Ask Jesse Episode 3: Russia and China

Click here to listen to full episode on YouTube

Show Notes By Victoria Lynn Hall

As I say at the top of this episode, I struggled deciding what to bring up to talk about. Roughly thirty minutes once a week is not enough to cover all the questions I have about the bleak state of our country right now and unfortunately there are worse than bleak things that have happened this week, like the murder of George Floyd, that I don’t really have questions about but simply must be answered for.

Still I worried that talking about anything else would give the impression that I didn’t care and believe me, I do. However, the truth is there is a lot to care about these days and it can be overwhelming. Every day on social media I read about the real life struggles of people right here in the United States of America and nothing I can say or do about it ever seems like enough. So when tweets pop up in my feed asking me to care about what people in other countries are doing, I honestly just want to ignore it.

But I can’t.

This is partly due to my own curiosity as to why other people seem to want to fixate on things like what Russia and China are up to and partly because of my diligence to fact check anything that is prevalent on Social Media.

As always, part of my fact checking process was to “Ask Jesse”, which I did before, during and after this episode. As always, I came away from that with not just facts but also insights that helped me see the bigger picture of our politics and how most people who hold the power in this country only “care” when it is profitable for them to do so.

And as long as that’s true then all of us need to care enough to see that for what it is rather than allow them to distract and defeat us by manipulating us to focus on the canard of a foreign enemy. We need to care enough to stop being suspicious of other governments and each other while our leaders hand our tax dollars to defense contractors. Because if we don’t allow ourselves to care enough to understand the truth about these things, then caring about the people who are struggling to pay for basic necessities, dying from lack of access to healthcare or being murdered by the people who are supposed to be protecting us isn’t going to do anyone any good.

Show notes by Jesse Crall

Various elements in our sociopolitical landscape serve to divide us from the truth. The hyper-partisanship that enjoyed further empowerment following Trump’s election is one of them. Consider impeachment: The accusations around Trump’s collusion with the Russian government and the potential hacks of both our election system and the DNC remain unproven. Figures ranging from Adam Schiff to current Congressional candidate Evelyn Farkas were shown to have lied to the American people over the evidence they held of Trump’s malfeasance. Impeachment over Ukraine was an unmitigated failure, with Trump remaining in office *and* enjoying a surge in his approval ratings. The Mueller Report drew a collective yawn from the American people and no significant consequences. 

And yet…does the left care? Adam Schiff remains hugely popular among Democrats, even as he and Nancy Pelosi have tried to grant Donald Trump added powers of surveillance against the objection of progressive Democrats in the House and Senate. After years of decrying the influence of money in politics and the results of Citizens United, Democrats have embraced a SuperPAC called The Lincoln Project, formed by right-wing operatives opposed to Donald Trump. Donald Trump is an awful leader but it serves us no long-term value to abandon our principles simply to push him out of office. Because if you think Adam Schiff and The Lincoln Project are going to then come together and work to build peace in the Middle East or challenge their corporate donors to empower workers and eradicate poverty, well, you’re a more optimistic soul than me.

Since 9/11, the United States has engaged in a series of wars, attacks, interventions and meddling that have all proven catastrophic for civilian populations, regional stability and even the interests of the American people if not the American board room. Regardless of whether we felt our actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Venezuela and Iran were initially justified (my resounding contention is that they were not), no rational mind would express satisfaction at the *results* of our efforts.

Take Afghanistan, a war entered into with virtually unanimous consent from Congress soon after 9/11. Since 2001, the U.S. taxpayers have spent over $2.5 trillion on the war and over 2000 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives. Last year, more Afghan civilians were killed by U.S.-led coalition forces than by the Taliban. And the Taliban controls more territory now than they did at the war’s onset. A failure at all levels. And yet American politicians left and right remain convinced that the U.S. should continue to play a high-level role in global affairs, using more tax dollars via the National Endowment for Democracy, long-assumed to be a CIA front, to aid protests and uprisings in Hong Kong.

Reality shows us that America is very, very bad at war. And democracy building. And peace building. And as Minneapolis burns and our government’s response to a pandemic and the ongoing crises of poverty, inadequate health coverage and eroding rights and opportunities for workers only accelerate, any reasonable observer would have to wonder why our focus continues to lie on regions thousands of miles away. Our intentions toward Hong Kong’s citizens, dubious considering the sources of support, aren’t likely to produce any positive results. Our foreign policy efforts throughout this young century make this reality all too clear. If only more of our leaders were able to recognize reality instead of being blinded by Trump or chimerical visions of American Exceptionalism. 

For more information on the convoluted tale that is Russiagate, check out the sources below. They should clarify many of the various threads without falling victim to the same fictions perpetrated by cable news and, unfortunately, our politicians:

If you have a question you would like to “Ask Jesse” or have a topic you would like us to explore in a future episode, you can email us at

Watch the full episode below or on YouTube where you can subscribe to all of our video content. We would also like to thank Kim D. for contributing her fabulous song, “Corporation Coup” for use as a theme for our videos, you can find the full recording of this song at:

A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.

Jesse Crall

A Los Angeles native, Jesse Crall graduated from UCLA’s English Department before working as a copywriter, script reader and project manager for an engineering firm.

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