Short Tesla! Why Elon Musk could be the next high profile indictment

Elon Musk has clearly lost his shit. Subjecting the decision (even flippantly) over whether he continues to be Twitter’s CEO to a Twitter Poll of all things is the absolute height of unhinged management style.

The once “richest” man in the world has demonstrated recently in no uncertain terms that he has taken a turn toward the dark side. From overtly promoting Qanon to siding with anti semites, racists and right wing nut jobs, most of his tasteless social media utterances are just that: tasteless.

But he is wracking up a longer list of tweets that are more of a criminal nature, as the US Justice Department sees it. Turns out they, and the SEC, are investigating Musk for a broad range of charges that would make Sam Bankman-Fried blush. They include securities fraud, stock manipulation, human rights violations, and labour infractions. Its no wonder he invited Donald Trump back onto Twitter. It’s the “birds of a feather” mentality at work.

The moment when Musk’s status as serial SEC person of interest transformed into primary investigation target is likely when he decided to dissolve Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, the advisory group of around 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations that the company formed in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other problems on the platform.

Musk has un-cancelled the accounts of a wide range of white supremacists and other rampant racist blabbermouths, jeopardizing further the ad revenue that was the principle, yet money-losing source of revenue for Twitter.

Not happy to leave the incendiary tweeting to the usual twits, Musk’s own tweets have grown progressively juvenile and bombastic, most recently  tweeting that his pronouns were “Prosecute/Fauci”. This is a bit of an escalation for somebody who used to be as influential as Musk, as it could arguably lead to physical violence against Dr. Fauci should any of the many flavours of deranged Americans actually try to place him under arrest.

Should any bodily harm result toward Dr. Fauci as a result of this tweet, Elon may find himself facing charges for counseling violent assault against a public official. (Defence: Elon told me to do it)

But while Must hasn’t done anything as overtly fraudulent as Sam Bankman-Fried, he is exhibiting the same god complex as Bankman-Fried, and once this transformative process has begun in the human psyche, it almost never ceases or even slows – more commonly, it accelerates away from breaking social norms to committing outright crimes.

Just as Bankman-Fried demonstrated the absolutely corruptive power of wealth accumulated to too great a scale in too short a timeframe, Musk’s relative maturity means a slower rise to a greater height, and ultimately, a much more catastrophic (to him personally) fall. Though it would be hard to top SBF’s likely multiple jail sentences in terms of professional self-destruction.

But where he does potentially have some serious liability is in his neglect of Tesla while he simultaneously dumps an astounding total of 21, 995,000 shares of Tesla last week alone for a total of $3.5 billion. This brings his total sales for 2022 to an eyewatering 59 million shares of Tesla worth $22 billion. This on top of his self-appointed salary of $52 billion.

To say that Elon is squeezing Tesla shareholders dry is no overstatement. The question that the SEC might be wanting answered at some point is “To what extent does your obsessive acquisition and  mismanagement of Twitter constitute an abdication of your lawful fiduciary responsibility toward Tesla shareholders?

Suffice to say that Musk’s modern rendition of Icarus is likely to have the same outcome…just not as early in life as the ill-fated mythological unfortunate son of Daedalus.

There are psychological behaviours exhibited by both Musk and Samuel Bankman-Fried that demonstrate an incremental disconnection from reality enforced by extreme wealth and the entirety of the moat of enablers that surround such beacons of wealth.

It is not to say he is without fault for arriving at such a self-destructive turn of events, but more to point out that anyone subjected to the onset of such mind boggling wealth is going to suffer modifications to their personality and worldview that renders them increasingly sociopathic.

Those who have had the benefit of decades over which to amass such wealth – Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are the best examples – tend to better control their sense of superiority toward themselves. Well, at least Warren Buffet does.

We live in an era where – especially now with the explosion of ChatGPT and other AI research tools, where society at large is beginning to understand how the relationship between billionaires’ financial system that accommodates their wealth creation and the rest of society is parasitic in nature.

This is, in effect, a good thing long term for humanity, as it will theoretically cause a movement toward wealth restriction legislation over time as populist politicians are gradually separated from the financial inputs of their corrupt donors.

In the meantime, however, Tesla is and remains a nearly slam-dunk short for this week, given the ongoing nuclear meltdown that is Elon Musk right now.

James West

Editor and Publisher

James West founded Midas Letter in 2008 and has since been covering the best of Canadian and US small cap companies. He covers global economics, monetary policy, geopolitical evolution, political corruption, commodities, cannabis and cryptocurrencies. As an active market participant, James is not a journalist and is invariably discussing markets...
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