Supreme Court Is Making Waves

Grind for June 6th, 2018


“Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity, and stumble from defeat to defeat.”

-Anais Nin

Big Brother

The Headline

Uganda imposes tax on social media use and digital transactions

The Grind

The Ugandan government on Thursday passed a law that imposes a daily tax of 5 cents on all citizens who use Facebook and WhatsApp and a 1% fee for mobile money transactions.

The move, insists Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, will help the government cope with all the “lugambo” (gossip, rumors, opinions, etc.) shared via text messaging and social media.

About 40% of Uganda’s 40 million citizens use the Internet, and the added cost of using WhatsApp and Facebook will likely convince even more people to stay offline.

The Details

Uganda, like China, already has a reputation for limiting free speech.

“And since social media has been used in other countries to organize demonstrations and unite voices of dissent, it’s not much of a stretch to see Museveni’s move as an attempt to silence the opposition before the same could happen in Uganda,” reports Futurism’s Victor Tangermann.

According to Transparency International’s 2017 ranking, the Ugandan government scored 26 out of 100 in “perceived level of public sector corruption” where 0 is “highly corrupt” and 100 is “very clean.”

In other words, it is unlikely the government will actually use the revenue brought in by the new tax to “stop lugambo.”

Even if Uganda follows in Russia and Iran’s footsteps and decides to block entire platforms, history shows us that critics and dissidents will find other ways to express their views.

“Taking away a platform for dissidents never really works as a government plan,” continues Tangermann. “They’ll find a new place to congregate, new ways to fight the power.”

Big Decisions

The Headline

Supreme Court will release nearly 30 rulings this month

The Grind

The Supreme Court has 29 rulings to announce before it wraps up its current term at the end of June.

Key cases still hanging in the balance include:

— Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

— National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra

–Azar v. Garza

The Details

The first case, which features a Colorado baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple, pits Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religious Expression against anti-discrimination laws.

The second, which challenges a California law that forces pro-life pregnancy centers to post information about low-cost abortions, has to do with Freedom of Speech and Free Exercise of Religion.

The third involves the Solicitor General’s request to vacate a lower court’s ruling that allowed an underage, undocumented immigrant to obtain an abortion while in federal custody.

The final case before the Supreme Court this session focused on the most recent iteration of President Trump’s controversial travel ban, which affected individuals from Muslim-majority countries.

Did you know… At age 18, the Queen of England was a mechanic for the British Military.

April grew up in the Midwest, where she developed a passion for writing and storytelling at a young age. She transformed that passion into a degree at Indiana University (2008-2012), after which she promptly moved to South Florida to escape the cold.

Since then, April has worked as a content writer, editor, proofreader, blogger, tour guide, scriptwriter, and - I’ll admit it - bartender. Her favorite topics on which to write include health, politics, science & nature, and space exploration (anything but sports, really).

April is an amateur artist who enjoys spending time outdoors and inventing new cocktails. She currently resides in St. Petersburg, Florida

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