The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021

by Tony Wikrent

Strategic Political Economy

“Rich People Are Leading the Anti-Vaccine Movement — and Experts Have a Theory Why”

[Money, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-20-21]

From 2019, still germane: “Disease experts say the parents least likely to vaccinate their kids live in some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country. They’re well-educated, and have exceptional access to healthcare. And while some pockets of low-income communities of color are ‘under vaccinated’ for religious or financial reasons, studies published in places like the American Journal of Public Health show that the parents opting out for ‘philosophical reasons’ are mostly white and mostly wealthy…. Parents who opt out of vaccines tend to “believe, simply, that they can make the scientific determinations about the efficacy and dangers of vaccines for themselves,” she says. They have more free time on their hands than lower income parents — time that can be spent poring over anti-vaccine forums and websites, and applying for state-specific exemptions required to bypass school immunization laws…. When an outbreak does happen, rich families aren’t the only ones affected, of course. Usually, they aren’t even the hardest hit. This underscores a more sinister theory about why rich Americans are opting out of vaccines. A string of research referenced in the Washington Post last year suggests that wealthy people simply have less empathy than everybody else. They’re more likely to cheat on their taxes, and their spouses. And they give lower proportions of their income to charity. ‘Wealth is basically a mechanism for power, and power has a freeing effect on people,’ the social psychologist Adam Galinsky told the Post.’“It takes away the constraints of society and frees people to act according to their dominant desires.’ If you’re rich, the consequences of ‘opting out’ aren’t particularly dire. After all, it’s easier to rationalize the risks of bypassing immunization if you can afford a lengthy hospital stay, or to pull your kid out of daycare if her classmate gets sick. And while the U.S. has a long history of stigmatizing poor parents—’free range parenting,’ versus neglect, ‘welfare moms‘ versus stay at home mothers—if you’re a wealthy anti-vaxxer, you probably won’t face any social ramifications either.”


‘I need help’: Michigan county health director pleads for help after almost being run off the road

Aysha Qamar, September 21, 2021 [DailyKos]

As people resort to violence across the country, health officials are pleading for help. In one horrific incident, a Michigan County health director pleaded with county commissioners for help after almost being run off the road following the issuance of a mask mandate for preschool through sixth-grade school buildings, Michigan Advance reported.

“I need help. My team and I are broken. I’m about done. I’ve done my job to the best of my ability. I’ve given just about everything to Kent County, and now I’ve given some more of my safety,”  Kent County Health Department director Dr. Adam London said in a letter to county commissioners. The letter outlined his reasons for issuing the public health mandate requiring students to wear masks this fall….

“There is nothing to be gained by entertaining such people with dialog. In many cases, these are the same people who dismiss the plot against the governor as ‘just guys joking around’ and the January 6th insurrection as a peaceful patriotic protest. I think it is a grave mistake to unnecessarily give them targets and platforms. There is a sickness in America far more insidious than COVID. You are more empowered to fight this disease than I am.”

London told commissioners he would not “needlessly expose” himself to “the brute mob hatred” from a “vocal and energized minority.” In his letter, he noted that people called him terms like “child-abusing monster” and even threatened him with abusive language directed at his children.

“I will not participate in witch trials in which the science I’ve presented, and the opinions of legitimate experts is reduced to the same stage as people living in echo chambers of junk science, salespeople, and YouTube videos. For the leaders of these misinformation campaigns, it’s never really been about our data, it’s been about their dogma,” London said.


Likely Assassination of UN Chief by US, British and South African Intelligence Happened 60 Years Ago Today

[Consortium News, via Naked Capitalism 9-19-2021]


Number of Environmental Advocates Killed in 2020 Hits New Record

[Undark, via Naked Capitalism 9-23-21]


The Wages Of Embarassing Elites Are Death

Ian Welsh, September 23, 2021

Everyone remember the Panama papers? A leak of bank records showing that the ultra-rich are hiding massive wealth, tax-free and often breaking the law to do so?

A rather weak set of laws designed to allow tax avoidance by rich people, at that.

Found out the other day that the reporter who broke the Panama Papers story was killed by a car bomb….

You may recall the Ferguson protests, started after another black man was killed by a cop. They were a big deal.

Since then six of the Ferguson protest leaders have died: two inside burnt cars, three by suicide, one an overdose….

The simplest fact of modern life is elites kill and impoverish other people in order to make money and secure their power. You are seeing it in the pandemic, where Billionaire wealth has spiked 60% and vaccine companies refuse to share their “intellectual property” while planning to sell Covid booster shots in perpetuity. Actually wiping out Covid would close pharma money, but if it stays around, it’s golden.

Meanwhile, all the small and medium businesses closing has lead to a vast buying opportunity for those with lots of money, and private equity is moving big into buying up distressed homes.

It’s just business, baby. Your death, or homelessness, well, it’s someone else’s profit opportunity.


Brazil: Stunning revelations about Bolsonaro in Brazil: Book review

[Socialist World, via Naked Capitalism 9-19-2021]


The Epidemic

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 9-24-2021]


The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

How Accounting Giants Craft Favorable Tax Rules From Inside Government

[NYT, via Naked Capitalism 9-19-2021]


The Empiracal Failures of Neoliberalism

Mike Konczal, Katy Milani, and Ariel Evans, September 21, 2021 [via Mike Norman Economics]

Over the last five decades, an empirical revolution in economics has undermined many of the assumptions of “neoliberalism,” the reigning approach to economic policy. Many of the guiding assumptions underlying neoliberal policymaking no longer speak to what is going on in the economy or our country more broadly.

In “The Empirical Failures of Neoliberalism,” Mike Konczal, Katy Milani, and Ariel Evans elevate five of the leading arguments made by advocates of neoliberalism and explore their theoretical claims. Ultimately, the authors debunk neoliberals’ arguments, tracking them against recent research by leading scholars of economic inequality to show how neoliberalism has failed to deliver its promises of increased economic growth, equality, and mobility.

By elevating the leading empirics that turn neoliberalism’s theoretical claims on their head, this issue brief aims to energize a thoughtful reevaluation of the dominant—but failed—ideology. Konczal, Milani, and Evans lay the foundation for a new set of economic policies that are capable of building a stronger, more inclusive economy and democracy—by curbing the concentrated power in our economy and political system while also building on the strengths of government to directly address both the individual and collective challenges facing our nation.


They never wrote about it, talked about it, and, did quite the opposite – yet they knew it all along!
Bill Mitchell [via Mike Norman Economics 9-21-2021]

During the GFC, a new phenomenon emerged – the ‘We knew it all along’ syndrome, which was characterised by several mainstream New Keynesian macroeconomists coming out and claiming that some of the insights provided by Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) economists were banal and that their own theoretical framework already accommodates them. The pandemic has brought a further rush of the ‘We knew it all along’ syndrome. Apparently, mainstream macroeconomics is perfectly capable of explaining the fiscal reality the world has found itself in and there is no need to MMT, which, by assertion, is saying nothing new. These sorts of statements are not coming from Facebook or Twitter heroes who might have done a few units in economics or even acquired a degree in the discipline. They are coming from senior professors in the academy. The curious thing, which really lifts their cover, is that if you examine the academic literature you won’t find much reference to these sorts of ‘insights’ at all. What you find, and what students are taught, are a completely different set of propositions with respect to fiscal policy. So if they ‘knew it all along’ why didn’t they ever write about it? Why is their published academic work replete with conclusions that run contrary to the conclusions MMT economists make? You know the answer. These ‘knew it all along’ characters have just been caught out by the poor empirical performance of their paradigm and now they are trying to salvage their reputations and position by trying to blur history. They really should be sacked….


Ricardo’s Caveat

Ian Welsh, September 23, 2021

In 1817, David Ricardo formalized the Law of Comparative Advantage. Since then, it has stood the test of time as one of the very few laws that an economist can point to and say: “This is indisputably true.” It’s because of this law that you only rarely find an economist who doesn’t believe in unrestricted free trade. But Ricardo added an important caveat when he discussed free trade and comparative advantage and it’s one that most modern economists seem to have forgotten.…


Stop calling America’s murder crisis a ‘crime’ issue. It’s something far worse.

Will Bunch [Philadelphia Inquirer, via Naked Capitalism 9-24-2021]


[Twitter on ports, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-22-21]


Concentration: “ShortageWatch: ‘Sorry. No French Fries with any order. We have no potatoes.’”

[Matt Stoller, BIG, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-22-21]

his is a must-read. Buckle up. “In the last BIG issue, I asked you for help identifying shortages in your neck of the woods. Hundreds of you responded, so I’ll talk about some of the shortage stories you are sharing, as well as how this problem is resonating among policymakers. My favorite story is quintessentially American, and un-American, at the same time. It’s from a Florida realtor who was in a hurry and stopped at a Burger King for lunch. He saw a sign, ‘Sorry. No French Fries with any order. We have no potatoes.’ At first he thought he was imagining things. What kind of fast food place runs out of fries? Is this, he wondered, a sign of things to come? It’s a good question. Fast food exists in a land of plenty, of surplus, of mass produced food with a reliable infrastructure of trucks, trains, farms, and distributors. Shortages of everyday goods conflicts not only with most of our lived experiences, but also with our very conception of who we are. There’s a name for this framework, and it’s called affluence…. So what is happening in the case of this particular Burger King? It’s hard to say, but the problem is clearly widespread. Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks are having trouble sourcing ingredients, as are school and college cafeterias….. One culprit is the food distribution industry, which is highly consolidated (due to the standard litany of anti-competitive tactics like mergers and exclusive contracts with customers and suppliers). … If you listen to transportation executives, they’ll tell you the real cause. “It comes down to money for drivers in many respects,” said Mark McKendry, regional vice president of intermodal at NFI Industries. ‘If we get the pay right, you know, we’ll have a little more flexibility.’ Driving a truck, which used to be a middle class job in the 1970s, has become a cyclical low-paid profession with high burnout and little stability, a so-called ‘sweatshop on wheels.’ While it’s tempting to blame this situation on trucking firms, the reality is that the problem is due to the market structure of transportation created by the deregulation of the 1970s.”


Predatory Finance

Woman Who Helped Expose Wall Street Mega Banks’ Vast Holdings of Physical Commodities Is Nominated as a Top Bank Regulator

Pam Martens and Russ Martens, September 24, 2021 [Wall Street On Parade]


Restoring balance to the economy

Amid reports of homelessness and food insecurity, 25,000 employees sue Disneyland for better pay 

[SFGATE, via Naked Capitalism 9-20-2021]


“When McDonalds Came to Denmark” [where McDonalds workers are now paid $22 per hour

[Matt Bruenig, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-21-21]

“In late 1988 and early 1989, the unions decided enough was enough and called sympathy strikes in adjacent industries in order to cripple McDonalds operations. Sixteen different sector unions participated in the sympathy strikes. Dockworkers refused to unload containers that had McDonalds equipment in them. Printers refused to supply printed materials to the stores, such as menus and cups. Construction workers refused to build McDonalds stores and even stopped construction on a store that was already in progress but not yet complete. The typographers union refused to place McDonalds advertisements in publications, which eliminated the company’s print advertisement presence. Truckers refused to deliver food and beer to McDonalds. Food and beverage workers that worked at facilities that prepared food for the stores refused to work on McDonalds products. In addition to wreaking havoc on McDonalds supply chains, the unions engaged in picketing and leaflet campaigns in front of McDonalds locations, urging consumers to boycott the company. Once the sympathy strikes got going, McDonalds folded pretty quickly and decided to start following the hotel and restaurant agreement in 1989. This is why McDonalds workers in Denmark are paid $22 per hour.” And: “When I bring this up, people sometimes respond by saying that these kinds of strikes are illegal in the US. This is a true and worthwhile bit of information, but insofar as it is meant to imply that the different legal environment is what accounts for the labor radicalism, this obviously has things backwards. The laws aren’t driving the labor radicalism, but rather the labor radicalism is driving the laws.”

One way the academy has failed USA is by ignoring the fight between two different schools of political economy in USA history, and adopting the ludicrous idea that slavery was a necessary precondition to capitalism, rather than a throwback to feudalism. Benjamin Franklin, 1783, “Reflections on the Augmentation of Wages, Which Will Be  Occasioned in Europe by the American Revolution,”

“….To desire to keep down the rate of wages… is to seek to render the citizens of a state miserable… it is, at most, attempting to enrich a few merchants by impoverishing the body of the nation; it is taking the part of the stronger in that contest, already so unequal, between the man who can pay wages, and him who is under the necessity of receiving them; it is, in one word, to forget, that the object of every political society ought to be the happiness of the largest number…. The low rate of wages, then, is not the real cause of the advantages of commerce between one nation and another; but it is one of the greatest evils of political communities.”
Unfortunately, the American School thinking of Franklin has lost twice, and is losing again, despite winning the Civil War and the New Deal.

[Twitter,via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-22-21]


Inflation scare mongering
“With the recent surge in inflation since the spring there has been an increase in consumers’ short-run (one-year ahead) and, to a lesser extent, medium-run (three-year ahead) inflation expectations (see Survey of Consumer Expectations). Although this rise in short- and medium-run inflation expectations is relevant for policymakers, it does not provide direct evidence about “un-anchoring” of long-run inflation expectations. Roughly speaking, inflation expectations are considered un-anchored when long-run inflation expectations change significantly in response to developments in inflation or other economic variables, and begin to move away from levels consistent with the central bank’s (implicit or explicit) inflation objective. In that case, actual inflation can become unmoored and risks drifting persistently away from the central bank’s objective. Well-anchored long-run inflation expectations therefore represent an important measure of the success of monetary policy. In this post, we look at the current anchoring of consumers’ long-run inflation expectations using novel data from the Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). Our results suggest that in August 2021 consumers’ five-year ahead inflation expectations were as well anchored as they were two years ago, before the start of the pandemic.”
Ann Pettifor [Project Syndicate, via Naked Capitalism 9-23-21]

Information Age Dystopia

“Wall Street Journal Eviscerates Facebook”

[The Ad Contrarian, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-20-21]

For those of you who, like me, don’t have a WSJ subscription, this is a summary of last week’s multipart series. The conclusion: “Zuckerberg’s record of lying and cheating his way to success is the great business scandal of our age. From the day it was born, Facebook has been a crooked operation. Facebook has never allowed third party validation of its audience claims. How any marketer or advertiser can be stupid enough to believe anything Facebook says about their advertising or audience metrics is beyond me. The shame of our industry is on full display here. If our industry “leaders” – the 4As, the ANA, the pathetic holding company aristocrats — had an ounce of integrity they would have questioned Facebook’s probity years ago…. Our industry has been the silent partner to the decay of civil society engendered by Facebook. We are the hidden hand.”


[Technology Review, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-20-21]

“[A]fter the 2016 election, Facebook failed to prioritize fundamental changes to how its platform promotes and distributes information. The company instead pursued a whack-a-mole strategy that involved monitoring and quashing the activity of bad actors when they engaged in political discourse, and adding some guardrails that prevented ‘the worst of the worst.’ But this approach did little to stem the underlying problem, the report noted. Troll farms—professionalized groups that work in a coordinated fashion to post provocative content, often propaganda, to social networks—were still building massive audiences by running networks of Facebook pages. Their content was reaching 140 million US users per month—75% of whom had never followed any of the pages. They were seeing the content because Facebook’s content-recommendation system had pushed it into their news feeds.” • Now do YouTube. Why on earth the platforms don’t operate like the blogosphere and RSS do, and just put up posts in chronological order from accounts you subscribe to… Well, we know why.


Instagram is bad for teenagers – and its owner Facebook has known this for more than a year

[The Conversation, via Naked Capitalism 9-20-21]


“Harms of AI”

Daron Acemoglu [National Bureau of Economic Research, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-20-21]

“I argue that if AI continues to be deployed along its current trajectory and remains unregulated, it may produce various social, economic and political harms. These include: damaging competition, consumer privacy and consumer choice; excessively automating work, fueling inequality, inefficiently pushing down wages, and failing to improve worker productivity; and damaging political discourse, democracy’s most fundamental lifeblood…. I also suggest that these costs are not inherent to the nature of AI technologies, but are related to how they are being used and developed at the moment – to empower corporations and governments against workers and citizens.” • Well, er, would we be developing AI if it did not “empower corporations and governments against workers and citizens”? Dude, come on.

[The Verge, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-22-21]

“A generation that grew up with Google is forcing professors to rethink their lesson plans.” “Catherine Garland, an astrophysicist, started seeing the problem in 2017. She was teaching an engineering course, and her students were using simulation software to model turbines for jet engines. She’d laid out the assignment clearly, but student after student was calling her over for help. They were all getting the same error message: The program couldn’t find their files. Garland thought it would be an easy fix. She asked each student where they’d saved their project. Could they be on the desktop? Perhaps in the shared drive? But over and over, she was met with confusion. “What are you talking about?” multiple students inquired. Not only did they not know where their files were saved — they didn’t understand the question. Gradually, Garland came to the same realization that many of her fellow educators have reached in the past four years: the concept of file folders and directories, essential to previous generations’ understanding of computers, is gibberish to many modern students. Professors have varied recollections of when they first saw the disconnect. But their estimates (even the most tentative ones) are surprisingly similar. It’s been an issue for four years or so, starting — for many educators — around the fall of 2017.”


Creating new economic potential – science and technology

“The Next Best Electric Car Battery Is Here, Cheaper Than Ever”

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-20-21]

“There’s no shortage of excitement for electric vehicle battery startups or multibillion dollar investments in the industry, as companies, backers and scientists look for the winning play. China, though, is already moving on to the next leg in the race — one that isn’t dependent on a big, bold breakthrough — with sodium-ion batteries. Done right, this technology could lead to widespread adoption in a market largely dependent on subsidies and where EV sales are still a fraction of all cars. China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., or CATL, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, unveiled its latest product in July — a sodium-ion battery. The following month, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it would drive the development, standardization and commercialization of this type of power-pack, providing a cheaper, faster-charging and safe alternative to the current crop on offer, which continue to be plagued by a host of problems, not least, faulty units catching fire


L.A.’s New Reflective Streets Bounce Heat Back into Space

[Reasons To Be Cheerful, via The Big Picture 9-22-2021]

The air in these neighborhoods is getting cooler — with huge implications for sweltering cities worldwide.


Climate and environmental crises

“It’s Going To Spill”

[The Daily Poster September 23, 2021]

On the ground with water protectors fighting the construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota….

Enbridge has made direct payments to local police departments, which have coordinated and shared intelligence on water protectors with the company, according to reporting by The Intercept. Enbridge and police officials have claimed the payments are reimbursements for expenses incurred for guarding pipeline construction.

LaDuke doesn’t buy it. “It’s bad enough if you’ve got a police state that’s owned by your state,” she said. “But a police state owned by Canadian multinationals? Really? You just do that?”

Police aren’t the only local authorities being paid by Enbridge.


The Biden Transition and the Fight for Real Hope and Change This Time

“$3.5 Trillion Is Not a Lot of Money”

Eric Levitz [New York Magazine, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-22-21]

“Perhaps these lawmakers really would rather see Biden’s entire domestic agenda collapse than abet the passage of a $3.5 trillion spending bill. If this position is credible, however, it’s anything but moderate. The centrists’ stance rests on one basic premise: that the reconciliation bill is radical in both the scale of its spending and the tax increases it entails. The lawmakers’ avowed preference for undercutting their own party, and forfeiting all of their own objectives for federal spending, is plainly an extremist position, unless one accepts that the $3.5 trillion bill is extraordinary in scope or content. And yet, by an array of reasonable metrics, Biden’s agenda is neither…. [In terms of] immediate, single-year fiscal cost… the Democrats’ reconciliation package isn’t a $3.5 trillion bill; it’s a $350 billion one…. What about its implications for taxes? Just how ‘painful’ are the leadership’s proposed revisions to the tax code? Well, the reconciliation bill would raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 26.5 percent. For context, before Donald Trump took office, America’s top corporate rate was roughly 39 percent. In 2012, Mitt Romney campaigned on lowering that rate to 25 percent. So the Democratic leadership’s preferred corporate rate is a hair to the left of a Utah Republican’s and much to the right of the last Democratic president’s. As for individual income taxes, the reconciliation bill would cut taxes for the roughly 90 percent of American households who earn less than $200,000 a year. It would, however, raise the top income tax rate all the way to … where it was under Barack Obama.”


What does the writing of Constitutions have to do with wars? Plenty, as this book proves

[Scroll.In, via Naked Capitalism 9-19-2021]

Linda Colley’s ‘The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen’ presents a profoundly global and lucid story of constitution-writing.


Crimes of elites

Billionaire Leon Black accused of raping woman in Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion in 2002, according to court documents

[Business Insider, via Naked Capitalism 9-22-2021]


Second woman accuses Leon Black of rape; Black’s rep calls claim ‘complete fiction’

[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism 9-22-2021]


It’s Always A Battle Against Corruption

David Sirota [The Daily Poster September 24, 2021]

The fight over the reconciliation bill is not an honest ideological conflict — it is a clash between necessary policy and corporate greed.


The Dark Side

“Trump lawyer’s memo on six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election”

[CNN, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-21-21]


“New Proof Emerges of the Biden Family Emails: a Definitive Account of the CIA/Media/BigTech Fraud”

[Glenn Greenwald, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-22-21]

“A young reporter for Politico, Ben Schreckinger, has published a new book entitled “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power.” To his great credit, he spent months investigating the key documents published by The New York Post and found definitive proof that these emails and related documents are indisputably authentic. His own outlet, Politico, was the first to publish the CIA lie that this was ‘Russian disinformation,’ but on Tuesday — without acknowledging their role in spreading that lie — they summarized Schreckinger’s findings this way: the book ‘finds evidence that some of the purported Hunter Biden laptop material is genuine, including two emails at the center of last October’s controversy.’ In his book, the reporter recounts in these passages just some of the extensive work he did to obtain this proof:

A person who corresponded with Hunter in late 2018 confirmed to me the authenticity of an email in the cache. Another person who corresponded with Hunter in January 2019 confirmed the authenticity of a different email exchange with Hunter in the cache. Both of these people spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing fears of being embroiled in a global controversy.

Lambert Strether adds; “The Greenwald article is a must-read, because it lays out the whole sorry episode in detail.”


Peter Thiel’s Origin Story

[Intelligencer, via The Big Picture 9-21-2021]

His ideology dominates Silicon Valley. It began to form when he was an angry young man.

Thiel hasn’t just acted in a certain way and left it for others to notice and follow. He taught his methods to founders-in-training at Stanford, codifying the lessons from the fleet of companies founded by his former employees — the so-called PayPal Mafia. He later collected his thinking in a book, Zero to One. It became a best seller, partly because it promised a path to Thiel-scale wealth and partly because it developed the idiosyncrasies that had been present in the college-age Thiel into a full-blown ideology. The book argues, among other things, that founders are godlike, that monarchies are more efficient than democracies, and that cults are a better organizational model than management consultancies. More than anything, it celebrates rule-breaking. Thiel bragged that of PayPal’s six founders, four had built bombs in high school.

Reminds me of Vanity Fair’s February 2018 article on Silicon Valley’s orgiastic “cuddle puddles” OH MY GOD, THIS IS SO F—ED UP”: INSIDE SILICON VALLEY’S SECRETIVE, ORGIASTIC DARK SIDE. Wealth corrupts, and great wealth corrupts absolutely. 


Open Thread


The Advantage of Permission & The Fall Of Oligarchies


  1. Hugh

    Wait, Mark Zuckerberg is a carney and a crook? I didn’t see that one coming. Why? Just because he tells advertisers he knows everything about everyone and at the same time can’t get a handle on a bunch of right wing loonies with a cumulative IQ of 3? I know, maybe he could contact them and have them teach engineering students about files and directories for a modest 40% cut.

    This fits in with the story of the big increase in murders. Many Americans are mad –and stupid.

    And is it just me but I find it hilarious that Glenn Greenwald can be so “insightful” about Bolsonaro and the Bidens and yet totally “missed” Trump?

    As for $3.5 trillion, it’s not a lot of money if it is going to the rich but absolutely crushing if it is going to ordinary Americans, Jeffery Epstein, Thiel, and Silicon Valley, cheap at the price right? Just what the country needs, right?

  2. NR

    So through court discovery, a memo has come to light revealing that the Trump campaign knew that the claims his allies were going to make about election fraud were false.

    You’d think that between this and the Cyber Ninjas report proving once again that Biden won Arizona (remember, Cyber Ninjas was the firm hired by Arizona Republicans to “prove” that Trump actually won the state) we could finally put these false claims of a stolen election to bed, but of course that won’t happen. Right-wingers will cling to their lies until the end of time.

  3. Mark Pontin

    After the GFC, bailout funds of upwards of $28 trillion went to the world’s banks to shore up the existing wealth structure, which means asset-holders and the rich.

    Let it come down, as the second murderer in Macbeth says.

  4. Ché Pasa

    Thiel hasn’t just acted in a certain way and left it for others to notice and follow. He taught his methods to founders-in-training at Stanford, codifying the lessons from the fleet of companies founded by his former employees — the so-called PayPal Mafia. He later collected his thinking in a book, Zero to One. It became a best seller, partly because it promised a path to Thiel-scale wealth and partly because it developed the idiosyncrasies that had been present in the college-age Thiel into a full-blown ideology. The book argues, among other things, that founders are godlike, that monarchies are more efficient than democracies, and that cults are a better organizational model than management consultancies. More than anything, it celebrates rule-breaking. Thiel bragged that of PayPal’s six founders, four had built bombs in high school.


    These people are freaks. And they hate you.

  5. Thomas B Golladay

    NR, the Audit found massive fraud and illegal activity. Also this ‘memo’ concerns Powell’s suites which were not part of Trump’s suits and Trump was for Audits without which no allegation could be sustained. Because unless you examine votes for validity, you can’t determine if fraud is present. And the Audit found the Dominion Machines were connected to the Internet and had access to vote data from Washington State and Virginia.

    So you are getting basic facts wrong as usual.

    The election was stolen, period:

    The links are for the official finding presented to the Senate plus the referral to the AG for a criminal investigation.

    And again the Hearing itself,

    You can’t gaslight your way out of this.

  6. Mark Pontin

    The most significant feature of Thiel’s book, ZERO TO ONE, from my glance through it when it was published, was that he baldly and unashamedly rejected any pretense of advocacy of ‘free market capitalism’, and said straight-out that the aim of a founder should be to create a monopoly by any means possible and then extract as much revenue as was possible.

    Not incidentally, Thiel comes across as somewhat autistic in person, struggling with a sort of shyness in the way autists do. In a way, less personally offensive than a loud blowhard such as his former associate
    Musk. Neither of them should have the kind of power they do, of course.

  7. Lex

    Re: the Medrvix study. They key in it (besides for selection of functional filtration/sterilization devices, and not all are what they claim) is the number of air changes per hour. The study used units that were doing 5-10 air changes/hour. 4 changes/hour is the minimum standard when cycling an area for hazmat remediation, that’s partially based on exhausting air out of the room/enclosure and maintaining negative pressure without over pressurizing the space.

    To calculate room volume is LxWxH for cubic feet/meters and the unit will have a CFM rating (which will be optimistic, so reduce by 15% for slop). If the room is not closed, you have to use the largest volume. So the volume of your living room is too small if it opens to the dining room or a stairwell. 5+ air exchanges/hour is a lot. A 10x10x10 room is 1000 cu ft so it would require a 200 CFM unit to reliably get to around 10 changes/hr. But do your research because a unit rated at 200CFM may not be rated for that with the full filtration installed and the static pressure drop across a HEPA is pretty significant. You’re looking for the actual CFM rating with full load. And remember that every time you open a door to that room, you’ve reduced the number of exchanges.

  8. Plague Species

    Columbine was the microcosm of the macrocosm. The bomb-making school shooter could-have-and-should-have-been Thiel proves Silicon Valley is Columbine writ large on America, The West and the world at large for that matter.

    Silicon Valley’s Theme Song

    Silicon Valley really has taken them bowling, haven’t they? Figurative and literal are merging and soon will be indistinguishable.

  9. Plague Species

    Thiel is the canary in the tyrannical coal mine. Autocracy is the future so if the proles don’t get out in front of it and own it, the autocracy to come will get out front of the proles and own them. Embrace autocracy and make it by and for the people, or pretend you’re fighting it with organic gardens and bits and bytes and watch the forming imminent autocracy be by and for the wealthy elite.

    Historical proscriptions are no longer relevant or valid. All your knowledge of history won’t save what is already lost nor resist or deny what is coming.

  10. StewartM

    Glenn Greenwald apparently never heard of Operation Mincemeat:

    By which British intelligence took a body of a deceased tramp, dressed him up in as a “Major William Martin” and planted documents on him to deceive the Germans, and dumped him off the coast of Spain. As British intelligence had hoped, the Spanish retrieved the body and passed the documents on to the Germans. The documents indicated that the apparent coming invasion of Sicily was a ruse to deceive the Germans of the Allies real targets, which were Sardinia and Greece.

    Now, the ruse would *not* have worked as well as it did if “Major Martin”‘s documents didn’t include a fair amount of *factually correct information* which the Germans could vet themselves and check. It was the inclusion of factually correct information that led the Germans that they had gained an intelligence treasure trove instead of fool’s gold.

    The same holds of the Hunter Biden laptop story. There is nothing about it which is remotely plausible, and moreover the metadata indicates the actual files on it were created *after* the laptop was dropped off in the shop supposedly for repair. The inclusion of some provably true emails on it does not prove the story true, but instead points to an “Operation Mincemeat”-type ruse.

    It may or may not have been the Russians–personally, I think the Russians are way smarter than that, and would have set up the “laptop story” more plausibly. I suspect this amateurish ruse is more the creation of the Trump campaign, though the Russians may have provided the hacked emails to plant on the laptop.

  11. WasteMaker

    “The people who are the most intelligent, successful and healthy have rightfully determined that government and corporate collusion isn’t at all to be trusted, so we’re going to coyly suggest threatening parents’ rights”… Not a good look y’all.

    This blog is always good for a big LOL. Ian says the elites are out to kill and manipulate you, yet their clot shot is totally the exception to a long trend of undermining public health in the interest of corporate profits.

  12. Rebecca

    This blog is always good for a big LOL. Ian says the elites are out to kill and manipulate you, yet their clot shot is totally the exception to a long trend of undermining public health in the interest of corporate profits.

    Ian’s not the brightest bulb, but he’s smart enough to tap into peoples’ legitimate fears to keep them coming back. His father was apparently a bastard. But then who among us wants to be analyzed? Some here actually believe that Ian is helping them survive. The place is a loony bin, though bruce wilder is an at least somewhat thoughtful soul.

    Why am I here? To say what I just said. Goodbye.

  13. Willy

    I even drive a Ford vehicle too. Great invention, these mass-produced vehicles, though they cause a lotta deaths and en masse help wreck the environment. I remember back in grade school the teacher led a discussion about cars polluting. I suggested clean nuclear power. The teacher criticized me in front of the class about nuclear cars being a ways off. I gave him a look. Obviously electric cars recharged by a nuclear power grid. Back then fusion power was just around the corner instead of “just around the corner”. But teach needed his ego power trip so I just let it go.

    I think it’s the need for quarterly bonuses that keeps the elites killing and manipulating, lest somebody else get those quarterly bonuses.

  14. Plague Species

    I think the likes of Peter Cotton Thiel and Melon Husk are well beyond any notion of quarterly bonuses. They have stables upon stables of Digital Race Horses. Horse racing without the mess and havoc and, gasp, the smell. The future is here. It sure beats wasting those chips on cars and air conditioners and what not.

    The anti clot shot folks are mostly KKK. If not full-fledged members, at least KKK in sentiment and by association. These Jew-hating buffoons believe the Jews are so clever and so superior they rule the world and control America yet the Jews are so stupid they are genociding themselves with the clot shot? There is no logic or truth or facts with the crazy QAnon/KKK crowd. It’s just a throw-spaghetti-against-the-wall party and see what sticks until the wall’s all spaghetti and you need to start anew on a new wall.

  15. Hugh

    Ian gives a lot of space to a lot of people. Perhaps that is why so many braindead climate change denying Trump-loving anti-vaxxers show up here and goosestep their idiocy through the comments. On a right wing blog, their pathetic garbage would be lost in the general nuttery, noise, and snarling. Here they get to vent among adults. They even get to pretend they’re adults. Such an opportunity must be very attractive, and rare for them. Here they can preach to us that up is down, as they take as gospel the claims of every carney, grifter, and crackpot on the planet. LOL works both ways, children. But more than this, they illustrate for us the greatest difficulty we have in solving the problems we face. There are a lot of people out there, about a quarter to a third, whose reaction to any problem is to see it as an opportunity to seize their prejudices and beat the rest of us over the head with them. As some of the crises we face are existential, this isn’t just destructive. It’s suicidal. But crucially, they absolutely, positively don’t care. They don’t want to solve anything. They want to win at least in their own minds some debate they are having with us. The psychological reasons they feel compelled to do this, I neither know nor care. Facts, logic, argument have no effect on them. They are going to believe, need to believe, whatever it is they do, and that’s it. Ian does us a service in letting them show us who they are and what we are up against.

  16. WasteMaker

    Every now and then the LOL turns into a full-blown ROFL! Thanks Hugh, allow me to unpack a bit.

    -climate change denying Trump-loving
    I don’t deny the detrimental effects of our collective action on our planet. (neither do I weep for our planetary Mother. She will be just fine, regardless of whether or not we humans are here.) Neither have I ever supported Trump. Your need to categorize me among the most dull and gullible shows how little strength you have in your position as a vaxxer, as well as your intellectual dishonesty.

    Cute. What color is that kettle again?

    Speaking of dull and gullible, there isn’t enough space to mention the myriad ways Boomers were duped into all sorts of detrimental health choices, all in the name of corporate profits. Let’s see…

    ads showing doctors recommending cigarettes, check…
    ads recommending sugar for dieting, check…
    Low-fat diet promoted in order to maximize profits of corn industry, check…
    Round up is safe!!… check…
    “Were you hurt by this drug, come join this class action lawsuit”, check…

    I could go on and on and on. Sorry Hugh if us “children” want better. Remember the two things that never really existed en masse until you Boomers came along and believed every carney, grifter and crackpot with an ad department: diabetes and hoarding. That is your generation’s legacy. Slow suicide in an avalanche of plastic.

    If you want to take some wind out of the anti-vax sails, start throwing a bunch of doctors in jail for murder, or at least manslaughter, regarding the opioid epidemic. Every jab y’all take is a big loogie in the face of the millions who’s lives have been ruined for the sake of your corporate medical totalitarianism.

  17. bruce wilder

    the metadata indicates the actual files on it were created *after* the laptop was dropped off in the shop

    the copy of the files was made — obviously — after the laptop was dropped off. duh.

    the actual laptop was turned over the FBI.

    the institutional failure by the FBI and intelligence agencies and by major media — and this failure has been repeated again and again from the beginning — has been to refrain from timely, systematic efforts to verify the authenticity of any of the proffered evidence going back to the alleged hack of the DNC servers. Instead, the media have been fed and have happily passed on speculative counterfactuals, with major media not infrequently introducing wholly false narrative sweeteners to fill in the considerable blanks that are just left blank.

    with the Hunter Biden laptop story, major social media nets and major outlets suddenly discovered their “responsibility” to vet stories before spewing them before a public ill-equipped to evaluate their importance, veracity or significance. the intelligence agencies, including the FBI in possession of the actual laptop(s), offered the “assessment” that this could be Russian disinformation, without trying to make a determination on the basis of evidence and reason from facts (not counterfactual speculation).

    Greenwald, true to his libertarian principles, leads with his “report it all and let the chips fall where they may” freedom of the press schtick. I do not agree with him. I think we are overwhelmed by noise and desperately need both major media and investigative agencies of the state to filter out the massive excess of noise.

    I am pretty sure the NY Post did not go out of their way to vet the story. But, I also do not think NPR, for example, suddenly got religion — or any religion other than Trump hatred inspiring them to overlook the corruption problems long associated with Biden’s family.

    The “smoking gun” email published by the Post — the one suggesting that Hunter had arranged a meeting with the then VP for a Burisma exec — was not confirmed as far as I know as authentic and Biden’s staff denied that there was a record of such a meeting in the official VP schedule. So nothing definitive — and that is half the problem. People on whatever partisan side are handed a bone to chew, but no reliable facts — the information processing demands escalate with no result. And that has been the problem all along both in the Media and with the desultory efforts of the FBI and the unverifiable or open-ended assertions of the intelligence community.

    It was the problem with the Steele dossier. The Media wanted to milk it for innuendo value without making any effort for a long time to either publish it or test it. Even after it was dumped on the open internet, exposing its frequently absurd content, no Media lifted a finger to review its reliability. The FBI, to its own discredit, refused to evaluate it because they wanted it to justify four FISA warrants that should never have been requested, let alone issued. All to keep a simulacrum of a Watergate-type scandal going, with partisans expecting Trump in a perp walk any minute, because the turkey Mueller was supposedly doing something other than taking dictation from the NSA (pretty much all it turned out he did do).

    The other half of the problem in Biden laptop case was that the Media’s refusal to report the “bombshell” was very frequently married to a flat assertion that Hunter Biden’s service as a Burisma board member was no cause for ethical concern or words to that general effect. That gratuitous second shoe drop was the tell, for the partisan agenda. On its face, Hunter Biden’s board membership was a political gambit, and one that paid off handsomely for Burisma. Denying the appearance of corruption is scarcely credible — it is there for anyone to see and as plain as Paul Manafort or Tony Podesta swimming in the same Ukainian swamp. But that would require journalists to explore the context created by Ukraine’s political dysfunction and the role of American political operatives, public and private, in stirring that putrid pot. (And yes that would extend to Putin’s active interest in Russia’s neighbor and erstwhile ally and partner in gas transport.)

    American politics is now littered with these crazy “scandals” about which nothing seems to be established as certain fact and which also are divorced from the kind of political context that might inform anyone about real problems of politics and economics at home or abroad. Every domestic problem is reduced to “racism” and foreign policy is, how are we going to contain that commie oligarch, Putin.

  18. different clue


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  19. NR

    Just came across this quote from Umberto Eco on fascism:

    Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Goering’s alleged statement (“When I hear talk of culture I reach for my gun”) to the frequent use of such expressions as “degenerate intellectuals,” “eggheads,” “effete snobs,” “universities are a nest of reds.” The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.

    Definitely describes the modern Republican party.

  20. Hugh

    So, thank you, WasteMaker, for your argument that you are not a complete lunatic, just mostly one. Good too to hear that you “ ‘children’ want better.” A pity though that you still don’t want to grow up. Did those mean, mean Boomers tell you to go to bed early?

    Also good to see that Hunter Biden is the whole swamp and nothing but the swamp. Thankfully, we had 4 years of such straight, incorruptible political children like Eric, Don Jr., and Ivanka to show us what real honesty looks like.

  21. bruce wilder

    Thankfully, we had 4 years of such straight, incorruptible political children like Eric, Don Jr., and Ivanka to show us what real honesty looks like.

    What about it?

  22. NR

    Thomas: You say “the audit found massive fraud and illegal activity.” Prove it. In the other thread you said that the Cyber Ninjas audit found proof of 56,000 fraudulent votes. Give us the exact page number of their report where it says this. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

    (And this is the last we’ll see of Thomas in this thread, bet on it.)

  23. Hugh

    “What about it?”

    Well for you with your reflex hatred of Democrats and defense of Republicans nothing.

    Also don’t most file metadata distinguish between when a file was created and when it was last modified?

  24. Ché Pasa

    Well, Hugh, as we all know, if there are corrupt and evil Republicans, it’s the Democrats’ fault.


  25. metamars

    Perhaps that is why so many braindead climate change denying Trump-loving anti-vaxxers show up here and goosestep their idiocy through the comments.

    Another day, another spewing of verbal diarrhea by hugh….

    Facts, logic, argument have no effect on them. They are going to believe, need to believe, whatever it is they do, and that’s it. Ian does us a service in letting them show us who they are and what we are up against.

    I agree that this describes hugh on certain topics, e.g., pretty much anything to do with covid.

    However, I don’t think Ian does us a service by allowing people like hugh to “show us who they are”. I’m not suggesting that Ian censor hugh, but certainly people could argue the establishment POV without endless verbal diarrhea.

    If Ian wins the lottery, and can afford to hire somebody to moderate comments, the moderator could “do us a service” by requiring doubtful comments to be sourced, before they leave moderation. Or maybe jump in to correct clearly ignorant or poorly argued posts, right in the comments, as we can see Yves doing @ nakedcapitalism.

    While the thought that hugh and similar commenters are disinformation agents, occurred to me long ago, one has to wonder about the self-exposing fanatacism evident in the most extreme comments, such as the one I’m quoting. I am lately wondering if the purpose is to toxify the comment section at ianwelsh, perhaps because it occupies a potentially significant part of the left-leaning blogosphere. IOW, it’s not specific commenters that are the target of hugh, so much as the comment section, as a whole. If hugh scares away thoughtful lefties, or thoughtful trusters of the administrative state (captured by Big Pharma though it be), well, that might be considered a good thing, to hugh-like commenters.

    On the subject of vaccines, I just this evening ran into a video on rumble (“The testimonies project – the movie”) by Apparently, it’s all by Israelis, speaking Hebrew, but with English sub-titles.

    Now, some among us might claim that these Israelis are Trump loyalists who belong to the KKK (foreign affiliates?), but that’s obviously an insane point of view. There’s also no sign, in the first handful of Israelis that I saw, that they expressed any belief about “climate change”, one way or another. Why would they, since the subject is vaccine damage?

  26. metamars

    the copy of the files was made — obviously — after the laptop was dropped off. duh.

    the actual laptop was turned over the FBI.

    At least to the limits of my knowledge on the subject, your whole comment is excellent.

  27. Hugh

    And thanks, metamars, I was wondering how long it would be before someone showed up with an “everything you just said back at you times two.” As I said, you are going to believe whatever it is you believe, independent of any logic or facts. Those you can and do make up as you go.

  28. Mark Pontin

    Ian shows remarkable forbearance, I have to say.

    I believe in free speech for thee as well as me, theoretically. Practically speaking, though, some of the abusive idiocy here I’d rip straight out.

    Kudos to Ian, I guess.

  29. Trinity

    People who accuse me of being a liar turn out, without exception, to be liars.

    Same with accusations of “stupid” and “racist”.

    Projection, all.

    And while the people currently in charge of ruining the US and the globe are majority Boomers, they have tons of twenty-something assistants, thirty-something runners, forty-something fact checkers, and fifty-something ass kissers, and all of them are more than happy to kiss the ring (while lining up for a slice of the pie). As mentioned in the article on SiliCon sex parties, the “right” people just seem to gravitate toward what they find attractive, like high school bomb builders ending up in the same room at the same time.

    Dark triad personality disorders do not correlate with age, or a made up demographic moniker that only refers to an historically high birth rate over a short period of time. Most people believe psychopaths are born that way, and some believe they can also be made at a young age through extreme trauma. And these are definitely traumatic times. Which means they will continue to appear in every generation, including yours (and ours, and theirs).

    In other words, age has nothing to do with it. Nothing whatsoever. And I am very happy you are avoiding some of the traps they’ve laid down for us, but it’s very doubtful you will avoid them all. The probabilities are against you. They are against us all.

    So go right ahead, keep looking down at some people, and pointing your finger at others. Pick a scapegoat (any scapegoat) so you can vent your spleen. Hell, pick two. See where that leads. See what that gets you. Then let me know how these things solve anything. I’ll be right here, waiting.

  30. different clue

    @Mark Pontin

    Ian Welsh did suspend comments for a while once with a warning amounting to ” it had better be better and stay better when I turn them back on”. And it did for quite a while.
    Sometimes after that he gives a general warning that things are getting too not-nice and then things nicen up for a while.

  31. Willy

    There used to be this tabloid called the Weekly World News. It was full of articles about human-alligator hybrids, bigfoot love slaves, and bat boys various misadventures. I used to wonder who the hell could read that thing after the comical novelty had worn off. Well, it looks like some of those folks have found their way here. Regular news and science are just too boring apparently. And probably too hard.

    We already had a thread about boomers. It was concluded that the cause of their dysfunction was the poor quality of dope they’d smoked back in college. But now Jordan Klepper makes a good living interviewing some of their aged remains at MAGA rallies, with entertaining results.

    I’d love to have a thread around here about psychopaths, especially our own personal experiences. Especially that time during an encounter when you first thought, WTF?!, and decided to research what the hell was wrong with that person.

  32. js

    “I don’t deny the detrimental effects of our collective action on our planet. (neither do I weep for our planetary Mother. She will be just fine, regardless of whether or not we humans are here.)”

    Some life may survive, but to have no feeling for the life that is now. Ugh, you lost me, I stopped listening to anything else you said.

  33. StewartM


    the copy of the files was made — obviously — after the laptop was dropped off. duh.

    the actual laptop was turned over the FBI.

    The data was not given to the FBI originally, but to Giuliani and Bannon *before* it went to the FBI. So the copies were not made by the FBI.

    The copies were not made by the NY Post either, as they were created before (Sept 29th to October 10th, 2019) before post got the story and some seven months after “Hunter Biden” allegedly dropped the three MacBooks off for repair. So it could not have been created by “Hunter Biden” either.

    There are so many things wrong with the whole story:

    1) The very idea that a laptop with a video of Hunter Biden smoking crack on it would be given to a random repair shop to recover is absurd. It is years since his drug use and Burisma dealings became a serious issue of international importance, and professionals would long since have taken custody of any relevant hardware or storage. It is beyond the worst operational security in the world to give an unencrypted device with confidential data on it to a third party. It is, however, very much a valid way for someone to make a device appear to be from a person or organization without providing any verification that it is so.

    2) The repair shop supposedly could not identify Hunter Biden, who lives in Los Angeles, as the customer. But the invoice (for $85 — remarkably cheap for diagnosis, recovery, and backup of three damaged Macs) has “Hunter Biden” written right on it, with a phone number and one of the email addresses he reportedly used. It seems unlikely that Hunter Biden’s personal laptop — again, loaded with personal and confidential information, and possibly communications with the VP — would be given to a small repair shop (rather than an Apple Store or vetted dealer) and that shop would be given his personal details for contact. Political operators with large supporting organizations simply don’t do that — though someone else could have.

    3) Even if they did, the idea that Biden or his assistant or whoever would not return to pick up the laptop or pay for the services is extremely suspicious. Again, these are supposedly the personal devices of someone who communicated regularly with the VP, and whose work had come under intense scrutiny long before they were dropped off. They would not be treated lightly or forgotten. On the other hand, someone who wanted this data to be inspected would do exactly this.

    4) That the laptops themselves were open and unencrypted is ridiculous. The serial number of the laptop suggests it was a 2017 MacBook Pro, probably running Mojave. Every Mac running Lion or later has easily enabled built-in encryption. It would be unusual for anyone to provide a laptop for repair that had no password or protection whatsoever on its files, let alone a person like Hunter Biden — again, years into efforts to uncover personal data relating to his work in Ukraine. An actor who wanted this data to be discovered and read would leave it unencrypted.

    5) That this information would be inspected by the repair shop at all is very suspect indeed. Recovery of an ostensibly damaged Mac would likely take the form of cloning the drive and checking its integrity against the original. There is no reason the files or apps themselves would need to be looked at in the course of the work in the first place. Some shops have software that checks file hashes, if they can see them, against a database of known child sex abuse material. And there have been notable breaches of trust where repair staff illicitly accessed the contents of a laptop to get personal data. But there’s really no legitimate reason for this business to inspect the contents of the devices they are working on, let alone share that information with anyone, let alone a partisan operative. The owner, and avid Trump supporter, gave an interview this morning giving inconsistent information on what had happened and suggested he investigated the laptops of his own volition and retained copies for personal protection.

    6) The data itself is not convincing. The Post has published screenshots of emails instead of the full text with metadata — something you would want to do if you wanted to show they were authentic. For stories with potential political implications, it’s wise to verify.

    7) Lastly, the fact that a copy was given to Giuliani and Bannon before being handed over to the FBI, and that it is all being published two weeks before the election, lends the whole thing a familiar stink — one you may remember from other pre-election shenanigans in 2016. The choice of the Post as the outlet for distribution is curious, as well; one need only to accidentally step on one in the subway to understand why.

    (Why would someone living in LA fly to New Jersey to hand three MacBooks over to a small-time computer shop for a repair, when he is well-connected enough to either just buy new MacBooks, or get professional repair?)

    If the emails are genuine–and I have no doubt that some are–this is a crude ruse. Probably Hunter Biden’s Icloud account was hacked and the emails retrieved from that, saved as PDF files, and then put on three MacBooks that were not only unencrypted, their user accounts didn’t even have passwords to hack!! You can’t both contend that Hunter Biden is privileged and protected then also claim he doesn’t have IT support to make sure his devices are properly repaired or “sanitized” after use. Every mid-level manager at any company has such services, and any devices they use either have their storage media destroyed or the data on them overwritten to make irrecoverable.

    To anyone with any tech experience, the Hunter Biden laptop story makes no sense and is not credible. What IS credible is that this is a crude hack job, and to have any shred of credibility (like Operation Mincemeat and “Major Martin”‘s briefcase filled with documents, for the false information to have any credibility it has to be intermixed with true information.

  34. The data was not given to the FBI originally, but to Giuliani and Bannon *before* it went to the FBI. So the copies were not made by the FBI.

    This is also an excellent comment, AFAICT, and deserves a rebuttal. Not to mention (probably) serious official investigation, if only the DOJ was not rotten….

  35. different clue

    Stewart M,

    Perhaps he was in a coke frenzy, or perhaps his brain was long-term degraded enough by the cumulative toll of all his chemical lifestyle choices that dropping off his elite ruling class laptop at some random any-old computer repair shop made perfect sense to him at the time.

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