anti-government Iran protesters
© Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
People protest in Los Angeles, California, U.S., in support of anti-government protesters in Iran
Before the end of last year, protests broke out in Iran, quickly hijacked by rioters on the streets and neocons on Twitter. Economic demands, criticisms of the Islamic rulers, calls for all-out regime change: distinctions between the various demands were ignored by Western pundits eager to capitalize on the unrest and frame it in terms of their own myopic worldview. The hysteria has largely died down, but not the hypocrisy. Such protests are dealt with more harshly in Western democracies, but you wouldn't think it by looking at the news commentary.

Meanwhile, the war of blustery rhetoric between arch trolls Kim Jong-un and Donald J. Trump reached heights of comedic mastery in a comparison of nuclear-button-size. While those without a sense of humor worried about post-apocalyptic dystopia, the effect has been quite the opposite: North Korea calling for direct peace talks with their neighbors in the South.

As for the serialized slapstick comedy known as Russiagate, the "prosecution's" case continues to fall apart as the DOJ, FBI, and DNC are repeatedly exposed as dim-witted, naive marks for unsophisticated con-men like Chris Steele and his mentally deranged supporters. Once again, clown-in-chief Trump ends up looking like the sane one.

Tune in to Behind the Headlines at 6-8pm CET (4-6pm UTC / 12-2pm EST), on the SOTT Radio Network.

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Elan: Hello and welcome back to Behind the Headlines. Today is Sunday, January 7, in a new year, 2018 and after a brief hiatus it looks like the trouble never ends. We're here today to cover the stories of the day. We'll be leading with Iran and getting into some other subjects, but first let me introduce myself, Elan Martin and with me in the studio today is Harrison Koehli.

Harrison: Hello.

Elan: And from across the pond we have Mr. Joe Quinn.

Joe: Hello there.

Elan: So, how's everybody feeling today? Are we ready to jump in and get into the news and ready to go.

Joe: Ready to rock and roll in a new year.

Harrison: Thankfully we're all very stable geniuses to be able to handle the new year.

Joe: Yes. Stable and genius. That's going to define 2018, stability and genius. Watch it happen.

Elan: And for those of you who haven't yet heard, that's a little reference to our commander-in-chief in the US Mr. Trump who has ascribed himself the traits of stability and genius in reference to his behaviour relating to North Korea and all of the statements, among other things. And who could deny that he is a stable genius?!

Harrison: You look at all of the headlines now and they all say "Trump says he's a stable genius!" Like, genius in quotes, Trump, so he's getting all the headlines that are calling him stable and genius.

Joe: Right.

Harrison: So I think he won again.

Joe: The mainstream media doesn't know when it's being trolled really, does it? My question is what would they do if Trump didn't have a Twitter account for the past year? What would they talk about? The other day when he came up with that statement I checked and it was on all of the major mainstream media news sites, the headline across the board, Trump, "I'm a stable genius!" Trump claims to be stable genius. And then some people give the actual quote of "kind of stable(y) and genius(y)". {laughter} And that was the headline, for a whole day. In some places for a couple of days. Very important news that Trump said something kind of stupid that he shouldn't really have said.

They haven't figured out that he's just got a different approach to the Presidency. Maybe they'll finally warm to it and just accept it for what it is but they're still wetting their pants every time he says something "inappropriate".

Elan: And immodest.

Joe: Yeah.

Elan: That was probably a response or reaction to this new book that came out by Michael Wolff, the gist of it being that the White House is in disarray as Trump regales his staff with stories about himself...

Harrison: And he didn't think he'd be President, all sorts of stuff. And then Trump and Sarah Sanders and everyone says "It's all lies. None of it's true." Sloppy Steve Bannon was making stuff up. But I think it was actually in response to that and maybe even his tweets about Kim Jong-un and his back-and-forth with him because then people were saying he's not stable because he was comparing the size of North Korea's nuclear buttons to Trump's nuclear buttons and his nuclear buttons are bigger and they work. {laughter}

Joe: And they work, which is funny. That's what I would say. If you were President and you had the approach of just dispensing with all formality and that kind of stuff and just talking off the cuff like you would in a street or a bar, that's the kind of thing you say.

Harrison: Really, it's World Wrestling Federation level stuff {laughter} and that's the guy that Trump is.

Joe: That's his background.

Harrison: If you've got a sense of humour and you can get over the fact that there's not going to be a nuclear war with North Korea, then it's really funny because you've realized that this is a really big game of world wrestling. That's the revelation that comes out of it because you realize that that's really all this stuff is. It's high-level geopolitical world wrestling where it's just trash talk.

The thing is that every other President has taken it so seriously and puts on the act that it's serious and Trump just goes totally overboard and really exposes it for what it is and it actually ends up working, like we have in our show description for today. We can get ahead a little bit to North Korea. There's been this really over-the-top back and forth between Kim and Trump. It escalated to the point of Trump comparing the size of the nuclear buttons. At that point you've just got to laugh.

And at that point you realize it's an act, it's what you've got to say. With Kim, that has been North Korea's MO or the way they do geopolitics, is to have the most over-the-top, bombastic statements. They've been doing it for years. If you've ever read their official statements in the state newspapers and stuff, it's totally over-the-top stuff and it's pretty frightening if you don't take it completely seriously.

Trump is doing the exact same thing back at Kim and what happened last week, the North opened their direct communication channels to the South for the first time in over a year and said they want to work together and make the South Korean Olympics a thing and let them happen and they want to have some direct talks with South Korea. That doesn't sound like nuclear war to me. It sounds like the beginnings of actually trying to de-escalate the situation.

Joe: It's very common throughout history in different countries - and you mentioned North Korea as an example but there's many other examples throughout history - of leaders of the country running effectively a personality cult where that's what actually galvanizes the people and keeps the people supportive of their leader, which is that he's larger than life. He's the great and glorious leader. He's like a god, he's this kind of stuff.

And Trump has taken on that persona. He's decided to run with that partly because it's his personality type. He's a Washington outsider so he figured "Well, I may as well do it my way."Look at his history. Of course he's a personality who revels in media attention and stuff like that so he was always going to run his Presidency in that way.

He was going to be the kind of person that he is. You could argue that with Obama before him, there was a certain level of personality cult around Obama as well, it was just more sedate and more quietly...

Elan: More "Presidential".

Joe: Well more Presidential and people were more quietly in awe of him but the same level of glorification of him was there as there is with Trump. Obama was just a different type of personality. People don't really seem to understand why we don't mind this happening with Trump because it's been our opinion or perspective that for most of the Presidents before Trump in the US, it was all a bit of a farce. They were putting on a show of being the world's greatest democracy and freedom and democracy and all of these noble ideals when behind the scenes they were pretty much exactly the opposite, certainly in terms of foreign policy and the rest of them are just a bunch of corrupt mafia types.

So for that façade to be unceremoniously pulled down and to be turned into something of a farce under Trump, is for us simply our unveiling of a truer view of American politics, which is that it is a big s-h-1-t show and there's all sorts of infighting and double dealing and stuff. It's good that that's come out and those people that who believed in the dream are forced to see the reality.

Harrison: Yeah, that's the revelation. It's hard to see, I think, for a lot of people, but the takeaway message is that what Trump is, every other President has been, but they just haven't realized it. They thought that Obama was genuinely the way he appeared. He was essentially just Trump but without the over-the-topness of it, but on the essential level they're the same thing. Obama was still putting on a show. They all were.

Elan: And it's funny, the very same things about Obama, were said of him by the far right in this country. How many times did they put him in a category of fascistic, despotic rule for their own sets of reasons? The left is doing this in much the same way with Trump. So it's really two sides of the same coin in many cases. On that note we'd like to move to one of the central stories that we want to cover this week.

Harrison: Yeah, we can come back to Trump.

Elan: Yeah, we'll have to. It's inevitable. Thursday, December 28, there were some protests that began in Iran that were ostensibly in reaction to the price hikes that many people were experiencing and the cost of chicken and other items like gas. There were also some peripheral labour issues. These protests started pretty small but very rapidly, within just a few days, turned into an almost nationwide mass protest that turned into instances of rioting.

Police stations were attacked. Iran's capital Tehran saw some of this as well and instantly, the western corporate media, in the US especially, grabbed onto this story and conflated it into a kind of human rights issue where Iran's tyrannical government was crushing its people and making things miserable for them and now this had to be a discussion that was brought to the UN Security Council. This was a movement on the part of Nikki Haley and there's been a huge...

Joe: Lovely Nikki.

Elan: No, Tricky Nikki Haley.

Harrison: Trixie Nixie.

Elan: Trixie Nixie. She made these statements and pretty much all of the UN Security Council and many other countries and leaders in Europe came back at her and said "No, this is an internal situation and you're conflating it. You're making it into something that is much bigger and global in scale and it's not." So we have that as well.

That's a few of the broad strokes that we're looking at. We can get into the fact that there are some legitimate grievances that the Iranian people have been protesting about but there's a very good argument to be made of the fact that these grievances are being co-opted by some very powerful global interests that would like to see the narrative on Iran turn a little more intense. The timing is certainly very interesting as well and we can get into that too.

Joe: Yeah. I don't know if anybody listened to Nikki Haley's speech - I think it was at the UN - where she's reading from the script of regime change, America talking about this being a cry of freedom from the Iranian people and America must support them and do something about it, blah, blah, blah. It's not very encouraging to think that a lot of people would have actually been fooled by that kind of a speech when we've heard it so many times before from a US ambassador or US politician or President or whatever, effectively arguing for what ultimately, in the past, has been the destruction or invasion or in some other way the co-opting of an entire country and its descent into chaos. That's what America argues for with these words of freedom and supporting democracy and the rights of the people in some other country. Ultimately what happens is the country goes to hell.

There are so many examples of that, the idea that anybody would believe the drivel coming out of that woman's mouth is a bit depressing. I hold out some hope that a lot of people didn't just go "yeah, yeah, whatever." Of course there's the bleeding heart humanitarians who would always support that kind of call to arms for freedom and democracy in some far off country, and particularly in the west and in America, but I think the more they use that tactic, the more people just see it as the same old story coming out of the US which is using fancy words, high-sounding words for very selfish goals or interests on the part of the US government.

Harrison: And totally misrepresenting what the protests were actually about, at least from what I could tell. It would almost be as if back when the Occupy protests were going on in the states, as if Canada's UN representative would go to the UN Security Council with "This is the cry for freedom from the American people". Well, not really! That's not really what they're saying. It doesn't really make any sense.

It's not like the Iranian people were all out in the streets in droves wanting their freedom from this totalitarian government.

Joe: No.

Harrison: The ones out in the streets were protesting, like Elan said, for very specific economic reasons.

Joe: In exactly the same way that Occupy Wall Street were doing.

Harrison: Right, exactly. And there were some rioters who had anti-regime slogans and posters and placards and things like that, just like there are at western protests so I guess you could say "Those people are fighting for their freedom because they fundamentally disagree with the way the Iranian government is set up" but at the same time, those are essentially the black mask-covered rioters in the states, Antifa and the anarchists, when no one supports those kind of protestors in their own country, ever, because they break stuff and they kill people and they hurt people and they make a mess of things.

So if you could break up the protestors, you could say those fighting for freedom in the western sense, in the sense that Nikki Haley's talking about, are the rioters, the violent people and the vast majority of the protestors weren't calling for a total revolution and remaking of the entire government. Even if you could say the rioters hijacked the protests, really it's the Americans and all the western interventionists and humanitarian people that hijacked the protests because they made it into something that it wasn't about. The protestors were protesting things that the government said, "Okay, yeah. You're right about that and we're going to try to fix it." So the protestors can respond to that and they apparently have. A lot of the big protests involving these types of people have died down.

At that point it becomes a matter between the government and those people where now it's the government's turn to basically show that they will take those demand seriously and do something about them and then it's the peoples' job to hold them accountable to that. There will probably be more protests if the government doesn't do anything about it. That's the way it works in a sovereign country, the people dealing with the government and the government dealing with the people.

We lost Joe. But I think I just finished my point there.

Elan: Audience, can you hear us?

Harrison: Yeah, we're still on and Joe is back.

Elan: Just adding to what you said there Harrison, it's a testament to the character or integrity of President Hassan Rouhani that he came out and said "Look, I acknowledge this as an issue, as a problem and we are going to work on it." He didn't take the entire situation and say "This is all bullshit. This is entirely a western-backed attempt at destabilizing Iran." He gave the situation and the feelings of the Iranians who were legitimately protesting about this, their due. At the same time he and others in Iran, including the Ambassador to the UN were able to come out and say "Yes, we have issues that we have to deal with but at the same time make no mistake. There have been outside influences that have propelled or made larger, these protests for their own political purposes."

There has been some allusion to evidence that would be brought out to connect those western influences to what we've been seeing.

Harrison: Just one more comment on the actual protests themselves, is that it really displays an ignorance and a willful ignorance on the part of both the western commentators and the people that just get caught up in the Twitterverse or whatever's going on to make them aware of this, and that's the kind of political demographic breakdown of what we'd call the left and the right in Iranian politics because in Iran, unlike in the west where the left is more socialist and the right is more free-market, in Iran the hardliners like the Ahmadinejad supporters, they're more like socialists. They want more government involvement and subsidies or public support for the ordinary people. They want more benefits basically; and Rouhani, who's more of a moderate who is actually not very popular among certain segments of the Iranian populace because he wants better relations with the west, for example, that's the moderate position. They're more free-market.

So a lot of the people who are protesting Rouhani's economic policies are actually more hard-line Iranian Republic than Rouhani's supporters.

Joe: Right.

Harrison: So the west is supporting a bunch of protesters who, if they had their way, would want Ahmadinejad back in power and Ahmadinejad was like the next Hitler back when he was in power. So everything is upside down and completely backwards and it just shows how opportunistic and cynical the support of the protests is. It's just purely for a western interest and has very little to do, I'll say - there's always a tiny bit - to do with what's actually going on.

Joe: And from an economic perspective, the main thing that the protestors were protesting, the legitimate concerns of the complaints of the protestors was effectively an austerity measures law that was passed recently in Iran. That's something that western democracies have been prescribing for their own people for the past 10 years. So from an economic point of view it makes complete sense. It's ideologically or economically in line with western policies as well as from a political point of view. We've seen it was with the Rouhani government that Obama could cut a deal with.

The other thing people forget about is if America didn't have 300 million people it would be relatively easy - if it had a much smaller population - it would be very easy for another country to incite these kind of protests or encourage them and lead them up to some kind of a civil war or a coup in the USA. It's only because America has 300+ million people that that makes that impossible because of the size and the number of people. The kind of regime change that the US has encouraged or provoked or fomented in other countries only happens in countries that are very small, relatively speaking over the past number of years.

In Syria there's 26 million people, in Iraq a similar number of people, Libya much less. So with that number of relatively small population it's easy to get enough people in there to whip it up and to create chaos and create the appearance of a kind of civil war. But it's not possible to do it past a certain size of a country and in this case Iran. Obviously it fell flat on its face because they can't radicalize 80 million people, or be a country for anybody even like the great USA to foment a regime change. You'd never see the US successfully causing regime change in China, although they've tried it to some extent in the past. There's even some suggestion of their involvement in the whole Tiananmen Square business and then more recently with the Hong Kong protests a few years back. But it goes nowhere because the country is just far too big to carry that out.

So America is lucky in that sense, because if it was a smaller country, smaller population, with the Wall Street protests that happened, with a smaller population, if a country like Russia or China or whoever felt like it, they could do exactly the same thing to the USA and it would work because there's plenty of social...

Harrison: Fracture...

Joe: ...fracture lines in the USA that could be easily provoked if you threw enough money and people and organizing power at it.

Elan: And just to put some of what you said into scale Joe, the relative numbers of people who are protesting or at least the rioters, were very small. They were talking about really just a few hundred people nationwide who were acting violently, next to the several hundred people who were peacefully demonstrating regarding the austerity measures.

Harrison: The latest official number I've read from Iranian sources is around 45,000 protesters, but in every Twitter video of the actual rioting and violence the guy is saying the anti-regime slogans and stuff was only one-to-two dozen people in any one of these groups. So yeah, it was probably in the hundreds for the rioters but it was in the tens of thousands for the protestors.

Joe: Even 45,000, out of a population of 80 million, cut that down by two-thirds for the adult population, you're still talking about less than a tenth of one percent of the population.

Harrison: Yeah.

Joe: Zero-point-one percent of the population protests and America goes to the UN and calls a UN Security Council meeting to galvanize the world to do something about the grievances? Of the 0.01 percent of the population of a country? Really?!

Harrison: Yeah, who called the UNSC for the Occupy protests, right?

Joe: And you know what? With Occupy protests there was up to 20 people killed but there were policemen killed as well. If someone could have interfered in the Occupy Wall Street protests and rabble-roused those people to the point of being much more violent and maybe even physically attacking and killing policemen, you bet your ass the US would have shot a bunch of them as well.

Elan: No doubt.

Joe: So there's absolutely no reference for this false moral superiority going on. America's no better than any major, developing country in the world. It's no better than any of them, but of course it rides high on the appearance of the mythos of being so superior.

Harrison: One interesting thing I just thought of was one of the famous pictures that's going around Twitter is the young woman standing up on something with a stick and hanging from the stick is her hijab.

Joe: Well not even her hijab, her head scarf.

Harrison: Yeah, her head scarf.

Joe: That's what people don't realize about Iran as well. Just hold that point for a second Harrison. In Iran with 80 million people, that's a lot of people. There's different stripes, different types, just as there's fundamentalist Christians in the US, there are fundamentalist Muslims in most Muslim countries. There's a section of the population that are very devout and the women in particular, choose to wear the full hijab and cover themselves fully. Then in bigger cities like Tehran there is a much more cosmopolitan, younger population who don't and don't want to. In Iran you seem many places with women simply wearing just a scarf like you or I or any woman might wear and it's half off her head. So half of her hair is exposed, all of her face is exposed and it's quite nice actually. It's a fashion statement almost. Anybody in any western country might dress in a similar fashion.

So it's very nuanced across all of Iran in the same way it is in any country, where you have more devout religious people and then more secular, liberal people and there is no real enforcement, certainly in the past five or 10 years there's been no significant enforcement of forcing those more secular or cosmopolitan or liberal women to cover up like in a trash bag basically. But of course listening to the western press you would think that all women on pain of death in Iran, are forced to cover up completely. This BS narrative that you get misses the obviously nuanced aspect of life in any country.

Harrison: So the point I was going to make was along those lines; that there are Islamic police that go around and make sure that certain Islamic precepts are upheld, and that would include wearing a scarf, even in the manner that you described where it's just a fashion statement. You can see it a lot of times. It's pretty loosely held. You can see the hair and they can be wearing heels and a skirt and this headscarf and like Joe said, it looks kind of nice.

I think it was just over a week ago, right before the protests started, there was an article that we put up on SOTT where the Iranian government said that they would stop enforcing those minor infractions, like not wearing the headscarf because something like 5,000 women in the last year or to have been fined for not wearing the headscarf. Over the years the enforcement rates have been going down and they're going to stop devoting resources to that kind of thing.

So right after that we have this photo that goes viral and it's the poster for the revolution when first of all I read - I can't verify it - but I read that that picture was actually taken at a protest prior to these protests starting, so before December 28 and it just got glommed onto for the current protests. This woman was protesting that provision, that law. So right around that time the government said "Okay, we're going to deal with it. We've got to enter the 21st century and it's not going to as big a deal as it used to be."

So instead of focusing on that and being "Oh great, the Iranian government is making a good decision. This is moving in the right direction", kind of like with Saudi Arabia, as underhanded or as political a move as the ones that we've seen in Saudi Arabia, to let women go to concerts and drive, as ridiculous as it is that they have to make those allowances in the first place, they should be supported because at least it's a move in the right direction regardless of the fact that it's just for PR purposes if that's what they're doing "Go ahead! Great!" Instead of doing that for Iran, "Good move! More of that! We're on your side guys, keep it up!" No. Totally ignore that and then just turn it into viewing Iran as totally backwards and getting worse! It's so dishonest.

Elan: You know what that picture reminded me of? At the beginning of the Maidan you had this beautiful young woman who was videotaped talking about corruption and freedom and of course we later found out that this was produced by an American marketing company connected to US intelligence, if anybody's ever seen the film Wag the Dog with Dustin Hoffman, do see it. We talked about this before on the show. It's all about the very business of marketing regime change US style. So it reminded me greatly of that.

Just to get back to an earlier point, separate from this issue, something that mainstream media in the US didn't really cover well was the fact that the Iranian people knew what the score was, that even if there were problems in Iran that are legitimate, it wasn't enough to merit the type of reaction that was coming out of the US. So you had thousands of people who were pro-government coming out in these mass demonstrations as well saying "We're not buying it." So that was an interesting dimension to this whole thing as well; people rallying around the fact that they want their government to be sovereign, warts and all, mistakes and all, and they don't want any outside interference because they know what it's about and they know who's behind it.

Maybe we can get into a little bit of that right now because shortly before all of this happened former General McMaster of the Trump administration met with his counterpart in Israel. I'm a little short on details about that but it seemed like they had come to some kind of agreement whereby there would be this four-pronged approach to challenging the "Iran problem". So you had that. You had all of the anti-Iran rhetoric coming from Saudi Arabia only a month or two ago that was jointly made with Israel. They know they can't come at this completely militarily. It has to be done in some other way. The narrative still has to be fed that Iran is worthy of attack by the west, be it economically, politically, socially. They can't go full frontal on this. I just find the timing rather convenient. In a way it's quite predictable.

On December 29 there's a writer Bernard of Moon of Alabama who we like to include in a lot of SOTT article, we like to publish a lot of his works because he is able to anticipate a lot of things. He basically called it. He said "Look forward to the kind of left's freedom-fighting for Iran in the Twitterverse coming very soon. Look forward to the neocons making statements about the necessity for the Trump administration to come out strong against Iran. And sure enough, only days later, like clockwork, all of these things came to pass. It's such a program. It's such a systematic set of political and social statements that get made that we're so used to seeing time and time again that you just plug in the program and there it goes. And we're seeing it right now with Iran.

Joe: Right. The other thing that I couldn't help but notice, and it's in the background there, was having Trump making this announcement about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel. We expected at the time, early December, that it was going to get him some favours or certainly he could pull some strings with the Jewish lobby in the US. We expected at the time that we might see the easing up of the whole FBI Mueller investigation into Trump and the harassing of him over the Russia collusion business and sure enough, around that time the whole Mueller investigation started to unravel quite a lot and the focus started to turn more on Clinton and on Mueller and his investigation himself and the FBI and their partisan politics. That whole thing at this point, really does seem to have been discredited to a large extent. It has kind of fizzled and gone away. Of course it's still officially ongoing but I have a definite sense of the strength having been taken out of it, not going anywhere.

Then hot on the heels of that we have the Iran thing. And not only that, but just previous to that, in fact as part of the lightening up or reduction in focus on Trump and the Russia collusion after he announced the Jerusalem thing, he had this brief focus, as a diversion, to turn the tables on Mueller and the FBI and their support of Clinton, you had the focus on Obama and the allegation that he had given the Hezbollah a pass when the DEA and the FBI, etc. were investigating Hezbollah for some kind of international drug running operation and that Obama several years ago had nixed that investigation in order to appease Iran because Iran was our ally and this was supposedly at the behest of Iran.

It was almost a pre-condition or a condition for the Iranian deal being done. Obama was snuggling up to Iran, getting the Iran deal done and as part of that he was told to (inaudible) that this supposed investigation of Hezbollah. That was over the past few weeks and brought some supposedly negative press to corruption in the Obama administration as opposed to corruption in the Trump/Russia collusion.

And of course that also focused negative attention on Hezbollah. And then immediately after that we have this Iranian business where there are protests in Iran and Iran is demonized and all of that is loosely but quite pointedly I think, tied to the interests of Israel because both Hezbollah and Iran are the two groups that Israel loves to hate on and wants America to hate on as much as possible. We saw that happening immediately after Trump announces recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

So it's kind of circumstantial but it's interesting nonetheless. It's like a two-for-one type of thing where the heat is taken off Trump by this re-focusing on Obama and Hezbollah and also that Israel get something out of it by an attempted global demonization of Iran.

Harrison: And of course Netanyahu is in the White House through Jared Kushner. It's understandable that that doesn't get talked about at all. Several weeks ago we talked about Russiagate and how if they were being serious they'd be talking about Israelgate because that's where all of the American collusion is with the Israeli government. Just some background on Jared Kushner - his father Charles Kushner is very tight with Netanyahu. When Netanyahu would come to the United States he would stay at Kushner's place. He would actually sleep in Jared Kushner's bed. Apparently Kushner didn't have a guest bedroom so he just...

Joe: Did he get anybody to pee on it? {laughter}

Harrison: I don't know. Maybe. I was wondering Jared was in bed at the time.

Joe: Oh yeah? Well I could write up a dossier on that if you want.

Elan: We'll pay you a million dollars Joe.

Joe: Done.

Harrison: Ryan Dawson of Anti Neocon Report did a whole documentary on the Kushners. Just the amount of crime in that family! The father is a felon. He was in prison for two years. Just the kind of stuff that that guy got up to! The way Dawson put it in an interview with him I listened to, he said "Every stone that he tried to turn over he found some convicted crime and lawsuit and trial." One of the things that Charles Kushner did was to hire a prostitute for a sting operation to catch his brother-in-law in order to blackmail his sister and he spent $35,000 to do it and then he got caught. It didn't even work on his sister. She just said "I don't care. Whatever."

And there was so much corruption with the Port Authority, New York, New Jersey and it's just amazing the amount of crime these guys get up to and they're totally in bed with Israel. So Jared Kushner is in the White House. I don't know how much of it is just the sins of the father and how much Jared Kushner himself is in on this stuff and how fanatical he is, like his father. By every indication he seems to be in that direction at least. He goes along with the standards that his dad set up, like funding settlements in the West Bank.

Netanyahu slept in the guy's bed!

Elan: They're one step removed from being in bed together.

Harrison: Yeah.

Joe: Right. There's a scandal right there but apparently it's not the right scandal. I'm not surprised that Kushner's father has a criminal background and would be best friends with Netanyahu because Netanyahu is an arch criminal himself and that's not just an ad hominem attack. There's court proceedings going on dealing directly with Netanyahu's corruption and not just him. But that's also interesting that over the past week for the sixth week in a row there have been thousands of people in anti-corruption protests in the streets of Israel.

Harrison: Yeah, just go to the United Nations Security Council.

Joe: Well yeah we should, because the number of people protesting, there's several thousand people. Now the Israeli population, even add the Palestinian population, that's actually more people in the street in Israel than there were in Iran.

Elan: Percentage-wise, yeah.

Joe: And it's for six weeks and you don't hear a word about it. Why? I don't know. Maybe there's a reason. Maybe Jordan Peterson should be notified about the protests going on in the cradle of western civilization. Not Iran, but Israel.

Elan: And of course, Joe you were referencing Peterson's statements in support of the protesters in Iran, is that right?

Joe: Yeah.

Harrison: Peterson should stick to psychology and spend a couple of years getting up to date on geopolitics because his epidermis is showing.

Joe: Exactly.

Elan: Well just to get back to Netanyahu for a moment, he felt compelled to get onto Israeli television recently and make statements "We have nothing to do with the..."

Joe: "With nothing."

Elan: "...the recent doings. We're innocent.

Harrison: "With anything."

Elan: He was responding to allegations of Israeli involvement in the protests and violence recently in Iran and of course he took the opportunity to say that he was in full support of Iranian freedom and justice. Of course he couldn't care less. He has his whole coalition and his presidency on the line with the recent corruption case that's being brought against him by the Israeli high court or police division of some kind. But it's a pretty strong case that's being made against him. He has had, let's say, a criminal, pathological urge to suppress and oppress and destabilize Iran for decades. It's documented, so this is kind of his wet dream to see the west covering these recent protests at the level that they have been.

So he gets on the air, he says these things, that he's in support of Iranian freedom and of course he's fighting for his political life at the same time. I think in his mind it's the perfect opportunity to deflect from any controversy regarding him. "Look over there! Look at the enemy again! Look at the people who want to destroy us!" He has been after the debacle in Syria by his perspective, that is Russia and Iran and the Syrians being able to mainly rout the jihadi forces that have been propagated there. Israel is absolutely desperate and elements of the US, to gain some kind of foothold with their agenda in the Middle East. So this is a part of that, I think.

Joe: Right.

Harrison: It's somewhat of a tangential comment. It really amazes me that all the people on the right, the conservative camp - conservatives of various sorts, that are anti-SJW and identity politics and things like that - when you look at all of them and all of the YouTube personalities, for example, they're all pro-Israel. I just find it really funny that they can't see that Israel is the identity politics fail to the nth degree. They epitomize everything wrong about identity politics. Everything that the conservatives criticize about identity politics and the whole SJW movement applies textbook quality to Israel.

Joe: Give us an example.

Harrison: Like the whole victim mentality, the whole Jewish identity thing. Israel is founded on Jewish identity. Israel is founded on Jewish identity and it's the group over the individual and this goes back to before the foundation of Israel. This was epitomized in the way that the Jewish terror groups operated. There's one incident, I think in 1947. I can't remember the name of the ship, but there were Jewish refugees that would be sent to Palestine.

Elan: The Haganah maybe?

Harrison: It might have been the Haganah or Stern, but whichever the group was, there was this ship with Jewish refugees and because Palestine had a quota - they'd take 40,000 or something at any given time in a year - and when there were too many they would send out the boats of the rest of these refugees to other countries, not back to Germany or Poland or wherever. So there was this ship with hundreds of Jewish refugees on it and one of these Jewish terror groups bombed the ship and killed everyone on it because they didn't want the refugees to leave. That would be bad PR for the Zionist movement. They wanted the Jewish refugees to stay and they wanted Jews to be afraid of leaving so that they would voluntarily stay because they might get killed if they left.

This terror group, whichever one it was, said "Oh this was just a mistake. We didn't mean to actually kill all of the people. We just wanted to disable the boat." But the only thing they were concerned about was that this would now be bad for their image because now they'd be seen as the ones to be killing Jews - Jewish terror groups.

Joe: Right.

Harrison: I just gave that as an example of the group identity over the individual. But it translates into pretty much every sphere of life when you look at Israel where it's the total victim mentality.

Elan: Yes.

Harrison: It's "We are always persecuted. We are persecuted because of our group status, because we're Jews." And the problem isn't any individual Jews and it's not any individual Palestinians. It's the Palestinians as a group. And so you see ordinary Jews, IDF soldiers, military police, you can see activists go and confront them as they're patrolling in the West Bank and these people will say all Palestinians are terrorists and they'll just openly say it.

So what is that if not the epitome of identity politics? Taking two groups, dividing them in two. You've got your Group A and Group B. Group A is all good. All the problems are caused by Group B and everyone in Group B is identical and they're treated in the same way. That's what the anti-identity politics people criticize about identity politics/SJWs, is that they're essentially racist at the core, the thing they profess to be against when they're the racists because they view groups collectively and homogeneously. That's exactly how Israelis view Palestinians.

Elan: The other part of that equation, this call to victimhood you're describing Harrison, because I've been thinking a lot about this recently myself in similar terms. You can't argue with the fact that 5.5 or 6 million Jews were killed during WWII. By the same token - and we've said this many times here - it has become the shield or justification that permits in the minds of many Israelis to say "never again" and to act so oppressively and violently towards Palestinians. In a strange kind of way a lot of people have bought into this when the lesson here should be learned that you don't want to oppress any group of people, any minority. They have twisted that and turned it around and weaponized it effectively. The imperial victimhood of the US is Russiagate. "They're trying to subvert our democracy. We're victims of Russia, their cryptographic wiles, their manipulations. They're so sophisticated Putin's former KGB you know. He ordered this, that and the other thing against us. Hillary Clinton isn't President because of Russia." It's this victimhood mentality in the service of empire that is largely lost on the part of the SJW group.

There was a recent comment on all this, I think it was Caitlin Johnstone in one of the articles we published who said that they're no different than conservatives in that respect except that conservatives wear cowboy hats and SJWs wear pink hair but they essentially buy into similar things.

Joe: Isn't that the fundamental problem and the ridiculousness of the whole idea of identity politics, which is that the people who are shouting about it, complaining about let's say leftist identity politics, in their response to it and arguments against it they end up using identity politics themselves. They fall back and group together into their own identities and then they strengthen and make real an identity that was only there in the background and no one really talked about it much or thought it was a thing. It was just lived as a part of daily life and wasn't thought about. But by railing against leftist identity politics, social justice warriors, non-binary, transgender, blah, blah, blah, in railing against them, what you see as the opposition to them are basically a bunch of conservative, white people who all now espouse their own identity politics.

So apparently identity politics itself isn't a problem. It's just my identity politics versus your identity politics. Like you were saying Harrison, that's lost on these people, that they're doing exactly the same thing as the group that they're arguing against. It's a setup. It's a trap to get people to fall into camps and to strongly identify with their group. At a social level, what do people think they can actually achieve? What does anybody think they can achieve through this process of them drawing lines and creating the potential for open social conflict ultimately, if it's not contained?

That's the stage we're in right now, this precursor to potential open social conflict because the first thing you have to get is a civil conflict; you have to have groups that are opposed to each other. So all you need to do is have one rise up and you will, by definition, have another group rise up against them and boom! you've got two, so you have all the elements you need for a conflict; two groups of people consumed with their idea of their identity and their ideology and you just need to get some guns or some weapons and fight each other. How anybody doesn't see the inherent manipulation involved in that, even if shadowy figures aren't actually pulling any strings behind the curtain, if it's just a thing that human beings are liable to do, then you'd be well advised not to fall into that trap if you want to live in a peaceful society.

But it seems more and more so that people in societies around the world today, and the west included are well disposed towards the idea of conflict in their own societies. It's almost as if they're eager for some kind of social conflict because maybe they're bored or something? I don't know. There's so little critical thinking going on in any of that.

Elan: It's kind of like saying "My victimhood is bigger than your victimhood."

Joe: Yeah, which is ridiculous.

Elan: It's ridiculous and "My being angry about it to the extent that I am proves it because look at how angry and hypersensitive I am about these transgressions and these slights that are being made upon me and my group." That's the label of anti-Semitism as well. You had this performer from either Australia or New Zealand whose name was Lord come out recently and say that she wasn't going to perform in Israel and she was aligning herself with the boycott/divest/sanctions movement and lo and behold you have Roseanne Barr and other people coming out and calling her bigoted. It's just a nicer way of calling her an anti-Semite which is what anybody gets called any time they come out in criticism of Israel's policies. It's not that they're anti-Semitic folks. It's not that the people are anti-Jewish. It's the policies.

Harrison: Also, the whole anti-Semitic thing, yeah there are people that are anti-Jewish, just like there are people that are anti-Christian and people that are anti-Islam, anti-Muslim. So another one of those kind of funny - I don't even know what to call it - funny things from these conservative types that I've been talking about, they'll make the argument that there's no such thing as Islamophobia. They'll write articles about it and they make some good points. I'll give them that. But then in the same article they might write "If you say there's no such thing as Islamophobia, couldn't you say the same thing about anti-Semitism?" "Well no, anti-Semitism is real, but Islamophobia isn't."

It's like wait a second! You can't have it both ways because the arguments that a lot of these people make against there being such a thing as Islamophobia can be made for saying there's no such thing as anti-Semitism. You've got to give a little bit on both ways. So there may not be Islamophobia in some of the ways that you argue, but there are in certain ways too, just like there are certain anti-Semites who fit the total definition. But a lot of what's called anti-Semitism is not anti-Semitism is not anti-Semitism. It goes both ways from both sides of the argument.

So the whole thing about anti-Semitism is ridiculous. I like to read a lot of these articles and then just switch out all the things they say about Islam with things about Judaism because you could make the same arguments, arguing for an Islamophobic position even though they wouldn't call it that, for an anti-Semitic position and it could probably look better.

Joe: I don't know what it would take or why. I suppose I could think of a few reasons why, but this idea of people identifying with certain groups in society is very new and to the extent that it's happening today in the way that it's happening today, why do people do that? Why do they feel the need to identify themselves, to feel that they're a part of some kind of a group. Of course if you give enough time and thought to it you can come up with any number of groups that you can adhere to or you can start one yourself and say "This is my group" and get as many people as possible to attach themselves to it.

One of the antidotes to it I suppose would be just identifying with their families, for example, and their friends and their very local community, the place where most people spend most of their lives with the group of people that they spend most of their lives with. Why don't people just stick with identifying with that? With family for example, and your close friends? Why do people feel the need to identify with people that they don't even know and have never met before and some social movement that spans tens or even hundreds of millions of people and think that they're actually part of some kind of real group in that sense.

Of course it's possible with the kind of destruction of the family effectively particularly in western societies it's not surprising I suppose that people would adhere to other groups when they don't have those traditional family and community connections and associations that they did in the past. I suppose it's not a coincidence that those two things are happening at the same time, where so many people are on their own effectively in major cities and they look to something to attach themselves to, to give themselves a sense of community or something like that. But in this context it's baseless because these people don't know each other. They have nothing really in common except some silly manifesto or some silly set of ideals that aren't even practicable or applicable or implementable in society.

So what would it take for people just to wise up and stop doing that? And who are these people that do that? Because I'm pretty sure they're not the majority of people but they're a vocal minority anyway and they really seem determined to make this identity politics an issue and make it a fractious issue in society. I just don't understand why any of them actually really do it. But maybe that's the reason. They're looking for something to give themselves an identity. That's why it's called identity politics, right? Because they don't find it in their local communities or they didn't get it in their family of origin, etc.

Harrison: I don't know. It's a complex topic.

Elan: It is a complex topic but in general I think that's probably pretty close to hitting upon it. I think with the advent of social media and computers and instant gratification and the dissolution of groups and neighbourhoods and more traditional or social structures, they're reaching out for something. They don't understand why exactly. And it's so urgent, so desperate in a way and the emotions are so intense that it comes out in this identity politics affiliation that they find themselves drawn to. I don't think it's a conscious thing in large part.

Joe: Right, and that's the problem.

Elan: It's a kind of reaction.

Harrison: I think it might be semi-conscious to a fairly significant degree for the people that become a part of a movement like this because they want to be the ones on the top. So they look at their own position in the social hierarchy and they don't like it. So then it's very easy to then just do the identity politics thing where they say "The reason that I'm in this position is because I'm a part of this group of all these people that I don't even know so I'm going to identify with all these people I don't know in order to effect political change so I can get on the top. So I can take what he's got."

Joe: Right. So someone has told them, in most cases, that they're victims, right as well?

Harrison: Yeah.

Joe: And that they should do something about it; not necessarily that they are actual victims in any real sense, apart from the normal problems that people have to confront in life and that you can't really get over. You can't create a society where no one has any problems. Everybody's going to have problems so you're always going to have the potential for someone to form a group and say "I have these problems. We have these problems and we should do something about them."

So it's easy to convince people that they're victims because it's very attractive for anybody to feel "I'm a victim" but it's not necessarily because people necessarily like being a victim but it's because of the attention that being a victim gets them and their personal cause effectively that they get to push forward under the title of victim. And like you said Harrison, it's ultimately a striving for power. They want power. So these people are in a certain sense megalomaniacs and they're not content to just live their lives and accept the lot they have and work within the means that they have to improve their lot. They want to force society to change to fit their own view of their position.

In every victim there's a very grandiose person, someone who believes they're fully entitled to lots of things that they're not actually entitled to at all.

Harrison: It really comes back to the criminal mentality that we've mentioned a few times on the show in the past month or two, where there's this sense of self-entitlement. When you read Inside the Criminal Mind for instance, the description of a lot of these criminals and the personalities that they have, it might be they've got a bad job, they resort to crime and when someone will interview them like Samenow, the author of this book, he'll ask them "Well what do you want to do?" "Oh well I really want to be an entrepreneur and have my own business."

He talks to them about this and they have no idea what it takes to start a business. They have no idea how much work they're going to have to put into it. They expect to just be the entrepreneur and make the money without doing any work. So basically other people do all the work for them and they get all the money and they become prestigious and high class and get all the perks, but they don't see the work that will have to go into it and they don't want to do the work that will have to go into it.

Joe: That's the same with the social justice warrior types who look at businessmen, etc. and think "Well how dare they!? They must have gotten that by some manipulative or unfair means and it should be taken away from them. Because if there's no injustice involved in it well why am I not in his position? Why don't I have lots of money as well?" And they never stop to think that well actually probably because you have to work for it. You could have it if you put the work into it but obviously you just want it for free. You want it for nothing.

It's totally natural for people to identify with a group or have an ideology or a better word would be philosophy on life and to find other people who share that similar philosophy. But it has to be informed as much as possible about the nature of human beings, the nature of human life on this planet and the forces that operate to create movements back and forth and that those forces are not really within anyone's hands and they can be quite destructive. They can be led towards destructive ends.

Anybody who really looks at the history of human life on this planet and human societies and sees those forces and the way they work would automatically not go near any of those broad social movements, wouldn't touch them with a barge pole because not only are they not reflective of the reality of human existence, but like I said, they very often end up in very destructive places. But apparently there's a lot of new people on this planet who have no understanding of history and don't care to learn about it and are just here for the shits and giggles and the smashing of windows.

Elan: When I was listening to all that I was thinking that the US, in becoming this full-fledged imperial entity, if you were to drill down, if you were to anthropomorphize, to drill down to the US as a single person, it also embodies the behaviour of the criminal mind. It goes around the world. It bullies other nations. It wants what it wants now, simply because it does. It does things simply because it wants to. You have to wonder because this whole social justice warrior movement has always been around to some degree but we've never seen anything like this. It's still a pretty recent development. You wake up in the morning and there it is, full-fledged.

So you have to wonder if there is to some extent a kind of reflection that's being held up towards the authorities who are behaving in this way. There's a kind of societal mirror in the form of these social justice warriors that we're seeing.

Joe: It's the child of government, yeah.

Elan: It is.

Joe: You talk about social justice and the reason social justice and the idea of being a social a justice warrior - which people could accuse us of being over the years - the question is where does the injustice come from so where should your activism against injustice be directed. People don't think about that too much. It's interesting that, from our perspective, the injustice ultimately comes from the top down; injustice is carried out largely by governments and in this case the American governments have been responsible for injustice around the world, real injustice, unnecessary suffering that doesn't have to happen.

We're not talking about wiping out all suffering or injustice on the planet. It's always going to be there to some extent, but it's the unnecessary suffering, the stuff that doesn't have to happen, the stuff that's egregious, that's willful, that people should rail against. But like I said, that usually comes from people in very powerful positions who have the means to carry out that level of injustice around the world.

But it's interesting that that has been subverted, the potential for that justice to be directed in the right direction which is to on high and to particular places and people, has been subverted. And what we see today is that social justice is defined by groups of ordinary people who should be fighting against people at the top - psychos in power. Instead they're fighting each other. You have Black Lives Matter fighting against the whitey, the ordinary people. So how did that happen?

Elan: I was going to say the same thing. In 2003 and 2005 you had tens of thousands of people in New York and Washington, D.C. speaking out against the Bush administration for impending war in Iraq and other things. Where are those people? Like you said Joe, that whole awareness, that whole impetus has been subverted. It has been redirected. Now you probably have many of the same people who would be speaking out or marching against war, going on Twitter and saying Iran needs to fight for its freedom and we have to support it when they should be the very ones who are the most aware and active in speaking out against the unnecessary war and destruction that you mentioned a moment ago.

So yeah. How did this happen? What is the mechanism for it? It's a good question.

Joe: People are stupid. Is that the answer?

Harrison: Well there's an odd corollary to the guys in ISIS because as much as ISIS is a creation of western intelligence agencies, a lot of the guys on the ground are just useful idiots. They're dupes, but they officially won't go after Israel. The Islamic State in the Sinai peninsula just declared war on Hamas and won't go after Israel. There's a disconnect there.

Joe: So let me get this straight. So ISIS, the great warriors for Islam to recreate an Islamic caliphate in as much of the world as possible and to uphold the true values of Islam and the true practices of Islam - this is what they'll fight and die for, give their lives for - these people have just announced that they're going to war against Hamas, another Muslim group that has been fighting against Israel which is the group of people, the Israelis, who stole one of the holiest places of Islam in the whole world. So explain that to me again?!

Harrison: Yeah, it doesn't make any sense.

Joe: But why would ISIS, a fanatical Muslim group want to fight against the enemies of Israel?

Elan: Well it makes sense when you understand...

Joe: Is it complicated or something?

Elan: ...that ISIS is not rational. We're applying all of these rational...

Joe: That's what the mainstream media tells me, that that's who they are.

Harrison: But that's what I'm saying. At some level...

Joe: ISIS must hate Israel, right?

Harrison: Who knows? Yes.

Joe: But they must by definition!

Harrison: Yes.

Joe: Right. So why are they fighting against Israel's enemies?

Harrison: For the same reason that all the leftist, anti-war people now are just obsessed with identity politics and don't care about all the wars going on in the world.

Joe: And they're also supporting Iranian regime change.

Harrison: Right, because their minds are all messed up.

Joe: Because they're stupid.

Harrison: We've got a caller here. He's been on the line for a while. We've got Stephen on the line. Stephen, hello.

Stephen: Hey, Merry Christmas.

Harrison: Merry Christmas.

Elan: And Happy New Year.

Stephen: I enjoy the conversation and like somebody said earlier, this is extremely complicated when you start delving into these issues like this. I also agree with the idea, and it really has come home to me lately, that people are stupid. And when I say that I make a point of saying I'm not excluding myself from that assessment. (laughter) I'm f**king stupid, okay. And every time I start thinking I'm smart I'm going to set myself up again just to realize again how stupid I am.

Joe: Stephen the important point is that you know you're stupid. If all these stupid people out there knew they were stupid, they would be less stupid.

Elan: We're hearing a little echo from you. Could you turn the speaker down please?

Stephen: I don't have a speaker to turn down. Can you hear me okay?

Harrison: Yeah.

Stephen: But that point was really brought home with the ancient Greeks. Some of the philosophers back in that day made the point too that we really are just so f**king stupid and every time you meet somebody that thinks they're smart, you've just got to be really careful with them because they're just so stupid to think that they're smart that they're dangerous, right?

Joe: Are you saying this has been going on for three thousand years?

Stephen: Yes!

Joe: And it hasn't changed.

Stephen: Yeah, the unreflected life is not worth living I think is what Socrates said. He was around a bunch of stupid people in that day. If the story is correct, he committed suicide rather than bow down to their stupidity. Anyway, he's one of the historical figures that I have some respect for. The guy really is fascinating from the accounts of him in The Republic written by Plato.

But getting to this issue about Jewish people and Israel, there's a lot of games being played. Jewish people are two percent of the population yet they have a high percentage of positions in entertainment, law, doctors. I can't bash Jewish people...

Joe: That's because they're not stupid.

Stephen: Well there you go! I despise anti-Semitism. Whenever I meet someone who says "The Jews! The Jews!" I'm like "Shut the heck up."

Joe: Hang on a minute. Stephen, do you realize that what I just said, that Jews are not stupid, is actually anti-Semitism?

Stephen: Well yeah I can understand that. But my larger point is, if you're two percent of the population it's easy to see why a lot of Jewish people would get caught up in viewing the majorities as a potential enemy, especially with the history of pogroms and so forth. But having said that, there's a lot of Jewish people in the United States that support Israel. They're not critical thinkers about it. But then having said that, there's a lot of people that put their ass on the line that are hated by their own families or communities or looked down upon because they dare to speak up for the Palestinians. God bless those people. Those are quality people. This is not an easy issue, but I despise anti-Semitism in people that whine about "the Jews, the Jews, the Jews". If you're a small population maybe you'll put a lot of emphasis on education and to getting into positions of power just so you don't end up slaughtered by the majority.

Joe: Maybe it's genetic as well. That's anti-Semitic though.

Stephen: And getting onto the SJW, it really grates me. I'm a white male but when I hear these people go on and on about "It's the whites, your privileged" this and that, it's so sickening to hear that kind of talk because there's a lot of people like me that struggle. I'm not privileged. I don't see where my privilege is at. I bust my ass just to have a living where I don't have wealth. I don't even have money to attend to the care of my health, health insurance for myself. I don't have that money. I don't have property. But then when they talk about "we whites" - me, I have to pay reparations because I'm guilty, that rubs me the wrong way.

Joe: You and a lot of other people I'm sure and that's why it's so stupid and that's why it's a recipe for social chaos.

Stephen: It's horrible. I'm all for understanding how people are discriminated against by people with more power, the history of racism. I'm all for delving into that, exploring that, but when your solution is to say that "I am guilty and you're going to tax me higher" or whatever, so the descendents of people who were slaves, who might be one-half, one-quarter, one-eighth white, the descendents can have something and you're going to tax me, I see that as a recipe for freaking disaster.

I think that the way it works in the social justice movement, there are thought leaders of it, and they make decent salaries, $50,000 and up, maybe less, but they're getting money for spreading their ideas and being the leaders and they can say all of this stuff. They rile people up with simplistic formulas and it really does sow division. What's interesting to me too is that because I'm very much anti-imperialist in my basic core worldview, these same people have very little or nothing to say about what's been going on in Syria for six years, what's happened in Ukraine. In other words, they have virtually no critique of US imperialism geopolitically and it really is a tragedy. What are we? We're like 15 years since the second attack on Iraq and the "left" or anti-war left is at the weakest it's ever been since the 1960s.

Elan: Exactly.

Joe: Right. How did that happen?

Stephen: Well I think what has happened, they destroyed unions, they control the apparatuses of propaganda and indoctrination and they've become much more sophisticated in using those apparatuses and brainwashed, in beating people down and dumbing people down. We have so little solidarity among us. There's people like Amy Goodman with Democracy Now who goes on air five days a week and they do their little reports about Syria. I very rarely tune in, but when she does her little news blurbs in the start of the show she talked about government besieged east Ghouta. So she framed it like the government of Syria didn't have any legitimate right to try to reclaim east Ghouta from the Jihadists.

Joe: Right.

Stephen: I just kind of vented a little bit. I just wanted to wish you guys happy new year. I enjoy your shows all the time and it's not going to be easy. Who knows what's going to happen in the future but wow! I really do appreciate voices such as y'alls coming on air weekly and we can have some discussions and deep thinking about things because without that we would be in worse shape. So thank you guys.

Joe: Bringing some sanity. No problem. Thanks for listening.

Stephen: Thank y'all. Take care. Bye-bye.

Harrison: Thanks Stephen.

Elan: Take care Stephen.

Harrison: Stephen, next time you call in maybe try to get some headphones or something because when you call in there's an echo so it makes back and forth conversation a little difficult. So see if next time you can hook up some headphones to your phone or whatever you use.

Stephen: Alright. Thank you. Bye.

Joe: That made me think of an interesting point that I think is true across the whole victim mentality situation, just as I was having some fun there with anti-Semitism. It's potentially anti-Semitic to say that the Jews are smart. It would also obviously be anti-Semitic to say that they're stupid. You know you're dealing with a victim mentality when you're not really allowed to say anything about the person, good or bad; when what would be good or positive in any other scenario, is seen as victimization, you know you're dealing with some kind of pathology.

Harrison: Yeah, because if a Goy says the Jews run Hollywood, that's anti-Semitic. If a Jew says the Jews run Hollywood that's just self-congratulations.

Joe: No, it's not anti-Semitic to say that Jews are smart because of sarcasm. Jewish people by and large are very intelligent, they're very high IQ. Obviously there's exceptions in everything but as a general rule they're very intelligent. But that essentially anti-Semitic. I think you can say that they're just average but then that's almost like it's not very nice to say that either about someone is it? That they're just average.

Harrison: Yeah to say that someone's average, that's mean.

Joe: And you can't say that they're stupid. So there you go! You just have to shut up.

Harrison: Yeah, you can't say anything.

Joe: Don't say anything about the Jews.

Harrison: We mentioned Jordan Peterson. One thing that he said that I kind of agreed with, but on the other hand he didn't really take it as far as he could. He was talking about this. Someone asked him in a Q&A about what his thoughts on the Jews were or something and he made the point that when he came to Toronto and got his teaching position or whatever, he found that all the successful, smart people that he wanted to talk to were Jewish and that he thought about that and that - just like what you were saying Joe - in the Jewish community a lot of people are smarter. For whatever reasons, Jewish people tend to be smarter and they get into professions so they can be at the top of their game in certain professions. There are a lot of Jewish lawyers or in Hollywood or politics or whatever. And he says that's not a bad thing. It's not conspiratorial. It just shows that they're good at what they do.

But the one direction that you have to go in when you acknowledge that is that when you have a super smart person who is able to do that or a group that has a lot of super smart people that are able to do that, that means you're also going to get - how can I put this? If you're super smart and you're very effective that opens up a whole lot of possibilities for you. When there are a whole lot of possibilities there are increasing or more possibilities for evil.

Elan: Yes.

Harrison: So whenever you have a person that expands their opportunities like that, there are opportunities for evil. So not only will you get a whole bunch of great Jews who are great at what they do, the top of their profession, they do good work and they're smart and they do good research or they're good doctors or whatever, you're also going to get some people who are at the top of the food chain who are just cutthroat evil.

Joe: But you're not allowed to say some things that are obvious. There's a book called The Bell Curve by psychologist Richard Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray. You can listen to some of Charles Murray's stuff on YouTube and interviews. He's actually quite interesting. He wrote a book in 1994 called The Bell Curve-Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. He went through the statistics and the data and showed that in terms of IQ, Ashkenazi Jews are at the top in terms of IQ. And below them you have some Asians. Obviously these are generalizations but they're true. Then below that you have Caucasians, white people and then just below that you have Latinos and then below that you have African-Americans.

This is just a broad sweep. The book is partly about the argument that people's position and class in society and where they are on the economic ladder and all this kind of stuff, has at least partly to do with inherited genetic intelligence which would speak directly to the whole social justice business going on today and something that the social justice warriors would not like to hear. He has written many other books as well. In fact any time Charles Murray has gone to speak at the universities, even very recently, he gets protests that shut him down, bull horns and calling him a racist and all sorts of other names.

But that's just a piece of data. I'm not saying it's the be-all and end-all of explaining society or human beings, but it's a factor, the inherent, natural inherited or genetic traits in groups of people in different ethnicities. But you're not allowed to talk about that despite the fact that it's a fact and that it undoubtedly plays a part. And of course there are exceptions to the rule across the board. You're easily going to find stupid Asians and smart black people, they're easily found. But looking at it from a broad social level as a way to give another explanation other than the social injustice aspect of class structure, that it's to do with natural abilities that are defined or divided by ethnicity.

Elan: Well Joe I'm going to come out here and say I come from a Jewish Ashkenazi background.

Joe: Huhhhh!

Elan: And...

Joe: Elan, that's why you're so much smarter than all of us. (laughter) I've been offending you.

Elan: I've met a lot of...

Joe: All the way through this show. (laughter)

Elan: I've met a lot of stupid Jewish people first of all.

Joe: Of course.

Elan: But getting back a little earlier to Harrison's point, you think of a guy like Norman Finkelstein who has come out strongly against the so-called holocaust industry and has pointed out some of the things that we mentioned earlier about the label of anti-Semitism. You have a lot of genuinely good and strong individuals like Finkelstein, who come from a Jewish background. His parents were holocaust survivors. He had every reason to ascribe to this victim mentality and went in the other direction.

Then by the same token, you have AIPAC in Washington exercising an incredible amount of power over US foreign policy, pro-Israel and racist and arguably a pretty smart bunch of people, for what they do. So yeah, nature or nurture, criminal mind, genetics? The Ashkenazi Jews seem to go in both directions.

Harrison: I just figured out another way to put it. Jews produce the best of the best, the best lawyers, the best movie producers, doctors, and the best criminals. The biggest mobster in the United States, the best mobster was Meyer Lansky. He was the top of the food chain. Happened to be Jewish. Happened to be involved in arms smuggling to the Jewish terror groups in Israel. It's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Elan: And what about Jared Kushner?

Joe: Yeah, look at Jared Kushner. Intelligence isn't the be-all and end-all of what I was saying. Intelligence is broken down as well into types. I can't remember the exact terms but there are types of intelligence that make a person more suited to certain jobs or endeavours. So in terms of Jews you'd have a lot of lawyers and doctors but you wouldn't have so many really famous Jewish musicians. Well you do have a few of those but in different areas their intelligence wouldn't apply to other areas.

For example with Asians their intelligence is generally speaking focused largely toward engineering and that kind of detail-oriented work but they wouldn't necessarily be intelligent or excel in other areas of life. In fact intelligence isn't really a hallmark for success. It's there but it's not the definitive hallmark for success. Work, initiative and commitment and perseverance is much more indicative of the potential for success than intelligence.

Harrison: Well it's intelligence...

Joe: It's obviously complicated. You need a certain amount - huh?

Harrison: Intelligence and conscientiousness.

Joe: Right, conscientiousness, exactly. It's obviously a factor but it's complicated and complex but you can speak in broad terms about these things but when it comes down to the specific situation it has to be taken on its own merits. It's always the way. That's part of the problem with the complexity of life. People would like to be able to make broad, sweeping generalizations about society and how it should be fixed and how it should be ordered but then when you look at the actual application of that on an individual level it's much more complicated and that's the real crux of the problem in terms of organizing society. You can't just have a broad ideology and try and apply it to everybody because you're going to have problems. You have to deal with specifics and lazy people don't want to have to deal with specifics and the complex nature of an individual case that may not fit the rule.

Elan: Do we want to round out the situation in Iran a little bit more or do we want to move on to anything else with North Korea?

Harrison: I think we've pretty much said everything we want to say on Iran. Did you have anything you wanted to add Joe?

Joe: No other than the MEK thing. People can take a look at the MEK cult that has been more than likely involved in it. The last group called the People's Mujahedin of Iran, MEK for short have been around for a long time. It's a real personality cult that's been going for quite a long time. They were set up in Iraq back in the '80s under Saddam. They were friends with Saddam, anti-Iran. They're anti-Iran all the way through. They're basically pretenders to the Iranian throne and at a certain point they came under the purview of the US as an infiltration group in Iran. They carried out many attacks, killed a lot of people during the Iran/Iraq war. They were involved in the killing of Iranian scientists along with Mossad in Iran over the past 10 or 15 years.

So they're a real nut-job kind of group and we have an article by Niall on the website right now about them. There's a Press TV documentary linked at the very bottom which you can watch. It's about 50 minutes and it gives you good insight into who these people really are. They're set up in France actually, outside Paris at a compound, a headquarters. It's like Scientology for Muslims in a certain sense, not quite so large and broad but the general flavour of it is like that.

After they were kicked out of Iraq by the Iraqis just last year from a base they had there, they moved to Albania to the capital Tirana. Apart from Paris they have a set up in Albania and just last August a bunch of high-level, senior US senators met with the leader of it, a woman called Miriam Rajavi. So they were talking to these people just six months ago. So there's some reason to believe the Iranian allegation that this group that has a history of militant terrorist activities is involved or has been involved in some way. Well it has been involved in Iran for quite a long time but it's been involved more recently in these protests that thankfully went nowhere.

Elan: And they have very strong ties to US neocons and support from US neocons in 2012.

Joe: Right. A lot of lobbying going on and a lot of money.

Elan: Hillary Clinton took them off the terrorist list that I think the state department had them on. They've been trained by US military in certain places in the US. So they've been used by Mossad, as you said Joe, to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists. They are effectively the fourth Golem group inside of Iran that western interests are using to bolster their narrative. Like you said, Niall's article is terrific and covers quite a bit of who these people are and who they're supported by.

Harrison: It's the kind of pro-democracy groups that the US supports all over the world, the Gulen organization in Turkey, and al-Nusra Front in Syria.

Elan: Also Azov Battalion in Ukraine.

Harrison: Great stand-up guys, pro-democracy, pro-freedom.

Joe: On the North Korea thing, you mentioned that at the beginning of the show, how the two biggest global leaders in trolling are Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. They don't seem to be really serious about it. No one has been serious about this. It's all been bluff and bluster. America needs a good enemy, a good rogue nation to shake a stick at now and again and rabble-rouse and sabre-rattle and to project its power over to Asia because of the North Korea threat, blah, blah, blah. It's all nonsense. Nobody should believe a word of it really.

Now you have the North Koreans talking about sending a delegation down to the winter Olympics in South Korea which is a bit of a surprise for everybody because they thought they didn't like skiing. And also Trump just said recently that he would meet with Kim Jong-un under certain conditions which is probably that they build a McDonald's in Pyongyang or something. They build the first McDonald's in Pyongyang might be the first requirement...

Elan: The art of the deal.

Joe: Or they can bring Jared Kushner.

Harrison: A Trump Tower.

Joe: They can open a Trump Tower or Melania is allowed to open a clothes store in Pyongyang. Those are the kind of conditions probably. But they go from fire and hell - what did he call it?

Harrison: Fire and fury.

Joe: Fire and fury, blah, blah, blah, nuclear war, "We're on the brink" and then "Yeah maybe I'll meet with the guy actually, maybe chat about stuff." Just go from that almost from one day to the next and how can you not think that it's all one big charade.

Harrison: Well when Trump was asked about it, I think yesterday or the day before - I can't remember what the question was, something related to the developments in North Korea - he said "Well you know actually a lot of people have been thanking me and even the leader of South Korea - oh, do you have it with you Elan?

Elan: I might. Keep paraphrasing and I'll see if I can find it.

Harrison: He said "Yeah, they've been thanking me and the leader of South Korea even said that my tough rhetoric and tough stance have been essential to going like this.

Joe: Have impressed them.

Harrison: Right. But the way he phrased it he kind of admitted that it was all rhetoric and then he slightly backtracked and said "Oh, but really I'm still totally serious and we've got the biggest weapons." He reveals the man behind the curtain and then just puts the curtain back down again and says "Oh, I'm totally serious."

Elan: "Sure, I believe in talking adding that Kim knows that I'm not messing around. Not even a little bit."

Harrison: Not even a little bit.

Elan: "But, if something can come out of these talks that would be a great thing for all of humanity. That would be a great thing for the world."

Joe: When you have to qualify your tough talk by saying "And I'm not messing around, even a little bit", you shouldn't really have to say that.

Harrison: But then you get the headlines saying "Trump's not messing around".

Elan: He also says "I have a certain attitude and you have to be prepared to do certain things and I'm totally prepared to do that."

Joe: Yeah! Me too Donald. I'm totally prepared to do that, whatever that thing is. Let's do it.

Elan: So you need attitude. That seems to be the underlying lesson here from El Trumpo.

Joe: The art of the deal. Such a farce, the whole thing. We have to actually take it seriously and read headlines and go "Mmmm. Let me analyze that. No, I'm not bothering. It's nonsense."

Harrison: I think that's really all the news on North Korea. Maybe just one little thing on Russia gate. Joe, you gave the broad outlines of where things have been going the past couple of weeks, but one of the interesting developments is that Paul Manafort has filed a lawsuit. I can't remember who exactly it's against, the Department of Justice or the FBI or just Mueller's team...

Joe: Yeah, the whole thing.

Harrison: But his point, which seems to be valid so we'll see where it goes, is that he's basically suing them for going beyond the remit of their investigation in their charges against him. It makes total sense on the surface of it, so like I said we'll just have to see because all the crimes that they've charged him with have nothing to do whatsoever to do with the Trump campaign...

Joe: Trump or Russia.

Harrison: It goes back as far as 2005 and 2006 and there's nothing to do with the time period he was even involved with the Presidential campaign. The law is apparently pretty clear that when there's a special prosecutor they have a very limited scope of what they can investigate.

Joe: Within the scope.

Harrison: And that wasn't part of their initial scope. So just on the surface of it, it looks like he's got a slam-dunk case that they shouldn't have charged him with any of this. And that again exposes the entire thing. There's nothing there.

Joe: Burger.

Harrison: There's no real charges. There's no burger. The biggest charges were against Manafort for all these alleged crimes that he committed and apparently the FBI had looked at all of these things and investigated him...

Joe: At the time.

Harrison: At the time and they closed the investigation. So all they did for this new report was reopen it and then charge him with all of the things they had previously cleared him of. All of the other charges and things they have found have been these minor process crimes like Flynn and Papadopoulos telling lies to the FBI when none of them were material to the actual scope of the investigation. So there's nothing to it. I just think it's so...

Elan: It's a tofu burger.

Harrison: It's a tofu burger.

Joe: Yeah. Absolutely.

Elan: Maybe on that note we'll leave it. We just want to thank everybody for listening on this first show of 2018.

Joe: And be many more.

Elan: Yeah. Take care. Thanks everybody for listening. Thanks Stephen for listen and tune into the Health and Wellness Show next Friday as well.

Joe: Have a good evening.

Harrison: Bye-bye.