Episode 45 - Quote, The WorstBad Faith
- 814 views
- 11 Feb 2021
Katie Halper (@kthalps), Leslie Lee III (@leslieleeiii), and Nathan J. Robinson (@nathanjrobinson) join today's panel to discuss the rise and maybe fall of three historic posters: former think tank head-turned-OMB nominee and "loathsome ambassador for Bidenism" Neera Tanden; former President-turned-insurrectionist Donald J. Trump; and former Guardian columnist-turned-podcast panelist Nathan J. Robinson. We break down the highlights of Neera's contentious confirmation hearings, debate the utility of Trump's second impeachment trial, and get a first person exclusive on the latest episode in the ongoing free speech/cancel culture war: The conscious uncoupling of Nathan from the Guardian over what they described as anti-Semitic tweets. (Hint: They were not anti-Semitic). Subscribe to Bad Faith on Patreon to instantly unlock our full premium episode library: http://patreon.com/badfaithpodcast Read Nathan's article on his firing and consider subscribing to Current Affairs. Listen to Struggle Session at sesh.plus. Find The Katie Halper Show on YouTube and Patreon. Subscribe to Bad Faith on YouTube for video of this episode. Find Bad Faith on Twitter (@badfaithpod) and Instagram (@badfaithpod). Produced by Ben Dalton (@wbend). Theme by Nick Thorburn (@nickfromislands).
I want to record to reflect that I did not call Senator Sanders an ignorant slut, OK? I don't know how I could take that, Senator. She is the co-host of Rolling Stone's Useful Idiots and the entire host of the Katie Helper show, Katie Holper.
Hello. Thanks for having me. He is co-host of Struggle Session, Leslie Lee, the third. Thank you so much for but brief correction. I am the host of Struggle Session. Jack Alisson, wonderful man, but he is the co-host. Just want to make it clear I'm not sure what the terms you Imbrie know for us.
OK. OK. All right. Oh, I thought you were both hosts, but you're the host.
And he's the co-host. He's the co-host. He's the technically the co-host.
And we apologize what it says in our articles of incorporation as well and rounding things out. He is the founder and editor in chief of Current Affairs, the author of most recently Why You Should Be a Socialist. Nathan J.
Robinson, hello. Good evening. Well, Navid, I feel like I should ask you, because this is the question that is going to come to people's mind. You wrote a book called Why You Should Be a Socialist. There are going to be some glib comments if you haven't seen them already that say, well, now you've gotten what you want. Nathan Robinson, with respect to the big story around you today, which is that The Guardian has decided to no longer use your services as a writer because they've accused you of two anti-Semitic tweets, socialism.
A lot of people are going to say, good, this is this is what you get your money anyway.
Now, we brought Katie here for you to apologize to her. I'm waiting. I'll just be here waiting.
So I just lost the audio for the last Virgile over the last two years. Sorry, did you make did you say something wise and witty?
That's how he's wiggling out of it. Yeah. A rule. So I want to just repeat it because I don't like it.
I'll say it if I can. Virgile just named, you know, said what we're all thinking, which is that I'm on the show to apologize to. I'm giving you a chance. Yeah.
And also to monitor me and make sure I don't say anything additionally anti-Semitic because I've gotten into a little bit of trouble and I know that you're you're good at I'm part of that group.
I was targeted for your tweets, this stuff out and I'll do better.
Oh, we're going to circle back to that story in a substantive way a little later on in the program. But there's been a lot going on today on the Hill. So I want to lean on you guys for your relative expertise.
First and foremost of interest to everybody on this panel is to be hearing to confirm one of our faves, Neera Tanden, head the Office of Management, Budget and Management thought, did we watch?
I caught some of this. And the thing that struck me first and foremost is that Neera Tanden has never been qualified for any job she's ever had in her entire life.
This is not I'm sorry, she's not like intelligent, well-spoken person who should be, like leading big liberal organization, progressive organizations. She is not someone who belongs in the White House. She does not seem like someone that's qualified to me to be having all the power that she has, even aside from everything we already know about her and how she has actually run, what she has run like like would you if you gave Neera Tanden a job interview and that was her performance, would you hire for anything in the world?
Would you hire her to produce you like your podcast or something? Would you trust this person to your podcast and not get you in trouble?
She's no people to judge. I agree with. You know, she's I think. Leslie Leslie, I'm trying to I'm not saying she's the most qualified person in the room.
I'm saying that as president.
Biden Well, I'm I'm still working on it, her pronunciation is so annoying, I actually think that she is I think she's like very on brand. I mean, I think she's still on Brand, especially actually for the budget, although, as you were saying, she really has no even plausible qualification for that appointment, except she did have some very creative ideas about how to pay for things, including, yes, making countries like Libya pay for getting themselves invaded and overthrown by having their oil taken from them.
So that, of course, we know from WikiLeaks where she actually recommended doing that. Also, she did tell Hillary Clinton or she told what's his name, Podesta, that they that the Hillary people didn't have to sweat it about the fight for 15. So when it comes to budgets, she's as much of an austerity fan as she is privately, I guess, as she is publicly where we've seen her on TV getting excited about cutting entitlements on the table.
Miss Tanner, do you know what the president means when he says entitlements are on the table? Any specifics on anything you would endorse?
Yeah, I mean, so there are a range of entitlements that, you know, I think when we're talking about entitlements, we're talking about Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid. I think the question really is if we're going to have a deal to address long term deficit reduction, we need to put both entitlements on the table as well as taxes.
And then we've seen her behind the scenes either trying to exploit post invasion, exploit countries like Libya, and also not give black and brown and women people a minimum wage increase that they obviously deserve.
So let's back this up a little bit for people who might not have heard our episode last fall where we spoke with Matt Bruning about his extensive his dealings with Neera Tanden.
And for people who aren't chronically online and don't have firsthand experience with who she is as a person who wants to take a crack at just giving some basic background to the uninitiated of who Neera Tanden is.
While she did grow up, I want to I'm saying this like for real. She grew up on Section eight housing, which is something that she invokes a lot. And there's a big picture. Big picture, because she was a Clinton. I mean, she was a Clinton aide. She was a Clinton ally, Clinton aide. And then she became the director of the Center for American Progress, which is the biggest liberal think tank in the United States.
Also, during her career, she has lied many times and punched in the chest. Who would go on to become the campaign manager for one? Bernat, Senator Bernard Sanders.
OK, so this is the person this is a person who has for a long time been at the head of what is publicly perceived to be a leading liberal think tank that the left thinks of liberal in one way. And Democrats more broadly think of the word liberal in another way.
But it's perceived to be a progressive think tank by the DC Big Brain crew and SHARQIYA, who went on to become Bernie Sanders campaign manager, very famously used to work at Think Progress, which was its media arm, and they had a very public disagreement that resulted in him being assaulted by Neera Tanden. That's something that she has admitted to and which I think a lot of people in the Bernie camp are still pretty steamy about.
She said she shoved it. She said it was a shove. That's how she doesn't even deny it. She just she challenges the nomenclature, though. But it happened. It's just whether she's overqualified, isn't she?
Because she represents pretty much everything that the contemporary Democratic Party. She checked every single box. Right.
She's a product of the American meritocracy because she's a Yale Law School grad who is also I didn't realize doesn't know anything about a combination.
She's a staunch supporter of Israel. She showed that she was willing, as the head of the Center for American Progress, to serve the interests of all of the organizations donors she was an attack dog against.
Really? All right. You got a piece of Mozza that you throw up a graphic of a major allegation hitting me in the head. OK, all right. That's one that's one story. I get three.
You get to be hamantaschen before here.
But, you know, she she she's got everything. I mean, it's it's not shocking. I mean, it's a little shocking because she's just so completely I'm trying to use an adjective to describe her Twitter behavior that is being cool, that is engendered a little unhinged on Twitter or so you might think that that would count against her.
But she's been so good at serving the interests of of the Democratic Party that how could she not be rewarded with with the position?
And of course, she is. You say she's also willing to push the party to further U.S. empire. She's she's she's great. She's ideal for the Bush administration.
Yeah. And it's worth noting that, you know, she does come out of Hillary Clinton's office when. She was first lady and cap, which was founded by, I believe, John Podesta and other Clinton people, was essentially founded to be a giant parking garage for people who would end up staffing the Hillary Clinton administration after she won in 2008.
Didn't really work out that way. But she ended up with something four years of loyal service to the Democratic Party, which is nomination to be the government's accountant.
We said this, I think on my show we you and I and Walker brag when we were watching, watching her give some C-SPAN interview where she was talking about how, you know, everything was on the table, including entitlements. But what was amazing while we were watching that is that it struck us that, like, she's not unique in her politics. I mean, she has awful Clintonian neoliberal politics. What really makes Biden's decisions so offensive is that there are people with her terrible politics who aren't famous for being offensive, insulting, vitriolic and smearing people online like they could have been more strategic about it and just appointed a terrible person who the left didn't hate because the left didn't know about right, like she's particularly online.
So that to me was just a sign of like it's like, I don't know, either Biden is trolling or he probably doesn't know who she is or no.
So whatever. Even though he's nominated. Yeah. So his staff is trolling, I guess. But it's just it's so disgusting. I mean, it's and it's like obviously on the policies, it's terrible. But it's also just a superficial sign of how little he could like he doesn't even pretend to care.
Well, so to that point, Katie, one of the comments, one of the lines of questioning that kept coming up today was the, quote, mean tweets. And what I found to be so remarkable was that the mean tweets were characterized as kind of like superficial and why would anybody really care?
And Cory Booker is quoting Langston Hughes, talking about what a wonderful woman she is. And life ain't no crystal stair. She's come up from nothing.
This during Black History Month, I would like to point out, to rehabilitate Mirit Tanden at the same time that, of course, we all are old enough to remember that the tweets of completely unaffiliated Bernie supporters were enough to make him unqualified to be president. United States. Yeah, and she also, in terms of that, like, you know, coming up the staircase, like she kicked down the staircase right when she got up. That's the thing.
Like, she absolutely like she constantly invokes her lived experience of growing up on Section eight housing, which I think is a very admirable thing to do. If you if you grew up in Section eight housing and then you become someone who advocates for others so that they can also grow up on those very important benefits and you want to maintain them as opposed to slash them, that's all great if you do what she does, which is actually kind of the worst of all possibilities, because you have people who are like Republicans who make it out of poverty and then they just want everyone else to, like, take care of themselves.
And they use their lived experience as proof that you don't need any help or any handouts, because if you want it bad enough and if you're left to your own resources, you can do it. Look at me. So that's one thing. But when Neera does is actually really, really terrible, because what she does is she doesn't accept that overt kind of cut-throat view of the world. She she you know, she perpetuates the meritocracy. But what she's doing is she's actually saying, look, I like these programs.
Trust me, I know I lived on them. They're so important. I'm the last person who would ever want to cut them. But unfortunately, we have to have them cut because and look, it's the last thing I want to do. You know, I'm not I didn't come from wealth. I came I struggled. So trust me when I say we have to cut these things. And that is like the Democrats, just like neoliberalism woak neo liberalism in a nutshell.
I think we on the left should be a little careful not to overemphasize the degree to which Niros rude, horrible tweets are the problem with her, right?
Yes. It's true that selecting her is a particular slap in the face, but it is true that the politics are the worst part of of what she does.
And at the Center for American Progress, for example, they funneled money to the American Enterprise Institute, the right wing American Enterprise Institute, for a joint project on how to stop populism, populism of right and left, right. So she's a bigger friend to the American Enterprise Institute than to the left.
She didn't think. Yes, she made that very clear.
She censored critics of Israel within within the organization. Right. And these are I mean, so we should focus on the absolute substance of her terrible politics. And in that way, you know, she isn't actually that much worse. She's just so much more egregiously, so publicly.
And I almost like it because she's such a loathsome ambassador for Biden ism also that she just has this unrestrained willingness to do whatever it takes. I think it's the kind of like guilelessness that puts her on the next level. There's some quote from her mother that's like she says, like Nero will do whatever it takes to make the Clintons happy like this that you attribute that.
Nathan, I think you're. Totally right, it's the policy and it's the politics and the decisions, I think that this is just like a sign on a superficial level of just again, like I said, of how disrespectful Biden is. Like he doesn't even feel the need to pander on any level to the left. But I do think there's another reason that's important, which is that she is part of this narrative that was perpetuated by not just online, but by media elites and political elites.
And we all know where I'm going with this of the burning brow. And that argument was that every single abusive, quote unquote abusive, quote unquote harassing tweet online from anyone who was either alleging to be or someone could say was a supporter of Sanders, was evidence of this fabricated narrative about the Bernie broad problem of the sexism, misogyny, racism, transphobia, ableism and homophobia endemic among Bernie Sanders supporters. And yet she signaled boosted its friends with hangs out with them in real life, which is happy birthday to calls them friends.
But again, we have photos also with people who are absolutely bigoted, online, harassing, abusive, toxic trolls. And then people are like, well, why does that matter? It's like it does. The reason it matters is because we have to look at the Bernie Burr narrative because it's a very important example of how identity politics are weaponized, to actually shut down the person or the people who have good policy ideas and are fighting for the least, you know, the most marginalized.
And to walk, wash, if you will, terrible policies, right. That come from people who pretend to be allies or advocates. And that really is an important thing because we see it all the time. And if you want to know another example of that, see, Hillary Clinton is breaking up. The banks going to end racism now, which is like that. Yeah, in a nutshell, yeah.
When we talk about the post, you know, we're not just talking about the Looney Tunes Russia conspiracy stuff that she talks about or the weird attacks on Republicans. You know, we're talking about someone who is one of the most influential and visible hatchet men, one of the most disingenuous enforcers against Bernie Sanders and his supporters. I will venture a guess and say everyone here has been personally condemned.
Yes, I've been raise your I was up, but I don't mean to brag.
But she came up with a nickname for me. I think I to that I owe Dalton Socialists because I went to this fancy private school and it's like one of these. Oh, you're a class traitor. We can't take you seriously. To be fair, she's what what's the opposite of Don Socialist's? She's a something capitalist. I don't know.
I don't know. But she went to Yale Law, so I don't think you claim especially high ground at that point. What's also been frustrating is that there's been a class of people who have tried to use the fact that Trump is also bad, Trump is bad.
Trump Trump has bad tweets as a justification for why we should ignore Miras tweets, including the governor of Vermont who tweeted, What an amazingly predictable hypocrisy to watch the GOP express grave concern over some old tweets by Neera Tanden. But it's fine with a false, inflammatory tweet somewhere's by the former president, which incited a little erection. Sorry, I did. And he did issue a letter to Schumer. I promise you everyone, you can be mad at both.
It's a beautiful position we have on the left where we are able to be actually consistent on matters like this. Trump can be bad. And Neera Tanden, terrible tweets can also be bad. I also don't want to gloss over the outing of a sexual assault victim at CAP, which I think was one of the more morally corrupt, morally grievous things that she did, as in her tenure, because she is somebody's boss, somebody's boss. She did that.
She she assaulted five SHARQIYA. She is in a in a supervisory capacity here. And I think that it's a lot more important to focus on those kinds of things as well as policy, not just the tweets before we move on. I think we should, but there are some highlights from today. Did anybody catch. Yeah, go ahead, Virgile.
We do have some clips put together by producer Ben of the Neera Tanden confirmation hearings or two days of these hearings so far.
And, you know, the thing about Nereus we've been talking about is so much of the great stuff is in posts. It's not unclips, not good for a podcast. But finally, we've got some great news clips. Let's go to the first one, if we could. This is Senator Josh Whorley, the right wing senator from Missouri.
I want to ask you about a report from The New York Times and other outlets suggesting that you solicited tens of millions of dollars in donations from Wall Street and Silicon Valley companies as president of the Center for American Progress, including very large contributions from Mark Zuckerberg, millions of dollars from Wall Street financiers, big banks, foreign governments, Silicon Valley, a million dollars from the managing partner at Bain Capital, two and a half million dollars from the UAE. That was between 2016 and 2018.
Given this record, how can you assure us that you'll work? To see that these Silicon Valley and Wall Street firms don't exercise undue influence, frankly, influence that they've already got in the making of government policy and the control of our economy.
I mean, that's near attendant's role as president of. She's a fundraiser. That's what I'm doing. That's what cap executive. That's what think tanks generally exist to do, the conduits for powerful interests to, you know, basically lobbying by another name. Yeah.
This is what her mother said about her. I did pull up the exact quote and she said her daughter was loyal to Clinton because Hillary is the one who made her.
That's a quote from her father says, Hillary is the one who made her.
And then and she knows that that her daughter was a killer fund raiser inclined to show up, quote, at rich people's places because she needs funds from them. That's like the major problem with Neera Tanden, because even if you peel back all these layers between the mean tweets, between being annoying on line between talking like this, it's really the point is, like the only good thing about her is that she knows how to beg rich people for money, and that's her only function in life.
She's a fellow and the person like that should not be in government. I'm sorry.
That's why Pelosi is in the role she's in, though, right?
Yeah. Plus one of the best fundraisers in the House. That's how she ended up as speaker.
As a Jew. I just like I just want to thank I want to give both of those people a shout out. It means a lot when other people are good at that, because that's something we could use a lot. And if we could share that load and that burden so we don't look like the only people going at that. So I consider Neera and Pelosi to be allies.
We didn't include her response to that. But both Bernie Sanders and Josh Halley had a very similar line of questioning there. And when Bernie went on to ask, you know, after listing a bunch of banks that have taken money from, et cetera, will that affect your decision making? She just replies, it will have zero impact on my decision making and we're all just supposed to write.
And that's like, how long are we going to have these people get away with, oh, no corruption? Never heard of her? No.
What if she said yes, I feel like it have been like, all right. But she's not Trump. That would have been a big gaffe.
That would be the gaffe in the week right there.
I just want to say, I do think if, you know, Neera were confirmed as the OMB director, I mean, I don't think she would be in that role for more than three or so years before the next election rolls around and her services are needed as a fundraiser, as a bundler is a little concerning is that she can't possibly be competent as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, as you mentioned, like her ability to manage employees is demonstrably poor.
I want the Biden administration to be competent because I don't want them to lose in twenty twenty two and twenty twenty four. And it's a very bad sign when you're appointing a functionaries and loyalists like the retarded instead of people who seem like they might actually know what they're doing.
Yeah, well, other people were saying that they found her to be not competent theming. And I want Leslie to say specifically why he thought that was. But in the course of watching the testimony today, there were several moments at which she seemed to really know what she was talking about, like there was a conversation about clean energy and nuclear energy or something like that. And she first said, yes, I'm very like studied on this subject. And there was a follow up question and she appeared not to know anything about that subject.
There was a question about where she what she thought was an appropriate tax rate, like maximum tax rate. And she didn't know what Biden's agenda was.
And some other senator had to, like, whisper it to her from across the room, like kind of basic knowledge that you would expect to have internalized coming in to a hearing like that if you didn't expect it to be just a proforma experience, pre-cut.
You confirm that that's like an Ivy League law education where, like, you learn to be really, really super, you know, like your your talking points. And you're like one fact about the tax system, but like you also know how to evade any follow up questions that would check if you had real knowledge 100 percent.
Here's my crib sheet from my writing appearance this morning.
When we go to the next clip, this is Lindsey Graham. Okay. What should the individual rate be? Depends on the income of the individual somebody makes. Ten million dollars. I believe we should restore it back to thirty nine point six. Is that enough? On the income, yes, there is the thirty nine point six is fair in your your belief, if I have the privilege of being confirmed, my role is to address the president's priorities.
And the president's priorities has been to restore to the thirty nine point six percent rate. OK, so that's fair.
Someone jumps in and it's like it's lower. And then another senator jumps in and says, don't let him whisper, according to Grassley or whoever it was that whispered it. So like there was there was a lot of confusion after that. And she just clearly didn't know. I mean, like she didn't know. And she could have just said, I don't know.
But whatever Joe Biden stated priorities are, it's my job to enforce them.
That clip is so bizarre because it's like we're we're not going her for not knowing the correct answers. Like, what does she believe? He wants to ask her what the answer to by the administration is. He was asking her, what does she actually believe would be fair? Does she not? Why doesn't she have an answer to that? Like basic question that you might ask somebody you're going to be in charge?
Well, just to just to defend me a little bit on that point, every I think every nominee is told I mean, like all the Supreme Court nominees from either party are all like this, like never answer a straight question. You just learn to say, I don't know anything. I just do my job. I'm just here to I have no opinions or politics myself.
None of them should be in politics either. And none of them should be in government either, right? Yes.
She has no ideological response to it. One, because it's clear that she's never really thought of it. But I think another thing that's happening here is that Graham is kind of presuming that her position, her personal position is going to be more progressive than Joe Biden's position, because I don't know, Center for American Progress almost as the word progressive in it or something.
And it felt almost as though he was he was thinking it was a gotcha, like, oh, she's going to have some, like, bleeding heart response to this. And she's going to she's stuck between a rock and a hard place, the hard place being Joe Biden's austerity. And she's really a secret socialist.
But like Loki, I'm sure she would happily lowball whatever he's like and she has beliefs.
Does that speak to Biden being such a centrist or to speak to. And it can be. But maybe Lindsey Graham thinks that, you know, she's a brown woman, so she has better what we would call better politics than the straight old white guy. And I'm sure what he would call like scarier ones. But it's one of those things like if only that were if only that were the case, like if only, you know, in a similar way, if only like Comilla and Biden were the socialist, black, radical, radical abolitionist revolutionaries, that Fox News claims that they are right.
But yeah, I think she I agree. It was like, that's not a gotcha when you don't really have any moral compass that you have to either try to, like, express or hide, hide or it's just not there.
So that was those were two of our more substantive clips. But let's get to what everyone wants to hear about those posts.
Let's go to clip three. This is Bernie Sanders.
Your attacks were not just vote against Republicans. They were vicious attacks made against a progressive people who I have worked with me personally. So as you come before this committee. To assume a very important role in the United States government at a time when we need serious work on serious issues and not personal attacks on anybody, whether they're on the left or the right, can you reflect a little bit about some of your decisions and the personal statements that you have made in recent years?
Yes, Senator, I really appreciate that question. And I recognize that my language and my expressions on social media, you know, caused her to people. And I feel badly about that.
You feel bad, first of all, not to give away my whole speech beyond useful idiots, but you that's supposed to actually be an adjective, not ever. But whatever type of reaction everyone makes it not.
She's bad at feeling that is true. No, she is. But that's not what she means. That is I mean, it's true, but she doesn't have any feelings.
I'm just here to do a job.
And the thing is, that was the question. This is she's been had had to know this. She knew this was coming.
People have been talking about this in the news for like a week that she's going to be asked about her mean tweets and she doesn't even have, like the base level apology ready, like Joss Whedon made a the apology and say, like West Wing, she could just read somewhere like West, like literally like it's so easy to make a clear apology.
But she does the thing where it says, I feel sorry for offending people. Basically, I watch the full clip. It goes longer than that. But she basically ended up at the place where I feel sorry if my words like hurt people or something. And people were asking. And I think she was asked like, well, did you actually believe all this crap? You said I just had to gloss over it because I think this is just someone who maybe doesn't really have a ton of beliefs, really.
And it's just like not that person to anybody in the same position like we are. All of us aren't this wild on Twitter as she is, right?
Like for the most part. And she's someone who's already in power. She knew she shouldn't be doing this stuff. She knows she doesn't need to be on there at 3:00 a.m. yelling at Nathan or Katy or Bri, but she does it anyway. It's just it's it's the most endearing thing about her, but it's also the most disgusting thing about her, too. Yeah.
If she were if she used her power to for good instead of for evil would be endearing and we'd be like, yay, but. Right. She's Yeah. Exactly like me. Are you. But she you know, I actually I don't know if I, I think she is kind of smart in a in a in a specific way. And I think that actually what her not knowing or not her lack of restraint I think speaks to just total entitlement.
Yes. That and a lack of accountability that people who represented a certain political structure or political affiliation, group orientation class, really, they just don't have to face.
A lot of her defenders were saying, well, she was called neo liberal. This woman, as Cara Quartey Cara Court, who the CBS News climate energy reporter, you know, was tweeting about it, saying Tandyn it was not so affectionately referred to as a neo liberal by Sanders surrogates.
The supporters like that justified her palling around with all of the miscreants she pals around with on Twitter like neo liberal is a thing.
It's a word with a definition that is equally applied to a person with Neera Tanden, pot politics, which also speaks to how entitled again and how how entitled these people are and coddled because they don't no one's been like, yeah, OK, that's an ideology. Do not share an ideology or do you? It's just like, oh my God, that's a label was applied to me that I don't think is flattering, you know. Wow. Like I really feel for you.
Neera Tanden, I'm so sorry.
Imagine if Bernie had asked, are you a neo liberal?
So numerous, so well, what do you think at the end of day, Neo? Yes. No, that's not an easy question to answer.
But why should you give us some apology? She's not going to give I mean. Right. Like, I think she understands full well the left is not in power. The Bernie Sanders is one senator and she has to at least she has to pretend she doesn't hate him for five minutes, but she doesn't have to. She knows she's going to get confirmed.
She said her people are in power so that she gets to show that arrogance and contempt.
Well, some people are frustrated watching Bernie in this setting because there was this feeling when he got this position that, OK, there's a moment of retribution here. The power is in his hands. He could stand up for his campaign manager and for all of us who have endured so much from her. But what it feels like is this is another moment where we all have to feel cowed and kind of cooked because we all know that it's not going to happen.
I mean, like, I hope I'm wrong. I hope when this airs tomorrow, we should talk about it. Like it's going to let's pretend let's like put out the good, good vibe.
The feeling is I think that, you know, if Bernie wants his people to be treated fairly in this process, he feels like he has to do this like tit for tat business. And so the rest of us, the masses, just end up feeling completely deflated.
Bernie should have a.
Sir, about the other deranged people that she posts with all the time, which ones, you know, we could ask, you have a favorite of smart, flexin, eclectic rasam all all these geniuses and geniuses who use this Brooklands defiance.
What is he? Oh, yeah. He looks like.
Oh, you're asking for Bernie.
All right. The next clip them because what one senator did or maybe several read through. Oh, my.
A list of the things she has tweeted about. I think all Republicans in that particular Tyrolean, we can put that on if we want to hear that.
This is a clip for Rob Portman, just to mention a few of the thousands of negative public statements you wrote that Susan Collins is, quote, The worst distraction is a fraud, that vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz.
Leader McConnell must go. Mitch in Baltimore, incorrect and bad.
Let's just cool Voldemort's OK. Cool thing. I'll give her I'll give her two of those.
What did she say? OK, vampires that have more heart. That's true. What was the first one fact. What snow is the worst fact.
And that means vampires have hearts. It's they're not, they're not a creature without a heart. What would the appropriate thing would be. What would the appropriate thing be like. Hate, hate, hate, garlic more than a kind of automaton.
I mean, I would I would like a you know, a Gollum has more heart than Ted Cruz.
Zombies don't have hearts, not network.
Sounds good is the thing. It doesn't actually work. You think about it, but it sounds good. She was I think she was paying she was paying homage to Matt Taibbi listening to your episode of Vampire Squid, Vampire Squid, Goldman Sachs line. Yeah.
We just have one more clip here. And here we go. Oh, stop it. I'm so excited. I'm like, I'm in love. This is John Kennedy. If you're single, let me know.
And it wasn't just about Republicans. And I don't mind disagreements on policy. I think that's great. I love the Ditmir.
I mean, you call Senator Sanders everything but an ignorant slut. That is not fair. I want to record to reflect that I did not call Senator Sanders indignant. OK, thank you.
Hey, I don't know how I could take that some, but I guy that was so amazing. We talked about that on useful idiots. What will come out after that. So I didn't know that was a. Did you get that.
That was a reference to my life. Yes. OK, I didn't know that. I didn't know that. So I was like, wow, this guy's awesome. Then he became he's still awesome, but not quite as awesome.
But the worst part of I mean, obviously not the worst part of covid, but it's really it's really unfair that that mask stole Bernie Sanders facial expression from us. Yeah. Yeah.
So closing things out here, this has been the most contentious nomination hearing so far. The rest of Biden's cabinet nominees pretty much sailed through. The closest vote was, I think, forty to fifty eight for Department of Homeland Security. And that was over some kind of some kind of favoritism scandal.
Still sailed my with my work is who still sailed through with Republican votes. And pretty much all of these have been bipartisan votes, often by big margins. What's the margin going to be on NERA?
I imagine she is going to sail through, aside from some of the Republicans that she personally insulted, maybe maybe more, I don't know.
But she's going to get through. I think they should fundraise off of that.
I donate to them. Fund raising over the counter terrorism. Stop. Yeah, I'm a stop near a Democrat. Nathan, what's the margin?
It's hard for me to imagine a Democrat. I mean, I think even Bernie, I'll probably vote for her because he has this Glik desire to be a gentleman or whatever. That's often very frustrating. Yeah, I think he will, too.
But I just do want to put a fine point on the fact that these are not abstractions to some of the people who are closest to Bernie. I mean, Fase really had the most intimate, literally physical interaction with this woman. Senator Nina Turner today was tweeting about how she's been personally abused by Neera Tanden. I mean, these are people really in the inner circle who have been treated very, very badly.
And I understand that Bernie may feel like he has to do what he has to do. But I think a symbolic no vote, even if you know she's going to pass, would mean a lot to people. And I'm still hopeful that we at least get that. Even if she makes it through.
I'll just give my guess. I'm going to say fifty four votes in the affirmative to confirm Neera Tanden.
So the other big trial of the day is obviously impeachment.
The other postings scandal, essentially. I will freely admit, I just.
Well, I just want to open this by saying I will freely admit I've not been following the impeachment. It's all a load of it's all a load of bullshit. Trouble face no consequences. We already know what the outcome is going to be. And you know what? I really view all of this. I'm surprised they're doing it now, but I guess they worked it out so they can do Senate business and impeachment at the same time. Don't know how.
But, you know, we've got to wrap up the Neera Tanden here.
You keep cutting people off because, look, I got to get to my other gig today.
Yes. Why? You don't that's why you don't double book a show. You know what I really read the signs is, you know what?
Alcoholics, you know, they go to detox and they get these, uh, benzyl antianxiety drugs, because if you go cold turkey, like you die without it, you kind of have to, like, wean yourself off.
That's what I think this is for. Now, for the for the hashtag resistance. It's you know, we can't quit Trump cold turkey. Like the dude's no longer on TV. You don't even get his post to interact with. Like, why are these people doing you don't even get to fantasize about him going to prison or anything. I mean, they still are. But I mean, this is like no movement on that. So this is like throwing them you know, it's prescribing them a little something so they don't crash too hard.
Like, so we got like two weeks of this crap. So we get to relive the capital thing that happened three thousand years ago. And, you know, Loretta, remember what a bad guy this is. And as a result, the only thing I've seen from it are these the prosecution releasing these PowerPoint presentations, just like showing a bunch of posts that he liked.
Yeah, I caught a significant part of the impeachment trial by accident because I actually had put on Court TV because I wanted to see some true crime stuff.
Instead, it was this bullshit and it was during the opening statements, opening statement, I guess, for the prosecution. They showed this big bong video, their new timeline video, where they showed minute by minute what was happening.
And it made me think about like half of these motherfuckers are former prosecutors.
You have to know how like how did they ever put anyone in jail if this is like the best case they can make against Donald Trump? Because what you saw in the video is you see him cheering on people and then they cut to the real time clip of, like, the cops not doing anything to the protesters and just kind of letting them walk around. It's like, wait, what's the problem here now? And they even include the clip of the cop shooting the woman, the.
Fucking Nick to prove that, like Donald Trump is like the bad guy or the villain or responsible. I don't understand like what the point they were trying to make with this case. Like, if you're if you're a victim, somebody happens to shoot somebody in the head. You don't put that in the video that you show before the trial. It was just very bizarre to me. It didn't seem like they have much of a case. They're just trying to say, oh, Trump agitated them or something like that, and he's responsible for everything that happens.
You know, minutes hours later, it was a very long video and there's like 20 minutes without any trump because minute by minute he actually was like at home when most of this shit was going down.
Did anybody watching the testimony today? Snooze fest? OK, so I feel like I got to stop you guys, because I got to say the testimony today was very compelling. And I think you might really change your mind if you were to watch it.
So in particular, Stacey Plaskett from the Virgin Islands, I think did a really effective job of laying out the case. She had got to at least to buy into the apple that I saw. And in the first one, it was the kind of PowerPoint format, largely, but it was there was like a graphic that showed where the mob was and where that initial police officer was within the capital. And then you could plot out kind of where all the congresspeople were at the same time.
So as she developed the case, really method in a really methodical manner that was rather impressive just from like a fact building kind of case building standpoint. You got to see how close these encounters really were and the level of danger that the Congress members were in. So there was a really close, a near escape with Mitt Romney, where he was literally walking down the hall about to encounter the folks that were breaking him through the window and was stopped by a police officer and turned back, you know, with moments to spare.
There was a close encounter with Chuck Schumer and there was a lot of new audio and video that hadn't been revealed before that showed the mob coming in from a different perspective. But that was that was pretty scary, to be honest.
But isn't Leslie's point that it's the relationship between Trump's words and those actions as opposed to the actual outcome? Although I want to speak for you, Leslie.
So the first part of the PowerPoint was that so the first part of the PowerPoint was laying out all of the tweets and statements in speeches from Donald Trump and a chronology extending from before the election and then the days up until the election election in which he was explicitly basically saying, come and do this. So I grabbed a couple of them that seemed like I hadn't seen them before because I don't follow Trump and, you know, I don't hang on his every word breathlessly.
But on January 6th, the speech that he gave, like after it had happened while he was still saying, and we fight, we fight like hell.
And if we don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. You'll never take back your country with weakness. You have to show strength. You have to be strong. He also tweeted, These are the things and events that happen when when a sacred landslide election victory so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots have been badly and unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and peace to remember this day forever. I mean, he was unrepentant and there was a long string of they showed like him cheering on the cars, forcing that Biden bus off the road, you know, all of the statements leading up to it, which were a lot more explicit than I had understood them to be, frankly.
And I think that anybody watching it, it's not good for Republicans. And I think even though obviously he's not going to get impeached and this is the same argument for forced the vote, I think that there was real value to Americans hearing the case of just how bad what Trump did was.
He almost got Mitt Romney and Chuck Schumer killed.
Is that the bad thing?
Truthfully, I'm sorry. I don't care. I don't care about Mitt Romney and Chuck Schumer.
Like, I don't like you see, I like I like Elsie, but that I just heard Mitt Romney and Chuck Schumer and even like it just seems like he obviously is going nowhere.
And I don't if this is my reaction, I don't think a single human being who voted for Trump is going to watch this and be like, oh, wow, I regret my vote for Trump.
No, Republicans don't care about this. They want to win. I don't know why that is different, but I don't think this is going to make any Democratic converts out of anybody.
But I think in the same way that Joe Biden just being a real pill, has the ability to depress the vote. And Donald Trump is very savvy and realizing that awful ising are really just highlighting all the awful things that Hillary Clinton has done in her career had the effect of depressing the vote in 2016. I could see Republicans saying, well, I'm obviously not a Democrat and they suck, too. But this the fact that so many people in my party are still standing behind this kind of behavior, it's really difficult to defend people's Congress.
But I don't expect you and I to like to care. You know, I don't think you like or care about Mitt Romney. I mean, the Repub. I don't think Republicans care if he got like Trump came into power by insulting all the other Republican, insulting their wives, saying they killed JFK. I just don't think this is going to be the thing where people like, oh, finally now we have to turn on Trump and says it's going to be like, fuck you to the five Republicans that have, you know, kind of off of them.
This isn't about Trump's 30 percent. This isn't about the people who support the insurrection, support the insurrection. Like we already know that.
We're talking about the broader Republican cohort, the Mitt Romney is of the world who are just rich people and non-political people, right?
So and all the nonvoters whose job it is, it's our job to influence the perceptions and discredit the Republican Party.
Yeah, but I think the reason I called this impeachment and the reason why Court TV was shown it was because there is a massive global pandemic and all the people who should be in court right now are still in prison. I, I honestly don't think with covid going on that the average person is going to care about this. This, you know, the Republicans still tying themselves to Trump. I think what people care about are going to be care about is, you know, not getting their fucking vaccine all the all the money and kids being sent back to school, not getting the money they were promised.
Like I I don't think this impeachment matters to almost anybody that isn't just like looking for something good to watch on cable news. Like no one. Even like if you ask the average person, like where they even they are impeached him, if you ask the average person, what did they impeach Trump for, could they actually, like, lay out until you in a clear way? Well, this time they could. It said because here's the thing, Leslie.
I really am not trying to be, like, hardheaded about this, but I was literally I was literally making your argument until I saw all the footage. Right.
Like I was literally making to you through emotion that that means that were still reasonable. He hasn't been suckered. I'm just kidding. Kind of.
Look, I think that there is the focus is would be better spent on other issues. One hundred percent. I think there is an element of this that is I don't say self-indulgent, but with all of the attention that you can demand in this moment, the fact that it's not being used for something like Medicare for all, a two thousand dollar checks is on some level offensive. I agree with all of that. But I also think the fact of the matter is there was a lot of footage of the events in the capital that I have never seen before that was actually new and that has never been laid out chronologically in a way that tells a narrative about what Donald Trump's immediate participation in all of it was.
And it was a really compelling case that shifted me from this is a bunch of wild Banshee's that are like wreaking havoc to, oh, this was a really concerted project that Trump they talked about how Trump's, like Secret Service, knew about all of the postings and the message boards and what the Capitol Police did and did not do and how many plans were explicitly laid out on the Internet and what they could have anticipated.
But the lay of the National Guard and all of that sort of thing, I mean, I think that that's a kind of more interesting and important question to look at, like what were the intelligence decisions and the security decisions, the police decisions, because those are know they're still there. I think that like I'm sure and it's interesting, I think I kind of agree with you both because I think that if I saw this footage, I would be really disturbed and be like, I view Trump as more culpable.
Then there's the other question of like, well, what how much more do we now know he did than we knew before? Versus like how much more visceral is your feeling about it? Understandable after seeing footage. But I still do think that the decision to subject Americans to this right should take time and money. And I don't know how much the impeachment cost, but like I do think it's so offensive that while there are people who are dying who need, you know, immunization shots, who need the money that they were promised, like there is something like I have you that can hold like that is less urgent like that.
Discourse around the urgency of the impeachment, I think is is fucked up because I think that to the extent that we need to actually, like, save people, you know what I mean? Like, for all the discourse and you're not doing this, but the discourse around saving democracy or saving people's lives, Americans are suffering like that. Let's get to work on that.
So I'm just saying that in order to kind of malign all the people who are doing the things that they're doing, not you, at one point I want to make even if you think that the impeachment is worthwhile because of the political capital, we might gain Democrats to embarrass the Republicans like this.
covid is all is the biggest thing you could have land in your lap to give you all the political capital in the world to do absolutely anything you want.
But it's not just about political capital, though. Like I would have said the same thing going into this. But look, there is kind of a it's kind of a thing that thousands of people planned and came to the Capitol with weapons and used blunt objects to break. On the windows, climb in the windows, a woman gets shot in the neck. They showed the footage of the woman getting shot very visibly today, but all of that went down at the president's urging.
A president participated in an election, lost the elections, but the next few weeks, instigating people to come to the capital and then when it as it was all coming to fruition, cheered and was was apparently watching it all happen on TV like it was a reality TV show. And his staff was horrified by this fact. I mean, a grain of salt because a stop is also horrible and then after it all pans out, still demonstrates no remorse, still like didn't officially turn over the lectern.
I thought his his speech in real time, this is going to get me so cancelled. I actually thought for Trump if his goal was to de-escalate, I actually think his speech was effective. I do because if I'm a Trump person and he he likes Trump, he calls he was like, respect the law enforcement officers. I think that sometimes we forget, like, given that Trump is who he is, what would have been the best way. And of course, he could have done been much more direct.
But that's grading on a curve, the man said. And we fight and we fight like hell. And if you don't fight, you're not going to have a country anymore. You'll never take back your country with weakness. You have to show strength. You have to be strong.
But peace. But I mean, I know it's grading on a curve, but honestly, I don't know. I think this is probably was the most effective way. The question is, is it was it good for Trump? That's not the question. The question is what kind of president do you want to set? Do you want to say he did this and. Oh, well, he's gone now. Fine. No, but I also don't want to set the precedent where Democrats, like, let people die because they don't get them immunized or let people die because I don't.
Zero-Sum game. Look, I understand the prioritization, though, because there's like there's a I think there's a hierarchy of urgency. I really do. And I get what you're saying. And I just think that, like, it is so easy to put research and I'm not being dismissive of this. Like, I saw this footage and I it's scary. And, yeah, the fact that they are what the stuff he said is scary and it is scary to think that all these people could have been killed, that someone was killed.
But I do think that, like, it is like on the left needs to keep like the pressure to the extent that we have any power. So maybe that's a moot point. But like the really outrageous stuff that is outrageous and there could have been killed and there were people killed. But the really outrageous stuff, I think is like the systemic structural stuff that just very subtly is killing countless people versus that thing, which is very obviously symbolic. I'm not dismissing it.
I'm not dismissing it. I'm not dismissing, like the the climate of fear of hatred and racism that it's Stokes. But I just do think that it's like people should be screaming about the other stuff.
I think there is a way to kind of reconcile the the different points of view, which is, you know, the impeachment would feel for certainly is much more legitimate than the first impeachment, which I really can't even remember. I mean, there was actually a thing that happened. It is a thing the president did that probably should be held accountable for.
The impeachment is frustrating in part because there was that very strong sense that the Democratic Party cares a lot more about this than anything else and that they wish it could go on for the next four years and they could just keep impeaching Trump over and over and over in order to find some way to not have any one talk about Joe Biden's record and not talk about covid relief. And that that is what makes it frustrating. And that is what makes people and in fact, if they if they showed they were serious, if they weren't, like, fudging the numbers of the checks and such in the in the other hours of the day, it would be much easier for us to say, yes, the impeachment matters and is important and is worth paying attention to.
When we were talking about force a vote, there were people who are saying, well, you should be talking about two thousand dollar checks. You're distracting from the main issue.
So there's always going to be obviously, I think both of those issues are more important, like have more substantive impact on real people than these impeachment hearings, which only affect, you know, members of Congress and, you know, quote unquote the democracy, I guess.
But it I don't think I think that can be kind of like just a wedge to act like people can't walk and chew gum at the same time. You know, I woke up this morning crammed on 15 dollar minimum wage, did a fifteen dollar minimum wage and then watched impeachment. Like you can you can focus on everything and think about a lot of things at the same time. All I'm saying is that watching the actual footage today, I think was I think laying out the case the way it was laid out today was important because it created a historical record that I up until this point really hadn't seen.
And if it was able to have such a dramatic impact on kind of the weightiness that I feel about this issue, I think it's worth having done now. Should it go on for two weeks, blah, blah, blah. That's a different issue in my book.
Yeah, I guess just my thing of it is it's like it's not like we can walk and chew gum at the same time, but they actually don't want to like the reason this is a priority is because it happened to them.
All right. Like if six people, Americans died.
Any other incident anywhere else you're not having this rigamarole, this big thing from Congress, right, like like this is a priority to them because it was something that they were involved in. They rushed to do this. Does anyone feel like their lives are priority? I don't know anybody else on this call.
But I know that, you know, people in my life are facing under threat of of death, of illness, of losing your jobs because of this on going think like like like just the reducing the checks from two thousand to fourteen hundred, that will almost certainly result in more dead people then this capital.
Right. Right. Like like if you actually like go down the line of people who are going to get evicted because they don't have that money who have to turn to the street like, so where are we actually, like, talking about if you're actually talking about like like this with like if we're talking about priorities like Medicare for all 15 dollar minimum wage, one six, very, very low.
I think even though it's a big news story and involves lots of famous and rich people, I don't think is the priority right now for America is so far down the list. I don't think there is any excuse for a single sitting, you know, politician to spend even one second doing anything that is not directly about riding covid and doing something about it. And the Democrats are so far away from that, they are not walking and chewing gum.
At the same time, Biden is saying to send teachers back to school like this, this is the democracy that is going to kill way, way, way, way, way more people all over the country.
There's no disagreement there. I just one I maintain that these are not mutually exclusive. And also, if we weren't doing impeachment, these people aren't going to be passing two thousand dollar checks.
They're still not doing a 15 dollar minimum wage. What our ability to focus on that perhaps be better maybe. But they do a pretty good job not listening to us absent something dramatic regardless.
Oh, no, I'm just saying they're garbage. I'm not saying that there is an alternative to me. I just I just don't like putting those things up against each other. The fact of the matter is, I also think that the left sometimes sees itself a disservice by not like giving an easy acknowledgement of something that is also like that. It's so much easier to argue impeachment was bad and I understand why people want justice. Also, we should be concentrating on two thousand dollar checks then I don't give a damn what happens to Congress people.
They just just shut up and stop, grovel, you know, stop whining and focus on our issues. Like, I understand like emotionally, I sometimes understand my feeling in that second space, but publicly I just think that it's not like I don't want to I'd rather spend my time not like arguing whether or not they're justified in feeling bad or whether Aoki's life was really in danger. And all of this is kind of silly fights that we get into sometimes on the left like.
But Leslie's not doing that, I think. And and we've said this with, first of all, like people have different roles. And I think it is really refreshing, honestly, to hear Leslie say what he has to say. And I think it's an important like, you know, it's important part of the spectrum. I think that there can be I don't think this applies to us. I've heard people talk about this in a way that I think is counterproductive and overly vilifying of ABC.
And I think it's very stupid.
But I just do think that it's important for some people to hear people say, like, I don't feel like anyone cares about me. They're doing this and not the other thing. Yeah, of course.
I mean, like I said, up until today, I was literally making the exact argument, my only perspective and I'm just trying to impart this because apparently I'm the only one who actually watched the footage today. I want to save all of you for perhaps being a little in hot water tomorrow because the footage was really compelling.
And so you can take that or leave it.
That's like that's like Leslie Lee. I all day. Every day. Come get some. I like you guys are going to talk. And I was like, oh goodness. Like they're saying as having not seen the footage and they might feel differently.
There was some footage of folks trolling the hallways and like shouting, you know, Holling Pelosi plus where are you, Pelosi?
They were looking for you. I mean. Oh, Nancy. Nancy, you were there. I know. Yeah, I'm one of them was wearing a camp outfit and there's a Nathan.
I have to go on. And they were, you know, actively one of the points that was being made was that, yes, I understand we've talked at length on the podcast about the technical definition of a coup.
But the goal, the stated goal of the infiltrators was to stop the certification of the election by finding the people involved, zip tying them and potentially killing them and doing that would have slowed things down. I'm not really sure what happens if you like, kill enough members of Congress that they can't certify the results of an election.
Like I don't I don't know, but I don't think there was any were.
Close to happen, they had all the Capitol Police there with armed guns, you need more than zip codes to take over. If all that with zip ties, me and Nathan would be down there right now.
I think, you know, they had more than zip ties. They had they had stun guns, but they didn't have enough to overpower the Capitol Police.
And I think I think when you watch the footage, that's exactly what it demonstrates, exactly how close they were to doing exactly that, killing people like very, very close.
That is the point I'm trying to make. But there were some very, very near misses there that are really chilling. And so someone had turned down the hallway at a different time of a police officer, hadn't gone to a certain place. We could have had a very different outcome. And I don't think it's wrong to want to at least have a conversation that enables safeguards. We don't end up in that situation again.
Shall we move on to our last topic?
Nathan, what's the last topic we're dodging, etc.? So what was what was it this time and what happened?
You look upset, Nathan. Been we've been looking around, but are you okay? I'm a cheerful no. You got your German accent even when I got fired.
Nathan Well, I heard you were tweeting just before you joined our panel here today that The Guardian issued a statement saying they did not, in fact, fire you.
So what would you do today? Well, yes, they said they did not fire me because they don't have contracts with their columnists so they could get rid of them in any time.
So they were basically they were denying that what that I was a columnist and that because of the tweet, I am no longer a columnist. What they denied was that that should be described as firing me.
Let's set this up for the people. Nathan J. Robinson, you are founder of Current Affairs magazine. You are also a columnist and have been since you said 2017. I think I've been a columnist.
I think only a columnist since like twenty nineteen. But I've been a contributor to The Guardian since twenty six, 2016. 2017 twenty seventeen I think.
OK, and you get you know, a not insubstantial slice of income from doing that work. Yeah.
I got about fifteen thousand dollars a year. I did about thirty columns last year. OK, so walk us through. They said the scuttlebutt is that you are were disentangled consciously uncoupled from being a long time.
They prefer as a consequence of having done a couple of tweets that they have characterized as anti-Semitic. Yes.
Well the context is that in December when Congress was passing the covid relief with six hundred dollar checks at the same time, there wasn't some people said it was in the same bill.
It was in the same bill. Those the covid relief and at the same time was being passed national security appropriations that that included five hundred million dollars for Israel in military aid for new weapons systems.
And they outlined the weapons systems that the five hundred million dollars was worth paying for. And there was some controversy over this because that, you know, obviously the Congress was stiffing Americans on the on the six hundred dollars, but, you know, definitely made sure that Israel got a bunch of new weapons. So I you know, the fact that they were signing off on this at the same time just made me very angry because it's not just giving military.
It's not just that Israel is incredibly powerful country. That is a nuclear armed power that doesn't need more weapons. It's also that those weapons are used to maintain an apartheid state.
Right. So and for human rights abuses.
So I just I don't even tweet about that. I just said my tweet was, did you know it's actually the law that Congress can't pass any new spending without including a new weapons system, without including new money for weapons for Israel? And then because I wanted to make sure that nobody thought that was actually the law.
There's a second part of the tweet that says, OK, well, actually, the law is at least such custom in the government that it's functionally indistinguishable from the law, which is true. By the way, they're the number one cumulative recipient of military aid from the United States.
And during a pandemic, we're making sure Israel gets paid to buy new weapons.
So I tweeted that and not give Palestinians the immunizations. So, yeah.
So in the interest of journalistic clarity, you did the thing where you explained your joke in a subsequent tweet. We're basically like this is this is sarcasm.
Obviously, there's no real sarcasm. They may be fit to fire you for that, but it's not for comedians.
So then what happened? Lay out the timeline, because you wrote an article about this today and current affairs. Well, so this was in December. This was December 20 something. And I have been told some people in the replies were calling it anti-Semitism. And I just laughed because I don't read the replies.
Do you think anti-Semitism is funny? Because I think anti-Semitism is hilarious and not real? No, I. I was told this was. Really funny because, you know, I couldn't even I was like how I was like try to construe it playing that game, like, can I turn this into Adisa? And I was like, I really, really does it work. But I got an email from the editor of The Guardian who I've met once.
Don't communicate with him normally. Email subject line, a private and confidential. And it said Nathan, the first thing he said was, this is fake news. There is no such law saying that we have to give weapons to Israel whenever we authorized the words fake news. These are fake news. Yeah.
He said this is this is what we call fake news. And then he said also singling out the only Jewish state without context of all the foreign aid that other countries get could be construed as. And I forget the wording, but I've put the screenshot in the article and they sum it up.
What what did he say?
Yeah, I want to say let's say he said the exact wording is I hate reading this because someone Bible.
He said, given the reckless talk over the last year and beyond for the mythical, quote, Jewish groups and alliances yield power is the yield power over all forms of US public life.
I am not clear how this is helpful to public discourse and why singling out financial aid to Israel in a tweet devoid of context and without mention of aid to other countries is currently or historically is a useful addition to public discourse. You are free, of course, to use Twitter in whatever way you choose, but it dismays me that someone who presents themselves as a Guardian columnist was a clearly erroneous statement without context.
Editor in chief of The Guardian, Jagmohan. And then there's something at the end of the email which looks like it's a quote from someone and not from him that says saying The only Jewish state controls the most powerful country in the world is clearly anti-Semitic. The myth of Jewish power informs murderous hatred. Delete this and apologise.
OK, so, yeah, that's interesting. So is that like what's the deal with that? Is that some friend was he like did he go ask a Jewish friend for like how he should phrase it to you?
I, I said I don't know because it's not clear if that's OK.
It looks like it's a quote from someone else. I was told that maybe that's how he signs all. Yeah.
Could be the signature. I was told that someone in the London office, the editors, some editor in the London office was pissed. Might be someone from there, might just be quoting one of the replies from Twitter.
Not sure, but I replied to him and I really needed my income. And I could sense that he's really pissed off.
And I thought, you know, it's not worth dying on the hill of a joke. So I really don't want to lose this job.
I thought I really it's going to be is he going to start policing my tweets over Israel?
But I said, look, you know, I'm sorry. You're very mad. I can delete it. Maybe we could discuss your expectations for what you want from your columnist, because they never give me any guidelines of what you can say as a Guardian columnist. So I deleted it and he replied to me and he said, thank you for deleting this and I appreciate your position.
You say so your thoughtful response or whatever. And my editor said to me, don't worry, we'll straighten it all out.
Well, then they stopped accepting my pitches and stopped returning my calls and and just very mysteriously dropped off for a month.
And then anything else are just that. That is it. And then on Monday of this week, I finally got a call with my editor and I said to her, I said, you know, my editor pitches, can I publish some columns? And my editor said, well, I would have there were lots of things I wanted you to write about. I liked the pitches, but this thing with John makes it difficult. I need to have a chat with him to straighten it out.
And I said, well, if you could do that, this income is quite important to me. I really need to you know, I've got to pay my rent with my God. It comes off. You can sort it out with him. And I ever said, I'm sure it'll be fine. We'll straighten it out. Well, I got a call Tuesday morning from the editor saying I don't have good news.
John has decided to discontinue the column. And I said, well, can I talk to him?
And my editor said, I don't really think it's worth it. He said, pretty firm.
And I said, well, I freelance. You send you some stuff.
And my editor said, I don't think he would be very open to working with you in the future.
I and that was that was that.
I want you to talk a little bit about what the response has been, because I've seen a lot of people have been very consistent about these kind of speech issues like Glenn Greenwald coming to your defence. And there was some, I think, question about whether or not some of the more right leaning free speech counterculture crowd was going to back you on this. I saw that tarnished Chatter's Chatterton Williams.
Did he support you if did the right thing now in this case?
But to his credit, you know, he unblocked me and and he said, you know, that he he supported he didn't think that the Guardian should have fired me over that.
So at least he's consistent.
Look at you, Nathan, uniting all friends. I'm waiting to hear from Barry Weiss. That's the person because like Thomas Willis. I don't think he's identified publicly as a big Zionist, right?
The people I'm really interested in are like Ben Shapiro, Barry Wise people who want to my Andrew Sullivan, Andrew Sullivan actually defended me, although he also said I'm a liar and a smear merchant.
Well, that makes it that much more meaningful. I mean, that's like the best endorsement you see or you can't even get along with the other white supremacist.
So, so many of the tweets in my defense have also included, like I loathe David Robinson. I think I hate the way he dresses. I hate all of his opinions, but. Right.
Like, you don't have to say all the more. You don't have to do that.
Who are you perform for? Just say like eight. Like, I feel like people are going to or taking a minute to, like, adjust to the new paradigm. It's like you don't have to just like, keep attacking the people on the left because Biden is in office.
You can actually move to the place where you actually say, hey, it's kind of fucked up that a major newspaper fired someone for making a tweet mildly critical of some Israel policy. I feel like this would not be a thing that people feel they had to be nuanced about a few years ago. People would just say, that's fucked up for the Guardian. Instead, it's like, well, you know, Nathan said this the other in this article, but it's not even substantive.
They don't have been criticizing what Nathan says in articles. They're literally just like, I don't like Cravan. I mean, I don't think most of them read the article.
They were just like, look, there are lots of good reasons to hate my character and my aesthetic. I completely admit that freely. I don't defend myself.
I'm not so upset about it as a as I mean, I often do this as a Jewish thing, as a joke. But honestly, I got to say, like, this is not good for Jews. I'm sorry. It really isn't like when you publicly or privately and confidentially, but you don't even hide the fact that you equate like when when an editor frames criticism of Israel as a fireable offense. That's not good. Like it's not good for Jews.
It's forget that it's a terrible thing politically. It just so ironically, actually not at all helpful if you care about anti-Semitism. It was also not criticism of Israel.
It was criticism of U.S. foreign policy. Yes, right. Right.
And also it's also like, guys, honestly, how stupid do you think we are? The United States government brags about its special relationship as you go through in your in your piece, Nathan. But like they overtly talk about the special relationship between the United States and Israel, like there's no question only democracy in the Middle East.
We're special friends, unparalleled friendship. Like so that's that's a given. That's granted. Yeah.
I did single Israel out for weapons and I don't really does honestly.
It's like I, I just wish that people realize that they're I mean, I don't know either. These people are they're bowing to pressure because of the Corban stuff, because people didn't like Korbin today to pretend he was an anti-Semite and or because they actually think it's anti-Semitic to see Palestinians as human beings. But this is a really like this is absolute this is not even remotely like defensible. Like there there's so much more subtle stuff that is not defensible. But on the face of it seems defensible.
This isn't this is just like outright you're critical at all of the United States relationship with Israel. You should not have a job here. It's no Bernie with a house or a house on his shoulder, his his house at The Economist.
Yeah, I did want to take a second to make sure that even if you know the Thomas chat wills and the Barry White House's and all these people like actually like Absolut dipshit, Absolut dipshit. But if they all even if they all come to your defense and say it's all right for Nathan to be anti-Semitic as he wants and still maintain his column, it's like like so what?
Like at the end of the day, they're only preserving their right to be like super racist and was awful stuff about Palestinians like they actually like for Thomas Chadwell like to condemn your politics while also saying, like, it doesn't mean anything to me to defend you in that context because they don't care about like because your tweet was about something substantive. We're just talking about like whether you can tweet now instead of talking about the actual topic you were talking about was like, why are we handing millions of dollars to the Israeli military during the pandemic?
So like like we've already moved. The conversation gets moved to this weird space where the only problem is is only a problem for people who have columns to say, like, yeah. So it's kind of like they're able to frame this frame themselves. It's like, oh, being fair. I want to be clear. They're not that fair. They defend fucking Ice Cube or Nick Cannon. Right. Like none of them like came to their defense when those what didn't they can't do again.
Nick Cannon. Well, he did some like kind of a little anti-Semitism. He did a little bit of anti-Semitism. It started off kind of light and then got kind of a little bit heavier. They did have they did have a little. Is it about black Israelites or black? Yeah. Some black Israelites saw they figure into I thought this was related to his turban wearing face, actually, and he actually was working, got fired.
And none of these people said anything like. So I'm sorry, Nathan, it doesn't mean anything to me if they defend another way, you know, Ivy League from being canceled, like defend, you know, some of the hood who's saying something.
And I submit if you know, if you really if you really mean it, they can't have the most they can, you know, perception that I'm only talking perception. Obviously, I'm not saying defend, but if you actually had a principle.
Yes, I do think you're right that the principle is that people like me who are credentialed and white and supposed to have a life of comfort and ease, should have job security.
That might be the principle rather than like I care about the plight of the Palestinians and the suppression of speech that that calls out war crimes and human rights abuses. I'm pretty I am sure that people who come to my defense are mostly defending like a newspaper columnist has the right to be comfortable and free.
I think, Marc, Marc Lamont Hill is a good kind of test study, case study for this kind of thing, especially since he's just come out with this new book that's Palestine related.
I haven't read it. I'm not sure exactly what it's about, but I've seen him tweeting a bunch about how people are doubting his credentials. You know, he doesn't have the credibility to write about anything other than black people.
He's like, so, yeah, he's a religion professor.
His new book is about people who are progressive except for Palestine and about the suppression of free speech that is in defense of policy. I mean, it couldn't be more relevant, actually. And of course, he got fired himself from CNN for saying that Palestine should be free.
We should have you, him and Barry Weiss on for a very special Bede's episode, Virtuosi. So put it on the books. Do it. All right. It's on the book.
It's on the book. I want to be there and I keep wanting to get my mark on her. She's lovely. Everyone who knows her. So Marc Lamont, everyone says Barry was is lovely. And I don't believe that.
I think she's a fuck. I mean, first of all, if you've read her column, she should not be printed anywhere.
I like she's cavalleria, so I don't. My God, she's great stuff about force. Get how she compares Jews like me who support BDS to Jews in the olden days who would reverse their circumcisions.
She's an awesome thing and she's friends with Thomas Taylorsville. He said he I know he's lying about this. He said he actually kicked someone out on the street for criticizing Barry Weiss in his his French loft or wherever he lives. Like, I just hate all these people.
Like nobody's business should exist, let alone have columns like Barry Weiss is a major line.
Yeah, she's like, totally. And like, if you worked at The New York Times, you were not allowed to publicly criticize Barry Weiss or you would actually get fired for your journalism. I love to throw this in the face of all the like black New York Times journalists who talk a lot of shit on line. I'm like, say something bad about Barry Weiss, if you actually, like, are about it.
You know, it's a good point. Yeah.
It just really Imbert. Honestly, it's cringe, it's bad, it's bad, and it's sorry about that, and I'm all for you for being honest. OK, now sorry that my people know I'm not saying, I'm just saying. But I also want to thank you for being honest because I think a lot of people wouldn't have been honest about how they were like, OK, well, I need my income. So I was willing to do that, like, because we don't see those things behind the scenes.
So these are the positions and like the the moral, you know, the positions people are in and it's not easy to deal with. And in this case, it's like you try to be I'm not condemning it. I probably would have done the same thing. And then you didn't even that couldn't salvage it because I don't know what you'd gone past the point of. No, I think I think. Yeah, right.
It was very clear that whoever whether it was Mulholland or whoever was talking to him was like, no, he's here, he's gone now. Don't publish him again, period. One of the things that I tried to emphasize in the article I wrote for Current Affairs, I think is really important is I am able to talk about this because I have a magazine and I have another income and thank God I'm no longer a freelancer. And that means that even though losing fifteen thousand dollars a year is losing a giant chunk of my income, I am going to be OK.
And I know I'm not going to get another newspaper column, almost certainly because Gaudium was like the most progressive paper there is. And even there, you know, now I'm branded an anti-Semite, which is wonderful. So you know who's going to hire me?
I'll call him, I must say, McAllen's and antisemite. Yes. He's perpetuating the myth of the media being run by people who don't let people criticize Israel. So calling you out, Mahorn, you owe me an apology. And Nathan's job at first apologized to me.
But this is the thing, right? Is that, like I realized in that moment, like what an awful moral choice I had, which was, you know, they were making it.
So I had to go like and in their statement that they put out today, they said David Robinson recognized that his tweet was inappropriate. I recognized by was at a program. I apologized because I knew I had no choice but to, like, grovel if I was going to keep my job.
And I was like, I don't mean any of this, but like, these are just words. And I don't give a shit like I.
You're a liar. Yeah. I mean, I'm willing to say, like, oh, no, I was not willing to acknowledge it was anti-Semitism. So in my reply to him, I of it very carefully, I was like, I'm sorry, you think this is fake news?
I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking. But here are you, David. I know you did. I bet you actually did it. Yeah, but this is one of the few times in life where it's totally legit to do it that way.
It's important to be clear that, like, you know, writers are if the boss comes down and says this is off limits, you can't do this anymore.
If they had given me a second chance, it would have been really, really uncomfortable because I would have known that all of my tweets were being watched, that I couldn't tweet about it. Be careful. Don't joke about Israel because you've had one strike and another one on your out.
You could have just retweeted me a lot.
I would have done they probably would have sent me the tweets they got like, why why retweeting this? Because once they knew. So I'm kind of glad that they just said, no, you're done.
Yeah, I know what you mean. It's like when someone's a real asshole, like when you're willing to compromise with them and then they're like, OK, let's make this work. And then they don't. And you're like, thank God, because I was willing to like, bend over backwards for this person who's not even worth bipartisanship.
I'm glad they said like, no, you can't write for us in the future because if they said, oh, well, maybe freelance pictures, then I would have had something to lose.
But but you're out of that toxic relationship under the bridge. So I was able to.
But a lot of writers face this and I am like the most free of any writers. So I want to like I'm going to expose the I'm sending the screenshots of the email fuck confidential and private. I like that.
And I thought that was fucking gangster that you posted with the title that said, you know, confidential.
I like that you mention that because that's not that's not a binding contractual agreement. That's you sending me a request, as you telling me. I would prefer that you don't tell people about this.
Move aside, Edward Snowden. I agree that what happened to Nathan is very cringe and shame on The Guardian.
It's a you're also a UK publication. Like you don't have a horse in this race, frankly.
Yeah. They spell apologize. We heard. Well, no, but they got a lot of shit for it. I mean, they went hard after Corban, right. For the anti Semitism stuff. So there's like there is a no it's OK. Right. But I'm saying yeah. They don't have a horse demographically. Right. They don't have a I can't even say anything after that because that sounds dehumanizing. They're British. It's not.
But and yet still it's a thing because the anti-Semitism charges have been used to have been a convenient weapon for going after the labor left.
If anything, it's actually the climate is worse in Britain now than in the United States, and that's partially because of the Guardian. So I wasn't surprised at all when I heard that the London office may have been the ones that were upset, because I actually think that it's. Yeah, it's.
And the anthropologist David Graeber, who used to be a Guardian writer, refused to write for them in the last three years. His life, because he said they are just making up charges of anti-Semitism that they're using and they're using their leftist writers, the fact that they have a few leftist writers to try and destroy the British left.
I'm going to say also that, you know, they don't have enough Jews. They're the problem in England is that you don't have the Jewish diplomats like me, the ambassadors who can, like, finesse this stuff out and explain that. Actually, Milholland, you're the anti-Semite, not Nathan. Let my people go.
So if you want after covid, I'll do a UK tour and I'll explain it all the people.
But you're right about that, because here, like, it is a little more difficult when, like, Bernie Sanders is the leading representative of the America. I mean, there's still headlines that, like Bernie Sanders has an anti-Semitism problem, but it's a little harder to do when the American left has been so heavily Jewish for its whole history and so critical of Israel.
So it put a cap on this. What I'm hearing is there is a position open at the Guardian for writers want to know that, you know, I have been a writer in the past. I'm still something of a writer. So if you're not going to rehire Nathan, you know, look me up. And speaking of plug's very, very quickly, so I won't have a plug.
Where can people find you? Yes, you can find me on struggle session sest plus that. Plus we got tons of episodes, including the brand new one with Felix Biderman from Chapel Trap House where we talk about gaming.
I have a YouTube show, the Catalpa Show, but I'm really pushing the Patreon, especially now because I'm having some financial stuff with YouTube monetization. We'll get into that later. Nothing scandalous, mostly, I think clerical. But you should definitely become patrons because I'm putting out more patrón stuff. You should subscribe to the Patreon because among other reasons, this week you get some great content featuring Rihanna, Joy Gray and Virginal Texas, where we play 20 questions.
I also give them some like couples therapy, like professional, not romantic couples therapy.
Thank you for specifying. Yeah. And also I'm I'm releasing a I do it Thomas Friedman. I read some Thomas Friedman in a Russian accent and I do a Chomsky giving dating, reading the date, the rules, the dating book. So all of those are reasons and all that exclusive content. And then you can find at Patrón dot com slash the Katie Halper show again that's patron dot com slash the Katie Helpern.
Nathan, I believe you have a go fund me as a victim of council culture. But it's true.
It's true. I'm going to get eight hundred thousand dollars and two hours. But no, I'm a Carteris dog and that's why that's now the only place where I write other than in books. And also we have a podcast, Patrón dot com slash current affairs. And I'm on Twitter at Nathan J.
Robinson and I challenge a Jewish editor, make our make history guys. The first Jewish editor to publish Nathan gets a gift certificate from me to say, OK, well, thank you all.
It's been a real rollicking delight that does it for this week.
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