Crony Capitalist State Cracks Down on Free Speech

Crony Capitalist State Cracks Down on Free Speech August 19, 2013

Lifetime ban on ever talking about fracking ever again for two children potentially guilty of FutureCrime.  Because the first amendment is passe.

EvilCorps will be looking for other ways to forbid you from discussing or questioning their policies.  And the state, which increasingly serves them, and not you, will be looking for ways to help them.

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  • Elmwood

    Serves those children right! How dare they potentially prevent “wealth makers” like Range Resources from maximizing their profit.

    We can certainly count on our enlightened elected officials to get government regulations out of the way and help Mordor and the Dark Lord dominate us all in a more perfect and Exceptional America.

    • My “wealth makers”, you mean ol’ Mom and PopHallowich ….right?

  • ivan_the_mad

    Mark, this was clearly a rational, market-based decision on the part of the Hallowichs. Let me explain economics to you: You’re wrong.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    Is this even legally binding? Can a child be bound for life by a settlement made by their parents?

    • Tim in Cleveland

      No one seemed to know:

      From the plaintiffs'(?) attorney:

      “I, frankly, Your Honor, as an attorney, to be honest with you, I don’t know if that’s possible that you can give up the First Amendments rights of a child. I don’t know.”

      And the court:

      “Nor does the Court have an answer for you, and I would agree with counsel that I don’t know. That’s a law school question, I guess.”

      • Andy, Bad Person

        The court doesn’t know, yet they have no problem passing this anyway? Yikes.

        This definitely seems like the “What could it hurt?” phase of history.

        • Tim in Cleveland

          I don’t think so. Just because it’s in a settlement agreement doesn’t mean it’s enforceable. If the defendants try to enforce the agreement I doubt whichever court they go to will uphold that term.

      • Marthe Lépine

        It will depend on which side gives the most money to the law schools…

    • jroberts548

      The general rule is that contracts entered into by minors are voidable by the minor, unless ratified once the minor becomes an adult.

      So, when the kids become an adult, they can violate the gag order, but that would void the settlement as to the kids. If they don’t violate the gag order soon after becoming adults, that will probably be treated as ratifying it. The consequences of not ratifying the agreement (i.e., voiding the contract by the children) are unclear. On the one hand, it would expose the kids to at least a complaint; even the then-plaintiffs (current defendants) can’t win, it would be burdensome for the kids to fight. On the other hand, I don’t see how the frackers could win in an action against the kids.

      My guess, without being familiar with this specific agreement or with Pennsylvania law, is that the goal is to make something that looks close enough to binding as to the kids to make sure the parents keep the kids from saying anything too damaging to the frackers, and keep the kids quiet for long enough that it won’t matter if the kids speak out in the future.

  • Andy

    As far as the ban goes – this will cause a problem in school as Fracking is discussed as part of the energy equation in most science courses in the 7 and 8 grade. Guess these kids can fail that section of the course.

    • Hmm. Personally, I don’t trust grade school teachers to “teach” much in teh way of factual info on fracking. (As with any other subject where politics has trumped science.)

      • Elmwood

        Only amateurs spell it “fracking”. Us oily types refer to it as either “fracing” or “hydraulic fracturing”. There is no “k” in fracturing.

        The biggest problem with fracing is that it uses millions of gallons of water that are lost to the local hydraulic cycle. Also any flowback water usually is toxic and must be disposed of (sometimes recycled).

  • MarylandBill

    Personally I don’t think gag orders should be allowed as conditions of any legal settlement. Companies use them to hide evidence of patterns of behavior.

    • jroberts548

      If gag orders weren’t enforceable, fewer cases would settle. Which means fewer plaintiffs will ever get compensated.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Maybe someone will hate me for saying so, but I am beginning to feel like many Europeans might have felt before 1989 about having a huge, powerful and ruthless totalitarian state just across their borders… Maybe Canada should invite Russia to set up military bases with missiles directed South!

    • Andy, Bad Person

      They would have to. The US controls the Canadian Air Force.

      • I though the Five Jew Bankers controlled the Canadian Air Force. Or maybe the Illuminating. Or the Bilderbergers. I always mix those guys up.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Huh? I mainly meant that the Canadian Air Force is run out of NORAD, which is in the US.

        • D.T. McCameron

          I’ve got to ask: was Illuminating part of the gag, or did auto-correct get to you?

  • Merkn

    It sounds like the parents agreed to keep the kids quiet in exchange for 750K as part of a law suit settlement where the frackers no doubt claim they did nothing wrong. ( Yes i know fracking is inherently evil because it is and any company engaged in it is always under every circumstance at fault, but you never know – – maybe the family and their lawyers know something we don’t.) So I don’t see where the capitalist state has anything to do with it. The parents’ decision may be short sighted and ill advised, or, all things considered, it may be a windfall that makes a better way of life for the children. No way to know from the article. I assume we can all agree that the parents are the final authority here. They should be presumed to know what’s best for the chidren. Or should the State make the decision? By the way, as Jroberts points out below, this is a civil matter. The children will not be guilty of a crime, although if they renounce the bargain made on their behalf, they may have to return the benefits. I know. I tis not fair. They should be able to keep the money and welsh on the deal because frackers are evil, but that is the sorry state of modern contract law.

  • Corporation. schmoperaton – the real question here is whether parents are able to sell off their children’s Free Speech rights to a third party.

  • Mike the Geek

    “Lifetime ban on ever talking about fracking ever again for two children potentially guilty of FutureCrime….” for three quarters of a million dollars. And unenforceable once they reach 21.
    I guess fracking is the latest thing to be defined as !!!!Against Catholic Social Teaching!!! Some would have us believe that Catholic Social Teaching allows only for lives that are nasty, brutish, and short. No sale.