In this special edition of RIGHT IN DC, political analyst and lawyer Gayle Trotter talks about her thoughts on:
- Possible impeachment of President Trump and Congress ignoring more important issues
- Attorney General Bill Barr’s interview with Jan Crawford on CBS
- Steven Crowder and his demonetization by YouTube and the fight going on over that
. . . . . JAN CRAWFORD: You’re saying that spying occurred. There’s not anything necessarily wrong with that.
WILLIAM BARR: Right.
JAN CRAWFORD: As long as there’s a reason for it.
WILLIAM BARR: Whether it’s adequately predicated. And look, I think if we — we are worried about foreign influence in the campaign? We should be because the heart of our system is the peaceful transfer of power through elections and what gives the government legitimacy is that process. And if foreign elements can come in and affect it, that’s bad for the republic. But by the same token, it’s just as, it’s just as dangerous to the continuation of self-government and our republican system, republic that we not allow government power, law enforcement or intelligence power, to play a role in politics, to intrude into politics, and affect elections.
JAN CRAWFORD: So it’s just as dangerous- So when we talk about foreign interference versus say a government abuse of power, which is more troubling?
WILLIAM BARR: Well they’re both, they’re both troubling.
JAN CRAWFORD: Equally?
WILLIAM BARR: In my mind, they are, sure. I mean, republics have fallen because of Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state. And you know, there is that tendency that they know better and that, you know, they’re there to protect as guardians of the people. That can easily translate into essentially supervening the will of the majority and getting your own way as a government official.
JAN CRAWFORD: And you are concerned that that may have happened in 2016?
WILLIAM BARR: Well, I just think it has to be carefully look at because the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed.
JAN CRAWFORD: Did that happen?
WILLIAM BARR: There were counterintelligence activities undertaken against the Trump Campaign. And I’m not saying there was not a basis for it, that it was legitimate, but I want to see what that basis was and make sure it was legitimate.
JAN CRAWFORD: So–
WILLIAM BARR: That’s one of the, you know, one of the key responsibilities of the Attorney General, core responsibilities of the Attorney General is to make sure that government power is not abused and that the right of Americans are not transgressed by abusive government power. That’s the responsibility of the Attorney General. . . .
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This is Gayle Trotter, host of Right in DC.
Today we’re going to do something a little different. We usually invite an author, a politician, or someone interesting onto the show to talk about their book or talk about their job or talk about some pressing topic in our politics or legal system right now. Today were to do something a little different and we’re going to just talk about three topics that really got my attention this week.
I want to talk about the possible impeachment of President Trump. I want to talk about Attorney General Bill Barr’s interview with Jan Crawford on CBS that I don’t think has gotten enough attention. Then we have to talk about Stephen Crowder and his demonetization by YouTube and the fight that is going on over that. Thank you so much for joining us today and I just want to start talking about this impeachment issue.
You know that the Democrats took control of the House during the midterm elections. Because of that, they were put in charge of chairmanships of various committees like the judiciary committee, the intelligence committee. They’re using their perches on the leadership of these various committees to try and subpoena everyone around President Trump. Anyone who is not a partisan Democrat looking at this, could see that they are unhappy about the results of the Mueller report. They had all their fantasies and hopes pinned on Bob Mueller delivering a report that would take down this presidency. Essentially, what the Democrats are trying to do is continue this resistance of President Trump and either undermine his power and his administration’s efforts to deliver on his campaign promises or they would like to reverse the results of a proper election. It’s essentially a temper tantrum by congressional Democrats who are upset that the Mueller report vindicated President Trump and they continue to push forward on all this stuff.
You wonder about it because they do have control of the House. In the House process of impeachment, you only need a simple majority to vote for Articles of Impeachment and we saw this with President Clinton in the late 1990s. It’s really an exercise in futility. Even if they were able to get every Democrat to go along with it, and they would have it, because the you only need a simple majority in the House to get the Articles of Impeachment passed, then it goes to the Senate. The Senate would have to decide whether or not they wanted to actually have a trial. They wouldn’t have to do that. If you look back in history of the 19 times that there been Articles of Impeachment passed by the House, some of those times the Senate did not have a trial.
Certainly, the Senate could tell the House, this is completely illegitimate. You are just trying to continue to bring down this President. It is unreasonable; it is unconstitutional. The Senate could decide not to participate in it. Because the key issue with that part of the impeachment process is that the Constitution requires that there is a super majority of senators who decide to convict under the process of impeachment. Certainly, the Republicans are not going to do that particularly based on the volumes of the Mueller report, Volume I, which dealt with collusion and Volume II, which dealt with obstruction. It’s a massive waste of time and resources. I think most Americans who aren’t partisan Democrats who are continuing to try to resist, they’re upset about all this because they want Congress to work to get things done. The economy is doing better. Things are looking up, but we do have big challenges right now.
We’ve interviewed Mark Morgan on this podcast. We interviewed him before he was taken back into the Trump Administration as the head of border security, and he was talking about the border crisis. It looks like we’ll have over a million illegal immigrants who are crossing the border by the end of the year. This is probably the worst crisis we’ve had at the border in the entire history of the country. Even so much so that the New York Times is telling the Congress that they need to improve supplemental money for the Trump Administration to deal with the crisis at the border.
When we’re looking at the problems that Congress should be dealing with, including pushing back on Mexico, and President Trump is now doing this tariff which is going to start at 5% this month and then will go up to 25%. Five percent every month until it reaches a high of 25% on the tariff, I think by October. He’s doing what he can do with the powers of the executive to try and put pressure on Mexico. We are seeing news reports that Mexico is coming to the table about this.
I know there’s been a lot of speculation that maybe your burrito at Chipotle might cost five cents more, but when you think about the scourge of human trafficking and the small children who are being essentially dragged over the border so that the adults who are with them, maybe family members, maybe unrelated adults, we don’t know it’s hard to get this information quickly, they’re able to stay here due to that Flores Settlement that we discussed with another guest on this podcast about a month ago.
There are serious problems that this country is facing, and instead of working on that, and coming to a compromise with President Trump, this Congress is having a temper tantrum. They’re trying to put the executive branch on the defensive and they’re not doing what they need to do to deliver for the American people. Maybe you can’t solve all these problems, but you can certainly come up with legislation that will move the country in the right direction. They cannot concede defeat from the 2016 election and you’re going to continue to see talk about this.
We also had the guest, Hans von Spakovsky, who is a lawyer with The Heritage Foundation, on this podcast a few months ago. I’d like to let you know that he’s got a really great piece coming out at foxnews.com, probably this weekend, talking about the impeachment process. People have understandably forgotten the details of it, but I think it’s a good primer on what could possibly occur and what the maneuvering will be by Senate Democrats and House Democrats and what the responses should be from House Republicans. We have already seen one defection from the Republican caucus in the House, Justin Amash. It’s interesting to see what kind of pushback he’s going to get from other House Republicans, but that remains to be seen.
I think you also have to look at Democrats who are in Trump districts. Take, for example, Senator Doug Jones. He won that very controversial and national news election against Roy Moore in Alabama and he’s up for reelection. But he’s up for reelection in a state that went very strongly for President Trump. Is his caucus going to give him rhetorical support? Because he should be asked every day: Do you support the impeachment of President Trump? He should answer to his constituents whether or not he would be in favor of that. I think that would influence a lot of Alabama voters who are trying to decide whether he’s a good representative of them in the halls of Congress.
When you look at all of these issues around impeachment, this is not going away. The Democrats are not going to give up on this. I think as we continue to go into the summer, I think this is the bottom line that everyone should think about: It’s essentially the Democrats conceding that they don’t think they’re going to win the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump. They have the field of the 23 candidates now. It’s hard to keep track because so many pop in. I don’t know if you’ve seen that picture of all of the Democratic presidential candidates, but even people who follow politics pretty closely try and identify the pictures and it’s hard to even name them all. It’s like trying to remember all the capitals of every state. I know I have that somewhere in my memory bank, but it’s good take me a minute to retrieve it.
When you look at that and you think about the Democrats push for impeachment, what they’re really saying is that they are conceding that they do not believe that they will mount an effective opposition to President Trump in the 2020 election. That should be the key takeaway when anyone hears any of this prattling on by Jerry Nadler in the House or Nancy Pelosi who is saying she’s going to try and do something or she’s holding people back. It’s all a political partisan calculation related to the 2020 presidential election.
What’s being done in the Justice Department? I was very interested to see this interview of Attorney General Bill Barre with CBS News’s top legal correspondent, Jan Crawford over the weekend. I printed out the transcript because I felt like this just did not get enough news coverage. If you have a chance to to read through the transcript, I think you’ll be very surprised by some of the things he said. A lot of people were worried that Attorney General Bill Barre was too much a part of the swamp. He was too close to Robert Mueller. He had been in D.C. for a long time. He’d already been Attorney General under one of the other presidents.
You might remember that we interviewed Mary Kate Kerry a few months ago when Barre was being confirmed to his position as Attorney General. She shared that really charming story about how she worked for Barre the last time he was Attorney General and she went with him to Richmond to a very dangerous neighborhood that had a lot of drug and gang violence. He showed up and the local authorities had a bulletproof vest and they didn’t think to give it to her. They gave it to the Attorney General because he’s the the biggest target. He’s the one that they have to protect but the expectation was that Mary Kate Kerry would just walk to the podium completely uncovered by the bulletproof vest which they didn’t have one for her, but the Attorney General would have the protection. Most people wouldn’t even think about that. That’s part of the job and, of course, that person is the most important person, but he didn’t have that reaction. He said you just stay in the car since you don’t have the protection. You don’t need to come with me. She took that as such a sign of someone who not only wants to to assure the safety of the people around him, that the personal safety of the people around him, even though he is a big wig. You are the chief law enforcement officer of the entire United States over 300 million people, and he was paying attention to her. He was making sure that she was okay even though she was there to serve him. I think that just kind of gave such an interesting insight into what kind of a person he was.
A lot of people were worried that he would just continue to perpetuate kind of the swampiness of the Justice Department that we’ve seen in the past. Eric Holder being held in contempt. Loretta Lynch and her tarmac meeting with President Clinton when the investigation was ongoing of his wife, Hillary Clinton. I think it’s been a really amazing and pleasant surprise for those who were worried about Attorney General Barre that he is so independent. He’s so smart and he really cares about the rule of law.
Digging into this interview a little bit, he is really question hard by Jan Crawford about whether Robert Mueller could have reached a decision on Volume II, which was concerned with the obstruction issue. That Volume I, essentially reached the conclusion that no one in the Trump Campaign had intentionally or knowingly colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election, including President Trump, which was really not a surprise. But in Volume II, there were a lot of facts that were outlined about obstruction but Robert Mueller and his team, the special counsel’s office who generated this report, declined to reach a conclusion on that.
Jan Crawford pushes him on that and she thinks that there’s some sort of a contradiction between Mueller — who gave his press conference last week, and essentially said I don’t want to testify in front of Congress. I don’t want to be questioned by Congress. Instead, the report speaks for itself. We’re shutting down the special counsel’s office and the reports speaks for itself. Essentially, he was saying I have nothing to add beyond the report. That was the final word.
Jan Crawford in this interview with Bill Barre, pushes him on it and says, essentially, Mueller didn’t reach a conclusion on obstruction, because of this Department of Justice policy that you do not indict a sitting president. Bill Barre pushed back on that from Jan Crawford and he says: Well, that’s essentially not my understanding of what special counsel Mueller said. While there is this this policy of the Department of Justice, it was partially that and it was other things, but Bill Barre says I personally felt he could have reached a decision. He could have reached a conclusion. He could reach a decision as to whether it was criminal activity. He goes on to say: He had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained. I’m not to argue about those reasons. But when he didn’t make a decision, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I felt that it was necessary for us, as the heads of the department to reach that decision.
I think that’s really critical and Attorney General Barre goes into greater depth talking about how it’s not the proper province of the Department of Justice to investigate crimes as an adjunct to Congress. Congress has its own powers; they have their own responsibilities. They’re a separate branch of government from the executive branch, which the Department of Justice is under the auspices of the executive branch, not of Congress. Trying to get the Justice Department to do the work of the Congress is not only ill-advised, it is not part of the system the way that we have it set up.
Bill Barre kind of goes into the discussions that he and Rod Rosenstein had with Mueller about whether or not he was going to reach a conclusion on obstruction. Attorney General Barre says Rod and he were surprised that Mueller did not reach a conclusion and, clearly, he doesn’t think that Mueller should have left it hanging like that. But he does say that the report did provide the relevant facts so that he and Rod Rosenstein could make that determination. It’s even beyond whether or not it established a crime or didn’t establish a crime, but beyond that it’s talking about the litigation efforts to basically try and decide whether or not this is presidential authority. In instances like when James Comey was fired. Is that a proper exercise of executive authority? If so, then the obstruction issue takes a sideline to that.
I think this is a really important part that Barre points out: Comey said something publicly and said something differently in private and he refused to correct the record. It’s understandable that, as Bill Barre says, one of the likely motivations for firing Comey was the president’s frustration with Comey for doing that. Getting into all of this you can kind of see that Bill Barre is a very down to earth person who just looks at what is right in front of everybody. The evidence that’s right in front of everybody. He says to Jan Crawford, I love this quote, “I’m going to make the decisions based on the law and the facts and I realize that’s in tension with the political climate that we live in because people are more interested in getting their way politically.”
He is telling the nation that he is not going to be a political punching bag. I guess he is going to be a political punching bag, but he’s not going to react in the way that they’re trying to get him to react by putting pressure on him. Trying to force documents out of him that the Congress doesn’t have a right to have; or if he doesn’t come and provide this information that’s subject to executive privilege; that they may decide that they are going to hold them in contempt and really try to put the pressure on him. I think that Attorney General Barre is signaling that he answers to a higher order. He answers to the Constitution. He answers to the law.
I’m going to back up a little bit. You might remember when the Mueller report came out there was a lot of discussion about the redactions and Bill Barre said: We’re going to redact as little as possible, but there is stuff that, by law, he’s not allowed to release. That would be, for example, the Grand Jury testimony. So instead of succumbing to pressure from the Congress to give a completely unredacted report, he tried to give as much information as possible but making sure that he abided by the law. This is a really interesting detail in Barre’s interview with Jan Crawford. There was a lot of criticism of the Attorney General’s office for not immediately releasing the entire report right after he received it from Robert Mueller. We discussed that there’s a law that prevents him from releasing some of the information like the Grand Jury testimony. There is some information that they want to hold back because it’s an ongoing investigation and it might harm the investigation. If people really care about making sure that investigations are proper, and follow the procedures, then they should care about not having that information released anyway.
The really interesting part that was revealed in this interview was that they thought that the special counsel’s office was going to flag all the material in the two volumes of the Mueller report that was taken from Grand Jury testimony. They thought when they got the report it would be very quick to be able to turn around the report to release it because they would already know what information was gained from Grand Jury testimony. It would be very hard for the Attorney General’s office, who had not been part of the investigation, had been cordoned off as part of the special counsel’s office, to quickly identify what is the Grand Jury testimony.
It came to them as a surprise that the special counsel’s office had not done this. That was part of why it was delayed and that was part of why he gave an intermediate report, or press conference, where there was a letter and he gave out the chief conclusions of the report. His conclusion, and Rod Rosenstein’s conclusion, that there was not obstruction. That’s why they did the four-page letter and it was because they originally thought they would get the Grand Jury testimony flagged by the special counsel’s office. That was not the case. It took them many more weeks than they expected to be able to put the report out.
That would not have been required to have been done except the special counsel’s office did not provide the proper information when they released the report in the first time. Because if you could release something in a few days, then there would be no need for an intermediate discussion of it, but if it was going to take three and four weeks. You probably remember there were news cameras camped out at Bill Barre’s house and everywhere he went he was followed. The media in New York and D.C., they were just in a complete frenzy and tizzy to get any inside information on what the report actually said. Back up to the beginning of this discussion that were having right now, all of the hopes and fantasies of all the partisans who wanted to take down President Trump and his administration were pinned to this report. The frenzy was acute. Certainly, Attorney General Barre wanted to turn down the temperature on that a little bit.
Looking through the rest of this interview with with Jan Crawford, it’s very fascinating to think about what was the predicate of the investigation in the first place. You see a lot of activity by the intelligence community, the FBI in the run-up to the 2016 election, and what was the basis of that? Attorney General Barre has indicated that they are going to investigate that and they have someone who has been trusted by both parties to investigate these types of matters, who is going to be investigating it, and has a good reputation as a fair-minded investigator of these types of things.
It’s very interesting because when you look back at 2016, Bill Barre, in this interview basically is saying who was asleep at the switch, also? Not just the fact that the investigation of the Trump Campaign may have been illegal and may have been out of out of a complete desire to take down the president, hold that aside for a moment. Just think about it. If they really thought that the Russians were trying to interfere in the 2016 election and their response. I’m quoting Bill Barre right here, “I’m wondering what exactly was the response to it if they were alarmed. Surely the response should have been more than just dangling a confidential informant in front of a peripheral player in the Trump Campaign.” I think it’s exceedingly important, not just to understand what happened in the past, but also going forward was that enough that should have been done in 2016 to thwart Russian interference in our presidential elections? There should be an understanding of why this counterintelligence activity was directed at the Trump Campaign and did they go through normal procedures.
Attorney General Barre says it doesn’t seem like it was the normal course and through the normal procedures. A lot of those people who were behind that counterintelligence operation aren’t in the FBI anymore. You’re thinking of many of these people who have been let go or fired or have gone on to greener pastures. There is interest in trying to figure out what actually happened.
I also think that another great point that Attorney General Barre made, let me read it to you. “Republics have fallen because of Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences, and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state. There is that tendency that they know better and that they are there to protect as guardians of the people. That can easily translate into essentially supervening the will of the majority and getting your own way as a government official.” He understands the threat of this type of activity. He’s going to look at it and understand how our foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities were possibly used against an American political campaign.
I think this is just so insightful to understand his philosophy of the proper role of the Attorney General. He says, “One of the key responsibilities of the Attorney General is to make sure that government power is not abused and that the right of Americans are not transgressed by abuse of government power. That’s the responsibility of an Attorney General.” I think that should cheer everyone. That he is someone who follows the rule of law. Who cares about making sure that the arms of the Justice Department and our counterintelligence agencies are not used by those who think they’re wiser than the voters to try and get, through other means, what they were not able to accomplish through our system, which is a presidential election every four years. I think as we continue to look at the future, this is just not going to be dropped and maybe this will be the point that a lot of things change because maybe Washington will finally wake up. That there is not absolute power; that there can be consequences.
I think of Lois Lerner. You might remember her. She was the director of the nonprofit section of the IRS in the leadup to the 2012 presidential election. When there were a lot of very serious allegations that the Obama Administration was trying to target and take out organizations that were seen as being against President Obama being reelected. They were denying the status to these organizations that were on the political right and they were harassing folks that, not just the IRS, but other federal agencies were harassing folks that were opposed to President Obama’s reelection. Lois Lerner, who I remind you is an employee of the taxpayer, she’s an employee of the IRS, she’s responsible to her employer, the Internal Revenue Service. She’s ultimately responsible to the taxpayers. They were questioning her. She came before the Congress, and she plead the Fifth. She refused to answer questions that her, essentially employers, and the people who are funding her salary to do her job were asking about what she did. She retired, she got her pension, and there were no consequences.
To wrap all of this up, I think it’s important to see that this could be a watershed moment in the way things operate in Washington D.C. if there is an investigation that proves that our Justice Department and our counterintelligence agencies were used to try and thwart the campaign of someone that those in power didn’t like in there and that is shown by evidence to be true. There are consequences that are paid that may have a reverberating effect, not just on the current controversy, but also on the continuing inclination of people in power to abuse that power, but we will see. Hold tight on that. We’ll continue to talk about that.
Let’s go on to our third topic. I’m going to pull in the most fabulous producer ever Tomas LaDuke. Welcome to our discussion, Thomas.
Thank you, Gayle. I’m glad that check cleared. For you to —
That was a big check, too.
To set that up. That is not only gracious, but it’s true.
It is true, it is true. I have to mind what I say because I want to make sure I properly represent things because I am an officer of the court.
True. Also, I could edit it to make it sound like whatever I want.
That’s true. You have that absolute power, too.
Thomas and I were talking a little bit before the show started about this other thing that just has completely exploded on the Internet this week. I have never listened to this gentleman, Steven Crowder, but I’m familiar with him. He is a comedian. He’s a podcaster. He’s a host. He is very very popular. He has a large platform. We have seen a little bit this week about this continuing targeting of people with what is deemed unpopular opinions being deplatformed, demonetized, and the effort of big tech, and the people who cry loudest to big tech, and have the bit biggest impact on them being able to silence voices that they don’t like.
I was asking Thomas about this and I wondered if he had any opinions on it or had any connection with Crowder and I was surprised to learn this. Tell us a little bit about it, Thomas.
Yeah. I’ve known Steve for a number of years. For your listeners that might remember, there was an incident in Michigan back in 2012 at a right-to-work rally and Crowder got punched in the face by grumpy, intoxicated union worker. I was standing right next to him, filming with my little flip camera. I had met Steve a number times for the years previous, but we’re friends. I produced his show on WAAM1600 for a couple months.
Best producer ever.
True. That is so true. Boy, I tell you what, that large check dividends keeping paying on that.
I give your money’s worth.
Bingo. Steve has gone on to build a fabulous platform with Louder with Crowder. He gets in the scraps with people. I love the way that you describe him because one of the things that drives me nuts about when somebody that is more of the conservative ilker on the Right, it’s always a conservative comedian. He’s a comedian. That’s what he is. He’s a comedian that has a certain point of view, just like other comedians, and he’s out there doing his bit. He has a really entertaining, informative show.
He was, yesterday, this would have been Wednesday, June 5, informed by YouTube that he was being demonetized. I watched half of his explanation of this last night and according to him, the vast majority of their income doesn’t come from YouTube so it’s not going to crush them, but it is going to crush other people that are using that as maybe the main source of their income. Here is the problem. There is no uniform set of rules. Nobody from YouTube or Twitter or Facebook can come out and say, “This is what you did.” There is this vague glob of, “If we’re going to get enough heat, this is what we’re going to do.”
Right. What’s the standard? There is no standard.
Exactly. I go back to the Joe Rogan experience. Joe Rogan is one of the most listened to YouTuber’s, podcasters, everything. Joe Rogan has had on Jack from Twitter twice. The last time he had him on, it was a three-hour show. I couldn’t believe they did a three-hour show on this, but there was a gentleman on there who, I forget his name, he was from Twitter and very big following, more conservative ben. He was talking to Jack and their legal counsel about: Well, what about this person? What about this person? What about this person? They were all over the board. Anybody can go and watch this and see for themselves. Now, Crowder and other people like you him, you don’t have to like what Alex Jones says, you don’t have to like what some of these other people say.
And I don’t, just to be clear.
Okay. I don’t either. But I would rather have Alex Jones out there on a platform where he could get, you know, verbal pot shots ‑‑
Made fun of.
What is the standard? These companies have gotten so big and so powerful that they’re immune to basically — I don’t want to say immune — but don’t know what the standard is. Yesterday, Crowder, and he explains this, got three different communications from YouTube on why he was being demonetized. First, it was because they were sending a shirt. No, first, it was this, and then oh, okay, this. There is no continuing thought and then somebody else who is a very large YouTuber, has been on the platform since 2009, Philip DeFranco was doing his show, and had to stop three times and go in to reddit, because YouTube had changed the reasoning three times in his 25-minute show.
So I don’t know what to do. We were talking about this, right?
Right. Because you and I both agree, government intervention is not something that people who support free markets and free people think should be done because when government gets involved in stuff, except for things like antitrust, that’s a proper function of government, but generally the government getting involved in it is not necessarily going to fix a problem. It just might add more problems.
In going back and forth in my little town, when I had people say, “Well, this is a First Amendment violation.” It’s not. Your First Amendment rights are with the government trying to stifle you as an individual, addressing grievances to the government. These are private companies. They have to operate within certain guidelines and laws that are put out, but, “Hey, you don’t like Facebook, you can go to something else.” But on the flip side of that, at what point do they become so big and so powerful that it’s kind of like does government have to or something has to put them in check. I’ve got to tell you I’m extremely disappointed that in a nation of 330 million people, with a lot ‑‑
Right. I know where you’re going with this.
‑‑ of people out there that are just smart as whips, nobody has come out with something that is somewhat of a competitor to Facebook or to Twitter or to YouTube.
I don’t know if you get this on Twitter, but sometimes people will message me on Twitter and they’ll say, “Hey can you go to Parlor or Gab or X or Y,” and I consider it for half a second and then I end up not doing. I don’t really have a good answer for that, but I think it’s multiple things. There is the big player who gets in it and then gets all the attention. It’s kind of like with banks. You put your accounts at a bank and then you might get mad at them, but then you don’t really want to move your accounts, even though you’re maybe not as happy with the service that you’re getting. You’re just kind of stuck on it. I feel that’s the way a lot of people are with Facebook. I don’t know if you have friends who will say, “I’m deleting Facebook,” and then they’ll make it so you can’t see it anymore, but they won’t permanently delete. Then after three months something happens and they’re back on it. It’s this love-hate relationship with these companies.
You think of Mark Zuckerberg, who basically designed this out of his dorm room at Harvard and it has changed the culture in a lot of ways. I don’t know how old he was 19, 20, 22 years old. How could he have predicted that? As a culture, I don’t think we have a good solution to it because you want freedom. You don’t want government overregulation of businesses. I don’t really want to support Alex Jones or give him money or help him get his message out, but I think having his message out, and how ridiculous it is, it’s self-indicting that his message is not good. As my kids say, he’s always selling supplements.
Right. That’s exactly it. The United States, the way that we’re set up right now Jones crossed a line and he’s being sued civilly now.
Yes, exactly. That’s how you operate. The government is not supposed to come in. On the flip side of this, we have these huge corporations that we don’t know what the rules are. If you work in an automotive company, if it’s an American automotive company, you have a third entity, a union, that is there to negotiate and represent you, and there are rules. You go, “You broke this rule, you broke this rule, you broke this rule.” It’s not, “You didn’t actually threaten anybody, but we don’t like what you say.” Steve breaks this down. He’s, like, okay, what did I say? This show 202, you said, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s, like, okay, but I was responding to the person that was transgender. It’s like there just is no standard.
Within the past six months, Zuckerberg went up to Capitol Hill, Jack from Twitter went up to Capitol Hill. You have a bunch of people up there, elected officials, that the vast majority are totally incapable of discussing this in any way, shape, or form. What happens when I lose my IM? Stop it. They are just operating right now in a way that it’s, essentially, they do have the middle finger extended, and they’re like go ahead and try to do anything to us.
Because the people who would be the natural regulators, they don’t want to regulate because they’re on their team and the people who are anti-regulation, they have that principle. We’re not going to resolve this. This is not going to be resolved anytime soon, but I think you’re getting continue to see really powerful voices suppressed. I think we as a culture just have to decide you know what is the solution to this? Do we want more speech or do we want less speech? I hope we come down on the side of more speech and we can debate things and less about deciding who has wrong think and who needs to be suppressed. That’s just my personal inclination.
Here we are talking on the day that we celebrate the 75th anniversary of 150,000 young men going to liberate a continent that had been overtaken by fascist. Fascism just doesn’t one day appear at your door. There is discussion and ideas. Once they start to take root and if you don’t combat it, it really starts to take off. Here we have today, people, who if they yell and scream enough, saying that they’re oppressed or they feel as though people are being mean or what have you, and a comedian like Crowder. You can go through the list. I can’t imagine what would happen to Don Rickles today if he was actually trying to come up and everything. They would throw him in jail. We have these people that with just yelling and screaming enough that have fascist roots, I would say, that if you don’t agree with me and agree with this, then you need to be put away. That should be terrifying to people.
I think bringing up D-Day and the overtaking of Europe by fascism in the 1930s and 40s, I think also drives home the other point that we’re saying in this debate. You don’t want government deciding who can speak and who can’t speak. We have the benefit of the First Amendment in this country. How are you going to have the government regulating this in a way that isn’t going to just create more power for the government? That is that is the Scylla and Charybdis that we find ourselves between. At this point, I don’t think anyone really has a good answer to that.
Related to the comedy point, you might remember we had Sheila Wenz on as a guest who is a comedy instructor. She’s a professional comedian herself. I also last night went to a comedy club and there were probably ten different amateur comedians who gave five-minute bits. I would have to say everything they said probably was offensive to someone in the room. Maybe all of it was offensive to me, I don’t know, a lot of it was offensive to me but that’s part of the entire point of free speech and comedy, in particular. It’s supposed to be offensive. It’s supposed to be challenging the status quo. It’s supposed to make you think in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise in your normal life. It’s supposed to make you laugh too. Some of it is just so outrageous, you have to laugh. But I think when we think of the sacrifices of our military service members and their families on D-Day, throughout World War II, and the ones who sacrifice now, you have to understand that part of why we are a free country is because we have the ability to say offensive things.
We used to have that the saying about, I disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death your right to say it. We need to get back to that.
Quick. We do. Because I’m taking a look at this and seeing — and I’m more sensitive to it, of course, because it’s people that I probably agree with more than I disagree — but I’m taking a look at this and saying, “Wait a minute.”. This is not the route that we want to be going down. Once again, you talked about comedy, my view on that has always been a really good comedian is going to make you laugh hysterically and make you squirm a little bit.
Today there are very few comedians I think that not only can do that, but get away with it, and I think Dave Chapelle is one of the best. With some of the things that comedians in the past said, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, they would just be beaten down today for saying some of the bits that they’d done, Eddie Murphy. It is amazing where we’ve gone to now that you may not like Crowder’s humor. You might not like it. You might not like his point of view, but to actually try to attack, not only his income but his platform. The gentleman who was complaining about him, he’s not happy that he’s demonetized.
Right. He wanted him silenced. Demonization doesn’t matter.
He wants him thrown off.
He’s, like, he sells T-shirts off this. He doesn’t even get most of his money from YouTube. This is not enough. YouTube should permanently ban him from YouTube. Come on.
That really is ‑‑
How about just argue against him? He’s not threatening you with physical violence. I just don’t understand that attitude. I would say, come with your arguments and I will (audio skips). I will go up argument-argument against you, but I, myself, don’t want to silence people that I disagree with. It’s anathema to anyone who has the idea of being able to debate with people and it’s just crazy. It’s crazy that were at this point in our society. I don’t think we’re gonna be done with this discussion.
Thomas, thank you so much for giving us your insights on this hot topic on the Internet right now. I feel like working to come back to this a lot over the next few months.
You are very welcome and I bet we will.
This is Gayle Trotter. You can like me on Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter. You can follow me on Instagram. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel. You can subscribe to this podcast Right in DC on ‑‑ well, I guess not iTunes anymore, but you can leave a review. Most importantly, you can support this podcast on Patreon. We have great comfortable, well-fitting, T-shirts as gifts for patrons, courtesy of Hard Hits Custom Apparel. We would like to thank Trio Caliente, a local D.C. group for the music on the podcast. This is Right in DC.