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Dollar Drama, Young Vivek on the Rise, The End of Block
This week’s digest covers drama around the US dollar, the rise of Vivek Ramaswamy, and 𝕏’s decision to ditch the block function. News bites and the top memes are at the end.
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Part of the reason for the song’s success is that Anthony is clearly plugged into the Internet zeitgeist.
Predictably, mainstream gatekeepers are up in arms.
Anthony’s deepest preoccupation, however, is with the US dollar.
Throughout his music, the dollar is repeatedly used as a symbol for the struggles of working class Americans living under the yolk of a crooked and predatory financial system.
Oliver’s 𝕏 handle is @AintGottaDollar, which is also the title of his second-most popular song.
One of his posts with nearly six million views reads, “You weren’t born to just pay bills and die.”
Another is a dollar bill signed with an irreverent line from his hit song:
Anthony’s rise to stardom coincides with a surge in online interest in the dollar.
In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Trump warned that the dollar was at risk of losing world reserve currency status, predicting dire consequences if de-dollarization catches on: “it’s bigger than losing any war…you take a look at what’s happening to it now with other countries not using it, China wants to replace it with the Yuan.”
Not everyone is convinced de-dollarization is inevitable. Investor Chamath Palihapitiya of the All-In Podcast has used his platform to throw cold water on the idea.
On Wednesday, he roasted de-dollarization doomerism as a cheap, hipsterish take.
The possibility that the dollar would lose its world reserve currency status started gaining attention in April, when a handful of geopolitical developments tracing to the Russia-Ukraine war seemed to set the stage for several countries to ditch dollar-based trade.
In the months since, talk of de-dollarization has quieted. Every now and then, two countries announce an agreement to trade in their own currencies, but the process has been gradual and sub-perceptual, rather than sudden and cataclysmic as many predicted.
On 𝕏, the debate has been not so much whether other countries are planning to reduce dependence on the dollar—they clearly are—but whether the process will ever reach a dramatic crescendo, or simply play out in the background over the course of decades.
Many folks are looking for answers from BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, taking place this week from Tuesday to Thursday.
Any serious challenge to the dollar is likely to originate from BRICS, the economic bloc that includes China and Russia.
In July, a Russian embassy account posted to 𝕏 that BRICS was planning to roll out a commodity-backed currency to compete with the dollar. The claim was never confirmed.
Since then, government statements emanating from India and South Africa have suggested unwillingness to test US monetary dominance. Meanwhile, leaders from Russia, China, and Brazil have called for a more direct challenge to America’s financial hegemony.
Yesterday, Vladimir Putin, attending the conference by video, broached the topic by declaring that the dollar is losing its global role: “The objective, irreversible process of de-dollarization of our economic ties is gaining momentum.”
Putin teased additional developments throughout the week: “during this summit, we are going to talk in more detail about the introduction of local currency transactions in all spheres of trade.”
As of now (Tuesday night), it seems unlikely that BRICS will announce its own currency during the summit.
The bloc appears more likely to pursue current strategy of gradual de-dollarization through bilateral trade agreements among its growing roster of member nations.
Two topics to watch are the possible admission of Saudi Arabia into BRICS, and any news about the BRICS Development Bank, which Putin called “a real alternative to the existing financial establishment.” The Bank’s Chief has said it will accept 4-5 new countries this year.
Whether all the dollar drama climaxes or not, you can be sure the world’s foremost currency will stay on the minds of Appalachian musicians, global politicians, and everyone in between.
So what do you think: are we due for a monetary shakeup, or will the rest of the world keep using the US currency for the foreseeable future?
Young Vivek On The Rise
Over the last few weeks, GOP Vivek Ramaswamy has captured the attention of 𝕏’s political sphere.
Vivek, who became a billionaire as a biotech entrepreneur, is mounting a legitimate challenge to Ron DeSantis for second place in the GOP primary. Recent data shows them polling neck-and-neck.
Vivek’s policy platform resembles Trump’s America First agenda, though without the reality-show quality that defines Trump’s political career. He is running on the theme of “TRUTH.”
Vivek is the youngest GOP candidate ever to run for President, and the first-ever millennial in the GOP field. Trump has ordained him with the not-uncharitable nickname of “Young Vivek.”
Last week, he appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show, opening with the claim that the US government has been lying to its citizens about 9/11.
Here’s a compendium of viral moments from the campaign that help explain why Young Vivek is on the rise:
Jousting with CNN about 9/11
Speaking with an Iowa voter about trans issues
Articulating his pro-crypto stance
Criticizing BlackRock, Vanguard, and the ESG movement
Responding the the claim that America is a white supremacist country
Debating Trump influencer Rogan O’Hanley on The Candace Owens Show
Rapping to Eminem’s ”Lose Yourself”
After watching some of these videos, what do you think of Vivek and his positions?
The End of Block
𝕏 is phasing out its “block” feature.
Block allows users to prevent another account from viewing or otherwise interacting with their posts.
The announcement set off an explosion of hysterical media articles, some predicting that 𝕏 would be banned from Apple and Google’s App Stores. Reception among many 𝕏 power users was also critical.
The reality is that the elimination of block will likely coincide with a stronger “mute” feature, according to an 𝕏 employee.
Accounts will no longer have the ability to restrict other people from viewing their posts by blocking, which should actually increase ad revenue share.
However, it will still be possible to moderate the level which trolls, bots, and other bad actors can participate in public discussions.
The move drew support from Jack Dorsey, who said “mute only” would be an improvement.
To the naysayers, Elon said, “It will be better. Watch.”
The move follows a well-worn pattern in which Elon’s announcement of a change to the platform triggers predictions of its demise.
Time passes, and it becomes clear that the change is actually a carefully considered improvement that no one else was even thinking about.
Are you really going to doubt him on this one?
Dogey Treats: News Bites
𝕏 hit a new all-time high for daily user seconds.
Jack Dorsey announced he’d deleted his Instagram account.
𝕏 received a payments license from Maryland.
Glenn Greenwald posted a series of fascinating interviews with Trump voters highlighting similarities in their beliefs to liberal voters.
CNN’s Jake Tapper acknowledged that Joe Biden was incorrect about his son making money from China. A House investigation into Biden’s finances requested information on the Biden pseudonyms “Robert L. Peters”, “Robin Ware”, and “JRB Ware”, which Biden reportedly used during his time as Vice President. Biden appeared to fall asleep at a ceremony in Maui honoring those killed by recent wildfires. Tax charges were dropped in a federal investigation against Hunter Biden at the request of the prosecutor so the case can be moved to another jurisdiction.
Trump will skip first GOP debate and do an interview with Tucker Carlson instead. One analysis of Trump’s election cases found that most cases were dismissed for lack of standing before evidence could be submitted. Trump’s ability to run in 2024 might hinge on his ability to prove voter fraud occurred in 2020 election
Elon highlighted a story by James O’Keefe/Project Veritas video on Georgia voter registration irregularities in the 2020 election. The story claimed that thousands of voters had given the same address. O’Keefe showed evidence that Vanita Gupta, the #3 official in Biden’s DOJ, demanded censorship of the story days before she was nominated for her position.
RFK Jr put out a video presenting evidence that the CIA still runs Operation Mockingbird today to influence American journalism.
Global Financial System
G20 nations are expected to introduce global crypto regulations with the support of the IMF by the end of August.
Trump said he would replace fed chair Jerome Powell if elected in 2024
According to Moody’s, Americans are spending $709 more per month on everyday goods and services than two years ago
The UAE and India completed their first oil transaction in Rupees
A spokesperson from China asked if the US has been developing biopweapons: “Has the US been secretly developing its biological warfare capabilities even after it joined the Biological Weapons Convention?" Russian Lt Gn Igor Kirillov accused the US of “creating biological crises.”
Joe Biden asked for another $24B for Ukraine.
David Sacks posted an article claiming that Russia’s financial situation has improved since the start of the war, while the US’s has declined.
The New York Times acknowledged that the death toll from the war has reached half a million people.
RFK Jr claimed, “Tony Fauci knew that Remdesivir would kill you” but promoted it for Covid anyway for financial reasons.
Independent journalists have noticed that Covid restrictions are picking up again. Billy Markus questioned the reintroduction of mask mandates “i honestly don’t see the point of wearing masks again…every single person i know got covid, most multiple times, no matter how careful they were, no matter how many times they got vaccinated, no matter how often they wore masks, and no matter how much they quarantined”.
YouTube revealed a new policy that would censor users for disagreeing with The WHO.
A research paper found grounding was effective against Covid-19.
Is higher salt intake correlated with increased longevity?
SpaceX is providing Starlink Internet for the Maui emergency.
Does technology exist to infiltrate your interior monologue?
Oliver Anthony turned down an $8M record deal: “People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers. I don't want 6 tour buses, 15 tractor trailers and a jet. I don't want to play stadium shows, I don't want to be in the spotlight. I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression. These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they're being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bullshit. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.”
Memes of the Week
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