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Ep 840[Ep 841] Too Many Hamburgers [2:04:55]
Recorded: Fri, 2023-Jul-21 UTC
Published: Sat, 2023-Jul-22 23:42 UTC
Ep 842

This week on Curmudgeon's Corner, Ivan is marooned on some island somewhere, so Bruce joins Sam to do the show, and picks the topics! They discuss Bruce's involvement in a local planning commission, the Durham Report, Threads vs Twitter, and the latest on the origins of Covid. Will you be able to tell the difference from Ivan? Tune in and find out.

  • (0:00:54-0:27:54) Planning Commission
  • (0:28:58-0:57:40) Durham Report
  • (0:58:30-1:30:04) Threads vs Twitter
  • (1:31:05-2:04:24) Covid Origins

Automated Transcript


Sam:
[0:00]
Hello, Bruce. Can you hear me?

Bruce:
[0:02]
Uh, yes, I can turn up my volume. I'm talking to you.

Sam:
[0:08]
I gotcha. Can you hear me? Okay.

Bruce:
[0:11]
Yes. Okay.

Sam:
[0:14]
I can hear you too.

Bruce:
[0:15]
Yeah.

Sam:
[0:18]
Adjust it to whatever's comfortable for you.

Bruce:
[0:20]
Good.

Sam:
[0:22]
Okay. So, uh, uh, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

How do you want us? How do you want to do things? Bruce, you're in charge.

Welcome to Cremugian's Corner for Friday, July 21st, 2020.

It's just after four UTC as I'm starting to record.

That's a little after 9 PM Pacific on the West coast. And that's all that matters this time because Yvonne is not here. I have Bruce with me who is also on the West coast, actually very close to me. Uh, yes.

Bruce:
[1:18]
So this is probably later than your normal recording time.

Sam:
[1:21]
Yeah. Yeah. Cause yeah, we, we usually record like an hour or two before this, depending on Yvonne's schedule, but, you know, and that's, that's because like.

As we are starting to record right now, it's midnight on the East coast and that's a little bit late for him.

So it's nothing for me. I mean, I could do it this late all the time, but like, if you're, if your other person is on the East Coast, you want to be nice to them.

It's a little earlier. Um, so anyway, as I mentioned last week, uh, Yvonne is out, he's on vacation. He's on some like tropical Island with a volcano or something. I don't know. And so he's having fun.

Bruce:
[2:00]
He's near Richard Branson from last week. Right?

Sam:
[2:02]
Exactly. So, uh, I, I expect him to come back with a large payday.

Um, but, but in any case, um, uh, so Bruce is here. Bruce volunteered like for a long time, like, because I messed up and we miscoordinated.

Bruce wanted to do the show when Yvonne was out and we couldn't.

So he had first dibs this time.

Um, before we get going for real, I will mention again that next week we once again, do not have Yvonne, he will still be on vacation.

Uh, so if, you know, if anybody listening out there is interested and I know there several of you who've done it before, uh, contact me feedback at curmudgeon's hyphen corner.com or, uh, hit me up on the curmudgeon's corner Slack if you're already there, uh, and express your interest and we will chat about it.

Uh, after this show actually goes live, I'll send an email to a bunch of people further soliciting stuff, but, uh, you know, yeah. So So next week is open, too.

So there you go. And so... Jump in.

Bruce:
[3:09]
It's fun.

Sam:
[3:09]
Yeah. It's fun. Right, Bruce? You do have fun?

Bruce:
[3:13]
Yeah. Yeah.

Sam:
[3:13]
Yeah.

Bruce:
[3:14]
It's fun.

Sam:
[3:16]
So as I usually do when we have somebody other than Ivan or I co-hosting, I defer mainly to the co-host unless there is massive breaking news.

I will say this before we get started in earnest, and I turn it over to Bruce for the main topics he has, that obviously there is.

Trump indictment watch going on because the he's got again He's good boy.

He's gotten the he's gotten the letter that says he is a target of the investigation Which typically means the time left in toll and indictment drops is measured in days And so he was given in toll right about now, as we are recording, to say that he wanted to appear himself before the grand jury.

And so basically any time now, like starting on Friday but going into next week sometime, the indictments of Donald Trump that are related to the January 6th stuff may drop.

If, and you know there's a lot of of talk about it already, but frankly, we won't really know until not only have we got confirmation that the indictments happened, but they actually released the text of the indictments.

Uh, if there is an update on this between us recording it and me putting out the show, I will record a brief update and insert it here.

Do do do. Uh, so, uh, no real updates so far.

No indictments have dropped yet. People are speculating probably over the course of the next week, maybe, but there's more witnesses that are still coming in to testify, so some people are saying it might be as long as a month.

In the meantime, there has been some more news about the letter that Trump got, leaks from that, in terms of which laws potentially are on the table for this indictment.

But a lot of it is speculation and we won't really know until the actual indictments drop. Like I said, on the other case, the documents case, we did get at a ruling on the schedule.

And the latest date that's been set for the trial is now mid-May, mid-to-late-May.

And that is not as early as the government wanted, but not as late as the Trump folks wanted, and most people seem to think that Judge Cannon is actually being kind of reasonable here and not going crazy, given the nature of the case and all the stuff that has to be worked on and precedent for how long these things have taken in other cases.

So there we are, um, we're still on indictment watch. We'll see where we are next week.

Do, do, do, and there you go.

Um, and otherwise we'll probably be talking about this next week, but I don't see much point in talking about it right now because there's a lot of speculation and not a lot of facts yet. And we'll know a lot more.

Bruce:
[6:28]
And it'll be out of date by the time you, exactly.

Sam:
[6:30]
So like, yeah, if, if an indictment drops like on Friday, you know, yeah, but it'll, it'll all be, yes. So we'll talk more about that next week.

And like I said, if there was any notable news, I will have inserted it.

I'll insert something anyway, even if I, and you guys know what I inserted, but you know, it might be, there's nothing new or it might be, Oh my God, an indictment, it's 50 pages and are a hundred pages and here's what's in it. And blah, blah, blah. I have no idea.

So anyway, but but you guys listening do anyway Bruce has specified that his four main sections today are going to be a but first something on the Durham report then something on threads versus Twitter and Then kovat origins the it do we know more about whether it was a lab leak or natural or whatever than we did And we will talk about all these things things.

Here you go, Bruce. But first, what's your but first?

Bruce:
[7:33]
Okay, so I have recently been appointed to be on the planning commission for my city, like Stevens, Washington.

Sam:
[7:44]
Oh, nice. Oh, okay.

Bruce:
[7:45]
Yeah. So I'm an appointed, I've been appointed political position.

It's, I've been actually trying several times to get on the planning commission.

And my third time, I I got in.

Sam:
[8:00]
This is what like zoning and development and all of that kind of stuff or what, what exactly will you be responsible for?

Bruce:
[8:07]
So yeah, the planning commission, there's seven people on the commission and basically the, the, the, the planning department, like the, the, the coding, the city planner, uh, and other officials in the city, uh, consult with us to get our opinion, uh, on, uh, to represent the public on decisions such as changing zoning, uh, updating, uh, plans, uh, et cetera.

And, uh, it, it's, and it ends up what I discovered it's more than just.

Uh, zoning and, uh, city planning. It ends up being kind of like where the, uh, the document reviewers for the city commission for contracts and things or, uh, not really contracts, but things like we recently reviewed the city's climate mitigation plan, which is a document that identifies things that the city can do both to encourage citizens and as far as regulations within the city and the city itself as an organization to help reduce greenhouse gases, reduce waste, and be more environmentally conscious, and so, and this is a document that, was like a couple of hundred pages long and they jumped it on us like five days ahead of time and I say, please review this. And so I'm like staying up late, reviewing this thing.

Sam:
[9:44]
Honestly, that's probably too long anyway, like regardless of the content. Come on.

Bruce:
[9:48]
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And, uh, what I've discovered, so I'm, I'm jumping in and being the new guy. I'm, I'm very enthusiastic. Okay, great. I'm going to review this document. I'm going to pick this thing apart.

And I could, if I really wanted to, I could go through on page by page and just in the meeting go, oh, this is wrong.

This is wrong because I'm libertarian and I'm opposed to a lot of things that the government may want to do.

But I have to pick my battles. I have to pick just the most egregious things, the most dumb things.

And so, as a result, I'm able to, like, for example, one of the things that they had, they have like this rating system.

This was the most egregious thing. It's funny. They have this rating system for, it's like an equity assessment for different efforts that the city can take to help the environment.

And one of the things that they listed is that the city should build out or at least encourage the build out of more charging stations for electric cars.

And this one got a positive assessment for equity, meaning that this would help the poor and the needy.

Sam:
[11:20]
I said, and you're like the poor and the needy are not the ones driving around in electric cars.

Bruce:
[11:24]
Exactly. I said, this is definitely not going to be helpful for the board.

This is helpful for the people who are owning electric cars, that there'd be more charging stations and they're still not exactly cheap. Yeah.

Sam:
[11:39]
You know, I, I, I, I, I'm all excited about electric cars myself, et cetera, but I completely and totally, they are not, they still are a premium product.

It's not, if you are low income and need a vehicle, need a vehicle, they're not the first thing you're going to look at.

Bruce:
[12:01]
Oh yeah, it's, well, and I don't know if it ever will be because of just the expense of batteries.

But who knows, batteries could go down in cost.

Actually, you know, I was recently in the market for a lawnmower and I was very surprised that the, I was planning on just buying another gas lawnmower.

That's why my previous lawnmower died. I went to the Home Depot and I found that the, uh, the battery lawnmowers were the same, or at least the low end battery, uh, lawnmowers were the same cost as a low end gas lawnmower.

Uh, I was like, I was not expecting to buy one and I did. Yeah.

Sam:
[12:42]
The last time I had a lawnmower was it, it was a battery electric.

And cause we, we just didn't want to deal with gas and they were comparable even then that was a number of years ago.

Maybe slightly more expensive, but it was comparable.

Now, where we are right now, like the lawn just isn't big enough to justify like having anything more than a weed whacker.

But, you know, but but yeah, but yeah, it was fine and it worked.

It did its thing and blah, blah, blah. So were you happy with your electric mower?

Bruce:
[13:19]
Yeah, I'm I'm I'm I'm very happy with it. Uh, it's lighter, it's quieter.

It's, uh, it lasts a long time. I can know the, the whole yard a couple of times without having to recharge it. So right.

So surprisingly good. And it's, it's essentially just a fan with a battery on it and wheels. So that's what it sounds like when I'm moving around.

Sam:
[13:43]
But anyway, so back to the car chargers.

Bruce:
[13:45]
Okay. So, but yeah, that was basically my point is that I was able to.

Pick that apart and point that out. And they're like, oh, well, you know, I guess that's probably right. So they decided to take it.

Sam:
[13:56]
It's probably got benefits that you could quantify. It's just...

Bruce:
[14:01]
Helping it would have a third order benefit to the, to the, to the poor, meaning that if there are more car chargers out there, that would mean that there'd be more people be encouraged to get electric cars.

And that means there would be less gas being used that would lower the price of gas. And then that would benefit.

Sam:
[14:22]
And, and, and long-term it would drive down, like you, like you were saying, it would drive down the price of the cars in general, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, longterm.

But like what I meant is just like, I'm sure there are benefits to having the electric car charger for all kinds of reasons, but helping the low income folks. Isn't one of them.

Bruce:
[14:38]
Yeah. Yeah. So that's just like one of the many things that they, they have us review. And there's other things that are coming down the pipe.

Sam:
[14:46]
I actually agree with it, Bruce. Like I was expecting you to come up with one that was like, you know, that once you said it, I'm like, well, that's perfectly reasonable, Bruce. Of course. But no, no, you came up with one.

Bruce:
[14:57]
That's why I have to pick my battles. If I were to just stick with things that are like my ideological, a hobby horse, people would just be starting to dismiss me. So I, I pick things that are obviously stupid.

Uh, uh, and so I'll, I'll focus on that. And I think it's gone so far.

Sam:
[15:18]
And honestly, Bruce, to strategize with you a little bit here, you do that for a while, you'll actually gain like credence with people and you'll be able to go slightly further afield as you go, because people will start to trust you.

Bruce:
[15:33]
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Now at some point you'll probably still fall off the edge and whatever, but you know, yeah, probably, well, the thing is I I'm so different when it comes to planning, I would prefer that there be no zoning at all, just like in Houston.

And so that's kind of why would someone who's who wants no zoning be on a zoning commission? Well, that's Why?

Sam:
[16:01]
You know...

This is another one of those things that's like cross normal ideological lines too, because you're saying it as a libertarian.

I've heard leftists say the same damn thing, that zoning causes all kinds of problems and blah, blah, blah.

I'm kind of there too, to be honest, maybe with some limits, but I think most places have actually gone overboard on that, and we'd be a lot better off, especially like the thing that really grates me me is the sort of complete segregation of commercial and residential because there are all kinds of areas where having those intermingled is beneficial to everybody.

Uh, you know, having small shops directly in your neighborhood that you can walk to, that's actually a better, you know?

Bruce:
[16:52]
So yeah, so you can, it makes the neighborhoods walkable. Uh, when I used to live in Guatemala, there was a, there was a corner store where you could just walk a block away and you get the, get your staples and it was made so you didn't have to get on a bus or a car to go get what you needed.

And, and here, or in most of the U S you gotta get in a car to go and just get milk. Yeah.

Sam:
[17:15]
My, my, my dad and my step mom were in town this last week. They're actually getting on their plane to go back on the East coast as we speak.

Um, but one of the things that my step mom, they were staying at an Airbnb in Muckleteal.

Uh, And my stepmom and my dad were like, both like, it's a nice little town.

We love it. We've been walking around, we've been doing stuff, but you can't even buy a loaf of bread without a car.

You know, they're like, you know, if you're, if you're staying in like.

Uh, downtown Muckleto, whatever downtown is. Um, you know, if you want to like, just get normal staples, you have to go like a mile or two up the road south, in this case, to find your closest convenience store, let alone a grocery store.

And they're city people. They live right in the heart of Washington, D.C., so they expect to be able to walk in everything.

But yeah, and that's exactly the kind of thing that like over-aggressive zoning does. And like you said, almost every place that's a population center in the U.S.

Goes overboard on this stuff.

You know, to get the places that aren't zoned, you have to be kind of rural.

Bruce:
[18:37]
Well, Houston is a notable exception.

Cause it's a, there's no zoning at all. And Houston and I'd never been there, but so now you started that.

Sam:
[18:48]
You started this by saying if you could just do whatever you wanted, you'd have no zoning whatsoever.

What's your sort of take on it in a, in a world where they're probably, they're not going to get rid of zoning in like Stevens, are they?

Bruce:
[19:01]
No, no. But what the, the closest thing that we can do is widening the zoning or, you know, having fewer zoning, uh, types and what the, what, what few zoning types there are, make them as broad as possible so that, uh, on a, on a residential lot, you can build anything from, uh, apartments to a single family home with a huge yard. Right.

Sam:
[19:28]
Uh, and so how about the single family home with the mini house in the back, the, whatever they call them, the, the, those are already actually, uh, were made, uh, allowed by state law.

Bruce:
[19:41]
I think this, this year, there was a big deal that, uh, a law was recently passing that, uh, uh, they try plexes and quad plexes are, are now expressly allowed across the state.

I probably heard my wife talk about that at some point, but it, and sure, she got a lot of lobbying against it because a lot of the cities are like, no, I can't believe this is happening. You know, that the state will be coming down and forcing deregulation on the cities.

Sam:
[20:07]
And, and I take it, you're like, that's great, more flexibility.

Owners can do what they want with their land. And this is also one of the things that like, uh, people have like lots of places.

And this, this again, crosses left, right lines.

Uh, the, not in my backyard, people who are like, I have a house here.

I don't want the neighbor building apartments. It will ruin the character of the neighborhood and all this kind of stuff.

Bruce:
[20:33]
I think it goes beyond that. In my time, in this space, and talking to people, what I've learned is that, felt out from people as people do not want to live with anyone poorer than them, no matter what level of income.

Sam:
[20:48]
Yes. I mean that, that the, the code, the code for like, this is a single family house neighborhood.

I don't want apartments is exactly, I don't want poorer people near me.

That's what the apartments represent. And they also typically not always, but but represent a more diverse population than the folks who are entrenched in their single family houses who've been there for generations.

Bruce:
[21:16]
Exactly. Yeah, people who are climbing the income scale, climbing the, you know, gaining skills or large families that are pooling their resources together or multi-generational families pooling the resources to be able to live in a nicer home than they would be if they were living separately.

Those types of living conditions are not allowed in a city like Redmond, where it's all single family homes, or in San Jose, California, where it's all single family homes.

For example, one thing I like to tell people is, San Francisco should look like Hong Kong, but it's not allowed because they have such strict rules there.

Sam:
[21:58]
Which is why they have the massive housing issues they have there, among other reasons. That's clearly one of them.

Bruce:
[22:04]
Yeah.

Sam:
[22:06]
Okay. So you're, you're two things. I'm like, yes, Bruce, you're actually being reasonable. So, yeah, thank you.

Bruce:
[22:17]
So, uh, so I take it you're going to speak to soon because there's other things we got to talk about.

Sam:
[22:20]
Oh yeah. I'm sure I, I saw it. Yeah. We've heard your list. I know there are things we're going to be bumping heads on, but, um, uh, so I take it you are, how long have you been in this or, and you're having fun so far?

Bruce:
[22:34]
Uh, just like, uh, about three months so far.

Sam:
[22:36]
Three months. Okay. So, uh, um, but you're enjoying it and do you feel like you're, you know, with your careful choice of battles, do you feel like you're making a difference and you're moving things in a way you like?

Bruce:
[22:50]
Yeah. If I, if I can keep reviewing documents to the degree that I have and still have the enthusiasm to do it, that will be my, my superpower compared to others.

Because I could tell that the others, they get these documents and- Their eyes would glaze over.

Sam:
[23:07]
Oh yeah.

Bruce:
[23:09]
So being able to go into a meeting prepared and having things marked up and knowing exactly what the issues are, it gives me an advantage when it comes to discussing issues.

Sam:
[23:20]
Yeah, that's definitely important. And, uh, you know, I've heard that from my wife in the legislature too, cause that's one of the things she does as well.

Most people rely completely on their staffs there are from what I've heard.

Um, you know, but she, she is like a complete wonk. Like she reads every sentence of the proposed laws and goes through them and make sure she understands the issues on each one.

And like, one of the things she does routinely is like, uh, find like the the place where they've made some stupid error that doesn't make sense and help make sure it gets fixed before it goes through the process instead of waiting till afterwards or finding things that don't make any sense.

One example she told me about this last time around was, and I am gonna completely mangle it, I don't know the details, but there was some legislation that had to do with something.

And part of what it defined was a no parking area for 10 feet on either side of whatever this thing was. I forget exactly what it was. But she started asking around, why do you need the 10 feet on either side?

And nobody could answer the question.

Nobody could answer, why do you need the 10 feet of no parking on either side of this thing?

And as far as I can tell, it's because it got copy and pasted from some other previous thing and blah, blah, blah. And nobody had bothered taking it out or something like that, but nobody could answer the question. So she had them rip it out. Good for her.

Bruce:
[24:54]
That's awesome.

Sam:
[24:55]
You know, it's, it's that kind of thing. And that's, that's not like a partisan thing. It's just like, pay attention and don't be stupid.

You know, if there was actually a good reason to not have parking, they're fine, but you shouldn't have a thing that says you can't park within 10 feet of this and nobody knows why.

Bruce:
[25:12]
And you can, and you see how like little things can be snuck into bills and uh, it can be someone, one person's a particular hobby horse and it doesn't really benefit anyone except for that one legislator. And again, then it becomes law.

Sam:
[25:28]
That, that kind of, yeah, that, that kind of stuff can certainly happen.

And when you, when you have these, the, the bigger it gets, the more that's a problem obviously.

And that's why they always talk about these like, Oh, We'll find out what's in it after we pass it, you know, things like that.

Um, but yeah, I mean, you need some people who are able to like, Be careful and read the freaking thing and find out like, and, and sometimes to be honest, some of those things slipping through.

Is the way that you grease the deal and make something happen.

That's more important than whatever sneaking through, but you, you know.

You got to pay attention. And I don't know, it's, it's when, when I hear about like, um, what you're doing, what my wife has described in terms of how she reads this stuff, it's like, yeah, that's how it should be.

Of course they should be paying attention to it, but it's just often not that way.

And often, you know, it's just like the people who are negotiating are negotiating at a higher level on higher level themes and the nitty gritty details.

Often it's like staff are the only ones who ever read it, you know?

Anyway, uh, I'm glad you're having fun. Is this, are you, are you planning this to be the first step to other things? Or are you just want to be on the planning commission for now?

Bruce:
[27:00]
No, no. I occasionally go to the city council meetings and 90% of what they talk about is just like, toll I have no interest in whatsoever.

And they have to do a lot of extra curricular type things and dignitary type stuff.

I'd have no interest whatsoever. No, I would prefer to at least have my foot in the door, at least in being part of the city this way.

And then, but I'm able to rub shoulders with the people who do make those decisions and I can influence them on the things that I'm, that I'm not, uh, don't have control over. And I think that works fine for me.

Sam:
[27:40]
Okay. Excellent. Well, anything else to talk about that? Or should we take a break and move on to the, I guess, what, what, what did you say the next, the Durham reports next, right? Sure.

Bruce:
[27:52]
Okay.

Sam:
[27:53]
We will be back after this.

Okay, we are back. And so, Bruce, I guess I'll let you kick this off.

When the Durham report finally came out in May, there was other stuff going on. We never talked about it on the show.

Bruce:
[29:10]
Exactly.

Sam:
[29:14]
The basic summary of it from my understanding of what I read about it at the time, and I read a little bit more just preparing because I knew this was one of the things you wanted to to talk about, um, was that it was basically a whole load of nothing.

Um, but obviously, well, I shouldn't say, obviously it seems like you probably think different. So tell us what you think first and then we'll get into it.

Bruce:
[29:40]
Well, the, uh, what the Dura report came out with is that not that the Dura report is a little hold on another thing, but that the whole Trump Russia collusion investigation, go ahead.

Sam:
[29:53]
Go ahead.

Bruce:
[29:54]
It was based on...

Sam:
[29:55]
We'll get into that in a second.

Bruce:
[29:56]
Okay. Okay. So I'll read you the part of the conclusion.

It says, based on the review of crossfire hurricane and related intelligence activities, we conclude that the department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.

As noted, former FBI attorney, Kevin Clancy Smith, committed a criminal offense by fabricating language in an email that was material to the FBI obtaining a FISA surveillance order.

And it goes on and on.

They started this investigation based on a bogus report on all un-based allegations that were uncorrupted.

Sam:
[30:48]
So wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, couple of things. First of all...

The thing with the FISA thing that you were mentioning, absolutely true.

That was a ways into the investigation.

Like they'd already been going a long time before that particular fabrication happened.

And that guy got the punishment he needed.

The start of the investigation in terms of the unfabricated stuff you mentioned, are you talking mainly about the, what you call it?

The, no, no, the, the leak, um, the, it's been so long.

Bruce:
[31:28]
Oh, the, the, the DNC leak? No, no.

Sam:
[31:31]
The, uh, the, the one that had the like P tape and all that stuff in it, that leak, oh yeah, that was the, the, the, um, yeah, you've forgotten too.

Bruce:
[31:41]
It's in here actually.

Sam:
[31:42]
Uh, what was the name of the, that, that, that was also the steel report, the steel report, the steel dossier.

The Steele dossier also came into play after the investigation had already started.

The Durham report, first of all, in terms of the things that he actually got out of it, he indicted three people, one of whom pleaded guilty, the other two were acquitted.

In terms of the report itself, it didn't say that the results of the investigation were all bogus.

It said specifically that a full investigation should not have been opened, but rather they should have only opened a preliminary investigation based on what they had at first.

And honestly, like, what it seems like to me based on what I've seen here is if they had only opened a preliminary investigation, the preliminary investigation would have eventually led to a full investigation anyway because there was enough stuff there to warrant that, but he says they skipped a step, essentially.

Bruce:
[32:49]
Yeah, well, what they did is they tried to, in order to, they had some, they had some suspicions and they used the Steele dossier to get a FISA warrant to be able to listen in on and get the information that they thought would contain more damning evidence.

But it turned out that none of that turned out anything anyway, because the original Steele dossier was bogus to to begin with.

So there's another section here.

Sam:
[33:23]
Wait, wait, before you even get there, the Steele dossier was always exactly what it said it was, which was a compilation of rumors, some of which have been proved to be accurate, many more of which have been unconfirmable, only a couple of which have been specifically counter-indicated.

But the thing is, again, the jump from all of the Russia investigation was bogus to they didn't take the first few steps correctly is a big jump because the whole Mueller report confirmed almost all of that stuff.

Now, first of all, it did not find any conspiracy that was chargeable.

But it found plenty of collusion. The whole first section of the Mueller report was full of places where the campaign was interacting with Russian operant, Russian operators in various ways.

Now, there was no.

Quid pro quo that was provable in any way, but there was clearly, um, we have the same goals and let's help each other.

You know, that kind of stuff was definitely.

Going on and the report further here. So, but there was plenty that was in there and there were plenty there, you know, the Mueller report had more convictions by far than this thing did.

But even with the facts itself, again, the bottom line though is that, you know, he didn't find anything like significant other than minor procedural errors in the very beginning of this.

And it wasn't just the dossier that was used to get the FISA warrant, and the FISA warrant was a tiny portion of the investigation anyway.

There was lots and lots of stuff they went through.

And they found a couple things where the FBI was clearly, like...

You know, they mentioned that there was confirmation bias, and they did not use enough rigor in some of the areas. And absolutely.

And there was a series of recommendations for things they could do better.

Like he recommends that they have a specific position for people to provide oversight of politically sensitive investigations.

Now that's kind of what special counsels are actually, but he's recommending something specific there.

And a lot of this also, a lot of the same material was actually covered by the Inspector General's report that was released about a year earlier, but without the sort of clear, bias that the Durham reports came to this with, but it covered the same stuff.

It documented the same places where the FBI went overboard.

It recommended certain changes, but came to the conclusion and Durham's only barely seems to spin this a different way, but basically say the same thing, which is that there were some procedural errors in how it started, but that doesn't impact what they found once they investigated.

The actual investigation itself was sound after that.

Bruce:
[37:13]
And in that investigation, they found no collusion. As it says in the Durham Report.

Sam:
[37:17]
No, no, no.

Bruce:
[37:17]
Once again, let me read to you a quote from the Durham Report.

Based on the evidence gathered in the multiple, exhaustive and costly federal investigations of these matters, including the incident investigation, neither U.S.

Law enforcement nor the intelligence community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

Sam:
[37:44]
So, the answer to that is in the Mueller report itself.

First of all, they never investigated quote-unquote collusion, because it is not a legal term at all. They investigated conspiracy.

And there was none of that either. No, no.

The Mueller report did not conclude that there was no conspiracy.

The Mueller report concluded that there was not enough evidence for them to charge it beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, the report itself, if you read the first section of it, includes a lot of things that clearly imply conspiracy and forget conspiracy if you use the more colloquial collusion, there's certainly collusion in there.

But collusion is not a crime.

And collusion is very ill-defined as well. Like if you ask 10 people what the hell collusion is, they'll all give you different answers, which is why it's not a crime. It's why conspiracy is a crime. And in all of those cases, they were not able to find.

Enough evidence to charge it beyond a reasonable doubt. They did not conclude that there was not any, at all.

They just concluded that, yes, there was a lot of smoke there, but they were not able to bring together the evidence to definitively say exactly what happened.

And they specifically said one of the reasons they felt they couldn't was all of the obstruction.

So you're right that they didn't prove conspiracy, but they also didn't prove no conspiracy either, and they produced a lot of material. Dr.

Bruce:
[39:28]
Kahneman Well, fortunately, in our system, we have a system where you don't have to prove your innocence. You have to prove guilt. Dr.

Sam:
[39:36]
Snyder Oh, exactly, exactly. No, no.

And I think that very likely, what you have in the situation based on—and I didn't get to the end of, the Mueller report, of explicitly illegal behavior.

But there was clearly plenty of perhaps legal collusion and cooperation and wink wink nudge nudge stuff going on and some of it was like completely wide open and done in public.

You know, like, you know, Donald Trump's speech where he said, Russia, please find the emails and all this kind of stuff. And that kind of...

Bruce:
[40:37]
Yeah, and that was a joke when he said that.

Sam:
[40:40]
It may have been, he may have meant it as a joke, he may not have, but Russia started releasing the papers from that Clinton dump, like within hours of that statement.

You know, and so, like maybe there was no quid pro quo, maybe there was no pre-arranged private conversation, maybe there was no money exchange, maybe there was none of this, but there was clearly like, a variety of behaviors where both sides did that sort of wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

It would be really nice if this happened. Okay, we'll make sure that happened.

And there was lots of that. And there were offers made by Russian intelligence that the Trump folks were like, oh yeah, that would be great and stuff like that.

There was lots in there in that first section of the Mueller report.

And then lots in the next section of the Mueller report on the obstruction that prevented them from digging in further.

And so who knows what they could have gotten if they could have dug in further?

You're absolutely right. The fact that they couldn't means they can't do anything and we don't know.

Like there might've been innocent explanations for everything, there might not have been, but there was clearly an active effort to stop it.

Bruce:
[41:59]
It's just like a lot of conspiracy theories out there, you know, when you go through talking to a conspiracy theorist, they say, oh, well, this is what's happened.

And then when you disprove that, they go, oh, well, it's the next thing.

And then you disprove that, oh, well, then that's another thing.

And then it's like, it's a hundred times, a hundred times zero is zero.

Sam:
[42:20]
We talked about this a bunch on the show.

Bruce:
[42:24]
For four years.

Sam:
[42:25]
Well, yes, no, but I'm saying specifically before the Mueller report actually came out, after, because the Mueller report, by the time it came out, there was barely anything we hadn't already heard through leaks at that point.

There wasn't much new in there.

But I summarized it a few weeks before the Mueller report, I believe, sometime in that point, leading up to the actual release of the report, that the best.

Explanation for all of the available facts were not an explicit, conscious, traditional conspiracy.

It was a bunch of people with similar aligned goals that were actively working to help each other, other, but without necessarily explicit private communication of the details other than the kinds of crap they were saying publicly, and that it was much more a useful idiot situation than it was Trump acting as an agent of the Russians or something like that.

It was just a whole bunch of people on both sides, on the Russian side and the Trump side, whose entire mode of operation is manipulating other people to do things for their interest without making it explicit as much as possible. That's Trump's whole mode of operation.

And that's a lot of- Well, that's one of many.

Bruce:
[44:09]
And it's a skill that all politicians have.

Sam:
[44:13]
To some degree, yeah, absolutely. But it is something that, uh, I think that that, that explanation of, you know, we will, we will work in the same direction and we will try to intuit what you want and we will do it for you to help you without you explicitly asking me to do it.

I think that's what was going on, not just in the pre-2016 timeframe, or not in, I should say, the 2016 timeframe, but throughout, like, Trump's presidency as well, frankly, is just, and, and probably before his presidency, too.

Like I said, it's, it's like the way he operates, it's, Michael Cohen has described this explicitly as, yes, that's just how Donald Trump operates.

He makes it clear what he wants without actually asking it, and he expects those around him to deliver.

And I think a lot of that was what was going on here.

And it may very well be that they were always sort of right up to the edge of what was going to be criminal without actually being criminal, but there was certainly enough smoke.

Even Durham said what was there was enough for a preliminary investigation.

And I think it's clear that upon the preliminary preliminary investigation, there was enough for a full investigation.

It should have Durham just says it should have been two steps instead of one, but you still would have ended up with the investigation at the end of the day. Yeah.

Bruce:
[45:52]
And that investigation would have turned up.

We know now, which is that there was no collusion. There was no quick or hello.

Sam:
[46:04]
There was no provable conspiracy. There was tons of collusion.

Read the Durham report again.

There was tons of collusion. It's just that, you know, Bob Barr and everybody else, Bob, Bill, Bill, I always forget the bars mixed up, but he came out with this statement before Or they released the full report saying it proves no collusion, no collusion.

But if you actually read it, there's plenty of fucking collusion.

It's just, it's a question of the problem is collusion is ill-defined.

Nobody should have ever used the word collusion at all because it means very little and it means different things to different people, but, uh, there was plenty of shady stuff going on. Put it that way.

Instead of saying collusion, there was lots and lots and lots of shady stuff that if it wasn't illegal, it maybe should have been.

But there was a, there was a lot of stuff going on that they were clearly hiding, did not want to become public and engaged in tons of obstruction to keep it from happening.

And even when Mueller said he didn't have anything that he wanted to indict on, which by the way, also the other thing that he explicitly said, which was that whole verbal gymnastics about Trump saying that because he was president and he was prohibited from indicting, he also couldn't say what he would indict him for if he was able to because he couldn't And that would be unfair because he couldn't defend himself in court.

And so like, there was a lot of verbal gymnastics in there that like made it clear that the whole way that the special counsel is set up in terms of investigating of the administration itself is broken because.

The man couldn't speak plainly, you know?

He couldn't even say, like, if Donald Trump wasn't president, I would have indicted him on X, Y, and Z because he didn't feel like he was allowed to say that.

And so the first part of the document on the Russia stuff explicitly, it is unclear whether or not he would have had anything on Trump himself.

He explicitly said he wasn't indicting, like, Junior because he didn't think he could prove intent.

Like, there was something that violated something, but he couldn't prove intent, and that was a necessary part of the law in question, so blah.

But he couldn't say that about Trump in the first section, but it's unclear.

Maybe there was something he could have indicted in there.

But the second half on obstruction, like, he laid out each and every one of like 12 things where he listed the elements of the obstruction law and checked off how every one of them were followed in 12 different instances, but he couldn't then say, and therefore he should be indicted because of the internal ruling that was made by the lawyer for Richard Nixon back during Watergate that said you can't indict the president.

He laid out the roadmap and basically indicated in his final hearing with Congress at the end of this thing, that yes, after he stopped being president, you absolutely could indict Donald Trump for all of this stuff, for the obstruction part.

We wouldn't say that flat out for the Russia stuff, because it seemed clear he couldn't quite get there because of the obstruction.

But all the obstruction stuff was like, you should indict for this as soon as you can.

And of course, the Clinton administration, damn it, the Biden administration decided not to, or I should say not the administration, but the DOJ specifically.

Bruce:
[50:14]
And we're going to be living this all over again when there's more indictments coming for Trump, and he's going to be campaigning while he's defending himself from these indictments.

And it's going to be crazy.

Sam:
[50:34]
It's going to be absolutely crazy. It looks like between all the things he's being indicted for and the civil cases he's involved in, he is going to be in court for one thing or another throughout the entire year of 2024 at the same time as he is campaigning first in the Republican primaries and then in the general election, assuming he wins, which Unless something crazy happens, of course he's going to win.

Bruce:
[51:00]
Which makes us look like a banana republic, because this is just what is done in a lot of other, like, less mature democracies, too, where opponents take each other to court, and I'm not saying that it's wrong, you know, I would, as far as I'm concerned, I'd put Trump under the jail.

Sam:
[51:22]
It's done in the most mature democracies as well.

In fact, I would say there's obviously a difference.

The key difference is, do you have something real that is a real violation of law?

If you are making up things and doing a trumped-up charge on a nothing, that's a different situation.

But if you have real corruption, if you've got real things that have happened, then the only proper thing for a democracy to do is to charge it properly.

There have been cases in South Korea, in France, I believe, I could be wrong on that one.

There have been a number of major, well-developed democracies who have put previous presidents and prime ministers in jail after trying them for real crime.

Bruce:
[52:22]
But while they're running for president, usually it's after they've been in office and the corruption has been done.

This is after, but he's running again.

Sam:
[52:34]
He is running again, but what can you do? If you make a rule that says you can't ever go after a criminal who's running for office, then— Oh, yeah.

Bruce:
[52:43]
I know. I'm not saying that he shouldn't be charged. It's just a, I just wish.

That he would not run, I really just, because I wish that Biden wasn't running either, we need to, I can't believe that we're going to repeat this, the 2020 election over again, where we're going to have the same two guys, it's basically going to be, essentially, it's two incumbents running against each other.

So it's a toss up as to who will win.

And it's going to be, and it could all fall down, not on the merits of either one. It could end up being what happens to be the inflation rate in the month of October 24. Absolutely.

Sam:
[53:31]
You've got the merits of the two candidates. You've also got policies, but who the fuck cares about that?

But you're right. It could all come down to to what people feel about the economy right before the election, because that's often what it is.

And for that matter, they're both old.

One or both of them could drop dead before the election.

Bruce:
[53:54]
Oh, yeah. All it would take is for Biden to have one more fall off his bike, one more fall going up the stairs to the Air Force One.

And same thing for Trump. could have one too many hamburgers and, uh, it's, uh, it's, I just wish we could have another generation, uh, up there.

Sam:
[54:17]
Yeah. I mean, I, no disagreement from you there. I mean, hell, I, I said it in 2000.

I said it many times before, you know, in 2020, 2016, whatever.

I'm like, can we, can we get past, you know, we're not even boomers.

We're talking silence still. Oh, both Biden and Trump are silent generation.

We're not even at the boomers yet.

Bruce:
[54:48]
Let alone, well, at least Obama was a boomer, but yeah.

Sam:
[54:51]
No, no. Yes. Obama, Obama was a boomer.

He was almost Gen X, but not quite. He was a tail end boomer.

Um, but yeah, it's, it's time, it's time for the, certainly for the silence generation to walk off the stage, boomers to walk off the stage, you know, let, let us gen X folks have a couple of years and then we can turn it over to the millennials and disease and all the folks, but you know, but, and, and look, Look, I think, um.

Bruce:
[55:27]
It just shows that our politics are just like our movie studios, you know, just like Disney is rehashing every old movie and refreshing every other iteration of Spider-Man, rebooting Spider-Man over and over and over again.

We got to rehash these same names, Clinton and Bush and Kennedy and Trump and Biden. Yes.

Sam:
[55:56]
It's not even the same names in very real ways.

We're still fighting, you know, the political conflicts of the forties, fifties and sixties.

Bruce:
[56:12]
Oh yeah. They want to go back to the cold war where the world was very simple.

It was, you know, there's a good guy and there's a bad guy. There's good countries and bad countries.

Too complicated to have a multi-polar world where countries are, uh, uh, have just act on their own interests.

And rather than getting behind these, uh, these two camps, which is like, you know, you're either with NATO or you're an economy and it's, it's like, and that's our part of the way our politics is aligned. It's a team sport.

Sam:
[56:47]
Well, and a lot of it, I feel like it's, it's not even the policies when you get to it.

It's, there was a 1960s culture war and the hippies won in the end, but now the, the well-dressed ones, uh, from the 1960s are fighting back and it's, it's like rehashing the personal conflicts of these people's youth, you know, I don't know.

Bruce:
[57:19]
Yes.

Sam:
[57:20]
It's like, yeah. Okay, shall we move on?

Yes. Okay, we'll take our second break and we will be back with Threads versus Twitter.

Yay. And then we'll do the COVID lab thing at the end. the end. Okay, back after this.

Okay. We're back.

Bruce:
[58:31]
So, uh, it is so weird to listen to that at one X speed. I have to tell you same thing for the intro and outro of the, oh yeah.

Sam:
[58:41]
I mean, I don't listen to our podcast at one X. I mean, I can't, I can't handle it. Like we're too slow.

Bruce:
[58:49]
And it really becomes apparent when I listen to it, to these, uh, these, to the breaks, right.

Sam:
[58:55]
Cause cause you don't recognize you yourself are speaking slower than 2x or 1.5x or whatever you listen at.

But you do win something else plays.

Bruce:
[59:06]
Yeah.

Sam:
[59:07]
Yeah. So anyway, threads versus Twitter. Ivan and I talked a lot about text-based social media a couple weeks back. So what's your take?

Bruce:
[59:18]
So, as you know, I still use Twitter. I'm actually a paying Bluecheck member.

I can't say that I'm fully satisfied being blue check or paying the money because when they first introduced it, they advertised it as that advertising would be removed or potentially would be removed soon.

They have since removed that blurb that they no longer say that, uh, ads will be eventually removed. So it really pisses me off that I'm paying for a service and I still have to watch ads.

And there's not even a tier where I could remove that. It's not like I'd be willing to pay even a couple more dollars to get rid of all the ads, but, uh, the ads are more now than ever.

So, but of course he's got to pay his bills.

Sam:
[1:00:17]
Well, let, let me, let me ask, because at least the theory is that they make sure the ads are nicely relevant and you appreciate the ads. Are they succeeding?

Bruce:
[1:00:30]
No, I don't know. I don't play the games that they're, that they keep advertising on these things.

Sam:
[1:00:37]
Uh, no. So what, what, what, what kind of ads are you seeing?

Bruce:
[1:00:39]
Like, are, oh, uh, mainly for, uh, just stupid games.

Sam:
[1:00:48]
Like, uh, stupid mobile games that are like stupid mobile games, the kind, the kind that you download for free, but then they want, you know, like buy coins to keep playing and all that kind of, yeah, exactly.

Bruce:
[1:00:58]
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Nice. Yeah. And, um, there's other things, but I can't even think because it just, my brain, my brain just ignores it as it's going by.

Sam:
[1:01:08]
So, uh, doesn't ignore it well enough to not be annoyed by it. Apparently.

Bruce:
[1:01:13]
Oh yeah. Yeah. it's because it's just my thumb has to move a little bit more to get that to get to what I want to see but So, um...

I, as far as I'm concerned, other than the, the ads thing, uh, actually I, I think Twitter, uh, is good or as good, if not better than, uh, ever before, because, uh, there's the, uh, I can, there's the tab where I can look at only the people that I follow.

Sam:
[1:01:41]
Uh, and there's also the, the, for you, the, for you to have, do you, do you mainly use it on mobile or do you use it through the web?

Bruce:
[1:01:47]
Oh, no, I don't use the web.

I just mainly, I mean, every once in a while I may look at the web page. Okay.

Sam:
[1:01:53]
So that you're using the mobile Twitter app and you'll like the fact that it's now like they used to play games with this even back then, but they've, they've stabilized it. So there's clearly a tab where it's, here's just the people I follow in order. And then there's everything else.

Bruce:
[1:02:08]
Okay. Uh, and, um, and so it's, it's fine.

Uh, the good thing is that even on the four you tab, it's, uh, I spend most of my time on that because there's a lot of posts on there that I am interested in.

It's got a good algorithm, kind of like, you know, like TikTok, where it kind of knows what I like based on the people I follow, I guess.

And so I don't know what people are, well actually I do know why people are complaining about Twitter is because they disagree with Elon Musk's politics and his statements And he has an opinion on things and people don't like that.

And, uh, and it's, it's interesting how whenever there's a hiccup on the Twitter service, people jump all over that saying, oh, it's falling apart.

I've up a block. And, but you know, it's those I've never even noticed any of that.

Sam:
[1:03:06]
Uh, like the rate limiting, they've usually only lasted a few hours whenever there've been those kinds of issues. I think the longest one was like 12 hours or something.

Bruce:
[1:03:14]
And I think it's funny that the rate limiting that...

Twitter had to do a few weeks ago, Threads had to do that on their end this week too, because- Yep, I saw that reported, yep, they were- So it's kind of like, well, I guess that was a relevant thing to do.

And I think it's overall, I think it's good that there's a diversity of different services out there.

But I think that Twitter is gonna stay on top as far as this category, because it's more open, it has less filtering than the others.

Like, for example, on Threads, I'm not sure if it was Zuckerberg or one of the executives at Meta said that on Threads, they're going to de-emphasize news and politics.

So if you're going to people who were used to discussing politics on Twitter, Threads is not for you because it's, uh, that's, uh, it's going to be like way Facebook is right now where, uh, for now nobody, but for Facebook, uh, it's really good for keeping up with friends and, um, and pictures and stuff, but unless you like, I, I, I mentioned on a show a couple of weeks ago, I recently have been looking at Facebook more than I had in a long time because I discovered at least on the mobile app, you can go to the menu tab in the bottom, right?

Sam:
[1:04:44]
Then hit feeds, then hit friends, and you actually get that reverse chronological list of all your friends posts and nothing else.

And once I found that now you have to do it every time or almost every time.

It won't remember where you were, if you leave and come back.

But once I found that, I was like, Oh, now I can use Facebook once again, for the thing I actually had it for in the first place, which was keeping up with my friends posts.

But in the in the sort of main feed I get all just all kinds of crap at this point in random order and I like I had gotten increasingly frustrated with it, but Like I said, I found the secret I found the secret way in that they hide that I just described to get back to the feed I actually want from Facebook and so I've been seeing I've been checking it out a little bit more now I know lots of people use Facebook for groups and for other things and blah blah blah, but anyway, anyway, sorry Yeah, I have to look at that because yeah, I have I just go through the normal feed and Yeah, there's a lot of junk in there.

Bruce:
[1:05:51]
Well, there's some junk not as much as there used to be but but yeah, it's I I there's groups the groups that I'm in or that frequent are mixed in with my normal feed which I like.

Sam:
[1:06:06]
Um, but, uh, in that feeds menu, I mentioned, uh, it separates out.

Everything favorites, friends, groups, and pages. So you can pick which one of those you're interested in and then look at that in order.

And that that's sort of more aligns with the way I mentally want to think about it.

Um, but you know, I understand like the reason the home feed is what it is.

Is because most people don't want to think that much about it.

They just want it fed to them. So that's what the home does.

And it tries to figure out the things you'd be most likely to be interested in and put them on top. And so there you go.

Bruce:
[1:06:44]
Yeah. The thing that annoys me most about it is when I'll go through and I'll see something on there that I've already seen before, like, oh, I guess I'm already caught up.

Well, no, because then the very next thing below that is something that's totally new. So it's like, ah, Why is it showing me this thing that I've already seen?

Sam:
[1:07:00]
It's because somebody new commented on it or something like that.

Bruce:
[1:07:03]
Yeah, it's like, yeah. So, yeah, anyway, but yeah, that's, that's one thing.

Oh, and the other thing I wanted to mention about, yes, about Twitter is, uh, your, about your complaints.

Uh, you complained that, that, uh, Twitter took away your, uh, client, and the way that you were using Twitter, but I don't see how you can complain about that because the way you were using Twitter was you were not allowing any ads to come through it, right?

Sam:
[1:07:35]
Absolutely not. Yeah. And I never would have used Twitter. Like, I actually like to be specific, I never did. I said this on the show a couple of weeks ago when we talked about it, is I realized recently, and it's a duh revelation.

I was never a Twitter user. I was a TweetBot user, like I switched, I never used Twitter on more than a very rare occasion, checking it out until I discovered the third-party apps.

And I think I used one or two before I used TweetBot, but I never spent any time at all, any significant amount of time on the official apps or the website in my entire decade or whatever it was of using Twitter.

Bruce:
[1:08:25]
I would say that you're more of a Twitter freeloader, or you were a Twitter freeloader.

And when he took that away, you got upset. Well, I'm sorry, but he needs to make money.

Sam:
[1:08:36]
It's not a charity. No, I, I, yeah, and I think that's a trade-off.

It no longer was worth it to me. It was worth free.

It might have, it might have, I would have been willing, and I've said this before, for a good ad-free experience, like you said, I would have been willing to pay like 10 bucks a month or something like that.

I am, I am paying for, I paid for TweetBot on a subscription basis and I am paying for Ivory on a subscription basis.

So I am just not paying Twitter.

And, And then you're absolutely right that Elon Musk being involved in it is a significant reason I won't pay now.

First of all, I have occasionally stumbled my way into the Twitter app experience and I still don't like it that much.

Even though, like you said, they've added some of the tabs and and blah, blah, blah.

Uh, but I still get in there and I have, you know, even before, like, even before Elon, every time I tried the official app, I got frustrated within a minute or two, cause it just didn't mesh with me the same way.

Um, and certainly since Elon has been there, it's not just Elon's personal politics, it's that he is applying those personal politics to the platform.

And yeah, and I have no desire to put a single penny into his pocket.

And if he was no longer involved in Twitter in any way, and they started fixing some of this stuff, maybe I would consider it at some point in the future.

But honestly, I don't think so. I've moved on at this point.

I have completely substituted it.

Bruce:
[1:10:25]
Do you have a problem with him allowing Thank you. Bye.

Comments and points of view that are seen as or were seen as forbidden things like conspiratorial theories, uh, uh, on marginal political views.

Uh, things like that.

Sam:
[1:10:50]
It, it's all a question of where you draw the line. I am sure I would object to some things that you would think are fine, but there are many things that I would think are fine that lots of other people would not, um, cause for the most part, my take is I want to see what the people I disagree with are saying, uh, because I want to understand it.

Um, a lot of people don't feel that way though. And I also understand the, there are a lot of people who complained about.

The way it could be used to target people and the way that people were getting harassed and things like that.

And I would draw a strong line on that, but that's not just what they say.

It's not like, you know, they used the wrong word, so let's shut them down.

And some people certainly would.

Uh, I I'm, I'm, I'm okay with things a lot, being a lot, uh, more rough and ready out there, um, as long as it's not directly targeting people and being harmful, if people are being abusive, then that's when, yeah, there needs to be a draw, draw the line, personal attacks, things like that.

But, you know, but it's, it's where you draw the line. And I think...

Would I be a lot more free than some of the people who are really zealots about this on Mastodon?

Yeah, I probably would. I would allow a lot of stuff.

There are a lot of gatekeepers on Mastodon that are over-aggressive as far as I'm concerned, and this depends highly on the server. That's part of the whole distributed stuff.

But, um, but, and, and I think even probably, uh, meta and threads might be a little bit more aggressive than I would be, but I'm okay with them having different levels and that actually being something that they compete on.

Right. Like, uh, but I, and I think, I think though that Elon does definitely allow some things that it bothers me that he allows on and he is being aggressive about taking off some things that he disagrees with, that the fact that he does that bothers me.

Bruce:
[1:13:15]
Yeah, yeah. It's like, for example, the feed that tracks his plane.

Sam:
[1:13:23]
Yeah, there's that, and he's, yeah, yeah.

There are a bunch, there are some other examples too, but that's one.

It's just like, and also by the way, like he, you know, he has, um, you know, he came in being like, I'm, I'm the ultimate free speech person, blah, blah, blah, but he's, his degree of compliance with government takedown requests worldwide has been greater than the Twitter management before he took.

Bruce:
[1:13:55]
That is shocking to me. I had not heard that. that.

Sam:
[1:13:58]
And specifically, we're not talking U.S. only. We're talking requests from across the world.

And basically, he said in a number of circumstances, well, it was either comply or shut down Twitter in that country, and so what would you want me to do?

Bruce:
[1:14:17]
And so, um, but that's, that's not in the U S though. That's in those other countries on a worldwide basis.

Sam:
[1:14:25]
He is complying with governmental requests at a higher rate than the previous management of Twitter. Um, and there, there were some reports about that a couple of months ago. I don't have them handy, but, uh, it's, it's definitely there.

Uh, and basically part of that is simply as financial situation.

I'm sure he can't afford the lawyers to fight them. Yeah.

Bruce:
[1:14:50]
Well, he has not only, he just doesn't have the lawyers. He's cut staff by 80%. So yes.

Sam:
[1:14:55]
Yes. I mean, and, and the thing is like the old Twitter on a regular basis, like would take under advisement the requests, but would reject them at a fairly significant rate if they thought they were overreaching or inappropriate.

Um, and, And that happened more internationally than it did in the U.S., whereas Elon's apparently just like you, like you said, he doesn't have the lawyers. He can't afford to afford the lawyers, et cetera.

And so in many cases, it's just like, OK, well, we got a government demand from Indonesia to remove all these tweets. So, boom, they're gone.

Bruce:
[1:15:39]
Which is sad because 10, well, 13 years ago or 12 years ago, Twitter was a significant catalyst for the Arab Spring.

And I have a feeling that that's no longer something that would be possible.

Sam:
[1:15:59]
That's exactly the kind of situation where he's been like, okay, you know, you've got activist people in your country who are going against the government and the government says we don't want that.

Okay, we'll take it down. Yeah. Yeah.

So it's a mixed bag. But I mean, like, the problem is, and you know, and I'm going to be repeating what I've said on the show repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, is that content moderation is really freaking hard to get right.

And dealing with the legal landscape around it and how it differs from country to country to country as well is also really, really hard. There are a lot of trade-offs involved in every single decision you make.

And basically what Elon did when he took over, was take 10 years of refining and learning how to navigate that minefield and throw it out the window and start over.

And he's been, you know, somebody wrote a whole article about this and called it speed running the content moderation problem or whatever.

And he's basically, over the course of a very compressed timeframe, one by one, hit all of the kinds of problems that other people have hit in this space before and make the same kind of mistakes they've made before and then backtracked and corrected and adjusted and so he's just you know he's going through the same sequence that lots of people have gone through before and ending up after a whole bunch of mistakes in similar places that they've been he's not quite there yet he's got But it's, it's, it's hard.

And he came in with the mindset that it's not hard. It's easy.

You just let everybody say what they want.

And that doesn't lead to a healthy place to have conversations and it violates laws all over the world. And there's, you know, so yeah.

Bruce:
[1:18:10]
It's not as simple as you'd think. Yeah.

Sam:
[1:18:13]
And, and I'm not claiming at all that any of the companies who have done this have gotten it right. Thanks for watching!

You know, but they've, it's hard and they've done their best and they've been working through the mind minefield and, and they're better now than they were a few years ago. And they're much better than they were when they started.

And like blue sky is running the same thing.

They launched without any freaking moderate moderation, and they're still trying to figure out how to do it.

And the philosophy they're trying to go with so far is that we won't do any moderation at all. actually, we'll just give people really powerful tools to mute the things they don't want to see.

And maybe that'll work. I suspect maybe it won't because a lot of people have pointed out a lot of use cases where people that can still enable harassment and other things like that.

But maybe that's another approach. But basically, in that experiment, basically, they're trying to say, you know, we know it's really hard.

And so how can we make it so we don't have to think about it?

We'll give the problem to somebody else.

Bruce:
[1:19:20]
Well, thank goodness we have a free market to allow different companies to experiment with these things.

And I have confidence that we'll have a, a better solution in the end.

It's just the best, best solution will win out in the end. So now, unless it's a VHS versus beta type thing.

Sam:
[1:19:39]
Well, and it often is, or a QWERTY keyboard kind of thing where you get lock in.

Um, but here, here's, you, you opened this as saying Twitter versus threads.

We've talked a lot about Twitter. You haven't hardly mentioned threads other than mentioning that they've been doing some censorship and had to do some rate limiting to what are your thoughts on thread?

Bruce:
[1:20:04]
I did log in. Uh, I was disappointed that, uh, I had to use my Instagram handle cause I didn't want to use that.

But the only reason I have an Instagram account is so I can see my son's posts.

I never post anything on Instagram. So, thank you. Bye-bye.

But I went on there and I didn't look or do anything On the on the thread yeah threads, but you know I'm sticking for Twitter for now, and we'll see what happens, but so my question for you is in the long run What do you think?

Do you think that threads or Astrodon or blue sky or any other?

Other could ever catch up to Twitter in this space?

Or is this just a moot question and that it's the whole category will go away because something else will come along, um, make it irrelevant.

Sam:
[1:20:58]
I think catch up. Sure. Well, eventually I think it'll be irrelevant.

It's just a question of timescale. Like none of these things last forever.

Like if you look at what the universe of way people working, we're working on the web 15, 20 years ago is completely different, I expect 15, 20 years from now, it'll be completely different again.

But in the short term, can one of these catch Twitter?

I think the answer is yes. I think Twitter is in decline and will continue to be. I think there's questions of financial viability, even if people still use it like you're using it.

The usage is way down from where it was. Advertising is way down as it was.

They're still losing money every month.

So I think there are some problems there. Um, I think, uh, something like threads could potentially catch them just because of it, the easy adoption path.

Now people have pointed out threads usage is down significantly from their initial peak. It was really easy.

Bruce:
[1:22:01]
People just like, we're just like me. They got on all threads, this new thing. Let's take a look at it.

Sam:
[1:22:06]
And, and like, I'm certain my, my policy on it right now is the same thing as my policy for Mastodon clients other than Ivory, which I use all the time, which is whenever I see someone mention it on Mastodon, I'll go check it out for a few minutes.

So whenever there's a new post that I see about like, you know, one of the other Mastodon clients, I'll open it up again. I'll check it out.

I'll like, say, do I want to switch? Yes or no.

And so far the answer has always been no. And I've gone back to Ivory.

Same thing. Every time somebody mentions threads, I'll pop over, I'll look at threads, and I'll say, is there anything here that makes me want to stay? And so far, the answer has always been no, and I've gone back to Mastodon.

But, I fully admit...

That is not giving it a fair chance. Just like you're not giving it a fair chance.

Because like I mentioned on the show two weeks ago or whenever we talked about this for me to get mastodon to the point where I found it to be a reasonable Twitter substitute.

I had to work at that for a couple of months. It did not. It did not come easily.

I had to like spend time on it. And it's actually very similar to early Twitter.

Like at the time I joined Twitter and started following people, it was like that too.

Even if you use the actual Twitter client, uh, you had to find people and follow them.

All the algorithmic stuff came after I was already off it off on TweetBot, but like, and I am not spending that kind of time in threads.

I have, I've scrolled the timeline a couple of times. I have not interacted with, I think there was one back and forth I did with threads very early.

But like I did, I have not been interacting with people. I have not been finding new people to follow. I only followed the people who I had Instagram connections with, which was not a lot, because like you, I never use Instagram.

And so, you know, am I giving it a full chance this way?

I guess not. Like, if I really wanted to give it a full chance, I'd spend some time in there, follow a bunch more people, like a whole bunch of comments so their algorithm could improve, respond to people.

And I just have not been doing that.

Bruce:
[1:24:24]
Well, you know, one thing that I miss about the early Twitter was that it was a place you could go to find out what was going on in the world right now.

Like if there was something significant going on, you could get on there and it would immediately, you didn't have to search, it would just show you, hey, this is what's going on in this earthquake zone.

You could see reports from people who are there. And that, I haven't seen that in years.

Sam:
[1:24:48]
You know, and that's like, now I still saw that in using Tweetbot for Twitter up until the time I left.

But that is absolutely one of the things that I loved. Like when there were protests going in on Iran, I could very quickly find myself a bunch of people on the ground in Tehran to follow and see what they were saying.

Like you said, if there's an earthquake somewhere or tsunami or political unrest, or there's been a mass shooting in some town somewhere, like happens all the time.

You know, finding local people to follow who could give you a flavor that the national and international news media cannot was incredibly easy. The last time with, When the Russian rebellion thing happened a few weeks back, I was able to somewhat replicate that on Mastodon by following hashtags about Russia, Ukraine, Wagner, things like that.

And so that was the first time on Mastodon I felt like that was close to replicating that experience.

It's still not it's still right there. It's out. I'll be fully honest. It's not quite there.

Bruce:
[1:26:09]
I've tried to do the same. I've tried to follow the Ukraine war on Twitter and try to get the latest things.

But there's so much disinformation out there that I don't know what to trust.

Because there's there can be someone out there who's who says that they're on the front line and they'll, they'll report Oh, look, this position has been destroyed, blah, blah, blah. And these look at these tanks and, and it's like totally false.

Sam:
[1:26:31]
And it's so That that's absolutely the case. It is difficult to to figure that out because every side has an incentive to put there at the very least spin on it.

And at the very worst, completely made up stuff.

Um, the way I've done that is sort of start from a handful of people that.

I trust from having followed them for a while in different contexts and then only slowly expanding to people who they have promoted.

And then like when I follow hashtags and such, it's like, I'll see some report and then I'll be like, okay, that's an interesting report.

File it somewhere, but keep a huge major grain of salt until I see it confirmed by somebody that I do know with a track record, you know, and, and that's, that's hard too.

That's hard to keep track of. And I've screwed up occasionally.

I've, you know, I've, I've seen something and been like, oh yeah, that, that looks true. That's exciting. Sometimes I've even shared it.

Bruce:
[1:27:44]
That's confirmation bias. Yeah.

Sam:
[1:27:46]
And then a few hours later, it's like, oh, that was bullshit.

That was wrong. And then I try to go back and make sure I either undo the boost or make our boost Something else that that talks about how it was wrong or or something like that and correct my error But again, that's all that's all crap that takes work and most people using social media don't want to be doing work They want to have fun. They don't want to do work work. So.

Bruce:
[1:28:17]
If you want to feel like you've got inside info that nobody else knows, but yeah, that takes work to, to, to bet it. Yes.

Sam:
[1:28:26]
And, and yeah, it definitely does.

It's not easy and it's, and it's time consuming too.

And there's a, there's a big difference between the power users who are spending many hours a day on these things and the people who drop in for a few minutes every once in a while, you know?

It's an entirely different experience. And frankly, you'd need different clients.

You'd need a different UI and a different experience. Even Twitter proper realized that through their, you know, having TweetDeck, which was their power user version of Twitter, which was much better than flat out Twitter.

Like the few times that I did use Twitter directly, I used TweetDeck.

And by the way, if you're tempted to check it out, it still exists out there, but they just recently, like last month or so, replaced the old version of TweetDeck that everybody liked and had been used to for years with a brand new version that all the power users hate.

But it's still probably better than the straight out regular one for power users, just not as good as the one that they used to have. But yeah, anyway. Too bad. Anything else on any of this?

Bruce:
[1:29:47]
Nope.

Sam:
[1:29:49]
Okay, let's move on. We will take our last break and then we'll come back and Bruce will tell us about the, I guess, new evidence supporting the Lab Leak Theory.

Sure. And we'll do that back after this.

Okay, so Bruce, what's the latest about how this was all a Chinese plot or whatever it is?

Bruce:
[1:31:13]
I don't know about that, but there was a reporter by the name of Michael Schellenberger, who's on, what's it called?

It's a blogging platform called... Medium? No, not Medium.

Sam:
[1:31:34]
And it's the other one, um, uh, what should we call it?

Bruce:
[1:31:39]
A sub stack sub stack.

Sam:
[1:31:41]
Yes. Okay. Yes. The other one.

Bruce:
[1:31:42]
Yeah. So, uh, where, uh, he had some, uh, anonymous sources inside the government that, uh, which government China, us, the U S government, okay.

That, uh, that the U S has known, uh, US intelligence has known from the beginning, or from almost nearly the beginning that the first three people to get COVID were actually scientists working in the Wuhan Virology Lab.

So that up until this report, I thought wait, when was this? No way.

Sam:
[1:32:22]
When was the report by the way?

Bruce:
[1:32:24]
Like a month ago.

Sam:
[1:32:25]
Okay. Yeah, go ahead.

Bruce:
[1:32:29]
Continue then. So anyway, I had not thought that there would be any way to conclusively prove that this was a lab leak versus something natural.

Sam:
[1:32:40]
You know what? I'll tell you though. Because of the way. I'll tell you though.

That does not necessarily follow, because, and let me play this out, and then I'll read you some quotes from the New England Journal of Medicine from about a month ago as well. But here's the thing.

The market that they think it jumped from animals to humans in is right next to the damn lab.

Bruce:
[1:33:08]
Well, it's a few blocks away, yeah.

Sam:
[1:33:10]
It's a few blocks away, and so it's highly likely that people who work at the lab were also at the stupid market.

And also, if they got sick, guess what? They worked at one of the places that could immediately identify something new.

Bruce:
[1:33:26]
Yeah, I can see that for one person, but three? What's the chances that the three people...

Sam:
[1:33:34]
The chances the first three identified would be at a lab are actually pretty high because there might have been other people sick sooner that just weren't identified as such because they weren't in a position where the people surrounding them were like, hmm, let's check this out.

Bruce:
[1:33:52]
Well, of course, it's not proof, but it does provide a much stronger case for the idea of the theory of a lab leak.

Sam:
[1:34:02]
Honestly, I thought that the fact that there were, if not the first three, a bunch of the very early cases at the lab. I thought that was known for a long, long time.

But maybe the first three chronological is another thing.

And one of the things that we said before, talking about this show, talking on the show, is that there's two things to look into this and try to figure it out. One is the pure scientific.

Like, what are the tests people have done? Let's look at the lineages.

Let's try to figure that out. Let's compare to what we've seen in animals nearby, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, all that kind of stuff. And the other is intelligence.

Like you said, like, do we have a source inside the labs that could tell us something about what was happening there?

And that's an entirely different kind of investigation.

Now, from what I understand, the intelligence community has not, well, here's a summary of what the intelligence community has said here.

Starting in January of this year, there was previous debate there.

And by the way, I'm quoting from the New England Journal of Medicine on June 22nd published an article entitled the origins of COVID-19, why it matters and why it doesn't.

It starts out with a summary of all of the theories and where they currently stand as of.

June. And then it ends up with some stuff in terms of like, how much does this really matter in terms of our strategy of what we do going forward and stuff.

But just on the origins, here's a bit, and I'm actually probably going to end up reading a bit of this.

But the first paragraph that's relevant to what you just said, the origins politics heated up early this year.

On January 25th, The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had failed to adequately oversee a grant to the EcoHealth Alliance for Research into Bat Viruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

A month later, the Department of Energy, which oversees a network of 17 U.S.

Laboratories, concluded with, quote, unquote, low confidence that SARS-CoV-2 most likely arose from a laboratory incident. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it favored the laboratory theory with moderate confidence.

For other agencies, along with the National Intelligence Panel, still judged that SARS-CoV-2, whatever, SARS-CoV, emerged from natural zoonotic spillover, while two remain undecided.

All U.S. intelligence agencies rejected the allegation that participants in a clandestine Chinese biologic weapons program intentionally developed COVID, yet a report issued in mid-December by Republican members of the House of Representatives still credited that theory.

In March, Biden signed a bill declassifying documents about its origin and Congress commenced hearings.

So, the point of that paragraph is that there are like.

It seems like at least half a dozen, maybe more, intelligence agencies, and some of them like the lab leak theory, some of them like the zoonotic origin theory, but they both seem to have all but the House of Representatives folks seem to have dismissed the idea that it was intentional.

Okay, so that let's make that clear out.

Bruce:
[1:37:59]
Oh, yeah, I I don't think it was intentional either. Yeah, like nobody Robert kennedy is Suggesting out there that it's that it was intentional.

Sam:
[1:38:08]
I don't agree with yeah No one serious seems to think there was an intentional release the the two options are either developed naturally in animals and hopped over to humans or that the laboratory was doing research and fucked up up and accidentally got someone sick and it escaped from there. Okay. Yeah.

Bruce:
[1:38:28]
And it was, and the, the, the research from what I've heard is that, uh, the research was done in a lab that didn't have sufficient, uh, safety protocols.

I think it was like a, it was like a level two and a level three lab, and they should have been using a level three lab, but they were actually doing a level two lab where they don't have like the full on bunny suits with isolated error. Right. stuff.

Sam:
[1:38:50]
And I think, I'm going to read three more things here, because I think it's a good summary and a fair summary.

Because the bottom line here is that we will probably never know for certain.

And this is actually their conclusion in the, I'll go back to a couple of paragraphs, but there.

Bruce:
[1:39:11]
At least not until the Chinese government changes to.

Sam:
[1:39:15]
Well, that's the same kind of thing. when the Soviet Union fell, we found out about a lot of things that happened in the Soviet Union.

That same kind of thing might happen in China. Who knows?

But the conclusion paragraph before they get to the why it matters and why it doesn't section is China's obfuscation.

Did I say that right?

Bruce:
[1:39:36]
Obfuscation.

Sam:
[1:39:37]
Obfuscation. There we go. China's obfuscation may mean that we will never have certainty about the origins of the greatest pandemic in more than a century.

After all the world has suffered in loss of life, economic hardship, exasperated health disparities, there is an intrinsic value in knowing the cause.

An objectively determined body of scientific facts cannot fully diffuse the political rhetoric surrounding the origins investigation, but the search must continue.

The newly released genetic data may reveal whether specific animals were infected and other information about where they came from, opening up new possibilities to investigate, which may also improve attribution techniques for investigating future outbreaks.

Irrespective of COVID's origins, future outbreaks could result from deliberate, accidental, or natural causes, and improving our ability to understand and prove theories will be critical, and then they propose steps for that.

The other thing, just to summarize where they say, consensus is right now. Of the three possibilities, natural, accidental, or deliberate, the most scientific evidence yet identified still supports natural emergence.

More than half of the earliest COVID-19 cases were connected to the market, and epidemiologic mapping revealed that the concentration of cases was centered there.

In January 2020, Chinese officials cleared the market without testing live animals, but positive environmental samples, including those from an animal cage and hair and feather removal machine, indicated the presence of COVID and COVID-susceptible animals.

Recently released findings included raccoon dog DNA, pointing to a possible COVID, I'm just saying COVID instead of SARS-CoV-2, pointing to a possible COVID progenitor.

Samples from early cases and humans also contain two different COVID lineages, although only one lineage spread globally.

The existence of multiple lineages suggests that a SARS COVID epidemic, sorry, a COVID, suggests that a COVID epidemic in animals may have led to multiple spillover events.

Then, proponents of the accidental lab leak theory stress the geographic location of the WIV in the city where the pandemic began.

They point to the presence of the bat coronavirus strain at the lab, arguing that genetic manipulation, such as gain-of-function research, may have produced COVID.

Most scientists refute this theory because there's considerable evolutionary distance between the two viruses.

However, the possibility that the laboratory held a different progenitor strain to COVID that led to a laboratory leak cannot be unequivocally ruled out.

And that's, I think, and that's frankly, that summary is where we've been for like a year and a half.

And like they said before, the fact that China was covering up makes it very difficult to ever resolve that issue.

Bruce:
[1:42:50]
And is somewhat damning.

Sam:
[1:42:52]
And is somewhat damning. Just like I was saying, the obstruction of justice in the Mueller report, same thing here. You're absolutely right.

Bruce:
[1:42:58]
If they could have produced an animal, if there was an animal that they had found that had had transmitted it to a human, they absolutely would have revealed that to the world.

Sam:
[1:43:13]
Well, and I think it took them a long time to get to that point anyway.

I think at the beginning, there was just chaos everywhere.

And in either one of these scenarios, you could imagine China trying to cover it up.

I mean, if you remember the first couple of months, they were trying to deny it existed at all for a while, you know? And then there was one doctor in China who went public about it.

And then they were like, oh, well, I guess we now have to start saying things.

But China was very reluctant in the first couple months to say anything at all, not just about origins, but that it was even happening.

And I think part of that was, you know, the same things that happened everywhere.

They didn't want to initiate panic.

Hoped they could still keep it under control. And when they didn't, there's always like, it's like somebody fucked up.

Bruce:
[1:44:09]
Yeah.

Sam:
[1:44:09]
No. Was it somebody in the lab that screwed up or was it somebody else that screwed up?

It doesn't matter. Somebody screwed up in not identifying this very, very quickly and just quarantining the like five people who had it and keeping it from, you know, whether it was the lab or not, somebody screwed up and they were trying to cover that up.

But I think you're right, the aggressiveness with which they refused to cooperate at first, um, it is somewhat damning. Now, they did share more later, but there was always questions about are they really sharing everything they have and blah, blah, blah.

And so it's really hard to tell. And so what you have here right now seems to be the preponderance of the scientific evidence points to an animal origin.

However, you've got some human intelligence saying there was something going on in that lab.

And so, of course, you might have a truth that's both, right?

Like, you may have had, you know, an animal from the market that was taken to the lab and then they were doing research on it and then it escaped.

You may have some combination of these two, but the bottom line is it's all up in there and who the hell knows.

Bruce:
[1:45:23]
And here's the conflict of interest, is that the same scientists who are getting the grants for this research are the same scientists who are assessing the possibility of whether this was natural or lab-created.

And so if it's found that this is...

If it were found that this is a lab-created virus, then that's bad news for them because the natural response is, oh, we need to have tighter controls, if not stop this type of research where we're creating these highly infectious viruses by gain of function.

Sam:
[1:46:08]
I think most of the scientists who are involved in this kind of research, I don't think would be upset about tighter controls. What they're worried about is the second thing you said, stop it entirely.

And of course, you look at it and you're like, wait, they're trying to make stronger viruses?

Are they out of their minds? Have they ever watched a science fiction movie at all, but at the same time, if you're going to try to proactively develop treatments, that's exactly the kind of thing you want to do.

But like you said, there are different levels of protection, and if you're not being paranoid enough when you're doing this kind of stuff, of course things can happen.

I think the right result of this probably is actually like if all of the places that are doing this kind of research probably have to up their safety measures, by at least a couple notches, there probably needs to be better monitoring in place all over to try to catch these things faster, better initial response.

When something new originates, those first few weeks are critical.

And I think what was absolutely clear out of everything that that we saw is by the time anybody was taking this seriously, Honestly, it was probably too late.

You know.

Bruce:
[1:47:48]
Yeah, and the well, when it comes comes to the US response, the original sin was that the forget that the US, the US officials, I forget the name of the organization, they did not want to use a foreign produced test, they want to have their own test.

And it took that it took them a long time to create a test.

And then it was faulty. And yeah, in the meantime, it would only test people who were from another country, assuming that it could only come in from people overseas and not already be here.

And it's, which was a completely wrong assumption.

Sam:
[1:48:27]
Right. Yeah, absolutely. And they were only testing people from China at first too.

Whereas it was already going in Italy as well, and other places.

It was probably all over the of the place by then, but I think you're absolutely right. That is one of the big, huge things right there is that insulated.

It has to be us to prove it. Um, we won't trust other people.

Like there were perfectly good tests that we could have been importing and using much earlier and avoided that whole mess also, or even, even the, the, the test that was, that they did eventually come up with is too slow.

Bruce:
[1:49:08]
It doesn't do you any good if you have a test that takes two days to get the results back. You need a result right away. Yeah.

Sam:
[1:49:15]
And they were very, very slow in rolling out the rapid tests even once they had them too. So there were lots of speed issues there, but you identified the trusting of other folks. I think that's important in more contexts as well.

Like even when they were finally getting around to the clinical trials on both treatments and the vaccines is that you still had this issue where the US regulatory agencies and the European regulatory agencies and the Asian regulatory agencies were all doing their own thing rather than saying, hey, all of us know what the hell we're doing.

If any one of us can prove something first, then let's all agree and go with it.

Because it's not like you're comparing somebody who doesn't know what they're doing to somebody who does.

You've got like professional standards, you can compare the methods, you can make sure it's done. So this, we must have done it, we must do it ourselves, including the test, but all this other stuff is just ridiculous.

That sort of provincialism killed people.

The other thing along those lines is a slowness.

In recognizing that it was truly airborne and not just like droplets. Oh, yeah.

Because there's been a bias in medicine for 100 years that airborne stuff is incredibly rare and respiratory diseases in particular are almost always droplet-based and that's the primary thing.

And which mitigations you use and which are effective is highly different for droplet-based versus truly airborne.

And so that's where, as an example... Aerosolized. Aerosolized, but as an example, one of the mitigations that people were doing was little plastic screens in front of people.

Oh, yeah. That were not like floor-to-ceiling things. And that works against droplets.

It does not work at all against aerosolized airborne stuff because it just floats up and around and over and mixes with the other air.

Bruce:
[1:51:33]
It actually makes things worse because it reduces airflow.

Sam:
[1:51:36]
Exactly. It actually makes things worse, but people, there were, and look, there were people immediately saying, look, it's airborne, here's all this evidence for it.

But it took a long time for the overall establishment to come around to that point of view.

And even now there's some resistance to actually making decisions on that.

And that's where the ventilation thing comes in too. I think at this point, we know that ventilation matters more than almost anything else you can do.

Yeah. You know, and it's good. And by the way, even this particular virus.

For this particular virus, but for actually lots of viruses, it's actually important.

But for this particular virus and others, like ventilation makes a huge difference.

And if there was only one thing you could do, improving the ventilation in indoor spaces would have made a bigger difference than anything else.

And we're not even talking like necessarily full retrofits of like massive HVAC systems.

We're talking about open the freaking window. Yeah. Yeah.

You know, or open the window and put a fan in it.

You know, things like that may would have made significant differences and would have been really easy, but it was never the top recommendation because people had a really hard time shifting their mindset from droplet to aerosolized.

Bruce:
[1:53:04]
Well, here's the getting back to the lab like thing. Yeah. The thing that's, that's so nuts is I just couldn't believe this is that we were actually funding the UN.

The United States government was sending grant money to the Wuhan lab, funding this research.

I just can't believe that that doesn't even be happening.

That's a military-funded lab there.

What are we doing sending money there to do this research?

Sam:
[1:53:42]
I started to say it doesn't bother me at all, but you're right though.

We probably could have funded that same research here.

Bruce:
[1:53:51]
Yeah, I would think so.

Sam:
[1:53:53]
You know, and, but, you know, part of it is that you're, you're dealing, you know, when they do the grants like that, they know the history of the institution.

They often know the history of the individual scientists involved.

They produce detailed proposals on exactly what they intend to do.

And they're like, that's reasonable. That makes sense.

But yeah, like, you can argue about the funding, but I certainly think one of the things we've learned in general is, you know, I generally am in favor of, you know, globalizations and interlinking and having people dependent on each other because it seems like that makes conflict less likely.

But on the other hand, the pandemic showed us how vulnerable we are to international disruptions and building up and maintaining a certain level of making sure that there is domestic capacity that can handle things in the case of those kinds of disruptions does matter.

But I think it's not just domestic. I think it's always being multi-sourced.

It's not just domestic versus international, it's never have a single point of failure and that kind of thing, and make sure you have alternates and backups and blah, blah, blah.

In terms of this kind of thing, especially with with the Chinese, I think you're a little bit of.

Caution is warranted, given the history we've seen, given that the two nations are not in exactly friendly terms right now. I know part of this was that all of this was during a timeframe where we were actively trying to improve relations.

And so I don't know if this was part of that or not.

But I think, you know, at this point, certainly the trust that may have been there is not there.

Bruce:
[1:55:58]
And yeah, especially since they haven't, they've, they've never come clean about this. Yeah, they haven't ever complained. And so I think that when I saw there was a recent announcement that the U S is no longer going to be funding them.

Uh, because of that, so there was no way they could continue.

Sam:
[1:56:18]
Like, you know, there was nobody, not, there was nobody in Congress at all, or the Biden administration who is going to stand up and say, yes, we should pour more money into Chinese virus research.

Even if they internally had evidence that this was all innocent and they did nothing wrong at all, which is not where we are, but even if they had that evidence, I don't think anybody would be willing to make that case right now in this environment.

Bruce:
[1:56:48]
Yeah. Yeah.

Sam:
[1:56:50]
Okay. So I think, I think we're at Dan and Bruce.

Bruce:
[1:56:53]
Yeah.

Sam:
[1:56:54]
Good. So I'm now going to say a bunch of this stuff. Two hours.

Yeah. I'm now going to say a bunch of the stuff that you have told me before, like when we get to this point, you're just, I'm done.

Because it's, it's very similar every time except for the one bit.

But anyway, go to our website, curmudgeons-corner.com.

You can find ways to contact myself or Yvonne via Twitter, Facebook, email, et cetera.

I guess that's all of them. It's not et cetera. So, Bruce, do you want to tell people how to get a hold of you?

Bruce:
[1:57:28]
I am on Twitter, yes. I am a BYU fan, and so you can contact me that way, if you wish. Or I'm on the... I think the one would be easier is on the Convergence Quarter Slack.

Sam:
[1:57:42]
Well, there we go. We'll talk about that in a second. So in addition to all the ways to contact us, you do have our full archives, now including transcripts on the most recent episodes.

I'm still very excited about the transcripts. It's fun. And it's fun to read them sometimes and laugh at all the places where it clearly messed up.

But anyway, because it's a fully automated transcript. I don't edit them at all.

And automation is much better than it used to be, but it still makes hilarious mistakes all the time.

So anyway, you can go there, see our transcripts. And you can also go to our Patreon and give us some cash at different levels. We We will mention you on the show. We will ring a bell. We will send you a mug. We will send you a postcard.

Probably those two are flipped.

All that kind of stuff. And at $2 a month or more, or if you just ask us nicely, we will invite you to the Commudgeons Corner Slack that Bruce just mentioned where Yvonne and I and Bruce and Ed and Bob and sometimes others are chatting throughout the week and sharing links and stuff.

Bruce, do you want to do the thing that Yvonne usually does and highlight something?

Bruce:
[1:58:51]
I have been actually scrolling through to see if there's anything that was a major.

I don't chat nearly as much as you all do.

So I will defer.

Sam:
[1:59:05]
You will defer. OK, let me see if I could find something real quick to highlight.

Let's go to the random channel because those are usually more fun as my Slack is being slow.

Um, da, da, da.

Okay, this is a quick one. I posted it earlier today. It's a tech-related one.

For those of you who don't know, the UK, and some other places, but the UK specifically now, is looking at laws that would require messaging services to offer backdoors in their end-to-end encryption for government requests.

And the new news is that Apple has joined a few other messaging services like Signal, I think, and I'm not sure the rest of the list, but Apple has said that it would remove both iMessage and FaceTime from the UK entirely rather than break the end-to-end encryption to allow those backdoors.

Bruce:
[2:00:11]
Good for them. Congratulations to Apple, and that almost makes me want to go back to Apple all the time.

Sam:
[2:00:20]
Yeah, and some other messaging services have said that too.

But yeah, some are not. Some are saying, well, of course we'll let you have your backdoor.

And of course lots of services aren't end-to-end encrypted at all.

And so are open for governmental subpoenas regardless.

And the one thing to remember about end-to-end encryption anyway, is that it is end-to-end.

It's the stuff in between. If they get your actual device and access to your device, if you can read it, the authorities can read it if they get logged into your device.

You know, it's the way it works. But the issues here are, can they just go to Apple and say, I want to see all the stuff that Sam did, or Bruce did.

And with the end-to-end encryption, the basic idea is that, Apple doesn't have it. Apple has an encrypted mess that can only be unencrypted by your device.

And so they can't, from a central point of view, give that information up.

Bruce:
[2:01:30]
They can't just do just trolling to see looking for criminal activity.

They can't do general warrants, which they did during the Revolutionary War.

Sam:
[2:01:45]
Yeah, they can't do that kind of scan, they can't respond to a request that says, just give me a list of all your customers who have mentioned terrorism or whatever.

And so, yeah, I think Apple is doing the right thing there as well.

But it'll be interesting to see how far the UK pushes it and if Apple indeed does just pull those services from that market entirely.

Bruce:
[2:02:10]
And if the UK is actually a democracy, then the people there will be up in arms about it and will tell their people.

Sam:
[2:02:21]
I think you're not necessarily correct there, because from a democratic point of view, I think we've seen over and over and over again that the vast majority of people don't care about things like this.

Bruce:
[2:02:34]
And so what I'm saying is if Apple pulls their service, yes, and the people are in the UK are like, Hey, why did Apple do this?

And the UK government says, well, because they didn't want to comply to our secrecy.

Well, then don't do that secrecy thing that people would care about secrecy.

Sam:
[2:02:52]
If they, if Apple, well, no, the thing is, the thing is all they have to do is say, Hey, we're just looking for the child the child pornographers, and drug dealers, and terrorists.

And people will be like, oh, OK, that's fine.

Bruce:
[2:03:06]
Yeah, that's always the case, but, uh, but still, if Apple puts their foot down and, uh, and pulls the product, then maybe enough people will be upset enough about it that they'll complain to their representatives, but they might.

Sam:
[2:03:21]
But honestly, I think it's far more likely they would find less secure substitutes and use them instead and not care.

I hope you were right, Bruce, but I fear you were wrong.

Bruce:
[2:03:33]
Yeah, we'll see. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out.

Sam:
[2:03:35]
Okay. Well, with that, we are out of there. Out of there? We are out of here.

Thank you very much, Bruce, for doing this again.

I always worry a little bit that we'll get into a big fight about something, but I always have fun in the end.

And like I said at the beginning of the show, right now we don't have a co-host lined up for next week. So if you are a friend of the show and you are interested, please drop me a line.

You can find all the ways at curmudgeons-corner.com, like I just listed, and get in touch with us.

In the meantime, everybody have a great week. Stay safe, and we will talk to you next time. Goodbye. Say goodbye, Bruce. Okay, bye.

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