the establishment media is an enabler of endless wars and illegitimate oligarchic power
Tucker Carlson, Yasha Levine, Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp, & Caitlin Johnstone
First an intriguing (if, in our view, way too optimistic) analysis by Tucker Carlson and Jimmy Dore. Then a short "cold water" opinion by Yasha Levine. Then realism—read a pessimistic look—by Lee Camp and, of course, Caity Johnstone, with whom we entirely agree. In an almost uniformly bleak media horizon, there is some reason for many people to want to be cautiously optimistic, but we must recall who Musk's closest business allies are, including his deep connections with the sinister national security state and the massive interests behind it. And that, like all arrogant businessmen and billionaires, he may also be alarmingly naive about the ugliness of imperialist politics.
Tucker: You just became a little more powerful
ENTHUSIASTIC: TUCKER CARLSON
Fox News host reacts to Tesla CEO Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.' #FoxNews #Tucker
Apr 25, 2022
Tucker may be prematurely hailing the arrival of Musk as a magic solution to the huge problem of entrenched control of media by the US ruling class.
CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC: JIMMY DORE
Apr 26, 2022
HOPEFUL BUT THERE'S ROUGH WATER AHEAD: LEE CAMP
April 26, 2022
I am one of the most censored comedians in America. If you want to see my work continue, becoming a member at Patreon.com/LeeCamp and get exclusive content. Thank you producers! -- William Fitz, Nicholas Carlough, Kyle K. Mann, Robin Laurain, Andrew Standfast, Orleny Silverio, FreeAssangeNow, Michaelynn Kyjonka, Medea Benjamin -- (If you want to join the list of producers, become a top-tier member at Patreon.com/LeeCamp )
UNPERSUADED SKEPTIC: YASHA LEVINE
Elon Musk is Surveillance Valley
The latest outrage to hit the wire is that the board of Twitter has agreed to accept Elon Musk’s buyout proposal, which will give Elon full control of the company and allow him to take it private. There’s lots of howling all around, as if they sky is falling. If you ask me, Twitter — and social media in general — is garbage tech that mostly wastes our time and poisons our minds. But regardless of where you stand sale of Twitter to a Twitter-addicted oligarch, to me the deal just further proves the thesis of my book, Surveillance Valley. The Internet is an extension of the American Empire.
I mean here you have Elon — an “outsider” — mounting a hostile takeover of a major global communication platform. And the thing about him is that he’s not just a successful lithium battery salesman, he’s also a major military contractor doing business with the most secretive and “strategically important” spooks in America.
For example: Even as he was planning his takeover this April, this was happening: the culmination of a nearly $300 million military contract to launch a classified American spy satellite.
VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A classified satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office was launched into space from California on Sunday.
The NROL-85 satellite lifted off at 6:13 a.m. from Vandenberg Space Force Base aboard a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
It was the first mission by the NRO to reuse a SpaceX rocket booster, Vandenberg said in a statement.
…The NRO only described the NROL-85 satellite as a “critical national security payload.”
Its launch was one of three awarded by the Air Force to SpaceX in 2019 for a combined fixed price of $297 million.
The NRO is the government agency in charge of developing, building, launching and maintaining U.S. satellites that provide intelligence data to senior policymakers, the intelligence community and the Defense Department.
I haven’t done a full accounting of Elon Musk’s military contractor history, but this is not a one-off thing for him. Since going into the space business, he’s angled to be a dealer of private rocket and satellite services to the Pentagon. In 2019, he got funding to test his Starlink satellites so they could route encrypted coms for the Air Force. 2020, he signed a $149 million deal to track missiles — aka to spy on the sky. And of course, in 2021, he won a $2.89 billion contract with NASA. And I’m sure there is much much more there — I just haven’t been paying much attention to the nexus of Silicon Valley and America’s sprawling security state over the last few years, as I’ve moved on to other things after writing Surveillance Valley.
But, yeah, the fact is that a “free speech” “outsider” oligarch now running a major public communication platform has a ridiculously close relationship to America’s security state. He’s been making good money doing his part to make sure America maintains its global military dominance. What do you think he’ll do with Twitter?
CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: PESSIMISTIC REALISM
Billionaires Only Come To The Rescue In Movies And Comic Books
Twitter has done an about-face and sold the company to the richest person in the world for $44 billion.
Rightists are having a merry old time making fun of the melodramatic reactions from high-profile liberals who fear Elon Musk’s purchase will lead to more free speech on the platform for people who don’t align with them politically, and many of the blue-checkmarked commentariat who live on Twitter and can’t go five minutes without checking their notifications are making a big show of pretending they’re about to leave.
Many critics on the left are responding to the news by ringing alarm bells about a powerful oligarch controlling an influential social media platform, as though Twitter was anything besides oligarch-controlled before today and as though billionaires buying up media is some shocking new development. Some anti-imperialists have expressed tentative hope that this new development may lead to some rollback of the jarring escalations in censorship we’ve been seeing on the platform in defense of US empire narratives, due to the plutocrat’s comments on the importance of free speech.
From what I can see, though, the overwhelming majority of excitement on Twitter about Musk’s purchase is coming not from those who challenge power in any meaningful way but from those who want Donald Trump’s account restored and want to be able to say mean things to trans people. And I suspect that says a lot about what we’re looking at here.
This important distinction was summed up by journalist Michael Tracey, who tweeted, “The biggest test for Elon Musk will not be whether he rolls back the most obvious ‘woke’ content policies — that should be a given — but whether he continues to let Twitter be used as a vehicle for the US national security state to ‘counter’ official enemies like Russia and China.”
Speaking for myself I won’t be surprised if we do see some of the former, but I will be absolutely astonished if we see the latter.
You don’t get to be a billionaire, much less a billionaire with massively influential media ownership, unless you collaborate with existing power structures. Musk has certainly been collaborating with the oligarchic empire very nicely up until this point, and it’s a safe bet that his purchase would not be happening if the empire felt its narrative control machine was in any way threatened by it.
Believing Elon Musk is going to save Twitter is as naive as believing Joe Biden was going to save America. Arguing over which oligarchs should control the media is as silly and undignified as arguing over which oligarch-owned politicians should run the government.
Billionaires coming to the rescue only happens in movies and comic books. You’re as likely to be saved by Elon Musk as you are by Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark.
How many times are people going to fall for this “a billionaire is about to stick it to the man and save us all” schtick? It’s very sad that we’re at a point where speech is being throttled so severely that people are hoping an eccentric billionaire will swoop in and rescue them from oppression. Real life is like a dumber, more boring version of Gotham City, except Batman is working with the bad guys.
I’ll start paying attention to Musk’s talk about free speech if and when Twitter stops censoring Russian media and unbans people like Scott Ritter who were removed from the platform for questioning official empire narratives about what’s happening in Ukraine. Until then I’m going to assume he’s at most only interested in protecting speech that doesn’t threaten the powerful like Republican partisan bullshit and hate speech against marginalized groups.
The billionaires are not coming to save us. The idea that they might is a carefully constructed propaganda narrative that we’ve been sold for generations. The leaders of the capitalist class are not going to overturn the systems of oppression and exploitation which form the very foundation of capitalism. Superhero stories are designed to prevent us from realizing that only we the people have the power to rescue ourselves.
ABOUT CAITLIN JOHNSTONE
The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of The Greanville Post. However, we do think they are important enough to be transmitted to a wider audience.
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Indecent Corporate Journos Won't Do the Job, So Citizen Journalists Must
^3000US citizens have no real political representation.
We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.
I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.
What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.
And its multitude of minions and lackeys.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of The Greanville Post
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“Profits” to Musk mean government subsidies, taxpayer funded bailouts and transfers from the public sector. Musk doesn’t actually do anything or make any decisions. He is merely an actor. An avatar. A powerless employed hireling figurehead that puts a human face on an international money laundering and theft cabal.
Elon Musk is the Ronald MacDonald of money laundering.