The GOP's Blisteringly Hypocritical Road From Whining About Net Neutrality To Supporting Trump's Idiotic Attack On Social Media

from the you-have-zero-credibility-whatsoever dept

Mike has already highlighted FCC boss Ajit Pai's rank hypocrisy in his support of Trump's brain fart of an executive order targeting social media. This is, after all, a guy that crowed for literally the better part of the last decade about how some modest net neutrality rules (read: some basic consumer protections aimed at policing widely disliked telecom monopolies) was "government run amok" and a "government takeover of the internet." Now, as Trump attempts to bully the FCC into policing social media giants it has no authority over, a decade worth of purported principles are somehow, mysteriously absent.

Of course this grotesque, comical hypocrisy isn't reserved to Ajit Pai.

Back in 2014, before the former FCC passed net neutrality rules, the Obama White House expressed some basic support for net neutrality (and reclassifying ISPs as common carriers under the Communications Act to ensure the FCC could enforce the rules). This wasn't anything nefarious or even unordinary. President George W. Bush urged FCC Chairman Michael Powell to vote on deregulating media ownership. Bill Clinton wrote a public letter to Chairman Reed Hundt to ban hard liquor advertising on television. Ronald Reagan urged Chairman Mark Fowler to drop his proposal to rescind the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules governing TV networks.

We've had plenty of criticisms of Obama era policy. But Obama's support of net neutrality was legal, ordinary, and had the broad support of countless experts and the majority of U.S. consumers. That didn't matter to the modern GOP. In its now well-established bad faith style, the party (with AT&T and Comcast's covert help) immediately began circulating the talking point that Obama's support of net neutrality had broken some nonexistent law, and was, as countless news outlets parroted at the time, an effort to illegally "bully" the FCC into passing what were, despite a lot of pearl clutching, some fairly basic consumer protections:

"Just as Obama used executive actions in an unprecedented fashion on immigration, so too has he now set a precedent by bullying an independent regulatory body into following political orders."

This idea that Obama had broken the law or was "bullying" the FCC by expressing support for a very popular policy position would soon be utterly everywhere. An endless sea of GOP pundits could be found writing op-eds about how the Obama White House had broken the law by simply wanting the FCC to protect consumers from telecom monopolies. That Obama was strong-arming the FCC would soon become a gospel narrative. And the rhetoric was even supported by a certain former reality TV star and failed steak salesman of note:

That was, of course, all bullshit pushed by telecom monopolies that simply didn't want to face anything even resembling accountability for decades of anti-competitive behavior. But the narrative that Obama had somehow broken the law was also a favored talking of Ajit Pai, who also, repeatedly, tried to insist that Obama's totally legal support of a policy widely supported by the vast majority of experts and real fucking human beings was somehow a nefarious, illegal government power grab:

"On November 10, President Obama asked the FCC to implement his plan for regulating the Internet, one that favors government regulation over marketplace competition. As has been widely reported in the press, the FCC has been scrambling ever since to figure out a way to do just that. The courts will ultimately decide this Order’s fate. And I doubt they will countenance this unlawful power grab. Litigants are already lawyering up to seek judicial review of these new rules. Given the Order’s many glaring legal flaws, they will have plenty of fodder."

Fast forward to 2020. Net neutrality (and FCC authority over telecom in general) is largely dead thanks to AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon lobbyists and an FCC willing to ignore both objective data and sleazy efforts to manipulate the public record. And the same GOP folks who threw a monumental hissy fit about Obama's "illegal takeover of the internet" are dead silent as a corrupt, criminal buffoon tries to bully the FCC into shoehorning an incoherent brain fart into genuine, real-world policy that ignores the Constitution, common sense, and widespread concern from an absolute chorus of policy experts.

The same folks who repeatedly claimed that natural telecom monopolies shouldn't be treated as a common carrier, have pivoted 180 to claim that non-dominant social media platforms like Twitter should be. The same folks who spent years insisting the FCC had no right or authority over the parts of the internet it actually had authority over now insist the FCC must regulate the parts it has no authority over. The same folks who whined incessantly about the perils of the Fairness Doctrine now mindlessly support something arguably worse.

All to keep social media giants from policing toxic political disinformation to protect GOP power, now highly reliant on online disinformation to gloss over what are usually, much like the net neutrality repeal, largely unpopular policies.

Net neutrality was, we were told, government utterly run amok. It was, we were told, the very worst example of government out of control. Yet here we have a corrupt and unqualified president genuinely bullying the FCC to support the most idiotic power play imaginable, and the lion's share of the GOP sits nodding in bobble-headed support. Worse, when Commissioner Mike O'Rielly made some incredibly tame statements pointing out Trump's EO might not be enforceable, he was fired, soon to be replaced by someone more willing to kiss Trump's ass. Largely to crickets by the GOP.

There's Luddite politicians engaged in inconsistent policy, and then there's what the modern GOP has become: a bad faith dog and pony show, heavily reliant on disinformation, lodged somewhere in the telecom sector, Rupert Murdoch, and Oracle's lower colon, using a stunning array of disinformation, bogus data, ever-shifting talking points, and complete bullshit to justify corruption and feckless fealty to an idiot king. When the bill comes due for the GOP's blistering hypocrisy and bad faith bullshit (and sooner or later it will come due), it's going to be incredibly well earned.

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Filed Under: ajit pai, barack obama, donald trump, fcc, hypocrisy, independence, interference, net neutrality, regulations, section 230, tom wheeler


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:25am

    Bad Policy

    Somehow, I don't think that support for Obama's net neutrality ideas would have prevented the social media monopolies, nor would they have prevented the anti-conservative bias. Support for bad net neutrality policy doesn't fix the current problem.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:41am

      Re: Bad Policy

      You're right, Koby, net neutrality wouldn't have fixed anti-conservative bias. Because it DOESN"T SMEGGING EXIST! Not to any extent that constitutes a real problem. And even if it did, it would be completely legal and constitutional.

      As for net neutrality being bad policy, good grief, how deeply did you drink of the Koolaid? Net neutrality was never expected to do any of what you complain about it not doing. It prevents large telecom monopolies from smothering small competitors and stifling innovation. And that makes it good policy, no matter what your politicians-for-hire claim. Stop shaping your entire understanding of the world around lying republican sound-bytes and start considering facts and coming to your own opinion, for goodness sake.

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 9:47am

        Re: Re: Bad Policy

        One "link" between CDA 230 and NN, is that nobody has ever attacked either without deliberately lying to do so, as Koby demonstrates.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:45am

      I don't think that support for Obama's net neutrality ideas would have prevented the social media monopolies

      Facebook and Twitter are not monopolies. For starters, they compete with each other. And that’s not counting competition such as YouTube, Gab, Parlor, the Fediverse, Discord, and all other social networking services — which, I’ll remind you, compete with each other as much as they compete with Facebook and Twitter.

      And as for network neutrality: Who do you think will pick the “winners” and “losers” of social media if Internet access providers have the power to determine which sites get preferential treatment on their networks? Because it sure as hell won’t be you, me, or the public in general.

      nor would they have prevented the anti-conservative bias

      You haven’t proven that social media services have an “anti-conservative bias”. I mean, unless you want to equate “conservative speech” with racist bullshit, anti-queer slurs, and generally acting like enough of an asshole that it forces a service to hand down a suspension/ban.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:59am

      Re: Bad Policy

      All of the bias that conservatives are complaining about is people deciding that they do not like conservative policy and talking points when it involves conservatives acting like religious zealots, and trying to force people to convert to their viewpoints.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 8:00am

      Re: Bad Policy

      "I don't think that support for Obama's net neutrality ideas would have prevented the social media monopolies, nor would they have prevented the anti-conservative bias. Support for bad net neutrality policy doesn't fix the current problem."

      So what. Did anyone make such a claim?

      Explain how FB and/or Twitter are monopolies, please use well established definitions seen in the business/legal community.

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:51pm

      Re: Bad Policy

      "Support for bad net neutrality policy doesn't fix the current problem."

      Support for broadly popular consumer protection policy doesn't fix the current imaginary problem.

      FTFY

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 12:44am

      Re: Bad Policy

      "Somehow, I don't think that support for Obama's net neutrality ideas..."

      It's not "Obama's net neutrality". Net Neutrality - in europe often referred to as "common carrier" or "mere conduit" - is a principle as old as the history of messengers. And it does exactly what it says on the tin. And it's one of the reasons why Europes various ISP's aren't the most hated companies in the region, unlike the US.

      "...would have prevented the social media monopolies..."

      Not any more than the existence of a well-kept road assists that much in curing cancer, no. At least try to have any commonality between the topics you try to link.

      "Support for bad net neutrality policy..."

      Ah, "bad net neutrality policy" would be primarily on the GOP side of things. That being the case why blame Obama?

      ...or should we just take it as you finally giving in to that typical right-wing urge of pointing at the Bad Black Man as the origin of every ill in the world with a heartfelt "But Obama!" shoehorned into every debate your dunning-kruger compelled you to drop a load of gibberish in?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:26am

    You call THAT hypocrisy? Nah, THIS is hypocrisy

    GOP to Obama:

    No! You can't appoint a Supreme Court Justice this close to an election! It would be immoral! The voters have to have a say!

    GOP about Trump (Many months closer to the election):

    We have to appoint a Supreme Court Justice now! The Supreme Court HAS to be full to rule on a contested election (even though it current looks like a romp for the Democrats).

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 12:11am

      Re: You call THAT hypocrisy? Nah, THIS is hypocrisy

      It gets better. Do take note how many republicans went on open camera at the time, swearing that "If the same situation was true when a republican president was in office they'd do the same thing".

      Lindsey Graham even said "Hold me to my words" multiple times.

      The hypocrisy isn't just implied. They flat-out swore, when Obama tried to appoint a SCOTUS judge, to hold back if the same happened if they held the white house.

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

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:28am

    They'll never be happy until the internet is as conservative dominated as talk radio, with their 'champions' able to vomit lies and hatred without ever having to worry about there being consequences to their actions. The idea of fairness only exists to them as a means to persuade centrists to grant an audience to their long debunked talking points, pseudoscience, conspiracy theories and religious screeds designed to play on their emotions. 'You've listened to the experts, now you have to listen to our nonsense and give it equal consideration, it's only fair!'

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:44am

      Not only that,

      Not only that, but LEAVING WAS ALWAYS AN OPTION!!! They could've stayed at Parler and we would've been fine with it, but no, they have to fuck up the internet for the rest of us (when they think only facebook, google, and twitter are the internet when that's clearly not the case).

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

      • icon
        Bloof (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 8:02am

        Re: Not only that,

        The problem conservatives have is that the audience they feel entitled to have aren't on these places as 'Like X, but with open racism' isn't the selling point they think it is.

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

        • identicon
          David, 19 Oct 2020 @ 4:18pm

          Re: Re: Not only that,

          Selling racism on a platform embraced by racists is not going to give you a good return of investment. It's like selling coal in Newscastle, even though there is a high density of coal ovens there.

          You get better prices elsewhere.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 8:02am

      Re:

      But that will not appease their desires for world domination.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 7:14am

      Re:

      What even makes it worse is they want to force others into a captive audience online. Like imagine these chuckleheads demanding access to users on LGBT forums and social media sites just to scream at them for being "sinners" and the like.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 8:57am

        'No fair, only we can do that!'

        ... only to turn around and throw the mother of all tantrums if anyone tried to do the same on their forums.

        'Come to our forums to gay-bash? Alright, have some pissed off atheists, a few satanists, and a couple of fundamentalists muslims for your forums. Have fun...'

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

  • identicon
    David, 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:46am

    What road?

    The GOP's Blisteringly Hypocritical Road From Whining About Net Neutrality To Supporting Trump's Idiotic Attack On Social Media

    Uh, a "road" implies getting from one place to a different one. The whole point of hypocrisy is that you can be in both places at the same time, in a happy superposition of mutually exclusive states.

    Basically you buy Schrödinger's cat in a bag, pay the price for a dead cat, demand the price for a live cat, and don't feel like ripping off either seller or buyer.

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

  • icon
    Richard M (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 8:05am

    The Dems should thank Trump

    Trump has done more damage to the Republican party in four years than the Democrats have been able to manage in decades.

    I never would have thought that the Republicans would have gotten on their knees and kissed King Trumps ass like they have. In fact I would have bet a fair amount against it four years ago.

    What I assumed would be an amusing train wreck of a Presidency turned into a scary Fascist dumpster fire. All because the entire Republican party decided to be Trump's bitch.

    If Biden and the Democrats somehow manage to pull a loss out of this election every single Democrat in a position of power in the party needs to fall on their sword and let someone else take charge. Every.Single.One.....

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

    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 8:26am

      Re: The Dems should thank Trump

      He's appointed three supreme court justices and filled the court system with hard right, often unqualified conservative judges that will be in place for decades to come. He's weakened the western world and destroyed the faith world leaders have in America's word as they're never more than four years away from potentially electing a dangerous lunatic who'll renege on all treaties. People will forgive the GOP for this, as they did with Nixon and Bush, and these past few years will continue to have repercussions for the rest of our lives... So no, I don't think anyone will be thankful for Trump.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 8:37am

        People will forgive the GOP for this

        Only GOP voters and Democrats serving in government will forgive the GOP. Everyone else will remember these past four years — and 2020 in particular — as a complete shitshow that should never be repeated again.

        I pray that the same level of voter engagement in 2020 happens in 2022. Dems need to show up to the midterms again like they did in 2018.

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

        • icon
          Bloof (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 8:52am

          Re:

          You say that, but the Iraq war, the Katrina response and all the surveillance laws should have followed republicans for the rest of time, yet here we are, with people looking back far more kindly on Bush than he will ever deserve.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 9:07am

            Re: Re:

            I fear you are right, but I also am positive that you are overstating your case. The Katrina response was weak and hamfisted, but strictly speaking Bush did stay well withing his constitutional limits. He should have called for the local government to request federal support, but without such a request he could not legally have sent in such federal support. He coloured within the lines, even if his choice of colours was poor.

            Trump on the other hand has been flagrantly ignoring the legal and constitutional limits of the office and has totally ignored lines, limits and truth. He is massively more destructive than any republican (or democrat) predecessor. The damage to America's reputation and the cost in foreign relations will outlast voter dislike by a large margin. I suspect foreign governements will smile and make nice with future administrations, but carefully avoid any American influence in areas they consider important, which will ultimately cost American in both treasures and lives.

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

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:38pm

              Bush tortured.

              The CIA Extrajudicial Detention and Interrogation program, Camp X-Ray which is still operational at Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition and enhanced interrogation, which was performed on Americans -- citizens of the United States -- should never be forgivable.

              And then 63 million people voted for Trump while we knew full well what kind of a monster he was.

              I can't say it's turned into something I don't recognize because it always was. I was just raised in the 70s and 80s to believe it was something different than it was.

              But I don't think the US is long for this world as it is. Either it's going to break apart or turn over the way SPQR turned into Italy and the Holy Roman Empire (which wasn't really a good look).

              It might be nice if Trump, Cheney and that crowd are eventually captured and brought to international tribunal for their extensive war crimes, but I'm not sure the US is going to last long enough, and it wouldn't surprise me if they are lost in the crossfire while attempting to escape.

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

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 1:17am

                Re: Bush tortured.

                "But I don't think the US is long for this world as it is. Either it's going to break apart or turn over the way SPQR turned into Italy and the Holy Roman Empire (which wasn't really a good look)."

                More than just probable, by now. The signs were there since Nixon's days, and only made clearer by Reagan. The US relied almost exclusively on having a foreign enemy to fear and hate, just in order to keep the internal tensions buried.

                Right now, today, there are basically two types of americans. Those who can live with others...and those driven by hatred and intolerance who mistrust any information from outside of their cult as propaganda foistered on them by the malicious global conspiracy of satanist child abusers headed by the super-powered incarnation of the devil only ever referred to as the dreaded "But Obama!" - the US incarnation of Orwell's "Goldstein", with no communication in right-wing circles considered complete unless a ritual of blame-casting is shoehorned into the conversation.

                Hell, the alt-right doom cult can't even communicate with other people without leading with a statement about what the Bad Black Man did in <insert off-topic irrelevancy here> - just witness the first comment on this thread, courtesy of Koby.

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

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 1:27am

                  Re: Re: Bush tortured.

                  [Addendum]:

                  There's no educating these people, or deprogramming dozens of millions of adherents to the cult of millennialist scapegoatism and hate. No debating away the hordes of misfits with no plan other than to conjure ragnarök and settle their perceived grievances with everyone who isn't "pure" enough in skin color or creed.

                  Imho it's just the legacy of the US never really finishing their civil war, making it the type of lackadaisical stomping which medieval europe showed to be the runner-up for a far, FAR bigger party with more attendees invited to make their case with guns in hand.
                  And the longer it takes before it blows up the more damaging it'll be for everyone involved.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 9:08am

            George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and the rest of that administration should be tried (and likely jailed) for war crimes. Hell, I’d even say the same about Barack Obama (e.g., drone strikes). But neither of them were as openly fascistic, as brazen about their corruption, or as blatantly uncaring about the country’s people as Donald Trump and his administration. If people look back kindly on Bush, they’re doing so in comparison to Trump — and that isn’t really a compliment.

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

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:32am

            Re: Re:

            people looking back far more kindly on Bush than he will ever deserve.

            Not people in general; old white people in particular.

            Demographics are changing. The country's getting younger and browner. Those demographics aren't looking so kindly on Bush, and I don't see them developing a kinder outlook on Trump as the years go by.

            The RNC did a postmortem after Romney's defeat in 2012 that basically said "Look, we're going to have to do something about the whole racism thing, or we're going to stop winning elections." The party responded to this news by saying "Nah, we're gonna go ahead and keep the racism and just try to make sure only white people can vote."

            That's the threat here: not that people will change their minds about the GOP, but that anyone who doesn't like them will be systematically disenfranchised. Gerrymandering, the Senate, the electoral college, and, yes, the courts are all hedges against the will of the majority.

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

            • identicon
              David, 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:05pm

              Nothing is new here

              That's the threat here: not that people will change their minds about the GOP, but that anyone who doesn't like them will be systematically disenfranchised. Gerrymandering, the Senate, the electoral college, and, yes, the courts are all hedges against the will of the majority.

              The Senate is a construct hedging off the government constitutions against populist back-and-forth (and thus ineffective) strategy changes. It has been designed in that manner by the Constitution. In a similar way, the electoral college was designed as a hedge against the unfiltered will of majorities.

              The problem is that this design is sort of counteracted by a party system that has evolved to focus power rather than prioritise complex solution-finding and decision-finding in interconnected problems.

              Now there was a certain stability of the system when the focus on few parties representing a large populace matched to some degree the simplicity of the setup of the voting populace. Since the founders' times, former slaves have become voting citizens, women have become voting citizens, lots of voters with fresher immigrant roots from multiple continents have become voting citizens, and the problems of the world that the U.S. needs to balance in its policy-making with local problems have become much more relevant and the influence of U.S. actions have become a lot more.

              It just makes little sense to have one party speak for everyone. On top of that problem of unrepresented diversity, the GOP has chosen to focus on a particular major part of the voting populace instead of spreading its appeal out a lot more. There is nothing wrong with that, but in the political setup of the U.S., it means they have to sweep the fringes of their electorate. They already did with the Southern Strategy, and now they revert to the cheapest forms of populism and dirty tricks to stay in power.

              Basically, they are putting up a dirty fight in order not to become politically irrelevant in spite of representing one of the largest voting blocs constituting the U.S. citizenship.

              If they lose that fight in spite of fishing in increasingly more fringes, the U.S. will essentially become a single-party system, with all of the problems of not being able to to justice to minorities and global challenges this implies.

              This ultimately needs fixing in the political system. The prime actors benefiting from that would be small parties and factions of the populace that would suddenly gain representation and the ability to do parliamentary work in the interest of their respective constituents and goals.

              It will be very hard to start working on constitutional changes in particular when the Supreme Court is very much loaded with conservative judges. Which is sort of funny, given that one of the main parties to profit from it would likely be the GOP, with the Democratic party being in much higher danger to split into multiple smaller parties representing a smaller part of the populace.

              Who is going to work on this? Germany needed to lose a war to reboot from dictatorship that was the outcome of runaway democracy having gone dysfunctional.

              Can the U.S. manage to bring its political system forward a few centuries without such a total cut?

              How would a political system look like that keeps the design goals of the original Republic but is more robust against the corruption of the few-party system that has evolved on top and partly to thwart the original intent?

              Who would work on it? Which leading party would be willing to sacrifice its outlook on wielding unchecked power for the sake of a political system that represents and works for the large diversity of people constituting the U.S.?

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

              • icon
                Thad (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:45pm

                Re: Nothing is new here

                First of all, I think you're making a mistake in suggesting that the current divided influence in the government is a bug instead of a feature. We can use euphemisms like "rural" or "lower population" all we like, but the plain fact is that the Senate and, correspondingly, the electoral college were designed to give disproportionate political influence to the slaver states.

                What's happening now is not coincidence; it's not an unintended consequence. It's the system functioning as designed: rigging the game in favor of the racists at the expense of the majority.

                Second, a two-party system is the equilibrium state of first-past-the-post, single-representative elections (see Duverger's law). The US has never been able to sustain more than two parties for any length of time. The Whigs replaced the Federalists and the Republicans replaced the Whigs. Aside from that, we've seen realignments (the Southern Strategy, as you mentioned), but it's like Yoda said: always two there are, no more, no less.

                There are ways of dealing with this at the state level; Maine's been working on electing representatives with ranked-choice voting but has hit a few snags along the way. As far as the president, we're pretty well stuck with the two-party system as long as we have the electoral college, and I don't see that going away any time soon. (Even a hack like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, if it were to pass enough states and withstand legal challenge, would just enshrine FPTP; it would prevent more situations like 2000 and 2016 where a candidate loses the popular vote and still becomes president, but it would still smack up against Duverger's law.)

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

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 1:58am

                Re: Nothing is new here

                "Who is going to work on this? Germany needed to lose a war to reboot from dictatorship that was the outcome of a runaway Republic having gone dysfunctional."

                FTFY.

                The Weimar republic showcased many of the warning signs we're seeing here - declining economy, crumbling infrastructure, massively stratified society, high proportion of racism and bigotry, hyperbolic fears of enemies within and without increasingly fueled by theories of vast conspiracies involving the scapegoat enemies.

                All of it run by a series of politicians increasingly inept or politically jaded. Capped, finally, by Hindenburg presiding over the last days when it all came crashing down and a Germany so disillusioned with their government 70% didn't even bother to vote managed to produce a chancellor of Hitler, backed by no more than 12% of the popular vote.

                In many ways the US is far, far worse off than Germany 1935. That one thing which is lacking is an ambitious and charismatic führer able to channel the hatred of the doom cult and with a genius in selecting idiot savants able enough to do exactly as asked.

                The one good thing about Trump is that he's inept at everything other than looking confident while delivering an oral flatulist performance. The same probably can't be said for his eventual successor in the GOP.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:14am

      'If he can act like that and get away with it then we can too.'

      What I assumed would be an amusing train wreck of a Presidency turned into a scary Fascist dumpster fire. All because the entire Republican party decided to be Trump's bitch.

      I'm not sure that's an accurate portrayal of what happened actually, as I suspect that all Trump really did to the party was allow them to act like they'd always wanted to but had previously been kept from due to not wanting to be so openly corrupt. However when Trump didn't even pretend to be anything but what he was and was able to escape any sort of punishment or penalty it became clear that they could act as they wanted to with just as little repercussions, and they did so with glee.

      Trump wasn't the cause of the GOP going full fascist and so openly corrupt, merely the excuse to stop pretending to be otherwise.

      If Biden and the Democrats somehow manage to pull a loss out of this election every single Democrat in a position of power in the party needs to fall on their sword and let someone else take charge.

      Normally I might agree that if the democrats lose this one it's on them, but with Trump actively trying to sabotage the election and rig it in his favor there's plenty of blame to go around. Kinda hard to blame someone for a loss when the other side was cheating.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:47am

      Re: The Dems should thank Trump

      You come off like a serial killer giving health advice.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 1:05am

      Re: The Dems should thank Trump

      "I never would have thought that the Republicans would have gotten on their knees and kissed King Trumps ass like they have. In fact I would have bet a fair amount against it four years ago. "

      Why?

      I mean it was pretty clear ever since Reagan that the republican party was looking for a King or Dear Leader, not a public official - hell, even Nixon still had half of the GOP on his side at the end.

      "What I assumed would be an amusing train wreck of a Presidency turned into a scary Fascist dumpster fire. All because the entire Republican party decided to be Trump's bitch."

      I can't imagine why you would believe otherwise. Remember GWB and the neocons? Cheney loudly advocating torture? Ashcroft squawking about the bare breast of the statue of Lady Justice and pushing the PATRIOT act provisions allowing citizens to be stripped of constitutional protection as illegal combatants? Rumsfeld's armchair-general shenanigans and a genuine war of aggression pushed by a bald-faced lie?

      This is not new!

      "If Biden and the Democrats somehow manage to pull a loss out of this election every single Democrat in a position of power in the party needs to fall on their sword and let someone else take charge."

      The democrats are to blame for trying to scavenge the loopholes in the US system while clinging to every last shred of power as well. They could have reformed the voting system - in fact, plenty of individual congressmen and senators advocated this in the past. But they always dreaded the idea of losing power or the threat of seeing the ridiculously wide democrat monolith fragmenting into smaller, more focused parties so they never went with the idea of pushing ranked-choice voting or seriously reforming the process to make voting easier.

      In some places people spent 11 fucking hours waiting in line to vote. Someone tell me, please, how the US is somehow better than fucking afghanistan now? You've even got warlord militias going after infidels and state governors...

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:00am

    'The public can hang, all the matters is the party'

    Funny how the GOP only seems to care about monopolies(or laws, or the free market, or free speech...) when those things aren't in their favor, it's almost as though they don't in fact care about what's good for the public and only care about what's good for the party.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:34am

    Apples and oranges, shipwreck.

    The left wing narrative of 'net neutrality' suggested ISPs would censor content through their network even though there's not much evidence of it happening or would happen.

    But isn't it hilarious how you left wingers now justify censoring?

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:51am

      Show me how social media censored Alex “Sandy Hook was a stage show and those parents were paid crisis actors” Jones, who literally has his own goddamn website through which he can spew his bile.

      Show me how social media censored Donald Trump, who is the sitting president of the United States and can use the entire rest of the American media to say dumb bullshit.

      Show me how social media censored anyone, such that their right to speak freely was infringed upon by a social media service. That doesn’t mean “they lost a platform”; you have no right to make someone give you a platform. That also doesn’t mean “they lost a huge audience”; you also have no right to either make other people your audience or make someone else give you an audience.

      Censorship requires that the right to speak freely was infringed upon by an outside party. Twitter giving some asshole the boot for saying racial slurs or demeaning queer people doesn’t do that. That asshole is free to go anywhere else that will have them and say the exact same bullshit; Twitter literally cannot stop that from happening.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 11:01am

      Re:

      there's not much evidence of it happening or would happen.

      Data caps that exclude the ISP companies streaming services are a not so subtle way of forcing people to use one service over another, and a way of making the network non-neutral.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 11:36am

      Re:

      "there's not much evidence of it happening "

      Apparently because you failed to look.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 2:52am

        Re: Re:

        "Apparently because you failed to look."

        Apparently he missed the "Comcast vs Netflix" debacle which prompted the whole debate because that was basically what he refers to, happening.

        Classic Baghdad Bob, really. Claim "that'll never happen" about the shit which actually happened and started the net neutrality debate to begin with.

        It's one of the clearer tells of old Bobmail/Blue/Jhon Smith...his arguments are almost always some form of invariable denial of factual and obviously manifest reality.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 12:05pm

      Re:

      The only "narrative" I've heard is that without net neutrality, ISPs use their effective monopoly to exclude or hamper competitors to their content delivery business. I've seen plentiful real world of how this is actually happening now. I don't see how this is in any way a "left wing" narrative - if anything, competition has historically been a rightish mantra.

      I think you may be confusing the lies your favourite conspiracy sites tell you with reality.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 9:36pm

      Re:

      It has happened.

      In 2005, Canasian ISP Telus blocked access to a webserver hosting a website calling for a labor strike against the company.

      Isn't it obvious how right-wingers lie about censoring?

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 2:47am

      Re:

      "The left wing narrative of 'net neutrality' suggested ISPs would censor content through their network even though there's not much evidence of it happening or would happen."

      The left wing never suggested anything like that. They suggested without net neutrality ISP's would be free to throttle competing content services in their networks, resulting in extortionate double-dipping. And the "evidence of it happening" would be the whole debate being sparked by Comcast throttling Netflix in exactly this way and sending Netflix a nice extortionate letter about it.

      "But isn't it hilarious how you left wingers now justify censoring?"

      Isn't it hilarious how right-wingers now have to rewrite everything the left is saying and top it off by lying through their teeth about what has actually happened before you can even make a case?

      In times past it used to be a US right-winger could present an argument without having to lie about what the opposition said or toss in a few straw man arguments and red herrings to conflate the issue...but these days you joyful little bags of racism and hate couldn't even ask for the salt without dropping a fib in the request somewhere.

      "Apples and oranges, shipwreck."...he said, casually holding up a turd to be admired in this debate about fruit...

      Given the rest of your rhetorical nonsense I'm just surprised you didn't squeeze a "But Obama!" in there, Baghdad Bob.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:36am

    if politicans really cared about free speech why do they keep bringing in new bills to limit or destroy section 230 .
    weakening section 230 will result in websites dropping comments sections or forums or hosting user content like audio or video clips .its a direct attack on free speech , a we see now in hong kong bringing in a few vague laws is enough to wipe out free speech or else make it too risky or expensive for private companys to host comments or content that is not checked and vetted before its published .and maybe the politicans who make these anti section 230 bills simply do not understand how the web works and the complexitys of trying to moderate content while blocking out content
    like spam or racist posts that might drive ordinary users from your platform.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:44am

      Re:

      Because left wingers are hiding behind Section 230 in order to censor people like Philip Anderson, a black man who had his front teeth punched out by left wing fascists.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:53am

        Who stopped Philip Anderson from finding any platform that would have him and speaking his mind, such that he couldn’t use any platform whatsoever for his speech? And what makes you think a given platform must host his speech if the admins of that platform don’t want to host it? And if you’re going to say “the law should force them to host it”, congratulations — you’re suggesting the government should practice actual fascism.

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

      • identicon
        Rocky, 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:57am

        Re: Re:

        Wow! How did you even hear about that if it was censored?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re:

        Heh, lame but I'll give it a five anyway.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:30pm

        Re: Re:

        So, I hadn't heard of this particular case (it's hard to keep up with the things you people misrepresent).

        Let's count the lies:

        • Section 230 has nothing to do with him getting punched, nor indeed does Twitter in any direct fashion
        • Nor does his race
        • It's yet again funny to see you claim that "antifa" are fascist, even though the fight against fascism is literally the only think that links anyone flying under that banner
        • Punching this guy did nothing to "censor" him, and in fact by the look of things it's got him more press than he would have got if the counter protesters hadn't show up.
        • In fact, he's more than welcome on numerous competitors to Twitter, that a sane, sensible person would simply use instead as per the free market solutions available to everybody, rather than wasting his time braying at people in the street on a Saturday afternoon.

        Is there anything else that you misrepresented that I missed? It really is hard to keep track when you pack so many lies into a single sentence, but that is why you people usually don't mention specific names to enable fact checking. I thank you for being that honest, at least.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:57am

      Re:

      if politicans really cared about free speech why do they keep bringing in new bills to limit or destroy section 230 .

      Because they don't care about free speech they care about their speech, they're stupid enough to think that removing 230 will result in their speech being taken down less or spiteful enough that The Other will have their content taken down just as much(or both), and/or they're playing up to voters that are stupid/spiteful enough to think that.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:14pm

    A low blow

    If Jesus was really conservative he would say he would die for your sins then back out at the last minute then tell you to stop making such a big deal about it.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 2:56am

      Re: A low blow

      Actually, if Jesus was a US conservative he'd offer you to die for him and then tell you what a horrible fucker you were for refusing him that entitlement. Then he'd blame Obama.

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

      • identicon
        David, 20 Oct 2020 @ 3:55am

        Re: Re: A low blow

        Jesus was dark-faced, like US conservative Herman Cain had been. The latter died for Donald Trump by pretending in a rally that COVID-19 was not a thing and that taking precautions was for radical leftist wimps.

        Anyway, Jesus was far more of a radical leftists than what US evangelicals care to vote for. Not that there actual are any radical leftists of that calibre on the ballot in the first place.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 4:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: A low blow

          Seems more “don’t put me in the the fight it would interfere with my fathers work” type of person.

          But as far as us conservatives? Forget throwing them out of temple they would be chased out by a some creature from doom eternal or something.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 8:03pm

          Unless it was GOP Jesus, they'd love him

          There is some serious humor to be found in the idea that if Jesus did show up in the modern day the bible-thumping conservatives that are constantly trying to justify their actions via their religion would likely crucify him in short order(definitely figurative, possibly literally) as a socialist commie libtard.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 12:19am

          Re: Re: Re: A low blow

          "Jesus was far more of a radical leftists than what US evangelicals care to vote for."

          Whether you believe in God or not the fact is that US evangelicals at least profess belief in the New Testament, usually the King James version.
          That book advocates socialism to a point even Karl Marx would find a tough act to follow. It also advocates equality, humanitarian values, etc...most of which the US doom cults have jettisoned completely when they persistently vote for the people which Jesus, according to scripture, spent his brief life fighting.

          Bluntly put, the US evangelicals are very persistent blasphemous heretics, according to their own dogma.

          I've always been sceptical of blind faith and I'm reinforced in this conviction every time I see yet another american holy man advocate a gospel of avarice and hate.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2020 @ 1:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A low blow

            Everyone he was an Arabic king of Jews who gave free healthcare per miracle and preached peace and understanding while telling everyone to give up everything they had to follow his holy ways.

            Forgot the cross today’s conservatives would have checked the tomb to make sure he was dead after THEY tried to killed him.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 12:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A low blow

              “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2020 @ 11:09am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A low blow

                No point upvoting Ghandi for "Insightful," his jersey has already been retired.

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


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