back to article Have no idea WTF is going on with the Oracle-Walmart TikTok deal? Don’t sweat it, here’s our latest rundown

Each day for the past six days, the sale of the US wing of the video-sharing app TikTok has been alternatively approved and not approved, each time with a wave of announcements, tweets, press releases and 24-hour news coverage. It has been extremely confusing. And so, in an effort to help you ride the wave of information, here …

  1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Joke

    Such a biased article

    How dare The Register accurately report on and incisively analyze the behavior of the American President*! I shall be canceling my subscription forthwith and taking my readership to an outlet which does not in any way challenge my beliefs!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TikTok won't be banned, like Wechat, worst case it gets challenged in court and Trump's ban get declared unconstitutional, and stood aside.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's really lucky then that 5 years ago, Republicans invented a rule that says a US president can not seat a new justice to the US supreme court during his or her last year in office. Otherwise, who knows what could be decided to be constitutional or not?

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Yes, but 4 years ago the Democrats insisted that the nomination go forward. Now its 4 years later and the Republicans are galloping forward with the nomination, and the Democrats are saying "softly, softly".

        It's all about momentary political advantage and expediency for both parties. Actual principles are in short supply on both sides.

        1. steviebuk Silver badge

          Yes but the republicans could take the high ground and say they aren't going to do it like they said in 2016 but they aren't and attempting to go ahead

        2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Yes, the dems did say, in 2016, that the nomination should go forward. But McConnell, Grassley, Graham and others invented a brand new rule that said that it shouldn't. As they had the majority, it didn't.

          But this current chapter started in 2005 when the issue of filibustering judicial nominees became a problem (largely because the R's had blocked most of Clinton's federal appointments in the last 6 years of his presidency). A bipartisan agreement was reached that limited filibusters to only the most contentious nominees, and all was kinda OK until 2013, when the D's changed the rules to eliminate (as opposed to limit) filibusters for all but Supreme Court nominees, and then in 2017 the R's changed the rules to eliminate filibusters even for them (to get Gorsuch in).

          Fast forward 3 years, and the dems are now saying that, as the brand new rule invented by McConnell/Grassley/Graham/Etc said that nominations in an election year shouldn't go forward, McConnel/Grassley/Graham/Etc should stick to their own rule. But wait, claim the McConnel/Grassley/Graham/Etc cabal: the new rule had a secret codicil: it only applied when the president and the senate majority are of different parties; the "advise and consent" bit of the Constitution really means "rubber stamp or block".

          So the problem isn't the substance of the "rules", but the fact that the Senate has become less collaborative and more partisan, so they act on short term gain rather than long term good. Once they had shifted into this mode, _someone_ was going to rewrite the rules to suit their objectives, and while the D's rewrote the rules first, the R's have run with the idea.

          The snag is that if rewriting the rules is de rigeur, the rules will get rewritten, and someone might opine that as we have 12 judicial circuits plus the Federal circuit, making a total of 13, we should probably have 13 Supreme Court justices... and the rules can be changed at will....

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "The result has been a circus"

    Oh, so just like the last four years then.

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    The result has been a circus.

    What else can you expect when the Ringmaster is wearing a red nose?

  5. Brad Ackerman
    Alert

    Do not fall into the trap of anthropomorphizing Larry Ellison.

    1. Scott 26

      he really hates that

  6. six_tymes

    the only one confused is this "Analyst." apparently you haven't a clue as to what some Chinese were doing with tiktok usage data.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Have you? AFAICS the only thing thing that mattered was what they weren't doing - telling Trump who rained on his parade.

    2. DaveEdi
      Holmes

      And you do?

      Evidence please (you know, actual evidence and not the rantings of the Orange One).

    3. idiottaxpayerhere previously ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

      @six_tymes

      As you obviously seem to know just what the Chinese are doing with the data, please enlighten me.

      Thank you,

      Cheers… Ishy

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oracle and Walmart, doesn’t get any hipper than that, kids! Maybe Larry will show you his Jazz LP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Be careful with the kids, Larry has an island too

  8. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    1984 was not the only instruction manual

    The other was HHGTTG. This TikTok sale has been 100% successful at drawing attention away from where voters must not be allowed to look.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: 1984 was not the only instruction manual

      Not necessarily: it's not something that you can keep in the news all the time, especially if rates (doesn't really matter which ones) are falling.

      Trump just likes to appear powerful and decisive and will try pretty much any stunt to do so.

      Some known near-term risks for his campaign:

      • the economy, especially unemployment
      • hurricane season
      • increasing death rates amongst "snow birds" in Florida
      • court ordering his tax returns be made public

      He's probably got as much out of the TikTok thing as he can and, lucky for him, a Supreme Court judge died on Friday so he gets an opportunity to pander to religious extremists.

      1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        Re: 1984 was not the only instruction manual

        Just FYI, there is no chance that a court will order his tax returns to be made public before the election. In fact, there is no chance that they will ever do that (as it's illegal). What might have happened (but won't, now) is that a court might order the IRS to turn them over to Congress (as the law explicitly requires, but Mnuchin is defying on some specious grounds that are not part of any statute) and Congress might leak them.

        The most likely development in Trump tax shenanigans is for his accountants to turn over his tax returns to the New York Grand Jury, but public disclosure from that is very unlikely.

        The more likely outcome of his tax returns finally reaching the NY Grand Jury is a criminal prosecution for tax fraud. But it's very unlike that that will happen before the election (unless the tax returns include documents like "Cash fraudulently hidden from tax authorities", but even so, the wheels of justice turn slowly).

        And no, Trump cannot pardon himself from New York State criminal charges...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1984 was not the only instruction manual

      How's the other quote go? Something like "under absolutely no circumstances should anyone capable of being elected president actually be allowed to do the job"

  9. Lorribot Bronze badge

    Muppetry

    Just trying to work out which one of the muppets Trump is most like.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Muppetry

      I'm more concerned about who exactly has their hand up his arse.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Muppetry

      How dare you insult Muppets like that!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Muppetry

      Combo of lots of them:

      * the overwrought patriotism of Sam Eagle

      * the vocabulary of Animal, the drummer

      * the coordination of Grover

      * the intellect of Fozzie Bear

      * the reverence to cultural norms of Statler and Waldorf

      * the common sense of Gonzo

      * the ethics of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew

      * the courage of Beaker

      * the intelligibility of the Sweedish Chef

      * the physique and ego of Mrs. Piggy

  10. GreyHairedGeezer
    Facepalm

    Obviously

    Since the debacle of the Tulsa rally, caused partially by TikTok users - not the company - the orange one thinks it's the company's fault. And that act of lèse majesté will be avenged. Regardless of all the yes/no dithering, he WILL close down TikTok in the end. His mate Larry (and Walmart) will be collateral damage.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Obviously

      Since the debacle of the Tulsa rally, caused partially by TikTok users

      I doubt registering to supposedly 'reserve tickets so those who wanted to attend couldn't get them' had minimal effect seeing as there were no tickets, no such reservations, which could lock anyone out.

      It is more likely that Trump's own campaign manager - hyping it that huge numbers, greater than capacity, had already registered - had people not bothering to register or attend.

      The one with the invite to the "Over-booked Day of Solitude festival" in the pocket.

      1. Sam not the Viking

        Re: Obviously

        Can't wait to see what happens with booking at the next 'rally'. It's quite possible that half the planet will be wanting tickets.......

      2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

        Re: Obviously

        "It is more likely that Trump's own campaign manager - hyping it that huge numbers, greater than capacity, had already registered - had people not bothering to register or attend."

        Probably not; although nutjob Trump's officials more or less completely fabricated the levels of interest and attendance at previous rallys; video doesn't lie, they had nowhere near the attendance they were falsely claiming but were still alarmingly well attended.

        Don't get me wrong, the TikTok'ers (or whatever they're called) getting 1million+ tickets certainly didn't help, but I doubt it was responsible for the very low attendance.

        The reality is Tulsa is over 400 miles from Chicago ("as the bird flys", more like 600+ miles by highway..) and 1000+ miles from the east or west coast. Due to poor Coronavirus response here, travelling is still a significant risk -- there's the risk of catching Coronavirus, as well as risk of being thrown into 14 day quarantine at one end or the other... or I suppose when driving even being thrown in somewhere midway. Plus risk of catching Coronavirus at the rally (which a bunch of them did). And, if you are one of those idiot anti-maskers (which many nutjob Trump supporters are), there's the requirement to wear a mask on the airplane, which would be enough to deter a lot of these people from travelling.

        Finally, although nutjob Trump still has far more supporters than he should, there's plenty of former supporters who either finally realized he's a lunatic, got burned on some specific campaign promise he didn't follow through on, or got troubled by the extremely poor response to coronavirus; since there's only 2 main parties in the US (they've kept 3rd parties here almost entirely suppressed unlike in a lot of countries...) a lot voted for nutjob Trump just because he was their parties candidate, and are planning to suck it up and vote against their party this year.

  11. LDS Silver badge

    "ByteDance/TikTok could be required to hand over that information to the Chinese government"

    Does China have a CLOUD Act too?

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    What checks and balances exist on executive orders? What limits?

    1. cray74

      What checks and balances exist on executive orders? What limits?

      In an ideal world where the US government is working correctly, US executive orders are limited by the Constitutional powers of the Presidency. That is, the President doesn't write laws, doesn't set taxes, and doesn't set budgets because those are powers reserved for Congress. Accordingly, executive orders cannot create new laws and taxes, and can't change budgets issued by Congress (with caveats - a vague budget for a federal department gives a President a lot of leeway).

      Further, executive orders are subject to judicial review just like Congressional laws. The Supreme Court can invalidate an executive order just like it can declare a new law to be unconstitutional.

      The US President is basically a chief executive for the US federal government's bureaucracy. Presidents' job is to execute the laws and budgets set by Congress. Executive orders are thus directives from the boss to employees in the federal bureaucracies and must fit within existing laws and budgets.

      To put it another way, executive orders should try to clarify or help implement laws, not make laws.

      Some example executive orders:

      George Washington cut the first executive order and it was a 1789 directive to heads of bureaucratic departments to (in so many words) "Tell me what's happening in your department." With that order, executive departments got a new rule to start keeping their boss informed of events. It seems like a fairly obvious order but apparently the new federal government was a bit haphazard and didn't have any prior written requirements for the new departments to tell their boss what they were doing.

      President Lincoln's "Executive Order Establishing a Provisional Court in Louisiana" (1862) would normally have been completely outside a President's powers since the judicial branch handles the courts. However, Louisiana was in rebellion, had been captured by federal troops, and was under martial law. Presidents being the head of the US military, it was within Lincoln's wartime powers to set up courts to restore order in Louisiana. These courts ended when Louisiana returned to civil administration.

      One of the most famous executive orders came from Lincoln and was again applied to rebellious states only: the Emancipation Proclamation. The constitutionality of freeing slaves elsewhere might've prompted a serious court fight over an executive order or even a Congressional law, hence the US eventually had to amend the Constitution to eliminate slavery.

      On the other hand, Harry Truman's Executive Order 10340 attempted to federalize all US steel mills ahead of a disastrous strike and was slapped down by the Supreme Court. The reason for the decision was that this executive order attempted to make law, which is a power reserved to Congress, rather than to "clarify or further a law put forth by Congress."

      Since that 1952 defeat, executive orders have been written to carefully cite laws or fundamental Presidential powers in the Constitution that allow the orders to work.

      Clear as mud? :)

      I'm not sure what existing laws give the President authority to shutdown specific websites, so I can't comment on the TikTok matter.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The reason given was that TikTok, as a Chinese product, could be backdoored and silently accessed by Beijing on millions of devices, and the President wanted all that American data kept on American soil and out of the hands of the Middle Kingdom.

    .. and in the hands of the US global spy company known as Google...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You've got it all wrong.....

    It's not that the Chinese have backdoors into the data, it's that the US DON'T

    Anon. because I've got a feeling somebody's watching me.... And I got no privacy....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You've got it all wrong.....

      Haha, you think you're anon!

  15. fishman

    Just like Putin, Trump is trying to enrich his buddies.

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