Tuesday Reads: Tales of Three PsychopathsPosted: March 7, 2023 Filed under: Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Fox News, just because, psychology, Psychopaths in charge | Tags: API, Haraldur Thorleifsson, Tucker Carlson, Twitter 13 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!!
I’ve been reading news for the past few hours, and I’m feeling a sense of unreality–not quite depersonalization, but something similar. Will this country ever return to something resembling sanity? I’m beginning to doubt it. I opened Twitter today to see Elon Musk mocking and defaming a disabled Twitter employee who had been locked out but could not get anyone in the company to tell him whether he had been laid off or fired, and if so, when he would be paid what he was owed.
Gizmodo: Elon Musk Laughs at Twitter Worker Who Asked If He Still Had a Job.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk sank to a new low on Monday night when he laughed at employee Haraldur Thorleifsson, who tweeted at him to ask whether he had been affected by the company’s recent layoffs. Throughout the course of their conversation on Twitter, Thorleifsson confirmed the worst: His days at Twitter were over.
Thorleifsson, founder of Ueno, a digital agency acquired by Twitter in 2021, found himself caught in a Musk-produced chaos a little more than a week ago, when he suddenly lost access to his work computer. The Ueno founder stated that he asked Twitter’s human resources department whether he still had a job but was told they didn’t know. After emailing Musk himself to no avail, Thorleifsson decided to do the next best thing. He tweeted at the Twitter CEO.
“Dear @elonmusk 👋 9 days ago the access to my work computer was cut, along with about 200 other Twitter employees,” Thorleifsson said on Monday afternoon. “However your head of HR is not able to confirm if I am an employee or not. You’ve ot answered my emails. Maybe if enough people retweet you’ll answer me here?” [….]
Thorleifsson’s tweet received tens of thousands of retweets and likes and succeeded in capturing Musk’s attention, which experience has shown us can lead to either good or bad things. The Platformer newsletter reported that the Twitter CEO was “furious” after an engineer broke links and images on Twitter on Monday morning, so it’s safe to assume that the chief twit was not having a good day.
Musk started by asking Thorleifsson, who is based in Iceland, what kind of work he had been doing. Thorleifsson stated that he couldn’t discuss that publicly on Twitter without prior approval from Musk’s lawyers, which Musk waved off, giving him permission in a tweet. The employee went on to list a number of things he was responsible for at the company, including heading the effort to save $500,000 on a SaaS contract, leading critiques to level up design across the company, serving as the hiring manager for all design roles, and prioritizing design projects to accommodate Twitter’s smaller team.
A notorious micromanager, Musk proceeded to ask for more details and then responded to Thorleifsson with two “🤣 🤣” emojis….
In a follow up tweet, Musk bombarded Thorleifsson with questions and demanded pictures of the employee’s work….
Thorleifsson told Musk that he couldn’t provide pics or docs because Twitter had locked his computer, adding that he could provide documentation if Musk restored his access to the device. After talking to Musk for about an hour, Thorleifsson tweeted that Twitter human resources had “miraculously” replied to confirm that he no longer worked at the company.
Musk, meanwhile, apparently unsatisfied with laughing at a former employee, decided to trash talk Thorleifsson hours after their exchange. The Twitter CEO cast doubt on Thorleifsson’s disability—he suffers from a type of muscular dystrophy called dystrophinopathy—and said he couldn’t have been fired since he didn’t work.
It was pretty clear in the exchange, which you can read on Twitter, that Musk did not even comprehend Halli’s description of his work for Twitter or that Twitter had bought out Halli’s design company and still owed him money.
Back to Gizmodo:
Thorleifsson responded to Musk’s cruel comments about his performance on Tuesday morning. After pointing out that Musk was revealing confidential health information, he explained the effects muscle dystrophy has on his body. Thorleifsson shared that he started using a wheelchair when he was 25 years old and today needs help to get in and out of bed and use the toilet.
Addressing Musk’s comments about his hands, Thorleifsson said he had told HR that he was unable to do manual work for extended periods of time, but can write for one or two hours at a time.
“This wasn’t a problem in Twitter 1.0 since I was a senior director and my job was mostly to help teams move forward, give them strategic and tactical guidance,” Thorleifsson stated. “I’m typing this on my phone btw. It’s easier for because I only need to use one finger.” [….]
Here’s a photo of Thorleifsson:
More information on Thorleifsson, from BBC News:
The Iceland-based entrepreneur had sold his company, Ueno, a creative design agency, to Twitter in early 2021 – after founding the firm in Reykjavik in 2014.
As part of the acquisition he became a full-time employee at Twitter.
“I decided to sell for a few reasons but one of them is that I have muscular dystrophy and my body is slowly but surely failing me,” he told the BBC.
“I have a few good work years left in me so this was a way to wrap up my company, and set up myself and my family for years when I won’t be able to do as much.”
Mr Thorleifsson is worried that Mr Musk will not honour the contract he signed with Twitter when he sold them his company.
“This is extremely stressful. This is my retirement fund, a way to take care of myself and my family as my disease progresses. Having the richest man in the world on the other end of this, potentially refusing to stand by contracts is not easy for me to accept,” he said.
Last month, Elon Musk appeared to fire another 200 Twitter employees. It means that Twitter now has just over 2,000 workers – down from approximately 7,500 in October.“Companies let people go, that’s within their rights,” Mr Thorleifsson said. “They usually tell people about it but that’s seemingly the optional part at Twitter now”.
I’ve probably spent too much time on this story, but I’m really having a hard time dealing with the fact that an ignorant psychopath like Musk has as much power as he does. Fortunately, he’s revealing his psychopathology to the world now, and perhaps that will bring him down a few pegs. On the other hand, it appears his fellow psychopath Donald Trump is never going to go away so maybe I’m just delusional.
And now, more Twitter tales:
This is from yesterday, and might partially explain Musk’s apparent stress level. Platformer: How a single engineer brought down Twitter on Monday.
On Monday morning, Twitter users logged on to find a thicket of connected issues. Clicking on links would no longer open them; instead, users would see a mysterious error message reporting that “your current API plan does not include access to this endpoint.” Images stopped loading as well. Other users reported that they could not access TweetDeck, the Twitter-owned client for professional users.
Chaos took over the timeline, as users tweeted vociferously about the outage — often illustrating their points with images that no one could see, because they wouldn’t load.
In a tweet, the company offered the vaguest of explanations for what was happening.
“Some parts of Twitter may not be working as expected right now,” the company’s support account tweeted. “We made an internal change that had some unintended consequences.”
The change in question was part of a project to shut down free access to the Twitter API, Platformer can now confirm. On February 1, the company announced it will no longer support free access to its API, which effectively ended the existence of third-party clients and dramatically limited outside researchers’ ability to study the network. The company has been building a new, paid API for developers to work with.
API stands for “Application Platform Interface.” Twitter has previously allowed researchers, developers, and other applications free access to Twitter’s API. Now they will have to pay for the privilege. From Endgaget:
Of all the once-unthinkable changes Elon Musk had made since taking over Twitter, pulling the rug out from under developers might seem relatively minor. After banning third-party clients without warning, Twitter announced that it would no longer allow any developer to use its APIs for free.
So far, Twitter has communicated very little about the changes, other than confirming a February 9th cut-off date. Musk has suggested Twitter could charge $100 a month “with ID verification,” but hasn’t elaborated. What we do know, is that once free access is shut off, thousands of apps, research projects, bots and other services will stop functioning (or, at the very least, be interrupted). If you’re a Twitter user, chances are this will affect you in some way, and you shouldn’t wait until it’s too late to prepare.
Musk appears to be living in fear of his own workforce. Fortune: Elon Musk’s bodyguards follow him around the office—even to the restroom, Twitter employee says.
During an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama program, a Twitter staff member told the broadcaster that Musk did not appear to trust employees.
He argued that this is evident in the level of personal security Musk, who is acting Twitter CEO, brings with him to the office.
According to the employee—who still works at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco and spoke to the BBC under the condition of anonymity—Musk is always accompanied to work by multiple bodyguards.
“Wherever he goes in the office, there are at least two bodyguards—very bulky, tall, Hollywood movie [style] bodyguards,” he said. “Even when [he goes] to the restroom.” [….]
The same employee—one of many current and former Twitter staffers interviewed by Panorama—also alleged that Tesla engineers were being brought in to evaluate Twitter engineers’ coding. The evaluations, which would take a few days, were being used to decide who to fire, the employee claimed, despite the complex code requiring months before it could be understood.
He said this also gave him the sense that Musk did not trust his workforce at Twitter.
And now on to another powerful psychopath, Tucker Carlson of Fox “News.” On his show last night, Carlson selectively played some of the January 6 footage that Kevin McCarthy gave him, claiming to show that there was no significant violence in the Capitol insurrection.
Sahil Kapur at NBC News: Tucker Carlson, with video provided by Speaker McCarthy, falsely depicts Jan. 6 riot as a peaceful gathering.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday released security video from the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, using footage provided exclusively to him by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to portray the riot as a peaceful gathering.
Carlson acquired the tapes as part of a pushby McCarthy, R-Calif., to win the speaker’s gavel. When McCarthy was struggling to gather the votes to lead the House, Carlson used his program to list two “concessions” he could make to win over far-right Republicans.
“First, release the January 6 files. Not some of the January 6 files and video — all of it,” Carlson, the most-watched host on cable news, said after McCarthy faced three failed votes. “So that the rest of us can finally know what actually happened on January 6, 2021.”
In the two months since McCarthy won the gavel, he has granted both. Carlson announced in late February that McCarthy had given him exclusive access to 44,000 hours of security video from the deadly riot before he unveiled some clips of the video on his show Monday night.
Carlson focused Monday’s segment on promoting former President Donald Trump’s narrative by showing video of his supporters walking calmly around the U.S. Capitol. He asserted that other media accounts lied about the attack, proclaiming that while there were some bad apples, most of the rioters were peaceful and calling them “sightseers,” not “insurrectionists.”
“The footage does not show an insurrection or a riot in progress,” Carlson told his audience Monday. “Instead it shows police escorting people through the building, including the now-infamous ‘QAnon Shaman.’”
He continued: “More than 44,000 hours of surveillance footage from in and around the Capitol have been withheld from the public, and once you see the video, you’ll understand why. Taken as a whole, the video does not support the claim that Jan. 6 was an insurrection. In fact, it demolishes that claim.”
Video that Carlson didn’t air shows police and rioters engaged in hours of violent combat. Nearly 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack. About 140 officers were assaulted that day, and about 326 people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees, including 106 assaults that happened with deadly or dangerous weapons. About 60 people pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement. Two pipe bombs were also planted nearby but were not detonated.Carlson also lied about what happened to Brian Sicknick.
Read more at the NBC News link.
Some Twitter commentary on Tucker’s presentation:
Oliver Darcy at CNN: Tucker Carlson, with help from Kevin McCarthy, tries to sanitize the very real violence of the January 6 attack.
The face of Fox News is doing everything in his power to sanitize the horrific violence the nation saw unfold in real-time at the U.S. Capitol in the aftermath of the 2020 election.
And on Monday night, he had a major assist from Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who granted him exclusive access to tens of thousands of hours of January 6 security camera footage.
After continuing to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election (“it is clear the 2020 election was a grave betrayal of American democracy”), Tucker Carlson used the footage on Monday night to portray those who broke into the U.S. Capitol as mostly peaceful patriots who simply felt wronged by the system. Carlson, who falsely claimed the footage provided “conclusive” evidence proving Democrats “lied” about the events of January 6, aired footage showing some people taking selfies and meandering through the U.S. Capitol.
“Taken as a whole the video record does not support the claim that January 6th was an insurrection,” Carlson claimed. “In fact, it demolishes that claim.”
The whole episode said more about McCarthy than it did Carlson. In effect, McCarthy served as Carlson’s reluctant, but obedient, accomplice, providing Carlson the ink in the Fox News conspiracy theorist’s quest to rewrite the events of the day in which the country’s citadel of democracy was assaulted. Those events were inspired by the very same election denying rhetoric the right-wing talk channel that pays Carlson’s handsome multi-million salary gave platform to in the wake of the 2020 contest.
McCarthy, of course, knew precisely what he was doing when he handed over the footage to Carlson while denying it to actual news organizations.
Read the rest at CNN.
The third psychopath needs no introduction, of course. Trump is the psychopath who gave other psychopaths permission to take their insanity public. Here’s what he is up today.
In the face of all this madness, it shouldn’t be surprising that I’m experiencing some dissociation today. Now I’m going to sit quietly for awhile and try to pull myself together.
My internet is going up and down and out … frustrating beyond belief
That is frustrating! Hope it resolves soon.
Nero fiddling as Twitter burns. Fox and Trump launch fire bombs as Democracy burns. It is such madness spiraling more and more out of control that it is mind numbing. It is quite horrifying to watch it.
As BB wrote up above, “a sense of unreality–not quite depersonalization, but something similar.”
There is so much distorted thinking on the right — derangement in action. The left is mostly OK with the glaring exception of believing in gendered souls.
BB, the Musk treatment of Thorleifsson was bad enough…but to find out that he is disabled, makes it even more disgusting.
Why are we surrounded by assholes?
On a side note:
Musk is going to be in deep psychological shock if or when he gets disabled or develops a life-threatening illness. Yes, it happens, and we never know if tomorrow is the day it happens to us. I doubt he’ll be laughing at himself then.
IIRC Musk is a transhumanist,* someone who wants humans to develop technological ways, including AI, to live and think without dependence on bodies. Basically, just take out the wetware brain and install it in an android. Voila! No disabilities.
*As distinct from transhumance (seasonal or nomadic pastoralism).
You’d have to be an ignorant techbro with zero sense of reality not to see that’s a fantasy right up there with Hallmark angels.
And our selection methods are so skewed that the airhead is running (“running”?) huge companies, while the actual human beings like Halli, the disabled engineer who uses his money to build wheelchair ramps for all in his city, have no power.
In a sensible world, Halli would be running a Fortune 500 company and Elon would be the boy running takeout fastfood orders to disabled people in their vans.
If only we could live in a sensible world. At least Halli now has a clear basis for several lawsuits. Also, Twitter paid about $100 million for Halli’s company, and the contract requires payment of the full amount if Halli is fired or laid off.
Musk is a moron.
It’s even alliterative 😆
MuskIsAMoron MuskIsAMoron MuskIsAMoron (to the tune of neener-neener-neeeener)
Timeline cleanser. Sakura.