the sedition caucus. His last tweet was to wish President Reagan happy birthday...
 
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Ellie

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CONFESSIONS OF A FUNERAL DIRECTOR » Working at the Crossroads of Life and Death

Two days before Diane’s funeral was to take place, her husband called. “I don’t want to, but I’m going to make this funeral private”, he said. “I can’t put the people who loved her at risk. We’re gonna cancel the public service. I don’t want her friends and family to have to choose between honoring Diane and putting their health at risk.” As I listened to him and tried to affirm him, I have to admit that it was hard to hear him grieve over lost grief. It was a foretaste of things to come. We won’t just be witnessing an overwhelming amount of tragic deaths, we’ll be witnessing people who are grieving the loss of communal grieving.
Found many interesting articles here

Kleenex warning, also may be :tmi: about death-related topics