Air Date 12/18/2021
[00:00:00] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: Welcome to this episode of the award-winning Best of less podcast in which we should take a look at the roadmap to authoritarianism. We are currently following, including the detailed and multifaceted roadmap to a coup that was practiced leading up to January 6th and is being refined in preparation for the 2024 election clips.
Today are from the METI Hassan show, the Thom Hartmann program. Democracy now and the Chauncey to Vegas show with additional members, only clips from the broadcast and the politics of everything.
How To Dismantle A Democracy - The Mehdi Hasan Show - Air Date 8-3-21
[00:00:33] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: You worked for a time in Hungary? I believe Orbans government was also a major case study in your book on fascism. And this morning, your tweeted quote, it's traitorous to wish upon the United States. What Orban has done to Hungary. It's that simple. Now I can imagine Tucker Carlson tilting his head and giving you his patented confused look.
He would say I'm an American Patriot. Why is he wrong? And why is he looking to Hungary
[00:00:59] JASON STANLEY: It's anti freedom. If there's one thing we should agree on left and right. It's that the United States its core value. Its core. Ideal is. freedom And Orban is anti freedom. He's closed down the media. It's all Fox news all the time.
there All the Hungarian language stations are Fox news. Everyone has to be afraid of the courts for fining them, uh, there's no business freedom. Uh, so, uh, if, if one of Orbans cronies or friends wants your. Then the courts can simply levy fines against you. Uh, that kind of environment is bad for every kind of freedom that is shared across from libertarians and America, to, uh, to liberals and progressives economic freedom, uh, freedom for sexual minorities for our LGBT CUSA citizen, uh, fellow citizens, all of that is under dire threat, or in fact ended.
Uh, you know, so you couldn't vote in gerrymandered, rigged in J in gerrymandered districts. Uh, but everyone just gets the same propaganda beamed.
[00:02:11] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: You talk about voting in gerrymandered districts. Ruth, let me bring you in today in your newsletter lucid, you wrote the Victor Orban excels at electoral autocracy. What does that mean? And why is it different from other forms of authoritarianism? What makes it dangerous for America in 2021
[00:02:28] RUTH BE-GHIAT: So, Orban is the poster child for 21st century brand of authoritarianism where he calls it illiberal democracy, and the democracy helps him to keep busy you funding and, and, you know, the, the, the near of freedom.
But, uh, what, what it means is that you, you don't, uh, you don't do a mass, you know, imprisonments, at least in his thing. You have elections, but as Jason said, they, uh, I'll have to go in your favor and you keep a tiny pocket of opposition. So the conference, so Tucker is there Carlson to speak at a conference, uh, at, uh, as part of, uh, that's funded by the Orban government and there they have some.
Uh, of war bond to keep, when you have Westerners around, you keep the veneer of freedom up. And so he likes to say that he's not a dictator, although his nickname is the dictator, uh, and that he is not a dictator because it's in liberal democracy.
[00:03:32] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: Yes And he's been embraced, not just by the American, right, but by the British right. And various quote unquote mainstream right-wing parties across Europe and the west, uh, Jason Allbound has been known for championing the idea of the great replacement, a white supremacist conspiracy theory that says brown immigrants will outbreed white people will breed, uh, white Europeans out of existence, which is interesting and offensive, but interesting and offensive because just a few weeks ago, Tucker Carlson said this live on air.
[00:04:04] TUCKER CARLSON: Now I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical. If you use the term replacement, if you suggest that the democratic party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots with new people, more obedient voters from the third world, but they become hysterical because that's what's happening. Actually. Let's just say it. That's true.
[00:04:28] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: Jason, the great replacement theory to be clear is what inspired the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. It's anti-Semitic it's Islamophobic, it's white supremacist, and the most influential conservative journalists in America believes in it is normalizing it. What does that say about modern American concerns?
[00:04:47] JASON STANLEY: Well, this is fascist ideology. It's Anders Breivik who says self identified as a fascist and Norwegian mass murderer. It's a New Zealand murderer who had the same views. A great replacement theory was the basis of the French fascist , uh, phase views. Uh, this is a European. Fascism, uh, and it's, it has deep American roots as well.
The Europeans borrowed it from our 1920s immigration policy. So we're seeing, we're seeing again, the fascist, what Mussolini helped develop the fascist international, uh, uh, Uh, all over the world, uh, demanding, pure ethnic homelands, and you can see Carlson, uh, normalizing that he's been normalizing it for years now.
It's not just this year. In 2019 uh, he also praised Orban for similar nativist sentiments. We're seeing this kind of a fascist international, these kinds of ultra negative. Athletic movements and India, Israel all over the world really right now. And Orban is very much the mastermind because, or, or, or at least laid out the playbook because he's doing it in a nonviolent way for the most.
He's laying, he's targeting sexual minorities, ethnic minorities, raising panic about immigration, uh, claiming that he's a defender of Western civilization, a white, white Christian nationalism. Hungary is the standard bearer for white Christian nationalism. And he's using the courts, uh, to, to, uh, to, to enforce and, and, and, and create this autocracy and driving out universities, targeting, uh, intellectuals, or, uh, you know, so.
[00:06:35] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: Jason, I'm glad you mentioned India and your list of the countries and the quote unquote fascist international, because it's a reminder that the nationalism we're dealing with is not just white nationalism. Authoritarian, nationalism comes in different guises and colors and Ruth, I just want to mention on the subject of nationalism, which I know you're an expert on, isn't it weird that a lot of these national.
On actually pro their own country. Tucker Carlson himself famously said this a couple of years ago. I have a listen. I'm serious. Like I do. I tell you why and why shouldn't I root for Russia?
Talk to you later said he was joking about rooting for Russia, but it gets at a deeper truth just in the past two weeks. We've had American conservatives openly rooting against us gymnasts against us. Women's soccer players at the Olympics, as well as ridiculing Capitol police who will hunt in the insurrection American nationalists don't seem to actually like.
[00:07:34] RUTH BE-GHIAT: Well, there's two Americas. There's the America of the included and everyone else should be locked up right in Trump's formulation. And fascism always had this dual nature. It was hyper, uh, xenophobic and, you know, my way or the highway, but it was also internationalist and Orban is very significant and it's very serious that Tucker's been as propagating.
Because Orban has invested a lot in being a mentor of far, right. Politicians like Austrian chancellor, quartz, and Matteo Salvini that the racist league in Italy. And there's a lot of activity in trying to, uh, create this kind of neo-fascist far right culture. And he's in the center. And so it's very significant that Tucker Carlson chose to devote a whole week of programming to Hungary, a country that most Fox viewers don't think about at all, probably, but he's sending a message and it reminds us that there's not, we're not just living through a design to take down American democracy from within, but to take America out of the realm of democracy globally and insert it into this kind of new fascist international.
Will There Be Accountability for Treason On Jan 6th? - The Thom Hartmann Program - Air Date 12-14-21
[00:08:45] THOM HARTMANN - HOST, THE THOM HARTMANN PROGRAM: Let's just jump into this. What we're learning as a result of this January 6th committee and the work that they're doing about actually what happened, first of all, we've got this PowerPoint presentation, how to commit treason and how to overthrow a country, how to stage a coup. Another member of Congress, by the way, this morning, he kind of stumbled around it, but he was saying to somebody that there's an old saying about coups and if an unsuccessful coup -- and what he was trying to say was, what do they call an unsuccessful coup? Practice! That was what he was trying to say. I was listening to it going, "yayy!"
But anyhow, there's this 38 page PowerPoint out there that came out of the committee this week, I believe, or maybe late last week, in fact it was late last week, as a result of Mark Meadows turning over a bunch of, some 8,000 documents to the January 6th treason committee. And it is being characterized -- and Judd Legum did a really great job of this over at popular.info this morning -- it's being characterized by multiple news sources, mainstream corporate media, as wild and crazy. I mean, literally using those words. " Extreme", doubting whether it was even seriously considered. Well, here are the five bullet points that were at the top of this PowerPoint: Number one, brief senators and congressmen on foreign interference. Number two, declare national security emergency. Number three, foreign influence and control of electronic voting systems. Number four, declare electronic voting in all states invalid. And Number five, legal and genuine paper ballots are constitutional remedy delegated to Congress. In other words, throw the election to the House of Representatives and let the Republicans choose Trump as the president.
Let's just go through those five things. So the first point was "brief senators and congressmen on foreign interference". That actually happened. Congressman Waldron told the Washington Post that he briefed Ron Johnson, Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin and Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and other members of Congress, who he refused to identify, on president Trump's belief that foreign governments had meddled in our elections.
Isn't this ironic in 2020, he's saying this after what happened in 2016? Anyhow, that foreign governments had meddled in our election and therefore the Biden victory should be considered illegitimate. So that actually happened. The first thing in the PowerPoint presentation, they actually did the briefing.
The second point in the PowerPoint presentation, the Mark Meadows treason PowerPoint, "declare national security emergency." Well, Trump never actually pulled the plug, the switch on a national security emergency. He really didn't have an opportunity to. The time to do that would have been if Mike Pence stood up and said, I am rejecting the electoral college ballots from Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin. If he just listed a half a dozen states, the so-called swing states, and Georgia, and said, I'm rejecting these ballots because of voter fraud. And I am going to throw the election into the House of Representatives, where there are 30 congressional delegations controlled by Republicans out of the 50. And surprise, surprise, the election would have been given to Trump. Which is as I've been pointing out since I published a piece about this in March a year ago, almost two years ago in March of 2020, I laid out this is exactly what happened -- or not exactly, it's very close to what happened in 1876 in that Tilden-Hayes election where Tilden got the majority of the popular vote and Tilden got the majority of the electoral college vote, but because there were four states who submitted dueling slates of electors, they submitted electors for both Tilden and Hayes because they were messing with the election. These were states that were controlled in the three Southern states were still controlled by Confederates. The Union army was there, but they were unhappy about it. And the fourth state was Oregon, which was controlled by the Ku Klux Klan, which was sympathetic to the Confederacy, shall we say. And, as I pointed out, so that would have been the point when Mike Pence gets up there and says, I'm throwing this to the House of Representatives, that would have been the point at which the president would have declared a national emergency and mobilize the National Guard all across the United States and said, okay, if people pour out there to the streets, we're going to start shooting them.
Now he clearly was setting this up. Keep in mind, this is point number two on the PowerPoint presentation. He said -- this is his January 6th speech -- we won, we won in a landslide. That was a landslide. They say, it's not American to challenge an election. This is the most corrupt election in history, maybe in the world. In fact, it's so egregious, it's so bad that a lot of people don't even believe in it. It's so crazy. Don't believe it. This is not just a matter of domestic politics. This is a matter of national security, said Trump, He's tweaking this. He's getting it ready, right? And he's laying the groundwork. He had similarly called on the governor of Georgia in a tweet saying why won't governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, the hapless governor of Georgia use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinant secretary of state blah-di-blah.
Use your emergency powers. Declare a state of emergency. That was number two on the PowerPoint presentation. He was clearly getting that ready.
Number three on the PowerPoint presentation: Foreign influence and control of electronic voting systems. On November 29th, 2020 on Fox Business, Trump said, quote, "Votes recorded on Dominion voting machines are counted in foreign countries." he repeated that same claim, Judd Legum writes over at popular.info on December 2nd, 2020. On December 22nd, Trump promoted a tweet on his Twitter feed, encouraging Pence to reject the electors certified by the electoral college because of China, Russia, and Iran. So it's all right there. Right? This is, this is point number three.
Point number four on the PowerPoint: Declare electronic voting in all states invalid, genuine and legal paper ballots.
In a speech to our troops, for God's sake, on November 26, 2020, Thanksgiving, Donald Trump said to the troops, quote, "Those machines are fixed. They're rigged. You can press Trump and the vote goes to Biden. All they have to do is play with a chip and it's shown all the time. All you have to do is play with a chip and they played with a chip, especially in Wayne county in Detroit. In Philadelphia...."
So he's following the PowerPoint to a T here, perfectly. On December 2nd, 2020, he said "It's name is Dominion. With a turn of a dial, with a change of a chip, you can press a button for Trump and the vote goes to Biden." That was an a national speech.
And then of course the other key slide in the PowerPoint presentation was "Options for January 6th." Vice-president Pence seats Republican electors over the objections of Democrats in the states where the fraud occurred, number one. Number two, vice-president Pence rejects the electors from states where fraud occurred, causing the election to be decided by remaining electoral votes. And number three, vice-president Pence delays the decision in order to allow for a vetting and subsequent counting to have all the legal paper ballots.
This is where Pence blew it up. And Trump knew this was coming and he was trying to stop it. This is what he said in his January 6th speech. Again, perfectly following the script of the PowerPoint, the treason PowerPoint, how to do a coup presentation that Mark Meadows turned over to Congress. This is from January 6th, Trump's speech quote, "Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. All he has to do. This is the, from the number one or certainly one of the top constitutional lawyers in our country. He has the absolute right to do it. I just spoke to Mike. I said, Mike, that doesn't take courage. What takes courage is to do nothing, that takes courage." In other words, to refuse to count the ballots, the electoral college ballots.
And then Trump goes out to say, "and then we're stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot. We have to live with that for four more years. We're just not going to let that happen."
So we're finding out sort of what's happened in the White House.
This is the big thing that they want Meadows to testify: what was Trump doing? What was Trump's saying for this three, three plus hours that the Capitol was under assault?
Trump was following this PowerPoint to a T.
So what else was going on at that time? Well, this report that just came out of the January 6th committee, this came out I believe it was Saturday or Sunday, says, quote, "Mr. Meadows reportedly spoke with Kashyap Patel" this is Kash Patel, who was then the chief of staff to former acting secretary of defense, Christopher Miller quote, "nonstop" end quotes, throughout the day of January 6th. And among other things, Mr. Meadows apparently knows if and when Mr. Trump was engaged in discussions regarding the National Guard's response to the Capitol riot.
Now, the first part of this is how Trump tried to gin up and freak out his followers so that they would go try to hang Mike Pence and assassinate Nancy Pelosi, and steal the election. And then he would declare a state of emergency. So we've got all that. But what was the Pentagon doing at this time? Well, this is the chief of staff to the secretary of defense. The secretary of defense runs the Pentagon. This chief of staff is his gatekeeper, and he was talking to Mark Meadows, the gatekeeper for Donald Trump, continuously through January 6th?
Kash Patel was the gatekeeper for Chris Miller, the secretary of defense. Chris Miller, who on January 4th wrote a letter to the DC National Guard saying that without my subsequent personal authorization, the DC National Guard is not authorized to be issued weapons, ammunition, bayonets, helmets or ballistic protection equipment, is not authorized to interact physically with protesters, is not authorized to employ any riot control agents -- in other words, no tear gas -- is not authorized to share equipment with law enforcement agencies -- in other words, the Capitol Police -- is not authorized to use intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets, is not authorized to employ helicopters or other air assets, is not authorized to conduct searches, seizures, arrests, or other similar direct law enforcement activity, and is not authorized to seek support from any non-DC National Guard units in the country.
You'll recall the governor of Maryland was desperately trying to get the Maryland National Guard to the Capitol. They were only five miles away. And the defense department said no.
Mark Meadows Held in Contempt of Congress as Jan. 6 Probe Expands. How Long Can Trump Hold Out? Democracy Now! - Air Date 12-15-21
[00:19:41] AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: The House voted to Tuesday to hold former President Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Meadows is now the first former congressmember ever held in criminal contempt by Congress and the first held in contempt since 1832, when former Congressman Sam Houston was held in contempt for beating a colleague with a cane.
The vote came after the committee released a second batch of text messages from people begging Meadows to convince Trump to stop the deadly attack. This is Democratic Congressmember Jamie Raskin reading text messages sent to Meadows’ phone by Republicans on January 6th.
[00:20:33] REP. JAMIE RASKIN: A whole set of messages that were discovered in asking questions to Mr. Meadows, including Republican lawmakers and others sending frantic messages saying, “We are under siege up here at the Capitol,” “They have breached the Capitol,” “Mark, protesters are literally storming the Capitol, breaking windows on our doors, rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?” “There’s an armed standoff at the House chamber door,” “We are all helpless.”
[00:21:07] AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: The text messages to Meadows are part of evidence he turned over to the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Tuesday’s vote came after the seven Democrats and two Republican committee members voted unanimously to seek contempt charges against Meadows. This is the vice chair of the committee, Republican Liz Cheney, reading private text messages sent to Meadows’ personal cellphone by Fox News hosts on January 6th.
[00:21:38] REP. LIZ CHENEY: Quote, “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home … this is hurting all of us … he is destroying his legacy,” Laura Ingraham wrote. “Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished,” Brian Kilmeade texted. Quote, “Can he make a statement? … Ask people to leave the Capitol,” Sean Hannity urged. As the violence continued, one of the president’s sons texted Mr. Meadows, quote, “He’s got to condemn this [bleep] ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” Donald Trump Jr. texted.
[00:22:25] AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: Those were text messages sent to Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows by Fox News hosts on January 6th. This was the response Monday on Fox News from Sean Hannity.
[00:22:39] SEAN HANNITY: The hyperpartisan, predetermined outcome, anti-Trump January 6 committee just voted 9 to 0 to hold Mark Meadows in contempt for refusing to comply with their orders.
[00:22:51] AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: Sean Hannity also had Mark Meadows back as a guest on his show to discuss the vote to hold him in contempt, but Hannity did not bring up the text message he sent Meadows during the Capitol riots.
This comes as the January 6 committee has also voted to cite former White House adviser Stephen Bannon and ex-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark for contempt of Congress after they refused to testify after receiving a subpoena.
For more, we’re joined Jose Pagliery. He is political investigations reporter at The Daily Beast. He’s been following all of this very closely. One of his latest pieces is headlined “Mark Meadows’ Personal Cell Is Becoming a Personal Hell.”
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Jose. So, let’s talk about the significance of this moment. This is the first time in U.S. history a congressmember has been held in criminal contempt and only the second time in, what, almost 200 years, been held in contempt. Talk about these thousands of pages that he himself gave to the committee, or his lawyers did, based on — we don’t even know his official phone, his White House phone, but this was his personal cellphone, thousands of pages, even though he is refusing to cooperate.
[00:24:11] JOSE PAGLIERY: Well, good morning, Amy.
I’ve got to say, this is also the first time in history that a former member of Congress has become a chief of staff who tried to help a president stage a coup. And so what we’re seeing here is absolutely new ground, but it’s par for the course.
So, Mark Meadows and his situation is quickly worsening, and to understand it, we’ve got to realize this is the problem that a man creates by himself by only going halfway. He received a subpoena from the committee to turn over documents and to show up for a deposition. And just recently did we discover that this entire time that the committee has been saying that they’ve been engaging with him, what’s actually been going on behind the scenes is that they’ve just been delaying — not the committee; Mark Meadows and his legal team. So, for the past two months they fought off showing up for the deposition. They fought off any document — you know, turning over any documents. It wasn’t until really the end of November, basically, where they started turning over reams of data.
And when they did, what’s curious here is that it didn’t come from the kind of stuff that you’d expect to be at the National Archives, like the things that would be on his official phone or his official computer. What he was turning over was stuff from two Gmail accounts and his personal cellphone. Now, this is where it gets really curious, because, first off, you’re not supposed to have official work on your personal electronics. He would know that. This is one of the top Republicans who went after Hillary Clinton for her emails in her private server. And so he knew that from the beginning.
But in turning over this stuff over to the committee, he was also trapping himself, essentially. One, he was trying to claim executive privilege on some of them, thereby admitting that, essentially, it shouldn’t be in his possession now. And, two, the stuff he was turning over hinted at what could be in the other material that he’s not turning over. Like you said, these text messages between him and Fox News hosts and the text messages that he got from Donald Trump Jr. clearly show that he was in the know on January 6th, in the run-up to and after, on this plot to stop the certification of election results from 2020.
But the trap that’s really going to get him here is the following. It’s three parts. One, if these are official texts, they shouldn’t be on his personal cellphone. Two, if they are official communications for the executive branch, then that phone should not be reimbursed by donors for his congressional campaign, which is something we discovered. And the third point is, if this phone is being reimbursed by his congressional campaign, given that he’s no longer a congressman, they shouldn’t be used in a personal capacity. And so he’s absolutely trapped here.
One of the things that I’ve spoken to about with a former archivist for the United States is that the stuff he’s got on his personal devices needed to have been turned over to the National Archives on his way out the door. The fact that he didn’t do that could also potentially land him problems by being in violation of the Presidential Records Act.
And so, really what we’ve got here is Mark Meadows, for reasons that are yet to be determined, essentially making himself a martyr for the former president and just attracting all this trouble on himself, where, inevitably, what’s going to happen is, if the Justice Department comes after him, he’s facing jail time or huge fines. And this is going to be a problem for him going forward, because this is not escapable.
All of this hinges on the idea about whether or not a former president can claim executive privilege. And that’s something we can talk about, too, because the Trump case right now, that clearly is headed to the Supreme Court, is going to essentially determine the outcome for Mark Meadows, Steve Bannon, as you mentioned, and also Jeffrey Clark, that official at the Department of Justice, who’s since left, but, while he was there, tried to play a central role in essentially turning over the election in 2020.
[00:28:03] JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Jose, I wanted to follow up on that latter portion of your remarks there in terms of this issue of the executive privilege eventually — issue going to the Supreme Court. Isn’t the effort of Meadows and the Trump followers to drag this out, to run out the clock past the November elections, when hopefully they can regain control, from their perspective, of Congress and short-circuit this entire investigation?
[00:28:35] JOSE PAGLIERY: Well, Juan, that’s certainly the position of the Department of Justice under the Biden administration. I mean, they’ve said in court papers that this is absolutely a delay tactic. I mean, the committee also is accusing this of being such. But while that does appear to be the case, there also seems to be something else at play here.
Reporting that I did last week reflects that Steve Bannon’s legal strategy appears not just to be a manner of delaying this, hoping that maybe if they stretch this out until late next year that we’ve got an election and then things get sort of fuzzy, but also that if there’s a case against Bannon, Bannon’s legal team seems to think that they can then use that as a way to reach into the Department of Justice, reach into the White House and try to seek documents that would purportedly show that this is a political prosecution. And so, this perfectly well fits Bannon’s strategy, right? We know him as this right-wing provocateur who is, frankly, really intelligent and smart at playing games with journalists, but also with messaging, with public messaging. And so, he seems to be trying to turn the tables here and say, “Well, forget the committee’s work for a second. What did the Biden administration do to me?” And in doing so, we can see how three different characters here — four, essentially, actually, if you consider Steve Bannon, Jeff Clark at the DOJ, Mark Meadows and then Trump himself — are trying to essentially not just block the committee’s work but turn it upside down.
All these cases, though — it has to be said, all of these cases and any effort to block the committee’s work claiming executive privilege, it all hinges on Trump’s legal challenge, which deserves a close look, because everyone I’ve spoken to, every legal scholar, everyone who’s really knowledgeable about the Constitution and is currently teaching at a law school, has told me that there is no way that a former president can claim executive privilege that overrides the current president deciding to release those records to Congress. That said, we are also dealing with a Supreme Court that has been packed by that very former president.
And so, it has yet to be determined what exactly is going to come out of this, but at the very least, like you said, Juan, there’s going to be delays. And the problem with delays are at least twofold. One, we can run into the problem where if this stretches on until late next year, then maybe if it goes beyond the election, then there won’t be a Democrat-led committee. Maybe it will be Republican-led. And we all know what’s going to happen there. It’s going to just fizzle and disappear. On the other hand, though, the delay also buys time for people to delete information, to coordinate responses, to essentially drag this out so that the evidence is not as fresh. And that could also be problematic, because in this case, time is absolutely of the essence.
American Democracy Is Under Attack - The Mehdi Hasan Show - Air Date 12-10-21
[00:31:24] PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It doesn't happen by accident. We have to renew it with each generation. And this is an urgent matter.
[00:31:33] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! That was president Joe Biden sounding the alarm at the White House today about global democracy at risk. And not a moment too soon, because, you know what they say about political activism: think global, act local.
[00:31:49] PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: In my view, this is the defining challenge of our time. Democracy -- government of the people, by the people, for the people -- can at times be fragile, but it also is inherently resilient. It's capable of self-correction and it's capable of self-improvement.
[00:32:07] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: I hope DC's politics and prose bookstore has a good section on democracy self-improvement. Because the president needs to get down there ASAP and stop browsing the book stacks. I mean, we keep warning that for Donald Trump, the January 6th attack on the Capitol was practice. Another assault on American democracy is underway right now. Top aides and allies to Trump continue to fight the investigation into the events that led to the attack.
19 states have enacted new laws this year that will make it harder to vote, 19. And the Republican effort to undermine voting rights isn't anywhere near over yet. There's also blatant gerrymandering in the wake of the 2020 census that will all but ensure a Republican victory in the House that is not representative of the will of the people.
And don't get me started on the Senate. It's madness over there.
So please, please, Mr. President, tell us what you're planning to do about it. We're all ears.
[00:32:59] PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: My administration is going to keep fighting to pass two critical pieces of legislation that will shore up the very foundation of American democracy, the sacred right of every person to make their voice heard through free, fair and secure elections.
[00:33:14] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: I'm sorry, what was that? You're going to keep fighting? Is this president laboring under the misapprehension that what his administration has done so far counts as fighting? That it's even sufficient?
As I've already reported on this show, this week, because the president is correct that there isn't a more urgent issue facing the nation, but we are almost a year into his first term in office and not a single piece of voting rights legislation has been passed, not a single one. The For the People Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Act -- all blocked by Republicans in the Senate, all by using a filibuster that plenty of Senate Democrats still support.
How can the president of these less-than United States speechify to other world leaders about backsliding democracies going unchecked -- a list that the US is on for the very first time, by the way, backsliding democracies. How could he do that and not seem to ramp up the campaign of what he's ready to do here at home to save democracy?
[00:34:12] PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Faith in ourselves and in our democracies and each other. That's what this summit is about. I'm so looking forward to a productive session and discussions that we'll have over the next two days. I'm looking forward to the connections we'll build to support our work moving forward.
So let's get to work.
[00:34:29] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: Come on, Joe! Summits are not the answer. They are window dressing. Same as the gingerbread house in the state dining room, and the more than three dozen Christmas trees deployed throughout the White House right now. Look: Who does a recent American citizen have to call to actually get something done, to save US democracy? Santa Claus?
Joining me now is Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale and the author of How Fascism Works. Jason, thanks for coming back on the show tonight.
Joe Biden called this summit. He sounded the alarm. But let's start by asking a very blunt question: Is the United States really in a place to be lecturing other countries about democracy right now?
[00:35:09] JASON STANLEY: Well, we're all hypocrites because we all, in a system of injustice, all of us benefit from undemocratic institutions, private universities, private media. So there's hypocrisy here when the United States is under really an existential threat, not just from the electoral laws, but the attacks on our education system, which will result in less informed voters. And the protests laws: 45 states have considered 230 bills regulating protest. 36 of them have been enacted. These are bills that you have to think of in tandem with the attack on the electoral system, because they're preparing us for the protests that would greet the stealing of an election.
So you have this very open anti-democratic movement happening, funded also by the oil companies, many of these anti protest bills restrict protests and illegalized protests near pipelines. So it's all happening at once. This structure of big oil, companies, many different business interests that are threatened by democracy whose work is against the public good. And pushing this along with this movement.
[00:36:25] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: And yet the president doesn't seem to be doing much about it. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin notes that Joe Biden today said failure on voting rights is not an option, but then he avoided any remarks on the filibuster. How can Biden say that he's doing anything in regards to voting rights and preserving democracy if he continually refuses to engage in the debate over the filabuster?
[00:36:47] JASON STANLEY: He must, he simply must. But one wonders what's going on behind the scenes. For instance, Senator Manchin, I mean, I think that the Republicans have kind of left him alone. If there were any sign at all that Senator Manchin would support these voting rights bills, I assume they would target him. So I think something is going on there. You can see the systematic attack happening. You can't just isolate one part. It's so massive. The attack on the education system, so that when there are protests, Americans won't understand their cause and will call for ever more violent police reaction.
The attack on protests of the gerrymandering, all of this. And we're a very young democracy anyway. So, we've only became arguably a somewhat more complete democracy in the 1960s. So we're a very young democracy and a fragile democracy. And what you're seeing is that fragility being severely tested.
[00:37:45] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: When we look at American democracy, some of its many flaws predate Trump. It's very easy to say it's about Trump and the Republicans and what state parties are doing. But a lot of the flaws they are baked into the system, to the Constitution, to the way we do things for decades, things like the electoral college or a anti-majoritarian Senate. Or the fact that politicians can draw their own districts and blatantly gerrymander.
I mean, Biden's sitting with a bunch of Western democracies; in no other Western democracy do I know of politicians being able to draw their own boundaries in the way that they do here in the United States. There are broader institutional problems with American democracy, are there not?
[00:38:22] JASON STANLEY: We're nowhere near a democracy, because what democracy would have one party win the popular vote and seven out of eight presidential elections and lose most of those elections?
So, we're not a democracy. The Senate empowers states with very few residents. And the Supreme Court has been acting undemocratically. Now, one thing one has to realize is if you want to topple a democracy, you take over the courts. It's the first thing you do. And so we have a court takeover, the results of the court takeover we've been seeing for many years when the Voting Rights Act, key provisions of the Voting Rights Act were struck down, and a number of other anti-democratic measures. We see in real time why the courts are so important.
You target democracy, you take over the courts and the schools so you have an uninformed citizenry. And what we're seeing is the fruits of that, the multi-year fruits of that. So we also have to pay attention to what we're going to do about a Supreme Court that has been stacked with conservatives, despite the fact that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million in 2016.
[00:39:24] MEHDI HASAN - HOST, THE MEHDI HASAN SHOW: A lot of what you're describing, Jason, seems to have taken place in Hungary, as you and I have discussed before: the stacking of the courts, the takeover of the media, the takeover of universities, this kind of illiberal democracy, what Orban rather generously calls his own system. Hungary was not invited to participate in this global democracy summit today by the White House. He was a cherished visitor to the White House under the Trump. What did you make a decision not to invite Orban to this gathering?
[00:39:52] JASON STANLEY: You that would have been completely absurd to invite Orban. I mean, 90% of the media in Hungary is in some way, shape or form government controlled. You have the courts dominated by Orban's lackeys. Hungary is the country or most of the citizens only speak Hungarian, so taking over the media really is powerful there.So a democracy is not just a majority votes. I mean, if you know, the majority of Russians would vote for Putin, when you have a lack of information, when you have a lack of options, when you have the relentless vilification of opponents and the manufacturing of fake opponents, like critical race theory, to create fear and panic, you're not going to have a democratic system. I mean, North Koreans would vote for their leader again and again. So can't invite Hungary.
There is No "Nice" or "Kind" Way to Warn the American People About the Rising Fascist Tide and Disaster - The Chauncey DeVega Show - Air Date 12-8-21
[00:40:45] CHAUNCEY DEVEGA - HOST, THE CHAUNCEY DEVEGA SHOW: To try to do this type of truth-telling, you got to go to sometimes a dark place, and you have to be willing to confront things other people are not willing to confront, and you gotta be able to manage that energy. But this is mighty frustrating stuff.
[00:40:57] RUTH BEN-GHIAT: For me, it's not so much frustration. It's that like some people, including you, I've had a kind of moments where I see things very clearly that the way that things could unfold, I'm not saying I'm a psychic, it's like informed intuition. And that was the case when Trump first came in, I wrote this CNN op-ed and the title was "Trump and Bannon's Coup in the Making," February 1st, 2018, where I just saw that they were going to have this takeover, the civil service, and that chaos was going to be the standard.
And it scared me. And I had to go do yoga in the middle of writing this piece.
So I've had moments like that where it's less frustration, it's just this, as you say, going to the dark place, intuitions of how things might go. And I just manage them where I find I've over this period I need to be in nature more, I need to take walks more, do exercise, I need to read about stuff that's not politics. It's managing the frustration. It's managing the feeling of perhaps being overwhelmed by all this knowledge and foresight that one has.
[00:42:09] CHAUNCEY DEVEGA - HOST, THE CHAUNCEY DEVEGA SHOW: It's funny you say that because when I don't stick to my daily routine of several walks, I sit and talk to animals, I see at least three movies a week, playing a video game or reading the comic book before bed. I know it's not good before bed, but hey, helps me. If I don't do those things, I'm out of sorts and I don't have enough energy to proceed. So I was just looking back at what I wrote today. And I said, I got a secret counsel. Cause we're both thinking about when do you leave? You know, when the hell do you get out? How do we negotiate that? That took a lot out of me to write. And then I've been looking at some of the other things I've written and I don't realize it till after the fact. And writing about these things, if you don't keep balance will drain you.
[00:42:42] RUTH BEN-GHIAT: Sometimes you have to step back, by which I don't mean retreating, I mean the things that you just talked about, in order to be replenished and restored to continue the fight. So not a weakness to have whatever it means for you to have this playtime, because it's very easy to get burned out. Because the task before us is very momentous and we're also doing heavy lifting.
It's hard to mobilize people to keep something that they don't know what it's like to lose. They take certain rights for granted. Maybe it's who you are. I think African-Americans don't take voting rights for granted and women don't perhaps take reproductive rights right now for granted, but the whole idea, some people still can't wrap their head around, that America won't always be a democracy.
And so you have to mobilize people to keep something they've always had. That's hard. And so we're doing the heavy lifting of telling them just how bad it can get. Yeah. As you say, that's taxing.
[00:43:46] CHAUNCEY DEVEGA - HOST, THE CHAUNCEY DEVEGA SHOW: Is it just denial? Is it a failure of imagination? So much of this feels -- cause we don't talk enough about the politics of emotion, especially in these types of moments in this country -- to me, not that we have gifted insight or vision, we're not psychics. This seems like a great anti-climax. Not to say they're not going to be twists and turns in the story. But is it that folks just can't confront what almost seems like path dependency at this point? Is it just some sort of denial, anger, rage? How are you making sense of it from the historical context? But they keep looking for hope, trying to come up with some other story.
[00:44:18] RUTH BEN-GHIAT: Well, this is why I didn't use the word "fascism," because people were looking for the Reichstag fire. Now we kind of had it with January 6th. But they think it's gonna look like it used to look, or it still does in North Korea or China, where it's going to be very quick and all the freedom will be shut down and you'll have a one party state. And it doesn't work like that anymore.
And so people don't know what to be alarmed at. It's so gradual. So that's one thing is how gradual it is. Its evolution, not revolution. And it's going on at the state level. And so one state after another is losing more rights,. But they're still states in which they're going to be more freedoms. So people can rationalize that is not so bad.
This is just human nature and history. You know, German Jews stayed in Nazi Germany because they thought, well, okay, this will be the last persecution. And then the same thing happened with Italian Jews after Mussolini did the laws against them; oh, it's not going to be like Germany. So everybody finds a way to rationalize because, as you and I've written, is about going into exile.
It's to realize the enormity of what's happening is that people might have to make decisions that change their life. Or if you don't want to be so dramatic, they might have to start doing something, sticking their neck out, or sacrifice some of their income, to give, to donate. And many people don't want to enter into that zone.
[00:45:46] CHAUNCEY DEVEGA - HOST, THE CHAUNCEY DEVEGA SHOW: And what about your members of the mainstream news media, political class? The idea that the language they're using is sort of the language of normal politics. And they're dealing with folk basically replacing normal politics, small L D, liberal democracy politics, with violence, with fascism, authoritarianism, whatever language we want to use. And I listened to folks with their commentaries, their horse race journalism, they're both sides-ism. They're using the wrong language in the wrong framework.
What are they seeing or not, or is again, just denial? Cause I talked to these folks, I feel like I'm speaking Greek or Aramaic and they keep wanting to believe that these frameworks apply. You don't know what you're dealing with, or you don't want to know.
[00:46:24] RUTH BEN-GHIAT: Some of them may know, if you accept press critics like Jay Rosen and Eric Boehlert, and he's constantly calling them out. It's really great. That's what he does. Almost every day, he seems to be taking a talking point and showing how these old frameworks and old narratives or old coverage models.
But I think that if you throw those away and you consider yourself now the opposition, Marty Baron said we're not at war we're at work. And that might've worked at the beginning already under Trump, you know, journalists, the enemy of the people. And then there is no neutrality for authoritarians. We've seen this most recently during the Black Lives Matter protest, when journalists went to cover them, they were not considered neutral, because authoritarians don't have neutral. It's you're with us, you're against us. Dozens and dozens of them were actually, it was hundreds nationally, were assaulted, arrested, mistreated. People tried to knock their cameras out. That's the new normal.
But in order to think that, it means they have to completely change their way of writing and behaving. And I don't think they're prepared to do that.
These are big corporate outlets. And even whether they're primarily print and digital, they're also TV, and they're not prepared to make that radical change, because they'll also lose profits. So there's the behavioral part, there's the profit part. And I think some of them are shifting, they're using stronger language, but just think about, you know, I've been talking for years now, how long it took people to start using the word "authoritarian" and now people use it all the time, but it's slow. And it's perhaps too slow for our emergency.
New Doc Spells Out Trump's Failed Scheme to Steal the 2020 Election - The Bradcast - Air Date 12-13-21
[00:48:07] BRAD FRIEDMAN - HOST, THE BRADCAST: They were all working in concert. They knew exactly what they were doing. They knew exactly where they were going. The guardian revealed last week, that sometime between the late evening of January five in the early hours of January six, after Pence declined to go ahead with these plans, Trump then pressed his lieutenants about how they could stop Biden certification from taking place entirely.
The recommendations in the PowerPoint for both Trump and Pence were based on wild and unsubstantiated claims of election fraud says the guardian, including that quote, the Chinese. Systematically gained control over our election system in eight key battlegrounds. Now I have spent years reporting on the vulnerability of electronic computerized voting and tabulation systems.
If you've read Brad blog.com, if you've listened to the broadcast, you know, that I have, uh, covered that issue probably more than anyone in the entire nation, uh, on a national basis. Could China have done what was claimed in this power point document? Could China have systematically gained control over our election system in key states?
Sure. Yeah. Yeah. It's possible in a number of different ways, but all of those ways would have resulted in find-able evidence being left behind. If this had been done so completely in so many different states. I suppose it's still possible that someone somehow, uh, might find such evidence that China systematically took control of our election system.
But so far in one of the most closely examined elections in our nation's history, nobody has found any evidence to suggest that. And they certainly had no such evidence when they were making these false claims. After November 3rd, in this PowerPoint document and in the lead up to January 6th, they had no evidence.
Otherwise they would have included it in this document. They would have included it anywhere. They were making it up out of whole cloth. They were using legitimate reports like mine of things that could happen. How elections could be stolen or interfered with and just skipping the middle step and just making the claims that it was stolen and that it was interfered with despite any actual evidence to back up their false claims.
It is not enough to say that it could happen. So they just said it did happen. But if there was any evidence. You know, frankly, if I would have no problem reporting it out myself. And I have examined pretty much all of the claims that have been made since November by these people. And none of them prove out to either be true or supported by actual independently verifiable evidence, but that did not stop the coup plotters, who were hoping to steal the election.
So just to give you an idea of, of some of the nonsense that is in this a 38 page document that served as the game plan for the entire stop, the steel election movement so-called as the UK independent describes it echoes a series of false claims based on Donald Trump's so-called big lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him through fraud.
The defeated president and his supporters set out a series of allegations, which were all subsequently discredited. Many of the actions recommended in the presentation also match up with the ideas floated by other key allies of former president Trump, including Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, in hopes of keeping him in the white house for a second term in defiance of the wishes of American voters.
The document states under the heading talking points, quote, the Chinese systematically gain control over our election system, constituting, a national security emergency. The electronic voting machines were compromised and cannot be trusted to provide an accurate vote. Count the presentation, the presentation ads.
Again, there is no evidence that they were compromised, even if electronic tabulators should never simply be trusted to provide an accurate vote. But the coup plotters, they were not here. Uh, you know, pointing out concerns about these systems. They had. These are the same folks who had, who had ignored concerns about these systems for years, who had made fun of people like me for pointing these things out.
I remember one of the last things that Andrew Breitbart tweeted out to me right before he dropped dead a day or two later. Uh, mockingly a tweet that you can still find now toward to me at the Brad blog on Twitter. Diebold Diebold Diebold Diebold Diebold Diebold Diebold Diebold he thought it was hilarious. So these very same people who had ignored all of these concerns for years now, they've decided, well, the entire thing was compromised.
The electronic tabulators were, were compromised. We have to throw out all the votes. But they were not pointing to concerns these concerns, you know, that, that, that ballots should be counted by hand to determine if they were tabulated correctly or not. They were claiming without evidence that they were not tabulated correctly.
And they were pretending that they knew that to be the case. They didn't know that to be the case. They couldn't know that to be the case because they hadn't actually counted them at that point. And whenever they did count them by hand, they by and large found that they, oh, what do you know? They were tabulated correctly.
To restore confidence, the president, the presentation suggested the fail safe of counting paper ballot should be used to determine who won the election for president, senators, and congressional representatives set another talking point. No problem. I would have had no problem with that, but that's not what they were calling for.
They were falsely claiming that the results were inaccurate. They had zero evidence in support of it on a slide entitled summary of domestic voter fraud. The presentation submitted to the January six committee claims that quote, double voters, deceased voters out of state and out of county voters, non citizens or felon, voters, fake ballot or ballot stuffing, and other illegal ballots were used in eight states.
Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. What do you know? All the states that actually flipped to Biden or that Trump would need to flip back, had all of these pretend voter fraud problems that Republicans have been claiming have been pretending exist for years, but they've never been able to actually demonstrate.
Um, that those were the states that they focused on, where they claim that all of these things they have been pretending about for years actually happened even without any evidence. And that's of course, why they couldn't demonstrate that it happened. They couldn't give the evidence that had happened in the past and they couldn't do it now.
Certainly not now when they began to make these claims in their efforts to steal the election from you, from the voters in a violent lie-filled attempted coup they made lies about the smart MADEC software. That was, uh, that I wrote about in 20 [email protected]. And claiming that it was used to steal the elections.
Uh, and here's the deal smart medic software was not used in any of these key states where they claimed that it was used. None of them, the only place where the smart medic company had software and used in 2020 was here in Los Angeles on our terrible new touchscreen systems that were used for the very first time.
This past year. Other than that Smartmatic has no software, no contracts in use in the rest of the country. They are competitors with ESNs and dominion, which this document said were also used to somehow steal the election. Anyway, that's what my coverage was about from 2008 to 2010, it focused on that before it was then twisted around to make many of these ridiculous claims. When reporting resumed, after they claimed that, uh, the counting had stopped in several states, when it resumed a massive spike occurred that favorite Joe Biden. The counting never actually stopped as they claimed, but when Donald Trump was leading yes, in the early reporting of results, it was because those were election day results. And because Trump had lied about the coronavirus and many more Republicans than Democrats voted at the polling place.
So it looked like he was ahead and until the vote by mail results were later added in and yes, the results changed to favor by none of this was a surprise, but they showed these, uh, these graphs in the, uh, uh, in this PowerPoint presentation as if it means fixing the vote. Vote injections, all of it nonsense.
There was never any mystery about this. We told you on this program before election day, we explained exactly what it was going to look like when those results were tallied, that Trump was going to be leading in many of the states until the, uh, late vote by mail ballots began to get added into the totals.
It was no mystery. It was certainly not every. Fraud, even though they were all convincing themselves of that using this document. To get their stories straight with each other.
The Illiberal Upstarts Trying to Reinvent the American Right - The Politics of Everything - Air Date 12-8-21
[00:58:04] SAM ADLER-BELL: For a certain kind of especially white man who came up in an elite university in the past 10 years, but maybe even more so in the past five, six, seven, there was a sense of a suffocating liberal orthodoxy on their campus. If they have some other kind of ideological inputs pushing them in the direction of misogyny, or nasty racial ideas, or just a contrarian instinct, they may find themselves in a position where they go: “All of the people who are the authority around me on this campus are telling me to believe this set of often superficial but nonetheless progressive things. I’m going to look for the people who are saying the bad thing, the thing you’re not supposed to say.” And then they find each other.
[00:58:54] LAURA MARSH - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: Some of them are so young, like Nate Hochman. He’s only 23, just out of college. Do they maintain a sense of isolation after college? Because when you look around, elite Conservative Catholics are pretty well represented. Look at the Supreme Court, because on the Supreme Court, for a religious minority to be so well represented—this is not the mainstream version of Christianity in the U.S. They actually have a huge amount of power.
[00:59:23] SAM ADLER-BELL: I’ll say two things. One is that from their perspective, the only place in American life where conservatives have any power is basically the courts and, every once in a while, the federal government. They are very fixated on the fact that progressives and leftists control all the cultural hegemony. That’s precisely why they think it’s so important that when they periodically get power in the form of a Trump, and when they have a supermajority on the court, that they absolutely need to use it to enforce in the private sphere their ideal morals. Otherwise, in every input into American private morality, the morality that reigns regardless of what the government does, liberals and progressives have control. So that’s their perspective. It’s also especially because they live in D.C. and New York and California, where they actually are surrounded by liberals. These people aren’t living in small communities that are conservative, where they could. But they’re intellectual elites who want to work in the power centers. So, their perspective on what America is is totally skewed by the fact that they spend all their time on Twitter.
[01:00:33] ALEX PAREENE - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: It’s mediated, and it’s, like, vibes-based.
[01:00:35] SAM ADLER-BELL: Completely vibes-based.
[01:00:37] ALEX PAREENE - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: And you will never feel like you will win if you have won everything and then see that people still don’t think the right way. That seems like a flaw in their ideology.
[01:00:45] SAM ADLER-BELL: Well, it’s a flaw, but it’s a dangerous and symptomatic flaw that makes them attracted to authoritarianism because that’s how they imagine you’re able to change the way people think.
[01:00:56] LAURA MARSH - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: The argument that Hollywood is overwhelmingly liberal, and that the people who are conservative are bombarded with liberal propaganda and that they have liberal values rammed down their throats, is one you hear all the time. But the right has its own very robust and incredibly well-funded media infrastructure. You don’t hear of small right-wing magazines collapsing because there’s no money with anything like the same frequency you hear about liberal magazines going under. Going back to what you said about people being radicalized and pushed to the right in college, when they graduate from college, there are jobs for these people. There are so many think tanks you can go and work for if you’re a young conservative, so many magazines where you can get associate editor jobs that don’t exist in the liberal media. What do you make of that, and of that right-wing ecosystem?
[01:01:49] SAM ADLER-BELL: One of the things that Nate said to me in the piece is that he acknowledges that there is this conservative welfare state for unsophisticated but right-wing people who graduate from college and want to write takes, and so he has encountered people who are not particularly smart in that world. But the thing is that there are also a certain number of people like him who are really interested in ideas and are pretty good writers, and do like to think hard about intellectual topics. For those people, it’s an embarrassment of riches. Part of what’s so attractive about it is that you not only get a job, but you get let into this rarefied world that’s both really luxurious and also rebellious. For intellectual conservatives, that is just an intoxicating stew that keeps young people engaged in conservative bullshit for a long time.
[01:02:45] ALEX PAREENE - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: I find it interesting that if you’re a young left-winger on campus, there is no network that will invite you to retreats to drink scotch with rich people, rich leftists. Even if you’re a normal progressive, your entry into this world might be working for the world’s worst boss at a nonprofit, or being abused in a campaign—the lowest rung of the campaign—or freelance writing for no money. I wonder if the right has this way of identifying their future talent, grooming it, and even sort of spoiling it in that way. Why do they do it so differently?
[01:03:20] SAM ADLER-BELL: Well, to take on the left side of it, I think one of the things is that the power centers of the Democratic Party are controlled by mainstream liberals. They’re not scouring the campuses for, like, really sparked Marxists to give internships to, and to be a mainstream liberal, it has much less of this kind of rebellious quality. It’s just kind of like being invited into the power elite in a sort of uncomplicated way. Whereas right-wingers, even though we may think of this as delusional, they still think of themselves as a rebellious, insurgent troupe of outsiders with dangerous ideas, and therefore they feel that they need to teach their new, up-and-coming talent a sort of countertradition of American history and of political philosophy. On the left, there is no comparable thing. I’d like it, as a left-winger who likes reading books, to get paid to live in Pomona for a week and read Karl Polanyi. That sounds good.
[01:04:24] ALEX PAREENE - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: I would love a fellowship. I would love for someone just to give me a fellowship of some kind.
[01:04:28] LAURA MARSH - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: It’s easier to offer someone the feeling of entering this glamorous elite if your whole thing is hierarchy. The right has this built-in advantage: “This is what we believe, and we’re going to pull you up into it to be one of the important people.” And the whole thing on the left is like, “No, we want equality! We want everyone to be treated the same and to have the same opportunities.”
[01:04:53] ALEX PAREENE - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: I want everyone to get fellowships! Everyone, every working American, deserves a fellowship. I believe this very strongly.
[01:05:01] SAM ADLER-BELL: That’s a really good point, Laura. We have incompatible goals. We don’t want to create an elite elect who understand the true nature of society and then can direct it from on high.
[01:05:11] LAURA MARSH - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: I think it’s the same with the funding, too, for these magazines, for these think tanks. It’s completely consistent with a right-wing view of the world that you are going to make lots of money and then dump it into an organization so that you can control what people think. That’s not really what left-wing donors are trained to do.
[01:05:29] SAM ADLER-BELL: I think that you can have this experience as a liberal—maybe not as a revolutionary leftist.
[01:05:35] LAURA MARSH - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: You can have this experience if you’re a liberal who is like, “I’m going to come up with some health care plans that will minimize the amount of coverage we offer to people with stage-four cancer.”
[01:05:45] SAM ADLER-BELL: Exactly.
[01:05:46] LAURA MARSH - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: Speaking of this whole ecosystem, Claremont is something that comes up in the piece. Can you explain for the uninitiated what that is?
[01:05:56] SAM ADLER-BELL: The Claremont Institute is a right-wing, socially conservative think tank in California. Claremont was one of the first places that came out and said, “Let’s go for Trump.” Because of its populism, its nationalism, it’s way more aggressively patriotic. Claremont has been punching way above its historic weight in the Trump era, and since Trump, playing a role in trying to justify his coup—in effect, playing a role in bringing more illiberal and scary strains into acceptable conservative discourse. A lot of the people who are these young New Right figures move through its very robust programming and fellowships for young conservatives.
[01:06:42] LAURA MARSH - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: Going back to the coup thing—you mentioned that John Eastman, who wrote the memo on how Trump could try to stay in office despite losing the election, is associated with Claremont.
[01:06:53] SAM ADLER-BELL: Yeah. He’s a legal scholar, a constitutional scholar, associated with them. He wrote the memo for the vice president telling him how he could constitutionally make it so that Trump would stay in power, basically.
[01:07:06] ALEX PAREENE - HOST, THE POLITICS OF EVERYTHING: Some of the people you’ve talked to, I think, are actually surprisingly realistic about the unlikelihood of their vision of society happening democratically. But my question is: Are they going to install a Catholic theocracy, though? Like, regardless, are they going to do that?
[01:07:23] SAM ADLER-BELL: I don’t know. I actually don’t know if I have a great answer to this question. Internal to conservative debates and even internal to people who are sympathetic to New Right goals, there’s an acknowledgment that the public is really not with them—the conservative public, even. Trumpism doesn’t represent some victory for hard-core conservatives, like Catholic hierarchical authoritarians. It’s more like a victory for Jacksonian libertarian impulses. Tanner Greer, this right-wing blogger who is quite smart, wrote this blog post about this discrepancy between the means of the New Right and their ends. His line is, “Pity the Whig who wishes to lead the Jacksonian masses!”—that in effect, they are inheritors of some sort of patrician, pietistic, Northeastern puritanical tradition, which wants to impose all these orthodoxies—which is not really what Trumpism represents. That said, if these people are serious about trying to impose this moral orthodoxy on America, then that’s why they become more sympathetic to things like John Eastman telling Trump, “You can keep power, no matter what,” or people like Adrian Vermeule, who’s a Harvard integralist who believes that you should use the administrative state—which used to be the thing that the conservatives hated more than anything—you should use the levers of power and the administrative state to nudge the moral orthodoxy of America toward Catholic theology, that you should use the unaccountable powers of the state, nondemocratic powers, to achieve their ends. And so the reason that there’s this sympathy, I think, for countermajoritarianism, for anti-democratic measures, for state power through the bureaucracy as opposed to through the legislature, is that they know that their ideas are really not a majoritarian proposition.
[01:09:13] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: We've just heard clips today, starting with the Medi Hassan show, looking at the guide to illiberal democracy, being laid out in Hungary. This apartment program explained to the point by point plan for a coup after the 2020 election democracy now explained the details of Mark Meadows, criminal contempt vote by Congress.
The METI Hassan show explained the insufficiency of Biden and the Democrats to secure democracy. And the Chauncey to Vegas show discussed the emotional toll of confronting fascism. That's what everyone heard. But members also heard bonus clips from the broadcast to doing an analysis on the unfounded accusations of election manipulation and the politics of everything discussed the dynamics of the new breed of young right-wing Republicans who give insight into the future of conservatism in America.
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Conservatives are self-appointed arbiters of human nature - Abdul from South Carolina
[01:10:26] VOICEMAILER: ABDUL FROM SOUTH CAROLINA: Hey, Jay!, it's Abdul, your listener formerly from inside the beltway now living in the heart of Confederacy, moved to South Carolina a couple of years ago, but I'm still listening.
I wanted to jump in on the human nature argument, that it's a typical conservative right-wing idea, because they wrongly believe that there are these quote-unquote natural hierarchy inside human nature.
Of course, they believe that they are also at the very top of whichever natural hierarchy they identify, whether it's hierarchies of race or gender or sexuality or whatever. And I think that you really hit the nail on the head with this nature versus culture question, because of course conservative, you know, if you scratch, you don't have to scratch too deep on any conservative talking point to find that the logical fallacy in it. Right?
Like you mentioned the church in your response. Think about human nature and sexuality. Think about what a big part of human nature human sexuality is. It is a thing, it is the force that drives our species to procreate and to continue existing. And look at all the ways that the church, organized religion, government, that they have tried every which way, twisting itself and society into knots just to try to control certain aspects of human nature -- you know, women's reproduction, all of that. And I just wanted to add that in because these ideas are just based on the idea, this false notion that conservatives have, that they somehow are plugged into some accurate, correct interpretation of the world, the way the world works, and liberals were just like naive, silly [unintelligible] chasing around pipe dreams.
Anyway, keep doing what you're doing. Love the show. Still listening. Keep it up. Bye.
MarkerFinal comments on the nature of social audio vs other internet communication
[01:12:05] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: Thanks to all those who called into the voicemail line or wrote in their messages to be played as VoicedMails. If you'd like to leave a comment or question of your own to be played on the show, you can record a message at 2 0 2 9 9 9 3 9 9 1. Or write me a message to Jay at Best of the Left dot com not to combine.
What is apparently our ongoing conversation about human nature and the events that I have coming up on Monday, just to reiterate, I mentioned in the middle of the show that I'm doing an ask me anything, call in talk sort of thing on a it's a new social audio app. It's like social media except audio it's Monday, December 20th, uh, 8:00 PM Eastern.
Go to Best of lyft.com/wisdom to, uh, get, find the app and find me and do all that stuff. But I bring it up now sort of in this context of, you know, having just heard from Abdul about human nature, and I've been talking about this for several shows now I'm really excited. To see how this experiment in social audio goes.
And I don't just mean for me, I mean more broadly because I think for years and years and years, I mean the internet in general, going all the way back to the new Yorker cartoon about how they don't know you're a dog on the internet and AOL chat rooms and, you know, whatever it was going on. You know, when I was a kid.
All the way up through the advent of social media, which is primarily text-based and what all of these iterations of the internet have in common is that they strip away all, but the barest essence of our humanity in terms of how we communicate with one another, I mean, humans are deeply social creatures.
But we vastly underestimate the degree to which our social nature depends on. Body language, the ability to see a person who is talking to you, the ability to hear a person, not just what they are saying, but the tone and inflection with which they say it and all of those sorts of things. And so the internet is a pretty horrible and toxic place for the most part.
I mean, it's got, I guess it's got them upsides, but there's a lot of places where it's. Terribly wrong. And I venture you're not a very, uh, unique gas that a large aspect of that is the near absolute anonymity a person can have, or just the sort of perceived anonymity. That the internet grants in combination with the entirely stripped down nature of communication from the deep, rich ways that people have communicated for thousands of years to purely text-based rare.
Images are involved in a one-on-one exchange. People are trying to have a conversation via Facebook chat or a Twitter thread or something like that. And you know, the best you get is maybe a, an icon picture of the person. And it is a recipe for. Toxic communication. So the experiment with social audio, I think obviously is adding back the layers of humanity that had been lost in previous iterations of communication through the internet, but it's also a sort of a tougher sell, right?
It's a steeper climb to get someone to dip into. Uh, social audio room and have a conversation than it is for them to see what someone has written via text and then respond via texts. I don't have to explain how writing back and forth on the internet works to you, but it's a, it's a harder sell and I'm, I'm deeply aware of this as a podcaster because I've been running this audio medium.
For 15 years or so. And what we always run into is it's harder to get audio, to be noticed on the internet or to go viral on the internet or anything like that. Van text text is just, it's very friendly to the internet. The internet runs on. And so text is, is something that is sort of universally accessible, searchable, indexable, all of those sorts of things.
And audio is harder. So we're experimenting with social audio as a society, and it might make conversations. On the internet, but it's also harder to get people to have those conversations. So anyway, uh, I don't, I don't have any sort of conclusion about this, but I am interested to see how this experiment goes.
And I'm curious if anyone has tried social audio or any of the copy Katzman clubhouse, sort of, it wasn't the first, but I guess it made the biggest splash at first and Twitter spaces and Facebook live audio rooms have come on. Copycat the whole thing as they always do. And, but there are a bunch of others.
So I'm really curious. Has anyone been experimenting with social audio? If you have, was the experience sort of good, bad or indifferent? I would love to hear, cause I, I have not explored. With it myself. I, I mean, I'm not attracted to social media broadly. And I feel like if I have things to say, I'll just say it on this show and don't, don't need to do it on social audio, but now I am dipping my toe into the world of social audio and sort of experimenting with it myself as well.
So yeah, I'm interested to hear anyone's experiences or. Thoughts or concerns or anything else you may have. So as always, you can leave us a message at 2 0 2 9 9 9 3 9 9 1. Or by emailing me to Jay at Best of the Left dot com. And the last thing I'll say before I go is just a quick reminder that we are in our end of year membership drive as happens basically every year, our memberships tend to trickle in the downward direction.
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