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Tag: elon musk

This Is All You Need To Know About The Odious Elon Musk

Twitter has stopped saving lives and is now actively engaged in helping to kill people. It took one year and nine months and the insane ego of one man: Elon Musk. He’s the difference between these two headlines from the Associated Press.

Dateline March 1, 2021: Twitter cracks down on COVID vaccine misinformation.

Dateline November 29, 2022: Twitter ends enforcement of COVID misinformation policy.

Lies are loose on Twitter about COVID, folks. Stuff like vaccines will kill you, the disease is a conspiracy against white people, wearing a mask is fascism. It was out there before, and it’s out there again, and people will die because of it.

As of this year, Twitter has nearly 400 million active users around the world, nearly 75 million of them in this country alone. What is Twitter? Well, it’s called a social networking app, one among many, including Facebook, Instagram, and yes, even Substack and Truth Social, the Trump-owned network that mimics Twitter, or tries to, anyway. It’s a way people connect with one another. It’s a way people share information and interests. It’s a platform that has been used by many to promote companies, political movements, ideas, conspiracies, and lies.

Is it essential? No. There are other ways to connect with people, other ways to obtain and share information. Is it powerful? Without a doubt. It’s fairly widely accepted that without his frequent tweets of lies and conspiracies and bragging and self-promotion, Donald Trump probably could not have been elected president in 2016. That’s power.

What the hell could have possessed the man who took sole ownership of Twitter about a month ago to have issued this order, that a social media platform reaching so many millions of people would throw out a policy that has actively sought to tamp down misinformation about a disease that has killed over six and a half million people around the world? Contrariness? Ego? Madness? A simple wish to join in the right-wing obsession with owning the libs?

Musk’s policy changes at Twitter, which have included re-enrolling people who were banned from the platform in the past for advocating violence, racism, sexism, and homophobia among a long list of other no-no’s of a rational, humanistic civilization, have not done much to help his investment. His abandonment of Twitter’s content moderation policies has made him lose half of the top 100 advertisers on the platform.

The list includes Chevrolet, Ford, Jeep, Merck, General Motors, Volkswagen, General Mills, and the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. According to Media Matters for America, collectively the group of advertisers has spent more than $2 billion advertising on Twitter since 2020 and $750 million this year alone. Seven additional advertisers who spent at least $255 million on Twitter since 2020 have cut their ads to almost nothing.

All that money is gone. More of it will be gone very soon. The European Union warned Musk today that he faces an all-out ban unless Twitter abides by the EU’s strict rules on content moderation. EU industry chief Thierry Breton made the threat in a video conversation with Musk today, according to Reuters. “Breton told Musk he must adhere to a checklist of rules, including ditching an ‘arbitrary’ approach to reinstating banned users and agreeing to an 'extensive independent audit' of the platform by next year,” Reuters reported.

That’s tens, maybe more than 100 million Twitter users in the EU. Advertisers aren’t going to sit still for losing that many eyes.

The Intercept reported last week that Musk’s new anything-goes policy at Twitter allowed a clearly anti-Semitic cartoon on the platform that depicted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with a grossly exaggerated nose. Zelensky is Jewish. The Tweet of the anti-Semitic cartoon originated from the Russian embassy in London.

What’s going on with this guy Musk? Story after story this week and last reported on tweets put out by Musk that featured right-wing conspiracy theories and other far-out nonsense. On Thanksgiving Day, Musk retweeted something from a white supremacist equating pedophilia and Antifa, a decentralized movement that has declared itself as specifically anti-fascist. The tweet came from Paul Ray Ramsey, who has called women’s suffrage a “cancer” and is a known Holocaust denier, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Musk responded to another tweet calling “woke propaganda” a “Trojan horse” intended to “attack kid’s brains.” “Exactly,” tweeted Musk.

Elon Musk has cut loose the loons on Twitter, and they’re moving back into the platform for all they’re worth. Why he’s doing this is anybody’s guess. It’s not going to last. Regulators are not going to stand for the spread of COVID lies in the European Union. They’ll shut down Twitter in Europe before they allow Musk and his minions to cause deaths over there. There is no sane equivalent regulatory body in this country.

Is Elon Musk the Sam Bankman-Fried of the internet? Is Twitter on its way to becoming FTX, the crypto exchange that was worth tens of billions until overnight it was worth nothing?

Imitating the impulsive adolescent behavior of Donald Trump is no way to run a business, son. Even the dean of Faber University knew that much.

Elon Musk Has Driven Away Half Of Twitter's Top Advertisers Already

In recent weeks, 50 of the top 100 advertisers have either announced or seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter. These advertisers have accounted for nearly $2 billion in spending on the platform since 2020, and over $750 million in advertising in 2022 alone.

In addition to advertisers that have seemingly stopped all advertising on Twitter as of November 21, there are an additional seven advertisers that appear to be slowing the rate of their advertising on the platform to almost nothing. Since 2020, these seven advertisers have accounted for over $255 million in spending on Twitter, and nearly $118 million in advertising in 2022.

  • An asterisk indicates a company has issued a statement or was publicly reported as stopping its ads on Twitter and subsequently confirmed. Otherwise, companies identified on this list are “quiet quitters,” based on a Media Matters analysis of Pathmatics data. These companies were previously advertising on Twitter, but then stopped for a significant period of time following direct outreach, controversies, and warnings from media buyers.
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Allstate Corporation
  • AMC Networks
  • American Express Company
  • AT&T
  • Big Heart Petcare
  • BlackRock, Inc.
  • BlueTriton Brands, Inc.
  • Boston Beer Company
  • CA Lottery (California State Lottery)
  • CenturyLink (Lumen Technologies, Inc.)
  • Chanel
  • Chevrolet*
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.*
  • Citigroup, Inc.
  • CNN
  • Dell
  • Diageo
  • DirecTV
  • Discover Financial Services
  • Fidelity
  • First National Realty Partners
  • Ford*
  • Heineken N.V.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HP)
  • Hilton Worldwide
  • Inspire Brands, Inc.
  • Jeep*
  • Kellogg Company
  • Kohl's Department Stores, Inc.
  • Kyndryl*
  • LinkedIn Corporation
  • MailChimp (The Rocket Science Group)
  • Marriott International, Inc.
  • Mars Petcare
  • Mars, Incorporated
  • Merck & Co. (Merck Sharp & Dohme MSD)*
  • Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly Facebook, Inc.)
  • MoneyWise (Wise Publishing, Inc.)
  • Nestle
  • Novartis AG*
  • Pernod Ricard
  • PlayPass
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • The Kraft Heinz Company
  • Tire Rack
  • Verizon
  • Wells Fargo
  • Whole Foods Market IP
  • Yum! Brands

Despite these advertising losses, Elon Musk (who acquired the platform in late October) has continued his rash of brand unsafe actions — including amplifying conspiracy theories, unilaterally reinstating banned accounts such as that of former President Donald Trump, courting and engaging with far-right accounts, and instituting a haphazard verification scheme that allowed extremists and scammers to purchase a blue check. This last move, in particular, opened the platform up to a variety of fraud and brand imitations.

(Snack food company Mondelez International has also reportedly stopped advertising on Twitter citing concerns about hate speech on the platform. However, ads for two of Mondelez’s major brands – Oreo and Ritz – have recently been running at high volume, accounting for approximately $600,000 in ad spending since November 9.)

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Musk Sold Blue Checkmarks To Extremists Now Spreading Hate On Twitter

In recent days, numerous Twitter accounts that were suspended for violating the platform’s rules or have a documented history of spreading conspiracy theories and hate speech have purchased a check mark through the new Twitter Blue feature.

On November 9, Twitter launched its updated Twitter Blue feature. The program allows users to pay $7.99 a month for a blue check mark -- which previously served to signal that the account’s identity had been verified -- and “early access to select new features,” such as “half the ads” and priority ranking for “quality content.”

In a Twitter Space held the same day, Musk tried to address some concerns, including about the new Twitter Blue feature and advertisers' concern around hate speech on the platform. During it, he baselessly claimed that ads will not appear next to hate speech and that “the propensity of someone to engage in hate speech if they have paid $8 and are risking the suspension of their account is going to be far, far less.” He provided no evidence for either claim.

Musk’s Twitter Blue has drawn criticism and concern, as users quickly abused the service to impersonate religious figures, government officials, politicians, athletes, brands, and others. (Twitter’s current policies still claim that “blue checkmarks may be taken away at any time for any reason at all by Twitter, including as the result of certain types of violations of the Twitter Rules, including but not limited to our rules around spam, ban evasion, and impersonation.”)

Media Matters has already identified several users that now have a blue check mark through a paid subscription to Twitter Blue, even though they have been previously banned or suspended from Twitter for violating its rules or are known to spread extreme content, hate speech, and misinformation. Some of these accounts have even already spread hate or misinformation since purchasing Twitter Blue.

Libs of TikTok

Anti-LGBTQ account Libs of TikTok has become notorious for spreading anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on Twitter, while targeting schools, Pride events, and individuals. The account has been suspended from Twitter multiple times for hateful conduct.

Gays Against Groomers

Anti-trans group Gays Against Groomers has also worked to push the baseless claim that trans people are “groomers” and spread anti-trans sentiment on both Twitter and Instagram. Gays Against Groomers has been suspended from Twitter at least four times in the past.

Billboard Chris

Chris Elston, who goes by Billboard Chris on various social media platforms, is a Canadian anti-trans activist known for harassing trans health care providers. His Twitter account has been suspended at least once in the past and since his return, he has continued to document his stunts and post harmful rhetoric about trans people.

Catturd

Right-wing troll account Catturd – which Musk has interacted with on Twitter – has used the platform to spread misinformation and conduct harassment campaigns.

Bryson Gray

MAGA Rapper Bryson Gray has expressed support for white nationalist Nick Fuentes’ America First movement, using his Twitter platform to do so. Gray is also set to do a livestream with white nationalist Baked Alaska on Fuentes’ streaming platform on the evening of November 10. In a video on the Telegram channel of QAnon promoter Jeffrey Pedersen, who goes by the handle “intheMatrixxx,” Gray invoked the QAnon slogan: “Where we go one, we go all.”

Red Eagle Politics

Jack Francis, who goes by Red Eagle Politics, is a member of the American Populist Union, a group similar to Fuentes’ America First. Francis has expressed support for the America First movement on his Twitter account.

Blake Kresses

Blake Kresses -- a member of the Republican Hype House, a former Turning Point USA ambassador, and a content host for right-wing nonprofit Today is America -- now hosts a far-right YouTube show along with Today is America members Kaden Lopez and Gabriel Victal (who also has subscribed to Twitter Blue). Their show has featured Kai Schwemmer -- a known associate of white nationalist Nick Fuentes. During the show, Kresses referred to Schwemmer (who is also featured in Kresses’ Twitter banner photo, along with Jack Francis aka Red Eagle Politics) as a “favorite good friend” and promoted his streaming content on Fuentes’ website. Kresses has repeatedly posted blatant anti-LGBTQ rhetoric to his Twitter account and has been suspended at least once for doing so.

White Supremacists Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer

In 2017, Twitter changed its account verification policy after facing criticism for verifying Jason Kessler, a white supremacist behind the deadly Unite the Right rally Charlottesville, Virginia. Twitter revoked Kessler’s verification, along with other white nationalists like Richard Spencer. Both Kessler and Spencer have subscribed to Twitter Blue, and Kessler is even advocating for Musk to reinstate fellow white supremacist David Duke.

QAnon-supporting Accounts

Twitter accounts belonging to Nicholas Veniamin, host of a QAnon podcast, and Woke Societies, a QAnon show banned from YouTube, have also been able to acquire a blue check mark through a paid subscription.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Twitter Counsel Fears Musk Actions Risk 'Billions' In Federal Penalties

Twitter employees have been subjected to a variety of chaos and stress since late October, when Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired the social media giant and immediately began firing and laying off employees. Musk has fired Twitter’s entire board of directors and some of its top executives in addition to making major cuts to its content moderation staff.

On top of all that, a company attorney is, according to The Verge, warning that Musk is putting Twitter at risk of facing billions of dollars in fines from the federal government.

In an article published on November 10, The Verge’s Alex Heath reports, “Twitter’s privacy and security teams are in turmoil after Elon Musk’s changes to the service bypassed its standard data governance processes. Now, a company lawyer is encouraging employees to seek whistleblower protection ‘if you feel uncomfortable about anything you’re being asked to do.’ The company’s chief privacy officer Damien Kieran, chief information security officer Lea Kissner, and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty have all resigned, according to two employees and an internal message seen by The Verge.”

Kissner, according to Heath, “confirmed their departure in a tweet on Thursday,” November 10.

In a biting note posted on Twitter’s Slack page and visible to other employees, Heath reports, a Twitter attorney — whose identity The Verge didn’t want to reveal — wrote, “Elon has shown that his only priority with Twitter users is how to monetize them. I do not believe he cares about the human rights activists. the dissidents, our users in un-monetizable regions, and all the other users who have made Twitter the global town square you have all spent so long building, and we all love.”

Heath notes that in May 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “reached a settlement with Twitter” after the company had been “caught using personal user info to target ads.”

Heath reports, “If Twitter doesn’t comply with that agreement, the FTC can issue fines reaching into the billions of dollars, according to the lawyer’s note to employees…. The note goes on to say that its author, who The Verge knows the identity of but is choosing not to disclose, has ‘heard Alex Spiro (current head of Legal) say that Elon is willing to take on a huge amount of risk in relation to this company and its users, because ‘Elon puts rockets into space, he’s not afraid of the FTC.’”

Another change Musk is instituting at Twitter, according to Business Insider, is an end to letting employees work remotely.

On November 10, according to Business Insider reporters Kate Duffy and Kali Hays, Musk made the announcement in an e-mail. Hw told employees — the ones who, so far, haven’t been fired or laid off — “The road ahead is arduous and will require intense work to succeed.”

Duffy and Hays report that Musk opened the e-mail by saying that there was “no way to sugarcoat the message” about how the economic climate would affect Twitter.

“Days after Musk finalized his deal with Twitter, employees noticed the company's ‘days of rest,’ implemented by the Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, had been removed from their calendars, people familiar with the matter told Insider,” Duffy and Hays note. “While Dorsey encouraged staff to avoid burnout, employees of Musk's other companies, such as SpaceX and Tesla, are known to work long hours. The change in pace at Twitter became apparent after a photo was posted on the social media platform showing a manager sleeping on the floor at its San Francisco headquarters last week.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

On Trump's Truth Social, Unhinged Election Conspiracy Theories Rule

Misinformation and madness rule on Truth Social, former President Trump’s beleaguered social media platform, where the most chilling of Democrat-focused threats — “Wipe them out” and “Nuke them from orbit,” among many others — and the most outrageous of right-wing conspiracy theories are all daily fare.

“Hey, Truthsayer,” registrations are mailed upon signing up to Truth Social, a Twitter clone abounding in extremist right-wing rhetoric and screeds — scary even to card-carrying moderate Republicans.

Hunter Biden, vaccine and election conspiracies, and BlueAnon — a conservative play on the QAnon term to refer to “left-wing conspiracy theories"— are a fraction of the hard-right ravings that litter Truth Social as prominent figures in the MAGA sphere and anonymous Trumplican provocateurs on the platform engage in heated discussion of their fantasies.

False information about the Democratic Party’s midterm election campaigns and Nancy Pelosi’s husband, whom a hoax-peddling Trump supporter recently attacked after breaking into the family’s home, have spread rampantly within the far-right echo chamber.

Notorious agitators like the former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, MAGA firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and disgraced former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani all have Truth Social accounts, from which they peddle the lies and obfuscations already rampant on the platform.

In the days leading up to November 8, the platform and its users became more unhinged, fueled not only by speculations of a “red wave,” which would see Republicans regain power in Congress, along with hints that the MAGA chief himself will imminently announce his 2024 bid for the White House.

Trump Jr, for example, has, in preparation for the midterms, prompted a flurry of vaccine, drugs, and Ukraine-related conspiracy theories on his Truth Social account, all of which are “eagerly lapped up by fellow Truthers,” according to the Guardian.

Greene, another thought leader on the platform, renowned for her extremist lexicon (and malapropisms), is one of the loudest disinformation merchants on the platform, disseminating vitriolic mendacities that outdo her already-obscene Twitter feed.

“A darling of the Trump-Republican movement,” the Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt writes, “[Greene] has become one of the loudest voices in what is a very loud room.”

Like Trump Jr., Greene’s rhetoric in the lead-up to the midterms grew even more furious, and she hastened the flurry of foreboding, dystopian warnings — widely deployed by Republican candidates and chugged down as gospel by extremist MAGA voters — from her account.

“Corporate communists control the speech of their employees & customers by only allowing Democrat speech and punishing, silencing, and canceling Republican speech,” Taylor Greene claimed, typically without evidence of any kind.

“But there is a shift beginning,” she continued. “People are beginning to refuse to be silenced and a Patriot economy is beginning.”

Emboldened by the alleged absence of content moderation on Truth Social, Greene has also levied groundless accusations at her Democratic colleagues, attacking more than just their political ideologies.

“There are more Democrat conspiracy theories & theorists on Twitter than Qanon ever produced,” Greene posted on October 28. “Most have blue check marks, post their pronouns, support war in Ukraine, are triple vaxxed & boosted, and work in corporate media, Hollywood, or the government. BlueAnon are dangerous.”

Alarmingly, many Truth Social users have been particularly sympathetic to Russia and its criminal invasion of Ukraine, using the #IStandWithRussia hashtag numerous times in the past month.

“Russia invaded the Ukraine to stop the NWO [New World Order, a conspiracy theory] for producing more viral weapons,” Truth Social user mikesonfire posted to the platform. The New World Order hoax hypothesizes the emergence of a totalitarian world government by a cabal of elites.

Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter — specifically, his promise to promote “free speech” on the platform — has been of immense interest to Truth Social users, who are intrigued by how the Tesla mogul’s back-and-forth with activists and Democrats, which has led to permanent bans, might affect Democratic political operations going forward.

“Democrats are not going to be able to handle free speech and the corrupt Democratic Party will fall apart after hearing the truth,” a user opined after Musk’s takeover.

Truth Social is described on Google’s Play Store, in which it was recently reinstated after an initial ban over content moderation concerns, as a platform that welcomes “open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology.”

For how long the platform can continue to cater to the MAGA crowd remains in question, however, as Digital World Acquisition Corp., the company looking to acquire Truth Social’s parent company, Trump Media & Technology Group, has been unable to raise the $1.3 billion capital it needs to complete the takeover -- and may be forced to liquidate by December 8 if it remains unable to do so.

To Aid Musk, Republicans Corruptly Threaten Major Firms Over Twitter Ad 'Pause'

Elon Musk and his right-wing supporters have portrayed his takeover of Twitter as a major victory for free speech. But the billionaire’s first week as its CEO was characterized by his erratic behavior on the social media platform and lack of compelling answers off of it. Musk’s volatile leadership quickly resulted in wary corporations heeding the concerns of a coalition of organizations — including Media Matters — and exercising their own free speech rights by pausing their Twitter advertisements.

Republicans are not interested in supporting the free speech of those companies. They have a compelling partisan interest in securing Musk’s control of a leading communications hub for journalists, and have responded to the advertiser pause by threatening the firms with political retribution.

“This is a helpful list of brands who are begging to sit in front of a House panel next year to discuss their company’s participation in leftist corporate extortion,” political operative and podcaster Josh Holmes tweeted on Friday, linking to a story about companies pausing their advertisements. When critics pointed out that it was inappropriate for Republicans to use their power to threaten companies for not wanting to advertise on a particular platform, he responded that they were being “so dumb.”

Holmes is a major political player. A former chief of staff and campaign manager to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), he’s been described as “the mastermind of Team Mitch.” The communications firm he founded, Cavalry LLC, has repped the campaigns of a host of Senate Republicans, as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee and various GOP political action committees. He’s not some Trumpist flunky shooting off his mouth, but someone with real influence to get Republicans to follow through on his threat if they win either house of Congress in the midterm elections.

Nor is he alone. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has repeatedly criticized companies for not wanting to advertise with Musk, offering dark hints about what might happen if they continued “throwing in their lot with the far Left of the Democratic Party.” Other GOP leaders, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, have also issued vague threats against the companies.

The Republican salvos on Musk’s behalf haven’t commanded much attention from the press.

But they represent the party’s ongoing institutionalization of the corrupt and authoritarian tactics Donald Trump wielded during his presidency.

Trump repeatedly used legitimate regulatory tools to punish companies that defied him and reward those that supported him. He didn’t just criticize reporting from CNN and The Washington Post, for example — he meddled with a proposed merger involving CNN’s parent company, and blocked a major contract that would have benefited the Post’s owner. Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch, owner of Trump’s favorite propaganda outlet, Fox News, saw federal regulators repeatedly support his interests.

Republicans did not throw out this playbook after Trump left office.

Last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis drew plaudits from the right-wing press when he responded to Disney’s opposition to his “Don’t Say Gay” bill by stripping the company of its special self-governing status in the state.

When Musk first sought to buy Twitter in April, a group of House Republicans led by Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter to the company’s board asking them to preserve all records related to the offer — a move that CNBC noted “signals that should Republicans take back the majority in the House in the 2022 midterm elections, they may launch an investigation into Twitter.”

And last week, Axios reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was trying to force the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to replace its leadership after the business lobby endorsed some Democratic candidate in the House during the 2020 election cycle rather than serving as a “functional campaign appendage of the Republican Party.”

The Republican threats against companies that don’t want to give their money to Musk are already paying off for the party. On Monday, Musk urged “independent-minded voters” to support Republican candidates for Congress on the purported grounds that “shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties.” He is trying to ensure that the party that supports his control of Twitter also holds the levers of power in government — and can reward him in turn.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Trump And Musk Spar As Former Guy Mocks The New 'Chief Twit'

Elon Musk’s tenure as Twitter CEO — or “Chief Twit,” as Musk himself put it — is off to the rockiest of starts, and former President Donald Trump, himself the founder of a beleaguered social media app, is privately enjoying every second of it.

Since Musk’s highly publicized takeover a week ago, Twitter has fostered a surge of right-wing extremism and conspiracies, lost a contingent of advertisers, laid off half of its workforce, and faced calls for a federal investigation on national security grounds.

As Musk contends with the controversies, botching his response to a growing outcry over the platform’s content moderation by sharing fake news himself, the former president has privately mocked the Tesla mogul, Rolling Stone reported Saturday, citing anonymous sources privy to the matter.

Despite cheering Musk’s takeover as Twitter’s return to “sane hands,” Trump is reportedly ecstatic with the slew of problems rattling the platform, from which he remains permanently banned.

“The [former] president is not mad about it, I’ll say that much,” a source told Rolling Stone. “He’s said some [snide] things about Musk maybe not being such a great business titan after all.”

Trump, the publication stated, considers Twitter’s troubles “a good business opportunity for his social media app, suggesting a larger share of MAGA users may migrate to his own ‘Truth Social.’”

Despite trolling his Democratic critics as Trump does, Musk has become the target of right-wing criticism for perceived reneging reneging on his promise to reverse Trump’s permanent Twitter ban, which he called “flat-out stupid,” and running afoul of his pledge to promote free speech on Twitter.

Musk’s announcement didn’t go down well with the MAGA right, including those who lauded his acquisition and were over the moon about his personal responses to their complaints on day one at the helm.

However, Trump's excitement at the Elon-led Twitter’s setbacks is laughable, given the problems that have besieged Truth Social since its founding.

Delays have plagued a $1.3 billion merger to provide Truth Social with much-needed capital and a stock market listing as previously contractually obligated investors jump ship. As a result, the blank-check company struggling to raise those funds, Digital World Acquisition Corporation, has changed its business address to a mailbox at a UPS store.

Furthermore, Trump’s following on his MAGA-friendly platform and bullhorn for right-wing misinformation — at 4.17 million users last month — is still only a fraction of what he had on Twitter, which was at 86 million users before his ban. As of September, Truth Social’s daily active users clocked 3.3 million, a smidgen of Twitter’s 238 million active daily users.

Despite rumors that Trump’s return to Twitter might be on the horizon, the former president has insisted that he’ll remain on his platform, saying, “I am not going on Twitter; I am going to stay on TRUTH.”

“Look who’s Number One – Truth. Does that make it worth more than 44 Billion Dollars???,” Trump wrote when Google allowed his Twitter clone back on its Android Play Store.

Musk has since clapped back at Trump, labeling Truth Social “a right-wing echo chamber” that “might as well be called Trumpet.”

“I don’t hate the man, but it’s time for Trump to hang up his hat & sail into the sunset,” Musk tweeted.


What Law Enforcement Must Do To Shut Down Right-Wing Terror Threats

If there were anything remotely conservative about people calling themselves “conservative Republicans” they’d be horrified by the near-fatal attack upon Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, and calling for strict law enforcement.

Instead, they’re making stupid jokes and endorsing conspiracy theories to minimize the terrible reality of what happened—seemingly secure in the knowledge that the bully-boys and would-be assassins are pretty much all on their side. Yes, there are crackpots on each end of the political spectrum, but actual assaults come largely from the MAGA right.

Famous big game hunter Donald Trump, Jr. — mighty slayer of captive elephants at a game farm in Zimbabwe — posted a photo of a pair of undershorts and a hammer. “Got my Paul Pelosi Halloween costume ready” the caption read. Devastating wit, right? No word yet from Trump, Sr., whose views on roughing up political rivals are well-known. He once suggested “Second Amendment people” deal with Hillary Clinton.

Both men have been surrounded by bodyguards all their lives.

Preppy Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin chuckled at his own vow to send Nancy Pelosi home to California to care for her husband. This witticism apparently delivered while the 82-year-old victim was still in surgery for a fractured skull.

Although not technically a Republican, self-proclaimed “free speech fundamentalist” Elon Musk posted and later retracted a tweet suggesting the attack on Paul Pelosi stemmed from a gay lover’s quarrel, a malicious invention evidently inspired by the fact that the victim was asleep in his underwear when the assailant burst into his bedroom at 2 AM.

I guess this tells us where the tycoon means to take Twitter, his latest expensive toy. Straight into the Stygian depths of Internet hell.

Meanwhile, several Michigan men were convicted of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — like Nancy Pelosi a woman with serious political power, something that pushes a certain kind of blowhard over the edge. In Arizona right-wing “activists” carrying assault rifles are showing up at early voting sites, writing down license plate numbers, and following people home to prevent (imaginary) electoral fraud.

Voter intimidation is a federal crime.

Elsewhere, scores of election workers and school board members are resigning nationwide due to death threats — some delivered openly at public meetings. High school librarians are being told that their home addresses and the names of their children are known to their antagonists.

So where is law enforcement? Terroristic threatening is likewise a serious felony. Not that it’s ever enforced until much too late.

My own experience in this realm may be instructive. Some years back, I used to get regular threats of death and dismemberment on my home telephone. Mostly, they came on weekends, around midnight. Always the same guy. Countrified accent, grammatically challenged. My wife, perennially worried about our young sons’ safety, could not be persuaded to let the damn thing ring.

To me, crank calls and online threats pretty much come with the territory. Mostly I’ve ignored them. Man to man, people have always left me alone. But this joker had gone too far: vowing to beat me to death in front of my wife, and then rape and sexually mutilate her.

He seemed to get a big charge out of talking dirty to her.

All this because I wrote newspaper columns broadly supportive of Democratic politicians — Bill and Hillary Clinton in particular. Both Clintons have always had a knack for infuriating guys like him.

I recorded a couple of calls and notified the phone company. They put a trace on my phone, documenting that they originated from a pay phone outside a liquor store on the North Little Rock side of the river — a different jurisdiction.

I took the evidence downtown to the police department.

And then, nothing.

Detectives assured me that the caller was a coward who would never confront me. I was pretty sure that was right, but the man was obviously disturbed. As I say, terroristic threatening is a felony.

The cops basically thanked me for my effort and kept the evidence. If he ever actually did attack me or my wife, they’d have all they needed to put him away. If he showed up and I shot him, I basically had my alibi.

But if all he ever did was talk…

Well, if they arrested every guy who talked trash whenever he got drunk, they’d have no time for anything else. I understood where they were coming from, but it became clear I was wasting my time. Not long afterward we moved to the country, and he couldn’t find us anymore.

My point is that what’s needed in response to the Paul Pelosi incident may be what’s sometimes called “broken windows policing.” Local, state and federal authorities need to bust these clowns making threats against librarians and school board members and make a big show of it.

Because otherwise, we’re headed toward Berlin, 1933.