Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, is reportedly in final stage talks of buying Twitter and experts are warning of the threat to democracy and democratic institutions should the sale go through – which could happen as soon as today.
Musk was under federal order to have all his tweets pre-approved after being fined, along with Tesla, $40 million over SEC fraud charges. He has endorsed candidates like Kanye West and Andrew Yang, and moved to Texas, with Governor Greg Abbott claiming Musk supports the state’s “social policies,” including his vigilante-enforced abortion ban.
Early in the pandemic Musk called governmental directives to stay at home “fascist,” and has donated to both anti-choice Republicans and pro-choice Democrats.
Among his more concerning tweets is one, since removed, in which he likened Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Hitler.
Experts on extremism, political and civil rights, and security, along with journalists are issuing warnings and dire predictions as Musk grows closer to privately owning the social media platform many consider to be a cornerstone of American political discourse, one that helps shape public opinion and public policy.
Earlier this month CNBC reported The National Urban League was warning a Musk purchase of Twitter could have “grave” civil rights implications.
Political scientist, author, and founder and president of the political risk assessment consultancy, the Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer wrote Monday he expects Musk will make Twitter “an even more polarizing and inhumane environment.”
The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona predicts if Musk completes the purchase, “Trump’s getting his Twitter account back.”
Berkeley professor and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich says “Elon Musk’s real goal has nothing to do with the freedom of others. His goal is the freedom to wield enormous power without having to be accountable to laws and regulations, shareholders, or market competition—which is why he’s dead set on owning Twitter.”
The COO of a security testing software company who tweets on national security and information security warns Musk could have access to user’s private direct messages:
No company should sit on private communications data at that sort of scale, even if they’re generally trustworthy, because however trustworthy the directors and engineers are, or how Hack proof they make it, one day a billionaire spacecoin enthusiast can just buy out the company
— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) April 25, 2022
John Scott-Railton, a Senior Researcher at The Citizen Lab whose work focuses on technological threats civil society, puts the direct message threat in more context:
2/ Reports suggest that Musk is vindictive & has a history of using ethically questionable methods to go after people.
Twitter has a trove of personal information.
Do you trust it’s safeguards?
Do you trust Musk’s self-restraint? pic.twitter.com/jagGjoBNyZ
— John Scott-Railton (@jsrailton) April 25, 2022
The Daily Beast’s investigative and political journalist Roger Sollenberger focuses on the data aspect of the sale.
Does Elon Musk, who among other hobbies is trying to democratize interplanetary travel, have time to run Twitter? He owns several companies, including a neurotechnology company that makes devices to implant in your brain. He’s buying data. Then taking it private.
— Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers (@SollenbergerRC) April 25, 2022
Crooked Media editor-in-chief Brian Beutler points to the 2016 presidential election and the “disclosing the private communications of prominent Democrats.”
I guess we may live to find out, but the best thing for Musk’s bottom line would be a GOP trifecta, and my recollection of 2016 is that the best way to secure one of those is by disclosing the private communications of prominent Democrats. https://t.co/LHCtxedBb6
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) April 25, 2022
Josh Marshall, the editor in chief and founder of Talking Points Memo calls Musk buying Twitter a political act.
One thing I’m curious about. It’s not clear to me that Musk has the liquid assets to purchase Twitter. So someone or group or institution has to help. But this is clearly a political purchase, not a financial one. So who puts up the cash?
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 25, 2022
Senior defense analyst Brynn Tannehill, author of the book “American Fascism: How the GOP is Subverting Democracy,” delivers this stark warning:
It’s easy to see what will happen to Twitter after Musk buys it out and turns it into a “free speech” haven. You’ll end up like Parler, GETTR, Facebook, & others with zero enforcement: Right wing hell holes full of abusers, outrageously false information, and fascists everywhere
— Brynn Tannehill (@BrynnTannehill) April 25, 2022
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‘Why So Much Hate From You?’: Mark Cuban Smacks Down Stephen Miller, Twice
A far-right wing pundit’s decision to go after a 29-year old woman’s TikTok video about her plans for a relaxing Saturday during a holiday weekend sparked a firestorm between billionaire businessman and TV personality Mark Cuban and former Trump White House aide Stephen Miller, with the woman revealing later some of the hate she received after being made a target.
It all started when “Theocratic fascist” Matt Walsh, as he calls himself, reposted a TikTok video on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, from a woman who says she’s “29 and single, and I don’t have kids yet.” The woman, identified by Mediaite as Julia Mazur, told her followers she slept in Saturday morning, woke up with a hangover and didn’t get up until 10:15 AM, after going to a Beyoncé concert the night before.
Mazur described her upcoming day, saying she enjoys not having plans, kids, a husband, or errands, and loves going wherever the day takes her. She was looking forward to watching some streaming shows on Netflix and Hulu, and possibly learning how to make shakshuka.
“I wouldn’t want to do anything else this Saturday,” she said happily.
Walsh responded to Mazur’s casual celebration of a joyous weekend by saying, “Her life doesn’t revolve around her family and kids so instead it revolves around TV shows and pop stars. Worst of all she’s too stupid to realize how depressing this is.”
“If you don’t have a family at least do something interesting with your time,” Walsh continued. “These people have absurd amounts of free time and they do absolutely nothing with it. Wasting their lives staring at little glowing boxes. Absolutely soul crushing.”
Her life doesn’t revolve around her family and kids so instead it revolves around TV shows and pop stars. Worst of all she’s too stupid to realize how depressing this is.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) September 3, 2023
Cuban stepped in, snarking on Walsh: “Says the guy who’s life revolves around Twitter/X.”
“How do you know she isnt trying to make it her job ? She has really good engagement and increasing numbers,” Cuban added.
That’s when Miller jumped in.
“You have a large following,” Miller, the architect of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, began. “People listen to your advice. What would you say is a more fulfilling path for adults: starting a family, or sleeping late and watching TV? What advice would you give to someone who suggests they wish to be childless so they can stream more shows?”
“Thanks for asking Stephen,” Cuban said in his lengthy response, which included him saying Mazur having a family or not is “none of my fucking business.”
He also asked Miller, “what happened that causes you to hate so much. Seriously Stephen. Why so much hate from you?”:
“1. I wouldn’t give her advice unless she asked. 2. After looking at the comments to her posts, I would thank her for offering a place for people who can relate to her, to engage and have a conversation. She replies to the comments and based on that, people seem to appreciate it 3. From a business perspective, I would tell her that the Wellness Space is crowded but if she does this in addition to her job, she might be able to build a nice business. 4. As far as a family. I would tell her to do whatever she thinks is best for her. It’s none of my fucking business 5. If I had you both in a room , I would point at her and thank her for trying to bring joy to others and I would point at you and ask what happened that causes you to hate so much. Seriously Stephen. Why so much hate from you?”
The exchange didn’t end there.
“In the interests of time I will respond with two points,” Miller replied. “1. No society can succeed where the constant message from our elites leaders is do whatever the hell you want and don’t worry about children. Children are simply the most important thing in the whole world and the foundation of civilization and all human flourishing. 2. Could you be more specific with your crass (and, I think you would acknowledge, unprovoked) smear on point 5? The issue/work with which I’m arguably most associated, stopping human smuggling and trafficking, is quite literally about saving human lives.”
Cuban replied, in an even lengthier response that included saying, “What any individual does in terms of having children or not is their choice. Full Stop.”
“Maybe I’m wrong , but if one of those children is born to an illegal immigrant, my understanding is that you do not want to help them and you want to deport them ?” he added, calling that “hateful.”
Ultimately, Mazur posted another video, detailing some of the hate messages she’s received since Walsh’s initial post.
Walsh’s platform often revolves around attacking the LGBTQ community, including especially transgender girls and women, He has been included in reporting on white Christian nationalism, and “far-right media instigators.” He also recently warned, “whites are trending towards extinction in the United States.”
Mazur said Walsh’s followers told her, “I should actually die and never leave my house. I should be sexually assaulted,” she said, adding she was told, “I’m a whore.”
“These people were really really really riled up about my choices,” she said.
But Mazur concluded, “life’s too short figuring out what Matt Walsh wants us to do.”
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 4, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Image of Mark Cuban via Shutterstock
Liberal Fox News Co-Host Destroys Conservatives’ Claims the Right Holds the Majority Opinion on Culture War Issues
Fox News co-host Jessica Tarlov, the lone liberal on the the right-wing cable channel’s very popular afternoon show “The Five,” destroyed her conservative co-hosts’ talking points on a wide variety of culture war issues.
Behind a chyron of “Tyranny of the Minority” – related to remark made by Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy – Tarlov on Wednesday fed facts to the conservatives who tried to claim the majority of Americans oppose the right to choose an abortion, and the majority of Americans do not support transgender people.
“On the trans issue, for instance,” Tarlov offered, “our own Fox polling shows that 57% of Americans think that trans kids and their families being the target of political attacks, as in these anti-trans bills, is a major problem.”
“When you look at the actual numbers of kids that are, for instance, they have gender dysphoria, and they’re getting top surgery. How many kids do you think got top surgery last year?” she asked, not receiving a response from any of her co-hosts.
“Under 300,” answered Tarlov, who “holds two Master’s degrees in political science and public policy, as well as a Ph.D. in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science,” according to Variety.
“Then think about an issue that’s really important to Democrats –” she suggested, trying to continue before co-host Greg Gutfeld interjected, asking: “Children?”
“Minors,” she responded, referring to the question of top surgery.
“That’s an atrocity,” Gutfeld declared. “But continue,” he added, laughing.
“But over 5800 kids were victims of gun violence, for instance,” Tarlov pointed out. “I don’t hear Republicans talking about that. Tyranny of the minority –” she again tried to continue before Gutfeld interrupted.
“Oh, what a false comparison,” he snarked.
“It absolutely isn’t,” responded Tarlov. “It’s a priority on the right to talk about trans issues, a priority on the left to talk about gun violence. Which affects more people?” she asked.
“Abortion is another instance of the tyranny of the minority,” Tarlov continued. “I get it, federalism – you send it back to the states where a group of elected officials have decided, for instance, in like Texas, Louisiana, that women should not be able to get abortions after six weeks. We have women that are bleeding out, going into sepsis. In Louisiana, a woman was forced to carry a baby that had no skull.”
Gutfeld, apparently outraged, screamed, “What does this have to do with this topic?”
“What are you talking about?” she replied. “This is, he says tyranny of the minority.”
“But that had to do with LGBTQ,” Jeanine Pirro interjected, “not with all of your favorite issues.”
“He’s running to be president of the United States of America,” Tarlov argued.
“But that’s not what we’re talking about, we’re talking about – I asked you specifically about pronouns,” Pirro complained.
“And I said he was wrong to act as if the GOP is the party of the majority opinion – they are not. They’re taking minority positions and running with them,” Tarlov explained.
An agitated Gutfeld again interjected, “Pro-life isn’t a minority position.”
“It is, actually,” she replied.
“What, are you gonna talk about the fact that it’s like 48%,” Gutfeld, hands raised, again snarked.
“No, I’m going to talk about the 69% – it’s the highest it’s ever been recorded – that now support abortion at least through the first trimester,” she replied. “And what’s happening then in Ohio and Kansas and Kentucky.”
“What’s the Democrat stance on abortion?” Gutfeld asked.
“That it’s between a woman and her doctor to make those decisions,” she said.
“No, what’s the what’s the cut off?” Gutfeld asked. “Is that what you call that tyranny of minority as well?”
Frustrated, Gutfeld added, “I think the logic here is that you’re slicing these issues –”
“Are you talking about, ‘we want to kill live babies’?” Tarlov asked, referring to conservative talking points.
“I didn’t say that,” Gutfeld replied.
“I’m just pointing out that this isn’t actually the right argument, but go ahead,” he offered, before Pirro took over and said, “I’d like to get back to the issue.”
Watch below or at this link.
You can tell Jessica Tarlov hit a nerve here by how Judge Jeanine and Gutfeld reacted — especially when she points out how out of step the GOP is on abortion and other issues while simultaneously railing about the “tyranny of the minority” regarding trans kids. pic.twitter.com/IY1tnmaGVP
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 16, 2023
‘That’s How Fascists Talk’: Matt Gaetz Slammed for Threat of Violence
According to an expert on authoritarianism, comments made by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Saturday while standing with former president Donald Trump should raise flags as he promised to use “force” to create change in Washington, D.C.
Considering the former president was recently indicted for conspiracy related to the Jan. 6 insurrection that led to lawmakers fleeing for their lives, historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.
Speaking before a crowd at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, Gaetz stated, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should,” before adding, “But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”
Reacting to Gaetz’s proclamations, Ben-Ghiat told MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, “What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence.”
“And that’s how fascists talk,” she added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”
Watch below or at the link:
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