White House Offers To Allow Renaming Confederate Bases... In Exchange For Getting Rid Of Section 230

from the who-did-the-what-now? dept

Let's state upfront that there is no way in hell this is happening, and it's all just performative nonsense. No one is actually going to do this. However, the NY Times is reporting that White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has floated the idea of "compromise" to get the annual NDAA passed, after President Trump has whined about it requiring the renaming of military bases named after Confederacy leaders. As a bit of background, I still don't understand why we have literally anything named after leaders who actually tried to leave the country and fought against the US military, in order to continue enslaving people... but that's just me. The NDAA (the National Defense Authorization Act) is the annual budget allocated by Congress for the military. It's one of those "must pass" kind of things that some in Congress try to sneak junk into, knowing that it has to pass. President Trump has threatened to veto the bill because of the base renaming bit.

Now the Times is reporting that Meadows is saying Trump would stop fighting the renaming... if Congress uses the NDAA to totally repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Really.

Over the course of several conversations, Representative Adam Smith of Washington, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, asked Mr. Meadows what might persuade Mr. Trump to sign the measure with the renaming requirement intact, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Mr. Meadows, according to the people, said that adding a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, considered the most consequential law governing speech on the internet, would help.

Just to put this out there: this is insane. On many different levels. I've already expressed my confusion over why there's any debate at all about these base names, but the idea that Congress should simply wipe out Section 230 in the NDAA just creates an entirely new layer of pure ridiculousness. I mean, in part because this would simply increase uncertainty and liability for internet services, leading to a much higher likelihood that Twitter and other social media sites would take down Trump's nonsense for fear of having to defend themselves in court over it.

It truly is striking how focused so much of Washington DC has become on Section 230 without even understanding what it currently does, how it works, and what will happen if it gets removed.

Anyway, again, this is not happening. No one is going to go ahead with this. But it's just yet another example of the ridiculous policy proposals now floating around the White House.

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Filed Under: appropriations, confederate bases, congress, donald trump, free speech, funding, mark meadows, military, ndaa, section 230


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2020 @ 9:35am

    leading to a much higher likelihood that Twitter and other social media sites would take down Trump's nonsense for fear of having to defend themselves in court over it.

    And still find themselves in court to justify the take down; Section 230 protects both ways, the social media sites have a defence for both what they take down, and what they leave up.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 10:03am

    I’d consider this at-any-costs fight by the GOP — and Trump in particular — to keep in place monuments to a failed state and its leaders as odd…if I didn’t know why that failed state formed and why it fought a war with the United States.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2020 @ 8:00pm

      Re:

      I don't know - do you think they really wouldn't override a veto, assuming it could be vetoed in the first place?

      But hell, i could go for a no-on repealing-230 + no military budget (even if extremely temporary). What a hoot that would be.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2020 @ 10:18am

    Or we could just wait until January 20th and see what the White House says then...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2020 @ 10:21am

    I still don't understand why we have literally anything named after leaders who actually tried to leave the country and fought against the US military, in order to continue enslaving people.

    It's really quite simple: part of ending the civil war was assuaging the Pride of the South. So in exchange for setting up military bases in strategic southern holdings, they got to name those bases after their local war heroes (who happened to fight for the losing side).

    It's worth noting that all those confederates did have notable careers before the civil war.

    What's odd to me is why it took THIS LONG to re-name these. I would have expected the military to change the names after two generations, max. Instead, here we are, 155 years later (roughly 7 generations) and it's finally getting addressed.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2020 @ 1:06pm

      Re:

      I think you under estimate inertia. If a base already has a perfectly serviceable name, why go to the trouble to rename it? Especially after a few generations when the base is better known and the person it was named after is an all but forgotten footnote?

      More generally people tend to get annoyed when their family has lived somewhere for generations and you suddenly have people demanding that name of the place be changed because someone who it was named after even more generations ago was an asshole. Especially if the people doing the demanding aren't natives to the area.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 1:12pm

        If a base already has a perfectly serviceable name, why go to the trouble to rename it?

        Looking up the name of the person for whom the base is named and finding out who they were and what they did takes literally seconds nowadays. You can defend naming an American military base after someone who led into battle the soldiers of a failed nation-state that seceded from and fought a war with the United States over the right to own Black people as property, sure. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

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

      • identicon
        Bobvious, 20 Nov 2020 @ 2:03pm

        Re: Renaming

        "Especially if the people doing the demanding aren't natives to the area."

        And no-one is asking the people who actually WERE native to the area.

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

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

        Re: Re:

        I grew up on military bases, mostly in the south (including Hood and Rucker). I also come from a southern military family that has many members who fought in many wars and notably my southern ancestors lost a lot of wealth at the end of the Civil War, including their slaves and their property. I was raised in the idea that the south was right and magically not racist despite slavery and the confederates were just patriots fighting for their home.

        I wouldn't have any problem with changing the names and would in fact support it. Take down the statues while we're at it. It's long past time for the south to move on.

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

        • identicon
          ryuugami, 21 Nov 2020 @ 1:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I was raised in the idea that the south was right and magically not racist despite slavery and the confederates were just patriots fighting for their home.

          My favorite is the "states' rights" argument.

          And when asked, "states' rights to do what?", they suddenly get all cagey and evasive.

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

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 10:38am

            "states' rights to do what?"

            Well it sure wasn't the legalization of Cannabis. All the states' rights states seem to be against the state right to do that.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2020 @ 2:25pm

      Re:

      It's worth noting that all those confederates did have notable careers before the civil war.

      Agreed: laudable military leader is laudable. You can admire heroism even in an enemy. (If you absolutely can not, what does that say?)

      ...after leaders who actually tried to leave the country and fought against the US military, in order to continue enslaving people...

      Um, how about this instead:

      after military leaders whose political superiors actually tried to leave the country in order to continue enslaving people...

      You ... DO still believe in civilian rule over military powers, right? Both sides of the civil war did. And all the bases are named after military leaders, not civilian ones. (Though that could be debated re Henry L. Benning.) Even if these military men themselves supported slavery, please do give credit where credit is due.

      While I have no complaint about your use of "... in order to continue enslaving people", you might take a second look at that "actually tried to leave the country" statement, and see if that holds as villainous for all possible circumstances. From the cheap seats, it sure looks like you have separate objections going on there.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 3:48pm

      Re:

      "It's worth noting that all those confederates did have notable careers before the civil war."

      Yes, and several notable Nazis had a sterling war records in WWI. Hell, Hitler ran on his war record initially. Doing something bad toward the end of your career does have a habit of tarnishing the early parts.

      If you don't like the godwin there... well, Bill Cosby had a notable career before the stories came out... that doesn't make it unreasonable to boycott the Cosby Show.

      "What's odd to me is why it took THIS LONG to re-name these. I would have expected the military to change the names after two generations, max. Instead, here we are, 155 years later (roughly 7 generations) and it's finally getting addressed."

      You're assuming the bases were named just after the civil war. A lot of Confederate worship imagery only became popular in the run up to the rise of civil rights movement.

      I had a quick look at 3 of the examples I'm aware of - Fort Bragg was given the name in 1922 after being established as Camp Bragg a couple of years earlier. Fort Hood was founded in 1942, while Fort Benning was similarly set up in 1918 as a Camp then renamed a few years later.

      So, the question isn't why it took so long to make the name changes as it is why during the first and second world wars, why the US military were naming bases after the losing side in an attempt to fight that same government.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 4:15pm

        A lot of Confederate worship imagery only became popular in the run up to the rise of civil rights movement.

        To wit: States that weren’t in the Confederacy (or a ratified state in the U.S.) during the Civil War still have monuments to the Confederacy.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 10:28am

    'We care about the troops! ... the dead, traitorous ones.'

    Just let that sink in for a moment 'Trump pinky-promises not block the funding for the entire US military because part of it includes your attempt to rename military bases with something other than the names of slavery defending traitors who fought against the US government and army... if you get rid of a law that protects free speech online.'

    Really gives you a fresh reminder of how utterly disgusting and vile the man is, and how much he really 'cares about the troops and country' doesn't it?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2020 @ 8:05pm

      Re: 'We care about the troops! ... the dead, traitorous ones.'

      This is the same guy who wants to leave 2500 troop per in supposed combat zones. Wonder how those in the potential 2500 feel about that.

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

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 10:41am

    I'm beginning to suspect the Art of the Deal guy may not be the brilliant negotiator he keeps telling us he is.

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

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 20 Nov 2020 @ 2:09pm

      Re: brilliant negotiator

      Hey, he's the "Smartest Guy In The Room". Or will be, when he starts up his own reality show of the same name, apres White House.

      He's currently in negotiations with the Enron guys, because they really make a mark.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 10:35pm

      Re:

      I like the fact that on Art Of The Deal, Trump actually credited the guy who wrote the book for him instead of pretending he did it all by himself. That might be the last honest thing he ever did.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 22 Nov 2020 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      the Art of the Deal guy

      Tony Schwartz?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2020 @ 11:33am

    I think the grunt soldiers should be asked if they want to name the identified bases.

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

  • icon
    Code Monkey (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 12:28pm

    Insanity check

    This whole thing (trading the signing of the NDAA for repealing Section 230) is just 12 types of stupid in an 8 stupid bag.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2020 @ 12:41pm

    "this is not happening. No one is going to go ahead with this. But it's just yet another example of the ridiculous policy proposals now floating around the White House. "

    Well Joe Biden did say he wanted to repeal of Section 230 (its likely he will backtrack on that when he sworn in) so its possible but unlikely some democrats might take the bait...

    Its also possible they may be doing this so they can "backtrack" and ask for only a small part of 230 be changed and asking democrats to pass bills like the Earn It Act or the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act inexchange for passing the military policy bill.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    B. Einder Twine proud graduate of Baler University, 20 Nov 2020 @ 12:46pm

    Why the base names.

    Bases remain named after Confederate traitors just because the military LOVES tactics and the rebels were thought to fight well. The admiration is a-political and neutral on slavery, JUST on tactics. -- I don't agree with even that, since only reason Confederates gained time was that traitorous McClelland -- an actual supporter of the South -- dithered and delayed to help the rebels. Lincoln should have fired him after six months, saved many lives. -- And kids, don't go round on accusing Lincoln: his parents were anti-slavery Baptists, so was he life-long, just read Wikipedia.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 12:52pm

      The Confederacy seceded from and fought a (losing) war with the United States to defend the institution of slavery. One cannot both admire the military actions of that failed state and refuse to take a position on the reason for those actions.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    B. Einder Twine proud graduate of Baler University, 20 Nov 2020 @ 12:46pm

    Dorsey already while still President taking down Trump content.

    Twitter and other social media sites would take down Trump's nonsense for fear of having to defend themselves in court over it.

    ... and threatening to do more when out of office. -- Which will be in January 2025.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 12:54pm

      Which will be in January 2025.

      Ah, I see you’re going with the “I admire the fascism of Donald Trump and I support his attempt at a coup d'état of the United States federal government” approach. That, uh…that is certainly a thing you can do.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 3:13pm

        Re:

        It's consistent at least, having the same person admiring a group that fought a war against the US government to preserve slavery also in favor of a president attacking the underpinnings of the country because he doesn't like that he lost and might have to give power up.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    B. Einder Twine proud graduate of Baler University, 20 Nov 2020 @ 12:47pm

    Dorsey has recently stated that Twitter is NOT a publisher,

    but it's acting like one while still claiming immune for hosting what others publish.

    So how is Trump or anyone else WORSE off if do away with HOST immunity? -- Users would NOT be. Only the HOSTS would be.

    This is the key question of Section 230: what does The Public get in exchange for the grant of immunity to mere web-site hosts? -- Masnick says The Public gets NOTHING, we can be SHUT UP at corporate whim. -- Like Dorsey, Maz hates The Public.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 1:00pm

      Users would NOT be.

      Here are the consequences for users should 230 go away:

      1. If a service decides to shut down rather than host third-party content, users will lose an outlet for their speech. (Techdirt closing its comments section, for example, would rob you of your outlet for hating Techdirt.)

      2. If a service decides to overmoderate content by holding it before publication, users will lose the ability to post content with regularity. (Techdirt overmoderating would likely hold all your comments for pre-publishing moderation.)

      3. If a service decides to forgo moderating content at all, users will lose the ability to escape trolls, spam, and everyone who thinks racial slurs are the apex of political discourse. (Techdirt refusing to moderate would likely leave comments sections here full of spam links and...well, I don’t wanna say it, but I’m sure you can guess how I’d finish that sentence.)

      But sure, keep saying “the public” won’t suffer if Twitter loses its 230 protections. See how far that argument gets you.

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

    • icon
      Code Monkey (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 3:34pm

      Re: Dorsey has recently stated that Twitter is NOT a publisher,

      It's painfully obvious you have no concept of the difference between Moderation, Discretion and Censorship.

      Oh, how convenient, here's a primer:

      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200521/10454244546/moderation-v-discretion-v-censorship- theyre-not-same.shtml

      FTFY

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 4:11pm

      Re: Dorsey has recently stated that Twitter is NOT a publisher,

      In addition to what Stephen Stone said, §230 also explicitly protects users from liability for what other users post.

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

    • icon
      Jan Bobrowicz (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 10:59am

      Re: Dorsey has recently stated that Twitter is NOT a publisher,

      what does The Public get in exchange for the grant of immunity to mere web-site hosts?

      They get to post on web-sites.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 5:21pm

        The very act answers the question

        Someone asking on an open forum what gain the public gets from a law that makes it vastly safer and therefore more likely for companies to offer open platforms is like watching someone who just crossed an otherwise impassable ravine or river asking what use these newfangled 'bridges' could be for.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 1:30pm

    Well that's such a terrible deal.

    Can we instead name our military bases after despicable people but secure Section 230 to be free of exceptions and future challenges?

    If the answer is no then we can see how the reverse isn't win/win.

    I mean, I'm not someone in the military, but I still cringe over some base names and statues. Still I'm willing to keep cringing if I know that's what secures the open internet to stay free. It's like the Hustler Magazine argument.

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

    • icon
      Code Monkey (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 3:36pm

      Re: Well that's such a terrible deal.

      I spent 8 years stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. It was anything but.... :P

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

    • identicon
      ryuugami, 21 Nov 2020 @ 1:28am

      Re: Well that's such a terrible deal.

      Can we instead name our military bases after despicable people but secure Section 230 to be free of exceptions and future challenges?

      Fort Hitler, here we come!

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 1:37pm

    Some Wargame Grognards...

    Would be happy to have statues and bases of Field marshal Erwin Rommel and Gerd von Rundstedt if we're choosing from the full body of historical master strategists.

    Also the apocryphally short guy. He deserves no small amount of cred as a master of logistics.

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

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 20 Nov 2020 @ 2:23pm

      Re: Some Wargame Grognards...

      And we could apply equally cultural sensitivity to erect them in places like the sidewalk outside 652 Lexington Avenue /s

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

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 3:55pm

    Welcome to republican governance, where completely reasonable things are paired with utterly poisonous pills to make sure they never happen. It's going to be four years where nothing is done to clean the pile of dogmess Trump left on the doorstep of the world.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Dr evil, 20 Nov 2020 @ 11:21pm

    I for one, welcomemthenoverlords

    Yes.. ready for Fort Matress Back and fort obama

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

  • identicon
    Professor Ronny, 21 Nov 2020 @ 5:31pm

    Removing Section 230

    Anyway, again, this is not happening. No one is going to go ahead with this.

    Are you sure?

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

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 22 Nov 2020 @ 12:56am

    Why does Congress even allow this kind of thing?

    This is one of the most baffling aspects of the manner in which the US government collectively makes laws.
    How does a bill concerned with military spending have anything AT ALL to do with CDA 230?
    Does nobody make any effort to ensure a bill for, say, healthcare, contains only things related directly to the healthcare system? Or does every congress-critter look upon every bill as an opportunity to get a new bridge, or civic centre, or un-related concession for their constituents or donors?
    It seems to me that this kind of pork barrel politics is a sign of a very weak system, and does nothing to expunge the idea that all politicians have their snouts in the trough.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 22 Nov 2020 @ 6:12am

      Re: Why does Congress even allow this kind of thing?

      Does nobody make any effort to ensure a bill for, say, healthcare, contains only things related directly to the healthcare system?

      I was thinking there was such a rule but apparently not. However it's been considered.

      https://govtrackinsider.com/what-if-each-bill-congress-debated-only-dealt-with-one-topic -83b59a60a534

      Or does every congress-critter look upon every bill as an opportunity to get a new bridge, or civic centre, or un-related concession for their constituents or donors?

      Those are earmarks, which this would not be since it has nothing to do with funding. There are advantages and disadvantages to earmarks, which have been discontinued. It helps get stuff done, but is also an avenue for corruption and waste.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earmark_(politics)

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Nov 2020 @ 3:13pm

        Bills have to contain only on-topic provisions

        I think the House of Representatives have some provisions (more or less) to prevent riders and amendments that are not related to the point of the bill, but the Senate certainly does not.

        This has been discussed since before I could vote. Some people suggested the President should have a line-item veto, but we've seen how that can turn a Conserve-The-Forests bill into a Sell-The-Forests bill very quickly.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 7:13am

    Leverage to negotiate?

    Does Trump even have any leverage on the renaming of military bases?

    Just stop negotiating with Trump, and in a matter of time, someone else will be in power who can rename those bases.

    Can Trump not see that far ahead? Or does he perhaps think he will permanently remain in power?

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 12:33pm

      Trump's forethought

      Throughout his administration / reign, Donald Trump has demonstrated he believes he can change reality by insisting on it hard enough, like a four-year-old or someone trying to lucid dream.

      And it's worked for him for a lot of his life, and -- thanks to a fearful republican party -- for many of his policies during his administration.

      The worry then is what kind of tantrum he's going to have when he finally realizes everyone won't play by his rules and he decides to take his ball and go home. In what ways will he try to scorch the earth.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 11:09pm

        Re: Trump's forethought

        I've read multiple stories that suggest that Trump wants to run again in 2024. That would be moronic and come with a huge personal cost - especially to his fragile ego - if he were to do so and lose again, but I wouldn't put it past him to be that delusional. If there's any truth to this, however, it may prevent him from trying to burn everything down on the way out of the door.

        As for the original comment, he's a con artist who has never looked further than the grift in front of him, and has been shielded from the consequences of his actions for most of his life, failing upwards in the most spectacular manner. It would not surprise me in the slightest if he did indeed think that there's a way in which he can just decide not to leave, especially if the delusional public statements of those around him match what he's being told behind closed doors.

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


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