Musk regarding Starlink use by the military in Ukraine: “we are not allowing Starlink to be used for long-range drone strikes.” https://t.co/HHLbYhGaKZ
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) January 31, 2023
It will be a good day when his personal Tesla sets itself on fire and won’t release the door locks while he’s inside it. I’m also looking forward to watching Chevrolet, GM, Honda, and a bunch of other actual car makers eat his lunch as 2023 proceeds. Both Chevrolet and Honda are coming not just for his battery electric vehicle business, but for everything he’s trying to do with solar panels and battery storage/power walls.
The best thing that could happen to him is for the UA Main Directorate of Intelligence to scarf him up and drop him off in occupied Donbas without papers while live streaming what happens to him.
And that’s all I have to say about that asshat.
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!
A brief report on the day.
We are finalizing our preparations for the Ukraine-EU Summit scheduled for this week. In general, this week will be a week of European integration in every sense of the word. We are expecting the news for Ukraine. We are expecting the decisions from our partners in the European Union that will be in line with the level of cooperation achieved between our institutions and the EU, as well as with our progress. Progress, which is obvious – even despite the full-scale war.
Today I held a long meeting with the international bloc of the government and the Office. We are preparing Ukrainian positions for negotiations with EU representatives.
And very importantly, we are preparing new reforms in Ukraine. Reforms that will change the social, legal and political reality in many ways, making it more human, transparent and effective. But these details will be announced later, based on the results of the relevant meetings.
Today, as in fact every day, I held several meetings with the military and the head of intelligence. We are studying the situation in detail in all major operational directions and in the long term. What the occupier is preparing for, and how we are already responding to Russia’s preparations for a revanche attempt.
Our defense and security forces, the Ukrainian government, our partners – all of us are making efforts to ensure that Russia not only fails in regaining ground on the battlefield, but also loses its last hope for aggression in its revanche attempts. Russia’s defeat will prevent any alternatives to a lasting and reliable peace. I thank all our partners who support this position of Ukraine.
Today I spoke with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau. I briefed him on the situation on the battlefield – on the constant assaults in the Donetsk region, on the situation in the south and the existing threats. We discussed how our defense cooperation could be supplemented. We separately touched upon the issue of sanctions and Russia’s international isolation.
In particular, I am grateful to Justin for understanding our call to the international Olympic bodies that any concessions to a terrorist state are unacceptable. The Olympic movement and international sport in general must be protected from Russia’s usual attempts to politicize sports – we have seen this repeatedly at different times. Now, Russian politicization of sports will inevitably mean justification of terror. This must not be allowed. It is only together that the free world can protect sport from those sports bureaucrats who are willing to turn a blind eye to reality for some reason.
Today I also spoke with Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo. I thanked him for the powerful defense package that was recently approved. We discussed our cooperation on international platforms, particularly within the UN. We discussed sanctions against Russia and the next sanctions package. We also talked about cooperation in protecting sports and the Olympic movement from propaganda of terror.
And one more thing.
Now there is a certain lull with personnel decisions… But this does not mean that all the necessary steps have been taken. There will be decisions. Those in the system who do not meet the fundamental requirements of the state and society should not linger in their chairs.
I thank each and every one who is defending the state! I thank everyone who is fighting for Ukraine!
I am grateful for every Ukrainian position held at the front!
I am also grateful for every destroyed position of the enemy!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here’s former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s latest assessments of the situations in Kremenna and Bakhmut:
KREMINNA /1325 UTC 31 JAN/ Two RU offensive probes were undertaken during the period 29-30 JAN. The first, north of Kreminna, was repulsed by UKR east of Terny. RU forces retreated with losses. A second RU thrust on the O-0528 HWY was apparently also broken up by UKR forces. pic.twitter.com/CnTCQLcKvB
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) January 31, 2023
BAKHMUT HOLDS: Russia has stepped up offensive operations against the city, registering costly gains south of the urban area and threatening important supply routes. But Ukraine’s troops maintain a stubborn and wily defense.https://t.co/lR41mQZx94
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) January 31, 2023
German howitzer PzH 2000 operating in dawn hours near Bakhmut. It’s highly efficient and accurate and is definitely in heavy demand. Hope to see more soon.
💣 43rd Separate Artillery Brigade pic.twitter.com/PxyGIRjpXF
— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) January 31, 2023
Make it hot!
Destruction of the command post and ammunition of Russians by Ukrainian servicemen of the 28th brigade together with aerial reconnaissance of the 4th brigade https://t.co/wbEjiBMEn1 pic.twitter.com/K0V5Ege9Ks
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) January 31, 2023
Boris the cat proposes to rename the street from Pushkinska to British Street. Lovely. pic.twitter.com/hAGeXZt0ny
— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) January 31, 2023
Kharkiv is also under air raid alert:
Went out to meet a friend when the fourth air raid alarm since morning started. Kharkiv downtown is plunged into darkness. Messages of shelling around Kupiansk began popping up. Russian goal is to terrorize and threaten, but in reality people are only getting stronger. pic.twitter.com/pBTYnqNmM2
— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) January 31, 2023
If you want to try to follow what the Russians are doing where their aviation platforms, Olga Honcharenko in Odesa, Ukraine tracks Russia’s ultra-high frequency aviation comms. As soon as they start squawking, she starts tweeting. When she tweets that a plane is pushing static on its net, then an attack is inbound. For instance, this one from 26 JAN 2023:
Russian strategic bomber combat voice net 9163 kHz USB
Transmitter's static noise is active. Combat mission is coming/ongoing for the time being in silence
— Olga Honcharenko (@olga_pp98) January 26, 2023
Vuldehar is holding!
2/6 The enemy hasn't reduced the number of assaults, however, the quality of assaults has dropped significantly for two reasons:
– weather conditions
– high casualties
— Tatarigami_UA (@Tatarigami_UA) January 31, 2023
4/6 a Large number of reserves in the Vuhledar area indicates that the enemy doesn't plan to give up on assaults or attempts to siege Vuhledar.
— Tatarigami_UA (@Tatarigami_UA) January 31, 2023
6/6 It's likely that the enemy will resume assault as soon as the weather conditions will allow, and losses will be replenished with mobilized and volunteers.
— Tatarigami_UA (@Tatarigami_UA) January 31, 2023
The creator of Rybar channel who now has a live TV program admits that Russian VDV forces lost 50% of personnel by September last year. pic.twitter.com/erKY6EMqiB
— Dmitri (@wartranslated) January 31, 2023
For you logistics enthusiasts:
Just as the weapons have changed the course of the war, so has the war impacted the companies that build the arms — and tested their limitations.
Story w/ truly fab team: Steff Chávez @alexandraheal @ian_bott_artist @sam_learner @inari_ta @nikasamborskahttps://t.co/z2wLrSj3xA
— Sam Joiner (@samjoiner) January 31, 2023
The Financial Times also brings us reporting that the EU and its member states are not aligned in regard to Ukraine’s ascension to EU membership:
EU member states have warned Brussels against giving Ukraine an unrealistic expectation of rapidly joining the bloc, ahead of a summit in Kyiv where Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pressing for progress on accession and reconstruction.
Zelenskyy is due to host his EU counterparts Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel this week, where he is expected to lobby for the country’s EU membership, the use of frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s reconstruction and a legal mechanism to prosecute Russians for war crimes.
Senior diplomats from EU capitals are concerned that unfeasible Ukrainian expectations — including EU accession by 2026 — have been encouraged rather than tempered by Brussels’ top officials.
“No political leader wants to be on the wrong side of history . . . Nobody wants to be blamed for not doing enough,” said one senior EU diplomat. “So they tell them it’s all possible.”
But while some central and eastern European member states have championed Ukraine’s demands, other northern and western capitals worry about how its large, poor population and vast agricultural sector could be integrated with the EU.
European Council president Michel said this month that “no effort” should be spared to “turn this promise into a reality as fast as we can”. “Ukraine is the EU and the EU is Ukraine,” he told Ukraine’s parliament.
That rhetoric has created expectations in Kyiv that it deserves special privileges and a rapid entry into the bloc. Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal has said he envisages a two-year timetable.
“There is not going to be a fast-track path for Ukraine’s EU membership,” said a second EU diplomat. “There is a risk that rhetoric clashes with reality.”
Multiple member state officials told the FT the commission needed to make clear to Ukraine that there were huge hurdles ahead of beginning formal accession negotiations, which themselves can take a decade or more.
“That gap [between promises and reality] has been growing for some time. And we are getting to the point where it’s too wide,” said a third EU diplomat. “They appear to believe that they can just become a member tomorrow. And that’s obviously not the case.”
“Von der Leyen and Michel might be outcompeting each other on who can show themselves to be more pro-Ukrainian,” said one of the EU diplomats.
This is one of the reasons that you’ve seen Zelenskyy and his administration start cracking down on corruption despite a war going on all around them. That is a good thing in and of itself. However, these various anonymous EU diplomats and leaders seem to be missing a couple of important items. The first is that once the war is over and reconstruction begins, let alone once it is completed, Ukraine is going to be very different in terms of its economy and its infrastructure. I don’t expect that Ukraine will stop being an agricultural powerhouse, but I do expect that a lot of new industries and business sectors will emerge. The second is that as is going to be the case with NATO, the EU is going to need Ukraine more than Ukraine will need the EU. And I’m not talking in terms of Euros in and Euros out. Right now Ukraine is defending all of Europe. Sure, the EU and NATO member states and non-EU and non-NATO member allies and partners like Australia are sending material, equipment, supplies, and money, but where the rubber meats the road the Ukrainians are doing the work. For all the Russian delusional rhetoric that this is a NATO war against Russia, the truth is this is Ukraine being reforged and then tempered in its defense against Russia’s genocidal re-invasion. EU diplomats can hem and haw and tut tut all they want, but the simple truth is Ukraine has placed itself between Scylla and Charybdis to protect the Argo, which in my use of the metaphor is the EU and the rest of Europe.
That’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron!
I'll just stand there and wait F-16 pic.twitter.com/KXf9WsAvxR
— Patron (@PatronDsns) January 31, 2023
And here’s a new video from Patron’s official TikTok!
Цей танець ніби був створений для мене😁 #shakirachallenge
The caption machine translates as:
This dance seemed to have been created for me 😁 #shakirachallenge
Mai Naem mobile
But, Adam, tell us how you really feel about FElon to be.
Adam L Silverman
I’m going to go do a quick lift and then walk the doggos. Back later.
I thought this WaPo article was pretty interesting.
One of the first things I saw this morning was a tweet about a Tesla spontaneously combusting on a Sacramento freeway with the comment that Tesla had invented the external combustion engine. Laughing your ass off at 3:30 before you have even had coffee is not a bad way to start the day. The scenario you describe would yield another laughing-one’s-ass-off morning, and I hope to see it some day.
OK, of course I don’t know who picks the music, but the choice of Ravel as sound for the video is just the ne plus ultra. Poetry in sound and video.
@NutmegAgain: Which video?
I tried to watch the Patron video, but the loud rock music bugs my husband.
The command post destruction.
Should prospective Spinal Tap drummers drive Teslas?
ETA: Elon can eat shit and live (passivist here)
Adam, I always appreciate you, but some days, I appreciate you extra. This might be too long for a rotating tag, but it’s a beauty.
Also too, fuck all those anonymous EU diplomats. Yeah, Ukraine SHOULD get special treatment because this is a completely different situation than any other in which a country was admitted. Let’s send them all to Donetsk and then ask them again. So many people who so easily put their souls aside.
Boris the Cat is charming. But the resemblance needs a bit of work. Gotta intentionally muss up that hair a little more.
Thank you as always, Adam.
Oh, Elon. So many poor choices and so many competitors now on his ass. Couldn’t happen to a better human being. I have this vision of Musk’s fortune so rapidly vanishing to the point where he’ll be begging Trump to crash at Mar-a-Lago.
Elon Musk is also a risk to US national security. If he cuts off services to Ukraine when the Ukrainian government doesn’t abide by his personal foreign policy (i.e. no long distance drone strikes) he could do the same with US contracts with SpaceX. In a publicly traded company, I assume the board of directors would enforce compliance with contract, but SpaceX is privately owned. It is completely unacceptable for the CEO of an aerospace company with US government contract to think he can put after-the-fact restrictions on its use.
I would have never guessed that our long range missile’s gps would be dependent on starlink. I always assumed some encrypted military satellite. I don’t think starlink has been operational for a great time to begin with. We have been steering drones for quite a few years now. Have we sold out such vital military ability to some untrustworthy, unstable privateer to save a few bucks?
Or is this just me being ignorant about modern warfare again?
Just guessing here, but I’d think that Starlink’s utility is to allow partisans/SOF to communicate coordinates back to the people launching the long-range missiles.
@patrick II: The US military has its own satellites. The Ukrainian military doesn’t, so they’re doing the best they can with commercial substitutes.
And I think it’s not so much for GPS per se (which is already satellite-based) but rather sending imagery from the drones to the controller and then commands back to the drones.
@patrick II: It isn’t. Military GPS does not rely on any civilian systems; their comms don’t either. It would be crazy to do so.. The Ukrainians appear to be using Starlink for their own long range drones out of necessity because they don’t have their own military satellites.
If you need a bit of a laugh, this video from Saint Javelin is a good one:
BBC Planet Ukraine: Leopard
@Alison Rose: Pedantry alert: the hunting cat shown is a cheetah, not a leopard. Leopards, like most cats, are ambush predators. Cheetahs chase down prey. (The close-ups are leopards.)
@Eyeroller: Beat me to it. But good video all the same.
@Andrya: Agree. US contracts with all Musk companies should be under review. He’s free to be a wingnut-promoting asshole. But US defensive or ally-defensive capabilities shouldn’t depend on such a capricious flake.
@Alison Rose: Hear hear
ADD: I don’t think it’s too long for a rotating tag. Have it been submitted yet?
Various ways to read between the lines in Musk’s tweet. One is that he’s objecting to those small drone ships or long range aerial drones using starlink.
It is possible (likely, IMO) that he has been getting or has gotten a threat/threats or similar communication(s) from Russia; it is possible (though one mistake is sufficient for compromise) to secure such communications vs the NSA. Could be carrots involved, too.
Also, Russian state propagandist calling Musk a war criminal. (Musk is replying to this.):
Please do not mistake this for a defense of Mr. Musk. I’m roughly in agreement with Adam.
I missed the obvious. They aren’t U.S. Military long range drones. However, my last comment kind of stands in that Ukraine military communications is in the hands of an untrustworthy, unstable privateer who evidently holds Putin and facism in high regard. It is such a rickety platform for Ukraine to have so much invested in. I wonder what we can do about that.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Tell him my motto is “If it’s too loud then you’re too old.” 😉
I understand the need to walk the dogs, but do you really need to lift them?
Ms. Deranged in AZ
How, pray tell, is he defining long range? And WTF why would anyone ever let him define such a thing?!?! If Putin can call Elon up so can Biden. I mean hasn’t the US nationalized private companies before for the sake of national security? Does Elon fear Ukraine will use it for long range drone strikes that are illegal? Because it has been the Ukraine’s stated goal to use it to drive Russia out of their territory. A perfectly legal and reasonable aim. However I’m sure there are many customers that are using the satellites provided by the Walking Bag of Suet for nefarious purposes such as drug and human trafficking. How about those long range uses Elon? Maybe we need to investigate why FElon is allowing all this illegal use to go on? What’s that, you say, he has no knowledge of such uses? Well he has no such knowledge of those uses by the Ukraine either. However we know that criminals want to use and do use his satellites for illegal trafficking. Whereas Ukraine has stated their perfectly legal purpose. If I was the Ukraine I would sue the s*** out of Starlink and if I was in charge of the OMB I’d be sending some very clear signals that any and all Government contracts between his companies and the US are in serious jeopardy if he doesn’t knock it the Eff Off.
@Ms. Deranged in AZ:
Poked a bit. Starlink cells are somewhere between 10×10 and 15×15 miles. Roaming from cell to cell is allowed (“Starlink RV”) but it sounds like they do not enable cells in some regions.
This has the appearance of geofencing, and it is, in a sense.
Sister Golden Bear
Got my t-shirt from St. Javelin today. Thanks to whoever shared the link to purchase it.
Adam L Silverman
@Sister Golden Bear: It’s me! Mine arrived Monday.
OT, but some good news about animals (the non-tank variety): The Dallas Zoo’s missing emperor tamarin monkeys have been located, safe and sound. They were found in a closet in an abandoned house, about 16 miles away, after a tip.
Very strange doings, but glad these little innocents are found
Why does Elon Musk appear to be beholden to Putin? None his main businesses have meaningful exposure to Russia. Is it Russian oligarchic money funding some of his ventures? Is it Russian intelligence having kompromat?
Tesla has to be in China because the country accounts for > 50% of the global EV market, that is why all the other brands are in China, too. The Shanghai Gigafactory has also been instrument in Tesla’s expansion in Europe, by exporting to the market (at least until the Berlin factory is up & running). Due to that exposure Elon Musk will not be overtly criticizing the Chinese government. But why take overt stances on issues at all? All the other MNCs have the good sense of staying mum & avoiding the limelight when it comes to military conflicts & geopolitical rivalries.
His behavior is more than than that of a useful idiot. Anyone w/ any sense of self-preservation for his main businesses should be avoiding any impression of doing Putin’s bidding. Then again, reading some of his tweets since acquiring Twitter, may be he is just a megalomaniacal man-child.
Adam L Silverman
@YY_Sima Qian: Musk, like the other Putin boot lickers in the US, are all of the self radicalized “red pilled” variety. Musk is a neo-fascist and the American version of an oligarch. He’s also got adult onset oppositional defiance disorder and likes making others uncomfortable and unhappy. The reason all those neo-NAZIs, Qnuts, etc are back on Twitter isn’t because he believes in free speech. It’s because he agrees with them and he thinks it’s fun to watch them offend and abuse normal people.
@Adam L Silverman: The edgelord billionaire in action. Why do I get the feeling he burned ants with a magnifying glass as a kid.
@Adam L Silverman: Yeah, that is as good an explanation as any, especially the last part. It seems a lot of the “techbros” are like that.
Adam, a feel-good twitter story about a Ukrainian main coon kitty!!!!!
(apologies if this has been posted, I haven’t been reading all the replies to these)
@Ms. Deranged in AZ: Hear hear.
And while they’re at it, nationalize Twitter, too. (I’m only like 50% joking)
@BeautifulPlumage: I love that the look on the cat’s face in the tweet pic basically says “I will kill putin myself” and I 100% believe it
Harking back to a discussion in a Ukraine post a few days ago re: the beginning of a wane in Russian influence over the immediate region as a result of the re-invasion, this article popped up in my feed today:
I think the warning for caution near the end of the article – geography is geography and we shouldn’t expect a sudden rush to the west by these border states in the immediate future – is well taken, but it is heartening to see increased openness towards connections to the EU and US.
Adam, if you find yourself with a spare minute (good joke, I know lol) I am curious for your take on the role of Turkey here. On the one hand it feels like Turkey is a serious thorn in the side for NATO, the latest kerfuffle with Sweden and Finland’s accession one example. But on the other hand it seems like Erdogan’s regional ambitions are causing real trouble for Iran and Russia, which is a net positive for NATO, and they seem to be effective in building bridges to places like Amenia and the -stans. Is it a case of better to have them inside the tent pissing out? And how much of their behaviour stems from Erdogan particularly, vs Turkish strategic interest and national opinion?
@Tim Ellis: Just force Elon Musk to divest from Twitter & SpaceX . Nationalizing Twitter would make the platform much more suspicious in the ROW.
But not to Oracle! (The whole deal of having TikTok store the data for US customers on Oracle server, in the name of data security, is nuts.)
@Alison Rose: yeah, the person who posted it to Darth Putin thought the same. Putin beware!
@BeautifulPlumage: and yes, it should be Maine Coon (may Steve forgive me)
@Alison Rose: Actually, I’m pretty sure that Elon never sets foot in a Tesla. He drives, or is driven in, a better car that actually works. He’s a moron, but he’s not suicidal.
@Tim Ellis: I’d say it’s definitely good for Ukraine that Erdogan is helping keep the Black Sea grain shipments going. Erdogan was instrumental in the starting the program last August. And when Russia declared the shipments suspended after a Ukrainian attack on Sevastopol, Erdogan took the bull by the horns and announced that a convoy would leave Odesa and that he considered it vital that the shipments continue. Turkiye’s Defense Minister told reporters the same, and the Russians folded. Militarily, Turkiye held the high cards in that situation.
Turkiye’s record is mixed in other respects. For instance, they do not participate in the economic sanctions regime against Russia.
But they are a major regional regional power, a nation of 85 million people with an educated population and a good industrial base. Erdogan is being difficult for sure with regards to Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO, but it’s not clear that that this is more than a short term problem.
I bet that Presiden Zelenskyy wants to see Turkiye remain in NATO. Ukraine has had strong economic relations with Turkiye, and some cooperative military industrial efforts including the Bayraktar drone factory that was one of Russia’s first targets when they attacked Ukraine last year. The two countries will likely pick up where they left off when this war is over.
Maybe not business exposure, but e.g. both Starlink and Tesla have a substantial technical attack surface and Russia has world class skills. For instance, imagine if this were being done by Russians through e.g. a software supply chain attack:
Watch Thousands of Parked Teslas Light Up at the Same Time During an OTA Software Update – Dazzling. (Rob Stumpf, Feb 9, 2021)
Tesla has paid a lot of attention to the security of updates, but they cannot know for sure that they are secure.
A little smoke and mirrors, or a minor demonstration, to spook Musk would go a long way. (He is gullible and easily manipulated.)
West of the Cascades
Boris Johnson is a ninny with an ego the width of the Dnipro near Enerhodar. He also is an unqualified hero for getting in front of the rest of Europe and for visiting Kiyv in April of last year, which seemed to represent a turning point in the external support for Ukrainian war efforts.
A cartoon cat seems a worthy tribute.
@Adam L Silverman: mine is on its way! Can’t wait! Thanks for the link.
That is probably the most important part.
Otherwise, Twitter, Tesla & Starling are hardly unique in their vulnerabilities to Russian cyber attack.
@YY_Sima Qian: Good point. Maybe something like the Chrysler bailout from 2008, where the company was sold back to the public afterwards? But I suppose once Uncle Sam has his grubby fingers on it, other countries will never fully trust that it doesn’t have a backdoor.
Unlikely to get any action anyway, I suppose, so I guess we’ll just have to wait for the free market to catch up to Elon.
I think this is basically right.
The Northern California Tech crowd has seen its public credibility plummet in the last few years. As a community they have gone from the sort of adulation usually accorded to rock stars to widespread opprobrium. They were accustomed to the cachet accorded them by their cultivated image of a new economic vanguard succeeding in business due to their advanced intellectual chops—evidenced by technological prowess—as opposed to mere run-of-the-mill business smarts. Much of the world regards digital technology as a form of magic transcending ordinary technology, capable of poorly-understood miracles and endless disruptive innovation. They were the wizards who evoked that magic, by creating social good out of the nerd’s paradise of the Internet, by granting 90% of humanity the power to tote a powerful networked computer disguised as a phone in their pockets, by making all information “free”. They were Gods Among Men, and felt that status keenly.
Suddenly, however, the Faustian nature of the bargain has dawned on a lot of people, including thought leaders and politicians not beholden to the San Jose crowd. “If you are not the customer, you are the product” is one of those profound truths turned cliché’d meme. The privacy cost of universal location tracking is reminding a lot of people of Orwell’s horrifying visions of the future, especially when one can buy data permitting parlor tricks such as tracking the January 6 party by their mobile phones up the Mall to the Capitol, as the NYT did (gift link). Facebook’s cynical monetization of minor abuse neutrally couched as “driving engagement” was a sort of “Ferguson moment” for tech. Even Twitter’s benignly-intended but utterly hapless struggles with content moderation in the face of obviously toxic discourse contributed to taking the shine off the the reputation of tech fraternity.
Well, perhaps a few of those (mostly) guys have been chastened, but most simply feel misunderstood, and betrayed by an ignorant, ungrateful public too dumb to appreciate their achievements. Their self-image of genius public intellectuals improving the commonweal while justly reaping financial rewards for their efforts is too essential-yet-fragile to allow self-doubt to creep in.
Musk identifies totally with this culture. His sense of entitlement and of false accomplishment is not his original invention, but rather a shared grievance with the rest of the tech brotherhood, for the way (as they see it) that the ignorant, fickle public and the stupid politicians have suddenly turned on them. He’s no different in this sense from Zuckerberg, or Bezos, or Andreesen, or Thiel. All people who were better-than-competent at one, narrow activity (programming) that most humans regard as magic, and who convinced themselves of their innate transcendent intellectual superiority on the basis of this rather limited skill (not that Musk appears to ever have been much of a programmer, much less a physicist or even an engineer).
This is the grievance that drives Musk and his ilk. It’s basically rejection by a large share of the erstwhile adoring public. Love, withdrawn, has made him crazy.
And the reason he’s being difficult is readily comprehensible and at least theoretically can be dealt with. I don’t agree with him- I think Turkiye really needs to deal better with its Kurdish minority- but the basic reason he’s angry is clear.
@Carlo Graziani: Bravo! I do love it when you let loose on occasion!
The giant tech companies are now monopolistic/oligopolistic (sometimes oligarchic, Zuckerberg is another example) players in the world’s political economy. They are no longer friends of liberal/progressive forces people imagined in the aughts & early teens. They are now in the position of IBM in the 80s & Microsoft in the 90s. The entire world is grappling w/ both the deleterious effects of tech monopoly/oligopoly, & the unforeseen consequences of rapid technological advancement. The old regulatory regimes no longer suffice.
The EU, South Korea, Japan, China (w/in its hard authoritarian construct) & India (whose stance on data sovereignty aligns w/ China’s, Russia’s & most of the Global South’s) are all experimenting w/ new legislations & regulatory constructs. The US has been late. Perhaps being host to the software companies that dominate the world (ex-China) is a great impediment.
This. Whenever you hear about one of the tech zillionaires acting badly, you shouldn’t start with the idea they’re basically a good person who has somehow been duped or bullied into acting out of character. Instead, you should start with the idea they’re exactly the kind of person who would do those things voluntarily, and you’re only now seeing just how awful they’ve always been. I won’t say it’s always true, but it’s a better starting point.
@Tim Ellis: FWIW, forcing Elon Musk to divest probably will not withstand legal challenge, either.
However, the USG should have a lot more leverage over Elon Musk than Putin, certainly wrt SpaceX & StarLink, enough to “encourage” him to divest. As for Twitter, there are enough shady capital backing his acquisition that might at least trigger a CFIUS review. Furthermore, not sure how much the capital that backed him for the Twitter acquisition are actually loyal to him.
Of equal concerns is the dangerous precedent such direct interference by USG on private enterprise would set, & how a future GOP administration might take advantage of & dramatically expand on such precedent.
I read Motor Trend magazine, and Elon Musk should be trembling in fear. The major American and European established companies are going to eat Tesla alive. They are developing platforms that can be shared by different models, and will make Tesla look like the one trick pony it is. And don’t get me started on the laughable Tesla Cybertruck. No one who needs a pickup truck will ever but that grotesquerie. Not to speak of emerging automakers like Rivian and Lucid, who are making solid award winning electric vehicles.
She’s not giving away any information in that thread that might compromise her operation, right?
@Roger Moore: I’m not sure that Erdogan is particularly bad in the Kurdish issue. He happens to stand in the foreground, but a look into the background shows the armed Kurdish conflict really heated up inthe 1980s and has continued on and off since then. Kurdish culture had long been repressed; that was part of the program the “Young Turks” announced in 1918.
A turning point came in 1977, when Abdullah Ocalan and others formed the YPK the Kurdish Workers Party. Faced with government repression, the YPK adopted armed struggle in the early 1980s and plenty of blood has been shed since. Mr. Ocalan was captured in Nairobi by by Turkish commandos (with assistance from the CIA) and has been imprisoned on a small island in the Bosporus Strait for almost 20 years.
Mr. Erdogan does not seem especially anti-Kurdish. Early in this century, when Erdogan was Prime Minister, he reversed a policy of the previous military government by allowing Kurdish towns to regain the Kurdish names the generals stripped from them. I believe that Turkiye carries on a lot of trade with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region also.
But Erdogan has zero tolerance for Kurds who attack miltary patrols, and is determined that support for insurgents from Kurdish communities abroad be ended. Sweden has a large one.
The situation has been aggravated by Syria’s civil war as well.
I have not looked into the status of Turkiye’s Kurdish population in genersl. It’s large, with 3 million Kurds in Istanbul alone.
I’ve been working with the “Northern California Tech crowd” for 40 years. Of those you’ve listed, only one (Andreessen) could really be said to have been a talented programmer/engineer. People like Zuckerberg, Musk, and Thiel were what we’d to refer to disparagingly as the “money people”. They came from rich families and provided needed investment funds, in exchange we’d give them a fancy title and try to keep them away from those actually writing the code or designing the hardware. There is a tendency towards libertarianism amongst the (white) programmer/engineer set, but most I’ve known who become wealthy just buy a house or two and some toys (cars, planes, machine tools), then retire into obscurity.
@Geminid: Unless you mean that Erdogan is no worse than other Turkish leaders re: the treatment of Kurdish people in Turkey, I vehemently disagree. I’m not condoning the atrocities committed by the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) but the reason that the PKK got so much Kurdish support was that the Kurds were desperate, and desperate people are tempted to desperate measures.
My extended family includes Turkish Kurds who emigrated to the US- and everyone in their extended family was desperate to get out of Turkiye, to go anywhere, at any cost, just to get out. The land confiscations, forcible evictions, and food embargos, were, I will grant, responses to PKK outrages (although they were also collective punishments levied on people who had nothing to do with the PKK.) But prior to the formation of the PKK, and independent of its activities, it was illegal to publish a book in Kurdish, sing a Kurdish song in public, and even private use of the Kurdish language was banned and dangerous. There was and is discrimination against Kurds in law enforcement, education, and employment. It was comparable to the suppression of Native American culture in the US.
There’s a good Wikipedia article “Human Rights of Kurdish People in Turkey” on this.
@Andrya: I should have added that early in his presidency Erdogan did somewhat relax anti-Kurdish discrimination, but later reversed this course when he met political headwinds. Not unlike the way TFG used anti-Hispanic prejudice for political advantage.
@Andrya: When I said “particularly bad” I meant that to mean that Erdogan was no worse than other Turkish leaders. I should have been more clear, but that is what I meant
I am interested though, in your informed opinion on whether discrimination against Kurds in Turkiye is getting better or worse.
@Geminid: I did look at a different Wikipedia article on the Turish/Kurdish conflict before writing my comment. I will look at the one you recommend.
@Geminid: My Kurdish social network have mostly been out of the country for more than 10 years. One exception – a young man who was studying music in Turkiye (Kurdish region) in 2021. Since he was among fellow Kurds he did not experience discrimination. However, he came down with what was clearly Covid-19, and was not recorded in the Turkish Covid statistics. That lead me to conclude that the Turkish government (along with many others) was “cooking the books” to pretend the incidence of Covid was lower than it really was. (He recovered, and is now back in the US.)
@Andrya: Thanks. Now I am curious and I will try to find more about this subject.