Elon Musk is standing in the way of Global Totalitarianism

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  1. Ken Burgess profile image73
    Ken Burgessposted 3 months ago

    Last night, around 8 p.m. local time in São Paulo, Brazil, Federal Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes announced a criminal investigation into Elon Musk, the owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, for allegedly spreading disinformation, obstructing justice, and allowing people who De Moraes had banned from social media to freely express their views. De Moraes said he would fine X twenty thousand dollars per day for every banned person Musk allows to speak.

    As such, De Moraes has taken Brazil one step closer to being a dictatorship. What’s more, the events of the last few weeks make clear that Elon Musk is the only thing standing in the way of global totalitarianism. Without free speech, there can be no democracy.

    If X goes down, we must continue to fight. We can continue to communicate through email and other social media platforms, such as Facebook.

    But email is no substitute for social media platforms' capacity to share information with millions of people. Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook, abandoned his principled free speech position in 2020 after three years of relentless pressure from activist NGOs, Democrats, and corporate advertisers. Today, Facebook actively represses the spread of news.

    The mainstream corporate news media have never been more corrupt and totalitarian. With few exceptions, they spread government propaganda as a matter of policy. Nobody demands censorship more than the corporate media, which benefit from governments shutting down their competitors.

    Governments are either not protecting free speech or actively participating in the war upon it.

    Last month, the US Supreme Court held a hearing where justices made clear that they were fine with the US government pressuring social media companies to censor. Last week, the Scottish government implemented a law to crack down on so-called hate speech, including jokes by comedians. In Ireland, the government wants the power to send police into people’s homes to search computers and phones for hate speech. In Canada, the governing Liberal party wants the power to send people to prison for life for things they’ve said. And the European Union has empowered a tiny group of bureaucrats to decide what is true and false and engage in mass censorship.

    All of this is happening at the very same moment that my colleagues and I have revealed that government intelligence organizations are working through NGOs to interfere in elections by spreading disinformation about populist activists and political candidates. In other words, governments are demanding censorship in order to protect their ability to spread disinformation.

    Making matters worse, governments are directly financing corporate news media. The current Brazilian government is spending 30 times more than the previous government on media advertising in order to spread its disinformation.

    I never in my life thought I would live to see the rise of totalitarianism in Western countries. A powerful minority of educated elites around the world are demanding the censorship, persecution, and incarceration of their political enemies. Naturally, they are doing so in the name of saving democracy. I am shocked and embarrassed that I used to call many of these totalitarians friends and allies. The only explanation is that they are in the grip of mass psychosis after years of media propaganda and government disinformation falsely claiming that populist political movements are undemocratic.

    The fact that the future of free speech rests upon the shoulders of a single individual is not something any of us should want. I do not think that this is a responsibility Elon Musk wants. He would be a far richer person had he never bought Twitter. He would also be living a more peaceful life. After Musk bought Twitter, the Biden administration and the Democratic Party declared war on him. Various government agencies filed multiple frivolous lawsuits against Musk and his companies in ways very similar to the war the Brazilian government is waging against X.

    What all of this reveals is that, until Musk bought Twitter, we didn’t really have freedom of expression. The US government felt that it controlled both the corporate news media and social media companies. We saw in the Twitter Files that the FBI orchestrated a disinformation and censorship campaign in order to protect Joe Biden.

    https://twitter.com/shellenberger/statu … 0277628968

    1. GA Anderson profile image87
      GA Andersonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      I saw Musk's statements about this and was all ready with a thread title: MUSK GOES TO WAR WITH BRAZIL

      But, a quick look-about raised a problem: How is Brazil different from Turkey and India—where he censored accounts at the government's request?

      One other criticism rose from that question. Musk's previous response to censorship issues is that X must follow local laws (re. other countries where X operates), and that makes sense. You follow house rules or get out of the house.

      This one needs some digging. Publishing the details of the Brazilian Court's order to X might answer both questions. It doesn't seem right to order (it wasn't a request) censorship and also forbid the knowledge of the censorship.

      GA

      1. Ken Burgess profile image73
        Ken Burgessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        The bigger concern should be just how many "western" nations are now making 'free speech' illegal, while also making it impossible for companies like X to allow it, without having to pay bankrupting fines.

        As the state-driven tide of censorship sweeps the world, almost every Western nation has introduced “hate speech” laws enabling authorities to enforce penalties for certain speech they deem unpopular or unorthodox.

        These laws are introduced under the guise of combatting “a rise of hate”, or offensive speech that can make people feel insulted or uncomfortable.

        The Irish “hate speech” bill seeks to criminalize the possession of material “likely” to incite hatred. This includes memes and photos saved on devices, with up to five years of jail time.
        Yes, photos on personal devices.
        Yet, there is no clear definition of what “hate” entails.

        https://adfinternational.org/commentary … censorship

        The Canadian Online Harms Act, or Bill C-63, would allow judges to imprison adults for life if they advocate for genocide.

        The law would also allow a provincial judge to impose house arrest and a fine if there were reasonable grounds to believe a defendant “will commit” an offense.

        The possibilities for thought crimes and false accusations are many, this bill is the most shocking of all the totalitarian, illiberal, and anti-Enlightenment pieces of legislation that has been introduced to the Western world in decades.

        https://www.techpolicy.press/an-overvie … harms-act/

        Just a wealth of information here...

        The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online
        https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/20 … ws-online/

        The State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America
        https://www.cato.org/survey-reports/sta … ce-america

        It is no coincidence that in 2017 it suddenly became a priority to control and censor what information is available and allowable.

        Now seven years later, we see many nations making speech illegal, while keeping what exactly is illegal as vague and open to interpretation as possible.

        1. GA Anderson profile image87
          GA Andersonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

          Yep, I have seen those different nation-actions and see a lot of reason for worry. I can agree with your points without feeling the least bit conspiratorial.

          But, Musk has some explaining to do. What makes Brazil different from India and Turkey?

          GA

          1. Ken Burgess profile image73
            Ken Burgessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

            A clash between Musk and Justice Alexandre de Moraes (Brazil Supreme Court) opened an investigation into the X owner over whether he obstructed justice.

            Musk, for his part, alleged de Moraes was betraying the Brazilian Constitution and said he should resign or be impeached.

            De Moraes had previously ordered that certain accounts on X be blocked in Brazil amid an investigation into "digital militias" that he alleged were spreading fake news and threats against Brazil's supreme court during the reign of President Jair Bolsonaro.

            Musk said X would not block the accounts in question.

            "We are lifting all restrictions," he wrote on X. "This judge has applied massive fines, threatened to arrest our employees and cut off access to X in Brazil. As a result, we will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to shut down our office there. But principles matter more than profit."

            De Moraes hit back late on Sunday, opening a separate investigation into Musk over whether he was involved in obstruction of justice, criminal organization, or incitement to crime.

            "The flagrant conduct of obstruction of Brazilian justice, incitement of crime, the public threat of disobedience of court orders and future lack of cooperation from the platform are facts that disrespect the sovereignty of Brazil," de Moraes wrote in his latest decision.

            The decision also said that each reactivated account would incur a fine of roughly $20,000 a day and that responsible parties would be held accountable for disobeying the court.

            In February, the X Global Government Affairs team posted that India's government had ordered it to censor some accounts.

            "In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone," the team said. "However, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts."

            The company also agreed to block accounts in Turkey after the government's order to shut down content before elections last year.

            To answer your question as to the difference.

            India and Turkey asked for co-operation, even though it was an official government order.

            Alexandre de Moraes demanded, threatened and intimidated...

            Musk hates bullies, tyrants that abuse their power and authority... for their personal power plays.

            1. GA Anderson profile image87
              GA Andersonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

              It looks like Musk has to take a hit on this one. I'm not finding any difference between the situations in Turkey or India and Brazil.

              Both Turkey and India were court and government orders—demands, not requests for cooperation. Also, both were backed with the threat of a total X ban in those countries. The situation in Brazil appears the same, the only difference is the perspective of which censorship was legitimate. Even if Brazil's demands were as extreme as portrayed, Musk doesn't get a pass. He's going to have to legitimize his change of heart. That "heart" is his long-held and consistent claim that X must follow the laws of the lands where X operates.

              That explanation, the 'house rules' analogy, works for me. It's a decision to participate or not participate. Once again, it's not wrong to demand that 'house' rules be obeyed if there's a free choice to not be in the house. (of course, dozens of caveats go along with that statement, but that's the starting point)

              GA

        2. Sharlee01 profile image89
          Sharlee01posted 3 months agoin reply to this

          Ken, I'm deeply troubled by all of this. The situation is complex, but it's clear that India and Turkey handled their requests differently compared to Brazil. I trust Musk to address the issue in his own way, typically guided by common sense. He's known for cutting through the nonsense and isn't one to pander. I wouldn't be surprised if he either withdrew his services from Brazil or continued providing them to schools for free; after all, he's a humanitarian in my eyes.

          As for the growing trend of censorship in the Western world, it's alarming. We already see widespread censorship, and unfortunately, many Americans seem to support it. What do we do when people embrace Big Brother-like control over what they can say, hear, or express? It's unsettling how easily some Americans can be swayed. Elon stands out as a rare individual who marches to his own drumbeat.

          1. GA Anderson profile image87
            GA Andersonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

            I did look for a difference. I wanted to find a difference that supported Musk's Brazil stance, but I didn't.

            X posted the text of Turkey's court order and it's in line with the justifications and force of Brazil's court order. India's government order was a 'government' order and seemed to mirror the contextualization of both Turkey and Brazil.

            What information made the difference clear to you?

            GA

            1. Ken Burgess profile image73
              Ken Burgessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

              Turkey's Law
              https://www.brookings.edu/articles/turk … report-it/

              Brazil's Law
              https://www.csis.org/analysis/brazils-m … nformation

              https://time.com/6096704/brazil-social-media-rules/

              From what I can tell, with minimal research, is that Turkey has made its policy and regulation into law and explained what is expected, who is to monitor, store, censor the information.

              Brazil has not done so, it is a Judge that has decided to determine what is to be done, who is to be threatened, punished, etc.

              Turkey put into law what it wants done and implemented it, Brazil has not... a Judge is determining the fate of the nation's free speech, not the political body or the people.

              1. GA Anderson profile image87
                GA Andersonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                Tough comparisons, bad to really bad to worst.

                Saying Turkey used law doesn't mean the people spoke. India is the same, the government formed a ministry that only it controls,. again, not the voice of the people.

                In each case, Musk is up against legitimized government institutions (even if one is a single Judge). To see that as a determining difference ignores that even though a law or ministry does the work it is still one man making the call: Erdogan, Modi, or Moraes.

                Maybe Brazil and Moraes were the last straw. Maybe Musk held his nose through Turkey and India but said 'enough is enough' with Brazil. *Shrug* That would be an acceptable explanation, but it hasn't been offered.

                *It might be telling to compare X's market (or projected market) in each country. Maybe Brazil isn't important enough to X.

                GA

                1. Ken Burgess profile image73
                  Ken Burgessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                  I'm going to have to wait to see this play out a bit more, I am not ready to take a firm opinion yet, especially considering Turkey and India.

                  1. GA Anderson profile image87
                    GA Andersonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                    Yep, too little information to defend a stand yet.

                    Ga

          2. Ken Burgess profile image73
            Ken Burgessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

            We are in a 'time between two worlds'...

            The internet is part of our daily lives, the internet and satellite communication allow for global tracking and instant communication across the globe.

            ChatGPT, Gemini, Tesla's Full Autonomous Driving (tried it this past weekend, it works incredibly well)... AI will soon be doing our thinking, designing, driving, information finding for us.

            The under 25 American, Chinese, European, etc. crowd will not know how to function in the world without Internet and a Cellphone.

            I expect I might even live long enough to see the deployment of chip technology into the brain so that people can be connected directly into the internet, becoming cyborgs, perhaps with glasses that display information and system far surpassing what cell phones allow for today.

            Look what has happened in the last 15 years... back in 2010 cellphones were just beginning to resemble the devices we use today... now no one can really function in our society without one.

            In 15 years we will be completely dependent on AI... fully self-driving vehicles will probably be driving the majority of people around, owning a vehicle will become as antiquated and part of the past as owning a horse and buggy became by the 1930s.

            In 1900, the Census Bureau reported that manufacturers produced 5,000 motor vehicles and there were 8,000 registered vehicles in the United States.

            In 1908, the year Henry Ford began producing the Model T, manufacturers produced 65,000 motor vehicles.

            Auto ownership was increasing rapidly and in 1910 reached eighteen autos per thousand residents.

            By 1920 there were 7.5 million cars and trucks in the United States.

            Registration of automobiles increased from 7.5 million in 1920 to 25 million a decade later.

            The advancement of technology and how it impacts our society is moving a much faster pace, compounding, making it very difficult to adapt to the changes in a equitable fashion across the spectrum of nations and economic status. 

            I believe this is the reason for the increased effort to 'globalize' and to transfer power of sovereign nations to international agencies... to control information, speech, and assets. To force the transition as fast as possible, as seen in how the CCP corralled and controlled its populace...

            In the span of 30 years China went from an agrarian culture to a cutting edge-technological manufacturing one... complete with a social credit system and an economy run with digital currency.

  2. Ken Burgess profile image73
    Ken Burgessposted 3 months ago

    A continuation of Alexandre de Morales extreme positions:

    What’s Happening in Brazil is EXACTLY What’s Coming to America
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwb47lMWpg4

    1. GA Anderson profile image87
      GA Andersonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      Yep, the link is an example of "perspective" being the only difference in the actions.

      Even if that perspective is right, Musk calling X's actions simply a 'free speech' stand is disingenuous. He lost that legitimacy in Turkey and India.  Now, he's going to have to explain why he thinks Brazil is different. Or, why his perspective has changed.

      GA

    2. DrMark1961 profile image96
      DrMark1961posted 3 months agoin reply to this

      Moraes has been getting his tips from Biden and his cronies for years. They taught him how to cheat our former president out of his office and we are stuck with the alcoholic Lula,  a Biden wanna be.

  3. abwilliams profile image64
    abwilliamsposted 3 months ago

    Oh my God Ken, this is so disturbing!
    Long ago, the French honored us with Lady Liberty, so that all the world might see what liberty looks like, how it's
    done; the U.S.A., freedom’s example, freedom’s beacon...

    Now, to see, to know, that the U.S.A. was instrumental in all of this, in Brazil's fall...their Conservative leader replaced --- with very dangerous men, a full on Dictatorship happening there!!
    The former leader, now on constant guard, without rest, harassed, mocked, bullied ---
    to Brazilians, we must now be seen as some type of monster, with far-reaching, destructive tentacles!
    If U.S. citizens don't understand by now what we are up against, they never will, until our time is up!

  4. abwilliams profile image64
    abwilliamsposted 3 months ago

    Another courageous soul who will now be in my prayers:
    https://twitter.com/nikolas_dm/status/1 … Q&s=19

 
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