It’s February 2023.
Democrats, who controlled the House, Senate, and White House for two years, are looking back at their 2022 legislative wins and wondering if they were really wins. For example, that big bipartisan antitrust tech bill that Democrats thought would change the world? Well, it did – but not in a good way.
The bill was supposed to rein in the four big tech giants of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon to level the playing field and allow more competition. And that’s exactly what would have occurred – had the Dems not capitulated to Ted Cruz and his gaggle of GOP seditionists. Cancun Ted, Josh “I’ll block every appointment until the Secretary of Defense resigns” Hawley, and alleged Venmo child predator Matt Gaetz (along with other traitors to democracy) held the bill hostage unless a provision was inserted.
And what was that little addition that tilted things so markedly? Just that GOP AGs would be encouraged to sue big tech if they deplatformed anyone, creating an open invitation for purveyors of disinformation, hate speech, and targeted harassment.
Nice work, Dems! You brought a chewed-up pencil stub to a gunfight. You got annihilated in the midterms. The House and Senate now belong to the Republicans, who have (naturally) increased their majorities in state legislatures, attorneys general, and governor residencies.
As Senate Majority Leader Hawley gets his fascist fist massaged, let’s take a look at some highlights of the residual damage this poison-pill provision produced.
- Donald Trump no longer has to post on Truth Social because the twice-impeached, Ukrainian-weapons-denying leader of the insurrection that killed five and wounded hundreds is once again ubiquitous on every platform. Elon Musk, who officially took control of Twitter in 2022, formally invited Trump back on June 14, 2022 – the Donald’s 76th birthday. A day after the antitrust bill became law, Meta reinstated Trump on Facebook and Instagram. An initial attempt to block Trump from spreading misinformation was dropped after 23 GOP attorneys general threatened to use the courts to “castrate” Meta if it didn’t reinstate Trump’s Facebook post claiming the 36 boxes of documents he had removed from the White House were “Love Letters from Kim John (sic) Oon (sic).” (Sick.)
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton refiled Devin Nunes’s lawsuit against a cow on Twitter, and a Trump-appointed judge awarded Nunes $126.5 million in damages.
- Steve Bannon and Alex Jones teamed up for another “Covid-cure” to peddle – a silvery cream that you rub on the inside of your eyelids. Because of this new draconian anything goes rule — despite zero scientific evidence plus a rash of blinding people — their deceptive business practices can not only continue in perpetuity, but anyone complaining about minor inconveniences like “No longer being able to see” or “Ow! My eyes f*%$ing burn!” will promptly be sued by six different GOP AGs.
- Prager U – now the first and second most popular YouTube channel – offers courses on Pandering for Political Gain and How I Learned to Love Hate Speech.
- The U.S.-based Putin fanboy who created a bot that spreads disinformation on behalf of Putin was awarded $173.6 million from Meta after Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry sued to block Facebook’s attempt to silence it.
- A new social media app, DOXX, requires that you disclose someone’s address and issue a slightly veiled death threat to a random stranger you disagree with at least once a week.
But, of course, nothing like this could happen, right? It’s not as if prominent conservative outlets are calling for Trump’s return to social media. Or a Member of Congress claimed January 6 was a “peaceful protest.” And, as you know, Republicans are pivoting away from divisive showboat candidates.
Because when the price to pay is this high, free speech isn’t free. Without boundaries, it’s just a highway to hell. And those who defend decency and oppose disinformation will be labeled crisis actors, doxxed, and be threatened and harassed.
Photo credit: Wikipedia