# Why is this legal?

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
Politicians get away with far too much, considering they are public employees. Things that are illegal in some, or all, industries are not illegal when it comes to politics.... since politicians make the laws, this may not be so surprising... but makes it even more of an outrage.

Ground rules for discussion:

There are three topics that do not belong in this thread (plenty of other threads have numerous posts on these topics. Visit those, if you wish to post about the following).

1) no discussion of Gun Ownership laws... visit another thread for that.. its been talked to death, but feel free to run in circles elsewhere.
2) no discussion of Abortion Rights.... see above.
3) no discussion of Religious Freedom... see above.

If you are still interested, let's begin....

What is not illegal, related to the running and maintenance of government, that should be illegal?

I see nothing but hypocrisy in politics.. Institutionalized dishonesty. There are two things I think should be illegal, for the betterment of society...

1) It should be a crime to knowingly spread false information in pursuit of political gain.

The common negative response to this is "being wrong should not be a crime". My response is that "being wrong" is not the issue... being INTENTIONALLY wrong is... The most blatant of lies about points of fact. As Obama said recently to Letterman, "If you watch Fox news then you are living on a different planet than someone that watches NPR".
The US cannot have a healthy government and political system if we are living on different planets.
Politicians should be legally accountable for every word that comes out of their mouths. Lying during a campaign should carry mandatory jail time and blacklisting from any government job anywhere.
If it is reasonable that a politician misspoke and did not intentionally lie, then the correction must be ASSURED to reach as many people as the original misstatement... i.e. putting a little note at the bottom of an article saying it was retracted is insufficient.. If a politician addresses the nation on a news program, then they must revisit that program at the same timeslot for the same duration making it clear what was said that was wrong, why it was wrong, why they did not know it was wrong, present their evidence that they could not have known better, present the correct information clearly and accurately, and offer an apology for their failure.

2) It should be a crime for any politician or political candidate to accept money or gifts from ANYONE.
Offering money to a politician should be illegal and treated as bribery. Using personal funds to support a campaign should also be illegal... the point being to level the playing field to a set amount of taxpayer-supported funds for each candidate, and remove the special interest groups that are manipulating the process today.

What do you think of these two thoughts?

What are some of your own examples of things that should be illegal that aren't, in the world of politics and government?

#### dismal

##### Contributor
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
No need to ignore the Supreme Court. We should instead listen. They ruled that false speech is NOT protected when harm can come. The famous "yelling fire in a crowded movie theater when there is no fire", is precedence there.

No need to appoint any commission for any specific law.. . we already have a legal system that supports the execution of the law. If such a law existed, then the only need for any special commission would be for the investigation of evidenced claims.

An example of evidence in this area would be an email message between campaign folks saying something like, "these statistics are troubling, lets just say X, the base will love it and no one will bother fact checking us". Or, during a speech, something is stated that establishes knowledge of a particular fact. Then, in another speech, something is said that contradicts that fact that was already evidenced as known.

I also do not accept "there are edge cases that may be problematic, therefore do nothing". The law can at least be written so narrowly that it can only apply to the most egregious cases... like Birther, Pizzagate, and Yellow shower level garbage.

#### barbos

##### Contributor
Not gonna fly. Lying is integral part of politics and really any other endeavor like business, etc.
Trump lied 70% of the time during last election. But Hillary lied 30% too.
When you have two parties disagreeing on something then you know that at least one party is lying.
And lobby laws were introduced because they could not fight it, so they legalize&regulate it.

#### Jolly_Penguin

##### Banned
Banned
Strongly agree with your second point. Public funding of elections and make it illegal to take money from anywhere else including the politician themself. Get money out of politics. It would make a huge difference. Nobody should be able to buy an election.

#### barbos

##### Contributor
Strongly agree with your second point. Public funding of elections and make it illegal to take money from anywhere else including the politician themself. Get money out of politics. It would make a huge difference. Nobody should be able to buy an election.
Nobody offers politicians money directly anymore. They offer board of directors positions, partnership in lobbying firms after they suddenly retire. If they don't want to retire then they can give positions to close relatives, spouses, children, grandchildren. Illegal but hard to prove - stock tips.

If we talk about legal campaign contributions then limiting to public funding only is a good idea but I am not sure politician class will allow it without fight.

#### braces_for_impact

##### Veteran Member
I think it's the difficulty in proving someone intentionally lied that's part of the problem. I definitely agree that the laws on corruption and bribery, etc. should be broadened and reinforced. Those laws have taken some serious hits in the last decade or two, and combined with dark money, things have gotten really ugly.

#### Loren Pechtel

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

Non-commercial false speech is protected speech.

Commercial false speech is generally considered fraud.

All we need to do is consider political speech a form of commercial speech.

#### SimpleDon

##### Veteran Member
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

Non-commercial false speech is protected speech.

Commercial false speech is generally considered fraud.

All we need to do is consider political speech a form of commercial speech.

Good idea.

#### dismal

##### Contributor
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

Non-commercial false speech is protected speech.

Commercial false speech is generally considered fraud.

All we need to do is consider political speech a form of commercial speech.

OK, so let's ignore the fact that it isn't commercial speech and indeed political speech has historically been the most protected form of speech and plow ahead.

How much power do you want Trump's truth squad to have?

Can they prosecute Obama for saying he had been to 57 states?

How about Nancy Pelosi for saying not passing some bill would cost 500 million jobs per month?

#### Trausti

##### Deleted
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

Non-commercial false speech is protected speech.

Commercial false speech is generally considered fraud.

All we need to do is consider political speech a form of commercial speech.

OK, so let's ignore the fact that it isn't commercial speech and indeed political speech has historically been the most protected form of speech and plow ahead.

How much power do you want Trump's truth squad to have?

Can they prosecute Obama for saying he had been to 57 states?

How about Nancy Pelosi for saying not passing some bill would cost 500 million jobs per month?

Considering how often politicians lie, there'd be endless investigations. Good money for the lawyers, I guess.

#### laughing dog

##### Contributor
The real issue that lying by politicians is accepted by the voting public. If voters rebelled against it and liars lost elections, the lying would quickly recede.

#### dismal

##### Contributor
OK, so let's ignore the fact that it isn't commercial speech and indeed political speech has historically been the most protected form of speech and plow ahead.

How much power do you want Trump's truth squad to have?

Can they prosecute Obama for saying he had been to 57 states?

How about Nancy Pelosi for saying not passing some bill would cost 500 million jobs per month?

Considering how often politicians lie, there'd be endless investigations. Good money for the lawyers, I guess.

Well, Trump would have prosecutorial discretion, so I'm sure he'd focus only on the worst abuses.

Like the Pelosi and Obama examples I mentioned.

#### Bronzeage

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Freedom of speech protects the right to be wrong, and to lie.

One of the cornerstones of any legal system is a prohibition of laws which are overly broad or vague. There is not language which would clearly define a falsehood in such a way it could be prosecuted, without using the subjective opinion of the prosecutor.

Every criminal offense must be defined in a way that a reasonable person can know when they have crossed the line. There must also be a mechanism for enforcement for any law. How would a "Liars in Public Office" law be enforced? Who files the complaint and who then examines the complaint for validity? None of this structure currently exists, so it has to be created by law. Imagine being a TFT moderator for the entire nation. Nice work, if you can get it.

However, the Constitution only covers the criminal aspects of free speech. It does not address fraud or theft through misrepresentation. If a person lies for financial gain, the aggrieved party has full recourse to the justice system, where they are welcome to sue for damages and recover their losses.

#### dismal

##### Contributor
There is not language which would clearly define a falsehood in such a way it could be prosecuted, without using the subjective opinion of the prosecutor.

Well, in some cases, sure, but there's no effin way Obama visited 57 states, right? Or that not passing some bill was costing 500 million jobs per month?

My fear is that politicians would learn to phrase everything as questions. Like that Guam's going to tip over guy.

Instead of saying "This is going to cause Guam to tip over", you ask "Isn't this going to cause Guam to tip over?"

Or, they'd have their minions tweet out "this is going to cause Guam to tip over" and then they can factually say "There are those who say this will cause Guam to tip over!"

nm

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
dismal said:
Well, in some cases, sure, but there's no effin way Obama visited 57 states, right?
To be fair, it would be extremely difficult to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Obama lied about that, and in fact he did not.
Even when it comes to commercial speech, false claims that result from mistakes are generally not criminal, and are definitely not fraud (though in some cases, they might involve criminal negligence, but that could happen in some cases even when the speech is not commercial).

Anyway, I think that criminalizing political lies is a generally bad idea because of its potential for abuse, but in any case, I think it's better to make a clear distinction between false claims (very common) and lies (also very common, but much more difficult to establish beyond a reasonable doubt).

#### SimpleDon

##### Veteran Member
We need to teach our citizens some skeptical thinking and reasoning skills and we need to eliminate gerrymandering. I am willing to bet that I could write a pretty through redistricting program based on single precinct as the center of each district and work out from it to define districts that contain roughly the same number of people that are geographically compact without regard for politics or race or socioeconomic status. Gerrymandering is one of the main reasons that we don't have moderates elected to Congress anymore.

This is more important than getting money out of politics. Is there anyone here who will admit to a television ad having influenced your choice of whom to vote for?

Or that a commercial didn't convince you to support a person the first time you saw it but did after you had seen the commercial twenty times?

#### dismal

##### Contributor
dismal said:
Well, in some cases, sure, but there's no effin way Obama visited 57 states, right?
To be fair, it would be extremely difficult to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Obama lied about that, and in fact he did not.
Even when it comes to commercial speech, false claims that result from mistakes are generally not criminal, and are definitely not fraud (though in some cases, they might involve criminal negligence, but that could happen in some cases even when the speech is not commercial).

Anyway, I think that criminalizing political lies is a generally bad idea because of its potential for abuse, but in any case, I think it's better to make a clear distinction between false claims (very common) and lies (also very common, but much more difficult to establish beyond a reasonable doubt).

OK, fair enough, let's have Trump's Truth Squad get him on the stand and if he can list the 57 states he went to and present enough evidence to create a reasonable doubt he actually did he can go free.

#### Alcoholic Actuary

##### Senior Member
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

Non-commercial false speech is protected speech.

Commercial false speech is generally considered fraud.

All we need to do is consider political speech a form of commercial speech.

I know I don’t say this frequently, particularly to you, but that is an excellent point! There is little difference between someone wanting me to buy a product and someone wanting to represent my interests in running the country. If they lie about either, it’s fraudulent.

aa

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
dismal said:
Well, in some cases, sure, but there's no effin way Obama visited 57 states, right?
To be fair, it would be extremely difficult to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Obama lied about that, and in fact he did not.
Even when it comes to commercial speech, false claims that result from mistakes are generally not criminal, and are definitely not fraud (though in some cases, they might involve criminal negligence, but that could happen in some cases even when the speech is not commercial).

Anyway, I think that criminalizing political lies is a generally bad idea because of its potential for abuse, but in any case, I think it's better to make a clear distinction between false claims (very common) and lies (also very common, but much more difficult to establish beyond a reasonable doubt).

OK, fair enough, let's have Trump's Truth Squad get him on the stand and if he can list the 57 states he went to and present enough evidence to create a reasonable doubt he actually did he can go free.

I'm not sure why you're trying to argue in this way. I think you have the better case, but I don't think you're helping it. Anyway, if you want a reply: Of course there it's beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not go to 57 states. It's not beyond a reasonable doubt that he lied, and in fact it's extremely probable that he did not lie.

#### Loren Pechtel

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

Non-commercial false speech is protected speech.

Commercial false speech is generally considered fraud.

All we need to do is consider political speech a form of commercial speech.

OK, so let's ignore the fact that it isn't commercial speech and indeed political speech has historically been the most protected form of speech and plow ahead.

How much power do you want Trump's truth squad to have?

Can they prosecute Obama for saying he had been to 57 states?

How about Nancy Pelosi for saying not passing some bill would cost 500 million jobs per month?

I do think political speech is rather like commercial speech. It's after votes rather than dollars but that doesn't change the basic nature.

#### dismal

##### Contributor
OK, fair enough, let's have Trump's Truth Squad get him on the stand and if he can list the 57 states he went to and present enough evidence to create a reasonable doubt he actually did he can go free.

I'm not sure why you're trying to argue in this way. I think you have the better case, but I don't think you're helping it. Anyway, if you want a reply: Of course there it's beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not go to 57 states. It's not beyond a reasonable doubt that he lied, and in fact it's extremely probable that he did not lie.

So you're saying he did go to 57 states?

You may be up on charges next.

#### dismal

##### Contributor
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

Non-commercial false speech is protected speech.

Commercial false speech is generally considered fraud.

All we need to do is consider political speech a form of commercial speech.

I know I don’t say this frequently, particularly to you, but that is an excellent point! There is little difference between someone wanting me to buy a product and someone wanting to represent my interests in running the country. If they lie about either, it’s fraudulent.

aa

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

So, all those people at the Democrat convention who introduced Hillary Clinton as "the Next President of the United States of America" - how many years do they get?

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
OK, fair enough, let's have Trump's Truth Squad get him on the stand and if he can list the 57 states he went to and present enough evidence to create a reasonable doubt he actually did he can go free.

I'm not sure why you're trying to argue in this way. I think you have the better case, but I don't think you're helping it. Anyway, if you want a reply: Of course there it's beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not go to 57 states. It's not beyond a reasonable doubt that he lied, and in fact it's extremely probable that he did not lie.

So you're saying he did go to 57 states?

You may be up on charges next.
As I said, I'm not sure why you're trying to argue in this way. I thought you were being sarcastic, and was wondering why you would use sarcasm in this context, since it does not seem to help your case, and there seem to be good ways of defending your position. However, now I'm beginning to suspect you actually are interpreting my words as your posts, taken at face value, would imply. If you are using sarcasm, you're being obscure enough to make it look like it's not, which is not helping your case, either.

So, I'm not sure what to make of your replies to me, but I will assume for the sake of the argument that you're not being sarcastic. If you are, please say so, because it's not working.

Anyway, no, I'm not saying that he did go to 57 states. But let me try to explain in greater detail: As I said, it's beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not go. In other words, if would be unreasonable (obviously) to suspect that he might have gone to 57 states, at least if one is aware of the fact that there aren't so many states. So, obviously, his statement is false.

On the other hand, it is not at all obvious that he lied. It's not beyond a reasonable doubt that he lied. And in fact, he very probably did not lie. It would make no sense for him to say he did go to 57 states while being aware of the fact that there are no 57 states, as it would obviously be detrimental for his position, and also obviously people would even laugh at him (and, indeed, one can hear the people listening to his speech openly laughing when he said that).

It is far more probable that he was not aware when he said that of the fact that there aren't so many states, and thought they were more than 57 (listen to the speech if you like). Now, probably somewhere in his brain Obama knew there weren't so many states, and with more time, when he was not tired, etc., he would have realized that. But he was (very probably) not aware of that when he said that. In any event, if political lies were a felony, it would be up to the prosecutor to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Obama did lie - rather than making a mistake. I'm pretty sure no prosecutor could establish that.

Remember, Malintent has not proposed criminalizing political false speech. It's true that after you used the expression "false speech" in response to his OP, he used it as well, but it seems clear to me that under the implicit understanding that you were also talking about lies (if you want more precision, about knowingly spreading false information for political gain), not just about false statements.

That said, if you actually believe you can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Obama knowingly spread false information (or attempted to do so) in the context of your example, I would like to see your evidence and arguments for that. I don't think you have any chances of establishing that, though, but I'm willing to listen and discuss the matter if you want. Personally, though, I would recommend adjusting your arguments to hit the right target (i.e., what your oppnents actually put forth).

#### Hermit

##### Cantankerous grump
The real issue that lying by politicians is accepted by the voting public. If voters rebelled against it and liars lost elections, the lying would quickly recede.
It's a case of "S/He's a lying bastard, but at least s/he is our lying bastard. Hence the baying for Hillary Clinton's blood by the Republicans and Trump's by the Democrats. Both sides ignore the alleged lies uttered by members of their own side or deny that what those members said constitutes a lie or is not a sufficiently serious one to warrant punitive action. It's all way too partisan.

Here in Australia, and I guess may other parliamentary systems, politicians enjoy special protection. No matter what they say in either house, they cannot be taken to court for libel, slander or any other alleged offence. This immunity is meant to give them complete liberty to speak the truth, even if they don't have evidence for it that would stand up in a court of law. They are not silenced by fear of any threats. Of course the same immunity enables them to lie without having to fear any consequences. This immunity does not apply to anything they say outside their respective houses, and the party they belong to can take disciplinary action in either case.

#### dismal

##### Contributor
So you're saying he did go to 57 states?

You may be up on charges next.
As I said, I'm not sure why you're trying to argue in this way. I thought you were being sarcastic, and was wondering why you would use sarcasm in this context, since it does not seem to help your case, and there seem to be good ways of defending your position. However, now I'm beginning to suspect you actually are interpreting my words as your posts, taken at face value, would imply. If you are using sarcasm, you're being obscure enough to make it look like it's not, which is not helping your case, either.

So, I'm not sure what to make of your replies to me, but I will assume for the sake of the argument that you're not being sarcastic. If you are, please say so, because it's not working.

Anyway, no, I'm not saying that he did go to 57 states. But let me try to explain in greater detail: As I said, it's beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not go. In other words, if would be unreasonable (obviously) to suspect that he might have gone to 57 states, at least if one is aware of the fact that there aren't so many states. So, obviously, his statement is false.

On the other hand, it is not at all obvious that he lied. It's not beyond a reasonable doubt that he lied. And in fact, he very probably did not lie. It would make no sense for him to say he did go to 57 states while being aware of the fact that there are no 57 states, as it would obviously be detrimental for his position, and also obviously people would even laugh at him (and, indeed, one can hear the people listening to his speech openly laughing when he said that).

It is far more probable that he was not aware when he said that of the fact that there aren't so many states, and thought they were more than 57 (listen to the speech if you like). Now, probably somewhere in his brain Obama knew there weren't so many states, and with more time, when he was not tired, etc., he would have realized that. But he was (very probably) not aware of that when he said that. In any event, if political lies were a felony, it would be up to the prosecutor to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Obama did lie - rather than making a mistake. I'm pretty sure no prosecutor could establish that.

Remember, Malintent has not proposed criminalizing political false speech. It's true that after you used the expression "false speech" in response to his OP, he used it as well, but it seems clear to me that under the implicit understanding that you were also talking about lies (if you want more precision, about knowingly spreading false information for political gain), not just about false statements.

That said, if you actually believe you can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Obama knowingly spread false information (or attempted to do so) in the context of your example, I would like to see your evidence and arguments for that. I don't think you have any chances of establishing that, though, but I'm willing to listen and discuss the matter if you want. Personally, though, I would recommend adjusting your arguments to hit the right target (i.e., what your oppnents actually put forth).

So, it's you agree he said something that objectively was not true but you feeeel in your heart that he didn't mean it?

Sounds like we're not only going to need a Truth Squad but a Feelings Squad to assess what people intended.

Oh well, I'm sure Trump will sort all that out.

Now, as to those people at the convention who introduced Hillary as "the Next President of the USA". They were a) objectively wrong and b) intentionally saying what they said, right?

I guess it doesn't matter what you think. Trump will sort it out.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
Strongly agree with your second point. Public funding of elections and make it illegal to take money from anywhere else including the politician themself. Get money out of politics. It would make a huge difference. Nobody should be able to buy an election.

I want my politicians to be interested in making their district prosperous and the population happy... not interested in making a lot of money at their jobs. Public servants should be revered as selfless agents of public good.

Capitalism is good, but not in industries that provide fundamental services, like governance, medical, and educational services.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

Non-commercial false speech is protected speech.

Commercial false speech is generally considered fraud.

All we need to do is consider political speech a form of commercial speech.

This. This is well said, and represents what I was trying to get at.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
So you're saying he did go to 57 states?

You may be up on charges next.
As I said, I'm not sure why you're trying to argue in this way. I thought you were being sarcastic, and was wondering why you would use sarcasm in this context, since it does not seem to help your case, and there seem to be good ways of defending your position. However, now I'm beginning to suspect you actually are interpreting my words as your posts, taken at face value, would imply. If you are using sarcasm, you're being obscure enough to make it look like it's not, which is not helping your case, either.

So, I'm not sure what to make of your replies to me, but I will assume for the sake of the argument that you're not being sarcastic. If you are, please say so, because it's not working.

Anyway, no, I'm not saying that he did go to 57 states. But let me try to explain in greater detail: As I said, it's beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not go. In other words, if would be unreasonable (obviously) to suspect that he might have gone to 57 states, at least if one is aware of the fact that there aren't so many states. So, obviously, his statement is false.

On the other hand, it is not at all obvious that he lied. It's not beyond a reasonable doubt that he lied. And in fact, he very probably did not lie. It would make no sense for him to say he did go to 57 states while being aware of the fact that there are no 57 states, as it would obviously be detrimental for his position, and also obviously people would even laugh at him (and, indeed, one can hear the people listening to his speech openly laughing when he said that).

It is far more probable that he was not aware when he said that of the fact that there aren't so many states, and thought they were more than 57 (listen to the speech if you like). Now, probably somewhere in his brain Obama knew there weren't so many states, and with more time, when he was not tired, etc., he would have realized that. But he was (very probably) not aware of that when he said that. In any event, if political lies were a felony, it would be up to the prosecutor to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Obama did lie - rather than making a mistake. I'm pretty sure no prosecutor could establish that.

Remember, Malintent has not proposed criminalizing political false speech. It's true that after you used the expression "false speech" in response to his OP, he used it as well, but it seems clear to me that under the implicit understanding that you were also talking about lies (if you want more precision, about knowingly spreading false information for political gain), not just about false statements.

That said, if you actually believe you can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Obama knowingly spread false information (or attempted to do so) in the context of your example, I would like to see your evidence and arguments for that. I don't think you have any chances of establishing that, though, but I'm willing to listen and discuss the matter if you want. Personally, though, I would recommend adjusting your arguments to hit the right target (i.e., what your oppnents actually put forth).

So, it's you agree he said something that objectively was not true but you feeeel in your heart that he didn't mean it?

Sounds like we're not only going to need a Truth Squad but a Feelings Squad to assess what people intended.

Oh well, I'm sure Trump will sort all that out.

Now, as to those people at the convention who introduced Hillary as "the Next President of the USA". They were a) objectively wrong and b) intentionally saying what they said, right?

I guess it doesn't matter what you think. Trump will sort it out.

There certainly could be concern for the 1984 thought police if you litigate on intentionality alone. Loren said it succinctly... there are already laws about committing fraud. Apply these same laws to politicians. They wish to sell their services in exchange for votes... so I want consumer protection of our elected public servants.. .cause they should be, you know, SERVING... not helping themselves.

#### Elixir

##### Made in America
There certainly could be concern for the 1984 thought police if you litigate on intentionality alone. Loren said it succinctly... there are already laws about committing fraud. Apply these same laws to politicians. They wish to sell their services in exchange for votes... so I want consumer protection of our elected public servants.. .cause they should be, you know, SERVING... not helping themselves.

The time for that has passed. Greet the New Day, when a career in politics is the gateway to satiating boundless greed and hunger for power. It's the Trump way.
Not satisfied with your $1000 bonus after 20 years of service to Home Depot (less than$1/week for your tenure)? Too bad, Sucker - you should have gone into politics. If you were a Republican in Congress by now, lying to protect your Dear Leader, you too could reap millions from tax breaks - on your private jet alone.
It's not Trump's fault that you're too damn lazy to go out and buy yourself a private jet.

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
dismal said:
So, it's you agree he said something that objectively was not true but you feeeel in your heart that he didn't mean it?
No, that is not remotely what I said, nor my position. It is what I have clearly explained. It is not about feelings. Just as there is an objective fact of the matter as to whether Obama was to 57 states, there is an objective fact of the matter as to whether Obama knowingly made a false assertion when he said that. On the basis of the available information, a normal human observer can make proper probabilistic assessments about both matters. That is how we make assessments pretty much all the time. It is so probable that he did not go to 57 states that it is well beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, it is not remotely as probable - and not even probable, in context - that he knowingly made a false assertion.

If knowingly spreading false information for political gain were criminalized, in order to convict Obama according to that law, it would have to be established beyond a reasonable doubt that he knowingly spread false information. The evidence in no way allows a reasonable person to establish that.

dismal said:
Sounds like we're not only going to need a Truth Squad but a Feelings Squad to assess what people intended.
If it sounds like that to you, it is because you're doing to me what some of your usual opponents regularly do to their opponents.

dismal said:
Oh well, I'm sure Trump will sort all that out.
Your sarcasm is out of place, since you're badly losing this debate. And it's a shame. You have the better case against the proposed criminalization. But instead of targeting your opponents' views, you needlessly target a weak caricature. Here, a question is whether you are aware of that. I used to think that you probably were, and that you were engaging in some sort of sophisticated meta-sarcasm and parody in addition to the overt sarcasm, but now after your repeated replies, I've updated the probability: you probably (though not beyond a reasonable doubt) are speaking what you believe is true.

dismal said:
Now, as to those people at the convention who introduced Hillary as "the Next President of the USA". They were a) objectively wrong and b) intentionally saying what they said, right?
But both a) and b) won't cut it. You would need to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that they were knowingly spreading false information (for political gain, but that part is easy). There is no way you could establish that in a court of law.

dismal said:
I guess it doesn't matter what you think. Trump will sort it out.
Again, this is out of place sarcasm. If you're engaging in some sophisticated meta-game and you're not just confused about what I'm saying, I can assure you it is not at all clear at all. I recommend you adjust your tactics (if you're just confused, never mind).

#### dismal

##### Contributor
No, that is not remotely what I said, nor my position. It is what I have clearly explained. It is not about feelings. Just as there is an objective fact of the matter as to whether Obama was to 57 states, there is an objective fact of the matter as to whether Obama knowingly made a false assertion when he said that. On the basis of the available information, a normal human observer can make proper probabilistic assessments about both matters. That is how we make assessments pretty much all the time. It is so probable that he did not go to 57 states that it is well beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, it is not remotely as probable - and not even probable, in context - that he knowingly made a false assertion.

If knowingly spreading false information for political gain were criminalized, in order to convict Obama according to that law, it would have to be established beyond a reasonable doubt that he knowingly spread false information. The evidence in no way allows a reasonable person to establish that.

If it sounds like that to you, it is because you're doing to me what some of your usual opponents regularly do to their opponents.

dismal said:
Oh well, I'm sure Trump will sort all that out.
Your sarcasm is out of place, since you're badly losing this debate. And it's a shame. You have the better case against the proposed criminalization. But instead of targeting your opponents' views, you needlessly target a weak caricature. Here, a question is whether you are aware of that. I used to think that you probably were, and that you were engaging in some sort of sophisticated meta-sarcasm and parody in addition to the overt sarcasm, but now after your repeated replies, I've updated the probability: you probably (though not beyond a reasonable doubt) are speaking what you believe is true.

dismal said:
Now, as to those people at the convention who introduced Hillary as "the Next President of the USA". They were a) objectively wrong and b) intentionally saying what they said, right?
But both a) and b) won't cut it. You would need to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that they were knowingly spreading false information (for political gain, but that part is easy). There is no way you could establish that in a court of law.

dismal said:
I guess it doesn't matter what you think. Trump will sort it out.
Again, this is out of place sarcasm. If you're engaging in some sophisticated meta-game and you're not just confused about what I'm saying, I can assure you it is not at all clear at all. I recommend you adjust your tactics (if you're just confused, never mind).

OK, let's try a series of questions:

1) Did Obama say he had been to 57 states? (I think the answer is "Yes")
2) Is what he said objectively not true? (Again, yes)
3) Does this mean he spread false or misleading information? (Yes)
4) Is he thus guilty of some crime? (I'm going to go with "it depends" on how you define the crime the chicken bone waving people here are wanting to enact. You seem to assume there will be some "out" for intent. )
5) If there is an out for "intent" does that require someone to gauge what someone's intent was? (Yes. Seems tautological.)
6) Who will that person be? (Not you. Assuming this is a federal crime, Trump and Trump's appointees will have at a minimum have prosecutorial discretion over it. Perhaps a jury will ultimately decide. Let's hope it's not one of those juries of average citizens drawn from the voter roles who we don't trust to gauge whether politicians are lying though, right? )

In any case, we can observe this "intent" test clearly takes us out of the realm of assessing objective facts. We must divine someone's thoughts. It seems like quite a loophole. I can make some totally outrageous, objectively false claim (like Nancy Pelosi saying not passing a bill would cost 500 million jobs per day) and when called on it just say "oopsie, I misspoke". Did you really land in Bosnia under sniper fire Hillary? 'oopsie, I misspoke". Did you really not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky, Bill? "oopsie, I misspoke". Ironically, this defense seems the most applicable the more factually outrageous a claim is. Like when you think Guam is going to tip over.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
If a false claim causes harm, then the same recourse should be available to those harmed by the false claim.

To use that example, if harm can be shown to have been brought to any person by Obama having said that he visited 57 states (a claim that I am not familiar with, but will look up momentarily out of curiosity), and the legal recourse was in place at the time, then yes he should have been obligated to clarify, correct, or walk back the statement as broadly as it was made.

The law, as I proposed, would obligate correction (or face contempt of court), not involve jail time or fines or any such thing beyond existing libel / slander liability.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
According to Snopes, Obama said "57" instead of "47" due to being overtired during campaigning. He was quoted as saying he was aware he misspoke about that and he also said he might have accidently said 100 million instead of 100 thousand victims of a cyclone.

Snopes said:
Talking with reporters at a later campaign stop, Senator Obama expressed concern that he’d recently misstated both the number of potential victims of a recent cyclone in Burma and the number of states he’d visited, saying: “I hope I said 100 thousand people the first time instead of 100 million. I understand I said there were 57 states today. It’s a sign that my numeracy is getting a little, uh …”

So why is that a big deal? Who was harmed and what gain would Obama have gotten? I cannot see any such. But, Snopes goes on to report WHY people like dismal might remember that 57 number, or even care about it...

Snopes said:
Quickly enough, based on the (spurious) rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim, someone came up with the fanciful idea that his mention of “fifty-seven states” was not a dog-tired campaigner’s simply misstating “forty-seven” as “fifty-seven,” but a reference to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which has 57 member states

Oh right... it was a black / Muslim thing. Can't let that opportunity get away, can ya.

I half-expected this. That is why I thought I would look up why something so benign was even being mentioned. Par for course.

#### dismal

##### Contributor
If a false claim causes harm, then the same recourse should be available to those harmed by the false claim.

To use that example, if harm can be shown to have been brought to any person by Obama having said that he visited 57 states (a claim that I am not familiar with, but will look up momentarily out of curiosity), and the legal recourse was in place at the time, then yes he should have been obligated to clarify, correct, or walk back the statement as broadly as it was made.

The law, as I proposed, would obligate correction (or face contempt of court), not involve jail time or fines or any such thing beyond existing libel / slander liability.

Hmm, I think politicians harm me more when they pass certain laws than when they say things that aren't true.

But, that aside, you're saying that anyone who lost their doctor in the wake of Obama saying "if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor" should be able to sue Obama personally?

Every family in the USA should be able to sue Obama for saying Obamacare would save them \$2500 on their health insurance premiums?

#### dismal

##### Contributor
According to Snopes, Obama said "57" instead of "47" due to being overtired during campaigning.

How do snopes know that?

Anyway, is this another loophole? A politician is allowed to spread false information if they are sufficiently tired? Your commitment to truth seems to have a lot of outs.

#### Jolly_Penguin

##### Banned
Banned
According to Snopes, Obama said "57" instead of "47" due to being overtired during campaigning.

How do snopes know that?

Anyway, is this another loophole? A politician is allowed to spread false information if they are sufficiently tired? Your commitment to truth seems to have a lot of outs.

Do you never misspeak? There is a difference between misspeaking (due to being tired or whatever else) and deliberately spreading false information.

#### dismal

##### Contributor
According to Snopes, Obama said "57" instead of "47" due to being overtired during campaigning.

How do snopes know that?

Anyway, is this another loophole? A politician is allowed to spread false information if they are sufficiently tired? Your commitment to truth seems to have a lot of outs.

Do you never misspeak? There is a difference between misspeaking (due to being tired or whatever else) and deliberately spreading false information.

What's the difference to the audience? (Aka the victim)

#### SimpleDon

##### Veteran Member
I think that this suggestion is best left alone. I agree with dismal. Political speech has to be the freest speech. Otherwise, it is a guarantee that the party in power will use this law against political lying against the opposition party exclusively.

The right has created a massive propaganda machine, but at some point it won't be enough, they will need a law such as this one being proposed to shutdown the truth. Don't hand them such a law.

I think that we just have to trust the system and that the majority elected by a minority current administration and Congress will be crushed under the weight of their demonstrated incompetence.

#### humbleman

##### Senior Member
Politicians get away with far too much, considering they are public employees. Things that are illegal in some, or all, industries are not illegal when it comes to politics.... since politicians make the laws, this may not be so surprising... but makes it even more of an outrage.

Ground rules for discussion:

There are three topics that do not belong in this thread (plenty of other threads have numerous posts on these topics. Visit those, if you wish to post about the following).

1) no discussion of Gun Ownership laws... visit another thread for that.. its been talked to death, but feel free to run in circles elsewhere.
2) no discussion of Abortion Rights.... see above.
3) no discussion of Religious Freedom... see above.

If you are still interested, let's begin....

What is not illegal, related to the running and maintenance of government, that should be illegal?

I see nothing but hypocrisy in politics.. Institutionalized dishonesty. There are two things I think should be illegal, for the betterment of society...

1) It should be a crime to knowingly spread false information in pursuit of political gain.

The common negative response to this is "being wrong should not be a crime". My response is that "being wrong" is not the issue... being INTENTIONALLY wrong is... The most blatant of lies about points of fact. As Obama said recently to Letterman, "If you watch Fox news then you are living on a different planet than someone that watches NPR".
The US cannot have a healthy government and political system if we are living on different planets.
Politicians should be legally accountable for every word that comes out of their mouths. Lying during a campaign should carry mandatory jail time and blacklisting from any government job anywhere.
If it is reasonable that a politician misspoke and did not intentionally lie, then the correction must be ASSURED to reach as many people as the original misstatement... i.e. putting a little note at the bottom of an article saying it was retracted is insufficient.. If a politician addresses the nation on a news program, then they must revisit that program at the same timeslot for the same duration making it clear what was said that was wrong, why it was wrong, why they did not know it was wrong, present their evidence that they could not have known better, present the correct information clearly and accurately, and offer an apology for their failure.

2) It should be a crime for any politician or political candidate to accept money or gifts from ANYONE.
Offering money to a politician should be illegal and treated as bribery. Using personal funds to support a campaign should also be illegal... the point being to level the playing field to a set amount of taxpayer-supported funds for each candidate, and remove the special interest groups that are manipulating the process today.

What do you think of these two thoughts?

What are some of your own examples of things that should be illegal that aren't, in the world of politics and government?

Government agencies rise up their budgets "automatically" rather than doing it by real needs.

The Fiscal year starts on October.

Any agency, lets say police department in any county of any state, finds out that the received funds have not been used fully, then, about July, the department "finds out" that it needs new police cars replacing the "older ones bought two years ago" because the new ones will have such and such new technology included. It will find out that new bullet proof vest must be upgraded from last year, they find out that some offices must be remodeled, etc.

They will desperately find the way to spend the whole funds received in that fiscal year..

The motto in the whole government agencies is to ask for a greater budget every year.

I can bet that even the White House does the same. And no, the president in charge has nothing to do with this kind of budget.

Reason of why government agencies rise up automatically their budgets every year:

By experience, "sometimes", in one year in special, the asked budget funds didn't cover emergencies that happened between Octobers, and the agency wasn't capable to supply the needs. But, this is one rare case, it doesn't happen every year.

The rising up of budget by government agencies is practically illegal, buying new computers replacing 4 year old ones, making unnecessary remodeling, painting the inside of buildings every year, hiring contractors for simple tasks which can be performed by the agency staff, and more.

This is one example: An company was hired to run 50 feet of 3/4" pipe and run a circuit for a new machine. The contract says the job to be made and completed in a "week" (5 days). Under regulations, an inspector must check the premises before and after installation.

The job itself takes one morning. However, the electrician doing the work was told to run 10 feet per day. So, the worker went to the place, installed the ten feet of pipe with two clamps on the wall, which is the length of the pipe sold everywhere, and took a 7 plus hours break. This was repeated the entire week. On the last day, beside the last ten feet of pipe, he run the wiring and installed the electric boxes and receptacles.

The budget asked by the government agency had enough funds to pay the week of work plus materials asked by the hired contractor. This is the way the asked funds in their budgets are justified.

It is not "illegal" but it should be considered as such.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
Hmm, I think politicians harm me more when they pass certain laws than when they say things that aren't true.
Perhaps. But politicians do not make laws, they influence litigators that make laws. False statements that politicians make lead to laws based on false premises.
Like prohibition of marijuana... false statement making the premise for the law: Blacks get violent when exposed to it

But, that aside, you're saying that anyone who lost their doctor in the wake of Obama saying "if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor" should be able to sue Obama personally?

You can keep your doctor. You just couldn't keep your same insurance plan. But, sure... OK. Let's just say that this proposed law was in place THEN... would Obama have chosen his words more carefully? Perhaps... For so many reasons, no law can be retroactively applied. The intent is to change behavior, not redefine what we think of past behavior.

Why do you keep trying to move this discussion from "every politician should be held accountable for their statements" to "what would this mean if it was applied retroactively" It is a little weird. For the purposes of this thread, lets just say my response to all of you future ".. but whatabout.." responses is "he'd be held accountable". OK?

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
I think that this suggestion is best left alone. I agree with dismal. Political speech has to be the freest speech. Otherwise, it is a guarantee that the party in power will use this law against political lying against the opposition party exclusively.

The right has created a massive propaganda machine, but at some point it won't be enough, they will need a law such as this one being proposed to shutdown the truth. Don't hand them such a law.

I think that we just have to trust the system and that the majority elected by a minority current administration and Congress will be crushed under the weight of their demonstrated incompetence.

I could only hold this view with you if my impression of the competency of the American public was extremely higher.
I am of the opinion that the American populace is too undereducated, overfed, and lazy to be trusted with the task of determining what is true or false. I am also of the opinion that we do, in fact, need laws that prevent lies from being intentionally used to manipulate the easily manipulated people.

We have warnings on packages that say don't eat the package... Yea, I think we might need little rubber floaties on our arms while navigating the waters of the political landscape. for fucking sure, yea.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
According to Snopes, Obama said "57" instead of "47" due to being overtired during campaigning.

How do snopes know that?
they quote his words during an interview... right there in what I quoted.

Anyway, is this another loophole? A politician is allowed to spread false information if they are sufficiently tired? Your commitment to truth seems to have a lot of outs.

I think the issue is that the word "illegal" means to you "goes to jail for the rest of their lives". I am calling for accountability that compels correction of error in at least equal breadth as the platform upon which the falsehood was made. If a falsehood is made during a speech, a new speech in similar venue must spend equal or greater effort to correct than that of the original falsehood.

Do you disagree that an intentional lie that can be shown to be an intentional lie for the specific purpose of manipulating the outcome of an election should hold legal consequence? Alternatively, are you then saying that politicians should never be held accountable for anything they ever promise, claim, or say?

If Trump promised a border wall that he would ask for 20 billion dollars of tax-payer money to fund, would as many people have supported him? Would he have won the electoral college with that platform? We now know for a fact that Trump knew for a fact that under no circumstance would Mexico pay.. explicitly told to him, on a recorded phone line, by Mexico's president himself... yet he continued. You support protecting that type of 'speech'?

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
dismal said:
1) Did Obama say he had been to 57 states? (I think the answer is "Yes")
Yes.
dismal said:
2) Is what he said objectively not true? (Again, yes)
What does it mean for something to be "objectively not true"? Does it differ from "not true"?
If what you mean is that there is an objective fact of the matter as to whether he went to 57 states and he did not, sure.

dismal said:
3) Does this mean he spread false or misleading information? (Yes)
No. That he made a false statement does not mean or imply that he spread false information.
In fact, plenty of people in the audience were laughing, it was widely reported as a gaffe, and it is not probable than anyone believed him.
This, however, is a side issue. My objections would be pretty much the same if the evidence supported the assessment that some people believed him, so let us assume for the sake of the argument that he did.

dismal said:
4) Is he thus guilty of some crime? (I'm going to go with "it depends" on how you define the crime the chicken bone waving people here are wanting to enact. You seem to assume there will be some "out" for intent. )
No. There is no such law. But if something like the proposal in the OP were the law, then the answer would be no (even if people had believed him), because the OP said " 1) It should be a crime to knowingly spread false information in pursuit of political gain.", and Obama did not knowingly spread false information.

It's not that I "assume" that there is some "out" for intent. I assessed on the basis of the evidence available to me at the time that being aware that the information is false was central to the matter at hand. Now (after the post I'm replying to) Malintent seems to have changed the proposal and it is unclear what he tries to do, but my assessment was proper on the basis of what he had stated before, in the OP. I will continue to address your points on that basis.

dismal said:
5) If there is an out for "intent" does that require someone to gauge what someone's intent was? (Yes. Seems tautological.)
Well, in this case, what one needs to assess is whether he was aware of the fact that the information was false, not whether he intended to spread it. But that would not be a good objection either way.

dismal said:
6) Who will that person be? (Not you. Assuming this is a federal crime, Trump and Trump's appointees will have at a minimum have prosecutorial discretion over it. Perhaps a jury will ultimately decide. Let's hope it's not one of those juries of average citizens drawn from the voter roles who we don't trust to gauge whether politicians are lying though, right? )
In the US system, juries have to make decisions about matters involving both intent and awareness of the facts very often. The assessments are made under incomplete evidence. And the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt. A juror who is being epistemically rational would not convict Obama, as there is not (and there wouldn't be) beyond a reasonable doubt evidence that he was aware that he had not been to 57 states when he said that (I say he very probably wasn't, though he may have realized that more or less shortly afterwards - I don't know how long after that. But surely there is no beyond a reasonable doubt evidence).

Of course, there may well be unreasonable jurors, and if all 12 of them are, Obama would be in serious trouble. But I think you're focusing on the wrong thing, since you're providing a rather obvious example of someone who would not be convicted by a jury working as intended under such law. Why not go for examples of people who likely would?

dismal said:
In any case, we can observe this "intent" test clearly takes us out of the realm of assessing objective facts.
What does it mean for a fact to be "objective"? Does it differ from plain old facts?
At any rate, assessing intent - and for that matter, assessing what a defendant knew, was aware of, etc. - is standard practice in criminal law. It's all over the place. In a murder trial, the intent of the defendant is key. But so is in a fraud trial. And so on.

dismal said:
We must divine someone's thoughts.
No, we need to assess, based on the available information, whether a person intended, knew, was aware of, etc., something.
Obama probably was not aware that he hadn't been to 57 states. Clinton certainly (i.e., beyond a reasonable doubt) intended to spread the false information that he hadn't had sex with Lewinsky when he decided to say he hadn't had an inappropriate relationship with her.

dismal said:
It seems like quite a loophole. I can make some totally outrageous, objectively false claim (like Nancy Pelosi saying not passing a bill would cost 500 million jobs per day) and when called on it just say "oopsie, I misspoke".
I don't know how objectively false differs from false if it does. But sure, you can make anything up. A defendant in a murder trial can also say he was trying to test the gun, and did not know there was someone on the other end. Jurors will have to assess, on the basis of the available evidence (or more precisely, the evidence introduced properly at trial) whether he intended to kill or to do something else. In some situation, probably people who shoot others in the face actually were targeting ducks or quail or something.

dismal said:
Did you really land in Bosnia under sniper fire Hillary? 'oopsie, I misspoke".
I vaguely remember that one, so I don't know whether on the basis of what's publicly available it's beyond a reasonable doubt she knowingly spread or attempted to spread false information.

dismal said:
Did you really not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky, Bill? "oopsie, I misspoke".
Nope, that one is beyond a reasonable doubt (that he intended to mislead the public about whether he had had sex with her, but maybe not that he knew that the relationship was inappropriate; who knows what sort of self-justifying beliefs Clinton has? Still, that's knowingly spreading false info for political gain).

dismal said:
Ironically, this defense seems the most applicable the more factually outrageous a claim is. Like when you think Guam is going to tip over.
There is no irony. The defense can be presented in murder cases, and all sorts of cases. The credibility depends on the info available to the jury (or available according to the rules of the process).

Here's some fun examples of spreading false information but in which there is no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt (at least, as far as I can tell) that any of them did so knowingly:

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.go...3/02/12/remarks-president-state-union-address
Obama (State of the Union 2013) said:
We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes one of the most fundamental right of a democracy: the right to vote.
No, the right to vote is not a God-given right (no right is).

https://www.npr.org/2013/02/12/171841996/transcript-gop-response-to-state-of-the-union-address
Rubio said:
But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.
Some people believe that, and others do not, but America is not exceptional in that regard.

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.go...resident-obama-delivers-thanksgiving-greeting
Obama (Thanksgiving 2014) said:
This is also a holiday that captures that distinctly American impulse to give something of ourselves. Even as we speak, there are countless Americans serving at soup kitchens and food pantries; contributing to their communities; and standing guard around the world.
No, that is not a distinctly American impulse.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2006/02/01/transcript-state-union.html
Bush (State of the Union 2006) said:
We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery.
Some people might show compassion because of that belief, but the vast majority do not (even if they have that belief and they show compassion, it's not why they show compassion).

#### Elixir

##### Made in America
If Trump promised a border wall that he would ask for 20 billion dollars of tax-payer money to fund, would as many people have supported him? Would he have won the electoral college with that platform? We now know for a fact that Trump knew for a fact that under no circumstance would Mexico pay.. explicitly told to him, on a recorded phone line, by Mexico's president himself... yet he continued. You support protecting that type of 'speech'?

Dismal is probably far too... uh ... dismal to even try to address that question, as it gets into the finer points of lie vs. false statement. Neo-cons can't/don't think on such a granular level.

#### fast

##### Contributor
Using personal funds to support a campaign should also be illegal... the point being to level the playing field to a set amount of taxpayer-supported funds for each candidate, [...]

To level the playing field? Why in hell is fairness a concern?

#### dismal

##### Contributor
How do snopes know that?

Anyway, is this another loophole? A politician is allowed to spread false information if they are sufficiently tired? Your commitment to truth seems to have a lot of outs.

I think the issue is that the word "illegal" means to you "goes to jail for the rest of their lives". I am calling for accountability that compels correction of error in at least equal breadth as the platform upon which the falsehood was made. If a falsehood is made during a speech, a new speech in similar venue must spend equal or greater effort to correct than that of the original falsehood.

Do you disagree that an intentional lie that can be shown to be an intentional lie for the specific purpose of manipulating the outcome of an election should hold legal consequence? Alternatively, are you then saying that politicians should never be held accountable for anything they ever promise, claim, or say?

If Trump promised a border wall that he would ask for 20 billion dollars of tax-payer money to fund, would as many people have supported him? Would he have won the electoral college with that platform? We now know for a fact that Trump knew for a fact that under no circumstance would Mexico pay.. explicitly told to him, on a recorded phone line, by Mexico's president himself... yet he continued. You support protecting that type of 'speech'?

The word "illegal" means something is a crime. If you want to enable citizens to sue politicians for their speech you are searching for the word "tort".

Traditionally in liberal democracies politicians are held accountable by voters. Not truth squads. That's what they do in totalitarian governments.

Trump's claim that he would get Mexico to pay for a wall is what is known as a "campaign promise". I suspect few politicians ever would escape jail if not carrying out campaign promises was a crime. Trump would be one if them at this point because a) his term is not over so he can't be prosecuted for not doing something in it, b) he's the current President. He sets the priorities for prosecution of federal crimes. He can pardon himself. If we empower Trump to go full on fascist with thought police, I think he'll have lots of other people to go after first.

Didn't Obama promise to close Gitmo?

Usually when people clamor for fascist powers we say things like "your guy will not always be President, is this a power you want a President XYZ to have"?

So it's odd to want to increase the police state powers when the current President is literally Hitler.

I guess I'm still allowed to say that without being sent to jail.

#### SLD

##### Veteran Member
Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court has found that false speech is protected speech, what exactly are you proposing?

You want Trump to appoint a Truth Commission to prosecute the purveyors of fake news?

Non-commercial false speech is protected speech.

Commercial false speech is generally considered fraud.

All we need to do is consider political speech a form of commercial speech.

This. This is well said, and represents what I was trying to get at.

No. Commercial false speech will knot result in a criminal prosecution. It might, MIGHT, get you sued in a court of law, but only by the individual who reasonably relied on your speech, and unless you actually lost money, you can not recover.

The problem with your premise is that you have no way to determine intent. As such the law you are proposing would have severe chilling effects on all speech. Imagine what would happen if Trump, using all of his powers came after CNN for libel as he has proposed. If he were able to even seriously threaten them, regardless of their intent or the truth, it would shut up journalists and other critics of politicians across the country and across the political spectrum. No one would dare criticize a politician for fear of getting sued.

Your second issue isn’t a real issue. You can’t give politicians a gift, absent a personal relationship it already is illegal. What happens and is legal are PAC's. Free speech means I can form a PAC that will buy ads to support or oppose a candidate. Business doesn’t need to buy politicians. It just talks about its PAC activity to them, and they fall in line. Public funding of elections isn’t going to stop that.

SLD

#### Loren Pechtel

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
This. This is well said, and represents what I was trying to get at.

No. Commercial false speech will knot result in a criminal prosecution. It might, MIGHT, get you sued in a court of law, but only by the individual who reasonably relied on your speech, and unless you actually lost money, you can not recover.

The problem with your premise is that you have no way to determine intent. As such the law you are proposing would have severe chilling effects on all speech. Imagine what would happen if Trump, using all of his powers came after CNN for libel as he has proposed. If he were able to even seriously threaten them, regardless of their intent or the truth, it would shut up journalists and other critics of politicians across the country and across the political spectrum. No one would dare criticize a politician for fear of getting sued.

Your second issue isn’t a real issue. You can’t give politicians a gift, absent a personal relationship it already is illegal. What happens and is legal are PAC's. Free speech means I can form a PAC that will buy ads to support or oppose a candidate. Business doesn’t need to buy politicians. It just talks about its PAC activity to them, and they fall in line. Public funding of elections isn’t going to stop that.

SLD

People who relied on his lies and voted for him then got screwed (say, the coal miners) certainly have damages.