By Max Jones and Diego Ramos / ScheerPost Staff Writers

This week, the U.S. government passed a foreign “aid” package of $95 billion for America’s wars, including $60 billion for Ukraine. The legislation was designed by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson who has enjoyed mainstream media praise in the days following the bill’s passage, with The New York Times remarking his funding of Ukraine as a “the culmination of a remarkable personal and political arc,” and CNN comparing him to Winston Churchill.

Left out the coverage of this bill, however, has been the former President who paved the way for its passage: Donald Trump. This week’s guest of Journalists for Sale, Michael Tracey, has been closely tracking Trump’s significant role in the bill’s development and success, as well as the meltdown from both liberal media and the “MAGA Media Complex” in omitting Trump’s capacity in delivering these funds to Ukraine.

For liberals, admitting Trump’s key role would undermine the corporate media narrative they disseminated for years that Trump is an agent of the Kremlin who only won in 2016 because of a sophisticated Russian coup. For the MAGA movement, it would mean admitting that Trump is not an enemy of the Deep State nor a principled non-interventionist, but actually completely in line with the establishment wings of both parties—a fatal blow to a business model which relies on propping up Trump as a substantive alternative to warmongering Democrats.

Tracey’s objective reporting of the politics of this bill has not made him popular with partisans, but it has shed light on the reality of the “uni-party”—namely, that Trump is a leader within it.

Transcript

This transcript was produced by an automated transcription service. Please refer to the audio interview to ensure accuracy.

Max Jones: [00:00:00] Hi everyone, welcome to another episode of Journalists for Sale. Today we’re joined by Michael Tracey. Um, over the years Tracey has contributed to a wide range of publications across the political spectrum, from The Nation to the American Conservative, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and many more.

A lot of his, uh, recent columns can be found at the website UnHerd, and from 2017 to 2018 he was a correspondent for The Young Turks. Prior to that, he was a columnist for Vice, and now he writes at Substack, so thank you, uh, Michael, for joining us. I forgot I did all that, so thanks for reminding me. Yeah, we had to let the audience know.

Um, so you’ve been tweeting a lot about the, uh, recent foreign aid package that the House and now the Senate has passed, um, that 90, 95 billion dollars to, uh, different, uh, Military endeavors, uh, overseas. And, uh, so what [00:01:00] are these bills? Who do they give money to? And, um, why have they been introduced as four separate bills?

And why did you describe it on Twitter as the most disturbing legislative process you’ve seen in the last 15 years of covering politics? 

Michael Tracey: Yeah, uh, so first, I hate the euphemism AID, A I D, because it conjures images of like benevolently air dropping first aid kits or, uh, ready made meals or something to, you know, like, desperate, uh, villagers or whatever.

And I think that term actually is overused specifically to mislead people about what’s being approved and even to call it foreign aid kind of conflates other other forms of foreign aid, where you’d like have like funding of NGOs or stuff that has a more. aid like utility to it than literally dumping rocket launchers and artillery shells and missile systems into war zones, which is the [00:02:00] bulk of what this does.

Um, I call it the most disturbing legislative process that I’ve personally covered in 15 ish years because The histrionics and the, uh, kind of backroom dealing and the deception and the deceit, everything kind of congealed into this giant legislative calamity that pretty much culminated on Saturday because the biggest variable in the.

Bill was always the House of Representatives because it’s the House of Representatives is far more responsive to popular sentiment than the Senate, typically because it’s a much bigger body. Uh, the members are more typically connected to the grassroots, not that it’s like perfectly democratic representative, but more so relatively than the Senate, which is much more stayed and stuffy and insular.

And so. What really had to happen was there [00:03:00] needed to be a concerted kind of push from the leadership of the house, which is controlled narrowly by Republicans to push through this bill. And there had been a false narrative. This is part of why I said that it was so disturbing because there had been such systematic deceit as to The nature of this proposal and like what its prospects for passage because even when the republicans first won Majority in the house representatives in the 2022 midterms.

You probably remember this the main uh, you know a theme or talking point or a narrative kind of conceit was that The, the big bad isolationist Republicans have taken over and they’re going to help Putin and they’re going to abandon Ukraine and they’re under Trump’s commands, that means that they’re going to, uh, you know, uh, relinquish American global leadership, all these nonsense tropes that are used for political expediency purposes by Democrats and by lots of the media who want to demonize Republicans on those grounds.

And then [00:04:00] you also have Republican voters or, uh, you know, especially online media, you know, ramblers who. Have this mirror image conception of trump and the republican party as genuine isolationists because they want isolationism So they’re both misleading one another simultaneously in this like deranged feedback loop.

Um, and so what happened was Uh, I mean you you can go back to some of the legislative history here the latest round of major ukraine funding that was appropriated by Congress prior to this one was in December of 2022, just before the end of that congressional term when Democrats were still in the majority.

And, uh, they just folded it into, they folded, uh, 40 billion ish of Ukraine Aid into just the yearly omnibus spending bill. Um, and So that kind of that basically funded [00:05:00] us weapons funneling operations for about a year year and a half Um, maybe even two years if you stretch it out I mean part of the run Let me know if i’m getting off track here But part of the reason why this is so disturbing is because it’s the largest ever disbursement Of U.

S. funding to Ukraine, and depending on how they manage it, could underwrite continued warfare in Ukraine for probably something like two years. 

Jones: Right, and this is at a time when Ukraine is like, Kind of undoubtedly losing. So you’re kind of just sending, you know, put thousands of more people to their deaths at the end of a war, potentially.

I mean, we just talked to a Ray McGovern recently, and he said that, I don’t know if you know who Ray McGovern is, but he, yeah, he said that, um, that the, the war will probably be over within the next couple of months. And I 

Tracey: don’t believe any, I mean, no offense to him, but I mean, I’m tired of these dumb. Alt media propagandists who are always prophesying the imminent collapse [00:06:00] of ukraine or the war is going to be over In such and such amount of time.

I mean, this is sort of a side issue But there’s all there’s like there’s too many people in the alt media sector who subsist on Pretending as though they have this crystal ball and they can tell you exactly what’s going to happen In a month or two months and they’re always giving these confirmation bias Predictions as to what the course of the war will be.

I don’t know about you But I was very closely following the alt media chatter in the early stages In a sense in the alt media. I mean, I guess I have a foot in both worlds, right? And none of them had any Inkling whatsoever that ukraine could have a successful counteroffensive which it did in september of 2022 It took back from russia huge swaths of territory in kharkiv and kursan so War is like inherently unpredictable and chaotic and volatile.

So I don’t believe anybody who makes these confident predictions because nobody made them about that. [00:07:00] And I have been inundated with people for years. Tell me that Ukraine is on the verge of collapse, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Europe is going to like be thrown into chaos and they’re not going to support Ukraine anymore.

It’s like going to cause this economic collapse. Just before this latest tranche of funding was passed like a month or so ago A little bit more the eu passed its largest ever Disbursement of funding to ukraine 50 billion euro. So these uh predictions of imminent collapse I think are off course and that’s not because i’m like rooting for one side or another just because I think The inherent chaos and volatility of war really needs to be Born in mind a little bit more humbly by people.

So anybody who’s like, I don’t know, this, I just, the, the shtick really annoys me of predicting stuff, but that’s a side issue. Um, so yeah, so what happened was in about September or October of last year, uh, it was getting to the point where, you know, by the end of the year, they kind of had to pass a new round of funding.

Cause it was about the, the. [00:08:00] And this is what Zelinsky told Mike Johnson, actually the speaker who took over in October that by the end of April, that was like the deadline. They said by the end of April, that’s when we actually need desperate funding. And there was actually a lend lease provision that was passed by Congress in April of 2022 that would have authorized Biden to continue dispersing Money in arms to Ukraine, but in the form of a loan, right?

Which is what Trump ended up championing for this bill. Uh, but that authority actually expired on October 1st. But so what happened was when the October 7th attack happened in Israel, Biden correctly surmised that given the sort of, uh, controversy among Republicans about Ukraine funding at that point, he could then fold everything into one gigantic package and then even combine it with quote border security to placate Republicans, and then that would be the way to get Ukraine [00:09:00] funding through despite some of the political precarity in terms of Republican attitudes toward that whole issue.

Um, and so the, the Senate spent months taking their cue from Biden, the Senate Republicans And the Senate Democrats collaborated with one another, Mitch McConnell, Chris Murphy, James Langford, Kristen Sinema. They were going to be collaborating on an all inclusive package that drew on Biden’s request for Israel funding, Indo Pacific funding, Ukraine funding, and then border security.

And then what happened? Uh, you know, they negotiated assiduously for months, we were told, and then Trump wakes up one morning. Blurts out a truth social post criticizing the bill, and then it just collapses. So they have to go back to the drawing board. Right. Um, and so basically what happened is the Senate just severed off the border security component of that [00:10:00] whole agreement that had been reached and passed only the foreign funding, uh, parts.

And then, so there was pressure on Johnson for a while. Mike Johnson, the speaker of the house. To reciprocate what the Senate had done and, you know, he was kind of holding his cards close to the chest to some extent. I mean, one of the fallacies was that people thought that he was against Ukraine or that he was not for Ukraine funding.

And yet, You could find statements and speeches and all kinds of actions of his over the course of the many years where he was Just obviously in favor of ukraine funding The thing is people get misled because he voted against in may of 2022 The first major supplemental bill supplemental funding bill for ukraine, but it was on technical grounds.

It was on partisan grounds basically what happened was He and Trump and other Republicans, they didn’t like that particular version of Ukraine funding because it was through a legislative vehicle that had been drafted by Democrats. So they could just come up [00:11:00] with like a partisan excuse for not supporting it, but they had nothing to do with the principle of the issue.

Trump was the first one who started arming Ukraine in the first place in 2017 because Lindsey Graham and John McCain lobbied him to do so, and then he ga he, uh, quickly aced to their wishes. Um, so they, so how this ended up being structured was, I mean, part of, part of the reason why this is so disturbing is because of Mike Johnson’s, frankly brilliant, tactical savvy.

You know how there’s like this lore around. Lyndon Johnson, when he was Senate Majority Leader, where he was able to get anything through Congress, and then he was president, you know, he would be, uh, uh, twisting arms and putting pressure on legislators to kind of fulfill his legislative agenda. Um, and there was some truth to that.

Johnson was a brilliant, like, tactician in a lot of ways. Well, there’s another Johnson who’s running another branch of government right now, who I actually think kind of rivals Lyndon Johnson in terms of at least how he executed this round of funding. I mean, think of what, uh, uh, Mike Johnson did. [00:12:00] He, uh, he waited for just the right moment to bring this package up because, if you recall, when there was the salvo of missiles fired at Israel by Iran, that very night, Steve Scalise, the Republican majority leader, said, look, we’re overturning our, uh, schedule of legislative business for next week.

And we’re going to finally focus on the national security supplemental funding. That’s kind of been just sitting there waiting for our consideration. Um, and because Israel needs to have its missile defense is replenished by the U S so they use that as kind of this impetus to finally drill down and get this passed through the house.

And, uh, Mike Johnson, then he makes a P he had just made a pilgrimage to Donald Trump in Mar a Lago where he effectively secures Trump’s endorsement For his continued leadership, therefore awarding off any opposition from certain factions within the house Republican caucus. [00:13:00] And then Johnson goes on a media tour for the next like five or six days mostly focused on conservative media.

It’s a talk radio He went on the daily wire with ben shapiro He goes on fox, of course And he’s touting that he and trump are 100 united on ukraine funding now if you had just gotten through a republican primary race that trump had all but Secured at that point. I mean, he actually did have secure the delegates.

So this is part of what Johnson seems to have waited for strategically. Wait till Trump locks up the Dell, the primary contest, right? So there’s no, you know, there’s no one running against them anymore. And then he doesn’t have to face any kind of political repercussions for just ripping off anybody in the MAGA base who’s under the false illusion that he was actually some kind of anti interventionist on Ukraine or that he was going to cut off Ukraine funding or whatever.

So that was no longer even a political pressure that he had to accommodate because of the nomination process had been locked up. Um, [00:14:00] but that, that, that kind of, uh, that neutralized a lot of potential criticism of the bill. Cause remember Trump killed a version of this bill In February, by simply writing a true social post in the middle of the night or something, right?

So he could have killed the bill, clearly, because Trump, and this isn’t just, this sounds like an MSNBC talking point, but it actually happens to be true, Trump has Unprecedented political sway over a modern political party as a three time nominee. That’s, there’s no precedent for that historically. You have to go back to Grover Cleveland and I don’t think that’s a particularly apt president.

Um, so basically calls the shots in the Republican Party. It’s just true. He handpicks who wins Republican primaries in Congress. Um, And so Johnson successfully recruited Trump. He took Trump’s supposed idea for converting some of the funding to Ukraine into a quote loan, which never has to be repaid zero interest [00:15:00] and can be forgiven.

Right after the November election. So that’s an interesting loan. I would like to get a loan on those terms myself, if I could, you know, that you never have to pay back. It’s not like you’re just, I’m just giving a gift to lots of money, lots of money, but that, but then that got incorporated into the bill.

So Trump killed the bill that had nothing, none of his personal input in it. But then with this current iteration of the bill, what happened was. Trump collaborated with his, with Mike Johnson and then his emissaries in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, who now is claiming the mantle of America first, hilariously enough.

With America First having historically been quote unquote an isolationist sentiment, even that’s a derogatory way of putting it, but basically just non interventionist, anti foreign policy adventurism and so forth, they’ve appropriated that nomenclature to justify this war package. Lizzie Graham did it on the floor of the Senate yesterday.

But anyway, I’ll wrap up, because I don’t want to rant for too long, but [00:16:00] Trump, Kind of behind the scenes was collaborating with MAGA, Mike Johnson, which is what Trump declared when Johnson took over the speakership and Kevin, when Kevin McCarthy was ousted in October, Trump was celebrating it as a big victory for the America first movement.

Now he all had already supported McCarthy. So there was no real difference there. It was just the personnel swap, but nonetheless it was MAGA, Mike Johnson and all caps. So everybody was on the online MAGA, you know, uh, ass kissing, uh, uh, you know, uh, circuit was cheering. And, um, And, you know, actually Mike Johnson helped defend Trump in his first and I think both impeachments.

So there was like a personal loyalty there that I’m actually going to write about today that I don’t think people are aware of. Um, but Trump had his own input in the bill through, through, uh, Lindsey Graham, Mark Wayne Mullen, another Republican Senator from Oklahoma, and then Kevin Cramer, Republican Senator from North Dakota and the Mike Johnson in the house, right?

So that meant that Trump is not just going to really nearly kill the bill that is serving, that that is, was [00:17:00] drafted to accommodate his. Input and then so they that neutralizes any republican opposition They they they push it through on us the they push it through the house version on a saturday morning When nobody’s watching and then all of a sudden, you know, like two days two or three days before Mike johnson unveils that oh, by the way We’re just going to glom onto this whole war funding package a bunch of random extraneous stuff like a tiktok ban, which is a giant Irrigation of censorship power by the executive branch Uh, we’re going to throw in this new authority that allows the U S to just seize Russia and Russian sovereign assets from American and European financial institutions, which is unprecedented, the world financial system and a bunch of other random, uh, sanctions on Iran, you know, uh, saber rattling China and all kinds of, it’s just a grab bag for the national security state.

And there was no opposition [00:18:00] to it because of, cause Trump muted the opposition. I mean, the only opposition that was going to arise. Was it have, it just was if was, if Trump had instigated it. Right? Because the Democrats and Biden have been desperate for months to get the Ukraine funding and they’ll do anything.

I mean, they would, you know how Trump says I, I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and they would still support me. Like his base, Joe Biden could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue for Ukraine funding and they would support it. Um, so they don’t care. There was not going to be any opposition. There were hope the, the democratic caucuses uniformly united, literally every single Democrat who voted for the Ukraine funding bill, they all voted for it without exception, there was not one, no vote and I’ll wrap up with this.

I know I said I was going to wrap up before, but I really will wrap up with this. They structured the version, the last thing that made this so disturbing and strange. And again, this owes to some of the tactical savvy of Johnson, frankly, is that he concocted a rule in the [00:19:00] rules committee of the house, which is this obscure committee that just sets up the legislative procedure for the house that nobody pays any attention to.

And it’s very arcane and, um, almost inscrutable to the average citizen. I barely follow. I mean, most members of Congress don’t understand it. I mean, I’ve talked to them. They don’t get it either. It’s only three people in the whole house who understand anything about it. Um, he met Johnson devised a rule where to politically ensure the pastor through the house that he allowed for four separate votes.

Um separate components of the bill of the the bill of the ultimate bill So as ukraine funding was voted on separately from israel funding from indo pacific funding, which is just a giveaway to basically the us pacific command to continue encircling uh china to continue, you know funding training and troop deployments to taiwan, which people hardly gets any coverage and setting up new military bases like in the philippines and Papua New [00:20:00] Guinea in places.

And then, um, and then this also, and then, so it was the three, uh, war theater funding bills, and then there’s fourth, you know, grab bag bill that included the TikTok ban, the, uh, Russian sovereign assets seizure and other stuff, um, to, to ease internal dissension within the Republican caucus, Johnson maneuvered so that they were allowed to vote separately on each individual bill.

Cause he knew that even if a majority of Republicans didn’t vote for the Ukraine funding, which. A narrow minority voted for it. So it’s like 48 percent probably of Republicans in the House voted for the Ukraine funding aspect, but with all Democrats voting for it, that’s like 75 percent of the body. So it’s still a massive super majority, but then he devised a rule where somehow magically.

The bill, the four separate bills get transmitted to the Senate as one bill so that last night when the Senate voted on its version of it, they only had to take one roll call vote. So that preempted any challenges with amendments or attempts to delay or [00:21:00] filibuster. So it was actually kind of brilliant.

And it was as a result of collaboration between Johnson, who runs the house and Chuck Schumer, who runs the Senate. The Senate in concert with Mitch McConnell, the minority leader. So I guess what disturbs me is that, or like why I had to kind of that instinctive reaction to when it was passed finally, officially last night is because the entire political system really coalesced beautifully to ensure the passage of this gigantic war funding and censorship bill.

I mean, they could barely ever get their act together to do anything with such competence. But this thing got done and they did it by uniting everybody from Joe Biden to Donald Trump who were told, or like these existentially, uh, oppositional political figures and Republicans and Democrats are always screeching how the other is going to kill democracy.

Like Democrats say, Republicans are going to overthrow democracy. And Republicans say Democrats are going to bring in like anarcho communism or something, but all they all managed to unite. On this war funding package and there’s almost no opposition. So yeah, that was why that’s a [00:22:00] nutshell version of why this was pretty disturbing.

Um, 

Ramos: there’s, I forgot who says this, but there’s a quote, bipartisan support on some of this bad news. And is it, it’s also ironic because I was watching, uh, Claire McCaskill on MSNBC say, give a gold star to Mike Johnson and Mitch McConnell for this. And, and she also went on to say that the two sides of this bill, Uh, or whether you’re with Trump and Putin or you’re with national security and protecting democracies and freedoms across the globe.

It’s just so funny hearing this and then hearing that and it’s like, what do you make of like the bipartisan nature of how long will it last and like, how do you, how do you think it’ll translate with, uh, With the election. 

Tracey: Well, there’s nothing more than they need to do. They got everything done yesterday or actually today because Biden signed the bill officially.

So Biden signed the bill this afternoon. And within a matter of hours, there’s going to be armed shipments [00:23:00] flowing to Ukraine. So woohoo. Um, but they don’t have to do anything more. I mean, they’re not going to have any major legislative agenda items on the docket for at least the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30th.

Um, so there’s not more collaboration that needs to be done. They got, they had like a, they had their agenda basically beautifully enacted before our very eyes that culminated today. So there’s nothing more that needs to be done really. I mean, what they will do now until the election is pretend, I mean, I’m going to say they, I mean, just propagandists and partisan operatives for both parties.

They’re going to pretend that there are these seismic gulfs between the two parties. Even though we have demonstrable evidence that they were able to Magically coordinate on the most consequential bill that was ushered through the legislative branch probably in years I mean at least since the cares act of 2020, which was the covid emergency bill, which is also beautifully bipartisan [00:24:00] So, yeah, I mean, they’re just gonna and Claire McCaskill.

I mean, I haven’t seen Claire McCaskill saying that, but I could imagine exactly what she could recite that in her sleep because they don’t care where the details are. They don’t care that Donald Trump started arming Ukraine to begin with. They don’t care that he had been on the The campaign trail in there’s like, you know, 90 minute or two hour Fidel Castro long length speeches, uh, where he would occasionally just blurt out.

Oh, yeah, we should maybe give Ukraine the funding in the forum alone because I’m great and I got NATO to pay up and that makes me isolationist by strengthening NATO and arming https: otter. ai Make heads or tails of that, whatever that logic is supposed to be. It doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter because people polarize around whether they like Trump or just like Trump, the details of the, and the policy substance are irrelevant.

Um, 

Jones: yeah, Michael is, cause to me, like, this is, this should be the nail in the coffin for the, a lot of these mainstream narratives that [00:25:00] have been. Uh, disseminated since Trump’s, um, time in office. And like, I mean, you know, like the New York times, not, I mean, not just the New York times, the entire mainstream media spent years basically peddling this fraud that, uh, Trump was some kind of Russian sympathizer and, or, or even a Russian agent, 

Tracey: not just a sympathizer that he was under the control of the Russian state.

They installed them into power. They hacked into the election systems as Adam Schiff put it, they rigged our elections. And they installed Trump into power. I mean, in, in like 10 or 20 years, when I tell like children or, you know, maybe even teens about the predominant narrative that’s rolled around Trump from like 2016 to 2020.

And I say literally, I can give you the quotes of Elizabeth Warren or Adam Schiff or Nancy Pelosi, or name your prominent Democrat, even Bernie Sanders indulged in at a point where they. Would just assert variations of that. The Russian government has [00:26:00] seized control from within of the American government and we’re running us foreign policy.

That’s why Rachel Maddow would go on these crazed monologues. About how if Trump like wanted to maybe like withdraw 10 percent of troops from Syria, that was being done at the command of Putin. Um, so no, that’s not, but it’s never been, but you’re wrong in this sense. That whole dogma has never been falsifiable.

There’s never been a single fact that could ever contravene that article of faith on their part. It’s like a religious dogma. In so far as it is not falsifiable. It’s not even, it doesn’t exist in the realm of empirical fact. So Trump in a month could blurt out some wisecrack and then we’ll have another five alarm fire, uh, media, you know, a news cycle.

about how he’s gonna do the bidding of Putin, even though he’s just funded another two years of war against Putin! I mean, none of it makes any sense at all, but you have to kind of just accept that, and just, I guess, enjoy the ride, because it’s [00:27:00] just a never ending cascade of absurdity. 

Jones: Yeah, it’s just complete insanity, because I was reading this article in the New York Times the other day, and it’s, it was, I mean, it was kind of insane to read.

I mean, they’re describing Mike Johnson as having this transformational arc and they end the article by having him describe, compare himself to John Quincy Adams, ending slavery saying that, you know, this is all about being on the right side of history and it doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you just have to do the right thing.

And they’re, they’re praising him and they’re using all these different quotes from all these officials to, uh, you know, make it seem like Mike Johnson is such this like courageous. Leader, but without even mentioning that Trump played a key role in the, in 

Tracey: the whole thing. Johnson was just, Johnson was just the lackey for Trump.

Johnson was just the conduit for what Trump wanted. So yeah, you’re right. There’s this, uh, but there’s like a inverse, there’s an inverse of that too, which is that you have this MAGA media complex who is now using Mike Johnson as the scapegoat or the Patsy. And demonizing him, attacking him, [00:28:00] calling for his ouster.

And then you have the Democrat 

Jones: media doing the 

Tracey: reverse, but Trump, it’s like he, who, who, he, who shall not be named like Voldemort, especially for Republicans. They, I would challenge anybody listening to this and I’ve gone after a couple of them myself, cause I’m like annoyed, real genuinely about this.

None of them will admit Trump centrality to what was just done because it would jeopardize and compromise their entire business model. I mean, the MAGA media complex is organized around the one core principle, which is what, like, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m not going to pretend like I’m teaching a class that 

Jones: Donald Trump is an enemy to the deep state, right?

Tracey: Advancing the, yeah. Advancing the interest, the political interest of Donald Trump, which for their online audience consists of peddling this fiction that he’s somehow, inimical to establishment interests, right? Or he’s somehow this foe of the deep state. It doesn’t matter that he stuffed [00:29:00] his administration with every interventionist lunatic that you could imagine.

Mike Pompeo ran foreign policy for the majority of the Trump administration, plucked right from the CIA into the state department by Trump. But that doesn’t contradict this whole notion of Trump being, uh, an enemy of the deep state somehow. I don’t know. I mean, nobody can really spell out the logic here.

Again, it’s pure personality cult, either worship or loathing of Trump. That’s the glowed star of American politics since 2015. And we can’t get out of it. We’re stuck in this never ending. Loop of doom and destruction. It’s crazy Um, but yeah, I mean so this mega media complex who the liberal media will position themselves again against They need to delude their own audiences saying oh trump was just swindled or tricked for the eight millionth time He actually didn’t want to collaborate with mike johnson Steve bannon said this Two days ago, I just tweeted a clip.

Steve Bannon has done [00:30:00] this, he’s done this like every week for some, whatever the latest Trump foible is. Steve Bannon will say, Oh, you know what? Damn, damn, everybody. I’m sorry to report that Trump’s advisors, they let him astray again, but you know, we’ll get him next time. MAGA. Make it, you know, let’s, uh, remember to vote in November.

I mean, it’s, it never ends. It always relies on 

Jones: them somehow being able to read Donald Trump’s mind and tell you what he actually wanted and then say, Oh, you know, he wanted this, but you know, he got manipulated by all these bad people, so we still have to vote for him because it’s still the best option.

I saw you interviewing, uh, or not interviewing. I saw you debating. Alex Jones and they were all making that argument the whole time that, Oh no, Trump actually wants all these things. But it’s like, how do you even like know that? Because at the end of the day, you should not, uh, judge a politician on what they say they want, but what they.

Actually do what their legislative actions are. Right? [00:31:00] Yeah. They’re all, 

Tracey: they’re all stuck in a 2016 vortex. Okay. So in 2016, it was, I mean, you, you look like you’re about, you know, maybe 19 years old. So maybe you don’t remember this as like an unconscious adult. Okay. Well, even, well, then you might’ve been, you know, weren’t at an age of maturation where you could fully appreciate it, but 2016 really was Incredibly unusual in the annals of american political history because for the first time ever a major party nominated Someone who had no prior government experience and no prior military experience.

Okay Um, sorry, there was one exception prior to that, which is thomas dewey, I think in 19 40, if I’m not mistaken, who ran against Franklin Roosevelt, but you get the point, right? I mean, uh, not since, uh, it was incredibly unusual for a major party, at least in the modern era, to nominate somebody who had no government or military experience at all.

Trump’s experience was that he ran beauty pageants and he was a talk, he was a reality TV show host. [00:32:00] That was his political experience. Um, so in 2016 It was a challenge and I wrote columns about this at the time and you can go look him up like a new york daily news or wherever Um, you have to kind of discern trump’s instincts in order to project forward what he might do in office There was no record to go on.

He didn’t have a voting record He had a punditry record where he would just like be in trump tower and do this little like youtube clips where he’d be like Uh Rambling about the latest issue of the day, but he would like toggle back and forth between Academy Awards, Rosie O’Donnell, and then Libya or something.

And none of it would really add up to much that was coherent. So, but he was nonetheless, he was ended up being the Republican presidential nominee, so you had to like figure out some heuristic to anticipate what he might do. If he wielded power, right? So, but that, and that was, that was a challenge. Um, and I maybe struggled with it myself in certain respects, but guess what?

Now we have four years of data for what Trump did when he actually wielded power. Like it’s not this [00:33:00] grand mystery anymore. We can just look what he did. We can now analyze him like we would any politician, which is that you look at their record and power. You don’t just credulously. Except at face value their rhetoric, right?

Um, but you have Trump opponents and supporters stuck in the 2016 mentality where we just somehow inexplicably disregard the entire four years worth of record of what he actually did in power. And yet, and, and we say, okay, we’re just going to project forward based on our hunches and intuitions and based on our like mind reading of his internal desires or something.

And what he actually did is immaterial. So people keep going back to this 2016 time loop. So what does it lead to? It leads to a continuation of this dynamic which was a menace when trump was in office Which is that he would be pilloried [00:34:00] non stop all day every day as a stooge of russia And it is true that trump was unprecedentedly targeted by the national security state apparatus with Attempts to basically hinder his ability to govern and even to get elected in the first place So the cia the nsa the fbi they really did intercede in, in electoral politics to an unprecedented degree because they irrationally and stupidly perceived Trump to be this incredibly menacing threat to their interests.

When he just wanted to be presiding over the operas. He didn’t really care to overthrow it, but they didn’t understand that because they were brainwashed by like David Frum at the Atlantic. I’m not even, that’s not even an exaggeration. I mean, if you go back to 2016, there was this congealing of like a narrative in the summer, just before the Republican convention where Trump, you know, blurted out one of his, um, off the cuff remarks [00:35:00] about, you know, uh, questioning whether the U S should go to war to save Estonia.

Which frankly is a reasonable thing to wonder if that’s, you know, wise, but then that created this whole five alarm fire hysteria about how Trump was going to destroy every American, uh, led, uh, global institution or something. Alex Jones and people were cheering that because they’re against the globalists and Trump’s going to, you know, he’s going to be against the globalists.

That’s my Alex Jones impression. Um, so yeah, it’s just this miasma of, you know, reinforcing stupidity and delusion that just swirls around Trump constantly. Uh, and what happened when he was in power was that. He would, he would, you know, he put in Pompeo and Bolton and he delegated us foreign policy to like Elliot Abrams, who imported from the Bush, uh, administration and Marco Rubio was running Venezuela policy.

Uh, it was, you know, he was assassinating the top general in [00:36:00] Iran. Uh, and he was abrogating hugely consequential treaties going back to Reagan with Russia. So Trump was. Basically, drastically undermining U. S. Russia relations to a dangerous low point. But then what was going on with the Democrats that entire time?

They were saying Trump is actually doing the bidding of Russia so that he was getting this incentive from his opposition to demonstrate how tough he was against Russia. And so you see in the campaign now, a continuation of that, Trump actually working behind, working to effectuate the passage of the largest ever dispersal of Ukraine funding will not change Democrats perception of him at all.

They will latch on to anything that he posts in all caps or any, uh, passing remark at a rally. To reinforce this fake narrative about how he’s in the pocket of Putin And so that will be then seen as this incentive that he has to manage um, so I mean It’s uh, it’s just a complete mess. I mean, I that’s why I [00:37:00] don’t think that You know, I was in when I was in I covered the new hampshire primary this year, right?

One thing that was interesting about it. I think I talked about this on glenn show or talked about aspects of it one You know, a couple of months ago is that, you know, there clearly was a significant portion of the Republican primary electorate that was voting for Trump on the ground that they thought that he was the anti interventionist option.

So even for that to be a common sentiment within the Republican party is somewhat novel, at least for me, who’s a little older. So I came of age in the Bush years when it was like the radical inverse of that. Right. Um, but until you had Donald Trump Jr. I attended like a rally of his where he’s saying, yeah, we’re not going to give any more to corrupt Zelensky, and we’re funding Nazis in Ukraine, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Meanwhile, his daddy is doing what? He’s working with Lindsey Graham to repurpose the whole mantra of America first onto escalating intervention in Ukraine because Trump reasons that that’s going to give him [00:38:00] leverage To end the war in 24 hours. I mean they nobody bothered to pinpoint first of all trump refused to debate the whole cycle, right?

So frankly the maca people owe an apology to ronda santos and nikki haley because they were getting lambasted relentlessly for supposedly being Warmongers and blah blah blah and they were faking the ukraine position, which was true I mean ronda santos actually did fake his ukraine position to try to you know, have it both ways You Where he’s going to maintain basically the substantive identical position as a, as maintain the status quo as under Biden.

But then like have some rhetorical gestures toward, you know, saying that we don’t need boots on the ground in Ukraine, even though it’s meaningless. He had the same position as Biden effectively. But so did Trump! That we know for sure. Because all Trump would ever do On the off chance that he was asked a question about Ukraine policy, he would say, it would have never happened.

It would have never, ever happened. Israel would have never happened. Ukraine would have never happened. It’s terrible. It’s terrible. So all Trump would ever do is give this alternate timeline [00:39:00] prognosis as to how wonderful everything would have been if he were retained in power. And what did that allow him to do never spell out an actual position on ukraine policy So when the major ukraine policy issue actually comes up on which his influence is decisive He just endorses the largest ever disbursement of funding to ukraine and now i’m screaming and making a fool of myself But you see it’s it is it’s maddening 

Ramos: Yeah,

maybe the iran siege of the russian house in terms of tiktok It was a bill that went through in March and now they added it. So can you just explain like what the process is with that and getting it through now? And then now what can we look forward to in this aspect? And what power does it give? 

Tracey: Yeah, it’s another incredibly sleazy and deceitful process.

I mean, if only this tick tock bill was passed on its [00:40:00] own, it would be one of the most consequential bills in recent times. But now we have that on top of this global, uh, bill. Disbursement of military funding and more funding that’s going to allow, you know, fuel global conflict for years in three theaters.

Um, but the, yeah, you’re right. In March, there was a bill that was ushered through the House on an expedited timescale because what happened with that was about a year before. So March of 2023 was the first major legislative push to enact a TikTok ban. And there was significant pushback to that version of the bill, you know, a little over a year ago, because once people actually looked at the text, they realized that it was not just about banning TikTok, which my argument is that even on its own terms, banning TikTok is highly indivisible, but people figured out that in addition to banning TikTok with that first version of the bill did a year ago was that it’s granted huge sweeping unilateral powers to the [00:41:00] president to regulate.

The internet and imposed censorship. If he could just claim that there’s some national security risk, right? Uh, so what they did this time was that was they hung back, uh, and they waited and they strategize a little bit more effectively and Mike Gallagher was the sponsor of this bill who just amazingly resigned from Congress about eight months early on Saturday, immediately after voting for the package, who’s supposed to resign on Friday.

This is a Republican member of Congress from Wisconsin. He, uh, who was just too overwhelmed with the, uh, the task of governing at age 39. So he resigned early and, you know, going, he’s going to, you know, to go work for Peter Thiel and, um, uh, but he, he waited around an extra day. Passed his resignation date to vote for this final bill that contained his TikTok ban, which the house already voted on and approved.

But what they did was, I mean, and again, this is the devilish genius of [00:42:00] Johnson. He knows that there’s going to be a segment of the Republican caucus in the house that is hyper committed to banning TikTok, right? And maybe they are a little bit more wary about ukraine funding or different aspects of the quote foreign aid But they really want to ban tiktok and they’re so johnson’s saying look this is your only opportunity not just to pass the tiktok ban through our chamber again, but to then compel the senate to take it up because Chuck Schumer had given indications that although he might be tentatively on board with maybe putting some restrictions on TikTok or attempting to sever ByteDance, which is the owner, the parent company of TikTok from the, from the app, uh, but he might not have been used as blunt force and instrument as what the house had just had done.

But now, because you, because Chuck and Joe Biden and all the rest of the Democrats are desperate number above all else for Ukraine funding. They’ll take anything again. They would shoot, they would decapitate a baby on live TV to get the Ukraine [00:43:00] funding. So of course they’ll ban tick tock. They don’t care.

Um, and so this was their opportunity to get it done. And so, uh, Johnson, I, you know, Johnson used that as a point of leverage to usher through the house. And so, yeah, there was, but, but why that first, uh, vote that they took in March of this year was so sleazy was. They expedited the time scale dramatically from voting the bill out of committee.

I mean, I talked to people who were, you know, tick tock, uh, who worked for tick tock essentially, um, in DC who were like, it’s their job to be hyper attuned to every little, Incremental development around any regulation involving TikTok. Even they had no clue that it was coming on the week that it happened to come.

Cause they did this legislative ambush, sneak attack, because they knew that if they, they couldn’t repeat their mistake of the year prior, which is that they allowed too much public scrutiny of the bill. Because once people are aware of its prohibitions and because somebody, people use Tik Tok, then [00:44:00] they’re going to contact their representatives and ask them, please don’t ban one of the most or the most popular app in the United States.

What’s the, what’s the pretext to expedite it? They didn’t give a pretext. Oh, so they can just do that. They can just do it. They can do it. That’s the thing. They can do whatever they want. I mean, the house, each body of, The legislature, the House and Senate, they basically make up their own rules on the fly.

They can do whatever they want. There’s no rhyme or, they don’t have to give a pretext. They have a strategic pretext, which is that they had to foreclose excess exposure of the provisions of the bill to the public, because if they did what they had mistakenly done a year ago, it would have increased pressure to block the bill.

Um, and so that worked. And now I mean, I had a, I was, uh, if you had some, uh, there was some opposition to the tick tock bill that passed in a standalone bill that passed in March because a year or so, not a day or so before, there was some momentum building to point out [00:45:00] it’s like heinous provisions. But now there was almost, there was very little democratic opposition to it.

This time because like eric swallow for instance who represents one of the wealthiest districts in the bay area He voted against the standalone tick tock bill in march Then he voted for the pat holt and the whole all encompassing package on saturday because again number one thing number one priority in life in the universe is ensuring that another year or two of Trench warfare in ukraine in the don bass can be subsidized That’s really what they care about the most in the world.

Um, so if that means stripping like 150 million Americans of their preferred social media app through which they express speech and receive speech in one of the most, um, Far reaching acts of censorship in American history. Hey tough luck kids. We need to make sure that we are Continuing to put money in the [00:46:00] coffers of ukrainian like Government workers and that’s what they didn’t even strip out that and the republicans have been complaining for I mean, once Republicans like kind of broke out of their trance, like toward the end of 2022, where they were just, just as belligerent on Ukraine as, uh, Democrats, they realized that the Biden administration was just like dumping money into the general fund of Ukraine to pay pensioners.

Where’s like, you know, people, we have like homeless veterans on the streets of America. Um, so they, they had a little bit of a talking point about that, but they didn’t even reform that really. I mean, they did slightly modify some of the dispersals to pensioners in Ukraine, but some of that, a lot of this money, you know, the so called loan concept that Johnson was touting on behalf of Trump.

That’s only about the economic funding that goes to Ukraine. So people might have a misconception of the 61 billion, only 8 billion approximately is [00:47:00] eligible for loan forgiveness under this brilliant proposal of Trump, if that’s just the economic aid that just goes into the general fund of Ukraine to keep the government running the military aid, quote unquote aspect, which is the vast majority of the 61 billion.

Not none of that’s even eligible for loan forgiveness. 

Jones: And even though, even the part that is eligible for loan forgiveness, there’s a provision in the bill that allows them to just forgive that loan, right? Right, exactly. With zero 

Tracey: interest at the beginning. So it was never, it never had, not only could they forgive it whenever they want, it never even had to be paid back in the first place.

I mean, it’s a farce on top of a farce. Um, but yeah, it was solely to give some kind of imprimatur to the bill where it had Trump’s seal of approval. That’s it. And that worked. So the, 

Jones: so the reason that the bill, uh, the tick tock bill from last month, the reason that they didn’t stick with that one in the ways, uh, uh, to ban tick tock is basically because you’re saying there was a chance that that wouldn’t have been able [00:48:00] to, uh, 

Tracey: no, they did ban tick tock.

They just didn’t do it as a standalone bill. They just fold it. I know, I know. I’m 

Jones: saying that the standalone bill, the reason that they, Adopted this new strategy of implementing it into the foreign aid package is because there was a chance that it might have not worked In the standalone bill so they saw this as an opportunity to sneak it in there because democrats are so Hell bent on funding ukraine basically is what you’re saying 

Tracey: Yeah another way of putting it is if So the house already passed their standalone tiktok bill and they were waiting for the senate to act and the senate hadn’t acted yet Chuck schumer had indicated that they weren’t just going to adopt wholesale What the house had passed, right?

So there was going to be a whole series of legislative wrangling sessions over how to actually come up with a final agreement bicamerally on the tick tock band. But then what Johnson was able to do with Gallagher and co was Use the Ukraine funding, which is the number one priority of the Democrats as a point of leverage to get the Senate to just pass wholesale the House version of the TikTok ban.

So the most [00:49:00] extreme version of the TikTok ban, which probably on its own terms, if it had just been standalone, Wouldn’t have gotten through in the same, right. 

Jones: So it still gives the president the authority to basically just say, this thing is this net, this side is a national security threat, so now we have to, uh, ban it, right?

Like without any evidence or 

Tracey: yeah. So it’s substantively identical to the March version of the bill. They made some cosmetic adjustments around, like they framed it as something about, you know, protecting the data privacy of Americans, so they’re protecting American’s data. Uh, by imposing massive censorship on them.

So everybody should be really grateful to the government for protecting them. So thoughtfully, um, yeah, so, yeah. So the, but it still contains the same core provision, which is that in addition to just name it, to naming tick tock and bite dance, which is questionable constitutionally, because The constitution is supposed to prohibit something called a bill of attainder, which is essentially like you pass a law that directly specifically targets [00:50:00] one entity like I feel like I hereby, you know, ban Walgreens from selling, you know, cigarettes or something like that, you know, hat camp has to be a more universalizable.

Specifically targeting one entity, this bill, it, it names TikTok and ByteDance, but then I, maybe to get around the bill of attainder hurdle, it says, Oh, in addition to naming to specifically targeting ByteDance and TikTok, we’re now just going to give this larger authority to the president to, Designate any app, any application, which is like a website app, anything on the internet hosting, uh, internet, uh, web hosting service, uh, as a foreign, as a, as a national security risk.

If it can be asserted that it has some affiliation, which isn’t really to spell out how you, how you prove that with one of the, you know, chief official, uh, you know, enemy states of the US, which is Iran. North Korea, Russia, China, and I forget if they threw in Cuba there. I think it [00:51:00] was just the four. Um, yeah, so, so that’s a wholesale authority now, which is why people like Warren Davidson, who’s a Republican from Ohio, who I should actually check if he voted for the final bill, I’m not sure, but he was on the floor when this first was being rushed through in March saying, look, they could ban telegram now.

Because they can make some kind of argument that has a connection to Russia, which is one of these officially designated adversary states. Um, so that whole authority is still in, was just passed and Biden just signed it like two hours ago. So yeah, congratulations everybody. I mean, get your last, you know, a telegram scans in while you can and you’ll make a couple of tick tock dance videos.

Because, uh, we’re all, I don’t know, we might just have the, we might just have to, we have, might have to all like learn, do, learn to like read books again. You 

Jones: know, I’ve been wondering what, because I mean, so the, what you’re describing now, it seems like the reason to pass the tick tock pill from the government perspective is that it gives the president this unprecedented power to [00:52:00] basically just impose mass censorship on the internet without any kind of like, uh, Evidence required to declare that there’s a national security threat or anything, you can just say it and then it is, it’s 

Tracey: totally at his own discretion.

It, it’s, yeah, exactly. It, it’s, it’s, it’s seeding to the president a unilateral power. I mean, what’s amazing about that bill in terms of the balance of power within the branches of government is that the Congress has decided to just forfeit any power whatsoever over the adjudicative process on this to the president.

He’s saying for the president, whether it’s Joe Biden or Donald Trump or Mickey Mouse. Can just on his whim decide that a certain app constitutes a sufficient national security threat to just ban it Willy nilly and then say oh, but you have to submit a report to us 45 days later Which is sometimes it’s just a sentence that means nothing that they just send tech for technical reasons to the congress 

Jones: right, which makes this, uh, you know extra cynical because I mean i’ve seen this argument that like The reason that they’re banning TikTok is because TikTok isn’t as controlled [00:53:00] censorship wise and like kids are getting, um, radicalized on TikTok against the Israel war effort, which, you know, might be true, but I feel like the same is true of Twitter and Instagram and other social media sites.

Um, and also TikTok, I think, might be even more censorious than any of the other, um, social media sites. Yeah, remember they took 

Tracey: down, 

Jones: they, 

Tracey: they 

Jones: were, 

Tracey: remember, remember they were bludgeoned into taking down the Bin Laden letter in November of last year? Because, and that was a fake narrative too. I mean, the whole reason why anybody was even aware that the quote Bin Laden letter was being, which is this letter from, was it 2002, where Bin Laden was giving his rationale for creating this, The 9 11 attacks and supposedly went viral on TikTok, but it didn’t even go viral on TikTok.

What happened was the professional Twitter, you know, uh, tattletales who just scoured TikTok and, you know, clip stuff out and then post it on Twitter or X, they’re the ones who caught, made it go viral. There was like three people who shared it on TikTok [00:54:00] initially. And then that caused the Streisand effect thing where it actually then did get a lot of attention and people should read because it’s a notable historical document.

Um, but no, I mean, I do think that there’s a, TikTok is clearly just a scapegoat for the entire breadth of like social media, which must have some effect. On shaping the political opinions of the youth who use it as their primary means for news and information consumption. But I don’t, I’ve never seen much evidence at all that TikTok has like a uniquely, you know, determinative effect on people’s political development of political opinions.

I mean, what’s ironic about, The singular focus on Tik Tok, it’s, it’s like the most apolitical of the social media apps. Like I’ve barely, I never used it myself. I mean, I’ve seen, I’ve just like looked through it just to get a sense of what it’s about, but like, it’s mostly just, you know, pop culture and like makeup tutorials and, you know, humor stuff and dance videos.

I mean, there’s not that much politics on it. Of course, like any mass social media platform [00:55:00] doesn’t have some political stuff on there. But it’s not like X or Twitter, which has always had a much more political 

Jones: orientation. Yeah. Someone who’s used the app. I totally agree with you. That’s why I never really got the argument that like TikTok was this device in which, uh, people were being radicalized and, you know, becoming dissidents of us foreign policy.

That doesn’t make sense to me. 

Tracey: No, I agree. So, I mean, what do you, what’s your, uh, how, how have you used it? I mean, what do you use it for? Cause like, I’m not, I wouldn’t have been a native to it in the same way that it would have been to Twitter or X. I 

Jones: mean, I basically just use it for the exact same things that you just said, like funny videos and memes.

Which 

Tracey: is why, again, which is the irony of it, which is like people who use it for funny videos and memes and like cooking tutorials and stuff are all of a sudden being told that they’re being brainwashed by the Communist Party of China for what? I don’t know. It’s never really spelled out, but because the ultimate worry is that it’s not Within the chain of custody of [00:56:00] the American state in the same way that the other social media platforms are that’s the only Major distinction between them as far as I can tell They’ll make content.

I mean actually pete ricketts I posted a clip of this last night because I unfortunately subjected myself to like eight hours worth of senate debate But pete ricketts who’s the republican senator from nebraska? He was making an argument that I think probably has to do with him never using the app Which is that he was saying it was because of tiktok that we see like these protests about You He’s like pro Palestinian protests, or that people don’t appreciate the sanctity of the Jewish state enough anymore.

Um, and he was, he was ascribing some unique, nefarious influence to TikTok, but I think that’s just Like a side argument that they make to try to get through a ban of TikTok because ultimately it’s just about the exertion of state control not being available to the US over TikTok as it is to Google and Facebook and TwitterX and everything else.

That’s [00:57:00] the only key, that’s the only difference I can see. 

Jones: I mean, I don’t even know if I’d say that because TikTok, like Alan McLeod from mid press news did this piece, uh, basically breaking down how the TikTok board is filled with like former military. You’re 

Tracey: probably right about 

Jones: that, 

Tracey: but our company is Chinese and that’s what’s unacceptable to them.

Jones: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And like, and like, uh, I think, and I mean, I’m pretty sure that TikTok is even more sensorious than most other, 

Tracey: well, you know, they would be more sensorious or sensorial. I think it’s actually the right adjective, not that it matters, um, because they’re under much more political pressure.

Right exactly in their market share in the u. s So they have to be hyper sensitive to political demands on them to regulate content, right? Like i’m 

Jones: sure if you dissent from I mean revolutionary blackout network I don’t know if you know who they are, but they’re like this group of uh, black marxists that uh, you know have Radical views on, um, U S politics and foreign policy.

And they, uh, dissent from, you know, pretty much every, uh, mainstream American war that you could think of. And they, they made a tick [00:58:00] tock. And I think within their first like few videos, they literally got banned from tick tock because they decided the Ukraine war narrative, which is, you know, not a Chinese interest at all.

So it just is completely 

Tracey: Cantwell, who used to be this scene is this Burton, the most savvy tech senator, because she represents Washington state. Um, right. So she, you know, she’ll, she has dealt with Jeff Bezos and she knows Bill Gates and because there was like a tech, you know, Microsoft was in Seattle and whatnot, and she’s been there for, of course, like 35 years.

She clings to power like every all the rest of them for as long as humanly possible. Even she was screaming yesterday with her big placards on the floor of the Senate, like, uh, like a, you know, fiscal PowerPoint presentation that, uh, They have like these fake studies that they, from these like, uh, state subsidized, fake, fake techs.

They 

Jones: need percent more Ukraine hashtags or all this stuff. Yeah, 

Tracey: exactly. They’ll have like, oh, according to a study from the Center for, uh, the Center for Civic Integrity, which could be anything. I mean, that could be some guy in his basement. [00:59:00] Um, yeah, there was a, there was 600 percent more pro Ukrainian content on Instagram versus TikTok.

And that’s their whole argument for banning TikTok. I mean, it’s like crazy. Maybe it’s just because most people on Tik Tok, like we have established, don’t give a crap about politics. So they’re not going to be posting as much about that as they would just like, I don’t know, relationships and dogs and other stuff.

Yeah. 

Ramos: So quickly, just to get this in to a call, the committee chairman said that in this legislation, they had the most comprehensive sanctions against Iran. Congress has passed in years. Um, is the, and given

the context of the recent attacks in Israel. Uh, retaliatory attack. Is there is this escalation? What can we make of this inclusion? 

Tracey: Well, yeah, it’s a huge escalation. I mean, Mike [01:00:00] Johnson in announcing his like big religious epiphany because in the New York Times article that I think you mentioned before, or maybe it was a different one, but there was the hilarious little aside about how he was, he dropped to his knees in prayer, like asking for guidance on how to handle the Ukraine funding.

Um, but he went like announcing his big epiphany, but he has said this before, but he repeated us. We fit. I really do believe I’m not gonna do a good impression of him. ’cause he, I said he, he should just do a Ned Flanders impression. ’cause that’s totally Mike Johnson , um, Ned Flanders teaching at Sunday School.

That’s him. I mean, people thinking, I mean, people were telling me, my commenters online were telling me, oh, he must have been blackmail. That he has like some dark sexual past. We know. I mean he actually is Ned Flanders, uh, . He was saying that he, um. He really believes that there’s this new axis of evil, which is Iran, Russia, and China.

And so one, one of the bills that was folded into the grab bag fourth bill, uh, which included the TikTok ban, the seizure of Russian assets and enemies, all these Iran [01:01:00] and other sanctions, was that they’re attempting to do, impose secondary sanctions on China. To prevent them from importing Iranian oil. Um, so they’re trying to cut off like billions of dollars in daily trade or something between Iran and China.

Now, I think those sections can probably be pretty easily circumvented, but even to just the To even be putting the stranglehold even that much more intensely on Iran is insane because First obama and then trump would be constantly bragging about how they were doing this maximum pressure campaign on iran With which included the most they were competing like democrats and republicans from like 2012 to 2019 or something 2020 were constantly competing amongst themselves for who could impose the most crippling sanctions on iran, right?

um and You There was a chance for potentially the democratic administration following Trump to maybe mitigate some of that [01:02:00] because they can say, Oh, look, Trump, because he’s an insurrectionist and white supremacist, he was going after Iran. Um, and so maybe we can like rein that back in a little bit, but they didn’t bother Biden is basically just carried forth the exact same paradigm as Trump did on Iran, because in large part, my theory is that once there was, once there were leaks that were coming out, that Iran was going to supply, Drones to Russia for use in Ukraine meant that Democrats were going to be just as rabid as Republicans on Iran.

Because that, that, that, that incorporated Iran to this whole, you know, battle of autocracy versus democracy. You know, framework that Democrats love to pontificate about. So yeah, I mean, I think the sanctions are, I mean, Just to attempt to cut off, uh, commerce in the way that it’s been done between Iran and Russia probably is just going to continue to kind of, um, [01:03:00] strengthen the way in which those countries operate as a singular block, because, uh, the sanctions only come into effect.

If iran sells oil to russia and then some third party company like uses the oil that’s been imported to china from iran To underwrite or to contribute to the production of some product that ends up in america, right? Um, so they’re probably going to close off the commerce even more uh to any kind of western influence because That means anybody any company that wants to do business with the united states Has to abide by those sanctions, right?

So any European company with European interests, when with Indian interests, et cetera, they have to abide by those sanctions. Um, so yeah, I mean, it’s just, it’s just, uh, exacerbating this kind of block conflict mentality, uh, with Iran as a member of the axis. I mean, the fact that they’re even using the phrase axis of evil again, is an utter [01:04:00] absurdity.

David Frum is the one who coined that in the 2002 state of the union speech for George W. Bush, Iraq, back then it was Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. And now that we’re talking about an axis of evil, which includes the single, the leading nuclear weapons, superpower, Russia, and the leading economic superpower other than the United States, China.

So it’s a much kind of a more formidable axis of evil at this point. If you want to use that terminology and therefore considerably more dangerous, but apparently nobody, everybody’s just very casual about it. They’re just saying, Oh, yeah, we’ll just have to see how hopefully it all works out. As we hurtle into oblivion.

Jones: Yeah. Um, so I was going to conclude this interview by asking you about, and it seems like you already answered this, if this is the nail in the coffin for the America first Trump movement, but it seems like you’re basically saying that nothing will change from a media perspective in terms of all these people that have invested in these.

Nothing at all. 

Tracey: I don’t think this will hurt. I mean, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a, like a wish casting thing going on within some of the [01:05:00] pro Trump, like online circles who are slightly open to like rational. evidence and so forth, where they’re saying, Oh, gee whiz, it looks like this could hurt Trump politically.

So maybe he’ll change course. I have an effect at all. Look at the coverup on this. Barely anybody on, I’m like, I mean, maybe I’m, uh, I have like an ego or something, but I think I’m the only one who like understands the chronology of how this all transpired. Like, so nobody cares. Nobody follows the legislative minutia or like the procedural stuff in the house versus the Senate.

I mean, this is going to get memory hold in about a week. And everybody will return to their standard cheerleading posture for Trump, and he’s still going to be ahead in the polls. Nobody’s going to, in October, the propaganda is going to be so intense for both sides of the partisan, the great partisan divide, that nobody’s going to remember that Trump, you know, pulled a bait and switch on his, you know, diluted online followers back in April.[01:06:00] 

Uh, so no, I don’t think it’s going to have any effect at all. It’s all going to get memory hole, just like almost everything else in U. S. politics. 

Jones: Yeah, that’s unfortunate. I mean, it’s pretty predictable though. Like, I mean, uh, Trump’s Trump supporters, you don’t even know that Trump was the one that, uh, implemented operation warp speed, which a lot of, uh, which was the thing that rushed the vaccines through the regulatory process with the help of the NSA and the military.

Uh, even though a lot of them, You know, our anti, uh, you know, against the M. R. N. A. Vaccines. But yeah, you know, that’s unfortunate. But, um, I think that was a great talk. And, uh, I just wanted to thank you, Michael, for joining us. And if you had any last words, get them in and also share any share where people can follow your work.

And, uh, tease anything that you have coming up. 

Tracey: Yeah, thanks. Mtracy. net is the website for the substack and so forth. I’m trying to have a piece probably today or tomorrow, so be on the lookout for that. And I’m also permanently attached to Twitter, you know, at much To my chagrin and much to [01:07:00] the detriment of my mental health.

So feel free to follow that M Tracy or X. I mean, I still can’t even use the correct term for it, but there you have it. Oh, by the way, where was Elon on the big war funding bill? He had this bold proposal in 2022. Remember that where they should give over Crimea to Russia. He’s just mysteriously silent.

And it’s like, it comes like eight months or nine months after it came out that he had a secret contract with the Pentagon for starling services permanently in Ukraine. I don’t know. Did it have anything to do with it? I can’t say, but I just know that he didn’t, that he, just like Trump, despite his massive platform, decided to sit this one out and just let the most consequential war funding and surveillance bill in years sail right through unimpeded.

Jones: Yep. 

Tracey: That’s, uh, yeah. Jones: All right. Thank you, Michael. Hopefully we’ll talk to you soon. All right. Take care.

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Max Jones

Max Jones is a staff writer and video producer for ScheerPost. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, where he studied communications and screenwriting, he is following his post-USC plans to be an independent filmmaker and screenwriter, and a journalist at ScheerPost. He has covered various topics in both his web show Journalists for Sale and writing, focusing most heavily on issues of free speech, information warfare, and foreign policy.

Diego Ramos

Diego Ramos, ScheerPost managing editor and New York bureau chief, is a journalist from Queens, NY. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has previously worked at BuzzFeed News and was managing editor of Annenberg News at USC. He’s covered and researched myriad topics including war, politics, psychedelic research and sports. 

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