WTFN—MInd over Media

(On the set of WTFN’s public affairs show Mind over Media, host Romana Clay sits at a kidney-shaped table around which are large mock-ups of various newspapers and web pages. Over her right shoulder is a wall-mounted TV monitor. The theme music starts up over the opening titles and the director points to Clay, who looks directly into the camera.)

Romana Clay
ROMANA CLAY: “Welcome back to Mind over Media, where we scrutinize the people that make up the news. I’m Romana Clay and back in the studio is Professor Joseph Howe, Director of the Centre for Media Integrity in Victoria, B.C. He has just written his first book, an analysis of the failure of nerve within U.S. and Canadian governments. (turns to Howe and the camera pulls back into a two-shot and showing the cover of the book) Professor Howe, the subject of your book is not exactly new, so what do you mean by your title Profiles in Cowardice?”

Joseph Howe
PROFESSOR JOSEPH HOWE: “You’re right, of course, Romana—cowardice and governance are familiar friends—but in this book I focus on a particular kind of cowardice, the kind exhibited by government leaders who come to power on a tide of political reform only to betray their principles almost as soon as they get into office. In each case the coward and his party are elected to replace a régime that was transparently undemocratic, even fascistic, but end up being co-opted.”

CLAY: “Does that mean you think democratic reform is impossible?”

HOWE: “Under current conditions, yes. Entrenched, unelected, anti-democratic cabals have such a chokehold on the government, economy and media that they can intimidate or bribe would-be reformers into obedience. The upshot is that it is not enough to throw out bad governments; the people we replace them with have to have the courage to do whatever is necessary to undo the damage. That is the problem.”

CLAY: “What do you mean?”

HOWE: “It is relatively easy for a reformist government to draft new, progressive legislation because it starts from the status quo. It signals a change to it, certainly, but it does not signal a challenge to it. On the other hand, repealing corrupt legislation is a direct assault to the self-interest of the zionists and robber barons who benefit from it because it is an admission that the legislation is morally wrong. That is the key point. Once a piece of legislation is defined as immoral, those that benefit from it are also deemed immoral and can be expected to fight tooth and nail against repeal.

“To repeal unconstitutional legislation—legislation that benefits corporations and foreign governments at the expense of the people and national sovereignty—a government must be willing to go out of its way to pick a fight with these interests and have the courage to do whatever is necessary to defeat them.”

CLAY: “I see you’ve included President Donald Trump in your book. Labeling him as a coward might seem strange to many people, given his bombastic, belligerent behaviour.”

HOWE: “People who think that confuse bombast with bravery. Trump’s has no strong beliefs or principles. As one political analyst put it, Trump is a buffoon who lucked into the presidency only because the Republican Party had already committed political and intellectual suicide. Because he has no discernible principles or intellectual maturity, Trump has been manipulated by the ‘Deep State’.”

CLAY: “Are you referring to his backsliding on his promise to have Hillary Clinton charged with treason?”

HOWE: “Well, that’s the most conspicuous example. For a candidate who openly called for Clinton to be sent to prison, his come-down is hard to accept at face value, to say nothing of his expression of sympathy for her after the election. The only way Trump’s about-face makes sense is that he was persuaded, coerced, bribed—pick your participle—into not following through on his promise.

“Remember, Romana, Clinton was Israel’s candidate in the election, so any prosecution would have opened the books on her role in the premeditated destruction of Libya, the brutal murder of its president and the insurrection to topple Syria’s president. These and other crimes benefited Israel, which means Israel’s manipulation of the U.S. government could not be made public.

“Trump had a choice: stick by his word and have Clinton prosecuted, which would have invited the wrath of the zionist establishment and its media shills who do its bidding—like The New York Times, The Washington Post. and the Clinton Narrative Network—or capitulate to the Israeli-occupied establishment.”

CLAY: “So he drank the Kool-Aid™?”

HOWE: “He chugged it. Once a politician starts downing the Kool-Aid™ his political career becomes addicted to it. Once a politician sells out his integrity he cannot unsell himself. From here, I think, we can trace the rise of the Coward Trump.”

CLAY: “Does Trump’s Kool-Aid™ chugging also explain his missile attack against Syria?”

HOWE: “Very much so. The attack made no sense politically or legally. First of all, it violated his campaign promise to end wasteful, self-defeating military adventurism in the Middle East. Second, it was an unprovoked attack against a sovereign country. Third, it betrayed Trump’s own views on Syria. Remember these famous tweets from 2013:

‘What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a
possible long term conflict? Obama needs congressional approval.
@realDonaldTrump 11:14 AM–29 Aug 2013

‘If Obama attacks Syria and innocent civilians are hurt and killed, he
and the US will look very bad!
@realDonaldTrump 12:26 PM–30 Aug 2013

‘What I am saying is stay out of Syria.
@realDonaldTrump 7:00 PM–3 Sep 2013’

“Fourth, it marked the first time that the pro-Clinton propaganda factory had anything good to say about Trump, which tells you what the Deep State expects of him. I don’t want to give away the whole chapter, but let’s just say that when Trump crowed that he would make America great again he meant great for corporate/zionist America. His illegal moving of the US. embassy to Jerusalem is merely the culminating act of cowardice by a president who has taken the path of least resistance to stay in office.”

CLAY: “One thing doesn’t make sense, though. You said that the cowards in your book were elected to replace undemocratic governments, but Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, was a Democrat who brought in the Affordable Health Care Act.”

HOWE: “Indeed he did, but as I said earlier, passing reformist legislation is not the same thing as undoing undemocratic legislation. In fact the U.S. was even more repressive under Obama than under George. W. Bush. No sooner had Obama been sworn in than he made feeble excuses for not launching a criminal investigation into Bush’s domestic spying, torture and terrorism. This quashed any hopes for fundamental political reform. Second, Obama ordered 10 times as many drone strikes against Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen as Bush did: 563 over two terms compared to 57, killing between 384 and 807 civilians, according to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism.” These amount to undeclared acts of war against sovereign nations, which makes Obama a war criminal as much as Bush is.”

CLAY: “Let’s not forget that Obama is also the first president to sanction the assassination of a U.S. citizen”

HOWE: “Not just one! In September 2011, Obama ordered sent a drone to kill Americans Samir Khan and Anwar Awlaki in Yemen, and then for some reason felt the need to send another drone to kill Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abdulrahman two weeks later. The drone program is grossly illegal and should have been shut down, not expanded, when Obama took office. The fact that he didn’t and even embraced the murder of American citizens, with the collusion of the Justice Department, can only be explained if we accept that Obama did not have to the courage to stand up to the corporate/zionist Deep State. Voters wanted reform after eight years of Cheney-led despotism, but they ended up with more of the same. Of course, the USA PATRIOT Act has still not been repealed.”

CLAY: “Hold on! Didn’t Obama stand up to Netanyahu over his demand to attack Iran, and didn’t Obama candidly commiserate with French President Nicolas Sarkozy about having to deal with Netanyahu? It seems to me that Obama did have the courage to stand up to the zionists.”

HOWE: “Yes, Obama’s did disobey Netanyahu’s imperial edict to attack Iran, and that act of independence led Israel’s sycophants in Congress to invite Netanyahu to come to speak to undermine U.S. policy. However, the essential host–parasite relationship between the U.S. and Israel remained intact. For one thing, Obama also allowed himself to be manipulated into attacking Libya, and merely abstained on a Security Council motion denouncing Israeli settlements as illegal. Overall, Obama’s tightening of the police state, increased use of drone assassinations, refusal to repeal the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act, refusal to close the Guantánamo Bay torture facility and the continuation of wars for Israel—reluctantly or otherwise—confirm him as a coward.”

CLAY: “And with that we’ll take a short break. (To camera) “When we come back, we’ll look at cowards in other lands.” (2-3 minute pause) (To camera) “We’re back talking with Joseph Howe, author of his new book Profiles in Cowardice. Joseph, your book goes beyond the U.S., doesn’t it?”

Joseph Howe “To repeal unconstitutional legislation—legislation that benefits corporations and foreign governments at the expense of the people and Canadian sovereignty— a government must be willing to go out of its way to pick a fight with these interests and have the courage to do whatever is necessary to defeat them.”
Professor Joseph Howe
HOWE: “Yes. Believe it or not, Romana, governmental cowardice is rife among Western governments, and nowhere is that more obvious than in Canada.”

CLAY: “You’re referring to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?”

HOWE: “Trudeau may be the quintessential coward because of the horrid government he replaced, the political climate that swept him into power and his failure to stand up to the unelected political establishment.”

CLAY: “As I recall, the previous regime of Stephen Harper was de facto fascist.”

HOWE: “It was. Harper came to power with the purpose of hobbling the federal government so that it could not act in the public interest or hold corporations accountable to the law. Harper was, essentially, a criminal who hid behind the skirt of elected office to do to Canada what no external enemy could ever get away with. Among other things Harper repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; and removed habitat protection from the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, and the Navigable Waters Protection Act—all to make resource exploitation more profitable. He muzzled scientists from speaking to the media about global warming, declared his allegiance to a foreign power by asserting that a threat to Israel was a threat to Canada, and pushed through the “anti-terrorism” Bill C-51, which all but made Canada a police state and made the Constitution irrelevant. In fact, Harper displayed clear similarities with Adolf Hitler. That is not an exaggeration.”

CLAY: “By calling Trudeau a coward are you're saying he is also fascist?!”

HOWE: “Yes, but passively, and that is what really makes him a coward. When Trudeau and his Liberals were handed a commanding majority, the public expected the new government to enact electoral reform, re-establish environmental protection, repeal Bill C-51 and generally return Canada to some semblance of respectable Parliamentary government.

“After the election, Trudeau reneged on his promise to support proportional representation or preferential ballots, did not return federal protection to rivers and lakes, and did not defend Canada’s sovereignty against the U.S. pipeline company Kinder Morgan. The tar sands pipeline that he is forcing on B.C. will pipe toxic bitumen though sensitive ecological areas and set up inevitable oil spills off the B.C. coast even though there is no evidence that such a pipeline is even needed.

“Ironically, University of Calgary professor Ian Gates has co-discovered a technique for turning bitumen into pill-sized pellets that can be transported safely by train or truck, thus doing away with the need for a pipeline. So far, this revelation has made no impression on Trudeau. He continues to trample on the political rights of British Columbians and the provincial government so he can serve the interests of a U.S. pipeline company.”

CLAY: “Why would he do this if there is his better way?”

HOWE: “Trudeau is champing at the bit to sell out Canada to corporate interests by signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Orwellian euphemism for a corporate take over of sovereign governments that began under Harper. Trudeau has sold out to the same treasonous cabal instead of standing up to it. In this context, China is demanding an oil pipeline as the price for a free trade pact. So, you see, Romana, the Kinder Morgan pipeline decision is not based on any defensible national economic argument, safety considerations, or environmental responsibility.

CLAY: “I see what you mean about Trudeau’s cowardice—He is clearly not acting in the national interest—but that does not make him fascist.”

HOWE: “By itself, no, but Trudeau is doing nothing to reverse fascism. In national security matters, Trudeau merely tinkered with, but did not repeal, Bill C-51, which means he is perpetuating Harper’s core fascist elements through inaction. His feeble response could have been predicted because Trudeau supported Bill C-51 in June 2015 when he was in opposition. This alone should have warned any voter that Trudeau would end up being little more than Harper-lite.”

CLAY: “So why did so many people vote for him if they knew this?”

HOWE: “To a large extent, nobody cared. The 2016 election was a desperate popularity contest between Trudeau and New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair, to see who would be the best choice to punt Harper. That was all that mattered to voters. Trudeau won because of his name and youthful charm; Mulcair lost because he ran a poor campaign and came across as gruff, even though he continually outperformed Trudeau in the House.”

CLAY: “So, if Canadians want to avoid electing cowards, do they need to elect an NDP government?”

HOWE: “I wish it were that simple. Mulcair was an avowed zionist and had few if any left-centre credentials. The current NDP foreign affairs critic is a veritable parrot of Isramerican imperialism. There is no rational explanation for the NDP to behave this way unless it is being coerced and is afraid to challenge the zionist/corporate shadow government.”

CLAY: “Sounds like Canada needs its own Jeremy Corbyn.”

HOWE: “It sure does. Corbyn stands up to the U.K. cabal; the NDP still thinks all it has to do is make pretty speeches, claim the moral high ground and give voters false hope, as we saw recently in British Columbia.

CLAY: “What happened?”

HOWE: “Its newly elected NDP government recently caved in to pressure not to cancel an environmentally destructive, economically wasteful hydroelectric project. The Site C dam in the north of the province is tied in with China’s pipeline; in fact, Chinese investors stand to profit from it because of the takeover of a Canadian company. Premier John Horgan chose to capitulate, instead of standing by his party’s stated principles to defend Native rights, and the environment, to say nothing of economic logic. By choosing to perpetuate the previous government’s boondoggle, Horgan chose cowardice over courage. As renowned analyst Andrew Nikiforuk wrote:

‘The party that promised to deliver fiscal prudence and accountability instead bowed to special interests and insider views. New Democrats swore to observe First Nation rights but now have trod on them. They talked about leadership with courage but embraced cowardice.…

By refusing to walk away from the costs of cancelling the project — about $4 billion, including $2 billion in construction costs and the same in remediation expenses — the government is now willing to put the whole province at risk. How can spending another $10 to $13 billion on a project not yield anything but more debt for taxpayers?’

“There is no scenario to explain Horgan’s bizarre decision that does not include coercion from corporations and/or the federal government. Admittedly, the forces arrayed against cancellation were formidable, but doing the right thing is what Horgan and his party were elected to do.”

CLAY: “We’re running out of time, but before we go, can you tell us what can be done about the shadow government and where all this leaves North American voters.”

HOWE: “Disenfranchised—that’s where. As long as the shadow government of zionist/corporate/foreign oligarchs can bully or bribe our politicians, elections are nothing more than elaborate frauds. People have to get good and angry. Petitions and earnest letters are of no use because they do not target those that instill cowardice. The first step in defeating cowardice in government is to defeat it in oneself. As Goethe famously said: “No one is more a slave than someone who thinks himself free when he isn’t.”

CLAY: “Thank you for a stirring show, Joseph. (She holds the book up for the camera). Joseph Howe‘s book is Profiles in Cowardice, about why reformist governments fail. Thank you for being on the show.” (Camera pulls back and fade out over theme music.)