Paul Jay On The Trump Administration: One of the Most Dangerous Times in Human History
Recorded Live (transcript now available): TRNN senior editor Paul Jay and reporter Taya Graham discuss the Real News’ coverage of the Trump administration and take viewer questions
TAYA GRAHAM: The Real News Network has covered the white supremacy, terrorism and murder in Charlottesville, as well as the heartfelt outpouring of solidarity in cities like Baltimore and beyond. As our country reels from these symbols of hatred and acts of violence, our president, Donald Trump, has offered few words and scant evidence of a desire for American unity. Here to discuss the remarks of our president is our senior editor, Paul Jay of The Real News Network. Paul, thank you so much for joining me.
PAUL JAY: Thank you.
TAYA GRAHAM: Now, before we go into an in-depth analysis of the president’s remarks, I want to ask you something about the editorial process of The Real News. How do we choose what to cover in a controversy like what occurred in Charlottesville.
PAUL JAY: Well, we do some breaking news. When the first thing first happened, we try to do some of what’s happening. We didn’t have anybody there on the Friday, I think it was a Friday, when it broke. A lot of what we do is we try to get to the real issues at stake, what are the underlying forces and try to make some sense of it because why do we do news? Most news operations do news because they need to do something in the realm of news to sell advertising. The objective is to sell advertising because you have to make money. It’s a business model. It doesn’t mean there aren’t serious journalists working in many of the organizations, there certainly are, but the first motive is ratings equal more advertising dollars. That’s an underlying force that affects much of the news decision. We don’t sell advertising so the way we go at stories is quite different.
I’ve said before in The Real News, why are we doing this? Most, many of us, working at The Real News could be working in corporate media and making a heck of a lot more money than we’re making in a non-profit. We’re doing it because we want change in the world so we have to keep struggling with the issue, and it’s not an easy one, but who are we talking to and how does that help people make change? We’re not the organizers of the kind of movements that were in the streets in Charlottesville. We do want to help people fight for their own interest. We know that when we do news, we’re doing it for, we could say, ordinary people, working people. What are the real issues in Charlottesville as it effects most people, then we approach the story. Was the taking down of the monument the issue?
I think, obviously, monuments are symbols so the monument itself is symbolic. One of the things we were saying over this period is that it’s easy to attack Nazis, it’s easy to denounce Nazis even if it wasn’t so easy for Trump. It’s easy for everybody else. I mean, that’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Some of the worst racists can say they’re against the Nazis, racists in real terms. Real terms, I mean, if you advocate laws and support an economic social structure that perpetuates terrible poverty amongst people of color and then you say, “I’m against the Nazis,” I don’t care that much. The media liked to have a big feeding fest about, “Trump wouldn’t say the word Nazi on the first night.” We all know he stands for racist policies so why don’t we focus on that except it gets clickbait, it’s great clickbait. “He didn’t say Nazi,” and the Democrats can have partisan advantage by jumping on that one thing even though we know the economic disparity under Obama got worse. How about talking about why there was a Trump in the first place?
TAYA GRAHAM: Well, when you talk about corporate media, who you are you referring to? Are you talking about The New York Times? Are you talking about The Washington Post? Who are you targeting here?
PAUL JAY: Well, we, first of all, targeted television because we, more or less, play in that field. There is a difference between the way some of the leading print publications deal with things as compared to television. Television, on the whole and under Trump, it’s gotten even worse.
TAYA GRAHAM: It’s a circus.
PAUL JAY: It’s a total circus, it’s a total ratings clickbait craziness. CNN used to pretend to have some kind of newsiness to it. I saw the show after Trump’s Phoenix speech and Trump is actually right to talk about how he was being treated by CNN. It’s become a war but it’s a war for mutual benefit. His base loves when he attacks CNN and now, CNN is fighting for this anti-Trump base. They love when every commentator goes off on how terrible Trump is, except they don’t talk about any of the real issues. What was the big thing about the Phoenix speech? That he was out of control.
The actual content of the speech wasn’t actually analyzed, it was just that he didn’t listen to his handlers because he went after McCain. The night before the Afghan speech, all of a sudden, he seems presidential. The story of the Afghan speech wasn’t the substance of US policy in Afghanistan, primarily, on these television shows. It was that he read his teleprompter and that’s some great victory that he actually stayed to the teleprompter. We try not to get involved in some of the superficial nonsense, even though it draws a lot of views. We’d have more views if we played this game.
TAYA GRAHAM: Very true. Now, The Real News, I think people would argue is a left leaning or progressive organization. Do you think that we can affectively report on the alt-right and the sort of militant white supremacist movements when people have pointed out, what they believe, is a progressive bias?
PAUL JAY: Well, a lot of labels in that statement. What is progressive? What is left? What actually is alt-right? We try to go where facts lead and we step on a lot of people’s toes, on the left and the right, and don’t much care. How would anyone not define themselves as progressive if you take what the word progress means? Progress means that society should move forward. Progressive means you shouldn’t hold on to old past institutions, one of which, was slavery. Maybe there are some people who would rather bring back slavery or they would like to maintain some of the institutions and ideology that were born from slavery.
TAYA GRAHAM: Right, the traditionalists.
PAUL JAY: Well, it’s somewhat different because some people who would consider themselves traditionalists, what they are concerned about, and I share that concern, which is there is a loss of some basic values as society supposedly has progressed. Which means as this economy has gotten totally consumerist and finance has taken over and the culture has zero value other than money making. There is some nostalgia and sentimental desire, legitimately so, of what people imagine, earlier, there were some values, where families matter, where being honest matters, this sort of things. I mean, all of that is out the window now. There’s barely a politician that most people don’t consider a liar. Now, it’s like a relative thing between which one is the most of the liars, then you get [crosstalk 00:07:47] …
TAYA GRAHAM: Which one is the most egregious liar.
PAUL JAY: No, the ultimate liar is okay because, at least, everyone knows he’s lying so he’s not so bad. Progressive, sure, we consider ourselves progressive but it doesn’t lead us to some ideological determination that we won’t report a fact or we will skew a story. We don’t do that. We’ve said many positive things about Donald Trump like the whole Russia-gate thing. We have not bought into Russia-gate, whether Russia interfered in the US elections or not. My joke about that has been that the only reason the American elites don’t like that the Russians interfered in the US elections and rigged the elections is because only the American elites are allowed to rig American elections. How dare a foreigner do it. I mean, the democracy they claim that Russia has undermined, if, in fact, they did and I’m still not persuaded that we’ve seen the evidence that they did, but say they did, it’s a sham most of that democracy. What did they expose? WikiLeaks exposed that the DNC sabotaged Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
TAYA GRAHAM: Aren’t Trump’s business practices fair game? I mean, shouldn’t those be explored and investigated?
PAUL JAY: Everything is fair game. If Russia, in fact, deliberately tried to mess around in the US elections, of course, it should be reported. Of course, it would be wrong except the hypocrisy of the US talking about it after Americans interfere with every single election and organized coups and regime changes. What’s wrong with the way the media deals with the story is they don’t tell you the whole story. Sure, it’s a worthy story if the Russians did this but contextualize it with the crimes the United States has committed. Even if Putin is everything they claim he is, let’s say, he has not committed anywhere near the crimes on the global stage that the American government has, I mean like the Iraq war and on and on.
TAYA GRAHAM: President Trump actually said a similar thing when he said, “We’re not so innocent, are we?” when referring to the Russians.
PAUL JAY: We gave him credit for that, he was right and like I’m saying, that’s true. There are other things that Trump said more, before he was elected than after, but there was some validity to it and we recognize it when there is.
TAYA GRAHAM: Well, I guess, what I’d like to do now is play a clip about Trump’s remarks on Afghanistan. Then, I’d like to get your take on it so I’d like to run clip six.
DONALD TRUMP: I’ve already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our war fighters that prevented the Secretary of Defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy. That’s why we will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sell violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan. These killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms. Retribution will be fast and powerful. As we lift restrictions and expand authorities in the field, we’re already seeing dramatic results in the campaign to defeat ISIS including the liberation of Mosul in Iraq.
TAYA GRAHAM: I just want to remind my audience that we are live on Youtube, Facebook and of course, TheRealNews.com and Periscope. Please put your question in the comments and we’ll be happy to answer it. Paul, let me get your response to Trump’s remarks.
PAUL JAY: Well, we’ve been doing a lot of coverage of this Trump speech over the last week. We’ve interviewed people who know more about it than I do. Let’s just start with the issue of the way corporate media covered this speech and again, it was mostly about his style. When I say corporate media, you asked me this question, and I didn’t completely answer it. You do get more serious analysis in print whether you agree or not, The New York Times, The Washington Post, McClatchie, there’s print that you will find far more serious analysis in. The reason you do is because they’re taking to the elites and the elites have investment decisions to make and the elites, actually, have some influence on it when it comes to power. In the higher level, more sophisticated newspapers, not that only elites read them but the elites do rely on them especially The Times.
TAYA GRAHAM: That’s a really interesting point because Noam Chomsky always said, “If you want to know what’s going on in the world, read The Wall Street Journal because businessmen need to know what’s happening so that they can make investments.”
PAUL JAY: Exactly, that was actually going to be my next sentence. Even better than The New York Times and The Post is the financial press where they really talk about stuff quite unabashedly. Then, you go one more step and read the military press which is addressed to the industrial military complex which is all public and available and is all about how much money they can make by selling guns. Anyway, all that being said, there is some serious analysis in print but if you look at television, it was mostly just squabbling over style. Let’s talk a bit of some of the substance of what he says in that clip and the rest of the speech. First of all, he did make some noises in his campaign about withdrawing from Afghanistan and there were certain amount of support, a certain amount of people voted for him because they considered him, actually, less militarist than Hillary Clinton. I never believe that. If you really look at Trump’s history, he actually was always really pro-intervention, it was just which intervention.
TAYA GRAHAM: I see, because there are a lot of his tweets that people have pointed to that show him expounding on a very isolationist, kind of protectionist policy, at least, when it comes, maybe not to Afghanistan, but to [crosstalk 00:13:39].
PAUL JAY: Well, he did it during the campaign. I think part of the reason he framed his candidacy that way is because he thought his real opposition was going to be Jeb Bush. In fighting Jeb Bush, he was going to fight George Bush and he was going to fight interventionism. He had framed his foreign policy that way except it’s a fraud. In the beginning of the Iraq war, I think, people, lots of people, have seen that clip where he was kind of talking about, “Yes, we probably should go into Iraq.” I’d give Trump that one in a sense that he wasn’t full on going to Iraq but Trump was full on going to Libya. In fact, I think you’ve got a clip here. This is a clip of Donald Trump at the time of the Libyan intervention. Later, he claimed he was against that intervention. I think we’ve got a clip of this, do we? Yes.
TAYA GRAHAM: Yes, we do.
PAUL JAY: It’s a very important clip because hardly anybody have seen this and this is Trump vigorously advocating intervention at Libya.
TAYA GRAHAM: Okay, we’ll go to that clip right now.
DONALD TRUMP: Gaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is and we’re sitting around. We have soldiers all over the Middle East and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage. That’s what it is, it’s a carnage. You talk about all of the things that have happened in history, this could be one of the worst. Now, we should go in, we should stop this guy which would be very easy and very quick, we could do it surgically. Stop him from doing it and save these lives. This is absolute nuts.
We don’t want to get involved and you’re going to end up with something like you’ve never seen before. Now, ultimately, the people will appreciate it. They’re going to end up taking over the country, eventually, but the people will appreciate it and they should pay us back. We should do, on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively and save the lives. After it’s all done, we go to the protestors who end up running the country, they’re going to like us a lot better than they will if we don’t do it. More importantly, we’re going to save lives and we should then, say, “By the way, from all of your oil, we want reimbursement.”
TAYA GRAHAM: What’s your reaction to his remarks on Libya?
PAUL JAY: Well, he claimed in that speech on Afghanistan, I guess it was Monday night, that his instinct was to get out of Afghanistan and he’s trying to portray himself, especially, during the election campaign is that his instinct is non-interventionist or maybe more isolationist. It’s simply not true and the Libya clip shows it. His instinct is, actually, a militarist. In his Inaugural Speech, his speech was it’s time for a war against Islamic terrorism he called it.
Steve Bannon, Bannon may be out of the White House but Bannon and Trump are on the same page. It’s a war against the East. Bannon talked about defending the traditional values of Western Christian liberalism against Eastern and that Eastern can mean anything from Islam to China but particularly, they’re targeting Islam. When they say Islam, what do they really mean?
What they really mean is Iran because if they really mean Islam, then how are they cozying up to the Saudis? How does Trump go to Saudi Arabia and so play ball that it enables and strengthens the Saudis to the point that they have a fight with Qatar and up the stakes against Iran. That’s the real play. The real play, and Trump has said it, he went to the CIA a few days after his inauguration and joked that the CIA was going to have a second chance to grab Iraqi oil. The real play is Iraq. The real play is the destabilization undermining of Iran.
The real play is, in fact, to continue and even increase the use of the military in developing American hegemony in the Middle East and in South Asia. The issue of Afghanistan, it was always a crock that he was going to get out. What they really wanted, and certainly what Bannon really wanted and Bannon tried to portray himself as a non-militarist and non-interventionist, and when Bannon left the White House and went to Breitbart, the next day after Trump’s speech, Bannon was attacking Trump for going back on his Afghan promises on so on.
Except according to numerous news reports, and I have not seen Bannon refute this, Bannon wanted to make a deal with Erik Prince, the guy that used to own Blackwater, the private mercenary army, and now he has one called Frontier something, I can’t remember Prince’s new company. They want to give them a $10 billion contract to send 5,000 mercenaries into Afghanistan. According to the proposal that came from Erik Prince that’s been widely reported, they wanted to create something like the East India Company in Afghanistan with a viceroy. In other words, the mercenary army would put in an American-supported viceroy that would rule Afghanistan.
There is nothing more interventionist than that and that apparently, was Bannon’s plan. The point is these guys are all liars. I do this show on The Real News called Reality Asserts Itself and part of what that means is the real economics of things, the real way power plays out, asserts itself. I really urge people to watch the interview I did yesterday with Larry Wilkerson. When you look at how the strategic interest of the US industrial military complex and the idea of America continuing to be the dominant world superpower, if that’s the underlying assumption of your foreign policy which it is, then you’d never leave Afghanistan. That is the basic interest.
It’s not a question of going in until the Taliban negotiates with you and maybe you’ll have a new government. This is a situation like South Korea or a situation like Germany or Japan, American troops are there, in their minds forever because it’s part of a strategy of trying to isolate China, it’s a leverage against Pakistan which he’s now threatening for getting too close to China. He’s kind of saying to Pakistan, “Don’t get so cozy with China or we’re going to really bring India into Afghanistan,” which he openly did in that speech.
He said, “We want India to come in and play a bigger economic role.” That’s like threatening to stab Pakistan in the heart. Of course, much of what he said about Pakistan was true. Pakistan does collaborate with sections of the Taliban, they do create safe havens to sections of the Taliban and the Pakistani intelligence agencies and sections of the armed forces help bring Al Qaeda and the Taliban into being in Afghanistan. I guess the underlying thing here, and this is what’s, again, so terrible of corporate television news and to a large extent, even the major print publications, it is such a dangerous situation.
You have the nuclear powers of Pakistan, India and China and the United States, you have all of them having an interest in that region. Not only because of oil pipelines and China is building a major naval port in Pakistan and billions of dollars, maybe it may go up to about a trillion dollars of Chinese investment in Pakistan, there are attentions on the Indian-Chinese border, Pakistan and India are still very tense in Kashmir.
In other words, Trump and the people around him which is a section of the US military are really playing with fire. The problem is it’s not just an underlying assumption of how to maintain US power in the region and the world, this is very much driven by the most benow, money-making motives which is the arms manufacturers are going to make a killing. India looks like maybe the biggest new arms market in the world. I read this military press from time-to-time, they’re salivating over the amount of arms they’re going to sell to India.
Of course, Pakistan’s upping their arms purchases, all through the Middle East with the tensions with Iran, the Saudis are buying more guns, the Qataris. There used to be a guy, his name was Zaharoff and this is in the lead up to the First World War, I believe my date’s right. He was a Russian arms dealer. He used to sell the most advanced weapons of the time where it’s the early stages of machine guns and things like that. He would go to the Germans and tell them, “The French are buying this,” and he would plant newspaper articles and then, he’d do the same thing with France, “The Germans are buying it.” He would be selling arms to all sides, planting newspaper articles, deliberately trying to format political tensions and he later became known as the Merchant of Death. That became his nickname and he made his fortune. Well, things haven’t changed that much.
TAYA GRAHAM: We actually have a question from Daphne on Facebook, she asked, “Didn’t Obama destabilized countries too?”
PAUL JAY: Obama listened to the professional foreign policy and the more professional military class. He believed in empire, he believed in the need for American hegemony, he was certainly no pacifist. I would say what differentiates Obama from a Trump is not Obama’s unwillingness to kill civilians, he up the drone program far more than it ever existed before. If there’s ever a court where you can put people in charge as war criminals, Obama belongs there. He is a war criminal. He committed crimes on two levels.
One, untold number of civilians, the numbers are in the thousands of civilians, that had been killed under drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, perhaps Yemen. Two, by the way, it was Obama’s responsibility to investigate, and potentially prosecute, Bush Cheney for an illegal war in Iraq. Instead, while he was against the invasion of Iraq, he later started apologizing for it and to some extent, even defending it. I’m not here to say defend Obama and call him some kind of a peacemaker or something but there was some sense of a broader systematic vision, some sense of it, mostly on Iran.
The Iran policy was rational. There were certainly elements in the White House and the Pentagon, certainly the Bush White House, that wanted a war with Iran, certainly the Saudis wanted a war, the Israelis wanted a war, in terms of understanding the systematic good for the empire. It’s still was good for everyone else not to have a war with Iran, he understood that. He understood what was wrong with the Iraq war, not because he’s against war, he said it himself, he is no pacifist, he was against the Iraq war because he said it was a stupid war.
What was stupid about it is that it actually weakened American influence because it opened the door for Iranian influence in Iraq. That’s Obama but Trump is worse. Trump is a neo-fascist, Trump is an upcoming kind of Mussolini, Trump is going to enable the most militarist sections of the Pentagon and not all the Pentagon are equals either, there are some rational people in the Pentagon. The worst sections of the Pentagon, the most anti-Iranian sections of the Pentagon, the people that are thirsting for a fight and for a big military increase in Afghanistan, he’s going to enable those sections of the elite. This is not suggesting Obama didn’t commit many crimes but Trump is going to be on a whole another level.
TAYA GRAHAM: Now, I have another question from [Nag111 00:26:08] from Youtube, “Would like to know how are the elites divided on the Trump administration from a business perspective and which side is really against Trump and his administration?” It’s a good question.
PAUL JAY: It’s a great question. I’ll take a stab at it. I’m not in the elites but I’m going to say this in all seriousness because if I had some time, I would hang out more with them if I could because you hear stuff. I think the preponderance of the elites are only interested in making money and just about everything else is not so important. They’re not fanatical about any kind of ideas, but some are. Some are. The guy that Robert Mercer, who’s the billionaire, we did a whole documentary on this, which people should watch, called The Bizarre Right-Wing Billionaire That Brought Bannon and Trump to Power, he’s a real idealogist.
He funds climate denial, he funds people like John Bolton who’s this foreign policy, far, far right militarist foreign policy guy who was even being talked about as being a UN rep for the Trump administration and was an undersecretary in the Bush administration, who wants to invade Iran and wanted to have a war in Syria. Mercer is a very ideological billionaire and there’s others that are really fundamentalist Christian, the Coke Brothers are fundamentalist capitalists and they’re activist billionaires who really believe in, not just making money, but they seemed to have a whole philosophy of government, they claim smaller government, but I think it’s just government that makes them money.
I think most of the elite just want to make money and here’s their problem with Trump and the same problem they had with George Bush, I did ask somebody who was in the elites about George Bush after the Iraq War. I said, “I don’t understand why you guys supported him again in the second election. He was a mess. I mean the Iraq war is a complete disaster, everyone’s calling it one of the great strategic, THE greatest strategic mistakes in US history, the administration is in chaos. Why do you guys support this guy?” He says, “Because he opened up the piggy bank.” Any regulation you don’t want, “Can you get rid of that regulation?” Done. Anything loophole, you wanted a tax policy, done. “We would like to have a tax cut,” done. It was an orgy of money-making and that’s what Trump is doing. Trump has promised everything to the military industrial complex.
TAYA GRAHAM: He’s promised tax cuts.
PAUL JAY: Tax cuts, financial deregulation, kill the fossil fuel industry, he’s killing the climate change policies. Every major sector of the economy except, maybe, maybe IT who I’m not sure they’re getting something so special but they might in deregulation, those that have broadcast interests. The FCC is going to make it a free-for-all for a concentration of ownership of television and radio and things like that. That’s already beginning. Sinclair Broadcast [crosstalk 00:29:35].
TAYA GRAHAM: Just bought a huge swath of the spectrum.
PAUL JAY: Yeah, so every major sector of the economy. Why are there regulations? There’s regulations because the role of the state, of government and these big capitalist countries is to make sure that the system keeps working. In fact, Hillary Clinton actually said it in a debate with Bernie Sanders early on in the primary, she says, “Our job is to reign in the excesses of capitalism.” Why? Not because they care about how those excesses might hurt people, the excesses threaten the system itself.
TAYA GRAHAM: It threatens the stability of the system, something [crosstalk 00:30:14].
PAUL JAY: [crosstalk 00:30:15] financial regulation and the banks go crazy like they did in ’07, ’08 again and then, you have another massive financial meltdown. Very possible. Of course, finance doesn’t care because they figured, “The public are going to bail us out again.” The elites are, on the other hand, they are concerned and increasingly concerned that Trump is mad, that he’s really not just showing off. Trump used to say that he wanted people to think he was unpredictable, that it’s good in negotiations.
TAYA GRAHAM: To throw people off balance so they don’t know where you’re coming from [crosstalk 00:30:52].
PAUL JAY: Yeah, you’ll do the unthinkable because you’re so crazy and it keeps your people off balance.
TAYA GRAHAM: Their word he’s not faking it.
PAUL JAY: Their word he’s not faking it. There are sections of the elites, especially in finance, that don’t like him associating with real fascists. A lot of these hedge fund guys, they’re very smart and while, I think, they’re helping drive the economy and the country over a cliff because they’re so narrow-minded in their moneymaking, they don’t want America to be a fascist country. The military industrial complex, I’m not so sure, they might not mind getting close to that kind of super reactionary politics. There’s divisions in the elites, they’re on the fence but the problem is, look at the stock market, historic highs. If you’re cashing in on that gravy train, you can put up with a lot of craziness in the White House.
TAYA GRAHAM: I wanted to go to another audience question. I hope I say this right, [Akila Skygladder 00:31:51] from Youtube asked, “Paul Jay, it is my understanding that Trump is in Afghanistan to mine and takeover the drug trade.” It’s interesting.
PAUL JAY: I don’t think so. I think the various sections of the American, probably, military and I’m saying this without hard evidence but lots of anecdotal evidence, 65% of Afghan GDP is the poppy trade. It is the only real economy of Afghanistan, other than selling things to soldiers. Most of the indigenous agriculture are gone.
TAYA GRAHAM: It’s just the cash crop.
PAUL JAY: Yeah. You cannot get industrial quantities of poppies or if it’s been processed into hashish or heroin or whatever, you can’t get it out of the country in those sizes without everybody knowing. The authorities are all in on it, the Afghan government, the warlords are all in on it, the people that run the country are all in on it, the Taliban are now in on it, everybody is in on it. The US has actually kind of officially said in many ways that they’re going turn a blind eye to it.
One suspects it’s more than just a blind eye, turning a blind eye. I think, at some levels, some people are in on this but I don’t think there’s a way to directly control the narcotics business in Afghanistan, that Trump is somehow is going to grab it. If there is a grab, and I think there may be a grab and there’s a little piece in his speech where he said this, he said, “The Afghan prime minister has assured us that we can participate in the Afghan economy in order to recover some of our costs.”
TAYA GRAHAM: That’s something he’s promised in other scenarios too. He said, “They’re going to reimburse us for going into the country,” he’s mentioned that again and again.
PAUL JAY: I think what that means, and I doubt it’s drugs, because there’d be no way to hide taking over the drug trade. As I say, I would suspect some of the CIA and others already have something. There’s a long history of American intelligence agencies being in cahoots with the Latin American Columbian drug trade and using some of that money to finance off-the-books operations. Who knows what’s going on with the Afghan drug trade. In terms of motive, I don’t put anything off the table but I think what they’re really talking about is there’s tremendous mineral wealth in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s been called the Saudi Arabia of lithium and lithium is critical to computer chips [ed: should have said batteries]. One of the other major sources is Bolivia but there’s not a lot of lithium in this world. There’s all kinds of minerals in Afghanistan.
TAYA GRAHAM: Sounds like a treasure trove.
PAUL JAY: It is a treasure trove of minerals, thank you but you can’t get at it when there’s such chaos and disorder there. Maybe what Trump’s saying, and it’s kind of funny because it’s one sentence buried in the speech, maybe what he’s saying is that we are making a deal as part of this staying in Afghanistan, that we are going to have access to these minerals and we’ll have enough military might to protect that kind of mineral operation.
The way Trump has worked in Iraq is that the Americans should have, and he said this many times, “Seize the Iraqi oil. Use US troops just to protect the oil and let the rest of the country, go to hell.” Well, maybe in his head, that’s what happens in Afghanistan. That you can seize some of the mineral deposits, actually exploit them, protect them and let the rest of the country go to hell because in Africa, in many places, that’s exactly what’s happening.
They have private security firms protecting gold mines and diamond mines and the rest of the country is in chaos. Maybe that’s what he has in mind with it. I highly doubt it’s about some direct grab of the drug trade but who knows, in the sense, that the more military involvement gets involved and the more corruption gets instilled, there may be some grabs in that way but I wouldn’t call that a main motivator.
TAYA GRAHAM: Well, you’re talking about the Afghanistan remarks, his new policy on Afghanistan. You’re basically saying it’s going to be a forever war, that’s his plan and that’s probably always been his plan.
PAUL JAY: I’m not sure whether it’s his plan or always been his plan but it will be THE plan because it’s in the strategic interest of the empire. The people that really determine these policies, out of the Pentagon and the US foreign policy establishment, which exists in the leadership of both parties as well, that’s how they see it because this is all about China.
TAYA GRAHAM: Then, what about the timing of his announcement? I mean, isn’t there something that you can see with the timing that, perhaps, he’s doing this very specifically to change the conversation, to change the tone of the national discussion? I mean, this timing has to be purposeful. He could’ve waited a month or done it a month earlier.
PAUL JAY: Yeah, it could well be. I think there was some dissension in the White House about what the Afghan policy would be. I’m just going on reading the mainstream press but apparently, there were two camps. There was the McMaster-Kelly camp that wanted a kind of conventional increase in troops and what I would say, the way Wilkerson is talking, this bigger geo-strategic vision of keeping a base, bases, in Afghanistan. The Bannon group, apparently, wanted this private mercenary army. I’m not sure exactly if that may have held up the decision, I think they did need a decision that specific week. Sure, I don’t think there’s a single announcement that gets made that doesn’t take domestic politics and PR into account, so sure, there must have been an element to that.
TAYA GRAHAM: There is a viewer on Periscope, unfortunately, I can’t quite see their name but thank you. Just One Fix 2004 from Periscope wanted to know, “Does Paul think that Trump is really in charge?”
PAUL JAY: Well, one, I don’t really know so I’ll speculate along with everybody else. Yes and no but to some extent, you can yes and no about any president. It’s a very legal structure on the whole as far as I can understand it. There is always some fear that some day, somebody will be charged with something criminal, there will be an investigation, there will be hearings. There’s a certain amount of that kind of structure that gets maintained and within the structure, he’s in charge, he makes decisions. A president can more push that or doesn’t push it.
Apparently, people claim Nancy Reagan was practically running the White House in the last days of Ronald Reagan and some presidents assert themselves more than others. I don’t know, I mean when it comes to Afghanistan, I don’t know what Trump really planned except he clearly seems to have enormous deference to the generals. He’s picked certain kinds of generals that are real militarists and he listens to them. Does that make him not in charge? I think it’s probably would still be his final decision but I don’t know that they gave him a whole lot of choice on Afghanistan.
It’s a yes and no. He is in charge, he can say crazy things and when he’s told not to, he can sign executive orders and he has different sections in the White House some of which, when Bannon was there or Stephen Miller who are way out there on the far right, and he signed a lot of executive orders, maybe he’ll be able to push some of the wall through. The crazier it gets, the harder it is for him to get the Republican Party onboard. I think a lot will be determined by polling. If it looks like the Republicans really might get trounced in 2018, he will have less and less power and he will be less and less in charge.
The party might really turn on him. I know there’s a lot of talk about removing him with the 25th Amendment, it’s hard to see it happening. The 25th Amendment allows the vice-president and a majority vote in cabinet not to just remove him. If I understand it correctly, they have to, then, go to Congress and get two-thirds of Congress to agree to remove him. It’s a very big process. If he went really, completely mad and completely out of control, I think they would do it but Pence and the Republican Party are very, very scared of really pissing off the Trump base.
If we start getting closer to 2018 and he really looks like he’s going to trounce the Republican Party, either they may try to find a way to dump him or they will maneuver and manipulate the White House and power where he starts having less and less power. I would guess there are ways that they can start asserting Vice-President Pence and give him Cheney-esque kind of power. Let’s not forget when Pence was asked, “What kind of vice-president you want to model yourself after?” He said, “Dick Cheney.” They might be able to shift increasing decision-making power to Pence, threatening Trump that if you don’t allow this, we will go down the road of the 25th Amendment. We may see more of a play like that where he can’t pass anything through Congress so they might weaken him. If you’re asking me, yeah, in a way he’s in charge.
TAYA GRAHAM: Well, we have another question, I believe, it’s McCullough from Facebook. The question is, “Who would’ve been a better successor to President Obama?”
PAUL JAY: Who you asking? From the interest of the elites which ain’t me, from the interest of the elites, I think they would’ve done better with Joe Biden. I think Joe Biden would’ve done what the elites needed to have done and would have charmed everybody and would have continued the Obama charm offensive. He would’ve defended the status quo. People think he says things he shouldn’t but he’s relatively a disciplined politician.
TAYA GRAHAM: He’s Uncle Joe.
PAUL JAY: Yeah. I mean, if Hillary hadn’t had things locked up and maybe if Biden didn’t have these personal issues going on with his, I guess, it was his son that died. From the point of view of the elites, I think Biden would’ve been a better choice. From the point of view of the people, of someone who had any chance of winning, then I think it would’ve been Sanders. Sanders’ policy is, at least on some critical issues, does challenge concentrated wealth in the way income is distributed, certainly a healthcare or Medicare for all and I think on taxes, he would’ve reformed taxes. A lot of his measures were reforms that are kind of and sort of in line with some European social democracy. They would’ve been an advance for people.
For foreign policy, well, I think Sanders has some blind spots on foreign policy, at least, it seemed in the campaign although overtime that also seemed to change. Certainly, he voted against the Iraq war. Just recently, in the Senate, when there was a vote to have new sanctions on Russia, Iran, it was only two people that voted against it: Him and Rand Paul. He voted against it because he thought it would undermine the nuclear agreement with Iran. While I don’t think he has really come out and denounced the underlying assumption of being the world hegemon, which I wouldn’t mind seeing, on the other hand if he did, maybe he wouldn’t be able to even contend for the presidency given the power of those guys. Anyway, I would think Sanders, of someone who had a chance to win. I’m sure there’s all kinds of people out there that might have made a better president but nobody that was in the realm of winning an election.
TAYA GRAHAM: Certainly. I think you made a good point with Biden being a good establishment Democrat and with him using his Uncle Joe charm, I think he might have been a successful [crosstalk 00:44:34].
PAUL JAY: Well, I think Jill Stein had a much more coherent policy on all kinds of issues including foreign policy issues in the Green Party. Given the way politics works in this country, at least for now, there’s no way that the Green Party had any chance for power in that last election.
TAYA GRAHAM: Now, you mentioned something interesting when you were talking about President Trump’s respect for the military generals that he’s surrounding himself with. His had this very strong pro-military rhetoric but do you think it’s going to actually translate into any positive reforms for our vets who are often left homeless and without proper mental healthcare in our country?
PAUL JAY: I haven’t seen it.
TAYA GRAHAM: You haven’t seen any signs of them?
PAUL JAY: There are lots of talk but I think there’s some kind of new GI bill they’re talking about. There may be a little bit. Trump proposed a $54 billion increase in military funding and actually, was critique by the military industrial complex that it wasn’t enough and they said it’s only 2% or 3% more than Obama would’ve done anyway. I’m not sure that’s true but the Republicans are now going to up it by $15, $20 billion. The money is mostly flowing to arms manufacturing, and I don’t have the numbers off the top of my head, but as you mentioned, the number of vets that are homeless, it is beyond disgraceful. The rhetoric about, “Thank you for your service. Thank you for your service, now, go live on the street.” It’s such a crock that people can look other people look in the face that will go off and die so they can live in extravagance. That the worst kind of war crimes can be accepted so they can live on their big yachts and fly their private airplanes. Then, at a baseball game, a soldier gets to throw out a ball.
TAYA GRAHAM: Right or they take a video of him coming home and his kids seeing him.
PAUL JAY: To preserve our way of life. What is the way of life? To have 350 homicides in Baltimore, soldiers should die to preserve that way of life? The hypocrisy, it’s beyond imagining. Again, popular culture and particularly television news and a lot of print, they make all this feel normal. Just complete hypocrisy, practically kissing the feet of soldiers when they’re going to go off to fight and then, treating them like crap when they get home.
TAYA GRAHAM: Right. Well, the US Military voted overwhelmingly for President Trump so do you think there is going to be a chance for these Trump voters to see a disconnect between what he promised and what he’s actually delivering?
PAUL JAY: I hope so. I mean, the thing with the US Military is they’ve gone through boot camp and boot camp is brainwashing. All out brainwashing. We did a story with a guy, his name was Josh, I can’t remember his last name but we interviewed him after he had gone to boot camp, gone to the Iraq war and then refused to fight, was a conscientious objector, while he was over there. He told stories how in boot camp they were taught to march to a chant and in the chant it was, I can’t remember the exact words, but essentially, “Went down to the market, chop, chop, chop. Saw some people, chop, chop, chop.” It’s like chopping people up.
He told us in the interview that in the boot camp training, you’re given scenarios to see whether you pass or not. One of the scenarios is you’re in a market and you see somebody with a gun, then fired at you but the market is full of people. You know that if you shoot, you’re going to kill women and children, what do you do? If you don’t say you’ll shoot and kill women and children, you fail the test. The military goes through a process of fascistization because they’re taking ordinary people, who had been taught their whole life not to kill people and brought up with values, do not kill whether it’s a Christian or Jewish or Islamic, the value is don’t kill people. Now, they’re trained to follow orders and kill people whenever we tell you to.
If that mindset, then votes for people that want to go to war and are militarists and have this kind of racist and fascist ideology, it’s no wonder what’s happened to people when they’ve been through such a process. On the other hand, a lot of soldiers get it especially once they go over and actually do the fighting. When you’re sitting in your camp and you actually haven’t experienced the war, that’s one thing but a lot of people went to Iraq and saw the lies they’ve been told and came back and actually many of them became anti-war activists. There are a lot of thinking soldiers.
I think you’re right, when it comes to Trump voters, the disconnect, because Trump is not going to raise wages, Trump is not going to create really more jobs, the Rust Belts aren’t going to get better. Yeah, I think overtime, many of the Trump voters will become very disillusioned with unkept promises but, and this is the big BUT, the solution isn’t go back to corporate Democrats which help create these conditions for this, this wealth disparity. I mean, Clinton is the one that helped usher in the Rust Belt, Bill Clinton. The issue is will there be an alternative that actually, really, represents the interest of the kind of working people that voted for Trump.
Also, it’s really important because everyone keeps talking about the workers that voted for Trump, that wasn’t the main place his votes came from, the main place his votes came from were traditional Republicans who just want to pay less taxes. He didn’t win the majority of the working class. He increased the Republican vote in the working class, so that increase combined with the traditional Republican and in certain swing states, made the difference. Do I think those people get disillusioned with him? Yeah but the concern will be is that a worse version of Trump emerges and maybe, it’s Pence. That version of Trump is yes, Trump didn’t deliver because he was an incompetent clown, because he couldn’t work with the Republican Party, he couldn’t get anything passed.
TAYA GRAHAM: Why do you consider Pence a worse version of Trump? Is it because of his Christian zealotry? Why do say he’s a worse version? Is he more a palatable version?
PAUL JAY: Yeah, he looks like a president. He’s disciplined. He’s a relatively disciplined politician, he knows how to play the game, he knows how to act like a president. He will be like a Cheney and he knows how to work the levers of power, he’ll work with the Republican Party. They’ll maybe get some of this horrible legislation passed but mostly, he just won’t look incompetent but the objectives will be similar. Except on Russia, I think Pence probably buys in to the more traditional geo-political view, “Let’s make Russia an enemy and let’s make lots of arms using that as the narrative.” They may have some actual concern about Russian power in Eastern Europe but they blow it up way out of proportion because it’s in their interest to do so.
Pence is more dangerous because he could pull it off. It wouldn’t be a sideshow one expects and he’s waiting on the wings to do it. The reason Trump even got to become president, really, is because he made a deal to allow Pence, Pence is a Koch Brother guy, Pence is a Republican Party guy, so that the corridors of power said to Trump, “Yeah, we won’t bring you down in favor of Hillary Clinton,” which some even did. Some of the neocons even went over to Hillary. But Pence is there and he is our ace in the hole.
TAYA GRAHAM: We are live on YouTube, Facebook, Periscope, and TheRealNews.com, and if you have a question, please write it in the comments section. I have a question from Ross Progress from YouTube. Would like to know, does Africa matter to Trump? Will we see a vast shift in the US national interest for the African continent? Interesting question. Thank you, Ross Progress.
PAUL JAY: It’s a really interesting question. I’m not sure what this administration thinks of Africa. They don’t seem to talk about it much.
TAYA GRAHAM: No, they haven’t. Haven’t addressed it.
PAUL JAY: I suspect it will be a continuation as is, except maybe worse, if it’s possible to be worse.
TAYA GRAHAM: That’s a good prediction.
PAUL JAY: Meaning enable the dictators, continue to enable them, continue to enable mining companies to take whatever they want. You know, Trump’s made a point of not caring about human rights anywhere and that’s not going to affect our US foreign policy. I don’t think the Obama administration, other than some rhetoric, cared all that much about human rights in Africa either. It will be worse under Trump because there won’t even be a pretense.
TAYA GRAHAM: Yeah, I don’t even think he’s really acknowledging the continent and its countries at all.
PAUL JAY: He doesn’t need to, in a sense that these things run themselves. They’re sections of the … There’s AFRICOM. The American military has a whole section directed towards Africa. State department has its sections. The embassies, and mostly all the various mining companies and other commercial interests, they all do what they do. They don’t need Trump to do anything.
It may become an issue as things move on. Geo-strategically, the issue for the administration of Trump in the shorter term is Iran but the longer term is China, and China’s gaining influence in Africa by leaps and bounds. And I must say, it’s not like China gives a damn about human rights in Africa either.
TAYA GRAHAM: No, they don’t.
PAUL JAY: In fact, sometimes even less than the Americans do. But it may become an issue of the rivalry with China but, so far, I at least personally have not heard much of Trump and his gang on Africa. It ain’t going to get any better, that’s for sure.
TAYA GRAHAM: It’ll be interesting to see if he responds to Africa because he wants to actually counter China’s progress in the country. So basically, we’re predict-
PAUL JAY: Well, one other thing might be. I mean, because he’s got this war on Islamic terrorism, you might see an increase of attacks on African countries where there’s active Islamic fighters there.
TAYA GRAHAM: I think I have another question. I have DC from YouTube in regards to Hurricane Harvey. Significant gas, oil refineries are, there’s talk about the disastrous, toxic environmental impact, aside from the economic and the natural disasters often break or make a president. Comment please.
PAUL JAY: This is what’s happening today.
TAYA GRAHAM: I think so.
PAUL JAY: Well, I don’t know enough about this to say anything too specific. All I can say is what we said about George Bush’s reaction to Katrina, and this is typical-
TAYA GRAHAM: Yes. A huge stain on his presidency.
PAUL JAY: But it’s typical, and it’s this phrase. I wrote a piece about this at the time called “Après moi, le déluge”. After me, come the floods. They don’t care. There’s no short-term, not enough short-term profit making in building up infrastructure. They know this stuff is coming. It’s just written off, you know? Rich won’t pay the price.
Same with climate change as a whole. The majority of the elites believe the human-caused climate change. Are they demanding Trump do something about it? No, because they don’t think they’re going to be the ones that suffer. They figure, “We’ll live in … If we have to, we’ll live on stilts and enclaves that are protected from all this.”
It’s the people that pay the price for these storms and extreme weather events. And sometimes some coastal mansion might get wiped out, sure, but they won’t put in what it takes to protect people from things that everyone knows are coming. Everyone knows that climate change is going to cause increasingly severe weather. That we’re going to have more and more severe hurricanes and droughts and other kinds of these events, and they’re doing nothing because they make more money somewhere else. Doing something else. And then this administration doesn’t even want to believe there is such a thing as human-caused climate change.
I mean, the bottom line of all these issues, all these issues, is these elites are not fit to rule. They’re not fit to govern and people have to stop allowing them to govern, and stop voting for people who are just fraudsters and actors that play out these roles, these theatrical roles, and are driving the whole planet and species over a cliff.
I mean, the whole fate of human civilization is at stake over this next four, five, six, seven, eight years because of climate change, and they’re playing with fire, in terms of foreign policy and nuclear powers and nuclear weapons. I mean, it could not be a more dangerous moment for us right now, and to a large extent because of the media and culture making everything seem like it’s, “Oh, it’s just another day. Everything will be okay. Go watch some entertainment programming and laugh about that and get on with your life.”
TAYA GRAHAM: And look at the spectacle of our governance, as opposed to the actual subject matter at hand, which is that we are hurtling towards environmental disaster. You know, I wanted to ask you something about Breitbart. Steve Bannon. Breitbart immediately started lashing out again against President Trump as soon as Bannon was dismissed.
They called Trump’s decision, his new policy on Afghanistan, a total flip-flop, so what do you think the future between Bannon’s alt-right or the alt-right as a whole that’s cultivated by the Breitbart nation and Trump? What’s the future of that relationship because there’s the severing between the parents here? There’s a divorce.
PAUL JAY: Well, Bannon’s base is Robert Mercer, the billionaire. That’s his main lever of power. It’s an enormous amount of money behind him … Although Bannon’s quite wealthy in his own right. But let’s remember Bannon did not support Trump in the Republican primary, and neither did Mercer. Mercer supported Cruz. And these guys jumped on Trump after he won the nomination.
Trump’s a vehicle for a lot of different forces. Why did Christian evangelicals vote for Trump, even over somebody like a Cruz, who in theory is more a believer than Trump because I don’t think anyone believes that Trump is a believer?
TAYA GRAHAM: Right. He drinks the wine, he eats the little cracker, he doesn’t repent or go to confession. It didn’t seem that he was truly engaged with the Christian faith.
PAUL JAY: He’s about moneymaking. Everybody knows that. The way he talks about women. What serious evangelical could listen to the way he talked on that tape …
TAYA GRAHAM: Right. On the Access Hollywood bus, yes.
PAUL JAY: … and think this guy is an actual believer? He’s a posturer. He’s a con-man. But a lot of different forces saw him as a vehicle because he’s a good con-man and was able to swing sections of the working class that normally wouldn’t vote for such stuff to vote for him. So he’s a vehicle. He’s a vehicle for Bannon and Mercer, he’s a vehicle for the evangelicals, he’s a vehicle for the far right militarist like the John Boltons. He’s a vehicle for some sections of the militarists in the Pentagon. He’s a vehicle.
He’s a vehicle that if he isn’t a good vehicle, they’ll find another vehicle. So the Bannon-Trump relationship, I think Trump believes in a lot of what Bannon believes in, and I think Bannon, I’m guessing here but I’m sure Bannon, who may be actually quite religious. Bannon is connected to Opus Dei and the Catholic Church. We did a story, more than one story about this. We actually showed some video of Bannon Skyping into a meeting that took place-
TAYA GRAHAM: This is for those who might not know. Can you tell a little bit about Opus Dei because it sounds like the Da Vinci Code?
PAUL JAY: Well, it is. It more or less is. I mean, Opus Dei is essentially a fascist organization within the Catholic Church. Far, far, far right. In the United States, the guy most connected with it is Cardinal Burke, who’s been fighting against Pope Francis. Pope Francis, in the church, they have buyer’s remorse. They never thought Francis, with his history, would be as much of a social democrat essentially as he is. He’s on climate change, he’s demanding real reform on inequality, and he uses language that’s almost out-and-out anti-capitalist.
TAYA GRAHAM: Very true.
PAUL JAY: It’s horrendous to the right-wing of the church.
TAYA GRAHAM: Sounds very New Testament, actually.
PAUL JAY: And, well, yeah. I mean, imagine a pope actually talking like Jesus.
TAYA GRAHAM: I know. It’s kind of throwing them for a loop.
PAUL JAY: It’s completely outrageous. So Opus Dei all over the world. They have tremendous influence in the Vatican, they have lost significant influence because of Pope Francis, and Burke got into kind of … Cardinal Burke was getting into an open fight with Francis but it’s very interesting. There’s this institute that’s called Institute for the Family or Family Values or something like this. Held this meeting in the Vatican. They invited Bannon to speak at it. He came in through Skype because he was in the US.
When you go to the webpage of this Institute for the Family, I’m not remembering the name but it’s something like that, and who’s on their website? Steve Bannon. So the Bannon-Opus Dei connection is I think, it could be Bannon is sincere about that, who knows?
TAYA GRAHAM: It’s possible.
PAUL JAY: But Bannon doesn’t depend on Trump. Trump is a great vehicle, and then after a while, Bannon didn’t have enough influence in the White House because the bigger powers, the bigger guys, kind of asserted themselves. So he’ll go back to Breitbart and he will fight for what he wants. But, again, it’s so hypocritical. Bannon’s claiming that he doesn’t like the flip-flop on Afghanistan but if the reporting’s true, Bannon wanted mercenaries in Afghanistan. So even Bannon’s supposed non-interventism isn’t really there.
But what does Bannon want? He wants a war against Islamic terrorism. I don’t think the Trump Saudi strategy was against Bannon’s wishes. Bannon wants to focus on Iran, and he wants to focus aggressively against China. He wants a trade war with China. He advocates it openly, and that interview he gave to Bob Kuttner in American Progress that helped trigger his final leaving the White House. Fired, resignation, probably fired.
The main thing he does is he calls Bob Kuttner and says, “Oh, I see you’re on my page. You want a trade war with China too,” which is actually not true. Bob Kuttner does not want a trade war with China. He just raises it. Says there are some legitimate critiques of China on US-China economic relations.
Anyway, what will happen with Bannon? Bannon is backed by a lot of money. On climate denial, on aggressiveness towards Iran, China. His interest also converge with Koch, the Koch Brothers, and maybe some other … Sheldon Adelson. Militantly, militantly pro-Netanyahu and Likud in Israel. The worst of the worst of the right-wing politics in Israel. Bannon’s very connected to it.
So he represents a very fascistic section of interest and ideology, and they will do what they do. As long as Trump remains a vehicle for them, they will keep supporting him, even if they critique certain things. They will try to threaten Trump. That if you don’t stay mostly on our page, you’re going to lose your base, and who knows? Maybe next time it will be Bannon that runs himself.
TAYA GRAHAM: That’s possible.
PAUL JAY: [crosstalk 01:05:33] except he kind of looks a little decrepit. I don’t like usually making these kinds of comments. I mean that in all seriousness, but it’s hard to win an election when you kind of look like your falling apart. But who knows? He could lose some weight and look better. Go to the gym. Or they’ll find another vehicle, even more likely, but it’s probably better for Bannon to be the power behind someone and have a proxy fight. And maybe it will be Pence. I mean, maybe Pence runs against Trump if he even stays on in 2020.
I can’t believe, it’s hard to believe, unless something happens, and this something is a real threat. If these guys engineer another 9/11, and we really should not rule that out. As the more this gets into crisis, this administration, the economy, the geopolitics, as more as … How could this Trump mobilize the country for war now? Who’s going to want to go to war led by this commander-in-chief? Very few people. There may be some but very few. The same was with George Bush. People forget that before 9/11, there was, I believe it was ABC, a television show called “That’s my Bush.”
TAYA GRAHAM: Yes, that’s right. I do remember that too.
PAUL JAY: And it ridiculed the Bush family.
TAYA GRAHAM: Yes.
PAUL JAY: Well, after 9/11, all of a sudden, let’s rally around George Bush.
TAYA GRAHAM: Right. We have to support our executive commander.
PAUL JAY: He’s [crosstalk 01:06:58]. So the danger right now amongst many different dangers is that there could be another 9/11 engineered and create this fervor of aggression. If they did it, they’ll probably tie it to Iran and people should be on guard for that.
TAYA GRAHAM: I think it’s understandable that people, very concerned that there would be a tail wagging the dog scenario where an event, a terrorist attack, is engineered or allowed to happen in order to rally the country behind an unpopular commander in chief in order to do his bidding and to follow him into war wherever he wants.
PAUL JAY: Yeah. This last season of Homeland on HBO, it had a scenario very close to what’s going on here, and there’s a Steve Bannon character in that who is a master of lying propaganda and campaigns of lies, and Steve Bannon made all these documentary films, which were essentially just lie after lie. Watch again this film we did about Mercer because we show clips from Bannon’s documentaries. But in the Homeland episode, they have an enormous troll farm that has been set up. Hundreds and hundreds of people at their computers spilling out lies, political lies, to influence the outcome of elections.
The real story is going to come out more likely. It’s not about the Russians and Wikileaks and their trolls and troll farms, of which maybe there are. But the troll farms that were connected to Bannon and Mercer’s company, Cambridge Analytica, and the extent to which they’re using the internet to help create this movement through lie after lie after lie, echoed and echoed and echoed. Created with industrial strength. Again, people better be wary of this.
TAYA GRAHAM: Well, Paul, I want to thank you and I want to thank the audience that joined us when we were live on YouTube, Facebook, Periscope, and of course TheRealNews.com. I’m your host, Taya Graham, and I want to thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.