Trump Makes It Official: He's Going To Pull Military Funding, Because Congress Won't Kill The Open Internet

from the really-now dept

There were some questions as to whether or not Trump would actually go through with his threat to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, which has been passed and signed into law every year for the past six decades, but it appears that is the case. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has officially notified Congress that Trump is vetoing the NDAA… because they refuse to kill off the open internet.

The letter it sent to Congress is… just completely disconnected from reality.

The Administration recognizes the importance of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to our national security. Unfortunately, this conference report fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by this Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions. Therefore, the Administration strongly opposes passage of the conference report to Accompany H.R. 6395.

There are three key complaints he raises in the letter. (1) The NDAA doesn’t completely repeal Section 230 of the Communications Act (which has nothing to do with the military). (2) That it allows for the renaming of bases that were named after the Confederacy and (3) that it limits his ability to scream “national emergency” and use those claims as a reason to steal money from the military to build his stupid wall (as he’s been doing).

The 230 bit is particularly stupid:

Despite bipartisan calls for addressing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, this bill fails to make any meaningful changes to that provision.

Um, yes, because it’s got literally nothing to do with the military or the purpose of the NDAA. There is no reason to include anything related to 230 in the NDAA and multiple elected officials have explained that to Trump. But he wants to throw one of his temper tantrums instead.

Section 230 facilitates the spread of disinformation online and is a serious threat to our national security and election integrity. It should be repealed.

So he’s finally expressed some rationalization for how 230 impacts national security, but he’s wrong. The 1st Amendment is why disinformation can spread online and taking away 230 won’t change that. And, I should note that one of the biggest vectors of disinformation that is spread online is… the President himself. Especially over the last month. And, I’d argue that the President has also been the biggest threat to election integrity.

It’s Section 230 that has enabled many experts to speak out and show how the nonsense and disinformation that Trump and his cronies are spewing is inaccurate.

As for the claim about renaming bases named after Confederate Army officials, it’s difficult to see how that is failing “to respect our veterans and our military’s history.” Remember, the Confederacy fought against the US military. You’d think it would be more respectful to our veterans not to have them serve from bases named after an army that fought against us. But Trump’s gotta Trump.

Republicans in Congress now have a choice. They’ve been hinting that they’ll override a Trump veto, and now is the time for them to stand up and make it clear that’s exactly what they’ll do.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"PETA has really dropped the ball. Please, for the love of what little sanity remains in this country, spay and neuter your Republicans!"

Hrm. It doesn’t speak well of the US that the last few decades are best summarized with the image of the US as a confused cat hoarder keeping 73 million maladjusted pets crapping all over what used to be a nice house.

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

Ah yes, the 'No, you are!' ploy

Gotta love Trump of all people complaining that the spread of disinformation, threats to national security and undermining election integrity, it’s like watching a person actively picking someone’s pocket as you watch complaining about how no-one respects property ownership and the law these days.

It’s also beyond rich for him to try to hide behind the military like the gutless coward that he is when he is threatening to torpedo their budget for the next year, because nothing says ‘I respect and support our men and women in uniform’ quite like holding their budget hostage because you don’t like that free speech includes the ability to say mean things about you.

Still, if nothing else it looks like he’s providing republicans in congress a chance to put up or shut up, they said they’d override his veto and it looks like he called their bluff so now it’s on them to actually stand up to him for once(assuming those cowards can).

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Ah yes, the 'No, you are!' ploy

"…it’s like watching a person actively picking someone’s pocket as you watch complaining about how no-one respects property ownership and the law these days."

And it’s obviously effective. It’s the mechanism of the fast talk. As long as you keep the observer in a perpetual state of confusion and/or shock you can get away with almost anything. The more benevolent demonstration of that is Eddie Murphy in his various early roles, the more conniving demonstration is Barnum. And then, of course, there’s people like Trump and Trevor Milton…

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Narcissus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ah yes, the 'No, you are!' ploy

And it’s obviously effective.
The scary bit is that it’s even effective in Europe. If you go on Twitter there are many people from Europe repeating claims from Trumpetters about voter fraud, Antifa etc.

If you are a European correspondent for the US just reporting the same as CNN or MSNBC or even Fox, your Twitter feed is overrun by people saying you’re a liar, you don’t know anything about it and that, like all main stream media, you are in the pay of the dark deep state pedophile cabal that’s ruling the world.

I swear that if they were up to their ankles in water in their basement and the msm was claiming their street was flooded, first they would go on 8kun, or where-ever they go nowadays, to check if it isn’t some nefarious Soros plot to sell you sump pumps.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ah yes, the 'No, you are!' ploy

" If you go on Twitter there are many people from Europe repeating claims from Trumpetters about voter fraud, Antifa etc."

I’ve seen Brits and Australians parrot US right-wing talking points about the dangers of socialism and socialised medicine, blissfully unaware that the supposed hellhole that would result is where they currently live. Challenge them, and they will simultaneously argue how much they love their country while repeating talking points about what they love about the country is evil.

It’s astonishing how unthinkingly some people will just believe whatever they’re told, but it does explain how so many people have been convinced to vote against their own interests.

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Ah yes, the 'No, you are!' ploy

The scary bit is that it’s even effective in Europe. If you go on Twitter there are many people from Europe repeating claims from Trumpetters about voter fraud, Antifa etc.

Well, Russia is (partly) part of Europe. It’s hard to really figure out which of the vocal forum posters are actually living in the countries where they are contributing to the discussion. The mastery of language exhibited there is a mixed bag, but to be fair, even in the countries themselves the degree of literacy is not entirely unrelated to the degree of Trump adulation.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ah yes, the 'No, you are!' ploy

"The scary bit is that it’s even effective in Europe. If you go on Twitter there are many people from Europe repeating claims from Trumpetters about voter fraud, Antifa etc."

A whole lot less, though. By and large europeans usually have a far higher lower level of education than the US which means around most of central, western and northern europe the crackpots are isolated and far apart. You certainly don’t get all that many parliamentary members quoting trumpist nonsense.

The real issue over this side of the pond is with the brownshirts and assorted other racist groups who like to bandwagon the US Stormfront and Proud Boys propaganda. And with a few east european countries whose entire government has vested interest in bigotry, racism or xenophobia. Poland and Hungary, for instance.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Veto proof

…what’s the point in sending it back to be voted on again?

House approves defense bill with veto-proof majority after Trump urges GOP opposition”, by Clare Foran, Manu Raju and Lauren Fox, CNN, Dec 8, 2020 (updated 6:59 PM ET)

If the House ends up voting to override a presidential veto, that vote could be far narrower, however, because at least some Republicans are likely to change their votes in order to sustain a veto.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who said that he would vote in favor of the bill, but would vote to sustain a veto, insisted that Republican House members will back the President if he vetoes the legislation.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 By all means, hand your opposition that knife

If the House ends up voting to override a presidential veto, that vote could be far narrower, however, because at least some Republicans are likely to change their votes in order to sustain a veto.

Well, I certainly can’t see how that could be used by any political opponents of those that try to uphold the veto, either during their current term or when it comes time for their next election…

‘Sure my opponent claims to support and have the back of the men and women who put their lives on the line serving the country, but when push came to shove they voted against the military’s budget because Trump refused to allow it unless it came with a completely unrelated bill attached.’

If members of Trump’s GOP want to make clear that much like their Dear Leader they care about the military only so long as it benefits them and they’ll throw the military under the bus the second it’s beneficial to do so then have at it I suppose, yet another example of how little they care about anyone but themselves and how they’re lying through their teeth if they claim otherwise.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 By all means, hand your opposition that knife

"Well, I certainly can’t see how that could be used by any political opponents of those that try to uphold the veto, either during their current term or when it comes time for their next election…"

It probably can’t. When it was implied that Trump could shoot someone on fifth avenue and not lose a single vote, no sarcasm or hyperbole was intended.

Here’s what it would look like;

Democrat candidate: "My adversary wants to defund our veterans, make being a black man illegal, delegitimize Roe v Wade, have everyone with an alternate gender identity or sexual preference made a second-class citizen, and abolish freedom of speech".

The very rare republican voter who bothered listening to a Democrat candidate: "Well, Ah’m for sure none too happy ’bout defundin’ ahr veterans but the rest sounds like a winner. Reckon’ Ah’ll be votin’ for the Very Fine Republican candidate agin this year. B’sides, ah hear that Dem ain’t really white".

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 By all means, hand your opposition that knife

no matter how low of an opinion I have for Trump’s GOP and his cultists they always seem gleefully eager to sink even lower.

A problem that America is going to have to address, or watch as everything it officially claims to stand for is destroyed in reality.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 By all means, hand your opposition that knife

"A problem that America is going to have to address, or watch as everything it officially claims to stand for is destroyed in reality."

Realizing you have a problem is the first step. Sadly by this time the cancer has spread wide and deep. After all Trump’s shenanigans and obvious malfeasance some 73 million americans are still just wanting more of the same. Because to them "Fuck Liberals" is what really matters.

An article I read lately about "grievance addiction" in politico went along way towards explaining that. A significant part of the US seems to be getting their kicks out of real or perceived retaliation against real or perceived grievance. Hatred makes them feel good, and every argument intended to rationalize their behavior is just window dressing to cover up their habit.

Trump’s GOP and his cultists aren’t politically engaged. They’re just addicts desperately going after their next high, their rhetoric being about whatever flimsy pretense will justify another shot of hatred.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: CASE Act?

The NDAA is not the omnibus spending bill that’s been discussed in connection with the CASE Act.

Lawmakers are cramming controversial copyright provisions into a must-pass spending bill”, by Emily Birnbaum, Protocol, Dec 4, 2020

The House and Senate Judiciary Committees have agreed to include a package of three provisions — the controversial CASE Act, the Trademark Modernization Act and a felony streaming proposal — in the omnibus spending bill, which must pass before a Dec. 11 government shutdown deadline, according to two congressional aides.

(Emphasis.)

Again, the omnibus spending bill is not the NDAA.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: CASE Act?

And if that requires cutting off our bloated military budget for a short while…what’s the problem, exactly?

I think the main problem is that the people most affected are service members, who are generally not exactly rolling in cash. And it’s a pretty bad look to veto a bill that provides them things like pay raises and hazard pay. If this were just a matter of delaying payments to defense contractors, sure maybe not such a big deal.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Trump: I’m going to VETO that bill because I’m a whiny shit!
80%+ of Congress: Bring it, bitch.

Only 67% was needed to override the crybaby’s pouting but over 81% voted to pass the bill. Your time in office is over, you empty scrotum masquerading as human. GTFO already.

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Code Monkey (profile) says:

He has to....

I think his game plan is to wait until Congress recesses for the Christmas holiday…..

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

[Source] (https://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec7.html)

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David says:

You fail to see his big picture

The 1st Amendment is why disinformation can spread online and taking away 230 won’t change that.

You have to start somewhere and soften people up.

And, I should note that one of the biggest vectors of disinformation that is spread online is… the President himself. Especially over the last month. And, I’d argue that the President has also been the biggest threat to election integrity.

"Election integrity" means that everybody is on the same page regarding the election. And prohibiting people from being on a different page is a good start.

Really, you just don’t get what this is all about. We are talking about a president who put Hitler’s speeches into his bedtime reading literature (well, he wasn’t president then and we haven’t gotten updates on that since he divorced Ivana Trump).

dickeyrat says:

Just stop for a moment to let it all sink in: almost half of the Amerikan voting public is actually dense enough to fully put their loving, unconditional support behind someone who can best be described as, mentally somewhere between Adolf Hitler and Alfred E. Neuman. This is where we’ve been taken by seventy years of commercial television, Disney and the bulk of "popular culture". May God have mercy on our souls.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"This is where we’ve been taken by seventy years of commercial television, Disney and the bulk of "popular culture""

If you think that the problem is Disney, and not 70 years of red scare nonsense, Reaganism and Fox cultism, your anger might be a little misplaced. Mass popular culture definitely contributed to the idea that a failed con artist was somehow a great businessman, but that wouldn’t have worked without stuff like evangelism and the prosperity gospel having primed people to believe something other than the evidence in front of their eyes.

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Anonymous Coward says:

It’s ironic the purpose of the military is to defend America and the American way of life freedom which includes free speech
At this point the Internet is the main way citizens express themselves and communicate and organise political movements , eg me too, Black lives matter, minority groups organise,
Getting rid of section 230 would be a direct attack on free speech across all parts of the spectrum
There is a reason why there’s no equivalent to section 230 on China
Russia or Iran
The last thing dictators want is the freedom for people to speak
out on the Web
The present republican party is one of the sources of misinformation online but its protected by laws on free speech like section 230

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The US military is not authorized to defend "free speech" as you put it.

The First Amendment (free speech) defines what the US government is not allowed to do.

"At this point the Internet is the main way citizens express themselves and communicate and organise political movements "
Quite the claim, so what.

Getting rid of 230 would be an attack upon the first amendment.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The US military is not authorized to defend "free speech" as you put it.

The oath of enlistment is as follows:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

So yes, every member of the military is sworn to uphold the Constitution, including the free speech provisions of the first amendment.

https://www.army.mil/values/oath.html

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

See, this is the problem.

Free Speech and The First Amendment are not the same thing when the topic is being discussed in many forums like this one, unless it is specifically stated as one or the other.
I figured the poster to which I replied is one of these people that actively conflate the two.

The 1st is very specific while the phrase free speech can be interpreted in any ways to mean many things.

So no – the US military is not authorized to defend the speech of individuals ranting in city square. Local law enforcement will take care of it.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So no – the US military is not authorized to defend the speech of individuals ranting in city square. Local law enforcement will take care of it.

Interesting thought. The military is not authorized to perform law enforcement duties within the US. Yet the oath is to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. So what does that imply? And would local law enforcement actually do anything about it if your first amendment rights were being violated, or would it be left to the court system?

Going back to the original statement: "It’s ironic the purpose of the military is to defend America and the American way of life freedom which includes free speech." I think you have to get deep into the weeds of hair splitting (and mixed metaphors) to argue that there is no irony in attacking free speech in a bill to fund the military, on the basis that the first amendment is not perfectly aligned with the concept of free speech in general.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"So no – the US military is not authorized to defend the speech of individuals ranting in city square. Local law enforcement will take care of it."

And not even that. What 1A says is pretty specific, as is most of the constitution, but above all, the constitution is not primarily about "defending" so much as it relates to what the government may not do.

If the US government were to, say, outlaw public speech you could argue that the US armed forces would be oathbound to oppose that government.
Mind you, that same oath also binds those armed forces to the code of military justice and the orders of the command chain, and as far as I read it there’s no priority given in which stipulations of the oath are to be adhered to if the clauses sworn to are in conflict.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"There is a reason why there’s no equivalent to section 230 on China Russia or Iran "

That’s a bit of a misunderstanding; What guarantees free speech remains the first amendment, in the US. The issue in the US is that there’s a very odious bit of legislation called the "communications decency act", or CDA, which makes that first amendment conditional online.
Section 230 is the bit of the CDA which preserves free speech online by protecting the platform against whatever the individual commenters choose to post.

In the rest of the world it’s notable that most countries with free speech enshrined in their charters do not have anything even remotely resembling the CDA in the first place and so don’t need a section 230 to render it harmless.

What is odious about Iran China and Russia is that free speech is not guaranteed in either their national charters or in their basic telecommunications acts to begin with.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The issue in the US is that there’s a very odious bit of legislation called the "communications decency act", or CDA, which makes that first amendment conditional online.

Either I misunderstood you or you’re mistaken. The only part of the CDA that has not been struck down as unconstitutional is section 230. The problem 230 is solving was raised by court cases, not legislation. It does not place any obligations on anyone to receive any kind of protections. It is possible you’re conflating it with the DMCA, which does have obligations which must be met in order to qualify for its safe harbor protection.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The only part of the CDA that has not been struck down as unconstitutional is section 230.

First, see Reno v ACLU (1997)

The judgment of the District Court enjoins the Government from enforcing the prohibitions in § 223(a)(1)(B) insofar as they relate to "indecent" communications, but expressly preserves the Government’s right to investigate and prosecute the obscenity or child pornography activities prohibited therein. The injunction against enforcement of §§ 223(d)(1) and (2) is unqualified because those provisions contain no separate reference to obscenity or child pornography.

 . . . the judgment of the District Court is affirmed.

Second, see Pub. L. 108-21 (PROTECT Act of 2003), which in its § 603 amended the provisions of the CDA (i.e. portions of § 223 of the Communications Act of 1934) which had been at issue in Reno.

Third, see Nitke v Gonzales (S.D.N.Y. 2005)

The plaintiffs seek a) a declaratory judgment that the CDA is unconstitutional because it is substantially overbroad, And b) a permanent injunction against its enforcement.

 . . . we conclude that the plaintiffs have not met their burden of proof with respect to the only claim remaining in this action, their overbreadth challenge to the CDA.

Wikipedia summarizes this history as:

In 2003, Congress amended the CDA to remove the indecency provisions struck down in Reno v. ACLU. A separate challenge to the provisions governing obscenity, known as Nitke v. Gonzales, was rejected by a federal court in New York in 2005. The Supreme Court summarily affirmed that decision in 2006.

If you want to dispute or correct Wikipedia’s summary of the history of the CDA, then please do so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The only part of the CDA that has not been struck down as unconstitutional is section 230.

Perhaps I should have started out by referring both you and the other commenter to whom you were replying — both of you to Title V of Pub. L. 104-104: §§ 501 et seq of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

SEC. 501. SHORT TITLE.
This title may be cited as the “Communications Decency Act of 1996”

Maybe both of you two could point out the specific provisions of Title V that you’re each referring to in your various respective claims.

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