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Optimus, The Border, HCQ, Ukraine, Rome
The People's News for the People's Coin 9/20-9/26
This week’s digest covers the latest with Tesla’s Optimus robot, the border crisis, news about Hydroxychloroquine, Russia-Ukraine, and the evolution of the Roman Empire meme
Don’t miss memes and news bites at the end!
Thank sou for reading The People’s News for the People’s Coin.
Have you noticed that Elon Musk is everywhere these days?
My 𝕏 subscribers and I are reading Walter Isaacson's new biography about Elon Musk to demystify the man behind the Mars mission.
Tesla’s AI-powered humanoid robot Optimus is making incredible progress.
This week, Tesla released a new video showing Optimus using AI to calibrate its body in space and perform a sorting task.
The video is must-watch because it shows how fast Optimus is progressing. Fully functional robots could be here within a saar.
After completing the task, Optimus did some yoga to unwind.
Optimus is potentially Tesla’s most lucrative and impactful technology, with the power to disrupt global labor markets. Elon has said he expects Optimus to be worth more than Tesla’s vehicle business.
The technology behind the robot is complex and uses Tesla’s Full Self-Driving AI software.
For those worried about an I, Robot-style apocalypse, Elon has emphasized the robot will be friendly and safe in its interactions with humans.
Would you take a yoga class from a robot, or attend a robot ballet?
The dominant political subject of the past week was the US border.
Friday night, Biden Administration made history with the highest number of attempted illegal crossings and paroles in a month: 304,162 There have been an estimated 2.4 million illegal border crossings this year so far, surpassing last year’s record.
Open borders are unpopular with citizens across the political spectrum. A 2021 survey found that two-thirds of Americans want some restrictions on immigration, and most prefer a low-level of new citizens legally entering the country.
The subject of immigration has become hotly politicized.
Mainstream Democratic politicians have, until very recently, advocated for an essentially open border. Trump Republicans have pushed to close the border by building a wall.
For the most part, the media has looked away from the border, except under the Trump Administration.
However, today it is becoming more difficult to do so as the crisis worsens.
On 𝕏, it has become apparent that the Biden Administration is letting military-aged males flood into the country not just from Central and South America, but everywhere in the world.
Last week, Texas governor Greg Abbott declared an invasion and announced measures to secure his state’s border, including a wall, razor wire, marine barriers, and deployment of the Texas national guard.
On Monday, footage emerged of The Biden Administation’s Customs and Border Protection undoing the Texas measures to allow migrants to enter.
As these migrants have moved into non-border states, the crisis has become impossible to ignore. Based on the current flow of migrants, New York City is preparing to spend over a billion dollars in the next three years just to house illegal immigrants in hotels.
On a positive note, something in the debate about the border has shifted in the past few weeks.
Part of the reason is that local political leaders are speaking out against the federal open borders policy. In particular, politicians from New York and Chicago made strong statements that their areas can’t handle any more migrants.
RFK has been a sharp critic of the Biden Administration’s policy throughout his candidacy. This week, he releases a statement pointing out that by failing to enforce border policy the US has ceded control of immigration to Mexican drug cartels, resulting in a humanitarian crisis: “I’m asking Democrats in particular to reexamine their assumption that a loose border is somehow more compassionate. It is not. It has created a humanitarian crisis for the migrants that is now destroying our cities, crushing our social services, and harming the working poor by undercutting their wages.” Kennedy’s recent documentary Midnight at the Border lays out his policy proposal in depth
Yesterday morning, Elon announced he plans to visit the Texas border later this week
What do you think: should the US take steps to close the border?
This week, the Mayo Clinic quietly updated their website to acknowledge that Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can be used to treat Covid-19.
In 2020, the drug was demonized by the media as unsafe after Trump promoted it as a solution for Covid prophylaxis and early treatment.
In May 2020, based on two fraudulent studies, the FDA and WHO withdrew emergency use authorization for Hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid.
The studies, funded by Bill Gates, were later retracted after it became clear they were designed to fail.
The attacks on HCQ never made sense: the drug is a derivative of quinine and has decades of use to establish its safety profile. The WHO lists it as an “essential medicine” and it is available over-the-counter in many countries, including France, Canada, Iran, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama.
As the pandemic progressed, independent meta-analysis of over 400 studies made it clear that HCQ was an effective treatment, leading to significant reductions in mortality, hospitalization, recovery, cases, and viral clearance.
Last year, Project Veritas released documents from DARPA asserting that both Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin inhibit viral replication of Covid.
After the HCQ news went viral on 𝕏, the Mayo Clinic reverted its website back to the original text by deleting the recommendation.
Covid came came up again yesterday in a big way, when Elon posted a video montage showing the media repeatedly revising its claims of mRNA vaccines’ effectiveness.
When journalist Ed Krassenstein pointed out that reduced efficacy could be due to mutations in the virus, Elon voiced his opposition to the politicization of personal medical decisions.
Later last night, another bombshell dropped. The House’s Subcommittee on the Coronavirus published a letter citing a report that the CIA secretly escorted Anthony Fauci into agency headquarters “without record of entry.”
The letter goes on to say Fauci’s role was to ”influence” the agency’s review that the virus had natural origins, rather than coming from a lab.
The committee asked the CIA to provide all documentation relating to Fauci’s movements in CIA buildings from 2020 to 2022.
The CIA’s involvement with Covid is under-appreciated by the public. Last week, another report claimed the agency offered financial incentive to six scientists to conclude the virus came from nature rather than a lab.
RFK has repeatedly pointed out the agency’s sordid and well-documented history with bioweapons programs. For some reason, media has not investigated this topic.
It’s worth asking: why is there still so much fervor to fight the battle over Covid now?
A big reason is that the political and medical establishments have made no concessions that they would do anything differently than in 2020-2022. By all indications, the White House would still institute vaccine booster mandates if the Supreme Court would allow it.
Until the powers-that-be openly revise their position on mandates, therapeutics, lockdowns, school closures, vaccine passports, mail-in voting, and any other extreme responses to Covid, expect the meme war for the mind of the public to continue.
What do you think: is there something fishy about the attacks on HCQ? Should the White House apologize for mandating a vaccine that turned out to be significantly less effective than advertised? What is Fauci’s involvement with the CIA?
The public debate about the US’s support for Ukraine took a few absurd turns this week.
First, neoconservative guru Bill Kristol, selling the American public the Iraq War, announced his nonprofit “Republicans for Ukraine” would begin advertising for the war on public television.
Kristol’s goal is to boost tepid conservative support for funding Ukraine with the message that Russia must be defeated in order to weaken China.
The message was repeated by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, who wrote on Thursday that “degrading Russia helps to deter China.”
The message was met extreme skepticism from moderates and conservatives.
A few days later, Zelensky visited Canada to sell the war to Canadian parliament.
During the visit, a 98-year-old Ukrainian solider named Yaroslav Hunka was given a standing ovation for his contributions to Ukraine.
It was later discovered that the man served in a Nazi military unit called the Waffen SS-Galacia division, known for committing mass murder.
After the incident went viral on 𝕏, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau blamed the mix-up on Russian propaganda.
On Tuesday, the Speaker of the Canadian House Anthony Rota resigned over the incident, but the damage was done. War-skeptics who warned that the West was supporting actual neo-Nazis by arming Ukraine pointed to the episode as evidence of vindication.
The United States has sent over $100B to support Ukraine, with no signs of slowing down. Support from the West is the only thing keeping the Ukrainian effort alive—without it, Ukraine would be forced to resume negotiatons with Russia to end the war.
What do you think: should the West keep arming Ukraine at their taxpayers’ expense? Or is it time to attempt diplomacy to end the conflict?
Meme Theory: The Roman Empire
There's a rhythm to the social media memescape.
Strong memes suffuse the group mind like a flood tide. For anywhere between a few hours to a few days, a meme can dominate the thoughts of millions of people across the world.
After a meme hits its max saturation, it starts to ebb. It can take a few days before another major meme comes along to fill the void. There are empty periods where no strong meme dominates.
The dominant meme over the last two weeks has undoubtedly been the Roman Empire, which has shown surprising longevity.
It started as a TikTok gag between husbands and wives. Then it migrated to 𝕏, where it was refined to a serious commentary on the fragility of civilization.
Memes like this have a way of predicting the actual news, which is downstream of the memescape.
This past week, stories about the open borders, financial uncertainty, and war were everywhere. The Roman collapse meme makes these diverse topics intelligible as a single narrative.
The 𝕏 version of the Rome meme—the relevance of Rome’s Fall to our present—has now evolved beyond the original TikTok one (“OMG look how different men’s thoughts are from women’s”).
On Sunday, Ashley St. Clair posted a TikTok video showing a woman questioning if men were really thinking about Rome, or just imagining the movie Gladiator.
Elon responded emphatically: He is thinking about the actual historical Decline and Fall of Rome, as are many people on 𝕏. He then reposted the image of Gibbon’s historical study on his profile to accentuate the point
Later in the evening, he hammered home the point with another meme.
Monday, the meme’s evolution took another step when a video went viral showing a man explaining how Rome’s ruling elite distracted the masses from collapse with “Bread and Circus.”
Are Americans deliberately being distracted from collapse with sports and entertainment? Suddenly, the question was on everyone’s mind.
I have no idea how long this meme lasts, but it's already far surpassed expectations. Arguably, it has become 2023’s dominant meme.
At this point, its staying power will depend on how well it predicts actual events. If open borders, financial collapse, military spending, and inflation persist, the Rome meme could be with us for a while yet.
No matter what happens, the Rome meme has reached a self-reinforcing stage, feeding off its own virality. Men may have thought about Rome a lot before the meme went viral, but it's nothing compared to how much everyone thinks and talks about it now that it’s taken on a life of its own on social media.
Memetically, all roads lead to Rome: it's pretty much impossible to spend any amount of time on 𝕏 and not be prompted to think of Rome at least a few times a day.
I’m watching this meme intently because it feels so big. How many memes belong in history books? This one has a chance.
Of course, the big question is, when we’re thinking about Rome, are we also thinking about Doge?
Dogey Treats: News Bites
British government asked online platforms to demonetize Russell Brand. Rumble refused. Brand released a video. Elon expressed dissapointment that Brand promoted Rumble as a pro free speech platform but not 𝕏. In another post, Elon wrote, “There is more to this than meets the eye. If the concern is actually sexual predation in the entertainment industry, that is a very long list. Why @rustyrockets and why now?” Dave Smith said the Brand accusations seem “very conventient” given Brand’s history of criticizing the media.
America First legal is suing the Biden Administration’s FTC for illegally concealing documents on the government’s targeting of Elon Musk. Elon wrote, “It is disturbing that a government agency would allow itself to be corrupted by politics. Won’t pay off in the end.”
Representative Thomas Massie accused the DOJ of using “mafia tactics” to intimidate Elon Musk.
Eln wrote, “Like Gulliver, tied down by thousands of of little strings, we lose our freedom one regulation at a time”
Reddit announced a creator rev share program that pays users for viral posts.
SpaceX’s is prepared to launch Starship but is awaiting an environmental impact review from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Elon wrote, “It is absurd that SpaceX can build a giant rocket faster than they can shuffle paperwork!”
SpaceX completed its 17th launch and landing of its Falcon 9 booster.
Starlink hit over 2M subscribers, adding 500,000 in the last four months.
Elon said it was possible to build 10,000 miles of tunnels by 2030, but the biggest impediment would be the permitting process.
Elon met with the PM of Thailand about SpaceX, Tesla, and Starlink. He also met with leadership from Hungary.
Nueralink was approved for trials on humans.
Sam Harris continues to be roasted as the peak example of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
A poll found 33% of Democrats would consider voting for RFK Jr if he ran as a third party candidate.
In one of the campaign trail’s most viral moments, Trump was reported to have bought a Glock from a South Carolina gun shop. However, the Trump campaign appeared to clarify that he did not purchase the gun, which had engravings of his face on the hilt.
Billy said American politics reduces to team virtue signaling vs team conspiracy theories. Elon agreed.
Global Financial System
US Debt hit $33 trillion.
JP Morgan Chase settled its lawsuit with the US Virgin Islands over the bank’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, paying a $75M fine.
MicroStrategy bought 5445 more Bitcoin.
Elon highlighted a video on the dangers of Central Bank Digital Currencies by former Pfizer executive Mike Yeadon.
A new study found higher cholesterol levels were positively associated with longevity.
A clip of RFK detailing the role of intelligence agencies in the Covid policy went viral with over four million views.
Poland announced it will stop all weapon transfers to Ukraine.
The Pentagon exempted Ukraine operations from a potential government shutdown, ensuring the country will continue to receive weapons and money even if the rest of the US government shuts down.
Voting machine company Smartmatic was implicated in an election fraud and bribery scheme in the Philippines.
Crypto influencer BitBoy was arrested for attempting to steal a lamb.
Elon asked why TikTok promotes child-free lifestyles so aggressively.
France announced it would withdraw its ambassador and military presence from Niger.
Memes of the Week
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