Trump Off the Ballot, Tucker's Alien Antfarm, Ye Apology, Epstein Hype, Collapse Memes
The People's News for the People's Coin 12/20-12/26
This news digest covers the following stories from the past week:
1. The effort to remove Trump from the ballot
2. Tucker Carlson’s theories about aliens
3. Ye’s apology to the Jewish community
4. Rising hype around the release of Jeffrey Epstein’s associates
5. Memes about collapse
Don’t miss videos, memes, and news bites at the end!
Thanks for reading Risky Reads: The People’s News for the People’s Coin—𝕏’s leading open-source newspaper.
Trump Off the Ballot?
Last week, talk of Colorado’s attempt to remove Trump from the 2024 Presidential ballot dominated 𝕏.
The firestorm began on Tuesday evening when it was reported that four liberal Colorado Supreme Court judges voted to remove Trump from their state’s ballot, pending Supreme Court review.
The following day, news broke that other states were looking to follow Colorado’s lead, including California, Maine, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.
The event was so momentous everyone from the political side of 𝕏 felled compelled to weight in.
A big focus was California, which acts as a trendsetter for other blue states. After the Colorado news, California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis called on California Secretary of State to “explore every legal option to remove former President Donald Trump from California's 2024 presidential primary ballot."
In contrast, California Governor Gavin Newsom defended Trump’s right to be on the ballot, saying, “There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy. But in California, we defeat candidates at the polls. Everything else is a political distraction.”
Joe Biden, who is trailing Trump in the polls and stands to gain the most from his removal, refused to condemn the Colorado ruling. Instead, he spoke in favor the court’s justification for removal, saying there is “no question” Trump supported an insurrection.
The Colorado ruling found that Trump violated the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who participated in insurrection from holding federal office. The law was passed after the Civil War and was aimed at former Confederate officials.
Consequently, the question over the ruling’s fairness hinges on whether Trump participated in an insurrection on January 6th, or if the events merely constituted a riot that happened tangential to the speech given by Trump.
Tucker Carlson argued for the latter view, observing that the J6 protesters did not bring any guns into the Capitol building, a surprising fact given that Trump supporters are commonly portrayed as violent 2A-loving extremists, and any genuine attempt to overthrow the government by such people would likely involve at least one firearm.
David Sacks pointed out that Trump has never been convicted of insurrection, nor even charged with the crime.
In a viral clip from his podcast, Sacks argued that the Colorado case reveals the true intention of the months-long lawfare campaign waged against Trump has been not to uphold the ideal of impartial justice, but keep him off the ballot.
Later, Sacks connected the various legal efforts against Trump to a statement by Joe Biden privately criticizing AG Merrick Garland as a “ponderous judge” for not pursuing Trump more aggressively.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald agreed, saying, “It is beyond dispute now that the primary tactic of the Democratic Party and their media allies for winning in 2024 is not to convince voters to vote for them, but instead to imprison their chief political opponent.” Greenwald called the decision "a huge moment for democracy."
RFK Jr also criticized the ruling for making America “look like a Banana Republic.”
In an interview with Charlie Kirk, Kennedy elaborated his view: “It's one of the craziest decisions that I've seen...Half the country wants to vote for Donald Trump. If another country did that, like Pakistan or Iran, we'd say that's not really a democracy. But we're doing it now. Listen, I'm not a huge fan of Donald Trump. That's why I'm running against him. But I don't want to beat him in a fixed fight.”
Trump’s competitors in the GOP primary were split on the ruling in their own way: Vivek pledged to remove himself from the ballot if Trump were blocked from running. Both Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley criticized the Colorado ruling but would not commit to doing the same.
For his own part, Trump took the opportunity to attack the decision on Truth Social, pointing to his call that his rally attendees protest “peacefully and patriotically.”
Strangely, the video was deleted by Twitter’s censorship team minutes after it was posted, and has not been restored even after Trump’s permanent ban was reversed by Elon.
The clip shows Trump at the White House after his speech, addressing his supporters at the Capitol building.
With the Iowa caucus coming up in just a few weeks, it seems like the entire political establishment, both left and right, is bent on destroying Trump’s candidacy in the name of democracy. If the past year gives any hint of what’s to come, there will probably be further measures taken to prevent Trump from participating in the 2024 election.
What do you think: is the Colorado ruling good or bad for democracy?
Tucker’s Alien Antfarm
Throughout December, Tucker Carlson has been driving the already wild conversation about UFOs and ETs to new and dizzying heights.
It started two weeks ago when Carlson told interviewer Clayton Morris that the US government’s involvement with aliens was one of two stories he was scared to cover.
Then last week, a short video of Carlson speaking on Tim Pool’s podcast went viral. In the clip, Carlson said, “It’s my personal belief based on a fair amount of evidence that they’re not aliens. They’re always been here. And I do think it’s spiritual.”
Later he added, “there are forces that are not human, that do exist in a spiritual realm of some kind that we cannot see, and that when you think about it make you think you live in an ant farm.”
In another interview with Breaking Points journalist Saagar Enjeti, Tucker said he believed both the US government and Vatican have had contact with alien-like beings.
The idea of ETs as interdimensional beings has been a recurring topic on UFO Twitter and other online spiritual communities for a while.
The notion has occasionally found its way into the memesphere, but for the most part it was relegated to the fringes...until now.
In recent years, Elon has broached the topic from a similar angle, mentioning the idea of living in an “alien soap opera” at least four times.
Tucker further pushed the envelope on Christmas Eve during a bizarre interview with Kevin Spacey titled “A Christmas Eve Election Surprise”.
In the interview, Spacey played his character Frank Underwood from House of Cards and advised Tucker, “we should remember the salient words of Benjamin Franklin, who said ‘do not believe anything of what you hear, and only half of what you see.’ ”
Spacey/Underwood went on to ask, “what’s true, what’s false? what’s life, what’s art? what’s real, what’s performance? I love it when these things intersect because then it gets interesting.”
Spacey's talk of performance mingling with reality overlaps with Tucker and Elon’s idea that we are playing in a drama for alien observers. All three are reminiscent of Shakespeare’s famous maxim that “All the world’s a stage.”
The thing about the “alien soap opera” theory of reality is that you can't prove it, but you can’t disprove it either. Whether true, false, or something in between, the idea of the alien antfarm is worth contemplating because it has the power to expand our perspective on what human life is, and might be.
What do you think: is the “alien soap opera theory” too crazy? Or does it sound about right?
Tuesday morning, Ye issued an apology to the Jewish community on Instagram, which he later reposted to 𝕏.
The post, written in Hebrew, reads as follows:
“I sincerely apologize to the Jewish community for any unintended outburst caused by my words or actions. It was not my intention to hurt or disrespect, and I deeply regret any pain I may have caused. I am committed to starting with myself and learning from this experience to ensure greater sensitivity and understanding in the future. Your forgiveness is important to me, and I am committed to making amends and promoting unity.”
It’s not clear what motivated Ye’s decision to apologize.
In mid-December, he was recorded in a viral clip bashing the “Zionist media.”
Ye’s new album Vultures is slated to drop December 31st.
Last night, in a surprising twist, GameStop CEO and meme-stock hero Ryan Cohen posted a response to Ye in the form of a book cover.
The book’s title includes the phrase “Words Can Never Hurt You” and could be interpreted as an acceptance of the apology, indicating that Ye’s harsh words toward the Jewish community did not cause any lasting damage.
Last year, Cohen released a series of “Teddy” children’s books to honor of his late father. GameStop investors have scoured the books for clues about Cohen’s plans for the company.
Ye has also been recently spotted with meme-stock booster and Cohen associate Bill Pulte. Cohen’s latest post intensified speculation that Ye is in some way connected to meme stocks.
Why do you think Ye apologized? Is there a connection between Ye and meme stocks?
Last week, this newsletter covered the anticipated release of 170 names of Jeffrey Epstein’s associates at the start of 2024.
Epstein has long been a topic of fascination on Twitter/𝕏. The news of imminent disclosure set off a shockwave on the site that has been reverberating ever since.
The chief debate on 𝕏 is about whether the list will lead deep down the rabbit hole Epstein’s multifarious dealings, or be a form of “limited hangout” that placates the public without revealing anything of real substance.
Below are a list of news items, videos, and memes that capture the sense of rising action in the Epstein story on 𝕏.
Tennessee congressman Tim Burchett told Benny Johnson that current members of Congress are still being blackmailed, and explains how congressional blackmail schemes work
Alex Jones predicted the list will send “shockwaves throughout the political structure”
An old clip resurfaced of a lawyer who represented Epstein’s victims talking about Trump’s role in the case
Here is a list of longer, rigorously empirical investigations into the Epstein phenomenon: (1) an hourlong podcast by Eric Weinstein about his experience meeting Epstein in which he hypothesizes Epstein to be a construct from the intelligence community, (2) an interview with journalist Whitney Webb, author of the book One Nation Under Blackmail, and (3) a 3-part podcast series by Martyr Made
Donald Trump talking about Epstein Island and the Clintons:
Joe Rogan sums up the Epstein phenomenon in one minute:
Luke Rudkowski on why Epstein will unite a divided America:
Joe Rogan on the relationship between Epstein and Harvard:
Meme Theory: Collapse
One of the more notable memetic trends on 𝕏 has been growing predictions of societal collapse.
To be sure, people have been predicting the apocalypse on Twitter/𝕏 basically since the site’s inception.
There’s usually an element of wish fulfillment to these prognostications too, as if the people warning of collapse are secretly urging it on so they’ll get to be right about everything, even if being right comes at the expense of human civilization itself.
A number of factors are contributing to the rising swell of collapse memes over the last few months.
First, 2024 is a Presidential election year in America. The last such election year was arguably one of the wackiest in human history, with a Presidential impeachment, a global pandemic, race-related protests, global anti-lockdown protests, a contested election, and the rise of an unprecedented censorship regime.
2020 was so zany that it produced as a sort of existential backwash in the form of the J6 events, a second presidential impeachment, and the meme stock bonanza during the first month of 2021. Three years later, the loose ends from 2020 are nowhere near close to being tied up.
Part of what’s driving collapse memes to circulate this time around is perception that many of the above-mentioned events were engineered to cause social chaos, and that humanity should anticipate similar shenanigans as we get nearer to 2024’s election, which is once more being advertised as “the most important election ever.”
Another factor in the rise of collapse memes is the fact that the meme of social chaos is being pushed through media channels.
Observers couldn’t help but note the release of the Netflix film Leave the World Behind earlier this month, oddly produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, about an apocalyptic cyber attack that cripples US communications systems.
The timing of the movie’s release on the verge of 2024 led many to conclude it was a form of “predictive programming”—the idea of media being used to seed the collective consciousness with the expectation that 2024 will be filled with chaos and strife, so that when chaos and strife arrive, people will accept it with complacence.
That thesis was fortified when, a few days later, another trailer released for an upcoming film called Civil War.
Wikipedia describes the film’s premise as “A family traveling across the United States struggles to survive during a near-future civil war where the government becomes a dystopian dictatorship and partisan extremist militias regularly commit political violence”
If all this wasn’t enough to stir 𝕏 into a fervor, on Christmas Eve CBS reporter Catherine Herridge predicted a black swan event in 2024: “I just feel a lot of concern that 2024 may be the year of a black swan event, this is a national security event with high impact and the results are very hard to predict.”
Herridge could be right or wrong, but it’s rare for such a dire pronouncement to be made over mainstream airwaves in the absence of concrete evidence to back them.
Further out on the fringe, news reports have gone viral of famous people building private bunkers.
These kind of reports have a way of taking hold of the hive mind out of all proportion to their actual significance.
Whether 2024 will match 2020’s intensity remains, for now, a matter of speculation.
Either way, Elon has picked up on the vibe in the memescape, posting and interacting with several memes on the topic of civilizational chaos.
After his Spaces event with Alex Jones—whose show largely revolves around the possibility of just such an event—Elon wrote, “I acquired the company [formerly known as] Twitter out of concern for civilizational risk. All bets are off if civilization collapses.”
His comment points to a key difference between 2020 and 2024: unlike in the past, there is a true free speech social media platform that allows people to discuss what is really going on in the world.
Something like 99.99% of humanity wants to live in peace and harmony on earth. As long as truth can be spoken by the masses, it’s unlikely all these people will be convinced to participate in chaos by a few mischief-makers.
As we head toward the new year, the collapse meme continues to enjoy a certain ironic vogue.
The fact that such memes are more humorous than ever before feels like a good sign: if people can laugh at the idea of collapse, they’ll be less likely to be meme’d into a state of actual social chaos.
They’re also a friendly reminder to be grateful for our present-day state of order.
Whatever happens in 2024, the world will benefit from a free-speech, comedy-loving platform like 𝕏, which allows like-minded optimists to come together, speak truthfully about the present, and devise ways to make the future even better.
Sometimes a meme is just a meme: the future looks bright.
2. Joe Rogan talks AI
3. Louis Farrakhan praises Donald Trump
4. Is wokeness enforced from above?
5. An evergreen comedy bit about wokeness and racism
6. Trump’s “poisoning the blood of our country” remark in two minutes
7. The All-In Podcast on the European Union's Digital Services Act censorship regime:
8. Is the federal government financially incentivizing the separation of families?
Dogey Treats: News Bites
Valuetainment named Elon its top media influencer in the world for 2023.
Is AI already in control of social media?
Vivek went viral for exchange at a campaign event about the LGBTQ movement.
CNN was caught manipulating a clip from an RFK rally to make him appear anti-Semitic.
A bipartisan movement is emerging within Congress to demand the DOJ drop its prosecution of Julian Assange.
Independent journalist Texas Lindsey said she’d spoken with someone from WikiLeaks who confirmed the DNC emails came from Seth Rich and not Russia.
China is reportedly developing thought-control weaponry.
Elon argued that so-called replacement theory is not a conspiracy, just a question of political incentives. Evidence that commercial airlines are being paid to transport migrants repeatedly went viral as the border crisis came back into the news. The White House denied that anything unusual is happening at the border. Elon asked what’s really happening at the border.
James O’Keefe released a video showing pharmaceutical company Sanofi discussing discriminatory hiring practices.
Argentina will reportedly allow trade deals to settle in Bitcoin.
Japan changed its tax code to allow companies to hold cryptocurrencies without paying tax on unrealized gains.
Hong Kong has singaled it will consider a spot Bitcoin ETF.
Vladimir Putin approved a new tax code which includes the Digital Ruble.
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said his country has submitted paperwork with the International Criminal Court to charge Israel with war crimes.
Israel has used a variety of tactics to win social media approval, including ads, bot farms, paid influencers, and courting celebs and influencers.
A UN general assembly vote to affirm Palestine’s right to statehood was 173 Yes, 4 No. The four countries voting “No” were US, Israel, Micronesia, and Nauru.
Memes of the Week
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