Sanders Calls for Kavanaugh Perjury Investigation – Where are the Democrats? A Q&A with Paul Jay
Dharna Noor and Paul Jay discuss the announcement by Mitch McConnell that a Senate vote will be held before the end of this week and a letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders calling for an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s possible perjury
DHARNA NOOR: I’m Dharna Noor in Baltimore, and we’re live on The Real News and YouTube.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just announced that the Senate will vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court this week. On Saturday, Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley calling for an investigation into whether Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh had committed perjury. Sanders cited many examples, some regarding Kavanaugh’s response to allegations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her. For instance, Sanders noted that Kavanaugh testified that he treats women, quote, as friends and equals, even though entries in his school yearbook would seem to contradict that. Sanders also gave other examples from as far back as 2004. And I’m here to discuss all this today in the studio with our senior editor Paul Jay. How’s it going, Paul?
PAUL JAY: Hi.
DHARNA NOOR: So what’s your response to this letter from from Senator Sanders, and also to this new news from Mitch McConnell?
PAUL JAY: Well I mean, obviously all of this is mostly operating at a level of theater. It’s sort of like professional wrestling. What goes on in the ring is theater. But underneath the theater there’s a real battle for who’s going to be the star and who isn’t. Well, a lot of what we saw in the Senate hearings is theater. And what’s going on today with Mitch McConnell’s announcement that they’re going to have the vote sometime this week, and at the very same day, earlier today Trump has said he wants the FBI investigation, according to AP, to be comprehensive. Which is all ridiculous, how you’re going to have a comprehensive investigation and then you’re going to have a vote this week. And apparently, Trump- at the same time is saying he wants a comprehensive investigation, according to another news report, was screaming, irate at Mitch McConnell for not controlling the process and making sure the vote took place more quickly.
The Republican side of this is fairly obvious. This is … This is what it looks like when a political party and its billionaire backers and a section of the population, which is- I would say is partly, it’s fairly deep into a process of fascisization. And I’ll talk a little bit about that later. But you can’t get away with such outright lying, such outright fraud, such outright disrespect for- in fact, the majority public opinion in the country, because apparently only 30 percent of people actually think Kavanaugh should be confirmed.
DHARNA NOOR: Still 30 percent, despite everything we just saw from Christine Blasey Ford.
PAUL JAY: I was about to say, this 30 percent cares nothing about even a fig leaf that the Supreme Court is anything but a vehicle for their agenda. But while the Republican side of this is obvious, this is the party that believes in force. This is more policing, a stronger state apparatus, a hammer when necessary, to ensure massive tax cuts and Supreme Court decisions that will defend corporate rights. Citizens United is where corporations can donate unlimited amounts of money to elections.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of decisions come before the Supreme Court, including antitrust violations. Banking regulation. If you want, essentially, unmitigated capitalism, you need the Supreme Court to make sure that any of the previous laws or any new laws are stricken, and give big capital, give finance completely unrestricted grounds to make lots of money. That’s pretty easy to see.
What isn’t maybe as apparent is why is Bernie Sanders, as far as I can tell- you know, I can’t say I did a comprehensive search. But I can’t find another leading Democrat that’s declared or accused Kavanaugh of perjury. And this is very important. Because at the hearings on Friday- I should say on Thursday- first of all, when Kavanaugh is testifying, he got away with lie after lie after lie, with the Democrats barely pushing back. Over and over he got to say, oh, the four witnesses that could have said that Dr. Ford’s testimony was true all say it didn’t happen.
Now, we know that three of them said they couldn’t remember. And Judge obviously is in complete conflict of interest, so you can’t take Judge seriously. But at any rate- but those three never said it didn’t happen. Now, we know the Dems made that point on the Friday. But why didn’t they make that point on the Thursday, when so many people were watching television? It’s a beginning of a pattern. And part of that pattern is Byth Durant by Kavanagh’s testimony on Thursday. It was already clear that there was at the very least the very credible people that had come forward to say he was lying about his college drinking. Now the next day a couple of the Democrats made the point that if you lie about one thing it could lead a jury to the conclusion you’re lying about everything but that point could have been made on Thursday. Why- that there’s people out there saying you are lying about- you’re saying you had modest, normal drinking in college.
My point here is why didn’t the Dems on Thursday, one, confront him far more forcefully? Why did they let him get away with this really outrageous performance? And two, why didn’t they raise the call that Sanders did on Saturday? But other people have talked about this, too. Not just Sanders. Why didn’t they call for an FBI investigation into allegations of perjury? Because that’s a qualitatively different type of investigation.
DHARNA NOOR: Talk about why. Talk about what the difference is between the investigation into perjury versus, you know, the other investigations, with the background check and everything that are currently on the table.
PAUL JAY: Well, the background check is simply you get to interview a bunch of people. And I’m no expert in this, but as I’ve learned through watching TV and reading, basically the FBI background report can say this person said that, that person said that. And maybe in reading the report you can see some contradictions, or may be in the report you’ll see this person contradicted Kavanaugh on his college drinking, for example. But if, if it’s an investigation into did he commit perjury, well, perjury is a federal crime. I believe perjury in front of a Senate committee is worth, could be up to five years in jail. That’s a criminal investigation. And in those criminal investigations, the FBI can draw conclusions. And they can recommend charges. They could come back and say, yeah, we think he committed perjury.
Now, I’m not like I have great faith in the FBI one way or the other. But if you’re going to fight within these institutions, at the very least, fight. And the Democrats on that committee, they make a show of opposing Kavanaugh, but they don’t really fight. And they don’t, they don’t go for the jugular. Now, Lindsey Graham, on the- I guess it was on the Friday, he went for the jugular in this little rant of his against the Democrats. I guess we don’t have it cued up right now to show. But you know, he accused them of being, violating poor Kavanaugh’s family, and horrible things. And he kind of crossed a line where he suggested Feinstein had leaked the documents. He went after them personally with some real venom.
Well, that, that violates, you know, supposedly the rules of being so collegial and working across the aisle and all this, and the Democrats were so outraged. But why are the Democrats want to work across the aisle from these people? Why do they want, you know, to have this friendly, supposed, collegial rapport? Because on the Friday when they take the vote and Jeff Flake makes his speech, and at the same time Lindsey Graham has all this wonderful- how much he loves Joe Biden. Clearly someone talked to Lindsey Graham, because he lost it, and shouldn’t have been quite so venomous, although it played well with the Republican base. But he opens up, oh, Joe Biden’s wonderful. If he runs in 2020 he’ll be hard to beat. And then he says, oh, I know Dianne Feinstein would never have leaked those documents.
The thing I’m getting at here is that the Democrats are more interested in defense of this whole system of the architecture the Supreme Court, and they’re so worried about people’s respect for the Supreme Court. Why? The Supreme Court, in a totally partisan 5-4 vote in the year 2000, essentially helped participate in an electorial fraud. Elected George Bush, took it away from Al Gore. That’s the Supreme Court we’re talking about. But let’s also talk about at some point how come Al Gore doesn’t fight. Because there is a pattern here. When it really comes to really revealing the real nature of these institutions and the nature of the system, and the nature of how the oligarchy rules through these political institutions, the Dems always pull back.
DHARNA NOOR: And you’re talking about how Gore didn’t demand a recount when in Florida, the recount in Florida to see whether or not him or Bush had really won the election in 2004, here.
PAUL JAY: Yeah, more or less. I don’t remember all the detail. But the gist of it is, as I remember it, in 2000 Florida is the deciding state. However Florida goes, so goes the election. There’s this hanging chad business. A lot of ballots that it’s hard to tell whether the punch actually was a full punch, or somehow just the chads flipping around, which is kind of a crazy system of voting, anyway. So in one district there’s a, there’s a call for a recount. And in fact, a recount is starting. The Bush administration- not the administration. The Bush campaign goes to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 completely partisan decision, ends- orders an end to the recount. One of the justices who opposed- who wanted, thought there should be a recount, he said this is, this reveals the end of a sense of nonpartisanship in the Supreme Court. This is a destruction of the reputation of the Supreme Court. Very strong language.
What does Al Gore do? Nothing. Al Gore could have done at least two things. Number one, his legal team could have gone back to the Florida Supreme Court and continued to fight. There was a legal door open there. But more than that, he could have denounced the decision. He could have said, this is a partisan decision. We should not respect what the Supreme Court just said. And if the elections turn out this way, people shouldn’t consider these elections credible. But he wouldn’t do that, because Al Gore’s fundamental allegiance, even when it’s his own career and presidency on the line, is to the system itself.
DHARNA NOOR: What, then, do you think is the difference, I guess, between the Democrats and the Republicans on the Supreme Court and in the Senate, et cetera? Because it sounds like you’re saying that the Democrats could have done more to prevent Kavanaugh’s nomination, but you’re not trying to erase the differences between them. I mean, having Democrats on the Supreme Court could be really essential in decisions. Especially, I mean, given the severity of what Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has said. We could talk about the difference that it could make for women in decisions about equal pay, or whether even Roe v. Wade is repealed. So talk about what that difference could be, and why you’re saying that the Democrats should have fought harder.
PAUL JAY: Well, as I said, it’s on many examples you can see this pattern, where the Dems will only go so far. Just before I answer more directly your question, I’ll give you another example. If President Obama really wanted the full, real reform of the healthcare system, instead of appointing Baucus to head the Senate committee and letting the whole process be led by someone who who didn’t really want any serious healthcare reform. You know, at some point Obama mildly supported this idea of a public option. Wouldn’t even let Medicare for All get on the table. But if he really wanted, even if it was a public option, if he really wanted reform, or some of the other pieces of legislation he supposedly wanted, why didn’t he call for millions of people to come to Washington and demand reform? Surround Congress? Like, the Democrats won’t unleash a mass movement to fight for what they supposedly want.
So both- on both sides, one, in terms of the language they use, the way they fight, and unleashing millions of people to come to support some kind of legitimate reform, they don’t want to do anything that’s a systemic threat. So in this case, on Kavanaugh, they’ve done enough to make it look like they’re fighting. You know, they put on enough that people in the Democratic Party base and people, you know, generally, they look like they’re pushing back. But in terms of their language, especially what they let Kavanaugh get away with on that final day of his testimony, it’s not a real fight. They don’t wound. They don’t say things.
And it’s partly- I don’t know, do they think they’re going to offend some people that like Kavanaugh? They’re not voting for the Democrats anyway. So how could they, how could they worry about that? I think it’s they are genuinely worried about the legitimacy and credibility of the Supreme Court. And you know, you can hear them on TV all day talking about, well, if Kavanaugh gets elected, why, people won’t respect the decisions of the Supreme Court. Well, people shouldn’t respect the decisions of the Supreme Court. Most of the decisions of the Supreme Court are partisan, and are- I think one of the quotes I heard from one of the Democrats was there have been 79 decisions, 5-4 decisions, in the last few years that favor the far right, and particularly right-wing causes.
Now, let’s get to the underlying, real issue here. The fundamental difference, I think, between the Democratic Party corporate leadership- there’s people in the Democratic Party who this doesn’t apply to, like Bernie Sanders did call for a perjury investigation, where I don’t see other leading Democrats calling for that. That being said, the Democrats see their role, and Hillary Clinton described it really well in one of the early debates with Sanders, she said our role- meaning the Democratic Party leadership- is to rein in the excesses of capitalism. They see the need, in order to defend capitalism, and they even say it in those ways, you need these mitigating regulations and laws. You need a certain amount of social safety net. And they say overtly to defend capitalism you need these things.
The Republicans are for unmitigated capitalism. Almost unmitigated. I mean, it’s not like they want to, you know, they’ll deport undocumented workers. They won’t shoot them. You know, it’s not like they want a complete out-and-out police state, although there are sections of the Republicans that under the right circumstances would go there. Although I wouldn’t rule out there are not also sections of the Democratic Party under the right circumstances that will go there. But on the whole, the division here is how they see a sustainable capitalism. And so to the Dems, for example, you need a relatively strong antitrust legislation. Trump’s undoing anti-Trump legislation.
DHARNA NOOR: Antitrust.
PAUL JAY: You know, that you can’t have monopolies that are too big. You need a certain amount of competition. You need some regulation that doesn’t allow people to be too impoverished. You need a little bit of social safety net. You can’t have completely unrestricted corporate rights.
DHARNA NOOR: But wouldn’t you say that the Democrats are allowing those excesses of capitalism to get, in a sense, out of hand? I mean, unions are not as strong as they once were. I think the Democrats, many would say, are arguing- are actually pushing for fewer reins on the excesses of capitalism.
PAUL JAY: Well, this is the- I agree with you, the underlying- like, I don’t think you would have a Trump if you hadn’t had such a growth of inequality under the Obama administration, which- and the administration that helped set the plate for all this is the Clinton administration. All that being said, it’s not just, it’s not just about some administration or some president. It’s about what’s going on in the social economic system itself. The growing power of the financial sector, the financialization of the economy, has taken a stratospheric jump since computerization. Banking was already, as we get into the early 20th century and industrialization, and you started having to build factories with thousands of workers, you need tons of capital to buy the machinery that’s necessary. The amount of money that’s needed as capitalism industrializes and expands is completely different than what was needed in the 19th century and earlier, so banks start becoming more and more dominant.
So that’s already true. And as the money starts flowing up into the banking sector, and everyone that’s cashing in on the financial sector, it gets more and more speculative, more and more crazy and leveraged and parasitical, and you get the big crash in 1929, ’30, to a large extent triggered by the extent of financialization. People were just borrowing money and buying stocks. And when stocks went down they couldn’t cover the debt that they borrowed the money on. A piece of why the crash happened. Following World War II the financial sector starts to grow in strength again, again because banks play such a central role in how modern industrialization, modern capitalism works.
But then something happens, and this comes right around the same time as Reagan. You start to have digitization. You start to have computers. And all of a sudden, you know, the finance sector that’s working with a pencil and paper is now working with computers. And now you start getting rise to crazy speculative ventures like subprime mortgages, and you know, these derivative packages where they put all kinds of packages of mortgages and other things, and sell them, and resell them, and make crazy fees. Well, to model all that you need a computer. You need digitization. And now we’re getting into artificial intelligence helping them model even crazier financial transactions that are deliberately almost impossible for anyone to understand what the hell they’re even doing. But there’s so much money being accumulated that people with all this money just have to gamble against each other, because not enough productive places to invest it in the economy. And you know, how many- you know, you can only create so many shoe factories, and whatever.
But there’s another reason why there’s so much profit, why there’s so much wealth. And that’s because the digital revolution changed globalization. So now the global supply chain of products being made in China, or anywhere where there’s low labor costs, now can start producing, first of all, at a quality level that’s close or as good as the American products. That wasn’t true for a while, but it is now. And with such synchronization that you take a tube of toothpaste off a Wal-Mart store or on Amazon, and somebody in Asia or somewhere knows it’s time to make a tube of toothpaste and send it.
DHARNA NOOR: And of course it’s not just the Republicans who are pushing this kind of better efficiency, and you know, outsourcing that comes from globalization. It’s also- it’s also Democrats, of course.
PAUL JAY: Well, of course it is. What I’m getting at is this actually is kind of a spontaneous force that comes out of the economy itself, and then gets reflected in the politics and the consciousness of people. It’s not like someone said let’s invent a computer so we can have subprime mortgages. But people see how to take advantage of these developments. It’s not, it’s not like this, it’s- the role of the parties, and the role of the policy, facilitates. But it only can facilitate something that’s possible.
Now, sure, under Clinton globalization takes off. A lot of the outsourcing of jobs, the creation of the Rust Belt, happens under Clinton. It’s the hypocrisy of the Democrats that’s critical here, because if you really want to do something about, to mitigate the effects of this globalization so it doesn’t undermine American workers, you could have. You could have strengthened union rights. You could have done things to prevent- to force more production to take place in the United States. But- let me finish the point. But the point here, when you get back to the Supreme Court and Kavanaugh, is that these extremely powerful forces that are just rolling in orgies of money making have given up even the defense of their own system.
What I mean by that, some of the stuff like antitrust legislation, like regulation on Wall Street, why did they pass Dodd Frank under Obama. You know which is the last week but at least some kind of regulation. And now they’re getting rid of Dodd-Frank, but they passed it because, you know, there always was within the elites at least some people that saw that even while individually every capitalist tries to get as rich as they can, somebody better look after the system as a whole and make sure it doesn’t completely get so excessive it can’t- it’s not sustainable. Those voices are starting to disappear, and in the Republican Party they’re gone.
DHARNA NOOR: And we actually, we have a comment from the Wilk Report on YouTube, who seems to be agreeing with you that, you know, Democrats voted to confirm Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts. Some even voted for Gorsuch- actually, Hillary Clinton helped confirm him to the Federal Court in 2006. Talk about what kinds of actions the Democrats could be taking besides just voting. What kinds of actions could the Democrats be taking?
PAUL JAY: Well, when I say- when you say ‘could be taking,’ that’s if they actually were going to, if they were who they say they are. Except they’re not. I’m not talking about all Democrats. But the leadership, the corporate Democrats, the ones that are really in charge of the process and the Democratic Party machine, I mean, who are they, really? Who are they really is another face of capital, another face of finance, another face- but a face that’s, that one has to appeal to big cities. So they can’t be as aggressive, because the constituencies in the big cities won’t vote for such egregious policies that the Republicans promote.
What could they have done? They could have not- they could have slowed down the process. They could have not voted for them. They could have said the, you know, all of these far-right characters that got nominated are not suitable to be on a court, because clearly they’re partisan. And clearly, you know, in supposed criteria for what’s a Supreme Court judge. They would have fought the way the Republicans fight when the Dems try to nominate somebody. But Republicans, their heart’s in it. They really believe in unmitigated capitalism, with a hammer called the police force and the state if people don’t like it. But the Dems don’t really believe in a lot of this liberal talk. Some do. I don’t want to be a complete broad brush here. There are some elected Dems who believe it, but not the ones that control the machine.
So they don’t do these things because their heart’s not in it, because they they can’t offend finance that controls so much of the campaign money. They can’t offend some of the billionaires that give them money and help direct, even, Democratic Party foreign policy. So I mean, where does all this lead? Where this leads is the fight within the Democratic Party is the critical fight here. Is it possible that people calling themselves the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, who have won some races, can they really wage a fight against these corporate Dems? Because these corporate Dems will do a little bit to mitigate the far right. But they won’t, they won’t draw blood.
DHARNA NOOR: You mentioned that you thought that the Republicans were doing what they really believed in, which was not reining in the excesses of capitalism. But we spoke a bit off camera about how Republicans, too, are willing to sort of vote or push policies in ways that appease certain parts of their base, even if they don’t really believe them. For instance, many Republicans, including Kavanaugh, appealing to this religious nature of the Republican Party, and doing things like fighting abortion rights, despite the fact that maybe they don’t personally care so much. How much of that do you see going on in the Supreme Court, and is that something that we should fear if Kavanaugh is nominated?
PAUL JAY: Well, listen, I can’t- I haven’t done a scientific assessment of whether the right-wing billionaires that finance all this stuff actually believe in it. From what we know of the morals, morales, of most of the billionaire class, liberals and right wing, they don’t have many. I used to know, I got to get to know Gore Vidal, who knew the ruling circles pretty well. And he says the main thing you have to understand about most of the top tier of the ruling circles is that they’re completely amoral. In their personal behavior, in their relationships. Of course there’s always going to be exceptions. Do the right-wing billionaires that make their money out of armaments, who who make fortunes killing people, who had no problem supporting and creating the weapons that killed untold numbers of pregnant mothers in Iraq, how many unborn babies have been slaughtered in American warfare? How come that’s OK? But abortion is not OK.
I mean, the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of it all, the- even, even the evangelicals cannot possibly think that Donald Trump believes any of the religious stuff that comes out of his mouth. And I think Trump is a good reflection of someone who can mouth religious language, and you know- given his behavior, I mean, how many affairs as he had with porn stars … I mean, his personal behavior is just inconsistent. Totally incompatible with supposedly believing in these religious, as religious people. And I must say, I would guess most of the individual ordinary people that are religious sincerely do believe. And I don’t think that, you know, most of the ordinary people that are against abortion do it for sinister reasons. I think it’s part of a sincere, you know, religious view of the world. And you know, you can disagree with it. And I think it’s fine for them to decide their own behavior. I don’t think it’s correct to decide anyone else’s behavior. But I don’t think it’s cynical manipulation, which I think we are getting from these elites and these politicians who claim to be on the same page with these religious people, and violate it every day.
I mean, go behind some of the most pornographic, degenerate television channels and see who owns them. They’re often the exact same companies that are financing the Republicans.
DHARNA NOOR: Just a reminder that we’re live on The Real News.com, live on YouTube. Feel free to send us your questions, comments. We actually we have one question that I’m not sure I know how to answer from Jay Hitchcock on YouTube, who’s asking: Can the FBI itself call for a grand jury because Kavanaugh committed perjury on live television?
PAUL JAY: Oh, that’s an interesting question.
DHARNA NOOR: Yeah, I don’t know the answer to that, either.
PAUL JAY: I guess I don’t really know. I mean, I don’t see why not. I guess it’s a federal crime, and the FBI, I believe, can initiate its own investigations. I don’t think they need the Justice Department to tell them every time they investigate something. Of course they, there’s no question they wouldn’t. And this Department of Justice certainly isn’t going to do it. But I guess I don’t know the answer to that. But there’s no question that the Democratic Party members of the Justice Committee, at least, should have made a big show about it even if they couldn’t force the committee to do it. Because that’s what everybody should be talking about right now. Should this guy be investigated for perjury? That should be the conversation. Not, oh, wasn’t it wonderful the way Jeff Flake made This stand and now we can all, you know, be back in la-la land again. And now with McConnell saying they’re going to have a vote this week, I mean, then it’s clear the whole thing is cynical.
So I think there’s an important part here. It’s hard to know what to make of the polling. But on MSNBC one of the hosts is saying there’s a poll out that 30-31 percent of people approve of Kavanaugh. Well, given what we’ve seen, that’s a lot of people. Apparently- I saw another stat that apparently 51 or 52 percent of Republicans think Kavanaugh should be approved even if he did attempt rape. Because this, this commitment to these hard-right values, strong state, big tax cuts, throwing out immigrants, undocumented immigrants. The whole right-wing vision of the world is very strongly embedded in what seems to be, you know, something close to a third of the population. And it could be more.
And it’s very important, I think I mentioned this earlier, you don’t get authoritarianism, you don’t get fascism, without a significant amount of public support. And I know there’s been a lot of talk about the one percent. And you know, even a fraction of the one percent. And yeah, way enormous amounts of the wealth has accumulated in that less than one percent of the population. But it’s a little deceiving. Because it’s probably more like at least 20 percent and maybe more of the population that’s really doing quite well, and are very happy with their economics, and like the status quo. And it’s- I saw a few years ago, four or five years ago, a stat, I think it was from Pew, but that there are as many families with family income over $100,000 dollars as there are families with family income under $30,000 dollars. In actual numbers. Because a lot of people are doing quite well in this country.
Now, I’m not saying everyone that’s got a higher income is part of this extreme right. But a significant section of it is. And you know, when it comes down to why do they support it, you know, it’s I don’t want these people to come take my stuff. You know, I worked hard for it. Maybe some of them inherited it I don’t know. But they- it’s a very, very narrow version of self-interest, wrapped up in this religion of Americanism and patriotism which makes it OK. Like it’s patriotic to make money. It’s patriotic just to worry about yourself, and maybe your own family. But it’s always boggled my mind how it’s patriotic to earn money, but some other people, their patriotism is to go die in a war. And the hypocrisy reeks and this society reeks of hypocrisy. The show we’ve seen on these Senate hearings reeks of hypocrisy.
But the most dangerous thing right now when you’re looking at this whole phenomena is not just that the Supreme Court could be so right wing. And it’s not of no importance. It’s of real importance. Because even though all the Dems want to do is rein in the excesses of capitalism, it’s better than no mitigation at all. And so- and to have a court that says it’s going to go back to that election of 2000, a court that would essentially expropriate an election result. And as we head, you know- here’s the most dangerous moments. We are due for a big economic crisis.
Now, by due it can mean anything. It could mean one or two years. It could mean five years. You know, I don’t know anyone that can predict with any precision what will be the triggering event and when it could happen. I mean, odds are it will be after the 2020 election, because I think they’re going to throw money at the American economy to try to forestall anything. But when it comes, most economists are predicting- not all, but most- quite a deep crisis. And that some of the tools that the Fed had in terms of quantitative easing may not be as effective, because they’ve already got such cheap money out there. But even put that aside. Anyone that looks ahead knows we are going into a period of real crises. Artificial intelligence and robots are going to replace millions and millions of workers in the next 10, 15 years. No truck drivers, no taxi drivers, no warehouse workers, and go on and on. I mean, as time goes on, more and more jobs get replaced by robotics, which obviously does two things. One, it causes massive unemployment. And two, who are you going to sell all these products to? Which means the economy gets even further paralyzed.
So the elites know this is coming. At the most recent Bilderberg conference where all these elites get together and blab- and I do not think Bilderberg conferences rule the world, but a lot of people who rule the world do go to Bilderberg conferences. On their agenda, which was public, and the only thing that was public, I believe it was number four, was the future of work. And number five was artificial intelligence. It should be noted, nowhere on that list was climate. They’ve given up on the issue of dealing with the climate crisis. And as I’ve said elsewhere, their plan is head for the hills and get robots to do the work and let everyone else go to hell. One way or the other, instinctively, consciously, I think everybody knows we’re heading towards a crossroads. And it’s some time likely in the 2020s. With climate change it’s definitely in the 2020s, because we’re already- if we are not already crossing- we’ve already crossed the 2 degree warming line.
DHARNA NOOR: Yeah. And new reports show that we’re well on our way to crossing the 1.5 degree warming line.
PAUL JAY: Oh, 1.5 very soon, and the 2 degreem at the very latest they’re saying by 2050. But that was before Trump got elected. So who knows, it could be 2040. At any rate, you know, in a very foreseeable future, we’re reaching a climax of all this. And the brains of the elites are aware of it. And the right knows how they want to deal with it when the people get fed up with this. And there’s, you know, mass unemployment, and there’s a real crisis. They want a hammer, and they want a Supreme Court that’s going to wield a hammer.
And the problem is that for the financiers that back the Democratic Party, they’re probably on the fence on this. They may not mind a hammer. You know, they don’t like the social legislation. They don’t like, they don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade. They don’t want to give up on gay rights. But some of these billionaires are normally back the Democratic Party, do they mind a Supreme Court that’s going to have a hammer when the shit hits the fan? Maybe they don’t. We’re being told- Rana Foroohar, who I interviewed, she writes for the Financial Times. She says the vast majority of Wall Street now supports Trump because of the deregulation and the tax cuts.
DHARNA NOOR: Yeah, and this is always kind of talked about in this way where, oh, identitarian politics are what are going to be protected, as though, you know, this, like, stopping on the reining in of the excesses of capitalism, as though, the reign of corporate rights is not horrible for women, for people of color, when in fact the subprime mortgage crisis, of course, affected people here in Baltimore, mostly black people here in Baltimore. Started here in Baltimore. Corporate rights will mean likely that the Supreme Court will not rule in favor of equal pay, in cases of equal pay for women. So you know, really these are issues that will affect, I think, everyday people.
PAUL JAY: And there’s a very important point that hasn’t gotten enough attention. In Trump’s speech at the United Nations, I believe it was at the UN, because he’s been making speeches at rallies, too, he had a whole section attacking socialism. Why? Is Venezuela about to take over the United States? Why is socialism such a threat that Trump has to go on and on about how socialism has failed?
PAUL JAY: Well, first of all, just as an aside, there’s different socialisms. And some have succeeded, and some haven’t. Relatively succeeded. But all that being said, capitalism is no success story for the majority of people of the world. I mean, capitalism gave us World War I, gave us World War II, gave us Hiroshima and Nagasaki, gave us the Vietnam War, gave us the Iraq War. Capitalism has given us endless wars. So yeah, if you’re on the receiving, the money-receiving end of that, this has been pretty successful. But for most of the world, the system is not working. But most importantly, when it comes to climate, there’s no solutions coming. It’s not that it wouldn’t have been theoretically possible, that capitalism could have said early enough, as with acid rain or something, or even to some extent regulation on something like tobacco, maybe it could have dealt with it. But the fossil fuel industry is just too powerful, and the rest of the elites are just making too much money. And they’re not, i’s clear they’re not going to deal with it.
You know, by the time capitalism thinks it’s time to deal with it, it’s going to be so far gone that they won’t deal with it. As I said, they’re going to head for the hills. But why does Trump attack socialism so much? Because what is the way out of this? It’s so, it’s so obvious. And whether Trump’s conscious of it or not, you gotta develop an economy built to the public sector to weaken the power of the billionaires. You need a banking system, a publicly owned banking system. You need serious regulation, starting with on carbon emission. You can’t- the market mechanisms, especially with these kinds of elites in power, you’ve got to have regulations that are going to limit carbon emission and fossil fuel production. You need to transform who has power, how wealth is distributed, and you need to get to a green, sustainable economy. And to do all that you need a Supreme Court that’s not going to strike down every time you try to pass a law. And they’re trying to- you know, a law in favor of the things I just said. And this court could be around for decades.
Now, if you had a Democratic Party with guts, and if they ever took over the House and the Senate, they’ll threaten to do what Roosevelt threatened to do, which is stack the Supreme Court. As far as I understand it, there’s nothing stopping Congress from saying, OK ,let’s have a few more Supreme Court members. Roosevelt said he was going to do it. But that’s when, I mean, Roosevelt, even though he was trying to defend capitalism, he was willing to wage a real war with the far right. These Dems, they don’t want that. They won’t wage that kind of fight.
DHARNA NOOR: And many have noted, you’ve noted also that one of the perhaps most notable things about Kavanaugh is that he supports the imperial presidency; the inability to charge a sitting president with a crime. You can only use impeachment against a president. Worth noting, though, that though he has said that he believes in this policy, he was involved with the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the investigations that went on with Bill Clinton’s misconduct with Monica Lewinsky. So talk about what, I guess, this selective imperial presidency could mean if Kavanaugh is confirmed.
PAUL JAY: Well, this, this, this really does scare not just the Democratic Party, but broader sections of the elites. And this is maybe the one thing they’re most concerned about. One of the reasons I think we have not had overt fascism in the United States, as has been in Germany, and there was in Italy, there was in Spain, there was in Greece and other places, certainly many countries of Latin America, is the multimillionaire billionaire class here is really big. And they have a diverse set of interests. They’re all spread out all over the country. And they do believe that you need a certain amount of institutional integrity, and this, you know, Senate, Congress, White House, Supreme Court, the institutions balance each other. You need a certain amount of law and, quote unquote, democracy, to avoid civil war amongst the elites. And the elites fought a civil war once in this country, and it was very bloody.
And the difference in interest between the billionaires over who’s going to control the state apparatus and who’s going to cash in on pillaging the public treasury, it’s a very serious battle. And they’ve just, they have come to this process over time, that they’ll settle it in a legal- within the realm of more or less a legal framework. Like, it used to be when one feudal lord wanted somebody’s land, and another feudal lord didn’t want to give them the land, they’d see, well, who had the most money to hire the most peasants? Get the church to tell the peasants that you’re fighting for God and whatever. Pay the peasants money, because they’re starving, and at least even if you die you’ll get a little money for your family. And off they go. And they, then they go and they have a big slaughter, and whoever feudal lord wins wins. Well, here the way they fight it out is in a similar way, which is one set of billionaires that raises money for their for their politicians, and another set of billionaires does it with their set of politicians, and then they, they all have tons of money, and they buy TV advertising and they pay for campaign workers and the peasants, meaning us, get to vote which section of these elites are going to rule us.
DHARNA NOOR: Yeah, [Ladin] 1780 on YouTube actually just commented, if the crisis- if there is a crisis, if the crisis increases, isn’t it possible that some part of the elite will get in a fight with others about how to react to another financial crisis?
PAUL JAY: Well, that’s why I say- I kind of lost track. The issue of imperial presidency is that the elites on the whole here do not want a cabal of a small, small circle of billionaires to capture the state power in the White House and use the power of the presidency to get what they want. And that- I think that’s fueling a lot of what’s driving the Mueller investigation. There’s a lot of reasons for the Russia stuff. The whole narrative for decades, you know, the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming. But a big piece of this is they don’t like the way the Trump cabal is leaning towards a presidency above the law.
So Kavanaugh has pretty much on record saying- it’s not pretty much, he is on record- saying you can’t charge a president when he’s in office. Which creates, you know, the possibilities for a kind of Mussolini, even Hitler-ite kind of state, where there’s- other than impeachment. Now, the difference here is the Dems may wind up controlling Congress. But who knows? And in the future, who knows? That if as soon as you get this similar situation with one party controlling both houses, and the presidency, and a Supreme Court that says you can’t charge a president with anything, now you can have this kind of really fascist authoritarian cabal that will even dictate to the elites, which is what happened in Germany. And they don’t like that. They don’t- it’s not like they care that much about civil rights for ordinary people, but they do care about civil rights for themselves.
DHARNA NOOR: To that point, Charles [in Midwood] is asking how we can fight against the Supreme Court itself, not just the bad nominees. And I guess here the, the extreme power of the Supreme Court, being in office until you die, essentially. And you know, just the elite character, the refusal on the part of the Supreme Court a lot of the time to defend the rights of ordinary people.
PAUL JAY: Well, as long as there still are electoral politics that are sort of legitimate, and I say sort of because we know about voter suppression, and repression, and gerrymandering, and crazy financing. But still, you can see some breakthroughs. There has to be- people have to get organized. They have to get organized as a movement in the streets. But they have to, also, get organized electorally. And people are. Places where people are doing it. It needs to be on a much bigger scale. This, the democratic potential of this system, which is less and less, needs to be pushed to the limits. Within the Democratic Party, if you can elect people to Congress, or state governments outside the Democratic Party.
But one way or the other, I’m saying the elites don’t want to give up on the electoral process because it could lead to a bloodbath amongst the elites, and that ain’t good for business. Why is there a democratic structure in this country? Because you need it to make money. You know, you need laws. It’s like, like, we have a building, right? Real News got this money donated, we got this building. Why is it our building? I mean, why can’t anybody come in here and say, no, it’s our building? Well, because we can call the police. Because there’s a state with guns that will tell those people, get out of their building.
So this whole system of private property only exists if there’s guns to say they own this and you don’t. So the electoral democratic process has to validate these sets of laws. People have to buy into them. And you know, you get these revolutionary moments in societies where people say, you know what, to hell with all your laws, because you as a ruling elite have no credibility anymore. And then, you know, it’s not so simple to keep control of those situations. So they need this democratic process. And in the end they can’t produce and make money very well. You know, totalitarian systems don’t make a lot of money. Germany was so militarized, and by 1939-1940 was so militarized, so police-ized, they could barely produce consumer products. One of the reasons they invaded France was so the troops could use the cockamamie money the Germans imposed on the French and buy consumer products and send back to their families, because the economy was so inefficient, so unproductive, except for militarization.
So there is still room to push these electoral politics, and it needs to be pushed as far as possible. And there’s, so far at least in the American tradition, although we’ve seen COINTELPRO, we’ve seen them go after left groups, but we have not seen a complete invalidation of the electoral process. So as long as it’s still there, it needs to be pushed to the max. And there’s not ahell of a lot of time. This lead up to the 2020 elections is very critical.
DHARNA NOOR: But we are seeing some people push these elected officials to do more. For instance, we don’t know necessarily it’s related, but Jeff Flake did say that he would only vote for this confirmation if the FBI extended their investigation. And we know that he did this after he was confronted by a number of survivors of sexual assault in an elevator. So to that point [Ladan] again is asking on YouTube, you know, many women following the testimony of Blasey Ford opened up about their own experiences with sexual assault. How big is that momentum and the opportunity to do something about this? And I think further, how can we use this political moment, I guess, to push forward for a movement to hold our elected officials accountable and to create something better than the Supreme Court that we’ll see if Kavanaugh is confirmed?
PAUL JAY: Well, I’m not big on the possibility of holding most electoral representatives accountable.
DHARNA NOOR: Yeah, maybe not- maybe especially not Jeff Flake.
PAUL JAY: You’ve got to defeat them. They have to lose. That’s the way to hold them accountable. You’ve got to beat them in an election. And there are some examples of it happening. Right wing Democrats have been knocked off. The Jeff Flake thing, you’ve got to be careful of overexaggerating the significance of what he did. There’s a lot of people on television today commenting that even the Republicans are saying it wasn’t so bad, because it gave the Republicans cover, because the process itself was so corrupt that by waiting a few days it’s harder for the Dems to say it was so corrupt. Which is another capitulation by the Democratic Party, allowing the Flake compromise to look legitimate, when at the end of this process-.
DHARNA NOOR: It’s something the Democrats actually supported.
PAUL JAY: Yeah, they were going on about how great he was. And I go back to where we were at the beginning. Instead of saying investigate this guy for perjury, and that’s the only FBI intervention that could possibly have any real meaning, they go along with the Flake thing. So in the end, if- assuming Kavanaugh, no big shoe drops, and maybe it will. I mean, it’s not out of the question the FBI will come up with such outrageous stuff that they’re going to have to bail on Kavanaugh, because they’re not out of time yet I don’t think. They might be able to float someone else before the November elections. And if they can’t, maybe they see that as a way to mobilize and generate some energy in their base to come out and vote.
But that being said, if he does get confirmed at the end of this week, the Republicans are going to say, well, we did the FBI investigation. What do you want? That’s what you asked from us, and we did it. You know, part of what’s being missed here in the Republican rhetoric, and the Dems are not calling them on it, it doesn’t matter whether Democrats manipulated this process. It doesn’t matter where someone from the Democratic Party leaked her letter. It doesn’t matter if the timing was done for best electorial political effect for the Democrats. Let’s say it’s all true, and maybe a lot of it is true. This isn’t about the Democrats. This is about the American people that are going to suffer the consequences of this kind of court.
DHARNA NOOR: And not to mention it doesn’t matter whether or not it was all timed for those reasons, because if there’s truth to the accusations there’s truth to the accusations.
PAUL JAY: Without question. But they’re playing- and the way the corporate media plays it, they are so, so embedded in this only politics- the only actors in politics are the Republican and Democratic Party. There’s no other actors. No one else gets to speak.
DHARNA NOOR: In a balanced report you speak to a Democrat, you speak to a Republican, and you leave everybody else out.
PAUL JAY: You don’t, you don’t even really talk, even, to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. You may have the odd token one gets in there now and then. But the fundamental thing here is that. The Kavanaugh appointment, if any of the substantial, substantive allegations are true, it’s got nothing to do with the Democratic Party. It’s the American people should not have to deal with this kind of court. Hardly anybody’s saying that.
DHARNA NOOR: So to wrap up, we have a question from Jones on YouTube who says, what’s your solution, Paul Jay? And I think we’ve talked a bit about, you know, how we can push to get better people in power, get more worthy people in power. But what, what is your solution? If this is the system that we have, how do we, how do we use it?
PAUL JAY: Well, I would say, number one- and we’re trying to do our best. We’re going to do better. Sound the alarm. Talk about the big picture to everybody you know. The big picture being the existential threat of climate. Climate change, global warming. We haven’t even talked on this today, but we want to talk more about it. There is a credible existential threat of nuclear war, and people kind of just want to, are in denial. They don’t even want to talk about it. But the possibility of accidental nuclear war, or deliberate use of small tactical nuclear weapons. And who knows where the hell that leads. The possibility end of humanity. And look at the people driving the, driving the car, driving the ship. These are the people we’re trusting with weaponry that can literally end all life on Earth? Sound the alarm.
Sound the alarm on all the various kinds of reform issues. But it’s not enough just to talk about $15. It’s not enough to talk about equal rights. It’s not even enough to talk about systemic racism. It’s not enough to talk about healthcare for all. Yeah, talk about all that, and yes, to get people engaged they need to fight for it. But we also have to talk about we are at an urgent crossroads of humanity. And as much as this road, and we’re taking steps down this road, leads to disaster, really, really disaster for us humans and a lot of other species, this road is actually filled with potential. Artificial Intelligence and this planned global economy, if it wasn’t just for a handful of people making money and the objective of that artificial intelligence and planned global economy was actually people’s wellbeing and developing this green sustainable economy, and you can start to see the potential of the solutions.
So we need to sound the alarm about the urgency, not get fooled by people who come looking like they’re, they want a nice version of this system, because there ain’t one. You know, even if there was some reform possible earlier- like, I interviewed Ralph Nader a couple of years ago. I said, do you think any of the reforms that got passed in the ’60s and early ’70s, you think any of that could be passed now? He laughed. He said, you couldn’t even- you wouldn’t even get seatbelts now. People got to get we’re in a really degenerate stage of things. Everyone needs to get alarmed. Get a sense of urgency. Tell everybody you know, start talking up the big picture. You can tell them to watch The Real News, but there’s other places they can watch and read stuff like this, I guess. And get organized. You know, in the communities, in a school, where you work. It doesn’t matter where you are. Get organized in terms of, you know, movement building and electoral politics.
And as I say, this big fight of who’s going to represent the Democratic Party going into 2020 is critical. Is it going to be some, you know, a candidate that’s really progressive? Or is it going to be another, you know, corporate Dem? Another Clinton, another Obama in one form or another? Because even though that’s better than the complete insanity of the far right, it will be another failure to address people’s real problems, and it will set the table for another Trump type, except this time it won’t be a clown. I think it will be, you know, something more dangerous.
This situation is grave. Let’s be honest about it. And let’s not treat and talk to people like they’re children. Because a lot of the discourse right now is just people just want to be in denial. Oh, we can’t talk about how threatening climate change is, it’s too overwhelming for people.
DHARNA NOOR: Too scary for people.
PAUL JAY: Yeah. Well, it’s damn scary. But it’s not give up scary. It doesn’t have to be paralyzing. There is an alternative here. So you know, we need to focus that there is this, there is a vision for a future. And it ain’t settled whether we’re heading down, you know, whether that’s the road we’re going down. But it ain’t settled, which means we can go down this road. But people got to get alarmed.
DHARNA NOOR: To hear more about how we and you can get alarmed, and as we continue to see what comes of the Kavanaugh vote, keep watching The Real News. Thanks for watching us live today. I’m Dharna Noor here with Paul Jay. We’ll see you soon. Thanks for watching.