The Defenestration of Twitter

22 May 2023

Poisoning political discourse for peanuts

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Elon Musk grins at Mohammed Al-Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Future, former chairman of Dubai Holding, the investment vehicle of the emirate, in 2017 during the World Government Summit, Dubai. Musk appeared again in 2023 over a video feed to rail against unity and cooperation between governments.

Cannot think of a better example of how woefully unprepared we are to deal with foreign influence operations than the defenestration of Twitter by repressive governments (Saudi 🇸🇦/UAE 🇦🇪) using their favorite stooge Elon Musk as a patsy.

That such an obvious and easily traceable gambit to poison political discourse was such a wild success at a relatively affordable price for the players involved has set an diabolical precedent. Yet everyone pretends to care about hypothetical threats TikTok/ByteDance poses and floats along unquestioningly as unenforceable bans, hilarious attempts to nationalize sovereign foreign assets, and other daydreams and hallucinations get passed off as policy.

Twitter: Forty four billion dollars.

Silencing political discourse: Priceless.

Some things in life are priceless. For everything else, there’s soulless patsies and bribed regulators.

Reminds me of this Chris Jankowski quote about project REDMAP, which was a Republican undertaking to use gerrymandering as a national strategy, from the excellent documentary Slay the Dragon (streaming on Hulu and Kanopy currently), paraphrased here by co-director Chris Durrance:

[Chris Jankowski] took control of a large number of states and basically the lower house of Congress for the best part of ten years and did it in a marathon political sense for peanuts (for about $30 million).

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Elon Musk and former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner during the 2022 FIFA World Cup final at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar.