From The Stupid To The Bizarre: Trump Demands That His Government Should Take A 'Substantial' Cut Of TikTok's Purchase Fee

from the you-have-to-be-kidding-me dept

The whole TikTok story keeps getting dumber. While we still believe that the weird moral panic about TikTok is overblown and Trump's threat to ban the company from the US over the weekend is crazy and unconstitutional, people are still taking things seriously. On Friday evening Trump said that he planned to issue an executive order banning the company (which is not quite how any of this works). He didn't actually do this. He also said he was against an American company like Microsoft buying TikTok, which apparently put the ongoing acquisition talks on hold.

Instead, Microsoft had to call up the President and grovel before him, before he apparently told the company it had until September 15th to work out a deal, and if no deal was made by then, he'd again "ban" TikTok (again, an almost certainly unconstitutional move that would not work). Still, it would be a mess, and I'm sure TikTok and ByteDance (the company's current owner) knows that it's probably best to take what it can get from Microsoft while it can. Of course, Microsoft also knows that it's in a good position because ByteDance has a ticking time bomb on its hands, and the value of TikTok could decrease drastically on September 15th if no deal is made. Even if a ban is unconstitutional, fighting it will take time and money.

Also, it's not clear if there would be much competition for TikTok from anyone other than Microsoft. I mean, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg would love to buy it, but pretty much everyone knows that there's no way in hell that would get approved by the Justice Department. Even if Facebook weren't already facing a shit ton of antitrust scrutiny from Congress, the FTC, and state Attorneys General, the Bill Barr DOJ has made it clear that it will abuse antitrust to hurt companies Trump is mad at. And contrary to some conspiracy theories, Trump and friends still insist that Facebook is "biased" against them (it's not). So that wipes out most of the large internet companies that would actually have the capital to buy TikTok. There could be a surprise buyer, but it remains a fairly limited market, at best.

Still, things went from just stupid to downright bizarre on Monday when President Trump announced that he thought most of the money from a TikTok acquisition should go to the US Treasury:

"The United States should get a very large percentage of that price, because we're making it possible," Mr Trump said.

"It would come from the sale, which nobody else would be thinking about but me, but that's the way I think, and I think it's very fair," he added.

This is dumb on so many levels. First of all, people have been discussing the possibility of ByteDance having to sell TikTok to get away from questions about its Chinese ownership since long before Trump ever heard of TikTok. So the idea that it's only because of him is just yet another one of his narcissistic fever dreams. Second, you're not "making it possible" any more that the local organized crime fixer "makes it possible" for your restaurant to not burn down if you pay up your protection money. That's called extortion and it's not the kind of thing that the President should be advocating for. Third, it's incredibly stupid because even just saying that gives the Chinese government a ton of ammunition, as they started deploying almost immediately:

The state-run China Daily newspaper said on Tuesday that Beijing would not accept the "theft" of a Chinese technology company.

It also warned in an editorial that China had "plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab".

Considering how much US officials have been whining and screaming about supposed Chinese attempts to "steal American intellectual property," giving the Chinese government a talking point to argue that the US government "does the same thing" is just a huge diplomatic stupidity.

Everything about this story is ridiculous, but it's 2020, and you always know that President Trump can take a stupid story and make it stupider.

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: china, cut, donald trump, extortion, mergers
Companies: bytedance, microsoft, tiktok


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  • icon
    hij (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 9:48am

    Bad Business

    Maybe this is why he had so many bankruptcies. Most businesses work out the terms of the sale before committing to a set of actions. This is not how to quid pro quo.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 12:28am

      Re: Bad Business

      He had so many bankruptcies, because he had a habit of making very poor business decisions, ignoring expert advice, then stiffing contractors and claiming bankruptcy to avoid personal liability when they went under. The I've read accounts of how he ran his airlines and casinos into the ground, and they seem to follow that pattern.

      Just bear in mind when someone says they wanted Trump to run the country like he did his businesses - well, he's done that, he just doesn't have the option to claim bankruptcy to avoid the fallout of this failure this time.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 2:36am

        Re: Re: Bad Business

        "...he just doesn't have the option to claim bankruptcy to avoid the fallout of this failure this time."

        Why would he? Like many of his private deals he's not the one getting stuck with the bill. He can run the US straight into the ground from orbit, put every citizen in three generations of debt, and/or reenact the versailles treaty in a US version...and still come out of it completely unscathed.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 12:02am

          Re: Re: Re: Bad Business

          "still come out of it completely unscathed"

          Not completely, but I think a lot of people are waiting until he gets his ass out of office before real action begins. At this point, any correctly identified path to prosecute him for his many documented wrongdoings will take too long to do before the election, and as we saw with the Mueller hearings and the impeachment he has too many supporters that will misrepresent the prosecutions and Senate cronies who will protect him even when everyone else agrees he's guilty. Now, after the election? If there's will to actually do something (and I honestly think there will be), he's admitted on camera to many prosecutable offences, and there mounting evidence for many others.

          Plus, of course, legal ramifications are not all that can hurt him. He's a money-obsessed narcissist, and he's going down in history as not only one of the worst presidents in history, but the blame of the collapse of the economy is on him. He's living in a bubble at the minutes, running into his safe space the moment someone challenges him on the fake figures and other nonsense he's pushing, but as soon as he's out of office he will at some point need to stumble across reality - and it will hurt him.

          Call me optimistic, but I think in the next few years that not only are the many frauds perpetrated in office going to lead to some kind of comeback, but his fragile ego is going to get a severe beating. We just have to hope that he gets his ass voted out sooner rather than later.

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 1:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bad Business

            "Call me optimistic, but I think in the next few years that not only are the many frauds perpetrated in office going to lead to some kind of comeback, but his fragile ego is going to get a severe beating."

            We can always hope. I'm not too optimistic though. Bear in mind he's got 40 years worth of running away from his failures behind him - so he's not exactly unused to people insisting he face the music. In no few instances, he was, for longer periods, completely flat-out broke and survived only on the idea that no one knew which assets, if any, he actually had claim to.

            My guess is if shit gets too hot for him he simply holds a long speech on how the US has been destroyed by liberals and loudly walks into exile - to Russia, probably.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 1:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bad Business

              "Bear in mind he's got 40 years worth of running away from his failures behind him"

              It will catch up with him eventually, I hope. Nobody can run forever, lawyers need to actually be paid and I'm sure the pool of lawyers who would actually represent him while knowing he never pays his bills is shrinking. He has a lot of lawsuits against him (here is an incomplete list, some sources say nearly 4,000 active civil cases and growing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lawsuits_involving_Donald_Trump). Many more will be filed once they don't have the issue of filing against a sitting president to deal with.

              I'm hopeful that some of these will hit their targets, and hopefully they won't be settled as the Trump University case was. The effect of a barrage of lawsuits he can't buy his way out of should be fun to watch.

              "no one knew which assets, if any, he actually had claim to"

              This is where it also potentially gets fun. Trump is gradually being forced to release his tax returns. There's numerous theories as to why he refuses to release them, but the two I like is that they either show him to be broke on paper (or at least vastly less wealthy than he claims to be), or that they expose illegal activity ranging from tax dodging to outright criminal dealings.

              Then, there's whatever skeletons lurk in his Russian closet. It's well known that he's been unable to get credit from reputable sources for years, and that in the last decade before his presidency he's been in hock to Russian and other questionable sources. If he doesn't get prosecuted for some of those dealing, now that the Trump brand is irrevocably tarnished for many people, what happens when he can't pay back those loans? What else will be revealed about his links that don't depend on Mueller being able to find a legal dictionary definition of "collusion" and another investigation reveal things legally actionable that couldn't be considered during impeachment?

              Now, I understand that a lot of this is wishful thinking and depends on various types of cosmic justice being dished out that the man has managed to avoid for so long. But, in the disaster zone of 2020 I am hoping that he will be kicked out of office then slowly destroyed in numerous ways in the following years. We shall see...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 9:54am

    Trump's executive order banning TikTok will be like all his other impotent orders for things he can't legally do - something along the lines of "The DOJ and the FCC will investigate any means to make business uncomfortable for TikTok and make recommendations for legislation (that Congress won't pass)..."

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

  • icon
    Eldakka (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 9:56am

    Trump to Microsoft: "That's a nice deal you've got going on there. Shame if something were to happen to it"

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 4 Aug 2020 @ 9:57am

    Daddy needs his grift cut.

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

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 9:58am

    Perversion of the law doesn't make him right

    ""The United States should get a very large percentage of that price, because we're making it possible," Mr Trump said."

    If what the US Government has done to make this possible is the threat to ban Tik Tok in the US, wouldn't that be considered extortion? Like gangs or the mafia threatening a business owner if they didn't pay protection. Nice store you've got there, wouldn't want anything to happen to it.

    Then, what would that actual worth of those actions be? Tik Tok is valued at $75 billion, but that isn't what the sale price would be. How much is Trump looking to get out of this, and what would he do with that money?

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

    • identicon
      MathFox, 4 Aug 2020 @ 10:11am

      Perversion of the law doesn't make him right

      This is another area where Trump sets a precedent... This level of political corruption is un-American... Well, change that to "not seen earlier north of the Mexican border"

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 2:58am

        Re: Perversion of the law doesn't make him right

        "This level of political corruption is un-American... "

        You have a very rose-tinted view of US history, I must say. The US has always had a world leading level of political corruption. What it hasn't had, so far, is a president so proud of his part in clinching shady deals he can't stop himself from claiming the laurels in public.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 12:29am

      Re: Perversion of the law doesn't make him right

      "How much is Trump looking to get out of this, and what would he do with that money?"

      Same as he's done with any other deal he's made in office - as much as possible, and funnel it into his own pocket somehow.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 2:55am

      Re: Perversion of the law doesn't make him right

      "Like gangs or the mafia threatening a business owner if they didn't pay protection. Nice store you've got there, wouldn't want anything to happen to it."

      The irony is that this is almost exactly what goes on in every trade deal a nation closes with other countries or internal large businesses. There's always some form of quid pro quo.

      It takes Trump, however, to be inept enough to shout from the pulpit what is by necessity never mentioned in public. Because, naturally, he needs to be seen clinching the grift, and can't understand that revealing the con tends to spoil it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 9:59am

    Trump just can't stad the idea that US dollars would fall into Chines hands, so he will confiscate them.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 10:02am

    He asked for a bribe. He literally asked for whatever company buys TikTok (if that happens) to pay hi—I mean, the Treasury a substantial amount of money from the sale in exchange for the right to buy TikTok in the first place. All the other shit is important, yes, but let’s not ignore the sitting president of the United States asking an American business for a bribe. Because even with the past four years of what-the-fuckery, this is somehow a new low even for Donald Trump.

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

    • identicon
      David, 4 Aug 2020 @ 10:15am

      Re:

      All the other shit is important, yes, but let’s not ignore the sitting president of the United States asking an American business for a bribe. Because even with the past four years of what-the-fuckery, this is somehow a new low even for Donald Trump.

      You act as if a new low for Donald Trump would be a noteworthy event, as if his deprevation had already peaked.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 10:25am

      Re:

      Because even with the past four years of what-the-fuckery, this is somehow a new low even for Donald Trump.'

      Eh, not saying it's not corrupt as hell but it's hardly the lowest he's sunk, as I'd put 'politicize a global pandemic, leading to an immense death toll that's only getting higher' as the lowest to date, as while blatant corruption like this is bad it doesn't have a body count attached

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 10:38am

        Re: Re:

        I don't know. Presidents all have body counts attached based on their decisions -- it's why they're to some degree legally protected here. Sure, Trump has through mismanagement overseen the worst American loss of life to one cause in the history of the US, but that stops when he leaves.

        The problem with corruption on this level is that it sets new precedent, which will reverberate through International politics and domestic politics for decades to come. This is how you destroy the democracy that generally protects against things like Trump; THAT can result in much more loss of life, liberty and happiness for years after he's gone.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 11:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I don't know. Presidents all have body counts attached based on their decisions"

          Agreed.
          However, I do not think they are all comparable. For example, I do not think WWII body count can be compared to that from Vietnam and neither one can be compared to that of Covid-19.

          A majority of the covid deaths could have been prevented had the existing pandemic plan been put in place rather than put in the trash.
          All of the Vietnam deaths could have been avoided by not getting into the mess in the first place. What the hell was France doing there anyway?
          WWII - I don't know about that one ... could it have been avoided? I suppose but ...

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2020 @ 2:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            France was trying to stop the American-backed rebels breaking away one of their more important colonies. After that, America was surprised to discover that those rebels didn't want to be ruled over by an American puppet either (especially when they weren't that puppet).

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 3:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "WWII - I don't know about that one ... could it have been avoided? I suppose but ..."

            I can answer that. Yes.

            The versailles treaty was explicitly intended to punish Germany for generations - which resulted in the utterly hopeless hyperinflation as the country tried to pay off reparations at a rate exceeding their own GDP. When Hitler came along the country was in a depth of despair hard to imagine. A nation of skilled engineers, world-class scholars and scientists, a massive industrial capacity...brought to a state of collapse by a treaty meant to humiliate the citizenry for generations.

            So, a nation in crisis under persistent inept/corrupt leadership, massively increasing voter apathy...now all you need is a strongman with a genius in finding idiot savants and putting them in all the right places. Then win the election with 12% of the total vote because every other candidate was too impopular, too mistrusted, or had been too intimidated to stand.

            That's how you get to WW2.

            "All of the Vietnam deaths could have been avoided by not getting into the mess in the first place. "

            Yeah, but that would have meant giving all of vietnam - and all of indochina - up to China and the USSR. Instead first france and later on the US decided to support a highly unpopular and corrupt despotic regime with predictable results.
            You could argue WHY communism was seen as such a great alternative by the citizenry in many nations such as Vietnam and Cuba.
            And possibly debate the merits of possibly NOT supporting the worst douchebag dictator possible just because he was welcoming to US influence.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2020 @ 4:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "that would have meant giving all of vietnam - and all of indochina "

              The domino theory. Many believed it back then, most now do not.

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

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 1:38am

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

                "The domino theory. Many believed it back then, most now do not."

                The full set wasn't necessary - as far as the US was concerned in that time. If Vietnam and Cambodia were affiliated with the USSR or Red China the fear was that the US would lose most convenient passages through the east indian ocean.

                And for the strategic key players the US had the problem that they'd consistently been backing the worst sort of despotic scum which tended to breed revolutions. You'd think the US of all nations would be leery about backing the thug whose reign was so bad it prompted citizens to stand up and scream "Give me liberty or give me death!" but it's been remarkably blind to its own history when it came to foreign policy. Hence why Cuba was lost, for instance, and why Vietnam became a case of putting boots on the ground AND still losing it.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2020 @ 3:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The Versailles treaty was explicitly intended to punish Germany for generations - which resulted in the utterly hopeless hyperinflation"

              That inflation happened in the early 1920's. By 1929 Germany had recovered reasonably well, but then the stock markets crashed, caused by reckless lending in the US. The Great Depression might have been avoided, if US and UK had responded wisely to the crash. When Hitler became chancellor he had large emergency powers, enabled by laws that were intended to quell another communist revolution (like the one in 1919). In the years that followed he could have been stopped by the UK and France, but they were wary of another large military conflict after the Great War. Besides, the Nazis were doing a fine job crushing the lefties.

              WW II might have been prevented in lots of ways. Versailles was not the only cause. It's complicated.

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

        • identicon
          David, 4 Aug 2020 @ 11:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Trump has through mismanagement overseen the worst American loss of life to one cause in the history of the US, but that stops when he leaves.

          That's not how pandemics work. Manage to put the reproduction rate of the virus to 0.9 (not an easy task, and about the rate Germany has managed in above-average times), and about 10 times your current infection count will still get infected before the pandemic fizzles.

          And we are in summer right now. Whoever inherits the shit fest Donald Trump has built up with the help of his Republican governors will see a death toll far dwarfing the current numbers even if things are done responsibly and consistently then.

          If there is a change in government in November, the Republicans will be able to blame a humongous death toll on whoever comes next. Heck, they still currently blame Obama because of bad tests and national stockpiles, and he was four years out of office before the virus even became a thing. So at least they get to blame someone actually in charge.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 1:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            " the Republicans will be able to blame a humongous death toll on whoever comes next."

            Yes, they can and do say anything they want.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 12:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              They will. I've heard Republican politicians try blaming Obama for both 9/11 and the response to Katrina. The economic crash was somehow his fault even though the crash and first bailouts happened before he was president. They were trying to impeach him before he was inaugurated. If Biden wins, they won't wait until January to try pinning the pandemic on him somehow.

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

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 3:23am

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

                "The economic crash was somehow his fault even though the crash and first bailouts happened before he was president."

                Well, the republicans would be whining about how a democrat president was to blame for <whatever> to a far greater degree than the democrats will in the reverse, but when it comes to Obama specifically they look for any link, no matter how stretched, to provide support for blame.

                Obama, after all, is black. And a black man as POTUS is, to a great many republicans, such a traumatic nightmare the PTSD will linger for generations.

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

                • identicon
                  David, 5 Aug 2020 @ 5:12am

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

                  Eisenhower, a Republican president, sent the National Guard to desegregate Southern schools over Southern governors defying Supreme Court decisions.

                  He was succeeded (with half a term of JFK in between) by Lyndon B Johnson who passed the voting right acts and some other measures intended to address inequalities in how citizens were factually able to claim their rights. That was when the racists started seeking a new home which the Republican Party's "Southern Strategy" provided.

                  What has become of the party that historically drove abolitionism is a disgrace. The voice of racial hatred deserves no future, and it would be preferable for U.S. society if the Republican Party divested itself of it before going down with it. Because voters deserve having a choice between policy packages that don't include bigotry as a mandatory element.

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

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 1:54am

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

                    "Eisenhower, a Republican president, sent the National Guard to desegregate Southern schools over Southern governors defying Supreme Court decisions."

                    Ironically Eisenhower would, today, be considered a hard-left liberal by the standards of the current GOP.

                    "That was when the racists started seeking a new home which the Republican Party's "Southern Strategy" provided."

                    It started a bit before. The foundation of the republican-democrat 180 degree shift in ideology was laid when FDR implemented his "New Deal" - support programs, government regulation of industry/banks, affirmative action to get black people into positions of power, etc.

                    I'd argue that the shift continued all the way up until now when you can say the last liberals and genuine conservatives have left the current GOP, leaving behind only a cadre of ideologically blank opportunists backed by everyone who now defines their entire existence around what they fear and hate.

                    You know, Very Fine People and those who speak for them.

                    "...it would be preferable for U.S. society if the Republican Party divested itself of it before going down with it."

                    I think that may, by now, be too late. John McCain may have been that last lonely white whale left over from the old-style conservatives in the GOP. Sure, the Lincoln project has a few republicans still willing to name themselves such, but you'd be hard-pressed to find even half a dozen republicans today in politics who aren't spiritual peers to the likes of Lindsey Graham or Steve King.

                    "Because voters deserve having a choice between policy packages that don't include bigotry as a mandatory element."

                    So they do, and until they manage to vote into power someone whose platform includes to reform the electoral system that's what they aren't getting. Because in the end it's the US system of Winner Takes All which has ensured not only the preservation of the two-party system the founding fathers dreaded but the persistently increased extremism of one part and soft all-inclusive nonentity status of the other.

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

                    • identicon
                      David, 6 Aug 2020 @ 3:11am

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

                      "Eisenhower, a Republican president, sent the National Guard to desegregate Southern schools over Southern governors defying Supreme Court decisions."

                      Ironically Eisenhower would, today, be considered a hard-left liberal by the standards of the current GOP.

                      Also "Law and Order" once meant enforcing rather than disregarding the Constitution.

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

                    • icon
                      nasch (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 1:31pm

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

                      I think that may, by now, be too late. John McCain may have been that last lonely white whale left over from the old-style conservatives in the GOP. Sure, the Lincoln project has a few republicans still willing to name themselves such, but you'd be hard-pressed to find even half a dozen republicans today in politics who aren't spiritual peers to the likes of Lindsey Graham or Steve King.

                      There's a good case to be made that the Republican party now consists of two parts: the plutocrats, who push for tax cuts for the wealthy (which is extremely unpopular) and the white nationalists who stoke racial and cultural divides in order to get the votes necessary to keep the party in power. The former has no particular interest in the latter except as a means to an end.

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/explaining-the-gops-mix-of-plutocrats-and-populists/2020 /07/09/9eba4d0c-8333-11ea-878a-86477a724bdb_story.html

                      Unfortunately rather than tempering either the plutocracy or the ethnonationalism in order to appeal to a broader base, they've been tending toward corrupting democracy instead.

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

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 10:12pm

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

                        Don't forget the religious zealots. There's entire sections of the Republican party who are trying to enact the Christian version of Shariah law, they just tend to be correctly shot down at the federal level.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 12:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Presidents all have body counts attached based on their decisions"

          Yes. This is the highest in recent, though, and unlike other warmongering presidents it's all American lives.

          "but that stops when he leave"

          Not instantly, it doesn't. There will be at least a couple of years worth of bodies to count after he's kicked out, assuming he doesn't manage to find a way to stay in power despite all this (remember, he's not only claiming he might not accept the election result, he's doing his best to stop people from voting safely).

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

    • icon
      BernardoVerda (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 3:54pm

      Re:

      Nah... you just don't understand Trump.
      This isn't a dirty "bribe" -- it's just a run-of-the-mill "kick-back".

      Totally legit. He's done business this way for decades.

      .

      (Yes, that is sarcasm)

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 12:32am

      Re:

      "Because even with the past four years of what-the-fuckery, this is somehow a new low even for Donald Trump."

      The sad thing is - it's really not.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2020 @ 3:31am

      Re:

      "He asked for a bribe. He literally asked for whatever company buys TikTok (if that happens) to pay hi—I mean, the Treasury a substantial amount of money from the sale in exchange for the right to buy TikTok in the first place."

      That's not very clever. He should have granted the sale to Facebook instead, in exchange for a nice bit of assistance during the election campaign.

      Even when he does corruption, he does it in a stupid way.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 10:17am

    Corruption and stupidity make such delightful pairings...

    As if it wasn't already blindingly obvious that the anger towards TikTok has nothing to do with 'national security' and everything to do with Trump getting his feelings hurt by being punked, demanding a cut of the sale that he's trying to force is just all sorts of blatantly corrupt, serving as yet another example of Trump's signature mix of narcissism, raging idiocy and rampant corruption.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 10:37am

      Re: Corruption and stupidity make such delightful pairings...

      And all of the right wingers are celebrating and supporting that idiot's actions, further helping to identify the below average IQ half of the population.

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

      • identicon
        David, 4 Aug 2020 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re: Corruption and stupidity make such delightful pairings..

        You mean, the below median IQ half of the population. And I think the median IQ is by definition 100.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 12:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Corruption and stupidity make such delightful pairin

          100 IQ can barely operate a gas pump. It doesn't really matter if a person is below the 50% median or below the national average. They shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a ballot or a keyboard.

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

          • identicon
            David, 4 Aug 2020 @ 12:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Corruption and stupidity make such delightful pa

            100 IQ can barely operate a gas pump.
            If half the U.S.' population can barely operate a gas pump, that implies that the U.S. education system is not appropriate for a populace intended to live and work in modern times.

            It doesn't really matter if a person is below the 50% median or below the national average. They shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a ballot or a keyboard.

            Disenfranchisement is not how democracy works. If undereducation is a systematic problem, not letting the undereducated participate in determining national policies is not going to improve the system.

            If fear of the uneducated is what lets the better educated people vote for better access to education, this is progress.

            Democracy is about recognizing that for better or worse, we are all in the same country and economy, and making choices matched to that situation.

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

            • icon
              Tanner Andrews (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 2:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Corruption and stupidity make such delightfu

              If undereducation is a systematic problem, not letting the undereducated participate in determining national policies is not going to improve the system

              Actually, that was the basis of the system. White male freeholders were intended to be the voters, and that tended to screen out ``undesirables'' such as the less educated, the darker-complected, the female, and the less wealthy.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 1:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Corruption and stupidity make such delightful pa

            "100 IQ can barely operate a gas pump"
            Some attitude.
            IQ tests are well known to be quite fallible and produce results that are not easily compared, but yeah - let's make fun of supposedly stupid people cause it is so much fun.

            "They shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a ballot or a keyboard"
            As David pointed out, democracy does not work like that. Literacy tests were outlawed by the voters rights act, took a while to get that on paper I guess.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 12:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Corruption and stupidity make such delightfu

              "Literacy tests were outlawed by the voters rights act"

              As they should be. The problem with any test being required to vote is that the people in charge of administering the tests are incentivised to make them favour certain groups.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2020 @ 4:18am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Corruption and stupidity make such delig

                Yup, and it is appalling how long it took to put that into law.

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 3:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Corruption and stupidity make such delightful pa

            "100 IQ can barely operate a gas pump."

            Actually 100 IQ is, by definition, average. As in not notably dumb.

            That said actual idiocy has little to do with IQ in itself. Someone who is merely dull-witted still knows to step in out of the rain rather than stay and convince himself he's standing under blue skies on a sunny day.

            And THAT is what makes the pro-trump death cult a phenomenon not easily discarded by claiming they're "dumb".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 10:40am

    Evidently, with tactics like these, the US is a banana republic - and this is rather blatant even by banana republic standards - so countries like Nigeria will soon be warning their millions of wealthy princes not to risk investing in this dumpster fire of a nation.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 10:48am

    I think some stupid conservatives say tik Tok
    is a Chinese company that collects data on us teenagers , please ignore that 1000,s of other apps do the same thing , or the fact that the nsa or the FBI
    can easily collect browsing data, email data on anyone they want to without going to the trouble
    of installing an app on your phone.
    And your isp is happy to sell your browsing data and location
    to advertisers.
    It's ok if we do it but God forbid anyone else might do it.
    There's alot of bribery that go's on in Russia or
    other country's but its not usually at the point
    where the president asks for money to be paid to
    allow a company to buy another company

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 11:41am

      Re:

      There are, in fact, things you can do about many of the things you mention: VPNs vs browsing data, secure email solutions (PGP, etc) exist, apps like Signal for end-to-end SMS encryption (which you didn't mention), and so on.

      The answer is out there, if you care to look.

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

    • identicon
      David, 5 Aug 2020 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      You seem upset. Just don't consider the Tiktok payment a bribe. Consider it a punishment for Tiktok users making Trump's Tulsa rally look ridiculous by pretending to come and then not appearing.

      Social media on which anything is organised that is not delightful for Trump will be dismantled.

      The U.S. cannot uncontestedly let China be the world leader in suppressing free speech.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 11:02am

    "The United States should get a very large percentage of that price, because we're making it possible," Mr Trump said.

    It's very fair, because they and no other large corporation will ever have to pay taxes. Very perfect deal.

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 4 Aug 2020 @ 11:07am

    Everyone is biased, for or against something or someone, and there's nothing wrong with that, when there's some rationality behind it. It's being prejudiced that's wrong (mostly, but not always). Any bias against Trump (once simply--and jokingly--called "The Donald" but now called [no joke] "The Stupid" and "The Bizarre" both here and many other places [along with many other such monikers]) is quite justified by his words and behavior but, as you say, not illegal even if there were any actions (such as censorship) taken by private entities to suppress all of that stupid (now a noun). It's only government censorship that's illegal. Yet again it's Trump and the GOP trying to censor opponents and critics in violation of US law (and as usual lying about others doing it to them).

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 11:11am

    Any day now I am just SURE that Trump will learn his lesson and stop being a grifting conman robbing everyone to line his own pockets....
    any... day... now...

    (This is the part where I remind y'all I'm immortal and might be the only one to live to see the day where he learns anything.)

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

  • icon
    Michael Long (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 11:33am

    Of course, the idiot doesn't realize that all China needs to do is take his precedent and use it to force Google, Facebook, et al, to sell their Chinese business operations to Chinese companies.

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

    • identicon
      Not THAT AC, 4 Aug 2020 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      But in that case, the Investor-State Dispute Resolution kicks in and the US companies get recompensed. That's how it's supposed to work - right - companies can claim for impact of capricious acts of the host govt?

      you couldn't make this stuff up.

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

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Aug 2020 @ 1:53pm

        Re: Re:

        "you couldn't make this stuff up."

        Trump seems to manage. Maybe he should write fiction. Oh, wait, he does, just read his tweets! (Somehow I don't think he could get published, and if he did his sales would be really low).

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Aug 2020 @ 3:35am

      Re:

      "Of course, the idiot doesn't realize that all China needs to do is take his precedent and use it to force Google, Facebook, et al, to sell their Chinese business operations to Chinese companies."

      Whether he does or not, is it Trump's problem if the US tech sector sinks like a lead balloon? In fact, if China did do that Trump would be lyrical with joy because that'd give him all the ammo he'd need for his next "blame china" speech.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2020 @ 8:23pm

    5 words ...

    Trump: "I want a TikTok KikBak"

    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
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
.

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.