Rep. Ken Buck Threatens To Use Antitrust To Attack ‘Woke’ Apple

from the ignorance-is-king dept

We’ve noted for a while that DC, and particularly the GOP’s, interest in “antitrust reform” is somewhat hollow. For one, while the United States is rife with heavily monopolized business sectors (insurance, health care, telecom, banking, airlines), this recent batch of “reform” only specifically targets large technology companies. It’s as if these other sectors (most notably telecom) simply… don’t exist.

Even then, the bills we’ve seen so far are often clumsily written, and include weird limitations on which companies should fall under scrutiny. For example, several of the heavily hyped bills being promoted over the last year set an arbitrary market cap of $600 billion. Amusingly when Facebook scared investors away with its lame Meta pivot, it fell below that scrutiny threshold.

The GOP side of “antitrust reform” has been particularly hollow. Even Ken Buck, who has been the cheerleader for narrow antitrust reform on the GOP side, generally likes to ignore that telecom monopolies like AT&T and Comcast exist. Buck has literally supported every consolidation and deregulatory pipe dream of AT&T and Comcast for decades. You’re apparently supposed to ignore that.

And like much of the GOP, Buck’s head has been filled with pudding thanks to divisive culture war bullshit being used to agitate low information voters. For example, over the weekend in a since deleted Twitter thread (screenshotted text below), Buck threatened to utilize the government’s antitrust enforcement power to “smash woke capital” — specifically Apple — to punish the company for its opposition to anti-LGBTQ bills in Florida and elsewhere:

If you can’t read the screenshot, it says:

THREAD: Antitrust is the best way to smash woke capital and protect our kids.

Companies that grow to colossal size, monopoly size, use their power to change politics to make more profit.

This power is a function of their wealth and control over the economy.

At some point, they start to control the information flow in our democracy.

We end up being governed by the CEOs of monopolies and their hard-left employee base.

Simple solution: restore competition by ending the monopoly.

Again, while Buck is routinely held up as a Republican who “gets” the need for antitrust reform, he doesn’t, really. Buck, (like most of the GOP) will be first in line to oppose antitrust reform should it be applied to genuinely monopolized sectors like telecom. Yet here he’s suggesting that U.S. antitrust enforcement should be leveraged against Apple simply because it wants to engage in some light lobbying opposition to bills that would harm Apple LGBTQ employees and customers.

He’s since deleted the tweet, suggested he understood the stupidity of it, or at least understood that threatening to punish a company for its lobbying activity would violate the First Amendment. But the dumb tirade was also notable given that Rep. David Cicilline, one of Buck’s key allies in the “bipartisan antitrust reform” effort, is openly gay:

For years, experts pointed out that U.S. antitrust reform had grown toothless and frail, our competition laws need updating in the Amazon era, and “are consumers happy?” (the traditional consumer welfare standard) doesn’t actually measure all aspects of potential harm in complex markets. Like so many issues, this shouldn’t be a bipartisan fight for better policy and law. Yet it’s often framed as a partisan issue to sow division.

What we should have gotten was a serious examination of all industries and proposals that fairly targeted very clear monopolization, market failure, and anti-competitive behavior across the board. Instead we got a bunch of weird, hollow promises and performances. Specifically by the GOP, whose 40 year track record of coddling monopolies at nearly every turn (again, just look at telecom) is undeniable.

Beyond that, threatening to use the government’s antitrust authority to attack a company for taking an ethical position on ignorant and backward policies in states teetering toward authoritarianism is ignorant policy malpractice itself.

For the GOP, extremism, victimization porn, and culture war performances have utterly displaced serious policymaking. Yet somehow much of the mainstream press and policy punditry haven’t gotten the memo, and continue to help the GOP pretend their interest in “antitrust reform” is genuine. It’s not. It never was.

As we’ve noted previously, much of the GOP’s assault on “big tech censorship” (including the fracas over Section 230) is an attempt to force tech companies to carry race-baiting propaganda, a cornerstone of modern GOP power in the face of unfavorable demographics and a sagging electorate.

And while surely there are a few GOP representatives (like Buck) who care a tiny bit about monopoly power, the Trump GOP’s clear goal at the moment isn’t meaningful policy, healthier markets, or consumer protection, it’s in further filling the heads of targeted voters with pebbles and hate. Which, if you hadn’t been paying attention (see: Fox News) is working extremely well.

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Comments on “Rep. Ken Buck Threatens To Use Antitrust To Attack ‘Woke’ Apple”

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

Someone said the quiet part out loud...

Oops. Nothing like making clear that your anti-trust efforts are motivated first and foremost by a company opposing bigotry to really rip that mask of your character and utterly gut any chance your efforts will stand up in court thanks to that pesky first amendment.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Nah says:

Re: Re:

The best part about the whole thing? Instead of pushing your anti-White, pro-pedophile again in a quiet way, you can’t help yourselves. You just have to keep pushing and pushing.

There are a lot of Leftist commentators now urging their peers to be a little less vocally enthused about the agenda, because they understand that the pushback will lead to bad outcomes for Leftists – like really bad outcomes.

This has happened many times in the past, and when the bad guys (your side) accelerate to the point where patriots can no longer tolerate your outrages, something will be done about you.

So by all means, keep pushing. PLEASE.

Thad (profile) says:


I wouldn’t be so sure. The Roberts Court already ruled that Trump’s stated goal to ban Muslim immigration was irrelevant to the constitutionality of his ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries.

But this does put a certain amount of tension between the Court’s “stated motivations don’t matter to constitutionality” stance and its friendliness to corporate speech.

None of which is really relevant unless increased antitrust enforcement actually passes Congress.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Nah says:


“Don’t Say Gay” law? Never heard of it. What is it?

Oh, did you mean the Anti-Grooming Law?

The fact you put it in quotation marks, as if the law was called that, shows the desperate scrambling. The Left has started to realize they pushed too far too fast. Guys, slow down ! This strategy worked pretty well for the Left over the last 100 years.

The way you’re going about it – the enthusiastic and very vocal grooming of children – is sure to get the attention of formerly polite, formerly nonviolent Americans.

As we can see, patriots are finally starting to use their powers to mitigate against this evil degeneracy. Be glad there are still Americans willing to ‘play nice’ and let the leftist degenerates just do whatever they want. But you can’t help yourselves.

So please keep pushing and pushing (like the Left knows any other way!); the more blatant you are with your perversions and sicknesses, the more Americans will see what you’re doing and solve the problem, forever.

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

Given the recent talking points out of the Judicial Committee you could swap LGBTQ for Negros, and more than a few GOP members & their followers wouldn’t see the problem.

Perhaps don’t try to pass laws to pretend other citizens aren’t equal to everyone else.
All men are created equal… unless they make us feel ookie and then we can pass all the laws to “protect” ourselves from being called *-ist assholes.

freelunch (profile) says:

Autocratic governments typically use business-facing policies to quash any political criticism from enterprise. Proposed retaliation by the government of Florida against Disney or by the USA against Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Google for political speech they don’t like smacks of Republican autocracy. When the retaliation is done by a government there are serious 1A issues. Yeah, that’s why we have the first amendment, trying to avoid kings or other autocrats.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Companies that grow to … monopoly size, … start to control the information flow in our democracy.

Companies like Standard Oil, the American Tobacco Company, US Steel. These companies surely did control the flow of information, didn’t they?

ECA (profile) says:

Re: yep

And a few others.
And as mentioned, in 40 years or taking all the restrictions off of Capitalism, can you guess whats happening?
We the people get to PAY to save corps from going bankrupt. From the Airlines(3-4 times) to the banking system. And can you tell me whats hurting them the most?
CEO/Boss’s that have GREAT contracts, Cost of living increases, and bonus’s and Paid in over Valued Stocks.

Back int he 70-80’s we created tons of regulations asking Corps to Clean up pollution, and most of the heavy manufacturing LEFT to cheaper locations around the world. Ask Japan why they Stopped pollution, and the ROC/Taiwan. And China is looking to move allot of it to Africa.
Then we have a gov. they went whole Hog, into helping corps, ‘Where’s the beef’, ‘Milk is good for you’, and Tons of PSA’s That tried to help the different farming sections. Consider the Farmers price’s for most Grains, fruits and veggies, is around $0.03 per pound. If you could buy direct form the First processors, it would be Cheap as hell, but there are to many Between Them and the Grocery store. Stores Double the price they pay, but even at that we are paying 25-50 times the farmers prices.
We have to many contrcts to restrict things, and who gets paid. That any savings along the way are NOT there.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Lots of Subjects

This is from today.
60 minutes used to be great, but corps with Tons more money can take over opinion Just by small threats.

To many subjects to cover in 1 post. But the Major hit comes with, ‘How Much more can I make’.
USA is now the biggest oil nation in the world. And there are some OLD movies about how this started. And its going to get worse. Oil corps exported $8billion of oil, then Imported oil to sell for $8 billion Profit in the USA, Not counting $24 billion the Gov Subsidies to the Oil groups. Now go find out how much taxes they paid.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“This is from today.”

What is?

I apologise if this is obvious, but if someone posts a YouTube link which doesn’t even give a hint about where it’s from without following the link and giving them ad revenue, it’s not getting clicked on.

Who posted it, why is it relevant, what are the credentials that require people reading this thread to give them a moment of time let alone whatever the full duration of the video is?

Naughty Autie says:

To be quite honest with you...

I don’t give a flying fuck what happens to crApple as long as what’s done to them can’t be used against ordinary citizens. They sure didn’t give a fuck about non-crApple users when they broke Bluetooth’s promise of interconnectivity because doing so was easier than patching the gaping holes in iOS’s security.

PaulT (profile) says:


“I don’t give a flying fuck what happens to crApple as long as what’s done to them can’t be used against ordinary citizens.”

Well, then you should hope that politicians are capable of writing accurately targeted legislation based on full and deep knowledge of tech that does not have unintended consequences…. which AFAIK has never happened.

“They sure didn’t give a fuck about non-crApple users when they broke Bluetooth’s promise of interconnectivity because doing so was easier than patching the gaping holes in iOS’s security.”

If you’re angry about non-compliance with a protocol and lack of security attention, Apple aren’t even near the top of list, let alone a reason to support attacks of them for social, rather than technical reasons as stated in the original attack here.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Again, if you’re complaining about a bad implementation of a protocol, deliberate or not, there’s way bigger targets than Apple and way bigger concerns than Bluetooth. Especially if you’re talking about Bluetooth comms between computers and phones, rather than things like speakers, headsets and game controllers, which I’d suggest are the way most people actually use it in practice.

Apple aren’t the good guys, but if you think that this is a major issue in the grand scheme of things I think you’re mistaken, and you’re way off the mark if you think that the solution is to get politicians to “fix” the problems.

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re: Re:2

I guess you’ve never shared a document between different devices. I’ve even shared apps before, but crApple not allowing non-crApple devices Bluetoothing to iOS doesn’t matter for that, especially since you can’t sideload on an iPhone or iPad without a headache-inducing workaround.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Yeah, I’ve not done that since the initial novelty of Bluetooth wore off. Neither have most people I interact with. Which is why that I consider your whining to be very weak and way down on the list of concerns to think like, say, the government passing bad laws to attack Apple that set extremely bad precedents that can be used to abuse every other tech company, large or small.

Anonymous Coward says:


A failed attempt to use antitrust to stop Apple from being “woke” may actually make it more difficult for genuine antitrust efforts against Apple to go anywhere if they brush it off as more nonsense from partisan hacks. And it probably will fail, unless the Supreme Court wakes up and chooses partisan hackery.

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