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xAI, XRP and the Torres Doctrine, RFK's Bioweapon Claim, Tucker Scorched Earth, Trump Trifecta
Twitter News Digest for the week of 7/12-7/18
This week’s digest covers Elon’s AI startup xAI, Ripple’s big win for crypto against the SEC, RFK Jr’s claims about ethnic bioweapons, Tucker Carlson going scorched earth on the GOP, and the possibility of another Trump indictment.
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Last week, Elon’s artificial intelligence startup xAI officially launched.
The goal of the project is to build a truth-seeking AI model.
The launch kicked off a lively dialogue on Twitter about what unanswered questions AI should be set to pursue.
In an amusing twist, the digits of xAI’s launch date added up to 42.
The fascination with number comes from the novel Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which a supercomputer declares it to be the answer to "the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.”
Last week, Elon expanded on his vision for xAI in two separate Twitter Spaces Events (summarized here and here). In both events, he emphasized his intention to build something that benefits “Team Humanity.”
Over the years, he has articulated two divergent outcomes for digital superintelligence.
The “benign scenario” has AI bringing about an Age of Abundance. The darker outcome could result in humanity’s enslavement or extinction.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson earlier this year, Elon framed xAI in terms of human survival: “I’m going to start something called TruthGPT, a maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe. And I think this might be the best path to safety in the sense that an AI that cares about understanding the universe is unlikely to annihilate humans because we are an interesting part of the universe.”
He also explained his concern about the current direction of AI: “I am worried about the fact that it’s being trained to be politically correct, which is simply another way of being untruthful.”
Right now, the big dog on the AI block is OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The model has been criticized for its political bias in refusing to say nice things about conservatives or give answers about controversial topics.
Elon, who founded OpenAI, has also questioned how it was able to transition from a non-profit to for-profit business.
In February, he posted a meme summing up the AI battleground.
What do you think: should AI be programmed to advance a political agenda, or pursue truth without bias? And is Elon the right guy for the job?
Ripple, the SEC, and the Torres Doctrine
In a landmark decision for the crypto industry on Thursday, federal Judge Analisa Torres ruled that sales of the digital token XRP are not considered securities.
In late 2020, the SEC initiated a lawsuit against blockchain company Ripple, accusing it of violating securities laws by selling XRP without first registering with the agency.
The SEC cited decades-old securities law called the Howey Test, written long before crypto existed.
The highly anticipated decision has been seen as a test for how much authority the SEC has over the crypto industry.
Ripple’s multi-pronged defense argued that the SEC never made rules for the crypto industry, negating its enforcement actions. In other words, the government has to make clear laws before it can punish people for breaking them.
After the decision, Ripple lead counsel Stuart Alderoty wrote, “The Judge’s decision affirms so much of what this industry is fighting for, and shows that the SEC does not have unbounded jurisdiction over crypto.”
Instead of writing rules, the agency pursued a strategy of regulation by enforcement by waiting until companies broke the law (in the SEC’s own private estimation) and then selectively filing lawsuits against the alleged offenders.
Ripple was one of the first and largest of the SEC’s targets, but not the only one. In 2023, the SEC has used the same strategy to go after other crypto companies. Torres’ ruling gives them reason to be optimistic.
Ripple’s fight was costly: the lawsuit cost the company over two hundred million dollars in legal fees alone.
Along the way, XRP lost tens of billions in market cap, hurting the financial standing of retail investors. While the SEC was expending effort trying to take down a legitimate company, it missed actual crypto fraud at FTX, Celsius, Terra Luna, and others.
For the near term, the ruling will likely benefit XRP more than any other asset.
In the bigger picture, there’s now strong legal precedent to curtail the SEC’s regulatory overreach. The case may also compel Congress to act by finally passing legislation that clarifies crypto’s legal standing.
XRP enjoyed a massive rally on the news, though the SEC refused to take the L.
Instead, the agency put out a bizarre press release claiming victory. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse responded by calling the SEC’s narrative “pathetic.”
Friday saw more favorable news for Coinbase in its own lawsuit against the SEC when a judge questioned why the agency approved the company to go public less than two years before accusing it of selling unregistered securities.
In recent comments, Gensler said the SEC was disappointed by Judge’ Torres’s decision to allow retail sales of XRP.
Yesterday, New York Congressman Ritchie Torres (no relation to Judge Torres) sent Gensler a letter urging him to stop his “reckless regulatory assault on the crypto industry.” In the letter, Congressman Torres said the case establishes The Torres Doctrine—legal precedent that “digital assets are not securities in the abstract and that [the SEC] lacks the legal authority to regulate digital assets untethered from an actual security offering.”
Tomorrow is the rollout of the Federal Reserve’s FedNow digital bank transfer service. FedNow is widely seen as the first step for a Central Bank Digital Currency, and XRP is designed to settle cross-border payments between digital currencies including but not limited to CBDCs.
In the larger crypto world, digital assets still seem primed to make a big leap forward in global adoption.
Bitcoin spot ETFs are on the horizon in Europe and Australia, and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink recently told an interviewer, “because it’s so international, it’s going to transcend any one currency valuation … we believe there’s great opportunities, and that’s why we’re seeing more and more interest, and the interest is broad-based, worldwide.”
The Ripple decision is a watershed moment for crypto, and much needed victory for an industry that has been under constant attack by the government this year. Let’s see what happens next!
RFK Bioweapons Claim
A week ago, RFK Jr held a press event in New York City.
During the event, which he claimed was off the record, he told reporters, “there’s an argument that [Covid-19] is ethnically targeted […] Because of the genetic structure [..] Covid-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”
To justify his claim, he referenced a peer-reviewed study showing differential impact of the virus on various ethnicities.
After the event, the NY Post ran an article interpreting the comments as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
Like clockwork, the rest of the media picked up the narrative.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said of RFK’s comments: “The claims made on that tape is false. It is vile. They put our fellow Americans in danger.”
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement aligning itself with the Post, in the process misinterpreting RFK’s words to mean that Covid was created by Jewish people: “The claim that COVID-19 was a bioweapon created by the Chinese or Jews to attack Caucasians and black people is deeply offensive and feeds into sinophobic and anti-semitic conspiracy theories about COVID-19 that we have seen evolve over the last three years.”
RFK’s full comments were recorded on video. Here they are:
In response to the Post’s story, Kennedy posted a multi-tweet statement refuting the newspaper’s interpretation: “This cynical maneuver is consistent with the mainstream media playbook to discredit me as a crank — and by association, to discredit revelations of genuine corruption and collusion.”
Later, he released a podcast with Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, who said, “I know that in your heart you feel a great closeness to the Jewish people, to the Jewish community, and to Israel […] you’re being portrayed as you said before, a crank, as a loony toon…but you’re brilliant. You know your facts.”
This is not the first time the specter of anti-semitism has been deployed against Kennedy. After he challenged vaccinologist Peter Hotez to debate the safety of vaccines last month, the media repeatedly compared him to a Holocaust denier as justification for shutting down the debate.
Lurking beneath the “anti-Semitism” controversy was a series of alarming questions that neither the Post nor any other outlet bothered to investigate: can governments actually make ethnically-targeted bioweapons or not? Are they doing so right now? Who gave them permission? Why?
Kennedy is not the only person to raise this possibility. In 2022, Democrat Congressman Jason Crow warned that genetic data from services like 23andMe could be purchased and used by geopolitical adversaries to weaponize pathogens to target specific people.
The story goes back further. In 2018, Vladimir Putin responded to a report that the US was developing genetic bioweapons that could target Russians.
He warned that such bioweapons could set off a biological arms race among competing nations with catastrophic consequences: “It is better to sit at a roundtable in advance and develop rules for this very sensitive subject.”
Russia has repeatedly cited the presence of US biolabs in Ukraine as justification for invading the country. Last year, State Department functionary Victoria Nuland confirmed the presence of the labs in Ukraine.
China and Russia have called on UN to conduct an official inquiry into the Ukrainian labs. In March 2022, an official from China’s Defense Ministry said “The US owes the world a clear explanation” for why it was conducting secretive bioweapons research overseas.
So far, the US and its allies have used their power to block any UN investigation from happening.
Realistically, 99.99% of the world population does not want the US or any other country developing bioweapons, much less ethnically targeted ones.
Whatever clandestine or rogue government elements are allowing any bioweapons research to happen (whether they be Chinese, American, or someone else) should be held accountable.
The possibility that they are operating in secrecy, and/or using vaccine development as a cover, suggests bad faith.
In 2023 America, accusations of racism are usually accompanied by attempts at cancellation.
Reading between the lines, the media’s attack on RFK looks like cynical weaponization of an anti-Semitism accusation to knock down his campaign and distract from a far more alarming story.
All in all, the episode looks like another case where the demand for racism exceeds the supply.
Distractions aside, the true origins of the coronavirus continues to be a point of inflection in public debate.
Government agencies such as the FBI and DOE have concluded the virus likely came from Wuhan Institute of Virology, but media still refers to the Lab Leak hypothesis as a “conspiracy theory.”
In September, RFK will release his follow-up to The Real Anthony Fauci. It will be interesting to see what evidence he gives to substantiate his claims.
Tucker Demolishes GOP Hopefuls
Over the weekend, Tucker Carlson hosted interviews with several GOP Presidential hopefuls.
The interviews produced a series of viral moments in which the candidates were revealed to be radically out of touch with the will of ordinary conservative voters.
First up was South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who was exposed as a war hawk. Under intense questioning, Scott repeatedly instead it was in America’s national interests to degrade the Russian military at taxpayer expense.
But neither compared to Carlon’s demolition of the candidacy of former VP Mike Pence.
Carlson asked Pence why he seemed to think it was more important to send tanks to Ukraine than fix declining standards in American cities.
Pence responded with the career-ending line, “that’s not my concern.”
After the dust settled, Carlson earned plaudits for speaking truth to power.
Comedian Dave Smith said the episodes revealed a deeper truth about how political debate is typically manufactured in America.
Carlson is currently raising funds to start a new media company that could be anchored to Twitter. Stay tuned.
Yesterday, Donald Trump put out a press release claiming that he expects to be arrested once again.
This time, Trump is the target of a Grand Jury investigation relating to January 6th.
If it comes to pass, the indictment will be Trump’s third this year.
As the nation gears up for the 2024 election, the war between Trump and the permanent government shows no signs of cooling.
Dogey Treats: News Bites
Testifying before congress, FBI Director Christopher Wray refused to answer if FBI agents were in the crowd during January 6th or the status of the J6 pipe bomber. He acknowledged the FBI obtained gun purchase records of J6 suspects from Bank of America without a warrant. An FBI agent testified under oath that the agency is holding back the release of 11,000 hours of J6 footage because it would expose undercover agents committing crimes inside the Capitol.
The FBI got community noted for an inaccurate Twitter post claiming it is “not in the business of policing speech.” RFK posted an article about intelligence agencies buying Americans’ private data from cell phone companies.
Donald Trump announced he is hosting a screening of “Sound of Freedom” at his Bedminster, NJ golf club today. The press release touted Trump’s record against human trafficking. The smash movie was on track to break $100M in ticket sales as of Sunday. The author of Bloomberg’s hit peice against the film was found to have a history of defending pedophilia and so-called “Minor Attracted People.”
In response to a video claiming that Vanguard and BlackRock constitute a shadow government, Elon wrote, “There is a crazy amount of control that passive/index fund managers have over publicly traded companies.”
The Secret Service concluded its investigation about cocaine at the White House by finding no suspects. Dave Smith summarized the story, “I can’t stop thinking about how disgusting this cocaine at the WH story is. Lazy Republicans are in love with talking about it because it makes Biden look bad and it’s the perfect excuse to not talk about anything that actually matters [….] The actual scandal is that the federal government has been at war with this substance for fifty fucking years. Every city in every state has people sitting in cages for decades for the crime of having or selling this substance, yet when it hits the WH, no one will be punished because they know it doesn’t really matter. Every branch of government, every news organization has people who will be using cocaine today, in it. They’ll be fine but poor people will literally have their lives ruined over it.”
After NATO refused to give Ukraine a timeline for membership, a photo of President Zelensky went viral as a meme. Joe Biden told Zelensky, “The bad news for you is that we're not going anywhere. You are stuck with us." Biden issued an order for 3000 US reserve troops troops to report for active duty in Europe.
The White House came out in opposition to Congressional oversight of weapons transfers to Ukraine; Elon took note. Congressman Matt Gaetz introduced an amendment to to halt unding for the Ukraine-Russia war. Biden Administration announced $1.3B more aid to Ukraine. Socialist Cornel West told CNN that the US should push for peace because NATO provoked the war through expansion. David Sacks clashed with neocons over the war.
A new release of the Twitter Files looked at the organizations attacking RFK Jr as a spreader of disinformation.
A congressional panel revealed that the FTC has been harassing Twitter with excessive document requests, including asking for any internal communication that mentions Elon Musk. Accounting firm Ernst & Young disclosed it feared retaliation from the Biden Administration if it did not produce negative evidence against Twitter. Elon said the FTC’s overreach is “Extremely concerning,” while Twitter filed a motion to terminate the FTC’s “burdensome and vexatious” investigation.
Russell Brand broke down the mainstream media’s divergent coverage of Twitter and Threads.
Twitter released an update on hate speech. The post said an AI-based model found that hate speech continues to trend downward on the platform.
Tesla is launching Phase 2 of its Berlin Gigafactory, designed to expand production to an annual capacity of one million vehicles.
Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter to the SEC asking for an investigation into conflicts of interest in Elon’s work for Tesla and Twitter.
Tesla received two contracts totaling $413M to build Megapack battery facilities in Massachusetts.
Global Financial System
India and the UAE signed an agreement to settle trade in Rupees and Dirhams instead of dollars. Saudi Arabia continues to import record quantities of Russian oil. India and Russia suspended negotiations to settle trade in Rupees.
US inflation fell to 3%, its lowest level since early 2021.
The US House will introduce a Digital Asset Market Structure bill this week and vote on it next week.Google Play changed its policy to allow developers to incorporate NFTs and other digital assets into their apps and games. Senators Lummis and Gillibrand released their new crypto bill. The DOJ moved $305M worth of Bitcoin previously seized from the Silk Road dark market.
Elon highlighted a post claiming that Chinese real estate developer Evergrande has lost $81B in the last two years.
Jim Cramer said he doesn’t see a recession on the horizon. Elon tweeted, “Uh oh.”
Attorney Aaron Siri argued that flu shots do not have clinical trial data to support being recommended for pregnant women.
Vaccinologist Peter Hotez reiterated his stance that scientists don’t debate and bemoaned the state of social media: “If I'm on Twitter I turn off my replies. Twitter has become especially toxic...I use social media as just one of several tools to get people to understand what the anti-vax, anti-science movement is about.”
The language of reality: holographic vibration
Does intermittent fasting reverse biological age?
Do parasites cause cancer?
Joe Rogan posted an article about a study claiming the universe is 26 billion years old, making it twice as old as previously thought.
RFK posted a clip of his interview with Jordan Peterson about the weaponization of the climate change movement
A song about the airplane #TMFINR lady went viral.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation to create a review board for declassifying UFO documents. Check out this interesting clip from Area 51 whistleblower Bob Lazar talking about the “suppression of extremely advanced technology, and the suppression of unknown science”
Disney CEO Bob Iger said, “the notion that Disney is in any way sexualizing children quite frankly, is preposterous and inaccurate."
NY Post reported that former JPMorgan excecutive Jes Staley had a “profound” relationship with Jeffrey Epstein
A video of Andrew Tate appearing to lie to Tucker Carlson went viral. Elon weighed in: “He should have his day in court, but the allegations, and some things he has admitted saying, are troubling.”
Memes of the Week
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