How Facebook Tricked Trumpers Into Supporting Bernie Style Corporate Regulations

You couldn't make this up.

by Bob Cesca

WASHINGTON, DC -- I try not to compliment Facebook too often, but its Oversight Board just hoodwinked the Red Hats into endorsing government regulation of private sector businesses. It’s a classic example of the old Looney Tunes “rabbit-season-duck-season” switcheroo in which Bugs Bunny tricks Daffy Duck into accidentally declaring it to be duck season, followed immediately by Elmer Fudd blasting Daffy’s beak clean off his face.

You probably recall how Facebook suspended Donald Trump’s account shortly after the January 6 insurrection in which hundreds of Trump’s fanboys violently invaded and occupied the Capitol Building, effectively shutting down the Article I powers and scaring the hell out of members of both chambers, including then-Vice President Mike Pence who was forced to flee for his life. The assumption at the time was that the suspension would be permanent, not unlike actions taken by Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and others -- hell, even Pinterest banned Trump and no one’s even on Pinterest.

However, word circulated Tuesday afternoon that Facebook’s Oversight Board would likely reinstate Trump’s account: a move that would’ve been entirely predictable for the social media colossus -- an all-powerful platform that continues to circulate far-right disinformation, while suspending regular people for nonsensical reasons. 

For example, podcaster Kimberley Johnson’s profile was permanently deleted a few years ago because she -- gasp! -- shared links on both her profile and the several pages she managed. Years of cultivating friends, posts, and countless photographs were disappeared overnight with the flick of a switch. TV’s Frank Coniff, from Mystery Science Theater 3000, was suspended for 30 days due to a post in which he “wondered what a Martin Scorsese version of The Music Man would be like.” With posts like that, how can democracy endure?

But the Tuesday rumors turned out to be wrong because by Wednesday morning, the Oversight Board shocked the world by doing the right thing for a change, announcing that Trump would remain banned from the platform. Naturally, Facebook can’t do anything to conservatives that’s definitive or permanent so the Oversight Board added: “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.” This, of course, means Trump could be reinstated at any time, possibly when and if Facebook reviews the matter “within six months,” according to the board.

Nevertheless, when they heard the news (likely read aloud to them), the Red Hats lost whatever remained of their shpadoinkle. This is where the rabbit-season-duck-season gambit was sprung. They were so aggrieved by Facebook’s decision that many of the loudest and screwiest of the cult announced to the world that, in a massive flip-flop, they now support government regulation of corporations.

Stephen Miller:

Today’s egregious decision from the Facebook Oversight Board is a threat to Democracy itself. Big tech must be broken up & regulated as public utilities.

Rep. Jim Jordan:

Break them up. 

Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows:

It’s a sad day for Facebook because I can tell you a number of members of Congress are now looking at do they break up Facebook, do they make sure that they don’t have a monopoly.

Charlie Kirk:

The US Supreme Court should overturn the Facebook’s “Oversight Board’s” “ruling” which upholds the outlawing of the 45th President of the United States from social media. This is a big tech, corporate oligarchy without standing and it’s gone too far. Enough is enough.

Horrendous grammar aside, “corporate oligarchy?” Hello, liberal talking point. But suddenly Charlie Kirk, a baby-toothed weirdo who spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention, is parroting something Bernie Sanders has been shouting about for decades. These Republican Party bro-libertarians who for years have treated government regulations almost as badly as they treat people of color are now all about the ultimate regulation: forcibly subdividing corporations into smaller, distinct entities. Next they’ll be saying corporations shouldn’t speak out about politics. Oh wait, they already did that.

Mark Meadows, meanwhile, thinks the congressional Republicans will support the government regulation of Facebook. Perhaps while the GOP caucus is working on this, we can talk about regulating -- or to use another word: canceling -- other “corporate oligarchies,” as Charlie Kirk called them. We can start with NewsCorp, Sinclair Broadcasting, iHeartMedia, the Trump Organization, and whatever it is that Peter Thiel owns, too.

But, sadly, they have no intention of doing any of that. They’re only interested in regulating whoever’s being mean to Trump and his disciples. It’s more about bending the world to their madness than actually doing something about corporate crimes and monopolies. So, fear not, mining companies that freely dump toxic slurry into rivers and streams, thanks to Donald Trump’s four year deregulatory regime -- the Red Hat Republicans don’t care about regulating anything that actually impacts life and death, the air we breathe or the water we drink. And they’ll never, ever support new regulations on gun manufacturers or corporate political donations.

Maybe the Democrats should call their bluff, though. Get Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, and Kevin McCarthy together and propose an across the board series of regulations from social media to polluters to the food industry to gun retailers and all points in-between, then see if they’re still feeling all Big-Governmenty about breaking up the “corporate oligarchs.”

Bet they won’t.

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There Is A New Covid-19 Crisis That Threatens The Entire World

India is on the verge of collapse and if America doesn't intervene we could all go down with them.

A mass funerals for Covid-19 victims at a makeshift cremation ground in New Delhi, India. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Idrees Mohammed)

by Justin Rosario

India is staring down the barrel of the worst case scenario virologists warned us about over a year ago. That’s where the disease runs rampant, completely out of control, and things start to break down. People panic, systems collapse, and bodies start piling up in the streets.

For a while, it looked like that’s what was going to happen here in the United States and, if Trump had managed to steal the election, it might have. The danger is that if we don’t help India get its outbreak under control, it still might. 

What’s Happening In India

While the United States is possibly fighting off its fourth wave, India is in the middle of its second wave. Or it could be just at the beginning, which is a terrifying thought considering they’re now recording well over 350,000 new infections and 3500 deaths a day. Both of those numbers are almost certainly much higher than India’s inadequate healthcare system can keep track of.

By way of comparison, our peak worst day for infections was just shy of 300,000 and almost 5500 dead a few weeks later. There is nothing to suggest the trajectory of India’s infection curve will change and every reason to believe it’s just getting started.

It’s not entirely clear why the subcontinent is being slammed so hard after a very successful campaign to suppress Covid but there are some theories according to Vox:

The puzzle pieces include a decline in cases early in the year and the promise of the vaccination campaign, both of which may have given the public and even officials a false sense of security. On top of that, there’s been a general fatigue with Covid-19 restrictions, which felt particularly burdensome when cases were on the downswing.

People started getting lax about things such as mask-wearing and social distancing. Many started to resume something like normal life, attending weddings and other celebrations.

“There was a sense of relaxation in both public policymakers as well as the general public, and there was a noticeable decline in Covid-appropriate behavior,” Chandrakant Lahariya, a public policy and health systems expert in Delhi, told me.

Combined with massive religious festivals, large, crowded political rallies, and leaders who are apparently scoffing at wearing masks à la Trump, you have all the ingredients for a disaster that did not need to happen. 

If you were not aware of it (I was not), India is the largest manufacturer of vaccines in the world. They are producing Covid doses in the hundreds of millions. You would think they would be able to supply their own prodigious population with enough shots while meeting the supply orders coming in. They have not been able to do this:

But India’s own rollout has been sluggish, and as Mukherjee said, India really missed its window of opportunity to speed up vaccinations when case counts were low earlier this year. Just over 120 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far. It sounds like a lot, until you consider that the country set the ambitious goal of vaccinating 330 million people by summer. Only about 1 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

It continues to be a source of great stress and confusion for me that the United States started off with one of the worst outbreaks in the world and certainly the most incompetent leadership but has managed to become one of the superstars in inoculation in less than 100 days. Rah rah “American exceptionalism” and all that, but what the hell has Europe been doing this whole time? Why are they lagging? India has the infrastructure for mass vaccinations so what were they waiting for?

Instead, much of Europe has enacted a new wave of lockdowns and India is weeks away from an unstoppable catastrophe. What’s happening in India specifically, though, is a giant red flag and if you’re not paying attention, you should. It’s the water being pulled out of the bay before a tidal wave hits. 

Why You Should Care

Put aside basic human decency and compassion. From a strictly selfish point of view, we need to do something about India right goddamn now. 

No, this is not an immigration thing. I’m not expecting a wave of people fleeing Southeast Asia, although if we really let India collapse, that might still happen. I’ll circle back to that. The problem is Covid itself….

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