☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Saturday, April 16, 2022 ☙ 🥚 BONUS EASTER EDITION 🕊️ 🦠
Musk’s battle with Twitter heats up; what Hunter Biden and Merrick Garland have in common; an Easter message about hope over fear; and a surprising visitor in Tallahassee.
There’s too much going on, so you get a bonus pre-Easter post. It’s a pea-soup foggy morning here at the beach, perfect for writings and musings. Today: Musk’s battle with Twitter heats up; what Hunter Biden and Merrick Garland have in common; an Easter message about hope over fear; and a surprising visitor in Tallahassee.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 The federal apparatus is now been fully activated to stop Elon Musk from buying Twitter. We’ll leave the “why?” aside for the moment. First, the “what.”
On Thursday, there were two significant developments in the opposition to Musk’s buyout. First, investment goliath Vanguard increased its holdings to just above Elon’s, so Musk would no longer be the top shareholder, and therefore can’t swing his “largest owner” weight around. Second, and more materially, Twitter’s board voted in some corporate rule changes that make it a lot harder for Musk to buy the company.
Specifically, the board passed a rule providing that if any single owner ever gets over 15% of the company, then all the other shareholders may buy brand new shares for half price, which would immediately tank the value of the stock, making it extremely expensive for anyone to buy more than 15%. It’s the corporate equivalent of squatting in somebody else’s house and shouting at oncoming police, “don’t come any closer or I’ll burn it down!”
This move put the board squarely in the crosshairs of thousands of lawyers itching to bring shareholder derivative suits against the individual board members for breaching their fiduciary duties in not selling to Musk. So something else had to be done to protect them.
Late yesterday, multiple media sources breathlessly announced that the DOJ and the SEC were both SEPARATELY investigating Musk over his attempt to buy Twitter. Gosh. It’s almost like the federal government has some kind of vested interest in the social media company that it has to protect. But don’t think about it too hard, it’ll be a right-wing extremist conspiracy theory in about ten seconds.
What we know for sure is, in the government’s view, Musk is now just as dangerous as angry soccer moms who harshly criticize school boards. Maybe even more dangerous. Welcome to the war, Elon.
Charles Gasparino of Fox Business News broke the story. He reported:
“Both the DOJ and the SEC are clearly … monitoring and scrutinizing this entire issue, whether he filed the right forms, whether there’s a stock manipulation case here, whether he’s making public statements that he probably shouldn’t make. … What we do know is that he’s stirred up a regulatory hornets’ nest. DOJ, SEC, I’m getting this from lawyers who deal with them.”
The investigations probably give the board perfect legal cover for rejecting of Musk’s offer. They now have a good reason to reject him: he’s under DOJ and SEC investigation. This makes shareholder lawsuits against board members much harder to win. Lawyers would probably have to show coordination between the board and the Biden Administration. Something like a phone call from a board member to the White House.
The problem is, you don’t get that kind of discovery until AFTER your lawsuit survives a motion to dismiss. Absent a lion-hearted whistleblower, those shareholder lawsuits will probably never get off the launch pad now.
The last time the SEC “investigated” Elon over a single tweet about taking Tesla private, he was forced to settle by stepping down as Chairman and paying $40M in fines, as he put it, “to save Tesla’s life.” So the SEC investigation is a serious threat. I hate to say it, but if I were Elon’s lawyer, I’d be telling him to stop messing with Twitter. But it may be too late anyway. Elon’s only way to get through this thing unscathed might just be to push through and get control of the company.
I have a couple thoughts.
First, and least significant, because we all knew it anyway, is that at minimum Musk has exposed the charade that is Twitter. It isn’t a private company anymore. It’s an arm of the federal government and a tool that the government is using for some very important purpose. My guess is that purpose is “controlling the narrative.”
Why do I say that? Plenty of reasons. For one example, a couple years back in 2017, Mika Brzezinski (MSNBC) had a “whoops” moment when she accidentally told the truth while she was complaining about Trump’s tweets:
“Well, and I think that uh, the dangerous edges here is he’s trying to undermine the media, trying to make up his own facts … he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control, uh, exactly what people think. And that is OUR JOB.”
Hahaha! Thanks Mika! So now, in 2022, since MSNBC’s credibility is completely shot, it seems like it’s Twitter’s job to “control exactly what people think.” Working for the federal government, of course, just like MSNBC. We should thank Musk for making it so painfully clear.
My second thought has more to do with what Hunter Biden and Merrick Garland have in common. And that goes right to the heart of the problem, the decay driving us toward civilizational collapse, and what we will have to do to fix it.
🔥 What do Hunter Biden and Merrick Garland have in common?
I first started to get it when I learned Merrick Garland’s kids were running a profitable side business hawking CRT training materials to schools. That seemed, not only like a conflict, but just downright odd. Garland is a former Supreme Court nominee and now head of the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world. He’s white as snow. Garland’s kids are the very definition of privileged, connected white people.
What on Earth were these most unlikely folks doing getting rich via the Critical Race Theory educational industry?
For his part, Hunter Biden — in truth, the whole Biden extended family, it looks like — have famously been enriching themselves via government-connected industries too. In the genteel language of the sycophantic progressive corporate media, they’ve been “trading on the Biden name.” Which, up until the time Biden infested the White House, was a name that never really seemed that valuable to me. But apparently it was worth something, quite a bit of something, actually, to lots of foreign and domestic companies seeking to “trade” with the US federal government.
“Trading” means, “doing business.” Making money.
You’ll recall, I’m sure, the recent story reported here about all the angst over congressmen making money trading stocks like Pfizer and Raytheon in industries they are simultaneously passing laws and regulations about. I was implying that it would be hard to get rid of mandates when so many lawmakers were invested in the very same company selling the so-called vaccines. To the government. But there’s a yet bigger issue.
Here’s our REAL problem: government has now become a surer path to wealth than private enterprise in this country.
You could throw a bunch of other examples in here too. Clinton, Obama, Fauci, Peter Daszak, and more. All folks who got rich through government. Even lots of billionaires. What did Bill Gates leave Microsoft to do? Invest in politics. What’s George Soros up to? Investing in politics, all over the place.
Which of these guarantees you a swankier vacation: an invitation to the Cannes film festival, or an invitation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland? Find me an example of a posher time than an invite to the WEF, I dare you. Recently I reported that Los Angeles protested our new law protecting kids by cancelling all their employees’ “conferences” in Florida. Those weren’t conferences. They were taxpayer-financed vacations for people who could never have afforded it outside of government. Those of us in private life don’t get benefits like that. We pay for them instead. You’re welcome!
Consider the six trillion dollars in “Covid relief” that has wrecked the dollar and spurred historic levels of inflation. Where’d all that money go? I suggest to you there are a lot of connected people soaking up those “pandemic dollars” and getting rich. That six trillion dollars was a once-in-three-generations wealth transfer, from people who lack government connections to everybody WITH government connections.
The government has itself become a market. When government becomes the easiest way to make lots of money, rational actors will focus their time and energy on that market. It’s basic economics.
And that’s our problem. It’s all about the money. It’s grift, top to bottom. Grift connects Hunter Biden to Merrick Garland, both grifters. It’s why government keeps getting bigger and bigger, faster and faster. It’s why big corporations have such an intimate relationship with the federal government — that’s where all the money is. The bigger government gets, the more folks decide they also want a piece of the action, which then makes government bigger, ad infinitum.
In order to pitch projects to government, a grant request has to have a political frame, by definition. It has to solve some sort of government-approved problem. So folks are always making up “new” political movements to create the opportunities. Last year it was “equity and inclusion” and climate change. This year it’s critical race theory and trans rights. Next year it will be something even dumber than those ideas. We’ve disconnected from requiring results for government expenditures. For some reason we now allow government largesse just for good INTENTIONS.
The mushrooming federal government trends left because the left is where you find unquenchable dissatisfaction with the status quo, a child-like belief in the possibility of utopian outcomes, and a complete disconnect from accountability, which makes things a LOT easier. On the other hand, conservatives want to control budgets, measure results, and keep things the same. So conservatism isn’t a good recipe for government growth, which is why you don’t see AS MUCH grift on the right.
We could stop this train if we could shut down unearned government handouts, from welfare to defined retirement benefits, from grants to corrupt “no bid” emergency pandemic purchasing practices bypassing normal protections. I’m beginning to think solving this problem should be job number one. The federal government needs to go on an extreme financial diet. Something like a governmental gastric bypass, or maybe just sewing its lips shut.
I know you’re thinking it’s too late. But remember the message of Easter! Salvation can be right around the corner just when things look like they’re at their absolute worst.
🔥 Which brings us to some thoughts about Faith and the Pandemic, and it seems like the day before Easter is a good time to delve into them.
One thing that has struck me, and others, is how many of the truth-telling heroes of the pandemic have been devout Christians. Docs like Cole, Littell, and McCullough, for example. Or stand-out churches that were among the first to push back against lockdown restrictions in California. Back on April 5th, 2021, the New York Times even blamed evangelical Christians for the US’s poor vaccination rates in an alarming article headlined, “Millions of white evangelicals do not intend to get vaccinated.”
(The headline was especially hilarious given low vaccination rates among black Americans, including evangelical ones, but I digress.) The Times reported — as straight news — that “the sheer size of the [evangelical] community poses a major problem for the country.” The christians were a major problem all right.
The religious exemption to vaccination has proved to be the most difficult barrier for the federal government in achieving Biden’s stated “100%” vaccination target. Where even serious medical objections have been blithely denied, many folks subject to mandates have still succeeded in asserting their good-faith religious beliefs as a barrier to injection. And the pro-life argument — that the vaccines rely on aborted human tissues — has been the most convincing argument to courts in upholding religious exemptions to vaccination.
Among others defying mandates, christians have braved backlash, job loss, and cancellation, and it’s not surprising given the tenets of that faith. Christians believe they answer to a higher power than the government, and that all trials and suffering in this life are small parts of a glorious plan that ultimately works for complete good. And they believe that, if they die from Covid, it was part of God’s original plan for this flawed world, and they will be resurrected in an indestructible new body on a perfect new Earth.
In other words, Christians’ faith is an antidote to FEAR, the psyops weapon primarily relied on by the government to “nudge” our compliance with the jabs. If you think about it, faith and fear are mutually exclusive. You can’t hold them both in your mind at the same time. Each pushes out the other. If you have faith, what is there to be afraid of? “Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul,” Jesus advised.
As an agnostic intellectual who came to faith later in life, I totally understand the skepticism that many folks have about preposterous-seeming religious claims to an afterlife. It sounds a lot like wishful thinking. Karl Marx famously claimed that Christian theology is just the opium of the masses, a mind-drug deployed by powerful forces to keep people from rebelling against their difficult economic conditions. Of course, Marx was insane, and a terrible economist, so there’s THAT.
As Marx showed, Christian theology can be made to appear anti-intellectual, as it is “faith based” and relies on an unprovable belief in an afterlife. But I can tell you from personal experience that studying “real” theology — not the media-hyped straw arguments — has been a profoundly intellectually rewarding pursuit. Try reading some Augustine or Kierkegaard sometime.
There is no such thing as a purely-objective, non-faith-based worldview. Everybody, even hardcore atheists, takes the universe, and their place in it, on faith. For example, to be a good atheist these days, you must faithfully accept that a “multiverse” exists, which makes for an entertaining Spiderman movie but is just as unprovable as life after death.
So it all comes down to a decision about WHAT to take on faith. If you have to choose SOMETHING, isn’t it better to decide to believe in the thing that wipes away fear, explains suffering, erases guilt, and fills you with hope no matter how dark things in the world seem to appear? The multiverse can’t help too much with that. But Easter can.
🔥 Finally, some terrifically-understated news for the pandemic. Governor DeSantis didn’t officially acknowledge the meeting, but some folks online reported that the Governor lunched with Dr. Vladimir Zelenko this week to discuss Covid issues.
To many, Zelenko is a hero of the pandemic, having suggested alternative treatments to Covid from the earliest days, and having controversially been rabidly and consistently anti-jab. He recently announced on Gettr he’d had the meeting with DeSantis (and he’s also moved to Florida), but then quickly deleted the post without explanation. Given a picture of the two men and the hastily-removed post, it seems likely the meeting occurred.
Just because the men met does NOT mean that DeSantis necessarily endorses anything Zelenko says or suggests, just like my speaking events next week with a variety of Covid docs doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with each of their particular views. But it DOES mean that DeSantis remains willing to consider any and all information on Covid treatment prevention.
Governor DeSantis is a smart guy who makes his own decisions. It’s terrific news that he is still seeking out and listening to as many ideas as possible to handle this pandemic, which clearly won’t be over till we pry it out of Fauci’s withered digits. So this meeting is terrific news, showing Governor DeSantis is still in the fight and is still leading on Covid.
I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Easter, and I’ll see you next week on the other side of the holiday.
You can help get the truth out and spread optimism and hope: https://www.coffeeandcovid.com/p/-learn-how-to-get-involved-
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