🌊 China to Dark Side of the Moon

Plus: Big Foot closes school in Ohio

Oh no, Tom Brady almost pulled a Will Smith.

At last night's roast of Tom Brady on Netflix, comedian Jeff Ross made a Robert Kraft joke that the 7-time Super Bowl winner didn’t love. "‘I’m the best decision your organization has ever made’,” Ross recounted a rookie Tom Brady telling Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Then he delivered the punchline, “Would you like a massage?” Brady went up to the podium and whispered to a visibly rattled Jeff Ross, “Don’t say that s*** again.” Come on, Jeff! Keep his owner’s name out your mouth!

🇨🇳 China heads to dark side of the Moon

🏫 Big Foot closes school in Ohio

🎓 Graduation Protests

–Max, Max, and Alex


China to the Moon

No country has ever brought samples back from the far side of the Moon. On Friday, China launched a mission that seeks to do so within two months

  • The moon’s far (“dark”) side is not visible from Earth and is harder to explore than the near side because its remoteness prevents communication via direct radio signals from Earth

  • China claims to have pioneered a new satellite system that solves this problem, though, and on Friday, it launched an unmanned spacecraft that seeks to become the first to bring back a Moon rock sample from the Moon’s far side

Dig Deeper

  • The mission commander called the Friday evening launch a “perfect success”

  • The spacecraft is expected to reach the moon’s surface in four days, after which the lander will use an arm to drill into the lunar surface and fill a sample container with 4.4 pounds (2 kgs) of rocks and dirt, which it will bring back to Earth for research

  • The total mission is expected to take 53 days


Trump Speaks On Issues

In an interview with Time, Donald Trump talked about immigration, Israel, and abortion

  • Regarding immigration, he said the US is facing “an invasion like probably no country has ever seen before,” and that he would use the police and National Guard to arrest migrants – beginning with known criminals – and deport them to where they’re from

  • On Israel, Trump said he’s “not sure a two-state solution anymore is gonna work,” and said “Israel has done one thing very badly: public relations”

  • On abortion, Trump said he opposes a federal ban: “I'm leaving everything up to the states”

Dig Deeper

  • Trump claimed that undocumented migrants “aren’t civilians,” and that he would give immunity to the police so they can pursue deportations

  • Trump also said that he “had a bad experience with Bibi [Netanyahu]” and blamed the Israeli prime minister for pulling out of a plan to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the last minute

  • “I was not happy about that. That was something I never forgot. And it showed me something,” Trump said, adding that Netanyahu “rightfully has been criticized for what took place on October 7”


To Seize or Not to Seize

Western countries are debating whether to start seizing frozen Russian assets

  • Western countries have frozen $280B+ in Russian assets since February 2022. The countries haven’t seized the assets, though, because doing so could spark political and legal challenges and dissuade countries from keeping assets in the West

  • Western countries are now considering a plan to seize the profits earned by the assets, rather than the assets themselves, and fund aid to Ukraine with the proceeds. The plan comes as EU countries warn of Russian sabotage attacks against their infrastructure

Dig Deeper

  • As the countries debate this, European intelligence agencies are warning that Russia is preparing a series of bombings, fires, and other attacks on European infrastructure

  • In recent weeks, Sweden has experienced a series of train derailments, the UK experienced an arson attack against a warehouse containing aid for Ukraine, and Germany arrested two people accused of plotting attacks on military and logistics sites

  • European intelligence agencies are saying that those attacks are part of a growing Russian effort to attack infrastructure across Europe, and European intelligence officials told the Financial Times that they believe Russia is increasingly willing to kill European civilians in its attacks


Rafah Evacuation Begins

As ceasefire talks stall, Israel threatened an imminent invasion of Rafah and began ordering its residents to evacuate

  • Delegations from Hamas and Israel had been in Egypt considering a ceasefire proposal. On Sunday, though, the sides adjourned at an apparent impasse: Hamas is demanding a permanent Israeli withdrawal, which Israel won’t accept

  • On Sunday, Israel’s defense minister said, “We have identified alarming signs that Hamas actually does not intend to go for any agreement framework.” He added, “What this means is an operation in Rafah…in the very near future”

  • On Monday, Israel began ordering Rafah’s civilians to evacuate. The city reportedly contains 1.5M+ civilians, four Hamas brigades, thousands of additional Hamas members, and Hamas’ leaders

Dig Deeper

  • Rafah is allegedly Hamas’ last stronghold, however, any offensive there is likely to be extremely complicated, given the dense civilian population

Some Quick Stories for the Office

⚖️ Michael Cohen – Trump’s former attorney and the star witness in the New York “hush money” trial against Trump – has been livestreaming on TikTok throughout the trial, saying, among other things, Trump “belongs in a f*cking cage.” Legal analysts have said his posts risk prompting a mistrial

📉 New Labor Department data show the US added 175,000 jobs in April, below the 240,000 economists had expected and the 300,000 added in March

📱Elon Musk restored Nick Fuentes – a white nationalist political commentator – to X. Musk said of that decision: “He will be reinstated, provided he does not violate the law, and let him be crushed by the comments and Community Notes. It is better to have anti whatever out in the open to be rebutted than grow simmering in the darkness”

📢 Israel’s government closed the Israeli operations of Al Jazeera, a Qatari news outlet that is generally hostile to Israel. Israeli authorities raised its office after the decision was made

🎓 Students draped in Palestinian flags disrupted the University of Michigan’s graduation, triggering a mixture of boos and cheers from the thousands in attendance. At the University of Virginia, police used pepper spray to disperse protesters and arrested 25 people who refused to clear an encampment. And at the University of Southern California, police conducted a pre-dawn raid to clear an encampment

⛈️ Flooding has killed 75+ people in southern Brazil and 288+ people in Kenya. In Kenya, over 200,000 people are displaced; in Brazil, nearly 100,000 are. Many are missing in both places

Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🆓 Free Deez: Deez-Nuts Kroll, a 42-year-old man from Wisconsin, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct charges

🏇 Derby fever still hot: 156,710 people attended Churchill Downs to witness Mystik Dan’s photo finish victory at the 150th Kentucky Derby, the highest since 157,813 people attended in 2018

Bayer Neverloosen: German soccer club Bayer Leverkusen, the Bundesliga champions, extended their unbeaten streak to 48 matches across all competitions on Sunday

💀 Average school day in Ohio: A person wearing a Bigfoot costume triggered a lockdown in an Ohio county school district when they walked around campus

✌️ Better call Saul’s home phone: A budget crunch is forcing the Washington, DC Public Defender Service to furlough all employees one day a week this summer

Roca Wrap
Roca Votes: Who Should Speak?

Last week, we interviewed Winston Marshall – former guitarist and banjo player for “Mumford and Sons” – who was pushed out of the band for tweeting his support for a book by conservative journalist Andy Ngo criticizing Antifa. Marshall now runs a podcast and hosts a debate-focused festival, the Dissident Dialogues.

In our conversation, we asked Marshall who he wouldn’t let debate at his festival. 

Marshall responded, “There's some topics I just don't see the point in. I think race IQ….I don't see what's to be gained from that…For me, it's a very icky conversation. Now, maybe that means that I'm, you know, a p*ssy and not really a dissident after all…[but] I don't want eugenics at my event or anything to do with it.”

He continued: “I do believe in free speech and I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to talk about that, but…I also believe in constructive conversations and I think that conversations should have something positive. There should be something meaningful that we can all agree on.”

Then he turned the question back on us: “What about you? Who would you not have on the show?”

“The more an idea is silenced, the more traction it gains,” one of Roca’s three co-founders, Max Frost, replied to Marshall. 

“If it were 1939 and Hitler wanted to tell the American people his beliefs, shouldn't the American people have been aware of what he thought?”

Max Towey, one of Roca’s other co-founders, said, “We're always going to skew people who are acting in good faith, who are smart. And good faith is a key qualifier.”

He added that context matters: Giving Vladimir Putin a stage at a conference is different than interviewing him as a journalist.

Marshall responded, “I think it's very good to interview Putin, even at a conference, because to not interview him assumes that the audience is stupid and can't work out for themselves whether something's evil or not.”

But, Marshall added, “There are some characters I wouldn't [give a platform to].”

“I wouldn't have Nick Fuentes anywhere near. That guy, I f*cking hate him.”

Fuentes is a white supremacist political commentator who in 2022 dined with Donald Trump and Kanye West at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. 

Just this weekend, Elon Musk restated Fuentes to X, writing, “He will be reinstated, provided he does not violate the law, and let him be crushed by the comments and Community Notes. It is better to have anti whatever out in the open to be rebutted than grow simmering in the darkness.”

Marshall added, “Another person I don't necessarily know that much but I just don't find interesting is Andrew Tate. I don't think he's got anything interesting to say and I don't think he's adding anything of value.”

Tate is a social media personality who often criticizes women and currently faces charges for human trafficking, rape, and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.

We wanted to share this section of the conversation so you could share your thoughts: Who should be allowed to speak? Who shouldn’t be? On what principles should that decision be based? 

That question is the subject of this week’s Roca debate. We’re curious and excited to hear your thoughts. Send that by replying to this email!

Final Thoughts

We hope you all had great weekends. We’re very curious to hear your thoughts on today’s Roca Votes, so send them over and lets get the discussion started!!

— Max, Max, and Alex