1. says

    I suppose Musk could secretly be building a global orbital strike capability, preparatory to becoming planetary ubermensch. Hey, that’s the plot of a James Bond movie, isn’t it? Musk does look kind of Blofeldian.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    And speaking of ultra-rich assholes, Oceanoxia on Freethoughtblogs has two recent threads I recommend, one about rich people who want the government to kill people to keep workers in their place, one about wage theft.

  3. seversky says

    I noticed talk about X (Twitter) going behind a paywall. Couldn’t Musk be hidden behind a paywall?

  4. raven says

    Ironically, the US Federal government paid for SpaceX and those Starlink orbital satellites.

    Space Subsidies

    Compared to the amount of money Musk’s ventures have received from the government over the years, that’s chump change. SpaceX alone got a whopping $2.8 billion in government contracts last year, according to The Information,
    and has gotten a total of $15.3 billion from the government since 2003.Apr 15, 2023

    SpaceX and Tesla Get Way More Government Money Than NPR

    Futurism › the-byte › spacex-tesla-governme..

    Since 2003, SpaceX has gotten $15.3 billion in subsidies and government contracts from the Federal government.
    SpaceX only exists due to the funding from the US Federal government and NASA.
    Who else has enough money to pay for satellites and satellite launch rockets. Which are all launched from US owned facilities, Cape Canaveral and Vandemberg, not Musk’s back yard.

    Musk is good at biting the hands that feed, i.e. his funding sources and his customers.

    Investing in Space: Why the Pentagon is spending billions …

    CNBC › 2023/08/31 › investing-in-space…

    Aug 31, 2023 — Investing in Space: Why the Pentagon is spending billions to build its own satellite constellation · Overview: Deep in the Tranches · What’s up.

    The Pentagon is now planning to set up their own version of Starlink satellites. They paid for the first system and now they and the taxpayers are paying for the same system again. They even say it is because they don’t want to use a system that they don’t control.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    And like Henry Ford, Musk will not be punished for being a bigot or even a war profiteer/saboteur. We come to the general conclusion that the upper class are too important to hold accountable; they have too much influence over our economy and can plunge the world into recession or depression if displeased.

    So bow down to your capitalist free market overlords. You live to serve the economy and Musk and his fellow ARE the economy.

  6. robro says

    I happened to see a report yesterday suggesting that the story is somewhat more nuanced than originally reported, and suggested by this cartoon. According to this Snopes report, Did Elon Musk Turn Off Starlink Access in Crimea To Disrupt Ukrainian Attack?, the original claim was from an excerpt of Walter Isaacson’s Musk biography.

    Apparently Ukraine did not have Starlink access to the Crimea or Sevastopol in the first place. They submitted an emergency request for that access to be turned on to carry out drone attacks which Musk denied. According to Musk at the All-in Summit (9/11/2023), “Starlink could not operate in Russia-occupied Ukraine because U.S. sanctions forbade it without special permission.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I despise Musk. I closed my Twitter account as soon as he took over. I don’t think a private company should be in the business of providing satellite communication services in the first place, and there are plenty of things about Starlink that are troubling.

    Incidentally, Isaacson is the author of the Steve Jobs biography.

    Sevastopol is of course a major port on the Black Sea and year-round warm water to boot. It is one reason the Russian Empire under Tsarina Catherine (a Prussian btw) took control of Crimea in 1783 after Russia’s 1774 war with the Ottoman Empire which had controlled the region for a couple of centuries. The Russian Empire fought the British, French and others in the Crimean War during the 1850’s. That war ended in largely a stalemate, but we got a lot of cool terms from it in English because it was the first war with in the field journalists. Crimea was administratively attached to Ukraine SSR by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in 1954.

  7. raven says

    Putin on September 12, 2023

    “As far as private business and Elon Musk is concerned… he is undoubtedly an outstanding person.

    Putin has had a lot of praise for Elon Musk.
    When Putin thinks you are an outstanding person, this is not a good sign.

    Putin also offered a defence of former US President Donald Trump and the multiple criminal cases that he is facing.

    Putin also likes…Donald Trump.
    This is also not a good sign.

  8. moarscienceplz says

    @#4 seversky
    “Couldn’t Musk be hidden behind a paywall?”
    I’d prefer it if Musk could be stood up in front of a wall.

  9. larpar says

    robro @9
    “Starlink could not operate in Russia-occupied Ukraine because U.S. sanctions forbade it without special permission.”
    Did Musk ask for “special permission”? I’m pretty sure it would have been granted.

  10. microraptor says

    Didn’t Muskrat turn off Ukraine’s Starlink access last year, too? And refused to turn it back on until the Ukranian government payed him a bunch of extra money?

  11. Rich Woods says

    @birgerjohansson #2:

    Hugo Drax had more panache.

    He also managed to get a tree-burning power station named after him, one which ships lumber across the Atlantic yet attracts biofuel tax breaks from the UK government. Now that’s evil.

  12. wzrd1 says

    Where it comes to Trump, Musk and now Gurney, I’d openly champion the temporary resumption of atmospheric nuclear testing – right overtop of their heads.

  13. robro says

    larpar @ #13 — I haven’t seen any mention of Starlink or Musk seeking permission to extend Ukraine’s coverage from the US government. It’s obviously a CYA excuse. But, that gets us right back to the question about having such infrastructure services in private hands in the first place.

    microraptor @ #15 — As I understand the Starlink situation with Crimea was last year. It didn’t emerge until this year because of Isaacson’s book. I presume that the point about sanctions suggest that Starlink was turned off for Crimea when the sanctions went into place after the invasion. I haven’t seen any other mention of Starlink being “turned off” for Ukraine although it’s a possibility.

  14. kaleberg says

    Henry Ford was a die hard Nazi sympathizer. His son Edsel wasn’t, but while his son was in charge of operations, his father controlled the corporation. I read The Arsenal of Democracy which was mainly about Ford and its shift to aircraft production during World War II. Ford had been a positive figure before the 1930s and then the war, but when the world was faced with a moral crisis, he came down on the side of the bad guys.