October 29, 2022

Mired in Muskland : An Ongoing Series of Hilarious Pictoons: First Edition

 Elon says "comedy is now legal" on Twitter, so I figure since I am hilarious, and even though I am not a cartoonist I can put together what I call pictoons by manipulating images, so why not? All you can do is mock me and throw cyber rotten vegetables at me and boo me off the stage.

As I come up with new pictoons about Elon Musk I will also post them on Twitter. The first one is here.

By Hal Brown

Halloween background Amazon, Cartoon vulture Dragon-Queen01456 Deviant Art
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I developed a strange forgiving affection for Elon Musk when I learned he was on the autism spectrum disorder. As a therapist I never had a patient with this disorder but from his early childghood to his early 20's I did interact with a friend's son who did. He was an engaging young man who struggled to read family and friend's emotions and to express appropriate affect himself. He was something of a savant who could quickly name every Vice President and knew the names every Major League Baseball player going back many years.

By chance my partner and I are currently enjoying the Korean series now on Netflix "The Extraordinary Attorney Wu." The hero is on the autism spectrum in her fictional world and at reported IQ of 164 even beats Musk's reported IQ of 155.

Review link above

The series title is already taken, but "The Extraordinary Entrepreneur Elon" certainly rings true for the Chief Twit.

When I first saw the video Elon tweeted of hm happily carrying a bathroom sink into Twitter headquarters, he meant it as a visual pun “Entering HQ – let that sink in!” 

The image now adorns his own Twitter page: 

I thought how insensitive this was since he was about to fire the majority of the staff. Then I realized how typical this was of many people on what shortened to being referred to simply as "the spectrum." They simply have trouble grasping the effects their words and behaviors have on other people's feelings. This isn't like the lack of empathy we see in malignant (sociopathic) narcissists like Donald Trump who are sadistic and sometimes revel in causing their rivals and enemies emotional pain. 

Elon may also behave impulsively without thinking through the possible range of consequences of his words and actions. For example, his initial announcement implied Twitter would be an anything goes free speech zone and this led to a rapid fallback from him when there were early signs major advertisers would bolt the platform if it became riff with hateful and violence promoting account.

He denies he had a conversation with Putin happened, but we do know that soon after it was reported he echoed Putin's claims about Ukraine and called for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia. 

His comments about fighting Putin on pay-per-view, and fighting the N. Korean may have been his version of a joke.  Moderately amusing perhaps, but he's no Will Rogers or Mark Twain even if he aspires to be ensconced in the pantheon of American humorists.

I do like Musk's new title. It his to declare since he owns the company. He could have called himself Chief Tweeter but calling himself a "twit" shows a willingness to engage in self-mockery by turning a mild insult into a complement.

Genius that he is it's possible he didn't think of this himself but borrowed it from The Ecological Society of Australia. The twit isn't a bird, however a twite is.

Without further ado, here is the first edition of My Magnificent Comic Mocking Musk. (You can click each mage to enlarge it.)

October 28, 2022

Elon Musk and his Twitter free-for-all hellscape

Elon Musk and his Twitter free-for-all hellscape 
by Hal Brown

Previous editions on sidebar >>>

Update 2 PM Pacific Time: 

and my response:

Going back to this morning here's my story:

Elon Musk will almost immediately reopen Donald Trump's Twitter account and has no compunctions about allowing people to post lies about the election, racist tweets, and he might even be a secret pal of Putin (see  Musk denies report he spoke with Putin, then echoed his war ‘resolution’ on Twitter.)

Who the frack knows what's in the Musk mind? We can make informed guesses but nobody can tell for certain.

If he got to talk to Vlad he probably felt he was talking to him as an equal. I think he thought, if the story is true, he was engaging in a tête-à-tête with someone who, while Putin commands a nuclear arsenal Musk does have spacefaring rockets, and with Putin having an estimated worth of $200 billion he isn't quite as rich as Musk. 

Musk managed to top off the websites for The New York Times and The Washington Post this morning and his takeover of Twitter is all over the media, Google New here for example.

Chief executive Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust, and safety, were let go, according to the people. Sean Edgett, the company’s general counsel, was also pushed out, one of the people said. The top executives were hastily escorted out of the company’s San Francisco headquarters. 

Racist tweets quickly surface after Musk closes Twitter deal

Musk’s moves late Thursday signal his intentions to firmly put his stamp on Twitter. Musk has publicly criticized the company’s outgoing management over product decisions and content moderation, as well as saying he would restore former president Donald Trump’s account.

Here's what the tech website The Verge had to say:

Twitter is a disaster clown car company that is successful despite itself, and there is no possible way to grow users and revenue without making a series of enormous compromises that will ultimately destroy your reputation and possibly cause grievous damage to your other companies.

I say this with utter confidence because the problems with Twitter are not engineering problems. They are political problems. Twitter, the company, makes very little interesting technology; the tech stack is not the valuable asset. The asset is the user base: hopelessly addicted politicians, reporters, celebrities, and other people who should know better but keep posting anyway. You! You, Elon Musk, are addicted to Twitter. You’re the asset. You just bought yourself for $44 billion dollars.

The problem when the asset is people is that people are intensely complicated, and trying to regulate how people behave is historically a miserable experience, especially when that authority is vested in a single powerful individual.

What I mean is that you are now the King of Twitter, and people think that you, personally, are responsible for everything that happens on Twitter now. It also turns out that absolute monarchs usually get murdered when shit goes sideways.

I've had my own Twitter account since 2013. I don't remember why I opened it.

By coincidence after having very few people, usually under 50, even engage with a tweet of mine let alone click on a link (sometimes between 2 and 5) I posted yesterday's tweet was by far a record for me thanks to David Rothkopf retweeting it:
Because there is no viable alternative to Twitter for me, the obscure blogger, people of note, and others like some ordinary guy mired in delusional conspiracy theories or racial animus tweeting from the fever swamp of his brain to have a large reach Twitter will continue to be the dominant easy to use way to get a message out to the world. Case in point is the utter failure of Trump's Truth Social to become his personal Twitter.

I don't really care why Musk has decided to make this investment. Sure he is a media hog and loves to be in the spotlight and being the world's richest man probably doesn't make him feel loved just for being Elon, at least it doesn't come with a prenuptial agreement.

It's not like he has to mortgage his split-level in the burbs to cobble together the money. When one is worth $233 billion the $44 billion isn't exactly chump-change, but he still has $189 billion to play with.

Musk has vowed not to allow Twitter to become a "free-for-all hellscape" but really, Elon, hellscapes can be interesting and compelling. Check out a Google Image search for Hellscape art:
Here are some examples.

 Part of Jan van Eyck's Crucifixion and Last Judgement diptych.

Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, oil on oak panels, 205.5 cm × 384.9 cm (81 in × 152 in), Museo del Prado, Madrid

The Harrowing Of Hell — Jacob van Swanenburg

Nobody in their right mind (granted there are an appalling number of people who are not in their right mind and short of massive doses of Throrazine will never be) want to be trapped in a Hellscape. But if Twitter becomes a free-for-all Hellscape except for the most addicted nobody will be trapped there. You can escape with a click.

I predict a few things will happen when Musk goes full throttle, pedal to the metal, in his latest toy. The fastest Tesla as of 2021 was the Model S Plaid, which has a 0 to 60 mph time of about 1.9 seconds. That also makes it the fastest production car in the world. Consider merging onto the expressway from a standing start and count one one thousand, two one thousand, and that is all it would take to hit 60 mph. The fastest Tesla may be able to hit it's top speed of 250 mph in around 20 seconds.

I am sure of one thing. Musk's ambition knows no bounds. I don't know if Musk has a favorite poem, but if he does it would not surprise me if this was it:

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, 
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds--and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of--wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

by John Gillespie Magee Jr., a World War II-era sonnet, written by a 19-year-old American airman who had volunteered for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Back to Musk's Hellscape. I think he does really want to make Twitter into a free-for-all Hellscape. Why else would he even say the following?

Still, “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk tweeted Thursday, in a post offering assurances to advertisers.

I envision his fingers being firmly crossed behind his back when he make this claim. 

Clicking above only enlarges image, does not link to Twitter

With what seems to be an attempt at humor he now calls himself the Chief Twit, changing the common word for someone who posts there from Tweeter to a word that means a silly or annoying person. I am loath to admit, I find this mildly amusing.

Likewise, on the 26th his carrying a sink into Twitter headquarters and tweeting a video of it might be amusing if it didn't mean he was planning on firing most of the staff. It was a truly insensitive thing to do and shows what might be a clinical deficit in the ability to experience empathy.

I try not to analyze Musk's psychology (not too much at least) but perhaps this is a way to put his thumb in the eye of all the snotty losers who made fun of him when he was a child, or when he was a doofus in college. He has revealed he suffered from Asperger's and this may have led to his developing deep insecurities which he has been trying to compensate for.

At age 23 at The University of Pennsylvania 

My prediction is that Twitter will lose a significant number of advertisers as major companies won't want to be associated with a company that allows racist diatribes and election lies to be posted. Their revenue will go down though this will be offset to some extent by firing most of its staff and using automation as much as possible. Musk may ultimately lose some money, perhaps a lot, but since it is going private and won't be listed on the stock market, it may be difficult to tell how much.

I wonder how many people are having buyers remorse over buying a Tesla now. I live in progressive Portland, Oregon and I can't drive more than a few miles without seeing at least one of them. My hunch is that the loneliest place on the auto mile may become a used Tesla lot.

Another thought that occurred to me about why the man with the near Einstein level IQ has had his creative brain go dry and he couldn't come up with another revolutionary innovation. Just saying...

Regardless of what happens economically, owing Twitter gives Musk as big a megaphone as he's ever had, and this may be all is he wants, at least for now. Perhaps down the road he envisions being president. Of The United States that is, since only in fiction is there an Office of President of the United Federation of Planets.


If you have an account help me by liking it and retweeting it. I'll update later in the day with stats on how many people are looking at it.

 Most recent blog editions below: 

October 27, 2022

Trump's weirdest, most stupid, and cruelest idea may have been for the US-Mexican border moat

Trump thinks he's fantastically fabulous. He is really both cruel, stupid, and if he's fabulous he's a fabulous fabulist.

By Hal Brown

As usual, you can click images that aren't links to enlarge them.

Note that archives of all editions are on the right >>

American Resistance: The Inside Story of How the Deep State Saved the Nation

As I was fitfully drifting off to sleep last night slowly but hopefully surely recovering my bout with pneumonia. I was listening to David Rothkopf (Wiki profile) being interviewed about his new book on NPR. This is from Amazon:

t could have been so much worse: a deeply reported, insider story of how a handful of  Washington officials staged a daring resistance to an unprecedented presidency and prevented chaos overwhelming the government and the nation.

  Each federal employee takes an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic,” but none had imagined that enemy might be the Commander-in-Chief.  With the presidency of Donald Trump, a  fault line between the president and vital forces within his government was established.  Those who honored their oath of office, their obligation to the Constitution, were wary of the president and they in turn were not trusted and occasionally fired and replaced with loyalists.  

American Resistance is the first book to chronicle the unprecedented role so many in the government were forced to play and the consequences of their actions during the Trump administration. From Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his brother Yevgeny, to  Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, to Bill Taylor, Fiona Hill, and the official who first called himself “Anonymous”—Miles Taylor, among others, Rothkopf examines the resistance movement that slowly built in Washington. Drawing from first hand testimonies, deep background and research, American Resistance shows how when the President threatened to run amok, a few key figures rose in defiance. It reveals the conflict within the Department of Justice over actively seeking instances of election fraud and abuse to help the president illegally retain power, and multiple battles within the White House over the influence of Jared and Ivanka, and in particular the extraordinary efforts to get them security clearances even after they were denied to them.   

David Rothkopf chronicles how each person came to realize that they were working for an administration that threatened to wreak havoc – one Defense Secretary was told by his mother to resign before it was too late – in an intense drama in which a few good men and women stood up to the tyrant in their midst.

You can follow David Rothkopf on Twitter here. He is the host of "Deep State Radio" podcast. I expect we'll be seeing him interviewed on MSNBC and other stations about the important, and frightening, revelations in his book. On Sept. 26 he was on Lawrence O'Donnell's show talking about Russia and Ukraine. Here's the transcript.

 I wonder if Fox News would dare put him on.

You can listen to the interview here:

I modified a frequently used photo of Trump with Be Funky. 

In the interview one of the comic book weird, think DC Comics Bizarro World where everyone has overdosed on LSD, one idea he mentioned was this:

I wondered what a nuclear physicist with hurricane expertise would say what the ramifications of this would be. At least this flight of fancy wasn't manifestly cruel.

But Trump had another series of ideas for handling one of his major obsessions and these were downright sadistic. It involved his solution for dealing with the influx of brown-skinned people into the United States across the border with Mexico.

One idea also involved employing heavy ordinance. When he heard about caravans headed toward the country he asked top military leaders if we could shoot missiles at them. Somehow he was disabused of the idea that firing explosive missiles into an allied border nation was a good idea.

This came after he inquired about whether he could deploy the U.S. military to shoot people who approached the boarder and was told they weren't allowed to do this he asked whether our troops could just shoot them in the legs.

His most bizarre idea involved digging a coast to coast moat along the boarder. He suggested that alligators and snakes be put there to deter people from crossing. I dismissed the notion of putting highly lethal snakes in the water after doing some web searching. Water moccasins (or cottonmouth snakes) aren't particular aggressive and not that poisonous. Maybe Trump had the idea that he could import aquatic cobras from Africa but even I didn't know there was such a snake until I looked it up. 

I thought about how brain-dead an idea this all was. For one thing people could just use boats of various kinds to cross even if there were alligators and snakes, and for another where would he get all the alligators and snakes? Another aspect of using these creatures is what would they eat beside the unlucky people they could devour?

On the plus side, watching so many alligators from the banks of the moat could be a tourist attraction. Vendors could set up there to hawk alligator wares and sell chunks of raw meat to feed them. On the US side they could sell shirts like this:
On the Mexican side they could see shirts like these:
Of course let's not forget that alligator meat is a popular dish in many parts of the country so look for food carts selling many tasty versions as a local very fresh from the canal delicacy:


For example there could be boat tours like this:

The background of the Rio Grande River is from this website The boat is The Portland Spirt. It is cut out from a photo I took near my house on the Willamette River (see original).

There's even more to this idea that piqued my interest along the line of just how much more stupid could this man be. By way of comparison the Panama Canal is about 50 miles long. The US - Mexico border is just short of 2,000 miles.

Even if the cost wouldn't be prohibitive what with moving contractor crews and their heavy equipment from all over the country there's a not so small matter of the differences in heights between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Depending on tidal cycles which differ between the two oceans the Pacific can be 20 feet higher than the Atlantic. This is why the Panama Canal has locks.

Hypothetically, let's say such a canal was to be build. It would mean that there would have to some sort to dam on the Pacific side to keep the water from flooding across our southern border. If there was no way to regulate this consider the possible effects aside from changing water levels and tides in both oceans. I have no idea what this would do.

Instead just look simplistically at what ocean tides flowing black and forth between the oceans would do if left uncontrolled.  To prevent erosion all banks of the canal would have to be reinforced to prevent the formation of bays and saltwater lakes on both sides of the border. Maintaining both sides of the erosion protection embankments would not be easy or cheap. Major storm and hurricanes could cause breaches.

If and supposedly when the giant Cascada Earthquake occurs the west coast would have other more serious problems but who knows what it would do to the Trump Canal?

The solution, cost be damned, is obviously a dam. This would have to be a world class damn, it would make Hoover look like a Hoover.

On another subject, here's my comment to this interesting article:

I don't think a third party stands a chance and is more of a distraction than anything. The Republicans have become the party of authoritarianism and in a sense the know-nothings of modern times. They are the perfect marks in their gullibility, their easily exploited fears of "the other" and their deeply rooted bigotry. Play on their insecurity, fears, and stupidity. That's the magic that has worked for Trump and his minions.

The Democratic Party is reality based and while not without flaws such as infighting and bad messaging, they are trying to maintain what used be values both they and Republicans could usually endorse.

I was hoping for some brilliant way to deprogram those member of the MAGA cult who have swallowed the Kool Aide - obviously they aren't reading articles like this on RawStory, other liberal websites, certainly not my own little blog, and wouldn't tune in to MSNBC even if they exclusively broadcast a no-holds-barred cage match between Trump and Nancy Pelosi. Okay, maybe they'd watch that. How many would read David Rothkoph's new book "American Resistance: The Inside Story of How the Deep State Saved the Nation" to learn just how cruel and stupid their Dear Leader really is. How many have or will listen to the Bob Woodward tapes and realize that Trump revealed just how dangerous his beliefs were.

Just how can those of us who see the dangers so well explained in this article to enough voters so they never elect Trump or a Trump clone?

Compassion doesn't count ballots: Biden does the moral thing on immigration and it will hurt him with many voters. All Trump needs now is his own Willie Horton. by Hal Brown, MSW

In the news today a top story  (read article)  is that President Biden has once again demonstrated that he has a heart and good sense when i...