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Trump Admin Moves to Boot GOP FCC Commissioner Who Hinted Its Social Media Order Is ‘Gibberish’

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The White House has yanked its nomination to give GOP Federal Communications Commissioner Mike O’Rielly another term at the agency, offering no explanation as to why.

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O’Rielly is one of the three Republicans on the FCC’s five-member commission, having held the role since 2013, and has usually been a reliable backer of conservative policy priorities like the elimination of net neutrality rules and deregulation. He’s currently in his second term, which ends by January 2021 if he isn’t reconfirmed, whether or not a replacement is ready. According to Bloomberg, a notice sent to the Senate—which votes on nominees to the FCC commission—on Monday retracted his name. The White House provided no further information.

Of the likely reasons to withdraw Rielly’s nomination, one is that Senator James Inhofe placed it under an indefinite hold at the end of July over the FCC commission’s unanimous vote to approve a Ligado Network plan to build a low-power, nationwide mobile broadband network in the L-band spectrum. That vote drew significant backlash, including from the U.S. military and major airlines, over fears that Ligado’s network could interfere with Global Positioning System receivers using adjacent parts of the L-band spectrum. It was also reportedly contentious within Donald Trump’s administration. As TechDirt’s Mike Masnick noted, however, all five commissioners voted in favor of approving the Ligado proposal, so it’s not clear why O’Rielly would be specifically made an example out of beyond convenience.

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Another simpler, more migraine-triggering reason, though, might be that the White House thinks O’Rielly is standing in the way of its effort to have the FCC investigate and punish tech companies for alleged discrimination against conservatives. In late May, Trump issued an executive order that would direct the FCC to look into claims tech companies are secretly plotting to deplatform and censor right-wingers—a conspiracy theory that has become one of his administration’s major talking points—and threaten those companies with the loss of key Section 230 liability protections.

Experts told Gizmodo the order is a slipshod legal mess that dramatically overstates the FCC’s legal authority and is likely totally unenforceable, and it would also undermine Section 230, the part of the Communications Decency Act which allows companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to host user-generated content without being sued into oblivion over every libelous post or moderation decision. Yet at least one commissioner, rabidly pro-Trump Brendan Carr, is on board with the order, while GOP chairman Ajit Pai has declined to lean one way or the other. O’Rielly has conversely voiced his opposition. He said in mid-June that he had “deep reservations” about the order and more openly alluded to “purveyors of First Amendment gibberish” in a speech in late July.

Per Reuters:

O’Rielly made comments last week that drew attention of some White House and industry officials. He said “the First Amendment protects us from limits on speech imposed by the government—not private actors—and we should all reject demands, in the name of the First Amendment, for private actors to curate or publish speech in a certain way.”

He added that “like it or not, the First Amendment’s protections apply to corporate entities, especially when they engage in editorial decision making. It is time to stop allowing purveyors of First Amendment gibberish to claim they support more speech, when their actions make clear that they would actually curtail it through government action.”

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The FCC is nominally independent from the White House, but that’s the kind of talk that this administration gets real angry about. More evidence for the Section 230 order explanation comes by way of former FCC official Gigi Sohn, Bloomberg wrote, who tweeted that O’Rielly “stuck to his principles even as it may have cost him another term as Commissioner.” Space News’ sources also characterized the withdrawal as due to O’Rielly’s stance on the order.

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On the other hand, it’s not clear that the Senate will move to approve another nominee anytime soon, and the move could easily backfire. If O’Rielly decides to bounce, that might leave the FCC commission at a deadlock between Pai and Carr on the GOP side and Democratic commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks on the other. Even if the White House manages to install a more pliable nominee, that doesn’t address any of the gaping legal flaws in the executive order.

The FCC didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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