After what they’ve done, I’m supposed to offer sympathy to conservatives? Really? Are you kidding?

Authoritarian populism

Ishaan Tharoor has outdone himself in today’s newsletter.[1] This is excellent, excellent and absolutely crucial reading.

Ishaan Tharoor, “U.S. conservatives yearn for Orban’s Hungary,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2021/08/04/american-conservatives-orban-hungary/


Evictions

Jeff Stein et al., “Biden administration moves to block evictions in most of U.S. following liberal backlash,” Washington Post, August 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/08/03/white-house-evictions-democrats/

Andrew Ackerman and Siobhan Hughes, “Biden Administration Issues New Eviction Moratorium,” Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-administration-set-to-issue-new-eviction-moratorium-11628022282


Pandemic

With a trip to visit my mother in February hanging in the balance, if I can get a booster shot, I’m getting a booster shot. Not for me; my history is that I never come down with any of this shit and if I do, it hits hard and fast with, at most, a lingering cough afterwards. For her.

And I would especially rather a dose that’s nearing its expiration be “wasted” into my arm rather than discarded when it has expired. The World Health Organization’s mandate[2] does not, to my mind, address that problem.

Meanwhile, Olivier Knox responds awfully well to Alex Azar’s column calling for Democrats to be gracious to Republicans about the vaccine:

Second, there’s the possibility [Alex] Azar was arguing some proportion of conservatives aren’t getting a potentially lifesaving vaccine against a disease that has carried off more than 614,000 people in the United States because … Democrats haven’t been nice enough to them.

Leaving aside what this says about modern America’s relationship to basic cost-benefit analysis, there’s no sign whatsoever the base of Trump’s party — and it is still very much Trump’s party, despite the occasional setback — harbors any hunger whatsoever for gentler political discourse about vaccines.

Over the past few weeks, some Republicans have cheered the Biden administration’s failure to reach its vaccination goals and compared volunteers going door-to-door giving information about the shot(s) to Nazi storm troopers. Others have likened possible vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany’s demand Jews wear a yellow Star of David — a prelude to the systemic massacre known as the Holocaust. One of the top contenders for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has been scooping up dollars with the slogan “freedom over Faucism” which — ha-ha do you get it? — is a play on fascism and the last name of the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci. A top Republican National Committee official in Florida has reportedly described vaccines as “the mark of the Beast” and a “false God.” Fox News stars have waged their own campaign against vaccination. Some governors have signed laws to prevent the private sector from requiring vaccinations.[3]

Don’t stop there. Read the whole thing.

But I’ve more than had it with Donald Trump supporters complaining their feelings are hurt when they campaigned on “fuck your feelings” and “make a liberal cry.” Sorry, they don’t get any sympathy from me whatsoever under any circumstances. And as previously noted, I’m far from alone, indeed with an ever lengthening list of citations in the footnote.[4]

Joseph Ax and Nathan Layne, “Delta variant surges across U.S. South; political leaders clamp down again,” Reuters, August 3, 2021, copy in possession of author

Alexis Benveniste, “New York City will require vaccines for entry to restaurants and gyms,” CNN, August 3, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/03/business/new-york-city-vaccine-requirements/index.html

Juliette Kayyem, “Unvaccinated People Need to Bear the Burden,” Atlantic, August 3, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/unvaccinated-flight-vaccine-tsa-mandate/619643/

Olivier Knox to Daily 202 list, “Alex Azar says Democrats must show ‘political graciousness’ about vaccines,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://s2.washingtonpost.com/camp-rw/?trackId=596c1982ae7e8a44e7e73ac3&s=610ab1ad9d2fda2f47e28fed&linknum=4&linktot=82

Bryan Pietsch, Adela Suliman, and Hannah Knowles, “WHO calls for moratorium on booster vaccine shots through September, citing global disparity,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/04/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/

Jennifer Rubin, “Americans have had it with vaccine refusers and anti-mandate politicians,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/04/americans-have-had-it-with-vaccine-refusers-anti-mandate-pols/


Gig economy

My guess is that the headline on Laura Forman’s August 4 article[5] is premature. It’s not like doubts about the companies’ potential for real profitability are anything new.[6] What we have is:

  1. Lyft’s entirely bogus claim to profitability that excludes interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization,[7] all real expenses.
  2. Uber’s failure by the same bogus standard,[8] raising doubts about Uber’s labor model,[9] which is, for all practical purposes, the same labor model as Lyft has.
  3. Investors reacting badly,[10] when they shouldn’t have waited nearly so long to be much more skeptical about these companies.[11]

There’s little reason to doubt that investors will resume succumbing to what Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism calls a bezzle.[12]

Laura Forman, “Lyft Makes Its Move in Race for Profits,” Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lyft-makes-its-move-in-race-for-profits-11628029254

Laura Forman, “Uber, Lyft Drive Investors Away,” Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-drive-investors-away-11628115638

Tina Bellon and Akanksha Rana, “Uber posts $509 mln adjusted loss on driver incentives even as trips rise,” Reuters, August 4, 2021, copy in possession of author


  1. [1]Ishaan Tharoor, “U.S. conservatives yearn for Orban’s Hungary,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2021/08/04/american-conservatives-orban-hungary/
  2. [2]Bryan Pietsch, Adela Suliman, and Hannah Knowles, “WHO calls for moratorium on booster vaccine shots through September, citing global disparity,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/04/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/
  3. [3]Olivier Knox to Daily 202 list, “Alex Azar says Democrats must show ‘political graciousness’ about vaccines,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://s2.washingtonpost.com/camp-rw/?trackId=596c1982ae7e8a44e7e73ac3&s=610ab1ad9d2fda2f47e28fed&linknum=4&linktot=82
  4. [4]Democracy Now! “‘We Can’t Trust the Unvaccinated’: Dr. Leana Wen on Vaccine Mandates & How to Stop the Delta Variant,” July 29, 2021, https://www.democracynow.org/2021/7/29/covid_19_delta_variant_leana_wen; Dan Diamond and Tyler Pager, “‘Patience has worn thin’: Frustration mounts over vaccine holdouts,” Washington Post, July 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/07/23/anger-targets-vaccine-holdouts-delta-surge/; David Frum, “Vaccinated America Has Had Enough,” Atlantic, July 23, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/07/vaccinated-america-breaking-point-anti-vaxxers/619539/; Juliette Kayyem, “Unvaccinated People Need to Bear the Burden,” Atlantic, August 3, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/unvaccinated-flight-vaccine-tsa-mandate/619643/; David Litt, “Republicans used to laud ‘personal responsibility’. Not with Covid,” Guardian, July 30, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/30/republicans-used-to-laud-personal-responsibility-not-with-covid; Ruth Marcus, “Require the vaccine. It’s time to stop coddling the reckless,” Washington Post, July 30, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/30/require-vaccine-its-time-stop-coddling-reckless/; Jennifer Rubin, “Americans have had it with vaccine refusers and anti-mandate politicians,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/04/americans-have-had-it-with-vaccine-refusers-anti-mandate-pols/; Paul Waldman, “I’m tired of being nice to vaccine refusers,” Washington Post, July 27, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/27/im-tired-being-nice-vaccine-refusers/; Leana S. Wen, “The CDC needs to make clear: The problem is the unvaccinated,” Washington Post, July 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/29/leana-wen-cdc-mask-guidance-unvaccinated-problem/
  5. [5]Laura Forman, “Uber, Lyft Drive Investors Away,” Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-drive-investors-away-11628115638
  6. [6]David Benfell, “This is not a business plan,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/06/20/this-is-not-a-business-plan/
  7. [7]Laura Forman, “Lyft Makes Its Move in Race for Profits,” Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lyft-makes-its-move-in-race-for-profits-11628029254
  8. [8]Tina Bellon and Akanksha Rana, “Uber posts $509 mln adjusted loss on driver incentives even as trips rise,” Reuters, August 4, 2021, copy in possession of author
  9. [9]Laura Forman, “Uber, Lyft Drive Investors Away,” Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-drive-investors-away-11628115638
  10. [10]Tina Bellon and Akanksha Rana, “Uber posts $509 mln adjusted loss on driver incentives even as trips rise,” Reuters, August 4, 2021, copy in possession of author
  11. [11]David Benfell, “This is not a business plan,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/06/20/this-is-not-a-business-plan/
  12. [12]Yves Smith, “Uber Is Headed for a Crash,” New York, December 4, 2018, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/will-uber-survive-the-next-decade.html

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