The Twitter Fiasco

As some of you may already know, Elon Musk finally accomplished his goal and is now the owner of Twitter. Robert Reich offers his perspective on this in his Substack article.

Personally, I think he’s pretty much spot-on.

Years ago, pundits assumed the internet would open a new era of democracy, giving everyone access to the truth. But dictators like Putin and demagogues like Trump have demonstrated how naive that assumption was.

Trump had 88 million Twitter followers before Twitter took him off its platform, just two days after the attack on the Capitol, which he provoked, in part, with his tweets. (Trump’s social media accounts were also suspended on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch and TikTok.)

These moves were necessary to protect American democracy.

But Elon Musk – the richest man in the world, with 80 million Twitter followers – wasn’t pleased. Musk tweeted that US tech companies shouldn’t be acting “as the de facto arbiter of free speech”.

Elon now owns Twitter. Presumably, he’ll let Trump back on.

Musk is now accountable to no one — not even Twitter shareholders, because he’s taken the company private.

Elon has long advocated a libertarian vision of an “uncontrolled” internet. That vision is dangerous rubbish. There’s no such animal, and there never will be.

Someone has to decide on the algorithms in every platform – how they’re designed, how they evolve, what they reveal and what they hide. Musk has now given himself this sort of control over Twitter.

Elon has never believed that power comes with responsibility. He’s been unperturbed when his tweets cause real suffering. During his long and storied history with Twitter he has threatened journalists and tweeted reckless things.

In March 2020 he tweeted that children were “essentially immune” to Covid. He has pushed cryptocurrencies that he’s invested in. When a college student started a Twitter account to track Elon’s private plane, Musk tried and failed to buy him off, before blocking him.

The Securities and Exchange Commission went after Elon after he tweeted that he had funding to take Tesla private, a clear violation of the law. Elon paid a fine and agreed to let lawyers vet future sensitive tweets, but he has tried to reverse this requirement.

He has also been openly contemptuous of the SEC, tweeting at one point that the “E” stands for “Elon’s”. (You can guess what the “S” and “C” stand for.) By the way, how does the SEC go after Elon’s ability to tweet now that he owns Twitter?

Billionaires like Musk have shown time and again they consider themselves above the law. And to a large extent, they are.

Elon has enough wealth that legal penalties are no more than slaps on his wrist, and enough power to control one of the most important ways the public now receives news.

Think about it: after years of posting tweets that skirt the law, Elon now owns the platform.

Musk says he wants to “free” the internet. But what he really aims to do is make it even less accountable than it is now, when it’s often impossible to discover who is making the decisions about how algorithms are designed, who is filling social media with lies, who’s poisoning our minds with pseudo-science and propaganda, and who’s deciding which versions of events go viral and which stay under wraps.

Make no mistake: this is not about freedom. It’s about power.

In Musk’s vision of Twitter and the internet, he’s the wizard behind the curtain – projecting on the world’s screen a fake image of a brave new world empowering everyone.

In reality, that world is coming to be dominated by the richest and most powerful people on the globe, who aren’t accountable to anyone for anything — for facts, truth, science or the common good. (Emphasis mine.)

That’s Elon’s dream. And Trump’s. And Putin’s. And the dream of every dictator, strongman, demagogue and modern-day robber baron on Earth.

For the rest of us, it’s a brave new nightmare.

Fortunately, I rarely use Twitter … !



I subscribe to the free version of Steve Schmidt’s Substack writings. This means that sometimes I only get a “sample” of something he’s written (just enough to arouse my interest). This was the case with the one I received in today’s email. While he undoubtedly had more to say, the paragraph that ended the “teaser” copy was a bit unsettling, to say the least, and I wasn’t quite sure how to decipher what he wrote.

However, having read a fair amount of Steve’s other writings, I do tend to think there’s more than meets the eye in this brief extract. Nevertheless, taking it as a stand-alone, I must say it did leave me wondering.

What is your reaction? Is this accurate? Is it truly how the party is seen by some?

The Democratic Party of 2022 is America’s elitist party. It is snobbish, preening, arrogant and profoundly out of touch. It is a coastal party that disdains the values, dignity, integrity and ethic of millions of Americans who don’t have a college degree. The Democratic Party treats working class Americans with contempt. It has been observed that today’s Republican Party would sicken Ronald Reagan. It would. The more important question for the moment though is this: what would John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman and FDR think about today’s Democratic Party? Would they recognize it?

And to take it a step further … what would be your answer to his last two questions?

Who’s Next?

I just read this in an article about the recent shootings in Raleigh, North Carolina:

In a country where gun violence never stops, where gunmen have killed elementary school children in their classrooms; where people have died en masse at concerts and nightclubs and movie theaters; where the names of places like Newtown and Aurora and Columbine and Uvalde conjure memories of the horrors that happened there, Raleigh joined a dreaded club.

The shootings in east Raleigh are the 531st mass shooting in America in 2022, according to, a website that tracks mass shootings in which at least four people are shot “in a single incident.” Five-hundred and thirty-two people died in those 531 shootings, according to the website, and 2,221 people were injured.


Before Thursday, the neighborhood had been like any other place where people never thought something like this might happen. Now it is transformed, like the supermarket in Buffalo or elementary school in Uvalde or the church in Charleston. It happened here. And if it could happen here, where will it happen next?

By early Friday morning, Raleigh wasn’t even the country’s most recent mass shooting. Six people had been shot in Alabama and four more in New Bern, No. Carolina.

I have nothing more to add …

Today’s Word: SIN


One of the core issues within Christianity revolves around the word “SIN,” with countless references to the word throughout the bible. One of the most well-known scriptures about this highly utilized term is found in the King James Version of the bible: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

But what exactly is “SIN“?

According to one definition, it is an act regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will.” Consider these words for a moment: an act regarded by theologians. And just who are these “theologians”? Answer: They are none other than human beings who study religion (in this case, Christianity) and somewhere along the way took it upon themselves to make this unequivocal definition of the word SIN.

Further … it is these same “theologians” that frequently pass judgment on whether any one individual has committed one of these transgressions.

Now let’s consider where the word “SIN” is most frequently used? Yup! You guessed it. The BIBLE … that book written and produced by humans.

One final thought … did you know that the word SIN can actually be traced back to the Proto-Germanic word sunnǭ, which means “The sun”? Hmmm. So how did it get reworked over the years into this foreboding term that, according to common usage, separates humans from their (imaginary) god? (Isaiah 59:2)