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Republican Debate 2 Was Dreary, Undignified, & Unwatchable. PLUS: Outlook Significantly Worsens for Ukraine (and US Taxpayers)
Video Transcript
September 29, 2023
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Good evening. It's Thursday, September 28. 

Tonight: The second Republican presidential debate was held last night in the Reagan Library, sacred, hallowed ground for all of us, and to say that the participants in this debate, moderators and candidates alike, failed to do justice to this glorious setting is to dramatically understate the case. It was close to unwatchable. At times it was literally unwatchable by which I mean that even though I had all sorts of unique incentives to watch the debate beyond what the ordinary voter possesses – I knew I'd have to talk about the debate on tonight's program, I was scheduled to appear in other programs throughout the day to discuss the debate, my work as a journalist kind of requires me to watch it and, in general, I usually like political debates and think they're important to watch  – I battled continuously against the growing temptation to just turn it off until I finally couldn't take it anymore. I made it through the first 50 minutes or so with decreasing levels of intense attention until I finally just checked out and only went back this morning to watch the rest of it because I was forced to by the commitments I had made today, otherwise, I most definitely would not have. 

I don't think there was a single good or interesting point to the entire debate, except for when Chris Christie said that from now on we're going to call Donald Trump… Donald Duck –  and then look at the camera with an intense amount of obvious self-satisfaction after unleashing this pre-prepared insult only to find that the only laughter came from a few uncomfortable audience members who made noises slightly resembling laughter, but mostly out of pity for Christie, who was standing up on the stage with silence enveloping his big joke. It reminded me a great deal of when liberals in 2016 genuinely believed that they had finally found the way they were going to take down Donald Trump after the HBO host, John Oliver, reminded everybody that his family name was actually Drumpf and that from now on we should all call him Drumpf. And Liberals were earnestly certain that this would be so embarrassing for the Republican frontrunner, that young people and working-class people and older voters would all unite in contempt for Trump, now that John Oliver had attached to him a difficult-to-pronounce surname. 

Several of the Republican candidates unveiled brand new personalities that were directly contrary to the personality they used for the first debate. The host from Univision asked all of the questions, almost every last one that every Republican voter obviously and viscerally hates or doesn't care about. The candidates spent the entire time talking over one another where you could barely hear them and really didn't want to. We will spend some time talking about a couple of parts of the debate in an attempt to extract meaning from them, mostly because I just feel like… I should, rather than just ignoring the whole thing. 

And then: at exactly the point when you didn't think it was possible the war in Ukraine has gotten worse for all of those in the West who are its chief sponsors to say nothing of the Ukrainians who are actually the ones dying in this war. You may have thought that it was impossible to surpass this week's low point, which happened on Friday in the Canadian Parliament when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood by the side of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and led a robust, enthusiastic and prolonged standing ovation for an elderly Ukrainian gentleman. They all held this heroic and noble in unison, only for it to turn out that the person they were all flamboyantly honoring was someone who was an actual soldier who, during World War II, fought in a Ukrainian SS unit that answered to German Nazis and Adolf Hitler. The videotape seen of Prime Minister Trudeau and President Zelenskyy leading one of the West's great parliaments and lavishing a standing ovation upon an actual Nazi SS soldier ended up upsetting quite a bit, it turns out, various Canadian Jewish groups. Trudeau ended up kind of apologizing, though he somehow managed to attach his apology to some babbling warnings about the dangers of Russian disinformation. The speaker of the Canadian House of Commons fell on his sword, and resigned his position, noting correctly, I guess, that it would be difficult to carry out his duties after having invited someone who never really hid his Nazi past to be heralded and celebrated and honored by the Canadian Prime minister and the Ukrainian president while all the world watched. 

Notably, President Zelenskyy has yet to apologize for his role in awarding a fighter with the Nazi SS. That is likely because, as the Ukrainian American journalist Lev Golinkin explained on our show on Tuesday night, many, if not most, of the most fanatical fighters in Ukraine whom Zelenskyy is now relying on have various connections too – if not outright embraces – of very similar ideologies, and they would likely be hurt and angered to watch their leader apologize for having applauded one of their brethren. But the worst of the news in Ukraine involves new data reported today from The New York Times, in graphic form, literally in graphic form, that vividly shows the front line in Ukraine – namely, the hundreds of miles of the front line of deeply entrenched Russian troops and defensive positions that allows Moscow to now control roughly 20% of Ukrainian territory – has barely budged at all since the beginning of the year, more than nine months ago. That means that the United States and the European Union have spent hundreds of billions of dollars this year alone and thousands upon thousands of young Ukrainian men have died over the last nine months in huge numbers for no benefit of any kind – including teenagers and other conscripts who are desperately trying to flee that country finally realizing that Western psychopaths and neocons are using them as cannon fodder for their own selfish purposes, having nothing to do with the well-being of Ukrainians. It's the kind of senseless and horrific trench warfare we last saw in World War I: countries send their young citizens to certain death in battle that barely moves the line of fighting for months or even years at a time. 

Things are so bad in Ukraine that the American transwoman Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, who was fired two weeks ago by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry after she made comments that were too deranged even for Kiev, was rehired quickly, only to be fired again after she got caught on video by two Russian pranksters who pretended to be a Ukrainian former president, where she admitted everything about this war that the Western press and the Western state leaders who support it have done their best to hide. We'll show you this new data as presented by The New York Times today, as well as the admissions of this Western American, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian military just to get a sense of how absolutely senseless and sociopathic this war and the West feeling of it has really become. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now.

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CLIP: Glenn Greenwald Debates Alan Dershowitz on Iran

Glenn warns against waging wars during last week’s debate against Alan Dershowitz on whether the U.S. should strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Glenn argues: “We don't go around the world attacking other countries or trying to remove their government because we want to give those people freedom and democracy. We only [attack] when we see a government that doesn't do our bidding."

We are grateful to The Soho Forum and Reason for hosting the spirited debate. You can listen to the full debate here: https://reason.com/podcast/2024/05/24/glenn-greenwald-and-alan-dershowitz-debate-bombing-iran/

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Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted

For years, U.S. officials and their media allies accused Russia, China and Iran of tyranny for demanding censorship as a condition for Big Tech access. Now, the U.S. is doing the same to TikTok. Listen below.

Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted
WEEKLY WEIGH-IN: We Want to Hear From YOU!

What’s happening in politics that you want to talk about? Are there any burning topics you think Glenn needs to cover? Any thoughts you’d like to share?

This post will be pinned to our profile for the remainder of this week, so comment below anytime with your questions, insights, future topic ideas/guest recommendations, etc. Let’s get a conversation going!

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Are you able to do a segment on Evan Gershkovich? What the accurate vs. inaccurate accounts are and how it relates to US/Russian relations?

The duplicity of the congressmen and senators is staggering and sickening. They spew the same old talking points to disguise their actions in either faith or wisdom, even though it is neither. Whether blasphemous idolatry towards Israel, supporting the Ukraine Proxy War or even war with China over Taiwan, it is all both nauseating and a telling sign of being bought and paid for. I have yet to see anyone tell me in scripture where anything is said to worship anything other than God, yet these people all do or claim to.

If Ron Paul, Col. MacGregor and Judge Napolitano know about what is going on in Ukraine and Israel, all of Congress does as well. They know yet view AIPAC or MIC support as more important. They all need to be fired.

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GOP War Hawks, Corporatists Revolt Against JD Vance; Demanding Low-Wage Workers Be Fired for Online Postings
Video Transcript

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Good evening. It's Wednesday, July 17. 

Tonight, JD Vance, the 39-year-old first-term Republican senator from Ohio and the Republican vice-presidential nominee, will take the stage at the Republican National Convention to deliver what will certainly be his most watched and most important speech in his short political career. The symbolism is obvious: by choosing the first-ever radical candidate to appear on a major party national ticket, Trump is clearly signaling where he thinks the future of his MAGA movement lies, and in whose hands he envisions its continuation. 

However, not everyone in his party is happy with Trump's choice, to put it very mildly. Two separate wings of the Republican Party – the neocons and war hawks from the Bush-Cheney era, as well as the Reaganite believers in corporatist economic policies – are making their opposition to Vance and, indeed, their anger over his selection, very clear. It has long been obvious that, unlike the Democratic Party – which is almost entirely homogenized, unified in lockstep – the Trump era has ushered in a vibrant and sometimes bitter and, I think, healthy intra-party dispute in the Republican Party over the direction of what is called “the conservative movement,” what updates its needs from the past, as well as both the domestic and especially foreign policy that party ought to be pursuing. The negative reaction to Vance, among some of the worst and most destructive factions in the country are highly illustrative of what the Republican Party had been, why Donald Trump succeeded so successfully in 2016 by running against it and where some people – such as JD Vance and obviously Donald Trump – are trying to take the party in the future. 

Then, since October 7, we have been continuously documenting here on the show the excitement and enthusiasm on much of the pro-Israel right for so many of the values, the tactics and the weapons they long came to despise. As the sole providence of the “woke” left. In the name of protecting Israel, they have caused the censorship, firing, legal restrictions and other punishments imposed on American citizens who are simply harsh critics of Israel and the U.S.’s financing of its wars and/or supporters of the Palestinian cause. Countless people since October 7, in media, government, business and academia, have lost their jobs or otherwise been punished for the crime of expressing opposition to Israel and to the acts of that foreign government. But now, quite predictably, those tactics on the part of that sector of the right are starting to expand into other areas of other issues and starting to find quite a dark expression. Anybody who – in the wake of Saturday's assassination attempt on Donald Trump – publicly lamented that the bullet missed him, in other words, people who were wishing violent death to Donald Trump or saying it was deserved and it would be good for the country, are obviously expressing a despicable and twisted sentiment that goes without saying. And to the extent those doing that are people who wield some sort of significant influence or power in this country, demands for them to be held accountable for such statements will obviously be reasonable. That's what it means to wield public power and influence. 

That is not what's happening. Just as has been true of the efforts by the pro-Israel right to punish ordinary people, people with no power or influence for their speech since October 7, the campaign to punish people for expressing such demented thoughts about Trump is being aimed at those who wield no power. People who are hourly-wage workers for giant retailers, low-wage cashiers at places like Home Depot and the like. And so, I think it provokes the question, is it ever just or noble to target the least powerful and economically advantaged people in our society for the crime of simply saying something that was ill-advised, untoward, or even reprehensible after they get home from a 12-hour shift at a miserable job and they post something like that to twenty or so of their friends on Facebook? Should their lives be destroyed over that, their job taken away, rendered unemployable, their reputations permanently marred? That is what some on the right are actually doing and, although we certainly agree that the opinions they're targeting are, as we said, quite repugnant, we really want to examine both the wisdom and ethics of aiming those weapons at ordinary citizens who have zero power influence of any kind – in fact, the least amount of influence of power in our country. 

Finally, the independent roving reporter Michael Tracy continues to rove around the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where he is manically conducting more and more interviews of influential Republican politicians and others who are present at the Convention. For our program tonight, we have his interviews with people like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Reps Andy Barr and Brian Mast, as well as Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now. 

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SYSTEM UPDATE RECAP: July 8-12
Weekly Recap

Welcome to the SYSTEM UPDATE recap: your weekend digest featuring everything we’ve covered throughout the previous week. 

Prefer to listen to your daily news analysis? Reminder that FULL episodes of SYSTEM UPDATE are available anywhere you listen to podcasts🎙️


MONDAY, JULY 8 - EPISODE 293

Biden Cannot Be Forced Out of Race Democratically by Oligarchs; What the U.K. and French Elections Mean for Establishment Politics in Europe

Biden, though mentally unfit for office, clings to power as Democrats and corporate media fail to force him out of the race. Elections in the U.K. and France, proclaimed by the media to be a victory for the left center, in reality are a major loss for establishment centers of power. 

 

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

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TIMESTAMPS: 

Intro (10:27)

Under Pressure (16:25)

Centrist Collapse In Europe (1:00:33)

Outro (1:38:08)

 

TUESDAY, JULY 9 - EPISODE 294

Biden Administration Blames Russia for Age Concerns; Crackdowns on Israel's Critics Escalate in U.S.

The Biden administration resurrects the Russiagate conspiracy – once again – to shield him from growing calls to drop out. Speech crackdowns on U.S. college campuses reach new heights as three deans are removed at Columbia for texts that touch on “ancient antisemitic tropes.” 

 

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

WATCH THE EPISODE

 

TIMESTAMPS: 

Intro (9:10)

Russiagate, the Sequel (13:57)

Campus Crackdown (40:25)

Death Toll in Gaza Rises Dramatically (1:22:50)

Outro (1:35:21)

 

Supporters-Only After-Show for Tuesday, July 9

We moved to Locals for our supporters-only, interactive after-show where Glenn shared his thoughts on some audience questions and comments:

 

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 10 - EPISODE 295

Media Now Admits About Biden What it Long Denied; Is Biden a "Good and Decent Man"?; Ukraine War Appears Permanent During NATO Summit

The corporate media finally admitted what it denied and lied to the public about: Biden is unfit for office. A “good and decent man” is often used to describe Joe Biden moments before democrats denounce him as a mentally unfit candidate; Glenn investigates just how much of a “decent man” Biden has been. The Ukraine war appears endless as the NATO Summit kicks off in Washington.

 

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

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TIMESTAMPS: 

Intro (11:52)

Media Admits Biden Impairment (18:43)

A Decent Man? (48:59)

Endless Wars (1:22:45)

Outro (1:32:00)

 

FRIDAY, JULY 12 - EPISODE 296

Oligarchs Overriding the Will of Democratic Voters; Many Democrats Claim Push Against Biden is Racist; What Happened to Gaza in Liberal Discourse?

Democrat oligarchs scramble to remove Joe Biden from the ticket. Many Democrats complain that there is a racist element in forcing Biden out of the race, showing the constantly shifting nature of identity politics. Joe Biden has supported and financed – through American tax dollars – the war in Gaza, however liberal discourse around that war has all but ceased in the wake of the 2024 election, to only proclaim how great of a man he is. 

 

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

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TIMESTAMPS:

Intro (10:31)

Oligarchic Coup? (17:57)

Racially Biased Resignation Calls (46:38)

Liberals Now Silent on Gaza (1:05:28)

Outro (1:34:43)

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Michael Tracey LIVE at RNC in Milwaukee
Interview

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Michael Tracey LIVE at RNC in Milwaukee

 

All right. Our good, good friend of the show, Michael Tracey, who is, as I always say, a very independent, sometimes annoyingly independent, roving journalist, is in Milwaukee covering the Republican National Convention for us. He's there with our social media manager and producer, Meagan O'Rourke. They have been doing a great job covering the convention, doing interviews with all sorts of people. Rumble has a booth there, that's how we were able to get credentials. 

The last couple of days. Michael has talked to several different people with really interesting interviews. One of them is Mayor JonDavid Longo, who was present at the assassination attempt. He was a mayor of Slippery Rock, a city uptown, very close to where that occurred. He also was able to speak with Rep. Mike Collins, the Republican of Georgia, and Congressman Mike Lawler, the Republican from New York, who is not only probably one of the most vocal supporters of Israel in the entire Congress, but was the sponsor of that law that made it illegal in the educational sector to express all sorts of criticism to Israel that had been very common, the H.R. 6090, which passed the House and Senate by an overwhelming majority and went to the president, who then signed it, because pro-Israel views speed through the Congress with overwhelming majorities, for reasons we've covered many times, and hat was one of the gravest assaults on free speech in many years.  

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Michael was able to talk to him about that as well. So, we're going to show you these interviews. 


M. Tracey: All right. We are on the floor of the Republican National Convention right now. Gaze out at the amazing sights. I've never had more fun in my life. I guess what we're going to do is just kind of poke around and see if there's anybody of note to speak to. Let's see who I can spot. 


Congresswoman Victoria Spartz of Indiana

 

M. Tracey: Oh. How are you, Ms. Spartz? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: How are you? Good. 

 

M. Tracey: What's your reaction to JD Vance getting the nomination? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: That's good, you know. But I think, you know, we have a lot of great candidates, we have a very long bench, but it's all about President Trump and Make America Great. 

 

M. Tracey: What do you expect for a second term for President Trump in terms of, Ukraine and Israel as compared to the Biden administration? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: I think, you know, as President Trump said, you know, we need to restore peace. We need to restore our economy so that we have the ability for people to get wealth back and have growth in the economy because right now, inflation and this pattern is going to destroy a lot of people. And I think this is something about the future of the country and strengthen the country's sense of the borders, strengthen the people and really brings peace around the world. We have a disaster right now. It's awful what's happening. 

 

M. Tracey: President Trump has said that he has a good relationship with Zelenskyy, and some people question that because they think he's Putin's puppet or this kind of thing, which is silly. So, what is this relationship with Zelenskyy and Ukraine? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: Listen, it's not too bad because […]

 

M. Tracey: Representative Spartz, you are Ukrainian, correct? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: I originally grew up there, but I'll tell you, it's about peace through strength. And President Trump had a lot of peace around the world and aggressors didn't move. And his policy it's to bring peace and actually put pressure on countries like Russia and China. He never gets too much credit but what he created in the Middle East was the Abraham Accords, headed to Russia to move further. He was the one who actually put sanctions on North Stream 2, and forced more production of energy. He has put pressure on China, not to […] 

 

M. Tracey: Put any sanctions on Russia. 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: That's right. And he is the one who actually forced Europeans, Canada to step up to create more deterrence, to spend money to deter Russia. He doesn't get credit for that. But his foreign policy was pretty powerful. 

 

M. Tracey: Well, Trump continues supporting funding for Ukraine? I've spoken to other members of Congress, in the Senate, who said that he supported the National Security Supplemental in April to send many billions to Israel and Ukraine, will continue supporting that? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: Listen, it's not about – We cannot be stupid how we spend money. We need to have strategy and oversight. The Soviet Union was defeated not by weapons, but by smart strategy, by smart energy policy. And that's what it takes. And financial policy. And that's what he can bring to the table. Not to have never-ending wars that cost a lot of money and a lot of lives. And that's what you have to be much smarter. And he's – it's he's a very smart man. 

 

M. Tracey: What about the Biden administration policy, where they allow Ukraine to use U.S. weapons to hit certain targets within Russia? But it's never clear what the parameters are. 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: It's all politics. And ultimately, you know, we have a serious war and we shouldn't be doing it. Biden. You know what? They did it and threatened Putin over Twitter or X and in reality, slow walk at the aid. Okay. We need to have a serious conversation that Putin understands he shouldn't have advanced and he can not what he's going to do but force Europeans to step up. 

 

M. Tracey: Do you think Trump would remove some of the constraints that Biden has tried to impose on Ukraine? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: Trump will do whatever it takes to bring peace back and that's what we need. And he will stand with allies like Israel. He won't put pressure on a lot of countries like Europeans that actually being not serious about this situation and now it's become a problem for all of us. And also seriously dealing with China, playing games with Iran and Russia to destabilize the whole world and come here. So I think he's very serious and he's brilliant on his foreign policy because he's unpredictable. That deters a lot of aggression. 

 

M. Tracey: All right. Thank you, Congresswoman. 


Congressman Mike Lawler of New York

 

M. Tracey: So, I want to ask you a couple of questions about a forthcoming Trump administration and Israel policy. You spent a lot of time on that. Also, issues around antisemitism. Do you expect to for Trump to be more aggressive in combating antisemitism, using the mechanisms available in the federal government to pursue some of the initiatives that you've tried to advocate in Congress? What's your general synopsis of that? 

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