Trump Nominates Guy Who Wants To Police Speech Online To Be The Next FCC Commissioner

from the not-great,-bob dept

As was rumored late last week, the White House is, in fact, nominating Nathan Simington to the FCC, taking over the seat of of Mike O'Riely, whose nomination was withdrawn just days after O'Rielly expressed his strong support for the 1st Amendment and made it clear what he thought of idiots calling for the government to force websites to host content:

The First Amendment protects us from limits on speech imposed by the government—not private actors—and we should all reject demands, in the name of the First Amendment, for private actors to curate or publish speech in a certain way. Like it or not, the First Amendment’s protections apply to corporate entities, especially when they engage in editorial decision making. I shudder to think of a day in which the Fairness Doctrine could be reincarnated for the Internet, especially at the ironic behest of so-called free speech “defenders.” It is time to stop allowing purveyors of First Amendment gibberish to claim they support more speech, when their actions make clear that they would actually curtail it through government action. These individuals demean and denigrate the values of our Constitution and must be held accountable for their doublespeak and dishonesty. This institution and its members have long been unwavering in defending the First Amendment, and it is the duty of each of us to continue to uphold this precious protection.

While there are many things we've disagreed with O'Rielly about, on this one, we agree 100%. And, the thanks he gets is effectively being fired by the President... and then replaced with someone who appears to believe the exact opposite.

Simington is apparently the guy who wrote the utterly nonsensical, blatantly unconstitutional Executive Order that President Trump signed after he got mad that Twitter placed two fact checking notices on his dangerous and misleading tweets.

Note the situation here. Twitter (and the rest of the internet) is now being punished for providing more speech. This is, of course, what people like Simington like to claim they support. But when it comes down to reality, they seem to want to just force the internet to host the speech of their friends, and never to do anything such as present counterarguments. On top of that, they wish to force private companies to host speech they do not support and do not believe in. All of this is unconstitutional.

Yet, now the author of this nonsense gets rewarded with a potential FCC Commissionership.

It's not clear if the Senate would find the time to do confirmation hearings before the election, but there's a decent chance that now rather than there being just one (Hi, Brendan Carr) FCC Commissioner who relishes using the power of the FCC to punish companies he doesn't like, we'll have two FCC Commissioners who have abandoned all pretenses that the Republican FCC Commissioners support the 1st Amendment and favor a "light touch" regulatory regime. They seem to only favor that for the telcos so many FCC Commissioners end up going to work for after leaving the FCC. For internet companies? They seem to think the opposite.

Considering Simington's direct role in writing the executive order, and then working at NTIA while it crafted the petition for the current FCC review of Section 230, you would think that, should he actually be approved by the Senate, he should at the very least recuse himself from this particular matter. But, given this particular administration and their unwillingness to actually obey the law and follow the rules when it comes to "owning the libs" or whatever their motivation is, it wouldn't surprise me to see him take part in any vote.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: fairness doctrine, fcc, mike o'rielly, nathan simington, section 230, speech police


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:09am

    Like it or not, the First Amendment’s protections apply to corporate entities, especially when they engage in editorial decision making.

    Totally fine, but then you ought not get protections under section 230. You shouldn't editorialize while simultaneously profess that the speech isn't yours.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:24am

      'How dare they keep kicking the assholes on my side out!'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Another Kevin (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:30am

      Re:

      Section 230 doesn't protect editorializing. The First Amendment does that.

      You seem to be arguing that once the operators of a platform have editorial content, anywhere on the platform, that they lose Section 230 protection for anything posted by users. In effect, you consider all speech on the platform to be from a single speaker.

      In other words, if I am entertaining Alice and Bob in my parlor, and Bob tells a lie, I'm not allowed to point out the lie to Alice without then becoming subject to prosecution for anything that either Alice or Bob might say? In such a regime, I obviously can't have guests in my house at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:35am

        In such a regime, I obviously can't have guests in my house at all.

        To be fair, this is likely one of the major goals of those in favor of demolishing Section 230: When they tear asunder the Internet by making user-generated content all but impossible for any service to host, only speech hosted by those with the resources to own and operate their own servers will remain. And wouldn’t you know it, that benefits the wealthy and the already-successful first-party media companies of the Internet! Imagine that~.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Koby (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 12:13pm

        Re: Re:

        if I am entertaining Alice and Bob in my parlor, and Bob tells a lie, I'm not allowed to point out the lie to Alice without then becoming subject to prosecution for anything that either Alice or Bob might say? In such a regime, I obviously can't have guests in my house at all.

        Sure you could. The key is that in your parlor, you are not publishing anything. Attempting to carry this analogy over to the internet is very problematic, as evidenced by the pre- Telecommunication Act of 1996 lawsuits. With internet forums, websites that monitored and participated in the forums appeared to be publishers.

        As for the rest of the problematic analogy, know that political speech cannot be labeled as true or false. As such, for websites to create a free speech platform, claim 1st amendment protection, and then deny free speech protection to other Americans is a repugnant act. If you want to participate the same as everyone else, go ahead. But that isn't what's going on. Instead, we're seeing biased censorship, shadowbanning, and preferential treatment for only some viewpoints. This type of behavior is ugly.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 12:19pm

          for websites to create a free speech platform, claim 1st amendment protection, and then deny free speech protection to other Americans is a repugnant act

          The First Amendment limits what the government can and cannot do in regards to speech; it doesn’t say a goddamned thing about what private persons or entities can or cannot do. Legally, Twitter can slap a label on every tweet it deems “misinformation” and neither you nor the federal government can do anything about that. You don’t have to like it; you need only to acknowledge that truth.

          (Also: 230 protects users of a given service as well.)

          we're seeing biased censorship, shadowbanning, and preferential treatment for only some viewpoints

          Yes, yes, we all read the story about Parler…

          This type of behavior is ugly.

          …and I’m sure you’ll be bitching about Parler instead of Twitter soon enough~.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 17 Sep 2020 @ 1:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          With internet forums, websites that monitored and participated in the forums appeared to be publishers.

          As such, for websites to create a free speech platform, claim 1st amendment protection, and then deny free speech protection to other Americans is a repugnant act.

          We have been over this before: Name any non-government entity that have a website that is a free speech platform. Just one and I'll shut up.

          But of course you won't answer me, because you know your argument is dishonest in extreme.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            icon
            Koby (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Twitter's mission statement: "To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers." More like "only the people we agree with, otherwise we'll put up a lot of barriers."

            Similar statements from other free speech platforms--

            Youtube: “to give everyone a voice and show them the world.”

            Facebook: “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

            They sound all-inclusive, free speech for everyone, until they enter the world of disagreement. Then they demand silence and disconnections.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              All those services, like all corporations, qualify their advertising with the small print, which in the case of social media are the terms of service. They also want to maximise their user base, and in general, the speech that they ban has the opposite effect, and drives away more users that it attracts.

              So go and use Gab and Parler, where you speech may be more acceptable, where the smaller audience are a good indicator of how popular the speech that they host actually is.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:20pm

              That is their right.

              But please, go ahead and argue right here and now — and explicitly, for once — that the law should force privately owned interactive web services to host all legally protected speech regardless of whether the admins of a given service want to avoid hosting certain kinds of speech. I promise that I’ll actually give you an iota of respect for finally owning a position you’ve implicitly supported for a while now.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:25pm

              'Being a raging asshole/bigot' is not 'disagreement'

              Great, now look at their TOS's, where they clearly lay out that they are allowed to give the boot to people who violate their rules of acceptable behavior and act and/or like assholes to other users.

              'We welcome all people and will provide a platform for speech' does not, and never has been, meant to imply that they will allow anything and everything so long as it's legal.

              Much like physical stores or other private property open to the public they absolutely reserve the right to give the boot to people who are harassing customers/staff or otherwise acting in a deplorable manner, so out of curiosity, do you think that private property owners should be prohibited from telling say, racist losers that they aren't welcome in/on said property, or should the property/platform be required to host them?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              JMT (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 4:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It's impossible to take you even the slightest bit seriously when you (a) either don't understand what the First Amendment actually says or are willfully misrepresenting it, and (b) somehow think a mission statement (i.e. advertising!) has more legal weight than the Constitution.

              There is no good faith argument from you here or in any of your other similar comments. This has all been explained to you countless times. You're either a fool or a liar.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Rocky, 17 Sep 2020 @ 5:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              None of them are free speech sites, none. They have said that they support free speech, which isn't the same thing. It's funny you have to qualify your argument with "They all sound all-inclusive, free speech for everyone" which they have never been. Any reasonable person understands that "mission statement" means "this is what we strive to do", but it seems you aren't reasonable since you decided to read those statements like the devil reads the bible.

              The complete statements from those companies you quoted contains something you totally missed, and that thing explains WHY some content is moderated or removed. Can you guess what that something is?

              Oh, did you know that Parler exactly fits into your mischaracterization of the companies you mentioned. Let me refresh your memory:

              As such, for websites to create a free speech platform, claim 1st amendment protection, and then deny free speech protection to other Americans is a repugnant act.

              Parler said they where 100% free speech, then they denied "free speech" to anyone not adhering to their belief system. Well, I guess repugnant is a apt description of Parler.

              Also, EVERONE in the US have 1st amendment protection (well, except when it concerns some limited things and copyright). It doesn't magically disappear because you happen to run a web-site.

              Now, can you learn this - it's not very difficult:

              1. The 1A and free speech means the government isn't allowed to stop you from speaking.
              2. It doesn't mean you are ENTITLED to a platform where you can force your speech onto others.
              3. It doesn't mean that ANYONE has to tolerate you on their private property, regardless of the reasons.
              4. Section 230 means that someone who allows others to use their private property on the internet decides what content is allowed or not - including flagging content, commenting content, removing content, hiding content.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 5:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Section 230 means that someone who allows others to use their private property on the internet decides what content is allowed or not - including flagging content, commenting content, removing content, hiding content.

                Minor correction on that one, 230 isn't what allows that rather it's the first amendment and property rights, what 230 does is give platforms a quick way to shut down a lawsuit involving moderation before it gets crazy expensive, making it much 'safer' to moderate as they don't have to worry that any little thing might end up costing them huge legal fees.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Rocky, 18 Sep 2020 @ 6:27am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Noted. I forgot to add the bit about liability doesn't magically transfer to anyone moderating their platform.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                icon
                Koby (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 7:27pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The 1A and free speech means the government isn't allowed to stop you from speaking.

                But the first amendment also does not permit you to editorialize and publish with impunity, simultaneously. For that, you need section 230. Many people are beginning to see the assumption, that corporations would primarily use section 230 for the purposes of maintenance editorializing (i.e.- blocking commercial adverisement spam, repetitive post spam, obscenity, pornography) has instead switched to corporations hiding behind section 230 for purposes of political editorializing. Since there is little practical difference between government censorship versus corporatist censorship, the call for section 230 reform grows in the face of ugly biased behavior.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 9:12pm

                  'Conservative': 'Oh, you know the ones...'

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  JMT (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 9:14pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "But the first amendment also does not permit you to editorialize and publish with impunity, simultaneously."

                  Yes it does! It only stops the government from doing things, nobody else. You know this. Why do you keep spewing this crap?

                  "Since there is little practical difference between government censorship versus corporatist censorship..."

                  Legally there's every difference in the world.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 9:28pm

                  Up to now, I’ve been extraordinarily patient with you. I’ve been unnaturally kind to you. But with this comment, you’ve lost the last bit of good will I’d put aside for you.

                  the first amendment also does not permit you to editorialize and publish with impunity, simultaneously. For that, you need section 230.

                  230 only offers protections from legal liability for third party speech. Any speech that Twitter deems fit to add onto a tweet (e.g., a warning label on a tweet from the president of the United States, and really think about that phrase for a moment before you read further) becomes speech for which Twitter itself is legally liable. Multiple commenters here have all told you as much before, so maybe remember that fact from now on.

                  Many people are beginning to see the assumption, that corporations would primarily use section 230 for the purposes of maintenance editorializing … has instead switched to corporations hiding behind section 230 for purposes of political editorializing.

                  Let’s say that Twitter, Facebook, etc. really do “hide behind” 230 for that reason.

                  So fucking what?

                  Neither 230 nor the First Amendment have a “neutrality” requirement for their protections, and 230 applies to all web services equally. Twitter admins have the same right to “politically editorialize” speech on Twitter as Parler admins have on Parler. And you can’t adequately explain why that shouldn’t be the case. You can keep using bad faith arguments about Twitter’s size and the phrase “free speech platforms” to try, but you’re not going any further in this discussion with those. Accept facts or keep being a troll — make your choice.

                  there is little practical difference between government censorship versus corporatist censorship

                  I wrote two columns for this site that explained key differences between moderation and censorship. That you still think of Twitter slapping a “whoopsie-daisy the president did a fucky-wucky and lied to you uwu” label on Trump’s tweets as “censorship” shows that you didn’t pay attention to those articles or the numerous comments directed at you over the past few months in dozens of other articles that have explained the difference to you. So let’s see if the tl;dr version sticks with you for once:

                  Moderation is a platform/service owner or operator saying “we don’t do that here”. Personal discretion is an individual telling themselves “I won’t do that here”. Editorial discretion is an editor saying “we won’t print that here”, either to themselves or to a writer. Censorship is someone saying “you won’t do that anywhere” alongside threats or actions meant to suppress speech.

                  You can try to explain why people should think “Twitter telling someone to fuck off is the same thing as prior restraint or being threatened into silence by a violent asshole”. You will ultimately fail, but you can still try.

                  (you shouldn’t try, you will look like an even bigger idiot)

                  the call for section 230 reform grows in the face of ugly biased behavior.

                  One must wonder if you count Parler’s banning of people who expressed left-wing political ideologies as such “ugly biased behavior”. You seem to have no opinion on that matter, but you have plenty of shit to say when it comes Twitter and Facebook. And according to its front page: “Parler is an unbiased social platform focused on open dialogue and user engagement. We allow free speech and do not censor ideas, political parties or ideologies.” How can you toss shit at Twitter for an imagined “political bias” against conservatives but basically ignore what Parler did despite both services’ promises of a “free speech platform”?

                  You’re hopelessly out of your league in this or any other discussion about 230. Commenters here will keep dunking on you if you keep using the same horeshit arguments that you’ve used before. I’m not afraid of them; neither is anyone else. Either take the time to admit your wrongness and learn from your mistakes or fuck all the way off when it comes to discussing 230.

                  No matter which one you do, please: Stop acting like your current arguments against 230 have any basis in fact. They never have and they never will.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Rocky, 18 Sep 2020 @ 5:56am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  But the first amendment also does not permit you to editorialize and publish with impunity, simultaneously.

                  Tell me where in the 1A it says that you can't "editorialize and publish with impunity, simultaneously". I'll include the text of the 1A below so can easily use it to prove me wrong:

                  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:15am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  The first amendment does not permit anything. It forbids the government from doing certain things.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Toom1275 (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:31pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Specifically:

                PragerU posits that a private entity can be converted into a public forum if its property is opened up for public discourse. This theory finds no support in our precedent. As the Supreme Court has explained, to create a public forum, the government must intentionally open up the property to public discourse.... That YouTube is not owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the government undermines PragerU’s public forum theory

                PragerU’s attempt to foist a “public forum” label on YouTube by claiming that YouTube declared itself a public forum also fails. YouTube’s representation that it is committed to freedom of expression, or a single statement made by its executive before a congressional committee that she considers YouTube to be a “neutral public fora,” cannot somehow convert private property into a public forum. Whether a property is a public forum is not a matter of election by a private entity. We decline to subscribe to PragerU’s novel opt-in theory of the First Amendment.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 12:44am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "They sound all-inclusive, free speech for everyone, until they enter the world of disagreement."

              Disneyworld say they accept everybody as the happiest place on Earth. They reserve the right to kick disruptive dickheads out of the park so that this claim remains true for everyone else. This is not a contradiction.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 6:45am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "This is not a contradiction."

                It is for the people who claim "free speech for everyone" includes being able to tell an uppity ni_ger or qu_er "We know where you live and one of these days you'll get what's coming to you" without the host being allowed to show the bigoted unpleasant fuckwit the door.

                That is, in the end, what the Very Fine People are after.

                So Koby isn't really lying so much as simply failing to understand that private property isn't government property, or that on private property the owner of that property sets the rules on who gets to enter and stay.

                The high irony here is that the same people who clamor for the abolition of private property simultaneously claim to be against communism.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 2:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You have a severe misunderstanding at what free speech guarantees you. It means you can stand on your own soapbox, and/or publish your speech at your own expense. It does not mean that anybody else has to provide you with any assistance or service to help you get your speech published, and it does not mean that you are guaranteed an audience.

          If you are not welcome where the audiences gather, and audiences do not come to where you can publish your speech, then you have a problem, and maybe want to consider what you are trying to say, and how you are saying it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 12:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "As such, for websites to create a free speech platform, claim 1st amendment protection, and then deny free speech protection to other Americans is a repugnant act."

          No, it's not. I'm sorry your KKK friends keep getting banned, but part of first amendment protection is the right to free association, and some people just don't wish to associate with you.

          "This type of behavior is ugly."

          Compared to what you and your friends keep doing to get banned from places, I doubt that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:32am

      Twitter doesn’t claim that the speech of Donald Trump is Twitter’s speech when it fact checks him on his lies. Twitter’s speech is the fact checking; it has every right to place that speech on his tweets thanks to both the First Amendment, Section 230, and centuries of free speech jurisprudence. You don’t have to like it, but you should get used to it — unless, of course, you also don’t like the idea of any private citizen or privately owned entity, off- or online, being able to choose for themselves what speech (and which speakers) can and cannot, will and will not, should and should not face consequences when expressed on that person’s or entity’s property.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 12:38am

      Re:

      How can someone who is so passionate about this subject be so constantly wrong about the core of what section 230 states? It's very short, very clear and not ambiguous in the slightest...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 1:12am

        How can someone who is so passionate about this subject be so constantly wrong about the core of what section 230 states?

        Some people learn from their mistakes and try their best to avoid repeating them. Some people hear “you made a mistake”, assume the other person has it wrong, and never learn until it’s too late.

        Koby is the kind of person who knows he’s wrong because he’s been told he’s wrong dozens of times before, but refuses to correct his mistakes because…well, I don’t want to speculate too much, but the word “masturbation” comes to mind.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 6:53am

        Re: Re:

        "How can someone who is so passionate about this subject be so constantly wrong about the core of what section 230 states?"

        Easy enough. If you believe, to the point of religious zeal, that your opinions regarding <fill racial/gender slur here> are correct and that you are a persecuted minority who gets silenced every time you try to utter the truth about the nefarious <insert racial/gender slur here> then mere logic will, whenever it tangents your personal beliefs, simply bounce right off the compartmentalized box in your mind.

        In short whenever reality contradicts Koby and his peers about what free speech means he ignores reality and moves right along without breaking stride.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 11:27am

    'Free speech is for my side, not yours.'

    Trump's GOP is for the free market and free speech only to the extent that those two categories are covering companies/speech that they agree with and/or that are on their side, the second that is no longer true then support for both are out the window and the 'small government' lot suddenly become very interested in applying government forces to 'fix' things to match what they want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 1:15pm

    AS in.

    Dear mr. Simington;
    Please sit down, in front of the computer.
    We have selected a few locations for you to monitor.
    Please selected what you would like to edit/take to court/debate/say.
    You have 10 sites of the most popular, and you have 8 hours to scan and suggest, from 1 hours worth of posting.
    On your mark, go.

    8 hours later, he May have gotten past 1 page on 1-3 sites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 17 Sep 2020 @ 2:04pm

    Remember the "no ventilators" chant?

    Trump repeatedly claimed that the Obama administration did not leave a stockpile of ventilators (fact check: Trump would have had three years to stock up, and the number of functional ventilators his administration inherited exceeds the number used so far).

    But here is the actually scary thing: when (or rather if) there will be a succession to a Trump administration, it will inherit no functional agencies, with all agencies stocked with rabid sycophants in leading positions and anybody trying to do the actual job they are getting paid for pushed out.

    It is common after political changes that agencies shift both priorities and personnel and there are changes in leadership. And the personnel is competent enough to be able to apply different political priorities.

    But if you just have a bunch of idiots who take their results rather than their tasks from above, you have nothing to work with.

    There will be a devastating competence shortage to deal with once this abysmal chapter of U.S. history concludes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 2:14pm

      And that doesn’t even begin to address the perception of those agencies, and the federal government as a whole, in the eyes of the American populace. Trump and his cronies have done long-lasting damage to the credibility of everything from the FBI to the CDC. Fixing that damage will take years — maybe even decades.

      Putting Biden in the White House may or may not help undo some of that damage. Putting Trump back in the White House will absolutely make matters worse.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:37pm

    Trump has never actually read the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, has he. So sad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:55pm

      The idea that Trump is functionally illiterate is not a new one. I would bet it isn’t too far off base, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 3:06am

        Re:

        Could be less of a dyslexia problem and more of the issue that many of his former associates have mentioned for years - that on a good day you can get his attention for about 5-10 minutes, then you've lost him.

        It's always been that way - if Trump needs to know something you need to boil it down to 5 minutes at the most and it HAS to sound interesting to him. If the issue is too complex and can't be summarized in a few catchy one-liners he's just not interested.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 3:30am

          Re: Re:

          There were reports from staffers that they had to insert his name at regular intervals in security briefings so that he would actually read them. It's also well known that he'll retaliate against anyone suggesting that he's not doing a good job.

          Imagine that - the man is so narcissistic that we won't read about anything involving the safety of 330 million Americans who he is responsible for protecting unless he can read about himself in glowing terms at the same time.

          Not that he really reads most things anyway of course. He's recently been boasting about watching 9 hours of Fox News a day at a time when 1000 Americans are dying per day and millions out of work, and he's regularly shown that what a Fox anchor says about a subject has more of an effect on his decisions than what his own advisors are saying.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 4:39am

            Re: Re: Re:

            "He's recently been boasting about watching 9 hours of Fox News a day at a time when 1000 Americans are dying per day and millions out of work, and he's regularly shown that what a Fox anchor says about a subject has more of an effect on his decisions than what his own advisors are saying."

            I saw that clip. I can't help but compare him to Nero, who in similar vein surrounded himself with people who's sole qualification was brown-nosing.

            "There were reports from staffers that they had to insert his name at regular intervals in security briefings so that he would actually read them."

            It's pretty clear that he turned his own name into a personal religion many years ago. It didn't get truly bad until he went from being a shady and dishonest broker to being a reality TV star - I think that's where he started losing touch with reality completely because up to that point he was at least aware enough of the system to repeatedly game it rather than, as now, ignoring it in favor of his own narratives of the moment.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:25am

          Re: Re:

          It's more than just attention span though, he's clearly a poor reader whether due to dyslexia, just never having read very much, or some other factor.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 18 Sep 2020 @ 2:36pm

      Re:

      Trump has never actually read the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, has he. So sad.

      He doesn't need to: his intuition about what is right or wrong is so great that he does not need some deep state founder to tell him otherwise. Everybody is congratulating him on how much he understands about right and wrong. Maybe he should have gone into law, so good is he. There is a reason General Attorney Barr constantly takes his advice about who to prosecute and who to leave alone.

      That serves justice much better than adherence to the law would.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 3:41pm

    There are plenty of websites that host Conservative news and right wing commentators.
    It's not for the government to force a website to host certain content or content pushing certain political viewpoints.
    Conservatives and trolls want section 230 to be weakened as it will cause havoc for company's like twiitter and make them vulnerable to legal action if they block users would post conspiracy
    theory's or content that maybe racist or demeaning to minoritys

    Anything that hurts Google or twiitter must be good even it actually reduces free speech and the
    ability of any website to Moderate to block harmful
    content

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 4:19pm

    So what happens now? When trumps newest rectum licker pushes his "illegal" authority will twitter and the other targeted sites and/or EFF take them to court or are we just boned?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2020 @ 6:22pm

    Is there a law somewhere addressing abuse of power, perhaps Barr ought to arrest himself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 17 Sep 2020 @ 6:58pm

      Re:

      He could be impeached, but Pelosi rightly stated that this would be a pointless exercise with a Senate that will acquit anything coming from Trump central.

      With a dysfunctional Senate and Justice Department (and "acting" Inspectors General fired in a continuous stream faster than any actual nomination and confirmations could follow), checks and balances other than by the voting electorate are dismantled.

      And how long the voting electorate will be allowed to vote is questionable. The Trump administration is working hard to corrode the confidence in voting, and that's the first step to both get away with manipulating the vote and with not accepting it and ultimately abandoning with it.

      So the voters better make sure to get out of that rabbit hole in a very undeniable manner. While they still can.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2020 @ 6:15am

    It seems there are some out there that misunderstand the first amendment on purpose, possibly in a weak attempt at rewriting the thing without actually having to do the heavy lifting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    restless94110 (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 3:29pm

    Idiots

    "...it clear what he thought of idiots calling for the government to force websites to host content"

    Let's fix that for you.

    "it clear what he thought of Americans calling for the government to enforce free speech on websites that have monopolies on the Civic Square..."

    There. That's so much better. And of course, so much truer.

    Wake up. Websites need to be forced to allow free speech. Total free speech. It's coming.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2020 @ 4:00pm

      Re: Idiots

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 4:06pm

      websites that have monopolies on the Civic Square

      The “civic square” still exists as, y’know, public grounds. You literally have more of a right to yell on a street corner about QAnon than you do to yell on Twitter about the same thing. The street corner is public property, whereas Twitter is private property.

      Websites [I dislike] need to be forced to allow free speech.

      Fixed that for you, because I doubt you’ll be calling for the law to force Stormfront into hosting Black Lives Matter propaganda. I also doubt that you’d want the government telling you what you can and cannot, will and will not, must and must not host.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2020 @ 6:23pm

      Re: Idiots

      Wasn't Parler supposed to be the solution to all that ails ya?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 6:35pm

        'If we can't disgust the libs what's the point?!'

        Funny thing about that one, turns out the majority of people don't want to move to a platform that welcomes the assholes that keep getting kicked off more civilized platforms, and said assholes value a large audience of people over the '(consequence)-free speech' they were complaining that the civilized platforms refused to allow them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 18 Sep 2020 @ 7:07pm

      If you don't like the fact that private property owners keep kicking you and your buddies out for being assholes the solution is really simple: Stop being assholes or find your own platform that allows that sort of behavior.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2020 @ 8:30pm

      Re: Idiots

      [Projects facts not in evidence]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2020 @ 12:53pm

      Re: Idiots

      " enforce free speech on websites "

      I was unaware the bill of rights defined what private parties are not allowed to do. Silly me ...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 19 Sep 2020 @ 4:54pm

        'How dare they use their real rights to violate my fake ones!?'

        What makes that argument really funny is that in trying to argue about how important the fictional first amendment rights of users are they are suggesting a 'solution' that would be in direct violation of the real first amendment rights of the platform owners.

        No-one has a first amendment right to a platform to speak from, but platforms do have first amendment rights regarding which speech they want to allow on their platform, rights which would be violated were the government to step in and tell them what speech they can and cannot remove.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Sep 2020 @ 5:24am

      Re: Idiots

      I bet you're one of those people who whines about socialism all the time, but doesn't see the irony of you calling for the state to seize the means of production from private property...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Sep 2020 @ 12:35am

      Re: Idiots

      "Wake up. Websites need to be forced to allow free speech. Total free speech. It's coming."

      Ah, the dream of american nazism since the 60's - a place where the government forces owners of property to host anyone willing to tote a bullhorn and an attitude.

      We don't even need to guess anymore. When alt-right trolls like you start advocating that government should abolish property rights it's no longer in doubt which side of the fence you're on. Tote your fasces proudly, I guess.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2020 @ 7:28am

    Nathan Slimington? Nathan Slimington. Really captures the essence of all the backroom dealings, with plenty of money to grease the wheels.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.