Elon has landed, Twitter is his.
What exactly did he buy?
The actual technology stack is not the asset, rather the user base, those addicted to it are. That’s what he just spent $44 Billion buying. To put that another way, Elon himself is addicted to Twitter, so he just spend $44 Billion buying himself.
Now that Twitter is private and has an absolute monarch running the show what happens next?
I’ve no deep insider insights here, I’m simply speculating out loud.
Revenue is about advertising. If indeed you turn off all the filters and let the sludge flow freely (porn, hate, conspiracies, lies, disinformation, racism, homophobia, etc…) then sit back and watch as the advertisers rapidly flee.
“Ah, but I’ll change users $$“, thinks Elon.
Meanwhile a shit-ton of ex-Twitter employees are most probably off building a new social media stack, so when faced with paying to be inside Elon’s cesspool or simply walking away to whatever comes next for free, well, you can see how that would play out.
The choice he faces is indeed a rather simple binary choice – cesspit vs ban the lunatics. Let the lunatics in, and the most valuable asset Twitter has, its many many users along with the advertisers, will ebb away leaving behind an echo chamber for lunacy, lies, and hatred.
What he might not grasp is that Twitter is global, not just US centric. Good luck navigating laws in other nations with a “free speech” for all policy. The Middle East, German Speech Laws, and Indian social media policies will only be the beginning of the nightmare he now faces if he actually rocks the Twitter boat, especially after firing all the subject matter experts, so he will be on his own on that. Tesla is deeply dependent on China, but what happens to that relationship when China takes exception to political criticism of them on Twitter? He just gave them a very powerful leaver to pull.
You can’t have social media with no moderation. Even Truth Social and Parler now moderate in their own weird ways.
Perhaps I’m wrong about all of this, but I suspect I’m not. I think all we can do is to welcome Elon to a hell that he has now created for himself as he literally tries to square the social media circle.
I have one other brief opening remark to add. The other big news item of the week was the attempted assassination of a Democratic leader by a guy that has been radicalised by leading Republicans who have been deploying lies to such a degree that this guy was empowered to turn to political violence. If you are voting for any Republican, then you are voting for far more of that.
Moving on, below you will find my usual selection of some truly bizarre claims that have popped up during the last 7 days. Each is laced with my snarky commentary. With my usual hat tip to my various sources, let’s dive in.
Right-Wing Pastor Hank Kunneman Fearmongers About Democrats Hurting Children Ahead of Midterms
- Separation of Church and State is a wholly alien concept for this scamvangelist
- Apparently Bats now use the term “Trumpshit crazy” for stuff like this.
- Anybody genuinely interested in protecting kids needs to keep them away from youth pastors and clerics. Unlike Hank, I can cite credible evidence for that comment. Just this past week we have stories about youth pastors abusing kids … see here, and here, and here, and here, etc… sadly there is a lot more where that came from.
- Meanwhile his “Gone after the Children” turns out too not actually be about abuse at all, he simply does not like Drag Queen Story hour.
Jackson Lahmeyer says that right-wing Christians must take over their local school boards: “We need to get the right people to run for school board. That’s the key. The key is taking over school boards.”
- Jackson Lahmeyer Translator: “Right People” = Religious nutters who hold exactly the same beliefs he holds.
- Side Note: This is why you need to vote blue right down your ticket to the very bottom.
David Barton has been instrumental in creating today’s Christian nationalism ideology, but the “history” he teaches is often entirely false. For instance, all the claims he recently made about the 1844 Supreme Court case Vidal v. Girard’s Executors are untrue.
- Reminder: Barton has no academic credentials for history and yet has successfully managed to publish a history book … that officially became the “least credible history book”. His Christian publisher lost all confidence in him and withdrew the book.
- He remains popular in some circles because he tells them the lies they want to hear and not the actual historical facts.
David Barton Item 2. He confirms that he is a pathological liar by claiming that … “Right Wing Watch has me as the number two hater in America.”
- Fact Check: Nope, that’s a lie.
- Is he in fact jealous and desperately wants to be No.1 ?
Charlie Kirk Makes Multiple Historically and Biblically Baseless Claims to Justify His Christian Nationalism
- This is the guy who has promoted bizarre conspiracy theories, for example his claim that universities are “islands of totalitarianism“, yet also happily accepted an honorary doctorate from Liberty University.
Kent Christmas prayed over election-denier Sidney Powell, asking that God “make her a bulldozer that will begin to plow through the courts of the United States of America.”
- It will be truly fascinating to see how she actually manages to do that within a law license.
- To be honest, turning her into a bulldozer is wholly appropriate given that she has already demonstrated that she is a very efficient fertiliser spray.
- As one further response, let me just drop this small reminder here that she does not consider those around her in the above clip to be “Reasonable People”…
Christian Nationalist Lance Wallnau instructed his followers to support Republican candidates in the upcoming elections because “when you’re dealing with the Nazi Party, or you’re dealing with the KKK, or you’re dealing with organized antifa… you can’t afford to go too neutral.”
- What is bizarre here is that the Nazi’s and also the KKK are very much right-wing groups, not left wing. Anybody on the left who is a Nazi would in reality actually be right-wing. He appears to have no clue what those words actually mean and simply tosses them out to smear those he opposes on the left.
- As for “antifa” … the clue is in the name … “anti-fascist” and also by practise anti-racist. If that is what he is opposed to, then that’s a confession that he is in fact a fascist racist.
Gingrich: “You see it everywhere. You see it in the most recent poll in Illinois where Governor Pritzker is in a very close race“
- Check 538 and you find the truth. Democratic Pritzker is 14.3% ahead.
- He is as “close” as Newt Gingrich was with his first two wives.
Josh Hawley to Tucker: The war they really are waging, the culture war they are more interested in is right here. It’s Christian culture they don’t like. It’s the way that we live.. They don’t like any of those things and they want to destroy the economic underpinnings..
- Rebuttal Tweet by Mehdi Hasan of MSNBC: The president is Christian, the vice-president is Christian, the Speaker of the House is Christian… so who is the ‘they’ that Hawley is demagoguing here? Or is he saying Christian Democrats aren’t really Christians?
Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s Surgeon General, appeared on Sherri Tenpenny’s program today, where he heaped praise on the far-right anti-vax conspiracy theorist for having the “courage” to oppose COVID-19 vaccines: “There’s something very inspiring about that.”
- “inspiring” is not exactly the word I was going for on this one. The over 1 million people who died might also opt for different words as well if they could.
- What he actually finds “inspiring” is Tenpenny’s ability to successfully grift off the Wingnut Welfare Wagon.
- Sherry Tenpenny: This is the conspiracy nutter who claimed that the vaccines gave you a magnetic superpower and also plugged you into 5G. Since I’ve had my booster, my magnetic superpower is a bust and so that scuppered my plan to join The Avengers. My 5G signal is also still crap, so I want my money back.
- Joseph Ladapo: Despite have an actual medical degree he still promoted a horse deworming drug as a COVID cure despite a total lack of any credible evidence for it. The is no avoiding the observation that the man is an idiot.
MAGA anti-vaccine “expert” Stella Immanuel is praying that God destroys satellites. “Crash land them in the name of Jesus!“
- Stella is not just crazy, she is 50 shades of crazy. Via here, her Wikipedia page, we have a few juicy examples …
- She believes many gynecological illnesses are the result of having sex dreams with succubi and incubi, and receiving demon sperm
- As a Doctor with a real medical degree that sees patients, she claims that endometriosis, infertility, miscarriage, and sexually transmitted infections are caused by spirit spouses – exactly what medical school did she attend? (Actually I do know, I looked it up. Somewhere along the way they failed to educate her)
- She has also claimed that space alien DNA is used in medical treatments and that “reptilian spirits” and other extraterrestrials run the U.S. government.
- Oh and lets not forget her claim that Illuminati are using witches to destroy the world through abortion, gay marriage, children’s toys, and media, including Pokémon, Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana.
- There is more, lots lots more, for example the claim that scientists are developing vaccines to stop people from being religious.
- If this lady is your doctor, then run … run as far away as you possibly can, and when you get far away, keep running even further.
- She has actually killed people and then been sued for medical malpractice in Louisiana, but ducked that by moving to Texas and setting up shop in a strip mall in Heuston. I sincerely hope and pray that her potential patients are able to google her name.
Oz knew that the abortion question would come up during his debate, so he had a well thought out answer. Apparently abortion decisions are a deeply personal decision that should only be made between a woman, a doctor, and a local politician.
- The correct response is either WTF! … or even WTAF!
- CNN might tag it an “awful answer”, but actually it was also an honest answer, one that truthfully stated the GOP policy position.
Far-right English commentator Katie Hopkins spoke at the latest ReAwaken America event, where she bragged about being in the United States illegally because she’s unvaccinated and came in across the Southern border, and then challenged the Biden administration to arrest her: “Come at me. Lock me up. Do it!”
- As an illegal she gets a free pass because she is both far-right and white. Simply being brown would be a deal breaker.
- The folks in the UK would be very upset if she was actually deported … because they really really don’t want her back and are quite relieved that she has left the UK.
- She also appears to collect deportations, she was deported from Australia last July as an undesirable.
Nick Fuentes rants against “world Jewry,” calling Jews a “hostile tribal elite” who worship the devil and have established an “anti-Christ” nation in Israel: “Who else would be leading the insurrection against the true kingdom?”
- It is truly mind blowing that he has cranked the whacky lunatic dial right up to 11
- Meanwhile … will he be arriving on twitter next week to fly this antisemitism flag? … (Sigh!).
Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis said going on Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride was “contrary to [her] Christian faith” and she feels very bad about it. “I went on this ride that was a celebration of everything that is antithetical to the Gospel of Christ.“
- Matthew 27:52-53 reads … “and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” … that is literally Disney’s haunted house … in the Gospel.
- What is weird is the claim that riding Disney’s Haunted Mansion is anti-Christian, but riding the far scarier Trump train is not.
- Many of the people who have done Haunted Mansion over the years where Christians, enjoyed it, and did not feel their faith threatened by it in any way … because unlike Jenna, they had managed to work out that it is just a bit of fun.
- Meanwhile, what happened to that total Disney right-wing boycott, did she miss the memo?
The False Profit$
Dave Hayes (aka The Praying Medic) told former Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield that Q is a “PSYOP” orchestrated by Trump and the military in the same way that “Jesus was a PSYOP from God.”
- Claim: At 24 second mark into the clip linked to above, “Much of it ultimately came true” … Fact Check:”Nope, that’s a lie, none of it did, not one jot“
- Welcome to Diet Christianity … packed with all the conspiracies and hypocrisy you just love, yet has none of those awkward teachings of Jesus.
- The other observation being demonstrated here is that when you lose about 50% of your IQ then all you have left is Q
Self-appointed “Prophet” Hank Kunneman says the “fake” Biden administration is doing “the very things that they did in Nazi Germany under Hitler.”
- Offer Hank the opportunity to live as a Jewish guy in 1940s Germany or 2022 USA and let’s see if he has any difficulty deciding which to go for.
- If this was actually true then he would be on his way to Guantanamo right now.
- This “prophet” comes across as a guy who wants to sell you a second hand car. The verbal slime that just oozes unabated from every one of his orifices is a subtle clue that he might not be playing with a straight bat … and yet he sells this stuff because there are willing buyers who nod along to it all.
Shane Vaughn declares that “Climate change is a FALSE RELIGION of demons that exalts mans ability above THE PROMISES OF YAHWEH that His earth will NEVER be destroyed.”
- Well let’s see now. On one side we have a pastor, who went to jail in 2010 for fraud, spouting gibberish about demons, and on the other side we have literally millions of climate scientists all around the planet who are backed up by decades of observational data … hot damn, this is such a hard call to make, how can I possibly work out whom I should believe here?
A Bit of really Good News
Political Speech of the week
I just loved this. If you do as well, then you will see what it has had over 1 Million views …
- Kelsey Vlamis @ Business Insider: We read the Gab founder’s how-to guide to Christian nationalism. The book is part of a new trend of conservatives openly embracing the ideology.
- Cory Shaffer @ Cleveland.com: Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman plead guilty to felony for 2020 election robocalls targeting Cleveland voters.
- Daniel Villarreal @ The New Civil Rights Movement: Armed “vigilantes” intimidate Arizona voters at mail-in ballot drop boxes.
- Brooke Leigh Howard and Jose Paglier @ The Daily Beast: Florida Puts Raging MAGA Moms on Book-Banning Council.
- Hemant Mehta @ OnlySky: Greg Locke’s church is so loud, his county may adopt a noise ordinance.
- Joe Jervis: Trump Threatens Journalists With Prison Rape.
- Tim Murphy @ Mother Jones: Glenn Youngkin Is Only as Moderate as the Election Denier He’s Campaigning For.
- Erin Cox and Ovetta Wiggins @ The Washington Post: Video shows governor hopeful Dan Cox accepting gift from Md. Proud Boys.
- Kipp Jones @ Mediaite: Tucker Carlson Lashes Out at Washington Post Writer Asking About Alleged Nepotism Surrounding Son: ‘Go F*** Yourself.’
- Vera Bergengruen @ Time: How ‘Stop the Steal’ Became ‘Watch the Polls’.
- Kelly Weill @ The Daily Beast: QAnon Is Backing These Sec. of State Candidates in 2024 Master Plan.
- Annie Gowen @ The Washington Post: Right-wing roadshow promotes Christian nationalism before midterms.
- David Corn @ Mother Jones: Arizona GOP Candidate Kari Lake Airs an Ad Featuring a Homophobic and Extremist Pastor.
- Hemant Mehta @ OnlySky: Christian ‘prophets’ claim Jesus was wealthy: ‘He had five houses!’
- Ryan Teague Beckwith and Margaret Newkirk @ Bloomberg: Masked Poll Watchers Are Showing Up at Voting Sites With Handguns and Kevlar Vests.
- Kelly Weill @ The Daily Beast: MAGA Conspiracy Tours Plagued With ‘Grifter’ Allegations.
- Katherine Stewart @ The New Republic: Why Are Some Christian Nationalist Leaders Opposed to Being Called Christian Nationalists?
Statistic of the week
The very best argument against religion over the last few decades has been the actual behaviour of the deeply religious. It has played a role in motivating increasing numbers to simply stop attending and quietly walk away.
Ryan tweeted this fascinating statistic this past week …
If you are thinking COVID played a role there, then perhaps, but not until 2020. The above was happening long before COVID.