RICHARD FERNANDEZ:

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HAVE YOU TOLD VAN MORRISON LATELY THAT YOU LOVE HIM? “‘I’m not telling people what to do or think,’ Morrison noted in a statement, ‘the government is doing a great job of that already. It’s about freedom of choice, I believe people should have the right to think for themselves.’ Not everyone, everyone, everyone, everyone agrees.”

JUST A REMINDER: I get paid based on ad revenue now, so if you wouldn’t mind whitelisting InstaPundit if you run an ad blocker that would be great. Or some people hit the PayPal donation button, which is also great. And thanks to those who have sent Christmas Paypal donations! Your thank-you notes are coming.

UPDATE: In response to a question, the PayPal button is the silver button on the upper right that says “make a donation.”

WE ALL WANT THINGS: Many Epidemiologists Want Social Distancing and Masks Forever—Even After the Vaccine. “Epidemiologists are free to take whatever precautions they deem necessary in their own lives, of course—as are the rest of us. But for too long, their pessimistic dictates have provided cover for politicians and government employees to make people’s lives miserable.”

MICHAEL BARONE: Democrats are now reaping the whirlwind of their 2016 election ‘Resistance.’ “Democrats who are dismayed that many Americans aren’t meekly accepting the legitimacy of the Biden presidency are in the process of learning a lesson taught a very long time ago. You reap what you sow.”

OPERATION WARP SPEED: TRUMP’S END-RUN AROUND THE FAILURE OF CIVILIAN BUREAUCRACY: New document reveals scope and structure of Operation Warp Speed and underscores vast military involvement. “The military’s extensive involvement in the development and distribution of a vaccine is a departure from pandemics of the past.”

The RNA technology behind vaccines like Moderna’s has been a DARPA priority for years. And, of course, the military has been thinking about how to respond to a biowar attack for a long time; that was the CDC’s original role too (somewhat glossed-over) but now it cares more about eliminating racism and fatty foods.

DISPATCHES FROM THE HOUSE OF STEPHANOPOULOS: ABC’s Stephanopoulos Pushes Georgia Dems Senate Fundraiser– On Air!

More from Ed Morrissey, who asks, “If this was on one of ABC’s entertainment shows, it might still be suspect. However, GMA operates under the aegis of ABC News, just as Nightline, This Week, and World News Tonight do. Since when do news programs promote fundraising for political campaigns and candidates? This certainly looks like a massive in-kind contribution to Democrats. What does ABC News have to say for themselves — and will they report this properly to the IRS?”

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I BLAME #ORANGEMANBAD AND THE ANTI-MASK RED STATES FOR THIS SURGE: Amid record COVID-19 surge, Seoul orders businesses to close early.

STEAL THAT BOOK! Ivy League librarians demand a ‘world without policing.’

Librarians are more dependent than most on social order.

REPUBLICANS POUNCE: Trump team capitalizes on new report about small biz pessimism after November election.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: The Librarians Will Save Us. “A group of 13 ‘abolitionist librarians’ from Ivy League universities… is demanding that their colleagues ‘immediately begin the work of divesting from police and prisons.’ […] The group wants Ivy League librarians to ‘explicitly name policing itself as the problem’ and take actions that will lead to the ‘complete abolition of law enforcement.’”

THE POWER LINE WEEK IN PICTURES: Monolith Mystery Edition.

IN THE MAIL: Relentless: The Forensics of Mobsters’ Business Practices.

ABC MORPHED INTO THE BABYLON BEE SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED: San Francisco bans smoking inside apartments; pot smoking OK.

SEGREGATION NOW, SEGREGATION TOMORROW, SEGREGATION FOREVER! Black campus leaders silent on UW paying ‘White Fragility’ author more than fellow black keynote speaker.

JOEL KOTKIN: Why Trump’s America will live on.

In their current guise, Democrats today can only offer redistribution of wealth, which itself can come in two forms, each with inherent problems. A traditional socialist approach would hardly be in the interest of the Democratic funders or the non-profit establishment, given it would involve siphoning off the wealth of people like Jeff Bezos, who expended much of his media power, through the Washington Post, opposing Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid. Yet the progressive left continues to push this agenda, notably in big urban centres, a continuing challenge to more oligarch-friendly liberals.

The other alternative would be to turn the middle and working class into future serfs – that is, people increasingly dependent on what Marx called ‘the proletarian alms bag’ (1). This ‘oligarchal socialism’ – backed by many tech oligarchs – would transfer funds, likely from the remaining middle class, to fund a ‘guaranteed annual income’ to keep hoi polloi in subsidised apartments, spending their time in low-wage gig jobs, while they play video games, smoke pot, drink and water their houseplants. It is an approach that allows the oligarchs to continue accumulating the wealth and power they see as their due, while keeping the peasants separate from their pitchforks.

These unattractive alternatives could provide enormous opportunities for Republicans, or more traditional Democrats, if they could overcome the opposition of ‘market fundamentalists’. On the right, as the American Prospect has demonstrated, many conservative think-tanks are financed by Google and other oligopolists. The future could belong not to Trump but to more coherent Republicans like Oren Cass and his American Compass group, who reject ‘let the market rip’ fundamentalism and openly favour working-class interests in terms of healthcare, education, housing, anti-trust policy and energy.

Americans do not want to be either Marxist or oligarchic wards. They generally desire to become more self-sufficient and successful. The attempt to implement a pilot guaranteed-incomes programme in Modesto, California, a hardscrabble Valley town of 300,000, was recently rescinded by a primarily minority electorate, who replaced a progressive Democratic with a black Republican preacher. Like most Americans, most minorities and working-class people still believe in the ‘dream’ even if they believe that it is more difficult to achieve.

Until that quintessentially American spark is squelched entirely, the disruptive process brought on by Trump will not go away, but simply evolve and even expand. The question will be whether a more sober, less nativist, and focused populism will emerge from the wreckage or be replaced by something more troubling.

Trump’s America will live on, because Trump’s greatest achievement has been exposing the rot and corruption of our ruling class.

FIGHT THE POWER, STICK IT TO THE MAN: Judge revives free speech lawsuit against UT-Austin.

JOINT MILITARY MISSION IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA: A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock. The U.S. Southern Command forces were engaged in Hurricane Iota relief efforts in Central America. Photo taken November 27.

I’M GLAD HE’S DEAD: ‘Israel has tape of slain Iran nuke chief talking about building five warheads.’

BIG AND BEAUTIFUL: Border wall construction to continue past Inauguration Day. “Thanks to congressional funding rules, the construction of President Trump’s border wall will continue into next year, no matter what the final outcome of the Electoral College election is.”

SHAGGY DOG STORY:

Related: Did Biden Just Say the Quiet Part Out Loud? “Like I told Barack, if I reach something where there’s a fundamental disagreement [with Harris] we have based on a moral principle, I’ll develop some disease and say I have to resign.”

Trunalimunumaprzure!

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FOREIGN INFLUENCE: Biden Taps Former Chinese Tech Mogul For Trade Transition.

GRAY LADY DITCHES 1619 PROJECT FOR 1984 PROJECT: Goodbye, U.S.D.A., Hello, Department of Food and Well-Being.

The secretary of agriculture should lead the fight against corporations that have created a toxic food environment and support groups building healthful alternatives. The secretary should champion unity among farmers, rural people and urban advocates for racial and economic justice against the common enemy of consolidation and concentration of wealth. And the secretary should use the department’s vaunted research and extension capacity to support a food system that can rebuild rural economies, regenerate ecological capital, mitigate climate change and provide nourishing food for all.

While we’re at it, we might as well change the department’s name from its archaic, misleading misnomer to something that reflects the country’s needs: a Department of Food and Well Being.

What’s wrong with calling it the Ministry of Love?

IT’S GOOD TO BE IN THE NOMENKLATURA:

Same thing in NYC, where studio audiences are allowed for SNL but Broadway and restaurants suffer,” Joe Concha of The Hill adds.

Related: ‘Time to Cancel Everything:’ LA Mayor’s New Lockdown Order Plagued by Absurd Inconsistency and Overreach.

More: Gov. Gavin Newsom sidesteps questions on whether data supports new business closures.

KINSLEY GAFFE: Pelosi: I’m happy to cut a COVID-19 relief deal now that Trump lost the election. “This is an admission from Pelosi that she held up any relief to undermine Trump in the election. Under the circumstances, it’s disgusting, and this stench should stick to Pelosi just as the nuclear option and the Romney smear stenches stick to Harry Reid. Republicans should remind voters of this every day between now and the midterms, and it should be running as an ad in Georgia before the weekend is up. Shameful.”

AIRBRUSH ALERT: Wikipedia Page for New Biden COVID Czar Got a Good Scrubbing.

December 4, 2020

SORRY, I’M UNMOVED. FBI lawyer who lied to surveil Trump aide asks judge to spare him from prison. “Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith’s legal team is pleading with a judge not to send him to prison for lying to secure surveillance orders against President Trump’s 2016 campaign adviser Carter Page. . . . US District Judge James Boasberg is expected to hand down Clinesmith’s sentence on Thursday.”

JOHN HINDERAKER: Mask Jacobinism Runs Rampant.

OPEN THREAD: Welcome in the weekend. Hopefully without extended Disqus maintenance this time.

21ST CENTURY MOON RACE: China’s Chang’e 5 probe lifts off from moon carrying lunar samples.

DEVELOPING: Trump Pulls American Troops Out of Somalia.

DEMOCRATS BECOMING THE PARTY OF WELL-OFF WHITE PEOPLE:

SPACE: NASA will buy moon dirt from these 4 companies. “”We think it’s very important to establish the precedent that private-sector entities can extract, can take these resources, and NASA can purchase and utilize them to fuel not only NASA’s activities but a whole new dynamic era of public and private development in exploration on the moon and then, eventually, to Mars.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How to make the healthiest coffee. French presses, percolators, and espresso machines need not apply.

I was happy to discover that K-cups contain filters.

VIA TONI AIRAKSINEN ON FACEBOOOK:

So, Uber yesterday implored the CDC to consider their drivers as “essential” and thus deserving of early COVID-19 vaccination, just as the CDC plans to provide vaccination to the elderly and healthcare workers first.

No doubt, Uber’s request is driven by profit motive.

Uniquely, Uber has a generous sick-leave policy. Drivers who test positive for COVID get up to 14 days of paid leave. And their compensation is based on an average of how much they’ve earned in the prior three months.

So, Uber nabbing early access for COVID vaccines for their drivers translates into fewer compensation claims, thus less costs for Uber. That’s assuming the vaccine works and won’t kill you, of course.

But let’s look at this a different way.

Due to our cultural impetus to honor first responders, we’ve placed workers on a flimsy public-health and moral hierarchy. Doctors are at the top (even if said doctor is working completely by telehealth), while our grocery store clerks, baristas, and delivery drivers are at the bottom.

Do they get the vaccine first too?

Our cultural zeitgeist — driven by media’s bias towards the educated upper-class — has forgotten about these workers. This is the forgotten front-line. Your bodega guy. Semi-truck drivers. Cooks. Waitresses. Sex workers. Moving crews. Warehouse stockers.

Will these people also be considered “essential?” This is no more of a public health concern than a moral issue of whose lives we consider valuable to society.

Or what about the “invisible workers” — home cleaners, hotel crew, nannies, and the sanitation workers who arrive to grab your trash and leave before dawn?

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

And I know what you’re going to say… “but the young don’t get sick, they don’t need the vaccine!” Well, that’s mostly true. But that retort completely overlooks the possibility that these younger workers might be more likely to silently spread the virus.

“But healthcare workers come into contact with the sick exponentially more often!” That’s also true.

It’ll be fascinating to see how vaccine distribution pans out.

Does a CNA who already has to wear 3x layers of PPE while working a three hour shift twice a week get the vaccine before a poultry-plant worker who is given only one mask a week in a windowless slaughterhouse?

For the record, I have mixed feeling about Uber drivers considered essential for this purpose. As a weekly user of Uber since I landed in NYC, drivers since March have always rolled down their windows to increase ventilation. They already have significant PPE.

Those such as cooks, sex workers or your bodega guy often don’t have adaquete PPE. It’s my hope that eventually society will realize that who is considered “essential” shouldn’t be contingent on their socioeconomic status, but their risk-factors for both contracting and spreading the virus.

Remember, at the start of the pandemic, free food and care packages were sent to nurses and doctors. But how many of us thought about our neighbors who grease the wheels (sometimes literally) of our society?

Well, plenty of us did, but not among the technocrats or the media.

NOW SHIPPING FROM AMAZON, Joe Pappalardo’s Inferno: The True Story of a B-17 Gunner’s Heroism and the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History.

YOU KNOW TRUMP’S FOREIGN POLICY HAS BEEN A SUCCESS BECAUSE IT GETS SO LITTLE MEDIA ATTENTION:

IF IT MOVES, REGULATE IT: Apparently “stablecoins” (cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but pegged to the dollar) threaten minorities? All anything like this will do is drive innovation offshore, as it’s hard to think of anything less bound by borders than cryptocurrency.

(BTW, if you like news about law/policy affecting crypto, feel free to let me know in the comments – lots of interesting stuff in that whole area these days.)

DON’T TRUST CHINA. CHINA IS ASSHOLE. Gordon Chang: China Engaged in ‘an Act of War’ by Enflaming Antifa Riots in the U.S.

WELL, TO BE FAIR, HE HAD A LOT OF HELP FROM THE PRESS: Trump Won His Other Campaign — to Destroy Media Credibility.

GTT: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has told friends and associates he plans to move to Texas.

That’s “Gone To Texas,” as people used to say it in the old days.

GLEICHSCHALTUNG: Petty, Much? Etsy Bans Pro-Trump Slogan in Wake of Contested Election.

ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Yes, You Can Put Synthetic Oil in a Classic or Just Plain Old Car.

THE NEW UNTOUCHABLES:  Seattle contemplates exempting any citizen who suffers from poverty, homelessness, addiction, or mental illness from prosecution for so-called “crimes of poverty.”

WHY NOT TAKE A BREAK FROM THE SERIOUS NEWS FOR A FEW MINUTES? Florida Man Friday: Kentucky Mayor One-Ups Florida Man, Joins Harold & Kumar at White Castle.

THE GROWING ANTI-BIG TECH ALLIANCE: 40 States Joining Antitrust Lawsuit To Break-Up Facebook.

I HOPE SO: Can we make bones heal faster?

THANKS TO BREXIT:  The U.K. was able to put the Covid vaccine on a fast track for approval, because it is no longer controlled by Europe.

MICROBIOME NEWS: Gut microbiome disturbances linked to major depressive disorder.

YES. Enough Already: ‘Governor, May I?’ Must End.

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FASTER, PLEASE: NASA chooses 4 firms for first private lunar sample collection.

CALIFORNIA IS FINALLY REACHING PROGRESSIVE NIRVANA, WHERE EVERYTHING NOT COMPULSORY IS FORBIDDEN: Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti bans non-essential walking, and no we didn’t think he could do that either.

THIS MUST BE WHY POLITICIANS LIKE IT SO MUCH: Pandemic could be golden time for narcissists, study suggests.

LOL, “DEPOLITICIZE” THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: Biden wrestles with politics in effort to depoliticize the Justice Department. Remember, when Democratic apparatchiks in government pursue Democrats’ agendas, they’re “nonpartisan professional public servants.” When anything else happens, it’s “politicized justice.”

THE NEW YORK POST’S COVER TODAY:

Here’s the story.

LOCKDOWNS TODAY, LOCKDOWNS TOMORROW, LOCKDOWNS FOREVER! Biden says Fauci will be chief medical adviser.

EVERYTHING WITH THE LEFT IS PROJECTION:

Background: Mark Judge: Why Candace Owens Is Grossed Out by Harry Styles. Meh, I’m just bored by him. A man in a dress was norm-shattering back when I was being toilet trained. Now it’s just a tedious rehash. Styles didn’t do it because it was “brave.” If it were brave, he wouldn’t be the one doing it.

I love the Blade Runner reference, though.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: TEA Withdrawal Statistics Show Record Number of Students Leaving Public Schools.

LAURENCE JARVIK: Complete Transcript of President Donald J. Trump’s December 2nd Election Fraud Speech.

AMERICA’S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD: Elliot Page Retroactively Awarded 17 Oscars For Amazingly Convincing Portrayals Of Women.

GOVERNOR GRINCH: Gavin ‘French Laundry’ Newsom Imposes Draconian Lockdown … Just in Time for Christmas.

Bravely, Newsom will surely not allow any such restrictions to impact his holiday celebrations.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Joel Kotkin: The Real Fascist Threat Was Never Trump – It’s Corporate Power. “We cannot hope to have a functional democracy when property and information are controlled by a small number of companies tightly allied with political power.”

IN THE MAIL: Backlash: How China’s Aggression Has Backfired.

MY NEW YORK POST COLUMN: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ critics show they still despise ‘deplorables.’

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: It’s Simple — If They Can Loot and Riot, You Can Celebrate Christmas.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: How many members of the White House press corps did Kayleigh McEnany just send to the burn unit?

Answer: All of them.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • Don’t let the delivery grinch steal Christmas
  • Stolen valor: Hillary and Chelsea getting richer off of actual gutsy women
  • The funniest bit of 5G paranoia ever

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

ROGER SIMON: To Vote or Not to Vote…in Georgia. “As for whether I would vote in Georgia—academic in my case—yes, in the end, of course I would. But I might pretend I wasn’t going to for a while, just to keep certain people’s feet to the fire.”

MY EYES! ZE GOGGLES DO NOTHING! Project Veritas Strips CNN Naked.

UGH: Component failure in NASA’s deep-space crew capsule could take months to fix.

In early November, engineers at Lockheed Martin working on Orion noticed that a power component inside the vehicle had failed, according to an internal email and an internal PowerPoint presentation seen by The Verge. The component is within one of the spacecraft’s eight power and data units, or PDUs. The PDUs are the “main power/data boxes,” for Orion according to the email, responsible for activating key systems that Orion needs during flight.

Replacing the PDU isn’t easy. The component is difficult to reach: it’s located inside an adapter that connects Orion to its service module — a cylindrical trunk that provides support, propulsion, and power for the capsule during its trip through space. To get to the PDU, Lockheed Martin could remove the Orion crew capsule from its service module, but it’s a lengthy process that could take up to a year. As many as nine months would be needed to take the vehicle apart and put it back together again, in addition to three months for subsequent testing, according to the presentation.

Lockheed has another option, but it’s never been done before and may carry extra risks, Lockheed Martin engineers acknowledge in their presentation. To do it, engineers would have to tunnel through the adapter’s exterior by removing some of the outer panels of the adapter to get to the PDU. The panels weren’t designed to be removed this way, but this scenario may only take up to four months to complete if engineers figure out a way to do it.

Later today or this weekend, SpaceX will attempt the highest flight yet for the eighth prototype of the company’s Starship vehicle.

OLD AND BUSTED: 15 Days to Slow the Spread.

The New Hotness? Joe Biden says he’ll ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days.

Flashback: Four Pinocchios for Trump’s claim that he has ‘total authority’ over the states.

—The Washington Post, April 14th.

I GUESS THIS TELLS US WHO’S IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT:

BLUE ON BLUE: Tulsi Gabbard Lets Joe Biden Have It For Choosing Neera Tanden For OMB.

Gabbard shared a screenshot of an old email, allegedly sent by Tanden, in which she appeared to support the idea of confiscating oil from countries in which the United States had participated in nation building. (RELATED: Tulsi Gabbard Bucks Party, Supports SCOTUS Decision That Reined In Andrew Cuomo)

“Neera Tanden thinks the way to reduce our deficit is to steal oil from countries like Libya to pay us back for bombing them, toppling their government, and turning them into a failed state. @JoeBiden Is this really the person you want in charge of managing our budget?” she asked.

Previously: ‘Don’t back down’: Tulsi Gabbard tells Trump he has her full support in terminating Section 230.

A PANDEMIC-INSPIRED BABY BUST? Experts are predicting ghost-town maternity wards for at least the next year, thanks to the Pandemic. But Breakpoint’s John Stonestreet and Shane Morris say hold on, there’s more to it than Covid.

HIGHER EDUCATION HAS CHOSEN SIDES: Double standard? University president fawns over Kamala Harris, while others reject Amy Coney Barrett.

MY NEW YORK POST COLUMN: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ critics show they still despise ‘deplorables.’

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