Perhaps no one rivals Trump in sheer narcissistic megalomania than Elon Musk. This is why no group of people is more alarmed about Musk’s plan to make Twitter a "free speech" platform than those who've already been most harassed and threatened by the Repuke Troll brigade.
Those like Elizabeth Spiers, who wrote in a NY Times column ('Let’s Be Clear About What It’s Like to Be Harassed on Twitter') on Wednesday:
"I’ve received rape threats, anonymous letters to my home address, threatening comments about my family and all manner of misogynistic pejoratives that are not printable in this newspaper for my stated positions on everything from abortion to hiring practices at start-ups to who the next James Bond should be. I don’t even have to write anything particularly provocative for this to happen; I once got a violent threat for I wrote about why I disagree with the way the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the Consumer Price Index.
These are not uncommon experiences for women and minorities who speak in public, on Twitter and beyond, and I’ve suffered far less harassment than others. It happens all the time. "
Which brings us to what the deranged Right's celebration of Musk buying Twitter is all about. Far from "saving the town square" as FOX's resident trolls yap, it's more a case of saving the town's sewer and making sure it overflows daily. As Chris Hayes explained on All In Wednesday night:
"They want everyone to be free to say whatever they want even if, like Donald Trump, they use the platform to incite a deadly riot. But get a load of this Right wing radio host Shapiro who says Musk should fire everyone at Twitter because of their views."
"Everyone sounding off on Elon Musk has given him a good excuse to fire them"
The Jewish fascist authoritarian Ben Shapiro even suggested Musk ought to look at the political donations from Twitter employees - which he suspects have gone mostly to the "Left". As Chris Hayes observes: "In other words, if they speak freely their views, axe them!"
That's why the Right's version of free speech is meaningless because all it means is THEIR right to bully and harass and threaten at will -whomever they please. Hayes again:
"That's what it's all about, right? It's all about control. Control over speech platforms, control over institutions the Right used to think were on their side, but now believe are on the other side. We're actually seeing this play out in a way that's not merely whining about cancelation but which looks thuggish and authoritarian."
He then cited Florida governor Ron Desantis 'Don't say gay' law which he's since used in a vendetta move against Disney. All Disney did is say they didn't like the law, free speech. But then Florida's balless wonder lawmakers retaliated last week and revoked Disney's special tax status. (Which allows the company to self-govern its 25,000 acre complex). As Hayes noted: "This was pure payback. You criticized us, we're taking away your tax status!"
In other words, little Mussolini wannabes in the making in the sunshine state. But hey, did Demagogue Desantis tell the citizens of Orange and Osceola counties how his rabid repeal of the Reedy Creek Improvement District would affect them, their pocketbooks? No, he didn't. But his dirty little secret, which will come back to bite him on his fat Repuke ass in a year, is that those counties will now be responsible for covering all the bond debt. That debt, nearly $1 billion, must be repaid before the contract can be dissolved and Reedy Creek district eliminated. Hell, it's right there in Florida law:
"The state of Florida pledges to the holders of any bonds issued by the district that it will not limit or alter the Rights of the district until all such bonds - together with interest thereon - are fully met and discharged."
Reedy Creek currently has nearly $1 billion in bond debt and that debt would become the burden of the neighboring counties if the anti-Disney law went into effect. But the law is unconstitutional anyway, from the state and U.S. point of view. Neither allows state governments to enter into contracts that they simply revoke by passing a new law. Has Desantis spelled this out for those two counties? I doubt it. The current take is the blowhard imbecile isn't even aware of this himself, else he's not have had his knee jerk, half -brained reaction.
Again, free speech rendered meaningless by the Right's fascist freaks who can't even recognize a stupid law will rebound on their own people. Hayes went on to point out it is outright viewpoint discrimination, i.e.
"The state cannot retaliate against a group or company because it doesn't like what they say." Well Desantis and his clown brigade sure did.
And as Hayes noted, if speech means anything it means that. Else it's a fiction, a fantasy- only for the few - the richest (who can buy out platforms) or the biggest bullies and assholes. So don't bore me or make me roll over howling with laughter by telling me Musk is all about free speech for the many, the masses. No he is not. He's all about giving the loudmouths, Philistines, cranks, bigots, women haters and fascists a bigger stick with which to flay those like Elizabeth Spier...or Renee Bracey Sherman, a biracial abortion rights advocate.
She - like Ms. Spiers- endures a steady stream of predictable criticism on Twitter and, occasionally, an eruption of messages calling for her death, with photos of aborted fetuses and, recently, her likeness photoshopped as a Nazi.
So little wonder those like Mss. Sherman and Spier fear that a more hands-off approach to policing the platform will embolden purveyors of hate speech, bullying and threats. In Bracey Sherman's words: “It is a montage of hate and gore and violence,” Worse, Musk has done little to dispel. Hell, he's contributed to the bad behavior.
Musk, whose takeover bid for Twitter Inc. was accepted barely three days ago, continued to use the site to criticize executives there, culminating in a dog whistle meme that mocked the top legal boss’s response to accusations of the company’s political bias. On Wednesday, Mr. Musk tweeted an image of Ms. Gadde, and overlaid it with text that repeated allegations that Twitter has a left-wing political bias.
Within literal minutes Musk’s lapdogs ...errr...followers and others on Twitter soon piled on recognizing the Fuhrer's command to stifle free speech opinions, again mocking the meme their master is pro-free speech. Thus, the groveling renegades retweeted his message more than 20,000 times, according to the WSJ, and added racist and sexist messages directed at Ms. Gadde. Including that she should be fired and should go back to India. I do hope that Americans are processing this and grasp this is just the tip of the iceberg that will accompany a Repuke takeover of government - if voters are stupid enough to allow it.
The sordid episode embodies the tension underlying Musk’s imminent ownership of one of the world’s most influential social-media networks, but also one of the most debased redoubts for assholes, bullies, right wing nutcases and pathological Trumpie liars. Let’s put it this way: Twitter – which I’ve described as a “cartoon medium” laced with toxic memes - has never been a place for rational, nuanced speech- or thought. It is basically designed as a cheap, minimal effort sounding board for trolls and Repuke loser hacks – mainly to get back at Dems. That is one reason all the Reeps and FOX clowns are now having wet dreams (even Laura Ingraham) at the though of having their Racist, Jingoistic, Authoritarian “Kraken” unleashed again thanks to Musk.
Expect it to get much worse, and as I indicated above – based on a WSJ report yesterday, it already is – thanks to Musk himself. Which again reinforces an earlier point I’ve made that the victim snowflake Right constantly conflates criticism with harassment. Or as one NY Time columnist put it Tuesday:
“The decision by Twitter’s board of directors on Monday afternoon to accept a takeover bid from Elon Musk means the company thinks the social media company would be best served by the ownership of a man who uses the platform to slime his critics, body-shame people, defy securities laws and relentlessly hawk cryptocurrencies.”
Musk describes himself as a “free speech absolutist” and he is that- given he favors allowing allowing any speech that isn’t expressly illegal. For my part, I side with the Germans given they know a thing or two about how unchecked political lies, hateful rhetoric and targeted harassment can acquire a life of its own and reduce a nation to ashes. Thus, lies cannot be “free speech” because they obliterate the meaning of speech as conveying anything real. They delude and deflect the recipient from appreciating and grasping the nature of the world, as well as his or her culture and the environment. Nor can hate directed at threatening millions of users already in the gunsights of cranks, misogynists and racists.
That could help explain why Musk shows little concern for the underbelly of unfettered free speech, although advertisers — who account for about 90% of Twitter’s revenue — may not feel the same way. It could be if the latter wield their power, Musk's reach and power may be far less than he believes.
Musk has called himself a “free speech absolutist.” In comparative historical reference terms Adolf Hitler was also a "free speech absolutist" because he firmly believed he could spew whatever rot he wanted - while his Nazi S.A. minions were free to harass those who contradicted him. Musk's own tweets to his 85 million followers since Twitter accepted his $44 billion offer on Monday, Musk has made clear that he intends to regulate content with a much lighter touch, and that he isn’t too concerned by the groundswell of criticism that it is likely to fuel harmful content.
“The extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all,” Musk tweeted Tuesday.
No, the logical, rational response is from those who have the intelligence and historical insight to recognize the incipient threat of a New Reich when they see it. Their fear is that too many others won't and will let slip this last chance at preserving one of the last bastions of democracy- as the lies and disinformation spread with a critical election coming.
Musk has a net worth of $252 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him the world’s richest person.
Elon Musk has put together a $46.5 billion financing package to buy Twitter – roughly two thirds of it from his own assets and a third from bank loans secured against Twitter’s assets. It’s the biggest acquisition financing ever put forward for one person.
Twitter’s founder and top managers haven’t wanted Musk to take over the company. They offered him a seat on the board but he didn't take it because he'd have to be responsible to all other shareholders. They then adopted a “poison pill” to stop him. They spent much of yesterday negotiating with him. If there’s no deal, Musk said he’ll buy shares directly with a tender offer that shareholders can’t refuse, and then take the firm private.
After all, it’s a free market.