About John Servais

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has improved the site, invited other writers to join him, and enabled commenting with verified real names for informative community dialog. He is proud that NW Citizen is now perhaps the oldest political blog in the world.

By: John Servais (980)

Welcome to Elon Musk and His Takeover of Twitter

The fellow says he wants to make Twitter a better public forum by enhancing freedom of speech. Sounds great.

The fellow says he wants to make Twitter a better public forum by enhancing freedom of speech. Sounds great.

By

We should welcome Elon Musk's buyout of Twitter, officially completed this evening. Of all the social media venues, Twitter is the one used for politics and official government notices. Musk wants Twitter to be open to writers of all persuasions. He wants a viable forum for all of us to use for political discussion and public issues. This is a fine goal. Let's give him a fair chance to show what he can do. 

I founded Northwest Citizen over 27 years ago. It was a platform for citizen journalism and a counter to the awful reporting by the Bellingham Herald. I was not trying to compete with the Herald but to identify important public issues they were ignoring and to call them out when they lied. Now, NWCitizen is perhaps the oldest citizen journalism venue in the world. I know a few things about open public venues.

With the rise of social media over the past 20 years, it has been sad to see the trashy job facebook and many other venues did in fostering anger, deleting legitimate content, hiding threads from people, and basically causing chaos. All in the name of profit. Twitter offered some hope and did better than others, but the founders lost their way.  

The truth is, no one knows the right way to run a social media platform because we are still inventing it. But Twitter holds the promise of potentially being a worldwide forum for public issues. Musk is eager to try improving it. He has vision and has shown through his other businesses that he is not afraid to try new things, make mistakes, learn, and adjust. We should support his effort to improve it.

Musk is putting his own money into a project he believes will benefit humanity. He is risking billions for a good cause rather than spending billions on yachts, mansions, cars, or islands. His past endeavors have done enormous good for our world but that is another article. For now, I welcome his takeover of Twitter.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Carol Follett

Oct 29, 2022

I appreciate your generosity in wanting to open the arena for an online information and conversation space, but I am afraid I cannot follow your level of trust for an overly wealthy, highly egotistical, white male whose wealth jeopardizes any hope of fairness to begin with.

If he wishes to genuinely create a “green space,” he should give his money away with no strings attached to such an open journalism experiment. Actually, his money would be much better spent in donating to an educational organisation teaching critical thinking skills, ferreting out self interest and bias, evaluating the validity of sources and developing fact checking skills.

There con be no democracy when wealth is unconstrained. Since Citizens United unplugged the money cask allowing unlimited money to flow to candidates, any hope of genuine, balanced representation is gone and with it laws protecting us from exploitation. It appears we have returned to an era of monopolies that remove the ballast of our ship and bring is into danger of sinking, lopsided in their visions. 

Diverse opinions, ideas, and people enrich society. Deep and honest, educated discussion with inclusive vision for all will move us to be creative, healthy, and mature people who may not only survive but thrive into the future. I do not believe this can happen under the weight of money moguls and their pet projects.

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Dick Conoboy

Oct 29, 2022

Carol,

I agree with your comments and have several of my own.  I have never joined Twitter because I thought at the start that it would be a place where people would snap and snarl and lie to one another in snippets of several hundred characters (not words).  How would this even promise to be a platform for the exchange of rational thought or considered commentary?  And so it turns out that a tweet has an average reading level of the 6th grade.  Surprised?   The level of thought and critical thinking is likely hovering over kindergarten.

It’s a failed venture that has proved disastrous for civil discourse and virtually devoid of any meaningful dialogue.  That Musk will have any better luck in controlling this bucking bronco of a “social network” is highly problematic even if he wants to… which is, in itself, unknown.   Being a billionaire does not make anyone more socially, politically or culturally more competent, to wit:  Musk, Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Murdoch, Koch(s), Bezos, Buffet, Ballmer, et cetera and ad nauseam.  If they joined together in a club it would be named Soporifics Я Us

Billionaires Won’t Save the World, Just Look at Elon Musk”, an article by Sam Pizzigati written in 2018 was precient.  ” Indeed, if Musk really wanted to ensure humankind a sustainable future, he wouldn’t be plotting escapes to Mars or marketing flamethrowers to the masses. He’d be challenging the global economic status quo that’s left him phenomenally rich and our world phenomenally unequal.”  We can now add Twitter to Mars colonies and flamethrowers.

 

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Tip Johnson

Oct 29, 2022

If Twitter v.musk reinstates the twaitorist tweeter in chief I will remain at least skeptical

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John Servais

Oct 29, 2022

“Why would I leave Twitter? It’s like living in NY and not taking the subway. Sure it’s dirty and smells bad, but it’s how you get places.”  -  Dave Winer

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Carol Follett

Oct 30, 2022

Thank you for sharing the link to the Sam Pitzzigoti article! I love his idea of a maximum income.  Of course, fair taxation would bring that about, I think. Although I am not an economist, I know there is something greviously wrong with a system that brought us to jepordy in our dependence on a foreign power for essential supplies, is reducing our ability to choose our grocers (Kroger-Albertsons mega-merger could cause more US food deserts, experts say) and, of course, leaves so many without decent homes in which to shelter. The solutions requires us to be well and honestly informed and to be able to elect representatives who will do what is best for the health of us all, not of a corporation or individual meglamaniacs

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John Servais

Nov 20, 2022

Yesterday, Elon Musk enabled former president Donald Trump to resume posting on Twitter.  I think that the right move for Elon for two reasons.  It is a smart business move as it will keep and attract many other subsribers - both those supportive and opposed to Trump.  And it enables a voice that is prominent in national and world politics.  As the liberals and Ds fret and clutch their pearls, we should not care that T is back on Twitter.  Let us counter T’s scurrilous words and lies with effective arguments.  

Josh Marshall has a short post this morning on his Talking Points Memo website - but it is behind a paywall.   Josh is, imo, one of the very best observers of our natioal political machinations.  His is a very independent news media organization.   

Josh writes, “Yes, if Trump could be systematically barred from all channels of mass communication in the country his influence would probably go down. But that is hardly a realistic or even meritorious strategy, especially in a country where 4 out of 9 people want him to be President.“

As Josh points out, Twitter is a private company and is in no way our national town square - and we should not think of it that way.  If we do not like what a billionaire is doing then we can go to another social media platform.  My guess is a one or more organizations are working on starting a competitor to Twitter right now. 

Josh ends by suggesting “The only dignified response to this is a studied indifference.”

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Welcome to Elon Musk and His Takeover of Twitter

By John ServaisOn Oct 27, 2022

The fellow says he wants to make Twitter a better public forum by enhancing freedom of speech. Sounds great.

6 comments, most recent 1 week ago

We Need a New Pledge of Allegiance

By John ServaisOn Aug 28, 2022

It is time to change our national pledge of allegiance - a change in response to the insurrection of January 6, 2021 and the attack on our National Capitol Building.

7 comments, most recent 3 months ago

Broadband Solutions: Status of a Confusing Process

By John ServaisOn Aug 02, 2022

A look at where TAGNW, Jon Humphrey, and Whatcom County are headed for broadband Internet access.

2 comments, most recent 2 months ago

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By John ServaisOn Jul 07, 2022

Bellingham business woman offers sexuality workshops for 9 - 17 year olds at her sex shop.

16 comments, most recent 3 months ago

We Welcome the Cascadia Daily News

By John ServaisOn Jan 23, 2022

We have a new newspaper located in Bellingham with the goal of covering our three counties and lower British Columbia.

1 comment, most recent 10 months ago

Ron Judd Bids Farewell to Seattle

By John ServaisOn Sep 06, 2021

Learning more about the managing editor of a new daily news source in Bellingham, coming January 1.

1 comment, most recent 1 year ago

Today’s Cascadia Weekly Gristle is Spot On: Mayor Called Out for Dismissive Attack

By John ServaisOn Sep 01, 2021

Mayor Fleetwood spent 10 minutes verbally attacking Tip Johnson’s petition to stop illegal city street vacations.

2 comments, most recent 1 year ago

Cascadia Daily News to Begin In January

By John ServaisOn Aug 06, 2021

Bellingham to get a locally owned and professional daily news publication beginning in January 2022.

7 comments, most recent 1 year ago

County Council Plays Politics With Our Judges

By John ServaisOn Jul 21, 2021

The Whatcom County Council is afraid to make an appointment of a temporary District Court judge before the Primary Election. Is the “fix” in?

1 comment, most recent 1 year ago

City Hall is Third World

By John ServaisOn Jul 13, 2021

Bellingham website goes dead with one person taking a few days off. So much for an administration and a system. Third world government.

4 comments, most recent 1 year ago

The basics of Mayor Fleetwood’s attack on the Municipal Court

By John ServaisOn Jul 02, 2021

How Mayor Fleetwood and his city attorneys are violating the basic laws that our nation was founded and built upon.

5 comments, most recent 1 year ago

Bellingham City Attorneys Removed from Muni Court Case by Judge

By John ServaisOn Jul 01, 2021

City attorney James Erb removed from legal case against Judge Lev for conflict of interest by Superior Court judge.

6 comments, most recent 1 year ago

Bellingham Council Starts Process to Abolish Municipal Court

By John ServaisOn Jun 21, 2021

Tonight the Bellingham City Council - with no agenda notice - authorized the mayor to begin process to abolish the Bellingham Municipal Court

4 comments, most recent 1 year ago

District Judge David Grant Resigns

By John ServaisOn Jun 03, 2021

The presiding judge of Whatcom County District Court has suddenly resigned effective July first.

5 comments, most recent 1 year ago

Bellingham Municipal Court Judge Lev Sues the City

By John ServaisOn May 28, 2021

Debra Lev, Bellingham’s municipal court judge, is suing Mayor Seth Fleetwood and the city

7 comments, most recent 1 year ago

Heron Colony Still Vulnerable to Development

By John ServaisOn May 19, 2021

Despite willing property sellers, and Fleetwood’s campaign promises, and the unanimous Greenways Committee vote …. sigh.

6 comments, most recent 1 year ago

Mayor Is Asked To Preserve Trail

By John ServaisOn Apr 30, 2021

Daniel Kirkpatrick writes Mayor Fleetwood requesting he veto the council vacation of a street with a walking trail.

9 comments, most recent 1 year ago

Task Force Slams Bellingham City Hall

By John ServaisOn Jan 31, 2021

The Whatcom Human Rights Task Force has sent an open letter to the Community regarding the sweep of Camp 210.

City Hall homeless camp cleared out a day early

By John ServaisOn Jan 28, 2021

Bellingham started clearing 24 hours earlier than announced days ago. Antifa has showed up in numbers to provoke. Heavy police presence

2 comments, most recent 1 year ago

City Hall Clutches its Pearls

By John ServaisOn Jan 26, 2021

Mayor Fleetwood and outgoing council members could not handle the truth at last night’s Bellingham City Council meeting. Homeless people and their advocates spoke truth to power.

25 comments, most recent 1 year ago