Three Things: Goodbye to the Once and Former Shitty Crustpunk Bar

[NB: As always, check the byline. /~Rayne]

Social media sites can be like your favorite watering hole, whether a blog, a forum, a platform like Orkut. You find one you’re comfortable hanging around because of content, and then you stay longer if you like the regulars who are likewise attracted to the content.

You get to know the regulars’ names after becoming familiar with the dynamics of the digital neighborhood. After a while you realize you’re a regular too – you’ve gotten to know this person has kids, that person has a beloved pet, yet another has a quirky habit manifest in the way they comment.

They get to know you and call you by your name as if you were Norm entering that Boston pub called Cheers.

Site moderators get to know you, too, may cut you a little slack if you’ve been there long enough and paid your dues to the community by making your own form of contribution with credible comment material and respectful interaction.

With some investment getting yourself situated for optimum comfort, it’s easy. Everything just comes to you — the bartender now knows exactly what to serve you.

All of this is incredibly important to people who are marginalized offline. The digital neighborhood can be a lifeline of sanity, a place where they can escape the oppressive crap of the real world. They can join the community through a lingua franca within their circle of safety. They don’t have to burn any more precious energy to obtain a measure of peace.

Safety borne of familiarity, regularity, and connection, of a cultivated common culture — that’s what the digital refugees who are fleeing Twitter miss, that’s what they’re seeking.

It’s not at all easy to replace. It also feels like personal and social loss to leave it.

Except the refugees didn’t leave it. It left them.

~ 3 ~

A couple years ago there was a really great thread at Twitter in response to comments made about the far right’s weaponization of free speech.

We’ve seen the weaponization in action in many ways – the white nationalist Nazi-types terrorizing Charlottesville with tiki torches while exercising their free speech, ultimately resulting in the death of a young woman crushed by a white nationalist expressing himself with his car.

Cosplay Nazi-lite lighting smoke bombs during a rally without a permit on the National Mall, or planning to disrupt a Pride parade again in cosplay.

Disrupting community events at libraries, terrorizing families enjoying themselves.

Or the January 6 insurrectionists storming the U.S. Capitol expressing their anger as they laid bombs the night before, breached barriers, assaulted police, shat on the floor, stole equipment while hunting for the House Speaker and the Vice President in order to kill them. Multiple people died as a result of the insurrection.

Anyhow, this chap at Twitter noted the point at which this weaponization of free speech should be addressed to prevent the predictable overreach into violence, when Popper’s Paradox is optimally preempted.

The venue needs to deal with the hate speech as soon as it arrives with its hair neatly combed wearing a button down with an insignia-covered tie. Cut it off in the whitewashed alt-right larval form; grab the club and set on on the bar top long before the Nazi must be punched. That’s when the effort is most effective; that’s when you can still fight and eliminate the emerging Nazis.

Unfortunately, Elon Musk figured out how to get inside this OODA loop.

He bought the bar. He was simply faster at doing this than Paul Singer was back in 2019.

And now the once-beloved shitty crustpunk bar which many of us could comfortably call home is now a goddamned Nazi pub.

The longer you stay there, the more that shit rubs off on you: you’re one of the Nazi watering hole’s patrons.

You’re a Nazi by association.

~ 2 ~

Jack Dorsey is a crypto Nazi. He’s been encouraging Musk for some time, and now he’s nudging him to take all remaining restraints off the Nazis Musk has already freed, including insurrectionists like Roger Stone. “[M]ake everything public now,” which will allow right-wing propagandists to run amok and distort past moderation decisions.

The way Twitter responded to Trump’s racist crap back when Dorsey was at the helm should have been clue enough; the donation Twitter made to the ACLU was just whitewash, the few hundred thousand a feint when Musk would spend billions to upend the entire place to free his Nazi fanbois’ speech.

Dorsey tried to play both sides but it was ultimately easier to let his buddy Musk strip away the veil. Or hood, if you’d prefer.

Bari Weiss is a Nazi apologist who thinks she can escape what Nazis do by being their handmaid, carrying Nazis’ water, chopping their wood for them.

All the Musk fanbois who are Oh-My-God-Twitter-Moderated, amplified in turn by Fox News in the wake of Musk euphemistically ‘exiting’ Twitter’s counsel? Nazis.

And of course there are the Nazis Musk let back in the bar, putting out the Welcome mat for them.

They’re all hanging at the Nazi bar Musk bought in order to make sure Nazis had a cozy place to call home because Gab, Parler, and Truth Social don’t have the commercial cachet to realistically achieve any level of social and economic success.

The financiers who either bought stock or loaned Musk money are likewise good with Nazism. It’s not a stretch to see how three Middle Eastern fossil fuel producing countries might want to destabilize the U.S. by normalizing Nazis in American right-wing culture.

This normalization which heightens internal conflict is to them not a failure.

So long as the American left and center are preoccupied with fighting Nazis, they’ll have less wattage to undermine stultifying fossil fuels to the benefit of alternative energy development.

No idea what the hell Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison was thinking by loaning Musk money to buy Twitter. We can only rely on first principles and allow his actions to convey exactly what they look like: Ellison wanted a chunk of Nazi bar action.

That goes for all the other investors who loaned Musk money for Twitter.

Remember that social success may mean their ideas as noxious as they are gain what has been a mainstream platform used by this country’s largest media outlets — they are legitimized by proximity.

Remember that economic success may mean benefits other than those obtained by Twitter’s profitability. Like stifling discussion about alternatives to oil. Or disrupting conversations about open source, open data, open systems in the case of a proprietary database corporation’s CEO. Or thwarting changes to tax code which may affect billionaires by throttling communications by elected representatives who’d like to pass a tax increase on the 1%.

$44 billion for a Nazi bar might be a bargain.

~ 1 ~

This is when it gets – and already has been – dicey for advertisers.

Because they’re buying ad space from a Nazi bar, to be shown in a space where their brands appear cheek-and-jowl with Nazis.

The back and forth between Musk and Apple about Apple’s ad buys shouldn’t fool anyone. Apple doesn’t want to leave Nazi money on the table.

I say this with great disgust and a letter to the board of directors because I own Apple stock and the cost to buy Twitter would have been chump change to Apple.

It would have been more valuable to have access to a big chunk of the Android market’s users for advertising purposes while preventing damage to Apple’s brand if Apple had stepped up this past March after Musk’s stake in Twitter became public. Just whip out some cash and cut off the incipient Nazi bar.

But no, Apple fucked up.

Instead of making a values-based statement about its products and service the way they would have in the past, they’ve remained silent too long as Musk taunted them about free speech and nagged them about advertising buys.

The company that literally smashed the iconography of then-giant IBM in 1984 and Microsoft to follow, the company which was the first to be valued at a trillion dollars and subsequently two trillion, has been tippy-toeing around a fucking Nazi bar owner tweaking its nose.

What’s really even more egregious: while Musk is trash talking Apple and Apple responds in a way totally unlike one of the wealthiest and most creative on earth should, Musk is using Apple and refusing to compensate the corporation for it.

He just jacked up from $8 to $11 a month the price of Twitter Blue, the subscription service with verification to be available only to Apple iOS users, so that he passes on the fee Apple charges for listing in its app store.

In other words, Musk expects Apple to validate every Twitter Blue account by virtue of being an iPhone or iPad user with access to the Apple app store.

And he’s not going to pay Apple one goddamned cent for this validation service.

Meanwhile, Apple will continue to look Nazi-adjacent in Musk’s Nazi bar.

I hate that I’m going to trash my own retirement account saying this; I have a big chunk of my portfolio in Apple stock.

But I hate even more that Apple — which could have afforded to buy Twitter without going to other lenders as Musk did — is fucking up so badly and torching its brand by advertising in a Nazi bar and allowing a Nazi bar to profit off its hard work.

If Google ever figures out how to do microblogging, they may yet eat Apple’s lunch if they can stay clear of the Nazi bar and avoid Musk’s predatory moochery.

~ 0 ~

Yeah, I know — people I know, care about, and even in some cases love are still using Twitter.

You don’t need to know any longer what it was like in the 1930s before Kristallnacht, before the Reichstag fire. This is what it looked like, all the rationalizations, all the denialism, all the lingering doubts about whether it’s better to remain and hold the space, stay and fight, or walk away even as people fled Germany for safety.

The fight’s done, though.

Think about it: what happens to you when you get into a fight inside a Nazi bar?

There are other bars. Some of them are shitty, some crusty, some punk. One of them may only need you to make it a shitty crustpunk bar.

Maybe even one with a surly bartender who clearly hates you but still keeps a hand on their bat for Nazis.

169 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I owe Michael B. Tager, author of that thread about the shitty crustpunk bar, a couple of beverages. That tagline will stick in my head forever.

    1:10 PM — ADDER: Damn it, I forgot to add a link to the YouTube video compilation of every time Norm Peterson entered Cheers. So good.

    I still think of Season 4, Episode 18’s greeting (at 10:05), makes me laugh out loud every time I hear it.

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t recommend deleting one’s account which frees up a username to be repurposed in 30 days. I’ve simply logged out and stopped using mine, leaving information in a pinned tweet about where to find me.

      Social media performance is measured by DAUs — Daily Active Users. Advertisers want to buy space in platforms with increasing DAUs, not dropping, along with total accounts. Leaving an account parked and unused drops the DAUs even if it doesn’t deplete the number of total accounts.

      • Clare Kelly says:

        Thank you, Rayne.

        I left that bar last December but did not deactivate my account and have not logged in since.

        A friend was encouraging me to deactivate, and thanks to you, I have the courage of my convictions not to.

        More truthfully, a part of me was concerned I’d get sucked back in just by logging in to deactivate. Therefore, up until today, it wasn’t really ‘courage’ but a wee bit of self awareness.

        I also have a hefty dose of 🍏 in my rollover, from years ago, and was disappointed (if true) that they continue to frequent the bar.

        Re 🍏 purchasing them: Perhaps it’s to assuage my cognitive dissonance, yet my thought was that they kicked the concept around but determined not to dive, as it were, while 230 might be 86’ed, or at least put on the seasonal menu.

        At any rate, thank you for another thoughtful piece.

        • Phoenix Woman says:

          I’m going to pull all of my personal information that I used to register the account and then head to

    • GWPDA says:

      As I’m sure I’ve said before, I was banned for telling someone to ‘go jump in a lake’. This was deemed offensive or aggressive or violent, or something. I never re-engaged, knowing enough to eliminate any Twit cookies when I wanted to visit with TBogg’s Dogs or the nice people who judged folks’ zoom backgrounds. I was once very fond of Eschaton. I once ran one of the biggest deal listservs. Life changes. I’m sure that I’ll find TBogg again – he’s disposed of his Twitter connexions too.

      • minusp says:

        Howdy, stranger! It’s been (ulp) a decade since I was last in the Blue Room. I do miss your posts on the Great War…

  2. Peterr says:

    The digital neighborhood can be a lifeline of sanity, a place where they can escape the oppressive crap of the real world. They can join the community through a lingua franca within their circle of safety. They don’t have to burn any more precious energy to obtain a measure of peace.

    Safety borne of familiarity, regularity, and connection, of a cultivated common culture — that’s what the digital refugees who are fleeing Twitter miss, that’s what they’re seeking.

    It’s what a bunch of folks have found here at Emptywheel. It’s not the kind of freeflowing, “talk about whatever topic you want to bring to the table” place that Twitter was, but the safety of this cultivated common culture is something special. And a big part of that cultivated common culture are the commenters who come through the virtual doors, belly up to the bar, and join the conversation.

    Historians. Lawyers. Pastors. Techies. Scientists.
    Military folks. Government employees from all across the board.
    Country music songwriters. Rock concert venue staffers.
    Etc. Etc. Et-f’ing-cetera.

    Then there are the lurkers, the folks who come in for a drink but don’t come out of the shadows.

    And that’s OK. There are lots of good reasons folks lurk, rather than comment, and I respect that. But it is such a delight to me when a new voice arrives and says something like “You know, I’ve been reading here for ages, feeling a bit intimidated by all the wisdom being tossed around here. But now someone has raised a topic that isn’t just familiar, but my area of expertise. I couldn’t sit back any more, so here’s what I know . . .”

    raising a glass

    To Marcy, the host, and my fellow front pagers.
    To the commenters and the lurkers.
    And most of all . . .

    . . . to Rayne and the mods who tend the bar and wield the bats when necessary!!!


    sipping with great delight

    And if any of you agree, may I suggest that you don’t forget to leave something in the tip jar if you are able to do so.

      • SonofaWW2Marine says:

        Rayne, you & Peterr have finally encouraged-shamed-[pick a favorite verb]ed this lurker of a few months into subscribing (as I should’ve long ago). Thanks for the reminder. But as long as you’ve also mentioned personal investment, is it your view that ethical retirement savers should not use index funds? Most folks would have a hard time building a balanced portfolio without some indexing.

      • Clare Kelly says:

        It just dawned on me that I make contributions to @emptywheel via cash app, per when I followed her on Twitter and that’s not listed here under “support”.

        Do I need to remedy that?

    • Fran of the North says:

      Hear, HEAR! Well said Peterr.

      I raise my glass in toast as well. This is great little bar in which to find oneself.

    • Chirrut Imwe says:

      I felt as if Rayne was describing me when I started into this article. And once again, Peterr summed it up better than I ever could. Although I am an infrequent contributor – and tend to stay in the shallow end – I do so much appreciate this forum. It is as close to the socials as I get. I do feel welcome here.

      So I raise a toast to you all – we are making glug (grog) tonight!

      …and don’t forget to tip your server…

    • Hope Ratner says:

      Tip Jar tipped. Thanks to you all for providing intellect, humor, and most of all humanity to every discussion here.

    • Dutch Louis says:

      “Then there are the lurkers”, like me, living on the other side of the ocean, being glad to have found this place, who almost every day after waking up, when most of regulars just left and went to bed – not all of them, not all the time – takes an expectant peek inside, sits, reads, learns and leaves a well deserved tip every month.


  3. Just Some Guy says:

    David J. Roth had a good joke today about how Elmo’s now relying on Bari Weiss, of all people, to spew disinformation on his behalf, and has given her essentially Twitter employee access:

    “Savvy move by Musk here. Giving Bari Slack access has been proven to be one of the best ways to motivate employees to think about quitting.”

  4. Sid says:

    I doubt Apple would have been allowed to purchase Twitter. There would have been screams and howls from both sides of the aisle.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Funny how there were no screams about Oracle’s Ellison financing a big chunk, or three fossil fuel countries both buying a huge chunk and financing more.

      I think Apple could have done this by using cash to create a consortium to buy it. Water under the bridge, though.

      • Kope a Pia says:

        With AAPL’s 200 billion cash in hand they could have structured a Twitter purchase any way they wanted.

        As to Elmo threatening them with producing Phones, Apple will be selling cars soon enough. Considering the ownership I don’t know why anyone would buy a Tesla going forward there are so many EV choices coming into the market.

        I also own Apple shares in my retirement account and general investment account.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL I would love to see Elmo try to make and sell phones. That would take care of a lot of problems, like Elmo’s excessive capital and investors’ excessive faith in his ability to follow through and execute effectively.

          I think AAPL has much less cash on hand now after the stock split and the value fell. But last quarterly report I saw still indicated there was enough cash to buy Twitter. Now I tend to think the company will try something else to encourage community within its userbase.

        • Patrick Carty says:

          I read yesterday that Musk fired the cleaning staff at Twitter. Sure, few people work there anymore but who’s gonna scrub the toilets? This guy is supposed to be intelligent?

        • Rayne says:

          There’s a phrase I first heard in Polish which I can’t help but think of at this moment: Nie mój cyrk, nie moja małpa.

          It’s not that I don’t care; I feel badly for the workers who’ve lost their jobs and the ones who are forced to remain by their H-1B status. But I can’t care about the toilet that jackass Musk uses.

          Twitter isn’t my circus, Musk is not my monkey.

        • Kope a Pia says:

          Yes Rayne you are quite right Apple’s cash on hand for the quarter ending September 30, 2022 was $48.304B, my mistake.

          Elmo did threaten Apple with making phones but I guess he got distracted while going down the rabbit hole.

  5. BassDrummer says:

    Well said, as usual, Rayne!

    Being guilty by association is always difficult, especially when the situation has changed but you haven’t. I developed software for the Apple Macintosh when it was released in the 80s, and worked at Oracle in the 90s and 00s, before Ellison (openly) became a Trump fanboy.

    And like most people with mutual funds, I own some Apple and Oracle stock, among others. Does this make me a bad person, and Nazi sympathizer? I don’t think so, because I had no say in the decisions made by the multi-billionaire overlords of said companies – they changed (or expressed their true selves) but I did not.

    But watching the good guys (the bar, the social media site, the company) slip into villainy while you’re still there is a helpless feeling. Could you have seen it coming, or maybe prevented it? Probably not, so what to do? Divesting your investments will make you feel better, but won’t change the outcome (and gives more money to the villains). Staying to fight a losing battle may feel right, but is counterproductive. Perhaps staying put and waiting for the pendulum to swing back the other way is the best decision because, after all, they changed but you did not. Difficult decisions, to be sure.

    • Rayne says:

      Hmm. We’ll agree to disagree. I’ve been a consultant for a certain Large Software Company; it was after I left that discovered my work had been laundered in a way to keep me from seeing what that Large Software Company was doing with it to fuck over a market. It it eventually caught up with them in court, but it still bothers me immensely that I played an unwitting role.

      This is why I will not own stock in this Large Software Company nor use their media platforms. I know now they were doing something illegal to prop up their business.

      A few years back I owned Oracle stock. I sold it immediately after the corporation disclosed it had accumulated numerous vulnerabilities and not fixed though it knew about many. Nope, nope, nope.

      I’ve also turned down jobs with entities which had problems up front in plain sight, about which there appeared to be no obvious mitigation in the works. Nope again, even when I needed the job.

      Sometimes businesses simply deserve to die because they aren’t going concerns unless they are damaging others. Sticking around only prolongs the business’s death and the suffering of their victims — and some of those victims may be employees.

      A business owner counseled a team of key people with whom I worked; the sole proprietor was dying of cancer leaving a bankrupt business behind. The business owner knew the proprietor having been a friend for many years; they told us to disburse the last paychecks, pay the last health care insurance premiums, turn off the lights, padlock the assets, lock the doors and walk away because the business was no longer a going concern. The mercy comes in acting expediently so life can go on.

      • RJames0723 says:

        Your last paragraph brought back a vivid memory for me. I worked for a small startup in the 90’s that got crushed by a large retailer. I literally was the last person to leave the office, turned out the lights and slipped the key through the mail slot. South Park in SF was like the wild west in those days.

      • Hug h roonman says:

        Rayne, interesting experience you had consulting for that “Large Software Company”.
        I have a good friend who worked for many years at Microsoft managing a Team of Developers. At one point he also worked closely with an outside Consulting firm assisting his Team on a project. Years later the outside Developer sued Microsoft for stealing Intellectual Property related to that project. Shortly thereafter he was called into his Boss’s Office who was sitting with two in House Attorneys. They asked him to sign documents outlining MSFT’s response to the Lawsuit. (MSFT had in fact stolen from the Consulting Firm and they were asking him to attest otherwise.) He refused to sign. The next week he was pulled from Managing the Software Team and reassigned to a new windowless Office.
        … Long story short, he left MSFT, won a lawsuit for the return of Stock Options they had clawed back and the outside Developer also prevailed in their Lawsuit.
        He soon landed a Job at Apple and has lived Happily ever after.

        …some stories have happy endings.

      • ernesto1581 says:

        …yes, and it may feel even worser if the outfit you were working for was a small non-profit, one which barely paid enough to keep you in beans & beer in the first place. you lock up, after shutting the light and unplugging the phone, and leave thinking,
        – Well, that’s the last time I take this walk back to the car…but it was a good project, really…wasn’t it?

        I appreciate these pieces you do, Rayne.

    • Rayne says:

      Oh, I’m sure it’s pretty ugly. Much of it is playing out in the open because Musk has no motivation to hide any of it; it serves his interests to be as openly cruel as possible because that’s what his fanboi base wants, the same base propping up Tesla’s irrational stock price.

  6. Raven Eye says:

    How long is it going to take legitimate organizations — such as local government who use it as part of their outreach to the public — realize that being associated with (dare I even say the name) Twitter is damaging — and they need to jump?

    As much as I cringe whilst saying this, Twitter did offer one more way to get things out, especially in an era where “local” radio stations are likely automated and/or almost fatally polarized, and where the few local newspapers no longer use paper, if those news(papers) even exist anymore.

    • Rayne says:

      I hate to say it but it may take injuries, deaths, and lawsuits for some to catch the cluestick.

      That mass shooting at UVA when students couldn’t trust Twitter though the school relied on a messaging system which utilized Twitter for distribution is a perfect example.

  7. elcajon64 says:

    The first thought was of a club in Berkeley, CA – 924 Gilman – often just referred to as “Gilman.” It’s a collective run by a tight-knit group of volunteers for the purpose of promoting punk music and art. Keeping the nazis out has been pretty much job one since it opened in 1986. The place is well known for the list of strictly enforced rules (which has grown/evolved over time), self-policing, and zero tolerance for bullshit.

    The amount of time, energy and effort required to maintain a good commons is astounding (and doesn’t go unnoticed!). Makes me appreciate this place more and more.

    • Baltimark says:

      I’ve wanted to see a show there for decades (time in the Bay area is infrequent), but the night Jello Biafra had his leg broken and his face kicked while pinned to the ground in ’94 was one rather substantial lapse in their ethos enforcement. (your example is still well taken and that club is largely admirable, but that was a fairly dramatic bad night).

      • elcajon64 says:

        Yeah. That was a dark day.

        It’s worth seeing or going to a volunteer event. I’ve been there a couple times as a performer about twenty years ago and am actually going back to play in February. I can get you in if you’re around!

    • matt fischer says:

      I saw Crash Worship there. It was one of the most bizarre and memorable live performances I’ve seen in my life, fire in the audience and all!

  8. retired railroad switchperson says:

    I appreciate this post from Rayne. I’m definitely a lurker (thanks, Peterr, tip’s in the jar)—have commented only maybe 3 times but have read every post for years, & most of the comments, always check the site first thing in the morning, & have read more court filings than I could ever have imagined before I started lurking.
    This ain’t my bar—there’s too many regulars & it’s not always friendly to strangers—but it’s a fantastic resource. I also appreciate bmaz’s perspective (LOL one of my comments was to ask how top secret documents could be used at trial & was told by him “Google CIPA” … which I did, & quickly figured out that the top hit—Child Internet Protection Act—wasn’t what I was looking for.) I’m not going to tone-check or spell-check anybody because I can manage those corrective tasks myself.
    Honestly, I don’t know what to do about Twitter, so these days I tend to lurk there as well (@Period_Comedy). Too often I’m tempted to engage with the alt-right posts that are now—post-Elon—pushed to the top of my timeline, instead of the informative & interesting or humorous accounts I actually follow. But I appreciate this space immensely—Marcy’s close reading, & supernatural recall of the documents & parties, and much of the commentary.

  9. RegCliff says:

    Hello. First time commenter. Might you be so kind in future to please consider maybe not flippantly throwing around the term ‘Nazi’. It’s a historical term associated with the absolute horrific atrocities committed by the actual Nazis in the 1930s and 40s. The Anti-Defamation League has frequently had to issue reproaches such as, “Glib comparisons to Nazi Germany are offensive and a trivialization of the Holocaust.” if you’re describing people who follow that ideology today then its best to use the term neo-Nazi. But saying things like ‘Nazi by association’ because someone is on twitter? Let me be diplomatic and just say that’s not really cool. I understand your sentiment, I only want to make you aware of how else it can be perceived.
    Otherwise since finding EW a couple weeks ago and have enjoyed the articles very much. Thanks you in advance for letting me comment.

    • Rayne says:

      Thank you for your opinion, duly noted.

      And no, I’m not changing a word. This is the kind of policing of language which has enabled the weaponization of free speech by Nazis and the rest of the far-right panoply.

      The prefix “neo” implies new. These are plain old fashioned Nazis, not just fascists; they’re quite comfortable with identifying with Nazism. They’ll take issue with being called Nazis but not with being Nazis.

    • Purple Martin says:

      I’ve been long aware of the argument and the principle and typically follow it, avoiding its use as a mere intensifier or insult for definably non-nazi things (soup-nazi, grammar-nazi, Limbaugh’s “feminazi,” etc.)

      But while ‘neo-nazi’ has its uses, I am in agreement with Rayne in the specifics of of this bounded issue.

    • Peterr says:

      I don’t see anything “glib” in the post at all.

      I’ve spent a lot of time studying the rise of the Nazis in the 1920s and 30s, especially the religious angles to that era. I was an exchange student in (West) Germany, arriving shortly after the broadcast of the ABC miniseries “The Holocaust” on national German television, which sparked numerous conversations with my German host family and others. As one of my German friends put it (paraphrasing from a long-ago memory), “Today we think of Nazis as the folks who killed millions of Jews and others back during WWII. But they were Nazis before they sent anyone to Auschwitz, they were Nazis before Hitler became chancellor, and they were Nazis before they held a single seat in parliament. How did folks let (or worse) help them take power then, and how do we recognize them today before they can repeat things again?”

      That’s a damn good question.

      Signs I see that point in ominous directions include the obvious like a rise in overt anti-Semitism, blatant racism, and anti-LGBTQ attacks. But there are also the less obvious parallels, including twisted rhetoric around gender and gender roles and rewriting of history to serve their purposes. Add in private clubs and organizations that glorify anti-government violence, and those that provide indoctrination of the next generation through schools and other organizations. Book bannings, book burnings, and all kinds of efforts to twist and control the national narrative being told, especially in schools. Politicians who look the other way, or decide that working with them can be politically helpful in the short run (and who’d actually believe them anyway?).

      Stop me when any of this resonates with today’s news.

      Hunting down old Nazis who ran the concentration camps in the 30s and 40s is one thing. Keeping their descendants from trying to rise up again is what worries me much more.

      To go back to this post – I see absolutely nothing glib about it. Rayne is addressing the very real concern — a concern shared by the ADL, by the way — that Nazis are not merely a group from history, but that their descendants are alive, well, and looking to get it right this time.

      • Badger Robert says:

        Interesting post. But its more relevant to the US to compare the present to the ante-bellum disputes over slavery. Eventually the slavery defenders came to proclaim slavery as a positive good.
        Instead of slavery westernizing the African-Americans, slavery was spreading the barbarism of sub-Saharan Africa in the European contact era into the United States.
        And don’t fool yourself into denying that when the possibility of abolition was considered in the ante-bellum south, there were veiled and sometimes not so veiled threats of a humanitarian crisis as the final solution.

        • Hug h roonman says:

          Thanks Peterr! Very insightful.

          I know I’ve shared this here before, but it seems worth repeating in this context.
          What’s going on right now, in increasingly “out in the open” quarters, feels very “demonic”.

          “No, the demons are not banished; that is a difficult task that still lies ahead. Now that the angel of history has abandoned the Germans, the demons will seek a new victim. And that won’t be difficult. Every man who loses his shadow, every nation that falls into self-righteousness, is their prey…. We should not forget that exactly the same fatal tendency to collectivization is present in the victorious nations as in the Germans, that they can just as suddenly become a victim of the demonic powers.”
          -Carl Jung “The Postwar Psychic Problems of the Germans” (1945)

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          I agree with you, and Jung. It does feel demonic. The problem with calling it that: so-called conservative Christians have thoroughly co-opted that word, linking “demonic” in an explicitly biblical sense to Democrats, often using the terms socialism and communism to blur the discussion.

          Or not, as in Jeanine Pirro’s use of the phrase “demon-rats” in place of Democrats. She seems to consider this cute and clever, but rhetoric of even this infantile type can have devastating perceptual consequences.

          Rayne is right to use Nazi to refer to those who emulate and espouse the ideology but don’t want to be associated with the name. Words matter.

        • Bombay Troubadour says:

          Interesting take.
          “ Eventually the slavery defenders came to proclaim slavery as a positive good.”
          For years prior to the Civil War one product, cotton was upwards of 60% of the country’s total exports. It’s hard to make a man understand when his paycheck depends on his not understanding.

    • rip no longer says:

      Maybe if we used a term like “3rd Reich Nazis” to selectively include those that were involved in the Holocaust – perhaps that would be a way of identifying those murderous and horrific people. But as others have noted, these types existed before the rise of the Third Reich and have never disappeared.

  10. Brian says:

    I’ve been saying for a long time, if you’re in a dive bar and you notice that the other customers and the bartender are putting on Klan hoods and Nazi armbands, IT IS NOT NOBLE TO KEEP BUYING DRINKS. Get out. The sooner it turns into Nazi Disneyland, the sooner it will die. Musk has already lost his richest-man-in-the-world place, it’s up to us to ensure he never has another dime in his pocket.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. FOURTH AND FINAL REQUEST: Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have numerous community members named “Brian” or “Bryan.” Your unique username should contain a minimum of 8 letters to meet our new security standard. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  11. Eric Arrr says:

    If anyone is struck by the desire to visit the particular shitty crustpunk bar that was the scene of the event described in that thread of tweets, I can tell you that it was the Sidebar in Baltimore.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, Eric. Not certain if/when I’ll make it to Baltimore but I’ll put that bar on the Must-Visit list.

    • Baltimark says:

      The Sidebar! Outstanding!

      I was no regular but certainly caught my share of shows. Home is just avout a mile and a quarter straight east of there. I still miss the Memory Lane days myself; it wasn’t exactly anyone’s local, but it definitely had its vibe.

  12. Molly Pitcher says:

    Excellent writing Rayne.

    I am going to declare abject stupidity on something you touched on, the Middle Eastern country’s desire to disrupt American life. Having mulled this over a while, I declare I do not understand how this benefits them.

    We are still a prolific purchaser of oil. Europe is way down the road ahead of us in utilizing superior train systems to move the masses, and alternate fuel sources for everything else, so they present a diminishing market share. Why does Middle Eastern country want to undermine it’s cash cow, us ? It’s not like they have a diversified catalog of products to sell.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      For starters, attitudes might depend on what locals benefit from petroleum sales. Even more true than here, the benefits stay at the top. Then there’s that many in the ME, focusing on US foreign and ME policy, regard the US as the great Satan. Even if the view is overblown, it can benefit local elites to have us regarded that way, so as to distract from how they treat the majority of their people.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        As all the while we sell them military armaments. For an area of the Earth with very little natural shade, there is a lot of shadow dancing going on there.

    • Rayne says:

      Because they don’t have a diversified catalog of products to sell and rely on oil money to seed their sovereign wealth fund which buys the investments they need to create a future cash flow, the fossil fuel producers will do their best to assure at least another +10 years of oil sales.

      There isn’t 10 years to be had if the US moves toward electric/hydrogen cars by 2035 as EU countries are. Germany, for example, is phasing out internal combustion by 2035. With 1 in 10 German jobs related to automotive industry, this is what the US-based automakers are competing with. France’s largest city, Paris, is already well on the way toward car-free city planning; London UK is doing likewise but with a slightly different approach. It’s just a matter of time before US cities begin to push in the same direction ending fossil fuel reliance.

      Oil price volatility this past year hasn’t helped; buyers want predictability in budgeting and electric cars give them that.

      In essence what these Middle Eastern countries will do is engage in predatory delay to defer the inevitable end of oil. Twitter helps to this end.

      Predatory delay is the blocking or slowing of needed change, in order to make money off unsustainable, unjust systems in the meantime.
      — Alex Steffen on Twitter, August 28, 2017

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Well in California the oil company price gouging, which miraculously ended right after the midterm elections, has prompted a big upsurge in the sales of EV. Almost 18% of the cars sold this year were electric; more would have been sold if they were available, but there was a shortage.

        Gavin Newsom called the State Legislature back into a special Session last week to pass a price gouging penalty. From the official site “The Governor’s action comes on the heels of a state hearing yesterday – which five major oil refiners refused to attend – to investigate this fall’s unprecedented spike in gasoline prices. This spike in gasoline prices resulted in record refiner profits of $63 billion in just 90 days, disproportionately affecting low- and middle-income families.” That 90 days encompassing the time around the midterm elections.

        All the Middle Eastern country is doing is pissing people off and accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels.

        • Rayne says:

          I’m enjoying how much easier it is right now to make the case that fossil fuels are a national security risk.

          (Which I swear the Department of State also implied in 2010 and 2015 in the first and second first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) reports. Looks like the Trump admin purged the 2010 report — can’t even find one outside .gov servers.)

        • GreenEyes says:

          I can’t find the QDDRs either, but I found n article about it. Here’s what the 2010 QDDR said, “”Energy powers the U.S. and global economies. The national security and economic prosperity of the United States and of our international allies and partners depend on global markets for oil, gas, and coal. Yet, these fossil fuels also account for most global production of greenhouse gas emissions,” officials wrote in the report. “Reducing our reliance on them is central to our efforts to combat global climate change. While we must protect our energy security and that of our allies and partners today, we must also foster international cooperation toward a global clean energy future.”
          -STATE DEPARTMENT: Foggy Bottom creates bureau to tackle energy issues

        • Rayne says:

          The Trump regime really cleaned house going so far as to delete the DoD’s 2010 QDR along with the State Dept’s QDDR — likely because the QDR site referenced the QDDR.

          But I had written about them, had links to the original locations of the documents, and I found copies in the Wayback Machine even though many of the archived images were 404 as well.

          Here’s the two pages with all the other links to executive summaries and more.

          I’ve updated my old post with archived links.

        • Patrick Carty says:

          Here in Georgia our Republican Governor is about to repeal the gasoline tax abatement, so look for the 20 cent per gallon blame to be passed on to Joe Biden.

  13. gmoke says:

    I estimate it would take about $7 billion to provide the poorest billion with entry level electricity – small solar panel providing light, phone or radio and small battery charging – at current retail prices with readily available off the shelf equipment. Probably much cheaper, if bought in bulk and done as a working business with an after-market support structure.

    Instead, Elmo elected to spend $44 billion on Twitter.

    Tell me again how he’s the savior of the future.

  14. ExRacerX says:

    Thanks, Rayne, for this clever metaphor within an analogy within an allegory within a Elmo’s Broken Birdland hit piece!

    Drinks are on me at the Mastodon Pub. Not sure what the music will be like, but it’s hard to imagine the venue or proprietor could be much worse…

  15. Doctor My Eyes says:

    It’s deeply disturbing. A case in point that the maldistribution of wealth is not just about fairness, it’s mainly about power, as in democracy can’t survive past a certain point.

    This makes me think of a couple of scenes from Cabaret. In an early scene, the bouncer kicks out a couple of Nazis passing the hat among the audience. Later in the film, Nazis surprise the bouncer in the alley behind the cabaret and beat him to death. The “jokes” onstage become increasingly nasty and antisemitic.

    That scene has stuck with me. I felt my eyes had been opened to how Nazis and other thugs take over. Of course, that film was a thorough-going revelation of how things can feel fairly normal and life goes on. Until it doesn’t.

  16. Phaedrus says:

    I get these kind of guilt by association arguments, and agree with them (by and large). I’ve been working through my own life – I pay taxes to the US government… probably one of the worst global actors and human rights abusers, bad on climate change, etc (everyone here has their own list, I’m sure). And yet, I pay my taxes every year, so I support these actions, despite my work and protest. I mean, we still went to war in Iraq.
    Anyway, it bugs me… any thoughts?

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Your username has been edited to match the username you’ve used in 7 previous comments. Use the same username with the same spelling each time you comment here. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  17. Jazz Handler says:

    I’ve seen that Nazi Bar post a couple times over the years, and it’s somehow more insightful every time it comes up. Twenty years ago I was a staunch defender of the ACLU’s stance on defending Nazis, on the grounds that popular speech doesn’t need defending. Ten years ago I still mostly agreed with my past self but would have had difficulty arguing that position in any serious way. Today however, I realize that “fire” is not even the worst thing one could shout in a crowded theater.

    I wandered away from Twitter a couple years ago for personal reasons, and would likely have returned by now if not for all the recent madness. I’ve set up an account on Mastodon, and your analogies and entreaties make me realize that I am, as silly as it sounds, ethically obligated to begin actually posting from that account.

    As far as this site goes, I’m one of the huddled masses nursing his drink in a booth in the back. I’ve always preferred to “hang out with” people more knowledgeable than myself, because the smartest person in the room is usually learning the least. And I’m about as knowledgeable about legal arcana as the average American, but I’m at least aware enough of that fact to avoid making bmaz remind me. So I really, really, really appreciate this site and the high-quality information I get here. I’d followed @emptywheel on Twitter for years, but only discovered the website last year. Now that I’m here though, I read just about every post and comment, and I’m pretty sure I’m better informed on the matters y’all cover than any of my peers as a result.

    // shuffles back to his dark corner with a fresh drink in hand

    • Peterr says:

      //shuffles over to the corner

      You know, the corner here is where folks retreat to after pissing off bmaz, right? It’s a place I’m very familiar with , , ,

      Glad you chimed in and de-lurked! For all the knowledge and information that flies around here, part of what makes this a great place for me is how the “experts” translate that knowledge into something that the “non-experts” can not only understand but make use of. I can’t count how many times a question that asks “wait – I don’t understand this part” has resulted in a clarity of thinking that really brings everything into focus.

      So don’t be a stranger. (And I love your handle!)

    • phred says:

      Thanks so much for bringing up your internal wrestling over the ACLU’s defense of free speech. I’m entirely in that same boat. I took an absolutist view of defending abhorent speech on principal 20 years ago, but I don’t any more. Radio Rwanda led to genocide, so how does a society cope with the weaponization of speech?

      I think about the regulations around issuing broadcast licenses intended to ensure that the broadcaster provided a public benefit, but how those regulations were slowly dismantled along with increasing monopolization in TV & radio. But even if one wanted to restore some of the long gone regulations (remember the Fairness Doctrine?), what does one do in the age of the internet and tech monopolies?

      I have no idea, but free speech cannot mean a total loss of civility and societal norms in appropriate behaviors in human interaction that make living together in ever larger numbers possible. It’s a question that increasingly demands our attention. And the beauty of place’s like this is any interested folks can kick around some ideas to try to come up with ideas on the subject.

      As for sitting in the corner quietly sipping your beverage, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Long ago I was a regular here, but life and work changed and left me with less time to hobnob. I’m one of the scientists (hi, Peterr!) and had a grade school view of our legal system. I asked a lot of questions of the resident lawyers back in the Bush era and learned a ton, most of which I found astonishing in that one’s ideas of how it works differs substantially from the reality.

      When bmaz gets prickly, poke him back. Once he knows it’s an honest question and not drive-by trolling, he’ll do his level best to explain things.

      And Rayne, this is an excellent post. Thank you so much for writing it. I’ll go pop over to Mastodon and boost it : ) Never had a Twitter account, but I can get onboard with the new place (maybe). I find the conversations come and go too quickly whether at the old bird place or the new tusk place. That’s why I like it here, when I can pop in.

      • Jazz Handler says:

        “For every complex problem, there is a solution which is clear, simple, and wrong.” — H.L. Mencken

        That said, your reply truly brightened an otherwise bleak day. So thanks for that, and also for proving earlofhuntingdon’s point. We have seen the failings of crowdsourced moderation and sentiment as metadata over and over and over again.

        The only such scheme I consider halfway workable is that of a site I left twenty years ago, good ole slashdot. It’s a system that requires a huge, dedicated userbase and a fair amount of technological complexity, but the basic idea is this: Every so often a user (in good standing) is granted a limited number of moderation points to use on individual comments, which cannot be used in any thread they have commented in. More frequently, users are asked to perform meta-moderation duties, where they are asked to grade the moderators’ work. That’s the sort of jiggerypokery required to keep it from devolving to “I like the people that I like, and also the first twenty comments.”

        So yeah, artisanal moderation for me, please and thank you. And for all the shit it’s trendy to heap on bmaz, he’s keeping the signal to noise ratio extremely high, which is what keeps most of us coming back to read these little walls of text from internet strangers.

    • matt fischer says:

      “I wholly disapprove of what you say—and will defend to the death your right to say it.”
      — Evelyn Beatrice Hall

      I remain an absolutist. It’s simply not the U.S. government’s business to regulate hate speech.

      Let’s not conflate governmental and non-governmental controls on speech, whose enforcement mechanisms are, and should be, different.

      Elmo has shown his true colors and coughed up $44 billion to promote the spread of hate. That falls within his First Amendment rights.

      Collectively it’s within our rights, as so eloquently proposed by Rayne, to abandon Twitter, and to ostracize Elmo and his ilk. Let’s do so.

      • Clare Kelly says:

        Categories of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment (and therefore may be restricted) include obscenity, fraud, child pornography, speech integral to illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawless action, speech that violates intellectual property law, true threats, and commercial speech such as advertising. Defamation that causes harm to reputation is a tort and also an exception to free speech.

        • Clare Kelly says:



          Given its ubiquity, however, I think it will be tested via:
          “The Role of Hate Speech in Hate Crimes”

          Also I’m wondering if you can define “hate”
          (matt fischer).

          Civil courts have a much lower bar.

          A person’s speech can be used against them in establishing the occurrence of a hate crime. In some cases, it can be argued that a person’s offensive speech is literal evidence of a certain type of crime. For example, if a person is repeatedly called a racial slur, no crime has been committed. However, if the person is then assaulted by the person making those slurs, it can be argued that disdain for the person’s racial identity served as a motive for the crime against them as evidenced by the language used preceding or during the assault. If the assailant was found to be guilty and it is proven that their actions were motivated by bigotry, the offender could be charged with a hate crime.”

        • bmaz says:

          I’m sorry Clare, have you contributed anything but bullshit yet? Again, do apprise when you have. Also, too, tell us about your experience in courts of law. Tell us “Clare”.

        • matt fischer says:

          I define hate speech very broadly as verbal hostility based on prejudice.

          That is to say that I find hate speech to be very human, very common, and absurd to try and criminalize in and of itself.

          Many strive to curtail hate. Others choose to spew hate. But it rightly remains a moral question, not a criminal one.

      • Rayne says:

        No, that’s not what I advocate. I’m saying a Nazi bought a social media outlet — users and advertisers shouldn’t stick around waiting for the inevitable damage.

        But also I don’t think it’s in the interest of national security for Nazis to be permitted to conduct business, especially if that business undermines the common defense. Congress may make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press (First Amendment), but the Constitution bestows on Congress the power to regulate commerce (Article I, Section 8), and it has done so frequently in other media forms.

        Some of the crap going on over the last several days may be actionable as defamation. Lawsuits may address some of it but when it’s a business’s model to actively harass persons, it’s time to look at regulatory remedies. Not to mention Musk’s Twitter has already fucked up in a big way under the FTC’s consent decree; is it a legitimate business when it makes no effort to comply with a consent decree?

        Popper’s Paradox? That’s what your free speech absolutism gets us. The uptick in hate speech since Elmo opened his bar to Nazis will not end in words alone, and indeed may already have unleashed violence.

  18. bluebird says:

    Yep, I’m one of the lurkers here. Never been one to comment much, but sure enjoyed reading. Thanks to the regulars.

        • Kathryn Rifkin (Kathryn_in_MA) says:

          Delurking for all the above reasons. I deactivated Twitter and just need to figure out how to get on Mastodon.

          [Thanks for letting us know you’ve updated your username. /~Rayne]

  19. Nick Caraway says:

    What amazes me is the myopia of the radical right billionaires like Musk. They don’t understand why the Constitution makes America such a good place to do business. I understand why they think that their privilege will protect them if they succeed in blowing up our democracy. But they might do well to remember that the German businessmen who enabled Hitler’s rise lived to see their factories get bombed.

    FYI, the current issue of SpyTalk looks at extremism in the US military/ police agencies and discusses the US implications of the recent German abortive coup plot.

  20. JAFO_NAL says:

    So the new bar (Mastodon) is supposedly not for sale. What’s the analogous establishment – or is it the point that it can’t be for sale because there are too many owners? I’ve been on the internet since the time of Owlnet with monochrome screens but skipped over Facebook, Twitter, and LikedIn due to the barbed hooks. I joined Mastodon specifically to follow EW. Hopefully the bartender keeps a club handy.

    • Rayne says:

      The analog is the garage band or the political activists’ Meetup or the Makerspace/hackerspace or the neighborhood driveway skate park. Whoever has the time and wherewithal to organize a server and to moderate it to its community standards is the “owner.”

      The trick is to find the right garage or driveway which suits you and make an effort to participate.

  21. bird of passage says:

    A brilliant post, Rayne, one I won’t forget, thank you.

    Hello to the regulars at this oasis from a grateful lurker who learns so much from your conversations.

    I stole my name from a conversation here. It fits… in the best, hopefully reclaiming sort of way.

    Following Marcy, Rayne, and Teri on Mastodon. Happy to add others if and when you give your handles.

    The bat is vital. May we never hesitate to reach for it.

        • bird of passage says:

          Yes, Teri Kanefield, thank you, Clare. Found her via comments here. Sorry bmaz, I was not specific, and as she is not specific to this blog, I should have included her last name.

          [07-FEB-2024 — username changed from “spacekaren” /~Rayne]

        • Clare Kelly says:

          I, too, found her via Emptywheel, and appreciated your reference.

          Her “FAQ’s sticky” is an invaluable response, along with Marcy’s “What DOJ was doing…”, and has become my go-to response to the many ‘tiki torches and pitch forks’ for AG/DOJ comments @washingtonpost (before I just throw up my hands and log out).

          Again, my gen z beloved wee laddie says
          “You know your can just read the article without reading the comments, right? Love you, mom.”


        • Clare Kelly says:


          Self pedant, slow to return to comment after hitting “send”.

          And I may be making gift egg nog where tasting for efficacy is imperative.

          Mea culpa.

  22. greengiant says:

    It’s not disruptive innovation it is destructive “innovation”.
    The oligarchs make more profit by destroying a company, a community, a society, the UK, the US.
    Elon’s twitter is part of the destruction of the US and the world.
    Using twitter is swimming in a sea of hate and lies to further that destruction.
    Only my opinion.

    • Clare Kelly says:

      More than a minute ago, “enlightened self interest” was a main concept in Business Schools. Air DeSantis calls it “woke”, in the pejorative.

      Some adopted and adapted, some did not.

      I understand your point, however.

      • John Thomas says:

        Americans once practiced civility in their public discourse. Then right-wingers renamed it “political correctness” and mocked it.

        What is WRONG with these people?

        • Clare Kelly says:


          Though I’m not sure these aren’t just the same folk, emboldened by Individual 1 administration years, Newt redux.

          Then again, I wish the following Silverado quote were true:

          “I think there’s just a couple o’ guys up there and this asshole’s one of them”

          And to your rhetorical question: I have a few 💡 about that, yet they are not unique.

  23. Quake says:

    On the bright side, what’s the over/under on when Elmo gets “exited” by Tesla’s Board of Directors (even though Elmo appointed them all, they still have a fiduciary duty to Tesla’s shareholders).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The board owes its first and various duties to the company, a legal person, not its officers or shareholders. But, yes, board members often ignore that obligation.

      Legally, shareholders come last, after other stakeholders. That, too, has been sidestepped, owing to decades of well-financed neoliberal propaganda, especially among elite law and economics faculties.

        • Clare Kelly says:

          *I’m “left”, as it were, and beloved wee laddie’s Dad was decidedly not.

          The circular firing squad from the article I cited also bothered me… ala

          “What’s the difference between a cannibal and a liberal? A cannibal only eats his enemies.” — Lyndon Johnson

          Not unlike “moderate” members of the Democratic Party using “progressive” in the pejorative, mimicking RW talking points, imho.

          100 elected reps in the House are members of CPC.

          All were elected.

    • Jazz Handler says:

      Tesla has served its purpose to society, in that it helped popularize the idea of an electric car as a desirable object for the masses. Now that so much of the hype has boiled off, it’s becoming common knowledge that the company and its cars are of middling quality at best. I truly believe their best days are behind them.

      The one that really concerns me is SpaceX. That is a company that has become way too important, to both the US and the world, be at the mercy of Space Karen or anyone like him. I know I’m far from the only one thinking that Mr. Musk is, in a very real way, losing his shit all over the world stage these last couple years. I refuse to believe that there haven’t been meetings in the sort of rooms old white guys used to fill with smoke about this question, how to handle it, and what circumstance(s) would trigger such handling.

  24. Johnny057 says:

    Thank you for a very interesting read. Rarely do I take the time to do a deep dive, but your writing style and informative links kept me engaged for quite awhile today. I especially like reading about Poppers Paradox and Danah Boyd’s piece on failure. I’m forwarding this on to those I occasionally debate with in order to gauge their tolerance. 😀

    It’s been awhile since I commented and hope I remembered my username correctly.

  25. Yargelsnogger says:

    Thanks for also taking the simple step of screenshotting a twitter thread instead of embedding/linking to it in your content. I’ve taken to avoiding drilling down into any of those links in articles I read, even when the temptation is significant. Next step, remove that twitter sidebar from EmptyWheel in favor of a Mastadon iframe/embed? Is that even a possibility? I don’t know if your site uses WordPress or some other tool, but I hope you are putting pressure on these types of products to make alternatives available.

    • rip no longer says:

      Thank you Y. WordPress does embed a lot of twitter (and fb/etc.) tracking stuff in their pages. I think these are mainly configurable.

      I’ve already totally blocked and from tracking me by using “Block Site” extension in Firefox. There are other ways to accomplish this.

      What bothers me is how much information (and disinformation) is cross-posted between sites including supposedly “news” sites (with real reporters, etc.) Twitter represents a very critical piece in this type of information flow which can be and has been weaponized. The less we promulgate these types of sites the better.

    • Clare Kelly says:

      I understand your point yet I’ve found the twitter sidebar references here invaluable since I left that bar last December.

      Emptywheel and I were a mutual follow and I’ve only ever been tempted to log back in for Marcy’s (and a few others) posts.

      I hear you, though, just hoping Rayne does not discontinue that feature until migration is complete.

      I still thank old twitter for Arab Spring.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Whichever one you can sign up with; they’re all busy. It won’t affect your ability to read or follow others. You can add or change it later if you find a group you have more in common with.

    • Rayne says:

      The server you choose depends on your personal needs. Each server has their own terms of service and culture as well as its own audience. There are very large servers which tend to be more generic in audiences, but the larger they are, the greater likelihood of laggy performance and slower response to moderation challenges.

      You can always change servers if you don’t like the first one you try.

      Try this tool to help you select a server instance by your personal parameters:

  26. Jazz Handler says:

    Something keeps occurring to me, and I intended to speculate on it in my earlier comment, but of all the places where I keep my mouth shut unless I am 100% certain, this site is at least three of them.

    Now that said, a common rejoinder to those lamenting the social media situation is to stand up their own website instead of preaching from someone else’s soapbox. For the vast majority who aren’t aroused by the idea of writing moderate amounts of code in three or four different languages just to be able to say “Hello, world!”, there are a few popular services to bridge that gap. Among them are Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. The latter of which is what this site is published with, and it is a very well-regarded open source platform that has been around approximately forever.

    Another option would be to use one of the oldest remaining microblogging platforms, Tumblr. Yeah, the one that was nearly destroyed by Yahoo’s purchase and mismanagement, followed by Verizon’s purchase and further mismanagement.

    So what’s the relevance here? Automattic, the company that created WordPress and later donated all(?) of WordPress’s IP to the WordPress Foundation, purchased the smoldering remains of Tumblr three years ago. I have absolutely zero knowledge beyond these facts, but my brain just keeps coming back here… as much as I also hoped that Apple might step into the breach, I have a strong suspicion that Matt Mullenweg, founder and CEO of Automattic, has taken more walks in Apple’s garden than Space Karen ever will.

    And if it sounds implausible that another company, no matter how capable and well-regarded, could start from scratch and catch up with Mastodon in short enough order to be relevant here, remember that Mastodon is not the entire stack; it is, essentially, a front-end for the ActivityPub protocol, a W3C spec that Tumblr announced three weeks ago that they are adding support for.

  27. BobBobCon says:

    Jeremy Peters at the NY Times wrote a nonsensical “analysis” trying to portray Musk as anything but a hardcore rightwinger based on a ridiculous simplistic and narrow idea of what counts as conservative.

    What’s so stupid and naive about Peters’ PR hackery is that it is formally so similar to ancient defenses of other right wingers from earlier eras. The whitewashing line would go hardcore segregationists like Strom Thurmond couldn’t be racists because they had illegitimate African American children; vicious antigay officials like Roy Cohn and J. Edgar Hoover couldn’t hate gays because they were gay.

    Peters, it should be clear, is a longtime go-to guy for editor Carolyn Ryan, going back to the time when she dispatched Peters to dig into a claim that Governor Patterson’s six pound Maltese bit a state trooper.

    Ryan was also the patron at the Times of Bari Weiss’s wife Nellie Bowles, who is also known for being a conduit for rightwing talking points, as well as Michael Powell, who has been the recent point person for rotten coverage of alleged liberal excesses in free speech issues, and she also championed Michael Barbaro, who has entangled the Times in ethical knots.

    And as I’ve linked before, Ryan chose to defend her broken leadership of the Times 2016 campaign by citing ….

    ….Glenn Greenwald. It’s crazy how much she is always in the thick of this junk.

  28. David Boles says:

    I’ve been a long-reading lurker here for a long time; but this article is the best thing I’ve read all year. It’s so enlightening, and also dreadfully depressing. They’re winning the slow frog boil.

  29. dimmsdale says:

    Well, this’ll be the “Thanksgiving to EW” comment I somehow missed making before now. This is the first site I hit in the morning, followed by Marcy’s morning twitter update (as long as she’s still there, of course). I’ve come to value immensely the running crew here (“keeping it real” does not begin to characterize the passion, heart, and rigor with which you guys keep the table set for the rest of us), with all your disparate, erudite, sometimes conflicting opinions (hugely helpful in giving me room to derive my own opinion on subjects, e.g. the law, about which I know nothing much). And those of you who regularly comment! — my thanks to you all as well, for your colloquies that deepen my knowledge and perspective. My thanks to you all. I’ll be watching like a hawk for Dr. W’s appearances on the Nicole Sandler show, and for news about where the bar is moving next, and I’ll be there leaving my own beer rings on the bar top. Warmest holiday wishes and thanks to everyone reading these words.

    • harpie says:

      You can follow along with Marcy’s Mastodon feed here:

      She sometimes posts things there and not on Twitter.
      For instance, about “12 hours ago” she “boosted” Dan Gillmor:
      Dec 10, 2022, 21:04 [I don’t know what Time Zone that is]

      Increasingly, I believe that the destruction of Musk’s Twitter is crucial for the preservation of American democracy. I was neutral on this until the past few days. But it’s now obvious that his intentions — and actions — are aimed in part at promoting right-wing extremism.

      The Murdoch family is still the greater threat, but Musk looks set to supersede them as a force for evil.

      [I haven’t signed up with Mastodon, just like I never signed up with Twitter.]


      • harpie says:

        CORRECTION: I’m pretty sure the “12 hours ago” referred to the time Gillmor posted the comment.
        [I almost wrote “tweet” there…this transition may take me some time…]

        • Rayne says:

          They were called “toots” but this has recently changed, IIRC. Apparently “toots” was intended as a joke and the progenitor of Mastodon didn’t realize this. Because Mastodon is a microblogging platform, an entry can be referred to as a post.

          To share a post with others at Mastodon is boosting, as compare to retweeting at the bird app.

  30. Phoenix Woman says:

    “The venue needs to deal with the hate speech as soon as it arrives with its hair neatly combed wearing a button down with an insignia-covered tie. Cut it off in the whitewashed alt-right larval form; grab the club and set on on the bar top long before the Nazi must be punched. That’s when the effort is most effective; that’s when you can still fight and eliminate the emerging Nazis.”

    We both experienced this first hand a little over a decade ago.

    It took less than a month for the rot to irreversibly set into Firedoglake when the moderators were told to stand down in May of 2011.

    It was once a safe spot for diverse viewpoints. It became tankie 4chan almost instantly once actual moderators were removed.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m still furious about everything that happened 2010-2011. I taste blood every time I think about it, from biting my tongue so hard.

      Drop in some time and let us know about your experiences at Spoutible once it launches.

        • Rayne says:

          EW was what went right. It was the exception to the rest of the FDL universe.

          I am still owed $$$$$ from FDL, and though I had (and still have the receipts), it was implied I had not earned that.

          It’s still a very sore subject with me, mostly because I was warned there was a history of financial mismanagement and I ignored my gut.

          Oh, and if the problem at FDL had followed to EW, I wouldn’t fucking be here. LOL

        • bmaz says:

          Oh, I remember pretty much all of it. And it was a lot of good people that got burned by all that. Many of them, thankfully, still around here.

        • Phoenix Woman says:

          The silver lining!

 is being put together by Christopher Bouzy of Bot Sentinel. If you liked his Bot Sentinel work you might want to give when it’s up and running.

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