Finally Friday Reads: Press feeds Megalomaniacs!Posted: December 16, 2022 Filed under: just because | Tags: Musk, narcissistic personality disorder, Trump 15 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
This is one of those days that makes me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. Just about every headline is about some narcissist that should be in a padded cell somewhere. I will go down that road, but I am not about to obsess about the details or the people. I’m really sick of Elon Musk and Donald Trump.
Elon Musk is maniacally destroying himself, Tesla, and Twitter. He’s holed up in the Twitter building 24-7, drawing attention to himself, banning anyone that bothers him, and selling off Tesla stock to keep the lights on in his hidey-hole even if Tesla crashes and burns. Trump is holed up in Mar-a-Lago 24-7, drawing attention to himself, using his Truth Social to draw attention to himself, and watching the Trump Family Crime Syndicate crash and burn.
Let me make this as painless as possible. This is from the Washington Post, as reported by Paul Farhi. “Musk suspends journalists from Twitter, claims ‘assassination’ danger. Company executives alleged that more than half a dozen reporters endangered Twitter’s owner by sharing his location. But a review of their tweets shows no evidence of it.”
Twitter suspended the accounts of more than half a dozen journalists from CNN, the New York Times, The Washington Post and other outlets Thursday evening, as company owner Elon Musk accused the reporters of posting “basically assassination coordinates” for him and his family.
The Post has seen no evidence that any of the reporters did so.
The suspensions came without warning or initial explanation from Twitter. They took place a day after Twitter changed its policy on sharing “live location information” and suspended an account, @ElonJet, that had been using public flight data to share the location of Musk’s private plane.
Many of the journalists suspended Thursday, including Washington Post technology reporter Drew Harwell, had been covering that rule change, as well as Musk’s claims that he and his family had been endangered by location sharing.
Twitter did not directly respond to questions about the suspensions. But Musk suggested on Twitter, without evidence, that the journalists had revealed private information about his family, known as doxing. “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” he tweeted late Thursday.
Harwell, whose most recent stories covered the ban of @ElonJet and the rise of baseless claims on Twitter, discovered he was unable to log into his account or tweet around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
“Harwell was banished from Twitter without warning, process or explanation, following the publications of his accurate reporting about Musk,” The Post’s executive editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement. “Our journalist should be reinstated immediately.”
At least eight other journalists were suspended the same evening, including New York Times technology reporter Ryan Mac.
CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan was suspended shortly after posting a tweet about Musk’s claim that a “crazy stalker” had chased his young son in Los Angeles, according to screenshots.
However, according to NBC News, the reporters actively report on Twitter or Musk.
O’Sullivan said Thursday that all those journalists who were suspended with him were people who cover Musk.
“As we saw with the jet tracker last night, Musk seems to be just stamping out accounts that he doesn’t like,” O’Sullivan said on CNN.
A spokesperson for the network said the suspensions were “impulsive and unjustified” — but not surprising.
“Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses Twitter,” the network said in a statement. “We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”
Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of The Washington Post, said Harwell’s suspension “directly undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.”
Harwell was “banished from Twitter without warning, process or explanation, following the publication of his accurate reporting about Musk” and should be reinstated immediately, Buzbee said in a statement Thursday night.
A spokesperson for The New York Times, who called the suspensions questionable and unfortunate, said no explanation was provided to Mac or the newspaper about the ban.
Musk sold 22 million shares of his Tesla Stock this week. They were worth around 3.6 billion dollars. The stock has been falling due to concerns over Musk’s time spent on and with Twitter. This is from CNBC. “Elon Musk sells another huge chunk of Tesla shares.”
Director of research for VerityData, Ben Silverman, wrote in an email to CNBC on Wednesday, “Musk’s prior sales going back to November 2021 were expertly timed, so Tesla shareholders need to pay attention to Musk’s actions and not his words – or lack thereof when it comes to his recent selling.”
However, he continued to sell portions of his sizable holdings in Tesla after agreeing to buy Twitter in a deal worth $44 billion. The acquisition closed in late October. Musk, who is also CEO of SpaceX, a major defense contractor, immediately appointed himself chief executive of the social media company.
After Musk’s Twitter takeover, he told employees there that he sold Tesla shares to “save” their business.
Musk didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tesla shares have been declining this year, and sliding even further since he took on that new responsibility.
Shares of Tesla closed down 2.6% on Wednesday at $156.80, dropping the company’s market capitalization to $495 billion. Tesla shares were down 55% year to date as of Wednesday’s close.
One last thing on this madman from the Washington Post. “Elon Musk’s role at Tesla questioned as Twitter occupies his attention. Some Tesla investors are concerned that Musk is focusing too much on the social media company and becoming more polarizing.”
Now, some Tesla investors are calling for Musk to hand over the reins at one of his companies as the electric vehicle company’s stock plummets — raising concerns that the billionaire is stretched too thin. Tesla closed Wednesday at $156.80 per share, with an overall valuation of less than $500 billion, sharply down from when Musk signaled his interest in Twitter over the spring and Tesla was valued at over $1 trillion.
Contributing to the losses, Musk sold about $3.5 billion worth of Tesla stock in recent days, according to a financial filing Wednesday night. That added to another more than $3.9 billion in Tesla shares sold by Musk in early November, according to the filings.
Shares of Tesla rose less than 1 percent during trading Thursday as the broader markets fell.
“Wake up tesla [board] — what is the plan? Who is running tesla and when is Elon coming back?” tweeted Ross Gerber, a Tesla investor who supported Musk’s Twitter bid.
He added in a tweet late Wednesday that Tesla needed to buy back shares “to take advantage [of] the low share price Elon has created,” as investors anticipated a potential further blow to the company’s value on Thursday.
Musk did not respond to a request for comment. Tesla and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment.
It appears Musk can shut up when it’s an inconvenient question.
Trump, however, cannot stop himself in his quest for constant attention. Sources today say that his crazy NFT superhero cards are sold out. This while, two New York Post headlines seem out to get him. The first one is “Don’t give any money to con artist Trump and the second reads, “Steve Bannon fed up with Trump’s latest stunts: ‘I can’t do this anymore’.
Kirk Eichenwald elucidates Trump’s latest scam on his substack, The Threats Within. “Trump’s Trading Card Grift is Worse than You Think. Shell companies, rubbing elbows with international criminals, and worse in his scam of scams.”
Funny, yes. But it is far, far worse than you think. And to understand why, we have to begin tracing the web of corporations involved in producing these worthless digital cards. They lead to some sleazy places.
Before we start down the rabbit hole of partnerships, corporations and other entities that lead to criminals and fraudsters, I need to address one question up front: What exactly are buyers of the Trump Trading Cards purchasing? Yes, they are NFTs, but unlike others of these digital art pieces, the people foolish enough to purchase a Trump Trading Card don’t actually own the things they paid for, at least not in the traditional sense. If any buyer decides to sell their Trump card in a secondary market, they don’t get all the proceeds. The fine print reveals that 10% of every secondary market sales goes right back to Trump and his fellow grifters. For more details, buyers are told to click the link to terms and conditions. Buyers have to confirm they read the terms and conditions but…the terms and conditions are nowhere to be found.
Makes me wonder what rubes bought these. Maybe Russians are having Trump do money laundering for them again?
Trump himself is not producing the cards, any more than he has developed any real estate projects since 2010. Instead, he has reached a licensing agreement with a company called NFT International LLC. All his licensing agreements, dating back decades (Real estate, Trump Steaks, Trump University etc.) have all had the same terms: The licensor pays Trump a bunch of cash up front, then he gets a share of the revenue produced by whatever the grifty product is. That number has ranged from 10% to 50%, and there is no reason to expect that this time it is any less – in fact, it is almost certainly more.
You may follow the link to go down the dark rabbit hole of NFT International LLC. Be sure to bring a flashlight.
Try these on for size if you want more fun with internecine fighting! “Inside the ugly fight to become the next Republican chair” or “McCarthy’s ongoing speaker battle paralyzes House” from Politico. Here’s a taste of the Politico article.
Kevin McCarthy’s imperiled speakership bid is threatening to incapacitate Republicans during a crucial planning period, virtually guaranteeing a sluggish start for the new House majority.
The GOP leader on Thursday took the unusual step of punting conferencewide races for committee leadership slots until after his speaker election on Jan. 3, a maneuver that could help insulate him from disgruntled members who fall short in those contests and their allies.
But that delay will also mean days, if not weeks, of uncertainty for GOP committees as they begin their stint in the majority. Some of the most important panels, including those charged with tax-writing and border security, won’t be able to prepare bills, tee up hearings, or even hire staff. While some House committees already have uncontested leaders in place, those chairs won’t be able to choose their member lineup or potentially pay staff. The GOP’s subpoena power, too, will be frozen.
“Without question, delays in selecting chairmen and committee members put a lot of pressure on the agenda,” said retiring Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), who led the influential House Ways and Means Committee the last time the GOP had the majority.
The decision to formally punt comes as little surprise to many lawmakers, who had speculated that McCarthy might delay contested fights as a point of leverage as he works to lock down support. Still, many Republicans say they’re concerned that limbo could have lingering effects — particularly if the speaker’s election gets ugly and drags on past Jan. 3.
You can get a Trump v. Twitter twofer at the Washington Post: “Trump reinvents ‘rigged’ election myth around Twitter allegations. Republicans are now following Trump in claiming foul play in the 2020 election took the form of social media censorship, replacing debunked claims of fraudulent ballots.”
Instead, Trump was now advancing a new theory of how the election was “stolen” from him: a supposed scheme among social media companies, the FBI and the Democrats to suppress information that might have helped Trump’s campaign.The claim is fueled in part by new Twitter owner Elon Musk’s decision to release internal documents about the platform’s brief suppression of a 2020 news story about then-candidate Joe Biden’s son amid concerns it might be the result of disinformation efforts.
Well, alright then. It doesn’t get any more discombobulated than that!
So here I am, looking at 2057 words up there and thinking, I better wrap up the part on the crazy guys. I’ll use a Twitter post here with the HBO documentary about Nancy Pelosi by her daughter Alexandra (interview with Lawrence O’Donnell at link). She sums my thoughts about Trump things up pretty nicely here.
Oh, and What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Finally Friday Reads: Tweet Musk, Ye, Trump then DeletePosted: December 2, 2022 Filed under: just because | Tags: 11th Circuit appeals court, degenerate art, hate speech, Musk, Trump, Ye 14 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
The votes may have shown the country is trying to be normal again, but the headlines also show how deep the crazy runs in today’s Republican Party. One of the House committee takeovers that I’m most anxiety-ridden about is the House Judiciary Committee. Some of the deepest crazy reside there, and it will be a spectacle once their sham hearings start. This is from NBC’s Amanda Terkel and Garrett Haake. “House Judiciary Republicans delete ‘Kanye. Elon. Trump.’ tweet as rapper praises Hitler. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee had tweeted in apparent support of Ye on Oct. 6. The tweet was removed Thursday.” It seems Godwin’s Law and Reductio ad Hitlerum may need a revisit. You don’t have to infer it’s NAZIish anymore when the policy and speech include casual praise of Hitler.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee deleted their Oct. 6 tweet that appeared to support Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, after months of controversy over his antisemitic remarks.
“Kanye. Elon. Trump,” read the tweet, which held up Ye alongside Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, who has been bringing back right-wing figures who were once banned, and former President Donald Trump.
The tweet was deleted Thursday as Ye was launching a lengthy antisemitic tirade on the show hosted on Infowars by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is known for promoting falsehoods around events like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.
“I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis,” Ye said on the show Thursday. He also repeatedly expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler.
House Judiciary Committee Republicans did not immediately reply to a request for comment about the deleted tweet. The GOP, currently in the minority, won control of the House in November’s midterm elections.
Even Alex Jones denounced Hitler on the InforWars broadcast as he filed for bankruptcy for his Sandy Hook fines. Musk’s Twitter responded to as reported by NPR. Every time I hear this shit, all I can think is my Dad bombed NAZIs to get them out of France and Belgium and to ensure the Allies could defeat the regime and ensure the allied armies on the ground could safely set free those held in concentration camps.
In an appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show, Ye – the rapper formerly known as Kanye West – doubled down on a series of antisemitic comments he’s made in recent months. Ye appeared on the show alongside Nick Fuentes, the white-nationalist internet personality. The pair had dinner with former President Donald Trump last week.
Hours later, Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced that Ye’s Twitter account was suspended. The move came after the rapper reportedly posted on Twitter an image of a swastika depicted inside a Star of David.
On Jones’ show Thursday, Ye’s statements were among his most brazen. “I see good things about Hitler,” Ye said during the nearly 3-hour interview. Later, he veered into Holocaust denialism.
“This was a mask-off moment, to hear Ye just outright say that he admires Hitler,” said Megan Squire, deputy director of data analytics at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Often extremists talk around the subject of Nazism, she said, couching true beliefs in cloaked language in order to avoid being banned from mainstream platforms. Pushing the boundaries, said Squire, provides a permission structure to other far right voices.
The recent string of antisemitic comments began in October, when Ye posted “I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” The tweet has since been deleted. Ye then spoke out on a number of podcasts and interview shows, repeating his talking points and promoting his run for president in 2024.
Before decamping to fringe channels that specialize in extremist rhetoric, Ye made an appearance in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. He used the occasion to air his anti-abortion stance and grievances with the fashion industry. But soon after, Vice News revealed that show producers cut Ye’s references to his beliefs that align with the Black Hebrew Israelites.
Sorry, Republicans, you own this Troika of hate. Musk. Ye. Trump.
Trump’s legal problems worsened as the 11th circuit shut down Judge Loose Cannon and her Special Master concession to Trump. This is from the New York Times. “Appeals Court Scraps Special Master Review in Trump Documents Case. The panel’s decision removed a major obstacle to the Justice Department’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents.”
A federal appeals court on Thursday removed a major obstacle to the criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s hoarding of government documents, ending an outside review of thousands of records the F.B.I. seized from his home and freeing the Justice Department to use them in its inquiry.
In a unanimous but unsigned 21-page ruling, a three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta shut down a lawsuit brought by Mr. Trump that has, for nearly three months, slowed the inquiry into whether he illegally kept national security records at his Mar-a-Lago residence and obstructed the government’s efforts to retrieve them.
The appeals court was sharply critical of the decision in September by Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee who sits in the Southern District of Florida, to intervene in the case. The court said Judge Cannon never had legitimate jurisdiction to order the review or bar investigators from using the files, and that there was no justification for treating Mr. Trump differently from any other target of a search warrant.
“It is indeed extraordinary for a warrant to be executed at the home of a former president — but not in a way that affects our legal analysis or otherwise gives the judiciary license to interfere in an ongoing investigation,” the court wrote.
The judges’ findings are consistent with what legal experts have been saying since the Trump lawyers went Judge-shopping and came up with an eager interloper. Here’s the kicker.
Limits on when courts can interfere with a criminal investigation “apply no matter who the government is investigating,” it added. “To create a special exception here would defy our nation’s foundational principle that our law applies ‘to all, without regard to numbers, wealth or rank.’”
The panel included two judges appointed by Trump.
Well, there’s Ye. There’s Trump. And now, let’s do Musk. “Hate Speech’s Rise on Twitter Is Unprecedented, Researchers Find. Problematic content and formerly barred accounts have increased sharply in the short time since Elon Musk took over, researchers said.” This is also from The New York Times.
Before Elon Musk bought Twitter, slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media service an average of 1,282 times a day. After the billionaire became Twitter’s owner, they jumped to 3,876 times a day.
Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day.
And antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the two weeks after Mr. Musk acquired the site.
These findings — from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups that study online platforms — provide the most comprehensive picture to date of how conversations on Twitter have changed since Mr. Musk completed his $44 billion deal for the company in late October. While the numbers are relatively small, researchers said the increases were atypically high.
The shift in speech is just the tip of a set of changes on the service under Mr. Musk. Accounts that Twitter used to regularly remove — such as those that identify as part of the Islamic State, which were banned after the U.S. government classified ISIS as a terror group — have come roaring back. Accounts associated with QAnon, a vast far-right conspiracy theory, have paid for and received verified status on Twitter, giving them a sheen of legitimacy.
These changes are alarming, researchers said, adding that they had never seen such a sharp increase in hate speech, problematic content and formerly banned accounts in such a short period on a mainstream social media platform.
“Elon Musk sent up the Bat Signal to every kind of racist, misogynist and homophobe that Twitter was open for business,” said Imran Ahmed, the chief executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate. “They have reacted accordingly.”
CNN Prognosticators are getting some encouraging Poll results in the Warnock/Walker race. “CNN Poll: Warnock holds a narrow edge over Walker in final undecided Senate contest.” Walker is not fit for the Senate, but his treatment of women makes him an unacceptable choice. Our Georgia Sky Dancers are voting in even the most desperate situations, like long lines and illness.
In the final undecided Senate contest of 2022, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia holds a narrow lead over Republican challenger Herschel Walker among those likely to vote in a runoff election Tuesday, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.
The survey shows that Walker faces widespread questions about his honesty and suffers from a negative favorability rating, while nearly half of those who back him say their vote is more about opposition to Warnock than support for Walker. Voters’ modestly more positive views of Warnock and a firmly committed base of supporters appear to boost the incumbent in the new poll.
Overall, 52% of likely voters say they plan to support Warnock in Tuesday’s runoff and 48% pick Walker. Partisans on both sides are deeply entrenched, with nearly all Democrats (99%) behind Warnock and 95% of Republicans backing Walker. Independents break in Warnock’s favor, 61% to 36%, but make up a relatively small slice of likely voters, 17%, compared with 24% in a CNN exit poll of voters in the first round of this contest last month. (Warnock finished narrowly ahead of Walker in November but without the majority of the vote needed to avoid a runoff.)
This is also from CNN. “Woman alleges to Daily Beast that Herschel Walker was violent with her in 2005.”
An ex-girlfriend of Herschel Walker, the Republican Senate nominee in Georgia, has come forward in The Daily Beast to allege that the former football star was violent and threatening toward her during an incident that took place in 2005.
Cheryl Parsa, a Dallas resident, told the news outlet she had a five-year relationship with Walker from 2004 to 2009. She alleges that in 2005, after she found Walker with another woman, he got angry, and, according to her account, placed his hands on her chest and neck and also swung his fist at her. She told The Daily Beast that she thought he was “going to beat me” and that she fled.
This endless Republican parade of wife-beaters, child sex traffickers, racists, mass shooters, anti-semites, and just crazy people is emotional torture. They light their torches, set fires, then ignore the resulting damage. I have decreased my daily exposure to the news, which isn’t good in a democracy.
I have one last read to share from the Washington Post. “THE ABORTION DIARIES: Pregnant and desperate in post-Roe America. Three women face unexpected pregnancies in states with abortion bans.” It’s written and compiled by Caroline Kitchener.
It’s a moment of panic that has played out again and again for people in more than a dozen states since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
Once they find out they’re pregnant, there isn’t much time to act. The closest open abortion clinics that once offered next-day appointments are now often fully booked three, four, even five weeks in advance. Pills purchased online can take up to a month to arrive.
Every day, the fetus gets a little bigger — and the anxiety builds.
Inpolarized, post-Roe America, the experiences that draw widespread attention are often the most harrowing: a 10-year-old rape victim forced to leave her state to end her pregnancy, or a woman denied an abortion for a fetus without a skull.
Often lost in the discussion are the more routine stories. The mother of two who can’t afford a third child. The teenager who can’t tell her parents she’s pregnant. The 25-year-old who isn’t ready to be a mom.
Over the next decade, if recent trends hold, more than a million people with unwanted pregnancies are likely to run up against an abortion ban. Some will find a way, traveling hundreds of miles or securing illegal pills through the mail. Others will resign themselves to parenthood.
The Washington Post made contact with three pregnant women who were seeking abortions while living in states with strict abortion bans. These women, reached early in their pregnancies, communicated regularly with The Post, sharing their experiences through calls, text messages and other documentation that supported their accounts. They participated on the condition that only their first names be used to protect their privacy.
Here are their stories, from the minute the two pink lines appeared.
The stories are compelling. It’s not hard to think about how voting and women’s rights were the first to fall in the Republican-packed Supreme Court. I feel so exhausted. Being under attack by a radical minority, White Christian Nationalism bloc eats everything out of one’s psyche and soul. It’s all just out there, isn’t it? At least we can’t be accused of playing race cards, jumping to Reductio ad Hitlerum, or being hysterical anymore. All you have to do is point to what they are saying out loud and doing daily. The Republican-run committees are just going to be amplifying it all. We’ll still be here even if making sense of it isn’t possible anymore. The key is still to follow truth with action.
And, yes, what would a conversation about NAZIs be without ‘degenerate’ art from the period by German painters.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?