The Cybercrime Rules

I have attached a new section to my Policy and Terms in view of an apparent tightening of government authority on expression in the Philippines. This is reflected in the passage of cybercrime legislation now before the Supreme Court where it is being tested for adherence to Constitutional mandates. Included in the law is a strange and unexplained provision that doubles penalties for internet libel, as if the internet were a devious and sinful medium. And it is reflected in proposed legislation by seven House of Representative members to declare entertainer Justin Bieber “persona non grata” in the Philippines (banned from the Philippines) for doing a mocking satirical photo of Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao subsequent to his recent loss by knockout.

This kind of authoritarianism seems to emerge from  powerful people from time to time in the Philippines.  Powerful individuals believe earnestly that they are permitted to set the rules as to what others are allowed to do or say, regardless of the letter or SPIRIT of the Constitutional provision for free expression. I believe it is this same sense of righteous individual power that has led to repeated coups in the past when powerful people don’t like the tone of what others in government are doing or saying. Or when vigilantes are allowed by city mayors to prowl the streets shooting criminal suspects. I think it is dangerous to the State when powerful people are allowed to define what laws mean based on their own emotions.

Free speech in the Philippines means “you are free to speak as long as you say what I want you to say.”

The VALUES upon which America was founded get lost in Philippine authoritarianism. Values get turned upside down, and the libel law is one of the tools for upending good values.

Because it is a real fact that the Philippines has distinct authoritarian tendencies, it is best to prepare for them.
Libel is a strange crime. It is one person’s view of damages versus another’s. Malice is in the eye of the beholder, and malice is what underpins a libel suit. One cannot gather forensics evidence on malice, fingerprints or DNA. It is just arguments. And hereabouts,  the courts seem to listen more intently to the arguments of the powerful than arguments from those with little power.

Furthermore, the accused is considered guilty at the levying of a charge. And truth is no defense.

So I need to lay the best groundwork possible to deal with the threat of accusation from the empowered. It is my goal that the ground rules allow for the widest range of responsible free expression in this blog.

Take pornography. Showing naked breasts is offensive to some. Showing the widest ranges of sexual engagement is offensive to others. Violence is offensive to others.

Words are nothing more than linear photos. Rather like sexual photos, and this blog presents a variety of photos DESIGNED to awaken the mind. Where we get into problems is if we mention names. That is like showing a politician in a sex scene.

It may be true that he is a public figure. It may be true that he is engaged in sex. But he din’t want to be shown engaged in sex. Or stealing. Or abuse in its many forms.

We put politicians and priests and bloggers and others into the word pictures.

It gets dicey, for sure.

The difference is that we seek to provoke ideas not sexual arousal. Our effort to generate ideas is hindered if we talk in generalities instead of specifics. We can only achieve our goal, a healthy, wealthy and wise Philippines if we are provocative.

We leave the sexual arousal to others, in the main. I mean, Angry Maude is a walking bombshell, so who knows what tittilations she inspires.

It is important that readers understand that this is a blog substantially of opinion, not fact; of satire, not truth; of guess, not measurement. In other words, we intentionally distort truth, in the name of meaning, and articles have precious little foundation in fact. Therefore, any suggestion that this blog site contains malice cannot possibly be true. Parable is not malice; it is a lesson. Satire is not malice; it is literary art in the name of meaning. Opinion is not malice; it is a point of view.

Let me put it another way. When I suggest the President of the Philippines is an idiot in a blog, I don’t mean he is an idiot. And if you wait a blog or two, you are likely to read unending praise for him.

The only measurement of good intent or bad is found in the sum of all expressions in the hundreds of blogs contained in The Society of Honor by Joe America. An unbiased reader will find articles rich with opinion, discovery, lessons, and humor, all in the name of building a healthy, wealthy and wise Philippines. To ascribe “malice” to this effort, or any small aspect of the effort, is to grossly distort the aims, ambitions and achievements of the authors, publisher, and commenters.
Visitors are advised to know and understand how this blog operates, and the ground rules, before reading or commenting
This is the new section of my Policy and Terms

Cybercrime Protections (Addition January 6, 2013)
  • Nothing in this blog should be taken as a truth. The articles are rife with satire, exaggeration and opinion compiled to produce certain meanings, meanings intended to advance the well-being of the Philippines. Many expressions are intentionally provocative to work through the armor of reader complacency; no malice is intended. It is impossible for the publisher to distinguish fact from fiction for every phrase written. Therefore readers are advised that they are required to take NONE of the statements literally, as truth. The only truth is the meaning readers gather for themselves, based on their own history, conditions and intellect. The Society cannot be responsible for extracted meanings that diverge from intent, where the intent is the well-being of the Philippines.
  • As stated in the section “Ownership of Comments“, thoughts and opinions expressed by commenters are entirely those of the commenter. The Society has no way to discern which are intended with malice or which are satire, exaggeration and opinion, intended for the well-being of the Philippines. Complaints need to be taken up with the commenter directly.
  • The Society gains no revenue from its publications. No advertisements are run. No articles are sold. No incentives are taken to express a certain viewpoint. No payments are made to contributors. The sole reason for being is to advocate for a healthy, wealthy and wise Philippines. The publisher has retired from employment and issues this blog soley for the personal satisfaction he gains by contributing to the well-being of the nation he has come to love. If words contained herein are deemed harmful in anyway, the Society is happy to share its revenue with complainants in whatever proportion complainants deem reasonable.
      6 Responses to “The Cybercrime Rules”
      1. Edgar Lores says:

        This is my manifesto and a Manifesto for Commenters:1. What I write is my responsibility.2. What I write is the truth as far as I know it to be. It is how I see myself, you and the world.2.1 The day I deny that what I write is not my truth is the day I die.3. My intentions in writing are:3.1 Firstly, to express my thoughts.3.2 Secondly, to contribute to and illuminate discourse.3.3 Thirdly, to mould the world closer to the heart’s desire.4. My first hope is that my words shatter the world as it is. The world that we live in is not a perfect place.5. My second hope is that my words shatter your complacency and suggest to you the error of your ways.5.1 I do not sit in judgement of you.5.2 But, as I do, I want you to reflect on what it means to be human, what it means to be given the gift of life, what it means to hear the wind, see the sea, taste the land.5.3 If I think that what you say or do desecrates the sacredness of life be assured you will hear from me.6. My third and final hope is that my words truly reflect the core of my being. 6.1 That in the process of writing, I peel back the layers of lies, prejudice and illusion that I find in myself and in others, and arrive closer to that core.7. Sue me for my words if you will.7.1 I freely admit that I am not totally free of error or hatred.7.2 Do I have malice, do I need to see you suffer? No, I do not because I know you already do.7.3 Deal with it.

      2. Ah, marvelous, except now I'll have to re-write my terms again to say "everything here is a pack of lies except what Edgar writes."Your values are more upstanding than mine, and I wish I had the latitude to be so bold, to say "Sue me for my words if you will!" I'm not sure I have that kind of energy, to deal with the power-monger idiots of great ego and greater sensitivity. I'd just go home to America and write from there, like nasty stuff. People think Mariano is tart, I'd make him look sweet.Your values are very very admirable. Like, there is a certain fundamental goodness to the truth of the statements.

      3. Edgar Lores says:

        I gather that Aussie libel rules, like UK, are stricter than Philippine laws.Well, Australia's heritage is that of a penal colony and as an adopted citizen I have to live up to that heritage.From what I read, truth is accepted as a defense, and replaces the previous defense of "truth and public benefit".

      4. What, you want time in a penal colony?Do you comment on Australian politics and social development? Any local blogs there, or do your reserve your marauding for the Philippines?

      5. Edgar Lores says:

        I do comment on Oz politics, mostly against the Opposition Leader who is as misogynistic as Sotto.Like PNoy, the current Prime Minister is unmarried. Unlike PNoy, she is female, has a de facto partner, and is an atheist.The Philippines had had female presidents. The US has a black president. But an atheist in Malacañang? I would love to see the convolutions and contortions the Church will suffer when such a candidate throws his hat into the ring.

      6. Well, good. You are bi-national. I find myself pretty much ignoring US dialogue, but watching the news with interest. I'm fully invested in the Philippines right now.Maybe the Freethinkers will get influential enough to start pushing its people into Congress. Maybe 50 years from now the Philippines will be ready for an atheist. Although as I think about it, I'm not sure an atheist could win in the States. The venom that would provoke. . .

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