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The Great Vax Debate, Elon/Zuby, Russia-Ukraine Peace, Trump Rap
Twitter News Digest for the week of 6/14-6/20
This week’s digest gives a play-by-play of the vaccines debate that began with RFK’s appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience. It also looks at Elon’s interview with Zuby, dwindling support for US involvement in Ukraine, and a song about Trump.
The Great Vax Debate
Last Thursday, Joe Rogan released an interview with RFK Jr.
The three-hour discussion instantly went viral, with several clips circulating on Twitter:
RFK’s experience meeting Fauci
The impact of pesticides in water supply on children
The correaltion between the vaccine schedule and autism
The CIA’s role in creating new wars
Hotez frequently appears on TV to promote vaccines. RFK has called him the “high priest of vaccinology.”
After the episode, Hotez tweeted an RFK hit piece from Vice journalist Anna Merlan, bemoaning “Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation.”
Rogan read the article and then tweeted at Hotez, offering him 100k to publicly debate RFK.
Kennedy responded to Rogan’s tweet with a friendly offer to debate Hotez on Rogan’s show.
Hotez wrote back to Rogan, “Joe, you have my cell, my email, I’m always willing to speak with you.”
Rogan dinged Hotez for equivocating and reposted a deleted Hotez tweet asking for $50 million to do the debate.
Elon tweeted to Rogan that Hotez was afraid to debate.
Hotez responded to Rogan’s tweets with more equivocating.
Rogan wrote back and asked Hotez again if he’d debate RFK.
Hotez backpedaled, agreeing to come on Rogan’s show, just not with RFK.
Rogan then took exception to Hotez’s past description of Elon, Tucker, and RFK as a “formidable coalition with neofascist leanings.”
Elon chimed in to promote Twitter.
Simultaneously, Elon and Hotez started going back and forth, with Hotez again blaming “anti vaccine disinformation” for hundreds of thousands of deaths.
As all this was happening, other high profile Twitter users (many of them pro-vaccine) started adding to Rogan’s $100k offer. Within a day, the pot reached $2.6M.
As the pot grew, Elon wondered aloud why Hotez would pass up such a big philanthropic opportunity.
Observers across the political spectrum questioned why the public face of vaccines was unwilling to defend them, especially in the context of having just promoted the largest compulsory vaccine program in history.
As Hotez’s credibility plummeted in real time, a viral video caught fire showing him repeatedly revising his Covid vaccine prognostications.
Some Hotez defenders insisted it would be wrong to debate RFK because the public is not equipped to accurately assess the scientific information.
Others warned that by appearing in the same forum with RFK, Hotez risked legitimizing his opponent’s views.
On Sunday, Hotez appeared on MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan Show, where he explained his decision to decline Rogan’s offer: “Anti-vaccine disinformation...is now a lethal force in the United States. I offered to go on Joe Rogan but not to turn it into the Jerry Springer show with having RFK Jr. on.”
Hasan, author of Win Every Argument: The Art of Debating, Persuading, and Public Speaking, affirmed Hotez’s decision: “my advice is not to […] there’s a time and a place for a debate. I don’t think a historian of World War II should debate a Holocaust denier.”
In a follow-up thread, Hotez wrote, “science is not something that is typically debated like say 18th enlightenment philosophy or political issues. That’s not typically what we do.”
The dustup put a spotlight on the topic of vaccines. Saturday night, several hot-button issues trended on Twitter.
Elon took a more moderate tone. In one exchange, he emphasized the achievements of modern medicine.
In another, he insisted that any scientist worth the name must answer to his questioners.
Still another researcher dug up tweets from 2020 showing Hotez condemning the “far R extremism” of anti-lockdown protests while supporting BLM protests.
As negative sentiment against Hotez grew, he threatened to leave Twitter.
The showdown between RFK and Hotez has been brewing since at least 2019, when Hotez told Rogan he wouldn’t debate RFK: “It’s like debating a Holocaust denier about whether the Holocaust exists […] He's an attorney and he's very clever and he knows how to do arguments in court. And what am I? I'm a scientist.”
In the interview that started it all, RFK told Rogan, “Nobody in 18 years has been willing to debate me.”
Last week, Zuby released his interview with Elon.
Zuby is one of Twitter’s original creators. Today, he uses it to share his podcast, music, fitness advice, political views, and coaching business.
He has occasionally brushed up against the Dogecoin Twitter universe, and subscribes to Billy.
The whole interview is worth watching. Here are three powerful clips:
1) Elon on Climate Change: “Over time we need to move to a sustainable energy economy…but we also don’t need to be alarmist about it and super negative and massively disrupt people’s lifestyles”
2) Restaurants are evidence that “humans love other humans more than they realize”
3) Twitter’s ambitions: “If done right, X would become maybe half of the global financial system”
Opposition to US involvement in Ukraine is growing.
On Monday, a clip of Russian President Vladimir Putin went viral on Twitter. In the video, he displays a 2022 peace agreement signed by both Russia and Ukraine.
Reportedly, after both countries agreed to stop fighting, NATO sent former British PM Boris Johnson to Kiev to scuttle the deal.
There are plenty of reasons for opposing armed conflict.
Right now, the biggest cause for a shift in sentiment is that Ukraine appears to be losing. In April, a Pentagon whistleblower named Jack Texiera leaked documents revealed that Ukrainian casualties are far in excess of what has been reported.
Most media depictions of the war have yet to reflect this reality, but word is getting around on the podcast and social media circuits.
RFK retweeted the clip of the peace document and lamented the government’s dishonesty about Ukraine’s failed counteroffensive: “Awaiting White House propaganda offensive sugarcoating this calamity to sustain dwindling support for this misadventure in US.”
On the Judging Freedom podcast, Colonel Douglas Macgregor said, “Washington knows that Ukraine is close to collapse...The country is destroyed. The military has been weakened beyond imagination."
Policy analyst Jeffrey Sachs accused the New York Times of allowing Russophobia to taint its coverage: “it's unreadable, it's phony, it's propaganda from morning till night." In a another conversation, he said of the war, “There's no attempt at deliberative democracy at all. No debate at all."
Oliver Stone said Russia is “winning the war, they’re actually kicking ass, but we don’t know that.”
Yesterday afternoon, the topic went viral when the AP reported that a Pentagon accounting error had given an extra $6.2B to Ukraine.
Around the same time, James O’Keefe released a video in which a BlackRock recruiter explains how financial institutions buy politicians and profit from war.
Later in the evening, RFK gave a speech demanding the current administration to begin de-escalating the war immediately.
He ended the speech by invoking JFK: “I call on every American to join in a new peace movement to make your voices heard, to reject the insanity of escalation, and to celebrate no longer the wartime president, but a president who keeps the peace. And to what kind of peace do I refer? I’ll end with one more piece of wisdom from my uncle:
What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war, not a peace of the grave or the security of a slave. I am talking about a genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children--not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women--not merely peace in our time, but peace in all time.”
Last week, rapper Forgiato Blow released “Trump Saved The USA.” It is currently #4 on iTunes.
The song is the kind of thing you only see on the Internet. You may disagree with its premise, but its hilariousness cannot be denied.
Dogey Treats: News Bites
Global Financial System
Germany’s Deutsche Bank, with $1.4T under management, applied for a license to operate a crypto custody service. Citadel, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab launched a new institutional crypto exchange called EDX. Crypto exchange Gemini announced its expansion into the Asia Pacific region with a new Singapore HQ.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinked said, "“We do not support Taiwan independence” in an apparent reversal of US foreign policy.
RFK visited San Francisco to talk about the problem of homelessness. YouTube has been aggressively demonetizing and removing videos of RFK, including a video of his conversation with Jordan Peterson. Peterson reposted the video to Twitter and asked if it’s right for Big Tech companies to censor Presidential candidates. RFK joined Rumble.
Hunter Biden pled guilty to three charges relating to firearms and tax evasion. He is expected to avoid jail time, confirming a prediction made by Trump earlier this month. Over the weekend, the NY Post reported that Biden worked with Ukrainian energy company Burisma to open a bank account at a corrupt Maltese bank. Tucker Carlson’s fifth episode of “Tucker on Twitter” focused on Hunter.
Trump’s documents trial date was set for August 14, 2023. The trial is expected to last two weeks.
Elon praised Tucker Carlson’s episode 3 on Trump’s indictment as “Bold” and tweeted it was an “attack on the military-industrial complex.” He said Carlson’s fourth episode, Wannabe dictator, was “concerning.”
Elon said engineers continue to find shadowbans in Twitter’s code that prevent certain accounts from trending
More than 75% of Twitter’s advertisers have returned to the platform.
Elon said the term “cis” is considered a slur by Twitter.
The latest video in a Covid retrospective series shows political leaders breaking their own lockdown rules
The American Medical Association declared the BMI measurement to be “racist.”
Multiple federal agencies were reportedly hit with cyberattacks
The former first lady of Virgin Islands worked for Jeffrey Epstein and helped get Visas for his victims.
Ivanka Trump promoted the forthcoming film, “The Sound of Freedom” about human trafficking. She wrote, ‘ "Sound of Freedom” sheds light on the harrowing reality of #HumanTrafficking, awakening our collective conscience and inspiring us to take action for those trapped in its dark web.’
Andrew Tate was charged with rape, human trafficking, and operating a criminal organization.
Memes of the Week
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