Thanks for pointing out the Oatly analysis from "Every" - it's a site I wasn't familiar with, and I appreciate both the content you referenced, and learning about the site.

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May 22, 2022Liked by Jonathan V. Last

Another winner JVL! You summed up black folks' exasperation with law and quite frankly the American experience with your comment on the black woman getting tackled and then the police officer lying about it and all that happens is (at best) charges are dismissed. This is why when the very, very few lawmakers who actually say "defund the police" they say it from a place of experience, like personal, boots on the ground experience and not as some sort of political statement. Then they get framed as being dumb and out of touch politically, like "why would you say something so dumb politically, it is all about politics and getting votes!" Then, those same folks get made at Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik for doing what... saying things that are politically beneficial to them and that will get them votes. Neither of these people really believe most of what they are saying but they say it to score political points with the base instead of "standing up for what they believe" and trying to lead the political discussion instead of reacting to it.... interesting... it's almost as if we frame things by what we really believe, and think is valid instead of just calling balls and strikes independent of belief... Keep fighting the good fight!

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"What has also become clear, however, is how significant the Ukrainian population has become as a 'sensor' for providing intelligence on Russian troops. ... these citizens and their mobile phones have turned into a gigantic, distributed, open source sensor network."


"Shishimarin said he was ordered by other soldiers to shoot the man because the man was talking on his phone and they feared he would report their location."


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The only thing I can do is not support his business in the form of Tesla and potentially Twitter, though to be honest I already do not support Twitter.

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The percentage of those who've decided to act as though the law doesn't apply to them--and so far, are getting away with it--is growing exponentially. Consider Amon Bundy, the Malheur Refuge occupiers, Air Force cadets refusing to follow orders to be vaccinated, Kyle Rittenhouse and his mom, George Floyd's killers, Presidents and elected officials lying their heads off in public, Congressmen/women openly selling favors to the highest bidders, Supreme Court justices making it up as they go along, high-echelon treason-weasels ignoring subpoenas issued by the Jan.6 Congressional Investigatory Committee, vote-suppressing autocrat wannabes, as well as too many others to mention here.

So my question is: what's the law-flouters' plan when rank and file American citizens who normally play by the rules--"the system" these creeps seek to exploit and dominate by extra-legal means--respond in kind? How will scofflaws function in a society of folks who've come to the similar conclusion playing by the rules just isn't working for them anymore, and so takes civil disobedience to a grievously predictable, but whole 'nother level? Who's going to intervene on their behalf to ensure they get their day in court when the fed-up-with-their-shit mob says, "Nah, just get a rope"? When all their performative bullshit is reduced, essentially, to the equivalent of a last cigarette? When the governed throw off the yoke of civilization, and deal with out-tribe malcontents who've been going around, aggravating the crap out of everybody, by using their own arguments--"natural freedoms," sovereign citizenship, highly subjective (if not just plain egregiously disingenuous) interpretations of established law, the Bible, Q, white Jesus, etc.--to remove them expeditiously, and in a way that sets an example?

This is America, after all. Law-flouters like Elon Musk, Formerly, Bannon, et al would do well to remember that a country comprised of armed rugged individuals (who've been exhorted for ages to live by the tenets of our revolutionary founding), is, at best, an unpredictable place to set up shop. Sooner or later, there's gonna be tea everywhere.

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Too bad the Republicans don't remember the words of Theodore Roosevelt, the second good GOP president, after Lincoln - and a fluke who was supposed to have been sidelined in the vice presidency except McKinley got assassinated (one of the better arguments in favor of that particular political act). As TR said in his inaugural address in 1904:

"It is no limitation upon property rights or freedom of contract to require that when men receive from Government the privilege of doing business under corporate form, which frees them from individual responsibility, and enables them to call into their enterprises the capital of the public, they shall do so upon absolutely truthful representations as to the value of the property in which the capital is to be invested. Corporations engaged in interstate commerce should be regulated if they are found to exercise a license working to the public injury. It should be as much the aim of those who seek for social betterment to rid the business world of crimes of cunning as to rid the entire body politic of crimes of violence. Great corporations exist only because they are created and safeguarded by our institutions; and it is therefore our right and our duty to see that they work in harmony with these institutions."

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I could care less if Elon votes Republican or Dem...but two things seemed "interesting".

First--perhaps Elon realized (although it took awhile as self awareness isn't in the Top 10 attributes) that his penchant for misinformation/lies and his failure to comply with rules/regulations were more aligned with the Republican Party and he was able to come out of the closet?

Secondly--In the contest with other billionaires over "quien es mas petty?", his petty (almost vengeful) reaction to Biden's support/preference for union based EV manufacturers and not praising Tesla by no longer voting Democrat has to rank up there with some of Trump's spiteful reactions for those who dare not praise the king. How quickly he forgot the fed's support Tesla got during the Obama years? Presumably fed support for you is good. For your competitors, not so much? Perhaps in this pettiness, he realized another reason he was really a Republican at heart?

This isn't intended to give the Dems/biden a pass by not acknowledging what Tesla/Elon has done in terms of innovation, creating wealth, improving the climate and his prior support for the party. They are at least consistent in frequently dismissing the successful entrepreneurs who may, are or have been Democrat supporters.

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The reality sadly is that, even if you burn the system to the ground and replace it with something else(with the best intentions and sincere effort) all you will ultimately do (if you even manage that) is replace 1 set of these people with a different set of people who are functionally and ethically the same.

They will just be quiet about if for a while.

This is what history teaches us, anyway--well, it is what history has taught me. TC is a professional historian, he may have learned something else.

Enjoying your book, BTW, TC (Going Downtown).. even though I was growing up then, I didn't pay much attention to all of that.

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Ban him from running a public company? That is probably more drastic than the SEC (or a judge) could stomach . . .

There's always stuffing him in one of his rockets and firing it into the sun. Make the Universe Great Again!

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Good articles re: Musk and Ukraine intelligence- thanks!

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War on the rocks - Rocks - subscribed to it

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May 21, 2022·edited May 21, 2022

"If you're Elon Musk, you just violate law after law and the federal government goes [shrug]..."

Might there be any other names that could take the place of Musk's in that statement? And is it any wonder that when 'little earth people' such as me look at enough of this behavior from both the high-dollar scofflaws and the Feds, some would like to see a new sheriff in town. One who will do more than chew the scenery as Kurt Russell did on that train platform in 'Tombstone', and actually deliver on the message of "You tell 'em I'm commin', and hell's commin' with me"? And when a lying miscreant such as Donald Trump stands up and says "I'm your huckleberry", more than a few who may not actually be looking for a reincarnation of Bull Connor buy into to it for all the wrong reasons?

Not defending them. Just asking if it's really that big a mystery, as so many people seem to think.

Musk and his ilk and the Fed's lackadaisical and ineffective responses to their thumbing their noses at them, and by extension at the rest of us 'little people' (anyone remember Leona Helmsley?) to whom the rule of law is a real and concrete thing, is one of the many reasons we all find ourselves on the outskirts of the mythological old Wild West, wondering if another O.K. Corral is in the offing.

Postscript: If one requires a little evidence of the disparity of responses from the Feds toward certain classes of 'scofflaws' (whether intentionally scoffing or not):


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May 21, 2022Liked by Jonathan V. Last

Honestly, the problem is that this country has continually equated great wealth with great intelligence, and as such whenever someone deigns to criticize Musk, Bezos, Bill Gates or Larry Elison, etc., they are immediately shouted down.

Let me let all of you in on a little secret, as someone who deals with wealthy people on a daily basis in my job: RICH PEOPLE ARE NOT SMARTER THAN YOU!!

They are more willing to take risks, they are generally self-delusional, and very imaginative, but they are not smarter.

Remember that Elon Musk did not invent Tesla, he bought it, nor did Bill Gates invent the first Microsoft Operating System. Henry Ford did not invent the automobile; and John Rockefeller did not invent oil drilling, or refining.

So people need to stop cow-towing to these people; they use that as a way to beat down any criticism, regulation or oversight of their businesses.

I hate using this term, but at this point we as a society have now reached a tipping point: Someone needs to put these guys in their place, and only the government can do it!

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I'm reasonably certain that any penalty that can be given to Musk has already been written into his calculations. What you need to realize is that Musk is not selling boring machines , cars or trips to mars. He is selling stock in all those ideas and selling stock to the next sucker has so far made him the wealthiest man in the world.

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I'm a fan of Elon Musk's companies but much less so of Elon himself. More and more his approach to rules and authority is to game them a la Donald Trump. In fact, I'm thinking that Musk has been directly inspired by Trump's flouting of the rules. Throw enough chum in the waters and there's no way that the supposed regulators can keep up.

Of course, the fault really lies with our regulators: Congress for Trump, the SEC for Musk. Still, no reason to like Musk or Trump for showing us the gaps in our systems. It seems it's the end of innocence in so many realms of human life. Perhaps we need new laws along the lines of "Thou shalt not game the system." Unfortunately, this will only throw the matter to the courts which have their own gaps. We are doomed.

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Good to see the articles about Elon and the Russians lined up. We've been believing the BS from both entities for too long.

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