We had a nice dinner.
Chamath hosted a little
and we played a little bit of the cards
and there’s this new kid there.
Oh, big shout out to
co-founder is there.
How do you wind up here at the game
sitting here, you know,
having a beautiful dinner with us?
And he’s like, well,
and then Chamath goes.
And he points to Helmuth.
Helmuth found a billionaire.
When Helmuth finds a billionaire,
He’s tied to the hip.
He has like a billionaire.
He’s a billionaire wrangler.
Helmuth is like one of those truffle dogs
in like, you know, Alba in Italy.
You know, you send them out into the woods.
He forages around.
He finds he finds a truffle,
just digs it out.
And that’s it.
It’s like, and then he follows like a dog.
He follows tail wagging, tail wagging,
waiting for his owner to show up
and pick this little billionaire off the ground.
Here’s another one.
See, I found another billionaire.
Helmuth is the most insecure person,
but he’s such a beautiful human being.
I mean, it’s a great human.
It’s like it’s like the tale of two people.
He really is a walking case
of schizophrenia and narcissism.
I mean, that’s Chamath saying that.
Welcome to another episode of the All In podcast
with us again, the new chairman
and majority shareholder of Laura Piana,
and the Viceroy of Veganism.
Do you like my thin cashmere gilet that I’m wearing?
Do you mean polo?
Also with us, the Viceroy of Veganism.
The Sultan of Science.
And the regent of the right wing.
The Viceroy of Vegans.
Viceroy of Vegans.
It came to me in the shower today.
I was like, you know what?
He needs a new one.
I switched my background, guys.
Do you like it?
I just flipped the camera to look the other way,
just to mix it up a little bit.
Now we can see your chef
picking the vegetables in your garden.
Before you used to see him pick the herbs.
The herbs are on this side,
but now you can see him pick the veggies.
Oh, there’s the sous chef.
There’s the prep chef.
And there’s that chef.
Everybody showed up today.
You know, you seem to enjoy the food, Jason,
every time you come.
You talk all the shit.
But you are always eating when you’re at my house.
You’re always eating.
Who’s the first RSVP after Phil Haslam?
He’s sending his notes to the kitchen.
Could you just do this a little differently?
I do give notes.
I do, I do.
Usually positive ones.
Three out of four are positive notes.
You know, when I flew with Chamath a few weeks ago,
the chef made gluten-free Nutella crepes with homemade Nutella.
I mean, it was like the most extraordinary breakfast experience.
That Nutella has no sugar.
It’s basically all protein, fat,
and it’s sweetened with monk flour sugar.
They also kill some albino seals.
I’ve not brought a chef on the plane with me,
but I think in fairness,
your kitchen’s bigger.
Well, your plane’s not that big.
I mean, you’ve got a small plane.
I have the kitchen.
I don’t know if a Cessna 142 can finish it.
I’m feeling plane shamed.
I just got to business select on Southwest,
so I’m feeling pretty good about myself right now.
All right, everybody, let’s get started.
A lot of topics people want to talk about.
Do you want to start with Rogan or the Canadian truckers?
I think Rogan probably leads into the truckers, no?
It might, in fact, lead into the truckers.
Okay, so we covered Rogan and Spotify in Episode 66 a whole bunch.
Since that time, a video surfaced on Saturday
with Joe Rogan repeatedly saying,
well, the N word, and it’s pretty rough to watch.
And he did a mea culpa, an apology.
And overall, now Spotify has taken down 70 episodes of his podcast.
You know, that’s out of over 1,000.
I thought it was like 113.
That’s what I saw on Twitter.
There’s 113 total.
Maybe 70 had the N word, but 113 total.
Oh, okay, yes, you’re correct.
I stand corrected.
110 have been taken down.
I was texting with Sox.
It’s like almost 6% of all of his episodes they took down.
Something like that.
Yeah, but not all of them were because of that language.
No, that’s what I’m saying, but 6% were taken down.
6% taken down.
In his apology, he said, obviously, he was wrong to use that word for the decade or so,
but he pointed out that he did not use it towards a person as a slur,
but was talking about it more in studying or discussing the N word.
Use versus mention, is that right?
Is that the distinction?
Yeah, or use versus quoting.
Yeah, so he said it was taken out of context, apologized.
He also made a joke that he immediately said,
oh my God, that’s pretty racist.
I shouldn’t have told that joke, where he compared going to see
Planet of the Apes in an all-black theater in Philly, saying he was in Africa.
On Sunday, Daniel X sent a memo to Spotify employees
claiming he is not the publisher of the Joe Rogan show.
Something I completely dispute.
We’ll talk about that in a moment.
Thoughts on the latest brouhaha, and do we think that Spotify will be able to handle
this, what seems to have died down over the last couple of days,
and Rogan is now joking about it in his comedy engagements at small comedy clubs.
What do you think, Sax?
Is Joe Rogan going to weather the storm?
Is Spotify going to stick with him?
Well, okay, so as of the last episode of the All In pod,
they were trying to cancel Rogan for misinformation, and for the reasons we discussed,
that basically failed because so many of the times something starts as misinformation,
eventually becomes the truth.
Rogan seemed like a guy who actually just wants to present both sides,
present a balanced viewpoint.
In any event, that whole attempt to cancel him based on misinformation was fizzling out,
and then lo and behold, this 22-second clip comes out, and they escalate the charges to racism.
If you look at who’s behind this clip, it’s pretty clear that it was a Democratic super PAC,
put this together, and astroturfed it as a viral video.
This is part of an organized attempt to cancel Rogan.
Now, as to the merits of the racism accusation against him, let me say that I don’t think
anybody, especially a public figure, should be using this kind of language in this day and age.
Even if you’re just quoting something or mentioning it, he should have known better.
However, there are also similar clips that are now circulating of Joe Biden doing the same thing,
using this type of incredibly incendiary language in a brazen, almost off-handed way.
You’ve got clips of Howard Stern-
Hold on a second.
You’re saying brazen, and he said it exactly the same way as Joe did, which is-
I would say maybe in a cavalier way.
But let me come back.
You have Biden doing it.
You’ve got Howard Stern doing it.
What is the difference?
The reality here is that we used to, in our culture, have a distinction between
the use of this type of language as an epithet, which was never okay.
Or using it, you were referencing it.
You might have been quoting it.
You might have been quoting a rap song.
You might have been quoting a Dave Chappelle routine.
You might be reading from a book.
You might have been telling a story in which somebody else has said it,
and you’re merely trying to relay what happened.
The rules today are, that’s not an excuse.
You can’t say it.
But the truth is that 10 years ago, 20 years ago, the rules were a little different.
That’s why Biden said it.
That’s why Howard Stern has these episodes.
And I think it’s why Rogan had said it.
And I think it’s a little bit disingenuous for people to now try and apply the new rules
to this old language.
And they’re doing it very selectively because they’re not trying to cancel
these other people who’ve said these things under the old rules.
They’re trying to cancel Rogan.
So I think what you’re seeing here is selective cancellation outrage,
selective application of these new language rules for the purpose of getting Rogan canceled.
For the same reasons we were talking about two weeks ago or last week,
which is he’s an outsider.
He’s an independent voice.
He bucks the establishment.
He doesn’t present the orthodox view on COVID.
And that’s frankly why they want to cancel him.
I’m just looking at the Howard Stern quote.
So in 1993, Howard Stern dressed in blackface and used the N word in a skit he did,
mimicking Ted Danson, talking about Whoopi Goldberg, something.
And he said, I’ll be the first to admit, I won’t go back and watch those old shows.
It’s like, who is that guy?
But that was my shtick.
It’s what I did.
And I own it.
I don’t think I got embraced by Nazi groups and hate groups.
They seem to think I was against them too.
So I think, you know, Saks is probably right.
I mean, Howard Stern is a very different character today.
You know, I think the question of if Howard Stern acted that way today,
would cancel culture kind of mob him?
The answer is probably yes.
But I think it’s because, you know, Rogan is out here probably picking a bone with everyone.
You know, he’s kind of…
There’s no alignment.
There’s no tribal behavior with Rogan, right?
He doesn’t… He’s been pretty public about being very liberal.
He’s been very public about being conservative in some ways.
And I don’t think he kind of aligns himself strongly with anyone.
And so he’s a threat to everyone.
He’s got a huge following.
And, you know, he speaks openly and honestly, in a way that is threatening.
Certainly, his behavior was inexcusable and has been inexcusable.
But there are others, right?
And so it’s an important question, which is why him?
It’s also interesting with that Ted Danson.
He was dating Whoopi Goldberg at the time, I believe.
And Ted Danson was…
There was a roast of Whoopi Goldberg at the Friars Club.
Ted Danson dressed in blackface, I think, which Whoopi Goldberg was in on.
Oh, Ted Danson dressed in…
Didn’t Howard dress…
And then Howard did a send up of that.
Anyway, the point is the more…
The standard has changed significantly.
Let’s let Chamath chime in.
My book of the year, last year, was this book Wanting by this author, Luke Burgess.
He wrote something on Substack.
I’ll send you guys a link, you can put it in here.
But he said the following.
He said, as we regress to a superstitious, quasi-pagan world of witch burning,
civil discourse will be replaced with superstition and scapegoating.
And he was talking about Rogan.
I think that the thing that I was the most proud of in this whole thing was Daniel Eck.
I mean, disclosure, he’s a friend of mine, so maybe this is biased.
However, I think that Spotify had business principles.
And this was similar to what Brian Armstrong did at Coinbase.
I think they stuck to those principles.
They made a well-reasoned decision that they explained to their employees and shareholders.
And then they did the most important thing that Sachs has always been saying around free speech,
which is more speech.
And so what Spotify said when they explained the decision to not de-platform Joe Rogan
was that they would take the exact equivalent economic value of what they were paying them,
him, $100 million, and invest it in historically underrepresented groups
to tell their stories, to make their music, etc.
And so effectively doubling the universe of that kind of content.
And so I think if people are really willing to listen,
I think what we should take away from this is here’s a really clear-eyed example
of the solution to free speech, which is just to get more of it on your platform,
to have the right disclosures and disclaimers.
And then for, you know, people to go along with their lives so that they can then choose.
And I think that that’s that was the that was the one positive outcome that
that I saw from this entire episode.
The rest of it was another attempt at, you know, being morally absolutist and,
you know, scapegoating.
And then the that was before, obviously, the the n-word thing.
And then the n-word thing just brought to light that we live in a very different age
where the rules have changed.
And I think the open question is, you know, if you’re going to judge people for past behaviors
on current rules, are we allowed to do it selectively?
Or does it apply to everybody?
And I and I think that, you know, this is why I think, you know,
this is why I think, you know, we saw people like David Simon,
you know, came out and David Simon was very,
you know, basically excoriated Joe Rogan.
But then David Simon wrote The Wire, you know, and if you if you watch The Wire,
which is, you know, an incredible piece of television that people point to all the time
is one of probably the greatest shows on television.
You know, every probably, you know, 13th or 14th word was the n-word.
Yeah, I have like two observations here.
And then I’ll get to you, Saxon, if you have something you want to chime in on.
I always like to think about intent.
And then I like to look at the apology and think, is this like sincere or not?
And when you look at the intent, does anybody actually think Joe Rogan is a racist?
And I think it’s pretty clear he’s not from all of the behavior collectively in his life.
And then you look at the apology.
I thought I felt it was incredibly sincere.
And there were many learning moments in it.
And he’s a comedian, which is kind of this other space where we we ask comedians to make
us laugh and make us feel uncomfortable.
And now we’re also asking them to live by a standard that changes every year and words
come on and off the allowable list.
Would anybody here, does anybody here actually think or anybody listening to me think Joe
Rogan is actually racist?
I think the answer is I don’t think anybody thinks that.
And then number two, I felt the apology was incredibly thoughtful and well done.
Sax, what are your thoughts?
Yeah, I mean, I agree.
I agree with those things.
Nobody was accusing Joe Rogan of racism until the cancellation mob started throwing stones
and the misinformation stones didn’t work.
So then they escalated to racism.
I think the generalized thing, just take the context out of Rogan for a second.
I think that the the formula, if I can point to this, of cancel culture is now, I think,
pretty well understood, which is if you don’t like somebody, you need to throw some ism
label on them until that ism label sticks.
And eventually you will find an ism label.
But the the thing that this cancel culture doesn’t appreciate is everybody has some ism
that that can be attached to them.
Now, some isms are worse than others, obviously.
But, you know, we’re all infallible.
I go back to like, if you want to quote the Bible, right, there’s a there’s a beautiful
passage into the Bible, the book of John and the whole thing.
And you guys have heard this quote many times before.
But let me just give you the setup.
So in the law of the land back then, adultery was illegal, but only for the woman.
And so there’s a very famous example of a woman who is accused of adultery.
And, you know, she was about to be stoned to death, which was essentially the punishment.
And Jesus basically draws a line and says, you know, he who is without sin should cast
that first stone.
And nobody does.
It deescalates that conflict and everybody leaves.
And there’s a very famous essay that Renee Girard wrote that basically compared that
to a different example in a more paganist context where people did stone people.
The idea of all of this is that there’s some amount of.
You know, sin that everybody carries.
And I think that at some point.
Cancel culture will realize that.
You have to deescalate and you have to see through some of this noise.
You have to have some point of moral resolution to really move on.
Because this sort of like fatalistic judgment doesn’t work anymore.
So whoever people wanted to cancel Rogan, they must be very frustrated today because
for all intents and purposes, he got off the hook.
They may try again in the future with some other ism.
He may just as well get off the hook in the future.
So what what is the real solution?
The real solution is to figure out how to deescalate and actually have a conversation
about the things that he’s doing that really upset you.
And that is still not what’s happening.
And a path perhaps to resolution.
Let’s get Freeberg in and then you sex Freeberg.
I’ll say two things.
One, I think I once sat next to Tony Blair for dinner.
You know, he was the prime minister of the UK.
And he told me it was a really funny conversation because he was talking about his youth.
And he’s like, if there were iPhones when I was young, I would not have ever been elected
to public office.
Like, you know, he was in a rock band.
He I don’t know if you guys know his history, but, you know, he was pretty freewheeling
kind of guy.
And his point was really broader than that.
It was that, you know, all of us have something that people can look to us for and use against
us in some way.
But I think what’s really important with this Joe Rogan thing, and I think the bigger picture
for me, dissenting voices and critical voices and outspoken voices are extremely important
in the discourse that makes society progress.
It is not a good society.
When people that have dissenting of voices or offensive voices are shut down, society
has a better opportunity to chart a new course and to identify new pads, sometimes when the
dissenting voice is wrong, and sometimes when it is right.
But in both cases, it is important to have that dissenting voice because it allows us
to have the dialogue that allows us collectively to figure out what is wrong, and what is right.
And so this notion of cancel culture and the way that people like Joe Rogan are and have
been attacked for things that they have said in the past or do say today, I think is really
contrary to the opportunity that the United States presents with this, you know, founding
principle of freedom of speech.
Yeah, so I agree with that.
I want to build on what Chamath said with the Rene Girard analysis of this.
I mean, what we’re seeing here is the modern day equivalent of a primitive, you know, archaic
This is a modern day virtual stoning, in which we’re not killing somebody, but we’re trying
to kill their digital avatar.
We’re basically trying to remove and destroy their online presence.
I mean, that was really the goal here.
And in the mechanics of this thing, it only works to the extent that people are unaware
of the mechanism of the scapegoating.
As soon as they become aware that this person’s being targeted selectively as a scapegoat,
it stops working.
And that was the situation we were in last week, where you had, you know, Neil Young
cast the first stone, despite being guilty of misinformation.
Many times himself, he’s got like a weird history of saying weird things about GMOs
and gay people, and some of the stuff got dredged back up.
And I think that was fair, because let he who is without misinformation cast his first
And then he got some of his friends, you know, these aging, you know, rockers like Joni Mitchell
and Crosby, Stills, and Nash to throw the next stones.
And then the media got in on this, and CNN and MSNBC, they were throwing stones.
And it was all motivated by the fact that Rogan simply does not refuse, he refuses to
parrot their orthodoxy because, you know, we can see people like Howard Stern, who I
like Stern, okay?
But today, Howard Stern has become a full-fledged COVID hysteric.
I mean, he is fully on board with the COVID restrictions and mandates in this area.
That’s why he gets diplomatic immunity to this.
So, the whole scapegoating ritual around Rogan was about to fail last week.
And that’s why they escalated it, is because they saw, first of all, Rogan was getting
And then second, our ability to run these sorts of like witch hunts, if people start
to reject that, we lose all of our power.
And so, that’s why this thing escalated into the most sensitive area that we have in our
society, this language around race, this very hurtful, these hurtful epithets.
And these people are playing games with that, with that type of language.
And it’s very destructive.
And, but I think people are seeing through it, you know,
I really agree with this.
I think like the scapegoating has a way to resolve things is losing its effectiveness
It did work online for some amount of time early on.
And David, you’re exactly right.
It’s when the mechanism of action was poorly understood.
But now that everybody sees it, and people try to do it all the time, it just stops working.
And it’s not nearly as effective anymore.
It’s a burnt out tactic.
You know, we see this and it’s like, this marketing channel has been overburdened.
Everybody knows like, okay, I’m being marketed to and to give it some context for those people
who are wondering, you heard Rene Girard like three or four times here.
He’s a philosopher.
And he taught at Stanford.
He had a big impact on Peter Thiel.
I don’t know if Sachs actually took any courses with him.
And there’s a book.
Me, Peter, David.
I mean, like, if you take courses with him,
I never took any courses.
But Peter told me about his ideas in college.
I read some of his books.
His books are incredible.
I mean, he is one of the most powerful thinkers of this.
I mean, he’s he passed away.
Reminds me of Joseph Campbell, the power of meth.
Like they were really thinking about the sort of basic tenets of like human,
the human condition and how people behave.
It’s really worth double clicking on.
I think also interesting in terms of forgiveness and blackface.
Justin Trudeau has appeared no less than three times in his youth in blackface.
And it’s not a joke.
It’s literally true.
Justin Trudeau, like the reason why the the racism label was planted on
Rogan is because he’s heterodox.
The reason why that racism label has not yet really been planted on Justin Trudeau
is because he’s orthodox.
He’s quite he’s quite part of the ingrained establishment.
He comes from royalty in Canada growing up pure Trudeau.
You know, we were we were liberals growing up.
We were members of the Liberal Party.
We’d made donations to the Liberal Party.
You know, in our lore, there is no greater symbol than pure Trudeau, his father.
And so when you’re the son of somebody like that, you get an enormous amount of
credit in your bank account that you’re born with.
And he was able to burn through so much of it by doing things that anybody else
in any other situation may have been judged much more harshly for.
And he wasn’t.
And he becomes prime minister.
And then he’s able to get reelected.
But, you know, his day of reckoning is that reckoning is coming because he is revealing
himself to be a part of this establishment with these views that are actually really
uncomfortable and, you know, quite grotesque because of how judgmental they are of everybody
And that’s a great segue.
And then just finally, Saxe, correct me if I’m wrong here.
Joe Rogan has voted Democrat his whole life.
He holds largely Democratic beliefs.
He’s for universal health care.
He supported Bernie Sanders.
And he was voting for Bernie Sanders.
He’s a really stupid person for the Democrats, for Democratic politicians like Biden to alienate
because he’s a hero to young people.
He’s a hero to the working class.
And his views are fundamentally, I’d say, more progressive.
Yeah, they’re 100% progressive.
So it’s stupid for them to do this.
But it’s also stupid for them to be alienating these truckers because Democrats were supposed
to be the party of the working class.
So let’s pivot to that issue.
Can I just say one last thing?
I just want to reiterate this, Saxe, because I just I just want to really give you a chance
to say it again.
You’ve always said, and it’s so true, the solution to free speech and to protect it
is more speech.
And I just want to say to Daniel Ack and the team at Spotify, you guys must have been in
a really difficult spot.
But the decision to take that $100 million to increase the funnel for other voices and
historically underrepresented voices is so good.
And I hope you guys get to the other side of it.
But I thought it was a really, really, really good decision.
Yeah, I mean, so on Ack and the Spotify decision, let me say one thing to that.
So I applaud them for not canceling Rogan.
They must have been under enormous pressure to do so, including from their own employees.
The only thing I didn’t like in Ack’s statement was when he talked about the user safety and
how they need to do a better job of user safety.
That’s a concept that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
I mean, Rogan is not sneaking into people’s living rooms and turning his show on and pressing
If people don’t like it, I’m talking about users.
If users don’t like the content, they don’t have to listen.
You don’t have to click play.
He’s not threatening anyone’s safety.
But we’ve still bought into this idea of psychological safety that being confronted
with any view you don’t like is a threat to your safety.
That is actually a threat to free speech, because it’s giving the most hysterical people
in our culture, the ones who are most prone to being offended, a veto over any idea and
speech they don’t like.
Yeah, if you’re uncomfortable, you’re unsafe, you could remove yourself from that situation
if it’s a piece of media.
You don’t need to read every book.
You don’t need to see every Quentin Tarantino film.
You don’t need to listen to Joe Rogan or whatever else that you find offensive to you personally.
I just don’t think we should be feeding that idea that psychological safety is a legitimate
We talked about this before with people at work.
If they say they feel unsafe, that’s instantly like an HR, like, oh my God, you feel unsafe?
Yeah, red alert.
HR comes running over because they have a legal requirement.
If someone’s creating a safety issue in the workplace, they have a legal requirement to
remove that problem.
That’s why this language got started is it triggers the machinery of HR to remove people
who are doing nothing wrong other than expressing a view you don’t like.
Yeah, but if I told you as an employee, like, Saxon, hey, listen, your work product is not
good enough, you’re like, I feel unsafe.
Anyway, let’s go to the truckers because I think we’re beating this to death.
I just want to have one final comment on Spotify.
I think, and I appreciate what Daniel did with $100 million.
And I think it’s great that he’s supporting free speech and he’s holding his ground there.
I know that’s not easy.
However, I think he’s intellectually dishonest saying they’re not the publisher of Joe Rogan.
I have a three-part test to see if you’re a publisher.
Do you pay for the content?
Do you promote it?
Do you produce it?
If you do two or more of those, you’re de facto a publisher in my mind.
They pay a lot of money for Joe Rogan.
They promote the heck out of him.
And while they don’t produce it in advance by picking the guests, they do have a production
like veto on what content they put out there.
And so if Netflix has to own the people they pay, even if they don’t produce it and they
promote, then Spotify does need to have the same standard and Disney and Netflix, all
are producers of content.
Nobody would argue that.
And I believe Spotify is the producer Daniel’s not being honest on this.
Let me just defend Spotify for a second.
Okay, you guys have been through this.
I’ve been through this many times at several of my companies.
But when you are in the middle of a firestorm, it’s very rare that you can put out these,
you know, press releases, where the pride of authorship is one person.
And in many ways, you have to write these PR releases, with all of these guardrails
that that think about all of these future issues that may pop up over time.
And so I understand that you guys had some issues with some of the words, I would just
say, again, look at the action.
And the action is, he didn’t deplatform someone, and then he doubled down on free speech.
And he actually pointed $100 million firehose at people who can now tell their own stories
on a platform that is the most important audio platform in the world.
So I would say, you know, you know, that’s kind of like same thing when I said, you know,
I didn’t particularly like sometimes, you know, Brian’s essay, I could have written
But at the end of the day, what I saw through it, and I admitted this later, the substance
of what Brian Armstrong did was incredibly profound, one of the most important things
that actually happened in the last few years in Silicon Valley culture.
And I would just say that I think that Daniel did something really powerful here.
And I think that both Spotify and Coinbase deserve and the employees and the leaders
there deserve a round of applause.
I think it was a very, very hard decision.
And I think they stuck to their guns, irrespective of what you believe they stuck to their guns,
Canadian truckers are protesting, as many of you know, vaccine mandates, just breaking
today, Ontario’s premier has declared a state of emergency for the entire province.
And Ottawa police have braced for 1000s of protesters to descend for the third consecutive
weekend USA Today, also reported the convoy could disrupt the Super Bowl Biden State of
the Union, etc.
The protest has been self titled the freedom convoy and has been underway since January
It appears it has banned several 1000 vehicles across the country, and the truckers are blocking
key roadways and bridges, including the Ambassador Bridge.
They’re seeking an end to connect Canada’s vaccine mandates.
And it feels like this is now morphing into something a little bit wider than just vaccine
Maybe it’s becoming a Occupy Wall Street type of protest open to many people with many different
things that they have grievances about a reporter from Barry Weiss is common sense newsletter
slash media operation wrote what the truckers want.
Jason, you’re you you just nailed it.
I do think that this is actually Occupy Wall Street 2.0.
Look, it turned out just to get roots and facts.
So it’s not just truckers.
This is a broad based coalition of people across every single race and gender and age
group in Canada that’s participating in this thing.
In fact, the Barry Weiss article, you know, she profiled men, women of all ages, Sikhs,
you know, whites, I mean, everybody blacks, there was so there’s a there’s a coalition
Second is this really isn’t about vaccination rates, because it turns out truckers are 90%
vaccinated, they’re vaccinated at a higher percentage than the actual broad based population
of Canada, which is about 78%.
I think the point of this and again, I care about this so much as a Canadian, but I just
want to read a quote from Justin Trudeau, because I think it encapsulates what this
is really about.
The quote is the small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa, who
are holding unacceptable views that they are expressing do not represent the views of Canadians.
And I think it’s that phrase unacceptable views that really points to what the real
issue here is, which is that there are a lot of people who now say it’s been two years,
enough with mask mandates, enough with all of this, you know, almost police state that’s
developed all of the emergency use power that politicians have taken, let’s reclaim our
democracy and let’s have, you know, freedom again.
And under the political viewpoint of the ruling Liberal Party, which by the way, is now going
into revolt as well.
A bunch of liberal MPs have just completely flipped because of this statement.
It summarizes what Trudeau is saying, which is what you believe is unacceptable to me.
And so now I will quash you or that Canada has one viewpoint.
Freeberg, did any of you guys listen to the New York Times daily podcast that our friend
sent out the link to this morning?
Yes, you know, to me, these are the same story.
It was actually an interview with a reporter who highlighted some work that she had done
and identified that Phil Murphy, the Democratic governor of New Jersey, had done some, some
polling and some some focus group discussions with some of his constituents.
And the overriding tone was one of emotion, one of feeling left out of the life that they
believe they should have been living over the past two years.
And ultimately, I think the tone speaks very clearly to what the truckers are saying, which
is everyone feels more than ever, incredible overreach into their personal lives by the
government, and by different governments, whether it’s local or federal here in the
US or by this Canadian government, or, you know, go to Australia or the UK, and the sentiment
seems to be similar everywhere.
I don’t think that any time since World War Two, have we seen the government create such
restrictions and such mandates in democratic republics, like the United States, that we
just saw over the past two years.
And I think the fact that it’s continuing when folks are now seeing, you know, on the
ground every day, you know, the mildness of Omicron, or like, you know, the big, the challenges
that their kids are facing in school, and you kind of put these things together, and
you say to yourself, why is my government restricting my life and causing the challenge
that I’m being forced to face?
And I think that’s a tone that everyone feels everywhere in the West today.
I think in the East, it’s a little bit different, right?
Because of the mindset there.
But I think here, collectivism, collectivism, and I think here, where we pride individual
liberty and freedom, as kind of the foundation of these democracies, to have the government
tell us what we have to wear shots, we have to put in our arms, where we can go and when
how we can behave in ways that were never legislated in ways that were never kind of
debated and discussed publicly, just feels overreaching.
At this point, I think everyone’s hit their breaking point.
And this is another one of these examples, this trucking thing is another one of these
examples of people manifesting their breaking point.
And sacks to the point we’ve been discussing over and over again, things have changed radically
since the beginning of the pandemic, you believed in mask mandates early, because hey, no downside,
we talked about that.
And we didn’t want hospitals to be overrun, which is reasonable.
You wanted to have oxygen, we were all, you know, trying to make plans for, hey, how bad
is this going to be?
But we’re sitting here two years later, and it’s pretty clear Omicron, which I had, thank you,
sacks, is a nothing burger, as we said here.
Thanks a lot, sacks.
I helped you.
Saxicron, maybe a superhero, thank you.
All I’ve ever gotten is sick when I’ve been around you.
Yeah, I went to sacks’ party and all I got was an $8,000 gift bag and Omicron.
The gift bag’s pretty great at sacks’ parties.
I think getting Omicron helped you because it enabled you to see that this, for you,
was largely a nothing burger.
And so you could come out of your house and start acting normal.
I think there’s a lot of people all over the country who are like that.
You were saying that?
You haven’t left your house for two years.
Do you remember the photos of sacks at the beginning of COVID when he was wearing the
triple mask and the goggles?
Yeah, he was scared to death.
He ran to Mexico and built a fort.
He Colonel Kurtz did.
Well, look, I supported mask mandates at the beginning of the pandemic when Fauci was telling
us masks didn’t work.
Let’s not forget that.
I was supporting when the health officials told us they didn’t work.
Because it was the only thing we had.
We didn’t have vaccines.
David, come on.
He was doing us a favor by lying to us by his own admission.
He said, I lied to you so that we could preserve these masks for frontline workers.
Well, thank you.
Thank you, Anthony Fauci.
One of many noble lies that he’s been telling.
Here we go.
He’s a noble liar.
He’s a noble liar.
By May of 2020, I was saying.
He’s my biggest political loser.
Pick from 2020.
Take it easy on your picks.
I know you want to do your victory lap.
It’s only February.
Give us till like June for the check in.
OK, Colonel Kurtz, continue.
Masks were the main alternative to lockdowns.
That’s the way I saw it in the summer of 2020.
And I was saying, end these crazy lockdowns, just do masks.
And then once we had the vaccine and all COVID restrictions, that was a year ago.
And now we still have these restrictions a year later.
And that is what the truckers are rebelling against.
Just like you said, these are ordinary people who are sick and tired of having to show
their papers and have to deal with these mandates.
And and for that, they’ve been like absolutely demonized.
I mean, Trudeau comes out and says that they’re basically white supremacists and racist and
Every epithet he can throw at them.
Sorry to your point.
He used every he did use every ism.
He really did try to cancel them at first.
And this is what’s really painted him in a corner.
He went on national TV and he said, these people are racist and misogynist.
That’s specifically what he said.
And it actually turned out that the overwhelming majority of them were not they were just normal,
ordinary law abiding Canadians who are just fed up with the overreach.
And then then what happened was the polling said, you should bring these convoy leaders
in, sit them down and talk to them.
And then the political calculus, though, was impossible for him because he had already
called them racist and misogynist.
So then how could he bring them in?
How do you negotiate with Nazis, basically?
So then what he did was he ran out of Ottawa.
So instead of staying in Ottawa, now he’s under in a secure location for his sake.
Oh, my God.
Oh, he feels unsafe.
So trigger warning.
In fairness, when you bring 8000 people together and you get a wide enough group of people,
there was swat stickers and white confederate flags that were flown.
So it might have been two of 8000.
But that did happen within any protest movement, which I just said.
Within any protest movement, there’s always gonna be a handful of people who go too far
and are too extreme.
But they did not represent the vast, vast majority of the people who turned out, which
are ordinary citizens.
And Trudeau seized on a handful of isolated examples to try and demonize these guys.
And I think it’s blowing up in his face.
The fact of the matter is the truckers did not start this fight.
It’s the zealotry of our elites, of our professional class that started this fight.
They will not give up on these mandates.
That’s the fundamental problem.
And while they go to the Super Bowl with no mascot.
I think what you’re seeing here with this trucker thing, I think it’s going to have
huge ripple effects because it’s showing the schism in the Democratic Party between the
professional elites and the working class.
Here you have the working class.
Remember, these were the essential workers.
These are the people bringing us our food.
Most of them have already had COVID over the last couple of years.
They couldn’t sit behind a computer and do their job in their pajamas on Zoom all day.
So these guys know the reality of COVID just like you learned the reality, Jason, when
you actually got it.
And yet we’ve got this neurotic class of professionals within the Democratic Party who are these
COVID dead-enders don’t want to give this stuff up.
And that’s the fundamental divide.
And I think Biden’s going to have to choose which side are you on?
Are you on the side of the working class or the professional class?
Trudeau has chosen his side.
He is the effete elite face of these COVID dead-enders.
And Biden’s going to have to choose who he supports.
And those are dwindling.
You have governors now who are Democratic governors in many states who are saying,
listen, Omicron is obviously different.
And look at the charts.
Look at the data.
We have to talk about this New York Times story on how New Jersey and several other
of these blue states dropped the mask mandates.
It was absolutely extraordinary.
I mean, it’s not extraordinary.
The risk assessment is different, David.
What was extraordinary about it is that…
I mean, I think it’s kind of obvious more than extraordinary.
If Omicron is less deadly, it’s an upper respiratory, doesn’t kill people who are
vaccinated, and most people are vaccinated, pretty obviously it’s time to pivot and open
It’s time to make an obvious decision.
Biden really missed his moment here.
So I think, you know, like Friedberg said, it was Phil Murphy.
He’s a Democratic governor in New Jersey.
He was supposed to have an easy reelect win by 20 to 30 points.
He narrowly squeaks by, by two to three points, okay?
So then he conducts the focus groups to find out what did we miss?
Why were we so off on this thing?
And they find out that people are so tired of these mandates.
He goes to the White House, okay?
And shows these findings and says, guys, we have to get off this losing position on COVID.
And the White House sits on his hands and does absolutely nothing.
So Murphy is like, we can’t wait anymore.
So he unilaterally goes without White House support.
This is all in the New York Times article.
This is not like some right-wing publication saying this, okay?
So he unilaterally says, okay, we’re getting rid of the mask mandate, okay?
And then five other states do the same thing because they realize we can’t wait anymore.
And Biden is just nowhere to be found.
And Psaki is saying, well, we’re deferring to the CDC.
They’re deferring to, you know, Rachel Walensky at the CDC and Randy Weingartner at the teachers
unions and these health officials like Barbara Furrier in LA County, all of whom are saying
we cannot lift these mandates yet.
So they are completely on the wrong side of this.
And then Biden really steps in it by saying to Trudeau in Canada, listen, you guys got
to clear this bridge.
Do whatever you need to do to clear this bridge.
Basically implying that the civil disobedience needs to be met by force.
And then you’ve got Harvard professors and CNN analysts saying slash their tires, take
away their trucking licenses, starve them out, you know?
So this has been the response.
And the response to that is now there’s a trucker convoy getting started in the US and
they’re going to march on Washington.
They’re going to drive to Washington.
And between now and then Biden better figure out what side he’s going to be on.
Because if he doesn’t handle this right, I think it’s going to be the end of his presidency.
Peaceful civil disobedience is fine as long as they’re not blocking ambulances,
getting people to and from hospitals.
Especially if they’ve been vaccinated on respirators.
Joe Biden, is this Scranton Joe, the guy who said he would take us back to normalcy, the
representative of the working class, is that who the president of the United States is?
Or is he in the Trudeau camp, you know, the Fauci and the Walensky and the Barber Ferrer’s?
Or is he out of it and easily influenced?
I think you’re asking a rhetorical question.
I think that the polling data makes the answer pretty clear, which is that the Democratic
Party is lurching towards establishment insiders.
And working, normal, ordinary people have in larger and larger numbers started gravitating
towards to the Republican Party.
Minorities in far larger numbers than we ever expected have started lurching towards the
And so the answer is sort of in the polling data and what what the actual facts on the
ground have been, you know, I mean, we forget, because we were also ready to, to cast away
our Trump derangement syndrome syndrome, but he did get I think, what was it 9 million
more people to vote for him in this past election?
Yeah, the working class, whether they’re the white working class or the non white working
class are moving in huge numbers.
I think the margin of non white working class who moved to the Republicans last election
was 18 points.
They got 18 points more share than eight years ago.
So the working class, regardless of their race, is moving towards the Republicans, while
the Democrats are becoming this more a feat elite professional class party, this woke
And, you know, I think Biden sort of is caught in the middle of this.
And I think he’s running out of time to try and reestablish that he’s going to have a
centrist presidency that does not completely kowtow and defer to the left of his party
to this sort of woke elite thinking.
You know, you see democratic political scientists like Roy Tushara writing about this like every
week saying this is your last chance.
This is your moment to save your presidency.
I don’t know if he’s listening.
Okay, Friedberg, we made some great progress in science this week in nuclear fusion.
You want to tee this up for us?
I’m happy to.
So let me just give a little background for maybe a minute on fusion.
So you know, the the way energy is made in the sun and in all stars is through this process
of nuclear fusion, where hydrogen nuclei, the protons inside of hydrogen atoms shoot
around at such a high energy, and they’re so dense because of the amount of hydrogen
it all causes gravity to pull them all together, they get really dense, they start slamming
into each other, when they slam into each other, they fuse into helium, and ultimately,
the heavier elements and release energy in the process.
And that is what fusion is.
So you know, we talked about nuclear energy on Earth, all nuclear energy that we generated
on Earth, as a species to date has been through fission, where we take much heavier elements
like plutonium and uranium, and they break apart by squeezing them together, and they
But this creates radioactive material, it’s dangerous, it’s very, very expensive, and
So there’s always been a question since roughly the 1950s, on whether or not we could recreate
the conditions of the sun or stars on planet Earth, by creating a plasma by creating the
same sort of plasma that exists inside of stars very hot, very fast, very dense hydrogen
that can slam into itself and slam into atoms and fuse into helium and release energy.
Does that same plasma exist on Uranus?
Yeah, God, you’re gonna give him a wedgie.
Let science boy finish.
Back to you.
Never gets old.
Was it 69 megajoules or 420 megajoules?
So plasma fusion has always been this kind of holy grail of energy, because if you can
actually generate plasma fusion, the amount of energy it takes to create the plasma is
less than the energy that comes out of the plasma.
So it’s effectively infinite, free, cheap plasma.
And so the system that people have been building for the last 25-30 years is these donut shaped
systems called tokamaks.
They’re like a circle or like a donut, and they spin the plasma around inside.
And so it takes a lot of energy and magnets and so on to try and make this work.
You know, it’s a company we talked about a few months ago called Commonwealth Fusion
Systems, which uses a new superconducting material to control that plasma and use instead
of using expensive magnets may just raise $1.8 billion.
And, you know, more recently, the joint European Taurus, which is managed by the Atomic Energy
Authority in the United Kingdom, just this week demonstrated energy output from their
tokamak plasma fusion system, where they generated, you know, 59 megawatts of energy in five seconds,
which is a record.
The prior record was set in 1997.
By that same agency, they generated 16 megawatts of power output.
So it was a great breakthrough.
And you know, to make this all possible has required technical breakthroughs in electronics,
technical breakthroughs in sensors and computing and hardware and material science and superconductors.
And so all of this is starting to coalesce that plasma fusion might actually become a
And the ITARE system, which is the biggest construction project in Europe, 35 nations
have contributed a total of roughly 50 to $60 billion to make this system is going to
go online around 2027.
They’ve been building it for 20 years, it’s going to be a 500 megawatt demonstration system.
And if it works, then it opens up the door that in the future, we may actually be able
to turn plasma fusion into an energy source for all of humanity.
It basically would use water plasma fusion is made from taking hydrogen, which you would
get from water, spinning it around heating it up, getting it to be really, really dense,
and ultimately driving power out of it.
The implications are extraordinary, right?
So over the next few decades, it is appearing more likely that we will have plasma fusion
systems working on Earth.
And as that happens, energy becomes free, and it becomes unlimited.
And with unlimited free energy, we can terraform Earth, right, we can take ocean water, desal it,
turn it into freshwater, we can pump that into deserts, turn them into rainforests.
You know, the total annual production of energy on Earth today is about 170 terawatt hours,
that amount of energy could be generated from just a 10 foot by 10 foot by 10 foot cube of water.
That’s the amount of energy, the amount of material that would be turned into photons
that would drive all of the electricity we need on Earth.
So it’s an incredible technology and incredible breakthrough.
We’re starting to see this stuff happen.
One area that I wanted to kind of just highlight, which no one talks about,
but which I think is extraordinarily important, about 100 years from now, let’s say,
as these plasma fusion systems work, it’s certainly going to be true that we’ll have
abundant free energy during the back half of this century.
And that’ll change everything, we’ll decarbonize the atmosphere, we’ll terraform the planet,
we can make whatever we want, we can build things, etc.
But the same system of plasma fusion theoretically could be used to fuse heavier elements
than just helium.
So fast forward 100 or 200 years, if we can actually make plasma fusion systems work,
we could also and to make helium to make energy, we could also use them to make heavier elements,
like the rare earth metals that we talk about being so important here on Earth to make
batteries, or phosphorus, which you know, we’re going to run out of on planet Earth
in about 100 years, which is a critical component of agriculture and feeding ourselves.
So you know, over the next call it 100 years plasma fusion systems, I think back half of
this century, come online, provide us with abundant free energy.
And then in the 22nd century, I think this idea of nucleosynthesis, the idea that we
can actually make the rare earth or the heavier elements that are limited natural resources
here on Earth, where we can turn water into gold or water into lithium or water into molybdenum,
or you know, into beryllium or whatever, starts to become a reality.
And so this to me, like, I feel like we’re on the eve of plasma fusion being a reality,
you know, based on some of the results we’re seeing.
And it’s, it’s one after the other I tear is going to come online, you know,
Commonwealth fusion had their materials breakthrough and on and on and on.
So this seems to be building up.
And so the 20 tipping point, that’s right.
I think the 2030s and the 2040s are where this becomes real.
And all these problems and concerns we have about climate change, and carbon in the atmosphere,
all of this stuff can be reversed with infinite energy.
And so I’m optimistic, and I’m excited about a lot of what we’re seeing.
Let me ask you one question.
Obviously, when people start hearing about nuclear reactors and fission,
and then they start learning about fusion, they immediately have the Chernobyls of the
world and Fukushima has come to mind and nuclear bombs.
In this case, when this reaction occurs, my understanding, I’ve interviewed a couple
of people working on these reactors, is that the reaction just fizzles out, it just stops.
And then it’s not radioactive.
So these, these are not radioactive materials that naturally decay into radioactive
ions or particles that can damage the body or damage.
These are literally just hydrogen atoms that are spun around so hot and smashed into each other.
So if the machine breaks, everything just turns off.
And the output, even when it’s working, my understanding is some natural,
like just air and water.
So there’s no output.
There’s no, there’s nothing radioactive.
There’s no, there’s nothing to deal with.
Let me fast forward 200 years.
So now assume these systems work.
As you guys know, all technology over time gets better, faster, cheaper, smaller.
So in 200 years, we could find that we have plasma fusion reactions in every pocket,
in every computer, in every phone, imagine a world where we no longer need batteries,
where we no longer need transmission lines, and where a system can literally pull hydrogen
out of the air, generate electricity on the fly.
And it sounds crazy.
But people thought, people would have never thought that the batteries that we put inside
of phones would have existed when the first flow cell battery cell was made, you know,
whatever, you know, during the early days of chemistry, electrical chemistry.
So, you know, the idea that we’ve been able to shrink batteries as we have,
the idea that we’ve been able to make generators like we have today,
these were concepts that would have been so foreign.
So I do think that in 200 years, if plasma fusion systems work, there’s nothing about
the laws of physics that says they’re limited in scale to only being large.
They theoretically could be reduced down to there’s no limit to the size they could
drop down to.
And so there could be a world 200 years from now, where plasma fusion reactors exist in
every component that needs electricity.
And so ultimately, you could see putting these systems on spaceships, and using them to convert
elements from one form to another, and we could live for, you know, 100,000 years on
a spaceship, and just recycle the elements on that spaceship to produce all our food
and our air and everything.
Yeah, for sure, we could get to Uranus with that.
You could circle his anus.
So that was my diatribe on plasma fusion.
I’m super excited about some of the progress we’re seeing.
Right now, Sax is wondering, how do we wet our beaks?
Just tell us where to place the bet.
There’s nowhere yet.
I mean, honestly, I don’t place bets on things that take 100,000 years.
It’s only 100 years, Sax.
Oh, 100 years.
I invest in things that might materialize in four years.
He needs to upgrade his plane.
Sax’s bills are due next month.
Not an urgent call, Sax.
I got bills to pay.
I got bills.
A big part of the, you know, just speaking markets for a second.
I mentioned to you guys at the end of last year that I made a bet on energy stocks.
And the reason I made a bet on energy stocks is because some of the breakthroughs that we’re
seeing in decarbonization and renewable energy has driven a reduction in capital improvements
across energy infrastructure.
Because people are so optimistic about what’s over the horizon.
And they’re so pessimistic about carbon intensive energy systems
that we actually have under invested over the past few years
in energy infrastructure that it’s turning out today is critically needed.
So while this is a great long term kind of optimistic world scenario,
and it’s going to decarbonize energy production and energy systems in the near term,
we’re actually struggling a bit to meet our energy demands.
And there’s a lot of leverage that energy producers have over those that are the
consumers as we’re seeing currently with the Russia, Ukraine, Europe crisis, and so on.
And so part of the reason for the climb in energy stocks over the last couple of weeks
has been largely driven by the fact that we’re realizing that this under investment in capex
has created a decline in productivity of these assets relative to the demand.
And so suddenly, everyone’s like, Oh my gosh, these things are gonna be able to charge more
commodity prices are going up, and so on.
So you know, it’s very hard to think about playing an investment cycle around this stuff,
because in the near term, there’s still significant demand and we only have
carbon intensive systems to produce energy.
Well, I was gonna ask you, if does this mean on an investment thesis,
you might see a massive spike in carbon based
fuel systems, and these are wealth funds, and then a dramatic drop off?
Okay, what do you predict will happen?
The nobody will support anybody investing in pulling more oil out of the ground,
they’ll, they’ll support trying to get more from what we have.
But, you know, I don’t know if you guys saw, but you know,
there’s no support for this, whether you’re an investor, and you go activist on some of
these oil companies.
You know, whether you’re I think they’re Biden had a big setback, because,
you know, he had cleared a whole like millions of acres of offshore
land for some point, some kind of energy extraction that was then just reversed by
No, no, but nobody has support for this stuff.
But what you’re saying is exactly right.
And it’s exactly the reason oil prices are climbing.
I just sent you guys a link to what’s going on today.
But they’re climbing for the wrong reason.
So look, let’s just be realistic here.
We, you know, we have a cartel, it’s called OPEC, you know, and what they do is they decide
And we have some balance checks and balances to OPEC, namely Russia and a few other actors,
who will try to then regulate supply and demand so that there’s mutually assured destruction.
The net result of all of that right now is that we do have some constraint supply for
the amount that we need to get to get back to the level of production we had pre pandemic.
So we are going to have some sustained energy prices.
But you saw something really important this past week.
Everybody was waiting for this big CPI print, right, the consumer price index print.
Everybody thought it was going to be a bad number.
It was a pretty bad number.
But the markets were pretty responsive to it.
And, and then it’s been pretty responsive the rest of the week, despite a whole bunch
I don’t know if you guys saw, but like yesterday, there was this crazy article where, you know,
one of the Fed governors was like, we should raise by 100 basis points by July.
And, you know, we should do eight, eight raises.
And the markets were like, what are you talking about?
And why is that?
Because now people have started to look, you know, I’ve mentioned this before, when you
go into a rate cycle, we’re kind of past worrying about how many we kind of look to
the end and decide what we want to believe about the future.
And one of the most interesting things is the rate of change of this inflation was actually
lower month over month.
And so if you think about it that way, we had a bad CPI print, but it’s actually not
going up as much.
And in fact, it’s starting to trail off.
And a lot of economists now forecast basically this inflation peaking or already having peaked
over the last few weeks.
Consumer sentiment is not so good.
A lot of us are now shifting our consumption away from goods to more services, we’re, we’re
stopping, you know, the hoarding of the toilet papers of the world, if you will.
And so I’m not a big buyer of this trade, to be honest with you, Friedberg, I think
that it works in the short term, I don’t think it’s an investment, I think, at some point,
you’re going to have to make a decision about what your view on energy is.
I know, I agree.
I don’t think this is a long term trade, not an investment.
But I do, I do think that the macro sentiment sent the market in one direction, it creates
this up, it created a buying opportunity, which I was pretty clear about.
And I do think that some of this global tension stuff we’re seeing is only going to drive
it up for a while.
I do, I do think, however, that the the this big tech spread trade is moving from a trade
to an investment, actually.
And that I didn’t expect.
And the reason is, I talked to a bunch of folks on Wall Street over this past week.
And they told me two things.
And one of them is a segue, because I think we should talk about Microsoft, which is another
brilliant move in the lexicon of business.
But what they said was, Facebook has become a funding short for other investments.
Now, what does that mean?
Everybody was crowded into big tech, we talked about this before, right?
Those five stocks were broadly owned, they were effectively the index.
But after that, after that earnings report, a lot of investors, including retail investors
had to decide where to reallocate their capital, and had to decide where to invest, where the
money was going to come from to invest in these other names that were really beaten up.
And what folks on Wall Street have been telling me is that, you know, Facebook has become
what’s called a funding short, meaning there is no bid to buy that from institutional owners.
They’d rather on the margin sell it to generate the cash to then take and invest in other
And what you saw over this past week is the bottoming out of a lot of these growth stocks
that were beaten up, right, they rallied pretty significantly every day, three, four,
five, 6% rallies.
And other names in big tech have rallied really well, including Microsoft.
And, and so I think that there is the potential, a small potential, that that’s going from
a trade to an investment, actually, a sustainable trend that you can bank on for, you know,
several years, investment, hold the stock for 510 years, the trade that spread trade,
you can hold for a long period of time, but for the winners to be the winners in that
just so people get refreshed, Google, Microsoft, Google, Microsoft, Google, and then you feel
Amazon, Facebook, obviously, and Netflix are the losers in that trade.
Still feel that way?
I think that Microsoft and Google are far and away the winners, far and away the winners.
And look, you saw, you saw, you saw this Microsoft thing today, or sorry, this past week, so
smart, you know?
So just to give, catch people up on that, Microsoft has made another savvy move to get
approval for their $75 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition.
They promised their video game app store would operate with open market principles.
CEO of the year, Satya Nadella, and others travel to Washington, Nadella, Nadella, right,
the Senate at the end, travel to Washington this week to meet with regulators regarding
So they, I guess, are proactively going to Washington as opposed to other people who
maybe are not.
Quote from Microsoft President Brad Smith, we are more focused on adopting, adapting
to regulation than fighting against it.
That’s some really interesting kung fu right there.
There’s a famous story about this explorer named Hernando Cortez, where, you know, we’ve
all heard this analogy, or this, this, this little phrase before, where, you know, when
they were exploring, coming from Europe, and, you know, they hit the Caribbean islands,
and then, you know, looking for America, etc.
The famous phrase is burn the boats.
Can’t go back, we have to find our way, make it work.
The, the way that that’s been extended in business is sort of what we would call scorched
And there’s a competitive move that a lot of businesses, if they’re smart enough can
execute, which is to effectively take a key market, and take an economic view of that
market, where you say that we’re going to take all the economic value away from it.
And I think this is a first step towards a really interesting play that Microsoft could
pull, which is essentially to scorch the earth of app stores, which is Google’s and Apple’s
really big money printer to make a completely open permissible platform with very little
to no take rate.
And in a market as big as video games, I think what it does is it creates pressure on all
these other mega platforms to essentially copy them.
And I think Friedberg mentioned this before, Google has actually been the best in doing
this by finding these key markets, or I think it was sacks, you know, Chrome and other things
and giving them away for free.
Google is in a position to make the app store effectively free.
And then that puts Apple on a little bit of a desert island.
So Jason, back to why I think you can keep Apple in that basket of shorts, the competitive
pressures are mounting by by the moves of Microsoft that I think are easier for Google
to copy, and very difficult for companies like Apple to copy because it creates an incredible
And also, as part of this open app store concept, they will let you use any payment system.
So if you’re on an iPhone, and you want to use Apple pay with a Google app purchase,
you can do that.
And if you’re on, you know, Microsoft, you can use PayPal as an example.
Saks, what do you what do you think about inflation?
Okay, there was a really interesting chart on inflation that actually zero hedge tweeted.
And I threw it up in the notes here, where they said real hourly earnings are negative
It’s the 10th month in a row where US incomes aren’t keeping up with inflation.
So the problem here is that, you know, people’s incomes have increased with inflation, but not
as much as the inflation rate.
So the net effect of it is that people are feeling worse off when they go to the grocery
store to buy groceries or whatever they need.
They don’t feel as rich.
That’s the fundamental problem here.
And I think there’s a lot of people out there who think that there’s a free lunch that if we
printed 2 trillion worth of stimmy checks, this is the whole that $2 trillion bill last
year they shoveled through, I think the idea was, we’re going to print as much money as
we can for the election.
And it’s going to help us in the midterms.
Actually, as it turns out, it boosted inflation so much that people are feeling worse off,
even though their wages went up slightly, because on a net basis, their earnings are
So I just think it’s a good reminder that you can’t just like print wealth, you can’t
print your way to prosperity.
No free lunches.
There’s no free lunches.
Or we’re going to create addiction to universal income or universal subsidy.
That’s the alternative is people are going to basically try and vote to make some programs
that were initially meant to be temporary, more permanent, in order to keep up the lifestyle
that they’ve become accustomed to.
Just just to build on sexist point, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment was released,
I think it was today this morning.
And it shows exactly what he’s saying, which is that, you know, consumers propensity and
confidence in the economy has been falling off a cliff.
You know, the month over month change was almost it was down 8.2%.
The year over year change is down almost 20%.
Current economic conditions was down 20%.
And then index of consumer expectations down 19%.
So to, to access point, people are scared.
Yeah, well, we’ve been we’ve been talking on the show for the last, I’d say a couple
of months about balancing the risk of recession versus the risk of inflation.
Inflation, I think has gotten slightly worse.
The print went from the last print was like 7.1% now some point 5%.
So to Tomas point earlier, it’s getting worse, but the rate of how fast it’s getting worse
but the risk of recession, I think is increasing.
Because what’s keeping this economy going is the consumer.
And if the consumer sentiment now all of a sudden is tanking, and people feel poor because
of inflation, I just, you know, now that the risks are starting to become a sentiment goes
This is where governors play a critical role, because if they don’t open up these economies,
we can’t actually have a consumer led consumption rebound of the economy, because there aren’t
any services to buy because you can’t actually be around anybody.
So if the economy remains effectively closed, and people are done buying, you know, tubs
of margarine and toilet paper, because you know, Armageddon isn’t coming as we were worried
it would, what are we supposed to be doing?
So this is how these things interplay.
So we have to get these again, going back to where we started, we have to get this economy
And we have to just get back to some sense of normalcy and the consumer will lead us
But I think sacks, you’re right on the margin, I think the risk is towards a recession, because
people don’t see this Thomas Sowell, who’s a well known Stanford, he’s a I think he’s
a senior fellow at Hoover.
You know, he has this comment, which is effectively taxes are bad for the rich and the poor, but
inflation is bad just for the poor.
And the reason he says that is because, you know, if you’re wealthy, you can transition
to assets that are sort of inflation adjusted or inflation protected, right, you can consume
assets, or you can purchase assets to protect yourself.
But inflation is an exceptionally regressive means of the government taking compensation
away from your current compensation, and it disproportionately affects working class ordinary
And so if you have real wages that are negative inflation, that’s high, that’s confiscatory,
You are you are meaningfully less well off than you were before.
And, you know, wealthy folks have a way to hedge but normal ordinary working class people
And on the margin, then if they then do not go out and spend, the problem will be some
sort of recessionary effect.
I also think if we open up, more people might, since they’re so lonely and getting weird
staying at home, I think they might actually want to go do jobs to socialize and do things
I’m seeing people want to get out and do, you know, trips with their teams and they’re
and they’re sick of staying home.
Salesforce just bought a retreat center and we saw this south of the city, the Bay Area
and because Benioff’s got a concern, I guess that all these employees he hired over two
years who’ve never met another Salesforce employee are getting weird and lonely.
And, you know,
I think David, you’re right.
I think history is going to be really judgmental of Biden.
If he is the last person to basically give the green light and all of these democratic
governors basically revolt and open up under underneath, you know, either silence or the
complete opposite point of view.
This is a really bad setup.
Well, National Journal, which again is not some right-wing publication, they’re just
sort of an analyst of what’s happening in Washington, said that an article, Biden is
blowing his COVID moment.
He was elected to lead us back to normalcy.
All he had to do was say, guys, it’s time for the restrictions to come off and take
credit for the fact that we were, that the whole country was ready to move on.
And he’s kind of missed it.
And, but this trucker convoy that’s coming to Washington gives him one more chance, I
think, to get on the right side of this, because there’s really two ways he can react.
One is to treat them as, you know, domestic terrorists, you know, racists, white supremacists,
insurrectionaries, or he can, you know, embrace them and say, all he has to do is say, listen,
we love you.
We respect you.
We hear you.
We agree with you.
It’s time for these mandates to end.
And you know what?
Thank you, Rachel Walensky and Anthony Fauci for your service.
We understand you’re just trying to keep the country safe, but thank you very much.
We’re ready to move on.
We’re getting rid of all these restrictions.
His popularity would like bounce five points, 10 points if he did that.
Yeah, I’m betting he’s going to.
I mean, he’s always represented the working men and women of this country.
That’s been his thing from the beginning.
I bet you he does embrace them.
And if you look at Omicron, remember the scariness of December?
Hey, this thing is spreading 30, 40, 50 times faster.
I wonder if it’s going to have the same death rate.
And we didn’t know.
And now we know.
And it’s February.
Two months later, we know that the curve in South Africa, same as a curve in New York
and California, up and down.
And then the only people who die seemingly are immunocompromised or unvaccinated or both.
So it feels like the perfect time.
You know who really led us back to normalcy?
I mean, we really need to give credit to all the people who fought.
It’s the moms who went to these school board meetings, who were denounced as domestic
They’re the ones who put pressure to repeal these mask mandates on their kids, which,
by the way, aren’t even fully off.
In New York and California, adults don’t have to wear masks anymore, but the kids do.
It’s the scientists.
It’s the scientists of the Great Barrington Declaration who were demonized and called
fringe and kooks and conspiracy theorists.
They’re the ones who provided the real data against lockdowns, not the NIH.
It’s these truckers who are basically opposing mandates.
These are the people who are dragging us back to normalcy.
And it’s the politicians who are reacting to that when the polls change.
And I think what the people want now is some real leadership.
It’s a politician who gets up there and leads us back to normalcy.
Why can’t Biden do that?
There’s a great article in the Times, and they profiled, you know, a couple of people,
and one of them was a mom in New York who’s running for Congress against, you know, an
intention, an entrenched Democrat.
And she’s, I mean, you know, she’s just a good hearted mom who was like, this is enough.
I need to get back to normalcy.
My kids need to get back in school.
We still have mask mandates here in California.
Kids are still wearing a mask in school.
It’s becoming tribal warfare amongst the Democrats in California, because even when,
you know, the governor basically said, okay, mask mandates can go on X date.
The county supervisors have not decided.
So, for example, in Santa Clara County, you know, they’ve not said yes.
In LA County, there’s a health director, an unelected bureaucrat, a health director named
She calls the shots on COVID.
After Newsom basically said that the masks can come off, she says, no, they can’t, not
Who is this person giving us orders?
She told this to the board of supervisors down there, and we’re all just supposed to
Now, the reason why she has this authority is because Newsom is granted to her under
Newsom’s state of emergency.
So, what he should do is end that.
What is the emergency?
The Super Bowl is happening this weekend in the state, and everyone’s going to be there
I mean, I was at the Warriors game last night, and you had people wearing the most flimsy
of masks that does nothing to protect, people taking them off while they’re eating and
drinking, and then people walking around with signs.
The security guards had signs that said, please put your mask on, and they were walking up
to people, I kid you not, and putting this like little round sign in people’s faces and
not talking to them, just, you know, and they would stand there until you put your mask
And like, you’re literally eating a hot dog, and then you put the hot dog down, and then
they come up and put the sign in your face.
You put your mask up, you take another bite of your hot dog.
I mean, it was getting unnecessarily confrontational, and just weird, and nowhere else are you seeing
it, and then you go to a restaurant, and the employees are wearing masks, and nobody else
I hope you can find it.
There was this clip on Twitter, when the mask mandate was lifted in Nevada, and it was a
clip of kids in like grade two or three, and they went crazy.
And the reason they were so excited was like, they got to be normal again.
And the explanation, I had never heard this more beautifully said, these children can
finally see their friends as emotions on their face.
Oh, my God.
Can you imagine if you’re four, five, six, seven years old, and you cannot understand
the emotions of other kids, because you’re covered up in a mask, and you’ve only had
an experience in school, two years in school.
My six-year-old has never attended a day of school without a mask.
I was about to say, right?
Like there’s kids out there who have never had a clip.
And you know, I was at horses with one of my kids last weekend, and there were a bunch
of kids out there riding.
They’re on a horse.
They’re all wearing masks in a voluntary optional situation.
I’m just like, how brainwashed.
This generation that we’re raising, I mean, they’re going to be so neurotic, but they’re
also like brainwashed.
I mean, it’s crazy.
We see it in the Bay Area.
Like I’ll have a party with the kids or a group of kids come over, and there’s two or
three parents who show up at the house.
We only do outdoor parties, obviously.
Two or three of the 10 kids will have masks on, their parents will have masks on, and
like the most intense N95, like sealed masks.
And I’m like, you want to take your mask off for a picture?
And one of the kids refused to take her mask off for a picture outside at a birthday party.
I was like, okay.
Listen, I mean, when I supported the mask mandate at the very beginning of the pandemic,
it was always as an interim measure.
If I had known that people would want to continue this thing forever, there’s no way I would
have supported it.
But it also probably was effective in the early days with the first vaccine.
I don’t think we know what the psychological impact to children is when they don’t understand
other people’s emotions, and you do it over a long period of time.
No, we don’t.
I think that’s a fair statement.
We don’t know the impact.
And it’s probably not zero.
And so at some point, we need to look at the risks, calculate some expected value, and
the people we need to prioritize are those that are the youngest.
And I’ve said this before.
And it’s like, the teachers unions need to understand that calculus.
Parents already understand that calculus.
I don’t think the state legislators, governors and the federal bureaucracy yet understands
But it’s time to return to normal.
It’s time to return.
And on this point, I would like to bring up something.
The ACLU thing, just because I think I would love to get your take on, you know, talking
about civil liberties and freedoms.
There are things that are happening here under our noses every day.
Under Democratic and Republican presidents that to me when I saw this on the ACLU Twitter
feed yesterday was shocking.
Jason, do you want to tee that up?
In other news, the CIA has been secretly conducting surveillance programs to capture Americans
On Thursday, Democratic Senators Wyden and Heinrich sent a letter to Director of the
CIA and the Director of National Intelligence.
The letter called for greater transparency into the CIA’s data collection of private
Basically, the CIA used Executive Order 12333, which was signed by Reagan in 1981 to gather
data on U.S. citizens.
The letter notes the program was, quote, entirely outside the statutory framework that Congress
and the public believe govern the collection and without any judicial, congressional or
even executive branch oversight that comes from FISA.
That’s the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act collection, quote.
What these documents demonstrate is that many of the same concerns that Americans have
about their privacy and civil liberties also apply to how the CIA collects and handles
information under executive order and outside of FISA law.
In particular, these documents reveal serious problems associated with warrantless backdoor
searches of Americans, the same issue that had generated bipartisan concern in the FISA
I mean, where is the mainstream media while they breathlessly run around chasing cancellation
Where are they to report and to hold accountable this stuff?
And where are politicians in actually doing their job?
But, you know, I don’t think there’s ever been this kind of overreach that’s just constantly
been going on with zero accountability or transparency into it.
You know, the FBI is responsible for domestic laws, right?
And the FBI has a very clear path in which they need to get warrants in order to be able
to surveil U.S. citizens.
And then the fact that we give an agency whose responsibility is actually foreign.
The CIA is supposed to work only on international, not domestic.
And then to basically spy on its citizens with zero accountability or reporting, it
seems to be a pretty important issue that should at least be discussed, especially in
a world now where executive power just keeps ramping up and ramping up.
What’s going on?
And there’s zero transparency or accountability.
If I didn’t randomly see this on an ACLU tweet, would we even be talking about this?
And the other thing that’s crazy about it is I think the way they get away with this,
and this has been something that the Patriot Act had a similar technique is they, the CIA
and some other organizations will track international people of interest, you know,
money launderers, etc.
And then say, in order to track them, well, anybody they contact in America is fair game
or if they’re, you know, and so you can get the metadata from the phone calls and the
And I think that’s how a lot of this gets justified.
What this letter seems to say is we just there’s a broad scale surveillance program
against US citizens that is indeterminate in scope and scale.
So we don’t know.
That seems very different than that.
And then in in parallel to this, there was also that announcement that the Department
of Homeland Security is creating this major apparatus, this infrastructure to go after
Well, look, if they mean people who actually like set off bombs or commit real crimes,
But Chamath, you asked where the media is.
The media is defining routine political dissent as domestic terrorism now.
I mean, you hear this type of threat inflation.
We’ve heard these truckers even described as insurrectionists.
So, you know, how are these programs going to be used is really the question.
You create this massive infrastructure under the executive branch.
We’ve seen that in Washington, this trend towards criminalizing political disagreements
where Democrats, Republicans have been putting their partisans in jail for years.
But are they now going to apply this to political disagreements in the country?
Can they use these powers to go after truckers who are engaging in civil disobedience?
Can they use these surveillance powers to go after somebody who just tweets things on
social media that they don’t like?
I mean, these are the open questions.
It’s very scary.
Well, and it’s also hard to determine because you might have some people on the right
who are protesting something in a very valid way.
And then you get some whack jobs like the Oath Keepers who are bringing in tons of weapons
outside the D.C. area on January 6th.
So, there is a valid concern here with all those weapons the Oath Keepers brought and
their plans to do a coordinated takeover after they first got in there.
But then you have the other dipshits who are there are probably just there to
have fun and bang drums and support Trump, right?
Do you think these truckers are engaged in an insurrection?
Well, I mean, we don’t know.
And I don’t think so.
I mean, if they if they bring a bunch of guns, then yes, we should have concerns.
But I don’t think they are.
The slippery slope is when you have an executive order that is not governed by the standard
guardrails that we use to have checks and balances between these kinds of government
agencies and the people and the elected officials that we elect.
Here’s how it basically gets in a really tricky place.
You have let’s I’m just going to use Justin Trudeau’s quote, OK, but replace that person
with any politician in power.
Hey, there’s a small fringe minority of people who are on their way here.
They hold unacceptable views.
Well, you know what that person is going to do?
That person is going to want to do everything in their power to basically understand, break
apart and tear up that fringe minority group.
Now, isn’t that scary?
When you have this overheated political rhetoric that describes your political opponents, your
dissenters of the state, yeah, as enemies, as white supremacists,
as Nazis, as insurrectionaries, as domestic terrorists, why wouldn’t then the law enforcement
arms of our government then treat them that way?
I mean, does the Department of Homeland Security or the CIA or the FBI, do they understand
that the politicians are just engaging in rhetoric and in threat inflation?
Or will they take that those invocations literally to what we have to investigate and stop these?
I think they’ve done a Department of Justice done a pretty good job of that.
I just want I just brought this up, because I think it’s really important for somebody
in the mainstream media, of which many listen to this podcast.
You have a responsibility to actually double click into this issue and figure out what’s
going on, please.
For on behalf of all of us.
By the way, like if you guys look, I mean, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, BBC,
everyone covered it today.
But the story today is that lawmakers made this claim with no details and no evidence.
So I’m sure the investigations are underway.
I mean, the journalists are clearly leaning in to identify, you know, the evidence behind
the story, and I’m sure more will come out over the coming days and weeks.
And in fairness, like you said, is the Justice Department doing this even handedly,
they were very specific with the January 6 Interactions Acts where they went after
Oath Keepers because they had a coordinated, they’re a militia, they literally refer to
themselves as a militia.
And those people are getting treated very different than the people who broke glass
or sat on Pence Pelosi’s desk, those people are getting three months suspended sentences,
six months sentences.
And the Oath Keepers, who are a militia, they call themselves a militia, they’re dangerous,
and they’re treating them very differently.
And they’re the only ones who are being charged with the more serious 10 to 20 year sentences.
So I would say they are doing a great job.
All right, everybody, this has been an amazing journey from Truckers to Joe Rogan and all
the way to Uranus and back for the Rain Man, David Sacks, the Sultan of Science, David
Berg, and the benevolent dictator, they live for the outro, people love it.
Love you, boys.
We’ll see you all next time on the online podcast.
Love you, besties.
What what your winners like?
We should all just get a room and just have one big huge orgy because they’re all just
It’s like this like sexual tension that they just need to release somehow.
What your B?
We need to get merch.
I’m going all in.
I’m going all in.