White House Still Pushing To Slip Section 230 Repeal Into 'Must Pass' Military Spending Bill

from the what-the-actual-fuck? dept

This was rumored a week and a half ago, and at the time I stated that there was no way in hell it was happening, and that it was all just performative nonsense… but yesterday Axios reported that the White House is still pushing Congress to insert a total repeal of Section 230 into the “must pass” National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). At the time, the story was that Trump would make a trade: he wouldn’t veto the bill over a provision that removed Confederate army names from US military bases if there was a full repeal of Section 230 in it.

This is silly for all sorts of reasons, including the idea that you’re horse trading the law that helped create the open internet for racist military base names in a bill that has fuck all to do with internet/telecom policy. Of course, then Thanksgiving happened, and the President threw a total shitfit because #DiaperDon started trending on Twitter, making him declare that we had to repeal Section 230 for “national security.” Seems more like it would be for dealing with the insecurity of the President of the United States.

And so it appears that the White House has decided to appease the whims of the mad child emperor, and is still pushing Congress to slip the repeal into the NDAA and hoping that the confused, misplaced, and somewhat contradictory bipartisan hatred for Section 230 will cause them to go with it. Incredibly, Axios notes that it’s the Republicans in the Senate trying to talk the White House out of this plan — though they’re pushing a bunch of nonsense 230 reform bills as an “alternative.” The article’s only comment on Democrats is that they “are sure to object.” And I think that will still doom this entire effort. But, the real goal seems to be to try to sneak through some terrible bills that are short of a full repeal.

But Senate Republicans are instead trying to negotiate an alternative that would combine multiple bills aimed at reforming the law, including the bipartisan Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency Act and Wicker’s Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act, a Hill source familiar with the matter told Axios.

We’ve gone through the details of why all of those bills are garbage and/or unconstitutional, and even if there were legitimate movement on getting those bills through Congress, lighting up the NDAA with them is the exact wrong thing to do. Bills like these, that would fundamentally change the very nature of the internet, are not something you just hang on an appropriations bill at the last minute.

I’m still mostly confident that none of this is actually going to happen and that it’s still all just insane posturing and performative nonsense. But it’s still 2020, and crazy, unprecedented shit still keeps happening, so I’ll back down slightly from my “no way in hell” statement, and note that we’re in hell right now, and so there’s still a small chance that something horrific would happen here. It’s still very, very unlikely. But it’s just not going away.

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Comments on “White House Still Pushing To Slip Section 230 Repeal Into 'Must Pass' Military Spending Bill”

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49 Comments
danderbandit (profile) says:

Wish someone would get a backbone

I know it is wishful thinking but I wish someone would get a backbone and propose that adding items totally unrelated to the original bill illegal. I know it won’t go anywhere, but I’d still like to see it.

I’m remembering a movie called ‘Dave’ where a doppleganger is a stand-in for the president. He calls in a bunch of congress reps to witness him signing a bill. But brings up a bunch of pork in the bill, in front of the press, and shames the various reps supporting it and gets it removed.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Wish someone would get a backbone

I know it is wishful thinking but I wish someone would get a backbone and propose that adding items totally unrelated to the original bill illegal.

You…get that the people who make the laws are…the people who make the laws, yes?

The problem with passing a law that restricts what Congress can do is that it can be repealed by…Congress.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'Since we couldn't pass this honestly...'

Always a good look when politicians decide that must pass bills like military funding are the perfect way to get things that they could never defend or pass on their own into the law, as it shows so very clearly that even they realize how terrible their ideas are since they’re trying to tack them on to something that they don’t need to defend.

Anonymous Coward says:

White House Still Pushing To Slip Section 230 Repeal Into ‘Must Pass’ Military Spending Bill

Why are military spending bills always "must pass?"

When you can simply divert funds from the military budget to play Bob the Builder at the southern border, I have a hard time feeling sorry for those military folks. After all, since we’re drawing down forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, you’d think the military would lay some of them off because they won’t have any work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Blame Blitzkrieg for that one – improved mobility and communications mean that attackers make the older models as an alternative to a standing army non-viable as the war would be already lost essentially. The old model of "full time military as the generals and a smaller force to train masses of conscripts or reserves of pre-trained non-full time combatant miltia" doesn’t work when the war may be lost by the time they get out of boot camp. That doesn’t quite fit the US situation.

Worse much of the technological effectiveness sources involved are fixed cost and capital intensive and not only beat the pants off of large conscripts but call for "full time career" effectiveness but and the fixed cost vs martinal cost provides a perverse incentives to use military force as the expensive hammer they already have lying around.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Why are military spending bills always "must pass?""

People who block them get painted as unpatriotic, and everyone voting on the bills is going to be looking at their next re-election campaign.

"After all, since we’re drawing down forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, you’d think the military would lay some of them off because they won’t have any work"

The US military is riddled with projects that never go anywhere but cost trillions, and keeping a significant number of Americans employed by or dependant on military contracts is a good way to ensure that they keep people who might vote against their budgets in line.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Why are military spending bills always "must pass?""

Because it sends a pretty grim message if you tell the troops Uncle Sam can’t afford to pay them their salaries and veteran’s benefits. The power bill for the security system and doors to the missile silos. The fuel for the navy and air force. Etc.

And that’s not mentioning the long-term cost of breaking contract with all the military contractors.

"When you can simply divert funds from the military budget to play Bob the Builder at the southern border…"

Yeah, there’s a certain buffer’s worth of slush funds the military has at their disposal they can divert from non-critical issues. That’s already been diverted to playing Bob the Builder in a hamfisted fashion, the fence bought for the money already collapsing in places.

"After all, since we’re drawing down forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, you’d think the military would lay some of them off because they won’t have any work."

It’s been the common wisdom since the early days of Rome that it’s a Bad Idea to drop large bunches of well-trained military veterans on the labor market willy-nilly. Turns out those guys make excellent labor sources for organized crime in times of recession. Sure, most of them might have the moral compass to compete with college students and undergrads for burger-flipping jobs at minimum wage, but a definitive non-zero number instead ends up lifting a way bigger paycheck as hitman for the mob or doing shady shit as a merc.

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Koby (profile) says:

He's Still Fighting

Yesterday, mathematician Bobby Piton was suspended from twitter just for attending a hearing in Arizona regarding voter fraud. Clearly, social media is not enforcing any if its "rules", but is engaging in punishment for people with which they disagree. Contrary to the testimony Dorsey and other tech CEOs gave in front of Congress. Repealing section 230 is likely the only way to end the abuse. Hopefully, this will happen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

Yes.

We already have them declaring the government incapable of creating / enforcing public safety regulations because of "free speech" rights. Why should web services get a pass when people’s lives are not?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Public safety and speech on a privately owned platform don’t really compare very well, but setting that aside you seem to be solving the wrong problem there, as if the government isn’t allowed to enforce public safety then treating both online speech and public safety equally would mean that platforms wouldn’t have to host speech they don’t want to, because if lives aren’t enough to abrogate someone’s ‘rights’ then not being able to speak on a given platform certainly wouldn’t.

Rocky says:

Re: He's Still Fighting

Repealing section 230 is likely the only way to end the abuse. Hopefully, this will happen.

So how do you propose to get anything on Twitter if 230 is repealed? Inquisitive minds are wondering.

I do hope you get to experience the consequences of what you are arguing for. I’ll despair for those whose voices that’ll be silenced because of it, but I’ll gladly have a drink celebrating that your incessant whining won’t be heard anymore.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: He's Still Fighting

Well, yes, that’s also one of the best parts. Even if this apparently inactive user was blocked from Twitter for partisan reasons (and Twitter have that right, even as Koby pretends Parler aren’t doing the same thing), the "hearing" itself was meaningless. Trump’s team is losing hilariously in any actual courtroom setting, so they’re now putting on plays to run out a what if scenario.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: He's Still Fighting

"Yesterday, mathematician Bobby Piton was suspended from twitter just for attending a hearing in Arizona regarding voter fraud"

I love it when you guys provide specifics, it’s always fun to see where your lies differ from reality, how you are being lied to, and who is lying to you.

There are several outlets that have investigated this, and found that the 2 Twitter accounts in question don’t appear to have been owned and operated by Piton, and seem to have been set up specifically to trigger the braying of idiots when they were blocked for obvious fraud.

https://www.truthorfiction.com/did-twitter-suspend-bobby-piton-an-election-whistleblower-to-prevent-people-understanding-his-testimony/

Oh dear, it seems that maybe you need to stop getting your news from known right-wing fiction peddlers.

This is your problem, Koby. You are not dealing with the real world.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That really doesn’t matter. The American public were presented with 2 choices, some said "we want this guy", some said "we don’t want that guy" – on both sides. This happens all the time and I doubt you’ll find an election in modern history where this wasn’t true.

What needs to happen now is that the people who voted just to keep Trump out of office work to ensure they have a person they do wish to vote for in the next election – be that by taking primaries seriously enough that each party has a candidate that’s an actual good choice, by taking runoff and midterms seriously enough that their views are reflected in the overall makeup in the races that take place there, or otherwise participating in the process at a point other than "crap, we really need to do something now".

The problem isn’t that Trump was so bad that people voted for Biden despite not wanting him in charge either, the problem is the mix of apathy, sports mentality and systemic failures that made sure those were the only choices presented to them.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes, that is the danger and the real question of what needs to be done – motivating voters to actually vote. Far right-wingers seem to spend their entire lives in an echo chamber of fear, where every day is one election away from a communist takeover. Fear is a great motivator, even if it’s all based on fiction – which is why they turn out for not only presidential years, but every smaller election in off years.

Normal people dealing with the real world get complacent, because in most years politics is boring and nobody’s excited to vote for competent administrators who are doing their jobs. So, they’re motivated in "please god let this end" years to make their distaste of the disasters caused by Bush and Trump known, but otherwise they’re not motivated to step up and you get the crazies getting their people in, ready to create the next disaster.

The question is how you get the turnout to continue making decisions that actually help the country, instead of the recent regular cycle of barely fixing the damage done before another pyromaniac steps in to burn down the new builds. There seems to be good noises coming out of the Georgia runoff race, but the damage is still fresh and Trump’s not leaving yet. But, what of 2 years time when (hopefully) COVID drifts into memory, people regain their lives and the economy starts a real upswing? Do people participate and ensure that the latest batch of QAnon weirdos don’t start getting power, or do people return to their normal lives not taking notice of politics until the next imminent collapse?

Anonymous Coward says:

At this point it’s pointless trying to set a limit or a moral level below which the trump White House will not go,
giving massive tax breaks to mega corporations, helping company’s to avoid laws that might limit damage to the environment, neutering the epa.
Of course they will try and slip in a law that limits free speech and attacks the open Web. Into a bill that is related to military spending.
Even worse in a time where most workers work from home
and where the Internet is basically holding the economy
together and is the main venue for people to communicate

The free open Web is one thing that makes America free and democratic above country’s like China or Turkey
Of course trump will try and break the Internet while ihe is still in office

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Good News

"Censorship is un-American."

And no private entity practices censorship. What you advocate for is for the government to seize private property so as to either assume direct ownership of social platforms, or prevent the owners from deciding who is and is not welcome on that property.
You sad deluded fucks from the "alt-right" have actually started quoting Karl Marx and Chairman Mao whenever Big Tech comes up. At least start owning that you’ve gone full commie.

"Big Tech is no Big Nanny."

No they are private entities, owning private property. Since when is any non-government entity obliged to cater to your private interests?

"Repeal 230 now. Do it any way it can be done."

As a european it really shouldn’t bug me if the US decides to roll their society and tech back to early 1970 soviet standards. But the stupid of it still itches and burns.

It’s fucking pathetic that racist no-hope losers like you are so invested in being able to holler the N-word online you don’t give a shit that for that to happen you actually need to embrace god damn communism.

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