All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg - E4: Politicizing the pandemic, Police reform, Biden's ideal VP, Twitter vs. Facebook on free speech & more with David Sacks & David Friedberg

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All right, everybody, welcome back to the All In Podcast.

We’re here with Chamath Palihapitiya, David Friedberg,

and David Sachs.

Our usual foursome as we chop up the business news

and what’s going on.

And just as a point of order, the frequency of the show

is, well, don’t ask me.

As we feel like it.

As we feel like it, correct.

So do not ask me to advertise on the podcast

because Chamath banned advertising.

And do not ask me when the next one is.

The next one is when Chamath decides

he wants to go on a rant.

But how are you holding up, Bestie C?

Bestie C is doing pretty well.


And the family, everything?

Have you come out of quarantine in any way?

So the first question I have for people is,

has your behavior changed now as we go into,

I think what most people are calling phase two?

Any change in what you’re doing and the risk

you’re willing to take?


It’s a really good question.

I’ve kind of ventured out a little bit.

But I just kind of put on a mask.

The only place I don’t wear a mask is when

I walk around my house.

Just because it’s, you know, I live in the suburbs.

And so there’s just so much space between people

that you don’t really run into anybody.

But if I have to go to Walgreens or CVS or whatever,

I always bring a mask and gloves.

So I’ve ventured out a little bit.

But nothing meaningful, to be quite honest.

And Saxe, you’re still out of the country

in an undisclosed location.

How are you feeling about what risks you’re willing to take?

You know, small groups of people?

Are you going out to a restaurant?

Are you seeing other people?

How do you look at the risk you’re

willing to take personally?

I’ve adjusted my risk profile, I think, quite a bit.

So I mean, the learning over the past few months

was just that the fatality rate for, say,

relatively healthy people under 50 without risk factors

is 50 times lower than, say, someone over 60

or someone who has risk factors.

And so I’m not being reckless.

But I’m willing to kind of re-engage

in social behavior among groups of friends.

And on the theory that all of my friends have been locked down,

I was in total lockdown for two months.

So have my friends.

And so, you know.

I have several questions.

The first is, I mean, how old are you?

You look like 90, roughly.

How old are you exactly?

So how do the risk factors apply to you?

Second, you have friends.

Both of these things.

Well, we know there’s three on this call.

Oh, Saxy Poo, I love you.

I miss you.

No, I mean, you raise a good point.

I mean, my physical age might be 90,

but my lungs are only 48 years old.

And so hopefully my lungs qualify

in that under 50 category.

So I’ve been playing golf with friends.

I’ve kind of widened the circle of people

I’m willing to let into my quarantine, basically.

By a dozen?

By 100?

How would you?

By about, I’ve actually let in, not all at once,

but at different times, probably about 20 people.

Got it.

So you feel comfortable.

And those people, you do ask them, have you quarantined?

Have you been wearing masks?

Have you been tested?

Or are you just like, you kind of?

I mean, I generally know that people have,

I mean, now this may change over the next few months,

but everyone’s been kind of under shelter in place.

And so if you were gonna start to socializing

with your friends, this would be the safest time to do it

because everybody has been sort of locked down

to some degree and most places have been closed.

And so, if your friends haven’t gotten it,

they’re probably pretty safe.

All right, swinging over to you, Dave Friedberg,

tell me what you think of Saks’ position.

Obviously, Chamath’s still in quarantine,

venturing off to the store once in a while.

Saks opening up to 20 people or whatever

in small groups playing golf outdoors,

but I’m assuming he’s not having

like an indoor party for 50, obviously.

How would you look at the risk he’s taking

and what risk are you taking, Friedberg,

personally in your life?

I’m not too dissimilar.

I’ve got about eight buddies coming over

to the pool this afternoon.

We’re gonna do kind of like a Father’s Day hang session,

but we’re gonna be outside.

And I’ve done a lot of hiking without masks

and going outside without masks.

I’m not really too concerned about outdoor behavior.

There was a good analysis done that showed

in tracing cases where they actually found the origin

of where transmission occurred, 97% occurred indoors.

So generally speaking, like outdoor activity to me

is like pretty reasonable to do.

So I’m pretty free with like doing stuff outside,

meeting friends outside, hanging out by the pool,

and I’ve had a bunch of people come by and hang out.

And then indoor stuff, I try and avoid.

So if I’m gonna go into a supermarket or a grocery store,

I’ll wear a mask and I’ll be in there

as short a time period as I need to be.

And I’m certainly not going into restaurants

and stuff like that.

But you would sit outdoor.

Is that a restaurant?

I would assume if the tables were six feet apart,

would you go to a restaurant and sit in a restaurant?

Yeah, I’m not rushing to do that just yet.

There’s just something a little bit weird

about the way some of those are configured,

but generally, yes, like outdoor seems fine,

but like the way they set it up,

it’s almost like you’re exposing yourself

to a bunch of people around you

because they’re pretty confined spaces

that they’re setting up these tables at.

But yeah, sunlight and wind effectively

will break apart the protein that is the virus

and you will not have this kind of infectious viral particle.

And so that’s a pretty well-understood thing at this point.

But it’s not spoken about as much by public health officials

because they don’t wanna kind of mitigate the concern

and they don’t want people to start taking off masks

and taking on very risky behavior.

But yeah, generally speaking,

I think kind of like outdoor behavior

is pretty safe and non-transmissible.

The risky stuff I’m doing is we had just having like folks

come back to the house and that’s where I kind of still

try and draw the line, which is having people in the house

and you don’t know where they’ve been.

And so that’s a little bit concerning.

Inside the house, the spittle particles with COVID-19,

any of them, if they did, would be lingering.

That is what, I’m sorry to be graphic,

but that is the concern, correct, Freeberg?

Is that when you’re outdoors, the spittle would blow away

and the particles are in the skin.

I mean, it really does evaporate.

So the liquid that holds the protein,

because the protein needs to be in a liquid

to kind of maintain its integrity,

when that evaporates and it’ll evaporate from wind

or from sun and that protein will degrade,

it becomes kind of a non-infectious particle at that point.

And so when you’re inside

and you don’t have those mechanisms,

that particle can just float around in the air

and that’s how it gets spread.

And that’s why in the tracing work that was done,

it shows like 97% of cases happen

in an indoor environment just like this.

And I don’t believe in the six foot thing.

I think it’s bullshit.

Like if you’re six foot away from someone in a room,

people are coughing and that room gets filled

with those particles over a one hour period.

It doesn’t matter if you’re fucking six feet away

or 20 feet away, that stuff’s in the air.

So this whole notion about like,

hey, distance yourself in a restaurant, an indoor space,

it’s like, no, that’s actually not gonna necessarily

solve a problem.

Maybe if someone immediately sneezed, you’ll avoid it.

But I mean, certainly SACS’s advocacy for masks-

Hey, Freeburgers, is that an aura ring you’re wearing?

Yeah, have you tried it?

Yeah, I actually just bought it a few weeks ago

and I’ve been using it to monitor my sleep.

But there was an article that said that,

I think that all the NBA players

are going to be given these aura rings as well

because it can apparently detect coronavirus

three days ahead of other ways

because it can see a change

in your basal sort of body temperature.

Yeah, so UCSF ran this data with them

and they developed this algorithm

that they think is pretty predictive.

So we’ll see if it works in production,

but yeah, that’s the theory.

Well, there’s also this connected thermometer

that if you use it, I forgot the name of it,

it sends all the data to a central repository

and they’ve been able to predict it as well.

And this just, when we look at how the government-

I think it’s called rectitemp.

Rectitemp, it has to go in your rectum.

Just whatever’s going on in your rectum,

it goes right to the government.

But this is an interesting thing

when you think about low-cost ways to deal with this.

The amount of money we poured into the system, Chamath,

is so great that if we just sent

every single person in America an aura ring

or one of these thermometers and said,

just take your temperature all the day,

we would know where the outbreaks were

and that would be a lot less expensive

than a lot of the stimulus we’re doing

to try to cure what’s going on.

Do you agree that we should maybe include that

in some sort of approach?

Look, I think the basic issue is that

something really odd has happened in the United States

and we were talking about this in our group chat,

which is that we have managed to find a way

to politicize absolutely everything.

And some things, for example, like universal basic income

or what is our national policy towards China,

those are political issues.

But things of public health,

when they get sort of distorted

and viewed through a political lens or just idiotic,

we view masks as a political statement.

We would view these aura rings as people being afraid

that the government was going to track them.

So we’ll find every good,

we’ll find a lot of excuses in order to blow up

any good idea at this point

because we can politicize anything

and we do it better than any other country in the world.

And I think, you know, it’s an interesting point

you make there, and I’m gonna go to you in a second, Sax.

If you pull up my computer for a second, Nick,

one thing I cannot understand when I watch the media

or I watch this discussion,

and we haven’t seen Dr. Fauci in about 60 days,

I don’t know where they buried him,

but he’s been put in a bunker somewhere,

but the number of deaths in the United States

continues to go down massively.

Now, I know New York was a big outbreak

and that contributes to it,

if you look and you compare deaths to new cases,

you know, the new cases has increased in some regions

and testing has gone way up.

So in trying to interpret this data,

I don’t understand why there’s not somebody saying,

listen, here’s the good news, deaths are going way down,

testing is going way up,

and here’s what we should take from that.

Sax, I think you and I might be slightly different sides

of the aisle when it comes to politics.

How do you look at this in terms of leadership

at a federal level and then the media

and how, you know, to Chamath’s point, we politicize this?

Yeah, well, I agree that things get overly politicized

and mass is a really good example.

It’s just a really common sense, easy solution.

You know, I wrote a blog that we covered on this pod

two and a half months ago,

saying that I thought mass should be,

public mass wearing should be policy.

You know, it should be the law.

Little did I know that I was taking a left-wing position.

Yeah, oops.

Did you lose any friends over that?

Right, right.

Is Peter Thiel still talking to you?

I mean, I know you guys have me on the show

as the token right winger,

but actually I just appeared at CNN,

just asked me to be on the show today

to explain why mass should be policy.

So I just thought that was a common sense thing.

You know, I’m normally very receptive

to libertarian arguments,

but, you know, like we talked about,

the boundaries of libertarianism are, you know,

you only have the freedom to wave your arms

until your fist hits my nose, you know?

And something similar is true

about when your infectious particles hit my nose.

You know, there are reasonable boundaries to freedom there

in the interest of other people’s health.

And, you know, that blog,

a lot of public pronouncements about COVID

have not aged very well over the last couple of months.

I think that blog actually has aged pretty well

by comparison, because you just look at all the countries

that have been successful at fighting COVID.

I mean, Japan has 135 million people.

It’s an old population,

and they’ve had under a thousand deaths.

South Korea, 51 million people, under 300 deaths.

You take a Western European nation like Czech Republic,

they had a huge COVID outbreak,

it spiked just like the rest of Europe.

They went all in on mask-wearing,

and they’ve completely controlled the virus.

It’s knocked out.

And so it’s really crazy to me

that we just can’t get on the same page as a country

about something as obvious and easy as mask-wearing.

And it’s because the left wants to get to the point

that Trump out of office so badly,

and they’re so triggered by him,

and they hate him so much,

whether that’s valid or not, we’ll leave aside,

that they want to, and then he wants to say no masks.

I don’t understand his motivation.

What do you think Trump is thinking,

and who’s advising him that he should be anti-mask?

I think somehow it’s, for the right,

it’s become an act of defiance.

And I understand that to some degree,

because I do think that the lockdowns went on too long.

I think with 2020 hindsight,

we would say that the lockdowns weren’t necessary

if we had just gone all in on a mask policy.

That’s what they did in Japan, right?

And so the problem with kind of the politicians in charge

is that, well, backing up a second,

I think the right policy is to end lockdowns but wear masks.

And the problem with the politicians

is half of them didn’t want to end lockdowns,

and the other half didn’t want to wear masks.

And that’s kind of the weird way

in which it’s become this political football.

So Trump was trying to do this as an act of defiance.

What was the left trying to accomplish, do you think?

What would be your cynical or charitable approach

to their reaction to this and locking down so severely?

Well, I think that, what was the purpose of lockdowns?

I think it was the, I think the initial reaction was,

it was based on what happened in Italy, right?

And so in Italy, you kind of had this worst case scenario

where the hospital system got overwhelmed,

tremendous fatality rate from the virus.

And then we started to see the same thing happening

in New York.

And I think locking down briefly in New York

to get a handle on the situation, I think was justified.

I don’t think, again, with 20-20 hindsight

that we needed to do it anywhere else in the country

if we had instead just worn masks.

Do you think the left, though,

perpetrated a perpetual lockdown?

This is the most cynical view that I’ve heard.

And I don’t think you hear this often.

And that’s part of why we do this podcast

is to sort of explore these kind of takes

that you hear on the inside, but not maybe on CNN.

The cynical interpretation was they wanted to keep lockdown

to crash the economy, to make Trump look bad,

to get him out of the office.

Do you think there’s anything valid to that argument?

You know, I don’t know.

Yeah, I mean, I don’t, it’s certainly possible.

I think that it’s possible, though,

that the left just kind of underweights,

you know, the economic damage of lockdowns.

You know, I heard a lot of arguments about,

from the left, that if you wanted to end lockdowns,

then you care more about money than lives.

And you can’t put a price on a life,

which is literally what we do all the time.

Like insurance, healthcare, we put a price on life.

Free bird.

But I was never in favor of doing nothing.

I mean, I, you know, I was tweeting weeks ago

that we should end lockdowns, but wear a mask.

And so my argument would be, look at Japan.

You do more for lives and the economy

by having a mask policy instead of lockdowns.

Free bird, what’s your take on Saks’ take?

No, I don’t disagree.

I mean, I, you know, I’m not a great expert

on kind of the politics and, you know,

I can kind of comment on policy, I think,

in terms of what I think is reasonable and not.

I certainly, you know, thought that the lockdowns

were unreasonable in the extent,

but then the problem was they weren’t followed,

so they were all for waste.

And, you know, what happened-

So the worst of all, the worst of all outcomes.

Yeah, but there wasn’t a huge,

like until they actually went into effect,

there wasn’t a huge amount of debate about this.

It was just like, oh shit,

we better all go into lockdown.

What happens, this is almost like the human conscious

and unconscious mind, like, you know,

the conscious mind rationalizes

what the unconscious already decided to do.

So everyone freaked out.

Everyone had a great deal of fear.

We shut everything down.

And then the left and the right

had their own rationalization after the fact about,

you know, what that meant.

Was it good?

Was it bad?

Did we overreact?

Did we underreact?

Should we have done more?

And so I feel like the narrative is told

a little bit too late here,

where we all kind of like have these commentaries

about left and right politics after the fact.

And, you know, I don’t think it’s really meaningful,

to be honest.

It’s just almost like, let’s fill in the what happened story

with our own point of view based on our tribe

or whatever we sit in.

So Chamath, how do we get out of this now?

Because the deaths are going down.

No, no, no, we’re out.

We’re out, we’re out.

The genie is out of the bottle.

Look, the reality is there is not a single country

government that can tolerate future lockdowns

because I think the populations will revolt.

And so we’re going to have to deal with cases

as they crop up.

And we’re going to have to deal

with infection rates popping up.

And, you know, we’ll have to deal

with this bursty economic landscape.

Today, Apple just announced

they’re closing a bunch of stores in a few states.

I’m sure they’ll reopen them in a few weeks.

But we’re going to be in this sort of start and stop mode

now for the foreseeable future.

But it’s just not possible to ask people now

to go back into any form of quarantine or shelter in place.

I just don’t think they’ll do it.

Right, and people only do lockdowns

until there’s some activity that they want to engage in

that they think is essential, right?

And so you saw with the protests,

if you believe that the civil rights protests are essential,

you believe that you’re out of lockdown.

And, you know, and if you want to go to a Trump rally,

you believe that’s essential and you’re out of lockdown.

And so, you know, so everybody,

and you know, you had the case in Texas

of the woman who wanted to open her haircut salon.

And so, you know, you were never going to get good compliance

with a lockdown plan.

In addition to the damage and destruction it caused,

it was never very effective

because people weren’t willing to do it.

And I think the big public policy mistake here

was the politicians squandering their credibility

on lockdowns that were never very feasible.

Instead of just going all in on masks

and it would have been a lot cheaper.

By the way, the other thing is we need to push mask

wearing back into a public health debate.

And, you know, Newsom yesterday, Gavin Newsom,

the governor of California,

basically said masks are not mandatory in California.

The thing is you have to add fines if you don’t wear them

where, you know, people can be cited and fined.

And then the other thing, and David, you said this earlier,

is you have to be criminally culpable at some level

if you go out of your way to not wear a mask

and infect somebody.

And there is a bunch of, you know,

case law on how this can be true.

And so I think that, you know,

we need to solve these things

because you need to have good hygiene around mask wearing

and what the consequences are if you choose to not wear one.

Well, you know, Chamath,

it’s interesting you bring that up.

There have been cases of people

purposely infecting people with the HIV virus

and going to jail for it and being liable for it.

So there is, I think, and I’m not a lawyer.

What’s the difference?

What’s the difference?

Coughing in somebody’s face versus having sex with them

when you know you’re infected.

What is the difference?

Well, I don’t know if you saw this viral video

of the Karen, which is a slag.

So many Karens these days.

So many Karens.

And Aunt Karen just like got upset

that somebody was calling her out

for not wearing a mask in a cafe

and she literally coughed on the person.

And did you see that video?

How is this person not in jail?

I mean, it’s-

I think it was in New York, right?

In Brooklyn.

I think it was New York

and the woman didn’t know she was being filmed,

but oh my Lord.

I mean, the great thing about the internet right now

is like if anybody basically transgresses,

they are identified in about a nanosecond.

And I mean, I saw that because on the Saturday morning,

she coughed on this person

who was complaining about her not wearing a mask.

And within 15 minutes, they had her LinkedIn,

they had contacted Weill Medical Center where she worked,

and then Weill put out a press release

basically saying we had fired her, you know,

for being a dummy well before the mask thing.

And so the whole thing now just gets so adjudicated

and resolved so quickly.

It’s incredible.

We basically moved to Judge Dredd now.

It’s like the social media is the judge,

the jury, and the cops in this entire equation.

The one that I loved actually,

that really actually, frankly, I look forward to

was the cyclist in Maryland.

I mean, you know, you cannot go after kids

touching another person’s child

and women and like attacking them

for putting up, you know, Black Lives Matter posters

like, and then to attack these.

But then again, it was the sub community on Reddit

and it was amazing.

It was the actual like Maryland subreddit.

Who knows what’s going on in the Maryland subreddit

on Reddit?

What could they be talking about?

But they identified this guy and he was fired.

He was arrested and it all happened

within, you know, probably 36 hours.

But you guys know in that story,

there was another guy who was identified first

and he was a police officer.

And then people went after him

and he basically had his life ruined

within those first 24 hours and he wasn’t the guy.


Yeah, and he wasn’t the guy.

The way they got him was the Stravia data, right?

Like he had, they found a guy on Stravia

who had done that.

Strava, Strava, Stravia is the Sweden.

Yeah, the Stevia.

Oh, that’s right, that’s Stevia.

The guy was using Stevia, the app for the bike people.

And they monetized that app through subscriptions.


Don’t make fun of my dyslexia, Chamath.

You’re bullying me on my own podcast.

You say monetize on CNBC in front of millions of people.

It’s unbelievable.

We tried to teach you how to pronounce that word

for 15 years.

I know, but I say it on purpose now

and I lean into it now.


It sounds slightly pornographic or something.

Yeah, he also, he also, he also mosturbates.

I’m gonna go home and mosturbate later.

Okay, go back to your Stevia story.

What is it?

Wait, so what happened is this guy got in trouble

and this is my point about the problem

with the group think hive mind approach to these issues

is you can end up not,

when you don’t follow a predefined due process

and you let the mob kind of rule over these moments,

bad shit can happen too.

So what happened to the cop?

The cop, everyone started chasing him down

and his whole life got ruined.

Everyone was like death threats and fucking with him

and all this sort of stuff.

Calling his employer, calling people who know him.

But they found his phone number, they found his address.

They doxed him.

Got turned upside down.

Yeah, but basically the fact that they found out

that it was someone else doesn’t resolve the fact

that there are now hundreds of people after this guy

and they don’t pay attention and that it wasn’t him.

And due process has a role in a civilized society

where you can actually create structure

and resolve these things in a proper way

as opposed to letting mob mentality kind of rule.

I mean, otherwise this stuff can get pretty ugly pretty fast

as we saw this being just a really pretty lightweight example

but I’m not sure I’m a huge advocate of this

like chase the guy down and then punish him at once

and cancel culture is a little bit ugly right now

if you don’t have all the facts

and you miss stuff in a lot of these cases.

Yeah, there is definitely,

it’s great that you can find criminals so quickly

and I’m curious what people think

and obviously you just don’t wanna mistarget somebody

and so there’s, if you do find somebody who’s targeted

like give the information to the authorities

but you may not want to dox them immediately

and try to ruin their lives

before you actually know what’s going on.

A lot of companies now, Microsoft, IBM and others,

Amazon I think are saying we don’t want to,

we’re gonna take a pause on facial recognition.

I’m curious what each of your thoughts are

on law enforcement and we’ll get into

the law enforcement discussion

and race relations here in this country

and what we went through.

We, look, we have been arming our police force

mistakenly like our military

and we’ve been doing it for decades now

and it makes no sense.

There is this crazy tweet I saw today,

maybe we can find AOC tweeted out

where she found this announcement

from some like long tail police department somewhere

who basically got a free armored truck carrier

and they’re driving it around town or whatever,

pulling it out of the garage.

It looks like downtown Baghdad

and you’re like, I mean, they’re in like Fargo, North Dakota

wherever they are.

I mean, like it’s just so, it makes no sense.

I don’t think any of us thought

that we wanted to apportion our tax dollars

to build a second shadow army.

I think we all want an army and a Navy

and a Marines and an Air Force.

We want aircraft carriers and F-16s

and tanks and machine guns and all that stuff,

but we want them with our military.

And then we want cops, I think,

to be extremely well-trained.

I mean, half the time, cops are,

you ask them to be mental health counselors.

Other times you’re asking them to be CPR givers.

Other times you’re asking them to be criminal apprehenders.

The job is too complicated.

They clearly can’t do it.

They’re poorly trained.

And then you arm them on top of all of that

and you have the shit show that we have today.

Yeah, it’s not like there’s an IED waiting somewhere

for them to drive over where they need metal plating

on the bottom of the vehicle.

That’s not what they’re dealing with every day.

At a minimum, let’s like, look,

I’m a huge fan of ending qualified immunity.

I think that doesn’t make any sense.

I think we have to stop arming our police

like they’re military.

Don’t train them like the military.

Train them like a different kind of service.

And we may need to go back to first principles

to figure out how to actually train them properly,

to spot abuse, to deal with mental health,

and just to be a little bit more patient

and understanding and empathetic versus trigger happy.

Can I ask you a question on that?

So a lot of the actions that police take

when it comes to lethal action is defended by the notion

that my life was under threat as a cop.

And that sources from the fact

that we have a second amendment in this country

where a lot of people are gun carriers

and are allowed to have arms.

So our police force has had to respond

with the fact that there are a lot of guns in this country

with defensive principles and defensive mechanisms

to defend themselves against the loss of life due to a gun.

And that makes the United States really unique

in terms of the circumstance

versus if you look at the United Kingdom

where they don’t have a second amendment right

to bear arms, the police aren’t armed

and the police behavior is significantly different.

You can look at this in any country

where there isn’t a right to bear arms.

Do we not have a fundamental problem in this country

that stems from the fact that the police feel

or can justify that they’re always under threat

of loss of life due to arms being out in the population?

I think it’s a fabulous question.

The contra example I would say is if you look at Switzerland

where the per capita gun ownership is really high,

Canada where per capita gun ownership is really high,

what I would tell you is there’s a different kind

of psychological training that police people go through

before they’re put on the streets.

And that is fundamentally different here.

The job as defined to them here is different

than it is in Canada or Switzerland

where gun ownership levels are quite robust.

And I think it all comes down to incentives.

And the reality is that there is a, to your point, David,

this amplification of this idea that everybody is armed,

which I think is fundamentally mostly not true

in the day-to-day course of like living one’s life.

But I think police people tend to be very amplified

around that threat.

And as a result, the unions have basically written contracts

that protect their use of force.

The law is written in a way that protects

their use of force.

And so all of it comes from, to your point,

a defensive posture of fear.

But if you actually tried to train these people differently,

I think you’d have a different outcome

because what I can tell you is the police in Canada

do behave differently.

They don’t reach for their gun every second.

It’s an interest.

I think there’s a very interesting example.

And I know we don’t wanna like just take

one anecdotal incident and then, you know,

make a big sweeping generalization with it.

But if you look at the gentleman in Atlanta

who was shot in the back twice, Rashid Brooks,

Rashard Brooks.

Rashard Brooks.

Rashard Brooks.

This example to me is so illustrative of the problem.

They spent 40 minutes talking with this individual

who was absolutely not a threat.

They had frisked him.

They knew he was not armed.

He was intoxicated.

He’s in a drive-thru.

Of all the ways you could have dealt with this situation.

And I come from a family of police officers

and I can tell you a lot of stories about cops

letting people go, obviously white people with warnings.

In this situation, letting him sleep it off,

taking his keys, letting him run away.

You know who it is.

You have his driver’s license, you have his car,

you have his keys, let him run away.

Under what circumstances would you feel justified

shooting a person when there were so many other options?

And it comes exactly, I believe, Chamath from

two things you pointed out.

One, they’re in a very defensive position

and two, the training.

They’re trained to use lethal force

and if you’re in a situation where you feel threatened,

you just shoot.

That’s it.

And if you shoot, you shoot to the center of the body

to kill the person.

And in their training, they’re not trained to think,

how do I disarm the situation, diffuse the situation

and what are the other options?

This person is obviously not a threat

and you knew the taser was fired twice.

I’m not saying the person should have resisted arrest.

I’m not saying the person shouldn’t have aimed

the taser at the person.

But they should be trained to protect life

and diffuse situations at all costs.

Jason, think about the incentives.

They should have been trained maybe to just walk

into the Wendy’s, buy this guy a coffee

and then drive him to the motel that he said

that he was staying at.


Or they should have been trained to just write a ticket

and say, listen, here’s a citation for being drunk

because you did technically kind of drive

and now I’m going to leave it alone.

They could have done many things that they chose not to do

because the incentive was to project power

in that situation versus project any kind of empathy

and compassion.


And the selection of people who go into the police

department and I come from a family of police officers

and firefighters.

Brother, uncle, cousin, grandfather, up and down the line,

Irish cops and firefighters, big tradition in my family.

And I can tell you that there is a contingent of people

who go into the police who are power tripping

or maybe didn’t get wherever else they wanted to be in life

and the job of seeing people and dealing with the bad stuff

that you pointed out, people in domestic violence situations,

people who are mentally ill, homeless, addiction problems,

all of that then trains these people to see the worst

in humanity and then they just look at their job

as just this dystopian, horrible experience

and they are in that defensive posture.

Whereas we need to train people and I made this tweet

where we should have a new class of police officer

that is more like a Jedi Knight.

You know, they get paid twice as much,

they have master’s degree in social work or psychology

and when that call comes in

for an emotionally disturbed person,

a person who’s intoxicated or on drugs,

a domestic violence situation,

you don’t wanna send the average B cop to that,

you wanna send the Jedi.

No, but Jason, make it even easier.

Like when you go in and get a 911 call

and it’s, you know, there could be,

it’s somebody who’s in sort of like mental distress

or you’re gonna do a mental health check,

why don’t you send a really well-trained social worker?

Absolutely, and the reason is-

Why don’t we have a whole, you know,

a whole force of social workers

that we pay $100,000 a year?

Absolutely, and that’s what these police officers are making.

There is an argument to not have them armed.

There’s an argument for them to be armed

but maybe they’re so enlightened and trained so well.

I think the training in the United States

is in the low hundreds of hours.

In other countries, it’s thousands of hours.

I mean, if a person has a gun,

I think police should not get their gun

until they’ve completed maybe two or 3,000 hours on the job.

In other words, they get to their second or third year.

So the first year when you’re a probie,

why even have a gun?

Why not just have them doing things without a gun?

And then when you get that gun,

maybe you need to have the equivalent of a master’s degree.

You know, maybe you need to have a level of training

and we need to go to first principles,

like you’re saying, Chamath, and rethink this whole thing.

In any startup or any problem solving,

you would look at the, show me the thousand calls,

how did they break down, what were the outcomes?

And if you look at the outcomes

of dealing with mentally ill people

or people who are addiction or domestic disputes,

the outcomes are things that police are not trained for.

That’s gotta be a very high percentage of these situations,

let alone the no knock warrant,

which makes absolutely no sense.

Yeah, I mean, I think there’s just a lot of,

look, there’s a lot of change coming.

I think that there’s a lot of legislation afoot

at every sort of level of government.

And I think the good news is that it’s going to be hard

for people to sit on their hands on this.

I don’t think it’s gonna be universally across the country,

but I do think that people will then, again,

self-select and wanna live in places where,

sort of like the laws match their ideals,

and this is gonna be an area

of tremendous reform and change.

What’s interesting about all of this is like,

if you actually go back to the Republican ideology,

it’s interesting to me why Republicans aren’t

the first ones to try to embrace rewriting

the union contracts and actually decreasing unionized power,

because that’s sort of like,

has generally been a tent hole theme of Republican ideology.

But then as it gets applied to cops,

I think they kind of just abdicate responsibility.

So there’s a lot of reasons where you could have

bipartisan agreement on a bunch of these things.

But again, I think we kind of like get caught up

and we refuse to see the forest from the trees

and wanna fix these things.

But I suspect that a lot of these changes will happen

just because they’re so bloody obvious.

And depending on your ideology,

you can frame the same reason

for completely different motives

and get to the same answer.

Nobody wants this.

Sax, what do you think about the union issue

as our token right winger?

I think, yeah, I think the police unions

have too much power.

All the public employee unions do.

I think, just like the teacher’s unions

have thwarted school choice and education reform,

I think we’re seeing the police unions

thwart a lot of sensible reforms around the use of force.

Our friend Bill Gurley has been tweeting

a lot of great research

around police departments that are unionized.

There’s a lot more complaints against them.

There’s a lot more examples of the use of force

and unwarranted use of force.

And so clearly there’s a connection here

between police unions

and the thwarting of common sense reforms.

And I saw someone tweeted this idea

that the reason why no one’s taking on the police unions

is because Republicans see the word police

and Democrats see the word union,

and they’re both fans of those things.

And so who’s gonna take them on?

Yeah, I mean, teacher’s unions is the same thing.

And the political system,

the political power of the unions is so entrenched

that in order to get in office, in most cases,

you’re gonna need to have the support of those unions.

And if you don’t, they’re going to tell people

explicitly not to vote for you.

Yeah, I mean, well, look, I mean,

you look at the cities

that have had the biggest problems here.

I mean, starting with Minneapolis,

and these are Democrat-controlled cities.

These are not Republican-controlled cities.

And the politicians are very much in cahoots

with the big unions there,

including the police and the teacher’s unions and all that.

And so both parties need to be open to reform.

To your point, David,

there’s a story that came out last couple of days

about the DA in Atlanta

who pressed charges against the two officers.

But the narrative was about how the DA is being investigated

for getting 140K in kickbacks

from a nonprofit tied to something.

And then he was claiming that his main opponent,

because these district attorneys

are politically elected officials, right?

Where she had basically done a side deal with the police

to not go after use of force in return for their endorsement.

And what a horribly messy, complicated, gross situation,

irrespective of whoever turns out to be right there.

So to your point, they’ve become so entrenched

and it’s just so low level

that then what should be obvious justice

basically just gets thrown away

for what’s expedient and convenient.


Well, this is another example where like with the mass,

I felt like I wasn’t violating conservative principles.

I thought there really was a conservative principle.

And I think with this example

of the overuse of force by police,

you go back to what Lord Acton said,

which is power corrupts and absolute power corrupts,


If there’s no one standing up to the police unions,

politically, they have absolute power

and that’s gonna lead to corruption.

So I do think like Republicans should be looking into this.

Now, I think part of the reason why

Republicans wanna defend the police

is because we’ve also had these examples

of looting and rioting and lawlessness,

after the civil rights protests.

And I think that, again,

we’re kind of dividing up into sides

and there’s too much justification of bad behavior

on both sides because of what the other side is doing.

And I heard people on the left justifying

the looting and rioting on the grounds that,

it was a legitimate expression of opposition.

It was a legitimate protest,

it was a legitimate expression of opposition

to the police violence.

And I think that that is wrong.

And I think it’s wrong for people on the right

to defend this police,

the successive use of force by police

on the grounds that somehow it’s justified

because we need to control the lawlessness and the rioting.

And I think both are wrong.

And we lack a federal leadership

to not make this overly political,

but when Trump then tear gases with the military protesters

to go do a photo opportunity,

it’s sending the message that he wants

to be the law and order president.

Now you’re just charging things up

instead of just going on TV

and just saying something to bring people back

to the concept that we’re all Americans,

we’re all in this together and we rise and fall together.

It’s such an easy statement.

Listen, the protesters have valid concerns.

We need to work on this issue.

And yes, if you see people doing any vandalism,

we have to stop them.

Please make sure that doesn’t happen

because it works against the very valid criticism

and protests that are going on that need to go on.

And the fact that the president can’t say that is crazy.

Well, what do you guys think about what he has been saying

and how Twitter and Facebook

have basically taken different sides of-

Freeberg, go ahead.

What Trump’s been saying?

Yeah, should Twitter be censoring him

slash putting warnings on his posts

when he’s saying crazy stuff?

I don’t think so.

Yeah, look, I mean, it’s such a slippery slope

and there’s too much room for interpretation.

I’m just saying the obvious,

but if you’re a platform, you’re a platform.

You let the things get built on top of you.

Sure, you can have some rules around what can be built,

but as soon as you start saying what is true

and what is not true and you become the arbiter of truth,

you’re no longer an agnostic platform.

And I think that is a big, dangerous risk to take

because as you guys know, something maybe,

and I think we saw this with the,

what’s that Twitter account, Zero Hedge?

Was that the name of it? Zero Hedge.

That got banned.

And then they came back because it turns out

what they said wasn’t necessarily as untrue

as Twitter at first thought

that they were saying was untrue.

So it was a great example of how a point of interpretation

can very quickly kind of reverse course

and you can look extremely biased

in making that decision at that time.

Well, and YouTube took, I think Susan Wojcicki took the,

Wojcicki took the position at YouTube

that we’re going to allow people to talk about coronavirus

if what they’re saying is in sync

with the World Health Organization.

Yeah, and by the way, the World Health Organization,

I’ve had an issue with since well before COVID,

just from another life, they, I won’t get into it,

but they’ve said some stuff publicly

that was just flat out fucking wrong scientifically

and invalid and it was politicized.

And we kind of got to the root

of the political driver behind it.

So I’ve long held kind of disbelief

in the World Health Organization

as a trusted source of scientific fact.

And to Sax’s previous point,

you want to be able to check power.

And if the World Health Organization

is this incredibly powerful organization

who got it wrong with masks and didn’t even,

you know, like David Sax is getting it right,

some venture capitalist in the Bay Area

gets it right about masks

and the World Health Organization gets it wrong?

Well, he’s in Mexico, but yeah.

I mean-

I’m in an undisclosed location.

Undisclosed location in Mexico.

But okay, Sax, should they be putting labels

and warnings on politicians

when they say things that are consensus wrong?

Yeah, I mean, call me old fashioned,

but I’m very much in favor of free speech

and I’m against censorship.

And, you know, fact-checking your politicians

you don’t like is basically bias.

It’s soft censorship.

I mean, they’re being very selective

in who they decide to fact-check

and, you know, there’s no good way to do it, right?

I mean, there is no truth API

that they can just plug in to fact-check people.

The way that you deal with bad speech is more speech.

I think it’s a line from Justice Brandeis.

That is the way historically that we have,

in this country, that we’ve dealt with speech

by people we don’t like, which is you have more speech.

And I don’t think censorship or warnings

is the right way to go.

Chamath, what do you think having worked at Facebook?

Look, I think it exposes a couple of things.

One is that the Twitter product is still relatively brittle.

I mean, like at least Facebook has a whole suite

of emoticons to say something is a crock of shit,

you know, and it makes you feel bad

or, you know, it makes you feel angry

or thumbs down or whatever.

And so Twitter’s reactionary feedback mechanism

to its algorithms is very brittle.

And so if you were gonna try to algorithmically

tune down the distribution of, you know, a Trump tweet,

you know, you could see where you could balance

thumbs up or hearts in this case

with other ways of signaling that this is either wrong

or hate-filled or, you know, instigating.

And I think like a little bit more self-policing

is probably the only scalable solution.

All of that said, here’s what I will say.

I think basically that Facebook is becoming middle America

and Twitter is becoming sort of the coasts.

And, you know, Facebook is basically a product

of middle America plus kind of like countries

outside the United States and, you know,

Twitter’s about, you know, rich coastal kind of people.

And you can see that the way that the content ebbs

and flows and, you know, the kind of content problems,

like just for an example, you know,

what is Twitter’s latest content problem?

It was that Donald Trump tweeted a video from CNN

that was doctored, you know, and it only showed a clip

of a, you know, a black toddler running away

from a white toddler.

And the caption was, you know,

the chyron said something about racism.

It turned out to not be wrong, blah, blah, blah.

What is Facebook’s issue two days ago?

It was that, you know, the Boogaloo movement,

which is, you know, a bunch of people who believe

in a militia and an impending civil war

principally use Facebook and Facebook groups to organize.

And they found out that they were distributing

and, you know, driving, you know,

viewers and usage and content.

So it just kind of tells you like,

and if you break down the issues and, you know,

there’s a couple of people who tweet out

the most popular tweets on Twitter

versus the most popular content on Facebook,

what you see is a left and right distribution.

And so I think that the audiences

are segregating themselves into using products

that basically feed them what they want to hear.

Well, Chamath, let me ask you a question

about the leadership.

You work directly with Zuckerberg for many years,

and we all know Jack from Twitter, from various projects.

What is Zuckerberg’s politics?

Is he a secret Trump supporter?

Does Peter Thiel, who’s on the board,

and you’re good friends with Peter Thiel

and worked with Peter Thiel Sachs.

I’m curious what you think goes on inside the brain

of Mark Zuckerberg in terms of making these decisions.

Is he scared that Facebook has become dependent

on the right, and is that, Chamath,

that it is a right thing?

And is he right or left?

What is his politics?

I don’t think that’s the right framing.

I think that if you’re running a big network like this,

you have to remember the, you know,

you’re one of the five or six most valuable companies

in the world.

You yourself have, you know, 50, 60, $70 billion.

Basically, the world is your oyster.

And what you’ve seen over the last five or six years

is that there is an increasing regulatory headwind.

And if you basically play the game theory out,

you know, these companies are gonna get regulated

and they’re gonna get overtaxed,

and they’re gonna get kind of slowed down at a minimum

and broken up at the maximum.

And so if you’re running one of these companies,

I think the only thing you can do is hold on.

And so if you’re gonna hold on,

there’s no point in making any of these changes

because it minimizes the amount of cash you can make

and the amount of, you know, support you’ll have.

So you might as well pick a side effectively

by doing nothing and waiting.

And I think that’s largely

what all these guys have decided to do.

They’ve essentially said,

we’re not gonna sort of take a side here.

Well, no, Twitter has taken a side.

Twitter has.

Because they’re small enough.

They can survive.

They’re not going to get broken up.

But if you’re one of the top four or five,

look at the position they’ve taken.

The position they’ve taken is we have no position.

That’s Facebook’s position.

We have no position.

We’re not gonna police ads.

No, hold on.

It’s also Google’s.

It’s also Microsoft.

It’s also Apple’s.

And it’s also Amazon’s.

And in fairness to Facebook,

all big five tech companies have said,

our position is no position.

And the reason is because that’s the only thing they can do

to keep that market cap

and to hold on to the economic vibrancy

of their businesses for longer.

Sax, why did Twitter and Jack actually take a position?

Because this cannot happen

if Jack is not 100% supportive of it.

He is the driver of it and the person who okays it.

And then what do you think Zuckerberg,

Chamath didn’t want to answer this,

but I want you to try to answer it.

What is Zuckerberg’s relationship with Peter Thiel

and his thinking on a political basis in your mind,

without giving up your relationship with Peter,

but what is his politics and what is their relationship?

Well, I don’t know exactly what Zuck’s politics are,

or not even exactly.

I have no idea what his politics are, not remotely.

And I do remember the time

when Peter supported Trump during the election

and the rest of the board wanted to run him off the board.

So clearly it’s not like,

I highly doubt Facebook is a bastion of right-wing thinking.

But why would Zuckerberg keep him on the board then

in defiance of everybody else who hates him?

Maybe he simply believes that supporting

the Republican candidate in a presidential election

is not grounds for removal from a board.

Maybe he simply is not that intolerant.

I think, I mean, I’m gonna actually go out on a limb here

and defend Zuckerberg a little bit,

which is my impression of what Zuckerberg’s trying to do

is simply maintain Facebook as a speech platform.

And if you’re gonna be a speech platform,

you’re gonna be caught in the crosshairs

of all these very controversial debates.

And people are gonna publish things that other people hate.

In fact, even that the majority hates.

But isn’t that the type of speech

that the ACLU historically defended?

It feels to me like there’s been a rise

mainly on the left in terms of intolerance

for speech they don’t like,

that they consider to be-

Well, 100%.

Insufficiently what, yeah.

You saw that with the New York Times newsroom.

I think you tweeted a tweet storm

from an opinion writer there.

It was around the Tom Cotton editorial,

which it’s not like I agreed with it,

but they basically fired the opinion page editor

because they realized they published-

And by the way, sorry, just to build on your point,

the title, which wasn’t even written by Tom Cotton,

was, I would say, an order of magnitude worse

than the article, if you read the whole article.


But the title was really offensive.

It wasn’t even written by them.

It was written, I think, by the editor that got fired.

But the article itself is kind of bad,

but not nearly as bad as the title,

which he didn’t write.

Ms. Freeberg, 20 years ago,

when we were all, as Gen Xers coming up,

we were taught to defend freedom of speech

as a core tenant of a vibrant democracy,

and that you need to be able to read unpopular opinions.

In fact, the KKK needs to be able

to march down Main Street,

and we need to protect that ugly speech

in order for everybody else to have it.

And here we have an editorial,

which obviously none of us agree with.

Is this an existential threat to America

that we are now going to say freedom of speech

is not a core tenant of the American experiment?

I’m just looking for the term that was used by,

what’s the other New York Times opinion writer?

I forgot her name, Sachs.

Maybe you’ll help me,

but she talks about like a comfort culture.

So basically, we used to pride ourselves

on a culture that enabled freedom of speech,

and that was cherished and heralded.

And what is cherished and heralded now

is a culture that protects people

from hearing offensive and scary things

that they don’t wanna hear.

And that shift, those of us who are Gen X,

which I think I am, I was born in 1980,

into the millennial Gen Z

and beyond kind of generation has occurred.

And it is fundamentally changing the nature

of how we find truth and how we find,

coalesce around decisions as a society.

And we’re excluding the things that are offensive.

And it’s a little bit scary to think about

from my point of view that we can’t explore all options.

We can’t hear all dissenting points of view.

This is certainly a very deep argument

about how our society and how our democracy operates,

but it is happening.

And so the point was like,

we are starting to shift towards valuing comfort

over freedom of expression.

And that’s just kind of the big change that’s occurring.

And look, we do live in a democracy.

So the votes are gonna be what ultimately decides

what happens here.

Votes in terms of who’s using Facebook versus Twitter

and votes in terms of who’s voting

for what presidential candidate

and what governor and what mayor.

And so we’ll see.

It’s a sea change in how this democracy operates.

Yeah, I think it’s a sea change going back very far

because the whole principle of the enlightenment

going back hundreds of years was stated by Voltaire,

which is that I may disagree with what you have to say,

but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

Who today is willing to do that?

I mean, that was the idea that led

to political liberalization in the West.

It’s really a unique feature

of Western democracies and liberalism.

You go to anywhere else in the world,

I guarantee you people aren’t defending to the death

your right to say things they disagree with.

I don’t think Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin is defending

your right to hear things that they don’t want you to.

So this is a very foundational part of American

and Western political liberalism.

And it’s being challenged now.

And I think we should have more self-confidence

in our ideas to worry so much about Donald Trump’s tweets,

which are ephemeral and will be forgotten very soon,

that we’re willing to throw out freedom of speech.

Well, yeah, I mean, this is the thing I don’t understand

about labeling his tweets is you know,

I mean, does anybody not think that this guy

is hopped up on Adderall or a complete moron?

Like, or any of those things?

We all know he’s an idiot who just tweets 50 times a day

and he’s just scared, you know,

that he’s not gonna win his re-election

and that he’s a literal reality star.

So who do you mean by when you say we, we all?

Because it’s a different we that I think you’re saying

that I think other people would be saying we represent.

Right, I mean, that’s I think the generational divide here.

I don’t know if it’s generational.

I think there’s a lot of dimensions across

which these differences of perspective occur.

And I’ve said this for amongst our group for a long time,

but there’s a huge difference between a rural population

and urban population in the United States

in terms of what their priorities are.

And I think that difference in priorities is unconscious.

And that’s where things really resonate that Trump says,

and that really moved the needle for a lot of folks.

The priority of civil rights is not,

as it might be in an urban center,

is not a priority in a rural center.

And in a rural population, there’s a different priority.

Trump, no matter what, how he says it,

the things he’s saying are different

than what I’m hearing from the urban population,

which is where the media comes from,

and so on and so forth.

And so Trump resonates with me.

I don’t care if he sounds a little bit wacky.

I need wacky because it needs to be different than standard.

And there’s just, there’s a lot of divides here

and a lot of dimensions across.

Yeah, I think that we absolutely should not

throw the baby out with the bathwater.

We should never attack this very basic principle

of free speech because we will never

forgive ourselves if we do.

But then this is why I think we come back to,

we should be a little bit more resilient

to build products and services

that allow a little bit more texture in the discussion

so that you actually can have free speech flourish more

in a more transparent way.

So David, to your point, how do you drown out hate speech?

It’s with more speech.

Well, these products don’t necessarily even enable that.

And so I do think that we have this sort of an issue

where the products and services that billions of people use

to consume their information

and construct a worldview today,

they neither will allow things to be flagged,

nor will they increment the feature surface area

so that you can actually have.

So then that’s why I think people then get

into this place where everybody feels cornered

and nobody likes what’s happening.

And so I think that’s kind of what we’re in.

I think that if we had a little bit more ingenuity

and thinking by the folks at Twitter and Facebook,

it would go a long, long way.

Yeah, I do think there’s something,

I mean, the conundrum of Twitter is simultaneously,

it’s the main way I get my news information,

but I also see it as a huge source of groupthink

and kind of mob mentality.

And so the more time you spend on Twitter,

I mean, I see a lot of people saying

the more unhappy they are.

And so you do wonder whether it’s making you more informed

or whether it’s just making you buy into

some sort of mass psychosis.

Well, it could be both, by the way.

You could be becoming more informed

and you could be going into a psychosis,

but we have a lot of friends who are high profile

who like their behavior on Twitter is a separate thing

than who they actually are, right?

Like they just lose their shit on Twitter

and it is really a very strange place to be sure.

Can we talk, by the way,

can we just talk about this Bolton book?

I mean, what the fuck?

I mean, he did ask Xi Jinping to help him win the election

and he bartered by soybeans to help me win the election.

I mean, this is insane.

I think we need to, first of all,

you always gotta look at the source here.

So I don’t know how somebody-

A Fox commentator who’s as far right as you could go?


Who was picked by Trump himself?

Well, he was a very weird choice for Trump

because one of the main reasons

why Trump won the Republican nomination

is he promised no more Bushes,

meaning an end to these crazy-


Neocon wars of intervention.

And this guy Bolton, like-

He’s right out of that playbook, central casting.

Yeah, he’s the hawk of hawks.

There’s not a war he doesn’t wanna get us into.

He wanted to get us into a war with Iran.

It never made any sense for Trump

to hire him in the first place.

But do you know why he hired him, as stated in the book?

I’ve heard the explanation that he liked.

I think he said something like

when he sends Bolton into a room,

he thinks it strengthens his negotiating position

because the other side thinks that they’re about to,

US is about to invade or something

when Bolton comes into the room.

And it’s also, Trump was like,

I love hearing you talk, it’s just like Fox News.

Like, that’s the quote.

So he literally picks people based,

I mean, and he picked Ludlow, right?

For his, you know.

He picks them based on being TV personalities.

I just think this Bolton guy is,

like, you know, is this crazy war hawk

who also is just kind of like a weasel.

And I don’t know how he creates a 500-something page book

out of spending 17 months in the White House.

I guess he’s just writing down every-

I’m surprised it’s not 5,000 words.

That should be like Token’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I’m gonna put this out there.

If he can produce the note that Pompeo gave him

that said, Trump is so full of shit,

that thing at auction, I’m telling you now.

What do you each bid for it?

At least $500,000, at least $500,000.

If that note actually exists and he has it,

it’s not, I mean, it’s,

but I just think, to me, first of all,

it’s a little ludicrous that this guy,

he is a bit of a weasel because, like,

where were you during the impeachment?

A, he made an economic calculation

that his book was more important

than the future of the country.

So, first of all, kind of go fuck yourself with that.

But the other thing, though, is that, you know,

beyond his sort of, like, character flaws,

it’s just the story after story after story.

It’s just kind of from the bizarre to the absurd,

like, Finland’s a part of Russia,

England doesn’t have nuclear weapons,

please buy soybeans.

You are part of the, you are part of the nuclear powers?

UK, really?

The United Kingdom has nukes?

Wow, what if India gets them?

But every one of these insider tell-all books

always makes the, you know,

always makes the president look bad.

I mean-

It’s not a hard task.

Was there anything, though,

that was surprising to anyone?

The Xi Jinping is a blockbuster.

The Xi Jinping did catch me off guard

that he was that brazen and kind of sad.

But does it surprise you?

I mean, like, the fact that it was said,

but, like, the motivation, the intention,

the model of operating, like-

No, to your point, my expectations are so low.

It’s like teaching a kid to poop in the toilet

for the first time.

You know, as long as it doesn’t poop on the floor,

even if he does it in his diaper, you know,

everything looks like success

as long as there is just not raw feces on my hardwood.

If he sat on the potty, it’s success.

It’s success.

Even if the pants weren’t pulled down.

If he poops his pants on the potty, it’s okay.

Tell me about, I just want to switch topics.

Tell me about vaccines,

because it seems to me

that there’s, like, a growing cohort of people,

and I’m not going to put Moderna in this camp,

but, like, maybe they did,

that were very opportunistically out there,

generating a ton of PR.

But what, if you had to pick a time and a timeframe,

and then a manufacturing timeframe,

can you just tell me what you’re-

Yeah, give us the over-under

so we can bet a line on it.

So there’s going to,

I think there’s going to be a staged release of vaccines

that’ll probably, believe it or not,

start in Q4 of this year.

And there’s been production ramp-up

going on in parallel to testing.

So, you know, to get these vaccines produced,

whether you’re talking about the mRNA vaccine,

or you’re talking about the viral vaccine

like they did in China,

which they actually do have in production,

there’s a bunch of different challenges

with scaling up and ramping production.

And then, you know, what’s called downstream processing

and filtering and then packaging and all this stuff.

Anyway, it’s a big fucking exercise.

So what’s gone on is there’s been a parallel effort

to actually scale up production of these things

before we’ve actually completed the testing of them

to make sure that they’re safe and efficacious.

And as a result,

and some of this came out

of that first or second stimulus bill,

some of it came from private funding

and then other governments

are just straight up paying for it.

And so there are a number of facilities

that are actually ramping production right now.

If the vaccines ultimately don’t pass muster,

just going to be a write-off of a couple billion dollars.

And so theoretically,

we could have doses that are available for distribution

to healthcare workers and frontline people

in Q4 of this year

is what I would kind of set the over-under at.

Do you think these vaccines are like flu vaccines,

which is like 50, 60% effective at best?

Yeah, I don’t really know the answer to that.

I would say that these things

are probably pretty effective.

I would say the flu vaccine

is just a high rate of mutation

and also a low rate of utilization

and a high rate of infection.

So we’re gonna have a lower rate of infection,

probably a more moderate rate of mutation as a result.

And so we should be more in control

if we get something that works with the current strains.

And the way that this SARS-CoV-2,

most of the vaccines are built around,

the seven, I think, major targets

around the spike protein

and different epitopes across the spike protein.

And so if you see a great degree of mutation

across that protein,

it’s likely gonna be less infected,

infective and less effective as a virus

and so it’ll go away.

And so I think that we’ve got a really good shot here.

What are the odds that somebody politicizes the vaccine

and America doesn’t get it?

America doesn’t get it?

Oh, politicized 100%, yeah.

Yeah, I mean, look, we politicized fucking measles.

30% of people, of kids now,

aren’t getting vaccinated for measles, which is crazy.

And now there’s measles outbreaks happening in the US,

which is just mind-boggling.

I think that’s just happening in Marin, where you are.

Yeah, that’s easy.

That’s an inevitability. I think that’s just

with the place with the highest percentage

of graduate degrees in the country.

Yeah, no, but I mean, it’s an inevitability

that it gets politicized.

But David, how does the distribution

of these vaccines work?

Meaning, let’s just say that it’s like Sanofi, for example,

because I saw that the French government

made a large investment and the Germans did as well

to essentially onshore a bunch of their companies

who had promising vaccine candidates.

And so if you assume that there’s a distribution

of these vaccines, let’s just say

the most efficacious ones in China,

are they just gonna dole this out

to whoever’s willing to buy it?

Or they’re gonna decide on a political basis

how to basically give these?

And then when they come to the United States,

how do we know that it comes to Texas

before it comes to Wyoming versus California

versus New York?

So I think the ones that are getting federal support,

which all of them are pretty much at this point,

are gonna be federally mandated in terms of distribution.

And there’s probably some commercial agreement

that none of us have seen

in terms of like what that looks like.

So Trump will send them to the swing states

where he’s behind?

Is what you’re saying?

Well, I think it’ll probably be delegated

down to Health and Human Services.

What are the chances that there’s a Trump logo

on the side of the syringe?

Here’s your Trump vaccine.

Here’s your Trump vaccine to save your life.

Okay, this is a good point for us

to kind of wrap around the horn.

Chamath and I think a lot of people were convinced

that Trump was gonna sell into office.

Now everything is showing, Fox News polls, CNBC polls,

SurveyMonkey polls, that Trump is very far behind,

especially in the swing states.

What are the chances Trump wins the election, sacks?

I think he’s, well, I think COVID’s really hurt him

because the sort of feather in his cap,

the thing he really had going for him was the economy.

That’s been hurt, but it’s coming back.

You know, the situation could look very different

six months from now.

Right now it looks pretty bleak

because I do think that his reaction

to the crisis was seen as very inflammatory.

But I think six months from now

could be a very different story.

Five months, so.

So you don’t think he’s gonna win right now,

but he could turn around.

If the election were today, he would lose.

But, you know, the economy, we’re seeing a V-shaped recovery

which I think is surprising all of us.

And if that holds up and we get past the civil unrest

that we’ve had and, you know,

he stops being so inflammatory on those issues,

I think that, you know,

the situation could look very different in five months.

You gotta remember the other thing,

which is Biden at some point is gonna have to enter

to some presidential debates.

And, you know, this will-

It’s unknown if he’s gonna be there,

is what you’re saying, cognitively.

Yeah, I mean, that’s-

It’s unpopular to talk about,

but you actually think there’s a cognitive issue?

Yes or no?

Probably, yeah.

Probably, yeah.

It’s uncomfortable to say for some reason.


But it’s undeniable. I mean, at a minimum,

look, there’s a problem with the way he speaks.

I don’t know if there’s a-

Which is indicative of a problem with the way he thinks.

But, you know, like when-

If they’re on stage for two hours in a debate,

I think we’re gonna find out really quick.

And I think those debates are pretty unavoidable.

I don’t think Biden’s gonna be able to figure out

a way to get out of it.

So, you know, I think a lot of people think

that he can just be propped up by his staff.

And they can to some extent,

but I think at some point, you know,

we’re gonna have to take a look at Joe Biden.

Chamath, Trump wins, Trump loses.

Right now, I think it’s sort of 75-25 he loses.


I think that’s gonna get closer to 55-45

as the date comes close.

I think it actually comes down to two issues.

Number one is who does Biden pick as a running mate?

And can he lock up the swing states with that running mate?

And number two, which I think is probably gonna play

an enormous role if the community organizing

that saw the Black Lives Matter movement

get to this next level is avoiding

and preventing voter suppression.

You know, LeBron, I think is about to start

an enormous campaign with a lot of very well-heeled

well-known celebrities to get out the vote.

But if there’s a concerted effort

to prevent voter suppression and get young people

and people of color to the polls, it’s a Biden landslide.

Now we’ve gone from a Trump landslide just six months ago

in all of our minds to a Biden landslide.

Freeberg, where are you at?

I still think Trump’s gonna win.

I’d say 70% chance Trump wins.

And I’ll tell you why.

I think there’s still,

there’s not gonna be structural improvement

between now and November for the majority of people

that voted for Trump in the last election.

There are gonna be a large number of people

in blue collar and rural areas

that remain challenged with their life

and feel like they’re missing out and they’re missing.

And this may even be true in inner city districts,

but the big kind of flip vote

in the rural and blue collar areas

is gonna say, I still need change.

I need things fixed.

And Trump is the agent of change.

Biden, he has always been the agent of change.

And I’ll tell you the other thing he’s also a master of

is laying blame.

And so Trump is incredible at pointing a finger

at some third party and saying, that’s the enemy.

I’m the guy who’s gonna go defeat him for a year.

And I think that’s what won him the election last time.

And I think it could win him the election again this time.

No matter what shit happens between now and November,

he will find a way to make the story

about how some third party or some process

or some deep state is still responsible for that outcome

that’s keeping you down, Mr. Blue collar factory worker.

And I will be the person to vanquish that problem.

Biden is the old state.

He’s the old guard.

He’s the guy from before.

And we haven’t changed anything in the last four years

where people feel happy and secure about their lives.

I think to Sax’s point, if the economy was even stronger,

it may hurt Trump’s chances.

Sure, a lot of folks might say, great, Trump’s responsible.

Let’s give him a thumbs up.

But the more people are feeling pain,

the more they’re looking for an agent of change.

And I think Trump against Biden

is still gonna be that agent of change.

That makes me the deciding either tie or swing vote.

I believe Biden wins.

I believe Trump is absolutely lost his ability to win this

because he made two critical errors

to Sax’s very astute point.

He just complete blunder on wearing masks

and leadership during COVID

and complete blunder in terms of dealing

with the social unrest,

which he could have acted as a reconciliation agent.

I mean, he’s his own worst enemy

and couldn’t do those two very simple things.

I think Biden wins big if he takes the following strategy,

which I will call the Avenger strategy,

which is it’s not just about him.

He gets an incredible running mate to Chamath’s point,

but not only that,

he pre-announces his cabinet Avenger style

and they start hosting a la Cuomo in New York

daily briefings where they talk about

what the country needs to do

with a brain trust in a round table

with five or six people pre-selected.

So you’re not voting for Biden

who might have cognitive issues and Sax is correct.

He could fumble under Trump’s greatest strength,

which is demolishing people in debates,

which we ourselves all watched.

We watched Hillary get absolutely beat up in those debates.

And that was our, I remember those nights

when we were watching at your house Chamath

and our eyes opened right up, like, holy cow,

Hillary’s in trouble here.

He’s just really good at this type of maniac boxing

that he does with little Mark Rubio

and everybody else he annihilated.

But if he picks the right VP candidate,

and I wanna know as we close here,

who is the VP candidate that you think he should pick?

Amy Klobuchar just bowed out and said,

a woman is not enough, you need to have a black woman.

So Chamath, who is the ideal running mate?

Sax, who scares you the most since, you know,

the GOP is gonna lose this time around?

Who’s the scariest for you?

And Freeberg, who do you think he should pick?

Give it some thought or do you not have a consensus choice?

I’ll leave my statement to the end.

Okay, Saxy Poop.

Don’t sandbag this and pick somebody you want him to pick

because it helps him lose.

Well, I don’t know the back bench

of Democrat politicians well enough to say exactly.

I don’t have a pick.

I would just say, I would really like for him

to pick a great crisis manager.

An operator, somebody who’s been there.

Somebody who’s been tested in a crisis

because there’s a very high chance

that this VP pick will become the president,

given Biden’s age and everything going on in the world.

And we’ve just seen crisis after crisis this year.

I think there’s gonna be more shoes to drop.

And this person that we don’t even know yet

could very easily be the president of the United States

in the next two years.

So I just hope he picks someone

who is good at handling a crisis.

Okay, so that would mean Oprah, perhaps?


God, you just picked my, fuck!

Is that really your pick, Chamath?

Yeah, yeah, Oprah Winfrey.

I mean, she would be such an amazing.

She would be incredible.

Oh my God, she would win every state.

Oh, she’s incredible.

Oprah Winfrey for the win.

I mean, if you’re gonna pick somebody.

Biden Winfrey.

It’s gotta ring.

It’s like a slam dunk.

It’s a slam dunk.

I’m sorry.

Better than Michelle Obama, right?

It’s a slam dunk.

Better than Michelle Obama.

Slam dunk.

I’m gonna email Blinken and Evan Ryan right now.

Oprah Winfrey.

Okay, Friedberg, you have a better candidate.

Who’s your choice from there?

I don’t have a choice.

I mean, I’m not gonna make a choice here,

but I think the challenge he’s gonna face

is finding a black woman who can appeal

to the blue collar and rural vote

in these areas where he needs to kind of win some folks over.

And so he’s gonna end up in these urban districts

like the Atlanta mayor or like Kamala Harris,

and they’re not gonna bring that vote.

So he is in a little bit of a pickle here

because Amy Klobuchar helped him bridge the rural divide.

But he’s got a, I think there’s gonna be

a bit of a search here to find someone

that can really get that for him.

I love the idea of going with Oprah

because it just becomes, she is such a reconciler.

Now, it doesn’t fit the execution in a crisis

to Sachs’s desire.

And I understand-

She’s built a bigger business than Trump.

I mean, what are you talking about?

But that is what it’s about to get to

is I think she’s so successful

and she’s such a great leader and so charismatic.

She would bring in better operators

than Trump and Pence ever could.

I mean, look at the shit show of people

who came in and out of the cabinet.

It was one goofball and incompetent asshole after another.

Sorry to get a little frisky here at the end,

but I feel like we’re at the poker game.

Trump’s cabinet was in an embarrassment

almost universally, correct, Sachs?

Well, look, here’s the problem with Oprah

or if you want any other Hollywood celebrity,

George Clooney or what have you,

they’re not used to getting beat up

the way that politicians in our country get beat up.

They’re used to having people catering to them.

They’re used to having the star trailer

and the star treatment.

And they tend to have a glass jaw in politics

because they’ve just never been put in an environment

where they’re just constantly assaulted.

Trump, I mean, was a celebrity,

but he was used to, he kind of grew up

in that whole New York tabloid environment

and was used to punching and counterpunching.

He embraced it, in fact.

He was his own fake PR person.

He was calling the post.

Yeah, it’s that old saying about wrestling with a pig.

Everyone gets dirty, but the pig likes it.

I mean, Trump is kind of like the pig who likes it.

Mostly celebrities don’t like having to get beat up.

They’re used to being very popular

and that’s why they tend to be, I think,

tough picks politically, is they don’t,

they tend to have a glass jaw.

All right, on that-

Biden, Winfrey.

Biden, Winfrey.

I love you guys.

Love you.

Let’s play poker outside.

We’ll see you all next time on the All In podcast.