Josh Hawley: We Must Break Up Companies Whose Politics I Disagree With For Discriminating Against People Whose Politics I Agree With

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

Josh Hawley is gonna Josh Hawley. The Senator from Missouri, who still has not apologized or admitted to supporting the invasion of the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election, has a long history of nonsense bills that are performative for his riled up base. His latest is more of the same. On Monday he introduced the "Bust Up Big Tech Act" and even if you're a supporter of antitrust and think that big tech should be "busted up," it should give you pause before supporting Hawley's nonsense. The bill itself is... weird. It seems to pick seemingly random activities and insist that no company can do two of them. Basically, he looked at different businesses that Amazon and Google are in, and the bill says "you're no longer allowed to do those different things." As some have pointed out, under this bill it appears that Walmart can no longer sell under a house brand, because the bill bars any company that qualifies from selling, advertising or otherwise promoting your own products.

But the thing that amazes me is just how upfront and blatant Hawley is that this bill is not about any principled stance regarding antitrust. It is entirely about "owning the libs," which is the performance Hawley thinks he needs to perform for his base. The fact that Hawley knows he needs to do stupid shit for his voters shows that he truly believes his supporters are a bunch of ignorant fools, and he's catering to that audience. He did it last week with his bill to attack MLB for its speech, and now he's doing it this week with this bill to go after "big tech." You can see it from the quote in his press release, in which he flat out admits he's doing it to attack "woke" companies.

“Woke Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon have been coddled by Washington politicians for years. This treatment has allowed them to amass colossal amounts of power that they use to censor political opinions they don’t agree with and shut out competitors who offer consumers an alternative to the status quo. It’s past time to bust up Big Tech companies, restore competition, and give the power back to the American consumers.”

Hawley has really embraced the phrase "woke capitalists" in the last few months as he realized that everything he used to pretend to stand for (he used to argue he was about "keeping government out of business") resulted in a bunch of companies recognizing that Josh Hawley is a power-hungry fascist in waiting. So now he has to attack the very companies he used to say he wanted the government's hands off of, so he's invented the laughable idea that these companies are "woke" (by which he means they're skeptical of his style of fascism, and therefore they need to be taken down).

But, really, that quote is quite incredible on multiple levels. He starts out by attacking the companies for their supposed (though, not actual) political beliefs ("woke"), and then says he has to do this to stop them from "censoring political opinions they don't agree with." So... that one quote alone shows Josh Hawley's true principles: punish those whose politics I dislike, and protect those whose politics I like.

Even if you dislike big tech and think the companies should be smashed to bits, that's no reason to support Josh Hawley's cynical brand of authoritarian retribution.

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Filed Under: antitrust, big tech, josh hawley, woke capitalists
Companies: amazon, google


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 1:26pm

    Typo…

    who still has not apologize [sic]

    Please correct, Mr. Masnick.

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

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 1:27pm

    The very definition

    The fact that Hawley knows he needs to do stupid shit for his voters shows that he truly believes his supporters are a bunch of ignorant fools, and he's catering to that audience.

    In other words, Hawley is a demagogue by definition.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2021 @ 2:05pm

      Re: The very definition

      If Hawley is a Demogogon, does that make him Chaotic Evil?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2021 @ 3:37pm

        Re: Re: The very definition

        He's chaotic opportunistic. It's that one quadrant of the alignment chart that is about a**holes playing people for their own self enrichment.

        They aren't bad, they just draw themselves that way.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 4:10pm

        Re: Re: The very definition

        Khorne would make him a champion and at the same time watch him wearily.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 5:41am

        Re: Re: The very definition

        Let's see...respects nothing but his own well-being and gladly takes whatever gullible loser he can sway along for the ride as bait, utility and sacrificial scapegoat...yeah, that's chaotic-aligned evil all right.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2021 @ 9:15pm

      Re: The very definition

      Deeper still, the entire party, including its base, are letting their ideology be run by the craziest common denominator.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 1:40pm

    'Only companies I agree with deserve rights!'

    I am shocked that insurrectionist Hawley is an enemy of the first amendment as well, why it's getting to the point that I'm starting to suspect that he thinks the law's entire purpose is to serve him rather than the public in general, much like his Dear Leader did and does.

    Much like the MLB stunt even those that are in favor of 'reigning in' companies like Google and Facebook should be seriously angry at this stunt, because by saying the silent part out loud('I'm going after them because I don't like how they're using their actual rights!') he just made it much harder to take any real action against those companies as you can be damn sure that they will be raising the question of motives and unconstitutional retribution against any attempt to go after them after this.

    The funny thing about that quote of his is if you take out the bullhorns(because they're certainly not dogwhistles) and swap out 'Big Tech' for 'telecom' then he might actually have had a point, as they are coddled by politicians and do use their power to squash competitors to keep their position, but funnily enough the politicians screaming about how much power the likes of Facebook and Google have tend to utter nary a peep when it comes to Comcast and AT&T.

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 4:34pm

      Re: 'Only companies I agree with deserve rights!'

      The funny thing about that quote of his is if you take out the bullhorns(because they're certainly not dogwhistles) and swap out 'Big Tech' for 'telecom' then he might actually have had a point, as they are coddled by politicians and do use their power to squash competitors to keep their position, but funnily enough the politicians screaming about how much power the likes of Facebook and Google have tend to utter nary a peep when it comes to Comcast and AT&T.

      Not to mention that the same principle applies to big telecom and media giants as well as tech giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook: remember when Trump blocked a CNN/AT&T merger because he didn't like CNN? Same principle applies. It automatically makes the good thing more suspect and lawsuit-prone because of the retaliatory public statements made about it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2021 @ 9:18pm

      Re: 'Only companies I agree with deserve rights!'

      "Big Tech" hardly had any lobbyists to speak of until fairly recently. They weren't mysteriously "coddled" for ages free of charge, and nothing he complains about is actually new. Weird, that.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 2:11pm

    Funny thing about all that “competition” nonsense: Apple announced today that it would let the Parler app return to the App Store. That means Hawley can’t use the prior ban as a point of leverage…unless he wants to defend the content and policies that got Parler yanked in the first place.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 3:02pm

    Cult loyality over creed

    Hawley's behavior in this regard appears to be consistent with what we've seen among rightwing actors since 2015 (if not even further back) in which wrongdoing is impossible by the white chess-pieces and righteous behavior is impossible from the black chess-pieces.

    Or to borrow another metaphor, the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled is fooling people into believing their enemies are the Devil, Himself. Then they are free to commit any atrocity on their rivals, to justify any heinous behavior in vanquishing what they believe to be the ultimate evil. Even when it means transgressing against their own ethics and creeds, and losing their humanity.

    Of course (skipping metaphors again) once one is seduced by the Dark Side to neutralize the greatest foe, all they have left is a big giant hammer, and all they can see around them are nails.

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 4:35pm

      Re: Cult loyality over creed

      I believe it was Nietzsche who said "Those who are fighting monsters should be careful lest they turn into monsters themselves…"

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2021 @ 9:21pm

        Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

        That was for people fighting more-or-less actual monsters, though.

        You are already the monster when you start othering those with whom you disagree as "monsters" so you feel justified in attacking them.

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

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 12:39am

          Re: Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

          You are already the monster when you start othering those with whom you disagree as "monsters" so you feel justified in attacking them.

          Um, people who advocated and participated in an insurrection of the legislative chamber of the US Government is not a mere "disagreement".

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 1:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

            That is the "attacking" bit. Definitely qualifies as an attack.

            And i certainly wasn't disagreeing with you. I must have done something weird with words.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 1:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

            I'm sure the King of England thought much the same after the War of Independence. History is written by the victors.

            But regardless of how big a conflict is or who's side you're on, the people involved are still human. Dehumanizing people never leads to anything good.

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

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 12:45am

          Re: Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

          On second thought, I think I misread your comment as a trollish comment but it was actually not.

          My apologies!

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

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 12:22am

        Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

        Damn I did it wrong again...
        I was a monster who fought morons, thank the FSM I did not become a moron.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 1:02am

        Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

        Nietzsche's comment may have been on the point but isn't really applicable to the US right-wing. They leaped into the abyss feet first when Nixon and Goldwater launched the southern strategy of trying to fill the flagging ranks of the republican party with KKK holdovers, general bigots and confederate flag-wavers.

        It may apply to US liberals, however, because the only way left to deal with the surge of racism and authoritarianism in the US will be to give up on being reasonable when it comes to the alt-right. Assuming they win that fight they'll then have to learn to not remain as monstrous as their old adversaries.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 2:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

          Ever heard the phrase "two wrongs don't make a right?"

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

          • icon
            That Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 9:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

            But 3 lefts do!!!!

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 6:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Cult loyality over creed

            "Ever heard the phrase "two wrongs don't make a right?""

            Ever heard of Popper's Paradox of Tolerance?

            The US is in this mess in the first place - with 1 in 3 voters being willing to vote a white supremacist grifter for president and a large proportion of the US honestly believing the "liberals" will come and eat their children - because they've made the mistake of assuming "tolerance" is unconditional. It's not and never has been.

            Tolerance is about reciprocity. The one who does not extend it to others has excluded themselves from that part of the social contract and in turn should not be tolerated by others.

            While one side in the political debate has always tried to debate the issue the other side has kept moving to the right while demanding to be met halfway. As a result of which US politics by now make Eisenhower look like a bleeding-heart democrat centrist.

            So yeah. Two wrongs have indeed been committed already; The conservatives embraced racism, bigotry, and classical old nazi "Blut und Boden" philosophy.
            The democrats chose to compromise and debate rather than draw a line in sand and make a stand.
            Those two wrongs together did indeed produce a new "right". And may produce a new reich as well, once it starts sinking in that caucasians will become the new minority demographic within a few decades.

            We know where this leads. The ones insisting they need to keep the rules of engagement the opposition does not will lose. Always. Because you can talk to rational people but a mad dog can only be fended off with a rock.

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

  • icon
    freakanatcha (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 3:25pm

    Meanwhile, Josh ignores the real assholes in the room

    Google has never charged me a cent, but monopolies like Comcast have demonstrably harmed consumers, yet never a word about putting the smackdown on those assholes.

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

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 3:55pm

    I wasn't aware Amazon were in the "censor political opinions" game.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2021 @ 4:18pm

      Re:

      They are in the "We don't want to have the goddamn disaster and pending legal pain on our servers." game.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2021 @ 9:22pm

      Re:

      They decided after a long while they didn't want someone using their cloud, and went all Mick Jagger on them.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 11:58pm

      Re:

      No, they're in the "making money" game. So, when they have a customer like Parler who are behind on their bills and have become a toxic presence that risks scaring off larger paying customers, off they go. The fact that politics is tangentially involved is not the issue. Parler have many other options that don't involve people cancelling their AWS bills in protest.

      That's ultimately what most of the cases are about - when these groups risk revenue from other people who are more valuable, they get shown the door. That's why Trump lasted as long as he did on Twitter - he drove traffic and revenue there so they put up with all sorts of crap, but canned him when it was clear that this was no longer the case and they stood to lose money.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 7:58am

      Re: Amazon...

      Amazon sells to anyone, where do you think the right-wing get their military clothing? But Bezos owns the Washington Post personally, and so they are "MSM liberal-loving failing fake-news mouthpieces". Hawley will tell you this in a Fox "News" appearance soon...

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 3:59pm

    "The Senator from Missouri,"
    Requires facts not in evidence, at last check he was living in VA and had no home in Missouri.

    Also if cancel culture is so fscking strong, why the fsck am I still hearing from him?

    He is on a good day a half-wit playing to a crowd of mentally challenged lead paint chip eaters. The country is in a shambles but he is still trying to pretend he did nazi the Jan 6 sedition coming & really really wanted it to succeed.

    We have people unable to drink the water coming out of their taps because of a long history of putting things off until later, and this sad excuse for a man is crying that the tech companies were mean to him.

    Maybe when people can't light their water on fire, or be sure that the lead in it won't damage their children for life maybe then people might give a shit about the poor little cancelled baby having a tantrum that his book deal went away after he proved he was an asshole.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 10:01am

      Re:

      He is on a good day a half-wit

      He's a liar; he has no principles; at best he has no problem with racism. But I don't think he's stupid. Which is perhaps even worse: both evil and smart.

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

  • icon
    mrtraver (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 4:23pm

    I'm embarrassed to be from Missouri every time I see his name. Please know that not all Missourians are ignorant fools. But like Trump, this guy knows how to tap into the underlying hate and fear that many voters don't even recognize in themselves.

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 4:38pm

      Re:

      Don't sweat it! My dad was from St. Louis (His family later moved to New York City, where I currently live, but still!)!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2021 @ 9:28pm

      Re:

      There is no way that all Missourians are as batshit as Hawley.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 1:09am

        Re: Re:

        They couldn't very well be. The problem with Missouri, as with most of the US, really, is that enough people are batshit crazy and/or have taught themselves to ignore factual reality in favor of a dystopian grimdark tale where "the libs" will emerge from the land of mordor to eat their children, to keep the well of US politics poisoned forever.

        That scares me. I mean, Hitler had to make do with a mere 12% being nazi voters. The US as a whole is up to 30%.

        Hawley is a shameless opportunist who discovered a voting base which will keep him in a cushy office as long as he's willing to stand up and pretend he wears a white hood every time he goes for a friday night cross-burning on a black man's lawn.

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

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 19 Apr 2021 @ 8:27pm

    I'm waiting for him to say "They took er jerbs!"

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2021 @ 9:30pm

      Re:

      It would be hilarious if Google were voted Senator as a write-in candidate. Hopefully second place would go to someone other than Hawley.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 19 Apr 2021 @ 10:13pm

    The headline does unsurprisingly little to narrow down which specific piece of proposed legislation from Hawley is at issue.

    Really, if it weren't mentioned specifically by name in the body, the articpe could be talking about any one of his bills.

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

  • identicon
    dickeyrat, 20 Apr 2021 @ 4:03am

    This has probably been pointed out in this very column more articulately, but truth is that pumped-up on Yoo-Hoo frat-boy Hawley is living proof that some entire populations--in Missouri, for example--have gone out of control ingesting lead, or perhaps even bonging paint chips. Just think: these rubes actually ELECTED Hawley as their Respected And Beloved Leader, and this is now what we get to witness. At least the misguided souls around Rome, Georgia can point to the fact that Marjorie Taylor Green ran unopposed for her seat in the House, so she would actually have been chosen with 4% of the vote. I know nothing about Hawley's possible opposition, but haven't yert heard that he ran unopposed, so a plurality of these dirt-daubers actually did VOTE for this character.

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

    • icon
      sumgai (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 8:37am

      Re:

      Just think: these rubes actually ELECTED Hawley as their Respected And Beloved Leader.

      Either that, or he simply bought the ballot box. Do recall that #45 himself said that the election would be rigged. Not "might be", but "would", period. I think we're seeing the proof of that, sorry to say.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 6:28am

      Re:

      "This has probably been pointed out in this very column more articulately..."

      I think I've been harping about this for some time now; The US is in a shit place - has been, since Nixon and Goldwater started running their southern strategy which began by inviting KKK holdovers, confederates and neo-nazis to their party and ended up with the conservatives at CPAC standing on top of a podium shaped like the winged odal rune and proclaiming the message of "Blut und Boden" in front of a golden statue of The Donald.

      It's a pretty loud dogwhistle to have the likes of Marjorie Taylor Green and Hawley use the official symbol of the american neo-nazi movement - the old insignia of the SS units tasked to preserve racial purity - as a speaker's podium.

      And 30% of the american voters are just fine with that. Hitler had to make do with 12%.

      I keep thinking that the US is one bad recession away from one way or the other going full reich, electing whatever strongman can point to a sufficiently convincing scapegoat to blame all ills on. Biden risks being just the next Hindenburg. The last guy trying to pull the nation out of the hole before the cord snaps.

      And the main problem here isn't even those assclowns in the 30% so detached from factual reality they're barely functional. It's the 70% who have wasted the last fifty years in the delusional dream that "bipartisanship" can exist with people who have already admitted that any fair and functioning system of democracy would see them never elected again.

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

  • icon
    Andrew (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 5:42am

    I love the acronym

    Bust Up Big tech Act - BUB(b)A

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

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 7:49am

    The only reason they are attacking "Big Tech"

    ... is that they don't contribute enough to campaigns. Out contribute Telecom, and the focus of their ire will shift immediately.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 8:31am

    Despite first appearances, no large corporations are actually woke. They pretend to because they fear bad publicity from the screaming of the cancel culture mob. Just like they fear bad publicity from the crying of the "conservative thought in general" mob. The appeasement of radicals on both sides mostly evens out in the end, leaving common sense as the real victim along with the poor souls who get retaliated against in real life for the horrible crime of saying something wrong on Twitter. The only thing the corporations truly care about is money.

    Even Disney, that poster child of corporate wokeness, is just very good at paying lip service to the social justice talking points in public. Behind the scenes they're up to all kinds of no good for money, like filming movies in Xinjiang next to Chinese concentration camps.

    And if we're on companies being "coddled by Washington politicians," that would be the telecom and entertainment industries, whose lobbyists routinely get to write laws they want all for themselves. "Big Tech" by comparison, hardly even manages to stand up for the 1st amendment rights that they already (should) have.

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 20 Apr 2021 @ 11:28am

    Hawley's fifteen minutes of fame is continuing on borrowed time. With any luck, his next political campaign will be for cell block president.

    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), 20 Apr 2021 @ 11:55am

    Agreement is Irrelevant

    It does not matter What Hawley agrees or disagrees with. The totalitarian, censoring, anti-American companies should be broken up because they censor views.

    Censorship (aka moderation) is a double-edged sword that you don't see coming for you. Soon you will be wishing the Josh Hawley had succeeded. They coming for you, matey.

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

  • icon
    Avatar28 (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 3:26pm

    Do you want to destroy the internet? This is how you do it.

    Did anyone catch this wonderful bit of the bill?

    (A) IN GENERAL.—A covered person may not provide online hosting services or back-end online services to any other entity that is not owned by the covered person.

    It would basically make cloud computing illegal. Google, Microsoft, Amazon etc would all have to shut down their cloud computing divisions, they can't even spin them off as a subsidiary. A strained reading of it would potentially make the Apple/Google/Microsoft app stores illegal too.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 11:48pm

      Re: Do you want to destroy the internet? This is how you do it.

      Shut down? No, they make way too much money for that. They would find some way to move the existing US datacenters offshore and do whatever wrangling is required to make them legal. I'm sure there's ways to get out of US legal jurisdiction but keep control of the money, and since all of these companies are global brands with datacentres worldwide, it might not even be that difficult.

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


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