Trump signs the pork-laden spending and covid-19 bill. Maybe a vote to come on more money and section 230.

Pork

By Robert Willmann

President Trump has signed the estimated $2.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.  Its 5,593 double-spaced pages are stuffed with pork to grease domestic and foreign hands in order to get it passed for the piddling $600 for some people in the U.S., and possibly more for some illegal immigrants.  Referred to as House Resolution 133, the copy still sits at the House Committee on Rules.  Divided up into Divisions A-FF, it may be the longest law ever passed by Congress.  Divisions 'M' and 'N' are for "corona virus response and relief"–

https://rules.house.gov/sites/democrats.rules.house.gov/files/BILLS-116HR133SA-RCP-116-68.pdf

Trump is signing H.R. 133 in exchange for promises, instead of getting the promises passed by Congress first, and then signing all the bills at once.  But this was probably done because the government would run out of other people's money on Monday night, 28 December, and some sort of partial government shutdown would then happen [1]. 

When the Internet was getting underway for the general public with slow dialup connections over a telephone line using a modem, some computer technology companies planned for the future and got Congress — under the name of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 — to give them legal liability protection like a common carrier and almost as good as a telephone company.  If someone uses a telephone to slander and defame someone, or to plan or carry out crime, the telephone company cannot be sued in a civil lawsuit, nor can it be charged with a crime as a party or co-conspirator, including for such things as robbery and murder.  It is a "common carrier", and acts as a neutral carrier of communications between people, although a phone company does have to abide by laws concerning such things as wiretapping.  The phone companies used to keep your call records private (the "subscriber information"), unless a court order was obtained.  However, after the George W. Bush administration started the illegal domestic surveillance program, it also secretly got the phone companies (except for Qwest) to agree to hand over your calling information in clear violation of the law restricting disclosure without a court order.  Lawsuits were filed because a phone company was liable for $1,000 for each disclosure.  With millions of customers, that added up to billions of dollars, but Congress kneeled down and gave the phone companies retroactive immunity for their misconduct.  Then section 215 of the USA Patriot Act amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow easier collection of call-detail records, and the FISA court, operating in secret, was told by the government that everybody's phone metadata was "relevant", and the "judges" went along with it.  This misuse of the statute became well known to the public in 2013.  But the computer tech companies quietly got their own protection starting in 1996 [2].

Sections 230(c) and (e)(3) are the big ones, as 230(c)(1) prevents the tech companies from being sued for libel, slander, and defamation, since they would not be legally considered to be a "publisher or speaker of any information".  Section 230(c)(2) lets them restrict access to material that they consider to be "… harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected".  This is the language they are likely hiding behind now while engaging in blatant censorship of protected speech, including core political speech. 

Section 230(e)(3) seeks to use the "preemption doctrine" that some federal laws can override state laws, in order to protect the Internet tech companies from state laws that are "inconsistent" with section 230.

But the tech companies are not protected by section 230 from criminal laws and others having to do with sex trafficking and communications privacy, and the section does not expand or limit "intellectual property" law. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Repub. Kentucky) has stabbed Trump in the back about voting fraud in the election by calling his former colleague Joe Biden the president-elect, and by trying to prevent any senator from objecting on 6 January 2021 about the effect of voting fraud on the Electoral College.  Now Congress has gotten its massive appropriations bill for this fiscal year signed.

Trump may otherwise be engaging in wishful thinking, except for maybe an increased single payment from $600 to $2,000 for many people barely able to tread water financially.  In the meantime, employees of the local, state, and federal governments have continued to get paid since March 2020.

[1]  The announcements on signing the new law, and reasons given by Trump.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/bill-announcement-122720/

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-from-the-president-122720/

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/letter-president-speaker-house-representatives-president-senate-122720/

Update:  The bill is now on the main Internet website for Congress, and has single-spaced printing that totals 2,124 pages.

https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr133/BILLS-116hr133enr.pdf

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/133/all-info

[2]  Title 47, U.S. Code, section 230.  Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material.

https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-prelim-title47-section230&num=0&edition=prelim

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

 

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12 Responses to Trump signs the pork-laden spending and covid-19 bill. Maybe a vote to come on more money and section 230.

  1. Deap says:

    Story requires the companion piece about the Impoundment Act Trump is also invoking – 45 day moratorium on funding and ability to redline out the pork.
    Which unfortunately now means Porkulus in its final form will get handed off to Biden, but which fortunately also means Biden gets to put his name on this POS when he cancels out Trump’s redlining protections.
    At least the Porkulus public record now includes Congressional “promises” to investigate election fraud and the 230 protections. Wink, wink, wink.
    Art of the deal. Best Trump could get when the deep state walls are rapdily closing in. At least he did not sign it outright or risk a veto to get something even worse.
    In 2021, I hope everyone rethinks the importance their own your own local school boards and start to remake America from the ground up. Just like the Democrats did starting in the 1960s to get to where they are today.
    Past decades of Democrat pay off starting in K-12 created a younger, heavily indoctrinated generation of anti-military American – Democrats in collusion with the teachers unions truly did rot this country from within:
    ………..”As you know, 71 percent of young Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are currently ineligible for military service, primarily because they are too poorly educated, too overweight, or have a history of crime or substance abuse,” the leaders wrote. The leaders belong to a group called Mission: Readiness, a nearly 800-member coalition of retired generals and admirals……..

  2. blue peacock says:

    I had a bet with a good friend of mine who is an avid believer that Trump is a 64D chess player. He was gaga over Trump’s speech that went viral and he told me with great certainty that Trump was going to take it to the Beltway Bandits. I told him that Trump would fold like a cheap suit just as he has pretty much over any issue important to the Swamp. My buddy has bet me a bottle of craft American rye. Any suggestions?

  3. Steven Ogle says:

    Its like a perfect storm. There will be no more money or help from the Federal Government. You are on your own. They have pretty much told us this(actions)since the lock downs started. Will be interesting to see what’s still standing at the end of 2021. I hope our local and state leaders have a plan because they are going to be trapped in the middle of it.

  4. JohninMK says:

    At this stage he probably had no choice, especially given the support the bill had, as it was veto proof.
    If he had kept stalling the MSM etc would have turned on him, blaming him in a big campaign for the lack of payments to his supporters.

  5. turcopolier says:

    JohninMK
    What Trump has cleverly done is make the Democrats responsible for the $600 and not he.

  6. Fred says:

    “….except for maybe an increased single payment from $600 to $2,000 for many people barely able to tread water financially. In the meantime, employees of the local, state, and federal governments have continued to get paid since March 2020.”
    Robert,
    The need for payments is that state and local governments are destroying financial independence with declarations of non-essentialness under the guise of the China virus danger, currently day 289. In additon to government employees those employed by multinational corporations are also not missing a check as they are ‘essential’.
    In the Swamp the Uniparty has rejoiced in their great victory over the Deplorables in the rigged election against Trump. Now the Pork is unleashed again. There is some micrsopic hope that Pence might decide just which of the electors from states which sent two sets to be recorded he’s going to count. We’ll see.
    On a bright note BLM and Antifa have apparently ceased to exist. I wonder why. Oh, and the FBI, which still doesn’t have any clue about that Las Vegas shooting that left 58 dead has ‘solved’ the Nashville car bombing case, with the suspect conveniently dead (so we are told). The narrative on that one is still being crafted.

  7. Lesly says:

    I hope the lobbyists, both foreign and domestic, got their money’s worth because the American laborer sure as hell won’t.
    How much time did Congress have to read the bill after the lobbyists were done, maybe a few hours? Same as usual?
    Who the hell knows what is in this bill like many others.

  8. TV says:

    Waiting for the FBI (Famous But Incompetent) to “find” a red MAGA hat in the blown up RV in Nashville.
    Oh wait, they’re too busy covering up their attempted coup and still looking for the “noose” in the NASCAR garage.

  9. Barbara Ann says:

    Mr Willmann
    You are quite correct to focus on the “Good Samaritan” clause 230(c)(2). In full it reads thus:

    (2) Civil liability
    No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of-
    (A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or
    (B) any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1)

    The wording may have been suitable in 1996, but today it is farcical. It allows the handful of private social media companies which handle 99% of 21st century electronic interpersonal communication 1) to define “otherwise objectionable” as they see fit and then 2) puts the burden of proof for allegations of censorship on us to evidence an absence of “good faith”.
    If Congress was really interested in protecting 1A rights it would replace s230 immediately. But the political establishment and the MSM are well served by this censorship outsourcing arrangement. Just look at the enormous pressure put on FB, Twitter etc to suppress narratives inconsistent with Russiagate and now to pretend widespread election fraud never happened.
    Trump is absolutely right to focus on this issue, but I am highly skeptical that the incoming Congress will show any more inclination to repeal s230 than previous ones. The route to fixing this (and much else) is people power; a campaign of lobbying by voters of their elected representatives. Section 230 is an object lesson in how cherished freedoms not constantly fought for and won from the state Leviathan will sooner or later be taken away by it.

  10. vig says:

    Who the hell knows what is in this bill like many others.
    Posted by: Lesly | 28 December 2020 at 09:34 AM

    all you need to know is that Trump has the ability to penentrate and grasp those 5,593 double-spaced pages and their meaning, as Col. Lang suggested.

  11. jerseycityjoan says:

    Fred,
    Black Lives Matter and Antifa are not gone.
    I checked the BLM website. They seem to have deleted their local chapters which were shockingly few when I first looked it up last summer. I believe they also deleted their support for Marxism.
    Antifa has been a real frustration for people like me who want to know who they are, who is funding them and what they want.
    The winter is not a good time for outdoor protest. But I believe both groups are still out there planning and will be back in the spring.

  12. Deap says:

    Perhaps past is prologue. Anyone wondering about the funding sources for Antifa, may obtain insights about those who came together to fund Occupy Wall Street. This was explored the Andrew Breitbart documentary “Occupy Unmasked”.
    Should one assume our crack FBI has already infiltrated this movement and already has these answers, but for reasons unknown is still sitting on them like they sat on the Hunter Biden material?
    The halt in air travel must have put a crimp in their national movement of bodies and organizers.

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