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Trump Mugshot, SpaceX Sued, BRICS Expansion
The People's News for the People's Coin 8/23-8/29
This week’s digest covers Trump’s mugshot, the lawsuit against SpaceX, and BRICS expansion. News Bites and top memes are at the end.
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Trump’s 𝕏 Return
Donald Trump returned to 𝕏 last week.
It started on Wednesday night, when Tucker Carlson released an exclusive interview with Trump.
The video dropped on 𝕏 five minutes before the start of the GOP Presidential debate, which Trump did not attend.
The dust had barely settled when Trump began hyping the next spectacle: his arrest in Fulton County, Georgia on RICO charges.
Throughout the week, mugshots of Trump’s 18 co-defendants trickled out on social media, creating a sense of rising action.
As Thursday evening neared, speculation picked up that Trump could return to 𝕏 by posting his mugshot.
He did not disappoint. At 9:38 on Thursday night, he returned to the platform with a simple message:
The instantly iconic image was called “The Mugshot of the Century” by the Daily Mail. One Trump supporter dubbed it the Mona Lisa of mugshots.
Interest in the image transcended party lines. It was viewed 153 million times in its first 14 hours on the platform.
𝕏 was quickly overrun with Trump mugshot memes, which became the most popular meme template of 2023 in a matter of hours (see Memes of the Week for examples).
The photograph will undoubtedly go down as one of the defining images in meme and online history.
Trump memes used to be extremely common on Twitter, but more or less vanished when he was suspended in January 2021. In the days after the mugshot, Trump’s visage was once again ubiquitous.
On 𝕏, the significance of Trump’s return was a hot topic of discussion.
Generally, Trump supporters saw the arrest as a positive development.
Trump’s political opponents also cheered the photo, pointing to it as evidence of his alleged criminality.
On Friday, something fascinating occurred: 𝕏 began flooding with dozens of videos of black Americans voicing their support for Trump (example: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24)
No demographic group has been as badly abused by the justice system as black males—many at the hands of Joe Biden’s ‘94 crime bill that criminalized hundreds of thousands of people for personal drug use (an especially bitter pill given Biden’s son’s own escapades).
As with any social media phenomenon, the videos should be taken with a grain of salt: it’s easy to amplify a few dozen selectively edited clips using AI and bots to make a narrative seem as though it’s more popular than it really is.
However, it is certain that no matter how genuine the footage is, its existence will never be acknowledged by the mainstream media.
The idea that any minority group might support Trump runs contrary to the mainstream view that the former President is a vile white supremacist.
Evidence complicating this perspective is forbidden by TV and newspapers, and de-amplified into oblivion on Facebook and Instagram.
Like so many other big stories on 𝕏, the episode highlighted the widening gap between old and new media.
The old guard painted the arrest as yet another crisis for Trump.
Whatever platform you used to access the story probably shaped your understanding of it. It has never been more true that the memes are the message.
Elon suggested that the events were another nail in the coffin for the legacy media, which seemed to be playing catch-up with the Internet throughout the week.
Trump’s son Don Jr agreed: “if you’re still getting your info from the main stream media it’s time to change course. No more regime propaganda!”
For now, the pivotal question is whether Trump’s various indictments help or hurt his election chances.
From the perch of 𝕏, it sure looks to have rallied his troops.
Over the weekend, Trump resumed posting to his own platform, TruthSocial, where he continued to attack his political opponents. He has yet to follow up his mugshot post on 𝕏.
Still, it feels like some sort of rubicon has been crossed.
Trump, the most significant Twitter user ever, is back on 𝕏. What happens next is anyone’s guess.
On Wednesday, news broke that The Department of Justice is suing SpaceX for refusing to hire refugees and asylum seekers.
Amazingly, the lawsuit appears to call for SpaceX to give back-pay to any refugees they didn’t hire.
The lawsuit was widely derided on 𝕏 because International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) law prohibits American companies from hiring non-citizens for jobs that involve advanced weapons technology, including rockets.
The combination of the lawsuit and ITAR appear to set a double standard whereby SpaceX can be punished for hiring refugees, or for not hiring them.
Maye Musk called out the media, Biden administration, and government agencies for heaping “constant hate” on her son.
He called for an end to the “weaponization of government agencies” because it “fundamentally undermines public faith in the justice system.”
Saturday, he appeared in good spirits about the lawsuit, highlighting job posting on the DOJ’s own website that requires applicants to be US citizens.
The SpaceX news overshadowed larger developments in the Space Race, which appears to be heating up.
The news came days after Russia’s Luna-25 lost contact with Earth and crashed into the moon.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is gearing up for another Starship launch, which could happen as early as Thursday. Starship is the vehicle that will be used to colonize Mars, and the next test flight has a chance to the first one to reach orbit.
What do you think: is the government picking on SpaceX? Will Elon’s arguments hold up in court?
BRICS is an emerging coalition of nations seeking to provide counterweight to the G7 countries that effectively set world economic policy. Last week, this newsletter covered the opening of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Summit’s final day featured a bombshell: BRICS agreed to admit six new countries into its bloc: Ethiopia, Argentina, Egypt, The UAE, Iran, and, most importantly, Saudi Arabia.
The announcement was made by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Thursday morning.
Membership of the new countries will begin on January 1st, 2024.
On 𝕏, the news was seen as evidence of a historic geopolitical realignment.
Economically, BRICS is now in the position to challenge the US-led G7 because of its vast natural resources.
The 11-nation bloc produces 40% of the world’s oil, 2/3rds of its coal, and half of its wheat. BRICS now has 6 of the world’s top 10 oil producers, and 3 of the top 5
Former Bolivia President Evo Morales described the news in positive terms for global citizens harmed by US imperialism: "The BRICS Summit ... is a turning point that confirms a new multipolar geopolitical and economic scenario to replace the interventionism and plundering of natural resources promoted by the US. While in its decline the empire uses weapons, war and trade blockades to maintain some of its hegemony, the free peoples of the world unite for peace and development with social justice and respect for the sovereignty of States."
The addition of six new nations is the first step in what is likely to be a larger expansion for BRICS: roughly 40 more countries are seeking to join the coalition.
After the announcement, attention turned to the role of the US Dollar in BRICS trade.
Until very recently, the dollar used as a settlement mechanism for global oil trade, creating widespread demand for the Petrodollar.
The arrangement is a result of decades-old agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia in which the Kingdom agreed to use the dollar for all oil trade in exchange for US military protection.
Now, with Saudi Arabia joining BRICS, the Petrodollar is in jeopardy.
During the summit, several leaders made their pitch to ditch the dollar:
Vladimir Putin said the dollar is facing an “irreversible” decline as the global reserve currency.
For now, BRICS nations are focusing on using local currencies to trade commodities. Argentina and Brazil agreed to use the Chinese Yuan instead of dollar for trade, while India and the UAE began conducting oil trade in Rupees.
As for the possibility that BRICS will issue its own pan-national currency, Russia’s finance minister said not to expect a ”quick solution” on a BRICS currency.
What do you think: was the BRICS Summit a sign of geopolitical alignment? Or will US-led G7 remain the top dog for decades to come.
Dogey Treats: News Bites
Journalist Brian Krassenstein wrote about 𝕏: “I was on a podcast this week. They told me that X is full of hate and that Elon destroyed X. Clearly they aren’t paying attention. The genius move of pushing hate and low quality content down by using new algorithms, while using verification to weed out the trolls and bots, is working. Combine that with the fact that more positive, less hateful content gets monetized more by advertisers, and you will understand where things are going. X is less hateful than it was 10 months ago. I say that without a doubt.” Elon wrote back, “Our goal is to be the platform of the people, to restore power to the people, to those want to know the truth.”
Daily Wire will release the first episode of its new docuseries “Convicting a Murderer” on 𝕏. A spokesperson for the conservative media company said it believed 𝕏 was a better platform than YouTube for driving the national conversation due to 𝕏’s policies around free speech. Elon Musk highlighted an “Extremely concerning” crackdown on free speech by elites across the world.
X received a money transmitter license from Rhode Island that included the ability to store and exchange cryptocurrency.
𝕏 performed another bot cleanup. Elon wrote, “The bot wars continue.”
A meta-analysis of 25 studies linked Autism Spectrum Disorders to changes in the microbiome, suggesting the epidemic of Autism is caused by environmental rather than genetic factors.
A news study suggests N95 Covid masks may expose wearers to dangerous levels of toxic compounds linked to cancer and seizures.
Biden told reporters he had signed off on a congressional proposal for funding a new Covid vaccine “that is necessary that works."
Rumors circulated on 𝕏 of another round of lockdowns and other Covid restrictions.
Newsmax host Greg Kelly claimed an audio tape containing “incontrovertible evidence of Joe Biden's corruption” will be released in September or October that makes it impossible for Biden to run in the 2024 election.
Before turning himself to be arrested, Trump accused his opponents of election interference: “We have every single right to challenge an election that we think is dishonest.” White House visitor logs showed that aids to special council Jack Smith met with the Biden Administration weeks before he indicted Trump
RFK Jr said BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street are attempting to buy up all single-family homes in America.
Vivek Ramaswamy earned positive views for his performance in the first GOP Presidential debate, notably accusing the rest of the GOP field of being “bought and paid for”. Elon wrote Vivek “was impressive”, “increasingly compelling”, and Trump’s best VP pick. He also highlighted Vivek’s positions on the Ukraine war, climate change, and the second amendment.
After the debate, online conservatives dug into Vivek’s past, highlighting his ties to the Soros empire. Others questioned his ties to the pharmaceutical industry and Wall Street.
“Rich Men North of Richmond” continues to have a hold on the popular imagination. This week saw a rap remix and parody of the song. Both liberal (RFK) and conservatives (debate attendees) politicians used the song to illustrate political talking points. Anthony said “it’s aggravating seeing certain musicians and politicians act like we’re buddies and act like we’re fighting the same struggle,” and said it was funny to see the song used in the conservative debate because he wrote the song about “those people.” He also released a new song.
The National Archives acknowledged 5,400 instances of Joe Biden using pseudonyms JRB Ware, Robert L Peters, or Robin Ware to discuss business and government information with his son Hunter while he was VP.
Elon called The Atlantic “a tedious propaganda pusher” for attempting to smear Vivek Ramaswamy over his comments on 9/11.
DeSantis was widely memed for his performance at the debate.
Elon said of the Epstein client list: “I think we know those names”
The Biden Administration welded open floodgates at Southern border.
Global Financial System
Grayscale won a legal challenge against the SEC, forcing the agency to consider its application to launch a Bitcoin ETF. The news was seen as a victory for crypto industry against government regulatory overreach. The SEC decision on other Bitcoin ETF applications could happen later this week.
According to the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs used money from a fund set up by the Chinese government to purchase stakes in US and UK companies.
Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in plane crash.
Elon highlighted news of an ex-drag queen caught in a pedophile sting operation
A video explaining how CIA media propaganda works was viewed almost a million times.
Memes of the Week
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