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Friends of the pod. This is important. You can try it for free by going to zip recruiter dotcom crooked that zip recruiter dotcom crooked zip recruiter. It's the smartest way to hire post your job for free. It's recruiter dotcom slash crooked. Give us that credit for referring.

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Give us that credit to give us that credit, that credit zip recruiter dotcom slash crooked. Welcome to Save America, I'm Jon Favreau. I'm John Lovett and Tommy Vietor. If you guys hear a baby crying in the background, that's our son literally choke each other was born two and a half weeks early on July. Twenty third. He is a healthy, happy little baby and so far sleeping well, eating well, shitting like a champ.

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Emily, Emily is also doing well, continues to be the hero of our family. And thank you to everyone who subbed in for me last week, Meti Elyssa, Dan from vacation, Tommy, who did like five pods in a row. Really appreciate that. Charlie, listen to all of last week's pod. So now he is learning all of your voices and also listen to Taylor Swift's folklore about 100 times. So he is he's off to a good start.

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Guys, did you have any notes, anything you'd change?

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He did, yeah. We're going to send you all of his higher pitch. Higher pitch? You want higher pitch? Had a few quips on today's pod. Lovett talks to our friend Kara Swisher about Donald Trump's threat to ban tick and last week's big tech hearings on Capitol Hill.

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Before that, we'll talk about the Trump campaign's attempted reset, the latest on the congressional stimulus negotiations and the final week of Joe Biden's veep stakes.

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But first, love it. How is the show this week? Great. Love it or leave it? Natasha Brown came by, got everybody pumped, talked about what we can do, talked about Biden's VP pick, Bryan Safi. And I pretended to be straight again to canvass with voters. It was a delight.

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We got to talk about that straight impression that no, I don't know that we do.

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Just lowering your voice a couple octaves for no real. I thought it was hilarious that I was alive. I don't know. I don't know how else to do it, so I think you nailed it, Brian, to also we have a brand new Kurgan media pod to announce from our pal Ben Rhodes. Missing America is a limited series about what happens when Trump's America stops leading the free world and starts trying to dismantle it.

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Ben talks to leaders and activists around the world about what's happening in their countries, how they're taking up the slack and America's absence and what the US needs to do to repair the damage.

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The first episode drops next Tuesday, August 11th. You can listen to the trailer now and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Exciting stuff.

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A quick programming note to mark the fifth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Voting America is hosting a virtual screening of the new documentary about John Lewis's life.

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It's called Good Trouble. It's fantastic. You should check it out.

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It'll be on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. And afterwards, we're gonna have a panel discussion with crooked political director Shaniqua McLinden.

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Me and a few special guests.

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Five dollars from each ticket will go to our every last vote fun. So visit crooked dotcom. Good trouble to get your ticket today.

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Finally, speaking of voting, last week, votes of America kicked off the every last vote week of action.

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And thanks to your help, over 300000 people were able to use our vote by mail tool.

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You guys also helped send over three point five million texts and made over 54000 calls to young voters in 11 battleground states. A national vote by mail day and two thousand two hundred and twelve of you signed up to volunteer as poll workers. You can still request your vote by mail ballot and sign up to volunteer at Vote Save America dot com. Every last vote.

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Truly impressive numbers there. Incredible. Incredible.

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All right, let's get to the news. So the Trump campaign couldn't even get its candidate to pretend that he gives a shit about the pandemic for longer than a day or two.

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So now they are forging ahead with a new strategy that is yet another attempt to make the race about Joe Biden after pulling down all of their television ads for six days.

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The campaign is rolling out a new series of negative ads that The Washington Post reports, quote, will aim to brand Biden as a tool of liberal extremists.

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The negative ads will initially target swing states that have the earliest mail in voting dates. That's right. In North Carolina, you can mail your ballot in as early as September 4th.

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In other swing states will start voting that month, as well as for the new Trump ads.

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Here's a clip of one that went up today.

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Joe Biden has embraced the policies of the radical left, trillions in new taxes, crushing middle class families.

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You, like many of your taxes, are going to be raised, not cut. Amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants, citizenship for 11 million undocumented folks, reducing police funding. Yes, absolutely. The radical left has taken over Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. Don't let them take over America.

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I'm Donald Trump and I approve this message.

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Spooky. Love it. A couple of Trump campaign folks told Axios that their internal polling is now showing that the, quote, puppet of the left attack on Biden is beginning to resonate with voters. Do you buy this? Is there anything about the strategy that makes you nervous?

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Well, I think, you know, a lot of the pieces that looked at this new strategy, first of all, I don't know how new it is. I think that they've been floating versions of this for a long time. They really have two things they're playing with, which is that, you know, Joe Biden is demented and Joe Biden is a tool of the left. Like those are the two. That's the core pillars of the Republican agenda.

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But is it demented tool of the left? He's a demented tool. Well, why are you helping? But the why tightening. But the and I think, you know, you can draw some reassurance from the fact that this is on track with what they've been saying for a while. And it's been hard to leave a mark that said, you know, elections are overdetermined, we're not doing double blind tests.

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Is it possible that buried in the data, you find evidence that these attacks have mitigated Trump's decline over the last few weeks and months? Like I don't know the answer to that.

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Right. You don't know if Trump wouldn't be performing worse if these attacks weren't resonating. That said, you know, they've been trying to figure out how to land a punch on Joe Biden for a while.

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And this is the latest version of that. I find the like pulling down of ads for six days and then going back up. Look, I don't find that particularly like a hopeful sign that they're really sort of not sure what to do because, again, I don't find this line of attack that different from what they've been doing. I think it may be just a new campaign manager coming in and taking time to assess what the previous lunatic was up to.

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Tommy, what do you think I mean, every time I see the Trump campaign do something, you know, my first reaction is, well, that's pretty dumb. But then I think, OK, what did they think was smart about doing this? Because clearly it's like some kind of a subtle shift. So maybe they're seeing something in the research.

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What do you think? Yeah, I mean, look, I am baffled by the decision to pull down ads for nearly a week, and I still don't think they're back up in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Meanwhile, Biden and all the super PACs are on air. So you're just like leaving that space uncontested? I just don't get it in terms of the content of the ads. Like, I think the hardest thing for for political junkies like us to remember is that most people don't know who Joe Biden is.

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They're not paying any attention to the election. And so maybe Biden was Obama's VP, but that's it. And the concern is these new ads are filling in basically a blank canvas. The conventional wisdom is that Joe Biden is harder to vilify is like the mayor of Antifa because he's old, he's Catholic, he's relatively moderate. And there's probably some truth to that. But I do think any campaign should be worried about millions and millions of dollars in attack ads, even if the frame might seem silly, because if you pull apart the radical left frame, the specific attacks are taxes, immigration, amnesty and police funding.

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And those are areas that Republicans historically are good at exploiting. They love blowing up cultural issues and finding sort of racially divisive ways to split the electorate. The thing that gives me some comfort is that I do think the answer to this narrative is just telling Joe Biden story. I mean, if you know about his blue collar roots in Scranton and the way he persevered through tragedy and, you know, stories about his kindness and his decency, like the way he served President Obama as a loyal VP and their relationship, I think that's fills in the gap of Biden as a person.

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And it makes it a lot harder to argue that he is like running around Portland, an all black, trying to burn federal buildings down. But you can't let attacks like this go unanswered. Like I do think they should be concerned about it. Yeah, I think that it is very similar to their overall message about Joe Biden, but it is a bit more subtle and sometimes subtlety works better in politics, like saying that Joe Biden is like the mayor of Antifa and is going to destroy the suburbs.

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It's just not believable. Right. But if you get down to an ad that just says he's going to raise your taxes and of course, what he was saying, that ad as he was going to raise taxes on rich people, not everyone.

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And, you know, he's going to provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, which is true because it's it's a true thing that I think most people in the country support.

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But again, they're going for a very specific group of swing voters who might not you know, they're trying to do, like you said, tell me a more issue based attack, which I do think is probably more effective than saying just insane things about Joe Biden. Like he you know, he loves antifa and all that.

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I do think the challenge is, is Trump's problem something that can be solved by ads or is it something a little bigger? Like it seems to me that their big problem is still the candidate, even if they have an ad strategy that's now firing on all cylinders, which I think that remains to be seen.

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You know, no sooner do they release this ad this morning, then Donald Trump is out there attacking Deborah Berk's for basically saying that the pandemic is bad. And then we get a New York Times headline that he's under criminal investigation for bank fraud. So it seems like their problem might be bigger than their biggest problem.

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If they could run an attack ad that would make covid go away, I would be really, really worried. But until that happens, I think they've got a big fundamental challenge that they're not addressing. Yes, I mean, it's also true that, like, you know, we've also seen what happens when Trump is the messenger, even on this specific line of attack, right. Because he sits down with Chris Wallace and he's like, I check the charter and it's an Antifa charter.

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And Chris Wallace is like, there's no it's actually not in there. And so, I mean, like, there is some truth to the to the fact that Biden, who is not instinctively like a far left candidate at all, has been pulled to the left by the primary and by these sort of policy processes. But what's coming out of those? This are consensus democratic positions that avoids some of the biggest lightning rod pieces of rhetoric or policies that Trump is trying to paint Biden as having adopted.

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Yeah, I do think where they're spending the money is is kind of interesting, the AP story about this says that they've basically pulled the plug on Michigan altogether and acknowledged deficits in Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, though the campaign insists it's closer than public polling. But it is interesting that they're not up in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania with these new ads yet. The campaign says it's because they want it to go up in states that are voting that will start voting in September and that they'll be up in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania soon.

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But it sort of strikes me as weird. Like they have a ton of money, right?

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You have three months. What are you saving? Left husbanding their resources. I mean, they just we just don't know. But it sounds like they were throwing money against the wall and nothing was sticking. Yeah. Yeah.

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So the other key part of Trump's strategy to win the election is by stealing it, even though the president in the White House have backed off from last week's suggestion that the election should be delayed.

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They have since ratcheted up their attacks on voting by mail, with Trump saying that it will lead to the greatest election disaster in history and complaining that he doesn't want to, quote, wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing and the election doesn't mean anything.

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So obviously, many states have held elections entirely by mail for years without any major issue.

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But I do think that undermining confidence in mail and voting during an election where more people will vote that way than ever before could be, at least in my opinion, just as dangerous as suggesting that you delay the election. But, Tommy, what do you think about this?

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I think there's a lot of risk in undermining confidence in vote by mail. There's also a lot of risk in what Congress is trying to do, what the country is trying to do, which is stitch together sort of a hybrid vote by mail and in-person voting system on the fly during a pandemic. So, like, if you look at Oregon, they've conducted elections entirely by mail since nineteen ninety eight. There have been fifteen point five million ballots cast since that time and only 14 cases of fraud.

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It's a better system. Their percentage of people tend to be higher, like 77 percent of voters in our eligible voters in Colorado voted in twenty sixteen. That's the highest rate in the country. So it's obviously a great system. But what we're also seeing now is you have states like Texas where Republicans passed laws that say you can only vote by mail if you're 65 or over and have some sort of medical condition, because as we all know, 64 year olds are totally safe if they get covered.

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Right. I mean, the answer obviously here is they're scoping rules that make it easier for normally Republican voters to to exercise their right to vote. So I get him. Undermining our entire system of democracy is infuriating. It's especially galling when you know that 16 Trump officials have voted by mail, including the president, vice president, his daughter, Kellyanne Conway, the new campaign manager. Bill, Steppenwolf's the fucking name is So I need to step in.

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So, yeah, it's a very annoying, constant drumbeat that undermines the process. Well, what do you think I mean, there's there's no real issue with fraud, with mail in voting at all, but there are issues we've seen with mail in voting. New York is still counting ballots from a primary that was like a month ago. It is easier for some states to reject absentee ballots for bullshit reasons like the signature, not matching the signature on your license.

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And we also know that just about every swing state except North Carolina will reject ballots currently that arrive after election. Yeah, so it's I think it's actually I think it's worth thinking about it is sort of three distinct problems that are intersecting because they're they're all big problems. And I think it's pretty overwhelming. So I think it's helpful to break it down. One, you have the genuine challenge of standing up vote by mail in places that haven't had universal vote by mail.

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That is a true logistical challenge, a financial challenge, an expertise challenge like that's real. OK, then, too, you have political efforts to delegitimize vote by mail and to make vote by mail harder. Right. Look what we saw in Texas. And by the way, the Texas situation is incredibly sinister because a bunch of people had already had already requested ballots based on the presumption that that that coronavirus would be an acceptable excuse, because if you're not immune to the coronavirus, it is in some sense a disability and you see versions of that playing out across the country.

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And then the third piece of it is the targeted effort by Trump right now to undermine the post office. Right. To get in there with a political crony, stop over time, let mail pile up.

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Trump is basically pushing the post office down a flight of stairs and then like yelling down to the bottom of the staircase, you idiot, you're getting blood all over the mail.

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And so, wow, that was graphic. I played with some less and more graphic version.

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So so I think we need to basically, though, I think we need to attack each of these problems individually. Some of them take money, some of them take political pressure. Some of them take just a concerted political effort on the part of people who want everyone to be able to vote to make sure that people start getting in their ballots early, maybe like, you know, October 13th or whatever the a couple of weeks before the election. We declare it vote by mail, Election Day, try to get as many ballots in early as possible to try to defeat their efforts to undermine the election by just getting the ballots in early.

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Yeah, it is astounding that in an effort to undermine the election, the president's also taking away your mail.

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He's the new postmaster general. Who is this Republican donor hack has already implemented these cuts that are leading to slower and less reliable delivery in certain areas of the country. People aren't getting their mail. They're getting their medications. I mean, it is it is unforgiving, real.

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And when you combine that post office delays with the fact that these states aren't going to count ballots that come after Election Day, that arrive after Election Day, that's a huge that could be like hundreds of thousands of voters disenfranchised and in a close election could easily tip the race.

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Yeah, I mean, the the delays to this isn't a holiday, right? This isn't like, oh, there's the we didn't get the Christmas packages on time because we denied overtime. When you systematically don't let the mail deliver, it's not going to get better. Not allowing the postal workers to have overtime to finish the deliveries on time doesn't make the problem go away slowly. It just keeps building up your delays in Pennsylvania for like three weeks. And if you don't let them work overtime to deliver the mail, there's no way to catch up.

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The mail keeps coming. It just doesn't stop because it's the mail.

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Tommy, what can be done about all of this? Well, I mean, in terms of the post office, I mean, the problem here is that the post office is self-funded by the sale of stamps and what they charge for their services, but they are hamstrung by decisions made by Congress, specifically, one that requires them to prefund the retirement benefits for any new employee. Seventy five years into the future, which is this massive amount of money that they have to set aside and they've never recovered from that.

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Congress also sets the rate for postage and things so that they can't catch up by increasing prices. So the post office needed, they said, seventy five billion dollars to help fix their finances and modernize some systems in advance of this election. For a while, it seemed like there was some bipartisan agreement on some sort of bailout, but instead the Trump folks said they're going to veto it. So they got offered, I think, like a ten billion dollar loan.

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And so, like, I think Congress needs to solve that problem with some funding or else we are going to have ballots that are showing up incredibly late, as are think just like stepping back. This this conversation is so frustrating because it's a debate in Washington where the discussion is treated as if it's in good faith and honest about like how to limit voter fraud. That's just not the case. Republicans pretend voter fraud is an issue when it is not especially and vote by mail states.

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They use it as a scare tactic to pass laws like voter ID laws that make it harder to vote, especially if you're black in America. And we know this because Trump has said as much publicly, right. Like he went on Fox and Friends in March and said that the Democratic proposals to increase funding for absentee and vote by mail would lead to, quote, levels of voting that if you agree to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again, end quote.

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That's like so he is stating as fact, like why he doesn't want to fund the post office at a sufficient level. And I'm not exactly sure what has to happen here. Hopefully Pelosi can really go hard and get more funding for the post office. But it seems like we are on a a path that could potentially be catastrophic if we have millions of ballots just not showing up in time to be counted. Yeah, so I think Democrats in Congress need to hold firm on funding for the post office and an election security in general, which we're going to talk about in a second.

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I think, you know, Marc Elias, Democratic lawyer and a bunch of other groups are you know, they have lawsuits that they're filing almost every day, it seems, against some of these voter suppression schemes that Republicans are engaging in.

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I think for everyone who's listening. One of the most important things you can do is get your ballot early and mail it early, go to vote, save America Dotcom.

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We have all the tools there to help you figure out how to get your ballot and not just you, your friends, your family, people who maybe who haven't voted before that, you know, if you're going to vote by mail, do it early, get the ballot early. And the other thing, you know, as we mentioned earlier, this was always going to be a hybrid election where there's going to be a lot more vote by mail than usual.

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But there's still going to be a lot of in-person voting. I think volunteering to be a poll worker if you're young and healthy, so that older people who might also have underlying conditions don't have to do it, that will be incredibly important. Early voting is incredibly important there, too, because if there's more early voting, then we don't have like really long lines where people are getting too close to one another. So I think making in-person voting safe as well is going to be is going to be super important.

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The last thing I'll mention on this is Ben Smith. The New York Times had a good piece last night about sort of the media preparing everyone for the fact that it's it's highly likely we will not know if it's a close race who won on election night because they will be counting mail in ballots for so long, even if they're not rejecting a whole bunch of ballots after Election Day, it's still going to take like it does here in California, maybe a week or two to find out who's going to win.

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And the networks and the media sort of have to prepare people for that, because when we don't I mean, Donald Trump just said that in that quote, when we don't have a winner in some of these swing states on election night, Donald Trump is just going to declare victory if he's ahead and then say all the ballots counted by column, by mail are fake.

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And so I think it's going to be up to the media to sort of prep people for that.

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It's nice to get it right. Pottsy of America is brought to you by Squarespace. Turn your cool idea into a new website with Squarespace. John, I know that you're you're real creative type. Sure. Yeah, that's right. I think of myself as a creative type.

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Now, what's an idea for a website? Well, how about this? I think of like basically when when I have walked pundit and she has both peed and pooped and I fed her and she's had water, she's like a fully charged phone. And I would like some sort of website where I can, like, monitor her like a Tamagotchi, you know, because I don't know. That's something that you could do with Squarespace. You can make that Tamagotchi for real dog.

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All right, let's talk about the negotiations in Congress over the next covid relief bill, the extra 600 dollars per week that more than 20 million unemployed Americans have been receiving since the beginning of the pandemic has now expired, which will force people to make a lot of very hard and sad decisions starting right away. Republicans refused to extend the benefits through the end of the year, and we still don't know what kind of unemployment benefits extension they will accept. Republicans also refused to provide funding to help people vote safely or open school safely.

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And they don't want to provide any money to state and local governments at all. But at least as of now, both parties are still at the negotiating table. Let's start with the unemployment insurance extension. Republicans say they've floated a proposal that would maintain the six hundred dollars per week for maybe a couple of months. They floated 200 dollars per week. They floated 70 percent of wages, 66 percent of wages.

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What, if anything, does this tell us about what they might ultimately accept it? It's they're all over the place. They've been over all over the place for a while. You know, they floated a kind of, you know, like a one week extension, briefly thinking that they could get some leverage over Democrats. So it's again, because this is all done so haphazardly. And so last minute, it's not clear that people would even be able to get that money because of the way it's all administered.

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It's all just a complete mess. And so you have literally tens of millions of people sort of waiting to find out what comes out of this agreement. I think you have a genuine disagreement among Republicans, some who are, I think, saying truly like. Sociopathic things about about unemployment insurance, like a mix of a mix of just heartlessness and also complete denial about what's happening in the country, as if the problem right now is the six hundred dollars is making it too cushy for people to stay at home as opposed to what's really going on, which is the pandemic destroyed the economy.

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And we actually need people to stay home so that they stay safe and we can get out of this fucking mess. You know, that said, it does seem as though Democrats have been extremely clear that they want 600 dollars. They don't want to cut it. They don't want to they don't want to legitimize these Republican attacks on it. And they have all the leverage. And I think Republicans are flailing to try to come up with something that Democrats will go for.

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But Democrats have held pretty firm. Yeah, tell me, I saw this morning that Pelosi just suggested that Democrats will not negotiate on the six hundred dollar per week unemployment benefit, which I thought was an improvement over old Steny Hoyer last week, saying that maybe maybe it was negotiable.

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Yeah, that was a weird posture to take going into negotiation. Yeah. I mean, Pelosi has said, I think even more recently than this morning that you could maybe tie the six hundred dollar payment to the unemployment rate. And if that unemployment rate goes down, maybe the number can go down. Maybe that's more reasonable. I'm not entirely sure. But I mean, I think the thing people need to know is that we are not in this position because of partisanship or congressional dysfunction or all these sort of things that the press reports that I think obscures the truth.

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The Democrats passed a bill months ago and Republicans refused to negotiate throughout the entire summer. That's why we're getting this last minute bullshit. And the thing that is driving me crazy is what love it mentioned, which is, you know, you have Ted Cruz and other just soulless assholes out there suggesting that this unemployment benefit is somehow preventing people from working when there is literally no evidence that the expanded unemployment benefit is leading workers to stay home at all. In fact, there have been studies that prove that.

[00:30:14]

And so, you know, now we're in this tough position where this has become conventional wisdom. I don't get how that's the case because obviously we should be incentivizing payments. We should be creating payments to workers to keep them home so that they don't get the coronavirus. That was the whole point of this thing. Now, this morning, you read that the White House is considering executive actions to maybe do things on their own. One idea that was floated was instructing the IRS to stop collecting payroll taxes so that people can keep that money.

[00:30:41]

I don't know what that does for the 30 million some odd people who are laid off, but this is it's a complete mess. It's a complete mess. And it is a you know, Mitch McConnell Republican Party created a mess and people are really hurting. Love it. What do you think? What do you think the red line should be for Democrats and where do you think it's OK to compromise? In addition, unemployment benefits. We got the the mail security election security, the state local government funding.

[00:31:08]

Mitch McConnell still high on his corporate liability shield because, you know, big thing is protecting corporations from getting sued, that they force people to go back to work and then get sick.

[00:31:19]

Yeah, no, that's his that's his pet issue. Cool. Cool guy has this fetish already. Yeah.

[00:31:26]

I mean, I like one thing that I thought was good, right. Is that Republicans proposed doing some of what Democrats wanted and said we will keep negotiating. But Democrats said no because I think they saw what happened last time. I think it's a pretty you know, I think there's a likelihood that whatever comes out of this is it all right? And it is for through the election, through the inauguration of either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. And so I think making sure that whatever comes out of this helps people through the election and ideally through like the early part of next year, I think has to be a red line.

[00:31:58]

We cannot be setting up another one of these negotiations in December or January. I think it's crazy, especially if we have a new president and they try to hold that president hostage. You know, there is now a fight over whether that we can get four billion dollars for election security. Meanwhile, in the current version of the Republican proposal, there's over two billion dollars to rebuild the FBI and renovate the West Wing because Trump finds the FBI building ugly.

[00:32:25]

Now, in fairness to him, it is an ugly it is an ugly building. That's certainly true. It's a real it's a real eyesore, not a priority, obviously, in a pandemic. But he's not wrong about that. I guess he also is interested in some marble upgrades in the West Wing. But again, if he can find the money for that, I think we can probably find the money for in a two trillion dollar package. You're talking about point two percent for election security.

[00:32:52]

You're talking about maybe a percent for postal, for supporting the post office. You know, these are small parts of a big package. And one other thing, just the state and local government stuff, it's we have to do it. If we just do if we don't provide aid to state and local governments, all the good that would come out of a stimulus will be undone by the cuts that come at the state level, the chaos that happens at the state and local level, that's all.

[00:33:16]

Yeah, we're talking about cuts to first responders, teachers getting laid off schools, education, college, public services, I mean, it is catastrophic.

[00:33:25]

Look, I think what we're seeing in these negotiations is the Democrats have all the leverage right now, like Nancy Pelosi going out there saying they're not negotiate on six hundred dollars. While Republicans have about 10 different positions on unemployment insurance between the Senate Republicans, the House Republicans and the White House tells you who has the stronger hand here. I think what you said to me is going to be the challenge for Democrats, which is they're going to have to fight through the both sides bullshit in the media, because as these negotiations drag on, the media will cover it.

[00:33:52]

Like, why can anyone in Congress get together and fix something and a pox on both their houses for doing that. And I think Democrats just have to look at the long term, which, like Lovett said, is, you know, there's no there's not going to be another one, a package between now and the election.

[00:34:06]

So if we don't get help for the Postal Service, if we don't get election security, if we don't get state and local government funding, we're not going to see that to maybe January of twenty, twenty one when hopefully Joe Biden is president.

[00:34:18]

But who knows? Yeah, right.

[00:34:19]

And so this is the last chance to get everything in. And I think the Democrats also have to realize is if the bill fails and they don't get anything done and the economy continues to suffer, like, guess who's going to get blamed for that on Election Day?

[00:34:33]

Probably the guy who's in the White House and the party that's in power.

[00:34:37]

Yeah, I mean, look, more than anything else, my concern is that a shitty bill is actually harmful because of all the things you mentioned. It just means that there will be no chance to pass anything else between now and God knows when. And so, like the bright red lines for me are this idea of just providing blanket liability protection for companies is insane. The pandemic is worse. Now is not the time to let companies force workers back into unsafe conditions as they're already trying to gut OSHA and all these other worker protection agencies.

[00:35:05]

They cannot let Republicans pass a unemployment insurance benefit that creates a new system with a massive bureaucratic hurdle like calculating the percentage of your former income. We literally have people camping, sleeping out in front of unemployment offices in states like Oklahoma, Alabama and Kentucky, because the state unemployment benefits systems have proven to be unworkable. They can't deal with this influx that creating a new, like, massive bureaucratic hurdle and much paperwork to go through is a disaster. Obviously, we need the election security funding that should have come months ago.

[00:35:40]

If Trump wants the economy to reopen and he wants schools to reopen, he needs to provide some sort of funding to help teachers, states, municipalities deal with it. So I'm not exactly sure how they would do that, but it does seem like they are completely screwing themselves, both politically and screwing the country over by not moving on this quickly because it's just holding the entire economy hostage.

[00:36:02]

Yeah, and just one last point on that. On the school funding, you know, there's a signal example, I think, in the Republican proposal that sort of points out just how naive and kind of ideological they've been throughout this entire pandemic and how it's made things worse. Their current funding proposal incentivizes not health, not protecting kids, but actually reopening schools to create pressure on school districts and localities to reopen schools. And as always, their priorities have been about short term reopening, short term economic gain when the real crisis has been our failure to kind of shut down for long enough to get a handle on this disease.

[00:36:38]

And that's what they're doing across the bill, trying to just get out of this with less than the bare minimum. And of course, it just makes everything worse, because, by the way, one of the things that economists say is failing to provide the UI benefits, hurts the economy and hurts the recovery and makes the pain last longer.

[00:36:54]

That's all you know.

[00:36:56]

All right. Let's talk a little bit about the veep stakes. Joe Biden will reportedly hold a final series of one on one meetings with candidates on his short list and announce his running mate next week.

[00:37:05]

That short list appears to include Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth, former national security adviser Susan Rice and Congresswoman Karen Bass.

[00:37:14]

And because everyone who's waiting for this process to finish is bored and impatient, we got leaks from donors. We got speculation from people who have no idea what they're talking about. And now we've got a Dems in disarray narrative from reporters who've been dying to write it. And here's Annie Linskey of The Washington Post. Quote, The dynamic threatens to undermine Biden's effort to use the vice presidential search to spotlight some of the party's brightest female stars, pitting women, especially black women, against one another.

[00:37:42]

First question, Tommy, you've been on quite a few campaigns that have gone through this process. How typical is what we're seeing right now?

[00:37:50]

I mean, as that's the ticket, fans within Elyssa know, like the Obama selection process was pretty quiet and locked down. I think it leaked a couple of hours before the announcement because others who did not get it were finally told that they didn't get it. So you could just do a process of elimination.

[00:38:03]

You're always going to have donors in annoying outside advisers talking to the press about things they know nothing about. The who's up, who's down bullshit, the posturing. I do think this has been pretty bad the last couple of weeks. I mean, there's like two parts to it, right? There's the leaks source to campaign aides or people like Chris Dodd, who's on the VP selection committee that were very bad. And that shit I know drives like actual campaign staffers crazy because they don't want to deal with this stuff either, and they want to shut down those kinds of conversations.

[00:38:31]

The other piece is just sort of general positioning and like oppo research dumps from people affiliated with potential vice presidential candidates, like that video of Karen Bass's speech to the Scientology Church crowd that doesn't show up by accident. Someone is out there digging that up and pushing it around. And, you know, that stuff sucks for Karen Bass, people on her team, others who are getting oppo dumped on them. But ultimately, I think like for the Biden campaign, it's OK to have that stuff out there.

[00:39:00]

You want it out there before he makes the choice and not after. Right. So it's all going to get vetted eventually. I have been personally surprised at how many shots have been fired at Kamala Harris. It is it's pretty untoward. It wasn't just that political piece talking about Chris Dodd. There were people telling The New York Times that, like her polling wasn't great in African-American communities. There was a campaign aide that reached out to Jonathan Martin, unprompted, to say that some of Biden's aides don't like Kamala Harris.

[00:39:26]

If I were the campaign manager, I imagine Gentlemanly Dylan is very, very angry about this because it does a disservice to Biden and everyone involved in the process. And you're right. I mean, that like that Washington Post story, I think is overstated and annoying. But it's also the case that Biden is about to make this historic selection. And what he does is critical not just for the country in the campaign, but the narrative is now that he's going to slow or pitting candidates against each other.

[00:39:52]

And that's bullshit. And I think it sucks. I mean, I just I think Biden is going to take his time, pick the person he likes the most, and that will be the end of it. And everyone just needs to take a deep breath until then. Yeah, I mean, the two slow narrative is complete bullshit. Joe Biden was announced as vice president two days before the convention in 2008. In late August, Tim Kaine was announced two days before the convention in 2016.

[00:40:17]

So the idea that this process is taking too long is like, everyone fucking calm down. I do think of it like Tommy said, some of the leaks coming from know the someone close to fucking Chris Dodd or let's go to fucking Ed Rendell for a quote who's been hanging out in a green room for the last five years, just waiting for his chance to shit on Democrats, you know, but that stuff is rather annoying.

[00:40:39]

I totally think that the Comilla stuff is completely bullshit. Like you want to talk.

[00:40:44]

You haven't have an issue with someone's record, someone's policy position. That's fine. Thrown out fucking quotes like I don't like her and she give me the give me a fucking break.

[00:40:52]

I mean, it is very sexist. It is very gross. Yeah, I think so too.

[00:40:56]

I do think that there's been a lot of kind of normal people desperate to find something to write about this. And so you go to it's always like a Biden ally or people close to Chris Dodd. It's like I don't know who Chris Dodd is close to and I don't want to know.

[00:41:11]

I and I will say, look, you have to imagine if that's your sourcing, your source.

[00:41:16]

Does someone close to Chris Dodd.

[00:41:18]

Well, you know, in a day when I want to, you know, like, it's so harmful. Right. So we are now talking about the Times, reporting on Politico, reporting on someone who talked to Chris Dodd, who is someone talking to the campaign.

[00:41:31]

Right. Like that is very attenuated. That said, all these leaks that are attempting to, like, undermine Kamala Harris by saying she's ambitious, saying she wants to be president, saying that she's not remorseful for an attack like during a during a debate, I think are doing an incredible disservice to Joe Biden and, by the way, doing an incredible disservice to Kamala Harris and the other women in contention. Absolutely doing damage to it because they are like completely illegitimate attacks.

[00:41:59]

And like, John, to it, to your point, it seems like there's some kind of like, unspoken set of critiques about Kamala Harris that aren't in the stories. Right. And aren't actually being referenced when they say they're bothered by a sentence in a debate during the primary. So there's like it's a it's a like kind of an anonymous campaign that is then like twice removed in the press because it's a it's saying they don't like her, they don't say why, and they offer a bullshit misogynist excuse.

[00:42:27]

So it's just I think that part of it has been extremely frustrating. Yeah, so I mean, Tom, you mentioned Karen Bass, you know, she's a congresswoman, represents part of Los Angeles. She's emerged just over the last few weeks as a serious contender. We haven't really talked about her much. She's the 66 year old chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, the former speaker of the California State Assembly. She's the first black woman to fill that role in any state.

[00:42:52]

She's a former nurse, former community organizer on the streets of L.A. What do we know about why she's risen to the top of Biden's shortlist?

[00:43:00]

I mean, I think she's got a lot of experience. She's someone who I mean, California doesn't really get its due. When you talk about someone in the state legislature there in a very senior position, you are making decisions that impact the lives of 50 million people at a time. Right. So that's a big job. And then she's been in Congress for a long time. I think she's extremely well regarded by colleagues. There's reports that Pelosi is making calls on her behalf, talking her up even to President Obama and calls with him.

[00:43:27]

So I think, you know, they they were I think it sounds like someone who, through the vetting process, has come out stronger and stronger and stronger as people who know her are having conversations with the VP selection committee. It does seem like Biden through some of these various leaks and what he said himself, what are some of the campaign saying is sort of looking for like a consensus candidate, someone who is broadly accepted throughout the party. And it does seem like Karen Bass is a person who is very well-liked by almost everyone I saw in The New York Times, like, you know, Josh Gottheimer, who's sort of a center right House Democrat, and Roxana, who was a Bernie Sanders supporter and both said glowing things about Karen Bass.

[00:44:11]

Right. So I think she's very well-liked in Congress by people across the political spectrum. And that might be one reason. And, of course, she's got governing experience and that might be some of the reasons that she's she's at the top of the list. What do you think? I think it's a reminder that, you know, there's a bunch of people in consideration and the people talked about the most aren't always going to be the candidates that that Joe Biden is thinking about the most.

[00:44:34]

We just genuinely don't know what he's thinking. The only thing you know, I think you look at what Biden has said and you say, all right, you know, he ran for president because he believed that this was an existential threat. And he's going to want to do two things. One, pick someone safe, just safe, someone who's going to make it so that there's no risk of harm, that there's no surprises because he views the stakes as being total and the other is someone who can take over.

[00:44:59]

Now, I think there's two ways you can think about that. One is just, you know, someone who fits his idea of a bridge to a new generation, a younger candidate, someone who can be the standard bearer of the party if Joe Biden doesn't run again or it's just someone who he believes is simply ready to be president. And I think that there's a bunch of women that sort of fit that fit either one of those versions of what it means to kind of be his second in command.

[00:45:26]

I also think I mean, every single one of these women, if they are selected, there will be something that someone will say is a drawback like that.

[00:45:36]

But I also think he has like an embarrassment of riches right now, you know, like it lost in all of this process.

[00:45:43]

And all the sniping right now is the fact that he is seriously considering some incredibly qualified women, all of whom would make a fantastic president. And so and when we have talked about Tammy Duckworth, there was like a long profile of her in The New York Times over the weekend that, you know, every time you really read one of these profiles of one of the women who might be a little lesser known, like a Tammy Duckworth or Karen Bass, you're like, wow, she's impressive as hell.

[00:46:10]

And it's like it's actually and since Susan has been seriously considered to start looking into Susan's background and her story and even knowing her, there's some things that I didn't I didn't realize about her background that are really inspiring.

[00:46:22]

So it's I think, you know, the reporters right now and other people are like bored with the race as it is.

[00:46:29]

They are looking to write a narrative that Joe Biden did something wrong with the VP selection. And I think we have to be somewhat careful that we don't fall into that bullshit. And it's not just reporters fault, because, like we said, there's a lot of people leaking and it's their fault, too. But, you know, the rest of us shouldn't buy into the book.

[00:46:45]

I just think there's a fundamental disconnect between how the Biden camp is looking at this and how the media is looking at it. Biden is thinking about four years and he's thinking about a governing partner and he's thinking about someone he's going to need to ask to do enormous things. The press is fundamentally looking at potential hurdles in terms of getting elected, like is there oppo research out there? Could you harm them with a gaffe? You know, are they known for Benghazi?

[00:47:11]

Right. Like every article you read about, Susan Rice leads with a discussion of Benghazi, which was a controversy that was manufactured by Republicans in Washington as a way to harm Obama, as a way to harm Hillary Clinton. Right. Susan Rice, as the US ambassador to the U.N., had literally no substantive role when it comes to protecting an embassy in Benghazi that was not her job in any way. She went on Sunday shows and pricks like Lindsey Graham decided to attack her.

[00:47:36]

So that mismatch between what's reported on and what's discussed and what the conventional wisdom is versus what the job actually is, is very frustrating. I'm sure it's frustrating for Biden. I'm sure it's frustrating for the candidates, because if you step back and you think about all of these people, let's take Susan Rice, for example, like when your national security adviser and you're in the Oval Office every single day, multiple times a week, you have a pretty good sense of what it takes to actually lead, you know what, how to rebuild the country.

[00:48:01]

Like Kamala Harris, I said huge jobs both in California and in the US Senate like she would be. She's incredibly accomplished politician like all these all these shots fired about potential risks or downside hurdles you might face if you choose them are just so overstated to me. It's very it's frustrating. It's stupid. Answering like, why shouldn't Susan Rice be the pick with Benghazi is fucking pea brain analysis answer and why Kamala Harris should be there because she lost the primary.

[00:48:32]

Is pea brain analysis like this just like it is so lazy to just sit like a lot of the people that have mentioned Benghazi are like and we know that Benghazi was a manufactured controversy by the Republicans, but it's out there.

[00:48:44]

No, it's not. You're just repeating it.

[00:48:46]

I also say to one another, you know, as people have talked to Karen Bassett, like, who is an incredibly serious candidate, there's been this odd, like kind of pro bass sentence that something like and she's never been that ambitious about being president. And that makes her a great contrast. What is that? Kamala Harris wanted to be president. Elizabeth Warren wanted to be president. It's actually not a bad thing to have a vice president who wanted to be and might want to be president in the future.

[00:49:10]

That's not a bad quality in a politician to have them want to seek the higher office and and seek to build the Democratic majority over the time that they're in the job.

[00:49:19]

It's just a it's also a quality that is inherent in about 95 percent of politicians.

[00:49:24]

Yeah, Joe Biden's been running for president since before computers. Yeah.

[00:49:29]

That is the incredibly absurd part of the attacks on Joe Biden. I mean, people are saying Kamala Harris is ambitious. She might be running for president down the hall. Well, Joe Biden was vice president for eight years and then he ran and people say, well, she did not run a good campaign. She underperformed everyone's expectations. You could also say that in his previous runs for president, Joe Biden underperformed expectations and didn't run great campaign.

[00:49:52]

So I thought all of this is look where he is now, is now mayor. Yeah. Yeah. He waited until now. He's here now. He's mayor of A..

[00:50:02]

Anyway, well, check out if you want to hear more about the veep stakes, check out.

[00:50:06]

And you haven't yet. Check out Dan and Melissa's fantastic series. That's the Ticket and you know, will be next week for the for the final result.

[00:50:17]

Won't it be exciting? All right. When we come back, we will have Lovett's conversation with Kara Swisher.

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I'm now joined by the co-founder and editor at large of Recode, the host of the podcast Pivot and contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. Kara Swisher, always a pleasure. It's nice to see you. You got your shirt on now.

[00:53:57]

I, I did see over the past couple days on Twitter that I was on a brief, mostly a Twitter. Yes, I did see that you were posting some pretty wild early haircuts. And I just want to applaud you for the courage that that took. Thank you.

[00:54:11]

Let's start by talking about tick tock. So Trump says he's going to ban tick tock.

[00:54:18]

Now we find out that Microsoft is in negotiations to acquire tick tock. Trump's now saying, oh, they have till September 15th or I will use some unspecified power to ban. Tick tock. What's happening?

[00:54:31]

Well, everything was OK and they've been in talks to do this. There's been a lot of pressure about tick tock, whether it should go public and become a US company or someone should buy it because of the concerns around its security, because of China. They're valid concerns, not the most valid, considering all the other issues with China. But, you know, Trump has zeroed in on Tick-Tock for reasons unknown and and focused on the idea that American teens are unsafe because China is sucking up all all this data about them or whoever is one hundred million people using it.

[00:55:04]

It leaves out the fact that most of our phones are made in China. A lot of our technology equipment is made in China. China is making incursions militarily, technologically, with 5G, with algorithms, without with facial surveillance. But let's focus on ticktock. That's really pretty much. And in doing so, he also screwed up the deal because there were ongoing talks with Microsoft and took a bite dance, which is the owner's Beijing based owner, to buy Tick-Tock with with Microsoft.

[00:55:32]

And and then he jumped in here and started to say that nobody really knows and it's screwed up the whole talks. And then Microsoft pulled out sort of or said, we're going to wait until we get clarity from the White House. They talked over the weekend when cooler heads prevail to remove Trump from the equation. And Peter Navarro must have been standing behind him, yelling at him in some fashion. And and I guess Steve Venetian and Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio got involved and said, this is a good outcome.

[00:55:59]

This is going to be bad if you look like you're attacking the Dockers and then they're in talks again. And so they have till September 15th to talk. And then Microsoft had to write a hostage letter to Trump saying how great he is otherwise.

[00:56:11]

So, you know, you wrote a piece about ticktock that I think captured my own ambivalence about it, which is that, like, it's a really fun, interesting, creative space. Then on the other hand, there are these legitimate privacy and security and and surveillance questions. But a lot of that does seem to hinge with sort of assumptions about about what a Chinese company would do while ignoring the actual reality of what American companies do through their apps every single day.

[00:56:40]

Do you think the fears about Tic-Tac specifically are founded? And do you think that those fears are answered by transferring ownership to Microsoft?

[00:56:48]

I think there's no proof that they are doing so, but that doesn't mean that they aren't doing it. I am much more concerned about China than I am about Facebook. I hate to say that, but the fact of the matter is it's Facebook selling or Amazon selling toilet paper or whatever. I'm very concerned about all these companies sucking up all this information, but I'm more concerned with the state government doing so always. It's always going to be so it's not really comparable, like it's not a comparable thing.

[00:57:10]

I think what the issue is, is that do we want the next Internet age to be dominated by the Chinese with the values they have and as as damaged as we are? The democratic values around the Internet have been really great for the development of a lot of the Internet, not all of it. And what's happened is that it's become this sort of monopolistic space now with a few, as you saw last week in the hearings. And so I'm concerned with with two different things.

[00:57:36]

And they're not the same. You can't say I'm unconcerned. You know, I'm unconcerned with Facebook, but I'm really concerned about the Chinese. You have to be concerned about all of them for different reasons.

[00:57:46]

So let's talk about that hearing, because actually one of the arguments against efforts to regulate Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon is if you break us up, if you hamstring us in any way, you're just sort of ceding the field to China. Let's talk about the hearing. You had these four big companies and what I was realizing and just thinking about talking to you about this is these are four companies with incredibly different businesses, incredibly different and incredibly different influences on the economy.

[00:58:16]

What brings them together is that they're huge. That's really a huge amount. So what did you learn from the from the hearing about, I guess, first of all, stepping back, tech general, and then I think we could talk about the individual companies.

[00:58:29]

Yeah, well, you know, look, for some, tech is not a monolith. And by the way, everyone's not concerned with China. It was Mark Zuckerberg talking about that because that's his argument is that I have to be this big look away from the Russia issues, look away from the hard issues. I need to be big in order to fight the the Asian villains, essentially. And I think it's just a faint by Facebook, even if he's concerned.

[00:58:50]

And they are there are issues around China, which is doing rather well and proliferating its technology around the world and a very big focus. Let's not take away from that. But I think it's a talking point for his PR like, look over here, you know, it's either she or me. And that's what I call the sheer me argument. And I'm like, I don't like either of you. Like, I don't like him more than I don't like you, but I don't like you that much, you know what I mean?

[00:59:14]

It's really kind of weird. It's a weird argument that he's making. But of course, it's a good one for him to make. And especially it was followed this weekend by by this activity around tick tock. He aimed at tick tock, tick, tick tock, came back at him, too. But Kevin Nair, the new CEO, American CEO. So I think each of them are individual. Let's start with that. It's not a monolith.

[00:59:32]

There's issues around Apple's App Store, very different from the issues around marketplace at Amazon, around whether buying and selling and controlling marketplace is very different from search dominance at Google, YouTube, hate speech and stuff like that, which is also owned by Alphabet, which also owns Google, very different from the hate speech and propaganda and allowing all kinds of lies to proliferate on Facebook and the dominance of social media. So every one of them has to have a different answer.

[01:00:00]

Right. And so that's what's different here. And the answers and the solutions and the way we fix these things are very different. Overall, there needs to be a privacy bill that's passed. This will affect all of them. Secondly, we have to look at each individual company, decide whether they should be allowed, say, Amazon, should it be able to sell things. And there was some very incriminating Mr. Business had to Jeff Bezos had to admit that they were using some third party data.

[01:00:26]

He said, I can't say it hasn't been violated, which they're supposed to keep separate. There was some very incriminating emails for Mark Zuckerberg, who was talking about buying Instagram as a land grab and and that they wanted to neutralize the those are words that monopolists use. So that's a different issue, sucking up all the innovation, hurting Snapchat just because they can, copying their ideas. And then there's the App Store, which is a lesser problem, but a problem for a lot of developers, which can be fixed through regulation or fines or something.

[01:00:55]

And so that's what it's going to be, a multifaceted approach by our government. There's been no legislation by our government whatsoever. So maybe one traffic law for them would be good, would be nice. I would like that.

[01:01:07]

Red lights, green lights. But yeah, I mean, one of the other thing, it wasn't just that that that Facebook was saying they wanted to swallow up their competition. It was that they were suggesting that if they didn't go along with the deal, they would just create their version of Instagram anyway and basically squash them by copying them. Right. Which is an incredible anti-competitive act.

[01:01:27]

No, sure. But you know what? Good luck, because they're the most non innovative people on the planet. Like, good luck. They've tried lots of copy luck dating. What happened to their dating service? What happened to their video service? What happened to their they're not very good at creating new things are good at buying them. And I think Instagram, which was created by Kevin's sister and Mike Krieger, is a wonderful service, but it was created by Kevin System and Mark not Mark Zuckerberg.

[01:01:50]

And so what he's really good at is is copying. And I think that has a limit, just like it did with Microsoft. Microsoft couldn't play that game for that long.

[01:01:58]

It it ends up being like, isn't the argument basically against this Facebook pitch? Like we need a giant behemoth, basically utility version of a social media giant? Sure. Otherwise, China will eat our lunch when actually it seems to me our advantage has been born of the ability of people to innovate in this space.

[01:02:17]

Yeah, but if he wants to be utility, let's regulate him like a utility, then.

[01:02:21]

Oh, great. That sounds good to me. Either way, it's you either get regulated as if you're a utility or you allow innovation to flourish. I think the reason we beat China and we we're ahead in every way is because of innovation, because of small startups, because of their fear that they're not going to if they go into social media or search or or e-commerce, they're not going to get crushed. You know, small businesses get crushed in in this environment.

[01:02:44]

And no matter how you slice it, we have two companies making phones. We have one company doing social media. We have one company excelling in e commerce. As much as they say there's lots of competitors. Amazon dominates with one company that does search. And and by the way, in this pandemic, did you notice the results? Everybody else is like gripping with their fingernails before they fall into the abyss. Yeah, not these companies. These companies are flying high and their stocks are flying high.

[01:03:10]

They've never been richer as people. They've never been richer as companies. They have advantages in the pandemic. Amazon does. Google does all of it. Yeah.

[01:03:18]

I mean, it does seem as though I think one thing people have remarked on is that the pandemic has accelerated a number of processes. Right. It's accelerated some problems. Really serious long term problems for brick and mortar stores was also accelerated the growth of these sort of digital platforms. What happens now? So we had this hearing. It was a pretty substantive hearing there. Actually, some really interesting, really interesting revelations, not as many questions as you couple, a couple of anti-Americanism or talking to the only person of color.

[01:03:50]

Sundar Pichai. That was interesting, you know, calling in the entire American, Jim Jordan, going down the alleyway of conservative bias, but otherwise it was good.

[01:03:58]

I would say, though, there was fewer questions that presume things like the Internet is made of pipes. And yeah, my my grandkids set up my email stuff was a few, a couple. But we're always going to have to accept some of that.

[01:04:13]

That's the price of doing business with a bunch of right wing zealots and septuagenarians. But what happens now? So we had this big hearing. There seems to be at least some kind of beginnings of a consensus that says, hold on a second, these companies have way too much power. They are incredibly powerful entities. It seems like what happens next is we have to now do what you were saying is right. Go at them, go with the problems individually.

[01:04:36]

Right. Not treat this like a behemoth. What happens on Amazon? Right. Right now we have Amazon. It's doing it's it has it is this incredibly sophisticated algorithm. It is able to sell stuff through its own shelves. Right. That's very different than what a supermarket would do. Right. By supermarket doesn't run up to you as you're heading to your car and says, get this, you know, get this version of it. It's better.

[01:04:55]

And they don't hide their hide. CocaCola behind four or five rows of Amazon brand soda.

[01:05:01]

But so so what happens next with Amazon or price it below price? That's what they tend to do. I think they should separate the marketplace from things they sell. I just think and make sure that data is in a lockbox of other sellers. They are the marketplace and commerce. They'll argue they're not, but they really are in delivery. They're so good, they're so good. And people like them so much in terms of the result they're forgetting, just like getting in and over at a cost four dollars.

[01:05:28]

It doesn't cost four dollars, doesn't it's not that price. They're they're they're living off of other people's dimes, essentially. And so I think separating the marketplace from what they sell and same thing at the App Store of Apple is going to get the music business. They don't get to have any say over music pricing. Right. You know what I mean? Like, that's like you move away, it's going to be that's a harder problem. But if they're going to get into direct competition in services with people that they also serve, there has to be some sort of a buffer between them so that these groups are making these decisions, are making good economic decisions, not Apple economics decisions or Amazon economic decisions.

[01:06:06]

Let's talk about Facebook. So, you know, as you mentioned, you know, one of their challenges distinct around misinformation spreading on their platform. You've interviewed Mark Zuckerberg many times. Did you learn anything from Facebook during this hearing? Did anything surprise?

[01:06:22]

You know, I thought those emails were definitely what I thought they would be. And I'm sure there's dozens more like at the idea. Instead of talking about innovation segment landgrab, instead of talking about competing, he's talking about neutralizing. That's feels very Bill Gates in circa nineteen ninety seven. That's what it feels like to me. If you remember, he was going to crush that. I had a quote, one of my books in the nineties was Bill Gates said, we're going to buy you, bury you or copy you.

[01:06:47]

That's what it felt like. I was like, oh, he's back, you know what I mean? Actually, Bill Gates is great these days. Thank you for the vaccines. Bill Gates someday. But but it's it's it feels very monopolistic. So, no, I, I think he did fine. He's been there a couple of times and he's sort of the one they beat up on. But he sort of escaped. There was no Katie Porter AOC to I think there was a lot of I think Jeff Bezos got more of it from a Representative Paul, which I thought was great with thought was amazing from Seattle.

[01:07:19]

Yeah, she was great.

[01:07:20]

So let's let's close by talking about tick tock. So I did download it to my you download it to a burner phone. Yes, that's right.

[01:07:28]

Yeah. I've got great respect. I did briefly download it to my real phone until without ever setting up an account. It really did discover that my interests were new ways of making grilled cheese and hot guys. Well, their algorithms great.

[01:07:41]

Their algorithms wonder. That's an amazing algorithm they've got going. Yes.

[01:07:45]

So now so put Tick-Tock aside. Yeah, the growth of this sort of incredibly sophisticated algorithm, whether it's what Facebook is doing, what YouTube is doing, what Tick-Tock is doing, where basically the algorithm is smarter than the people making it, it is smarter than us. It is able to know what we like in very sophisticated ways, in ways we might not understand. Right. That actually don't make intuitive sense because it's not drawing on human intuition. It's actually just looking at hard data and hard science.

[01:08:14]

What do you see as the long term risk of how much of what we see and what we hear is born of these kinds of algorithms, regardless of what happens with these individual corporate entities?

[01:08:27]

Well, you know, there's a lot of talk around A.I. lately because open A.I. released some versions of A.I. that make people are making people nervous. Everyone's talking about it. I think the question is what kind where how do we abrogate our decision making or we give it off to these these systems? When do we stop doing that? When when does Human Decision-Making begin and when does that begin? Now, some of their decision making is good. Like it's smarter, it's faster, it's quicker.

[01:08:51]

Most of our decision making is based on anecdotes and bad data. They have good data. The question is what data goes in there, right? What data is crap and crap out is the way I look at it with data. And so if you have a lot of policing data that show more people of color get arrested, the algorithm is going to think people of color are more criminal. Right. Like, why wouldn't that? It would make sense in a lot of ways.

[01:09:13]

That's a simplistic way of doing it. But it's just it's a question of one. Regular people are making the same guy. They're creating it and then putting in regular data that may be flawed and then as becomes ever more sophisticated, how do we know how it comes to conclusions to say about loans or jobs or whether you can get in the country or not? Like, you know, there's something good about human fallibility, right? So things don't they can go, oh, I see what happened here.

[01:09:41]

This is whatever. But the minute those that can go off, that's what the data says. That's the way it's going to go for you. And so I think that's that's a stupid way of saying that we're giving over. We're in the middle of the Terminator movie right before they blow up. That's not the case. But it's just that it. And then who controls it? Like, what if China gets really far ahead? What if it's used for facial surveillance?

[01:10:03]

These are indeed these are questions are Congress of elected officials needs to be talking about and us as citizens, just like what happened in Portland, where they were taking in all kinds of text data and drone data. And it just can go on and on and on. And that's the issue. And it's not just that you like grilled cheese sandwiches. It's so much more. There's so much. You're so much more complex than grilled cheese sandwiches, John.

[01:10:27]

I think I like French toast and it's.

[01:10:31]

Oh, OK. All right. Well, but it's it's delightful and that's great. And that's you know, when you're on Netflix and they give you something you like, that's great. The question is, think of the worst. I always say, think of the black mirror. I've told you this. Think of the Black Mirror episode on this and then organize yourself around that. Right. What's the Black Mirror episode to?

[01:10:51]

The biggest problem that I don't know what it is, but there isn't a Black Mirror episode about you and grilled cheese that is not doesn't end with a delicious sandwich for you know.

[01:11:02]

But I like the first act I think is pretty fun. Last last question I sent to Elon Musk some bitcoin over Twitter. Do you want to get that back?

[01:11:12]

I don't I don't think I think that was that was hacked, you know? OK, yeah. You're not going to get that back. But Elon, that stock is killing it. Boy, is he doing well, man. That guy, whatever. No, get him off Twitter. He's better off.

[01:11:29]

It does better on Twitter. On Twitter. He landed that spacecraft honestly after the past couple of weeks when everything's going to hell and he lands that spacecraft with the cool suits, I was like, thank goodness. Thank you. Plan on impact. I was like, oh, he did it. Thank God.

[01:11:45]

Did you see that a bunch of unauthorised boats got too close, did they?

[01:11:50]

Yeah, they didn't. They didn't cordon off the area enough. So a bunch of people, a bunch of gawkers got up there. It's like a bunch of people on boats being like, hey, America used to do stuff like this. Let's go check it out.

[01:11:59]

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Probably. Were they wearing masks? That's all I want to know. I don't think the voters wear masks.

[01:12:03]

Kara Swisher, thank you. So good. So good to see you. Thanks for doing that. See you. All right.

[01:12:08]

Thanks. Thanks to care for joining today, and we'll talk to you guys soon. God Save America is a crooked media production, the executive producer is Michael Martinez, our associate producer is Jordan Waller.

[01:12:28]

It's mixed and edited by Andrew Chadwick. Kyle Soglin is our sound engineer, thanks to Tanya Nominator, K.D. Lang, Roman Papadimitriou, Caroline Reston and Elisa Gutierrez for production support into our digital team, Elijah Konar Melkonian, Elfriede and Milo Kim, who film and upload these episodes as videos every week.

[01:12:52]

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