Why (Unfortunately) Twitter Matters

In a logical world, social media shouldn’t matter the way it does. In a logical world, everyone would have access to the same information. We all might judge it differently but at least we’d all be starting from the same place: a reality based on what we all agree we know.

I canceled my Facebook account a few years ago. I do not trust Mark Zuckerberg with my private information. I regret he has what he already has of it. I suspect Zuckerberg is compromised to a degree by the Russian money he took in to help keep Facebook afloat early on. I suspect Russia — and organized crime — have more sway than we know.

Facebook and its sister platform Instagram are designed like a neighborhood — in that one has to be “invited into it” in order to contribute to it. One can’t just walk in on someone else’s page; you have to be invited; you have to be friends. Twitter is structurally different. It’s almost exactly like a town square where everybody enters carrying a soap box. There are famous people — verified people — already standing on their soap boxes yapping away. In Twitter, one can follow anyone (until or unless they block you) and either listen to them quietly (having all their tweets in your feed) or answer back. If you answer back smartly, the person on the soap box might even follow you — and get all your tweets in their feed.

That’s the goal, of course — to attract as many followers so that every time you get up on your soap box to spew, you spew to thousands, tens of thousands… millions. One can dream, can’t one?

That town square structure — or think of it like Speakers Corner in London’s Hyde Park — is what makes Twitter truly dynamic. One can go there and simply “orate”. If one has zero followers, one is orating to oneself. But once you begin to build followers, once you begin to build that community — where you’re part of others’ communities while they’re part of yours — there’s a feeling of collective togetherness that I never experienced on FB. Yes, sure, there’s an echo chamber quality and one almost always preaches to the choir. And Twitter is toxic as hell — because some of the people in the town square are toxic.

All true. But the Twitter experience is unique and uniquely addictive. One can walk up to any other person on Twitter and tap them on the shoulder. They might not respond. They probably won’t. But then, they might.

Ask any Twitter user what their proudest moments have been on Twitter and, betcha, it will involve having a tweet liked by someone they respect and follow or, better yet, having that person re-tweet them. Or — best of all — getting followed back by that person they respect and follow. While FB made catching up with your high school homies easier (and boy, was that fun for about ten minutes), it doesn’t satisfy beyond that. At least, it didn’t for me.

Twitter’s founder, Jack Dorsey, said that his three guiding principles — which, he says, the company shares, are “simplicity, constraint and craftsmanship”. You can’t argue with Twitter’s simplicity. Christ, the only way to stress anything is via capitalization (shouting) or by using *s or “s. The saving grace is that photo or video attachments don’t count against your 280 character limit. That brings us to craftsmanship. Back when the limit was 140 characters, one really had to get an idea buttoned down tightly before tweeting. Tweets back then were way more cryptic.

But the limitation forced people to use craftsmanship. The 280 limit made tweeting easier. One didn’t have to rely on so many tweet threads to convey a simple point. Still — there’s something really satisfying about a great tweet. If we go back to the 140 character limit, it asks a question — what can you say completely in that amount of space?

You can tell a joke in 140 characters.

You can have a set up and a punch line — or a slightly complicated set up and a punch line or even a slightly complicated set up — with one more small, key detail — then a punch line. That’s it. 280 characters lets you add more details. Sometimes too many details. Though 280 characters still isn’t the endless page that FB gives you, people still tend to ramble.

Twitter’s town hall structure is exactly why news goes to Twitter to break. Tweets are news. While only 22% of Americans say they use Twitter, a good chunk of that 22% are the people who make news in one way or another. Donald Trump’s use of Twitter as his principle means of communication as president pretty much changed the game — and made having a Twitter account more or less imperative. That’s if you care to know what’s going on in the world.

On the one hand, it’s madness. On the other hand, it’s just efficient. Back in the good old days, news would break by means of a complex process of those making the news describing it for the news media who would then disseminate the light via newspapers & broadcast media to the plebeians out here in the dark. Back in the day, one would have to read a newspaper or catch the news when it was being broadcast in order to stay informed. Now, one only need open Twitter and scroll through your feed for a few moments (provided you’ve got a good, well-chosen feed representing both your Twitter community & the news/information voices you want to hear from) in order to feel informed.

What Twitter’s structure allows one to do — if one’s of a mind — is to create a network of voices you can trust. These days, one can’t simply “watch the news” to get informed. Our news media simply isn’t up to the task of covering Donald Trump. They’ve failed us terribly. To find the truth in anything one must triangulate it. One must approach it from three directions simultaneously. As chaotic as Twitter seems, one can do that. One can build a community of trustworthy voices.

One can build a community.

To his credit, Jack Dorsey invented a thing that never existed before — a virtual town square. And as crazy as it drives many of us, we can’t quit Twitter.

There’s greatness there. There’s putrescence. There’s beauty and compassion and there’s extreme cruelty, too.

There’s Donald Trump.

Twitter’s problem is it thinks it needs Donald Trump. It doesn’t. Hey — I’ve lost Twitter accounts. If I’m honest with myself, I went too far. That’s if I ask myself if I always used “constraint” — that other feature Jack Dorsey believes is part of Twitter. I once posted a movie image of a vampire being staked & said the GOP deserved to be staked like a vampire. That account? Gone.

I also told someone I hoped that they died in prison. That account? Gone.

For the past few days, Donald Trump — the POTUS — has been lying about vote-by-mail, he’s been smearing people — causing them or their families considerable heartache, he’s been lying in ways that are demonstrably bad for the public and its health. Constraint? Not a drop.

But Donald Trump’s Twitter account lives.

Having a virtual meeting place where one doesn’t have to be “friends” first before engaging with each other — where one can go and sample what others are thinking (perhaps even heckling respectfully or shouting encouragement) — works on multiple levels. That’s why Twitter works.

Twitter can never be a “respectful” place. But it can be a safer place if management would simply apply its rules equally.

Perhaps what’s needed is political leadership that will help Twitter rather than take advantage of it.

If Russian Efforts Changed ONE Vote, They Changed The WHOLE Election

That is a literal Truth. Think about it. If Russia changed ONE vote — caused an African American voter in Wisconsin, say, from showing up at the polls on election day 2016 because weaponized Facebook ads (based on stolen voter data) propagandized them into believing HRC was racist — and if the Trump Campaign KNEW that was happening or encouraged it or (worst but most likely) PARTICIPATED in it — then we cannot say that Election 2016 was truly “Free & Fair”.

And if we know that Russian interference prevented America from having a free and fair election, we have to look at the Americans who aided and abetted the Russians. And we have to ask “WHY?” Why aid and abet a country who would benefit from our diminishment?

We have to assume — since the Republicans are working so hard to obstruct Justice — that they, too, saw benefits from aiding and abetting a foreign enemy. Donald Trump — having not been punished for conspiring with Russia to steal election 2016, saw a chance to not only steal 2020 but blame Ukraine for 2016 — thereby taking the onus off Vlad Putin and Russia. So much gymnastics when all you have to do to win an election (in theory) is have better ideas than the other guy.

Trump has consistently relied on outside help. He’s done it in our faces. He relied on Russian interference in 2016 and he’s relying on it now — BECAUSE THAT’S HOW HE “WON”.

Fact: Paul Manafort handed Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data for four states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — four Hillary states — by less than 77,000 votes combined. No one’s ever done an official forensics analysis on the machines or their results. Unofficial analysis has turned up curious anomalies (repetitive results district after district) that only an official analysis can clear up or explain (if they can be cleared up or legally explained).

Fact: Voter suppression in Wisconsin was already pervasive before election 2016; it was exacerbated by its then governor Scott Walker and by some pretty egregious gerrymandering. We don’t know how many Democratic voters were culled from the voter rolls. Strangely, it’s ALWAYS Democratic voters who get culled.

I bet if all those refugees streaming north from Central American drug wars caused by American drug lust were reliably Republican? They’d all get limo’d across the border, first stop being an employment office where they’d get handed some featherbedded job and a passport. Too bad for all those people they’re not corrupt. Better luck next time, I guess.

We have a massive day of reckoning ahead of us. We see now — in real time — how Trump’s use of outside influence to interfere with an election works. We see the quid pro quo’s. We see the staggering corruption.

Fact: Russian money flowed (through the NRA and through citizen Russian emigres doing the Kremlin’s bidding via contributions to Republicans by way of their Kremlin-cash-flowed retirement accounts to virtually every single Republican. I’m kinda suspicious where traitors are concerned. I’m more inclined to demand every Republican prove they WEREN’T financed by Russia than I am to assume they’re innocent or oblivious.

Russians do love their useful idiots.

We’re Living Through World War THREE – And Don’t Even Know It

Anyone who thinks you need bombs & bullets to win a war is going to lose every war they ever fight going forwards. Right now — that’s us.

We’ve been under intense Cyber attack ever since Donald Trump became part of our political process. That’s not hyperbole or conjecture — it’s material fact — contained right there in the Mueller Report. Russia didn’t just “meddle” in election 2016, they changed its outcome. They made Donald Trump the winner even though he absolutely was not.

Don’t tell me about voting machines — how if no voting machines were impacted, how can the vote be effected. That’s just as ignorant and troglodytic as thinking cyber war doesn ‘t happen. First of all, no official forensics have ever been done on any of the voting machines in Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin (that I know of). Those are three of the four states for which Paul Manafort handed over proprietary polling data to Oleg Deripaska — who then gave them to the GRU (Russian military intelligence) for weaponization. Unofficial forensics on the numbers by terrific citizen journalists like Mike Farb and Jennifer Cohen have pointed to numerous clear anomalies. Counties with the exact same percentages of Trump v Hillary vote tabulations. it doesn’t pass the “what a coincidence” smell test.

The point is, we don’t KNOW if machines were attacked and their vote totals altered — we’ve never asked the question. It’d be easy enough to DO the forensics and put the conspiracy theories to bed. Wonder why they don’t…

If you honestly think a changed vote at the point of purchase — a voting machine — is the only way to flip an election, you will lose every election you run in going forward. That, too, is contained within the Mueller Report — how weaponized social media works — and rest assured it does. If one — ONE — single voter (their voter data stolen, weaponized and turned back on them via an ad on THEIR Facebook page) changed their vote or changed their mind about voting in the first place — that, too, is like changing their actual ballot. If you LIE them into NOT VOTING, their non-vote aids the opponent — it’s as good as a vote that’s been stolen because it directly impacts the election’s outcome.

One vote can change an election’s outcome. That means our tolerance for bullshit here can only be ONE VOTE. That is our margin for error.

Trust me on this — please — more than ONE VOTE was changed via weaponized (stolen) voter data. This virtual attack on our voting system was meant to directly alter the election’s outcome. It was meant to circumvent the will of the American people in order to put Vladimir Putin’s candidate — Donald Trump — in the White House instead.

Every word of that is true. And — it’s right there in the Mueller Report, too — Every member of the Trump Crime Family, their entourage and every member of the Republican Party knows it too. What else could you call this BUT an ACT OF WAR? If Putin shut off our power grid tomorrow — something he CAN DO apparently — we’d sue for peace immediately on whatever terms he dictated. We’d have to.

Imagine — a war fought and lost without a shot being fired.

Sound horrifyingly possible? Well, BE horrified — it’s happening. We’re living in. We are that frog slowly being boiled to death, completely unaware. Problem is, it isn’t us that’s being boiled away, it’s our Democracy.

Donald Trump knows the only thing standing between him and indictment for multiple crimes is a stupid Department of Justice rule meant to keep Spiro Agnew from pardoning Richard Nixon back during Watergate. Once out of office, Trump will be instantly indictable — and indicted. He has to fight tooth & nail to remain in office forever because the alternative will be criminal charges, prosecution and — cos he’s SO incredibly guilty — asset forfeiture. It’s a fact, being such a ginormous criminal, Trump has no incentive to leave power EVER.

It’s maddening that we’ve been so slow to see this — though Trump’s been sociopathic about it from the get-go. He’s projected every last bit of it (with remarkable candor actually) — that his presidency was totally illegitimate, that his election was “rigged”, that he is Putin’s bitch. He’s also projected from the start that he intends to stay in power forever. He’s told his followers that — and they love the idea.

Want to know the worst part of living through World War Three? It’s seeing so many Fifth Columns already fanning out (like in, say Oregon where armed militias SHUT DOWN THE STATE CAPITOL). It’s knowing that one of our broadcast networks is a propaganda wing for Trump — and therefore for Russia. What — it’s not bad enough we still have cable systems & satellite providers pumping RT into our homes? We need a “news” network propagandizing, too?

I think of our situation as being akin to the Hawaiians living at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. The Japanese attacked at 7:22 a.m. — that’s when their first airplanes arrived and began dropping bombs. But, if we visited with those people at, say, 6:45 a.m. — and asked them — “Hey, are you at war with anyone?” They would have said no. That included Japan.

Just because you don’t know you’re at war doesn’t mean you aren’t. And just because a war wasn’t formally declared — well, bullets and bombs don’t care about your semantics. They’ll kill you even if you want to call them something kinder and gentler. You can call a bullet a marshmallow but when they bust that marshmallow inside your head, you’re dead.

Living Inside A False Narrative Is Stupid… So Why Do We Persist In Doing It?

A woman who doesn’t know the man she loves is cheating on her lives inside a false narrative — that her relationship is on solid ground.

A man unaware that a tumor is metastasizing inside of him is living a false narrative that he’s healthy and not doomed.

As they slept in their beds at 6:45, the morning of December 7, 1941, the citizens of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii were living inside a false narrative that our country was at peace with Japan and that war couldn’t possibly impact their lives. You don’t have to know the bullet is coming to get killed by it.

Christianity tries to sell a false narrative that the man who first uttered “Do Unto Others” lived a miraculous life — having a deity for a father and a virgin for a mother. Anyone who believes this actually happened and lives their life as if it did — they’re living inside a false narrative. You don’t have to believe the false narrative, by the way, to follow Jesus. Jesus never invented a false narrative (Paul did that), he just preached “Do Unto Others”.

We live inside the false narrative that Donald Trump “won” his election back in 2016 (even though he’s projected his own illegitimacy from the get-go because the secret that Russia won the election for him was too hard for him to keep).

We know for a fact that election 2016 wasn’t normal. We knew the night of the election — as reliably blue states began going inexplicably to Trump — that this election smelled. It wasn’t just losing that stunk. It was losing to such an obvious cheat.

Nothing we’ve learned since the election has disproven that conjecture. Take Russia out of the equation and Donald Trump doesn’t come close. And Russia dominated every bit of that equation. Russia received proprietary voter data from Paul Manafort; they weaponized it, turning it back on us as individualized Facebook ads that landed in the targeted voter’s Facebook feed. If these ads caused ONE voter to stay home — that’s one too many in my opinion. We know for a fact it was more than one.

Those voters were given a false narrative — about Hillary Clinton or the Democrats. It worked. Hillary won by more than 3 million popular votes — a victory by any real standard — the Electoral College being a throwback to slavery that, by design, overvalues rural voters while radically undervaluing urban voters. But we keep telling herself “she lost”. It’s insane to equate gaming the Electoral College with giving American voters what they voted for. The majority of us (not even including suppressed votes) voted for the exact opposite of what Donald Trump and the republican party have done.

But then, that was the point. Maintaining the false narrative that Trump won — that’s also the point. As is maintaining the false narrative the Mueller Report in any way exonerated him from either conspiracy with the Russians or egregious attempts to not only obstruct justice but circumvent it too.

Every time a journalist ascribes Trump’s victory in 2016 to anything other than Russia– they’re pitching a false narrative.

They’re pitching bullshit.

Can Twitter Be Fixed? Or Has “The Fix” Always Been In At Twitter?

When I turned on my computer this morning, I learned that I am now banned from Twitter for a week. The offending tweet (I sooooo wish I had taken a few more moments before responding and screen captured it) was mild to put it bluntly. I said I wished that Donald Trump – with his shitty eating habits – would hurry up and do the patriotic thing: have a “cardiac infarction”. That was it: You eat so badly, have a heart attack already.

Banned for a week. For that.

If you tweet with any regularity, you know — that doesn’t make it as mild. A violation of Twitter’s rules? THAT tweet?

Something is rotten in the State of Twitter. There always has been. So why not quit the platform?

Twitter — among social media — is unique. That uniqueness has made it ubiquitous as both a news source and a brand-building platform. In design, Twitter is very much like a giant public square (I’m not the first person to compare it to one). Each member of the community enters, in essence, with a soap box under their arm. We can go stand and listen to others up on their soap boxes (shouting out compliments or catcalls, depending) or put our own soap box down on he ground, step onto it and orate to your heart’s content (or until some RW troll goes after you and gets you banished for a week).

FB (which everyone should run from, their hair on fire because of Zuckerberg’s total lack of transparency, his lying about abusing our privacy & data and the fact that FB accepted a shitload of Russian money back in the day) makes it hard to build a following (since everyone has to be friends first) whereas, on Twitter, if you can tweet well and find a little traction, it’s possible to build a following (if slowly but surely). But, like FB, Twitter is easily manipulated by bullshit and false information. In an age where even simple, basic Truth has to be triangulated before you can trust it, the only way to possibly know the truth is via triangulation. Source, check & double check.

Too many people don’t. Or don’t want to.

That Donald Trump still tweets is a profound problem. Yeah, I know – he’s the president of the United States. It still doesn’t give him the right or reason to so completely misinform, disinform and otherwise crap all over the Truth. Especially when Twitter is THE place — across most cultures on the planet — where news goes to break. One may roll out a project or product on FB but one uses Twitter to tell the world about it.

This was hardly the first time I’ve been banned on Twitter. My original Twitter account was over 10,000 followers when it got suspended for good. Twitter accused several tweets telling certain republicans that they should die in prison of violating its rules. I’m totally biased but I think that was bullshit. I said – literally – I hope the criminal justice system prosecutes you & punishes you with a life sentence. That was it.

I appealed as far as I could but that came to nothing — as arguing with a computer always will — because that’s really what happened to me. The bot that reported me had sent a dozen supporting tweets as proof of how evil I was. Several had the words “die in prison” connected in the tweet. Others had those 3 words spread out across the tweet — not having been used in conjunction with each other. But there the three words were – in the same tweet. And, for that, I had to be punished.

How did Twitter get so powerful in our lives that the thought of a week without being able to tweet from my primary account looms as a setback. I can’t brand as aggressively as I have been the past few weeks. I can’t be an active part of a community of smart people that I’ve come to treasure like dear, old friends. I can listen to the news — and to people (I can message them directly if that function isn’t blocked). But I can’t interact (except via DM) in any way, shape or form.

Maybe our real problem is that Twitter has become a necessary evil.

Help! We’re Living Inside A False Narrative & Can’t Get Out!

From the moment we “accepted” that Donald Trump had “won” the presidency, we’ve been living inside a False Narrative — that Donald Trump won. The implications have been devastating.

From the get-go, Trump himself has defensively knee-jerked the word “legitimate” into the conversation. As in “No collusion, my presidency’s legitimate!” If Trump wasn’t a serial projector of his innermost truths, we might could get suspicious. He’s told us all along (in his own way): he did not “win” the presidency. If anything, it was stolen on his behalf.

The Mueller Report touches on this very subject on page 140.

We know that Manafort handed proprietary polling data to Kilimnik. We know Kilimnik is Russian intelligence. What’s not here in the report though is another piece of information we’ve always known: 10 days before the 2016 election, Paul Manafort — who had left the campaign because of his associations with Russia, returned to the Trump campaign with this directive: Concentrate on Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

As we know — those three blue states flipped red, stunning everyone. But here’s the thing — Trump won those three blue states by 77,000 votes combined. Talk about close. Talk about suspicious. No one, by the way, has ever done an official forensics on the machines. Unofficial audits turned up strange anomalies across Pennsylvania; for instance, counties that all voted with the exact same percentages.

But even if the machines themselves weren’t touched, if a single Russian propaganda ad placed on a Clinton-voter’s Facebook page had its desired effect — and misinformed that voter into NOT voting, the effect is exactly the same as not counting their vote.

Keeping in mind that Team Mueller’s purview was extremely limited — Russian hacking and any cooperation between Trump’s campaign and Russia — plus the attempts to obstruct justice to keep all that from getting out. Team Mueller was never charged with answering the whole Russian question — only a small part of it. Everything else they’ve bumped into, they’ve farmed out to other jurisdictions for prosecution or continuing investigation. And we still don’t know much about the heavily redacted intelligence investigation. What we already know about this story leaves absolutely no doubt that Donald Trump — and probably the bulk of the republican party — conspired with Russia to steal election 2016.

The question Trump kept putting out there — about his legitimacy — it’s a thing. A very real “thing”.

We have been living inside the False Narrative that is The Trump Presidency. It’s real, all right. But its existence is based on a lie. It shouldn’t exist at all.

False Narratives unfortunately are powerful things. They seduce with their reasonableness (relative to their environment). In Nazi Germany, it became “reasonable” that Jews were the cause of Germany’s problems. It became acceptable to burn their shops, beat them in the street, humiliate them in public. Germans were living inside a false narrative that this wasn’t barbaric.

But it was barbaric.

It was a false narrative that cannabis caused black men to rape white women so therefore should be illegalized. Parts of the country — and most of the world — still lives inside the false narrative that says any of that is even remotely true.

It was a false narrative that Jesus was a literal “son o god”, that (if he ever actually existed), he was the product of a virgin birth. It was a false narrative that Jesus turned water into wine and bread into his body. It was a false narrative that Jews killed him.

It’s a false narrative that America is a center-right country. When more Americans vote, they vote Democratic. In fact, they vote more progressively.

I could go on. And on.

We live inside plenty of false narratives. We may think it does us good — we’re living inside another false narrative if we think that.

Donald Trump is not the president of the United States. You know that is.