Sunday, March 25, 2012

Is Selective Blog Censorship by Blogger Legal? Prevent Blogger from Redirecting Your Blog to Foreign Country Domains


Here is the legal question. If you are a blog portal and tell the user he is posting to a .com domain, is it illegal, without consent from the blogger, to port his blog to a foreign country domain with a cc country code domain extension other than .com.

If that were legal, Blogger could even redirect blogs to cc domains in countries totally antithetical to a user's own politics. That can't be right.

Why do we ask?

The notorious Google Blogger clan is at it again, doing things behind the users backs that they do not want done.

All these last years we have been using blogspot.com and have a page rank based on that domain.

Suddenly, blogs are being redirected to other country domains, at the cost of the total loss of pagerank.

Redirection from blogger.com -- which is the domain specifically noted as the active domain at the Blogger blog dashboard -- to some other domain in a foreign country, for whatever reason, appears to us to be a violation of law, bordering on common law fraud. You can't tell users they are posting to one country domain when in fact their blog appears on the domain of another country, even if named blogspot.

As a practical solution, we have tried the script at the link below and it thus far it works for us in reverting our blogs back to blogspot.com, but we can give no guarantees on this and are not liable for any consequences of using the applicable script.

Good luck.

See Amit Agarwal at digital inspiration and his posting on How to Prevent your Blogger Blog from Redirecting to Country Domains

This is just one more instance of the arrogance of power at Google and Blogger which will ultimately lead to their demise. I am just surprised at them doing this, because there is no reason for it. Don't these people have better things to do with their time than look for ways to aggravate their users and to cost them time in looking for solutions to problems they do not need?


Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA): Mandatory Health Insurance and Arguments of Unconstitutionality Against Obamacare


National health insurance was the topic for high school debate teams throughout the United States in the 1963-1964 school year asking the question: What should be the role of the Federal Government in providing Medical Care to the citizens of the United States?

It was my last year of high school and we debated that topic on both sides of the issue in numerous debate tournaments, never losing a debate, as far as I can recall, and never, ever using or hearing the argument that providing adequate health care to American citizens would be unconstitutional by law.

Leave that to the year 2012.

Now in 2012, nearly 50 years later, America is still debating this same topic, mired in the inert state of nostalgic yesteryears, and falling further and further behind health standards in other civilized world nations, all of whom instituted national health care in one form or another long ago -- and they HAVE better health.

Where, in America, is the problem?

Consider the following hypothetical. The nation is being ravaged by an infectiously fatal plague. The plague can be stopped only by mass inoculations and/or mass antibiotic treatment, otherwise the nation is lost.

Does Congress, in order to stop the plague and save the nation, have the power to require that people in all states be inoculated and/or treated with antibiotics (also at their own cost, however collected)? Could one state on a state's rights platform refuse to inoculate or treat its people or could an infected individual on an individual rights platform refuse to be inoculated or treated with antibiotics, thus presenting a clear health danger to other states and to the rest of the national population?

When push comes to shove, do the people prevail? Of course they do.

We think that it does not take a Constitutional Law genius to recognize that Congress is well within its powers to do what needs to be done for the benefit of the health of its citizens in such an extreme case. The power is there.

So what prohibits Congress from legislating national health care generally, if it so chooses, in less severe cases?

What about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, which has been challenged by States and individuals as being unconstitutional because it requires all individuals to have health insurance, in ALL states?

Only in America could the prospect of providing adequate health care to all its citizens be viewed as illegal. No wonder that 88% in a poll in Germany recently said the USA is no longer a role model. A role model for what?

The issue of national health care in America is a tragedy. It is a tragedy that the nation has waited so long to get national health care. It is an even greater tragedy that so many greedy people oppose it, wanting good health only for themselves, but not for the other guy. Where will a society like that lead?

In this connection, we have just read with wry amusement  the entertaining article at The Heritage Foundation titled Why the Personal Mandate to Buy Health Insurance Is Unprecedented and Unconstitutional.

The writers there in our opinion err in arguing "that a mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action", as if one's "state of health" were "an individual choice". All the civilized nations of the world have taken this "federal action", except for the USA, which is otherwise freely basking in "the march of obesity" toward bad health, as shown in this map by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the national obesity trend (see animated original map here):

Trends by State 1985–2010
"During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30% or more...."


Percent of Obese (BMI > 30) in U.S. Adults
<previous next> play stop Obesity map. For data, see PowerPoint or PDF linked above.

Fat may be optional, but good or bad health is for many humans not "a choice", but a fact of life. Know anyone who has cancer?

The incidence of disease, illness and all the various health afflictions of humanity, including the cost of their treatment, can be -- and indeed are -- statistically determined for a given population by the highly-paid actuaries of insurance companies, who use that data to determine insurance premiums -- normally at a level that guarantees them rich profits.

In other words, HEALTH is a statistically quantifiable societal variable. One can determine for so-and-so many million people, how many, for example, will get breast cancer, what treatment they will require, and how much it will cost. There is little RISK to private health insurance companies. The risk is known before hand -- and is exploited to the hilt. It is all just simple mathematics.

It is no wonder that America's top-paid CEO is a health executive pocketing $100 million a year for doing essentially nothing more than exploiting actuarial statistics. That is not something society should be supporting.

Opponents of Obamacare argue that every individual has the inalienable right to become a financial health burden to society if he so wishes and that it is unconstitutional to change that.

Is that what the Constitution says? Of course not.

The Constitution, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in past decisions, says that matters in interstate commerce can be regulated by Congress. An outbreak of plague can be regulated, because it presents a danger to the nation. The same holds true for health in general, where everyone has an interest in promoting conditions of health in the nation, for the good of all. Congress in fact could surely pass much more severe laws under the interstate commerce clause than now, but that would not always be politically correct. 

The Congress of the United States in passing the Obamacare health reform law has taken notice of the largely involuntary nature of disease, illness and other health afflictions and has come up with a sane solution for spreading the nation's health costs more equitably for what are actuarially determinable incidences.

It is also irrelevant that contract rights are involved. Congress and the States can, for example, withhold contract rights from minors and set the age of majority at which contracts can be made by adults. Requiring adults to make contracts for health care is by no means an overstepping of traditional legislative powers. All contracts, since they must be enforceable to be valid, involve interstate commerce, otherwise one state at the border crossing could impound the property of the citizens of other states with impunity, disregarding valid contracts of sale and subsequent ownership. To keep the local good old boys happy, we allow States to draft their own contract laws, but it is rather foolish, since they have to honor the laws of their neighbors as well. Just look at the law of marriage. Imagine the chaos if marriages -- which are contracts -- did not have to be recognized everywhere.

Whether the Congress decides to finance national health insurance via direct taxes, or indirect taxes such as mandatory health insurance is quite beside the point and splitting hairs. Congress has the power to demand that citizens make payments of one kind or another. If Congress decided to pass a federal law requiring mandatory automobile insurance in ALL states and on all kinds of property, both private and public, it could, and, indeed, it is a shame that it has not done so already.

The argument that Congress can not require citizens to have and pay for health insurance is simply a vestige of legal thinking that has no place in the modern world.

Grow or die. The rule remains and is also applicable to law.
Grow up, America, grow up.


The INVENTION of Writing -- Plus LawPundit Costs, Donations, Finances and A New Book


Dear LawPundit Readers,

Yes, all you patent and IP people out there, "writing" was INVENTED by someone, long before patents and the modern Prometheus case, indeed surely long before the "forethinking" Prometheus of old. See the last paragraph of this posting for more on the history of writing.

We have been running this blog since the year 2003 at considerable private expense. If you look at the list of Legal Commentary Blogs at USLaw.com, we rank 6th in the number of postings, and since many of our postings are quite lengthy, we are probably close to second to none in the actual pages blogged, even though we are competing with blogs that have multiple authors.

We do not accept ads for "political reasons", allowing us to stay totally independent, fair and balanced, although we did add the Google AdSense network some time ago to make the pages more lively and look more up-to-date. But you need millions of hits to receive any significant monetary benefit from those kinds of link ads and we do not have that kind of readership, so we continue to operate at a financial loss, which is not tolerable long-term.

Indeed, in the last 10 years, blogging has become much more popular generally, and journalistic blogs have become a part of the news offering of mainstream media, thus reducing the readership of unaffiliated blogs.

The popularity of social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook has eroded part of the potential blog audience. People prefer two-sentence news items because who has the time to read long and lengthy blog postings. The result is that some pioneer bloggers no longer blog much or at all any more.

To adapt to developments, I recently put up a PayPal donation button in the hope that regular readers or occasional readers who profit from our pages might make some contributions to help offset costs. I am not into blogging for the money, but, on the other hand, one can not be taking financial losses.

Since that has not brought in any substantial support, I am now adding a link to my newest book in order to see if a few book sales might bring in compensating cash to cover online expenses. That will not be agreeable to many readers, but since LawPundit is for free, it would seem that my position is understandable. Even free things must be financed.

Besides, Ancient Signs is a pioneer book, and everyone involved in a "writing" profession -- most of us are -- SHOULD read it, in order to get an admittedly speculative perspective on where the world of script came from. I allege that the alphabet derived from previously existant syllabic scripts, and that these all had a common origin. For all you patent people out there, yes, writing was "invented" by someone.

The origin of writing is a puzzle for the brainy legal profession: a riddle, wrapped in a conundrum, bound by a dilemma.

Example: Is the origin of the letter samekh really the initial syllable of the word for "ancient fish rack", which gave the letter its shape? -- It is, it is!

Happy reading!

The Law Pundit

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