Trump White House
Today on the Truth Perspective we'll be continuing our discussion from last week on the fourth turning, drawing on Harrison's three-part series published on SOTT.

The Fourth Turning and Steve Bannon Pt. 1: Why He's Wrong, Even Though He's Right
The Fourth Turning and Steve Bannon Pt. 2: Happiness, Hedonism, Horror - Repeat
The Fourth Turning and Steve Bannon Pt. 3: Implications for Hysterica-America

We'll be talking about social hysteria, the FakeNews media, the anti-Russian psychosis, Political Ponerology, and the general sense of craziness going around. One recent example of note: Bush Jr.'s newfound popularity among people that used to hate him. All because he doesn't like Trump. Tune in.

Running Time: 02:02:27

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Joe: Hi and welcome to the SOTT Radio Network. This is Behind the Headlines. I'm Joe Quinn and my co-hosts this week are Niall Bradley as usual.

Niall: Hi everyone.

Joe: And Harrison Koehli.

Harrison: Hello.

Joe: And Elan Martin.

Elan: Hi everyone.

Joe: Four horsemen of the apocalypse. That's what we'll be now known as.

Harrison: Comin' atcha!

Niall: Neiggghhhhh. {laughter, more horsey sounds}

Joe: Or maybe just the four horses of the apocalypse or the four horses' asses of the apocalypse.

Elan: Keep it simple.

Joe: Anyway, this week we are going to be taking the discussion a little bit further than we did last week but on a similar topic. It's related to a few articles that Harrison wrote, that three-part article series that Harrison wrote for SOTT centring around this idea of the fourth turning and Steve Bannon and Trump, the policies of the Trump administration and what's going on with the Trump administration, what motivates them, what's their ideology basically behind it and if there's any sense to it, if it makes any sense or if it's complete madness, or if it even matters at this point. So we'll be discussing that and going further than we did last week, and then the other associated topics I suppose.

But we might segue into that by way of just talking a little bit about breaking news or news over the last few days that has occurred at the heart of the international community. Anybody who doesn't know who the international community is, it's America and some of its lackeys like Europe, Australia, maybe New Zealand but I'm not sure about New Zealand, just America, Europe and Australia. That's the international community. All the rest of the world doesn't matter of course, so it's only what goes on at the heart of the international community which is Washington, D.C. that matters.

So what's been going on in Washington, D.C.? Nobody knows.

Harrison: Well yeah, who knows? You can never tell because all the news is fake.

Joe: All the news is fake. That's what we've been told by Donald Trump of course and he's probably not far off it. Actually on that topic, there's something you reference in the third part of your article series Harrison, where Trump a few weeks ago gave a press conference. This is the one where he supposedly had a meltdown because he said that now sort of almost famous comment that the leaks were real. These are the leaks coming out of the intel community saying that he's tied with Russia and all sorts of other bad things about him.

He said that the leaks were real but the news was fake and he laughed at the fact. But as you mention in your article, it was a good example of just how brain dead so many people are because everybody, all the Clintonistas and everybody on the "left" or "anti-Trump land" wherever that is, or whoever makes up anti-Trump land, they all jumped on it and said "Ha! Trump's such an idiot. He said the leaks are real but the news is fake. If the leaks are real, how could any news reporting on it be fake? It's a meltdown. He's just losing the plot here."

But it's they who are actually losing the plot just for displaying the inability to grasp not a very subtle nuance really, a rather obvious nuance of what he said, which was that of course there are leaks coming out saying stuff but the way they're being reported in the media is fake because if someone just leaks a piece of information, first of all it's good reporting, non-fake news would say "Well what's behind these leaks? Is there any kind of motivation behind it? Why is stuff being linked about Trump in the first place? Is it simply because of some do-gooder in the CIA who wants the truth to come out or someone out to get Trump and make him look bad?"

That's the kind of investigative journalism that you'd think would be pursued by the mainstream media but it's obviously not being pursued because they're all massively anti-Trump. Not that we're pro Trump necessarily, but we've never liked the mainstream media because they're basically shills for big government and they have no integrity whatsoever. Traditionally for us in highlighting or exposing the crimes and lies of the American and western governments, we've been equal opportunity bashers in throwing the mainstream media in with them because the mainstream media has such a long track record of acting as a mouthpiece for corrupt western governments. So we're no strangers to the duplicitousness of the mainstream media so in that sense we agree when we hear someone like Trump or anybody calling the media out for its inanity and deceptiveness.

Niall: Well the big thing in Washington besides that, was Trump's claim that Obama is spearheading a campaign to unseat him.

Joe: Right. That's the big thing just from today but the reason I'm referencing what Trump said previously is the level to which the media has gone or the level that it's at, being able to understand the simple concepts because they're so far down the road of demonizing Trump and everything has to be anti-Trump that they're unable to grasp concepts and the stuff that you're talking about Niall, from today, is simply a continuation of that. Does Obama do everything? It's the same kind of deal as the decider in chief. He's the commander-in-chief. He makes all the decisions? It strikes me that it's ridiculous to even accuse Obama of wiretapping. When you say "Obama wiretapped Trump" it's probably not Obama, right?

Niall: No.

Joe: But that allegation is kind of linked to what I've just been describing, about the way the media have been attacking the Trump administration since he was inaugurated because there has clearly been a campaign to demonize the Trump administration. Most of the media has been very much a part of that and they're so convinced that they're right and that they should be doing this that they just expose themselves as idiots.

But apparently they're not held up to ridicule because there are so many members of the population, so many people on Twitter and on Facebook who are backing up everything the media does. They can't even see what the media is doing either, the ridiculousness of these attacks against Trump.

Elan: Well just on that last point Joe, I think that speaks to something that was discussed at length in the third instalment of Harrison's series which is the allusion to Lobaczewski's Ponerology and the way that these types of ways of thinking get internalized by people so much so that they are unwitting agents for ponerization. Maybe that can be elaborated on a little bit but I thought that was an interesting kind of phenomena.

Harrison: Well what the media has done, the reason it works is because they essentially provide the raw material for the way people think and the way people think is usually an automatic process. I was listening to a Jordan Peterson talk recently and he brought up the example of "Well most people don't know how to think" he said. "I'm not being mean or anything, it's just a fact that you have to be trained how to think. If you want to actually formulate a thought, an actual argument - not argument in terms of a fight but in terms of making a point using reason and logic and facts - then it's a harder process.

You have to carry out two separate conversations in your mind and go back and forth between them and it's difficult. It's hard work. You'll probably break out in a sweat doing it."

But with most people thinking is just automatic, like with Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow, it just happens automatically and what that means is that you can only think with what you have available to you. So it becomes this group delusion where if there are certain ideas or memes or pseudo-facts that are just floating around, that will form the basis for the kind of pseudo-logic that people naturally come up with. So the main example that I brought up in that last part of the article was the whole anti-Russian thing where you have these basic premises that are taken as given, they just must be true, so we have 'Russia is evil', so everyone knows that Russia is Evil because of communism and because of Putin.

And everyone knows that the KGB is evil. And everyone knows that there's these things called Russian hackers. And everyone knows that Putin is always personally spying on everyone and doing everything evil in the world. So naturally it just makes sense that Putin hacked the election. Of course it's a bit more complex than that, but that's really what it boils down to. So in the media you have this kind of societal hysteria going on which Lobaczewski discusses and describes how it actually happens.

So it's this mutual reinforcement of pathological thinking where you have totally wrong premises that lead to a conclusion that appears self-evident on the surface so anyone who doesn't have the impetus or drive to actually question or see if something's true will just automatically tend to assume that it's true and then adopt it as one of their own views and then that just reinforces it even more because then when they talk to people they're doing the same process that the media is doing and it spreads like this kind of thought virus.

So that's one of the points that Lobaczewski makes, that this kind of thinking is contagious. It's like a disease that if it's not nipped in the bud somewhere, if you're not actually trained to think, there's really no way to escape it because people think automatically and the premises that go into their logic are presented to them with no alternatives. So it's like a force of nature that is pretty much inescapable without something to counter it. And oddly enough, we've seen especially in the last couple of years that this has just been going overboard since what happened in Ukraine with the coup there.

The anti-Russian rhetoric has just skyrocketed. But now something new has come in and that is this very persuasive - how else to describe Trump? He's just a phenomenon who has now come out and countered this and it's throwing everyone for a loop because he's just speaking common sense. We're getting some background noise from you guys. It's distracting. {laughing}

Niall: Don't mind us. Carry on. We're just getting our papers in order here.

Elan: I was going to ask you to pass a piece of chocolate over. {laughter}

Niall: Wrong guess.

Joe: Chocolate?! We're not eating chocolate. We wouldn't do such a thing.

Niall: We're tobacco.

Elan: Go ahead Harrison.

Harrison: Alright. That's just the main point that I wanted to make about that. Of course we can go in several different directions from that but in a nutshell, that's what's going on. It's kind of like echo chamber that the media - and when we say the media, the media is just one part of what you could call an elite establishment. It's determined a bit by how much money these people make, their education. They're all part of an identifiable group that isn't most of the people that voted for Trump, the working class, blue collar workers who aren't part of the in-crowd and this in-crowd all share the same kind of worldview, the same kind of beliefs and assumptions and the media is just their voice.

So if you look at the alliance of what's becoming identifiable because of the polarization of American society as the anti-Trump group, it's the media, mainstream politicians, academics, especially leftist academics and universities and students and bankers and certain entrepreneurs but there's this group that has coalesced that all kind of has the same ideas and the media is the representation of them because that's what the media does. It takes their voice and propagates it partly because it's the media's own voice too. These people actually agree with this and the really strange thing is that when you watch a lot of these people and of course some of them are for sure just opportunistic liars who will say anything, but there are people that just actually believe this stuff because they're - I'll say - almost literally psychotic because it is this psychological phenomenon of crazy thinking that doesn't actually make any sense.

So that's where you get into this cognitive dissonance that Scott Adams has been talking about recently. He just had a great example with Bill Nye the Science Guy who was on Tucker Carlson and he really had a meltdown on Tucker Carlson because he couldn't answer a simple question about climate change. When you have these positions that you've forced yourself into and you have to do mental gymnastics around and you're asked just a very simple question or presented with a very simple point that deconstructs your whole argument, it's painful because that's not what you believe and it threatens to expose that you are believing a lie and that you're actually not a very smart person, in this particular instance, and most people don't like that, don't like the feeling that that brings up in them, don't like to admit to themselves that they're not very smart and certainly don't like to be exposed as an idiot on live TV in front of millions of people.

So naturally there's a defence mechanism against that to protect the integrity of yourself and your image of yourself which makes you just kind of double-down and dig your hole even deeper and it just makes you look like an idiot. There was an example from today over this whole thing with Jeff Sessions. That's another thing that's happened in the last week of course, that after Mike Flynn, Jeff Session, the attorney general is all over the news for his meetings with Russian Ambassador Kislyak...

Joe: Because Russia.

Harrison: Yeah. So this one democrat, Sean Patrick Maloney was on Tucker Carlson either today or last night so I just watched the clip before we came on the show today. Tucker Carlson just asks him some very basic questions. Does this guy say that Sessions should be investigated and we have to get to the bottom of this? And so Carlson basically says "So what are you looking for? Why should this even be investigated?" And the guy can't give an answer. He says "Well the American people just deserve to know what's going on." He's like "Well why? This guy has met with tons of people, democrats. Should they all be investigated? Why should Jeff Sessions be investigated?" "Well because you know, Mike Flynn, he lied about something and that shows that there's something going on here so the American people just deserve to know." It's just insane because there's no reason, there's no evidence to suggest that anything untoward was going on between Jeff Sessions and the Russian ambassador.

Joe: But the answer is "Because Russia." That's how inane it is.

Harrison: Yeah, because Russia.

Joe: Because Russia. That's as far as people can go. Probably if you pressed them on it they'd say "Well Russia's bad." Why is Russia bad? "They hacked our election." They give you a stream of nonsense, a stream of lies, stuff that clearly they haven't even thought about even from a practical perspective. If it was even true that Russia somehow wanted Trump to win, how would they have influenced it? I suppose one of the things that they've highlighted, not just during the elections but previous to the election as well during the whole campaign and before it and not simply referencing the election, is Russian media like RT and Sputnik and whatever else.

So supposed Russia is evil for having its own English language, non-western aligned media that has a different perspective. By doing that, by the mere fact that RT exists, that's how Russia hacked the US election and allowed Trump to win, because freedom of speech basically or a different perspective. Any way you follow the line of so-called logic in this, you just go "?". But obviously people aren't even doing that. They're stopping right at "Because Russia". "Because Russia bad. That's why." And that's the level of thinking. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that that's the level of thinking. It's a deep as a thimble.

Niall: I never thought I'd hear students and bankers lumped into the same group as Harrison just did. {laughter} I just wanted to say that. But yeah, I got what you meant.

Joe: The intellectuals.

Niall: The intellectuals.

Joe: The intelligentsia or as dumb as a bag of rocks.

Niall: Another term he used, I just want to point out too is working class. This is the first time in US history really that it's kosher to use that term "the working class" because it's been something that's verboten. It's a non-thought, it's not allowed until very recently and that's something that's come along with Trump. It's richly ironic because Trump is supposed to be a far right fascist, neo-Hitler, whatever, blah, blah, blah. Steve Bannon allegedly is the one who's made it kosher to say it again, well for the first time ever in the US and he's supposed to be a far right, blah, blah, blah.

The thing is it's so ironic that they're finally coming to grasps with some of the basic historical Marxist concepts which they've been banging on at for years and they're attacking guys as being dangerous far right people. And their supporters, by the way, are all people who've warned about cultural Marxists and the danger of the left and here they are using this term "the working class". It's part of the many weird, contradictory things that come out of this phenomenon we're seeing, the contradictory thought all the way around, although at least what's new is a lot more common sense. What's new is Trumps and Bannon's, a reasonably objective analysis of the situation in the US and in the world and at least it's more reality based.

Joe: And a more symbolic, almost mass unconscious archetypal or whatever level, it seems to me that the freak out over Trump is a result of people in power, like the Washington elite, the establishment that just is Ivy League types that just rule things and change positions every four years or every eight years, those people are freaking out and the people who bought into that lie of America being the greatest, freedom and democracy, etc., those people are freaking out because they don't understand the reality that kind of intruded which was a reality that was effectively represented by a large number of American people who decided to actually exhibit a little bit of objective thinking, or as close as you can get to objective thinking, or they actually thought logically and somewhat sanely in deciding to vote for Donald Trump and everybody freaked out.

The whole establishment freaked out and all the people who are authoritarian, establishment lovers in the US all freaked out because the manifestation of that was that Trump became the president and everybody had a canary and it's simply because it's like reality suddenly intruded on American life and they're freaking out. And it's interesting what they focus on. Obviously they're making all sorts of stuff up, anything they can think of, to make this reality go away. It's when you don't like a reality that's in your face and people start telling you the truth that you start making stuff up and getting more and more irrational to try and make it go away because you don't know what to do. You get hysterical and you freak out and you start ranting and raving and acting like a crazy person.

So it's interesting that if you look at it from that perspective, the people freaked out about Trump, etc., and if you look at what they're saying, what their focus is apart from the stuff they're making up about Russia, they're hating on Trump himself as the person that he is, his character, his persona, his non-statesmanlike persona, his big orange head and his sexist comments and his lewdness in his behaviour, let's say, or anything you can think of, basically "I don't like this person. He's a creepy person". That's not to say that he actually is that creepy, but they're freaking out. They're picking on every single thing. It's like we were saying in previous shows, it's this difference between appearance and substance.

These people had no problem with Obama and Bush before him and all of the people behind him basically being extremely reprehensible individuals in substance in that Obama had no problem, to the extent that he did it, but he certainly was the spokesman for it, authorizing drone strikes to slaughter innocent civilians around the world. That's not a problem because either the American people don't hear about that or they spin it in some way that it's all good. They were terrorists, whatever. The level of thinking is so crass and so limited.

But anyway, they justify that kind of stuff themselves and all they want is to see another video of Obama doing some sexy dance moves with Ellen or something.

Niall: With Ellen.

Joe: And then they're happy.

Niall: Speaking of whom...

Joe: And they're happy.

Niall: Who went on Ellen's show this week? Dubya.

Joe: George Dubya.

Niall: To denounce Trump.

Joe: Right. So it's shocking and it's not reality intruding, where Trump comes along and he is much more in line with, as the kind of person he is, is actually much more in line with what America is and the way American politics works and he's more honest about it. But at the same time I think he's not as bad as the people who came before him. He actually has some integrity. He has a little bit more integrity than those other people. He has a bit more heart than those other people. The Obamas and the Bushes have no heart whatsoever because anybody who would happily defend the slaughter of a whole extended family in Afghanistan or Pakistan by summary execution from a drone, is a reprehensible human being.

Does Trump do that? I don't know. Does Trump keep track of all the jobs the Americans still do, warmongering and all that kind of stuff? But I haven't heard Trump come out and defend the kind of slaughter of civilians around the world that is the hallmark of US foreign policy. I haven't heard him yet come out and defend that in the same way that Bush, Obama and all the rest did before him.

So you have to think a little bit to be able to weigh this up and see what's better. But these people respond to Trump only on appearances and they don't know anything else below it. They don't know what's going on behind it. They don't care. I could forgive these American people who are interested in politics - obviously not our listeners because you're all smart enough to not be that interested in the sense of not be identified with it - but I would blame only the elite in America if everybody in the US, the entire population, had no interest whatsoever in politics, walked away from it. But a sizeable percentage of them do and obviously actively supported Clinton and thought she was the greatest and all this kind of stuff. Those people are a major problem when they do not understand or admit or recognize the reality of what people like Clinton stand for.

You're talking about crimes against humanity here! These anti-Trump people effectively are the ones who whitewash crimes against humanity, the slaughter of innocent children around the world. So they whitewash and are apologists or ignore that or justify it in some way and instead they complain about Trump's sexist comments and his un-statesmanlike appearance and they just ridicule him and laugh at him as much as possible for things that most of which - as far as we understand - are excusable from the point of view of human foibles.

Elan: Trivial.

Joe: They're trivial, but they scream at him for that and whitewash the slaughter of innocent children. What kind of people are they?! What kind of people are those people who do that? What are they saying about themselves, from their own conscience point of view? And ignorance is not an excuse. It doesn't get you off when you do have the ability and access to information to know better but all you're doing is simply refusing to think about it, refusing to go with the uncomfortable truth because the uncomfortable truth repels you so much you end up whitewashing and justifying the slaughter of innocent people. Does that make you culpable? To some extent.

Elan: You brought up George W. Bush's appearance on Ellen Degeneres' morning talk show program {boo's in background}. Yes, yeeeesssss.

Harrison: The rehabilitation of George Dubya.

Elan: Exactly, where he's now being brought on these talk shows because he's got this book that he's put out which is a series of portraits of warriors. This book is called Portraits of Courage which kind of harkens back to JFK's book Profiles in Courage which I think he shamelessly alluded to.

Joe: Yeah, Dubya's a real JFK ain't he?

Elan: And the thing is, you have him on these talk shows. You have the folks on The View which is another one of these kind of pseudo-liberal talk shows that are talking about now embracing Dubya just because he's saying that Trump is a racist. Just because he's saying that Trump is a bigot. And that seems to be the kind of skin-deep reason for embracing arguably one of the worst presidents and leaders in American history, the rehabilitation of George Bush in the form of his coming onto these programs and being lauded by people like Ellen Degeneres...

Joe: Ellen Degenerate.

Harrison: Ellen Degenerate! {laughter}

Elan: Very good. For the most part she's just an entertainer, right?

Harrison: Speaking of which, I should have added entertainers to that list that I made previously about all these groups coming together.

Elan: Well yeah, all of these entertainers, Meryl Streep included with her Golden Globe acceptance speech for lifetime achievement and how on cue she dramatically affected being weak and lost her voice when she heard that (bad audio) . Such a morally righteous, good person that she would have such a reaction. This is really bad.

Harrison: The logical reaction would be "Oh my god! George Bush is saying bad things about Trump. Maybe Trump's onto something. Maybe I shouldn't listen to the guy that I've been hating for the past 15 or 16 years."

Elan: Kind of like listening to whatever Henry Kissinger says and saying "Okay, the opposite is true."

Harrison: But no.

Elan: Right.

Harrison: Not going to happen.

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: Have any of you looked into this - I don't know what it is, is it a theory or is it a fact - that that Obamas are going to be leading a campaign to a counter-revolution from their mansion two miles from the White House against Trump? Is this conjecture or conspiracy theory or is it basically true? What is that?

Harrison: I haven't looked into it yet. I haven't read the articles or dug any deeper so I can't say at this time. Do you know Elan?

Elan: The organization Center for American Progress with the acronym CAP has been around a while and basically this CAP organization has this manual and what they're doing is giving instruction to activists and protesters who are funded by probably one of these state department funded organizations and they're going to town hall meetings where republicans are speaking to their constituents and they're shutting them down. They're shouting them down with all of this anti-racists what-have-you.

So basically in the name of democracy, they're stifling other people's voices. That's another one of these ironies here, right? It's like they're so pro-free speech that they have to shut down everybody else's free speech. So there is a strong element of truth to this. It seems that Obama, among a few others, is probably the point man in creating this infrastructure for dissent. These liberal protesters are being weaponized by Soros and intelligence agencies of the US to not gain any momentum, to not communicate, to not say anything that falls outside of the Washington Post and the New York Times and CNN.

Harrison: Right.

Niall: We've also heard from Trump this week that he accused Obama, or the Obama administration, of wiretapping Trump Tower late last year during the campaign. Obama fired back and said "That's ridiculous". But it's probably true, but sort of. It's probably not Obama per se.

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: What strikes me in all of this is that Trump wants Obama to be the figurehead of the campaign to obstruct or ideally I guess impeach, to any way impede his administration is what they want to do. I think Trump wants him to be there. If Obama is in any way attached to it, that's a bonus for Trump.

Joe: Why...

Niall: Hear me out. Why is that? It reminds me of what happened in Turkey after the coup last year. Erdogan and his people initially went "The US did this, NATO, CIA" and made public statements to that effect. And they very quickly changed their tune and they said "This is a Gülenist conspiracy and would the US be so kind as to hand him over please to face trial". Of course Gülen went "What? I had nothing to do with this!" But that's beside the point. The point was they quickly sussed out, or they got advice from someone, that you can't directly attack. You need to have some apparatus in front of it with which to beat them.

And I think Trump has figured that out. He was initially going after the media and he probably knew he was really intending to get at the deep state folks. But even that's too harsh an attack so now if he has Obama to hold up and Obama leftovers and hangovers, i.e., people appointed by the Obama administration in government agencies across the board, he can use Obama as a kind of stick with which to fight back.

Joe: You have to be able to identify someone. It's very difficult and this is one of the protections that these deep state actors have, is the fact that they operate in the shadows. No one knows who they are necessarily or what their agenda is except that you see their agenda by what comes out via the media, their plants in the media and the different people in Washington or any political establishment, what their agenda is. They'll claim it's their own agenda and they're doing it for this or that reason, but when you see the results, in this case anyway, you know what the agenda of this kind of deep state is. What's the alternative?

Undoubtedly Trump and I think the attorney general under Bush, Mukasey or whatever his name was, was on TV today telling some news person that Trump is right, that there undoubtedly was surveillance of him during the election campaign but it wasn't Obama. It was the justice department or it was at the behest of the attorney general. Now he's saying as a former attorney general that there was surveillance of Trump at the behest of the attorney general under Obama at the justice department and through the FISA court.

So that's going one step deeper, closer to the reality, but does anybody doubt that CIA and NSA and all the intel backroom boys had taps or were listening in to members of the Trump campaign given that we assume they were so much against Trump becoming president? Of course the first thing you're going to do is listen to everything they say to try and work against them to try and develop a plan to work against him, you're going to need information.

So undoubtedly they were.

But of course Trump can't go down that rabbit hole because he doesn't know who the ultimate people are. He may have suspicions but who's he going to point the finger at? It has to be somebody who is responsible for doing this. It was the CIA? Well who in the CIA? The director of the CIA? Well maybe, but can you prove it? He's just going to say "No, that's ridiculous." And what are the American people going to think. Well was it the FBI? Probably not. The FBI works for this and that. They've got a remittance not to spy on presidential candidates.

Neither is it the remit of the CIA so the most obvious person to blame it on from a rationale perspective, to make it make sense for the people who might listen to it and to make a more convincing argument is to say that it was Obama because Obama was the president and everybody can understand with their not very well functioning brains, they can at least understand that yeah, Obama probably had a vested interest in Trump not being president because he was buddy-buddy with Clinton. Clinton was his secretary of state and they're democrats and stuff and the whole democratic establishment didn't want Trump to win because they didn't like him, whatever, blah, blah, blah.

So the obvious person to pin it on in that respect, is Obama if you're going to give a story. So you're telling the truth. He's correct but he's not accurate, if you know what I mean. He's correct that there was surveillance but he's not accurate in who was doing it and he can't maybe be accurate because it's not possible.

Niall: We should point out that if Obama does step up in any way as a figurehead for the anti-Trump movement it would be without precedent in US history, a former president basically campaigning against his successor. That just hasn't happened before.

Joe: And you know why it hasn't happened before, is because it's a handoff of power between republican/democrat, democrat/republican. It's a handoff of power to your buddies basically.

Niall: Yeah.

Joe: Obviously you don't have a problem if you're friends with the former president with the president who succeeds you because it's all good. It's all keeping it in the family, right? But the fact that that would happen or that any president or people around a former president would have a problem with the incoming president would be because there's something not establishment about that incoming president.

Niall: Yeah. But this isn't completely without precedent though because this phenomenon has been happening to some degree or another in other places in the west in recent years. In the UK at the moment it's clear to everyone now that Tony Blair is the one pulling the strings trying to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn for the last year and a half. And he's not even the prime minister yet. He's only leader of the opposition but that's how much they fear and hate and loathe him and want to get rid of him now. And Blair is key in that. He's even talked about actually running for leadership of the party again.

Joe: Can you imagine that?

Niall: Oh, it's been 10 years since he left and he's thinking about coming back. That's how dire the situation is there for the British elite. There's a similar situation in France. Sarko left office after losing in 2012, swore he'd never do anything politics-related again and then tried to run for candidacy for the republican conservative right primaries in France. He was trounced as it happens in those primaries, but it's a similar kind of thing I think.

Joe: I wanted to ask Harrison a question.

Niall: Ask Harrison about the implications for hysterica America. You quoted Lobaczewski's description of what happens when a country gets this kind of hysteria going to an advanced enough level that all kinds of evil things happen and specific things you described were that someone could come along and make the atmosphere such that you really are afraid to make fun of the commander-in-chief, even amongst friends and family. You're careful about what you say and so on. This is a full-blown pathocracy and at that point Lobaczewski said there's nowhere to go but down. It won't last so long. It's inevitable that it will crumble. It might take decades or it might just take a few years. Do you see that happening in the states really do you think? You said that the ingredients are there and all it could take is a spark.

I tried to look to history and find precedent. Obviously Lobaczewski's talking about eastern Europe under communist Russian control and he's also making historical reference to Nazi Germany. I'm just trying to think of historical references though for the western world and more specifically the Anglophone world and I couldn't really find any. Think of the British regime. That's been going as the United Kingdom since 1701 and it just seems that whenever they do approach a crisis they always manage to avert it and still remain on top or near the top. The elites aren't overthrown in any internal revolution and their colonies continue to exist in some form or another abroad. What worries me is that actually the US might avert a full blown pathocracy and continue on indefinitely.

Harrison: Yeah. I see the problem too and it's something that I've been thinking about for years but a lot in the last half a year or year, during this last election cycle because history is complex. It's really hard to first of all get enough data of all previous historical examples and taking into account all the specific context of each individual country and then to be able to predict what will and won't happen.

So I'll just preface by saying it's really hard. It's hard to predict. I'd say that if we just look at a kind of taxonomy, if we try to get a group of categories, the words we use to describe certain phenomena then I'd that there is this thing where you just call it full blown pathocracy. To keep it in perspective, it's one particular kind of evil. Like Lobaczewski said you might have two different diseases and they may be different in some ways but they're both diseases.

I think what you were implying by what you just said is that even if the US avoids a full blown pathocracy, that's not necessarily a great thing because like the British empire, it can just continue on and that creates so much suffering for so many people in the world that you can't call that a good thing. The only relatively good thing about it is that you have this one country, or the Anglosphere, you have Americans who can still live their lives in the illusion that everything is great and some of them even have decent lives and they don't have to worry about going out in the street and being picked up by the police and put in prison for 25 years because they might have said something innocuous to their neighbour.

I guess that's the bright side of this whole situation is that some Americans and some Canadians and British people get to keep living the relative good life because, to be honest, life in North America and Great Britain, even the poorest of all these countries are still way better off than the poorest in dozens of other countries. It's hard to look at it and try to figure out what's good and what's bad. Well there's bad everywhere and there's different kinds of bad and there's different levels of it.

So is it possible? Well I just preface that by saying that anything's possible. Well is it probable or not? That's hard to say and I don't know. But I think that just the fact that it may be possible, just by taking that into account, it can't hurt to look at things from that perspective and to see how that might progress and what life would be like in that situation. Because I think that that kind of fear about the future, if you're thinking about possibilities, it doesn't make any sense to go catatonic and curl up in a ball and not do anything because something bad might happen in the future. But it does help to think about possible scenarios, like how can my life go wrong? How can my national life go wrong? How can the life of my country go wrong? And then if that scares you enough to then maybe try something different, the thing is that by instituting some of the corrective measures that Lobaczewski talks about specifically for that pathocratic situation where things are horrible for everyone, that in itself, those measures would actually make any country a bit better.

It's pretty simple things. In the beginning of the book he gives two or three main overarching policy things that he thinks would be the most important. One is just popularizing information about psychology and psychopathology. So getting as many people in the general population to know about their own personal psychology and the way their brains work and that would be cognitive biases and things like that, learning how to think, learning how you think so you can learn to stop thinking the way you normally think and being able to catch in yourself and others these errors, which is an endless process. It never ends but the better you get, the more healthily you're able to think and the more you are able to avoid making certain kinds of mistakes in the future and in the national sphere that translates to foreign and domestic policy mistakes and how to interact with other countries.

The second one is to institute some kind of corrective policy about preventing certain types of individuals from gaining positions of political power and that necessitates having that basic knowledge already at your fingertips. So you've got to get people aware of the problem of psychopathy, for example. What is it? Who are these people? Making that just a public, popular notion and then instituting a policy that would prevent these kinds of people from gaining certain positions of power. In the one sense it seems really simple and in another it's a pipe dream because you run up against some stiff resistance when you get to a certain level. The only positive thing right now is that there are still researchers that are actually researching psychopathy. It would have been illegal and these people would have been already arrested and disappeared if it was a full-blown pathocratic situation.

Basically what I'm saying is that these kinds of policies would have a net positive effect if they were instituted. So I think that there is a benefit to at least entertaining the notion that this is possible because who knows? Something could happen. If there's a big enough disaster/catastrophe in the United States it could have something to do with an economic collapse or massive natural disasters/catastrophes or if there's a civil war that is provoked or that happens naturally, all those conditions in a crisis scenario like Howe and Strauss in their Fourth Turning book write about, when the conditions are right and there's a big crisis, that's when these things are possible.

I think that even if you look back in eastern Europe, Russia and Germany, when these same kind of developments were happening, you hear people saying at the time and afterwards "We were a modern European nation. How could this have happened? We were civilized and then we descended into barbarism." I think that no matter when it happens, that's the kind of mentality that you'd have so no matter how good things can look, no matter how advanced a civilization can be or a culture, it can go south and downhill really fast in a way that's almost unpredictable.

It's probably really hard to predict exactly how it will happen. The benefit of Ponerology is that it does happen and here are the kinds of things going on beneath the surface and the generalities of how we get there. But for all the people who think that Trump is the next Hitler for example, they're sure they can see all the signs but it's never that obvious when it's happening. Usually there's either massive support or it's like a regime change situation where you can have a revolutionary party from within that takes over or you can be taken over from some external power, whether it's a foreign country or even an external faction within the existing government.

But then what happens is things change radically that many will see as positive changes and that don't end up working that way.

I hope to think about this and formulate my thoughts a bit more clearly on it for some future articles because, like I said, that's what I've been trying to think about and work out in detail because like I said at the end of I think the third article, all these people who are scared of Trump being Hitler, in general their fear isn't that irrational because I think that anyone should be afraid of the next Hitler no matter what country they're in. It's a terrifying prospect to actually think about. They may be a bit misguided in where they're seeing the next Hitler but I think that fear is visceral. There's this kind of collective understanding that things can go horribly wrong but if you don't have the historical awareness and the awareness of all the intricacies how the system as it is works, then you can go in some really wrong directions with it.

And ironically, it's often a relatively reasonable, just cause for a revolution that gets the people behind it that ends up leading to something like this. I know that if some of our listeners don't know, RT is doing something really cool this year on some of their twitter accounts and they've created all kinds of twitter accounts for historical personalities related to the Russian Revolution in 1917. So they've got an RT Twitter account called Russian Telegraph where they re-tweet all these people. You can get tweets from Lenin and the leaders of workers' associations and the gendarme generals and all this stuff. It's really creative. I've been enjoying it on Twitter.

But you see that it makes sense when you look at it, how it's actually happening. You have people who have reasons for hating the government, for example. They think things are terrible and the government needs to be torn down. Now let's translate this into modern times. You've got all these anti-Trump people and they're saying "Look, we've got all these reasons why Trump needs to go." Some of them are just made up and some of them you can see "Okay, that kind of person just wouldn't agree with that kind of policy" so you can understand why they disagree with it.

But then if it takes on enough steam then you could have this kind of popular counter revolution against the Trump revolution. It can really go either way. In that case you'd have millions of people that are totally sure that they're getting rid of the next Hitler and if things get shaken up enough then things can get a lot worse when they put in the people that they think will set the country straight. So the way they go about it, they could end up bringing about the very thing that they fear from Donald Trump.

Joe: Right. I think that's about as close as you can get right now in terms of our crystal balling. We're just going to have to wait and see I suppose.

Harrison: Yeah.

Joe: There's a French connection to this. There are parallels. I know there's parallels with other European countries but it seems that the closest parallel that's shaping up right now is events in France leading up to the next...

Niall: Yeah. Anti-Russian psychosis is here.

Joe: In particular leading up to the next presidential election in France which is in April/May I think this year with two rounds. So it's all been very transparent, probably even more so than in the US although we have to wait and see with France, but to give a bit of background there's an establishment politician. Establishment politicians in France are pretty bad. They're as corrupt as people elsewhere but the choices being offered to the French people right now are worse than they've been in previous years I suppose.

There's this establishment politician called François Fillon. He's been around for a long time. He was prime minister under Sarkozy. He's been hanging around doing different jobs. So he put his name in the hat to run for the presidency this year and he would have been a contender except that the media suddenly found out that for the past 20 years or something his wife has been working as his secretary or his assistant and he's been paying her with state funds, obviously. It's a government job.

And there's some reference to her saying in an interview at some point "I'm not his secretary" or something and the media jumped on this and said "Ah! She was getting money for nothing" when he says "Well no that's not the case. That's not what she meant. She was employed as my assistant." But anyway, the point of it is that the media brings this out a few months before the election when they surely knew about it for the past many years and only now do they bring it out. And it's such a small thing in the grand scheme of things yet at this point there are calls for him now to remove his name from the list of candidates for the presidency. So he's been tried by media and trashed. He hasn't even gone to court or anything yet.

So it's all been - excuse the pun - trumped up basically against him to get him out. That's pretty clear, that he has been removed because somebody wants a different scenario to play out in France and the other scenario - as swiftly as this guy François Fillon, the establishment politician has been removed from the equation, this other younger guy, only 38 years old, Emmanuel Macron comes in and it's effectively now shaping up to be him against the French version of Trump supposedly, which is Marine Le Pen who has been around for a long time. She's a rightwing French nationalist politician, said to be anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, all this kind of stuff.

So it's shaping up to be this young guy, Macron as a shoe-in against Le Pen. Now Le Pen in France has been around for several elections. Her father was there and she's the daughter and she's taken over. The Front National is the name of the party. She's always there as this one where French people dabble with voting for her in the first round of elections but if she gets to the second round where it's just her and one other person, they all crap themselves and vote for the other guy, the non-Nazi guy, right? They just have a bit of fun. "Maybe I'll vote for Le Pen. Oh no, no, definitely not her for President!" So they don't vote for her and the other guy gets in, right?

So this other guy, Emmanuel Macron had this stellar rise to power. He has never been elected to any public office but he started out, comes up through this school of national administration. It's basically like an elitist kind of bureaucrats-shaping and making of bureaucrats, or political school to make politicians out of young, intelligent people. It's a sure fire way to get into politics and into power in some description.

So he goes through this training in this school and then he immediately jumps out of there and goes into the Rothschild Bank, works for the Rothschild Bank for three or four years, makes a load of money there because he shows a real talent for banking where he oversees the mergers and acquisitions and stuff, the mergers of two big, multinational companies and made a tonne of money. He did that for a few years, made a crap load of money then leaves and somehow just goes straight into the secretary general of the Élysée which is this political position in France where you're not elected.

It was under Hollande actually. It was in about 2012 or 2013 that he gets this position where he's an advisor. He's part of this eminent squeeze behind the throne. He's an advisor to Hollande. He's got a lot of power and influence to influence politics and pass laws and in that position he actually pushed a law that uses his own name, the Macron law, which was to prevent any state organization, any public utilities from having a monopoly, i.e., it was favourable to big business to come in and say "Well we want a slice of the welfare pie. We want a slice of the ports. We want a slice of the rail system or of roads," so very favourable to big business. The other part of the law was where it was favourable to big business where it put the kibosh on the 35 hour working week so employees would be forced to work as many hours as your employer wanted and if you didn't do it then you could get fired, that kind of thing. So these are the kinds of laws he passed.

And then from there as this unelected position in government under Hollande, he then just last year goes "I'm going to be president", all within about eight years, coming out of nowhere and really for most of those eight years, being not anywhere in high profile or public profile. Last year he says "Hi. My name is Emmanuel Macron and I'm going to be president." He obviously got serious backers in the banking industry and there's even some suggestion of Soros-linked groups giving him cash and backing him but he's this "wonder boy" basically who's just come out of nowhere and he's going to be president.

With this other guy Fillon, the establishment politician, being tried by media and trashed and basically told to bugger off, it's going to be Macron who may end up selling France off to the highest bidder, i.e., to American corporations largely and Marine Le Pen, the right wing neo-Nazi fascist crazy person - well that's the way she's presented but obviously she's not the way she's being presented or being portrayed in the same way by the media as Trump is portrayed, as this crazy, right wing radical-type person. But apart from concerns she might have about her attitudes towards Muslims and having a very France first and France for French people and no immigrants and banning the burka and stuff like that in a country like France with six million Muslims, other than that for a long time she has stated "We want closer ties with Russia. The sanctions are ridiculous. NATO can go beep itself. France shouldn't be part of NATO."

Niall: She wants to take France out of the EU.

Joe: And she wants to take France out of the EU.

Niall: Which may collapse it overnight.

Joe: Possibly, yeah. So on those things she's a good choice but then she's being portrayed as this right wing fascist who would kill all the Muslims, or something like that in France. These are the two extremely manipulated and forced choices that the French people are being offered and as Niall was saying earlier, surrounding all this as the elections get closer is their increasing the volume of "Russia's been influencing this election". In fact this guy Emmanuel Macron has stated just recently that RT is spreading fake news about him. So they're just following this script.

Niall: More than that, he has it in his manifesto which he's just published, that Russia is against him, is trying to shoehorn Le Pen into power.

Joe: Right.

Niall: This is the psychosis hitting France because they have retrospectively written their history where Marine Le Pen - who's been the leader of the FN for over a decade I think, and then her father since the 1960s - FN is a creation of Russia to destroy western values and civilization.

Joe: But you see you can make stuff like that up. Whenever you're nuts you can make whatever you want up! It doesn't matter. History is just such a vague, mutable thing, like facts! It's just "whatever". What if I don't like it? I can just change it, no and say what I want.

Niall: We'll see. We'll see. They think that flies with people, but as we saw last year, it doesn't. People said "no!" in the US. They said "nah!" Well how do Americans say no?

Elan: Hell no!

Niall: Hell no! Exactly. They said "hell no" in spite of every media idiot telling them "Do not vote for Trump. Do not! Don't do it because no one else is doing it anyway. Look, the polls say so." They voted for Trump. So I can see something like that here. Macron can say whatever the hell he likes.

Joe: Well we'll have to wait and see but there has been a traditional fear of Le Pen in France because she, in theory, or has been traditionally, everything that the right thinking, average French person stands against. Le Pen is fascism, fascism in socialist France. But things have become a lot more nuanced over the past number of years and people are understanding that nuance and those rigid lines have been broken down for people so they're not so sure anymore. So it is very open.

Niall: So she's France first. Now the thing is, when you say France first, she's talking about keeping France as it was. Now what is "as it was"? I put it in quotes because France is the origin of the lefty revolution; the republic, the revolution, the whole rights of man, the embodiment of lefty liberalism is France. So she's a conservative who wants to preserve that, it's not really going to fly over.

Joe: She means post-second world war France when the French people were traditional Frenchies and had traditional family values and there weren't so many Muslims and General de Gaulle and the hell with NATO and France for the French. It's very vague but of course politicians tend to come out with very vague, nice sounding catch phrases that appeal to people. But of course we've been talking on this show about people's ability to think and how important it is that people think because if you don't think about things you're going to be conned in one way or another and you're going to be a willing participant in the con and getting screwed over in some way.

Elan: I think it's very interesting that Fillon, the establishment politician - while he might not have had the right idea about some domestic policies - was also making some statements...

Joe: Right.

Elan: ...that were against the sanctions and against Russia and so you have the two biggest French politicians running for office who now have less of a chance of taking a better leadership position towards Russia. Like you said Joe, this guy Macron comes out of nowhere, he's a banker, it's what he excelled at, mergers and acquisitions and he's already got the script in play "If I lose it's because of Russian meddling" which is what Hillary was doing a few months prior to the election too, to some degree. It didn't work for her, although they're still trying to use it. So if this is a global script...

Joe: It's kind of hedging their bets in a certain sense because the people who are the imperialists, the new cold warriors are hedging their bets. They're putting this into place so that even if their candidate loses they'll get something from it by being able to amp up the anti-Russian rhetoric and disturb society, to destabilize French society like they've done in the US, by trying to turn people's heads to make them go kind of crazy and think all sorts of irrational, nonsensical things. And it seems that Russia is the keystone in that process where you get people to believe a big lie. We've talked about this, not just on this show but for many years, the idea of getting people to believe in lies and what that can do, not only to the person themselves but to society at large if a large number of people all believe the lie. It seems to have a non-linear,very negative effect on the society in general.

Elan: I'm trying to get a handle on this and actually I have a question for you guys. So a couple of months ago there was a poll put out to Americans asking what they thought of Russia basically. In the poll it said something like 80% didn't trust Russia but there was reason to think that the poll wasn't well done and biased. Because Russia is the new war on terror and could affect the thinking of not only the liberal American population but also those who are in favour of putting Trump in office, do we have any idea how far gone Americans are in regards to Russia? Are they seeing that as part of the deception like other fake news and things that are being put out against Trump or is that something that is gaining in momentum and may help to justify more anti-Russian action? Do we have a take on that?

Harrison: Well I think it's really not a big issue for most people. If you ask them, because they've just been seeing it in the media for a few years now they'll say "Oh yeah, we don't trust Russia." But I think if Trump, for example, didn't have the level of opposition in the media that he has today, in two weeks he could probably turn that around and people would be fine with getting along with Russia. They just go along with the flow. I think that for the most part there's a hysterical minority that are the true believers in Russia being the evil number on enemy. But most people don't know enough, they don't care enough, that they'll go either way just depending on who's telling them what to think.

Joe: I think it may be more directed, as Harrison was saying, at the people who are actually paying attention, the Clintonistas and those kind of people who pay a little bit of attention to politics, to keep them anti-Russian because being anti-Russian obviously serves a very particular agenda. But I think this anti-Russian hysteria I think is very much directed at the political class, many of whom are actually quite stupid and ignorant people, relatively and it's to create a climate or an atmosphere of anti-Russian hysteria amongst the political classes so that it'll be very difficult for people to say anything good about Russia because even if you think it's all nonsense they've created that climate well enough that you'd be afraid of being looked at strangely or maybe even called a traitors or thought of as treasonous if you said anything positive, if you disagreed with that.

And of course that has an effect on policymaking and lawmakers and stuff like that, where they're more likely to for example, stick with the sanctions and also to accept people who are behind this anti-Russian hystericization process, who want to have further military adventures around the world, who want to use "evil Russia" as a justification for the US military involvement itself in parts of the world because Russia, because Russia's doing bad things in different places.

Elan: Right.

Joe: Of course a lot of them understand that behind the anti-Russia thing is just pure business and pure greed. The fact that Russia is threatening and has been threatening and has actually caused a lot of negative consequences from a financial point of view for American corporations and politicians who make money in that sense, it's hit them in their pocketbook, what Russia is doing and they understand that that is what the anti-Russian hysteria is all about. Russia obviously is doing that primarily through its military prowess. It's able to back up its claim that it's protecting its interests in the Middle East for example, by saying "We're protecting our interests which are largely Russia's financial interests but we're doing it backed up by our military."

So the only response to that in the US is "Well we need to use our military to protect our financial interests and that puts us at loggerheads or in direct confrontation with Russia". So there has to be a military build up in that sense and along with any military build up against any enemy that you've chosen, there has to be a lot of hysteria around it, the same way in the first Cold War they had to keep that Cold War hysteria "The commies are coming! Reds under the bed!"; they had to keep that going to justify trying to maintain their dominance around the world and dominance around the world translates to revenue, effectively, for American corporations.

Elan: And it was very successful. It lasted for decades. We've seen hundreds of books and films and news programs that perpetuated the idea of Russia as the evil empire. Of course until a few years ago we had a space of one-and-a-half generations of people that haven't been so exposed to the Cold War propaganda of evil Russia and it's just made its ugly head visible again.

Joe: Right.

Elan: Very recently. But they have a track record. They've done it well for a very long time. So even if there's this echo chamber that we're seeing right now with the think tanks and the body politic of Washington and media, that takes evil Russia as a given, you have to wonder at some point how well it's going to take in the minds of people who are going nuts here.

Joe: Yeah. We can't talk about everyone and generalize about the entire population, but certainly there will be a big enough section of the American population who that will fly with because when you look at how easily that section of the American population can have their heads turned in any direction by media and government propaganda. When the Iraq War was being argued for, when the little vials of talcum powder were being shaken at the UN by Colin Powell and how Iraq was being trumped up being heralded as the new deadliest threat to everybody, how France at that time under Chirac stood against that. There was a very eloquent speech made by the then-foreign minister Dominique de Villepin that was translated. You should look that up on YouTube. It's a brilliant speech against the US plan to invade Iraq.

As a result of that you had - I don't know to what extent or how far spread it was in the US - but you had people changing the name of French fries to freedom fries on the basis of the media demonization of France for simply saying "No, we don't think invading Iraq is a good idea". So it seems there's a segment of the American population who can just believe any old nonsense that the media spreads to them. And it can be anything. It can be the most inane thing you've ever hear, that a few neurons firing in terms of thinking about it would make them aware that it was nonsense, but they don't do that. They just go with whatever officialdom says, what the official government or media line is and they'll believe it forever. It will become part of the collective historical memory, that this was true.

Gimpy in the chat room just said that she's heard some crazy stuff resulting from the anti-Russian business; stuff like don't drink vodka unless it's American made or don't drink Russian vodka which is very similar to the French fries to freedom fries.

So how many people in the US are going with that? Obviously you have to discount about 50% of the population who pay no attention to politics and that kind of stuff at all. So that leaves you with 50% of the population. And then maybe you've got a certain percentage, quite a lot of them maybe Trump supporters, who are sceptical of it.

But it's very hard to get a read on that kind of thing because it's the media. The media is the voice of America, right? If you look at CNN, MSNBC and all the other ones, CBS and whatever, the establishment/alternative media outlets, and all the newspapers, the Washington Post, New York Times, New York Post, if you look at what they're saying, their general attitude or opinion on world events and what people could be concerned about and they're telling people what they should be concerned about by their headlines. That's taken as what the American people think, right?

Harrison: Yeah.

Joe: So it's really hard to get a read on.

Elan: Yeah. I'm thinking about the second Iraq war in the early 2000s that Bush executed and you had tens or hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating in New York City, Washington, around the world and if the wishes of the people, as it were, if a better example of the fact that there is an oligarchy, there is rule by an American aristocracy isn't in existence, that would be the best proof of it. You had all of these people who could see through it enough to say "No! Don't go into Iraq!" So I suppose the same would occur with Russia. Even if you did have a large number of people who were out there saying this is all bullshit, it would be ignored if you had someone like another Bush or another one of these two-party political hack elitist puppet people in office wanting to execute one of these things. So yeah, I guess that accounts for what we could expect to see even if a lot of people did see through the lies about Russia.

Joe: Yeah, it's just a horrible state of affairs that the media have so many people in their thrall. That's where people have been acclimatized or accustomed to not thinking for themselves. It's alright in a situation where you have responsible leaders and a responsible media. It's not so bad. You get a decent amount of truth, but at this stage, there's no reason for anybody to have any faith in the media whatsoever or any faith in what their governments say in terms of it being the truth and therefore beneficial for ordinary people or people in the country in general. There's no reason for them to think that at all and there's every reason to not think it but it's a difficult thing for people to make the move from; to move from being naturally almost dependent on authority to tell you what's going on, to dismissing authority as a bunch of charlatans and liars and having to think for yourself.

It's a kind of scary thing for people to do and if people are isolated and in the modern world, particularly in the west, people are very isolated from each other, you don't feel like you've got a lot of back-up. You feel like you've got a community around you that you can rely and get some kind of succour from or sustenance or support from in terms of feeling that other people share your opinion and can validate your opinion and you all agree on a certain view of the world. People very naturally crave that kind of sense of connection with each other and big, modern megacities aren't a very good place to find that connection. They generally tend to destroy it and modern western lifestyle isn't very good for that either, the way people work and what they're encouraged to do for entertainment doesn't encourage that sense of community and bonding and creating the kind of group of people that you can rely on, that you can feel supported by.

People are very isolated. They look to authority. That's all they've got. They look to authority and authority is telling them a bunch of lies and leading them down the garden path to who knows where but it's probably not a good place. So it's more important than ever I think in these times, that people do try to form little communities or groups of well-meaning people who are willing to think or able to think for themselves. You can't beat up on people too much for wanting to look to authority for what's happening in the world, for a view of reality because if it's just them, what are they going to do? People feel isolated and alone and vulnerable when they're on their own.

But you can solve that problem, even if it's on the freaking internet or something like that, it initially can be a sense of community and a common view of things that can provide a lot of support and strength in trying times and times like these with chaos everywhere.

It's really disturbing you know, for anybody to look at the world, to see the world today and try and figure it out or try and make sense of it. It's a very disturbing thing to have to wade through all of the lies and claims and counterclaims. You don't even know what the truth is anymore. So what do you do? A lot of people turn off and say "To hell with that. I'm not going to stress myself out by trying to figure that nonsense out."

And if everybody does that individually then it's not a good thing. People should be coming together, effectively. Those individuals who feel that stress response from trying to figure out what's going on in the world will stop looking at the source of the stress because the media does that and governments do that. They deliberately fry your brain with the information they're putting out there, deliberately trying to freak people out and destabilize people, psychologically effectively, by creating chaos. I don't know if they're doing it consciously but that's the result of what these people are doing because everything they do is a lie. They lie all the time to people. They don't tell people what the truth is and they give them a load of nonsense and then you get this information from the media, from authorities about what's going on in the world and then you see the results and it doesn't match with what you're being told. It's this cognitive dissonance that is very destabilizing.

So you need to not do that anymore and not look at that source of frustration and stress and find a group of people who are trying to make sense of it. Of course the alternative is to just walk away, like I said and a lot of people do that, walk away and throw themselves into distractions and hedonism and all sorts of things like that. But that's probably not a good idea.

Elan: On that note it's very heartening to...

Joe: Not that I'm against hedonism. {laughter}

Elan: In its measure. In its correctness.

Joe: It's essence.

Harrison: In its pure form.

Joe: In its pure form.

Elan: Well I was just going to say that it's really heartening to go onto one of these media-owned websites like Yahoo news portal, open up an article that's been put out by AP or UPI or ABC News or whatever, and see the larger numbers of people who are challenging the narrative in their comments to these articles. It was interesting that the New York Times put out a kind of anti-Trump or anti-Russian hit piece not too long ago but closed the comment section on the article!

Joe: Right.

Elan: So that there couldn't be any voice of dissent or introduction of information that was...

Joe: That's really horrible to do that! That's like twisting the knife because they throw out this information that makes people just go "What the hell!? This doesn't make any sense!" It's confusing. It doesn't answer any questions satisfactorily for the people who are reading it. And then to deny them the opportunity to simply express themselves in a comment in response to the thing that caused them stress, is like someone coming up to you and giving you and talking a load of garbled nonsense at you that just kind of makes you go "What?! You're frying my brain here." And then you not being able to tell the person "Shut the hell up or I'm going to throw you off a cliff!" or something; not being able to respond to that source of stress that's in your face. So no wonder people walk away and don't bother reading it anymore because it's a source of stress and they can't do anything about it and the one area where they could vent a little bit and respond to that nonsense would be in the comment section. But I notice it myself Elan, more and more establishment media outlets are not allowing you to comment on it.

Niall: Well the Guardian website...

Joe: Especially the articles that are...

Niall: Yes...

Joe: ...the most deceitful.

Niall: They know. I can predict when I open certain ones, as I'm scrolling down I know they're not going to have a conversation of this. Bingo!

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: Because they know that they're putting out total BS. Or they don't know it but they have a narrative of course, which is that "Oh well, this is one that's going to invite all of the Kremlin trolls on so we won't allow it for this one." There are other sites of famous media outlets in Europe that simply shut down their comment section years and years ago because that was their response to criticism of the narratives they were putting out; simply "Okay. No comments."

Joe: Pathetic. In the free world. In free speech land you're not allowed to even comment on nonsense.

Niall: Harrison, did you check out the Saker's claims about developments in Donbass this week?

Harrison: Yeah, most of that's really going on. It's hard to get an idea of all of the behind-the-scenes stuff and what's going on there in the past week or so. But for just a bit of background, starting in December, I believe, a bunch of Ukrainian vets who were fighting in the volunteer neo-Nazi battalions in the east started a pretty much grassroots, home grown blockade of the train rails going in between Donbass and the rest of Ukraine.

So they're blocking any trains from going to and fro and that means that all of the coal coming from Donbass can't get to the west of the country. And the owners of these industries in the east are actually Ukrainian... (lost audio) in the west and he owns many of these companies but others of his friends and cronies do like Akhmetov. So the neo-Nazi battalions are essentially blocking these oligarchs' own product from coming in to the rest of the country which is totally shooting yourself in the foot because without Donbass coal there will be energy shortages. They'll have to do power blackouts and will just make the country even worse, so it's a dumb move.

But the government didn't really do anything about it because they can't but that's another issue. We can get into that. But in response to this blockade now of course the companies in the east can't sell their coal so they're not making the money that they used to and so Zakharchenko, the leader of Donetsk and the leaders of Lugansk gave an ultimatum on I think February 27th saying "Okay, we'll give the Kiev government a week to shut down this blockade otherwise we will start nationalizing these oligarchs' companies and running them ourselves and screw you guys."

So the deadline came and they said "Okay, we're nationalizing the companies" and they've started to do so. Of course it's impossible to say how effective they've been at that and what exact measures they've taken, etc., but pretty much everyone's reporting that they've started that and they're serious about it so it's not a bluff or anything like that.

It's kind of funny because it's a pretty ingenious move. It's kind of like it usually happens with Putin, where events just seem to happen in such a way that benefits Russia, which of course is just giving material to all the anti-Putin people because they can just say "Oh, he must have planned it this way". So it's kind of this symphony of errors on Kiev's part that leads to a benefit for the Donbass. Poroshenko's in a bind here because he's only got a couple of options. He can either just go to war again and ignore the issue which won't solve anything or he can break the blockage, which is an illegal blockade. It's just a sign of how far Ukraine has plummeted as a nation that this illegal group of armed militants are instituting this blockade on their own without any authority to do so.

So there have been several top Ukrainian politicians calling for a police action to break this blockade. That would put Poroshenko and the oligarchs up against the neo-Nazis in these battalions...

Joe: That effectively put him in power.

Harrison: Yeah, they put him in power and essentially would create a new civil war with the neo-Nazis and lead to another Maidan. What other options do they have? They're not getting their coal. That's pretty much the only option they have. So if they don't do anything the country can't turn on its electricity. If they do go to war it's like "Do you really want to do that?" "No you don't." But Donbass is in a position of either way it benefits them because they get to nationalize these companies, kind of cement the cut-off of ties with Kiev, gain a bit more legitimacy because they're not the ones causing any of this.

Niall: There were some other developments. We should maybe list them first.

Harrison: Okay.

Niall: They're saying that now the only currency recognized...

Harrison: Yes.

Niall: ...in the Donbass is the Russian ruble. That de facto means it's now part of Russia or is independent from Kiev, that on its own. Not only did they say "Right, you won't let us bring the coal in and sell it to the rest of Ukraine", they turned around and apparently sold it to Russia.

Harrison: I think those are still in the planning stages. They say that from now on we'll only be using the ruble and we'll be selling our coal to Russia. So I don't think those things have actually happened.

Niall: And they declared that they're no longer paying taxes to Kiev, corporate taxes anyway.

Harrison: Right.

Joe: But the EU put out a statement saying that since the EU feels a bit responsible for Ukraine to a small extent, they said "We can solve your problem. You can buy your coal from Russia." Ukraine could buy coal that it's not getting from the Donbass from Russia but I had a lovely thought there that maybe Donbass would sell its coal, that Russia would buy the coal from Donbass and then sell it back to Ukraine. {laughter}

Harrison: And they could do that.

Joe: And make a profit.

Niall: One last development. This would basically mean that de facto, things are moving in Ukraine to recognize the partition of the country. Kiev declared that the line of contact, sort of the place where they've temporarily said 'this is a border between Ukraine and the two breakaway republics' is now to be considered a border. Is that an official Kiev statement? Do we know?

Harrison: I don't know for sure. I think that's another future thing where they say 'in the very near future that will be the case'. So it's not the case right now. There's been no official recognition that that will be the new border. It has to do with a deal with the volunteer battalions that if they were able to negotiate with them and come to some kind of agreement, they would be the new border guards because they're already on the border, right, along the front line. No, they're along the front line so that would turn into the new border and they would be the official border guards.

So it's one of those proposals that's not yet totally official but that kind of shows the direction things are going in. Now you've got both sides making moves and saying things as if in the near future you could have a really big shift in things that are going on there. That would be a total de facto recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk independence.

Elan: Well there's one other element that may come into play pretty soon. We'll see. And that is the fact that shortly before Yanukovych left Kiev to go to Russia to save his own life, he had written a letter to Putin, to Russia, requesting some assistance with the situation.

Harrison: Requesting military assistance.

Elan: Yes! So apparently as the story goes, this letter which is legitimate, was introduced into Kiev somehow and they made it known...

Harrison: Distributed it, sent it to the UN I think.

Elan: Yes, and their reason was "Look, he's pro-Russian" but the correct way to read it...

Harrison: Well they're saying that this is the evidence that he was treasonous.

Elan: Yes.

Harrison: Because he requested Russian military assistance.

Elan: But legally what he did was fine.

Harrison: Yeah.

Elan: And the other fact is that the very way that he left was according to the Ukrainian constitution, illegal. He would have had to have...

Joe: He had to stay and get killed for it to be legal.

Elan: Yeah. There were only four ways that he would have legitimately left his office.

Joe: So they're saying to him "You broke the law. Get back here from Russia so we can kill you!" And then it'll be legal.

Elan: So effectively, according to the Ukrainian constitution, he is still the president of the Ukraine. So no one's going to acknowledge that in the west, but that's the legal fact of the matter.

Harrison: So essentially what this is, because this is new news, this is the Ukrainian saying "Okay, well now we're releasing the evidence that Yanukovych was a traitorous bastard" and the evidence they release actually just cements the fact that any intervention that Russia would have done or did do, in Crimea or elsewhere, even in the Donbass and Lugansk, was legal according to the Ukrainian constitution. So retroactively, retrospectively, Ukraine officially asked for Russian intervention and it's another example of them shooting themselves in the foot because they've just revealed that any kind of intervention was totally legal.

Joe: Right. And everything that's happened in Ukraine over the past three years that they claim was Russian intervention and Russian meddling, was all legal.

Harrison: And totally ignoring the fact...

Joe: As legal as Russian involvement in Syria, which was asked for.

Harrison: And of course they just conveniently forget to mention that the overthrow of the government was totally illegal and unconstitutional. They tried to make it constitutional but even the documents that they signed were signed by the wrong people who didn't have the authority to sign them and the justifications they gave were unconstitutional. Like Elan said, there are only a certain number of legitimate justifications for taking away the power and putting in a new leader and the justification they gave was none of those reasons.

Elan: We've got to start a new political campaign. Bring back Yanukovych!

Joe: Yeah. That'll go down well. Alright, we've reached two hours even though we were incommunicado for a little while. I think we'll leave it there guys for this week's episode. Thanks to our chatters, to our listeners and all our chatters. It's always good to have you guys in there telling us what you think and having fun, singing songs when we go off the air. We'll be back next week with another show to be announced. So until then, have a good evening everybody. Hope you're all well.

Niall: See you next week.

Elan: Keep thinking everybody.

Joe: Big hugs to Gimpy.

Harrison: Take care.