10/4 Peter Thiel’s Cult Of Personality And The Introduction Of A Postal Banking Pilot Program w/ Max Chafkin & David Dayen

October 4, 2021

Sam and Emma host Max Chafkin, features editor and writer at Bloomberg BusinessWeek, to discuss his recent book The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power.

Sam and Emma start off by taking a look at Kyrsten Sinema’s interaction with organizers from LUCHA Arizona before she went to hide in a restroom, as opposed to engaging with them directly, as well as the disparity between the outraged reaction to the video and the video itself. Sam and Emma are then joined by Max to discuss Peter Thiel, the “contrarian posture” that’s animated his life and his investments, as well as how that informed his interactions with Gawker, Facebook, and PayPal. Max discusses whether Thiel should be considered a “good investor”, despite betting against the future, leaning in so far into his contrarian sensibilities that he accurately predicted the 2008 financial crash but botched his hedge fund investments afterwards, leading directly in to him transitioning the fund into a family office, as well as directly into his conflict and legal action with Hulk Hogan against Gawker. Max then details Thiel’s “small” nest egg of $1 million that served as the basis for his wealth acquisition, as well as his appetite for competition when it serves him, as well as his absolute distaste for it when it doesn’t. They then dive into Thiel’s relationship with former President Trump, as well as his pet project of railing against “PC culture”, a phenomena that he believes is the animating force of American politics. They then end on Thiel’s interactions and partnerships with Glenn Greenwald (who, in fact, Thiel’s company Palantir spied on years ago), JD Vance, and the new social media platform Rumble, and how Thiel’s investments in these people and companies are symbolic, and that one can draw real comparison to Thiel’s political project and that of the Koch brothers: transforming a section of the Republican Party through significant financial investment.

Sam and Emma are then joined by David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect, to discuss his recent scoop “USPS Begins Postal Banking Pilot Program” as well as his report from last Friday “The Progressive Caucus Wields Power”. David begins by outlining the parameters of this new postal banking pilot program through USPS, and how, if fully implemented, this program could significantly aid “unbanked” and “underbanked” people who fall prey to predatory banking schemes as a result of a lack of access to financial services. He goes on to explain the uneasy peace between Trump USPS holdover Louis DeJoy and the USPS union, who, on this one particular issue, are aligned on working toward implementation for its potential for revenue growth for the USPS (DeJoy’s interest), as well as for expanding the services of USPS to people who really need them (the union’s interest). David then explains whether further implementation will require additional Congressional approval (maybe so, maybe not), how Biden should prioritize a pro-postal banking advocate for a Board of Governors vacancy that remains, the Congressional support this policy already has, and what full implementation would really look in the long term. Sam, Emma, and David end on their discussion of the Progressive Caucus showing its might in blocking the bipartisan infrastructure bill from going to a vote away from the two track structure, the history of the CPC when it was a 6-person working group started by a young anonymous backbencher named Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Pramila Jayapal’s ascendance in the ranks of the CPC leading to its growing power, and whether more of these stands may result in the future as a result of this one’s success.

And in the Fun Half, Sam and Emma correct the record on Senator Blumenthal’s Finsta flub from Thursday, and propose that the next Big Tech “disruption” should be these companies being broken up by the government. They then check in on the Facebook whistleblower report from 60 Minutes last night, Nick Clegg being referred to as a “tobacco executive” on CNN by Brian Stelter (which he tries extremely hard to differentiate from, with middling results), Fox and Friends’s incredible concern about the labor shortage before Christmas (it’s October! Steve Doocy can’t get his favorite coffee! A fate worse than death!), and the MR crew ends the day by taking a time machine to 2010 to see what Kyrsten Sinema’s thoughts on reconciliation and the filibuster were then (Different!) Plus, your calls and IM’s!

Become a member at JoinTheMajorityReport.com

Subscribe to the AMQuickie newsletter here.

Join the Majority Report Discord!

Get all your MR merch at our store https://shop.majorityreportradio.com/

(Merch issues and concerns can be addressed here: majorityreportstore@mirrorimage.com)

You can now watch the livestream on Twitch

Check out today’s sponsors:

Grove: Companies around the world produce two billion pounds of new plastic every day. Yet no matter how much we put in our recycling bin, just nine percent of plastic actually gets recycled. At Grove Collaborative, they believe it’s time to stop making single-use plastic. Grove is the online marketplace that delivers healthy home, beauty, and personal care products directly to you! It takes the guesswork out of going green — Every product is guaranteed to be good for you, your family, your home, and the planet. Choosing products that are better for you AND the planet has never been easier. For a limited time when our listeners go to Grove.com/MAJORITY you will get to choose a FREE starter set with your first order. Go to Grove.com/MAJORITY to get your exclusive offer! That’s Grove.com/MAJORITY.

Support the St. Vincent Nurses today as they continue to strike for a fair contract! https://action.massnurses.org/we-stand-with-st-vincents-nurses/

Subscribe to Discourse Blog, a newsletter and website for progressive essays and related fun partly run by AM Quickie writer Jack Crosbie. https://discourseblog.com/

Subscribe to AM Quickie writer Corey Pein’s podcast News from Nowhere, at https://www.patreon.com/newsfromnowhere

Check out Matt’s show, Left Reckoning, on Youtube, and subscribe on Patreon!

Subscribe to Matt’s other show Literary Hangover on Patreon!

Check out The Letterhack’s upcoming Kickstarter project for his new graphic novel! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/milagrocomic/milagro-heroe-de-las-calles

Check out Matt Binder’s YouTube channel!

Subscribe to Brandon’s show The Discourse on Patreon!

Check out The Nomiki Show live at 3 pm ET on YouTube at patreon.com/thenomikishow

Check out Jamie’s podcast, The Antifada, at patreon.com/theantifada, on iTunes, or at twitch.tv/theantifada (streaming every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7pm ET!)

Follow the Majority Report crew on Twitter:








Past Episodes

It's Casual Friday! And Sam is opening up the phone lines! Call in at 646-257-3920 as Sam and the MR Crew discuss the stories of the day and react to clips! First, he runs through updates on the Supreme Court’s killing of Congress’ bump stock ban and undercutting of the NLRB, stalling ceasefire ...
It’s an EmMajority Report Thursday! She speaks with Greg Stoker, co-host of the Colonial Outcasts podcast, to discuss the recent military operations by Israeli forces in Gaza. Then, she speaks with Hayden Clarkin, also known as the Transit Guy on Twitter, to discuss New York Governor Kathy ...
It’s Hump Day! Sam speaks with Judd Legum, proprietor of the Popular Information newsletter on SubStack, to discuss his recent piece entitled “Feds raid corporate landlord, escalating nationwide criminal probe of rent increases.” Then, he speaks with Usamah Andrabi, communications director ...