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Trump vetoes $740B defense bill, citing “failure to terminate” Section 230

Congress already scheduled veto override votes for after Christmas.

Marble, mostly Greek revival architecture against a deep blue sky.
/ The Washington, DC skyline, including the US Capitol, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial, as seen from the Arlington, VA, side of the Potomac at night. Which is the time of day Congress is apparently going to be working until.

As was threatened, so has it come to pass: President Donald Trump has vetoed funding for the US military because the massive defense spending bill did not include a provision to repeal Section 230.

The authorizes $740 billion in defense spending for the upcoming government fiscal year. The NDAA usually moves through Congress with broad bipartisan support, and this year's is no exception. Both chambers supported the bill by wide, veto-proof margins—the House approved by a vote of 335 to 78, and the Senate approved it 84 to 13.

Trump, however, said in early December he would veto the bill if it did not include an outright repeal of Section 230, and today, with the bill on his desk, he followed through on that threat.

"No one has worked harder, or approved more money for the military, than I have," Trump said in about the veto, claiming without evidence that the military "was totally depleted" when he took office in 2017. "Your failure to terminate the very dangerous national security risk of Section 230 will make our intelligence virtually impossible to conduct without everyone knowing what we are doing at every step."

That’s not at all how this works

Section 230, however, has nothing to do with military intelligence. At its broadest, the short snippet of law basically does two things. First, it grants Internet service providers, including online platforms, broad immunity from being held legally liable for content third-party users share. Second, it grants those same services legal immunity from the decisions they make around content moderation.

It's that content moderation bit that Trump really doesn't like. He's been in a protracted feud with Twitter, his platform of choice, since the site first appended a mild fact-checking link to a tweet of his containing election misinformation in May.

Days later, Trump issued an executive order directing various federal agencies to limit social media's "unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit" or otherwise manipulate user content. Following the executive order, the Federal Communications Commission began a Section 230 rule-making procedure, and the Justice Department eventually sent a proposed rewrite of the law to Congress for its consideration. (Congress did not consider it.)

Trump continued to rail publicly against Section 230 throughout the summer and fall. As rhetoric continued to heat up into and past the November election, both Twitter and Facebook expanded their fact-checking policies for information related to voter suppression and election disinformation. In short, the more Trump claimed without evidence that all mail-in voting is fraudulent () or that President-elect Joe Biden's somehow "stole" the election (), the more fact-checking labels Twitter appended to his posts.

So now what?

Congressional leaders, anticipating the veto, veto override votes—the House on December 28, and the Senate on December 29.

"My intention was and is to ensure the Senate continues fulfilling our obligation to the men and women of our armed forces," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at the time. "I hope the president will not veto this bill."

However, because we cannot simply squeak through the few waning days of 2020 without at least one more dumpster fire, it appears that Senate Republicans may or may not be particularly inclined to fall in line behind McConnell. Within a half-hour of the veto, give or take, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) , "Congress should vote to repeal Section 230 as requested by President [Trump]. I will not vote to override presidential veto unless effort is made to wind down Section 230."

216 Reader Comments

  1. Who wouldn't be surprised if he says he will Veto the Anti Veto Vote and that it is against the constitution to anti veto his veto.
    2011 posts | registered
  2. He's a flailing orange manchild who, deep down in his withered desiccated husk of a soul, knows that, when he's a private citizen, at least NY State is going after him and he's not to like it. At all. I'm dying to see what's in his taxes that he fights like a cornered animal to keep it unreleased. I'm betting money that, once US banks wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot-pole, hellooooooo nurse Russian oligarchs!

    If Biden doesn't go after him, all it says is to the GOP "next time, elect someone competent because they won't go after us."

    Last edited by Deputy Cartman on Wed Dec 23, 2020 4:44 pm

    4199 posts | registered
  3. Quote:
    "I hope the president will not veto this bill."

    I don't think he gives a rat's ass what you're hoping for, Mitch.
    2554 posts | registered
  4. msawzall wrote:
    Quote:
    "I hope the president will not veto this bill."

    I don't think he gives a rat's ass what you're hoping for, Mitch.


    Not now that McTurtle's not supporting his attempt at a coup, at least.
    12962 posts | registered
  5. He also, for those keeping track of Clusterfuck 2020, threatened to veto the omnibus spending/COVID relief bill.

    28 days to go. "Ambulatory rage virus" joke goes here.
    3001 posts | registered
  6. Can somebody buy him a jumbo sized pram so he can throw his toys out of it like a proper toddler?
    10377 posts | registered
  7. So we're agreed:
    No more hiring anyone who's gonna "run the country like a business", right?
    25 posts | registered
  8. NDAA also had an anti-money-laundering bit: beneficial ownership must now be declared. May be that was the real target of the veto.
    196 posts | registered
  9. He needs 230 gone so he will not be muzzled in his disinformation "shadow government" he will attempt to run to the enthrall of his cult followers.

    Last edited by duncansil on Wed Dec 23, 2020 4:46 pm

    775 posts | registered
  10. Sad!
    309 posts | registered
  11. He's a flailing orange manchild who, deep down in his withered desiccated husk of a soul, knows that, when he's a private citizen, at least NY State is going after him and he's not to like it. At all. I'm dying to see what's in his taxes that he fights like a cornered animal to keep it unreleased. I'm betting money that, once US banks wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot-pole, hellooooooo nurse Russian oligarchs!

    If Biden doesn't go after him, all it says is to the GOP "next time, elect someone competent because they won't go after us."

    Fake news! Donald Trump does not have a soul. Sad!!!
    4447 posts | registered
  12. dmsilev wrote:
    He also, for those keeping track of Clusterfuck 2020, threatened to veto the omnibus spending/COVID relief bill.

    28 days to go. "Ambulatory rage virus" joke goes here.



    Would that really be such a bad thing with all the extra crap added to it that you know is going to come back and screw people for years in the future?
    3576 posts | registered
  13. "No one has worked harder, or approved more money for the military, than I have" which is why I vetoed their pay today.
    261 posts | registered
  14. When you love The Troops so much you defund them because twitter gave you a sad feels.
    5117 posts | registered
  15. It’s going to get awfully quiet at work if this thing doesn’t pass....
    8508 posts | registered
  16. Quote:
    claiming without evidence that the military "was totally depleted" when he took office in 2017


    I think this phrasing is too generous. "Claiming without evidence" suggests there is a possibility that it is true, simply unproven or without taking the time to present the proof. We know that's not the case. It would be more accurate to say "claiming falsely."
    12273 posts | registered
  17. So.. his position on 230 is that without the shield, companies won't moderate anything? Why would anyone want that? Everywhere on the internet things would devolve to nothing but penises and spam. Nothing he said would ever be heard over all the noise.

    The more obvious result of this repeal would be draconian moderation of EVERYTHING.
    357 posts | registered
  18. cojeep wrote:
    So we're agreed:
    No more hiring anyone who's gonna "run the country like a business", right?


    Big strong orange business daddy will right this ship, tighten our belts, and...

    .

    He's a hate filled shitstain on the underwear of the US and indeed humankind. Thankfully November 2020 made us realize "The elastic is gone... .and ewwwww. Time to dump these."
    4199 posts | registered
  19. Sarty wrote:
    When you love The Troops so much you defund them because twitter gave you a sad feels.

    "Don't blame me! Blame @jack!"
    2554 posts | registered
  20. Quote:
    Second, it grants those same services legal immunity from the decisions they make around content moderation.


    This isn’t wrong exactly, but it gives too much credence to the way crazy people and Trump (but I repeat myself) frame section 230.

    What section 230 does is say you don’t become responsible for everyone’s content if you moderate anyone’s content.

    In the absence of section 230 there still wouldn’t really be liability directly for moderating someone’s content. How would that even work? Twitter deletes Trump’s account and he sues for - what? Twitter doesn’t have any contractual obligations that run to Trump and their TOS says they can delete anyone’s shit. And what would someone’s damages be for having their content moderated? What is the value of a tweet?

    The reason the moderation language is in there, is because in the days of 28.8k baud models, a content provider was held responsible for unmoderated content because they moderated some other content.
    3637 posts | registered
  21. jdale wrote:
    Quote:
    claiming without evidence that the military "was totally depleted" when he took office in 2017


    I think this phrasing is too generous. "Claiming without evidence" suggests there is a possibility that it is true, simply unproven or without taking the time to present the proof. We know that's not the case. It would be more accurate to say "claiming falsely."

    It's OK, you can say Trump is lying. Again.

    He lies so often, I'm not even sure his name is really Donald Trump. Show us your birth certificate!
    4447 posts | registered
  22. Republicans that want to ride the King-Maker's coat tails after Jan 20 need to tread lightly. This is a guy that likes to settle scores for people who appear to have "wronged" him. Surely, there have to be a couple hundred congressmen and about 50 senators pulling their hair out right now. The sad thing is, this turd will be part of public discourse for a long time coming.
    83 posts | registered
  23. When there are huge issues with USA education, civil rights, policing, jobs, environment, health, and various essential infrastructure (bridges, transport), plus a pandemic and associated shutdowns to deal with, is it sensible to be spending nearly a trillion on the military?
    2363 posts | registered
  24. Defunding the military is a cause that I can get behind.
    695 posts | registered
  25. So Cheeto Musolini’s plan is to

    1. Remove online publisher’s immunity from user content. Thereby making them liable for what their users generate.
    2. This is supposed to make them LESS likely to censor their users?
    3. And to get this done, he’s going to hold military spending hostage?

    Obviously only a stable genius would understand the logic here.
    309 posts | registered
  26. Lindsey Graham is such a spineless whore - I've stepped in piles of dog shit that have more spine and integrity that Graham.
    21623 posts | registered
  27. dmsilev wrote:
    He also, for those keeping track of Clusterfuck 2020, threatened to veto the omnibus spending/COVID relief bill.

    28 days to go. "Ambulatory rage virus" joke goes here.


    At least that was for a decent reason, not giving enough aid to individuals, and giving too much aid in pork spending. This is just a tantrum over, "Private companies won't let me lie at will!"
    11981 posts | registered
  28. Make America Great Again. What does that actually mean? Well, fuck the Constitution. Fuck the rule of law. Fuck America. The republican party at the national level have become a terrorist organization. THEY are the biggest existential threat to the United States right now. Not the Muslims. Not BLM. Not the 'gays' or the Mexicans or the Commies. The republican party is dangerous. And they need to be stopped.

    I wonder how long it's going to take them to realize they are doomed to failure as long as Donald Trump is on the streets? I wonder how many of them are going to come forward to the next Attorney General with 'incriminating evidence', just to try and be unburdened by his chronic ineptitude and failure? Because as long as he's out there, the national republican party has no future.
    75 posts | registered
  29. Ushio wrote:
    dmsilev wrote:
    He also, for those keeping track of Clusterfuck 2020, threatened to veto the omnibus spending/COVID relief bill.

    28 days to go. "Ambulatory rage virus" joke goes here.



    Would that really be such a bad thing with all the extra crap added to it that you know is going to come back and screw people for years in the future?


    It sucks, but it really comes down to how bad you need that aid right now.
    11981 posts | registered
  30. It's almost like selling out your entire party's principles and platform to someone that is Chaotic Evil on the very best of days is a bad idea.
    1967 posts | registered
  31. You know what? Completely repeal section 230. See how that works out for you.
    21623 posts | registered
  32. Not sure what this means. I dont think he would do this unless he thought he had twisted enough arms so the veto wouldnt get overridden. But otoh there is no way in hell section 230 gets repealed as he wanted.
    7243 posts | registered
  33. What a snowflake.
    2471 posts | registered
  34. redtomato wrote:
    When there are huge issues with USA education, civil rights, policing, jobs, environment, health, and various essential infrastructure (bridges, transport), plus a pandemic and associated shutdowns to deal with, is it sensible to be spending nearly a trillion on the military?

    Prior to Trump, the military budget was approximately $500B. In 2017, he took advantage of Republican majorities in both chambers to bump the budget up by $250B. Currently, $750B is the new normal.

    Reducing the budget won't happen in the Republican Senate, and the Democrats have a fragile majority in the House. Political realities mean we're going to be spending $750B each year for a long time.
    4447 posts | registered
  35. It's almost like selling out your entire party's principles and platform to someone that is Chaotic Evil on the very best of days is a bad idea.


    I have a preference for plying chaotic monks. I've seen this brand of chaos before. It's called chaotic stupid, and if you play that way in my campaign, that's when Acererak shows up on the back of an ancient black shadow dragon.
    21623 posts | registered
  36. Why not?
    He cut the budget for the cdc just when we needed it.
    He cut the budget for cyber defense just when we needed it.
    Now he cuts the military.
    7243 posts | registered
  37. Zlotnick wrote:
    So Cheeto Musolini’s plan is to

    1. Remove online publisher’s immunity from user content. Thereby making them liable for what their users generate.
    2. This is supposed to make them LESS likely to censor their users?
    3. And to get this done, he’s going to hold military spending hostage?

    Obviously only a stable genius would understand the logic here.


    It doesn't work quite that way

    Prior to the Internet, case law was clear that a liability line was drawn between publishers of content and distributors of content; publishers would be expected to have awareness of material it was publishing and thus should be held liable for any illegal content it published, while distributors would likely not be aware and thus would be immune. This was established in Smith v. California (1959), where the Supreme Court ruled that putting liability on the provider (a book store in this case) would have "a collateral effect of inhibiting the freedom of expression, by making the individual the more reluctant to exercise it."



    Without section 230 giving immunity platforms would have to abandon all moderation, because if they don't moderate at all they can argue they're distributors not publishers.

    See for example the analysis from Legal Eagle back in June, the relevant bit starts around 4:30

    10377 posts | registered
  38. So much for him supporting our military and loving our troops... “nobody has done more for our military than me...”
    Yeah, if you mean fucking them over.
    What a traitorous asshole.
    191 posts | registered
  39. Section 230, however, has nothing to do with military intelligence. At its broadest, the short snippet of law basically does two things. First, it grants Internet service providers, including online platforms, broad immunity from being held legally liable for content third-party users share. Second, it grants those same services legal immunity from the decisions they make around content moderation.

    It's that content moderation bit that Trump really doesn't like. He's been in a protracted feud with Twitter, his platform of choice, since the site first appended a mild fact-checking link to a tweet of his containing election misinformation in May.


    I don't know why he gives a damn considering he's leaving the White House Jan 20, 2021. His comments where marked because he was spreading lies and misinformation. Twitter can exercise its control all its wants since their a private company.
    2497 posts | registered

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